Main Contents

#313 :: U.S. Navy Drafting Kit

December 17, 2004

approved medical ‘popup’, ampoule ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Science fiction writer Bob Shaw in 1968 imagined “slow glass” – a substance that took a long time to transmit light. Manufacturers would set black, lightless panes of it up somewhere gorgeous for a few years to soak up the view, then sell it to someone who wanted a “scenedow” that showed that view. (Read the haunting Light of Days)

This is nature’s version, a transparent rock – hydrated sodium calcium borate, or ulexite. Its silky crystals line up in perfect parallel, piping light straight through like fiber optics. You can find it in the arid playas of the American Southwest. Or you can pluck it from the bins of any good mineral shop, where it usually lies in dull anonymity beside pyrite, bauxite, copper and other baubles sold to schoolchildren for a dollar. If you’re religious, it is proof of the divine touch. If you’re agnostic, it is proof of the earth’s sense of humor.
visit this site ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Divans. Bobby sox. Fondue dishes. Poodle skirts. Cocktail shakers. Gingham tablecloths. Highball glasses. Swizzle sticks. Meerschaum pipes. Waffle irons. Ice crushers. Condiment squeeze bottles. Tiki mugs. Doo-wop 45s. Tupperware. Demitasses. Poker chips. Bridge mix. Tulips. Ambrosia. Corn forks.
ampoule ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Physics is a bitch. Some things won’t move. Rust, gravity, torque, inertia. Constants and inevitables. A screw’s tension in its threads mean the difference between finding a screwdriver and shredding your fingernails. Loose head bolts will cripple a car’s engine in a cloud of vapor-filled exhaust – water in the oil sump and the bugger just quits. Without the lever and pulley we’d all still be working in single-story mud huts. Wheels power the planet. It’s a human thing, this reliance on tools. The need, this task: that stretch of unwanted concrete, those rocks, this massive stake that needs burying. Your nerves fire and your muscles shift as you pick it up, and something primal switches on in your hindbrain: This is it. This ought to do the job. You raise it a foot or so, take a few test blows: Pure, unfettered transference of kinetic energy, your power magnified through the impact, not a microjoule wasted and the target undeniably shifted. A faint smile creeps into your mouth. Your jaw tightens. You raise it back over your shoulder, behind your ear this time.
cheap ‘popup’, advice ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Booze drenches and lubricates human endeavor. We like a good drink with friends. We think about drinking. We try not to drink alone – more to avoid stigma than to protect ourselves. We do huge, epically stupid things and memorialize our stupidity. We kill each other. We die. We conduct elaborate rituals around it. And we fetishize it, for what relgion would be complete without tools and talismans of belief?

Mass-produced of thick glass, stamped aluminum and silkscreened red and white paint in the 40s and 50s, this is a codex of devotion to the church of alcohol. Wield it with confidence, strong in your faith that these commandments shall rightly deliver you and your fellow acolytes unto a state of grace. Or whatever it is you’re chasing with drinks.

1 part Bacardi
1 part lemon juice
add one dash grenadine to each serving
1 part Dubonnet
1 part dry gin
Add one dash bitters to each serving
1 part dry gin
1 part creme cocoa
2 part cream
Less cream may be used to suit taste
1 part dry gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 part orange juice
For sweet cocktail substitute Italian vermouth
4 parts dry gin
1 part dry italian vermouth
Add two dashes orange bitters to each serving
1 part rye
1 part Italian vermouth
Two dashes orange
One dash Angostura bitters

look ‘popup’, sickness ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Beached here on your sofa, your eyes go glassy imagining this: A hard-wired planet, paved with printed circuits. The change renders all communication routes – ad slogans, song lyrics, quarrels, rumors, shouts – as green fiberglass boards overlaid with zigzagging copper strips. Humans solidify as nodes in the structure, communication routes between them hardening to electronic channels as signal and noise vanish beneath a carapace of circuits to the level of speeding electrons, invisible and alive. All is green and shiny brown, emitting a fractal, roaring crackle like the sound of a skater’s weight on a just-frozen lake, as the world crystallizes and hardens, made a perfect network of conduits for information. The world made flesh as data-driven hive. True solid state. It throws off a hummm and a hideous heat.

The human race is not yet drowning in circuit boards, but with the 9-month obsolescence cycle of the printed circuit, the ready supply of worthelss computer boards is clogging our landfills and inspiring artists, entrepreneurs and waste-management worriers alike.

A handful of clinical study of ways to dispose of dead circuit boards.

