Much has been going within and outside the household these past several weeks – and that explains a lot of the paucity of posts of late. Foremost amongst these was the passing of my wife’s father, a Korean War vet, railroad worker and longtime sufferer of Alzheimer’s. Word to the wise — if you haven’t had “the talk” with your parents and, depending on your relationship, your in-laws about living wills, advanced directives, hospice, and other end of life decisions, you are only denying the inevitable and setting yourself up for an even more difficult scenario at the very time when you need clear thinking. I add in-laws because like as not, you will be the go to person when faced with that scenario. Have that discussion, plan out the branches and sequels and write it down so you are ready at the drop of a hat — because even if you are dealing with a disease (or collection thereof) which have been grinding slowly, inexorably on for years, decades even, the end may come suddenly, in days or even hours and these days time is not on your side for research and deliberation. While you are at it, add a wifi/3G enabled iPad/tablet to your list. My iPad was invaluable during the course of the past week with quick access to a variety of needed sites and online forms, especially where the VA was concerned. Do this and while it won’t make the hurt and loss any less, it will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety levels for ALCON, and that in the long run will pay dividends. Above all, keep and call upon your faith – remember Isaiah 40:31

A week(plus) ago we kicked off the annual fund raising drive for Valour-IT, the program that through Soldier’s Angels provides IT solutions for our wounded service members who are otherwise unable to avail themselves of conventional methods of accessing computers and other IT devices you and I take for granted on a daily basis.   Folks – I know times are beastly hard,but the measure of a society is how it cares for and supports those who face physical and mental challenges in the course of their daily lives. Doubly so for those who have made the sacrifice in service to that society. There are an abundance of charities out there covering almost every cause (most worthy, others maybe less so) – heaven knows, you only need pick up the annual Combined Federal Campaign book listing them to see. Project Valour-IT is one of those rare charities where 100% of what you donate goes to helping the wounded vet and not providing overstuffed furniture in some palatial headquarters office or a six-figure salary for a charity CEO. It is why this is the one charity I will support (outside of our church and tithing) monetarily (others we provide our time). Look over to the top right side and you’ll find two widgets — one to learn more and another to donate. Yes, we have a “friendly” competition going on between Service related teams, but in the end the money all goes into the same pot and all we get is bragging rights (which at the moment, ahem, it appears Team Army is running away with). We’re entering the home stretch and there is a long ways to go to meet this year’s goal of $25K for Team Navy. How about pitching in?

Sometimes I get notes offline (and you can write to me here if so moved) asking about why I hadn’t addressed a certain event or topic, or if I had, why I was late to the game. One of the self-imposed restrictions I set on myself was to swing to the cautious side in certain topics that may relate to my real world job. It is altogether too easy to allow what in the vernacular is called “spillage” if you get on a roll and unintentionally reveal that which shouldn’t surface in this arena. The figleaf of blogger anonymity only goes so far if you stretch beyond hit-rates that exceed single digits on a weekly basis (which we have occasion to do here). On more than one occasion I’ve spiked my own draft based on that degree of conservative approach only to see it substantially posted elsewhere. Selah – my conscience is clear and the wolves of unemployment remain stayed at the outer gates. Still, I’ll continue to find some way to bring a perspective to certain topics that is lacking in the broader blogsphere that are sourced from daily experience – like a recent trip that included getting into the guts of surface-to-air and ballistic missiles that cemented concepts and engineering principles studied from afar while illustrating the problems of proliferation (like my up close and personal look at an application of pyrolytic-reinforced graphite).

Finally – there are several articles in the bullpen or warming up – many dealing with the ongoing observation of the Naval Aviation Centenary (including a look at operations in the Alaskan theater of operations). As the saying goes – more to follow…

w/r, SJS

P.S.  Oh and standby — more coming down the pike re. the Naval Institute and it doesn’t look good for the home team.