Frontier Former Editor

October 18, 2008

Getting it out of my system

Okay, so I used my lunch hour to walk over to the airport.

But that’s it. A Nikon D 40 or 50 is on my to-do list.

And a telephoto lens . . .

And even if the paint job is spurious, it looks good . . .

And sometimes classic is just the best.

Havea good weekend. I did.

October 17, 2008

Guess what I got to do before work?

I miss living near air bases and I miss my old line of work. It gave me reasons to get out of the office and do this under the guise of reporting:

I could give you the pedantic planespottter spiel, but I’ll leave it to these folks . . .

It helps when the airport manager remembers what you’ve done before and gives you only one warning.

“Don’t walk near anything moving or sucking.”

Might have been good advice for Bill Clinton.

August 24, 2008

Playing with Movie Maker and old Cold War literature

I’ve been thinking years about doing this, and finally got around to it . . .

June 2, 2008

Something less freakish than the U.S. presidential campaign . . .

Warning: If you’re a PETA enthusiast, don’t watch. If you believe everything that the Stalin-era USSR  and Ensign Chekov spouted, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a Tom Savini or Herschel Gordon Lewis Fan, you’ll probably fall asleep.

February 29, 2008

The real USS Enterprise (revised)

Filed under: Authentic Cold Warriors, Big E, carrier, history, naval aviation, Newport News, Star Trek, USS Enterprise — Frontier Former Editor @ 12:10 am

As big a fan of Star Trek as I may be, it’s really, only because Gene Roddenberry seemed to have captured something that was very real in the eyes of thousands of the breed known as Navy brats.

Being a Navy brat myself,  I got hit with a double whack of nostalgia this week, starting with this:

Impressive as it may be, the second and hardest whack came when I got a call at work and the discussion progressed to the caller’s mailing address: USS Enterprise CVN-65. We started swapping stories, since I spent a significant chunk of my childhood just across the inlet from his ship’s pier.


The Big E is less than a year older than me.  She is one of 14 supercarriers built just across from where I grew up. The father of one of my good friends sailed around the world on her in 1962 I didn’t get to see her physically until the early 1990’s, when she was finally homeported in Norfolk for the first time since the early 1960’s.

Three carriers suffered major onboard fires during Vietnam, including the Enterprise:

The fact she’s still in the fleet four decades later speaks as much to her crew as it does her construction

The sailor mentioned earlier was burtsing with pride as he told me that the Big E had been fitted with old destroyer screws instead of her standard speed propellers because her reactors were too powerful for her hull to stand the strain.

“She still outran our battle group,” he said.

“Not bad for a ship almost 50 years old,” I said.

“She’s still got the same reactors,” he added.

With that conversation rattling around in my head, I’ve got to wonder why American popular culture is so fixated on a fictional class of starships when there’s a whole series of Enterprises that somehow have eluded the grasp of at least two generations.

So, when the neighborhood geek starts prattling on about Enterprise A, Enterprise B, Enterprise C and so forth, gently shush the little twit and remind him that Enterprise H is alive and well and that her crew and generations of American carrier sailors made green, blue, red and yellow shirts fashionable long before Desilu Studios did.

Just for reference, here’s the real Enterprise A:


and Enterprise C:


And Enterprise G – the original Big E long before Elvis claimed the the initial:


and the Big E off the Solomons (the music isn’t quite appropriate, but the crew wasn’t shaking their own chairs and the director wasn’t shaking the camera to fake the action):

September 6, 2007

Dr. Strangelove? More like the Nutty Professor.

Thanks to Stepher (via Bagel) and Drudge for this cup of morning BWAHAHAHAHA!


photo courtesy Federation of American Scientists

 Nuclear warheads mistakenly flown on B-52, landing at Barksdale AFB

A B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D, to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Aug. 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation, according to three officers who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.The B-52 was loaded with Advanced Cruise Missiles, part of a Defense Department effort to decommission 400 of the ACMs. But the nuclear warheads should have been removed at Minot before being transported to Barksdale, the officers said. The missiles were mounted onto the pylons of the bomber’s article here

What I love is the name of the website – The Town Talk.

Mrs. Humphreys recently went to visit her daughter and son-in-law in Metairie. The Daughters of the American Revolution on Thursday held their annual tea party. A B-52H brought five special visitors to town in time for the parish church rummage sale.

And here’s our special visitor . . . . (makes it sound like an out-of-wedlock birth, eh?)

