Tuesday, October 26, 2021

STEM versus Sociology...

 Good evening to all.

STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

We watched Star Trek Into Darkness last night.  Gavi and Jennifer had a dandy time towards the end going through all of the reasons that none of it made any scientific sense.  Injecting Kahn's blood into a tribble would not bring the tribble back to life.  And please note, this is not only a trouble with tribbles.  It would not bring Captain Kirk back to life either.  The space flights from one crippled to ship to the other would never have worked.  The list goes on.  (Please note: there are things that Star Trek got right also, but that is not the point here.)

After dissecting all of the scientific reasons that none of it could work, we finished watching the movie.  The end is quite dramatic, with the prototype of a massive starship crashing into Star Fleet headquarters in San Francisco.

I then pointed out that with all of the scientific analysis that Jennifer and Gavi put into this, there was no need.  Science was not necessary to prove that it is complete fiction and fantasy.  Sociology would be adequate.  How?  It is very simple.  As this massive starship crashes through San Francisco, not one person was taking video on a cell phone.

Have a good evening.


Monday, August 16, 2021


 And I was a bit queasy...

Okay.  I apologize for that one, and I was only seasick a couple of times.

I disembarked from the ship today.  My thanks to the crew of USS HOWARD are endless.  I had a great time, made some great friends, had an amazing pizza at a restaurant (kosher!) in Long Beach, CA, and crossed the Pacific.  As we passed each time zone, we set the clocks back one hour.  During my evening prayer over the ship's 1MC (intercom, all you civilians out there), I told everyone that for all of those times we have all complained that we needed one more hour in a day, we had it several times.  The downside to it is that we lost a day as well.

My ship's summer got completely changed.  The ship just completed a change of homeport this morning upon pulling into Japan.  Change of homeport is a big deal.  Families have to pack up and move.  Things must happen on a certain schedule.  As all of the preparations took place, the Russians decided to have the largest naval exercise since the end of the Cold War.  HOWARD was surged forward to keep an eye on them, and to keep them away from our aircraft carrier that was out there at the time.

A couple of things that the Russians might wish to consider...

1.  That was quite the refuelling at sea.  The Russians slowed down to three knots to get it done.  

The US Navy does things a little differently.  Take a look at this picture:

You will notice that there are two ships in this picture.  The second ship is a US destroyer on the other side.  If you are having trouble seeing it, note the slanted mast.  Given that my vantage point in taking this picture could not have been on either of the two ships therein, you must wonder where I was.  I was on my own ship.  The middle ship is the gas station at sea.  She refuelled both of us simultaneously.  And no, we were not going at three knots.  We were at about 13 knots.  Okay...they will learn eventually.

2.  The strike group commander decided also to give the Russians a visual demonstration of our capabilities.  He informed the pilot of what we were going to do.  Then, the aircraft carrier rapidly increased speed, essentially outrunning the helicopter and forcing it to land on one of the support ships.

Maybe the Russians will learn.  In the meantime, they are out of their league.



Good evening everyone.

This blog entry is from late June.

Azure...it is sadly not a word we get to use often.  Azure is a shade of blue, normally associated with the sea.  Thus, one who is traveling in the area of the French Riviera is somewhere along la Côte d'Azur, the Azure Coast.

I am somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean right now, underway on a US aircraft carrier.  As with all US carriers, it is nuclear-powered.  Shortly, I will transfer to a guided missile destroyer, which will be my home for the next month or so.

Whatever else is happening, I go outside every day.  On my first day on board, the deep blue of the ocean very much caught my eye.  You may remember the closing few minutes of "The Shawshank Redemption."  Morgan Freeman's character Red has decided to break parole.  He is on a bus to find Andy, the main character of the story.

While on the bus, his character is sitting quietly, staring out the window.  The voiceover is Morgan Freeman.  One of the lines is "I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams."

We had a liberty port in Hawaii.  Jennifer came out to visit.  The last time we were there was 20 years ago.  This time, we did not need babysitters.  We took this picture on the eastern side of Oahu.

To Morgan Freeman's hope about the Pacific, it is.

Have a good evening everyone.


Flag Etiquette at Sea...

Top of the afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am in Japan right now, where it is Monday.  If you are seeing this blog entry on Sunday, I would like to tell you that Monday is turning out to be a good day.

In international law, national flags fly at the same height.  The implicit message is that no nation is greater than or less than any other nation.  In United States federal law, no flag is allowed to fly above the ensign of the United States.

And yet you just watched my previous blog entry.  There is a flag above the ensign of the United States.  How could this be?

Technically, my initial statement stands.  No flag will fly above the ensign of the United States.  What can fly above the ensign of the United States is certain pennants, and very few of them at that.  The difference is in the number of corners.  A pennant only has three corners.

Which pennants fly above the ensign of the United States?  A ship's commissioning pennant will fly above the ensign.  As well, it is customary to fly a chaplain's pennant above the national ensign when religious services are in progress and are being led by a chaplain (chaplain only, and not a lay leader).

In the video from the previous blog entry, you will note that the pennant flying above the ensign is in the shape of tablets and has Hebrew writing thereupon.  It took eight weeks to get that video.  I was the Jewish chaplain.  The video was taken while I was embarked on USS HOWARD (DDG 83).


"One Nation, Under God..."


Monday, June 21, 2021

I Need a New Travel Agent...

Top of the evening to all....

I need a new travel agent.  I should have read the fine print.

My flight from Honolulu out to the luxury cruise liner was loud and the air conditioning did not work.  A small bag of pretzels would have been lovely.  Instead of an announcement stating that the captain has turned on the seatbelt light, the flight crew suddenly started waving hands wildly.  We all put our heads against the seat backs.  The plane touched down on the cruise liner and stopped in less time and space than necessary to slow a car down from highway speed.

Was there a welcome?  Noooo.  They rushed us off the plane quickly.  Everyone seemed to think that taking in the new scenery was of secondary concern.  Getting off of an operational runway was far more important.

Okay...my connection was supposed to travel to my next stop on Sunday.  Well, that did not happen.  It got put off until Monday (thank you Vladimir Putin).  Then it got put off until Wednesday.  Now I think it is Tuesday.  I would not have minded so much that it was put off, except that I had packed to travel before they passed the word.

Well, at least I have a room.  And the price was sweet.  And the travel agent made sure it was close to the airport in order to make my connection.  Now I know why it was such a great price.  It was very close to the airport.  My amazing lodging is three decks directly below an operational runway.  Planes landing on this runway come in at takeoff speed.*  The ship shakes as they come to an abrupt halt. 


And now more seriously, all of those great movies cannot capture the drama and excitement of seeing an aircraft carrier flight deck in operation.  To watch a plane come in at takeoff speed and just stop was exciting every time.  On the other end, to watch the same planes go from being at rest to being launched off of the carrier deck in an instant will never get boring.

Transfer to my new duty station will be Tuesday morning.

Have a good evening everyone.


*By the way, planes always come in to the carrier at takeoff speed.  If the arresting cable snaps, or if the plane just misses one of the cables, the pilot needs to be at speed to take off again immediately.  One way or another, the plane is going off the ship.  Whether it goes back up or down into the water depends on a pilot's quick reflexes.