Clever companies like CompuNote capitalized on the boards’ essential worthlessness and rigidity, and came up with remanufacutred itemse like clipboards and purses and money clips.

And more poetic souls have slapped them onto art cars, while the rest of us just sort of heave box after putty-colored box into the dumpster, figuring the city will take care of it.

These drink coasters are yet another idea … or an artifact from a bedazzled fantasy.
viagra buy ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Dirt, roots, husks, peels – all fall away to the sharpened blade-slot of this thing. Raw utility is one of the most alluring qualities of a simple tool, and there is nothing so elegant as a design from antiquity that survives even in modern versions of an ancient tool for the simple reason that the design was – and remains – the most efficient expression of a simple machine. The age of this thing is not known, but it was well-crafted sometime in the middle of the last century, of solidly chromed steel cut, punched and wrapped around a torpedo handle of lustrous, swirled red bakelite.

Glorious stuff, bakelite. I’m drawn like a magpie to singular things made from it, as I’ve pointed out on a few occasions,
abortion ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Early 1960s, I’m guessing; A simple doodad made by Kohner Toys to show off VariVue” – the lenticular technology that made static billboards, toys and flickering Jesus postcards come to life. The near-encyclopedic says far more than I ever could:

In the late 1930’s, the first multiple image lenticular image was formed and this was the seed that started the VariVue company. During this time, VariVue coined the name “lenticular”, to describe their linier lenses, “Winkies” to describe our ever popular blinking eyes and “Magic-Motion” to describe any lenticular image containing motion. By the late 1940’s, VariVue had become a ousehold name by producing millions of animated and stereographic lenticular images which were available everywhere. These images included everything from wall hangings, to record album covers, CrackerJack prizes, greeting cards, post cards, political buttons and so much more. By the 1950’s, VariVue’s lenticular images had become a craze and many, if not most famous personalities of the time, wanted to be featured in VariVue advertisements. At the same time, VariVue buttons were used in every political campaign throughout the country and were available everywhere. By the mid-1950’s, VariVue images were available everywhere on earth, including eastern Europe. In the mid 1960’s, VariVue started to license its lenticular imaging technology to key major printing companies around the world. Licenses were granted to companies in Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and elsewhere.

illness ‘popup’, see ‘width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0’); return false”>Function is a mystery. The point of this thing must lie somewhere between symbol and tool, in that most mystical of all bands in the kitsch spectrum occupied by nudie poker decks and Humunga Tongue dog toys.

It may have been cast as a paperweight, a keepsake or just a token of affection.

The week my daughter was born a bit more than 3 years ago, my wife and I found this in the gutter. It cleaned up beautifully, and rests in your hand with a warm, solid weight. You’d have to drop it from a good height onto a cement floor to damage it, but it can be broken. My daughter is a pistol with boundless joy and love, a quick temper, and a small but ferocious sensitive streak. For us, this was a good, true omen.
troche ‘popup’, more about ‘width=500, find height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Newspaper reporters carry a certain moral rectitude in the pit of their stomachs. Brilliant ones carry it in their hearts. Bad ones in their asses, which they seek to cover only because they must – failure to do so means career suicide. But it drives them all – the piss and vinegar of of H.L. Mencken and Mark Twain, the crusading momentum of Jimmy Breslin and Edna Buchanan – this nameless burden of knowing that you’re responsible for covering every angle and distilling them all into a 10-column-inch nugget of what must pass your editor’s test for “truth.” Of course, this grand mission is being carried out by a human being, so the message too often winds up alloyed with personal bias, tainted by the spat you had with your editor that morning, poisoned by the stomach-churning lunch you wolfed in 3½ minutes and otherwise warped by lying sources, looming deadlines, exhaustion and boredom. You carry a code of conduct in your head, rules to report by, dos and don’ts, musts and must-nevers – because a single written law governs the bulk of your work life. It’s extremely short. But because shit happens, you carry a few more as weapons, for the world is complex, people lie and the systems you navigate are shifty and capricious.

I carried this slim volume (or one just like it) for my seven years at the L.A. Times – a volume of near-magic spells meant to fight sealed courtrooms, records, investigations, reports and government meetings. Here’s one of my favorite incantations. I uttered it several times, in that tense split second between the judge declaring a hearing closed and the bailiff kicking me out of the courtroom:

Criminal or Civil Proceedings:
Your honor, my name is ____________ and I represent _______________. I respectfully protest the proposed closure of this proceeding. In recent years the United States Supreme Court has laid down specific and substantive procedural requirements for excluding the public from all or part of any criminal proceeding. I ask that Your Honor ensure that this closure comports with the standards and mandates of Richmond Newspapers v. Virginia 488 U.S.555(Trials); Press-Enterprise vs. Superior Court, 464 U.S. 501 (Jury Selection) and Press-Enterprise v. Superior Court, 106 S. Ct. 2735 (preliminary hearings).

