About

I am a born-and-bred Chicagoan, temporarily exiled to the wilds of SE Ohio. I’ve been a mainframe programmer, an avid attendee (and occasional manager) of science-fiction conventions, a military re-enactor specialising in World War 2, a lover of cars (a gearhead), an aviation enthusiast, and a military historian – again, specialising in World War 2.

My goal here is to tell the crazy tales from my life and to entertain. I may occasionally comment on current events or post a memorial, but mostly I’m here to have fun. I only have one rule – be nice. I reserve the right to edit or delete any comment I feel is violating that rule. Otherwise, feel free to write what you want. I whole-heartedly subscribe to the idea of blog hijacking, and have done so numerous times, so if you want to turn the tables, go for it!

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. That is all.

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39 Responses to About

  1. BrainRants says:

    I cannot believe that I finally have the chance to completely troll your comments and totally derail your intended posts with my mental spew.

  2. Hmm…you’re asking me to post hijack? I like it here already…

  3. “NSFW”? Sorry, not up on modern abbreviations/acronyms/whatever. I’m a bit of a social-media Luddite – I don’t really use Facebook (other than to follow movies and such), never Tweeted (though I am a twit .. er .. on Twitter), and don’t have a cell phone. Then again, when that EMP hits and knocks out all computers, I’ll be ready with a large collection of swords, WW2-era field phones, hand tools, and even a few non-computer-managed engines! πŸ˜€
    By the by, I gave up on Brand when he remade “Arthur”. What a waste of celluloid!
    Thanks for the laugh – you are a wise practitioner of humour as panacea! πŸ˜‰

  4. You had me at military historian, as I used to be one as well! (That is, professionally—I still am, unprofessionally.)

    • Welcome! The first book I remember reading was a WW2 history by Robert Leckie, and for my 2nd, 3rd, AND 4th grade book report, I did “30 Seconds Over Tokyo”. (They caught me in fourth grade, dang it!) I was a sort of “anti-professional” historian while I was re-enacting – I had to learn about history, AND pay for the privilege! But what great fun, sweating in wool in 100-degree heat, freezing my keister off on a long winter’s night only to wake up with a frozen canteen, getting no sleep because we had a 2am “raid” on the enemy camp, driving all over the Midwest and frequently getting lost…..
      Yeah – you don’t have to be crazy to re-enact, but … no, you DO have to be crazy! πŸ˜€
      So what was your specialty, if I might ask? I always tended towards little-known actions of WW2, like the American Aleutian campaign or the Canadian Dieppe invasion. I’m trying to branch out into other wars, especially the Great War, as life and my new blog permit…..

      • I have to hand it to re-enactors—you guys know your stuff. I’ve never met one who didn’t know as much, if not more, than the “professional” historians. My specialty as a pro was WWII, as well as military aviation. I worked mainly on military museums, including the National D-Day Museum (which is now the National WWII Museum), the 8th Air Force Museum, and the George C. Marshall Museum & Library. And I too am interested in the lesser-known stuff, it’s amazing how few people know about the battles in the Aleutians and Wake Island, for instance. And Dieppe–what a nightmare. I’m also interested in the train wreck that was Kasserine Pass in North Africa. WWI is something I’ve recently started reading more about myself, because I know so much less about it than WWII. What a horrifiic war that was. Just horrific all over.

      • Well, then I’ll give you a heads-up. One of my upcoming posts will be about a romantic evening on a fog-shrouded runway that I spent with the EAA’s B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”. And if you ever plan on going through the USAF museum in Dayton, let me know and I’ll see if I can meet you there and give you a tour. I give great tours, which the museums don’t always appreciate – I was taking a couple friends through the museum of the US 1st Infantry Division in Cantigny, Illinois, and by the time we hit the life-size diorama of Omaha beach, I had stripped a tour guide of all her people. They had overheard me talking to our friends about the layout of Normandy, the guns and the units, and all sorts of stuff, and the tour members drifted over to me until the tour guide turned around to lead them on and found EVERYONE crowded around me! πŸ˜€
        I’ll also tell the tale of how my wife gets revenge on me for doing that kind of stuff. I’ll give you a hint – it involves static aircraft displays, and the fact she’s 5′-zip and I’m 5’10″…. πŸ˜‰

  5. I would love a tour guide like you—you know all the good stories! I can’t wait for your post about the B-17, I’ll be all over that. As for your wife’s revenge, let me guess, she can just walk right on through and you whack your head on the wings, right?

