Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trip Report

My buddy and I got up at Oh-God-It's-Early this morning and headed off to the wilds of North Ohio.  After keeping his VW just barely on the ground on the way up, we got to Camp Perry.  This small Army post has a retail store for the ODCMP.  Additionally, it is hosting the annual National Shooting Matches.

Buddy went to buy himself an M1 Garand, and I was along for the ride.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at all of the Garands, and eventually he picked out a very nice Field Grade Garand with mostly WWII parts.  Not being there to buy a gun, I had to show a lot of restraint to not buy anything more than a tee shirt.  I already have a Garand, and I just bought a metric buttload of rounds for it.  That's not to say I wasn't tempted.  There were quite a few beautiful shooty things to be had:

The CMP appears to be running low on M1 Carbines, but had a LOT of Garands.  There were also a few stripped heavy barrel 1903A3 actions, but no complete 1903 rifles.

One Garand in particular grabbed my eye.  It was a 1950's vintage manufacture, probably with the original barrel.  There was almost no muzzle erosion, the bluing was about 90%, and the only defect that I could see was that the wood in the stock didn't match the hand guard.  It was a Service Grade, which ran $600.  I looked it over with Buddy, looked it over myself, carried it around for a while, looked at it again, then took a deep breath, wiped away a tear, and put it back on the rack. Just didn't have it in the budget, and asking Irish Woman to live on ramen noodles and generic hot dogs for a couple of months so we could afford it was not a good idea.

One thing occurred to me while we were looking around:  Gun people are some of the nicest people around.  As you can see, there were quite a few people in the store looking at guns.  Some were newbies like us, but a lot were old hands who were looking for a diamond in the rough.  When they noticed that we were seriously looking, several older shooters took us under their wings and explained how to grade these rifles, how gauging the muzzle and the chamber works, and how to tell when the receiver, muzzle, trigger, stock, and all of the other parts were manufactured and by whom.  Tell me you'd find that at most other activities where the old hands are competing with the newbies to buy quality merchandise.

After we left the store, we wandered down to the area where the matches were being held.  Today several shooting clinics were occurring.  One in particular caught my eye.  The Marine Marksmanship Team was teaching long range shooting to high school students:

Those targets in the background are 600 yards away.  The AR-15's the students were shooting are usually only shot at point targets out to between 300 and 400 yards.  These kids were hitting the targets.  Pretty impressive.

By the way, knowing what good shots most of the Marines I know are, just how godawful good with a shooting iron do you have to be to qualify for the Marine Marksmanship Team?

Overall, this was a wonderful day.  I definitely need to work to improve my long-distance shooting and get into a club.  I want to shoot at Camp Perry one of these years.

We packed up ourselves and the new purchase, and made a low-level flight down I-75 and I-71 back to Louisville.  I have had a very long, very good day.  Hopefully more days like this are in my future.

Friday, July 30, 2010

BP Can't Get a Break

Customers at a BP filling station in New York were showered with fire retardant chemicals after a small explosion.

"It was crazy! It first poured out like it was water, and then turned into a huge white cloud," said Henry Pacheco, 29, a moving company worker who had just bought a lottery ticket at the station.
You know, I'm just paranoid enough that my first thought would have been chemical weapon, not fire extinguisher.  Bravo to the men and women who helped each other out until emergency workers could get to them.