Civil Proceedings
(Supplement the statement above with the following)

Although this proceeding is not criminal in nature, we believe that under the cited authorities the same procedural and substantive rules apply, as held in Publicker Industries v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059 (hearing on motion for preliminary injunction).

Stay Request
(where appropriate)

I ask for a brief pause in this proceeding to permit counsel for my employer to appear and be heard in our behalf.”

It never worked. The judge always “took it under consideration” then held the closed hearing anyway. But goddamn it, my stomach felt right as I sat in the hallway outside. And waited.
viagra buy ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Chemicals vaporize slowly from open trays In a dull orange gloom. Liquid sounds, a slow stench and crisp slices of tuned light snapped off one by one to catalyze it all to life. For more than 100 years, the darkroom was the artificial primeval swamp, a fecund, foreign place from which sprang the idiocy of art-school experimentation, the urgent drama of AP news shooters, the brilliant visions of (my favorites) Edward Weston, John Pfahl, Weegee and Margaret Bourke-White. Printing was alchemy. Science and art blended into magic – the breathless seconds when you would stare into the tray, sloshing developer rhythmically across a blank sheet of exposed Agfa Portriga or Kodabrome, waiting for science and art to blend, for your own vision to materialize.

Womb/room. Hour after hour on nights, weekends, through college and on into my 30s, I would spend hours moving paper from safe to enlarger for a brief flood of filtered light, then developer, stop, fixer – and the moment when I could hit the overhead and see whether I had made art or shit or both. I loved printing – black and white, color, cyanotype, sepiatone.

Then everything went digital.

And with the magic vanished the chores: None of the fuss of dodging and burning, of rolling my own film or making a room light-tight or setting up fresh chemicals. Color was the worst, now eradicated by high-res pixelization: No heartbreaking, back-burning eight-hour sessions trying to produce six good color prints. No polluting my developer with an invisible smear of fixer picked up on my fingertips like germs from a toilet – and having to toss everything out, scrub down the entire work area and get fresh chemicals poured and up to temp. No 2:30 a.m. cleanup session with the sponge and the print squeegee and the clothespins. So much easier. Snap, stick the card in the computer, fiddle with Photoshop to color-correct, click “PRINT.”


I’ll probably never run C-prints again – mastering the subtleties of good color is so much simpler with a few filters and actions. But I’ll never get rid of my gear either. I hope to show my kids how to conjure, how to pull off this arcane sorcerer’s trick of conjuring images from raw light.

The Time-o-Lite is a burly old thing, all hammertoned steel and precision clockwork run by a fat metal toggle burdened with what feels like 20 pounds of spring-loaded resistance. It glows, reliable and strong, and spins off the seconds with a whirrrrrr-*click.* God knows what good photo paper will cost 10 years from now – whether it will even be available – but I will print again. Some day.
viagra 40mg ‘popup’,’width=500,height=500,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”>Ca. 1926, drafting kit of Lt. John R. Craig, U.S.S. Grampus. My grandfather. This was sent home with his effects when his submarine went missing, presumed sunk by the Japanese Navy. Here’s a guest entry by his daughter, my mother, who informs me that since Naval Academy mechanical engineering class was called “steam” this was known as a “steam kit:”

The steam kit would not have gone with him on the U.S.S. Grampus, his last command. It was a piece of college gear that an officer would leave behind. It would have been something his mother, Clara Belle Rich Craig had kept when he finished the Academy and handed on to me. Now, TMI, including this from the John R. Craig webpage, put up by men from the ship named after him, with history of the vessel at:
LCDR John R. Craig, USN
Lieutenant Commander John Rich Craig was born in Jacksonville, Florida on September 3, 1906. He attended grade schools in Jacksonville and the Duval High School, then entered the U. S. Naval Academy from Florida in 1926. After graduation and commissioning in 1930, he was assigned to USS SARATOGA and served in her until March 1931, when he was ordered to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. He was detached from duty there in September 1931 and during the next four and one half years served successively in the carrier LEXINGTON, and destroyers NOA, SIMPSON, and LONG and the fleet oiler NECHES. In January 1936 he reported to the Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut for instruction in submarines. After completing that course in May 1936, he joined USS S-34 in Honolulu. In September 1937, he was transferred to USS S-24, serving in her until May 1938, when he returned to the United States …

Lieutenant Commander Craig had duty in the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, Washington, D. C. from June 1938 until December 1940, when he assumed command of USS R-17. In June 1942, he was ordered to duty on the staff of Commander, Submarines, Southwest Pacific, and on September 15, 1942, he assumed command of USS GRAMPUS. He was declared missing in action on March 22, 1943 when USS GRAMPUS was lost in the Southwest Pacific area. LCDR Craig was declared dead on March 23, 1944.

