Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Where have all the books gone?

Updated June 12, 2013

Regular readers (I kid—I have none) will notice that some 76 book posts have disappeared.  I have moved them to my book site which will still be known as On The Nightstand.  That is where I will keep the running list of what I have read, plus I'll be adding reviews and links to purchase.

So instead of cluttering up this site, I'm just listing what I am currently reading—and that can be found in the sidebar to the right--->

Update: I have dropped the book list effort due to a staggeringly stupendous lack of interest. Instead, I will post more frequently on not only this blog, but especially on Serviside (for transportation topics—but mostly antique autos and trucks). I do this to keep Jesse over at Just a Car Guy blog happy. And off my back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Last Trap

Updated 4/9/12

Neptunus Lex
Retired Naval Aviator Captain Carroll LeFon. From

Neptunus Lex, one of my favorite bloggers, has died doing what he loved best. A retired Naval Aviator, Captain Carroll "Lex" LeFon had commanded an F/A-18 squadron and had served as XO at TOPGUN. As a civilian he qualified on an Israeli F-21 Kfir and was flying opposing force missions at TOPGUN in Fallon, Nevada yesterday, when he crashed. The Best being trained by the Best-of-the-Best. I never met him, but it was my plan to buy him a Guinness the next time he traveled through Las Vegas. Nothing I say could ever say about him could be as eloquent as the heartfelt words of his fellow milbloggers. Just suffice it to say that he was greatly admired and greatly loved.

Go to his blog here and hit the tip jar (or glass in this case) to help out his family. And if you live in San Diego or plan to be there sometime, drop by the Shakespeare Pub and hoist a pint of Guinness in his memory.

Memorial Updates for Captain LeFon:

The bulk of memorial services—be they planned or impromptu, formal or informal—are over. Gatherings of two or more from San Diego (with his family) to Boston, from D.C. to Idaho, from the SF Bay area to Flordia, took place Friday and Saturday nights. Hundreds more of us stayed at home either alone with our thoughts or taking part in an unprecedented online wake/memorial service. It was two nights filled with love, praise, and tears. Plans for permanent remembrances were made, and a few surprises popped up. A small group remembering Neptunus Lex at a restaurant was surprised when another group stood to toast Capt. LeFon. During the online cyberspace memorial service a Las Vegas blogger discovered another blogger living just a few blocks away. At the appointed time hundreds of them all across the country lifted their glasses and toasted the Good Captain. For Strength.

The funeral services for Neptunus Lex were held at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, on March 27 at 1 p.m. The military service ended with a section flyover by a F/A-18 Hornet and a F-21 Kfir.

The Neptunus Lex Honor Roll
(If I've missed any, please let me know.)
170 Notices and Tributes that have been made by:

The Lexicans
Steeljaw Scribe
CDR Salamander
The Woodshed
Bring the Heat, Bring the Stupid
Outside the Beltway
Navy DyberSpace Blog
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner
The Tailhook Association
Chicago Boyz
Susan Katz Keating
War News Updates
Lawyers, Gun$ and Money
PJ Tatler
Bookworm Room
blonde sagacity
The Kitchen Dispatch
Bob Owens
24 Hour Campfire
XHouse of Eratosthenes
Stanislaus GOP
Thoughts and Rantings
NorthEast – Tea Party Patriots!
Theo Spark
Castra Praetoria
Thunder Pig
The Thunder Run
Liberal Whoppers
Brain Shavings
365 Veterans
Aviation Forum
Morning in Arizona
Naval Open Source INTelligence
Op For
Among The Joshua Trees
From My Position...On The Way!
Da Goddess
Brown Hound
The Sniper
Carmichael's Position
Grim's Hall
Soldiers' Angels Germany
Aliens in This World
Aviation Week
Navy Times
Bouhammer's Military Blog
Homefront Six
The Sandgram
This Ain't Hell
Villainous Company
Eagle Speak
Not Exactly Rocket Science
Fuzzilicious Thinking
U.S. Navy Aircraft History
Little Drops...
Boudicca's Voice
Doc In The Box
Miserable Donuts
Ace of Spades
Information Dissemination
The Political Conundrum!
Truth, Lies and in Between
Cold Fury
On the North River
The Mellow Jihadi
Parrothead Jeff & Friends
No Runny Eggs
US Navy Jeep
The World According to Me
U.S. Fleet Forces Command Blog
Exile in Portales
Hog Day Afternoon
Noodling On It
Brain Shavings
Silicon Valley Redneck
Lignes de défense
Jeopardy in MD
The Free Republic
Old Retired Petty Officer
Home on the Range
Navy Cyberspace Blog
BaseOps Forums
Backcountry Pilot
The Best Defense
Bull USA
Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I
little green footballs
Akron Forum
Horseman Zero
Adonai is Semper Fi
Network 54
India Times
My Blog
Ramblings from a Blue Dot
Bayou Renaissance Man
Assoluta Tranquillita
Liberty Republican Forum
Mudville Gazette
The Conservatory
Overseas Civilian Contractors
Air Pouge
Windows IT Pro
ARC Forums
Questions and Confirmations
Pilot Online
Sowards for Senate
Skippy Maximus
A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics
Pirate's Cove
The Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About
The Minuteman
A Girl and Her Gun
The View From Under The Desk
The Flight Deck
Free Falling
Maggie's Farm
Google Groups
USS Bennington - (PG4)
Smith & Wesson Forum
Random Acts of Patriotism
One step at a time
Tomcat Sunset Forum
Military Times
Bryan Strawser
Bloomberg Businessweek
America in Uniform
The Online Temple of Chris Parkes
Bad Ju Ju
Foreign Policy
Mongo Talk Blog!
Shots From The Hip
Danger Room (Wired)
Lahontan Valley News
Chant du Départ

