Friday, July 31, 2009

An Open Letter to The NFL

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have watched professional football since I realized what the television was for. I have worked long and strange hours in bad parts of the world so that I could get to the MWR tent to see the game.

All these years I have made football my fall and winter hobby. I have shared my love of the game with my children and now a new generation enjoys watching football.

When the horrific acts of Michael Vick came to light I took heart when the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons dropped him like a hot rock. A lot of players have broken the law and seemed to incur any consequences.

Now you have chosen to reinstate this person who financed gambling and murdered the dogs he lost money on.

My estimation of the NFL has fallen to a new low.

If any team picks up Michael Vick, I will boycott that team as long as he is on the payroll. This includes the playoff and the Superbowl. I will work to influence my family and friends to take similar actions.

Please reconsider your decision to let this individual play.


A Lifelong Fan

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deadliest Catch

The Irish Woman is in the other rook watching "The Deadliest Catch". It's one of the few programs she makes a point of watching. She even watches the "extra" programming, like behind the scenes stuff and interviews. She comments that the Scandinavian fishermen remind her of me. Not sure where that comes from. I'm as far from rugged as they come.

I watched the first season and it was interesting. God love them, those guys work in dangerous and miserable conditions so that I can have crab legs ony birthday.

But I lost interest early in the second season. I still watch a bit with Irish Woman every so often. But how many times can you feel tension about crustaceans?

I grew up watching Norwegians fishing so maybe that's why I don't find it that entertaining

Soon football season will start and she will surrender control of the cable box. So I let her watch her program in peace.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Sorry I haven't posted for a few days. The stomach flu that Baby Bear brought home from day care has worked its way through the family. Irish Woman got it again on Thursday and hasn't quite come back from it yet. I've been ill off and on, but I think I'm on the better side of it.

Junior Bear came home Friday night from his mother's house. He had a good weekend, but woke up sick this morning. Not sure if he picked it up from us, or from the 1000's of people he came in contact with in 4 airports, or from one of his friends over the weekend.

Needless to say, nothing I planned on doing got done this weekend. Guess we'll play catch-up this week so we can go away on the family trip on Saturday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speaking of Marriage

H/T to Are We Lumberjacks?

All I can say is, damn.

New picture of Baby Bear

For those of you who haven't seen the rugrat lately, here you go:

Baptizing children after you make your partner an honest woman

Saw this over at Fox News. The Church of England is coming up with a way that the children of people who are getting married after living in sin can be made a part of the ceremony and get baptized. Some are up in arms about this:

Stephen Parkinson, of the Anglo-Catholic group Forward in Faith, said: “The proper place for a baptism is not during a wedding but during the Sunday morning act of worship so the congregation can welcome a new Christian. It is a shame that what should be a bride’s day now stands to be hijacked by screaming kids.”

I don't agree. More and more people are having kids outside of marriage, and if they're trying to get right with the Lord, then they and their family should be welcomed with open arms.

When the Irish Woman and I got married, we decided to join an Episcopal parish. Even though we were honest and told Father that we were living together, we were welcomed with open arms. When we got married, Father worked with us to integrate all of my children from earlier marriages into the ceremony. It wasn't just a blessing of our life as a couple, it as a blessing of our life as a family.

By the time I made the Irish Woman an honest woman, she had become a mother figure to the kids, and we wanted to make sure that they felt as important in the ceremony as we did. Junior Bear was one of my groomsmen, Little Bear was the ring bearer, and Girlie Bear was one of the flower girls. I made sure the boys got to wear tuxedo's like the adults, and Girlie Bear went to get her hair done with the women that morning.

When Father gave us the final blessing, all five of us knelt at the altar. We had been a family in spirit for a long time, but we made sure that we made it a public fact that day.

If the church wants to make it easy for families to return to congregations, so much the better. For those who think this isn't such a good idea, don't participate in the ceremony.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Salato Buck

This is what a buck looks like when you put it in a high fence pen, give it a lot of food to eat, and a couple of willing does to frolic with. I'm pretty sure this was the daddy to the two sets of twin fawns. The other buck was as mature, but his rack was a lot smaller, and he was obviously limping from an injury.