Jump in my Stratofortress

It’s as big as a whale

And we’re about to set saillllllllll

It’s small comfort, but the U.S. military really does try to make it as hard as possible for folks to arm these little party favors. Having had an immediate relative who was part of an arming party for tactical nukes, I can say with some measure of knowledge that they don’t have electrical power to the warhead arming and detonation circuits unless you physically open one up and connect the ‘device’s’ battery properly. It’s not exactly the sort of task one can do unauthorized without being noticed and probably shot and killed unless you have a whole lot of people in on a conspiracy. (Where’s SPECTRE when you need them?)

But last week’s little spectacle makes one wonder just how far up ther collective ass, the heads of Minot AFB’s nuke weapons, armorer and flightline safety staffs were that day. Not to mention the watch staff and involved aircraft commander from the bomb wing in question.

As for their indestructibility, yeah, they’re pretty damned tough if mishandled. But there have been some really ‘fun’ incidents, like . . .

 “January 24, 1961, Goldsboro, North Carolina

In what nearly became a nuclear catastrophe, a B-52 bomber on airborne alert carrying two nuclear weapons broke apart in midair. The B-52 experienced structural failure in its right wing and the aircraft’s resulting breakup released the two weapons from a height of 2,000-10,000 feet. One of the bomb’s parachutes deployed properly and that weapon’s damage was minimal. However, the second bomb’s parachute malfunctioned and the weapon broke apart upon impact, scattering its components over a wide area. According to Daniel Ellsberg, the weapon could have accidentally fired because “five of the six safety devices had failed.” Nuclear physicist Ralph E. Lapp supported this assertion, saying that “only a single switch” had “prevented the bomb from detonating and spreading fire and destruction over a wide area.”

Despite an extensive search of the waterlogged farmland where the weapon was believed to have landed, the bomb’s highly enriched uranium core was never recovered. In order to prevent any discovery of the lost portion of the weapon, the Air Force purchased an easement which required that permission be obtained before any construction or digging could begin in the area. Three crew members were killed in the crash.

The accident was apparently so serious that it was reported to newly-elected President John F. Kennedy. According to Newsweek, President Kennedy was informed after the accident that “there had been more than 60 accidents involving nuclear weapons” since World War II, “including two cases in which nuclear-tipped anti-aircraft missiles were actually launched by inadvertence.” As a result of the Goldsboro accident, the U.S. placed many new safety devices on its nuclear arsenal and the Soviet Union was encouraged to do the same.”

Thank you, Department of Defense, for making me feel safe at night.

August 28, 2007

And in a shameless ripoff from Laurie Kendrick . . .

whose toy post induced a flashback to the days of the Sears Wishbook, I give you my favorite childhood toy . . . .


The Johnny Seven!

Yes, a seven-function pistol/battle rifle/grenade launcher/anti-tank rocket/heavy machine gun/rocket grenade/heavy rocket launcher! And with extra-dense plastic bullets that could leave your neighborhood rival for influence looking like he’d had 20 TB tests before dinner.

 Apparently my folks were able to get an export certificate for mine, because I brought it back from England and still was able to terrorize a moderate-size ville with relative ease.

Now go to Laurie’s place for some less warlike toys, while I go pacify some local sectarian violence . . . .

August 26, 2007

Flying in my own private Domodevo . . . .

 “An astounded member of the U.S. delegation said the bomber was not for sale but that it would cost at least $500 million if it were to be sold on the spot.

“That is no problem. It is such a cool machine,” the Russian was quoted as saying by the newspaper, which said its reporter overheard the conversation.”

I hear they did entertain an offer to sell Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland . . . .

August 25, 2007

Pole position . . . .

In my mind, when it comes to talking realistically tough and frighteningly to one’s rivals and opponents, Zbigniew Brzezinski is the question to the Jeopardy answer, “He’s going to tell me to ‘stuff it up my ass’ while he tears off my arm and begins the insertion.”


Suffice it to say, I was moderately intrigued when I read this little nugget tonight . . . . .

““Obama is clearly more effective and has the upper hand,” Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter‘s national security adviser, said. “He has a sense of what is historically relevant, and what is needed from the United States in relationship to the world.”

Brzezinski, 79, dismissed the notion that Clinton, 59, a New York senator and the wife of former President Bill Clinton, is more seasoned than Obama, 46. “Being a former first lady doesn’t prepare you to be president,” Brzezinski said.

Clinton’s foreign-policy approach is “very conventional,” Brzezinski said. “I don’t think the country needs to go back to what we had eight years ago.”

Who says the Democratic nomination race isn’t going to get interesting, especially with a Cold Warrior who makes Dick Cheney look like a fat kid in a sandbox?

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