"A Copse. Evening"

"A Copse. Evening"
A. Y. Jackson, 1918
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Okay,
There's been entirely too much grab-ass around here lately and, in aide of stemming the tide, I'm willfully pushing myself to be more interesting... in a broader sense.
It's just that Spring is here (In an election year) and so, young men's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of political boneheaditude.
It was this time, just four years ago, that I first ran afoul of The Mad Ogre.
Ah, his coyote terror. Ya' know, some people just shouldn't live in the West.
Anyway - Beltane (May 1) came and went and, yet again, I failed to ensure my good luck for the upcoming year by going out at dawn and rolling in the dew - naked.
I always space-out on that and my life sucks as a result..
Not to mention, the general strike that kinda happened on that day? I blew it off.
Went to the bank (Credit Union but... details.).
 I also bought shit! And I worked.
Anyway, I'm not much of a joiner and my economic participation is minimal so... (insert rationalization here).
As a passive reactionary, I blow.

So, even though I long to tell you of Larry-the-large-and-bald's discovery ('bout time. I've had it up since early last Fall.) of the blog I post on occasionally that just happened to be linked to from Larry's place.
It was at the top of Big Boy's blog list and, since it was Ben's blog and I'd liked reading his stuff, I kept going there but... nobody home.
Well, abandoned property. Next thing you know - I'd squatted there.
Anyway, before Larry found out about it and freaked-out as a result (??!!?) it had maxed out at around 1300+ visits overall and every single one of them (Except for the times I went there to watch videos. I did post some funny ones there - "Romney With Balls" most recent I think). Every one of those hits came from Monster Hunter Nation.
Seriously, everything - that - site - was;   after Ben had left, was due to Larry's  belief that I could soldier on, that I could keep the faith. And, as long as I did, he'd supply me with readers - and so he did.
Thanks, Bud!
Anyway, Larry's mad at me so I'm not linked to from the brain-trust anymore.
Traffic has fallen off drastically. Shit!
Bummer. I'm still a member at WTE though - and I've been discussed there... in the Big-Guys-In-The-Forum... forum.
Didn't read any of it of course. That's the beauty part.
This is trolling, I guess. I'm more inclined to think of it as "being a dick - to a dick".
Works for me.
Woo-Hoo!

Anyway, since my randomness needs a rest,  I'm going to further indulge my Naval fixation with a sad tale concerning the ultimate (Quite long) fate of yet another, Pre-Dreadnought battleship.
Faithful reader, jimh brought up the USS Oregon in the comments following the post regarding the Kearsarge a month or so back.
The Oregon has a good story as well and we'll get there but this time, we're following another alum of the Great White Fleet, USS Illinois, BB-7.
And jimh, the Oregon did continue to serve - up through WW2 - if being a hollow metal shell that things can be loaded into counts as serving.
But, back to good-old Illinois. She was the "It Girl" in 1902 while by 1907, like the rest of the battlewagons proudly sailing around the globe to show off America's might, Illinois was obsolete. All of them having been done in at a stroke with the launching of ... wait for it... HMS Dreadnought!
Yes, that's her. Just don't make eye contact.
So, vis-a-vis battleships, our shit was a little ragged but any of our sorry rust-buckets could have held their own - if need be.
It's not like Dreadnought was invincible.
Invincible  was a whole 'nother boat.
In short, to paraphrase that deep thinker and former Naval aviator (Really. Navy Reserve but still...), Donald Rumsfeld:

"You make your spectacular, eighteen-month, show-the-flag, cruise-the-drag, circumnavigation of the world... with the Navy you've got."

Okay, USS Illinois. The name ship of a class of three, she was commissioned in 1902.
Her very first mission - and I'm not making this up - was testing the new, floating dry-dock at Naval Station, New Orleans.
That's right. The brand-new battleship was ordered to tool on down to Louisiana where she was... put into dry-dock.
Of course, she did her bit. The dry-dock was hailed as a success and Illinois sailed triumphantly on into a future of... not much really. Periods in reserve with occasional respites as a training ship.
Don't forget her moment in the sun (Other than the dry-dock test of course): The Great White Fleet.
Probably good duty for the snipes and deck-apes for that year-and-a-half anyway - and some sort of recognition for the old (Obsolete at five) go no-where boat.
She stuck around though. Bear with me.
Now some visuals:
 










Oh yeah.





 Okay. Not so much an "action shot" as an "inaction shot" but you can see that I'm-still-not-over-it-ultimate-coolness ramming prow in addition to the waterline, armor belt.
Keep that image in mind.
You, of course recall the sad plight of the USS Franklin.
 Well... same meat, different gravy.
The old, girl stuck around in recognizable form - albeit unused - until January, 1941.
That's just when her most important (or something) job came along.
She wasn't shitcanned. She was laterally promoted.
Notice: This happened less than a year before Pearl Harbor but I guess, at the moment no one saw any need for a (relatively) functional battleship that's not in Hawaii?
But I've got to calm down.
It wasn't that she wasn't needed. She just had a new role to play.
She was no longer USS Illinois, BB-7.
Now she went by: USS Prairie State, IX-15 (Whatever?) .
She started small; midshipmen's quarters first off.
Next, Varieties of odd jobs at Philadelphia Naval Yard.
Ultimately...
She served as an armory for the New York, Naval Reserve .
 And didn't she cut - quite - the - figure while on duty?
You remember I suggested earlier that you pay heed to the prow and the armor belt?
About the above, for my money, those items are what makes the look.
Just look at her in action.
She's still got all that lean, mean, get-the-fuck-outa-my-way, muscle from back in the day and it's right out there in the open. Scary.
Meanwhile, the face she shows topside is that of a harmless structure. A large, rambling... warehouse or barn or something.
Ultimate stealth.
Yeah, yeah, yeah...
You know though...really, it's a crime against all that is decent.
They didn't even take her anchors off.
I'm appalled.











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