24 December 2013

I Saw Three Ships: Steve Dimond, Dave Lock, Frank Mullen

I was in the basement and tripped on a box of stuff I've been meaning to sort through. Out fell a  cassette tape in its plastic case.

I thought I lost this recording of I Saw Three Ships years ago. In the early 1990s. I was living in Fredericksburg, VA and arranged the old carol for my old shipmate Dave Lock, who had also left the Navy and owned an audio/visual production company in Wilmington, DE. He was making a holiday promotion for clients, and I was glad to help out.

To sing the lead, we got another old shipmate, Steve Dimond, who was working in Las Vegas. I put together the MIDI tracks in Virginia, Steve recorded the lead vocal to digital tape in Las Vegas, and Dave mixed the whole thing together in Wilmington.

Dave and I haven't seen each other in years. Steve is gone now.

But here we are, together again.

 

22 December 2013

Santa Visits Northeast Navy Band

If you've ever seen the classic Christmas movie "Miracle on 34th Street," you know that Santa Claus can talk to children all over the world, whatever their language or dialect may be.

So it's no surprise that when Santa visits Newport, RI, he speaks with the accent of a southern New Englander. In fact, when you hear Santa talk to Northeast Navy Band's director, LCDR Carl Gerhardt, you'd swear you're listening to NMA member and Rhode Islander Jack Rodway.

Santa's clarinet style is a lot like Jack's, too. It's a shame Jack couldn't make it to this concert; he and St. Nick have a lot in common.

Now that I think about it, you never see Santa Claus and Jack Rodway at the same time. Hmm...

15 December 2013

Melody? I don't need no stinkin' melody.

A few years ago I came across a clip of the Russian Navy Showband performing "Let It Be." It demonstrated in a clear and unique manner what Navy bands are capable of doing, not that they should necessarily do them. (I've included it again at the bottom of this post, for those who missed it.)

Today, I present a new addition to the International Hall of Navy Band Greatness. This is the INS Chilika Band of the Indian Navy, headquartered on India's east coast at the INS Chilika Sailor Training Establishment.

Evidently, a new musical practice has swept the Indian subcontinent. Not knowing the precise term, I'll call it "Music Minus Melody." Performer and listener are now equal partners. The band's job is to play, and the listener's job is to try to guess what the band is playing.

In western Navy band concerts, the audience is spoon-fed by a narrator who spells it out for you, as in "The music of Irving Berlin blah blah of Russian birth yada yada but a true American through and through blah blah et cetera 'God Bless America.'"

When "Music Minus Melody is employed, the listener is not offered the smallest clue. He or she must consider the complexities of harmony, texture and traditional accompaniment styles in order to suss out the meagerest of melodic implications.

I believe the band in this clip is playing "(There'll Be a) Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." You may disagree. Feel free to let me know, and don't feel obligated to prove your reasoning. There is no "right" or "wrong" where "Music Minus Melody"is concerned. It's much like an interfaith prayer breakfast--I pray to Jesus, you pray to the Three Headed Monkey, someone says "Amen," and we all shake hands head to the office.

But I really do think it's "Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight." You'll notice that at about 1:03, the conductor briefly stops conducting. He's clearly as astonished as I was to find trace evidence of a melody.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, here is the INS Chilika Sailor Training Establishment playing "_______."

   

Oh, yes, I almost forgot; here's the video that started my quest for collecting evidence of greatness in Navy bands. This is the Russian Navy Show Band. For those who saw this when I first posted it a few years ago, be warned: this is not a fine wine that improves with age.

 

13 December 2013

Fly High the Banner

A month ago, I came home from the Veterans Day parade and, to my surprise, found a Navy pennant flying in my lawn. It was a gift from the folks across the street. Rick and Cheri are good neighbors, solid citizens, a proud Army family with three sons serving in the National Guard. 

The best way to show appreciation for such a gift is to display it proudly. Our prairie winds, unfortunately, often prohibit this. 

But today was calm, so I'm showing my thanks by flying the banner...

10 November 2013

Fair winds, old friends.

I'm thinking today about shipmates who are gone.

Mike. Steve. Mark.

I'm not a member of the World War Two generation whose whose sacrifices are honored daily at funerals and memorial services. I barely make it into the Social Security generation. But none of us are immortal. We all, eventually, go.