And this is a big buffalo. The herd at Salato has at least two bulls, a couple of cows, and a calf. Like I said, I haven't seen buffalo since I was a kid. This particular bull was wearing the bark off of a cherry tree scratching multiple itches.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Nixon's Other Speech

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo XI moon landing.

H/T to Radley Balko over at The Agitator for linking to an article about President Nixon's alternate speech. It was to be used in the event that the unthinkable happened and Aldrin and Armstrong either died on the descent or were unable to make the ascent from the moon.

I'm sincerely glad that that speech went into the archive, and the world was able to rejoice at the success of Apollo XI.

I love being Norwegian

Health Update

Well, I had my final follow-up on my sinus surgery. Doctor gave my nose a clean bill of health. I still have allergies, but at least they can be managed with medication now. Now that I've gone through it, it was worth it. But I hope to never have to go through it again.

Thoughts on summer

Well, summer is in full swing here in Kentucky. OK, it's been unseasonably cool for the most part, which has been nice. But it's going to warm back up again, and summer in Kentucky is nasty. It's not the worst I've ever felt, but it's bad enough for me to look back fondly on the 120 degree dry heat of southeastern Arizona.


Summer is the season when Kentucky women wear shorts that are way too short. On some women, it's not a bad thing. On most, it is. And on all of them, it's trashy. And on all men, it's just wrong.

Louisville is a wonderful city with many parks, bike trails, and a vibrant night life. But in the middle of a hot, muggy day in July, downtown Louisville smells like an open sewer.

I prefer winter to summer. I can always add another layer of clothing when I'm cold, but I can only get so naked when I'm hot before the neighbors start to talk.

Kentucky - Indian word for schizophrenic weather. It was chilly enough on Saturday morning that I packed light jackets for everyone before we went out. Today, it's getting to the point where all I want to do is go home and sit under an air conditioning vent.

And to sum it up, here's a song that tells you everything you need to know about my opinion of summer, no matter where I am:


This weekend was kinda see-saw-ey. Thursday night, Baby Bear wasn't feeling well. I was up with him most of the night, and stayed home with him on Friday. He didn't run a fever, so we chalked it up to teething. For the most part, he slept all day, which was good because I spent the morning on the phone giving presentations to my management and the afternoon dialed in and working on minor problems.

Saturday we got up and headed out for the day. We wanted to do something family oriented since we weren't going on our mini-vacation. We went to Gallreins and bought a bushel each of sweet corn and green beans and a HUGE watermelon. Baby Bear and Girlie Bear enjoyed the petting zoo very much. All of the animals were interested in Baby Bear except for the llama, which reacted to Baby Bear reaching out to him as if he were going to get shot. Considering that Baby isn't the most gentle creature on earth, that might not have been such a bad idea.

After that, we tooled down to Frankfort to the Salato wildlife center. It's the headquarters of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, and they have an education center that's outstanding. They were having their reptile roundup, so Girlie Bear got to spend an hour looking at and learning about the various snakes and lizards in the commonwealth. We took a walk around to see the animals they have on display. We saw the biggest black bear I've ever seen, and two sets of whitetail twin fawns. This was the first time Girlie Bear had ever seen buffalo and elk, so she was fascinated. I haven't seen a buffalo since I left North Dakota, so it was a treat. Baby Bear was fascinated by the snakes and the fish in the aquariums, and he got to pet a stuffed bear and coyote. Irish Woman took a lot of pictures, so I'll post those once they're downloaded from the camera.

That evening, we went to a friend's house for her daughter's 16th birthday party. It was a pool party with about 20 teenagers, 4 adults, 2 preteens, and one toddler. Oh what joy. I did get to watch Super Troopers, which if you ever get the chance, pass. It was nice to sit and talk to our friends for a few hours and just relax once Baby Bear went to sleep.

