Saturday, November 30, 2013

Broadening Our Horizons LXXI: More Good Beer I'll Give Away

So... we made a beer run yesterday and picked up a sixer o' what you see below.

My bad: I didn't read the fine print on the package.  I knew that Accumulation was New Belgium's seasonal winter offering but I failed to read the fine print: this is an IPA and we do NOT like IPAs.   I had one of these yesterday and we shall drink no more of 'em.

That said, here's what one of our go-to guys say about the brew:
Perhaps more of an IPA than White Ale, tasty none the less and a good switch up on the whole seasonal thing.
Yeah, well... OK.  YOU might think this is a good switch-up but MY mileage varies, and considerably, at that.  And for those o' you who might be considerin' dropping by for a beer over the holidays: this is what you'll be drinkin'.  I won't throw it out, but I'll damned sure pawn it off on the unsuspecting or on those folks who actually LIKE IPAs.  

You'll note the beer we poured in this picture is a Fat Tire.  We might be dumb once in a while, but we ain't stoopid.

Saturday: Well, If You Say So

The pickings are slim at the Usual Source of Saturday's subject material, but there's this:

SOMEONE might could appreciate that, but I get the feeling I've erred on the side of Very Bad Taste.  It wouldn't be the first time that's happened, though.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

One o' the better one-hit wonders o' my generation (MY generation?  Well, close enough for gub'mint work.)... Big Country with "Big Country."

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime...
The last bit is particularly true, as we're drinking in the sun out on the verandah this afternoon while listenin' to RP... for the variety that's innit... and RP is where we heard the tune we posted above.  So now it's back outdoors to continue as we've begun.  This Friday ain't black; au contraire... it's as bright as bright can be!

We've Begun the Countdown

Countdown?  To what, you ask?  This:

The game is officially sold out... which means over 107,000 friendly and not-so-friendly souls will watch the game... in The Big House!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yo Mama...

... dresses you funny:

Commentators on Fox Sports broadcast of the Texas - Texas Tech game, just moments ago.

The guy on the left ain't all that bad... but the guy on the right?  Checks, stripes, and dots... Oh My!

The Annual Thanksgiving Post

Happy Thanksgiving

For the sixth seventh year in a row...  If the Wall Street Journal has been running the same piece since 1961 I figure I can get by with re-runs, too. I'm not quite as good as they are, though. But seriously: Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Gentle Reader. I’m going to be lazy today and re-run what I said last year (in part...there was more), mainly coz (a) it’s all true and (b) I’m fresh out of original i-deers. So…from Turkey-Day-2006:
Of all the things I’m thankful for on this day…family, friends, reasonable health… I thank God most of all for making me an American. Most all of the good things in my life begin and end with that one single fact.
You could do much worse today than read the editorial the WSJ has published every Thanksgiving since 1961.  An excerpt:
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.
As true today as it was back in 1961.
The images come from Thanksgiving Corner, which has a great collection of Thanksgiving wallpaper (ed: the site is apparently dead now). Normally I'd only post a single topical image, but I was so taken with the second image that I had to post it. Shades of Ben Franklin, and all that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Livingston Taylor with a cover of Gerry Rafferty's signature tune... said cover bein' every bit as good as the original.

He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the booze and the one-night stands
And then he'll settle down
In some quiet little town
And forget about everything
But you know he'll always keep moving
You know he's never gonna stop moving
'Cause he's rolling, he's the rolling stone
And when you wake up, it's a new morning
The sun is shining, it's a new morning
And you're going, you're going home
Half-true, that.  Even rolling stones come to rest at some point... this stone came to rest in a quiet little town, gave up the one-night stands, but DIDN'T give up the booze.  That would be too much to ask.

In other news... we attempted to take Happy Hour on the verandah again today but it was a lil bit too fresh for our liking, which is to say 48 degrees, overcast, and a 15 mph wind.  We tried.

Silver Linings Department

Unfortunately, most o' us aren't political cartoonists... but ALL of us have one thing or another to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cheesy Videos XXXI, Wherein We Take Two Minutes Just To Say It's a Beautiful Day and We're Taking Happy Hour On the Verandah

But you should watch even though I've given away the plot.  It's a matter o' duty and obligation, Gentle Reader, and you haz it.