  6. Teeny Bikini says:

    That sounds great. Cheers.

  7. aFrankAngle says:

    In your links, Unabridged Girl is no longer active. Plus I noticed a couple have vanished.

  8. Thanks. I need to do some housekeeping on this beast. Maybe the vet’s will have wi-fi – gotta get the new rescued kitty checked out tomorrow. Yeah, I know, I’m collecting enough cats to start a new SPECIES! πŸ˜€

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  10. Had to come and say hi after your birthday celebrity status and your comments though Company for Christmas. I looking forwarding to reading you. Besides you have the snow falling on your blog, giving me the white Christmas of which I dream. Yours in snowflakes – Judy

    • Welcome, Judy, and glad I could give you a bit of White Christmas! And if you hang around here for about 24 more hours, I may be able to give you 6″-12″ of white Boxing Day! πŸ˜€ (I want to say I saw you’re from Down Under – I want to say NZ, too, but I think that’s wrong.) I hope you had a good Christmas, and once again, welcome!

      • Thanks for the welcome, yep Boxing Day here already and not a drop of snow to be seen. Is 6-12 usual or is that some kind of major dump?

      • Well, our average is supposed to be 30″ per year. We got 12.2″ last year. So we may get more snow, in this one storm, than all last winter. And my wife has to drive through the middle of it to and from work. We’re hoping the authorities get twitchy and put us under a “Level 3 Alert”, which means if the cops find you on the road AT ALL, they arrest you!

  11. Teeny Bikini says:

    John, I just wanted to thank you for all of your support this year. I just got my year-end report and you left the most comments on my blog. Of course, they do not rank the “funniest” comments because I am sure you be #1 as well πŸ˜† All the best to you and your family in the New Year! And thank you for your kindness. Cheers!

    • Hey, what can I say, it’s my “thing”. I’m intrigued to see my own blog’s stats, as well as those of others who have posted theirs. Maybe tomorrow – I’m STILL cleaning out my inbox! πŸ˜€

  12. Die reis says:

    I was wondering why your blog looks so familiar. Then I realized that apart from using the same theme, our phrases in the upper right hand corner also have some similarities. πŸ™‚ Loved your post about Lady be good.

    • Thanks for stopping by! South Africa, huh? I think that’s my farthest away visitor location yet. If you’re into history at all, maybe I can quiz you a bit about the Boer Wars?
      And yes, I wasn’t overly original setting up my “look” on this blog. My wife’s the artistic one! πŸ˜€

      • Die reis says:

        You’re welcome to ask questions. Can’t promise that I’ll have all the answers, but I can always ask my grandmother πŸ™‚ And I must warn you, the answers might be slightly bias because of the stories I’ve been told…I only know the one side, and as we all know there is always two sides to a story.

      • No problem, I am happy to get any side of a story. I’m pretty good working with biases, as I’ve read a number of US Government reports about the Japanese from the WW2 period. You know, the ones where all Japanese are little monkeys with buck teeth and thick glasses? YOUCH! Definite absence of political correctness in those days! 😯

      • Die reis says:

        I have always been curios how someone on the other end of this war would tell the story. There sure will be some differences.

  13. Not sure if you mean Iraq or Afghanistan, but there’s plenty of commentary on both, especially Iraq. The sad part is, folks of my age will probably never know all the details, with 30-40 years before the government finally pries open all the files. I do have to admit one thing – between the British and the Soviets, there were some REAL clear lessons about war in Afghanistan that I feel went unheeded. “Those who forget their history…”, and all that.
    Sorry I took a while to get back to you, things have been nuts recently. Thanks for hanging in there!

