I don’t know why Mad Dog Mattis flipped to the dark side. I suspect that it was pressure from the Military Industrial Complex, angry that President Trump hasn’t started a war. At least I hope it was that – pressure from colleagues and so forth, and that he didn’t sell his soul for money.


Family Matters

Every year, just before Halloween, I make up my Christmas list for the kids. They get upset if I don’t make up a separate list for my oldest girl because she cherry-picks the list. The Alpha daughter takes after me in terms of aggressiveness. It’s difficult to blame her without blaming myself for being me. At the police academy she did more pull-ups (1 arm or 2) than any of the men, primarily because of gymnastics that imparted a lot of upper body strength. She’s incredibly competitive. I thought that she’d grow out of it, but no.

So one list for her and a second one for the rest.

I know, I’m lucky that’s about as complicated as my life with my children gets. They are much tougher to wring Christmas present ideas out of despite my stellar example.

I’m getting a little sticker shock this year. I try to spare the kids expense but I go to North Face and check out sweat pants and they want $50. WTF? The purchase doesn’t even come with stock in the company.

Last year my most unusual gift was a seamless coin purse made from a kangaroo scrotum that I received from Down Under where there are a lot of roos. One is hopping a lot more carefully.



Ship-to-shore rescue or the Breeches Buoy

The inhabitants of coastal communities commonly witnessed the fury of the sea when sailing ships snapped their anchor cables in gales and broke up, their doomed passengers often close to the safety of the shore.

Two storms in 1807 were the catalysts to the work of the pioneers of ship-to-shore rescue, Englishmen George Manby and Henry Trengrouse. They lived at opposite ends of the country- Trengrouse in Cornwall and Manby in Norfolk. On February the gun-brig Snipe foundered off Great Yarmouth.


A Stranded Vessel: The Snipe Gun-Brig Grounded at Great Yarmouth in 1807 with the Loss of 67 Lives, by Francis Sartorius II (c.1777–c.1831)

The ship was carrying French prisoners, women and children. Manby was among the helpless onlookers trying to shut out the screams of the drowning as the waves crashed over the ship. 76 perished within 55m of the shore and more bodies were picked up along the coast. In the same year, on 29 December, Trengrouse witnessed the fate of the fate doomed HMS Anson in Mount’s Bay, Cornwall. She had been sailing from France to join a blockade of the French fleet when she ran aground in a storm only 90 m from shore.


The Loss of the Anson, by Geoffrey Huband (1945)

People along the shore watched as some 270 sailors made it to safety using the masts as bridges to the beach, but to the horror of the onlookers more than 60 of the crew, including her captain, drowned.

Appalled at the loss of life so close to shore, both men came up with proposals for rescue apparatus; the idea were similar but used very different methods to propel a line from shore to ship. Manby used a mortar to fire a lead ball with a line attached which would enable a rescue boat with a canvas cot and then developed a lightweight mortar which enabled apparatus to be carried on horseback. His later development was a ring with trousers on it, the Breeches Buoy.  Trengrouse used a rocket rather than a mortar and used the same ring; called it Bosun’s chair.

The Manby Mortar

The first recorded rescue using the Manby contraption took place on 18 February 1808, when a party commanded by Manby himself saved the crew of the brig Elizabeth 140m off Great Yarmouth.

The Wreck of ‘Jeune Oscar’ (showing the use of Henry Trengrouse’s rocket apparatus, by Alexander K. Branden (active c.1862–1888)

The Navy Board began to supply it to various stations around the coast, and 239 lives were recorded to have been saved with the device. In 1818 Trengrouse demonstrated his aparatus to the Admiralty, who found his model superior to Manby’s for the ship-to-shore work.

The Breeches Buoy

They suggested that a specimen apparatus be placed in every Dockyard, so that naval officers become familiar with it. In the same year Trinity House recommended that it be carried on all its vessels. The government ordered 20 sets but then decided to have the Ordance Board to manufacture them.

Trengrouse was paid £50 compensation and received a personal letter from Alexander I of Russia in recognition of the usefulness of his apparatus. He was awarded several Medals and received 30 guineas from the Society of Arts, but apart from that no financial reward for his invention.

Manby was also honored internationally and his system continued to be used. In one way or another they were basically the same. Which today often leads to the fact that nobody is really sure who invented what. But both systems, whether launched with a rocket or a mortar, save thousands of lives.


She-Devil Update

The Ducati Diavel is once again in battery and rolling. I picked up a chunk of copper wire through the rear tire and had to replace it.  I received an e-mail asking about the little lady and she’s purring like a kitten. Winter is coming, which means that I’ll load the scooter in my trailer and descend through the snow from the mountain to the desert where the temps are great. The plan calls for a little touring with the Raptor and Trailer as a base camp (at a hotel).

I hear you complaining, “LL why aren’t you working more?” I am trying to break the habit.


  1. Money, power, sex, influence, invites to the best parties, in some combination. Mattis is just a human and we all have human weaknesses, usually in the above list.

    Look at it this way – he held out against it for a lot longer than most people submerged in D.C.

  2. I’ve always been deeply suspicious of anyone who walks around saying things like “it’s really a hell of a lot of fun” killing people. There’s usually something wrong upstairs with people who say things like that, and most folks who have actually stepped in the goo of that business don’t say things like that.