Sunday morning, Irish Woman and Girlie Bear woke up with headaches, fever, and upset stomachs. I won't get into the ugly details, but I need to hit the drug store next time they have a sale on Pepto-Bismol. Irish Woman felt bad enough that when I directed her to go to bed and stay there, she didn't argue too much. Our friends from Saturday night called to chat, and when they learned what was going on, they offered to take Baby Bear off my hands for a few hours. That gave me a chance to do some of the weekend housekeeping and kept Baby Bear from exposure to whatever was running through the family.

Luckily, I've not been hit with it so far.

This morning, of course, Baby Bear woke up with a slight fever and kinda sluggish. Irish Woman was feeling better, but not 100%. Since she works in the hospital, that means she's persona non grata at work today. She stayed home and is watching over Baby to see if he gets better or if we're going to have to take him to the doctor.

Girlie Bear was up, bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. She went to her mom's for the week. She was supposed to go last night, but her mom and I agreed that if she wasn't feeling well, it made no sense to subject her to the half hour drive and possibly spread the ick to Little Bear and her mom.

So, that was my weekend. Saturday was fun, but Friday and Sunday were a wash. Hopefully the week will improve.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I am a bonehead of legendary proportions

We spent this evening getting ready to go on a family mini-vacation. We got the snacky smores and fizzy pop for the trip. I had printed off our reservations and directions to our destination. The Irish Woman and Girlie Bear were packing for the trip.

Then I took a good hard look at the reservations.

I noticed that the date we had reserved and pre-paid for was identical to the date I had made the reservations on. Months ago.

A quick call to our reservation had us down as having reservations back in June, and they are full up this weekend.

We were able to get our payment transferred to a reservation two weeks from now. So we will still go on our little vacation.

But I am officially an idiot. And an idiot in the doghouse for the next couple of weeks to boot.

I'm going to go eat some more crow and go to bed.

Another Great Man Has Left Us

I just learned that Walter Cronkite has died.

I am truly saddened to see him go. When I was growing up, the voice of Walter Cronkite was a nightly experience. I am a news junkie, and I owe that to Mr. Cronkite.

Walter Cronkite was a journalist of the old school. For the most part, he kept his politics out of his reporting, and stuck to the facts. He made a very wide and bright distinction between news and commentary.

Go with God, Mr. Cronkite. When I get to the Pearly Gates to see if God grades on a curve, I expect to see you and Edward R. Murrow doing the news.

Good article with William Forstchen

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had read "One Second After", a story about what would happen to America if she was attacked by an Electro-Magnetic-Pulse (EMP) weapon.

I was pointed to a really good interview with the author, William Forstchen, via Survival Blog.

Go and read. The interview boils down the main themes in the book.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farewell, Brave Soldier

Many of you have heard of the HBO series, Band of Brothers. One of the men who served in Easy Company was Shifty Powers, the honest, hard-working, country boy who could blow the balls off of a fly at 100 yards with his M1 Garand.

Mr. Powers passed away recently, and the world is a smaller place without him. BlackFive has an excellent writeup of his passing.

More and more of our WWII vets are passing away every day. When I was a cub scout, we did things with World War I vets. They were the kindly grandfathers and great-grandfathers who could tell us thrilling stories by the campfire. By the time I got to the Army, they were all gone for the most part.

The World War II veterans are now the same age as those World War I veterans were when I was a boy. Soon, they will be just as rare.

If you know a veteran of the World Wars, please reach out to them, tell them how much you appreciate what they did, and learn as much from them as you can.

Farewell, Sergeant Powers. The roll will be called, a space will be empty, and you will be sorely missed.

We do not fight alone

I saw a blurb about this on the news the other night, but finally got a chance to link to it.

H/T to OpFor for this.

This is what I mean when I say that the British are our closest and oldest allies. This is why I castigate the President for blowing off their Prime Minister and the Queen.

The blood of our soldiers is mingled with the blood of British soldiers. We can never forget that.

Not a Fail in Kentucky

In Kentucky, all this would have caused was a debate as to whether a young girl should have been carrying a Coors box instead.

