Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Football thoughts

Well, we're into the playoffs.

I've been able to watch quite a few games this year (yeah DVR!) and this has been a really enjoyable season. Lots of good close defensive games, and a minimum of drama.

Detroit sucked the zub kabir this year, but they did it in a historical way. No-one will ever forget this season in Michigan.

The Cowboys didn't make the playoffs. Heeheeheeheehee

The Bronco's also didn't make the playoffs, and reacted by firing Mike Shanahan. This came as quite a surprise to me. He's a good coach, and 8 and 8 isn't that bad a record. Hopefully Mr. Shanahan will find another team and show up Denver.

Brett Favre and the Great Mangini didn't make it to post season this year. My guess as to why Mangini was fired is that he told management that he could go all the way if he got Favre. Favre of course signed a contract that gave him his weight in gold and jewels, so not making it to the playoffs doesn't look so good for him and everyone in the Jets leadership that wanted to bring him on board. I predict that Favre will finally retire and mean it this year.

Of course, my Raiders didn't make it. If you watch the Raiders to watch victories, you need to stop hitting the pipe. People will start to think you're slow.

Here are my predictions for Wildcard Weekend:

Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers - Indianapolis will pull this one out, but it's going to be close. I think that these teams are almost evenly matched.

Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins - Miami will stumble here. Baltimore will win this one running away.

Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings - It pains me to say this, but I see the Eagles taking this one. They're on a roll.

Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals - I see Atlanta taking this one. No real reason. It would be interesting for the Falcons to do well without Vick and then when he gets out tell him to go somewhere else.

So there you are. We'll see how I do on Monday morning.

Looking back

Well, 2008 is in its last hours.

It's been an eventful year.

First of all, we have a new baby. Baby Bear is fast becoming a participating part of the family, and having a new member of the group keeps us on our toes.

Next, Girlie Bear started living with us full time. That alone would have made this a great year.

On a non-personal note, the country went through the most contentious election I've ever seen. Even though I don't agree with the result, I hope we can remember how to get along and work together. We're going to need it. The Zombiepocalypse is just around the corner in 2012, and we haven't even begun to dig trenches around the neighborhood and fill them with oil.

The price of oil has been the highest anyone has ever seen, and now it's at almost historical lows. I'm not sure I like that large a swing. Extreme changes in markets result in extreme reactions and consequences. If OPEC and the other oil producing 3rd world crapholes cut production too much, it's Road Warrior in Kentucky, and how is that going to help us get ready for the zombies?

The war in Iraq is finally looking better, not that anyone is giving the troops and President Bush much credit. I expect that the new administration will start drawing down our presence in Mesopotamia quickly after they take power. My hope is that I won't be seeing a withdrawal ala Vietnam 1975. A lot of blood and treasure will be wasted if we withdraw too quickly and the government we've propped up in Iraq collapses.

The war in Afghanistan, well that's another matter. My guess is that any forces that are taken out of Iraq will be re-directed to Afghanistan. Hopefully, we will be able to stabilize that area a bit more. Western powers have been able to bring peace and order to this area since Alexander, so I'll probably be talking about this next New Years Eve.

The economy this year has taken the biggest gut punch I've seen in my lifetime. A lot of the trouble seems to be that no-one in the past few years seems to remember that it's not a good idea to make loans that the recipients have no way to repay. Funny, I seem to remember that one from finance classes in high school almost 20 years ago.

Anyhoo, hope y'all had a good year. Thanks for stopping by and have a great New Years Eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good for him!

A young man in New York has earned each and every one of the merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America.

He earned his first 62 in five years. To put it in perspective, I only earned 5 merit badges in the 3 years that I was a Scout.

Congratulations for a lot of hard work!

North Dakota has more guns and less murder

H/T to Phil over at Random Nuclear Strikes.

My home state of North Dakota has had a significant drop in the number of murders statewide this year. 2 murders in a state, even one as sparsely populated as North Dakota is pretty darned good.

And I need to do some reading on the gun laws back home. Got to know what I'm getting into when I convince my employer to put the next datacenter in Minot.

The continuing adventures of Captain Braindead

OK, you're driving your 11 and 12 year old children to their mother's house so they can spend Christmas with her.

It's snowy, the wind is blowing, and it's below freezing out.

Your truck somehow gets stuck in the snow. You are 10 miles of highway away from your destination.

Do you

A) Tell the kids to stay in the truck while you work to get it out and continue on getting your truck unstuck?

B) Call the children's mother to come get them while you try to get your truck out of the snow?


C) Tell the kids to bundle up and walk the 10 miles to their mom's house while you get your truck out of a snowbank and go on your merry way?

Guess what some trogladyte in Idaho did?

This idiot caused the cold, lonely death of his daughter, and almost killed his son to boot. I feel very sorry for the mother, who is innocent in this, and I really pity the son. He's going to question himself over whether or not he should have gone with his sister or forced her to come with him for the rest of his life. And that's not to mention the little girl that died cold and alone when the parent who should have died for her was warm in a nice heated truck.

