Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fukushima - Day 21

The picture above was taken from a drone aircraft within the past day or two. Damage to the lightweight outer lagging is evident. This was the result of the hydrogen explosions we saw from a long distance on TV. Extent of damage to the much heavier containment building (shell) or even the reactor vessel is not obvious in these pictures.

The picture above shows all 4 of the reactor buildings and to the right, the turbine buildings. Below is the No. 2 executive of Tokyo Electric Power Co. The stress is evident in his expression and those of his assistants.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

1963 Prophesies

One of the end of the school year papers contained these interesting articles. They are the end of high school prophesies...some of them are pretty snarky.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

WANTED - 1950-1958 CLASS PICTURES (Meadowbrook & Handley Elementary)

I need your help...I would like to gather a small collection of HQ scans of 6th grade class pictures that were taken in 1957 of the Meadowbrook elementary school. They were perhaps a third of the population of our 1963 Highlander class before they started taking on the appearances we knew as their classmates. Preferably, your picture would be named, but if not, we could work on getting that done here.

Observation: There were 3, 6th grade classes at Meadowbrook Elementary in 1956-57. The teachers were Mrs. Few, Mr. Blackstone, and Mrs. Blackwell (Mrs. Ward left this class at mid-year).


Linda Hartman & Bob Dillard

Here was a late year interview of 2 of our classmates. If you've seen them lately, how did their 18-year old ambitions work out? Bob was a friend who I've written about elsewhere in the blog; Linda was an attractive acquaintance who I didn't know too well. She was reserved and one of our top students. Bob wasn't too quiet, but he was another of our top students.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WIN WIN - American Airlines

I'm so pleased to discover I'm not the only one who has had it up to "here" with buzzword babbling buffoons. Bravo American Airlines.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


Yes Dear - 2

I get a kick out of observing quirks in others…me, I don’t have any…

Wife has a few things in her quirk repertoire that should probably be recognized with a nickname, but I haven’t done it. She already has enough nicknames.

For years, I was too busy working to pay much attention to my wife’s domestic quirks. I probably knew of some of them, but with so little available time, I didn’t ask. Besides, as she has always been quick to inform me, the kitchen was her domain and I was only a guest.

Her dad said that as a child she had a propensity to create chaos with her things, yet still be able to immediately pick out even minor items from the pile. She never missed, he said.

For years I noticed that our refrigerator became cluttered with various things and old containers weren’t thrown out. Three jars of mayo, a couple of bottles of catsup, and 4 partly empty jars of sweet pickles (I don’t like sweet pickles). I started combining the pickles into one jar and tossing the empties. Bad move…in wife’s mind I had contaminated the new pickles with the old pickles. Hmmm. And so, too, it was with the multiple catsup bottles and mayonnaise jars…don’t get me started on the 9 partly empty boxes of spaghetti noodles.

Then there are the salad dressings and spices. These things multiply as a result of shopping lists being made out upstairs without consulting the existing stock downstairs. Also, when wife is hungry for a taste of something, it is just the taste for which she hungers…not the rest of the bottle or jar.

So, we live in a home of selective excess…lots of salad dressings and McCormick’s Vanilla extract, most of them open and only partly full.

Recently she has wanted me to clean out my tool closet located down the hall a bit from the kitchen.  This is serious business because it is in that closet that I keep ALL the tools, parts, supplies, bulbs, spare bits from old projects--you know, those impossible to find bits that have been sitting in that closet for 20-years waiting for the things they were left over from to break again, but haven't.

She wants to use all that wonderful and convenient space for storage of some of her specialized, oversize kitchen appliances which have filled every available space in every cabinet of a roomy kitchen.  I ask if it might help her space situation to dispose of some of those 9 partly empty spaghetti boxes.   My suggestion is not well received.

Truth is, that tool closet ought to be cleaned out and I don't like fixing things much any more.  It takes longer to find that long ago stored away repair bit amongst the clutter than it does to go over to the hardware store and buy what I need.


Friday, March 11, 2011


I've ridden a 6.6 quake that knocked down buildings and highway bridges. That one was strong enough to satisfy my personal curiosity.

The Japan quake last night is being reported at 8.9! That's almost inconceivable! The Richter scale is logarithmic, meaning that each whole number higher than the last is 10X the strength of the previous number. If my exponential calculation is accurate, then the Japan quake last night released about 2800X the energy of the one I felt many years ago. That's frightening.

