Thursday, March 30, 2023



Readers are most likely familiar with prodigious WWII naval bombardments and the destruction intended ashore. Numerous Pacific Theatre battles may come to mind as the Allies recovered lost islands and territories into August 1945.

However, D-Day's thunderous salvoes sent into Normandy on June 6, 1944 may come more easily to mind. I recently watched The Longest Day again thinking about terrible destruction, death, shock and deafness intended for coastal defenders. It consumed every fiber of their being. How could it not?

It got me to thinking about the minute by minute bombardment consuming us daily. What is it doing to us? Why do we allow it --- such as?

Overdoing texting, emailing, social media, screen time at and off of work, video games, addictions, pursuit of experiences, television, workaholic and/or newsaholic behaviors, too busy for interaction with family and friends, the disappearance of quiet time and more. How about allowing cell phones to disturb family chow time, sleep or precious unrecoverable time with our children/grandchildren? 

My Marketing Director, Michael,  tells a story about an ice skating practice. He sat in the stands watching his child skate. His cell phone was intentionally someplace else so he could be in the moment with his offspring. However,  a nearby mom was immersed constantly on a cell phone. Her daughter then had an issue with a skate. The mom did not hear multiple pleas for mom's help because screen time was more important. Michael soon got the mom's attention.

One more thing as Easter nears. The most important negative dynamic is....

There is insufficient silence for us to hear the voice of Jesus in many different ways. 

"And get to know me."

"Come and follow me."

It's Time To Go Home.

Every Blessing and Happy Easter Everyone!

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It’s Time To Come Home Whether You

·         Retired from the Catholic or your Faith tradition (Understandable)

·         Have remained home since Covid (You aren’t alone)

·         Want to learn about Catholicism (Founded 2,000 years ago in the year 33)

·         Hear an almost silent voice inviting you (Saying come)

·         Aren’t sure, distrustful, hurt, don't believe or too busy (Come anyway)

·         Think Catholicism is unbiblical (It is scripturally biblical)

Don’t think you are welcome (You Are Welcome!)  

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Monday, March 20, 2023

12:40 "Special" Train to Vilyamgrad. A General Pettygree Russian Civil War Battle Story

Date: Summer 1918 +/- (Maybe? It Doesn't Matter)
Location: At the Imagineered Port of Vilyamgrad,
North of Vladivostok, on the Sea of Japan, Siberia

Why?: Royalist Army Arrives to Restore the Monarchy

Miniatures: We Use What We Have
Rules: A Gentleman's War (AGW) by Howard Whitehouse
See the Back Story and Rules Remarks first. Link:

And Now General Pettygree Continues His Story

Our whimsical players at game finish left to right:
Dave G., Chuck The Lucky, Aviator Kurt D. and Bill P.
In the spirit of AGW, players wore fun headgear.

Two items on our food table were Russian themed exports. Dave G. ordered the soft drink online while I found a local grocery store specializing in Russian and Ukrainian products none of which I've seen in routine USA grocery stores. 

The soft drink is labeled #1 in Russia. Among ingredients are rye flour, rye and barley malt offering a unique flavor. We were unable to match it to any USA soft drink. 

The colorful box contained a flavorful and not too sugary apple and cinnamon honey cake imported from Tula. Tula is 123 miles south-south-east of Moscow -- just so you know! 

The honey cake reminded me about a bakery experience decades ago in Paris. Pastry there was not overly sugary as is routine in the USA. Maybe that's the way things are outside my country. This is not a bad thing --- just different. I'll buy the honey cake again for a next Russian-themed game.

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The 12:40 "Special" to Vilyamgrad

"Czarina Princess Hussars! Our benefactor is aboard this train. Prepare to salute on my command."

"Da (Yes), Colonel Zakharova," shouted Trooper Pavlova but no one heard her. She was drowned out by the locomotive whistle announcing arrival of "The Special" at Vilyamgrad.

"In my backstory link above you will read that Grandmaison and I did not know the identity of the member of the Romanov Family arriving by train here. In our alternate history, that Royalist will soon commence a military operation to restore the monarchy. We now know who it is. Let's look closer, shall we." 

