Aug 19, 2020

The Tale of The USS Milwaukee and the Sub USS H3

I restore and research old local historical photos for my job sometimes and this is one of my favorite stories.  I'd heard of wreckage of an old ship that's visible at low tide on a beach near here and found out it was the USS Milwaukee but really didn't know much about why it was here or how it sank.  The entrance to the bay here is known historically to be dangerous and difficult to navigate so hearing about a wreck wasn't surprising.  I chalked the Milwaukee up to just another victim of Humboldt bay until I found an old photo of a submarine propped up on redwood logs on the beach.  When I did some digging I learned all about the Submarine USS H3 and how the USS Milwaukee got stuck here all those years ago.

The original H3 photo I found. 

USS Milwaukee sanded in the surf.  Rescue crew on the beach.

 Long story short, in 1916 the sub got stuck coming into the bay, the Navy asked for bids to saving it.  A huge company offered to tow it but wanted too much money, a local company had a very low bid to roll it on logs across the sand but the navy turned both down because one was too expensive and one was too crazy.  They brought in the Milwaukee to pull it out but it too got stuck.  They ended up letting the local company try and they succeeded.  The H3 was repaired and was decommissioned in 1930.  The Milwaukee of course is still stuck in the sand.

I was so smitten by what I had learned I wrote some lyrics for my band.  We were trying to turn it into a proper song but then Covid-19 hit and like most musicians we've sort of been on standby.   

Here's my song (poem?) 

"Old Milwaukee"

This is the tale of Old Milwaukee
It has maybe crossed your ears
It's not about the city, it's not about the beer.

Let me tell the story
About a stranded submarine.
And an old ship wreck's rusty bones
that you might have seen.

It all started with The Sub H3
She ran aground in 1916
Some had tried to tow her out
But she could not be freed

The Navy did ask for help so we stepped right up and others too.
While others simply cost too much they said our methods wouldn't do.

They said that we were crazy, they said it can't be done.
So they sent out old Milwaukee to tow that stranded sub.

Old Milwaukee sailed here then she ran aground
Right there off the jetty where the waves did pound and pound.

The storm came in and gave her quite a tear
And the mighty Old Milwaukee was now beyond repair.

With old Milwaukee down and out the navy now agreed, to let us locals have a try with our ropes and trees.

With Old Milwaukee in the sand
We rolled that sub right over land
On Redwood logs under skies of gray
We put that sub back in the bay.

We patched her up and said goodbye
The sky was clear, the tide was high
She sailed the coast like the years before
And she sailed for many more!

But what about Old Milwaukee?
Of mighty Cruiser class
Been stuck there for 100 years
and picked apart for scrap.

Old Milwaukee!
Sailed the Pacific blue
Till she tried to enter Humboldt bay
For a job she couldn't do!

 Since the place I work stopped doing regular jobs, we've started a weekly series in the local news magazine and I was happy to put together this page, featuring the photo of the H3 I'd found a couple years ago as the first one. Check out the NorthCoast Journal E-edition and see other installments of the History Ad Series.  (look on page 5)

Aug 17, 2020

PYMHM "Red Velvet Cake is a Fucking Lie"

 I was going through some old Noggins and this one caught my eye.  I think the great Red Velvet trend of a few years ago has passed but it's still important to note that this cake flavor is some bullshit based on capitalist greed and government corruption.  Enjoy this Post You Might Have Missed from the winter of 2017.  Way back when Trump's antics were still shocking to us and we could still hug people.


Red Velvet Cake is a Fucking Lie

I went most of my life without ever trying Red Velvet cake. It just wasn't a thing that existed in my life.  Maybe it's because of I grew up in Northern California and Red Velvet was more of a Southern U.S. thing.   Maybe because I was raised by forward-thinking parents and had intelligent friends.  Who knows? I'd never even heard of it before seeing the famous armadillo cake in Steel Magnolias.  Then some time in my 30's, out in the wilds of the world it was at some party I was at and I tried it. 

But  no one told me what it was supposed to taste like. 