The picture is one of the most striking I've found and is probably a unique shot in all recorded history.  It looks like a second or third wave coming ashore.  We tend to think that our species has significant influence over our environment, but I tend to think differently.  I think that even collectively, we are insignificant compared to the powers locked up within this earth we inhabit.  We are more like some dust particles sprinkled over small portions of its surface.

March 13, Sunday update: The United States Navy pulled on station with 8 ships off the Japanese coast today.  Included among them are the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).  That's only 2-days after the event and that's remarkable. 

March 14, Monday update: This video came to light today. It's the clearest I've seen that shows the flood wave. Remember too, that a hurricane surge operates about the same way.

March 19, Saturday update: This video came to light today. It was taken at sea from the 970-Ton Japan Coast Guard Cutter, Matsushima. It shows the wave approaching the ship's bow and the ship riding up and over. Some fun, eh kid?

And then they went over a second wave a short time later...


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Mr. President

One line in the oath any new soldier accepts as a condition of his or her enlistment pledges their allegiance to the President of the United States and states that he or she will obey the orders of all officers appointed over them. It didn’t take me too long to question the practical application of that contract term and I took it up with an officer appointed over me.

The problem, I related, was with the word, “all.” I went on to explain that in my short time in the service I had seen a few officers of higher rank that were clearly idiots, or to be more charitable, inept.

What would you suggest I do, I asked, should one of these inept officers order me to charge a machine gun nest and I deem both he and his order insane? The man I chose to ask the question was fairly high up in that particular military organization and I had established a reasonably good relationship with him...he seemed to have a good practical head.

He replied, you have to first take care of yourself. Your duty is to respect the rank and uniform, not the man wearing it. Respect for the man was something he had to earn.

It was sage advice and meant that one was doing no good for anyone, including himself, by sacrificing for no good reason. That kind of judgment was for each individual to make. His advice implied that it would be best to ignore idiots, regardless of their rank.

Military service was a short, yet influential part of my life. For years after I had left the service I could readily tell who had served and who had not…it was something in the way a person carried himself, a sense of humor, and a kind of character they wore easily.

Until Vietnam, essentially all young men having high political ambitions were counseled by their fathers and mentors to volunteer for military service and if possible, seek assignment to a war zone. Some medals for heroism could translate into thousands of votes later. The older advisors also knew that a young person had only a few years within a long life to be a part of a military service and the opportunity, once gone, could not be repeated.

I think there is something more to military service than simply medals and the future show value. For a young person, it provides a very real opportunity to test and prove his mettle. Once done, it can never be taken away. Once missed, it can never again be accomplished. It’s a difficult proposition for a young person to comprehend.

Since Vietnam, we have seen a couple of examples of Presidents who did not serve in the military. It became fashionable during the Vietnam period for young men, especially the smart and well-connected ones, to seek ways to avoid serving. It was certainly a safer route to take and joining the political opposition to the Vietnam War provided a kind of assumed moral superiority cover for those who chose it.

However, as the Commander in Chief of the most powerful military force in the world, I think it’s a plus for that commander to have some practical knowledge of that which he commands. It’s probably also a plus in the forming of his or her character.

The accompanying pictures show our post-WWII presidents both in office and in their youth. Draw your own conclusions about them.


Saturday, March 05, 2011


I use several email addresses, each for different online communities, and very rarely post them anywhere online; the theory being, by protecting the addresses, I won’t be pestered by spam. However, I do order some things online which do require leaving an address.

Where possible, I use one of the disposable address services that allow me to retrieve mail and verify links. Where the disposable addresses are filtered, I use an address I consider a throw-away should the spam volume become intolerable. I’ve been doing this for about 15-years or so, and have never found the volume of spam to be much of an irritant, nor have I had to abandon an address due to spam overload.

All that said, I do get some spam in one of my more active Yahoo addresses. It seems that there are spammers who work something like the old robo-dialers on the telephone…they just go down the list and spam them all. Of course, Yahoo tends to set some filters and I set others, such that most of that stuff is automatically shunted off into a spam folder.

Now and then it’s interesting to take a look at some of the spam mail. It’s a wonder that anyone sending that kind of stuff out would expect to get responses, but maybe they do.