"Can you identify the well-dressed nobles as they converse with various people?"

"I do not observe Red Communist forces as far as the distant ridge line. It appears safe to disembark," offered Major Bulgarin.

"Very well, then."

"Did the gold bullion arrive safely Banker Volkov?" 

"Yes indeed and without trouble. Most is within the baggage coach on the siding, Sir."


"The prescribed amount was distributed two days ago to our allies for services to be rendered in the campaign. The rest is available to the paymaster for our soldiers here and for those friendly forces who flock back to the colors as you return west," said Volkov.

Then Volkov shouted, "Stand back! A ruffian is dangerously close staring at you. Major Bulgarin take him away!"

"No. He is a welcome and loyal familiar. Thank you Mr. Volkov. That is all for now, if you please, said Madame."

"Kroshechny (Tiny), there you are. You look as healthy and strong as ever in spite of recent intemperate and very troublesome events. How are you, my dear?"

"Da (Yes) Madame, I am here. I was anxious when we were accidentally separated in the surprise rescue by White Forces and rapid escape from Ekaterinburg."

"We are delighted you arrived here safely," said Madame. "What do you have there?"

"Two chests containing gold from the baggage coach to show you. The one half full paid the Japanese foreigners the other day."

"That is good Tiny. I too am delighted to see you again. Please return the gold to the coach for safekeeping," said Czar Nicholas II.

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Council of War

Potsgorski House

The only Russian-speaking Japanese officer, Lieutenant Colonel Itogora pointing at the Czar asked, "How far do you expect my men to escort your White Russian Force into the vast wilderness of Siberia?"

"No more than one hundred miles along the Trans Siberian Rail Line, was the agreement," said Major Bulgarin. "In exchange for that, we have agreed to hand over several valuable islands in The Sea of Japan to your Emperor as you are well aware."

Itogora changed to a new topic....

Pointing at Colonel Zakharova, Itogora demanded, "Do you know where the Reds are now?"

The exasperated Japanese officer continued, "They could be nearing this location in close pursuit of the escaped Romanovs this hour. Has your screen of skirts seen them?"

"Your Majesty," answered Zakharova, my Hussars, nor our mounted infantry nor the Japanese cavalry have seen any of the Red menace to the west since our arrival."

"Very well then," said the Czar. "The plan continues without alteration and...."

"Major Bulgarin, please review the order of march for us, will you?," requested the Czar.  

"Our mounted infantry are west of the village. They have seen nothing threatening," said Bulgarin.

"Continuing he said, "The Rolls Royce armoured car and Zakharova's Hussars are just outside en-route to the road that parallels the rail line. They lead the way west."

"Close behind are two platoons of White Russian infantry," said Bulgarin.

"Japanese horsemen are also upon their march west to the north of the tracks," added Bulgarin, and...."

Soon platoons of my Imperial Japanese Special Naval Landing Force will follow them," stated Itagora." Photo courtesy of Dave G.

"With supply vehicles following behind."

Aerial view of the march moving west.
DG Photo.

The Reds Arrive

DG Photo.

"My....," but no exclamation finished the sentence. "There they are rapidly materializing out of the forest on the ridge," said Captain Sidorov. "Feodore, mount up and tell headquarters the confounded Reds have arrived, we are falling back and bring me new orders fast. Off you go!"

"Troop! Ready about. By half section to the left, canter to the rear."

"Your Majesty! A rider has just come in from the picquet line. We had no idea but the Reds are arriving on the ridge to the west and our picquet line is falling back. We must stop our march and immediately deploy for battle," offered Bulgarin.

"What do you specifically propose, Major?," asked the Czar.

"There is no time for anything except to form our own infantry on the left and the Japanese on the right just outside the village."

"Major, make haste."

The procession left the road heading west to deploy on a slight rise outside the village.

As Sidorov's retreating mounted infantry arrived and faced about on the battle line.

"Comrades! Open fire on the White horsemen."

Which forced them farther back dismounting into cover.

Other infantry took cover as well.