Phil, my barracks mate; gone. Bill, gone.

My commanding officers were older than me, so it's only natural that they go before I do. Commander Field. Lieutenant Commander Clemens. They're gone.

Some were young sailors who worked for me, kids that drove me crazy. Pitty-Pat, the Young Buck. They're gone.

Only a few decades ago, you might never hear of the loss of Jack or Pat. Today, the news is on your screen and in your eyeballs within seconds. Ricky is gone. And Thumper. And Ben, and Noonie, and Doug.

Seen with grand perspective, they were veterans, leaders, sailors, Marines, Americans who gave years of service to their country.But to me, they were people I worked with, worked for, played with, ate with in the chow hall, bitched with when we were passed over for promotions and drank with when we sewed on our new stripes.

Our lives are the results of the lessons we learn. I am fortunate that so many of my teachers wore gold anchors, silver bars, red hash marks and bell-bottom trousers.

22 September 2013

Washington, D.C., Navy Yard Security, 1974.

In early 1974, set up an audition for the Navy music program. Since I lived in suburban Washington, D.C., I was told to report to the U.S. Navy Band at the Sail Loft in the Navy Yard.

The bus dropped me off in Southeast D.C., and I walked a few blocks to the Navy Yard. It was morning rush hour, and a Marine was standing outside the guard shack, busily saluting uniformed personnel and waving pedestrians and vehicles through the gate.

I walked up to him and told him I was going to the Navy Band.

"Are they expecting you?" he asked.

"Yes, "I have an appointment."

"Okay," he said. "This is Gate One. To get to the Sail Loft, you have to go to Gate Two."

I walked through Southeast Washington, D.C. to Gate Two.

A Marine was standing outside the guard shack, busily saluting uniformed personnel and waving pedestrians and vehicles through the gate.

I told him, "I have an appointment at the Navy Band. The guy at Gate One said I had to come here."

"Do you have a pass?" he asked.

"No."

"You can't get on base without a pass."

"Where do I get a pass?"

"Gate One," he said.

I walked through Southeast Washington, D.C. back to Gate One. The first Marine was saluting uniformed personnel and waving pedestrians and vehicles through the gate. I looked straight ahead, picked up my pace like I was in a hurry and strode through the gate, past the guard shack and all the way to the Sail Loft.

26 August 2013

Rifle Company MUs: Navy Music's Champions

(WASHINGTON, DC) NavyLyresNews - The Bureau of Personnel has authorized a special designator for Navy Musicians who completed recruit training as members of regular rifle companies.

"Rifle Company musicians are a special breed," said RADM Vincent Tremont, Vice-chief of Training Systems Command. "They are the vital core of Navy music, the salty MUs who went through boot camp 'the hard way.'"

Recruit training commands traditionally form bands from volunteer recruits who, in exchange for playing at graduation ceremonies and occasional off-base functions, skate through boot camp, skipping drills, flitting from rehearsal to performance and marching in civilian parades.

"The new designator recognizes that boot camp is not a party;" says RADM Tremont. "It is an experience designed to test and train the Navy's future leaders. And the Navy MUs who have undergone training in regular rifle companies have proven to be the he-men, the she-women, the muscle of Navy music."

The new RCMU crossed-rifle insignia is worn beneath the lyre on the MU rating badge and identifies the bearer as a member of Navy music's elite.

Notable Rifle Company Musicians include Jack Dye, Frank Mullen and the legendary Rocky Palumbo.

01 August 2013

Massive Cuts at Navy Band Mid-South.

This is not a joke.

The following text is copied verbatim from Navy Band Mid-South's Facebook Page:


****IMPORTANT NOTICE TO OUR CUSTOMERS****

 Due to manpower reductions executed within our organization Navy Band Mid-South will no longer have the capability to provide the following:

-Parade Band
-Ceremonial Band
-Woodwind Ensemble

 Military ceremonial support will be provided by a Brass Quintet and restricted to indoor events.

We appreciate your patience as we transition to a smaller organization. If you have any questions, please contact band operations at (901) 874-5785 or nbms.ops@navy.mil.