But for the moron who put those two children on the highway and sent them on their merry way? I hope he gets life without parole and is forced to have pictures of his daughter taped to every flat surface in his cell.

This isn't a momentary mistake that went wrong. This was an overt act of stupidity that he could have either not done or stopped at any time. It took those kids a long time to get too far away from their father for him to get them and bring them back. He could have stopped them and prevented a stupid mistake from turning into a tragedy.

I hope he rots, and I hope he lives a very very long time with what he's done.

Not sure if this should worry me

but it definitely got my attention.

Scientists are reporting that clusters of small earthquakes are happening with surprising regularity in Yellowstone Park.

So why, as a somewhat willing resident of Kentucky, should I worry?

Because Yellowstone Park is actually an active volcano, that's why. If you believe the Discovery Channel, then if Yellowstone blows big, it's the end of most of North America as we know it, at least for a generation or two. That's a worst case scenario, but they make a good case that it has happened before and it will happen again.

I'm not running to Kroger to buy milk, bread, and eggs yet. But I do keep emergency supplies at the house in case of some kind of disaster. This is just one of those doomsday scenarios that never seem to end well when you think about them.

What do all of y'all think? If it's just a series of small earthquakes that go nowhere, no problem. If it's a major natural disaster, what do you think the consequences would be for the US and the world?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel and Hamas at it again

To noone's surprise, as soon as the "cease-fire" between Israel and Hamas sunsetted, Hamas started rocketing and mortaring the area of Israel that butts up against Gaza. After a few days of this, Israel called in the fighters and helicopters and started making bad things happen to bad people. Unfortunately, because said bad people had intentionally mixed themselves in with civilians, a lot of civilians are being hurt and killed. And the media are howling about Israeli tactics that kill civilians. And of course, there are the more than slightly more than unfriendly demonstrations in front of Israeli embassies worldwide.

The Israelis have a lot to answer for in their history of relations with the Palestinians and the US, but they can at least say that they don't park their military (read "valid targets") next to their civilians (read "non-valid targets") in order to either deter their enemy from firing on them or to give CNN something to crow about when civilians get hurt or killed.

Israel has, for the most part, been an ally to us in a sea of Mid-East opponents. They have counted to ten more times than I can count when Hamas shells their neighborhoods. So now, I say have at it when they decide to whack Hamas upside the head. They should, and I expect that they will, do what they can to minimize non-necessary casualties, but enough is enough. You don't answer artillery barrages with diplomacy, you answer them with airstrikes and artillery.

Has it ever occured to you

how much marriage is like the Act of Contrition?

What have I done?
What have I failed to do?
In thought, word, and/or deed?

I am wholly sorry, and I humbly repent.

Please stop crying. Please?

Been doing a little reading

Since I've had some down time over the past couple of weeks, I've been able to do a bit of reading.

I started reading John Ringo's "Legacy of the Aldenata" series. I've read "A Prayer Before Battle" and I'm about halfway through "Gust Front". They're very good reads, and they're available for free download from the Baen Free Library. That is an excellent program they have there. I've been able to read up on some old Hammer's Slammers editions that I missed, and I've discovered a few works by David Drake and David Weber that I hadn't come across before. Go to Ringo's WikiPedia page for direct links to his books.

I also got two Harry Turtledove novels for Christmas. I'm almost through "Opening Atlantis" and I think I may buy its sequel. Turtledove is a founding member of the alternate history genre, and although he's not the best author and writer around, his storytelling is usually interesting and entertaining.

Both of these are pure escapism, but I am going to do some non-fiction reading when I'm done with them.

I've been reading "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose off and on for a while, and I will finally find some time to just sit and read it. Since it's non-fiction, and it's history that touches on my home state of North Dakota, I want to be able to concentrate on it. It's easier to fly through a novel, even a good novel, and still get the gist of the storyline. Historical non-fiction, for me at least, requires more careful reading.

Anyhoo, hope y'all had a good holiday!

Weekend update

Quick update since I haven't posted in a few days.

We had a really nice Christmas Eve with the kids. This was the first Christmas I've had with Junior Bear in a very long time, and we also had Girlie Bear. Little Bear was at his Mom's house, but I got to see him for a few minutes.

We had an early morning on Christmas and had a good breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes and ham. MMMM Ham....

Baby Bear was, as expected, more interested in the wrapping paper than the presents, but he did very well. Junior Bear and Girlie Bear also got a small pile of their own. I'm the boring parent, so mostly the kids got clothes and books.

I got a new sweater and some other small stuff. Irish Woman got a claudagh ring and her very own iPod.

After we cleaned up the debris from presents, I took Girlie Bear over to her mom's house so she could spend the rest of Christmas break with her. She then got to open more presents.

We made the rounds of the various families for the rest of the day, and when we were done, both Irish Woman and I were very tired and starting to feel crummy.

By the next morning, we were both quite sick. Irish Woman went to her office to gut her way through the day, and I headed over to the urgent care clinic. I was pronounced a classic case of sinus and ear infection. The doc threw a couple of prescriptions at me, and I went home to get some rest. Irish Woman went to the clinic after work, and she had bronchitis.