Cartoon Secrets

Saw this over at Cracked. CAUTION - Link is probably NSFW

My favorite is # 16. I always thought Betty was hotter than Wilma.

Junior Bear makes the news

Well, he was supposed to be in California with his mom, but apparently he was in Missoula Montana.

I'll have to talk to him about bothering the nice people in the Big Sky country. And he needs a haircut.

Today in History

40 years ago today, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy to make a rendesvous with the the moon.

24 years earlier, near Alamgordo New Mexico, the world's first atomic bomb was detonated.

Anyone want to tell the class what these two events had in common? Bueller? Anyone?

They were done because free people decided that something was important and threw unbelievable amounts of manpower, talent, and treasure at the problem to achieve it.

The Apollo program showed that we weren't locked onto this little chunk of dirt for the rest of eternity.

The Manhattan Project provided us with an example of good people having to do bad things to further a good cause.

Both gave us spin-off technologies that we still use today. Miniaturized electronics? A lot of those were perfected for the space program. Clean, safe nuclear power? The first true nuclear reactor was created to make materials for the atom bomb.

It's been a long time since a great national project caught our imaginations. Maybe that's what our country lacks. I hope we can find another one.

National Health Care

The other big political story this week has been a push to "reform" the national health care system. By reform, I believe the President and Congress mean "rip out what's in place and put in something else". There's talk about forcing all employers to provide insurance, and giving the unemployed or self-employed money to buy insurance.

And by doing this, they will destroy our health care system.

I'm personally against national, read forced and socialized, health care. I've lived in countries with socialized health care. Junior Bear was born in a German hospital, and while we received adequate care, it was nothing special. If he'd had problems like Little Bear did, we would probably have lost him. When Junior Bear got very ill as an infant, we basically had to give up our baby to the nurses and come back later. He was in a ward, not a neonatal ICU, and it was an open ward at that. Like what you see in the old World War I hospital pictures, but with pictures of the Care Bears on the walls.

I was also subject to a form of socialized medicine when I was in the Army. Yes, I could get sick and get cost-free care, to a point. If the Army couldn't treat me at whatever post I was at, and didn't want to send me to a place where they could treat me for something chronic, I would have been sent to the civilian market to get treated. For my care, it would have been free. For my family, not so much. When you're making less than $15,000 a year, those deductibles and co-pays are pretty harsh.

And care was indeed rationed in the Army. It starts with the gatekeeper for a soldier to go on sick call, the First Sergeant. I avoided going to the clinic like the plague, unless of course they were giving me yet another round of plague vaccine. I did this mainly because I valued the First Sergeant's opinion of me, and First Sergeants are supposed to view anyone who wants to see a doctor without a bone sticking out or blood coming out of at least two orifices as a slacker.

If you were truly ill, you got to wait for at least a few hours while a group of badly overworked and underpaid medics, physicians assistants, and doctors worked their way through the line of sick and injured. This isn't during wartime, it's just normal day to day business. Soldiers live in close proximity to each other, and they do a lot of physical labor and things that tend to injure them. So illness goes though units pretty quickly, and there's almost always a steady stream of minor injuries that need attention.

If you really hurt yourself, then you got some excellent emergency care. If there's something military medicine has concentrated on, it's trauma care. As for follow-up care, well, it depended. When I messed up my ankle doing stupid Army stuff, I was thoroughly examined, x-rayed, poked, and prodded. When the doctor decided I did not need surgery, I was given two crutches, an ACE bandage, enough Motrin to kill a horse, and orders to stay off of it. Imagine my surprise when the next week I was told to sack up and do a ruck march to the range. Massive amounts of Motrin got me through it. But every time I get any kidney pain, I worry that the poor things might just jump out and run away. I've since been advised that Ibuprofen and I shouldn't have anything else to do with one another.

Rehab for my separated shoulder amounted to a rubber band and a doorknob. I'm not exaggerating. Imagine me, a young NCO, a leader of men, tying the end of a piece of rubber tubing to the bathroom door and tugging on it for an hour. Every night. For 3 months. And they wondered why I didn't want to go to the doctor.

