Friday, July 06, 2007

I've been taged!

Players list 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, players then tags 8 people by posting their names and makes sure they know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at the tagee’s blog.

Sorry, but I won't be tagging anyone. The reason for that is that I'm at the bottom of the pyramid. Everyone I know has already participated.

But here goes:

8. I wear colored jockey shorts.

7. I was a lay minister in the Catholic church and asked to consider the Deaconate.

6. For some reason, dogs love me.

5. Pepperoni pizza is my favorite fruit.

4. I've driven one of these, over 65 mph on the Autobahn. (It was a hoot!)

3. The first computer I programed looked like this. The computer, itself, weighed 175 lbs, plus a couple of hundred more pounds more for the "portable" 3kw generator that ran it. (220 volt 3 phase). It had a laughably small memory even compared to a pocket calculator.

It was a solid state device, (transistors and crystal diodes, no vacuum tubes). The machine had a stored-program and was used for automatic computing and visual displaying of firing data (gun orders) for Field Artillery weapons and free firing missiles like the Nike-Hercules. There was no CRT, (monitor), the visual display consisted of 16 nixi-tubes which were neon bulbs with a figure 8 shaped filament that worked similar to the LCD display of a modern calculator. At the time I used it, it was the first truly "portable" computer. Other computers that could handle ballistic computation were the size of a room and weighed several tons.

One day, my commanding officer told me, "You're getting a FADAC." I didn't know what the hell a FADAC was. FADAC is the acronym for "Field Artillery Digital Automatic Computer". At the time, we were figuring firing data with slide rules and computational tables similar to trigonomic tables, functions and logarithms.

I figured that someone would give me some training, no such luck. When the FADAC arrived, I was given an operation manual and a cursory "good luck!" My commanding officer told me that, I "would" have the FADAC up and running by the end of the week.

There was a slight problem.

FADACs, were programed with a dual use program and the Army, in its infinite wisdom, had seen fit to send this FADAC to an 8"-203mm firing battery with a program for 155mm and 105mm Howitzers.

"No problem", said the CO, "Just call ordinance and they will reprogram the computer". With a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I called ordinance. Ordinance informed me, yes, it was their responsibility to reprogram the computer, yes, they had the correct program on punched paper tape, no they wouldn't program the computer because they didn't have anyone that had ever did it before.

Outranked, I knew that I couldn't get ordinance to do anything they didn't want to do, back to the CO. The CO called Ordinance and got kicked upstairs to someone that outranked him. Ordinance wouldn't program the FADAC "but" they would loan us the necessary equipment and we could do it ourselves and they would tell us how to do it.

Notice that "no one knew how" but they could tell "us" how to do it! ("Us", consisted of me).

Back to the manuals!

Short story long, I did it!

I also found out that we had to check the firing data from the computer the same way we had figured it before we got the FADAC. I also found out hat we could figure the firing data faster, by hand and slide rule, quicker than we could punch it into the FADAC.

What that meant, in effect, we had another 400 lbs of almost useless equipment to lug around.

My CO decided to volunteer my services as a computer programmer to our sister units. It seems that our sister 155mm Howitzer units received their FADACs with a program to figure firing solutions for 8"-203mm Howitzers and Nike-Hercules missiles.

Now they use little hand-held, programmable, scientific calculators that are far more of a computer than FADAC could ever hope to be.

2. I haven't had a car payment since 1972 when I paid off my 1970 Gremlin.

1. I'm dyslexic.


Always On Watch said...

Bummer! I tagged you, but you've already been tagged. **sigh**

Your dyslexic. Who'd have thunk it?

Mr. AOW is dyslexic, too!

The Merry Widow said...

And my daughter. Maybe that's why you do well with computers?
My late was stationed in Berlin in the '60's, was necking with the future ex-wife in one of the forest parks, his beetle nearly got smooshed by an American tank...
Now they have Blackberries, cell phones and iApples that can out do the 1 ton computers in a room!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!


Always On Watch said...

Despite my husband's dyslexia, he's computer-challenged. Probably my fault because I can't find the patience to teach him.

Always On Watch said...

I wear colored jockey shorts.

As the laundress here at my house, I REQUIRE Mr. AOW to wear colored jockeys. ;)

After reading your anecdote about the FADAC, now I understand why you're my guru.

I won't be tagging anyone. The reason for that is that I'm at the bottom of the pyramid.

You'll never be "at the bottom of the pyramid" in any way other than tags.

Gayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gayle said...

Yep. I've already been tagged with this one too, but I don't do tags anymore, although I found your answers to this one extremely interesting. I can't believe you drove that monster over 65 on the Autobahn! WOW!

I never would have guessed you were dislexic.

Brooke said...

You are one fascinating dude, Sir Warren! :D

FLORIAN said...

No car payment since '72!!!!!!! That is awesome! I need to learn a few cues from you. I'm only $800 away from paying mine off. Hopefully it'll last another 4 or 5 years on me.

The Merry Widow said...

Florian-The secret is to put the same amount of money away into savings every month AFTER you pay off your vehicle. THEN you have repair and replacement money quietly MAKING money while you drive your present vehicle till death.
Then when you pay CASH you often get a discount because it helps the dealer pay off HIS BUYS from the auto makers! :wink,wink:


The Merry Widow said...