10 Simple Rules for Using My Systems

  1. No, you do not need root, oracle, or administrator rights. If your software demands it, re-code or find another vendor.
  2. If you utter the words FTP, telnet, rsh, or rexec in my presence in reference to my systems, then I think you need to either re-design your solution or find another SysAd. I will not break corporate policy or industry best practices to make your life easier.
  3. I do not now, never have, nor will I ever care about what your previous SysAd did for you.  If you want me to do your job or the job of your contractor/vendor, then I want payment from your or their salary up front.  If you can do it yourself with the rights that have been assigned to you, then it's your responsibility, not mine.
  4. I will answer my cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for you.  I will bleed through my eyes in exhaustion to bring your services back up in an emergency.  I will work through the night, while my children are peacefully asleep and by all rights, so should I, so that your customers aren't overly inconvenienced by downtime.  But if you come to me on a Friday afternoon and announce that there will be a planned upgrade this weekend that you didn't think to tell me about, don't act surprised if I get a little red in the face while I sit there and hold back the torrent of obscenities that are filling up my mind.
  5. Yes, it costs that much.  I know you can go to BigBox Electronics and get something for a lot less, but I'm not going to jeopardize our business using some crack-house solution because you want to save a few dollars. Yes, I said crack-house.  No I didn't mean ghetto.  The difference between crack house and ghetto is that a man can still be proud in a ghetto.  There's no pride in a crack house.
  6. No, I don't think we need to meet every week.  Face to face is essential, but not every bleeding week.  A status report and a quick phone call should be sufficient at least half the time.
  7. I don't work for you.  I work for my manager, his manager, and so on until you get up the food chain to the CEO.  I do, however, work with you.  If you need something from me, please feel free to ask for it.  Contrary to popular belief, I'm an easy guy to get along with.  I may object to what you ask for, and you may not get what you want each and every time, but I will at least be pleasant and explain why you can't have it and suggest other options that may satisfy your requirement.
  8. Going to my manager because I told you no, told you it would be expensive when your crack house solution would be cheaper, or tried to help you find a better solution that doesn't resemble a Rube Goldberg cartoon will get you precisely nowhere.  He was a SysAd himself, and will back me up to the hilt if what I did or said is right.  If I say something that scares or offends you, then please, go talk to him about me.
  9. Do not try to intimidate me.  I am a veteran, have four children, two ex-wives, and am married to a full-blooded Irish redhead.  Do you really think that threatening to give me a negative rating on my personnel review is going to scare me?
  10. Please remember that I am not being a jerk just for the fun of it.  I am just trying to follow the rules that have been set down by our company for how we do business, which is to be spend money smartly to ensure that our solutions work, to keep our data and our customers' data secure, and to plan our work so that everyone gets what they need and some of what they want.  We're all trying to do the same thing here. 

What He Said!

LawDog is articulating exactly what I feel about this:

Having identified their target, a fierce battle ensued during which the warlord was killed. To prove that they had got their man, the Gurkhas attempted to remove the body for identification. Further enemy fire necessitated a fast exit minus corpse. So, an unnamed soldier drew his kukri  -  the standard-issue Gurkha knife  -  removed the man's head and legged it.
You send a soldier out to kill or capture a bad guy, and tell him that you really need to have positive ID on said bad guy after the fact.  The soldier tries to bring back the dead bad guy in one piece, but rather than extend  a firefight where he and his mates might get shot or worse, he takes enough of Mr. Ali bin Badguy and heads back.  Mission accomplished.

And then the British MOD, which has used Gurkhas as shock troops for a very long time precisely because they are wholly dedicated to their missions and have a reputation for being bloodthirsty when taken under fire, decides that this act of war might hurt the tender sensibilities of the Taliban.  You know, those fun loving chaps who like to murder women in front of their families for the offense of showing their faces in public.  Or behead a reporter and send a video of it back to the western press so his widow can see it.  Yeah, those guys.

Here's the money quote from LawDog:

The allies are blowing quantities of Taleban into mincemeat with assorted artillery rounds, bombs, mortar shells, bombs, rockets, bombs, missiles, and bombs -- you damned well can't tell me that all the sticky bits are getting recovered after Abdul the Moderately Rabid catches a 500-pound GBU amidships -- so why are you getting all wrapped around the axle because one or more Gurkhas did the needful with a knife instead of high-explosive?
 Too many of us have forgotten that war is a costly, bloody, disgusting thing.  It is not neat and sanitized like a movie or a video game.  Even the gun camera videos from helicopters and Raptors fail to show how brutal being on the receiving end can be.

And that's the point.  If you don't have the stomach for what the soldier on the ground has to A. complete the mission, and B. get home in one piece, then don't send him to do your bidding. 

