Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Do your duty, boatswain's mate, or you'll take his place

In summation of flogging, Samuel Holbrook in 1857 comments, "I fancy that those editors and legislators who sit in their cozy armchairs, in office or congressional hall, and talk wisely about the necessity of flogging for sailors, need only once to witness the infliction of the punishment they think so needful, and experience with their own breasts the feeling of dark humiliation which falls upon the soul at seeing the manhood being scourged out of a fellow creature, to alter their convictions as to the expediency of flogging."

Answering the critic who would ask why the bluejacket does not protest, he continues. "A 'man-of-war' is not the place for too free an expression of opinion. The regulations of the service do not admit to freedom of speech. They contain such a word as 'mutiny', for which they provide 'death or such other punishment as a court-martial shall provide.' And, as there can be no half-way-talk concerning so brutal a practice as flogging a human being - a creature created in the image of God - the consequence is an ominous silence. 'A still tongue makes a wise head' - nowhere more so than in the service, where it is truly said, 'You are allowed to think what you please, but you must not think aloud.'"

Good advice no matter who hears it. I have two ears and one tongue, I should use them in that proportion.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What's on your fridge?

Why is it that everyone is curious about what's in your fridge? Watch MTV's cribs and you will invariably be given a look inside the celebrity du jour's fridge and they always seem to feign embarrassment. A quick look always says "I have someone stock this for me." Look in a real man's fridge for a true picture of his lifestyle. Jerry has a carton of smokes, six pack of beer, two limes, bottle of hot sauce and several can of tuna which need no refrigeration. I questioned the smokes but then remembered the Cuban cigars in mine waiting their turn to enter my overcrowded maidador. I'll explain in another post.

But back to my comment, what's on your fridge? That's one of the things I miss at home - the collage of our life posted on our fridge. Always changing always growing. Pictures and magnets reflecting our life. A young Sailor. A kiss. A family. Celebrations. I'm an old Sailor now. I miss the kiss. I miss my family. I miss the celebrations. Can't wait to kiss my family and celebrate Court's graduation.

What's on your fridge?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blog everyday or a pretty pathetic weekend

Blog everyday. That's what you see in the cyber self help columns around the internet. Pretty pathetic if you're surfing the web looking for tips on how or what to blog on or how to blog.
  1. Blog everyday
  2. Don't blog about work
  3. Don't post poetry
  4. Don't add music
Pretty pathetic, so how did I find it? Answer that and you'll know how my weekend passed. Best advice came from my son, "please dad don't blog how Starbucks screwed you today with a Vende when all you wanted was a Tall."

Time for a Martini.

  1. Always add a photo to entertain your visitors

Thursday, June 21, 2007

God Speed "Junie" Clark

Garnett Yelverton Clark Jr 1915-2007

Garnett Yelverton “Junie’ Clark, banker, businessman, volunteer, died of complications from pneumonia and heart disease at Anne Arundel Medical Center on June 20, 2007. He had been a resident of Annapolis since 1932. Born October 30, 1915 in Howard County MD, he attended the Donaldson School near Ilchester, MD from 1926 through 1932. In 1936 he graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. In the summer of 1937 he signed on the Finnish four-masted barque, VIKING as an apprentice seaman for a voyage around the world as a merchant seaman. VIKING carried a cargo of timber from Finland to East London, South Africa and 4000 tons of wheat from Australia around Cape Horn to London.

During World War II he served 5 years as an officer in the Navy, mostly in destroyers in the Atlantic, European, and Pacific theatres. He was gunnery officer aboard USS Shubrick during the invasion of Sicily.

Following the war he entered the insurance business and was president of the Clark -Melvin Companies, insurance brokers, pension plans, and security dealers in Annapolis from 1958 to 1984. He was a Director of Annapolis Federal Savings Bank for 33 yrs and served as Chairman of the Board for 12 years.

He was always interested and involved in the history and development for the future of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. As such, he helped to found the Anne Arundel Medical Center Foundation Inc. Then, as its Chairman of the Board he spearheaded the campaign to establish the current Medical Park campus. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Annapolis Life Care Inc. which established the Ginger Cove retirement community. He was a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Naval Academy Foundation Inc., and a Member of the Historic Annapolis Advisory Board. He funded a project to research the earliest history of Londontown, All Hallows Church, and The South River Club and mentored the Lost Towns Projects staff and college interns who greatly benefited from his extensive knowledge of the region.