Let's do today's Happy Hour soundtrack while we're here.  Here are the Stones coverin' Dylan...

Watch the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
Watchin’ the river flow
But I’ll sit down on this bank of sand
And watch the river flow
Well... watching the 17th Street Canal and Intra-City Waterway flow.  Same ol', same ol'.

Tales From the Front, Cold War Edition... Episode III

When the goin' gets tough... the tough go shopping*.  Here's one of the first letters I sent home during my four-month deployment to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1976 (the date-year on the letter is wrong).

You'll note the focus of this letter was shopping... even as we did other things during our first week in Chiang Mai, including some "shopping" about which we never, ever spoke.  That said, we brought back a lot o' stuff from that TDY... mostly jewelry for our beloved, including several opals that we mentioned in our letter... and sometimes I wonder what happened to all that.  Does she still have the rings, necklaces, and other stuff?  Does she wear it?  Or has all that stuff been thrown to the winds?  Not that it matters all that much.  That said, **I** still have an object from that trip... and it's been on one hand or the other for over 38 years now:

That's an 18-carat gold four-band puzzle ring.  The Second Mrs. Pennington had a matching ring but she no longer wears it... at least not that I noticed the last time I saw her.  Ah, well.  Ya gotta expect losses, eh?

* In re: shopping.  I wasn't in Thailand over Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Bad Was It This Weekend?

Pretty bad, according to the Portales News-Tribune:
The area’s first bout of winter weather caused at least 40 automobile accidents in Roosevelt County, at least one resulting in a fatality.

Officials blamed icy roads for the multiple accidents that left Roosevelt General Hospital’s emergency room packed and area law enforcement responding to vehicle accidents non-stop as of 8 p.m.

State Police Spokesman Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said a 4-year-old female was killed on U.S. 70 in the only fatal accident state police responded to, but didn’t have any further information on the accident.


National Weather Service Meteorologist Andy Church said the area should expect light to moderate snow to fall this afternoon and continue through Sunday night, with the heaviest snow occurring tonight.

Church predicts about 6 inches of snow, but said road conditions should be safer than Friday’s.

“These will be snow-packed roads as oppose to a sheet of ice,” Church said.
That blurb is from Friday's PNT.  I thought we received two or three inches o' snow this weekend, but it looks like we got the six inches that was predicted.  It's all turning to slush as we speak, and I shall remain housebound until tomorrow afternoon at the very earliest.

Stupid flamingos.  I'd be somewhere in the Caribbean by now if I could fly.

What's Wrong With America?


Am I bein' too harsh here?

Updated, much later that same day:  Dunno why I didn't include this earlier, coz it does fit: 

The h/t goes to My Buddy Ed In Florida, who's in the same boat as I am: essentially debt-free.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Teh Sunday Funny

H/t to My Buddy Ed In Florida.

A Few Thousand More Words On the WX

It looks like we got a couple o' inches worth of that frozen white shit last evening:

My birdies are cold.

Pines ALWAYS look good in snow.

That big-ass blob covering central OK and stretching down to Dallas is the culprit.
I always used to enjoy the season's first snowfall when I lived Up Nawth, to a certain extent.  By that I mean the enjoyment lasted until I had to get out in that crap and drive somewhere.  The best of all possible worlds was when the first storm hit on the weekend and I could build a roaring blaze in the fireplace, sit curled up on the couch with my woman and sip on a toddy or two while staring out the window at a semi-magical transformation.  Today we have neither fireplace nor woman and the neighborhood ain't quite as "transformed" as those o' years past.  It's a much lesser experience, these days.

OTOH we DO have toddies and we don't have to get out and drive in this krep.  Thank The Deity At Hand for small favors.

My Impala SS stuck at the foot o' my driveway, Rochester, NY c. 1998.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday: Girls!

If I had daughters I'd make ask 'em to watch this EVERY day:

Not that there's anything WRONG with Princess-Maids, of course.

Lotsa good stuff today at the Usual Source for these things.

Friday, November 22, 2013

More Cigar Art

In today's mail:

Pretty spiffy packaging, eh?  That's a box o' My Father Corona LEs... a smaller size for winter smoking, or so sez my buddy Tim at  I put fire to the end o' one of these beauties just before I wrote this post and smoked about half of it while knocking back an Abbey Ale from New Belgium.  (The UCR parenthetical: my go-to guys for beer REALLY like Abbey Ale.  So do I.)

