And a little popular fiction shall lead them.

“And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards first’?” asked Lee.

“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first,’ and then to ‘Death Eaters,'” replied Kingsley. “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

–J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Learning to make fire


by Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not
a house or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

Rendering Honors

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

April 13


Today’s photo is of another cutter rendering honors to Munro. This is a long-standing, time-honored maritime tradition between warships. The XO explained the process to me.

First the officer of the deck tells all stations to man the rail on the passing side. We were passing port side to port side.

As the ships approach, two whistles sound to bring the crew to attention.

When the bows cross, one whistle is given by the junior ship (the junior ship is under the command of the junior Captain) for hand salute. The senior ship responds in kind.

When the bridge wings pass, the senior ship gives two whistles indicating “ready to” (to drop the salute). The junior ship follows in kind.

When the sterns pass, three whistles are given by each ship indicating “carry on.”

This is a charming custom. It’s beautiful and full of grace, and it’s one of the few times the whole ship is quiet for long moments, which draws and holds your attention. I couldn’t help but think of Douglas Munro, that Coastie for whom the ship is named. Everytime Munro is rendered honors, so is he.


Courtesy of LTJG John Holderman, who found and forwarded me this list. I’m betting all Coasties and Coastie relatives and friends are familiar with it, but for those who aren’t, it’s a riot. It’s a long list, so I’ve edited it down.


How to simulate being a Coastie underway

Buy a steel dumpster, paint it white inside and out, and live in it for six months.

Repaint your entire house every month.

Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.

When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn water heater temperature up to 300 degrees.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn water heater off.

On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they use too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.

Leave your lawn mower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise level.

Once a month, disassemble all your major appliances and electric garden tools, inspect them and then reassemble them.

Do this every week with your lawnmower.

Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors, so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.

Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 4 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say “Sorry, wrong rack.”

Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house -dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.

Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 am, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout “Reveille, reveille, all hands heave out and trice up.”

Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.

Have your family vote on which movie to watch, and then show a different one.

When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and order them to set GQ1.

Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.

Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly.
Spread icing real thick to level it off.

Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout, “Man overboard port side!” Rate your family members on how fast they respond.

Invite at least 100 people you don’t really like to come and live with you for about 6 months.

Have the paperboy give you a haircut with sheep shears.

Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for “liberty.” At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for an inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.

And this is the book that came from that ridealong.

Prepared for Rage