31 December 2009

Another year passed...

Happy New Year, ever'body! It's New Year's Eve here-and I think we'll be staying in this evening. I hope, however, that if you do go out, you all will be safe and smart with your revelry.

My plans for New Year's Day involve a fair amount of college football bowl games-there are a bunch scheduled over the weekend. The only bowl I have a deep interest in is played on Jan. 5,  when the Iowa Hawkeyes play Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Your assignment is to pull for Tech's Yellowjackets in this match-cheer on The Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech (and you can learn the fight song here so you can sing along during the game)! I have the same amount of love for the Hawkeyes that I have for the St. Louis Cardinals-that is to say, none.

Go 'Jackets! After that I don't need to hear any more about Atlantic Coast Conference football.

All the best for New Year's! And stay hydrated-the key to dampening them pesky hangovers!

yankeedog out.

26 December 2009

Holiday Post-Mortem

I hope all of you enjoyed, or at least survived, Christmas, and that all of you received good gifts and tidings-or that you got what was coming to you.

Also, thanks to everyone that showed up at YD's Holiday Bash, which due to circumstances beyond my control didn't quite get the attention from me it should have. Oh well...maybe next year.

The day here wasn't too bad. Having divorced parents complicates the travel planning a bit, so I ended up having to go back to the old hometown on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Now we're hip deep in plates of cookies and leftovers. The Better Half's sisters are coming to town from Ohio over the next couple of days. When TBH's mom passes on, I suppose we'll go there for a day or two and ease the logistics problem for them. Besides, there isn't a bloody thing for them to do out here.

Of course, I did the usual 'ate too much' thing-try going to three places for meals and see how that works out for you. Most of my family have given up exchanging gifts-why pass the same $50 back and forth?-so at least we've eliminated a lot of pre-holiday shopping.

I did pick up the usual swag, which I'm quite happy to get-a 'Golden Age of Flight' desk calendar with all sorts of cool warbird pictures, and gift cards for the two Major Bookselling Chain Stores here. So some of you need to get writing (Looking at you, Birmo and Murph). Also got a couple of Starbuck's cards. Caffeine is the gift that keeps giving the whole year through.

I also picked up a copy of Trainz Railroad Simulator-a nice program that in effect allows one to build their own model railroad on the computer or run the scenarios on the disc. I ran a Queensland Rail engine (Trainz is a Australian product) into a turntable pit on the first try. I guess QR will want me to pee in the cup and suspend me pending a review of the incident.

The big thing we have to deal with now is TBH's elderly aunt. The dementia is kicking in a bit now. We saw her at the nursing home and she was pitching a fit and trying to remove her clothes and tossing books around in the common area. Sad when the mind goes and the dignity is gone. How fortunate that we place so much focus on the sanctity of the physical part of existence and can't muster the resources for proper end-of-life mercy. Well, I suppose that's a debate for another time. But we do hope that The Powers That Be issue the recall order for her sooner rather than later.

And if you're feeling cheery and bright, I recommend a visit to your local nursing home to experience the place. That ought to bring you down some. The people that work there don't make anything like enough money to compensate for having to work with the people that inhabit the home. I'm not sure people were meant to end like that.

So. Enough of that, then. How were your holidays?

yankeedog out.

20 December 2009

The family newsletter

Many of us this time of year get a newsletter from certain families inside the Christmas card they send to us, which outlines said family's accomplishments and achievements over the past year. Sometimes the letter's interesting, sometimes not so much. I guess it is a convenient way to get the news out.

So here's my family newsletter. Enjoy!

Hello all! My, is it the end of yet another year? Time does indeed fly!

It’s been a very eventful 2009, full of magnificent accomplishments by our family, and of course a few pitfalls as well.

Where to start? I suppose I should mention that we’ve redecorated our estate. The family has switched its loyalty among the racing set, and we’ve changed over from the Jeff Gordon look to a more updated Dale Earnhardt, Jr. décor. The wife, bless her, made our Earnhardt window curtains out of some fine material we bought at the local discount store. We donated our old Confederate flag draperies to the Salvation Army, so those less fortunate than ourselves can enjoy them as much as we did! The boys even donated their Lynyrd Skynyrd posters and Harley Davidson window shades. Yes, we have the true spirit of the season.

Our children had a fantastic 2009! Our oldest, James Robert, won first prize in the deep fried Twinkie eating contest at the county fair. Also, he passed his eighth grade English course and can now go on to high school. Not bad for a boy of 19! He took his first steps into the world of work, obtaining a position at a prestigious local eatery. After only four months, he went from third assistant janitor to French fry preparation specialist! We’re so proud of the boy! He plans on saving his money and purchasing a fancy 1987 Sunbird he’s had his eye on. That’ll make FIVE cars we’ll have located in various areas of the yard.

Our daughter, Roberta Susan Desiree, also sparkled this year. Last March, she got the most fabulous tattoo. It’s a geometric design that adorns her lower back! An outstanding display of art. And our little girl has found her first love. His name is Biff and he has a good lower-lower-lower-middle management position at the pallet factory. I expect our girl will be marrying an industrial baron someday! He did have a very minor scrape with the law-enforcement community back in June-totally mishandled by our police-and we expect that in a month or so, he’ll have his freedom all the time-not just when they let him out to go back and forth to work.

The youngest, little Yankee, Jr.-he’s a little hard to figure out. He just isn’t like anyone else in the family. Perhaps the missus had the mailman in when I had my hunting expedition with the old crew-ha, ha. It’s sad in a way. He has this compulsion to bathe every day, or nearly so. And he always has his nose buried in some book. We had a conference last month with his teacher, and she said that he is on a pace to finish school in half the time that his siblings did. I had to sit him down and tell him not to embarrass or show up his brother and sister. Everyone in the family has feelings. I don’t mind telling you that at times I just don’t understand him. But we love him anyway.

Some sadness in our lives as well-Grandpa died back in April. We think he overexerted himself. You see, every year he had the most delightful flower garden, which he would plant in a toilet bowl and set on the front veranda for all to enjoy. Evidently removing the bowl from the bathroom and carrying it out to the veranda was too much for him this year. Very sad. Grandma is taking it well. She mourned, and then took a long recuperative tour of the riverboat casinos.