But we're supposed to be on about the cigar and its packaging.  I'm pleased to report the cigar smokes as good as it looks in the box.  You'll note the sticks are rather elaborately packaged, what with the nicely finished wood box, silky ribbons, and brass clasp.  The cigar itself is a very spicy, peppery sorta stick and not sumthin' I would recommend for the inexperienced.  That said, it's a well-built cigar with a smooth draw and very, very tasty flavors and aromas.  There's a better review here, for those who appreciate that sorta thang.  Me?  I just smoke 'em.

And now it's back to continue as we've begun.

Dark Day

Every generation has its "where were you when..." day and some generations have more of said days than others.  For my father's generation it was Pearl Harbor.  My grandfather's generation remembered the Crash o' '29.  I have several such days and today is one of 'em: it's the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination.  

I was only 18 at the time but I was already in the Air Force, specifically in the early months of radar maintenance training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I was in class when we... my instructors and my classmates... got the news.  Another instructor, a Staff Sergeant known for his practical jokes, stuck his head in the door of our classroom and said "the president's been shot."  Our instructor said "that's not funny, Bob (or Joe, or Phil... I don't recall the guy's real name)" and got a very brief deadpan response to the effect of "I'm not joking, it's all over the teevee and the radio."  There was a moment of stunned silence until our instructor said "I'll be right back" and exited the classroom.  He went down to the front office for instruction on how to proceed, returning in about ten minutes.  All of the students in Allee Hall... some 800 (or so) airmen in basic electronics courses... were told to "go on break and stand by."

And so we did.  Transistor radios appeared out of nowhere and small groups formed in the break areas to huddle around them.  It was eerily quiet except for the tinny radio speakers.  We stood outside silently listening and smoking for about a half an hour when instructors appeared at the doors of the building to order everyone back inside.  Once we were back in the classroom we were told school was cancelled for the remainder of the day and we were to form up and march back to our barracks areas.  The same thing was happening all over the base... the entire 3380th School Group closed down.

We marched from the school area back to our barracks, a distance of about two miles, picking up additional formations of other students as we passed more school buildings along the way.  The marching... to and from school, every day, five days a week... was normally NOT a quiet affair, what with thousands of troops digging their heels into the asphalt, flight leaders calling cadence, and flights singing marching songs.  But not on this day.  All that could be heard were boots in cadence and the occasional "yer right, yer right, yer right."  No songs.  No murmurs.  No nothing... just boots.

We got back to our squadron areas, came to a halt, did a right-face on command and received a curt "Dismissed!"  And then we all filtered into day rooms in the squadron areas to gather around black and white televisions as the rest of the story unfolded.  I don't remember much else about the day but I do recall the silence... the pervading and all-encompassing silence.


Dark Day, Part II.  Here are two thousand words on the WX:


You'll note the worst of it is well to the north and east of P-Ville.

I turned on the heat.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

No Outdoor Happy Hour For YOU, Pennington!

The temp has dropped 11 degrees in the past hour and apparently is in free-fall, as we speak:

Aiiieee.  We'll be listenin' to stuff like this today...

Oh, my... do we EVER loves us some Kat Edmonson.  She's the complete package.

Letters Spam... We Get Letters Spammed

One of the things I absolutely LOVE about G-Mail is its wonderfully efficient spam filter.  I very rarely see any of the spam that hits my e-mail on a daily basis (there are 180 messages in my spam folder, as we speak) except for the spam that I WANT to see.  The Cadillac Motor Car Company sends me one such message a week, sometimes more, and that's the sorta spam I like.  Last week I got this:

Thanks, Cadillac, but I'm a "buy and hold" kinda guy and The Tart is only a lil over 18 months old, as we speak.  It'll be a while before she's replaced... if ever.  (In re: if ever.  It's entirely conceivable The Tart will outlive me, given our relative ages.)  There's also this lil matter of pricing, Cadillac.  You may have priced me right out of the market, seein' as how you raised the price o' the car by 15% over the previous model.  A base price o' $46,025.00 for the bare-bones, bottom o' the line, entry-level model is pretty danged steep.

