Night Musings

Written last night and edited this morning.

It isn’t really late. A little past nine. Maureen has retired to bed where she will read for an hour or so.

Not me. No, not me. Growing up until i left for the Navy, i would get into bed and read into the wee wee hours of the morning, sometimes the night through. But now if i get through two paragraphs before falling asleep, it is surprising.

So i sit in the dark except for the reading light above my very nice and fashionable chair, which isn’t the recliner i would like to have because Maureen thinks they look tacky, although she would never use the word “tacky.” It would be a much more sophisticated sneer she would choose. And this ain’t bad. Don’t get me wrong.

i have Alfred Brendel playing off my iTunes menu on the Apple TV program. Good reading music.

i have begun reading David Maraniss’ new book, A Good American Family i received in the mail, er Fedex, yesterday. i just might pull one of those all nighters again. i am fascinated.

i almost wish i weren’t so enthralled. The story of David’s father and Andrew Maraniss’ grandfather (Andrew also is a wonderful writer and author of Strong Inside, one of the more impactful books i have read in the last decade or so) being blacklisted by HUAC is riveting.

It resonates with me. It is also scary in that the frenzy leading to the opposite of the belief in equality so well written into the core idea of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution is so prevalent today.

*   *     *

i marvel at our inability to understand that. This morning as i was filling out yet another VA form of data they already have available to supposedly make the VA system more efficient and more responsive, Maureen was on the phone trying to navigate through the bureaucratic maze to get an appointment for a specialist she knew had openings but kept walking into barriers of bizarre paperwork required by all of the folks who are obeisant to rules, not logic.

I marveled at our bureaucratic lack of common sense.

i then recalled the Navy’s concern about too many reporting requirements when i was on my first ship in the late 60’s. The brass recognized the need to reduce the load on the operational forces. So, guess what? They formed a committee to determine how to reduce the number of required reports. And guess what was the initial action of the committee? They required every command to submit a report on all of the reports they had to submit and then continue to submit such a report every six months. No kidding. i don’t think they deleted one requirement for submitting a report, which means they actually added another report.

And somewhere, somewhere in all of the piles i’m trying to reduce, there is a half page report form i hope to find and scan here later. i was the overhaul coordinator for USS Okinawa’s overhaul in 1982-83.

The contracting civilian shipyard; SHIPSUP (Supervisor of Shipbuilding), the oversight, administrator, and coordinator for ship overhauls; the shipyard, and our ship recognized the delay for getting work change approval through the paper flow process would create an extension of the overhaul period. This would be a costly delay and an untenable situation for ship’s operations. So the three agreed when a manager or QA rep for the three groups were present when a need for a change was required, there could be a verbal agreement to allow for the work to proceed and the paperwork could follow.

In less than a day, the shipyard produced this half-page form. It was to be signed by the representatives of the three entities on site when they agreed to the work change.

At the top, the title of the form was “Verbal Agreement.” So it was literally a written verbal agreement.

This makes my head hurt and i am going to bed.

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