We flipped coins over the weekend to see who got to take NyQuil every night. The other one did the best he or she could do to get some rest and still be conscious enough to take care of Baby Bear or hear the fire alarm.

I'm feeling marginally better today. Still not approaching 100%, but I'm human again.

Junior Bear is at home working on some homework, or at least that's what he's telling me.

Both Irish Woman and I started rotations on pager support today, but hopefully things are slow enough that we won't have too rough a time of it.

Overall, I had a good holiday, but the rest of the weekend was a waste. But I can't complain.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's about time

Ford has announced their new Fusion, which comes in a very aggressive hybrid. The price for this car appears to only be a few thousand for the hybrid model over the standard.

My questions now come down to availability, reliability, and actual mileage savings.

If you can't get the car, Ford loses.

If the car gets a reputation for being a garage junkie, Ford loses.

If the car gets significantly less gas mileage during actual driving as opposed to the best case scenario 41 MPG Highway, then Ford loses.

Here's hoping this helps Ford pull its fat out of the fryer.

Grinch wanna-be's busted

The local police arrested two young people for stealing packages off of people's porches.

Luckily, it appears that most of the purloined presents will be returned prior to Christmas.

I'm glad to see that the two yutzes will have to face up to the people they stole from and return the loot.

Maybe if more of our young delinquents had to actually talk to the people they victimize and make amends for their crimes, we wouldn't have as many problems with crime in our society. A little shame goes a long way.

New rules may make cottage industry toys too expensive

New rules have been proposed that would make it too expensive to create hand-made toys for children.

I love to go to crafts fairs and get homemade toys for the kids, such as sock monkeys, wooden trains, and building blocks. My little ones have all loved playing with these simple, non-electronic, non-plastic toys.

Now, the people who make them can either pay an exorbitant amount of money to get them certified as safe or close up shop.

There needs to be some kind of exception for toys that are hand-crafted by local merchants.

Now, I'm going to go play with my blocks.

Burress Update

Looks like the authorities are looking further into Plaxico Burress' life.

A recent search of his house found several guns and some ammunition. They also took the pants he wore on the night he shot himself.

Some of my gun buddies and I have discussed this kind of thing before. We've all seen the news features that talk about how a house was searched and a large cache of guns and ammunition were found and confiscated.

So what makes a large cache of guns and ammo?

I personally own upwards of 5 or 6 guns. For each of these guns, I own at least a few rounds of ammunition. For some of them, I own a lot of ammunition. When you shoot on a budget, and you find bulk surplus ammunition on sale, you buy it so you can go shooting during lean times.\

So it would be safe to say that I have a lot of ammunition stored in my house. Don't worry, it's stored in safe containers to keep it away from prying eyes and small hands.

But if my house was searched for any reason, would I be trotted out in front of news cameras as a gun nut? Would my small collection be put on a table along with the various boxes and cans of ammunition to show that I was a dangerous criminal?

Talk amongst yourselves. Topic - What consititutes a dangerous amount of guns and ammunition?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Cache of gold coins found in Jerusalem

Interesting fact - None of them were created by the Franklin Mint.

A British tourist helping out at an archeological dig found a cache of ancient coins.

I can see the conversation now.

"OK, let's see, shell casing, shell casing, bottle cap, bottle cap, shell casing."

"Wait a minute, that's not a bottle cap, it's a coin!"

"Huh, what do you know, something that's not trash thrown down here from the 2000 years worth of tourists and invasions."

Wreaths across America

H/T to Blackfive.

Wreaths Across America has decorated the graves at Arlington, and it's not only touching, but it's beautiful.

Service organizations like this are always good to see. When Junior Bear was a Tiger Cub, we went to the Veteran's Cemetary near our town in Arizona and helped to put flags up for Memorial Day.

When you do things like this, you see people from every walk of life spending a little bit of their time to do something noble.

Back on day shift

and slowly adjusting.

My week long turn at 3rd shift went pretty smoothly. Work was pretty much sitting on my butt and watching monitors on my servers. We only had two or three small issues all week.

I got sleep when I could. Some days I slept from 9 AM until 4 PM, which was nice. On others, I grabbed as many cat naps as possible. By cat naps, I mean Timmy, Koshka, and I curled up on the couch and snoozed hard.

I fell off the caffeine wagon for the week, but have gone cold turkey again. Yesterday I had the sluggishness and headache again, but I'm better today.

Girlie Bear had a Christmas concert downtown on Wednesday, and 30 young children singing "Jingle Bells" in Latin is pretty neat, if I do say so myself.

Cable Guy's on his way!

Crews are working on fixing the broken underwater cable in the Meditteranean.

I wonder if someone has to be in the Med waiting for them sometime between 2 and 8 or they'll have to reschedule?

Sometimes things go as planned

Sometimes, not so much.

Apparently, someone didn't want to just chip the ice off of his porch.

Using a bush burner might be easier in the short run, but it is hard on the structure.

