Friday, February 24, 2006


After the USS Cambria was scheduled to be decommissioned I was transferred to the commissioning detail for the newest Landing Platform Dock (also labeled Amphibious Platform Dock at some points) the USS Shreveport. It was still being built in Tacoma, WA so we spent a couple of months undergoing training in Norfolk,VA before flying out to meet our new ship in January of 1970. With two ships decommissioned underneath me in less than a year I was beginning to feel like a jinx.

As part of the commissioning crew I'm considered a "plank owner" which probably doesn't mean much to anyone who hasn't spent time in the Navy. I still have my plague around and plan to actually put it up in the computer room/office one of these days along with some of my other Navy memorabilia.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Found a photo of the USS Boxer online over at a site dedicated to the ship and crew. Lots of stuff dealing with her during WWII and Korea before she was converted to a helicopter carrier.

She was my first ship and I served aboard her for about seven months prior to her being decommissioned. Did one Caribbean cruise aboard which was quite an eye opener for this kid from Taftville, CT.


This is the USS Cambria a cargo and Marine transport ship on which I served back in 1969. It was the second ship I sailed on, the first being the USS BOXER LPH-4 an old wooden deck carrier. I have a photo of the Boxer around somewhere and will try to post it in the next few days.

Whenever I get depressed I find myself reminiscing about my Navy days. Pretty sad, huh?

CowboyPal Old Time Radio

I've added a link, either via the above headline or over to the Right, to the CowboyPal Old Time Radio site. It's over at Live so you'll have to listen to ads for that, but you'll still have the opportunity to listen to radio shows from the 1930s thru 1950s.

I've been a fan of OTR since I was a kid and having these old westerns available 24-7 is a lot of fun. Unless you subscribe you'll only have a limited number of shows to sample but that's more than enough to see you it's your cup of tea.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

You would think I could read a calendar!

Originally I had planned to attend the up-coming New York Comic Con. It's been a while since I've been to a convention and was hoping to catch up with a few folks I haven't seen for years.

For some reason, I had it in mind that the convention was this weekend, so when my friend Pete called to invite me down to Atlantic City for next weekend I agreed. Doh!!!

Anyway, since I haven't bought tickets and this is a chance to do some male bonding I'm blowing off the convention. Hey, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are performing that night at Caesar's!

Regrets to those folks who had been hoping to see me. Maybe we'll have the opportunity on Free Comic Book Day. If I'm not working that Saturday you can probably find me at Jim Hanley's Universe first thing that morning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Are you a Librarian?

Click on the headline and take the quiz.

I am ashamed to say that I only got 44% on this.

Guess it's time to go back to Pratt for some re-education or to at least start reading Library Journal more regularly.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Free Comic Book Day is May 6th

I'm putting a link over to the side for the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY site. For those unfamiliar with this concept, imagine every comic shop in the U.S. putting aside one day each year where they actually make an attempt to give you something and not just take your hard earned dollars.

Each year many of the major comics publishers will supply stores with thousands of special comics in the hope that something will strike your fancy and you'll come back for more. For me it's the one day each year that I actually do go to a comic shop, which I stopped doing a couple of years ago.

Check out the site and support those local shops who are taking part.

Watching the Olympics pt2

It was a pleasant surprise not having Katie Courac doing the opening ceremonies the other evening. Bob Costas also was nicely sedate for most of it, so Donna and I could actually listen and enjoy. It is also nice that they are showing every country entering in order, as they can edit it between ads. I'm sure there are folks here in the U.S. who may have connections or family in other places and would like to see their teams. In many cases it will be the ONLY time you'll ever see them during the next two weeks.

It would be good to see something other than hockey, considering the number of events being held. There may be a few folks not sitting up or taping stuff overnight. With hundreds of hours of competition certainly NBC could have one of the five or six channels repeating material from earlier in the day.

I'm missing Curling tonight, since I have to work and am really bummed out.

Also, for regular TV viewers: Donna and I caught the last two episodes of GRAY'S ANATOMY and really weren't impressed. (SPOILER) The climax of the two parter was pretty predicable and Donna was surprised that they actually did blow things up.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Costa Maya, Mexico

The soldier types in the one picture are Mexican military and they remain stationed at the end of the pier. Other than those guys you never really see much in terms of the security the cruiselines and various ports have in place.

I took that one photo by standing on one of those box like yellow things you see in the picture, actually leaning partially over the water. Later, when talking to another passenger, I learned that several people had seen two to three foot sharks swimming beneath and around the pier. Probably better I didn't know at the time!

Mamasita's is the largest of the bars you'll see at the port and it's quite good. I didn't have any food but the beer is cold and service fast. You really wonder about their mascot though, not to be too politically correct here. As I said over at Parting Shots there is enough to see and do here at the mall that many folks went no further into the town. It was fun, but just know the prices are a bit more than you'll find outside the plaza. On the other hand, you can get some quality guarantees from the cruiselines for these shops you might not otherwise have.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Watching the Olympics pt. 1

Click on the headline and you'll go over to the "official" NBC Olympic site. It will give you the schedule and let you keep track of medal winnings. Which of course is the ONLY reason to follow the events, as any real American knows.