With the injuries that have been seen in the War, I understand that such care has gotten a lot better, by the way. I'm not saying that my doctors weren't trying, but they were constrained by the facilities and treatments that were available for them to treat me. There was a limited amount of doctors to go around, and a lot of soldiers who needed treatment. So they went by formulas to treat us. Gastro-intestinal distress? Here's some Immodium and Pepto. Hurt leg/knee/arm/ribs? Here's some Motrin. Cancer? Can't treat you. We'll put you on a bus for a 4 hour ride to a bigger base to get chemo. Take an emesis basin to throw up in for the ride home.

If you had something chronic, like bad knees or back due to all of the running/jumping/lifting/whatever, you were pretty much SOL. If you could get someone to care beyond the "take 8 Motrin and come back when you need more" treatment, you waited for months to see an actual orthopedist. If the ortho thought you needed surgery, you waited even more for a slot to open up to get it. Which meant that you waited months and months to get what I got in 3 weeks when I hurt my back in the civilian world.

If you were really screwed up, you got put out of the Army with a promise of care in the VA system. My brother got well and truly screwed up by military medicine, and has been fighting with the VA for years to get something resembling good ongoing treatment for his condition. The problems above exist, but are compounded by poor funding and the need to treat not only the young and broken, but the old and broken too.

Where am I going with this? Nationalized health care will bring all of these ills to the masses. I have arthritis. For that arthritis there are several options for treatment. They range from the moderately effective and cheap to the extremely effective but expensive. I started out with the cheap, and when it either didn't work or caused problems that were even worse than the arthritis, my doctor and I were able to move into the effective but expensive range. The only limitations were the coverage my insurance company provided and my finances for paying my share. If health care was socialized, most of those options and all of the flexibility would be gone. Some bureaucrat would decide which treatments for my condition could be done, and how much of that treatment could be administered.

When I started treatment, I moved like an elderly man. Now, I'm almost human. (then again, I was never fully human. 3rd generation to walk upright and all that) If my health care had been supervised by someone other than my doctor, I truly believe that I would be unable to enjoy my life as I do today, and I would probably be using a cane to get around.

I'm going to work against socialized health care in our country as much as I can, and I urge each and every one of you to do the same.

If you have your own story to tell, please leave it in the comments.


I've been paying a moderate amount of attention to the Senate hearings on Judge Sotomayor. I'm not impressed by either side.

She may be a good jurist, but she certainly hasn't proven it by the cases that are being discussed and her performance at the hearings. Basically, I see her as a "let's get a minority on the court as quickly as we can" nominee. I'm not going to debate whether or not that's a valid reason for putting someone on the Supreme Court, but couldn't the administration have at least found a Latina with a clue?

The Democratic Senators on the committee have been setting them up for her so she can knock them down all week. The Republicans have been a bit more diligent on getting her to actually discuss her qualifications, but have failed to ask the hard questions in what is basically a job interview for one of the most prestigious positions in the country.

I'm not that worried about the outcome of all this, since it's pretty much preordained that she'll be confirmed. She's a liberal replacing a liberal, so I don't expect that her presence will change much.

I'm more worried that one of the conservative justices might keel over and leave Obama with a chance to replace a right leaning justice with a fire breathing liberal and change the almost perfect balance of the court. Let's face it, most decisions in my memory have been 5-4, with one moderate judge moving between the two camps depending on the subject of the case. If Justice Thomas strokes out one of these mornings, then it could be 5-4 or 6-3 all the time. And that would be the end of any strict constructionalist rulings out of the court for a very long time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wendy and Lisa

I heard some old Prince song on the radio last night, and it got me to thinking about his music. I always liked his older stuff, mostly pre-freaky-symbol-name, more than I like his new stuff.

I got into one of those "let's look all of this up" moods, and spent some time surfing Wikipedia. I zeroed in on Wendy and Lisa, who were members of the Revolution.

I was surprised to learn that not only were they still active professionally, but they recently released a new album after several years of doing other work.