That being said, when I was growing up in the great white north, I used to fantasize about using a flame thrower to melt the snow in our drive way and then squeegee it off before it froze again.


First, to the nice young woman who served me my hot cocoa this morning, yes, my son is very cute, and he does like smiling at you. So did his daddy. Nice presentation.

To the assbag who decided to play his music at glass rattling levels this morning at the stoplight, I hope you actually achieve your goal of attracting women with your stereo. And when you do, I hope they're the kind of women who are impressed by the size of a man's stereo.

To the poor soul who was driving the salt truck down I-64 this morning in preparation for another snow-pocolypse. Thanks for the effort, and I hope you don't have to continue doing it for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wikileaks steps on Superman's cape.... again

Danger Room is reporting that Wikileaks has posted a classified report on one of the jammer systems the military has developed to counter the threat of remotely controlled IED's.

I'm not going to debate the merits of the system, or even discuss what's in the report. What's in that report isn't any of my business. It certainly isn't something that I want to help pass on.

Listen up kids:

Things like this are classified for one of very few reasons. They either talk about operational plans, sources and methods for intelligence, or the capabilities and shortcomings of technology.

I think we all understand why we don't want to talk about operational plans. Anyone who paid attention to the early stages of the Iraq War remembers when Geraldo Rivera (occupation: tool) was kicked out of the AO for broadcasting plans for the unit he was attached to. Broadcasting plans for upcoming operations puts soldiers lives in jeopardy. Broadcasting plans for operations that have already happened lets anyone listening learn about how things are done, and can help them predict what's going to happen in the future.

Intelligence methods and sources are just as easy to understand. If a target knows that someone or something is a source for our intelligence staffs, they can eliminate that source. In real words, that means that a living person will be killed, usually after some pretty horrific interrogation.

The last one, at least to technology types, seems to be hard to understand. When you talk about the pros and cons of a given piece of technology in the civilian world, it's a good thing. If you try to conceal problems with your technology, especially if it's something that has to do with security, you get branded with "security through obscurity".

In the military realm, openly discussing problems and limitations of technology tells our enemies what our technology can and can't do. It can help them develop countermeasures to our technology, or to develop tactics that take advantage of our limitations. Classifying these characteristics is an attempt to force opponents to learn these limitations the hard way, through having to face our technology in combat and pay for it in blood.

Some people I know think that the government classifies most things to cover up bad deeds or stupidity. I'm not going to argue that that doesn't happen because it does, and it will happen again. And when the press publishes reports on these instances, I'm all for it. That's one of the reasons we have a free press, to publicise instances when the government is either stupid, malicious, or both.

But publishing documents that put the lives of our soldiers in danger, however indirectly, is irresponsible and criminal. I'd like to have the yutz who leaked this staked out on the lawn of the Pentagon for a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

French Toast Emergency

On Monday and Tuesday, Louisville had what we call a French Toast Emergency. This is when all of the Kentucky people rush to Kroger or Walmart to get eggs, bread, and milk. They do this in anticipation of a winter storm that will shut down the city. I've been here 7 winters now, and we've had exactly 1 storm that made me park my car and stay home.

But if I'm snowed in, I want something more substantial than the ingredients of french toast to get me through. I guess they think they can get through just about anything if they can make breakfast. Me? I stock up on steak, potatoes, and pie.

Apparently in 1994, Louisville shut down for a few days when a major blizzard piled a couple of feet of snow in the major roadways. What they call 'The Big One of '94', we used to call 'Tuesday' back home in the Great White North.

Now everyone panics if it starts to rain or snow any time between December and March. The weathercritter spins everyone up into a frenzy, the city fathers dump a few tons of salt on the roadways, and I have to provide 3 phone numbers to the schools so they can get in touch with me in case school gets called. All of this before the first teensy weensy snowflake falls.

I'm hoping that one of these years we actually get a real winter here and my neighbors here in Kentucky grow a bit of perspective. A snow shower doesn't seem so bad when you already have 3 feet of snow piled up in your front yard.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going Nocturnal

I'm working 3rd shift this week. Started last night. Got home about 8:30 and slept all day. I think I've flipped to night work pretty well this time. Of course at the end of the week I'll have to flip back, but you can't have everything.

And I've fallen off the caffeine wagon for the week. I'm not working 3rds and still having a family life without some directional aids. I promise to go cold turkey again starting next week.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Bill of Rights Day

On this date in 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution were ratified.
For those of you who took a hit of blotter acid prior to civics class in high school, these are the ones that say what the government isn't allowed to do to you. These are rights, not priveleges. They're not granted by the government. We grant power to the government so that these rights can be safeguarded. Sometimes we forget that.

Here are all of the amendments to the constitution and my interpretation of them. This is a long one, but I think you'll like it. H/T to Wikipedia on this one.

Amendment # 1
The government can't force you to have religion, and the government can't force you not to express your religion. It's none of their business. You can say or print pretty much anything you want to and the government can't do much to stop you. This right will not, however, keep your ass from getting kicked due to what you say or print. We can all get together to do something as long as we're not hurting anyone, and we can complain to the government any time we want to when they screw up. Some people make a living doing this. What a country.