He was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club for 67 years, ultimately becoming its senior member. For 48 years he was a member of the New Providence Club of Annapolis and a member of The South River Club for more than 25 years. He was also a member of the Merion Cricket Club in Haverford, PA. He was a longtime member and faithfully attended All Hallows Church in Davidsonville, MD.

He was married to Mary Burwell Melvin Clark of Annapolis for 49 years until her death in 1989. He later married Mary Jane Hanson Thacher of Gladwyne, PA. They were married for 14 years until her death in 2004. He is survived by two daughters, Mary “Mollie” Clark Pratt of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Patricia Thacher Scott of Paris, France and two sons, Captain Garnett Y. “Sandy” Clark III, USN retired of Coeur d’Alene Idaho and John H. “Turk” Thacher, Jr., three sisters, Nancy Clark Kramer of Parkville, MD, Elizabeth Dawson Butcher of Gaithersburg, MD, Carolyn Dawson Runia of Aurora, CO, as well as 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 AM on the 6th of July 2007 in Friendship Hall at Ginger Cove, River Crescent Drive, Annapolis, MD. Arrangements are being made by John M. Taylor Funeral Home. Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Happy Birthday Samurai

Happy Birthday Sam. Seventeen years have flashed by with the blink of an eye. You came onto the scene with those big blue eyes and our lives were changed forever for the better. A dad knows better than to embarrass his son on the internet, so I'll leave this as wishing you the best for a long life of adventure and happiness. That is what you have given us. You're a fine young man I'm proud to call son. As Johnny Cash would say, "your name it is Sam Hall is Sam Hall......." You inspired The Man in Black and everyone you've met. Have a great day my Samurai.

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Life don't suck"

A recent commander's conference brought three Naval Academy alumni and task force commanders together. Following a day of meetings and briefings we three "2 star lieutenants" pulled a little liberty, ate Thai curry, and then retreated to the Upstairs Downstairs where we were greeted by our friend Mohammad and ushered to our table to sip Irish whiskey, smoke cigars and swap sea stories. Kevin took a deep draw on his Cuban, set down his drink, smiled and declared, "life don't suck." Here here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Manama Bahrain Souq

The Manama Souq in the old city is a cacophony sounds and a cornucopia of sights and smells. Night time is the best time to wander the narrow streets and alleys. As we approached from the parking area the first strong smell is a mixture of car exhaust and street urine. Strong enough to make you think of pressing on. Press on we do, through the initial throngs of mingling third country nationals or TCN's. These are the workers brought in from Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, the Philippines and everywhere in between. They are socializing on this hot and humid evening. In an hour my buddies and I cover just one small area of the souq saving the tailor shops, spice markets and household DIY areas for another evening. These shots were taken from my point and shoot digital with the flash disabled.

When my walkabout was finished I was covered in sweat but I was mentally refreshed and stimulated by the sights and sounds. I was also energized by the mass of people that greeted this obvious westerner with smiles and waves. Every vendor willing to show his wares and not pressure you for a sale when you say thank you and walk on.

Happy Father's Day

Courtney, Sam, Carrie, Garry

I'm blessed. What more can I say?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Perfect Martini

Is there such a thing as the perfect martini? Vodka or gin? Shaken or stirred? Olive or onion? If you know your martinis you see the glaring error already. Add an onion and it's no longer a martini but rather a Gibson. The history of the martini is not as documented as many other cocktails, but one thing is for sure, Ian Flemming changed the way it was prepared for us all when James Bond ordered his shaken not stirred. That's how we make one in my circles - shaken not stirred.

The proper shaker is the two piece Boston Shaker. No self respecting pro would use the three piece cobbler found in most home bartender kits. Go directly to Bar Products online. Great prices for all your cocktail needs. Let's build that perfect Martini.