And then today I get this:

That's pretty cool.  You can read the MT article here... or watch this:

I gotta admit: the car IS beautiful.  But not $46K beautiful.

In other news... The NWS outta ABQ updated our WX forecast and it got WORSE.  Note:

It looks like the whole danged weekend is blown and Monday is only marginally better.  Like the man is fond o' sayin': it's always SUMTHIN'.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Which We Lay In Provisions Ahead o' the Impending Storm

Beer?  Check.  Dr. Pepper?  Check.  Bread, half & half, coffee, bacon?  Check.  Cigars?  Full up.  We're good to go... bring it ON.

Let's do today's Happy Hour soundtrack while we're here.
I'm gonna blow this damn candle out
I don't want nobody comin' over to my table
I got nothing to talk to anybody about
All good dreamers pass this way some day
Hidin' behind bottles in dark cafes... dark cafes
Those are Joni's words but they're my thoughts about this day.  I wouldn't have gone any-damned-where today if it weren't for the fact the weather's gonna be breakin' bad day after tomorrow and we still need to eat.  And drink.  Nope, we'd have hidden behind a bottle or two at Chez Buck's cafe and simply kept to ourselves.  It's THAT kinda day.

Oh, yeah.  Music.  Here it is...

This, too, shall pass.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack, In Two Flavors

We're listenin' to more Warren today and the very first tune I heard on Pandora (yes, Pandora) was this:

She's so many women
He can't find the one who was his friend
So he's hanging on to half a heart
But he can't have the restless part
So he tells her to hasten down the wind
Ah, yes.  She IS "so many women."  Always was, always will be.  But that said, the tune brings to mind the arguably more famous... or more popular, one doesn't necessarily follow the other... cover by La Ronstadt:

I have both versions but I much prefer Warren's, if only for the immaculate slide work by David Lindley.  We've featured Mr. Lindley before here at EIP, most notably this track.  It don't get much better than that, Gentle Reader.


Heh.  I only had to re-start Firefox twice to get that, which is better than usual.  I think I quit goin' to the Usual Source o' these things somewhere around Veterans Day (the site crashes Firefox)... but ya know how it can be: sometimes you just can't stay away.

In other news... today is lookin' a whole lot better than yesterday, weather-wise.  Note:

Didja see the Friday-Saturday forecast?  The bad part is that it doesn't get much better all the way out to Thanksgiving, with the highest high supposed to be 50.  Aiiieee!

Let me remind ya, Ma Nature: winter isn't supposed to begin until December 21, or thereabouts.  Knock it off!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Chilly...

... overcast, gray, and blah.  I don't want anyone to try and tell me weather doesn't affect our mood, coz it DOES, Gentle Reader, oh, yes... it DOES.  So here's what the inter-tubes say about the weather here in P-Ville...

This makes one wonder if weathermen actually look out the freakin' window before they publish their krep.  Why?  Coz here's what the world outside MY window looks like:

That's hardly "clear."  So... I got nuthin', other than a bitch about the weather and those who report it.  Blah Я Us.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Letters I've Written, Never Meaning To Send Post

We've been listenin' to a lot o' Moody Blues over the past few and I've heard this chestnut at least five times during that time...

Nights in white satin, never reaching the end,
Letters I've written, never meaning to send.
Beauty I'd always missed with these eyes before.
Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore.
Ah, yes.  "Letters I've written," and there were MANY.  We're in receipt of the latest batch of old love letters from 35+ years ago and the amount o' correspondence is voluminous.  Like this:

We've spent the last two days goin' through a lot o' those letters... mainly in search of our sworn testimony to the Miss Marple Detective Agency.  And we found it, too.  I've read that letter at least three times and need to re-read it yet again, mainly on account o' be'coz I don't know if I'm goin' to post it or not.  I'm not sure how to position that letter in the blog's context, I'm not sure if the letter is appropriate blog content, and I'm not sure if I want to give that much o' myself away.  I'm still thinkin' on it.

In the meantime, we did come across this... an excerpt from a letter I wrote on 13 March, 1976, while I was deployed to Doi Inthanon, Thailand.  Without further ado...

We tried to make the letters to our beloved somewhat entertaining... just, yanno, as a break from all that mushy stuff.  I never did finish that story, to the best o' my knowledge.  I DID, however, continue to write a TON o' mushy stuff.