Amendment # 2
We have to defend ourselves, sometimes from the government itself, and the government can't take away our guns or stop us from getting them. And it's noone's business but my own what I have.

Amendment # 3
The government can't force me to put up and feed soldiers during peacetime, although I can pay for their beer if I want to, and during time of war, they have to actually pass a law forcing me to do this. But all they'd have to do is ask nicely, and I'll sleep on the couch so a couple of paratroopers can get a good nights sleep and a good breakfast.

Amendment # 4
Got a warrant? No? Then come back when you get one. Please put that thermal imaging system away. And thanks for being a cop.

Amendment # 5
The government can't just drag me into court. You have to convince people just like me that I've actually committed a crime. The government only get to try to throw my fat self into jail for doing something once. The government can't force me to testify against myself, and I'm not saying anything until my lawyer gets here. The government can't take my land to build a strip mall unless you actually pay me for it. And that better be a really nice strip mall.

Amendment # 6
The government has to let me have a lawyer. Hopefully one with a clue. The government can't throw me into jail for a few years before they get around to actually accusing and trying me. I can't be arrested in Kentucky and tried in Minnesota for something I did in New Mexico. I have to be told what I'm being accused of, and the government can't stop me from trying to prove that their witnesses aren't lousy stinking lieing rats who should be thrown in front of a truck.

Amendment # 7
We have to take our arguments to be decided by 12 people who couldn't get out of jury duty.

Amendment # 8
The government can't hold you on $2 million dollars bail for spitting on the sidewalk, and they can't fine you that $2 million for said spitting. As satisfying as flogging a child molester or hanging a multiple murderer up to his neck in pig droppings would be, some panty waisted loser would have his feelings hurt, and we can't have that.

Amendment # 9
Just because we didn't think of it in here, doesn't mean it's not a right. This must be where that right to choice is.

Amendment # 10
The federal government only gets those powers that are given to it in the Constitution. If it's not in here, they don't get it. All of that stuff goes to the states, or better yet, the actually people who pay taxes and keep the train rolling.

Amendment # 11
The Federal courts can't be used by anyone to sue a state unless the state agrees to participate. So you have to have their consent to try to sue them. Good luck with all that.

Amendment # 12
Way too long to put the text in here, but basically, we vote for electors, the electors vote for President and Vice President, and if you can't be President for some reason, you don't get to be Vice President. From the length of the amendment, you can see that the lawyers had already taken over by 1804.

Amendment # 13
You don't get to own other people. And the government can pass laws to make sure you don't. As a transplant to Kentucky, I can tell you there are a lot of people who either have a problem with this one, or haven't heard about it yet.

Amendment # 14
Again, the lawyers must have eaten their Wheaties when they wrote this one. Way too long, but they were trying to cover a lot of bases with one amendment. First, if you're born in the United States, you're a citizen, even if mama came across the border only to have you in the ER in San Diego. Second, every person in a state is counted as a whole human being when figuring out how many electors the states get for electing the President. No more math in figuring out what 3/5th's of a person is. Third, if you made an oath to the Confederacy, you don't get to be a part of the government. No kidding? You can't be an officer of a government you tried to overthrow? We actually had to write that down? Fourth, we're going to pay our debts, but I'll be damned if we'll pay off the debts of the Confederacy.

Amendment # 15
Ex slaves get to vote, and Congress can pass laws making sure they get to. We passed this on in 1870. Only took 80 or 90 years for this one to be enforced at all.

Amendment # 16
Congratulations, the government figured out a way to punish you for making more money than it takes to keep your family at the poverty level. And there's nothing you can do about it.

Amendment # 17
Another wordy one. We get to directly pick our Senators in an election, instead of the former manner, which involved something resembling the "Twit of the Year" contest.

Amendment # 18
Yet another one that was written by a committee. You can't be trusted to drink alcohol, so it's illegal. Everywhere. Unless you happen to be a Kennedy.

Amendment # 19
Women get the vote. Whoopee. Pants suits for everyone.

Amendment # 20
For the love of God, were they being paid by the word? The President and Vice President have to show up to work in January, and the Congress actually has to show up once a year.

Amendment # 21
18th Amendment? We don't need no stinking 18th Amendment! You have to believe in something, and I believe I'll have a beer.

Amendment # 22
You only get to be President for two terms. Not 4, just 2. No President for life. At least not again.

Amendment # 23
The District of Columbia gets to actually have someone represent them in the Presidential election. They just don't get a Senator or Congressman with an actual vote.

Amendment # 24
You can't be denied your right to vote because you can't pay a tax. You should have to pass an intelligence test, but we haven't passed that amendment yet.

Amendment # 25
The Vice President gets to be President if he bumps off the President.

Amendment # 26
18 year olds get to vote. Still can't buy a beer, but they can at least vote for the guys who keep them from drinking.