03 July 2013

Flute 1 and Flute 2



Angelina Dowell, of the Fleet Forces Band, and the NMA's George Dietzler have a lot in common. They're both flute players, both Navy musicians.

Their enlistment periods don't quite match up, though; Angelina joined the Navy in 2009, whereas George signed up a bit earlier--1947, to be exact.

02 July 2013

O! Say, can you see...


Navy Musicians honor our flag and country as a part of their regular duties. Although many of us are no longer in uniform, we continue to honor flag and country when the anthem is played. The Defense Authorization Act of 2009 specifically allows and encourages veterans to render the hand salute during the playing of the National Anthem.

For us, saluting during the National Anthem is not a duty; it's a privilege.



CDR Ralph Ingraham

My early-1980s shipmate from Navy Band Newport is now the Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy School of Music. I was glad that CDR Ralph Ingraham found the time to join us; he's a busy guy, just a few weeks shy of retiring.


Boy, things change. Back in Newport, the two words you wouldn't have used to describe MU2 Ralph Ingraham were "shy" and "retiring."

01 July 2013

Blackout

Now comes the post-reunion Navy Lyres blackout period.

I'm in my room at the Holiday Inn, suitcase packed with NMA shirts, computer full of images of a wonderful week and an itinerary sheet covered with flight departure times, layover times, arrival times. This is everyone's least favorite part of an NMA reunion: the end.

So this is my travel day. I'll arrive home tonight, brief my wife on the week's events and crash. I have much more to share with you after this stellar--there's that word again--week. I'll pass these things along over the coming week.

But now it's time for me to shut down. The rains that threatened our reunion, yet never came, just arrived, so travel schedule may become iffy..

Later, my friends.

30 June 2013

Did we sound this good?


U.S. Fleet Forces Ceremonial Band, 
LT C.S. White, Conductor,
 Navy Musicians Association Reunion, 
June 20, 2013.

It's the white of their whites that first strikes you. That's only natural; they haven't played a tune yet. They're milling about, warming up, tossing tuning notes around. But geez, those whites are white. You think about your time as a Navy musician and wonder: did I look that good? It doesn't seem possible.

After a minute or two, the conductor's commands ring with distant familiarity: "Band, stand by." "Band, attention." The sailors react with a precision that, again, causes you to wonder: was my band this sharp?

Members of the U.S. Fleet Forces Band mill about smartly.
Following a series of hand signals from the conductor, the musicians put horns to lips and wait for the downbeat. They look wonderful, yes, but it's just a ceremonial band--a gun tub, shitty-ditty, bag band. You played a million gigs like this, with ceremonial bands of this very size, on piers and ships, at flagpoles, in parades, drill halls and, yes, hotel ballrooms. They'll probably sound pretty good. They're Navy musicians, after all, so they'll--

The conductor gives the downbeat and the music instantly fills the ballroom. Small in numbers, the band is giant in sound.Their dynamics are so well-planned, so well-executed that a dynamic swell beyond  mezzo-forte has the effect of a fortissimo. Yet even when playing softly, the sound is big, full, robust. Much of the music is familiar. In fact you've played many of these same Sousa marches and arrangements of patriotic favorites. Perhaps it's that familiarity that makes you ask: "Did my band sound this good?"

LT C.S. White conducts"Stars and Stripes Forever."
Sadly--or happily--this is a question that cannot be answered. True, a number of people have used the word "stellar" to describe last night's performance, and I think the adjective does not exaggerate. And the performance was captured in audio and video, which could help assess the band's fine points of art.

But technology records only sight and sound. No microphone can record memory's melodies. No camera preserves the emotional images of concerts in Mediterranean ports, graduations at Great Lakes, of underway replenishment, of rehearsals on the fantail, of late-night dances at the "O" Club and early morning inspections on the drill field. These experiences are preserved in a chamber of the heart that is impervious to microphones and cameras.

Perhaps this could all be said more simply: I don't know if I ever played in a band as good as the Fleet Forces Ceremonial Band, but I know I never played in a band whose rendition of "Anchors Aweigh" caused grown men to cry.

...that I will support and defend the Constitution...


MUCS Scott Davis readies for reenlistment.

The Saturday night dinner/dance of the NMA reunion started with solemnity: a reenlistment ceremony at which CAPT Brian O. Walden, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Band, administered the oath of enlistment to MUSC Scott Davis of the U.S. Fleet Forces Band.





