Friday, July 21, 2023

Fine Lines

This is a headline which supposedly is designed to make me click on it and go read the article.  

"Earth gets hotter, deadlier despite decades of global climate talk." 

I don't need to read an article to know that talking about things changes them not at all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Climate Change Scam

Don't read the title and start defiling me as some sort of right wing nut job. I'm not talking about the actual effects of climate change today.

We live in a homeowners' association of 145 units and, as is normal in such associations, carry a master hazard insurance policy covering all of the units and common property. The premium for that policy went from $55,000 last year to $225,000 for the upcoming year, an increase of 309%.

The reason given is California's increased wildfire risk due to climate change, and we are told that we should not complain about the increase because, given that we are in California, we are fortunate that we are able to obtain homeowner's insurance at all. 

Wildfires? We are located in the middle of downtown of the third largest city in California. How big is our wildfire risk?

Thursday, July 06, 2023

Shark Guard

 Another in the ongoing "Subron 8 Sea Stories" series.

There has been much in the news about sharks off the East Coast beaches the past couple days, which brought back memories from more than half a century ago and caused me to think, “Hey, put me out there with an M1 Garand, and I’ll solve that problem.” By way of background;

For reasons that should seem fairly obvious, the Navy did not place much emphasis on rifle marksmanship, and so sailors qualifying “Expert” with the M1 were not very common in my day. I qualified Sharpshooter in boot camp, one better than the lowest grade of Marksman. But I really enjoyed shooting, and hoped for a change to go for Expert.

Electrician’s Mate school was right next to a rifle range, and I was able to graduate first in my class with very little study time, so I spent a good bit of time of the range and did qualify Expert before going on to Submarine school in Connecticut. I was then, as far as I know, the only qualified Expert rifleman on Diablo when we went to sea.

When we were in the Gulf Stream and ocean temperatures permitted, the Captain allowed “swim call,” when we would sit dead in the water on the surface and the crew could go for a swim off the after deck. I would sit in the periscope shears, up high, with an M1 Garand rifle and watch for sharks in the water.

Shooting sharks was a bit of an art. All I could see of them was their fin sticking up out of the water, and hitting them in the fin just pissed them off. Trying to hit them in the body was futile unless we were right on top of them (and letting a shark get that close would have been a very bad idea) because the bullet would just ricochet off the surface of the water.

The trick was to hit right at the base of the fin, which would bring them up out of the water, and then fire again and hit them in the body. It required two quick and accurate shots, but I succeeded a lot more often than not. Kind of fun.

If there were no sharks and I got bored, I would fire a couple of shots just to watch my shipmates sort of motor across the surface of the water back to the ship. They could move really fast when they heard my rifle fire. Needless to say, I never let them know it was a false alarm. That would not have been good for my health.

Post Script: I also qualified with A M1911 .45 cal automatic pistol, which everyone had to do in order to be promoted to E4. One did not have to reach any particular score to qualify, in fact you didn’t have to hit anything at all, you merely needed to fire ten rounds. The unspoken requirement was that you needed to not hit yourself, which I did not.

I didn’t hit anything else either. If ever required to use that beast in combat my best bet would be to let the enemy get real close and hit him over the head with it. If I was shooting at him he would be the only thing in the neighborhood that would be safe.

I fired 50 or 60 rounds from that boat anchor, and I never had the slightest idea where any of the bullets went. Certainly not into the target.