Amendment # 27
The accidental amendment. Proposed in 1789, ratified in 1992. If a Congressman votes himself another unearned raise, he has to go through another election cycle before he starts to rake it in. This one is also a monument to that great American motto "I'll get around to it".

So that's it. 27 amendments to the document that has governed the country since its founding. Not bad for a bunch of oppressors, or as we who actually deserve to be protected by the Constitution would call them, the illustrious geniuses who designed and founded our Republic.

Update -
Tam has a great post going on this one too. Check it out.

Houston, we have a tooth

Baby Bear was very fussy over the weekend, and we chalked it up to him bonking his head on Friday.

We comforted him and gave him Tylenol.

Sunday morning, I noticed that he was drewling like a fiend and chewing on the cat.

I felt his gums, and lo and behold there was a rough spot in the front.

He's officially toothed. Soon, he will begin chomping on his siblings and life as the animals know it will cease.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting into the express line for Hell

I, like most men who grew up after about 1955, have perused my share of Playboy magazines. Not so much in the past few years, mainly due to the creepy feeling I get when I realize that most of the women in recent editions are almost young enough to be my daughter.

But I do appreciate that Playboy is a provocative, entertaining, sometimes funny magazine that is enjoyed by many people around the world.

But I have to wonder exactly what was being smoked and passed around the office at the Mexican branch of the Mansion when they came up with this idea.

Bad Idea # 1 - Put a mostly nude model on your front cover emulating the mother of Jesus.
Bad Idea # 2 - Do this in a mostly Roman Catholic country that has a major historical habit of revering said mother, especially since she's actually visited it.
Bad Idea # 3 - Publish it just prior to the holiday that reveres this mother.

I've known a lot of Hispanic men over the years, and the three most important women in their lives are the Virgin Mary, their mother, and their wife. Posting provocative pictures of any of those is probably going to get their blood up, paco tiempo.

Someone was either high when they came up with this idea, or they were totally insensitive to the sensibilities of their target audience, or they were out to make a quick buck by creating controversy.

It will be interesting to see if the Church has anything to say about this, and how sales of this edition do in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.


Looks like Playboy has apologized.

An Ode to Sheepdogs

Blackfive points us to a great poem that pretty much sums it up.

Give it a read and much love.

Auto Bailout on hold

Well, looks like Chrysler and GM will have to find some other way to keep the wheels on until people start buying their products again.

Kind of ironic that the UAW would rather see the jobs of their members put at risk of total obliteration than to take a pay cut for the time being.

Wonder if they'll get as good an offer if 2 out of 3 American car companies have to either lay off almost everyone or go into bankruptcy and force renegotiation of union contracts?

Glad to see that Ford seems to think it can get through this with no government help. Hopefully the other two will also be able to do it.

A little excitement for the morning

Had a bit of an emergency this morning, but thank the Lord it was only excitement, not injury.

Irish Woman has today off from work, so she decided to take some pictures of Baby Bear. He has learned to pull himself up on things, and she was snapping a few pictures of him holding onto Little Bear's desk chair in our living room.

Baby Bear noticed his teddy bear on the floor next to the chair, let go of the chair and fell backwards.

He landed on his butt, then flopped back further and knocked his head on the edge of the fireplace hearth.

Apparently much crying and screaming commenced.

I got the tearful phone call here at work, and we were off to the emergency room.

I got there to find Baby Bear with a lump and some scratches on the back of his head. But he felt well enough to smile and flirt with the nurse who was looking at him, so I knew he was OK. Irish Woman, on the other hand, took a lot of hugging and talking to calm down.

Baby Bear is fine. Just the first goose egg of many. Irish Woman has calmed down and is going to spend the rest of the day cuddling Baby Bear.

My mother was on a first name basis with the nurses at our local ER when we were growing up, and one of the nurses recognized us from when we were there with Junior Bear last year. Seems that making frequent use of emergency medicine is a family tradition.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just the way they seem to be saying it

Hat tip to Random Nuclear Strikes:

Yes, I know the pic doesn't look good, but use the link to see it all.

I've been paying attention to the auto industry bailout debate. Like I said, I'm of two minds. But the manner in which the executives of the companies, the UAW leadership, and the congresstrolls who support them seems to be "If you don't give us a ton of money, everyone in America will suffer".

Don't come to me with your hat in hand, and tell me that if I don't make your payroll for you my life will be ruined. It's just not a good way to approach me.

The universal importance of backups

My work laptop recently bit the big one. I didn't cry too much because it was getting kind of long in the tooth, and I was thinking of asking for an upgrade anyway.

Luckily, the technicians were able to get my email and documents off of the system, and the Linux virtual machine that I use to develop and support was recovered. Unfortunately, they only were able to recover a snapshot that's about a month old.

A month ago I was thinking about working on a script to do something kind of hard. It took me until last week to get it working to the point that I was satisfied with it.

Did I mention that my VM's backup was a month old?

So, I have my VM, but not the script that I worked for over 3 weeks on. I realized this the other day, and after half an hour of looking at every server I support trying to find a copy of the script, I had nothing but some scribbled notes to fall back on.