I gave it a listen on their website, and it's really good. Give it a listen and if you like it, support some really good musicians who have been a part of our music collections for years.


I love going barefooted. When I was a kid, I didn't wear shoes unless I was in school, church, or snow. I still go barefooted as often as I can. Shoes just aren't very comfortable, especially in the heat of the summers here. I've done home repairs, yard work, and everything else I can without wearing shoes.

But my feet look like hooves by the end of the summer. And the Irish Woman is always voicing concern that I'm going to step on a wayward railroad spike or something.

Now, the answer to my problem has finally arrived.

I could go almost barefooted everywhere but work and church. They even have them in sizes that fit my more than normal sized rear paws. These are definitely going on my list.

Smoke Em If You Got Em

When I first joined the military, our MRE's still came with a couple of cigarettes in them. One of my drill sergeants smoked cigarettes, and another chewed Red Man. At language school, smokers were allowed to smoke in the breezeways of the building so they didn't have to go down to the ground floor to smoke. At my first permanent party station, smoking had to be done outside in a designated area, but that rule was recent enough that our computer terminals still had ash residue in the built-in ashtrays. Tobacco, along with alcohol, was sold at a discount due to the lack of local taxes, in the PX.

Over time, restrictions on tobacco use became stronger. All smoking in the barracks was outlawed, and all smoking had to be done in designated areas several meters from all buildings. The Army promoted smoking cessation through free support groups and nicotine replacements such as gum and patches. If an officer or NCO quit smoking this was noted as self-improvement on their personnel evaluations.

When I went to Bosnia, we had the first round of General Order 1. Basically, we were back in high school when it came to personal recreation. All the work out and Monopoly you could take. No alcohol, no sex, no naughty fun at all. The only thing that we had was tobacco. I didn't indulge, mainly because tobacco that's worth smoking is expensive. But it was there, and a lot of people enjoyed a smoke every once in a while. Yeah, it was bad for them, but a lot of their other vices had been denied.

Now some policy makers in the Pentagon are suggesting that the military stop selling tobacco on installations and outlaw the use of tobacco by military personnel. I can see their point. Tobacco is bad for you and those around you. The military has an interest in the health of their soldiers. Everyone has to take a cardio test of some kind every so often, and smoking can't help in doing well on it. Also, the cost of treating tobacco related illnesses isn't low.

But let the troops have a smoke. Any time someone in the military leaves for a deployment, they lose a lot of the things that they enjoy. They lose the right to have a beer with their friends to blow off steam. They lose the right to sex, which anyone will tell you is fun and a great way to relieve stress. Their movements, due to military necessity, are restricted to a very small universe. Some camps are only a couple of tents or bunkers, and some troops rarely go outside the wire. Those who do go outside the wire do so in very stressful circumstances, and when they get back to base, if they're lucky all they will have is a gym and maybe a rec tent with movies and video games. So a lot of them have gotten the habit of having a smoke with their friends. Yes, it's bad for them, but it's the only vice they have left.

Come on, Secretary Gates. Don't take the last guilty pleasure our troops have left. For those of you out there who care, please contact your congresscritters and let them know that our soldiers deserve to make the decision about tobacco themselves.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Since I've lived here in Louisville, we've had at least 3 multi-day power outages, one in the dead of winter. We've had a bad haz-mat situation, thankfully on the other side of town. There have been tornadoes in the area, but not massive. However, the possibility of massive damage to Louisville from storms is definitely there.

So Irish Woman and I have done some small things in the past to get ready for problems and we have started kicking those efforts up a notch.

We of course do all the things that people normally do. We keep flashlights and candles around the house in case the power goes out. We have food in the pantry, and we make sure we have enough to go for a while if SuperMegaMegamart isn't available.

But now we've started doing things a bit more earnestly. Our food stocks have taken a definite turn upwards, and I intend to increase them as time goes on. We have come up with the beginnings of plans for getting out of Dodge in the event that our home becomes a denied area. We've talked to friends and family on all of the cardinal directions from Louisville so that in the event of an evacuation, we have a place to go that isn't a Red Cross shelter. Our emergency bags are in the cars in case of a problem at work, and I'm putting together a long-term bug-out-bag for the house.