Lieutenant Commander Craig was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. He had received the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp, and the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal. For service in USS GRAMPUS, he received the Navy Cross with the following Citation:

“For extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS GRAMPUS engaged in war patrols. Despite the great mental and physical strain of prolonged patrols in enemy-controlled waters, Lieutenant Commander Craig launched repeated, daring attacks on Japanese shipping, sinking two enemy transports and one cargo ship, totalling 24,000 tons, and damaging three enemy destroyers. His efficient and inspiring leadership and the loyal devotion to duty of the men under his command throughout the period made possible the successful accomplishment of a vital and hazardous mission.”

From the Class of 1930 The Lucky Bag, U.S. Naval Academy yearbook:
Jack hails from the sunny south– Jacksonville, Florida– and, as yet, will neither confirm nor deny the report that the city was named after him. At any rate, the call of the sea was too great for him to resist, and, accordingly, he entered the Naval Academy.
The first part of Plebe year slipped by uneventfully– and then! Well, anyhow– ’twas the night before the Army game at Chicago.
With this additional inspiration, Jack has always had an easy time with his studies. How we have envied his carefree writing of the letter during the evening study period!
His afternoons are taken up with his year around sport– gym– and it can truly be said that Jack has never been a member of the Radiator Club. Day after day one can find him working faithfully in the gymnasium as a member of the gym team should.
All in all, this light-haired blue-eyed son of the South had made a host of friends with his quiet manner and splendid character. A man among men– Jack– we wish you the best ‘o’luck in your chosen career– and great happiness with the wearer of that miniature.

and United States Submarine Operations in World War II by Theodore Roscoe (Naval Institute Press) places the Grampus in Brisbane in 1942: “Altogether some 24 fleet-type submarines, about half of them ‘temporary loans’ from Pearl Harbor, comprised the new Brisbane Force” which replaced the antiquated S-boats in the Guadalcanal campaign.
In 1943 she was in the Coral Sea: “To conduct her sixth war patrol, GRAMPUS departed for the Solomons area on February 9th. On the 10th she was ordered to return to Brisbane. She started out again on February 11th. After leaving her exercise target the following day, she was never heard from again.
Under the captaincy of Lieutenant Commander J.R. Craig, GRAMPUS had accomplished several important special missions during the Guadalcanal campaign. She landed coast watchers on Vella Lavella and Choiseul Islands, struck at the enemy’s convoys and probably damaged a good-sized transport and a destroyer. On February 14 she was directed to patrol in the Buka-Shortland-Rabaul area, the southern part of which was simultaneously patrolled by TRITON. A week later GRAMPUS was ordered to hunt in the waters east of Buka and Bouganville. On March 2 she was told to proceed toward Vella Lavella and enter Vella Gulf on the afternoon of March 5th. Her mission was to sink enemy shipping which might try to run westward through Blackett Strait in an attempt to escape United States surface forces scheduled to bombard Vella Lavella on March 6. GRAYBACK was to team up with GRAMPUS in this operation, and each was informed of the other’s assignment.
Both submarines were warned on the evening of March 5 that two enemy destroyers had been spotted heading from Faisi, off southeastern Bouganville, toward Wilson Strait, the passage between Vella Levella and Canongga. As it eventuated, these DD’s steamed through Blacket Strait into Kula Guldf where they were trapped and sunk by allied surface forces.
Grayback was apparently unable to contact this pair of destroyers. But on the night the warning was radioed, she sighted a silhouette in that part of Vella Gulf assigned to GRAMPUS. Assuming it was her sister submarine, GRAYBACK gave the silhouette a wide berth. She was unable to exchange recognition signals. Whether the vessel she sighted that night was Craig’s submarine remains a mystery.
On March 7, Brisbaine Headquarters, disturbed by the fact that no word had as yet come in from GRAMPUS, ordered the submarine to report her position. No answer. Again on the 8th Brisbane requestedword from GRAMPUS. The submarine made no reply. She was officially reported lost on March 22nd.
The Japanese reported one of their convoys attacked by a submarine in the Rabaul area on the afternoon of February 18th. In this action a freighter was damaged by Torpedo fire, and the escorts delivered a fierce counter-attack. The assaulted submarine may have been GRAMPUS.
According to Japanese records two of their sea planes sighted and attacked a U.S. submarine in the same area the following afternoon. Afterward a large spread of oil was sighted on the surface. The sea planes were confident of a kill. It seems possible, however, that GRAMPUS was caught and sunk by two destroyers which passed through Blackett Strait on the night of March 5th. An ominous oil slick was sighted in Blackett Strait the following day. Submariners believe that GRAMPUS went down fighting in a night-surface action with these men-of-war enroute to their own destruction in Kula Gulf.

