Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weird Al's "Mission Statement"

Anyone who's ever had to deal with dumb-ass mission statements will appreciate this:

I think Al hit ALL the buzzwords.  Apropos o' not much, on one unfortunate occasion I was tapped to participate in writing a mission statement after yet another in a series of endless corporate reorganizations.  That episode was painful beyond belief, aside from being a flaming waste of time.

No, that wasn't in the Air Force.  But there's this about that:

In Full Unapologetic Ranting Cranky Old Man Mode

So, I read over at The Officers Club (ed: a defunct blog) that the USAF has a new mission statement, to wit:
The Air Force changed its mission statement yesterday. The old MS reads:

The mission of the U.S. Air Force is to is to defend the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.

The new mission reads:

The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.
I'll begin with the only good thing about the new mission statement: at least The Management incorporated the old, unofficial mission statement: "To Fly and To Fight." So much for the good stuff.

Let's begin the rant.

Just what the HELL is a "sovereign option?" A military option that's exercised by the United States as a sovereign nation? Meaning we don't have to run it by the UN or France first? There's a good idea! Or options that are above all others, e.g., "superior" or "leading," as opposed to "ill-considered" or "secondary." I certainly HOPE we'd offer the country the best air and space defense options we have, to do less is dereliction of duty. Let's not quibble about words, however, let's just come right out and say it: It's STUPID and obfuscatory. Substituting "...deliver sovereign options for the defense of..." for the previous statement's "defend" makes the USAF sound like the freaking Chicago Board of Trade.

Let's pick a nit: how does one fly in "cyberspace?" Or, for that matter, how exactly do we fight in cyberspace? Networked video games? You can say we engage in space flight, but cyberspace-flight? Who are we trying to kid with this word? Including "cyberspace" in the mission statement isn't cutting edge, guys, it looks like what it is: a failed attempt at being cool. I can just hear it in the E-ring: "Air power is just SO passe on its own, we need something more au courant, something that sings! Let's work 21st century technology into the statement somewhere, OK? Get back to me." And so they did, by using a buzz word from the '90s. Shame on you.

And then there's this: Economy of Expression. Whenever you add 12 words to a sentence to express the same idea, you've taken a GIANT step backward. I personally think the old statement's 23 words was too verbose. 35 freaking words is beyond verbose, it's language-crime.

My last point. Anyone want to hazard a guess how many colonels and generals were tasked with writing the new statement? How much time was spent "staffing" the language and briefing it to the boss? I've played in some of these exercises, albeit at a much lower level, and I can tell you with some certainty the answer is: A LOT.

I could think of lots of better ways to burn cycles. Most of 'em have to do with winning the freaking war. Another good use of time would be convincing the doubters (senior DoD guys, congress) we absolutely need the F/A-22, in the numbers we've asked for. I use "we" because it's still MY Air Force, too.

And then there's this:
How did I miss this?  Specifically, "New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions," mentioned in the post immediately below.  "DWS" prolly has sumthin' to do with employment statistics, job opportunities, and the like but one cannot rightly tell from the pompous title.  I was thinkin' any organization with a title like "Workforce Solutions" just had to be ate up with the dumb-ass.  And I was right.  Witness:
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is a World-Class, market-driven workforce delivery system that prepares New Mexico job seekers to meet current and emerging needs of New Mexico businesses; and ensures that every New Mexico citizen who needs a job will have one; and every business who needs an employee will find one with the necessary skills and work readiness to allow New Mexico businesses to compete in a global economy.
That's their "vision statement," and they also have a mission statement, of course:
Enhance productivity and competitiveness of New Mexico business and industry by improving the quality and availability of the New Mexico workforce. We will accomplish this through a system that offers universal access to lifelong learning based on relevant local and regional labor market needs, via integrated, customer-focused accountable service partnerships. 
We ALL know any gub'mint org and most Fortune 500 companies need vision and mission statements chock-a-bloc with the latest and greatest in biz-school buzz words.  It's just too damned bad those things don't SAY or MEAN any-gotdamned-thing.  I can recall MANY painful hours working in ad hoc task forces chartered to develop such "statements" from my days with Ross Perot's Excellent Data Company... AFTER Mr. Perot left, of course.
"Mission Statements" might just be one o' my biggest hot buttons. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is It Ever TOO Late?