We've also started gardening more and more. In the event, we'd like to at least be able to feed the kids fresh vegetables for a while.

I've started stockpiling firewood above and beyond what we need for enjoyment in the winter. Luckily for us, we didn't lose power and heat during the ice storm last winter, but if we'd had to use our fireplace to keep the house warm, we would have been in trouble. I don't want to be in that situation again.

Security is one of my concerns. While our neighborhood is firmly postwar middle class, and I'm not concerned that we would be a primary target for looting, we're surrounded by very high-end sub-divisions. They are ground zero for looters. During the first multi-day power outage that we had here, I heard on the radio that some in the not so well-off areas of Louisville were talking about coming over here and helping themselves to whatever they could get. That was one of the reasons that I bought my first gun. I was home alone, with 3 (at the time) small children, no phone, and idiots were talking about looting. Kinda ratcheted up the pucker factor a little in an already tight situation.

I've begun talking to the other dads in the neighborhood, and they have been thinking similar thoughts. Luckily, two of my neighbors are hunters, and another is a shooter. If we have to post guards during bad times, I at least won't be having to show people which end the bullet comes out of. Heck even Irish Woman is talking about learning to use a shotgun in case of emergency.

I take a lot of advice from several sources, principally from JWR's excellent Survival Blog. I've read his book, "Patriots", and while it's a worst case scenario with a dash of non-internationalist paranoia thrown in, it gives good advice on products and tactics for being prepared. As I mentioned before, I read "One Second After" a few weeks ago, and while that isn't as helpful on the techniques side, it gives you ideas on what to do and what not to do.

For those of you who have the ability, please give some thought about being ready for disruptions in your normal supply chain. Even if WallyWorld is still there, do you have cash to pay for what you need? No power means no debit cards or electronic verification of checks. Do you have the medicines you need in sufficient quantities to last you a couple of weeks if you can't get to Walgreens? Do you and your family know where to go and how to communicate if you can't go home and you're separated by work and school?

And remember, your neighbors are your immediate support network. Make sure they know they can depend on you so that you can depend on them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

An Open Letter

To: Kentucky Transportation Secretary
From: A Reluctant Taxpayer

Subject: Road Conditions and Driver Qualifications in the Commonwealth

Dear Sir:

Over the past several years, as I have become accustomed to driving across Jefferson County to work each morning, I have observed several things that I feel I must bring to your attention.

1. The road conditions in my area are very inconsistent. It appears that the ruts and holes in the Interstate highways are used to channel traffic into fire sacks and other kill zones. On several occasions each week, I have near death experiences caused by my vehicle going axle deep into the road surface and then rebounding into another lane. In other areas, the roads are mirror smooth, which is nice on dry days, but when the weather is not as nice as San Diego in April, I am forced to drive my automobiles in a manner that is closer to a luge run than a morning commute.

2. I do appreciate the building of cross-over prevention cables on many of the roads in the Commonwealth. However, I feel it must be pointed out that if the roads were properly drained and banked and if Kentucky drivers were not training for NASCAR, these barriers would not be so necessary.

3. I would like to meet the "engineer" that laid out the road system here in Kentucky. He obviously needs a new ruler since no road in Kentucky consistently follows a direction. The Gene Snyder Freeway, since it is a semi-circular road, understandably changes direction. But the Northbound lanes of the freeway actually go either east or west. And there are at least 5 roads I know of within a few miles of my home that have been chopped up and are no longer contiguous right of ways. A road will go on for a few miles, then stop or merge with another road. Several miles away, the road will pick up again, causing confusion on the part of drivers who have not been in the area for 3 or more generations. My guess is that this was done to confuse revenuers.