Another Case o' Bringin' Teh Funny

You know those tacky stick-figure things people put on the back windows of their minivans and SUVs?  Here's the best one I've EVAH seen, by far:

H/t to My Buddy Ed In Florida.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ooooh... That's Gonna Leave a Mark

A screen cap from the Usual Hockey Source:

"AftonBladet" is a Swedish newspaper... and they follow the Wings' fortunes quite closely, given all the Swedes on the team.  So there's that.  But, yeah, last night was yet another heart-breaker: a home loss in the shootout skills competition.  And that was after the Wings blew a 3-1 lead.  We're edging closer and closer to panic; I may need sumthin' stronger than egg nog and whiskey to make it through tonight's game on The Island.

It's bad at the moment but we're nowhere close to the Dead Things era.  The Wings only managed 40 points (out of a possible 160) on the first full season I became a Wings fan... that was back in 1985-86... and finished dead last in the Norris division.  I KNOW Dead Things when I see 'em and we ain't there.  Yet.

Saturday: Sacha Baron Cohen Brings Teh Funny

This is without a doubt the BEST acceptance speech at an awards ceremony, evah:

The guy is good, ain't he?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Crisis? What Crisis?

The Beloved Wings play the Caps tonight and all is NOT well in Dee-troit.  Briefly:
Detroit has lost eight of its past 11 games to slip into fourth place in the Atlantic. The Red Wings are winless in their past six games at Joe Louis Arena, their worst drought at home since 1996-97; however, five of the losses have come to overtime or shootouts, cushioning the slump.

“We’ve been able to get one point [at home] a number a times and we haven’t been able to get the second one,” coach Mike Babcock told the media on Thursday. “We’re taking steps here and need to continue to get better. Playing without the puck will be key for us.”
"Cushioning the slump" sez I?  More like emphasizing the slump to my way o' thinkin'.  The Wings would make the playoffs if the playoffs started today and that's a Good Thing.  Still and even, this is NOT the sort o' hockey Wingnuts are accustomed to seein'.  We're not panicking yet, but we are oh-so-close.  

Soon, mebbe.

Let's Go Red Wings!

C'est Mon Huitième Anniversaire

In which we celebrate (?) eight years of blather, drivel, bad jokes, and lots and lots o' unmitigated horseshit.  That would amount to 5,714 posts (not counting this one) and 42,215 comments (at least a third o' which would be me commenting on a comment).

But like the ol' sayin' goes... with all this horseshit layin' around there's GOT to be a pony in here somewhere.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I Don't Use Gub'mint Web Sites

Precisely why I don't use any DoD web site (like MyPay, TriCare, etc.), actually:

But wait!  There's more!  DoD policy requires you to change your password every 90 days.  I'll freely admit I adhere to the upper/lower case, number, AND a special character in my passwords... but I don't change the damned things every 90 days.  Yes, security IS important, but you can go too damned far.

New! (Not Really) Improved! (That Much Is True)

I had to approve a comment that was in the moderation queue this morning... the default being all comments on posts over 90 days old go into moderation... a comment left on a post I wrote back in December of 2005.  That particular post is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, sources of EIP Google hits and not a month goes by without someone landing on "Wakkanai Air Station."  I took a look at the post this morning and saw it's pretty sorry by our standards today.  So I cleaned it up a bit, added a couple o' photos and re-published it.  And then I thought "why wait for one or two googlers to appreciate the wonderfulness of our efforts?"  Why, indeed.  So here ya go:

Monday, December 05, 2005

Wakkanai Air Station, Japan

I got to thinking today (a dangerous pursuit, for me) that what this blog needs is a few war stories to spice things up a bit. After all, I spent 22 years in the Air Force, so I should have some pretty good stories to tell, right? Not really. Or, to put a finer point on it, most of my war stories aren't suitable for publishing in a family-rated blog. And I do want to keep this blog rated PG-13, at the very most. And then there's the other problem: memory. Unlike a lot of folks my age I don't have a treasure-trove of memory-jogging photos, documents, pins, ball caps, and all that other good stuff one accumulates over the years. Most of the photos from my AF days are in the custody of The First Mrs. Pennington, the rest I boxed up and sent to Number Two Son for safe keeping when I downsized life to fit into the RV. (Ed: I've since retrieved a lot of those pics from SN2)  So, no joy there! I have to rely on my diminishing supply of brain cells, nothing else. Scary thought.