Uncle Walter held his annual family barbecue, which is always a big hit. This year was an exception for a couple of reasons. First, Walter bragged that this year, he actually bought the meat. Usually, we partake of the results of his various hunting trips and roadside cleaning jaunts (he’s very ecologically minded). Second, some member of local law enforcement usually shows up at the party. Our family lets its collective hair down at Walter’s picnics and sometimes the boys get a little bit rambunctious or the music gets a bit loud. Not this year, though. Strange. But a good time was still had by all!

Of course my career keeps me on the road a lot, especially during the summer months. This year saw me get a promotion to Master Tilt-A-Whirl Assembler, a great responsibility-and a raise in pay. I took the family with me on the company’s tour of Arkansas as a working vacation. Everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously, and the people there all made us feel right at home.

So that’s been the recap for our year. We hope that you all are doing well and hope for all the best for you in the upcoming year!

Season’s Greetings and Best Wishes,

YD and family

15 December 2009

We have guests coming to the area!

It's been all over the news here.

My very own Northwest Illinois will become one of the homes for the guests of the nation currently housed at Guantanamo Bay! Lucky us, hmm?

Back in the early 2000s, the state built a prison at Thomson, which is only about 10 miles south of where I grew up and 60-some miles north of where I live now. After the prison was built, it was discovered that no one had bothered to allocate money for staff. Since 2001, the place has set largely vacant as a monument to Governor Ryan's corruption and shortsightedness.

Evidently, since President Obama calls Chicago home and possibly he felt the need to toss a few federal dollars back here, we will become part of Guantanamo North and receive about 200 of those worthies pulled in from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other delightful garden spots. The federal government will buy the prison from the state and run it as part of the federal system.

On one level, it does make some sense-we DO have an empty, fairly stoutly built facility sitting empty. Might as well use the place. And they have to be stored somewhere. We appear to be stuck with them, since not too many countries have expressed the desire to take them, or in some cases, take them back.

I have serious misgivings about giving these people constitutional rights and trial in the civilian court system. The civil courts have a lot of legal niceties and procedures not found in either the Military Code Of Justice or in frontier justice (a convenient battlefield 'disappearing'). If we have a terror suspect who confessed to certain acts under duress or enhanced interrogation, then his confession is inadmissable in court. I think there is a distinct possibility that some of these people could walk if tried in civilian courts.

I see what our government is trying to get at, I think. They want to treat the detainees as criminals and try them as such, instead of giving them military tribunals and giving them 'status' as 'warriors'. Will it work? I dunno.  I'd probably lean toward the Mafia mathod if it were me having to make a decision on their status.

We do get the 'carrot' of jobs, though. And there will be a few jobs created in the logistic chain supporting the prison. I'm not sure it's going to help all that much-Carroll County is a rural county and most of the people living in it won't qualify for a lot of positions at the prison.

Some of the local talk-radio personalities have railed about the danger of having the detainees in the area. Amazing that people who talk about carrying guns and not taking guff from the 'guvmint' are afraid of having Middle Eastern low-grade terror suspects around. So let me figure this out-the same gun and bunker that will protect you from the 'Guvmint thugs', backed by the preminent military on the planet, won't protect you from a brace of addled terrorist wannabes that might want to liberate their brothers? C'mon, man!

Are they dangerous? Possibly. So are a lot of the Chicago gangbangers in the prison system. Is there an increased risk of terror attacks here? Again, possibly. That's a hazard we've all faced. Americans faced down worse than this bunch and survived.

When Thomson Prison was being considered, I thought that a better location might be 17 miles farther north at the Savanna Army Depot, which was being closed at the same time. The location had existing infrastructure, lots of room for expansion, and was a bit more isolated. Given recent events, I would appear to have been correct.

The SAD had barracks, family housing, and facilities to house a military police company, which would have been a plus had we wanted to close Gitmo and operate an SAD-located prison as a military facility. Now the government will have to spend $125 million to upgrade a state prison. What's a few mill among friends, though?

We'll see how everything plays out, I guess. All I know is that I may have to start my catering service just outside the prison perimeter, specializing in bacon, bratwurst, and barbecued pork. Welcome to America, guys. Get a load of those pig vapors!

yankeedog out.

09 December 2009

Trans-Siberian Weather

So, Yankee-what's been going on?

We got our first big winter storm of the year-right in the QCs we only got about 6" (15 cm) of snow, but to the north of us those folks got around 10" (25 cm) of the white stuff. It started on Tuesday and the temperature was above freezing. Tonight it's supposed to get down to -2 (-19 c) and thanks to the wind blowing off the snowfield it's going to feel like -20 (-28). Brrr! Typical Midwest winter weather.

I see we have enough stuff around the house for a big pot of chili-and this is the perfect weather for having it. I rather wish I didn't have to go out in the snow, but that's the way it goes. Winter is a season for the young. I remember being all excited back in the day when it snowed. I'd listen to Radio Free Savanna to see if school was canceled. If it was the neighborhood kids would get together for a day of sledding. Now I just wish I could curl up under a big blanket, books and pine-smoked Russian Caravan tea in hand, and hibernate.

What's it look like around those parts? Go here and pull up some snapshots.

Meanwhile, go and read about gift-giving.

At the Bash.

yankeedog out.

02 December 2009

Come to the Dawg Pound!

I was reading Birmo's blog the other day and I see he's got a get-together planned for some of the local 'burgers and fans down Brisbane way. You know, that's pretty cool. You wouldn't probably see a major author here do anything like that-too busy being too good for the great unwashed.

Got me to thinking, though. The holidays are approaching like an inexorable tide, and a very mixed 2009 is coming to an end. We need a Christmas party here as well. Anyone that shows up here is invited, of course. And tell friends about this.

Stop on by http://ydholidaybash.blogspot.com/. Last one there gets the vodka in the big plastic bottle from Osco Drug!

yankeedog out.

29 November 2009

What do you think about the execution of the Bears' defense?

To quote former Tampa Bay Bucs coach Rich McKay in response to the question in the title:

"I'm for it."

