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Member since: Sat Sep 24, 2011, 10:36 AM
Number of posts: 10,033

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Never trust an author

I'm sure this is only of interest to those who suffer from a terminal case of OCD, but I learned something today.

I've read a number of seafaring novels by authors who insist that sailors serve "in" a ship, not "on" a ship. Robert Heinlein comes particularly to mind, because he made a big deal about it and was himself a former serving officer in the U.S. navy, so presumably he knows what he's talking about, eh?

Except I was just reading a novel about the Asiatic Fleet by a gentleman who eventually rose to the rank of Vice Admiral and command of the U.S. 7th Fleet, and he speaks of sailors serving "on" the ship. Presumably, he knows what he's talking about, too.

So who's right? Fortunately, Google is there for us; alas for Mr Heinlein, it appears that according to the official style guide of the U.S. Navy, one serves "on" a ship:


"Also, a Sailor is stationed "on," "at," "is serving with" or "is assigned to" a ship. A Sailor does not serve "in" a ship."

Since VADM Mack and ex-lieutenant Heinlein are also near-contemporaries, one cannot even conjecture that there is some temporal change to account for the discrepancy. Although maybe some writers of British naval fiction use a different style guide. In any event, here I have thought for some 50 years that one served "in" a ship. How too bloody embarrassing.

-- Mal

Voting One's Conscience

(I post this here instead of GDP because it is about the GE and only tangentially related to the primaries)

I've seen a lot of comments, here and there about the Web, ringing changes on the theme that "conscience" will not permit an individual to vote for this or that person in the GE, if the preferred candidate fails to win the primary. With deliberate intent to keep personalities out of the question, I am puzzled by one thing.

Mr Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee for the GE. (Obviously not a done deal, but for the purposes of this post, let's consider that he will, in fact, represent the GOP in the GE) He has already promised to persecute Muslims and Mexicans, suggesting registration and special insignae for the former, and shipping the latter to the border in cattle cars for expulsion. He has openly advocated the assault and battery of those who oppose him; his encouragement of supporters to inflict violence upon protesters is a matter of public record.

If one's conscience will not permit a vote for a Democratic nominee who does not embody the principles one holds dear, my question is this: how does that same conscience allow one to not vote against the principles embodied by the GOP candidate?

-- Mal

Do authoritarians support Mrs Clinton?

A thought which has been brewing in my deranged mind for awhile. It is said that the GOP is the party of authoritarians, but given that the crazies have driven many of the more moderate Republicans out of the GOP and into the diffident arms of the Democratic Party, I wonder if there is any tendency among authoritarians to support Mrs Clinton (as assuredly they would not support Mr Sanders). Given that the Clinton camp does occasionally utter things that would seem to imply an expectation of gratitude, deference, and proper subordination, I wonder if the authoritarians have, perhaps, measurable influence within the Clinton camp (by which I embrace not just her professional staff, but her supporters). And of course, nothing offends and outrages an authoritarian quite so much as being told to put it where the sun does not shine.

Obviously many, or even most, of Mrs Clinton's supporters are not authoritarians, so the question is whether they have a disproportionate place within the ranks.

-- Mal

My thanks for the hearts.

You're beautiful, people.

-- Mal

The Walt Whitman of Wasilla

Raising satire to a new level. Warning: do not read while drinking unless you want to buy a new keyboard.


-- Mal

Pure speculation: will the other shoe ever drop?

As the title says, just a little speculation:

Does Donald Trump really want the job of President of the U.S., or is he running some con and will drop out sooner or later? If the latter, how might he engineer it to get the most strokes for his invincible narcissism? He may have given a hint earlier, when he demanded four million dollars to participate in the debates. Will he demand a HUUUUGE pay increase to take the job, and then take his ball and bat and play elsewhere when he doesn't get it? It's hard to see how a personality like his could willfully put an end to sopping up all the slobbering adulation and attention he's getting, but does he at some point realize he's signing up for what is potentially a really, really hard job? Or is he so psychotic that he actually thinks he can do the job if elected? Does the other shoe ever drop? Or does he really hope to wear them all the way to the White House?

-- Mal

Stand during Hallelujah: yes or no?

I was just watching a YT of "Messiah," performed by King's College in 2009, and the audience did not stand during the "Hallelujah" chorus. I'm not sure I approve. When did this go out of style? Of course the odd dissenter always refused to stand during the chorus, but I've never seen a whole audience (in a church, no less) refrain from standing.

-- Mal

Just a simple brush dance...

Oh, to be that brush.

-- Mal

Nothing more disgruntling...

... than writing a blistering retort to someone, only to find that the post has been locked before you finished. Serves me right for communicating in complete paragraphs.

Which leads me to the burning question: what's "gruntled?" I mean, does anybody walk around gruntled all day? "Hi, Mal, how are you today?" "Oh, I'm gruntled."

-- Mal

Must be a slow news day.

Just heard on my local TV: a guy stopped two people on the street, flashed a fake cop badge, and made off with 14 whole dollars from the second person. The first one ran away and the miscreant got nothing.

They're calling it a "crime spree."

-- Mal
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