Monday, June 30, 2008

Uncle Cran's Heady Claim

Uncle Cran's Head

My Uncle Cran sent me a photo of his enormous head. Just how enormous? Take a close look, comparing its size to that of the nearby ship, then read Uncle Cran's remarks and note a surprising 'fact':
This was made when I wasn't old, ugly, wrinkled, gray headed, almost bald, senile, and anything else you might add. My old ship is at the navy yard in south Washington, DC, if any of you ever get to go there.
Did you catch it? Read again. Note the words "My old ship." Get it? Uncle Cran claims to own this ship! Now, I know for a fact that this can't be true. Uncle Cran may own the farm on which he lives with Aunt Gay, but he doesn't own this Forrest Sherman-class destroyer!

If Uncle Cran were to 'own' the USS Barry DD-933, what would that entail? He would have to own the Washington Navy Yard, which actually belongs to the United States Navy and serves as the Navy's ceremonial and administrative center, overseeing naval operations and directing the Marine Corps Institute, among other things. To own all of that, he would have to own the US Navy!

In effect, Uncle Cran is claiming to own the United States Government.

But that can't be so because if it were true, Uncle Cran would have to be the entire US citizenry, for only the people of the United States can be said to 'own' the US Government, and I know for a fact that Uncle Cran is just one single individual living on a farm in the Arkansas Ozarks. Perhaps he's taken that line in Walt Whitman Song of Myself -- "I am large, I contain multitudes" -- a bit too literally.

However, I suspect that Uncle Cran is not truly serious. Rather, I think that he's just challenged me to an old-time hillbilly "lying contest," a traditional, downhome form of entertainment and artistry that achieves perfection in the time-honed lying skills of Southern Highlanders such as my Uncle Cran. You can read all about such lying contests here:
Ed Kahn, "Tall-Tale Lying Contest," Western Folklore, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 1960), pp. 134-135
That link will take you directly to the article, which is very short and can be read for free. Don't believe the site if it states that "You are not currently authorized to access this article," for I have authorized you to access it. You can explain this to the editors. They know me there.

But to return to Uncle Cran's challenge . . . well, unlike Uncle Cran, I might not have a head as big as a factory, but I can fabricate some pretty decent lies if I'm given a bit of time.

While I'm reflecting on this, comments are open for the best lie...

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At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In saying "My old ship," I am using a phrase of every sailor who ever sailed the seven seas. To claim that I have no such privilege is a slap against naval careful, you may face the wrath of the entire United States Navy members, both active and retired! Incidentally, all ships are purchased with income taxes of U.S. citizens, so every taxpayer can also claim MY ship as THEIR ship also. So much for tortured logic.
Incidentally, the photo of the ship was made about eight years ago at the navy yard in DC. The old, ugly, wrinkled, gray headed, balding, senile geezer standing on the gangplank was yours truly. The superimposed photo of the young, virile, handsome, highly intellegent, certified morse code, teletype, and faxcimile operator was also yours truly at age 18.
----------(SIGH)--------- WHAT THE YEARS DO TO US!!!!!

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I see that you're still trying to win that lying contest. I don't believe that you have the authority to order the entire US Navy to attack me.

Besides, I have the US Air Force on my side -- friends at Osan Air Base, plus your own son, who I believe outranks you.

I'll ignore your other canards...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Have you ever looked at what "Uncle Cran" knows as "The Blue Jackets' Manual"? Have you ever heard the expression, " A Plank Owner"?

If you can locate a copy of a "WestPac '76-'79" (annual I suppose-kinda like your old high school annuals) and look at-my issue, page 104, "Pollywog to Shellback" (longitude 86 degrees 28) I think you'll perhaps recognize that your Uncle Cran actually does own (along with his shipmates-the ship which he claims title to).

All-his C.O., his CNO, as well as his President (USA) informed him, "This is your ship, this ship belongs to you and your shipmates, see that she sails the Seas in the matter and manner that your forefathers have sailed before. Take care that you hold your ship."

I'm uncertain as to the year Uncle Cran "enjoyed" his receiving his "Owner's Manual" but I just happen to have another annual (actually called a "Cruise Book") but I sorta equate a Cruise being something akin to a "Princess Cruise Lines" advertisement to the Bahamas. Regardless, this other that I hold is one my Dad received, and it's dated 1943-'45, and it contains much the same language assigning "title."