The once-vaunted Bear defense gave up a whopping 538 yards of offense to Brett the Indecisive and the Vikings in a 36-10 loss. Lovie Smith has assumed the duties of defensive coordinator as well as head coach this season, and it's not helping. The Bears, though, are really thin on talent, thanks to some poor drafts over the past few years and a number of injuries this year. I'm not a big believer in a football team needing a fiery coach. Tom Landry used to stand stoically on the sidelines while his Dallas Cowboys were going to Super Bowls. And Lovie Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl just four seasons ago. It's amazing how a coach or manager can go from genius to dumbass and back depending on the talent on the roster.

Still looks like the Orange And Blue are heading toward probably a 6-10 season. Yawn.

Bring on baseball. The Cubs finally have new ownership, and it's a family that sat out in the bleachers at Wrigley watching some pathetic Northside nines back in the 1980s. They claim to want to make the Cubs a world-class organization. And they're promising to work hard toward a World Series, possibly in my lifetime-just like in the book 1984 when the Party promised victory against Eurasia, or was it Eastasia?  Hmm. I'll believe it when I see it.

And that's SportsCenter for this week.

I spent two days of the four-day weekend at work trying to mop up the Big Green project. I've been using Pro/Engineer pretty heavily over the past few months, and in many ways it's like any other software that's been around a while and is the big kid on the block (Looking at you, Microsoft). They claim to be the best but in reality the program isn't-quite-as user friendly as might be liked. Pro/E is great for modeling assemblies but the drafting part of it leaves a lot to be desired. Picture a great theoretical mathematician that can't do basic arithmetic and you get the idea.

Well. It's what Big Green uses (and likes its vendors to use), so we're kind of stuck with it. They have this big idea that they can design in the virtual world and not have to prototype anything. Sure. And I've got a funky-looking house in Sydney Harbour to sell you. Doesn't work that way. There's always something that looks good on paper but doesn't work when the prototypes get built.

What else to cover? The Better Half's aunt is not doing so well. She knows that something is not right in her head, and the memory and eyesight are fading rapidly. That mass in her brain is probably growing. I shouldn't expect that she'll be around a lot longer-months, possibly weeks. What do you do with a 94-year-old? A biopsy on the brain mass could have been done, but the doctors felt it too risky. I'd agree. And for what? Another year? She has on numerous occasions said that four-score plus years is enough to be here. Why do a lot of surgeries and make that last bit of life miserable? And at that age, any surgery gets risky. If we lived to a healthy 120 years of age, that'd be one thing, but we don't.

Mom's eyesight seems to be improving decently. She can read regular print now. I'd bet that if we can maintain this level of eyesight, she'll be driving again next summer. She was a bit down- now that she can see, she can see the dirt that's accumulated in various places in the house. Ignorance is indeed bliss! Gives her something to do, though. The more independent she gets again, the better for her-and for me.

Alrighty. That Was The Week That Was. Much to do this week as well. Back to it.

yankeedog out.

25 November 2009

A little travelogue

This weekend brings Thanksgiving Day here in the Land Of The Free-that day which is supposedly dedicated to, well, giving thanks for what we have and have received over the past year. In many ways, it's similar to harvest festivals celebrated by many ancient and/or primitive cultures throughout history.

I do have to say that I'm thankful for being employed-right now employed too much-; for living in one of the greatest nations on the planet, where a person can make it simply by inventing the Snuggie; for Mom's at least partially-restored eyesight; and for all of you lugs that visit here on a regular basis. Without you all, this is just whistling in the wind. Someday I'd hope to meet some of you in person. You'll be sorry.

The rest of the day (for most people) consists, of course, of turkey and all the fixings, football on the TV, and if all goes well, an alcohol-fueled family squabble over some silly thing or another. If it were up to me, I'd have the buffet at the local Indian restaurant. Nothing screams 'Thanksgiving Dinner' like a plateful of korma-but it has to be freshly made. I believe it was John Lennon that sang 'Instant korma's gonna get you', and the British should know all about subpar curries.

Since I may be in and out over the weekend, I'm going to do one of my slightly-famous travelogues about a (relatively) local attraction. It's a place that I was taken to as a very young child, and have been to at intervals since.

We'll start with the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in the southwest part of the Badger State. I have no doubt that many of his ideas, designs, and choice of materials used in his projects were influenced by his wanderings through the hills and valleys of the area. He built a studio/summer home near the town of Spring Green, Wisconsin-Taliesin.

It does look like it was designed and built in the last 10 years or so. The place was built in 1911, possibly about 80 years ahead of its time.

Enter Alexander Jordan, Jr., by all accounts a bit reclusive and eccentric. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of Wright and become a famous architect and designer. Wright, for his part, had this comment for Jordan:

"I wouldn't hire you to design a cheese crate or a chicken coop."

An enraged Jordan decided to show up the master by creating his own architectural masterpiece. So he found a promontory overlooking the Wyoming Valley in Wisconsin and started carrying materials up the side. His creation was a quasi-Oriental styled dwelling perched on the rock spire, hence, the House On The Rock.

I'm not sure if the design is a deliberate parody of Wright's work or if Jordan thought he really was better than Wright. At any rate, the House overlooks the area that Taliesin is located in. One pictures Jordan flipping Wright the bird as if to say 'Top this, a-hole!'. One also pictures Wright going to his studio, looking up at the upstart's creation, and just shaking his head.

Over the years, people stopped to look at the house. Jordan originally shooed them away, but that great American spirit of capitalism kicked in-and he realized he could charge people to see the house and finance more of his odd creations. The House On The Rock 'complex' grew to include a section called 'The Streets of Yesteryear', a representation of sorts of an American town, circa 1880-1910.

The place grew and spread into about the three-mile long walk it is today.

As I stated, I've been to The House On The Rock several times, and it's baffling to exactly describe and classify it. It's in many ways like walking through a person's LSD trip. It's a paradox in that there are items of beauty sitting next to the extremely tacky. Finely crafted mechanical music machines are placed next to music rooms that are nothing but pneumatically-controlled simulacra and a CD player in the background playing the actual tune. The real is intermixed with the imagined. It's either a great architectural work or the world's biggest roadside attraction-like the places out West that had two-headed snakes and sold rubber tomahawks that you just had to stop at when you were on the family vacation as a kid.

