Friday, November 21, 2014

Why I Call Myself CaptBlackEagle

Why I Call Myself CaptBlackEagle

Note: I have written about his before, so this is a rewrite.

I was lucky enough to grow up in North Carolina. North Carolina offers the wilderness of the mountains around Lenore, and the anger of the ocean around Cape Hatteras.  I grew up at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in the Piedmont region.

The Piedmont is known for its rolling hills, thick coniferous forests, and rich history.  The Piedmont is also a place I call home.  The story of how I went from just a kid in North Carolina to a Pirate is a familiar story of many kids, and even famous pirates of the Elizabethan age.

Our yearly vacation was to the coast of North and South Carolina.  From Wilmington to Myrtle Beach we would roam the coast in search of adventure.  One very special place in my heart was Pirate Land Campground.

Pirate Land was located on the outskirts of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The campground’s special feature was its theme park. Not much of a park at the time. Its feature was a ski lift took you for a ride over a small lake, and in the middle of the lake was a fake shipwreck inhabited by very real alligators. 

Another feature was a skit about the killing of Black Beard.  Although the actor’s names are lost to time, they certainly had an influence on an impressionable kid.  It was here that I became interested in all things pirate.

I want to make it clear that actual pirates are not Robin Hood types.  Although some did their dirty deeds with government support, that does not change their vicious nature. I will explain in a future article what I mean when I call myself a pirate.

As my interest in computers grew, so did my need to develop a persona that would reflect how I saw myself.  This has little to do with how you see me, which is after all your perspective.  My perspective is on this side of my eyeballs.

The persona began to take form in the mid 80’s.  I was in the military at that time, so keeping the name on the down low was very important.  It was, at that time seen only hidden in computer code that would never see the light of day.  By the Mid 90’s I had retired from the military and the name debuted as an email address, followed by a website. 

Why CaptBlackEagle?  Aside from the obvious pirate sound, the name comes from my favorite Officer Rank.  I think Captains are the real backbones of the military.  By Captain I mean the O-3s and the guys who are in charge of a ship.

Black Eagle refers to my favorite animal and favorite place.  There is no such thing as a black eagle, but there is a place known as Black Eagle. Of all the towns in Montana, Black Eagle speaks of the rough nature of old west. The eagle represents a freedom of action. 

Hope that explains it.    

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Death of Privacy

The Death of Privacy

Who would think that the sound of giggles and pigtails would be the harbinger of evil?  Like all adventurers, my brother and I could face the fearsome dragons, the monsters of both the land and the sea, but these creatures did not seem dangerous. However, danger is exactly what they were.

My brother, our neighbor’s grand son, and I were in our woods, hunting the creatures that inhabited our creek.  It was our world, and we were kings walking among our subjects.  The frogs, crawfish, lizards, birds, and squirrels were ours, and we acted with the unashamed confidence of kings. We were planning our next adventure when a strange sound could be heard.

It was very subtle at first, just the hint of the lyrics of some bird in the distance.  In just a few moments, it began to get louder.  We were very unsure of what it was, and why it was coming closer, but closer and closer it came.  At first we hid in the bushes that created a natural barrier from the world. Almost at the same time we saw them, they saw us.  With a squeal one of them said, “There they are!”

There were three of them.  Sirens in pigtails wanting our souls were on the prowl.  They came skipping.  Skipping?  None of our creatures skipped.  We did not skip, and nature does not skip.  But these creatures were not natural, they were girls, and girls were not allowed in our kingdom. For reasons that would become painfully obvious to them, and us.

We did what every king does when faced with unexpected danger.  We ran.  In an attempt to keep them in sight, but keep them at a distance, we used our “Tarzan” vines to cross the creek.  We are not sure what the sources of these vines were, but they stretched from the ground to high in the trees.  We had cut them free from their anchor to Earth and they were part of our playground. 

Safely on the other side of the creek, we could watch these strange birds.  They knew our names. We vaguely recalled them. The asked if they could “hang out” with us.  You just don’t walk into a king’s castle and ask if you can lounge around in his living room.  Girls are not aware of the rules. This left us with very little choice.  We remained silent.

One of the girls asked if she could swing across the creek. A ha!  At last we had them.  One does not merely swing on a vine over water. This level of skill only comes with years of training, trial and error.  My brother nonchalantly pushed the vine over the water toward the girls. He had to do this twice before the girl on the other side was able to grab it. 

We watched as she grabbed the vine and with all her might she ran toward the bank of the creek. At first we were worried since she was doing everything right; however, the next few moments allayed those fears.