I've gotten beyond my 'cheer for anybody but the U.S.' phase, since it really isn't fun or fair to anyone. Now I just try to ignore the most sugar-coated of the close-up pieces and enjoy the sports themselves. I think I'm actually getting some understanding of Curling, believe it or not. A sport which I think I'd actually like to see in person. Like my ex, Donna loves watching the figure skating, while shout my usual "Suck ice!" at the screen during the routines. It's hard to believe that I actually have a college degree or two, isn't it?

Donna and I both hope that Katie Courac and Bob Costas are able to put a sock in it long enough so that we can enjoy the opening ceremonies. They weren't as bad two years ago as they were during the previous Winter Games where they talked over the entire thing, explaining to us what we could see as if they were on radio. Of course, I have a low Courac tolerance anyway.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Revenge in Exile: A review

Here's the latest book I've reviewed for Joe Bob Briggs. It's a pretty decent read and perfect for taking along on the cruise for pool side reading.

McCauley is aiming at the Ludlum crowd and does good job in his premiere effort.

REVENGE IN EXILE BY Scot McCauley Published by Leisure Books:
ISBN: 0843956305

Author Scot McCauley is a retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral. He skillfully uses his expertise in military matters as well as his knowledge of the workings of Washington to create a solid first novel. Unfortunately, he makes the common first time author’s mistake of bringing in a few too many characters, and appears to lose track of a couple when wrapping things up in the end. This was the only real flaw I found in an otherwise nice thriller.

McCauley introduces us to David Andrews and Cole Palmer former Navy officers who were close friends but took very different paths after their early days. While Palmer remained in the Navy, Andrews left to initially pursue a career in business and then in politics. The book finds him as a National Security Advisor to President Washburn, a Democrat up for re-election. Things may be going fairly well on the domestic front but turmoil in Mexico may cause problems for the Washburn campaign. It also appears that Andrews has been going behind the back of his bosses to solidify his own political future in a second Washburn White House.

Former Mexican President Victor Hidalgo had to leave his country in disgrace when it was discovered his brother was involved with some illegal activities. Hidalgo is planning on a triumphant return to his native land, even if his attempt to regain the Presidency could cause a constitutional problem or even civil war. Taking advantage of all this is Javier Navarro, leader of La Eme the major Mexican drug cartel. Navarro has gotten his hands on some ‘suitcase’ bombs created by and left behind by the former Soviet Army when they departed much of their former empire. While some of these will be used in the usual terrorist bombings in markets and hotels to confuse authorities on both sides of the border, Navarro has cleverly gotten one such device into the Promonotorio Mountain nuclear waste depository. The bomb is set to go off during the grand-opening ceremonies attended by President Washburn and his Mexican counterpart.

NSA advisor Andrews calls upon his old friend Cole to look into things in Mexico City, where, the now widowed Palmer meets Dr. Elizabeth Cramer, an economist working at the American Embassy. Palmer falls back on his own military skills and those of a team of Navy SEALS in an attempt to discover just what Navarro and his henchmen have been up to in the desert. Unfortunately, this puts him and Dr. Cramer in the way of La Eme’s plans, which is not where anybody would like to be.

McCauley brings enough depth to most of his major players to make us care about what is happening to them. It’s only in his over populating of the story that he nearly capsizes the whole thing. There is also a good deal of coincidental good luck on Palmer’s part, but that can be said of the lead in any number of thrillers. Chalk it up to a freshman writer stretching himself a bit too thin.

Three stars.

Britney Spears: White Trash Mom?

I haven't heard the entire story, and frankly couldn't really care less. However, seeing the photo of Baby Spears in Momma's lap while she drove was priceless. Hey, at least she didn't dangle the kid from a balcony window!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Al Lewis: actor and activist

The headline above will link to a brief obit on Al Lewis over at

Lewis had a show on Pacifica's WBAI 99.50 FM here in New York City for years. He'd rant on politics, culture and prison reform (in which he was especially active). I recall first seeing him in the classic CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU? television series and later in his most famous role as "Grandpa" Munster. Howard Stern fans will recall him from his frequent appearances on Stern's pre-Sirius program.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Lewis!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Parting Shots

I have finally put a link to my other Blog over on the Right. The idea was to keep the two blogs seperate, especially since I get political over at PS. The last couple of weeks I've been posting stuff about the cruise and other things on both so it finally made sense to link the two. Enjoy!

Princess on her throne!

We had let Donna's sister Marilyn borrow one of our recliners during her pregnancy. The other night her husband Doug and I carried the chair back to our apartment. Before we could put it back together, Babie decided it was a perfect place to nap.

I have no plans to get into the Friday Cat Blogging habit, but just wanted to share these.