This section from http://atlasobscura.org/ may be helpful:

"Opened in 1959, over the years the house has continued expanding and turned into a sprawling complex of bizarre collections. Within its dark chambers it holds the worlds largest carousel, a room devoted to enormous pipe organs, a 200-foot anatomically preposterous sperm whale fighting an equally large squid (to the tune 'Octopus's Garden', no less-YD), a complete "streets of yesteryear" exhibit, and rooms filled with coin-operated musical automata. There are huge collections of dolls, armor, miniatures, weapons, jewels, and more, both antiques and reproductions. Though some of the exhibits are rather dubious, of particular interest is the incredible collection of music machines and automated orchestras."

The first few times I went, there was only the House and The Streets of Yesteryear. I have to say that it seemed like the exhibits were of better quality back when it wasn't such a huge business. In my opinion, yeah, the quality of many of the exhibits has declined since the place has expanded. But I'll let you decide with these pictures.

The Infinity Room-a cantilevered walkway jutting out about 200 feet. You can walk out to the end and feel the room quiver in the wind. Unnerving-and vertigo inducing if you're prone to such things.

Two views of the Carousel. It's three stories tall and has I forget how many creatures on it-and not one horse! Welcome to Carousel.

And here is a wall of carousel horses and unicorns. That's where they all went!

Here's a (supposed? notional?) electronic organ, with multiple keyboards, more buttons than the bridge of the Enterprise, and two TV monitors. I can see a madman playing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on this apparatus, right before James Bond, or possibly Austin Powers, dispatches him.

One of the models from the Nautical room (the one with the whale fighting the octopus mentioned above). There are a couple hundred of these ship models-some real, some fantasy, some alternate history, some just plain weird.

One of their collection of ships' figureheads. Again, no way of knowing if it's an actual figurehead or something a local artisan carved/cast/poured.

An odd place, The House On The Rock-but something everyone should see once. Maybe you'll feel it was worth it. Maybe you'll think it's a giant tourist trap. Possibly you'll be right either way. At any rate, here's the website if you want to see more.

Whaddaya say? Modern wonder? Tourist trap? Both? At any rate, I hope you enjoyed the pics and accounts of the place.

Cheers all!

yankeedog out.

24 November 2009

Sealed! Finally!


Knew I forgot something.

Last week, my brother got the house 'sealed' for the winter. The major exterior work is done and what's left is interior work. Just in time-December's rapidly approaching.

We went from this last fall (Go, YD! Lift that bale of insulation!):

To this:

The garage is done, finally. The side of the garage to the left of the garage door is planned to be some sort of hobby room-my sister-in-law does ceramics, and my bro wants to try making stained glass stuff. He has plenty of woodworking tools for a shop, but, strangely, he says that working with wood has lost its allure. Shocking.

I wouldn't be surprised if, at this time next year, there'd be a deck from the back entrance at left running the length of the garage.

The inside is progressing as well. This from last year:

...is changed a bit now. The upstairs room looks like this-

Still needs trim along the floor. That's a fairly easy job and one that will be done before long. This room will have a good view of the river and will make a great sitting room.

And this is the downstairs version. There's still a fair amount of trim work to be done here, but it's coming along. Most of the first floor is done up in a mint green commonly seen on institutional walls-but here it works well. They're painting in a lot of earth tones-ochre, browns, grays, greens-and it seems to work well.

I can see this room (which is bigger than it looks in the picture-about 9 feet (2.7 meters or thereabouts) side-to-side) being a game room (they play a lot of games like Triominoes and Oxford Dilemma), or a music room for bro's guitar and the Clavinova.

A lot of the summer was spent on the stairs. There wasn't a lot of room for a proper staircase and we fiddled around sketching and scribbling on wood scraps and paper before he found a plan for a quasi-spiral stair, but with a decent tread area on the inner half of the stair, which most spiral staircases don't have. It took a heap of measuring and head-scratching, but they came out perfect.

These pics were taken a month or so ago. The newel post is capped off now. And I think he's showing off a bit on the banister and details! The stairs will be carpeted, so no sense in doing a lot of finish work on those.

The place is taking shape now and one can see a lot of progress on each visit. About the only major thing that didn't get done was pouring the garage floor. However, it's usable now and the slab can wait for next year.

This project is on its third year and a few of you have followed it from the beginning framing. The goal is to have the addition livable by the holidays. That's doable, I think, if no major problems crop up. The upstairs bathroom is the current project and the shower/tub enclosure is already up there. The plumbing is run, but it still needs cabinets and a stool. If that doesn't get finished by the holidays, no worries. The house already has two small bathrooms.

The end of the project is definitely in sight, though. It's good to see.

yankeedog out.

22 November 2009

A big vat o' nothing

Been a bit too busy to write up a post over the week, and I've not really felt much like commenting on any of the major issues of the week, local or otherwise.

Brad (the other designer at The Company) and I have been beaucoup busy trying to knock out a big project for Big Green (a major agricultural equipment company based here that shall remain nameless, but is not Caterpillar or Case New Holland). We worked both days this weekend trying to get orders through to the shop. I understand that all of this stuff has to be on its way by the first week of December, which isn't a whole hell of a lot of time given that we have the four-day Thanksgiving weekend this week. I suspect I'll be working at least one day during the vacation. Beats fighting the crowds at the shops, though.

Speaking of which, here it is, the 21st of November, and one of the local radio stations has already started the Christmas music. Just a bit early for my liking. The first song of the season I heard was Elvis's Blue Christmas. OK. Not bad. The next tune was Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. I got past all of last year and only heard that tired old ditty once. That didn't bother me one bit. One hopes that Saturday morning's ration of  'Grandma...' will be all I hear for this season. There are better songs out there.

Like Snoopy's Christmas.

Now I understand that there's a dispute between the Australians and the British over who shot down The Red Baron. Truth is, it wasn't either bunch. It was, of course, the fabulous flying beagle shown here. And I oughta know.

Let's kick the season off with a bit of the Royal Guardsmen (who are going to be touring Europe next year-not bad for a novelty garage band from the 1960s!), shall we?

yankeedog out.