CAPT Walden administers the oath.

But first, CAPT Waldren addressed the roomful of veterans. "I'll read the oath slowly," he said, "so you can think about it. I ask you all to recommit yourselves to the support and defense of our Constitution."

Nobody objected to this assignment, and the ceremony began.

Lights out.

Taps. Taps. Lights out. All hands return to their racks and maintain silence about the decks.

Taps.

29 June 2013

Winding down

It's eleven p.m.-ish. The concluding event of the NMA reunion, the Saturday night banquet, has ended. We're packing up our gear, and folks with early departures tomorrow are saying their goodbyes. It's over.

Well, not exactly. The lounge is still open and our equipment is still set up. If enough hearty souls show up--and I just saw a few heading in that direction--we'll cap off the reunion with a farewell jam session.

And what a reunion it has been. I'll have much to tell you and to show you, thanks to the magic of unfocused photographs and shaky videos. Yeah, they suck, but you'll get the picture.

Meanwhile, I'm heading towards the lounge myself. I get to sleep in tomorrow, so I can do a little night owling around the hotel tonight. Since I don't leave until Monday, I'll have time to catch up on coverage. My postings always gets sporadic on the last night of reunions, as there's so much going on I hardly dare take a break.

So until I get the chance to reconnect with you, let me just say that the word "stellar" would not be too strong a description of the 2013 NMA reunion. Our functions are always wonderful, and you always hear me praising them, but something was different this year. I've heard people say that exact phrase: "Something was different this year." I have some ideas, but they need pondering and refining.

And I need to go downstairs to the lounge.It's almost over and I don't want to miss a damn thing.

2013 NMA Membership Meeting

Two topics dominated the 2013 general membership meeting of the Navy Musicians Association: what a good time we're having, and how attract more MUs so they can share this experience.

The meeting was marked by a distinct lack of whining, moaning and bitching. Somehow, we're all on our best behavior. Vice-president Kim Holl noted that the hotel management and staff have complimented the NMA on its conduct and professionalism. I guess they were expecting the Ringling Brothers Clown Convention.

President Terry Chesson announced the appointment of LCDR Carl Gerhard as our Active Duty Liaison. If you've ever met Carl, you know that he's the right guy to spread the word to our active-duty shipmates about the benefits of membership in the NMA. And if you've heard him at our jam session, you also know that he's a hell of a trumpet player.  

Our current officers and board of directors were reelected by acclamation to serve further two-year terms.

The meeting was over in 45 minutes. The whole thing was smooth, efficient and focused. It just didn't seem right.

And now, until tonight's closing festivities: Liberty Call!!!!.

Behind Closed Doors

Members, families and guests are now in the ballroom, finishing the traditional NMA Saturday morning breakfast/gabfest. Much of the gabbing concerns last night's concert. I'd like to gab about it too, but time is short. For now, let me just say that it was, so far, the high point of a reunion that has been bursting with high points. I'd say the band has never been better. More on this later.

In a few minutes our families and guests will be excused and we'll hold the annual general membership meeting. The president and members of the Board of Directors will update the members on the year's behind-the-scenes business and report on plans and possibilities. The members will have the opportunity to raise concerns and offer suggestions.

This afternoon I'll report the highlights and any crucial information that can't wait. In fact, we'll have a full afternoon of liberty before the evening banquet, so I won't be rushed.

Speaking of rushing, it's about time for those doors to close.

The Secret of Longevity


George Dietzler says that the key to keeping a sharp mind in your later years is to exercise it. Every morning, you'll see him in the hotel lobby with the morning paper, following the news, weighing editorial opinion and reading advice that someone who enlisted in the late 1940s obviously doesn't need.

28 June 2013

Sea Legs


Mike Vax

Mike Vax led the renowned Dukes of Dixieland, played lead trumpet in the Stan Kenton Orchestra and still leads the Stan Kenton Alumni band. He's a busy, world-class performer.

But that's not why he's here. Mike is here because he's an MU. Sure, we'll feature him as a soloist during tonight's concert, but after the applause, he'll sit back down in the trumpet section with his shipmates
.