Mujahideen wants me to call him urgently; my old pal Ibrahim Bhaki writes me—Dear Friend; several folks, including Mr. Karim Ahmed, are wanting to send me money from various funds I don’t know about but they will help, I’m sure; julian justin yak’s subject is “Dearest one” – wonder what jjy wants; Microsoft Office is writing about something…sometimes it comes in as Microsofts Office…they’re in a hurry, I suppose. And so on, and so on.

I used to stand by the waste basket and throw away everything marked “bulk rate” without bothering to open it. Many days, that took care of 90% of a day’s mail in just a few seconds. Then the junk mailers got into cahoots with the post office and started marking junk mail “presorted first class” and printing my name and address all over everything inside. Then I had to start shredding.

Some of the Asian subcontinent societies may have it right…just take people that irritate you out behind the barn and flog them with a stick. For now, spam filters and that delete button works pretty well.


Thursday, March 03, 2011


(1) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

(2) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

(3) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing, usually end in fine.

(4) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!

(5) Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to # 3 for the meaning of nothing.)

(6) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

(7) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome. (I want to add in a clause here - This is true, unless she says 'Thanks a lot' - that is PURE sarcasm and she is not thanking you at all. DO NOT say 'you're welcome'. That will bring on a 'whatever').

(8) Whatever: Is a woman's way of saying...Go to blue blazes.

(9) Don't worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking 'What's wrong?' For the woman's response refer to # 3.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

1963 EHHS Highlander Track Team

Members of the 1963 EHHS track team shown in the accompanying picture are: Bill Wilson, Randy Blake, Chuck Wellington, Roby Morris, David Bane, Jimmy Anderson, James Gilmartin, Robert McGown, Mike Penny, Bill Winkler, Ed McDonald, Jimmy Brown, Guy Perkins, Jimmy Smart, Lloyd Grimm, Roy Vandiver, Jim Young, Steve Morris, Mike Flowers, Sam Bartholomew, Charles Jones, Buzz Gardner, LeRoy Gast, Mike Moore, Wayne Hardy, Jim Aitken, and Steve Helmricks.  Bold names were 1963 seniors.

The article appeared in a Spring 1963 sports summary section of the school newspaper, The Tartan.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

1962 1963 1964 EHHS Highlander Basketball

Our 1963 basketball team consisted of about half seniors and half juniors. I think this was Coach Howerton’s first year at EH, replacing Ronnie McBee who had been the team coach for a number of years.

The team members in this picture and article were: Dwayne Williams, Jim Newell, David Williams, Guy Perkins, Ted Harris, Steve Rose, Roby Morris, Kendall McCook, Melvin Starks, Wayne Templeton, Bobby Dillard, J.W. Southard, David Tracy, David Richardson, Bob Larmer, Roy Burklow, and Coach Johnny Howerton.

The article was cut from a year-end sports summary section of the school newspaper, The Tartan.

CJ64--For the EHHS classes of 1962, 1963, and 1964, basketball was an other sport – not nearly as important as football and somewhat under-appreciated, but not an unexpected situation in football-crazy Texas. It’s probably still the same way today.

Ronnie McBee was the coach in 1961-62. He had been a star at North Side High and TCU. He was fun-loving, irreverent, and sort of a playboy type, but he was a good coach, and the players liked to play for him. He gave out nicknames to most, but not all the players. Gary Granger, a guard, was “Baby Ears” because of, well, his small ears. Fred Culberson, another guard, had dark, bushy eyebrows, and eyelashes all the girls envied, so he was tagged as “Hairy Eyes” .

Johnny Howerton came in the fall of 1962 to replace McBee. They could not have been more opposite. McBee was tall, easy-going, and fun; Howerton was short, intense, and scary. Howerton had played on the 1952-53 state champion Poly High team, and at Abilene Christian. Howerton was outstanding at teaching, particularly winning fundamentals. His teams were always well-conditioned and poised, because they had been taught what to do. They were also overachievers, like the coach.

Memorable Moments

1961-1962. We had gone down to Waco to play the now-defunct Richfield Rams. Late in the 1st half, Fred Culberson sprained his ankle, but not too badly. At the half in the locker room, Coach McBee taped up the ankle, and Fred played the 2nd half, and we won. Now, Fred not only had hairy eyes, he also had hairy legs. 