To post, that is.  We spent the better part o' our day off the grid, beginning like this:

That would be a sunrise, Gentle Reader, sumthin' we rarely see these days.  We took the pic from inside The Tart, shortly after oh-dark-thirty.  We were gone for about 12 hours and this is what we looked like at the end o' our day:

We killed us some bugs today (click to embigify).  I'm thinkin' it would look a lot worse than this had we not hit that half-hour rain storm on our way back to base.  Bad enough, though... I see a beauty shop appointment in The Tart's immediate future.

And now it's back out to the verandah for our second beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nice Ride!

Does this look familiar?

That would be SN2 and DIL Alisa, standing next to their new-to-them 1990 Corvette.  SN2 called me Friday evening to let me know their latest baby was home and filled me in on all the details.  Which, to wit: a 1990 Vette convertible, 40K miles on the clock, six-speed manual, and the UCR small-block V-8 in its 245 HP iteration.  This is the Vette I SHOULD have bought in the way-back, which is to say a convertible and a six-speed.  The Second Mrs. Pennington wouldn't be denied, however, and we got an automatic, hardtop Vette.  As for the familiarity bits?  This:

TSMP and HER 'Vette, the weekend after we bought her.  On M-25, just south of Harbor Beach, MI.

Nice color!

Forty-Five Years Ago Today

A couple of friends and I watched the landing on a teeny-tiny black and white teevee in a little after-hours bar in Wakkanai, Japan.  In Japanese, since the coverage was on NHK.  Where were you?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday: A Couple o' Things

First, an amateur used car ad from Down Under...

From the "About" section at the Tube O' You:
I'm trying to sell my awesome little car. It's a 1999 Holden Barina. Its not in great condition, but its still a fun little car.

Tweet me an offer using the hashtag #buymybarina. I've also set up a little site for it http://buymybarina.com

(Added later)

This little clip has done so well that we've decided to try and do some good with it.

The Barina will be auctioned for the charity Cancer Council Australia. 
Pretty cool, eh?

And then there's this:

Occasional Readers know I'm not much of a bezbol fan.  But I AM a fan of those who achieve legendary status in their sport, whatever that sport may be, and Mr. Jeter has attained that rank.  Mr. Jordan's bid'niz did a great job with this tribute; well done, Sir.  Very well done.

Friday, July 18, 2014

One Minor Complaint and One Good Thing

We're back to this again.
Just in from yet another trip out to Cannon Airplane Patch to do the usual, customary, and reasonable things: restock the larder and the likker locker.  I need to get a handle on this "eating" thing; it's getting to the point where I spend waaaay more on food than I do on booze and beer.  That said, my monthly food bill is about half of my aggregate spend on booze, beer, and cigars... so mebbe I'm OK, after all.

While we're on about booze... there's still no 18-year old Glenlivet in stock at the Class VI store, which makes a lil over two weeks they've been out of stock.  Add in the fact the Class VI "can't get" Johnnie Walker Green any longer and the fact that Bulleit Rye has gone missing as well all adds up to a significant measure of discontent with the organization.  I suppose I COULD find both of these treats out there on the inter-tubes but the prices, Gentle Reader... the prices.  OTOH, the Class VI's price advantage goes right out the window if my favorite tipples aren't on the shelves.

It's always sumthin'.

In other news... on our way out to Cannon we were struck by how GREEN it is here on THPoNM right now, which is to say greener than I've ever seen it.  We've had well over six and a half inches of rain so far this year, which also makes this year the wettest year in my feeble ol' memory (which would include all 12 of the years I've lived here).  To put that in perspective, our average annual precipitation is only 16.81 inches per year and 8.7 inches of that is snow.  I really should have made a Cheesy Video to show you, Gentle Reader.  Then again, those of you who don't live in arid climes would be much less than impressed.  So there's that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

This Just In...

I was doin' a mid-afternoon check o' our incoming mail and was shocked to see Johnny Winter died yesterday at age 70.  Rolling Stone has a good written tribute to Mr. Winter, these being the first and final grafs:

Legendary blues musician Johnny Winter died in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland, on July 16th at 70 years old. There are plenty of reasons why that's notable — Winter was one of the first blues rock guitar virtuosos, releasing a string of popular and fiery albums in the late Sixties and early Seventies, becoming an arena-level concert draw in the process — but it's the barest facts that remain the most inspiring. Johnny Winter, from little Beaumont, Texas, afflicted with albinism and 20/400 eyesight in one eye and 20/600 in the other, made an iconic life for himself by playing the blues.
Towards the end of Raisin' Cain, Winter is asked how he'd liked to be remembered. He answered, simply, "As a good blues player."