Anyone who knows me well knows I have set up some seemingly arbitrary food rules for what I will eat. Such as:  If it smells like vinegar, don't eat it. If it's a creamy dairy food that isn't ice cream or whipped cream, stay away. Pickles are not supposed to be sweet.  For savory food I usually avoid red colored foods because they are basically ketchup or ketchup based.  It's a whole different ball-game for dessert foods. Most people will probably agree with me on this one... red dessert foods will taste like cherry, raspberry or strawberry.  That's pretty standard and has never steered me wrong other than with this stupid cake. 

When I ate Red Velvet cake for the first time, obviously I was expecting a rich, sweet, acidic berry flavor, which of course never came. I thought someone fucked up when they made it. Then it was explained to me that it wasn’t supposed to be fruit flavored.  What the fuck is it then?    I asked what flavor it was supposed to be because it just tasted like regular-ass cake to me.  No one could really tell me what flavor it was. Some said they thought it was chocolate but that's just stupid.  I know what chocolate cake tastes like, this was not that.  So it would seem that it’s just red for no fucking reason and has cream cheese frosting. What’s the big fucking deal? 

I did some digging on the internets and found that it dates back to the 1800's and was originally just a softer  more "velvet" texture cake because of the ingredients they used.   It didn't turn red until 1930's when congress was lobbied hard to pass a law that lowered regulations for food coloring.  And some dick-head food dye tycoon in Texas popularized it as a red cake just to sell more food dye. So it's red because of capitalism.   I
f some hipster tells you it's red because in the depression they didn't have many ingredients and had to use beets  to sweeten the cake batter they're full of shit. It was because some fuck-stick wanted to make more money.

It got popular again because of that shitty movie Steel Magnolias (Julia Roberts' character dies.  No Spoiler Alert that movie can eat shit)  for some reason now it's trendy-as-fuck.  They're making cupcakes, pop-tarts and god damn Oreos now.  Just add red dye to the normal shit and we can sell more units... Genius!!!  

Also I'm not alone.  The Joy of Cooking and James Beard think it sucks too.  

You don't like Red Velvet cake. You just like cake and you're supporting a dessert based on corruption and greed.  Be ashamed. 

A Lesson in Drive-Thru Etiquette: Covid-19 Edition

 Just went through the Jack In the Box drive thru and it's packed...again.  And everyone and their mother is out of work or school,  out and about, doing shit when they're supposed to be sheltering at home.  Meanwhile making the lines long everywhere I go.   I'd almost say just let people go back to work and pod with their fellow employees or classmates. At least we'd know where they were for eight hours of the day. You know,  when people were not taking family trips and going shopping or whatever every day.   I feel like it would be safer than this free vacation everyone seems to think they're on.

 So I pull into the drive-thru line and it's long but not as long as it's usually been so I decide to stick it out. As I pull in my car is halfway out of the drive thru but quickly the car two cars ahead of me zipps forward as if they didn't even stop to order.  I figured maybe I had just missed them ordering. No worry, better for me the line is moving up!  The lady in front of me is one of those; open-the-door-to-order types.  Maybe her window was busted.  I dunno, it just made the ordering process awkward and take longer.  Finally I get up there and order my shit but I can't pull forward to let the next person order because there's a guy... they guy who I thought didn't order sitting there with a car's length in front of him.   This is rule #1 in drive-thru etiquette.  Always pull forward.  Then, rightly so, someone behind me who needs to order honks and the guy looks back like "hoooz honkin?"  At this moment I was noticing him sitting there and started shaking my head in disapproval and when the person behind me honked he looked right at me.  He's all in a huff and has tattoos all over him like he just got out of jail.  So I'm like .. fucking great this guy is gonna come at me because of the honk.  He just sits there in an indignant defiance doesn't move looking back and mugging me the whole time.  He must have just sat there so long already that a car somewhere before him got their food and left because the voice from the order menu came on and asked if she could take my order. Then she said "Did I already take your order?"  because she probably realized that jerk is still sitting there blocking the now 5 or 6 cars behind me in the drive thru.  She then apologized because there was a big order they were still working on.  Drive Thru rule #2  don't make huge orders when using the drive-thru.   It fucks up the flow.  I'm not 100% sure if the dining room is open because of covid but in all possible instances if you're ordering food for hella people, go fucking inside.  So we got this large order and now this shit-stick standing his ground because someone threatened him with a car horn. 

