Submarine Warfare and the 1984 Soviet Akula #history

Posted By on October 14, 2017

Having a couple of connections to U.S. submariners, I found this bit of Akula-class Soviet Navy submarine history interesting and a great read.

How The Soviet Akula Changed Submarine Warfare

In late 1984, when the first Akula submarine of the Soviet Navy put to sea, it immediately changed the way anti-submarine warfare would be conducted. With the Akula’s arrival the American submarine fleet would no longer enjoy the dramatic undersea advantages they had possessed since the end of the World War II. The Akula, which is Russian for shark, stunned NATO with its high-level of stealth, especially compared to any Soviet submarine before it.

That’s because in the battle for undersea supremacy, silence is the key to survival and victory. Prior to the Akula, the Soviets had already been making huge strides, making their submarines faster, deeper diving, and more heavily armed than American submarines. One submarine, the lone Papa SSGN, a nuclear-powered guided-missile sub, is still the world’s fastest after reaching 44.7 knots (around 51 mph) in 1970.

But the ability to make their submarines as quiet, or nearly as quiet, as American subs had long eluded them. The Akula dramatically changed that. Or, as William Perry—who would later become Secretary of Defense—told a House Armed Services Committee in 1989, “The free lunch was over.”

Read full article: How The Soviet Akula Changed Submarine Warfare

Why be cautious with such hot financial markets, corporate tax cuts around the corner and the promise of tax reform?

Posted By on October 13, 2017

The early 1980s were challenging as manufacturing headed overseas, inflation ate up the buying power of every dollar and the cost to borrow was at an all time high. In fact, redbarnlogoBrenda and I were giddy to have acquired a 12% mortgage on our first house in 1982 because our friends were applying for new mortgages at 18-21%. For us though, times were pretty good, mostly because we didn’t know any better. Both of us had finished college and were starting our careers; we were still driving inexpensive cars and living like college kids. Our dates nights consisted of the $1 cheapo movie theater in downtown Kent, Ohio (a college town) … or maybe free tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra either downtown or at Blossom Music Center. A meal out meant getting a burger, salad, fries and Coke all for $1.99 deal at the Red Barn in Streetsboro. Even after our little Aurora, Ohio house and crazy boat payments, we were able to comfortably able to save money and invest those dollars in high interest money market savings or the recently discovered promise of growth in the stock market … growth … which it did, until it didn’t.


Those high returning years seemed to be just the way markets were suppose to go for newbies who were saving money in order to expand a home evening printing business (I was rebuilding and running printing presses in my garage and basement). Eventually I opted to leave my job (rather than move) and took the risk to start my own company. Once committed, I bought and remodeling a commercial building, so the next big step was to use the money we had invested to make ReaganSpeaking1986capital purchases and hire employees after the encouragement from President Reagan believing in America and pitching tax reform (listen to his speech). Lower taxes and business friendly reform stimulated business and the economy – all wanted to be entrepreneurs. American businesses were finally going to be able to grow and compete … the risk was finally worth taking. America was back!

So step two was for Brenda and I to head to the Graph Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago that autumn of 1987 in order to place the order on a new 2-color press and miscellaneous equipment. We check our investment savings, loved seeing it continue to grow, and  were ready to go … until we weren’t.

Jump Forward:

The point of this reminiscing is that I’m having a déjà vu moment where our economy has been struggling for years and President Trump and the GOP lead congress is promising tax cuts and tax reform. Investors and the stock market loves it and continues to power higher on the optimism the economy is going to grow – rightly so, it should after a deep recession and 8 years of an anti-business Obama administration.


BUT … those of use who remember the tax reform of 1986 followed by Black Monday in October of 1987 … are a tad bit hesitant about going all in. Markets don’t always respond as we expect, as I recall. In fact, the stock market lost 22% in one day and wiped out a full year of gains plus the losses on the new money we had put to work in equities. Should we learn a lesson from this history, or as some would say, "it’s different this time." It always is, until is isn’t.


A photo and another video snippet after my time with Annalyn

Posted By on October 12, 2017

Let’s just say I can’t help myself in archiving a few more snippets after spending some time with my granddaughter Annalyn this week. She had a good time with me and I with her.

Katelyn and Drew are great parents and Drew’s mom Barb is doing the bulk of the babysitting care for Annalyn when Katelyn is working. Childcare was our biggest stress in those early years and I for one are thankfully they are behind me as a parent … but now as a grandparents realized the stress is not really over. Living in the same town as family really lightens the situation, but can be taxing on all involved (Brenda is heading up this week to help out on her day off too). Thinking back, I’m not sure how we did it???

Since I took a few photos and video, below is another as Annalyn at 7 months and with one tooth breaking through, is starting to talk (well babble).

Personal week: Enjoyed another day babysitting Annalyn

Posted By on October 11, 2017

I think Annalyn enjoyed her day with me too … at least the eating part (and yucky looking peas no less!)

Thoughts on Rolling Coal

Posted By on October 10, 2017

Although I’m the last person to criticize folks for tweaking their diesel engines for performance and efficiency, I cringe when I see modifications that purposely over fuel and pump a bunch of black smoke when it is unnecessary (not under load). There has to be a commonsense balance between neutering diesel engines with excessively costly complex systems and “rolling coal.”

Rolling coal is the practice of modifying a diesel engine to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine in order to emit large amounts of black or grey sooty exhaust fumes into the air. It also may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter. Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing smoke switches and smoke stacks.
MORE on Wikipedia

Music Monday: Back to the pre-Parrothead Jimmy Buffett days

Posted By on October 9, 2017

You’re getting old when you can say that you were listening to Jimmy Buffett music when only on vinyl, although it could have been on 8-track or cassette tape? Thankfully Living_and_Dying_in_3-4_TimeI was not listening to his song The Wino and I Know on 78s as the lyrics in the song goes (a vinyl record format that reference the R78 PM speed setting on a gramophone or phonograph record player. aka: Turntable).

He’s got seventy-eights by Hank Snow …

That said, the album Jimmy Buffett: Living and Dying in 3/4 Time was one of the first in my pile of vinyl that I preserved and self-taped to cassette for the car and daily play, although I eventually repurchase in CD (a medium that is disappearing as well). Now I do own digital versions and am not sure I’ll even bother with anything newer in AAC or MP3? Pandora, Spotify, Apple or my current favorite Amazon Prime Music are just too easy … but since it is MusicMonday, here’s a sample from Jimmy’s Key West phase.

  The Wino and I Know | Jimmy Buffett: Living and Dying in 3/4 Time – 1974

Jimmy Buffett’s Album discography (below):


How many different kinds of critters?

Posted By on October 8, 2017

While trying to keep the raccoons from “moving in” as the weather cools, I’ve been a little too successful recently. The past weeks score has been 2 raccoons, 2 opossums and a cat (second time for feral cat). This guy sure can jump!

I was going to comment that we’ve seen an increase in number of critters since Tootsie died, but as I recall, she was always proudly bringing something home too. Between deer rutting and damaging our trees, skunks in my traps and coyotes bounding through the neighborhood, I suppose trapping another feral cat shouldn’t be too surprising?

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.