17 November 2009

Cosmic Balance

First, my mom had her eye surgery on Monday, and the preliminary results look good. She was reading off the 20/50 line on the eyechart, and that's with no glasses and a not-healed eyeball. She could barely do the 20/70 line before the operation. In a week or so that could conceivably be knocked down to 20/40. A good day. The best. One wonders if things go like this if she could get her driver's license again. It's Illinois-if you have one decent eye and a pulse they'll let you behind the wheel. If she could read a large-print book again I'll be pleased, nay, ecstatic.

Evidently Ausgaz's Giant Magic Didgeridoo, NatV's good vibes, and Bangar's beads and rattles did some good. Appreciated the support, all.

To balance this, the brake light came on in the car coming home tonight. A push on the pedal (clear to the floor) indicated that, yes, the sensor isn't lying. A stop at the Ford dealer and their service department indicated a disintegrating brake line. Whoever tried to off me with the old 'cut brake line' trick is going to have to try again!

Actually, the Brazen Chariot is a '97, so those lines are in fact pretty ancient. The Midwest climate is hard on vehicles, especially if they sit outside. Better the brakes went now then in the first ice storm.

Good news on the eyes. Bad news on the brakes. Thus the Cosmic Balance is maintained.

I'm going to relax tonight and do a bit of reading. I found a copy of author/historian Robert Leckie's Helmet For My Pillow, a memoir of his service in the 1st Marine Division during WWII. We've read through his basic training at Parris Island, the Guadalcanal Campaign, and now we're into the Conquest of Melbourne. I'm surprised the pubs and brothels could handle a division of US Marines. Before there was FKN Havock, there were the FKN First Marines! Evidently part of the division was bivouacked at MCG when it arrived, and they mentioned places like Flinders Street Station, St. Kilda, Dandenong, and Rye-which, thanks to many of you readers here, are more than place names from far away. I've read the names of those places and thought, 'Yeah, Barnesy mentioned that' or 'Havock talked about that place', or 'Natalie took pictures of this area.' Kind of cool if you think about it. No doubt some of the locales were out in the boonies back in the 1940s, and now they're suburbs today.

At any rate, I imagine the next few chapters of the book should find Leckie and his band of brothers up around New Guinea on some of the offshore islands there for the Cape Gloucester campaign.

Speaking of which, I just finished re-reading Peter Ryan's great book, Fear Drive My Feet. Now that is an outstanding work! Has anyone ever attempted to make a movie of it, and if not, why not? It has plenty of adventure (if not a lot of blood) and some of the places he wrote about would make for some fantastic visuals.

Spraying a bit to all fields tonight, but so it goes. Back to the grind tomorrow.

yankeedog out.

14 November 2009

Major Knucklehead

The Veteran's Day holiday last week found me listening to this story about a gentleman from California named Steven Burton. I've got pictures of him for your perusal.

An impressively decorated member of the United States Marine Corps...

...or is he?

The first photo shows the uniform of a Gunnery Sergeant. The second is that of a Lieutenant Colonel. Hmm. But he doesn't look any older in the officer photo! What gives?

Seems this fellow impersonated and claimed to be a Marine, evidently to impress women or get free drinks or some such. And, to borrow a phrase used by the villain at the end of every Scooby-Doo episode-'I'd have gotten away with it, if it weren't for that meddling Navy Lieutenant Commander!' Evidently the good commander saw this fellow parading around in his light colonel gear and thought 'This doesn't look right.'. She got his name, passed it along to the FBI, and they found out that this fellow was a banker, who probably never got any closer to the Marines than watching Major Dad on the tube.

I suspect it was his collection of medals that gave him away-Navy Cross, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart are the biggies. But also notice that the strap isn't straight on his cover (cap) in the top photo. The cover is tilted slightly as he's wearing it. His blue tunics aren't all that well-tailored-there are wrinkles where there shouldn't be any. It's impossible not to look sharp in the Marine dress uniform when it's made correctly. His just doesn't fit right.

Sorry. The Navy Cross isn't terribly far below the Medal of Honor, and those don't get just given away like the Defense Service Medal, which most armed forces members get just for showing up. Navy Cross holders are a small bunch, and they know who ain't in the club.

He also has badges for Presidential Service and Department of Defense Service-these indicate actually physically serving near the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff or Commandant of the Marine Corps. I'd buy the DoD Service badge only if he were a Command Sergant Major of the Marine Corps. I believe there's only one of them, and it isn't this guy.

With that many U.S. medals, there would most likely be a similar number of allied and foreign decorations, which are worn on the right side of the uniform. It shows a few in the sergeant's uniform, but I think he's got those incorporated in the 'fruit salad' on his officer's tunic. I'm kind of surprised he isn't sporting a Victoria Cross, Hero of the Russian Federation, and the big medal they gave Luke Skywalker for destroying the Death Star.

Finally, the last uniform regulations I saw prohibit the wearing of anything that aren't U.S. or other recognized country's ribbons, awards, medals, or sashes. The campaign button is probably out, then, troop.

Today's U.S. military hands out boatloads of ribbons and medals. A soldier can do his four years, never see anything more dangerous than a flat tire, and come out with a row of ribbons to pretty up his Class A's. But to collect this many medals, Mr. Burton would have to be a general-and in his 50s. He claimed to have seen combat in Fallujah. To have that many medals, he'd have to have been in more than one battle.

C'mon, man! Fallujah, Kuwait, and Khe Sanh? Who you crappin? You were at Iwo Jima? Nuh-uh!! Get outta here!

Just like all the people out there who claim to be Special Forces, or -ex Special Forces. If everyone was in the SF branch that claimed to be, there'd be approximately 14 million of them. There aren't. My rule of thumb is-if someone claimed to be in the Special Forces, he probably wasn't. Look for the quiet ones, or the ones that say 'No Comment'. Those people learned to keep their mouths shut early on in their career.

It is worth noting that it's illegal to impersonate a member of the Armed Forces. This guy is in some trouble. Now it's no problem to run around wearing some bits of surplus gear or rent a facsimile uniform for a Halloween party, but when you go around claiming to be in the service when you aren't, a lot of people have a problem with that. I recommend Mr. Burton not walk into the local VFW or Legion hall anytime soon.

You can read the entire account at The Smoking Gun.