Troops like Gurkhas are trained from an early age to find, fix, and flay their enemy.  And now the British MOD is having a hissy fit over it.

This young man should be given a medal for finishing his mission in such a way that lessened the danger to his unit, not sent home to await punishment after an investigation.  The MOD needs to be flushed like a filthy stable and re-peopled with personnel who understand what it's like at the sharp, shitty end of the stick. 

Days Off

I took a couple of days in the middle of the week to spend time with Girlie Bear and get some stuff done.  I seem to enjoy taking time off during the week rather than just having a long weekend. 

Wednesday was "Clean the House" day.  It's been a while since we did a wholesale cleaning of the house, and I always do housework better when I'm alone.  The kitchen was completely dismantled and scrubbed.  The living room and dining room were dusted, washed, and the floors were cleaned using Irish Woman's electric mop.  Nothing like the smell of Murphy's Oil Soap.

While I was working, I thought of something.  We're not dirty people, and we do regular maintenance cleaning, but nothing brings you down to earth like looking at how funky your mop water is after cleaning the house.  When I was done, the floors shined, and the house smelled wonderful.

That afternoon, I broke out the clippers and started shearing Shadow.  His Newfie ancestry had made him quite shaggy, and he's been shedding bad enough to change the color of the rug he sleeps on.  Add to that the hot and muggy summer we're having, and he's been miserable.

It took three passes over each area to get him shorn, but when I was done, he no longer looked like a throw rug with ears and a tail.  I didn't take him down to skin, well not in most areas anyway.  He has enough fur left that he looks like most other black field labs.  I didn't do anything funky like carve a message into his flank or give him a mohawk, but the temptation was there.  It's not the most expert job that could have been done, but the only part that looks really weird is his tail.  He would not sit still at all, so his tale is completely uneven.  Oh well, at least he'll be more comfortable.

After he was completely shorn, there was a pile of fur big enough to knit a puppy with laying on the patio.  And no, there are no pictures.  No need to embarrass  the dog.

Wednesday evening we had a pretty intense lightning storm, and just as it seemed to be moving on, we lost power.  Apparently a splice in the power line down the block had separated when the line was hit by lightning.  We were without power for about 3 or 4 hours, but the lights came back on just as it started to get dark.  I was actually looking forward to camping out in the basement.

Yesterday was my lazy day.  Had a nice slow breakfast, then Girlie Bear and I went to the library to get her some more books.  She's started consuming books as fast as I did at that age, which makes me very happy.  When we got home, she conned me into watching "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" on Netflix, which just goes to show how far a father will go to please his daughter. 

After lunch, I lay down, drank some beer, and watched a couple of hours of Ren and Stimpy.  Girlie Bear wasn't interested and went off to read.  She thinks my choice of entertainment is "immature and goofy".  Guilty.

I followed Ren and Stimpy with an hour or so of Call of Duty World at War on the Wii, and then it was time to make dinner.  Immature, insane comics followed up with electronic mayhem does a lot to work off stress.

Coming back to work this morning was rough.  Today is going to be a much nicer day weather wise, and it pains me to spend it indoors.  Oh well, I'm going to be taking some more time off in a couple of weeks, and hopefully it'll be nice enough to go to the range or fishing.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dinner Tonight

Chop up one small Vidalia onion and two cloves of garlic.  Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until the onion is beginning to become transparent and soft.  Add 1 pound of chicken thighs cut into quarters.  As the chicken browns, add salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce to taste.  When done browning, add one cup grapefruit vodka, 1 can chicken broth, and  a bag of frozen peas.  Bring to simmer and cook covered until chicken is done.   Remove cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.  Serve over your favorite pasta with parmesan cheese and whole wheat baguette.

Yum yum yum.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

She's a Keeper

This weekend was extraordinary because I am married to an extraordinary woman.