    What is his actual combat experience? I looked around a bit and couldn’t find much. Wikipedia claims he has the Combat Action Ribbon and several sources say he was a battalion commander during the Gulf War.

    • I don’t know what sort of trigger time he had. Usually when you’re a company grade officer. After that, it’s admin of one sort or another, apple polishing, etc. Most 4 stars had something sometime, but the USMC did like him back when he was in harness. Maybe it was partly because he was glib, and quick with a Marine-ism here and there. He managed a big piece of the initial surge that eliminated ISIS.

      Some predict the return of ISIS in a different form? It’s the Middle East, why not?

  3. I have been in many “professional” circumstances with sucessfull alpha males. On more than one occassion when performance, disagreements or personal relations soured and the one in charge used rank to set the other guy right the other guy can’t let it go and goes off the rails-permanently. My suspicion prior to this Mathis was in a place for a good while where most of his interactions he had enjoyed being the one in charge and spoke from authority. Probably not so much with POTUS. They clashed probably more than once and Trump used his skills from the apprentice…. Or he is a deep state military industrial complex parasite. Or he is a competent methodical guy victim of style clash and was actually wronged… Either way what he is doing now publicly is a bitch move.

    • i think your first theory is likely. he was THE big dog for so long it bruised his ego to be corrected. after all, NOBODY questions a marine general. and agree last line wholeheartedly. if he was all that i doubt he would have any comment at all. its a shame, he was my hero for a time.

      • There are a lot of really BIG rice bowls that have not been filled during the Trump Administration. They were kept full by all of his predecessors through constant warfare and the expenditure of war materiel. True, there have been big expenditures during the past four years, but there’s nothing like war spending… and very few can argue that the need to balance the budget outweighs the demand for ‘defense’.

  4. While we men smile when a military alpha makes such a statement (we get it), people today cringe because they have little understanding of the context as most in society live very far from such matters. Watched two documentaries by Jeremy Clarkson, “The Victoria Cross: For Valour” and “The Greatest Raid of All”…stunningly done (as expected by Clarkson) and poignant in showing the courage under fire without braggadocio, they did what needed to be done knowing half of the, wouldn’t make it. History well done and worth a look.

  5. Indeed. Our daughter played soccer and basketball. When she was at the police academy, she held her own at two arm pull-ups, but could out run about 95% of the class at distance. Her first time on the range, an instructor walked over and asked “Who taught you how to shoot?”.

    She grew up between her two brothers. None of them are wall flowers. When they were teenagers, more than once I would look them in the eye and say “Remember last (insert day) at 4:30?”, then pull a gray hair from my head and exclaim “That was THIS one”. Turns out, that is as it should be.

    • i’m with you, lol. that’s why i never went to sgm academy, nor ocs. you know, it strikes me…you make grade, excel at that grade, they want you to move up. you refuse, see ya later, like yesterday’s newspaper. i don’t get it. why wouldn’t you want to keep someone like that? i never failed to make mission, complete assignments, pull it off in the clutch, exceed requirements. yet the day i said “for the last time, NO i’m not signing up to sgm academy” seems like they couldn’t get rid of me fast enough. millions of dollars in training walking out the door, incalculable experience. what a waste.

      • As my late son, the Medic, liked to point out, he had two awards of the Good Conduct Medal to my zero. Still, I went out the door a SP 5. Made that in two years when promotions in Germany (1964-66) were hard to come by. The only thing that would have kept me in was helicopter school. After some 5 hours of bootleg dual, it was clear I didn’t have the knack for hovering.

          • High year tenure for enlisted. In the navy it can be bad if you have a small rate (small in numbers) or if you have a rate that is discontinued. They dump you.

  6. Mr. Wolf, I like your theory “Full on Bitch” or FOB. It has the ring of truth to it. Of course we see this in ecclesiastical circles where FOB’s become the upper echelon order of the day.

    Good to see the She Devil’s in form. Was wondering.


  7. Interesting history on the breeches buoys. They DID save lives, and continue to do so today. Glad the She-devil is getting to go out and play too! Ride safe!

    • 140 on a known road (smooth) with no traffic. And I was maybe half way to red line. It’s supposed to do 170 without a lot of effort.

      • Many moons ago I was driving my ‘74 260Z (properly de-smogged and outfitted) on rural PA I-80 for a weekend backpack when another Z passed me like I was standing still, followed by a Cadillac. Thought, what the hell, downshifted and stomped on it. We did 135 for ten straight minutes…if I had sneezed I would have move over a lane, vehicle was on rails. Got to the Black Forest area a half hour sooner.

        • Also 140, late ’90s, Cadillac STS on Interstate 93 in and near Boston, in traffic.
          I was not the fastest guy on the road, and nobody was racing.

          Hmm, actually maybe only as far north as Braintree and Quincy. I don’t remember if I was still that fast after crossing the Neponset.


          • Braver than me, at night not much traffic on 80, but you catch the traffic groupings pretty quick. Gotta put the hammer down at least once in your life (or a lot).

  8. Interested in Gen. Mattis? See John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood–secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. It appears He lent his prestige and maybe a lot more on a totally fraudulent operation.

  9. That garage door pull in the photo of the Diavel near the mop pail looks suspiciously like the beginnings of a noose. What the hell is going on up there in the White Wolf Mine?

    Just wondering.

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