The Lieutenant

I saw a story on reddit this morning that reminded me of something that happened long ago during my very undistinguished, and relatively brief military career.

I was an MP and was ordered to chauffer a newly assigned second lieutenant around the fort.  During our drive, he saw a civilian car parked right under a sign that said the parking space was for official business.  The second lieutenant ordered me to write the offending car a ticket.  I informed the lieutenant that the car belonged to the post engineer (a civilian), who used his personal auto to conduct official busines.  The lieutenant repeated his order, so I complied.

Cue the post engineer, who came up to me extremely upset with what I was doing.  I reminded the engineer that I was an SP/4, ordered to write the ticket by the second lieutenant in the patrol car.  I also reminded the engineer (in case he was unaware) that as an SP/4, it was against Army regulations for a soldier of my rank to know that a second lieutenant was an idiot.  All these years later, I believe that’s still the case.  I also informed him that he, as a civilian, was not covered by that regulation.  Moreover, it was acceptable (perhaps even beneficial) for a lieutenant colonel, such as the Provost Marshal, to be aware that a given second lieutenant was an idiot. 

For the record, all second lieutenants are not idiots, and all idiots are not second lieutenants.  However, if you were to use a Venn Diagram to describe the situation, the overlap of the two logical sets would be quite large.

The engineer took that information to the Provost Marshal. The ticket was pulled.  The lieutenant was put in charge of MPs at his own military base.  That base was closed, so it didn’t do much for his resume, but did keep him out of further trouble.  Most of us lived happily ever after.

The Name Is the Game

Unless you live in Rhode Island, and not too  many people do, it may amuse you to know that the ballot in that state seeks voter approval to change the name of the State of Rhode Island to the State of Rhode Island.

You thought that already was the name, didn’t you?  It’s not.  The official name of that smallest of all US states is “the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.”

One reason to change it is while the City of Providence still exists, and is the state capitol, Providence Plantations do not.  Another one is that the word plantation calls up images of cotton and tobacco plantations in the deep south, which were only viable because of slavery.

While I haven’t been following public opinion on the topic, I do know that a similar vote in 2010 went down to a staggering defeat, with 78% of those voting rejecting the name change.

We might not know who our new president will be late tonight, but we ought to know whether the state where I attended a lot of Boy Scout camps emerges from November 3, 2020 with a new name.  Stay tuned.

Things I Know

If you haven’t already voted early, please vote on Tuesday.  It’s important.  We had early voting in New York for the first time this year.  Of course, lessons were learned.  I think for the next election, there will probably be more places to cast votes early and the hours for voting will be more consistent.

I don’t usually make any mention of my age here, but I must be fairly advanced in age.  My wife and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.  To show you how wonderful she is, she bought me a $1,000 lens for my camera.  In case anyone cares, it was a 150-600 mm Sigma contemporary.  I wanted to take pictures of Saturday’s blue moon, but the moon was entirely hidden by clouds.  We usually take a trip to celebrate our anniversary, last year to New York’s Finger Lakes.  The year before to London.  We have it a lot better than many people during this pandemic because staying at home is the thing that affects me most.

Our son just moved out of our house.  He’s lived in California for 19 years.  He married there.  He and his wife own a house there.  But he just got all of his crap out of our attic!  Took him over a week to organize it and decide what to keep vs what to throw away, but he did it.  Our house is so much lighter now that I’m certain it will get much better gas mileage going forward.

In addition to taking his stuff to his house, I had a few things around here that were too heavy for me to move.  He helped me get them to the local dump here.

Actor Sean Connery has passed away at the age of 90.  RIP.  It looks like he wasn’t immortal after all.  There can be only one. 

The New York Post recently reported that Lady Gaga has reworn her meat dress while making a public service announcement about voting.  Oh, I hope not.  I hope she had a new one made.  The old one must be awfully ripe by now if it was preserved.