Some things will just make a grown man cry.

I started work on re-doing the script. Luckily, I was able to remember at least most of what I did, so it looked like it would only take a week or so to recreate my work.

Last night I was looking for a report on my thumb drive, and stumbled across an old copy of the script. It wasn't debugged at all, but the base functionality was laid down. I know where my bugs are, so I should be able to get it working in a couple of hours.

Back your stuff up people. Get a drive and copy to it. Then safeguard that drive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas musings

OK, this is the more later.

I'm not a Christmas person.

Haven't been in my entire adult life.

I identify with the Grinch, even if he did wimp out there at the end.

I do all the religious things about Christmas, and I make sure I give a bit more to charity this time of year. I try to be pleasant to my friends and coworkers a bit more. And I of course indulge my children and wife a bit with treats and presents.

But I try to do all of those things throughout the year, even if I fail at it regularly.

I don't buy the artificial cheerfulness that infects everyone during these times. I certainly don't buy the "Peace on Earth, goodwill to men" bit while I'm watching the Lord of the Flies shopping experience on the evening news, or the latest "Kill them in the name of God / The children are all dieing because someone higher in society cut off the food" coverage from some third world craphole.

I've seen a lot of how badly people can treat each other, both here and abroad. I've heard the catch phrase "Make every day Christmas". But it's just a slogan, a marketing gimmick. Until people can act like they care that someone other then themselves lives or dies, I don't buy the Christmas Spirit thing.

When we have food and clothes drives for the poor in June, and they're well taken care of, don't wish me a Merry Christmas.

Until parents stop beating their kids and each other during the rest of the year, don't tell me how nice it is that Mom and Dad don't fight over the holidays.

Until you understand that your kids need time with you doing something meaningful all year long, don't tell me how great it is that you were able to score the latest electronic babysitter for them by pushing a grandmother and her walker out of the way at WallyWorld.

No, I'm not the best human being in the world, and I'm as guilty as the next guy when it comes to not loving my fellow man as I would like to be loved myself. But I at least recognize how hypocritical it is to mark off a few weeks during the winter where we have to at least act like we care about the rest of humanity.

So, to all of you out there, have a Merry Christmas. And while you're at it, I wish you a good time throughout the rest of the year. I'll try to do my part to help you along with that one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Someone agrees with me about Christmas

Og over at Neanderpundit shares my view of Christmas: Warning! Strong Language Ahead!

Merry Christmas to every last one of you politically correct, worthless
XXXXX out there who have nothing better to do other than to waste
perfectly good oxygen and bitch about phrases like, ‘Merry Christmas, God Loves
you, and Napalm Sticks to Kids.’

More on this later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective

Roberta X has a good post on dealing with chronic pain.

I've been creaky in one form or another since I was 19. When I was young, it was normally muscle soreness from physical exercise, leavened well with the occasional minor injury. I was never one of those "good hurt" types, and I've never had a runner's high. Unless you count the feeling after a run that I might puke and then pass out. If that's a runner's high, you can keep it. I'd pop a few ibuprofen, stretch a bit, and get on with it.

When I got to be 26 or so, the pain started moving into my joints. Mostly my knees, but also my ankles, feet, and hands. Like an idiot, I just ignored it, changed over to naproxen, and got on with my life. Should have gone to the doctor, especially considering my families history with arthritis, but had to be a big man and show that I could take care of myself.

By the time I was 32, I was walking with a distinct limp sometimes. I was using Aleve every morning and every night. The Irish Woman and I had been together for a couple of years, and her mantra had become "Go to the doctor, go to the doctor....". I finally went, with her in tow to make sure I actually kept the appointment.

And guess what? I had arthritis, and it was treatable. Doc put me on some anti-inflamatories, and I started doing better. I've been on about 6 different medications over the years, some pretty basic, and some kind of exotic. When the Irish Woman and I were trying to make Baby Bear, I came off all of it for about 2 years, and thankfully we were able to conceive before I had to go back on my meds.

Luckily, I've stayed away from the hardcore pain killers. Aleve isn't cutting it anymore, but the Doc has me on something a bit more potent, but still not a narcotic.

My mother died from complications of Lupus after 20 years of high doses of prednisone and narcotics. It got to the point that she could pretty much get Demerol and Fenigren on demand at the local hospital. By the time I was an adult and had my first child, she was pretty much an addict and spend 3 days out of 5 in a fog.

I'm not going down like that. I may limp, I may need a cane when I'm older, but I'll get old with a glint in my eye and all of my mental faculties.

Nowadays, I'm sore in a few areas all the time, but the treatments and medicine keep the edge off and keep me from growing fangs and claws during the course of my day.

Roberta X is spot on when she says that the pain becomes part of the background. If I concentrate on how cruddy I feel on bad days, nothing gets done. So I take my medicine, ignore it as much as I can, and know what my limitations are. If I spend a day lifting 200 pound servers with one of my guys, I know I'm not going to be in good shape the next day. So I make sure I have 2 or more guys to help move servers.