On Friday, Irish Woman went with her girlfriends to Hullabalou, a music festival with multiple groups performing.  She says she really enjoyed Train and Bon Jovi.  Of course, if she could get enough plastic surgery and hair color into me, I'd look like Bon Jovi, so I'm not surprised.  She got home at about midnight, and seemed completely exhausted.

On Saturday morning, I got up early and went to McDonalds to get breakfast.  By the time I got home, she was up and cleaning the house.  Later, we went to Sam's Club for our monthly supply run, and instead of heading immediately over to the groceries, she went over to the LCD and plasma TV's and started asking me which ones I liked and why.

After we had gotten our groceries and taken them home, she started cooking.  Rather than just splitting up the bulk meat and freezing it, she cooked several meals with it, split those up, and then froze the meals.  She and I went to the peach tree in our back yard and picked a bushel of peaches.  Irish Women then blanched, peeled, sliced, prepared, and froze 8 quarts of peaches.  She also made me a very delicious peach cobbler to go with the boneless pork ribs in homemade bourbon barbecue sauce she made.

Sunday morning I stuck my head out the door, decided it was too hot for yard work, and headed back into the house.  Irish Woman got herself out the door and did the yardwork, even after I protested that it was too hot and sticky to be working outside.  She didn't just mow the grass.  She mowed, edged, weed-whacked, and raked the yard.

After coming in bright red and weakly sweating, she drank a quart of Gatorade and then started in on the house.  I had been working on some small stuff while chasing BooBoo, but she took over and hit it hard.

Overall, Irish Woman spent the weekend busting her tail.  I figured she would have been too tired after all day and night in the heat at the concert, but she seemed to be energized by it.

Overall, I'd say I'm a very fortunate man.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Never one to miss out on a meme, I'm following in JayG's footsteps, and listing a few of my favorite guilty pleasures:

Old Cartoons - I lurve me some Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Tom and Jerry.  The Golden Age of Cartoons, which ran from the 1930's to the 1950's, was a period when animators, writers, and voice artists used god-like powers to synthesize ink, celluloid, and squeaky voices into masterpieces of American cinematography.

Fast Food Breakfasts, especially McDonalds and Hardees - I love fresh fruit, hot cereal, and wholesome whole grain pancakes as much as the next guy.  But what really curls my toes is a nice piece of deep fried potato matter, a nice greasy egg, cheese, and something that resembles processed pork sandwich, and a cup of coffee.

Dunkin' Donuts Coffee -  Jay already mentioned this, but I love a 55 gallon drum sized coffee, with plenty of cream and sugar, from Dunkin' Donuts.  This wonderful concoction may not have been made by a wonderfully artistic, multiply pierced college student, using beans that were grown in the shade of a unicorn tree on the side of a cotton candy volcano, then roasted in an oven warmed by the fires of a gumdrop dragon, then ground between the thighs of a Ukrainian super model, but it definitely tastes good and gets me going in the morning.  I just wish we had a real Dunkin' Donuts in Louisville so I could sit at the counter and eat cruelers with my coffee.

Best part is, I got to indulge myself in all three this weekend.  Yesterday morning was made of Win!

So, what do you guys love?

Friday, July 23, 2010


To the person or persons who have been paging me to an unlisted data connection in Bullitt County, live in fear.  Someday, I will find you and you will suffer.

To the man in Thornton's today who had his ear gauged big enough to fit 12 gauge shells through the holes, you should fear the following two phrases:  "reconstructive surgery" and "professional job interview".

To the wonderful person who figured out that if you took dark roasted coffee, ground it up into little bitty teensy weensy pieces, packed it into a cookie full of win, and then shot hot water and steam through it you get the sweet nectar of life, may the caffeine gods forever bless you.

To the sweet automotive angels that got that frayed wire on the van to poke my finger last weekend, allowing me to find the cause of my problems with that vehicle, bless you.  It's been Africa hot here in Kentucky lately, and having air conditioning has kept me from breaking some or more of the vehicular manslaughter laws.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Only a couple more weeks to NFL pre-season football!

And yes, I am ready for some football!

