Three of the best years of my life were spent in the Southern Italian city of Naples. I was still in the Navy and was lucky to get a NATO assignment there. During those three years I toured a lot of Italy and Southern Europe, and learned to love Southern Italian culture.
Learning the foods was a huge part of the culture. Among these foods was learning to love olives. I’d never really cared much for olives before moving to Italy. But that changed. I also learned how olives were prepared, a bit of trivia that has stayed with me.
I’ve had a long post-Navy career at this point, and moved around a lot in my jobs. Within the different companies I’ve worked for I’ve had the great fortune of moving around doing different things, learning new skills, and working with different people. Some of the things I’ve done and people I’ve worked for were good. Other things and other people – not good.
I’ve also made some bad decisions throughout my career, mostly on basis that my word was the same as my signature, and other people’s word was the same as their signature. So when I had a chance to answer a Quora question ” Did you accept counter offer from your current employer when you put in two weeks, how did it turn out?” I went with my most infuriating job-related incident of trusting someone to keep their word.
In my quest to provide insightful answers to pressing issues asked by alert Quora readers; a while back I wrote a movie review. Not just any movie review, this one was on a topic near and dear to me – submarine movies.
I watch a lot of movies. A lot of what I watch is science fiction (or at least what passes for science fiction in the minds of Hollywood movie producers. Don’t get me started. And who in the hell came up with the stupid “SyFy” moniker?). Beyond science fiction, I also enjoy submarine movies, fiction or otherwise. Given that I have a bit of background with submarines, I have a certain level of expectations with submarine movies. For a fictional movie I don’t expect complete accuracy on submarine operations. But I have limits.
A Quora member posted another interesting question on submarines. The question was “Can you winch a submarine up from the bottom of the ocean, say 8000 feet?” This question gave me the opportunity to write about two famous submarine incidents. One of these involved one of my favorite submersibles ever, the DSV-2 Alvin.
We are now thirty-four days past our last Presidential election. In normal times all eyes would be on our incoming president. All news stories would be on the transition of power and how the opposing party is nominally cooperating with the incoming President. In normal times, most people would hardly be paying any attention and life would go on.
Regretfully, these are not normal times. In these times, about one half of our nation’s citizens are holding our collective breaths that trump finally leaves office peacefully. The other half is loudly screaming “VOTE FRAUD” and going so far as proposing a military-led coup to keep trump in office.
My Navy career was unusual for the number of different types of ships I served on. Few people get to serve on both submarines and surface ships. Even more unusual, I served on two very different types of submarines, and two very different types of surface ships. This background gives me some unique perspectives on Navy life. So when I saw this Quora question, I felt I had the background to give a solid answer.
Recently I had the opportunity to answer another Quora question on navy life. This answer brought back a flood of memories from my life in Naples, Italy, and working with NATO. The question was “As an enlisted service member, what did an officer do to earn your respect?” I felt this was an interesting question, as the person asking seemed to know enough about military life to know that respecting position is required, but respect for the person is earned.
I’ve become a regular contributor to the ever-amazing Quora social media site. I enjoy following the various answers to off-beat questions, and can keep engaged for hours if I let myself. I routinely provide my own answers and commentary.