NMA Reunion SitRep

The concert band rehearsed this morning; veterans of the U.S. Navy Show Band had a lunchtime get-together. Tonight is our concert and buffet.

And this afternoon is the first liberty we've had since getting underway Wednesday morning. Finally, I have time to sit down and tell you what's going on in more than two sentences.

Sign-in sheet, p. 3



This is our biggest reunion in recent years. We've almost filled up three sign-in sheets, and more folks are expected for the weekend. We've filled all our rooms. We've filled the concert band seats. And, boy, have we filled the lounge. Night after night, Ashley's has been packed with MUs, playing, reminiscing and. well, lying to each other.





The bands are excellent this year. The concert band includes five french horns, bass clarinet and saxophone, enough Bb clarinets to cover all parts and a set of timpani. Dance bands have played morning and night, with exceptional soloists and better cohesiveness than ever. And the jam sessions--wow. Eventually, I'll have time to post a few short video clips. In the meantime, let me just say this: one night I played walking bass behind Marty Nau, Mike Vax and a few others swinging MUs, and I could hardly keep up.

This is a reunion we'll be talking about for a long time. Sea stories, music and magic. We're doing just fine in Virginia Beach, wishing you were here and already talking about next year.



Bumper Sticker of the Year



By George




Have you ever wondered what playing in a Navy band was like in the 1940s?

Wonder no more; just ask George Dietzler.

Pondering Deep Thoughts

Two of Navy music's concert band greats--Terry Chesson and Leo Leary--consider the fine points of tone, phrasing and nuance of a performance of "Bill Bailey."

27 June 2013

It's Harder Than it Looks

Music Stand Assembly with Shipmate Frank

Picking up the pace






By noon, we were on our third sign-in sheet.










MUs and families just kept pouring in.











And today, the concert band sections were well-filled. In fact, you had to get there early and leave your horn set up to reserve your seat.

Conversational Snippet #22

"I can't play sixteenth-notes--I'm 67 years old."
"You couldn't play sixteenth-notes when you were 19."

We're baaaaack....

Apologies for unannounced silence from Navy Lyres. A technical glitch needed to be solved by our IT guy, and since the IT is me, it took a while. Updates from the NMA reunion will resume.

Wilbur Smith at 0730


I can be optimistic, but not while the sun still hasn't wiped away the night shadows. Wilbur Smith doesn't have this problem.

Frank: "How ya doin', Smitty?"
Wilbur: "Glad to be here and to be part of the magic."

26 June 2013

First NMA Concert Band rehearsal

The first concert band rehearsal of an NMA reunion is nerve-wracking. We haven't played together in a year. All the players haven't arrived yet. We're sight reading unfamiliar music.


 And we don't make excuses. We put our hearts into it, and by the end of the rehearsal, things are going much more smoothly.


And members of the audience seems to enjoy the rehearsal,, too--each in his own way.



Hoist the anchor, ahead all engines.

It's 0900, Day One of the 2013 Navy Musicians Association Reunion in Virginia Beach. The next four days will be busy, so check the P.O.D. frequently for orders, orders modifications and modifications of orders modifications.




TalkTalkTalkTalkTalkTalkTalkTalk

It's hard to get anything done around here, when all people want to do is talk...


















...talk...






...talk.

Getting a head start on the NMA Reunion

 The "Early Birds" were out in force, by day...


and by night.




25 June 2013

Shipmate Frank Checks In

What do you do when you arrive at the Navy Musicians Association Reunion? Shipmate Frank is confused, but, fortunately, Deb and Deb are on hand to guide him through the arduous task.



Attention Tex Waldron:

From: NMA Reunion, Virginia Beach.
To: Tex Waldron, Seattle.

Dear Tex,
If your ears aren't already burning, it's only a matter of time.

MU vocabulary refresher course

Sitting poolside with a couple of old MUs:

"Wasn't Chief Smith homeported at CINCLANT?"

"No, he was offered 8, obligated for a couple of years and took his twilight tour in GLAKES."

"Hell, I knew him when he was a slick-armed first class."

It's amazing how quickly the vocabulary comes back.

Make all preparations for getting underway





No, you can't sign in for the NMA reunion yet, anymore than you can spot porpoises in your wake while the ship is still moored at the pier. We're taking on provisions, checking the operation of equipment and otherwise preparing for the cruise.










