Tuesday, June 04, 2013

You know what'll wake you up?

The sound of a cat doing the "Bwa-bwa-bwa-bwa..." noise of an incipient hork, on the pillow right next to your head.

I came up out of N3 sleep to Wide The Heck Awake without passing through any intervening stages, like this:

"Captain to the bridge. Ship's cat's about to blow chunks."
I scooped Rannie up with both hands and deposited her on the hardwood floor where she could finish producing her hairball while I went and fetched paper toweling and a bottle of spray cleaner.

This did nothing for the overall quality of my night's sleep.

Speaking of subs, it was on this day in 1944 that the U.S. Navy captured the U-505; the first time since the War of 1812 that the USN had captured an enemy vessel at sea. The sub is currently in the Museum of Science and Industry in Mordor-on-Lake-Michigan if you'd like to tour it.

42 comments:

Paul said...

Yep. cat borking can definitely take one from snooze to moving in micro seconds.

Bob said...

The naval officer who came up with the idea of capturing the U-505, Daniel V. Gallery, was one of the Navy's great characters, and his books are well thought of by Navy people. They're well worth reading, all of them.

Bob Grundman said...

That WILL wake you up in a hurry, as will the claws in the middle of the back at 2am when kitty decides to administer an early morning "massage."

I need to creep into Mordor to see the U-505. The -505 is a Type IX: one of the larger U-boat types. The more numerous Type VII was even smaller, IIRC. Do you recommend going over the stair through Shelob's old tunnel, or through the Black Gate?

I can strongly recommend the USS KIDD (DD-661) ship museum in Baton Rouge. KIDD is one of the Fletcher class of destroyers from WWII: the same class my father served on in the Pacific part of the war (USS BELL - DD-587. Seeing what would have been my father's workspace was quite an experience.

LCB said...

The exhibit is awesome. Highly recommended and worth the trip for anyone interested in the Battle for the Atlantic.

If only it wasn't in Chi-Town...

Boat Guy said...

+1 on the RADM Dan books. I read them as a kid which partially explains the primrose path I went down.
The young officer who actually led the Boarding Party was LTjg Albert David. Among the honors accorded him was the naming of a combatant ship.
Bringing U-505 into Bermuda posed a real security risk; but Adm Dan passed the word that it was important that nobody talk or write about it - and nobody did. Dunno if today's folk could resist the presssure given the instant access available today

og said...

Next to the pillow would be horrible. It was bad enough in the haze of near-sleep to hear the cat yakking in some remote corner of the house, knowing that you'd forget by morning and invariably step barefooted into a slimy cold hairball.

I know of the "breaching awake" deal, because my ex used to wake me by grabbing the nether regions and yanking like the starter handle on a Stihl Chainsaw.

Turns out I make a similar noise, in those circumstances.

WV: userpaci for. What do you userpaci for?

JohninMd.(too late?!?) said...

DAMN, OG!!! Do you mean you sounded like the chain-saw, or the sub?( wooOOP! wooOOP! ) I know I'D be blowin' ballast...jest sayin'....

og said...

DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

Scott J said...

One of the downsides of co-habitation with cats.

Add not getting your year old cat spayed before she goes into heat the first time.

I just thought she was goofy before.

Scott J said...

Og, was that her way of showing affection or was she just being mean about waking you up?

og said...

"Ex wife"

Pakkinpoppa said...

Toured the U505 many years ago. Even got (had) a little plastic "do it yourself" model of it made.

Neat. A bit...tight, so to speak. They had little tape players with headphones for "tour guides" they gave you.

Once Chi-Town gets a little bit free-er, maybe I'll take my son to see it.

I'll start holding my breath right about....Meow.

Secret Code: ion kepaeli

Wasn't he the villain in one of the Bond movies?

Rob Reed said...

I love the 505. I first toured it as a kid and then saw it a couple years ago in it's new location. They essentially moved it and then built a new museum wing around it. Great exhibit.

I have Admiral Gallery's books on his service and especially the one on the 505. Great reads.

Rob (Trebor)

The Raving Prophet said...

It's a neat display... I've been twice. Once before they built the big addition to keep it inside and once afterwards.

That thing is CRAMPED inside. Hard to imagine living in one of those. The USS Clamagore (SS-343) at Patriot's Point in Charleston, SC is spacious by comparison.

JD Rush said...

Took the U505 tour last year. Best part of the visit.

Joanna said...

I always thought it was more of a "hk-hk-hk-hk-hkaglaglaglagl", followed by the patented Slink Of Shame And Anger Because Somehow This Is Your Fault(tm).