  14. Kavita Joshi says:

    very nice to meet you John….I am in IT as well…and love your blog here…would keep reading πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing

    • Nice to have you aboard! I don’t work these days, compliments of recurring migraines, but maybe I’ll share some of my I/T horror stories one of these days. Like waiting around to watch Jan 1, 2000 roll around. (Well, maybe not THAT one, since it’s REALLY boring! πŸ˜€ )

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    • Not sure why WordPress wants me to approve this, but what the hey – consider this approved and certified! (Wait, the comment is approved, I’M the one that’s certified….)

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  17. huntmode says:

    John, such a delight to visit. I thought for sure I’d been to your About page, but I’d have left a comment… I love history. I read above you’re getting into WWI – if you haven’t read it yet, the Great Influenza by John M. Barry – http://www.amazon.com/The-Great-Influenza-Deadliest-Pandemic/dp/0143036491 is simply terrific. I think he thought he’d knock it out quickly and it ended up taking at least seven years or more… He certainly makes an excellent argument for how the “Spanish Flu” impacted the War. Best ~ HuntMode – P.S. – I definitely want you as my tour guide!

    • Interesting – I thought the Spanish Flu epidemic hit too late to have any real impact. Gotta refresh my history a bit! (A definite task, as we’ll be marking a number of WW1 Centenary events this year, and I do want to do some posts on them.)
      Thanks for stopping by, and for the VERY nice comment! I look forward to further crossing of our paths.

      • huntmode says:

        From an emergency management standpoint, I’ve been fascinated with pandemics and really kept a close eye these last several years on various outbreaks. Hollywood really screwed the facts on how people react (almost training us to go hysterical…).

        It was called the Spanish Flu because only Spain allowed newspapers to talk of it, so other newspapers reported on it as “Spanish Flu.” But, But, they traced it to here, beginning in, I think, Kansas and coming in seasonal waves – really impacting the military because of conditions common to crowding a bunch of people in one room, but inevitably getting out into the population. It was particularly virulent in the 16-40 year age group – because the disease caused an over-reaction to how the disease attacked.

        Making matters worse, we entered late into WWI and sent all our guys over there, who promptly spread it, especially in the trenches, which both sides had from the French coast to the Swiss Alps – miles and miles and miles of trenches. The Germans contacted President Wilson who felt very strongly that England and France were over the top in wanting to punish the Germans and the Germans asked Wilson to intervene. The reason appears to have been that they sued for peace because the Influenza had so decimated their troops, they knew they could not go another season. Later, Wilson goes to Paris and comes down with the ‘flu, but insists on negotiating with England and France in his hotel room – to everybody’s shock, he agrees to the Versailles Treaty, which was very bad for the Germans and led to WWII eventually. Barry goes on to say that later examinations of victims showed that many suffered mentally – the brain was damaged by the ‘flu. Much later, I think the 90’s or so, scientists dug up some of the Pandemic Influenza victims to get samples of it to study…. I am doing this strictly from memory, but he really did do some extensive, well-documented research and the book reads very well. πŸ™‚ Okay, I’ll stop now. Grin.

  18. Well, yee, and dare I say, haw! What a write-up! I knew that the flu hit the US, but not that it started here – I thought it went the other way ’round, our guys got it and brought it back home. Disease ran rampant through the trenches, in no small part due to bad sanitation. But bad (or little) food also played a part, and that was a BIG factor in the German surrender. They had not only exhausted their “peace dividend” of troops from the surrender of the Russians on the Eastern Front, but the civilian population were being starved by Britain’s naval blockade.
    As to the Versailles conference, I could write a book about that – though a lot of other folks have beaten me to it. Wilson was sick, so he had no strength of will, the Brits just wanted their empire, and the French were being (pardons to my French readers) petulant brats who wanted Germany driven back into the Stone Age. Punishments are one thing – yanking whole factories out of Germany for shipment back to France is another thing. (I love both British and French vets – it’s their leadership – in both World Wars – that sucked the big one.)
    But hey, I’ll stop before I piss most of Western Europe off. πŸ˜‰ I love the quote from a German general (whose name escapes me) about the British troops – “Never have I seen such lions led by such lambs”. And with that, I’ll turn it over to ewe. Bye-bah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aye!

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