September 1942 (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal SeaBees wade through a flood on Guadalcanal

1 September – the Naval Construction Battalion (CBs), better known as the “SeaBees” and famous for their swift and ingenious engineering work while under combat conditions, landed on Guadalcanal. [A coverage of the SeaBees will appear in the Intermission Stories between 1942 and 1943].

SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal SeaBees building the airfield, Guadalcanal

3 September – Gen. Roy Geiger arrived on the island to command the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing – nicknamed the Cactus Air Force, after the codename for the Guadalcanal operation.  When Hideki Tojo replaced Togo as Japan’s Foreign Minister, there was no longer any civilian personnel in the Japanese government – the military was in complete control of the country.

3-11 September – Japanese reinforcements landed at Bana, New Guinea.  But, the Special Navy Landing Force were compelled to withdraw from Milne Bay due to the heavy defense of the Australian 7th Brigade and…

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Sheer stupidity aka soul mates separation

Perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything

a small wooden structure,
few random walls
separating us into
worlds of our own
million miles’ distance
across few inches
your uncountable admirers,
I feel all alone
even an open wide passage
will not build bridges
innumerable valleys,
unsurpassable ridges
tunnelling my way
through to your heart
too much pain to pass
before I can start
life has passed,
lost love never found
killed heart didn’t cry,
never made a sound
soul still searches,
and searches once more
can we find each other,
before shutting the life door
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JOHN ESCREET TRIO + EVAN PARKER || Live at North Sea Jazz Festival

Jazz You Too

Evan Parker was also present at the Festival Jazz Contemporâneo Setúbal 79, he played solo, the best way to display his creative and innovative music. Some years later, here he is at the North Sea Jazz Festival playing along with the John Escreet Trio.

John Escreet (Piano) — John Hébert (Bass) — Tyshawn Sorey (Drums, Percussion) — Evan Parker (Saxophone)

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CUTTING DOWN THE PILES

By the Mighty Mumford

CUTTING DOWN THE PILES

Time to cut down the collection

And take up less room on inspection…

Eight containers

Of rolling stock remainders,

With more needing commercial connections!

I have a “knuckle coupler set”

Which I’ll keep with no regret…

The “Rapido” couplers

Get suitably shuttled,

Along to another ones net!

–Jonathan Caswell

nscalelayouts.com

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Boppin’ With Bif during the Power Plant Downsizing

Power Plant Men

About a year after I had joined the electric shop at the Coal-fired Power Plant in North Central Oklahoma, when it was my week to be the truck driver in Fall of 1984, I had an conversation with a contract electrician that I have never forgotten. It was with a guy named Mark Meeks. I have talked about him before in the post entitled, “Life Cycle of a Power Plant Lump of Coal“.

At the time, Mark was working as a contract help for the electric shop. He had been hired to help Mike Rose and Bill Ennis to work on Freeze Protection. I was driving him to the coalyard. He was telling me how he liked working on a job for a while and then he would move on to do another job working somewhere else.

I replied back that I liked having a job where no…

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Don’t Drink & Drive, You May Spill Your Drink

The Lonely Author

My apologizes to all.

Lonely Author usually uploads a writing related post on Tuesday to stir up discussion. But I have an important message I want to share. I will try not to preach.

During this holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the festivities. When family and friends get together it will be tempting to have an extra glass of wine (or whatever you are drinking).  Lonely Author knows all about excess, he usually gets drunk on life.

This time of year also marks the height of DUI season.

Please be careful on the road. If you see a relative or friend has had to much to drink, don’t let them drive. Don’t let them become a statistic.

Don’t let your holiday celebrations end in tragedy.

Holiday blessing to you and yours.

Keep smiling. Keep writing.

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POS Data Sharing – the Ultimate Big Data

Point of sale (POS) data has long been the domain of the retailer that collects it. It hasn’t always available – in detail, anyway – to manufacturers and suppliers that could use the data for such things as demand planning, improving supply chains to avoid stock outs and to better understand and act on buying habits so they can more accurately allocate advertising dollars. Of course, all those benefits would in turn benefit the retailers, which could improve planning and forecasting, reduce (or eliminate) stock outs, and even have leverage to enact and enforce service level agreements with suppliers.

Slowly but surely, more and more retailers are sharing sales data as POS transactions with more and more vendors. Mass merchants have led the way, and many now share POS data with their suppliers. As many as 120 retailers have implemented collaborative programs in which they share store-level sales data, inventory data, and margin information. Drug retailers and grocers have not been as forthcoming, but there is movement even in those sectors. Drug store chains CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co., for example, do, as do many of the grocers including The Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. Whenever retailers and suppliers share POS data, the general outcome is a far more strategic relationship with advantages for both.