Deb Holl, the Registration Queen, intends to be set up by afternoon, at which time early-bird members will file in, sign in and inspect the bling.






24 June 2013

Your Diligent Board of Directors

Board members who live here in the Tidewater area--Terry Chesson, Bob Leketa, Leon Harris and Kim Holl--are here, of course. But duty seems to have already called others from afar. I spent time this afternoon poolside with Cecil Strange, who drove up from Florida. Later, I spent some time with John Branham who had just arrived from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Board of Directors engrossed in deep deliberation.
Then, strolling through the lobby an hour ago, I peeked into the BLU Bar--yes, the Holiday Inn now has two lounges--and ran into David Blakeley and Wilbur Smith from away down South, and Bill Sterck from the western wilds of Colorado.

I guess I'm not the only one who enjoys a little pre-reunion preparatory time.


War!!!!!




Read the original story and Lee Hudson's semi-literate response  here.

Hail, Hail the Gear's All Here

Our gear is heavy, bulky and a pain to move. 

I trudged downstairs at 10:00 a.m., thinking to be around when the equipment crew showed up with our gear. I was just in time to miss it all. Kim Holl, Bob Leketa and Leon Harris were all sweated up and wiped out after hauling a reunion's worth of stuff into the storage room. Curse my bad timing!

You keep thinking you've moved it all, and remember one more thing.
 
Leon Harris tries to tell somebody who cares.

Internet Access: Bravo

It's always a concern for in this new, wired world: does the hotel have wifi? Is it dependable? Is it free? This year at the Holiday Inn, yes, yes, and yes. I've been here since Saturday night and have had close to zero problems getting a dependable signal in my room (once I had to wait a minute or so for the connection to kick in.) Setup was a breeze; the desk clerk gave me a password, I typed it in and, bingo. We've had problems in other hotels, but this year looks smooth.



Begin NMA LiveBlog 2013

Now begins NMA LiveBlog2013, your source of news, views and sea stories from The Navy Musicians Association reunion in Virginia Beach. The reunion starts Wednesday, but the activity will begin today.

The Commodore of Navy Lyres at the Command Center.


It's still quiet about the decks, as the equipment bearers have not yet arrived bearing equipment, so it's still quiet about the decks of the Holiday Inn. But the news stream is flowing.

I just heard from NMA member Mike Vax a veteran two prominent bands, U.S. Navy Show Band and the Stan Kenton band. He's arriving late tomorrow night and hoping a jam session will be in progress. You never know; the reunion doesn't start officially until Wednesday morning, but members who arrive a day ahead of time generally have a hard to keeping their horns in the cases.

Speaking of the Show Band--and there's been a lot of that going on recently-- another UNITAS vet, Mike Beegle will soon get important advisory word from his doctor. Mike had a medical scare a few days ago and is weighing the prospect of fun with his shipmates against the reality of maintaining his health.



Lowering the Bar


It's likely that we'll start jamming in the lounge this evening, so before I sit down at the piano, let me take care of the preparatory business of listing the reasons why I will suck.

-- I'm 64 years old.
-- I don't play the rest of the year.
-- I haven't gigged in so long that I don't remember the tunes.
-- I suffer pain and muscle fatigue in arms and wrists due to tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
-- NEW! I sliced open the third finger of my left hand last week slicing an onion.

I'm hoping to get decent mileage out of that last one. The first three have never fooled anyone.

There. Now I   

The Daily Poop - Monday, 24JUN13 - Final Issue




As you can see, the NMA has definitely not arrived. This, however, will change within hours. The setup crew will soon arrive to begin hauling in stands, fronts, music, computers, pianos, amplifiers, cables, trap sets, bass drums, cymbals, photo displays and the scores of other paraphernalia.




Keep in mind that when I say "setup crew," I'm not talking about hired roadies or a gaggle of seamen from X Division. I'm talking about the members of our Board of Directors who live in the Tidewater area and take on the vital  responsibility of setting up so that when we arrive, the basic dirty work has been done.


This, then, ends the "alone time" I've enjoyed this weekend. This, then, also ends a few weeks of The Daily Poop. Although the action does not officially begin until Wednesday morning, or in the case of undesignated jam sessions, Tuesday night, things will start picking up today.