The U.S. Naval Institute blog

From the SecNav

From the CEO, U.S. Naval Institute

From Airborne Tactical Advantage Company

A website for Neptunus Lex's friends and fans has been created:
   The Lexicans

The Neptunus Lex Group on Facebook now has 396 members.

Whisper's Open Thread on the Neptunus Lex website itself has, at this writing, collected 1,655 tributes, comments and condolences.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011


Not that I've posted all that much, but I'll be on hiatus for a week as I travel to conduct some interviews for a book. Back by the weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Handwriting Evolution

Despite being of a generation that was taught to write the "Noble" way, I have lousy penmanship:
My generation's students were taught how to write properly with the Noble’s Handwriting series. This one, for the Second Grade, still focused on manuscript (block) printing. Noble’s Handwriting for Everyday Use 2, 1953. From the University of South Carolina's Rare Books & Special Collections website.

Cursive writing was taught starting in the Third Grade. From Cindy is Crafty's flickriver.

No matter how hard I practiced, my motor control lacks the element which allows for smooth lines and fine writing. My oldest sister had championship lettering, so I believe that she got the bulk of the family's handwriting gene. When my various jobs required mechanical or electrical drawings, I was a whiz with the T-square, triangle and French curve. But when it came to the hand lettering, I was a disaster. Then came Autocad and the angels sang.

My lack of ability in that department has always led me to admire calligraphy and fine handwriting - especially the Spencerian Handwriting of the 19th Century:
An elegant 1867 example of Spencerian Handwriting. From The Young Campaigner website.

Unfortunately, most writers of the period were less elegant:
The more usual style of handwriting from the period. Note the shading in the letters in both examples. From The Young Campaigner website.

I've spent hundreds of research hours studing, admiring and trying to decipher handwriting from mid-19th Century to the 1920s, and I've noticed changes in style from decade-to-decade. So it was no surprise to see a CNN article yesterday - titled "Handwriting through the ages: An abridged history of English script" - that talks about changes from century-to-century.

And remember - January 23 is National Handwriting Day. Swear off texting and email for 24 hours and write someone a letter in longhand.


Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Gets New Secretary General

After the blindingly quick on-again, off-again nomination of Abdel-Fattah El-Banna (who isn't an archaeologist), Mohamed Abdel Fattah, former head of the SCA's antiquities sector, has officially replaced the famous Zahi Hawass. Three different accounts - each contains a bit of information the others do not - are from The New York Times, Biblical Archaeology Review, and Bikya Masr.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Then again...

Well, I've already changed my mind. I was commenting on Victorian era bathing suits over on Shorpy, when I thought that perhaps I need to keep the transportation side separate from the general history side. I mean, guys who like cars aren't interested in women in bathing suits, right? So I am going to use my other blog, Serviside (which I've also been sitting on forever and never posting to) as my Trains, Planes and Automobiles site. So wander over to and take a look around. Then come back here for the non-car/truck stuff. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Monday, July 25, 2011

At long last...something

OK, I've been sitting on this blogsite since December 31, 2004, so it's high time I did something with it. Blame Jesse at Just a Car Guy blog, since he shamed me into this.

Originally I had intended this to be a quasi-political blog, but there are a multitude of others who do that sort of thing way better than I ever could (hence my blog title). So I have decided to just make this a fun (for me) site where I touch on the things I enjoy beyond work. Mainly I'll just expand on the items that I post on other sites, such as the aforementioned Just a Car Guy, Shorpy, and Hemmings.

Obviously I like historic transportation topics, but I also enjoy military history with an emphasis on the American Civil War. And books. Lots and lots of books. You can never have too many books.

So, here we go.