Johnny Winter was much more than that.
Oh, Hell yes.  His guitar playing was incendiary and he stayed true to the blues throughout his whole career.  He WILL be missed.
So... my very favorite Johnny Winter tune:
It don't get much better than that, if at all.

Well, THIS Is Different

And by "this" I mean this:

The light drizzle is more like a fine mist, but it's the temp we're on about.  I may have to put on a sweatshirt for Happy Hour today, mainly coz we just don't have a very high personal R-value.  I do have to admit these temps feel nice... VERY nice... for mid- to late-July. 

Pretty Cool

Occasional Reader Rob sent this along yesterday...

Computer animation has reached the point where it's pretty danged hard to tell if something's real or if it's Memorex.  That said, one wonders why there aren't any frogs in this vid.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back on Facebook

Well, sorta.  Today we replaced our old five-dollar Wally-World shower curtain...

With a spiffy new social media shower curtain...

We could have put ourselves in the picture but opted NOT to provide too much information.  Rumor has it this might could be the Obamas' shower curtain, i.e., "lives in Washington D.C.," but I'm quite sure it isn't.

I bought this at Amazon, btw.  Like this.

I didn't buy a cute pink shower cap, though.

It's (Almost) Another Shoebox Day

... but not quite.  The bits by Mia, first:

Which made me think of my dearly departed puppehs, which, in turn, made me think of this post:


Apropos of nothing…except for the fact that there’s waaay too many frickin’ cat pictures on these here inter-tubes…here are a few pics of my late, lamented puppies. Late is an understatement: the last of these old ladies left this life back in 1996, well over ten years ago. I’ve been dog-less ever since, mostly because having a dog is semi-incompatible with my lifestyle. Yes, people who live in RVs own dogs. I’m more than aware of the fact. But a dog is a big commitment, and I tend to be commitment-averse these days. Let’s leave it at that… and get on with the biographies. 

First…FiFi La Bonne, otherwise known as The World’s Ugliest Dog. She was a mixed-breed terrier and was so damned ugly she was cute. She was also a hunter extraordinaire, and was one of the few dogs I’ve ever seen who could run down a squirrel and kill it. Which she did about two or three times a year when I lived in Michigan, always making sure to bring The Second Mrs. Pennington and I some sort of trophy from the kill. We really appreciated that, ya know. She was also quite adept at assassinating gophers and moles. The gopher-hunting wasn’t nearly as popular with me, as she tended to dig huge holes in my yard in pursuit of her underground quarries. When I say “huge,” I mean bomb-shelter huge. Large enough for me to drive my riding lawn mower into one of the holes and flip the mower over on its side. That huge.

I wish the above photo of FiFi in the snow was better… she had the strangest habit of burrowing in deep snow, and it was a hoot to watch. She’s pictured after coming up from one such snow-burrowing exercise. FiFi came to live with TSMP and I while we were in Oklahoma (around 1984, or so) and lived with us until 1996, when TSMP put her down due to complications associated with old age.

And then there’s Bōgus Dōgus, who was a Lab/Border Collie cross. TSMP and I got Dogus shortly after we arrived in England in 1980, and she was with us for 16 years. She was my favorite, even though she was TSMP’s dog first and foremost. That dog was crazy… in that she had this “thing” for food. The “thing” being she’d eat anything that wouldn’t eat her first. Anything. Everything. Including, on at least two occasions, an entire loaf of bread… snatched off the table once and out of a bag of groceries another time, and consumed within 45 seconds. The first time she wolfed down a loaf of bread I thought she was gonna explode from the resulting bloat and gas. I had to put her outside until the gas went away, for what should be obvious reasons. But not until such time as she laid at my feet… moaning, farting, and generally making life uncomfortable for everyone within ten feet of her.

This is also the dog who tried to commit suicide by leaping off a bridge in Wales. If we hadn’t had her on a leash she would have died in the fall to the river and it was a near-run thing, anyway. Have you ever tried to pull a strangling dog over a bridge railing? It’s not easy, Gentle Reader. As to why she jumped… I have NO earthly idea. I said she was crazy.