from The Last Patrol by Harry Holmes (Airlife: U.K.)
On 2 October Grampus sailed from Fremantle for her fourth patrol, this time under a new skipper, Lt-Cmdr John R. Craig. She carried four Cast-watchers that were successfully landed on Vella Lavella and Choiseul Islands even though these areas were havily patrolled by the Japanese. On the 18th she claimed one torpedo hit on a light cruiser and also on this patrol she fired at a destroyer on 6 November. During this patrol was on the receiving end of some heavy anti-submarine activity having to withstand no fewer than 104 depth-charges in a number of attacks. She returned safely to Fremantle on 23 November 1942.
Her fifth war patrol began on 14 December and attacks were made on a freighter estimated at 6,000 tons and a destroyer on the 19th. On 10 January 1943 Grampus fired at two transports, one of 10,000 tons and the other of 8,000 tons and, although hits were claimed, these were never confirmed.
Grampus departed for her sixth war patrol on 9th February, but was ordered to return to Brisbane. One the 11th she sailed accompanied by the USS Grayback(SS-208), one of her sister ships, for the patrol on which Grampus was to disappear. Her orders were to sink any enemy vessels which were in transit through the Blackett Strait.
Japanese sources reported that a submarine, thought to be Grampus, torpedoed and damaged the 6,442-ton freighter Keiyo Maru on 19 February. A Japanese Navy Aichi E13A (Jake) seaplane of the 955th Air Group reported sinking a submarine on 19 February, but Grayback
reported a sighting of Grampus in her designated patrol area on 4 March.
The most likely cause of the loss of Grampus could have been the action of two Japanese destroyers, the Minegumo and the Murasame. The two were sunk by US surface ships on 6 March after conducting a supply mission to Japanese forces on Kolombagara and, after a alarge oil slick was sighted in the Blackett Strait where Grampus should have been, it can be assumed that the destroyers were responsible for the loss as they passed that way.
Grayback reported that she heard no depth-charging although she was only fifteen miles away, so another assumption is that Grampus was involved in gun action after being caught on the surface in the night of 5 March 1943.
The only definite fact is that John Craig and his seventy brave crewmembers were lost forever when Grampus went down with all hands. She was awarded three battle stars for her service and her name was struck from the Navy list on 21 June 1943.

He was awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry, the Purple Heart which is what you got for being dead and the Bronze Star, also for gallantry. The Navy launched and commissioned the U.S.S. John R. Craig, DD885, a destroyer escort, in his honor in 1944.

Filed under: symbol | Comments (3)


  1. Dale R. Ridder September 14, 2005 @ 9:32 pm

    Greetings Mack,

    My name is Dale Ridder, and I was in the Solomon Islands in May of 2002 with Dr. Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic, looking for John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. We also looked for the Grampus, but did not have enough time or sonar cable to do a thorough search. I am in the process of putting together an expedition to look for the Grampus in the Kolombangara area of the New Georgia group. I have been going through the patrol reports filed by your grandfather from his earlier war patrols, and believe that I now have a good idea on how he would have operated and where is the most likely search box. I would love to contact both your mother and you regarding this. My contact information is as follows: Dale R. Ridder, 40124 Lone Oak Road, Zion, Illinois, 60099, telephone 847-872-2308, email If you wish further information regarding me, do a Yahoo search for “dale ridder” and I appear under the PT-109 and HMS Britannic sites. If need be, I can supply more references, but I am already working with some people in both the Solomons and here to get the ball rolling.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Dale R. Ridder

  2. Henry "Hank" Lehtola April 5, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    I’ve printed and included this information on John R. Craig in our ships history. I was wondering how the family feels about a possible expedition to locate and disturb the grave site of JRC?
    Hank Lehtola

  3. Kit Reed April 5, 2006 @ 11:19 am

    As you would imagine, I have mixed emotions.

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