Finally he moves up and there's one car in front of him paying. I see a disheveled older guy with a mask dangling off his face standing between the car and the pick up window, hands taking turns getting money from his wallet, pulling up his pants and readjusting his mask.  Now this might not be an official rule but standing completely out of the car  in a drive-thru goes somewhere in the honorable mentions along with opening your door to place your order.   Some covid procedural violations here as well. He must have had the big order because he finally scurries with three full bags and a drink holder around the back of the car to get into the passenger seat.  Jesus friggin Christ. 

Then our friend who refused to move earlier pulls to the window.  I was playing with my phone and not paying attention fully when I heard yelling so I look up.  It was the dick head now arguing with the cashier.  I'm thinking what the fuck now?  Is she giving him shit for holding up the line?  I turn down my music and listen.  I hear him yell "WHY CANT I JUST PLACE MY ORDER?"  Hahah... oh I get it now.  He was impatient and just blew through the order menu process of the drive thru.   Rule#3  always order from the menu unless specifically asked to pull forward and order at the window.   A violation of rule #3 would usually not be a problem if there was no one else in line but because of the large order and his stupid attempt at intimidating a honking person and throwing a fit like a child, he now gets informed that he did in fact violate at least two cardinal rules of drive-thu etiquette and he now was not going to get to have Jack In the Box today.  I could hear him yell again "I WAITED IN LINE FOR 10 GOD DAMN MINUTES! "   sorry sir, please exit the drive thru, thank you.   The lady in front of me only ordered like one thing and she was in and out.. then it was my turn.  My food was ready when I pulled up.  They were visibly frustrated but were very nice to me. 

I wish you could tip fast food workers.  Especially during this covid bullshit. 
 I hope that asshole gets robbed and his tires slashed and someone he loves tells him they don't love him any more.   This covid situation is making ordinary sane people lose their shit.. and making crazy people even fucking crazier.   I wish it would end but it's the people who are the most angry about the things that will end it that are causing it to last longer. 


Aug 13, 2020

The New Mexico Flying Disc Breakfast Conspiracy

I've been eating breakfast cereal, a couple of my signature recipe, home-made waffles or a McDonalds Sausage Egg McMuffin from the drive-thru for the last couple months but I made some scrambled eggs for the first time yesterday in a long time.  I ate one of my leftover waffles for desert the night before that.   It wasn't a big deal but the eggs thing has been on my mind as I might start making eggs again on a more regular basis.  This will be important later. 

For the past couple of days on my short drive to work I've noticed a car down the street from my house that's not usually there.  A house guest perhaps?  Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but because of the pandemic I worry about people spreading the germs.  We're not supposed to be having company over after all.  Especially guests from out of state which is why the New Mexico license plates on this car concerns me more than usual.  I really wish people wouldn't be traveling across the country right now.  This also will be important later.   

As I scroll through my Facebook feed, as one does, every so often there will be ads that are eerily related to things I've recently discussed or thought about or did.  I bought some Top Ramen for the first time in a really long time last week.  The next day I had it for lunch an add popped up for Top Ramen when I got back to work that same day.  I've never seen an ad for Top Ramen or any kind of instant ramen ever, and now suddenly I'm seeing it.  It's creepy and will be important in a second. 

Yesterday I decided to click the "hide ad" button for a Chik-Fil-A ad because, fuck that place. I don't need that kind of negativity chicken in my feed.  When you decide to hide an ad Facebook asks you to give a reason why you want to hide it.  It has choices like "irrelevant" "I already purchased" "repetitive" but one of them really threw me off.  One reason to hide an ad was  "Knows too much"   What the hell?  I'd say me buying and eating Top Ramen without ever openly discussing it and getting an ad for it the same day is definitely them "knowing too much"  Which leads me to the main topic of this article.  Today while scrolling I see an ad for Denny's restaurant.  Not just Denny's but a very specific Denny's.