Anonymous said...

I saw the U505 as a kid, it would be interesting tos ee it again if I happen to find myself in that area again. Thanks for the reminder of it.

In a past life, waking instantly in the night, looking around to see what the dog was low growling at, then being able to drop almost instalty back to sleep wasnt an issue. I miss the ability to go back to sleep so easliy. The waking part wasn't that hard, sleeping out under the stars out in the hills, especially in the rockies where the bears live.

Mal


WV, not sure I can repeat it on a family friendly blog.

freddyboomboom said...

The Twentieth Edition of the Bluejacket's Manual says that it's "the only time the order "Boarder's Away!" has been passed in this century."

ProudHillbilly said...

Oh yeah. Been there, done that.

RHT447 said...

Another +1 on the Admiral's books. In one of his books (Stand By-y-y to Start Engines?) is a story about the Blue Angles flight team. Seems a flight instructor at their base busted one of their mechanics for being out of uniform (or some such). When this instructor next took his class up, the Blue angels took their place. They suited up in the students gear and walked out on the ramp with helmets on and sun visors down and saddled up (I don't remember what they were flying).

Years ago, I had a friend who was retired from Office of Naval Intelligence. He had heard the tower tapes of this event. He said that by the end of the tape, the instructor's voice is up about 2 octaves, yelling "just get the F@#@ away from me!"

U505 capture on youtube here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIgyF1R1D88

Ferret said...

Here's something to ponder:

When a house cat starts making the "I'm about to barf" sound, a quick solution is to grab that cat and place them on a tile floor. All of a sudden, said cat doesn't have to puke anymore. It's almost as if they won't bother if it won't make enough of a mess.

Domestic cats seem to throw up almost at the drop of a hat - one primary cause being a sudden change in diet. That's why the general practice is to feed them the same stuff every day.

Consider a cat that lives most of its life outside. You never ever ever see one of them barfing up a hairball in spite of the fact that they eat all sorts of things in the wild. My theory is that there's no carpet outside on which to appreciate having thrown up a prize hairball.

Cats won't practice their art without a proper canvas, after all.

mariner said...

I'd love to see U-505.

But it's in Mordor-on-Lake Michigan.

So I guess not.

staghounds said...

Philadelphia has an American contemporary of U505, berthed beside USS Olympia and across the river from USS New Jersey. Worth a day.

Scott J said...

Ferret, they have the same approach about claw sharpening.

Ignore the sisal rope scratching post in favor of the furniture.

LCB said...

The Raving Prophet said: The USS Clamagore (SS-343) at Patriot's Point in Charleston, SC is spacious by comparison.

When I was at Patriot's point they had the interior behind plexiglass. My wife had a hard time going through because of her claustrophobia. The plexiglass made for a very tiny tunnel effect.

The USS Pampanito, in San Francisco, is completely open to exploration. And, when we were there, had a retired submariner on board talking about his service. Seeing the Pampanito along with the Liberty ship Jeremiah O'Brien made for an awesome day.

NotClauswitz said...

As a non-cat owner/servant I guess that I'm glad never to have had the pleasure of that.

SnW said...

Speaking of coughing up a hairball, Colorado voters did just that.

Here's the skinny

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/red-pill-blue-bill/2013/jun/3/sen-john-morse-recalled/

Bubblehead Les. said...

Come to Cleveland, tour the USS Cod. You'll be glad you did.

Having a cat, I DO feel your pain.

But when they turn on their Cuteness Rays and aim them at you, what's a little used food?

Ed said...

You call that a hairball?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YSJ0exw54k

Now that's a hairball.

Michael said...

Hey, when you gotta puke, you gotta puke! I have learned to forgive Ms. Gizmo and the Great Fuzzy Asshole when they do(more often than I need)! Saw the 505 in the mid 50s as a kid and went on to have a small role in the design and building of the SSN 688 boats.

Stretch said...

The Royal Navy captured a U-boat in the eastern Med in '41 or '42(?). Captured a Kriegsmarine Enigma machine. The Official Secrets Act and common sense kept the RN crew from speaking of it until well after the war. When Adm. Gallery published his book, which in early editions claimed it was the only submarine ever captured at sea, the British Naval Attache in Washington was only too happy to enlighten him ... once Gallery signed the appropriate paperwork. Gallery reacted with good grace and humor as you'd expect a good seaman and story tell would.

wolfwalker said...

