When I was imprisoned at Yakota Air Force Base in beautiful Japan I worked nights for a long while. The high point of every day was midnight chow. actually it was breakfast served at eleven at night. They had the usual eggs, ham, bacon and sausage. The draw was S*** on a Shingle, or Creamed Beef on Toast. This breakfast fare earned its name maybe back in World War II or before. It’s blood simple to make: Take a bunch of ground beef 70/30 is good, brown it, add flour to make a roux, add milk, salt and pepper, simmer until slightly thickened. Serve over toasted white bread, 99 cent is the best. Coming onto the line you could tell who made the SOS, the Jn’s (Japanese Nationals) or the GI’s. If the Jn’s made it, it had a brownish tint to it. There was some speculation they added a “special” ingredient. If the GI’s made it, it was paler but beefier. The JN’s seasoned the SOS with a lot of pepper the GI’s a bit on the salty side. It was a favorite of mine for a meal after keeping ’em flying for eight hours and a great cushion for the eight or ten Buds I’d swallow before I crashed.
When I returned stateside I was abandoned by the Air Force and sent to Minot AFB in North Dakota. It was a loathed assignment, right behind Tulle, Greenland. While overseas I avoided KP, there were enough locals to take up the slack and it was part of the WW II rebuilding program that lasted. Stateside you got KP. Looking at the big picture, it wasn’t all that bad for me because it took me out of an engine shop I actively hated and a job that was easing me farther into alcoholism. First, Minot was and probably still is a SAC base. SAC is Strategic Air Command. That means a lot of rules, regulations, paranoia and here it comes, the bowl headed lifer attitude that military life is the only way to go because God and the US of A are right and we should blast those commies straight to Hell. Whew, it’s been a while since I said that sober and not in uniform. I got to Minot in August and got KP in November. November sucks for non-natives. Winter is cranking up, the wind chill on the way back from the NCO club was forty below. One of the jobs I got was making SOS. I put my heart into it. It was the most creative thing I did there. It stuck with me.
Tuesday night I landed on our local public access channel. I usually pass by because it’s a home for left and right paranoia, polka programs and instruction in sewing, crocheting and knitting. The show that caught me was Grill Sergeants. Two lifer military cooks, one Army, one Navy. The dueled over recipes, this time, dare I say it? SOS. Yep, my favorite from my Air Force years. The vacuum sealed bag of unidentified stuff that lurked in the freezer only to be pulled out and eaten on special occasions. The cooks were biracial, one was black and one was white. To show diversity, I suppose. An aside here; The reason you don’t see a lot of cooking shows on TV with two chefs working together is that their egos won’t fit on the set. They may be best friends, friendly rivals but a chef is the boss. And there’s only one boss. So watching these two cook is going to be cringe-worthy. First, they’re cooking in a commissary and nobody’s watching except the cameras. You might’ve heard a chuckle in response to one of the jokes. Second, they were working on an area that was about the size of a generous kitchen counter. On either end with an imaginary line drawn down the middle. Third, the humor sucked. Lifers have “in” jokes that only they get. Just like non-lifers have jokes like: Why are lifers like flies? Because they eat s*** and bother people. (Feel free to use that at work). The jokes came out with the ease of childbirth, a lot of them at the expense of the other branch of the military.
As they cooked they talked about ingredients. They stirred and sautéed. I began to lose interest. The Grill Sergeants went to break. They had a band!!! Three sailors with guitar, bass and drums for the Navy and three GI’s in khakis similarly equipped. The adage about military law is to law as military music is to music is true. The musicians looked like they wished they were standing on a hundred degree parade ground playing at some general’s retirement. It had to end.
The chefs summarized their creations. Chipped beef, you know that stuff Armour put out and sold in glass jars, ground beef, sausage, beef and tomato (Navy) and veggie. The chef who prepared it made a great show of telling the audience he used separate spoons to serve vegetarian SOS. He was amazed that it tasted good. The asshat. One last thing, it was produced courtesy of the Pentagon Channel. Your defense dollars at work,

I found this next piece on-line and don’t know what to make of it. Investigative journalism or sensationalism? It concerns FreedomWork, a big-time, right-wing advocacy and SuperPac. It seems they “released” a video of a staffer in a panda suit performing oral sex on a presumably clothed staffer in a Hillary Clinton mask. First, why? Second, WTF? Third, so much for reasoned discourse on both sides. A possible link: motherjones.com/18/02/2013.davidcorn .

The Mets dropped one to St. Louis in preseason ball 12-4. Is this a precursor of the season yet to come. I’m too f****ng young for martyrdom.

See you on Friday.