So, I get on with it, and remember that there are a lot of people who are worse off.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How does he zip his pants

with balls this big?

BHO is buying his wife a $30k plus ring made from rhodium and diamonds during a time when most Americans are having to tighten their belts and worry about the future. The president elect is telling everyone that they need to be prepared to pay higher taxes in order to "spread the wealth" and that CEO's should give up their bonuses and salaries for the good of the country. And he's spending more than a lot of people make in a year on a piece of jewelry for his wife.

Pure chutzpah.

Yes, he should purchase nice things for his wife. Yes, she's earned them by putting up with all of the garbage that a 2 year presidential campaign brings into her and her children's lives.

But a ring made overseas from materials that most people haven't even heard of?

The Irish Woman made an observation about this, and I think it makes sense to post it here. There's a good chance that at least some of the diamonds in this bauble are blood diamonds mined by low paid or unpaid Africans. And the rhodium the ring is made of was probably mined in South Africa by low paid Africans. So the descendant of African slaves will be wearing an enormously expensive ring created from materials produced by Africans who are either worked as slaves or are paid slave wages.

Kind of ironic, dontcha think?

Come on, buy her a nice ring made from gold mined here in the United States, or at least made by a domestic company. We have wonderful jewelers here in America, and I'm sure you could find something a little less improper for your lady.

Nighttime Football

Football is one of my few vices.

I have always loved football. I enjoy it live and on the TV. I watch replays of classic games on ESPN and the NFL Network. I enjoy watching it alone, with my buddies, and with the family.

But something is starting to get to me, and that is nighttime NFL football.

When I was growing up, I could watch the first half of Monday Night Football and not feel like I've missed much when I headed to bed. It was only two quarters of football, and I'd watched two games on Sunday.

But now there are 3 games during prime time every week. Games played during prime time now occur on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. That's half of the professional football that's broadcast. You get 3 games on two networks on Sunday, then the nighttime games. If you miss half of those games, that's a huge percentage of the football you have available that you don't watch.

The pregame show starts at about 8:30 for each of these where I live in the Eastern time zone, with kick off some 15 to 30 minutes later. Assuming that the game only lasts 3 hours, that means best case for the end of the game approaches midnight. For those of us who actually have families and jobs, that's quite late. I get up at about 5 every morning, and if I show up for work 3 days out of 5 with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep, my boss is going to hurt me bad.

Why do these games start so late? I've heard the argument that they start so late on the East Coast so that they're on during good times in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. But if a game starts at 9 in Louisville, it's starting at 6 in Los Angeles. No way most people are home by 6 to watch a football game by 6 on a work day. In the Mountain and Central time zones, the time is a bit more reasonable, but that means that a large percentage of the audience probably misses at least part of the game.

How about this: Start the games at 7 PM in each of the time zones. Tape delay it for the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. Yes, real-time video and game commentary will be available on the Internet, but I'd be willing to bet that a large majority of fans won't cheat themselves by going that route. And if they do, who cares. Most people watch these games on their TV, so show them the game during a time frame that doesn't force them to stay up way too late or rush home to watch the game.

I know, I'm getting old, and midnight isn't that late. But 3 nights with reduced sleep is way too much to ask for football. And I can and do record the games so I can catch the second half later, but I shouldn't have to, and I wouldn't if the networks would just start showing these games at times that are more convenient to the consumer.


Our Thanksgiving went pretty well.

Girlie Bear spent the day with her mom and Little Bear, so it was me, Irish Woman, Junior Bear, and Baby Bear.

We started the day off making a turkey in the roaster and dressing. We had plans to have dinner with friends later in the afternoon after we'd visited the Kentucky family.

We made an appearance with the Kentucky family, and Baby Bear was the hit of the show. He's really become a little guy instead of just furniture that burps, and he was in great form. We saw one of the cousins who had a baby 3 months ago, and their little guy is as cute as a button.

We left there, went back to the house, and grabbed our vittles for dinner. When we got to our friend's house for the party, most of the crowd was already there. Both Irish Woman and I were both on pager for the weekend, so no drinking allowed, but it's kind of fun to be the sober one in a room full of people who have a good buzz on. Not drunk and loud, just mellow.

My turkey was a hit, and the dressing was eaten up and the pan scraped clean. There were about 6 teenage boys and 3 teenage girls, so not much was left over.

Friday we had Girlie Bear back, so we had our family Thanksgiving at home. Girlie Bear helped me bake the pumpkin pies, and we made another turkey. After dinner, Girlie Bear went back to her mom's for the weekend.

Saturday we went to the Thanksgiving celebration with the Indiana family. More turkey, and a great time with a loud, close, fun group of people. Baby Bear was held by everyone, and ended up falling asleep for the night in one of the aunts arms.

Sunday was cleanup and relax day at Casa de Oso. My pager went off regularly all weekend, but nothing major happened.

We ate the last of our leftovers tonight, and I think I'll make something entirely unlike turkey for dinner tomorrow. 3 turkey dinners in 4 days, with leftovers for every other meal besides breakfast gets old.

I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and memorable time.
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