I would admit that the annuals I have which contain my picture were more like "cruises" than the earlier issue. The ones with my face do not contain photos of something called "Kamikazes." Neither do they contain photos of "owners" dangling limp over turrets.

But I would say, the preface pages of all the "annuals" refer to those people manning the ships, pretty much state that those who "sail the Seas" own the vessel.

I do not see that they imply that the particular "owners" of the "particular" ships own the Navy. But that's just a thing that Professors might quibble about-being Academicians and all.

I'd join "Uncle Cran" in advising, " careful, you may face the wrath of the entire United States Navy members..." We know where you live, we know how to get there.

And usually we bring US Marines with us.


At 9:06 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Uncle Cran,
adopt me! I sent you a nice sweet reply to the email. Give up this contankerous young nephew professor ridiculing your head. Which, by the way, I was impressed by the photo, and wish that I knew how to create such a wonder.
Your future niece,

At 9:10 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Now that I've read JK's reply, I'm thinking that these former sailors stick together. Better take on another branch of the military!

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, you just might win this contest -- that's one big whopper you've told!

I think that you and my uncle are just suffering from the navy blues...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:48 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, pretty good lie, but JK's has yours beat.

As for JK's and Uncle Cran's threats of attack . . . well, I don't worry about sailors' bluster, especially not during a lying contest.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:37 AM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

At least I'm honest with my kids when we look at photos of KC-135s, C-130s,RCs and ECs...

I always tell them, "Look at this one...that might be one of MINE!"

Well...half-honest anyway.

I don't really own any four-engine aircraft.

Come to think of it...I don't own any aircraft at all!

But Cran, I believe you! Both about the ship AND about opening up a can of swabbie whoop-#*&!

We bigheads MUST stick together!

At 10:37 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Oh, no,
I didn't read your last lines of blog carefully. You wanted a lie and I told the honest truth although I'm not sure how to tell an honest lie!

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lying contest? You insolent whelp!

Not to demean any other service 'cause I know an AF guy "knows" where I live but I'd just submit: SecDef told the AF "You guys are... (well I'll not repeat his words) not properly supporting..." Al-O blame Gates, not me.

Professor, this is the first and (so far) only time that I've seen you in print/blog that you don't know Jack. If you can find a Sailor, or a Marine-ask either-"What does shade gray and underway, mean?"

I think you know Jack, but it's apparent you didn't catch his last name. Well, you've not managed to put the two together.

And here you are whining about plagiarism. Well previously.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

"This was made when I wasn't ... almost bald"

Um, then where's the hair? I don't see any.

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Professor,

It certainly appears I keep longer hours than my timezone neighbors, for they're not here supporting me in "the effort" to win the contest.

I thought with Uncle Crans, Jeani and especially al-O's assistance: we'd get by your Professorial professiorialarinism, I see we erred.

I (on behalf of all-concede) knowing that you'd see right through the claim. We did put up a valiant effort which I hope you'll duly recognize.

You knew full well that when one is a very, very low ranking person (with the obvious exceptions of places and missions like Abu-Ghraib) none of us can expect that a CO nor a President is gonna hand over the title to a warship, much less an Air Force C-130.

You win Professor.

We should have laid claim to Guantanamo.


At 3:16 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Daddio, what the heck is "swabbie whoop-#*&!"?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:19 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

An honest lie, Jeanie? As David Lynn Jones once said in explaining how to write a country song, "You just gotta lie your way to the truth."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:23 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, you've totally lost me with your complex prevarications, so you seem to be ahead in this lying contest.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, I believe that Uncle Cran was lying about the abundant hair.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:53 PM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

Sorry...I lied.

It's "Whup-#*&"! Not "whoop-#*&"!

"Whup-#*&" Roy D. Mercer states it.

At 4:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Daddio, I don't know if the "Prank Call" to a "Navy Recruiter" was the one you were referring to, but the title sounded appropriate, and it was funny.

I believe that Roy D. Mercer has won this lying contest.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems no one noticed that I mis-spelled intelligent?
The only time I had abundant hair while in the navy was just before my first naval haircut in boot camp. And I stand behind my comments regarding my youthful attributes.
Sorry, but I reject the accusation of lying.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

"Sorry, but I reject the accusation of lying."

Very clever move in a lying contest. Maybe you win...

Jeffery Hodges

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