She sailed over the creek like a pro, but when she reached the apex of her swing on our side she didn’t let go.  Instead she began flailing her legs, and with legs flailing and pigtails whirling…she sailed back to the other side of the creek.  Like a pendulum she eventually stopped swinging and just hung there in the middle of the creek. The once lyrical songbird was now more of a screaming banshee. 

Her friends were yelling for us to help, she was yelling for us to help, and we, well we were stunned.  At one point we had all been stuck in the middle, but we never thought to ask for help.  Kings do not ask for help.  So, we didn’t help.

With legs flailing and pigtails whirling, she lost her grip and plunged into about 6 inches of mud, snake, crawdad, and who knows what water.  As I recall she sounded like an asthmatic Osprey in a death dive.

With a shriek, she leapt out of the water into the waiting arms of her friends.  Suddenly, the three girls were the Harpies of ancient Greece…screaming for our souls.  Luckily for us, they went shrieking away from our creek, and out of our woods.  Unluckily, they had our names and their interpretation of the story.  Of course we were the villains.

By the time we left the woods, our parents had been alerted to the incident.  My mother explained that no matter how “stupid” girls were, we were supposed to “rescue” them.  The result was, that we three kings were forced to move our kingdom deeper into the woods, and further up the creek.  We would happily remain there, until the Harpies returned and eventually devoured our souls.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Daniel Morgan

Daniel Morgan
American Hero

After the American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. They called for the formation of ten rifle companies from the middle colonies to support the Siege of Boston, and late in June of 1775 Virginia agreed to send two. The Virginia House of Burgesses chose Daniel Morgan to form one of these, and serve as its captain. He recruited ninety-six men in ten days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them to Boston, Massachusetts in only twenty-one days, arriving on August 6 1775. He led an outstanding group of snipers nicknamed "Morgan's Sharpshooters.”


            Quebec— Morgan was captured
            Saratoga—Held the British forces in check leading to their eventual withdrawal.
            Bemis Heights—Using his sharpshooters held the British in check
            Cowpens—“Morgan chose to make his stand at Cowpens, South Carolina. On the morning of January 17, 1781, they met Tarleton in the Battle of Cowpens. Morgan had been joined by militia forces under Andrew Pickens and William Washington's dragoons. Tarleton's legion was supplemented with the light infantry from several regiments of regulars.

Morgan's plan took advantage of Tarleton's tendency for quick action and his disdain for the militia, as well as the longer range and accuracy of his Virginia riflemen. The marksmen were positioned to the front, followed by the militia, with the regulars at the hilltop. The first two units were to withdraw as soon as they were seriously threatened, but after inflicting damage. This would invite a premature charge.

The tactic resulted in a double envelopment; as the British forces approached, the Americans, with their backs turned to the British, reloaded their muskets. When the British got too close they turned and fired at point-blank range in their faces. To avoid a crude or gory dysphemism, a musket of that type could obliterate a watermelon at that range. In less than an hour, Tarleton's 1,076 men suffered 110 killed, and 830 captured. The captives included 200 wounded. Although Tarleton escaped, the Americans captured all his supplies and equipment, including the officers' slaves. Morgan's cunning plan at Cowpens is widely considered to be the tactical masterpiece of the war and one of the most successfully executed double envelopments of all of modern military history.

Cornwallis had lost not only Tarleton's legion, but also his light infantry, which limited his speed of reaction for the rest of the campaign. For his actions, Virginia gave Morgan land and an estate that had been abandoned by a Tory. The damp and chill of the campaign had aggravated his sciatica to the point where he was in constant pain; on 10 February, he returned to his Virginia farm. In July 1781, Morgan briefly joined Lafayette to once more pursue Banastre Tarleton, this time in Virginia, but they were not successful.”[1]

"Fire and be damned"

16 May 1771
Alamance Creek, North Carolina

Final Battle of the War of Regulation

North Carolina Farmers vs The Colonial Government of North Carolina

Angered by excessive taxation and corrupt government officials, North Carolina citizens expressed "Grievances affecting the daily lives of the colonists included excessive taxes, dishonest sheriffs, and illegal fees.”[1]

Regulators: James Hunter, Rednap Howell, William Butler, and Herman Husband.  Herman Husband was a follower of Benjamin Franklin.

Colonial Militia: Governor William Tryon, Gen. Hugh Waddell

Governor Tryon orders the Regulators to disband, after 1 hour the Regulators return their reply “Fire and be damned.”  Governor Tryon orders the militia to fire, they hesitate and Governor Tryon stands orders them “Either fire on them, or fire on me!”  The Militias fires its canon and after a short battle the Regulators retreat.

