Sunday, April 14, 2019

“Ten Commandments of Electrical Safety”

 Here Gathered are the Ten Commandments of Navy Electrical Safety…

1.    Beware of the lightning that lurks in an undischarged capacitor lest it cause thee to be bounced upon thy backside in a most ungainly manner.

2.    Cause thou the switch that supplies large quantities of juice to be opened and thusly tagged, so thy days may be long on this earthly vale of tears.

3.    Prove to thyself that all circuits that radiateth and upon which thou worketh are grounded lest they lift thee to high-frequency potential and cause thee to radiate also.

4.    Take care thou useth the proper method when thou taketh the measure of high-voltage circuits so that thou doth not incinerate both thee and the meter, for verily though thou hast no account number and can be easily replaced, the meter doth have one and as a consequence bringeth much woe upon the Supply Department.

5. Tarry thee not amongst those who engage in intentional shocks for they are surely non-believers and are not long for this world.

6.    Take care thou tampereth not with interlocks and safety devices, for this incureth the wrath of thy seniors and bringeth the fury of the safety officer down upon thy head and shoulders.

7.    Work thee not on energized equipment, for if thou doeth, thy mates will surely be buying lunch without thee and thy space at the table will be filled by another.

8.    Verily, verily I say unto thee, never service high-voltage equipment alone, for electric cooking is a slothful process, and thou might sizzle in thy own fat for hours on end before thy Maker sees fit to end thy misery and drag thee into His fold.

9.    Trifle thee not with radioactive tubes and substances lest thou commence to glow in the dark like a lightning bug.

10.  Commit thee to memory the works of the prophets, which are written in the instruction books, which giveth the straight info and which consoleth thee, and thou cannot make mistakes.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

“The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did”

We all did some dumb stuff when we were junior shipmates.  Some dumber than others, hence the whole point behind fools errands and messing with the new guy.  This one comes from a shipmate during the Vietnam Era named Joe Holt. I hope you all enjoy …

Rod and I worked on the mess decks together. Rotten duty. Horrible hours. Reveille at 0500, Taps whenever, the cooks needed us available at a moment’s notice so we didn’t rack in the troop compartment with our outfit.  We were given this little cubbyhole with six or eight racks. They were really cramped quarters. More so than the troop compartments. The Pickaway pulled into Subic Bay and it was the second time in a month. We'd spent the last couple of weeks in Vietnam, near Quang Nai. The first liberty in Olongapo had been a revelation, but this time we were veterans. I even had some money this time. That $65.00 in combat pay made me feel rich. I crossed the bridge with a sense of daring I’d not had the first trip. I was determined to have a good time.

Once in town I got my Military Payment Certificate converted to Pesos at the first booth I came to. I hadn't gone twenty feet down the main drag when I saw something in a shop window that I just had to have, a bugle! What was I thinking? I had an absolute clear vision of myself being the life of the Olongapo party by traveling from bar to bar with this bugle, blowing Reveille to my heart’s content. I was totally oblivious to the possibility of making a fool out of myself. If there’s a town on earth where a fella can be a horse’s ass and get away with it, it’s got to be Olongapo. I walked on in, pointed to the bugle in the window, and in less than a minute I was the proud owner of this shiny new bugle. Ten bucks maybe. 

Who remembers? I’d learned how to blow a bugle when I was a kid, but I’d never had an opportunity to show it off.  Looking back that moment, all I remember was being so damned proud. Simple things for simple minds I reckon, so off I went down the street. I walked straight to Pauline’s. I'd been there the month before, and I remember it was the biggest joint in town so I'd have a good sized audience for sure. As I walked in there were dozens of tables in front of me, and a long bar immediately to the right. As the friendly young ladies were asking me if I’d like to sit at a table with them, I just scooted over to the bar and plopped down on a stool. I stood my bugle up on the bar and ordered a drink. The bartender walked up to take my order, but the first words out of his mouth were,

“You gonna play that thing?”

I said, I was thinking about it.

“You play it, I’ll give you pree drink.”

I couldn't believe my luck. This is exactly how Id imagined it! This is it! 

