Thursday, April 24, 2008

Odd photo . . .

. . . to describe a vacation destination, eh? Mrs. B and I are off on a short bit of R&R in the hometown of this moderately famous lady. Moderately famous, if you read books by Greg Iles. This watchful lady is known as the "Turning Angel" because when you drive by, her gaze seems to follow you. It's also the title of one of Iles' recent books - an excellent read, by the way.

While in the "Angel's" city, we're staying at this hotel, which dates back to 1927. We're also going to a reunion of the descendants of the original settlers of this county who came there in the late 1700's. My 5th great-grandfather was one of those settlers.

We also plan to stop in at this tavern for a bit of their famous prime rib. King's tavern is in the oldest building on the Natchez trace. The original owner was also one of my ancestors.
Legend has it that it's haunted. The bones of two men and a woman were allegedly found bricked in to a wall when the building was renovated in the 1930s.

I will be incommunicado for a while. See y'all when we get back.
Jet noise . . .

. . . we have a lot of it around Virginia Beach.

Virginia Beach is the home of Naval Air Station Oceana, and is the Navy's east coast master jet base. It's been the home of just about every type of aircraft the Navy has flown since WWII, including: SB2C Helldiver, F6F Hellcat, TBF Avenger, F4U Corsair, A-4 Skyhawk, F-4 Phantom II, A-6 Intruder, F-14 Tomcats and finally, the F/A-18 Hornet.

Each new type of aircraft seemed to be louder and louder, and the city expanded closer and closer to the airbase. Now, noise is a huge issue. I don't mind the "sound of freedom," but there are a lot of NIMBYs around.

The latest flap is over the need for an outlying landing field. In order to maintain top-notch pilots, the Navy needs a place for them to practice aircraft carrier landings - among other critical maneuvers. The NIMBYs have arisen again. Every time the Navy suggests a possible location, the pitchforks and torches come out and the locals storm the castle.

Then, a local "genius" decided he had the perfect solution: anchor a retired aircraft carrier offshore and let them practice there. Since carrier landings at night are probably the second scariest things a fighter pilot has to do - perhaps behind dodging a SAM - I could not believe anyone could be that abysmally dense, or that the local rag could be stupid enough to publish his idea.

I submitted a response laced with a bit 'o sarcasm, admittedly rare for me (yeah right) and to my everlasting surprise, they published it this morning:

RE 'CHALLENGES FOR the Navy' (Sunday Forum, April 20): Yet another letter writer suggests the 'smart solution' for an outlying landing field for NAS Oceana is to use a retired carrier? If that's so smart, how about driver's training on I-264 at rush hour, in the rain with bald tires?

I am now a legitimately published smartass.