Interesting. But I don't know if he's worth throwing in jail. Perhaps spending a few weeks with an R. Lee Ermey yelling in his earholes would do the trick. I pulled some sanitized Ermey from Space: Above and Beyond for your viewing pleasure-filmed at that most famous of USMC bases-RAAF Amberley. If you look close in one scene, you'll see our MickH shooting dice for beer money in one of the hangars.

No. Better use the Full Metal Jacket Ermey instead. More impact.

Odd. I'll be interested to see what happens to this guy.

yankeedog out.

12 November 2009

Twelve apathetic men and true...

Next week, I take my mom in for her eye surgery. I'm hoping of course that she can get a bit of her sight restored with the removal of the cataract. Won't be 20/20, but even to read large print would be a vast improvement. Those of you inclined to prayer, it'd be appreciated. If you have fingers, cross them. Thanks.

Anyway, every cloud does have a silver lining. The surgery got me out of going to jury duty. Like most Americans, I hate getting the notice for jury selection (I don't know how you folks Down Under do jury selection-I've heard it's 'rock-paper-scissors' but I could be wrong-seriously, someone fill me in. I'm curious). 95% of the time you make all of the arrangements to be gone from work, have the kids taken care of, whatever-you call the night before and the parties decide not to go to trial. Well, thank you! Although that's possibly the best scenario.

The second best (or second worst) ia actually having to go to the courthouse and sit in the jury pool all day waiting to see if the parties are going to actually go to trial or if the dueling attorneys can come up with a deal that satisfies everyone except those who sat there and read the Sports Illustrated from 1993.

The third worst option is to actually be selected for a jury. Modern court TV shows manage to wrap up capital murder cases in about 51 minutes, less commercials. The actual process of even a simple open-and-shut case consumes the entire day.

I've sat on precisely ONE jury. In fact, I was the foreman of said twelve good men and true. Seems during a police search of an apartment, the cops found a small stash of pot in the defendant's refrigerator. Pretty simple, really:

a) The defendant had marijuana in his possession.
b) The defendant made no attempt at a defense.
c) Possession of marijuana is illegal in the State of Illinois.

We trudged through the prosecution's case, listened to the defendant's attorney put up a half-assed attempt at a defense (really, I wasn't prejudiced then and am not now. I reckon the attorney was trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. It happens.), sat through interminable recesses, and then went into the jury room to deliberate. We had one juror who, in true Clintonian style, wanted to argue the meaning of a fairly simple word like 'is'-hey, she was doing her duty so I can't fault her- and we took three votes before we reached unanimity.

We trudged back in and presented our verdict to the judge. Guilty. I don't know what the punishment is for possession of a few grams of pot is, but if he got more than a hefty fine it's overkill. He didn't do anything worth more than a day or two at the Graybar Hotel. Pay your fine, sir, and learn to hide your stash a little bit better.

This relatively simple case ate up the whole day. One imagines the dread a juror has when they get a big case that lasts several weeks-and are sequestered to boot. I could see this scenario now. Los Angeles, 1994.

'Don't let me get the O.J. Simpson case.'
'Don't let me get the O.J. Simpson case.'
'Don't let me get the O.J. Simpson case.'

Then the entourage enters the courtroom as the bailiff intones-

"The People v. Orenthal James Simpson!"

'Aw, crap!'

The process of trial by jury is interesting enough, and I suppose if you have a tough prosecution and a dogged defense, it can really be a brain-scratcher. Too often, a jury gets someone arguing some traffic law or fighting a DUI. Thanks, guy, for the civics lesson. Now pay your fine and get!

I'm not sure how impartial I could be if I got a rape or child abuse case. I reckon I'd not get past the selection because my opinions would probably cause the defense attorney to disqualify me. Might be a good thing for somebody.

Anyone else out there have experience with being on a jury? I'd have asked 'Who else out there has had experience with the judicial system?', but there's no sense in tossing a 40 mph curve ball for someone to smack out of the park.

yankeedog out.

09 November 2009

When the Wall came tumblin' down

It doesn't seem like that long ago-but it was twenty years ago that the Berlin Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact dissolved like a cookie dunked in coffee.

I never thought I'd see the day that happened. Almost all of the scenarios for dismantling of the Iron Curtain (at least on this side of it) involved a massive attack of West Germany ending (depending on the author) in nuclear holocaust or a counterattack and pushback by the reinforcing wave of American forces. It would appear that the other side was given much the same scenario but involving a NATO foray into East Germany.

I do remember the summer and fall of 1989, when Gorbachev essentially said to the Pact nations, 'If you want to, you're free to leave the Pact'. And those countries said, 'OK. You guys have been dicks for the last forty years anyway. Thank you very little for sharing communism with us.' Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, East Germany, and Poland all essentially tossed off their communist regimes. Romania was the last Eastern European country to be involved in the Revolutions of 1989, odd, since Mr. Ceaucescu kind of marched to the beat of his own drum. I also remember his trial and 7.62 mm retirement party, when his and his wife's body were somewhat unceremoniously pulled out of a BTR-60 and displayed to the world. Sic semper tyrannis.

Some of you military buffs probably remember some of the watchwords and acronyms of the era-SACEUR, REFORGER, Pershing, tripwire forces, Fulda Gap, Inner German Border, Stasi, Foxbat, Alfa. The list goes on. But now it seems like there never was such a place as 'West Germany' or 'East Germany' or even 'The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics'.

I had at the time some hopes that the U.S. and whatever was left of Russia could have cooperated more on a mutual military and economic basis. I suspect our combined power in those arenas would have allowed us a fair amount of say in world affairs. Such an alliance might be interesting fodder for alternate history writers. Alas, the US kind of drew in on itself in the 1990s and the much-reduced Russian Federation under Yeltsin devolved into a giant third-world gangsterland.

Many conservatives celebrate the day. They see it as the day Reagan, Thatcher, et al, pushed a plodding communist system to bankruptcy, and forced Gorbachev and the Central Committee to cave. Strange-I remember it being a bit more moderate. Reagan and Gorbachev did learn to get along personally and negotiate in some measure of good faith. Looking back, in many ways the Cold War era was similar to 'The Great Game' between the British and Russian Empires of the 19th century-a game with rules and clearly defined boundaries of behavior.

I almost miss those days. Almost. Our current crop of adversaries are more insidious-and don't believe in rules. A street fight as opposed to a chess game.