With Zakhorova's Hussars forming a reserve to the rear.

Japanese Special Naval Landing Force infantry with a 37mm anti-tank gun anchor the north end of the battle line. DG Photo.

As Japanese and Russian cavalry screen forward with a Rolls Royce Armoured Car. 
DG Photo.

The Reds move forward preceded by their own armoured car hit several times by.... 
DG Photo.

The Japanese anti-tank gun.
DG Photo
And destroyed.
DG Photo

Emboldened by the arrival of the Czar's train gun, the Japanese advanced and stopped the Reds opposite them. DG Photo

"General, at this time White Forces were mostly defending hard cover. There was no chance to dislodge them."

"Right you are Grandmaison. And so the Reds withdrew back onto and beyond the ridge from which they came. Still the Czar has much to ponder. Will the Reds be reinforced? Will the Czar be forced to hold out in the port? Will any potential friendly Whites even be able to reach his lines?"

"I would not like to be in the Czar's circumstances, General."

"Nor would I. Time will ofcourse tell the rest of the story."

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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Setting Up A Gentleman's War Battle Story By General Pettygree

Date: Summer 1918 +/- (Maybe? It Doesn't Matter)
Location: Sea of Japan, North of Vladivostok, Siberia
At the Imagineered Port of Vilyamgrad
Miniatures: We Use What We Have
Rules: A Gentleman's War by Howard Whitehouse
Circumstances: General Pettygree Explains Next

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"General Pettygree, I hear a locomotive coming. It will be along soon, I should think."

"Quite so Lieutenant Grandmaison. An amazing distance too along the Trans Siberian Railroad. It carries a senior member of the Czar's family escaped from being interned by the Red Communists at Ekaterinburg far to the west."

"Do we know the identity, Sir?"

"No, but we should discover his or her name soon enough. Upon that royalist's shoulders rests the unlikely hope of restoring the Romanov Monarchy."

"But Sir, forces gathering in nearby Vilyamgrad are insufficient to do that."

"True. However, perhaps there is an historical precedent. In February, 1815 Napoleon escaped exile from the Island of Elba, landed in southern France and then marched north to start over. As his little band processed, Marshall Ney at first opposed him."

"I see General. Napoleon then convinced Ney to join him again as did many others on the march to Paris. Amazingly a new Grand Army formed in the next four months."

"It is my understanding Romanov gold bullion stashed in the Port of Vilyamgrad instead of being sent to Canada will be used to pay new soldiers, volunteers and unexpected allies as the army here moves west toward Moscow," said Grandmaison.

"You have the right of it, my boy."

"Oh. There's Bill, my Chronicler for The Adventures of General Pettygree. Bill, what remarks do you have?"

"Thank you General. Up to five local friends are joining me on 4 February 2023 at Vilyamgrad playing A Gentleman's War. Kurt D. and I have played the system four times since last Summer enjoying Howard's style, clever in a good way systems and fun. That's why I'm wearing my Behind The Fun hat to emphasize fun. I'm encouraging others to wear garments they may have in that spirit. Plus, I think one pard may bring cherry vodka and borscht to increase merriment."

"The Lionel train set behind me was restored recently to operational status. The remote control device on the table allows walk around control with several features. So instead of my grandchildren operating it, we will do so. I'll write more about this later. Meanwhile, General would you please resume your narrative? I see things in motion in Vilyamgrad.
What do you see."

"White Russian Infantry with a version of the American Gatling Gun."

"The Trans Siberian Railroad. Vladivostok is far in the distance to the south."

"Czarina Princess Hussars."

"The baggage coach is believed to contain Romanov gold bullion."

"Unexpected allies sent by the Japanese Emperor who fears communism and in exchange for military assistance will ask for land and gold."

"Supplies for the march west."

"Imperial Japanese cavalry move west to form a screen protecting the march westward. They will join...."

"White Russian mounted infantry already posted west of the port."

"Do you see anything Sergai?"

"Nyet. (No) --- The Reds aren't coming. They are hundreds of miles from here."

"We know better Grandmaison. The Reds will arrive soon."

"And confusion to them, Sir!"

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