Normally you would have shaved his ankle prior to taping, but there had been no time. So, 3 days later, when it was time to remove the tape, Fred was not looking forward to it. Ray Coleman, our manager, took the scissors and cut along the bottom of the foot, then through one side. The only thing left to do was rip it off. Fred said he was ready, and Ray yanked. The result: Fred’s ankle was beautifully shaved, and the inside of the tape was solid leg hair. Ray kept it around for a couple of weeks for show, then tossed it.

Tuf-Skin was an all-purpose product we used mainly on our feet. It came in a can, and you spread it on blisters with a brush, and it would toughen the skin almost immediately. It also burned like hell. We discovered it made an excellent cure for jock itch. Jock itch was caused by perspiration-soaked jock straps, and resulted in a reddened, inflamed, and itchy area around the genitalia. You could treat it with lotion, or powder, but that took time. Bruce Schnitzer had it really bad, so after consultation, he agreed to the Tuf-Skin cure. He lay down on the bench, shorts down, and Ray swabbed him down with the brush. Bruce broke out in a sweat, and clenched his teeth, but he was cured.

1962-63. Bobby Larmer led the district in scoring through the first half of district play. It was a surprise, and got him some press in the papers. It was a surprise, but no accident. He played the way his coach taught – aggressive, smart, and with discipline. He faded to second or third by season’s end, but made the all-district team. The team was developing the style that led to our district championship in in 1963-64; we played an opportunistic, over achieving game, waited for the other team to make mistakes, and took advantage of them.

We played against the Pampa Harvesters in a tournament. Today, Pampa is a town that has fallen on hard times, but not in 1963. Their key player was Randy Matson, later a Texas A&M and Olympic gold medal shot-putter. He was a full-grown 6’7”, stayed at the foul line, and directed traffic. They waxed us.

Ted Harris was an all-around good athlete who was good at every sport, but particularly football. He played more on heart than on skill. If every person on the team could work as hard, and play as hard, as Ted Harris, there is no way you could be beaten. We had a wind-sprint drill to end every practice. We would line up at the end line, run to the foul line, then run backwards back to the end line, then forward to the half-court line, then backwards to the end line, and repeat to the far foul line and far end line. Ted and Roby Morris were racing back from the far foul line, running backwards, when Ted stumbled at the finish. His head struck the concrete wall. He went down to the floor on his back, unconscious, his legs and arms jerking. Bobby Dillard ran over to check to see if he had swallowed his tongue. He suggested to Coach Howerton that we call Ted’s father, Marvin Harris (there was no 911), and Coach did. Mr. Harris got him to the hospital. Ted had fractured his skull, but he recovered with no after effects. It was memorable only in that it was so scary.

1963-1964. We played in an open tournament in Graham early in the season, meaning that different classifications were invited from class B to class 4A. When we arrived at our motel, Coach was told there had been a mix-up, and our rooms were taken. So, he called the Graham coach. No problem. The Graham coach arranged for our players to be parceled out the Graham players’ homes, 2 to 3 at a time. That’s how David Tracy and I ended up in the home of John Matzinger, a starting guard. Mr. and Mrs. Matzinger couldn’t have been more gracious, and Mrs. Matzinger stuffed us with a huge platter of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, and peas.

The next morning we went to the gym. We were slated to play Megargel, town population 408, a class B school. We were 4A, at that time the top classification. Megargel had a team of about 7. Their tallest player was about 6’, but he had a letter jacket which practically disappeared underneath the awards and letters. Their guards were twin brothers who were laughably short, at about 5’6”. We thought it was so funny that it took us 2 overtimes to beat them by 1 point. Let that be a lesson to you.

That afternoon we played Graham. They were a 3A school, but they were loaded. In addition to Matzinger, Graham had 6’6” Tiny Lochner (they both played at Texas), and P. D. Shabay and E. A. Gresham (who both played football at TCU, and led the team in initials). They beat us and won their own tournament, but that was offset by the goodwill they had shown us in putting us up at their homes.

We won district. Poly won the first half, we won the second half, and we beat them in the championship. The key players were Roby Morris, Wayne Templeton, David Richardson, Roy Burklow, Ward Ericson, and Duane Williams. Roby and Wayne made all-district. We went over to Dallas to play Adamson in bi-district. They were taller, and could shoot. They featured a tall center who had a club foot, but he could still move and played well. They beat us and the season was over, but it was a great season. We owed it to some gutsy, intelligent players, and to Coach Howerton, who earned our complete respect.