Oh, and Warren...the only reason you APPEAR to be at the bottom is because you are the support we depend upon! No Warren, no AoW, Nanc or tmw blogging away with little trepidition because we have our blogger big brother to DEPEND ON!


Warren said...


Bwa ha ha ha!

You know that Nanc is going to see that post you deleted. She is going to be surprised she did that too!

Don't get me wrong. I don't feel slighted, there just wasn't anyone that I could ask that hadn't already done it, unless ya'll wanted to answer 8 more????? ;^)

Anonymous said...

Did you consider the Deaconate?

Dogs love you for the same reason we all love you... every pack needs a strong leader!

Always On Watch said...

No car payment since '72!!!!!!! That is awesome!

Payments are the pits. That's why Mr. AOW and I always buy used. We've gotten burned a few times, but very few.

Obob said...

in regards to the ancient computer, I love to put old computers in my media lab for my kids to see. They get a kick out of "progress"

Warren said...

FJ said:
"Did you consider the Deaconate?"

Yes, I did. But realistically it would have taken too much time from my family. If I had been born into a Catholic family instead of becoming a Catholic as an adult, I would probably have became a priest.

Warren said...

I do all my own mechanical work so I can afford to drive a hoopty-mobile. ;^)

For work I'll try to find a car for $3oo to $700 drive it tell the wheels fall off and buy another. If that car lasts 2 or 3 years, I'm money ahead. I don't need to buy comprehensive insurance, just liability and its way cheaper to license than a new car.

I try to keep a better car for those times when I need one.

Warren said...

My "computer guru" has a "computer museum" in his basement, complete with a dot matrix printer that must weigh 50lbs and sounds like a blender when its running.

nanc said...

we have just begun car payments for the first - and hopefully last - time with the new gangsta' rig!

hmmmmmm...colored jockeys...boxer or briefs?

ben said...

back blog your got you Glad.

dyslexic? whats

nanc said...

sneb, yrev ynnuf!

bensilly said...

nanc- you still blog?

warren - Cant believe you drove that thing 65mph on the bahn.

the Mickey's said...


nanc said...

yes ben, but if you remember, we went to californistan for over a week and then we went to our cabin for an extended weekend, but i'm back now and will blog to beat the band!

Warren said...

Bens, it was a blast!

A regular armored personnel carrier won't run that fast but this was a special piece of equipment.

Instead of the diesel engine, it had a supercharged 383 Chrysler V8.

The way it steered was by two tiller bars that came straight up from the floor. Each one was a brake for that side of the tracks.

When you get up about 40 mph a track vehicle starts to raise up off the ground from the centrificial force of the tracks and you can feel it floating around on top of the tracks instead of riding solidly on top of them.

The Combat Engineers put up a pontoon bridge across the Rhine and we were supposed to take the trucks and lighter tracked vehicles across while the much heaver Guns went down stream further and crossed on a heaver bridge.

The guys driving trucks and jeeps were being overcautious and the Combat Engineers were giving them a hard time and calling them woosies. I fired her up and flew over the pontoon bridge so fast that it wiped the smiles off their faces and two of them freaked and jumped in the Rhine.


nanc said...

warren - i always figure whatever it states on the speedometer is just how fast a vehicle is supposed to go.

your theory on this?

i've driven a cadi 125 mph, but it said i could go 140 - was i underdoing it? or should i have put it to the test before the chippie caught up with me?

thankfully, i skated my way out of that one! no, literally - i alluded him, but he caught me several years later...that's another story.

BenOsilly said...

nanc- I was j/k about the blogging.

warren- thats funny.I was under the impression that those tracks w0uld tear up a road. Ah, who cares you're overseas....

Warren said...

Nanc said:
"i always figure whatever it states on the speedometer is just how fast a vehicle is supposed to go.

your theory on this?"

That's very astute Nanc, most women don't pick up on this.

People are always amazed how I pass them doing over a hundred in cars that aren't supposed to go that fast. The speedometers on several of the old small cars I've owned only went to 85 mph.

I take a magic marker marker and change the 85 to 185.

That last bit of acceleration is a killer!

(Don't tell anyone.)


Warren said...

Bens said:
"thats funny.I was under the impression that those tracks w0uld tear up a road. Ah, who cares you're overseas...."

The tracks on the comparatively lighter, (compared to a 8" Howitzer or a tank), APC "armored personnel carrier" have a molded rubber block on the face. When they took a tank or Howitzer on paved highway, large rubber blocks were bolted into insets on the track pads. The larger tracked vehicles still tore the hell out of the pavement if you turned too sharp.

If you drove one of the larger tracks over 35, they started shucking those rubber blocks.

The Germans, for the most part, didn't care what we tore up. They were reimbursed quite well. I talked to a couple of farmers and some other people about it.

We would pull into a field and tear up the crops and churn the dirt and a farmer would be right there with a clip board in his hand to note the unit numbers and the damage and a smile on his face.

We avoided tearing up forests, roads, etc, needlessly.

You have to remember that the cold war was going on. I could drive up the border between East and West Germany and see Soviet tanks and guns matching our moves on the other side.

People play it down now but it was serious business.

nanc said...

i won't tell a soul...