Still, the relatively peaceful dissolution of an empire is a rare event in history, and I suppose we all can say that the fall of the Wall was quite an era to live through, and quite a sight to see.

I'll have to dig up my old copy of Red Storm Rising sometime and give it a read. Why do I think it'd be as dated as Wells' The Land Ironclads?

As I went through the photo archive, who in 1986 or 1987 would have thought that the Polish Air Force would be flying F-16s instead of MiG-29s in 2007?

Or the US Army would have T-72s in the inventory (at least with the OPFOR at Ft. Irwin)?

Strange days indeed, Lennon used to sing. Most peculiar, mama.

yankeedog out.

08 November 2009

A long time ago...in a garage far, far away

Someone sent me a pic of this car:

'I used to bullseye womp-rats in my Honda back home. They're not much bigger than two meters.'

...and I can't decide if these are the ultimate in cool car customization, or the last word in sci-fi geekdom! You decide.

'Red Five, standing by. And no, I won't help you move.'

'FOR SALE-'25 Landspeeder. Low kilometers. One owner. Like new inside. Must sell-owner needs money to hire a ship to go to Alderaan. Call 825-12-12-544-25251.'

'OK, Mister 'Jedi Master'. Do you know how fast you were going? I'll need to see your license and registration.'

'Driving a Chevy ain't like dusting crops, boy. You could drive too close to the median barrier or get too close to an overloaded garbage truck, and that'd end your trip real quick!'

Of course, Star Wars wasn't the only inspiration for customization:

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny the last battlestar, Galactica, leads a rag tag fugitive fleet on a lonely quest. A shining planet known as Earth. Where the remnants of the Twelve Colonies will move to the suburbs."

And of course, Star Trek has inspired a few creations as well.

This, I understand, is the concept interior for the Nissan Terranaut. I don't suppose it will end up anything like this when it's all done.  But I'm reminded of the interior...

... of the interior of the Danube class runabouts from Deep Space Nine.

KIRK: 'The crew of the RV will consist of-myself, Commander Spock, Dr. McCoy...and Ensign Redshirt!'

'Captain's log, stardate 9871.2. Our 'cross-picture' rendezvous with Lone Starr from 'Spaceballs' is proceeding according to plan...'

'Unfair! I get a D+ in Quantum Field Tensor class at the Academy, and Jim Kirk gets a C-. He gets command of a starship, and I drive a Prius from the motor pool.'

What say you? Uber-cool? Or Ultra-Geek?

yankeedog out.

05 November 2009

Some mid '90s oldies

...as in Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey. We all remember these from a time when Saturday Night Live was funny. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.

Still good stuff. Enjoy!

Deep Thoughts (by Jack Handey)

If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let'em go,
because, man, they're gone.
If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them
down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.
To me, it's a good idea to always carry two sacks of something when
you walk around. That way, if anybody says, "Hey, can you give me a
hand?" You can say, "Sorry, got these sacks."
One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going
to take my nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old
burned-out warehouse. "Oh no," I said, "Disneyland burned down."

He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a
pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but
decided to go home instead.
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
If you lived in the Dark Ages and you were a catapult operator, I
bet the most common question people would ask is, "Can't you make it
shoot farther?" "No, I'm sorry. That's as far as it shoots."
Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo,
flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a
beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful
painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk.
I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our
children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.
If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell
him is, "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute
thing to tell him is, "Probably because of something you did."
If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid seeing yourself in the
mirror, because I bet that's what REALLY throws you into a panic.
Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first
instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what if I was an ant and she
fell on me. Then it wouldn't seem quite so funny.
To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music, no
choreography and the dancers hit each other.
I hope if dogs ever take over the world and they choose a king, they
don't just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with
some good ideas.
If life deals you lemons, why not go kill someone with the lemons
(maybe by shoving them down his throat).
Instead of having "answers" on a math test, they should just call
them "impressions," and if you got a different "impression," so what,
can't we all be brothers?
Probably the earliest fly swatters were nothing more than some sort
of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
I wish I would have a real tragic love affair and get so bummed out
that I'd just quit my job and become a bum for a few years, because
I was thinking about doing that anyway.
I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate revolver.
And since he's so busy, you'd probably have to run up to him real
quick and hand it to him.
Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at that word
itself. MANKIND. Basically, it's made up of two separate words "mank" and
"ind." What do these words mean? It's a mystery and so is mankind.
If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying
forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.
It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I
guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there,
rocking back and forth, wanting that money.
If you ever reach total enlightenment while you're drinking a beer,
I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose.
To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kinda scary. I've
wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I
went to the circus and a clown killed my dad.
As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red
again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a
bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate.
And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.
I hope some animal never bores a hole in my head and lays its eggs in
my brain, because later you might think you're having a good idea but
it's just eggs hatching.
Whenever you read a good book, it's like the author is right there,
in the room talking to you, which is why I don't like to read good books.
What is it about a beautiful sunny afternoon, with the birds singing
and the wind rustling through the leaves, that makes you want to get
drunk? And after you're real drunk, maybe go down to the public park
and stagger around and ask people for money, and then lay down and go
to sleep.
Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out
it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that's like
a regular window.
During the Middle Ages, probably one of the biggest mistakes was not
putting on your armor because you were "just going down to the corner."
If I ever get real rich, I hope I'm not real mean to poor people, like
I am now.
When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call
the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and
started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns.
I remember how my great-uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and
whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger
toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had
bumpy whittle marks all over it. And no paint, because he had whittled
off the paint.
Here's a good thing to do if you go to a party and you don't know
anybody: First take out the garbage. Then go around and collect any
extra garbage that people might have, like a crumpled napkin, and
take that out too. Pretty soon people will want to meet the busy
garbage guy.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights,
even if you don't know what your rights are, or who the person is you're
talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door.
If you're a cowboy and you're dragging a guy behind your horse, I bet
it would really make you mad if you looked back and the guy was reading
a magazine.
If your friend is already dead, and being eaten by vultures, I think
it's okay to feed some bits of your friend to one of the vultures, to
teach him to do some tricks. But only if you're serious about adopting
the vulture.
Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?


yankeedog out.

03 November 2009

And he sang "C'mere, little girl"...