Lastly we have Fritzi Ritz, a German Shepard cross. Crossed with what breed is unknown, but a cross she was…and she was small for a Shepard. Fritzi had all the good traits of a Shepard… intelligence, loyalty, and beauty. She also suffered from hip dysplasia, which eventually got so bad we had to put her down. Fritzi was the alpha female, as might be imagined, and kept the other two dogs in line. The first pic was taken in Oklahoma, the second in Ferndale, MI.

Each dog was a mutt; I’ve never owned a pure-bred dog. Further, two of the three were “rescued” dogs. TSMP was active in a dog rescue organization when we lived in Oklahoma; FiFi and Fritzi arrived in our household via that organization. All three dogs slept in the bed with TSMP and me, and they each had their places…never varying position from night to night. You might think things would get a bit crowded, but it really wasn’t. They were very discreet Old Ladies, too, always being considerate enough to give us our space when it was time for TSMP and me to play. It's a great good thing dogs don't talk. Coz those dogs could have told some stories, Gentle Reader.
This is the fourth time I've posted this old chestnut, having put it up in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  I think we've exceeded the useful life of this post now.  But I STILL miss my puppehs!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Fleetwood Mac...

You are here and warm,
But I could look away and you'd be gone.
'Cause we live in a time,
When meaning falls in splinters from our minds.
And that's why I've travelled far,
'Cause I come so together where you are.

And all of the things that I said that I wanted
Come rushing by in my head when I'm with you
Fourteen joys and a will to be married
All of the things that you say are very...
Sentimental gentle wind, blowin' through my life again,
Sentimental lady, gentle one.
Ah, Former Happy Days... in more than one than one respect.  This tune is from the Mac's second incarnation, which is my favorite version of the band.  The Mac went through more personnel changes than most other bands but stayed relevant... successful, even... than bands facing the same trials and tribulations.  This is yet another opportunity for me to bemoan my lost vinyl, given all of my Mac albums were on vinyl (and I have them ALL).  It would cost me a small fortune to replace these albums on CD, if that could even be done.  I strongly suspect a lot of these albums are out of print.


Like most guys "of a certain age," I had a rather large collection of these toys as a child.  Here are a couple of vids from Pathé News describing how Matchbox cars were made once upon a time.

I was surprised to find out Matchbox cars are still being made and marketed, albeit not in Britain.  Lesney, the original manufacturers of Matchbox cars, went bankrupt in 1982; Mattel owns the brand now after it changed hands a few times.  The Wiki has everything you could possibly want to know about Matchbox cars and a few things you prolly don't.

H/t:  Hemmings Daily.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sometimes It's Not Easy

In loving memory of Senior Airman Prine

Roxanne Prine, mother of the late U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Prine, accepts the Air Force Achievement Medal from Maj. Ivan Pennington, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander, during a memorial service at Langley Air Force Base, Va., July 3, 2014. Senior Airman Prine, a 1st AMXS crew chief, died at the age of 23 in an accidental drowning and is survived by his mother, father, sister and other relatives. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Aubrey White/Released)
SN1 and I talked a bit about this last week.  This terrible event happened during Buck's first full week in command and profoundly affected him.  As the post title indicates... sometimes it's not easy.

RIP, SrA Prine.


Occasional Commenter Virgil just now admonished us in comments to a post below, thusly:
WHAT!!!??? No Bastille Day celebration? And for a guy who has lived in France?

Shame on you, Buck! (or was your experience in France the reason you're skipping this day? :) ) 
Mea culpa.  This is doubly embarrassing coz I'd thought about this day several days ago, thinkin' "Well, we gotta put sumthin' up about Bastille Day."  And then we woke up this morning with... ahem... a clean slate.

So... better late than never.

There ya go, les enfants de la patrie, go ahead and raise l'étendard sanglant.

Another Shoebox Day

Thank The Deity At Hand for Mia, coz EIP would be lost without her.  That said, I can relate to "three more."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hot. Humid.

It feels like Mrs. Hippy outside...

The weather-guessers say the humidity is 45% but it sure FEELS like it's more than that.  I checked the radar before putting this up and it looks like we'll have a bit o' rain in the next half-hour.  Bring it ON!


Eleven words a second?  Wow.  

The girl at the fast-food counter cracked me up.  On another note, one wonders if the lady has a boyfriend or husband.