Chill your martini glasses by refrigerating them or just fill with ice as you prepare the drink.
  1. Fill shaker with ice
  2. Add one ounce of vermouth to your shaker
  3. Stir vermouth with your bar spoon to coat the ice
  4. Pour out the vermouth, it's done its job.
  5. Add 2 1/2 ounces of Bombay Sapphire gin (this is the premium gin do not substitute)
  6. Shake horizontally for the best surface action. When your fingers are cold and there's frost on the shaker it's ready
  7. Dump the ice from your glass and drop in one olive
  8. Crack open the shaker and pour into your chilled glass, straining the ice
Your martini will be slightly cloudy and there will be a thin film of ice on the surface. I'll spare you the science of the ice, shaking, gin and olive combination. Enjoy. Cheers.

As the bartender at Sardi's says, "one martini is too few, and three, why that's just crazy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Captain Mike "Breeze" Barea

Breeze is one in a million. One of my go to guys, he recently ran our relief efforts following Cyclone Gonu in the Gulf of Oman. He was able to get two warships into port Bahrain, load them up with gear and send them back to sea in less than one day. He used force of personality and the bribe of a pack of gum to the local head of port security. Is this a great country or what? Did I mention Breeze flys faster than the speed of sound in his Tomcat?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

CNN interview following Cyclone GONU

Given the opportunity to go on CNN or skip out - always do the right thing and skip out. Unless of course you've been ordered to. As always when in the position of talking to the press I am given the last minute recommendation, "now Garry, no ad lib humor, stick to the 'script.'" Aye aye sir. So I put on my best stuffed shirt senior Naval Officer persona and purposefully used my nasal voice so none of my friends would know it was me. Or do they? No follow on phone calls from the pentagon so I dodged another bullet.

Friday, June 8, 2007

USS Bonhomme Richard LHD-6

My flagship is presently the USS Bonhomme Richard Commanded by my good friend Captain Steve Greene callsign "Greeno." I've known Greeno for over 25 years now; a friendship starting when I first taught him to fly the SH-2F LAMPS helicopter back in the early 80's.
Steve, in his words, is living the dream. He commands over 1000 Sailors and Marines as well as one of the Navy's greatest ships. A quick walkabout on his ship and you see a shipshape squared away outfit with high morale and a professional crew. It was a real treat to visit his ship while the crew loaded gear to respond to any humanitarian relief efforts following Cyclone GONU's passage through the Gulf of Oman. Thanks for a super visit Steve. All Americans can sleep tight tonight knowing you and your crew stand the watch here in the Middle East and around the globe.

"Where the hell is Admiral Hall!" (Not a question)

The doors of my command center blew open the other day and a booming voice startled my staff. "Where the hell is Admiral Hall?" was the question that served as an announcement that classmate and friend, General Dave Papak had arrived in town. Luggage lost and needing a shave from a 30 plus hour trek from New Orleans to Bahrain, Dave flashed his signature smile and an impromptu NAPS '72 - USNA '76 reunion was called to order.

After catching up with each other Dave ran off to the Horn of Africa to check on his Marines serving there. On his route back through Bahrain we continued to catch up and swap stories over beers at the Fiddler's Green pub at the Diplomat Hotel where he was staying. I mention the Fiddler's Green because that was the name of our enlisted club at Naval Training Center Bainbridge where we all started on this path 36 years ago. We are no longer 19 years old but the laughter and stories and friendship have not aged at all. Great seeing you Dave.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Promotion Day at the Headquarters in Bahrain

June 1st I had the opportunity to promote my Flag Lieutenant to Lieutenant Commander. When I was an Aide my Admiral said the Navy was made up of young studs, old fuds and lieutenant commanders. Today the young stud Mike was moved up to one of the greatest ranks in Naval Aviation. His next assignment will be as a LAMPS officer in charge and squadron department head.

The oath of office is given before any new rank can be worn or pay spent. Mike is perhaps the best "Dog Robber" in the Navy today. Google "Dog Robber" or watch "The Americanization of Emily."

Mrs Lee you are cleared to spend that extra money.

Every new rank comes with added responsibility and a little added weight. Hmmm, that new uniform is a little tight.

The real shocker was left for Petty Officer Second Class Hosein. I caught him offguard with a spot promotion to Petty Officer First Class. He represents everything that is good about the Navy and he is living the dream. The Master Chief and I suprised him so much that he was speechless. I don't think there was a dry eye in ranks.

Overall a Super Navy and Marine Corps Day!