This weekend I caught another relative rarity on the radio-our guy Ringo Starr's version of Johnny Burnette's "You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful, and You're Mine)". I have to confess that I enjoy singing along with Sir Richard, because he makes all of us in-the-car virtuosos sound really good. And he got the fun songs to perform when with the Fab Four-who doesn't like to sing 'Yellow Submarine', complete with doing your own sound effects?

But as I pulled up the video and noted a middle-aged Starkey belting this tune out, I kind of thought 'Ringo, dude, you have the appearance of a man standing outside of the high school waiting for girls' volleyball practice to finish! Not good, my man!'

There are a lot of rock tunes featuring the theme of 16 and 17-year-old girls. I suppose this is because the primary rock audience has been 16 and 17-year-old males with lots of hormones and little sense (at least that's how I remember being at that age).

Some of the songs I can pull of the top of my head are The Crests' Sixteen Candles (a bit of classy 1950s doo-wop), Sexy+17 by The Stray Cats-before Brian Setzer decided to become heir apparent to Glenn Miller, Winger's (She's Only) Seventeen (in case you needed a dose of 1980's hair band), and KISS's Christine (Sixteen).

One wonders what it's like for a Gene Simmons, who's knocked on the door of 60, and gone through it, to still be singing a song about a 16-year-old girl. Doesn't there come a point where maybe you take that song off the set list because that anonymous minor just might be your daughter (or in Gene's case, granddaughter)? The little girl who'll be on a date and you're sitting there, cleaning the shotgun, and talking to the pimply-faced, cracking-voiced fellow who's taking her out?

'And have her home by 10! (click of a shotgun barrel being seated on the stock)'

Do you suppose there does come a point where a rock star or group maybe sets those particular songs aside and lets the next generation of stars do their thing (in oh so many respects) with the younger crowd? Evidently not-because the Kiss video I referenced was done in 2006. But I do in some ways discount Kiss, because those guys will sing whatever needs be sung to bring in a buck or two. The gentlemen can market themselves!

I dunno. Just a thought.

yankeedog out.

01 November 2009

Sartorial imperfection

I saw a short piece on bad sports uniforms on ESPN last week, and some of the uniforms that our squads have worn are hideous. There are a lot of blogs and articles featuring these, but I'm going to do my own anyway.

This year, the Denver Broncos are foregoing their orange, white, and blue uniforms for the yellow-and brown originals worn 50 years ago when the old American Football League was founded.

I suppose they looked better on the 1960 Philco black-and-white television with the 9-inch screen, but I don't know about the knee-high vertical striped socks. Actually they remind me of the uniforms of these fellows:

The Swiss Guards of the Vatican. You'd join a military outfit that made you look like a Joker on a playing card deck, wouldn't you? Sure you would!

Yellow-on-brown was also worn by the San Diego Padres-

-back when McDonald's owner Ray Kroc owned the team in the 1970s and early '80s. Incidentally McDonald's workers also wore a similar shade of brown back then. Musta got a good deal on a containerload of brown polyester or something. Actually the Padres today have one of the better looking uniforms in MLB. They played better back in the day, though.

For at least one game the Montreal Canadiens hockey team went retro with the old striped sweaters. And you'd have had to be a rough, tough hockey goon to live these down:

Where have I seen this look before? Oh, yes-now I remember:

HMS Furious, aircraft carrier, 1918. Smart of the Montreal Canadiens to try dazzle camouflage to confuse the other squad as to direction and intent.

The Houston Astros of the 1970s and 1980s had a uniform that was right on the border of bad, although they weren't terribly garish and a lot of the Astro faithful still wear the throwback jerseys. I'll leave this one up to you.

Going over to pro hoops, we find some ol' school Denver Nuggets gear:

In the 1980s the rainbow was OK. Now that the homosexual community has adopted the rainbow as a symbol, I reckon no one wants to be the 'gay' team. And the stylized skyline of Denver looks like it ought to be in the old 'Missile Command' videogame:

Back to football.

I watched the Bears play the Seattle Seahawks earlier this year and couldn't help but comment on the green-and-black gear the Seattle eleven were sporting.

Kind of a day-glo green like you might find in a highlighting marker. I had a Plymouth Volare that was roughly the same shade. It wasn't pretty either.

But for a truly nasty looking football livery, it'd be hard to beat the Orlando Thunder of the late and unlamented World League of American Football.

"Sure, I look like a can of citrus soda. But I'm making $150 a game!"

The New York Islanders of the NHL sported this sweater:

-and it looks pretty cool. The 'seafarer' in the logo, however, bears a striking resemblance to the Gorton's fisherman.

"And if an Islander scores on a power play, everyone in Section 115 wins...fish sticks for a year!"

Let's go to Vancouver for an early Canuck uniform, shall we?

Why am I reminded of 'Rollerball'? Or 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century'?

The Washington Bullets of the NBA sported this outfit in the late 70s, before they changed the team name to 'Wizards' and donated their old uniforms to Brisbane under the Lend-Lease Act.

Actually, they weren't bad by the standards of the day, but I think you could get the old Bullets confused with the Harlem Globetrotters:

Both wearing red, white, and blue. Both play basketball. One was a consistent winner-and tossed buckets of confetti into the audience!

Locally, we had the Quad City Swing of the Midwest League. I went to plenty of Swing games, and I truly hated these uniforms, with the powder blue and the dumb-looking numbers:

A change of name (back to the old 'River Bandits'), team affliation (Cardinals-nobody's perfect), and ownership (a group that cares about the fans) brought a change back to a less avant-garde style unie.

But possibly the worst uniform ever issued by a team in any sport might have been worn by a few unfortunates that collected a check from the Chicago White Sox of the late 1970s. I believe it was part-owner Bill Veeck that thought this outfit would catch on.

A polyester pullover, knee-high socks, and...shorts! Like the man said-'There's no crying in baseball!' And there aren't shorts, either-at least not in the pros.

The late 1970s White Sox. When your team absolutely, positively has to look like a slowpitch softball team sponsored by Dave's Friendly Auto Service, or Al's Corner Tap!

Good stuff, eh? These are just American teams. If you know of some teams in your own countries that had wardrobe malfunctions, send a link!

yankeedog out.