Ah. But there's the web! I googled "Wakkanai Air Station" to begin my trip down the memory hole and hit pay dirt. Indulge me for a moment before I tell you about Wakkanai; I'm gonna go off on a tangent.

Tangent: All military careers could arguably be called "different," especially for my generation. Guys in my cohort got sent all over the world; the travel opportunities today, compared to what I experienced, are very limited. Most USAF people spend their careers going from AF base to AF base. And that's where my difference comes in. In 22 years I was "permanent party" on only two Air Force bases: Yokota AB, Japan ('75 - '77) and Tinker AFB, OK ('83 - '85). You can add Keesler AFB, MS if you like - I was in a school squadron there in '63 -'64. The rest of my career was spent on Air Force Stations, literally on mountain tops (or the highest ground around) in the case of my Air Defense Command radar assignments, and isolated overseas locations during my tours on surveillance and monitoring (read as: spook) sites. Which brings us to Wakkanai!

Wakkanai AS (WAS), Japan is on the northern tip of Hokkaido, as far north as you can go in Japan without getting your feet wet. The unit had various designations over its lifetime, but it was mostly the 6986th Security Group, a unit of the late, great, USAF Security Service. Wakkanai was a surveillance site, with a (then) state of the art system known as a FLR-12. The FLR-12 had a huge antenna farm. Wakkanai opened in the mid-1950s as an Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) radar site, it ceased operations in late 1971 and closed in 1972. I was there twice, from 1968 - 1970, and again in 1971. WAS was an "isolated" tour, dependents were authorized, but the tour length was short: 15 months unaccompanied and two years, accompanied.

The one thing people always remember about Wakkanai is the snow: we had an average annual snow fall of 275 inches. Do the math...that's a tick shy of 23 feet of snow. Every year. And it was cold. The snow began falling in late November and stayed on the ground until late March or early April. All bases are surrounded with at least eight-foot high chain link fences, usually topped with three strands of barbed wire. In mid-winter the WAS fences were useless. Even though it was illegal to leave the base through anything but the main gate (and if you got caught you were in trouble!), we routinely scrambled up and down the snow banks that used to be a fence and went "across the street." "Across the street" was a euphemism for the three dive bars that were literally across the street from the base...the Club Seven, The Inferno, and The Shadow. And Man! - were they ever fun! "Hey Buck! Where ya goin'?" "Across the street!" That's all the further I'm gonna go: PG-13.

There wasn't a lot to do in the winter. POVs weren't allowed on the roads in the winter, so you became semi-isolated, except for busses or taxis into town. We worked, partied, worked. Rinse. Repeat. Summer was another story altogether. Summer was racing season! Wakkanai was where I learned how to ride motocross, and my buddies and I raced all over the island of Hokkaido, mostly on the sides of mountains that were used as ski slopes in the winter. We practiced on Saturday and raced on Sunday. After practice there was usually a formal dinner and serious partying with our hosts at the races, usually the local Motorcycle Federation of Japan (MFJ) affiliate club. Americans were a rarity in that part of Japan in the late 60s, so we were feted a lot. And those Nipponese racers were some sneaky guys...every single party I went to they tried (and sometimes succeeded) to get us falling-down drunk. Racing with a hangover isn't recommended... don't try this at home. (YrHmblScrb is 427 in the pic at right)

It would be easy to go on and on. Wakkanai was certainly one of the best, if not THE best, assignments in my AF career. I traveled all over Hokkaido, learned to love sushi, banged handlebars with some very cool dudes, acquired a taste for Sapporo beer, and learned to stay away from all but the best Suntory whiskies. And I loved my work, too. I won't talk about what we did, but it was important. Nuff said.

Do go visit the Wakkanai Air Station web site. There's history, mementos, and literally hundreds of pictures, and you know what they say about pics and words... David Lynch, the Website Facilitator, has done a great job of putting together a site that captures the feel of the place and the people that were stationed there. Well done, David!
As noted above, Wakkanai was one of the best of my Air Force assignments.  Even with all that gotdamned snow.