At first I thought this must just be a mistake or that maybe Denny's is randomly blasting out ads for random locations.  Then I started to remember my actions of the last couple of days and how it may be relevant to this ad.  The events I detailed above started coming back to me and I wondered.  'No?  Could it be?'   My best logical conclusion is that all of these events combined must have been telepathically sent to the Facebook advertising servers. Obviously,  the algorithm's artificial intelligence had somehow deduced that I needed to see advertisments for the Signature Slams at a very specific Denny's restaurant at 1317 Riverside Drive in Espanola, New Mexico.

Here's where it gets weird.  While typing this I went back to look at Facebook and now there's an ad beckoning me to come and "EXPLORE"  a new Disc Golf course in Aztek New Mexico.  Is there a deeper meaning to this?  Is is some kind of sign?   I don't give a shit about disc golf but pancakes kind of look like a Frizbee right?  a flying,   a flying saucer!   This is all too huge to ignore.  Should I quit my job and take a road trip to complete this mystical circle of fate the universe has bestowed upon me?   The truth is out there. It very well could be somewhere between Aztek and Espanola New Mexico and it's runny yolk is begging to be sopped up with the underdone toast of curiosity.

Aug 3, 2020

The New Normal: A short story by Kirk S. Noggins

I accidentally took out a movie theater gift card instead of my Costco card from my wallet last night and got a really low sinking feeling.

I had a vision of a small child in front of a tent fashioned from torn tarps,  cardboard with faint logos and various salvaged materials.  She is a girl of about nine or ten years old with short hair wearing a bulky sweater with holes in it that revealed layers of dirty clothing underneath and a crude respirator mask. She's standing around a burning pile of trash with a few other children of varying ages.  There's also a much older man with dirty white hair under a floppy knit cap.  He has wire rimmed glasses which are repaired with tape and a paper clip.  He's sporting a tattered cloth scarf which was wrapped around his neck mouth and nose. The child looks up and asks "Grandpa, can you tell us the story about the  movie theaters?" The old man clears his throat with a few small coughs, adjusts his scarf and replies "Well, child, there were places where people would go and sit shoulder to shoulder in a small room watching a movie on a big screen the size of house..." Before he could finish his sentence there was an audible gasp from the children standing near by to keep warm. "and no one was scared to get sick grandpa?" Then moisture welled up in the old man's eyes. He coughed again.  A single tear fell down his cheek paving a weaving, clean path on through the soot and dirt on his wrinkled skin. He pulled up his make-shift mask to wipe his tear.  Adjusted it again, and for a moment remembered what it was like before the "new normal" began.  He muttered under his breath "all they had to do was follow simple guidelines...just wear a mask"   Then visibly upset now, slightly louder "All they had to do was wear a damn mask!" The excitement put him into a brief coughing fit.   The children, startled, all turned their heads towards the old man.  The child inquired "Who didn't wear a mask grandpa?"  The old man then heard the sound of synchronized, booted footsteps in the mud approaching.  "quiet children" the grandpa whispered as the Trumpguard patrol officers approached.  The old man huddled the children in his arms and watched the guardsmen carefully as they passed hoping they hadn't heard him talking of people not wanting to wear masks, and movie theaters.  The old man's grip on the children loosened once the officers were gone.  A sense of relief came over him. The children sensed this even thought they didn't fully understand.   One of the younger children looked up to the old man, pulled down his surplus respirator mask and verbalized as best he could  "what  a... moo vee?   The old man quickly peeked out into the road and made sure the men were gone while he gently moved the child's mask back into place.  He then put the child on his knee and in between wheezing coughs, constantly adjusting his face scarf, the old man proceeded to explain movies to the children of 2042 by trash fire light.