Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sometimes the right decision is made for the wrong reason. When the frenzy for rapid transit gripped the nation about 15 years ago, the local politicians jumped on the bandwagon. The plan was to build a comprehensive network of rail trolleys through Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. This would reduce traffic and pollution and be a revenue source for the cities.

After much study and discussion, Chesapeake decided the costs far exceeded the benefits. Chesapeake is still very rural and the ridership would be small. Virginia Beach decided the social effect of letting all those inner city residents easy access to our, not so pristine, beaches would be unacceptable. The cost of obtaining rights of way made extensions to the Naval Bases impractical. The end result was a single line along the main route to ?Military Circle?!, a shopping center on the VA BCH border which is in decline. There is no plan for any water or river crossings.

The Virginia Beach decision may have been prompted by racism, economics, or just plain dislike of Norfolk, but seems to be the right one. Norfolk decided that it couldn't let all the beautiful federal money be spent by someone else.

The cars were delivered on time and are sitting on a siding being vandalized more than a year after the estimated start of service. The construction is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget, and the construction is plagued with problems. Someone forgot that much of Norfolk was built on fill over the swamps that were originally tidal. The track and overpass foundations are sinking back into the swamp before they have even carried a single passenger.

Now the state Dept of Transportation says that the rapid rail will not relieve any traffic and no one really ever thought that Norfolk could run this at a profit.

Lets hear a big Bronx cheer for the politicians.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Today is the 45th birthday of my oldest daughters, Ellen Clair Lamb and Kathleen Ann Lamb

Where has the time gone? When they were born I was a young lieutenant on a cruiser in the South China Sea and there was a war on. Communications were so poor that the telegram announcing their arrival was mailed and I didn't find out that I was the father of twins until a week later. Then I had to spend hours in the Royal Post Office in Hong Kong waiting for a telephone call home to get through.

Now those babies are beautiful mature ladies and mothers of adult children themselves. I tell my children that I am still 24, it is only my knees that are almost 70. But despite my attitude I am still a fat old man.

The world has changed around me. Now everyone has a two way radio in their pocket and when I don't answer my cell phone, my children panic. I'm retired and bored and there is a new war in a place I thought was so remote it would never affect the USA. My parents, my in-laws, many friends, older relations and friends and even my wife have passed away. The British Empire has shrunk to a few enclaves in remote areas and even Hong Kong is no longer British.

But the adventure continues. My family is what I accomplished and each of those daughters has a child who is planning on getting married next year. Soon I may be a great grandfather. Go figure.

So I think I'm going to run away to sea. But more about that later.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Down here in the little enclave known as Chic's Beach (sic), there is always something a little screwy, if not downright criminal, going on.

Lookout Road, where I live, dates back at least three hundred years when it was the lair of Blackbeard and other pirates, smugglers, slave catchers and fugitives, poachers and others who generally don't want a lot of attention from the government. Until recently (1980?) it was very rural, but with development came traffic, and all the inland foreigners (anyone living south of Shore Drive) who want to hang out on our beach in the summer.

Pedestrian safety has become an issue. There are no sidewalks and encroachments on the street right of way have made it impossible to put any in. A number of accidents here in the 'hood and over on Shore Drive have prompted an increased Police presence. Stop signs and speed bumps and pedestian crossing signs have multiplied. Speed traps and drunk driving road blocks are multiplying. The problem has been that it was often the pedestian who was drunk in several cases.

Yesterday, I noticed that the yellow pedestian crossing signs in front of Hell's Kitchen Bar had been altered. The stick figure had a cocktail glass in his hand, complete with a swizzle stick topped with an olive. I'm waiting to see how long it will take the city to notice and I wonder if the sign department will do anything about it. I don't think the "Drunk Pedestrian Crossing" signs are official.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I have accepted an appointment as an Ordinary Seaman to serve on a Military Sealift Command ship. I am qualified to sail as a Merchant Marine Officer, Third Mate or higher, but I lack the current documents.

I am currently going through the screening process. That includes drug testing, a complete physical, and a new security investigation.

I am filling out a form that is about 40 pages. The older I get the harder this becomes. Many of the people who could vouch for me are either dead or retired and moved to the swamps of Florida. When I get it done, I don't know how much effort the agency will put into the investigation, afterall, it is only an entry level job.

But if any of my family or friends get calls asking questions about me I hope you won't tell any stories that shouldn't be repeated.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I don't know exactly what the date of The ancient Celtic festival is this year, but it has been adopted by the Catholic Church as Halloween and All Saints Day and has become Chic's Beach major holiday. The costumes at the parties ranged through the usual pirates and vampires but also included more popular current themes like zombies and the Geico cave men.

The winners were a bunch of my neighbors who organized the whole crew of the Minnow. They were all there, Gilligan, the Captain, the millionaire and his wife and so on. They even got on stage and sang the theme song. I wish we could do this more often.

Tomorrow is the election, finally. I am so tired of it. I made up my mind months ago. Everybody in goes out: City, State and Federal. I am just sorry that VA has no Senator up this year.

Maybe the Rangers can work a miracle, but this is probably the last day for baseball this year.