Anchors aweigh

My father served in the U.S. Navy in the Second World War. For most of the war he was in the Pacific, serving as the radio officer and then the exec of a tanker. In general he had a “good” war; no fighting and a meal and a place to sleep.

One day the ship was to anchor in a bay on a Philippine island. My dad was on the bridge. They brought the ship to the appropriate place and the crew on deck dropped anchor, under the instruction of the deck officer, who was a new Lieutenant JG.

Ship anchors are big, and so are their chains. The anchor had to go down quite a long way in this case because the bay was deep. Everyone stood well clear as first the anchor and then a very thick chain (about two feet thick) roared through the port on the deck while the anchor hurtled toward the bottom.

Then it stuck. A tremendous amount of swearing ensued. With the anchor part way down, the people on the bridge had to keep the ship roughly in place with the engines at almost zero power, while the people on the deck tried to figure out how to unhook the anchor chain. One of the links had flopped crosswise and was being held in place by the anchor’s huge weight. What to do?

The sailors stood around arguing about the best way to handle this; it didn’t happen often. Finally our young lieutenant got tired of all this meat-headed yelling and decided to show his mettle by fixing the thing simply and quickly. He walked up and kicked the stuck chain-link loose.

With a tremendous bang and roar the link popped loose and rushed into the depths, and once again the chain was speeding through the port and they were on their way to anchoring. But where was the Lieutenant? They looked overboard, and around, and up and down. He’d just disappeared!

But my dad, from above, had seen what happened too fast for the sailors to see. The lieutenant had caught his foot in the chain link and been forced at incredible speed and pressure through a small hole on his way to the bottom of the sea.

That’s the story my dad told about safety with tools when I was growing up.

The Isadora Duncan Ladies’ Motorbiking Club is in Session

JE VAIS A LA GLOIRE! From the Register today:

SANTA ANA – A 19-year-old woman’s scarf wrapped around her motorcycle’s back wheel and pulled her off the bike this morning on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway near Santa Clara Avenue, authorities said.

The motorcycle continued down the freeway until it eventually fell over, police said.

The California Highway Patrol responded to the 7:39 a.m. accident and said the woman, whose name was not released, suffered a broken arm and some scrapes and bruises.

Electro-Boy Gets Coffee

Laptop use is popular on the outdoor patio at Diedrich, especially since the free wifi went in. There’s only a couple of working plugs at one end of the place, so people who want to sit elsewhere have brought in an indoor/outdoor extension cord. It usually snakes through the bushes and over to the other side and sits near a table.

And then it rains, and the end of the extension cord sits in a puddle. And then a partial solution occurs, kinda at the wrong end for a solution. Yes, I did go unplug it after I shot this.

Electrical Safety Notes From All Over