4. Kentucky drivers scare me. As I stated before, they drive their cars like NASCAR drivers trying to run someone into the wall. Most rear windows in Jefferson county are so obstructed by bumper stickers extolling racing, hunting, fishing, politics, or narcotics that I am sure the drivers are unable to see the accidents they cause as they speed away. I am forced to wonder if there is any formal education for driving in the Commonwealth, or if teenagers learn about driving the same place they learn about sex: on the playground.

While I enjoy living here in Kentucky, I feel that if these issues could be addressed, the living conditions in Kentucky would be greatly enhanced.

Thank you for your time,

Daddy Bear

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Stopped by Walmart on the way home tonight and after picking up a couple of things I made my usual stroll through sporting goods.

Usually their ammo display is pretty bare. All that's been available are shotgun shells and the high end expensive
hunting ammo.

Tonight they were fully stocked. They had .22 30-06 .308 you name it. And lots of it.

I asked the clerk if a truck had just come in. He said they'd been stocked for a couple of days.

When I picked up the Garand from the gunsmith he had .45 .38 and even some .380. He was expecting to sellout that day, but thought he'd get more in this week.

Is the great ammunition drought finally letting up? I hope so. It is distracting to go to the range and do the math in your head to figure out what percentage of your stock you're making go bang. If supply goes up, maybe prices will go down a little and shooting won't be such an expensive hobby.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Thoughts

On this day in 1776, the Founding Fathers went public with their intentions to rebel against the rule of the British crown. They were playing against long odds, and they all knew it.

Failure would have meant death at the end of a long drop at the gallows. This wasn't going to be a peaceful change of leadership. They knew that many would be killed, and even more would be destroyed economically and socially.

They were wealthy landowners that were risking their fortunes and lives. They were slave holders who believed in personal liberty and freedom. They were of many faiths, and came from many backgrounds. They were imperfect, but they could imagine a perfection of society that we still strive for.

They weren't a monolithic revolutionary council. There would be plenty of intrigue and back biting throughout the revolution, and it comes through to this day. There would be political wrangling and betrayal from that day until the last of the British and Hessian soldiers had left.

Our experiment in a revolutionary type of social contract continues. Sometimes we stumble on our path, but we always find our way back. Sometimes we stumble too far to the right, and sometimes too far to the left. But we keep working towards the realization of our ideals as a people.

The nations of the world have come to our country since 1776. Our understanding of equality and freedom has evolved, but it is grounded in the actions and beliefs of those men in Philadelphia.

It falls to us, their heirs, to continue the experiment and work to perfect our union.

Maiden Trip to the Range

I decided to celebrate the morning of this 4th of July by going out to Knob Creek and shooting my new-to-me M1 Garand. It had a clean bill of health from the gunsmith, and I was itching to put a couple of rounds down the barrel.

As usual, I got there before they opened, and picked out a good spot on the firing line. I put a target out at 100 yards, and put 2 clips of ammunition through it to zero the weapon.

The three shots in the center are my final rounds. I guess the zero is pretty good.

My groups weren't as good as I would like, but these were the first rounds I'd put through the rifle. With practice, it'll tighten up.

Here's a pic of the new addition:

My impressions of the Garand is that it's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot. It kicks more than an AR or SKS would, but not even close to the impact of a Mosin against my shoulder. It's a heavy piece, and I can't imagine walking with one from Normandy to the Elbe.

I would have burned up even more of my M2 Ball on it, but it's in short supply, so I stopped after two clips. I'll practice dry fire and stoppage drills with it at home and see if that helps with my groupings.

Old Protocols

A lot of the systems I support have been in production, in one form or another, for over a decade. A couple for much longer than that. Occasionally, we run into some things that have been around since the Reagan administration that try to creep into new iterations of those applications.

The other day, one of the lead developers for one of our oldest applications called one of my coworkers and asked if he could have KERMIT put on his development Linux box.

We were all shocked when we heard about this request. I haven't used KERMIT since Junior Bear was in diapers, and I haven't had a system with KERMIT in almost 10 years.

We searched around, and there isn't a supported KERMIT for our Linux distro. We did, however, find this:

I haven't heard if this will be acceptable.
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