As I picked up my bugle, only then did it cross my mind that this was a goofy thing to do, but this is what I'd imagined. I couldn't stop now. I took a deep breath and let go with one fine rendition of Reveille if I do say so myself. As the first notes blasted across the room I got an immediate and startling reaction. Everybody jumped about a foot. Glasses were spilled, and bottles fell over, but nobody was mad, just surprised. A few seconds later everybody in the room was smiling. Mostly Marines and some sailors. Grinning. When I'd completed my last note I got a pretty good round of applause, and from then on I didn't have to buy one drink. It seemed to me that about half the folks in the room offered to buy me a drink. I had two or three lined up on the bar in front of me pretty much the whole time. Every twenty minutes or so somebody would ask me to play it again, and I would. More drinks. My nineteen year old liver was getting a workout. I even did a Chow Call once just to prove to some guy that I knew it. Later I tried to do a Taps, but when your lips are numb it’s downright difficult to do it without a lot of squeaking and such. Three or four Reveilles into the afternoon and I was totally shitfaced. I still had drinks on the bar, but I figured I'd had too much as it was. I didn't feel comfortable when I was to the point of feeling numb. Insecure really, I told the group around me that I was going to make a head call then I just left.

I didn't have to be back across the bridge until 2300, but it was only late afternoon so I made the semiconscious decision to go back to the ship. In the heat of the afternoon the drinks were really messing me up. I don't remember how I got to the ship. I do remember vaguely going to my little mess deck cubbyhole and lying down. Nobody else was there. I just conked out.

The mess cook woke me up as I’d been dozing off and on for I don't know how long, five in the morning maybe? He needed somebody to swab down the mess deck area before morning chow, and I looked to be in better shape than any of the other guys in this little group, and he was right. I felt great. I hadn't had that much sleep in months. I decided to roust Rod too. What the hell. I wasn't going to do all the work. He was on the lower rack directly across from me. I nudged him with my foot. No response. I kicked him, but just a little. He groaned and moved a bit, but I realized that he was still half drunk from the night before. Then I had the most brilliant idea that Private Holt had ever come up with.

I reached behind myself and plucked my trusty bugle from my hanging helmet from the side of my rack. I bent down, put the bugle about a foot from Rods head, then started to blast away with another perfect rendition of Reveille. A lot happened in those few seconds, the most dramatic of which was Rod jerking awake, opening his eyes somewhat, and in one spastic motion, punching my bugle halfway down my throat. My lip lost a bit as the mouthpiece skidded by. My teeth shattered. Everybody yelled at once, and I mean everybody. The three or four other sleepers in the room yelled. Rod yelled, but most of all, I yelled.


… Or to be truthful …


I spit out what felt like a dozen teeth. Blood splattering as I yelled. I was horrified. My pretty little face with my pretty little teeth were maimed forever! I was angry. Real angry. At who? Rod? He was drunk, it wasn't his fault. In those few seconds it was clear to me that this was the dumbest damn thing I'd ever done, and I'd done some dumb stuff, just ask anybody. I ran out of the compartment, up the nearest ladder, onto the deck, and threw the bugle as far as I could into the waters of Subic Bay. I had to suffer till 0800 when the ships dentist could give me a minute of his time. Until then I hadn't opened my mouth. I was afraid the cooler air across my busted teeth would be painful. That and the fact that it felt horrible. I didn't relish the thought of actually surveying the damage.

As I sat in the dentist chair I was prepared for the worst, but as it turned out there wasn't nearly as much damage as I had imagined. I'd chipped three teeth, and broken one of my buck teeth in half. Almost a perfect circle in my smile. My lips were two huge scabs by this time. The dentist got his drilling gear out and buffed off the raggedy edges, but other than that there was nothing he was gonna do. Rod barely remembered the incident. We lost him a few weeks later. I lived with that hole in my smile for two and a half years till I got them fixed while stationed onboard an aircraft carrier. They had real dentists there! The broken one was replaced completely by a false cap. Its changed color over the years so now it’s a bit yellower than the others, but every morning when I look in the mirror and check out my feeble smile with what looks like a corn nut on the front it reminds me of Rod and the time I did the dumbest thing I'd ever done. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Grandad's Funeral"

An elderly gentleman came to the docked Navy ship to see his grandson, Ensign Walker. The guard stationed at the gangway asked for the officer on duty. This man is here to see Ensign Walker explained the guard. The officer on duty told the gentleman that Ensign Walker was not available and that he was on leave. Disappointed the grandfather left. The guard commented to the officer that it was too bad that the ensign missed his grandfather.

"Well he certainly will be surprised!"

… said the officer …

"The reason he gave on his request for leave was to attend that old man's funeral."

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

“Robert Mitchum and the Short Arm Inspection Blues”

A World War II Sailor’s Diddy, Fuck 'Em All was an alternative version of "Bless 'Em All" often sung in protest of the conditions during the War. After the actor Robert Mitchum was drafted into the Army in 1945, he spent his year in service as a pecker checker at the Tarzana Induction Center in Los Angeles, California hence the title …

Oh, they sent for the Navy to come to Tulagi,
The gallant Navy agreed.
With one thousand sections in different directions,
My God, what a fucked-up stampede.