Just recently there’s been another development that could help spur POS data sharing.  A group of the merchants announced formation of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a new company dedicated to offering consumers a versatile mobile-commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customizable offers. MCX is currently developing a mobile application for merchants that will integrate a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. The application will work with any smartphone. Merchants involved in MCX include 7-Eleven, Inc., Best Buy Co., Inc.; CVS/pharmacy, Lowe’s; Publix Super Markets, Inc., Sears Holdings; Shell Oil Products US, Target Corp., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., among others.

Will Europe really back more passenger rail competition?

THE announcement last month that the 26 transport ministers of the European Union (EU) have finally decided to open up the domestic passenger rail market in each member state to competition from 2020, and to reform the way loss-making passenger services are funded and procured, could herald a passenger rail revival in many countries provided private operators are given the chance to compete fairly.

The current situation in Europe is a hotchpotch. Open-access competition ranges from a fully-liberalised market in Sweden, partially-open markets where competition is allowed on certain routes in countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy, or countries where the market is supposed to be open but there are so many obstacles to private operators that access is in reality very difficult, such as Britain and Germany, to the majority of EU member states where access is currently denied.A similarly fragmented picture emerges for the concessioning of passenger services which require subsidy. While Sweden and Germany put all such services out to tender, the Netherlands and Denmark currently grant their incumbent national operators exclusive access to a defined core network of services, while tendering all other rail services. Netherlands Railways (NS) has a 10-year contract which expires in 2025, and this will be affected by the new legislation. Some countries tender a portion of their services or are starting to introduce concessions, while others have made no such changes. France allows regional authorities to plan and specify local services but they are often frustrated in trying to implement change as French National Railways (SNCF) is the sole operator and all rolling stock must be procured through SNCF.

Britain has a unique system of franchising passenger services where franchisees bear the revenue risk for the services they provide and either have to make premium payments to the government or receive a subsidy. These payments are determined for the life of the franchise as part of the bidding process. Two open-access operators compete with the franchisee on the East Coast Main Line, and a third has been granted access for a Blackpool – London service on the West Coast Main Line. But the process of applying for access is long-winded and tortuous. Access is only granted for a specific route, such as Hull – London, a defined number of paths per day, and for a fixed period of time. Despite these restrictions, there is still a thirst from the private sector for greater access. Stagecoach and Virgin, which jointly operate the West Coast and East Coast franchises, have suggested doing away with franchises on these two important corridors and auctioning batches of paths to the highest bidder.

While incumbent railways have generally been opposed to open-access operators for fear of losing traffic and revenue, and often use their dominant position to put obstacles in the path of private operators, in most cases direct competition has expanded the overall rail market and led to an improvement in quality and performance. The advent of NTV on the Italian high-speed network spurred incumbent Trenitalia to up its game by relaunching its services under the Frecciarossa brand. As a result, Italy now has some of the highest-quality high-speed services in Europe.

Concessioning has usually led to a reinvigoration of local and regional services, with new or refurbished trains and higher-frequency services which attract more passengers.

So why are some governments still opposed to private operators? The reasons include strong opposition from trade unions, protectionism, fear of change, and political opposition. Some countries would rather see rail services wither away and die than allow someone else to have a go.

The EU proposals, which will form part of the Fourth Railway Package, will now go to the European Parliament for further deliberation which could result in changes or compromise. Each member state then has to transpose the directive into national law, which takes several months or even years. Some member states have a poor record of applying EU legislation even when it is adopted, and too many politicians pay lip service to new EU directives but have no intention of applying them, knowing that it will be years before the European Commission takes legal action against them.

If European politicians are serious about opening the domestic passenger market in each country to competition, it will take more than legislation to make it work. Governments need to ensure that the rules of the game are fair, and that incumbents do not obstruct private companies from competing fairly. Train paths and access to stations and maintenance facilities must be granted equitably and at an affordable price. Regional procurement authorities must be given the tools and expertise to be able to issue tenders, judge them dispassionately, and monitor the performance of the contracts when they have been awarded.

Private operators should be allowed some freedom to innovate. This is a major failing of the British franchising system where the contracts are so tightly controlled by the government that innovation is stifled and making any changes to services becomes so difficult that they often have to wait for a new franchise.

Competition is usually a spur to improve performance and achieve growth, and Europe’s incumbent railways should not be afraid to embrace it. Yes, rail competes with road and air transport, but it is not quite the same as having another train company on an adjacent track. Europe’s railways must not lose sight of the main goal: to grow rail’s market share.

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