So, NMA LiveBlog 2013 starts today. I'll post through the day, regularly and irregularly with news and scuttlebutt. Visit NavyLyres through the day, or catch up with it all in the evening.




23 June 2013

The Daily Poop - Sunday, 23JUN12

As is generally the case, my worries were for nothing. Planes left on time, arrived early, and I got to Virginia Beach last night without a hitch. It was a long day, particularly sitting on a plane across the aisle from two kids who had never flown before. "I'm scaaaared!" "Are we flying yet?" "Grandma, I hafta go to the bathroom!" On the other hand, it wasn't even close to being the worse flight I've ever been on. Think sitting in a C-130, strapped into parachutes with 16 other guys, five tons of gear and some clown that thinks singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" would be a morale builder. So, yes, I'm here, ensconced on the third floor of the Holiday Inn.





I toured the decks and walked the perimeter a number of times during the evening. Yes, it's still our good old Holiday Inn, but, as you can see, something is sorely lacking.




One of the reasons I came early is that I'm hoping to improve the Reunion LiveBlog this year (What? Improve the LiveBlog? How can that be, Frank?), which will take some preparation. Technical stuff, for the LiveBlog, for the NMA website, and other documentation.

Surprisingly, the bar was empty last night, but the hotel was packed. The Fraternal Order of Eagles is holding its convention. Their motto is "People helping people," but they do it everywhere except in the lounge. Oh well. at least they've got a motto. Say--should the NMA have a motto? I wonder. Any ideas?

The Daily Poop will end soon, to be replaced by more frequent blather. Don't know when. Soon.

That may mean "today." We'll see. Have a good day  

22 June 2013

The Daily Poop - Sat., 22JUN13

(5:30 a.m.) Yeah, I'm awake. Got up at 4:00 a.m. Duh. When I hit the rack last night, all kinds of last-minute things hit me--gotta print out my travel insurance card, repack this, reshuffle that.

And I checked the weather online, of course. Thunderstorm predictions have disappeared from Moline, IL, where I'll catch my plane, and Atlanta, GA, where I'll change flights. Norfolk still has thunderstorms on tap for my evening arrival, but at least, by that time, I'll be on the East Coast.

So wife should be home from her night shift in an hour, I'll through the bags in the car and off we go. Of course, being a gloom & doomer, there's a chance she'll be late, or her relief won't show. These things happen. But contingency plans abound. In my mind I can hear Peter, Paul and Mary singing about a jet plane. Except, oh babe, I don't hate to go.

Bless her heart, wife gave the okay for me to go a day early this year.In my case, "a day early" has a nontraditional meaning.  Although the NMA reunion doesn't officially start until Wednesday, lotsa members arrive on Tuesday, and by nightfall, we've generally got enough players to do some preparatory jamming. So I got in the habit of coming on Mondays. Then I started Live-Blogging the reunions, and started coming on Sundays to get set up. That's been my program for a few years. I get to chill and prepare before the wild times start rolling.



So for me, a day early is Saturday, though it will certainly be late when I get to the hotel.






Speaking of the Live-Blog, to those MUs who have asked: Yes, you'll be able to follow the 2013 NMA reunion right here at NavyLyres. Somewhere between now and Wednesday morning, I'll pull the plug on the once-a-day Daily Poop and switch over Live-Blogging. This means more info, more frequently. Generally, I try to post through the day as events and time allow. I'm glad to know that the folk who can't come still  follow the reunion here. Makes my day.

So: Tomorrow morning, more Poop. Maybe Pre-Reunion Live-Blogging. Who knows?

To those who are coming: I look forward to seeing you in a few days, both old friends from Navy bands here and there, and new friends I've made during my years in the association. To those who have to stay home: damn. Wish you could come, maybe next year, stay in touch. To those who haven't come to a reunion yet: time, like a Navy band, marches on. I regret all those years--five or more--that I put off coming to a reunion. Great friends, old and new, great memories, great music. And it's better than active duty: someone else makes your bed and nobody yells at you about your hair.

Coffee. Shower. Reshuffle socks in luggage. Check tickets. Et cetera. Unless you hear differently, as of c. 7:00 a.m. Central Time:

 I. Am. Out. Of. Here.