Fuck 'em all, fuck 'em all
The long and the short and the tall.
Fuck all the admirals who give us the flak;
They don't give a shit if we ever come back.
So we're saying goodbye to them all,
As over the gangplank we crawl. 
There'll be no promotion this side of the ocean,
So cheer up, my lads, fuck 'em all.

They say there's a convoy that's leaving New York,
Bound for those Blighty shores;
Heavily laden with tanks and with planes,
Shit for old Adolf, of course.

Fuck 'em all, fuck 'em all
The long and the short and the tall.
Fuck all the captains and all the mates too,
Fuck the engineers and the whole God-damn crew.
So we're saying goodbye to them all,
As back to our rustpots we crawl.
We'll start a commotion that side of the ocean,
So cheer up, my lads, fuck 'em all.

They sent for the nurses to come overseas,
The reason was perfectly clear:
To make a good marriage and push a good carriage
While fucking all hands, my dear.

Fuck 'em all, fuck 'em all
The long and the short and the tall.
Fuck all the blond cunts and all the brunettes;
Don't be too choosey, just fuck all you gets.
So we're saying goodbye to them all,
As over back to our rustpots we crawl.
You'll et no erection at short-arm inspection,
So cheer up, my lads, fuck 'em all.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

" Cheating Husband or Cheating Wife "

Overheard at a nautical bar when the husband’s out to sea...

“My husband cheats so much I'm not even sure the baby I'm carrying is his! When confronted with the evidence, my husband denied everything and said it would never happen again! I didn't realize he drank until about three months later when he came home sober!”

Saturday, April 6, 2019

"Gabby Gob"

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Gabby Gob was a Navy-centric military comic in the vein of Sad Sack, Beetle Bailey or Gomer Pile. The humor is derived from Gabby Gob's ineptness. It was actually a spin-off from Sad Sack Navy, Gobs 'n' Gals with the supporting character of Gabby Gob.

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After World War II, the Sad Sack comic strip was syndicated from 1946 to 1958 by Consolidated News Features and he was the subject of a long-running Harvey comic book, The New Sad Sack. In 1957 that title was joined by two more; Sad Sack’s Funny Friends and Little Sad Sack. Also in 1957 Paramount Pictures released a George Marshall directed comedy, The Sad Sack, starring Jerry Lewis, David Wayne and Phyllis Kirk.

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The Harvey comics covers were done by Army Cartoonist, George Baker but the interiors were passed on to cartoonist Fred Rhoads. Rhoads got his start in cartooning while serving in the Marine Corps in WWII. He originated a pantomime comic “Gismo and Eightball” for the Marine magazine Leatherneck. In 1954 he got a call from Harvey Features asking him to take over the Sad Sack comic book.

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Rhoads had long experience in comic strips as an artist and gag-writer. He had assisted Mort Walker for a year on “Beetle Bailey,” Fred Lasswell on “Snuffy Smith” for three years, and helped out Jimmy Hatlo on “They’ll Do It Every Time” for a year.

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Rhoads drew over 9500 pages of Sad Sack compared to Baker’s 800 pages. He was paid at the rate of $35 per page. On August 9 1964 Rhoads announced that he had created a new character for Harvey Comics featuring a Navy man named Gabby Gob. Rhoads had conceived the idea of Gabby during a five day tour of the USS Forrestal on October 27-31 of 1963.  Harvey Comics pressed him for a new Sad Sack type character after discovering that over 450,000 of its Sad Sack comics were being sold in the Navy Exchange.  Rhoads decided Gob would not be a “dozer” like the Sad Sack, “but would be kind of cute.”

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In April 1983 Fred Rhoads, then 61, was awarded an astounding $2.58 million by a jury who said Rhoads publisher, Harvey, fraudulently represented the value of his work. The Sad Sack comic book was no longer in publication at the time. In October 1984 the judgment, to the dismay of Rhoads, was overturned on appeal. The judge ruled there was no evidence of fraud on the company’s part and Rhoads’s complaint was barred by Arizona’s three year statute of limitations.Fred Rhoads died in Greenwood South Carolina, February 20, 2000 of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78 years old.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

"Tiger Cruise"

An elderly lady was standing at the railing during her grandson’s Tiger Cruise onboard a Navy ship holding her hat tight so that it would not blow away in the wind. One of the ship’s officers approached her and said…

"Pardon me, ma’am, I do not intend to be forward but did you know that your dress is blowing up in this high wind?"

"Yes, I know," said the lady. "I need both my hands to hold onto this hat."

"But ma’am, you must know that you are not wearing any panties and your privates are exposed!"

… said the gentleman in earnest. The woman looked down, then back up at the officer and replied…

"Sir, anything you see down there is 75 years old. I just bought this hat yesterday!"