That's a story I hadn't heard, Stretch. Are you sure you're not thinking of U-110, captured in the North Atlantic in spring '41? The RN destroyer involved got the Enigma machine and codebooks for the next 3 months. Priceless for the cryptoguys at Bletchley Park.

Re U-505 and its insides: the Jerries weren't much on creature comforts for their crews. They built 'em small, so they could build a lot of 'em. American fleet-class submarines were a whole lot bigger inside. There are maybe a dozen or so of those scattered around the country. Worth special attention is USS Batfish in Muskogee, OK -- best known for sinking three Japanese subs in three days.

Joe said...

Uh, shouldn't that be:"Wide The Huck Awake"??!

RabidAlien said...

Toured the *mumblemumble* in Boston Harbor, and another diesel boat in Portland. First boat, I was with a friend, and about the second compartment in on the self-guided tour, she turned and asked "is this anything like the submarines you were on?" Yeah. Talk about having the complete and undivided attention of EVERYONE around! In Portland, the tour guide was walking the group through the berthing compartment, explaining how submariners only had x amount of space to store x-number of months' worth of clothes and entertainment (not to mention the vitally essential snacks and sodas). I asked if he was going to explain "hot-racking" to the rest of the group. He gave me a look and asked if I'd ever punched holes in the ocean. Yup. We had a good tour after that!

Interesting fact: the berthing compartments are as far forward in subs as possible (at least all the ones I was on). When an emergency blow is scheduled, if you happen to be standing next to your rack, which happens to be one of the forward racks, once the nose of the boat stops rising and begins its inevitable course back to the ocean from whence it came....you actually get a few seconds of free-fall. Did it once. It was pretty darn awesome!

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Yeah, there's nothing like the feeling you get when the boat reaches the apex and starts back down. Seems like I was almost always in Radio or on the mess decks, but even there you'd get a brief feeling of weightlessness when the boat started going downward while you were still trying to go up....

Anonymous said...

Toured the U-505 in 1969. At that time the museum gift shop was selling 2" x 2" squares cut from the hull to make the doorway we entered thru. I still have mine. Smooth on one side, pocked and cratered on the other.

Old NFO said...

+1 on Bob's comment, and ANOTHER reason I don't have cats... :-)

RabidAlien said...

@RM1(SS): That was the only time I got to experience that...it was just about watch-change time, I was coming on-watch and had just eaten, when I needed to head back to my rack to grab something. For some reason, the skipper decided to do the emergency blow just then, instead of waiting until relief was over. Back in the engineering spaces, you really couldn't feel a thing. I do recall being up and about during crash-dives, and watching safety chains standing at a 30-degree angle out from their stanchions. Heh. As well as roving electricians (myself) dangling from the ladder between upper and lower-level engineering spaces. Then letting go and scrambling after that darn errant coffee mug....

perlhaqr said...

My father (a US Navy officer) had all of those Dan Gallery books. I tried reading them a couple of times, but didn't really "get" them until about 7th or 8th grade, at which point they hit me like the proverbial load of bricks and I learned not to read them in the library because my laughter was disturbing the other patrons.

One story, in particular, (I believe it might have been the one where "Curly" Cue and the boys were flying inverted towards the PBY...) and for some reason, it was just the funniest thing I'd ever read, but I was in the library, so I couldn't laugh out loud, so I'd stifle it, and read another three words, and then have to stifle down the laughter again, and then it became this sort of compounding thing where the fact that I couldn't laugh out loud made it even funnier and... yeah. Good times, good times.

They probably won't ever be published again, and after 40 years of military moves and various terrible environments, the acid-paper copies I've got have basically disintegrated, but that would make lovely Kindle fodder.

Anonymous said...

Staghound, I was on the USS Hake when it was in the Philly Navy Yard. My dad's cousin took us tour when the were mothballing his DDS. It seem mighty small to a 12 year old.

I believe they sent a boarding party from the USS Holt to the SS Mayaquez when they retook her from the Khmer Rouge.

Gerry

Cheesy said...

Better than rolling over, gradually awakening to the feeling of something damp and vile stuck to your cheek...

Justthisguy said...

My dear dead kitty occasionally horked up vomit and hairballs, but always gave fair warning, so I was usually able to grab him and toss him outside before anything came up.

Being Mainely Coonish, he did not like sitting in my lap or sleeping with me, except when grievously wounded. I recall waking up one morning when wounded Uzi had slept with me and seeing a huge stain of cat pus and cat blood on the pillow next to my face. He had popped an abscess during the night.