15 Regulators are captured and 7 are hung. “The executed men included James Few, Benjamin Merrell, James Pugh, Robert Matear, "Captain" Robert Messer, and two others. Six other convicted Regulators – Forrester Mercer, James Stewart, James Emmerson, Herman Cox, William Brown, and James Copeland – were pardoned by King George III and released by Tryon.”[2]

Although this battle was not fought against the governments right to tax, or even the laws imposed by the British government, it did provide an example of how a small group of protestors could stand up to the government.

Aftermath: Governor Tyron would leave the North Carolina Colony and become Governor of New York in June of 1771.  He would serve as Governor of New York until General Howe imposes martial law in 1776.

Herman Husband would return to Pennsylvania and later be jailed by the newly formed United States Government for the Whiskey Rebellion.

[1] Source accessed 10 November 2014 0614am
[2] Source: accessed 10 November 2014 0634

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pictures of World War I. Engineering.

Engineering of World War I.

The resulting Crater of a Lochnager Mine near La Boisselle France in the Somme Region. 

Report by 2nd Lieutenant C.A. Lewis of 3 Squadron, flying a Morane Parasol.

"At Boisselle the earth heaved and flashed, a tremendous and magnificent column rose up in the sky. There was an ear-splitting roar drowning all the guns, flinging the machine sideways in the repercussing air. The earth column rose higher and higher to almost 4,000 feet (1,200 m). There it hung, or seemed to hang, for a moment in the air, like the silhouette of some great cypress tree, then fell away in a widening cone of dust and debris. A moment later came the second mine. Again the roar, the upflung machine, the strange gaunt silhouette invading the sky. Then the dust cleared and we saw the two white eyes of the craters. The barrage had lifted to the second-line trenches, the infantry were over the top, the attack had begun"

The Mine was detonated under the German front lines at the start of the Battle of the Somme. It covered 9 trench dugouts that could contain 9 officers and 315 men.  The bodies of those killed were obliterated by the explosion, so a count of the dead is not possible.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Moment with Sir Isaac Newton 20141106

You may remember from school all about Sir Isaac Newton’s observation of fruit.  His keen observations led to the development of 3 laws that define how things interact with each other in our known universe.  Newton also wrote about relationships, and was a big supporter of conservation.   In today’s "Moment with Sir Isaac Newton," we will study his First Law of Motion.

It is important that you understand that these “laws” only work in our known universe.  In other universes these laws may not apply.  Its like how liberal progressives view things, its not really a law unless they want it to be. Newton’s First Law of Motion is so simple even they can grasp it.

Objects continue to move in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external Net, or Resultant Force.

To explain this, go out to your car and look at the speedometer.  It should be reading zero if not you should press hard on the brake!! Zero is a velocity.  In fact, a velocity is anything between zero and infinity in any direction.

Another example is one you can do in your chair.  Although you are just sitting there you are in a “natural state.”  That is true if you are not moving.  Once you start to move things go wonky. 

So, if you walk up to some guy in the bar that is twice your size, and you push him really hard,  you are acting as an external Net/Resultant Force and he may move a little.  In response, he will probably add a Net Force to you, which will upset your natural state for a moment.  Don’t worry, the floor will return you to your natural state shortly.

That is the First Law of Newton’s apples.  Stay tuned for the second in the series "A Moment with Sir Isaac Newton."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Thought for Tuesday 4 November 2014

The preamble of the U.S. Constitution. 

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

7 Elements

1. A statement from the People of the United States.  This is key in the formation of a government of the people, for the people, by the people as articulated many years later by Abraham Lincoln. In times prior Government was to govern the people.  The People of the United States were developing a government governed by the people. A reversal of roles.

2. The idea of the people limiting the amount of intrusion of government into their lives was to strike a balance between government and the governed.  This was the goal of a more perfect union.

3. Justice, the rule of law would be established to protect the people from overbearing government.

4. The strength of these laws and the just application of them would insure domestic tranquility.

5. Create a defense for all.  This is the order to create a military.

6. Welfare, does not mean food stamps.  It means to provide for the general welfare of the states through coordination of effort.

7. All of the previous goals are to secure the blessings of liberty.  

The Preamble establishes who is forming the government.  What the government will do.  And the goal of this interaction between the people and government. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bacon for Today

"Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake..."

Francis Bacon

One of these days is today.  Sooner or later can become never. Sieze the Day.