Perchance to Dream

I walked into the Tractor Bar, smelling the smoke of French cigarettes and Cuban cigars coming from the little beer garden as it wafted in through the open double doors.  The bar was almost empty, with only a few Finns the size of small tractors playing darts in the back.

The Marilyn Monroe look-alike tending bar smiled at me.  Without asking, she passed me my usual, a Lapin Kulta poured into a beer glass big enough to drown in.  I settled down on the bar stool and started sipping at my beer.  It had been over a decade since I'd had one, and I was going to enjoy every drop.  The beer was strong, and dripped down my parched throat like warm honey.  Ahhh, bliss. 

As I drank, I read over the newspaper I found laying on the bar.  The front page was mostly taken up by a story about the war in Afghanistan, and a smaller story about problems between Georgia and Russia.  Since I was in Helsinki, the problems in Russia were closer to home, but I read both articles from start to finish.

As I turned to the second page, I heard someone at the other end of the bar ordering a Black Jack and Coke.  As I glanced down to see what other American was in the bar, I was surprised to see an old friend.  He looked just the same way he did the last day I saw him, 20 years old and healthy.  The intervening years hadn't grayed his hair at all, and he was the same Irish/French-Canadian Massachusetts fire plug he'd been in Monterey years before.

"Hi DB, how's life been treating you?" he said between sips of his drink.

"Not bad Sash, where have you been?"

"Oh, here and there.  How's my name sake?"

"OK, I guess.  He started his freshman year of college a couple of months ago.  Seems to be doing well so far."

"Good to hear.  What brings you here?"  His smile brighened his eyes, and I swear his red-blonde hair looked even brighter than normal.

"I was about to ask you the same thing.  We lost touch when you left Monterey.  Now you show up at my favorite bar in Helsinki." 

"Oh, just travelling around.  There's a few of us who are going to be here tonight."

I gave Sasha a quizzical look, but he just smiled and turned back to his drink.

I took another look around the bar, and at one of the tables, two tall, thin men were playing chess.  To my amazement, I recognized them.  They were privates from the MP company next to my unit in Bosnia.  To be honest, I can't remember their real names.  We all just called them Iff and Biff, the twin brothers of different mothers.  These two were closer to each other than most blood family, and you never saw oen without the other.  We'd met when I'd shown up to a Dungeons and Dragons game with my old worn out dice and a pencil.  They'd become good friends during my time there, and had been a part of the close knot of friends that had kept me from going off the deep end when I got a Dear John phone call.  They saw me looking at them, and waved hello before turning back to their game.

Turning back to the bar, I found the seat next to me occupied.  A pretty girl with short, dirty blonde hair was stirring the ice in a Pepsi. 

"Eileen!  What are you up to?  I haven't seen you in decades, and no-one else has either!"

"Oh, not much.  Just coming 'round to see everyone.  How are you doing?"

"I seem to be having a pretty good day. Four old friends show up in my favorite bar.  I wonder what's going on."

"Well, that's something we wanted to talk to you about" said a deep voice from behind me.

I turned to find a tall, thin, dark haired man sitting in the stool across from Eileen.  He looked familiar, but I couldn't place him.  He was dressed in a pair of old faded Levi's and a blue work shirt.  The smoldering Camel cigarette in his hand was about half gone, and he placed it in an overflowing ashtray next to a large cup of coffee.

"DB, we all know how much we meant to you once upon a time, but as things happen, we've lost touch." the dark man rumbled as he picked up his mug. "It's no-ones's fault.  Life makes it hard to stay in touch when everyone's in motion all the time.  Heck, I'm not surprised you didn't recognize me after all these years"

"But I've tried to find all of you.  Google searches, posting my name and email on bulletin boards, joining trade groups, you name it."

"Well, some of us didn't quite make it to the digital revolution."

From across the bar, Sasha raised his hand.

"And some of use don't want to be found."

Eileen looked down into her glass of soda.  Iff and Biff smiled from across their knights and pawns.

"And you?" I said to the tall man.

"Well, let's just say it's best that I stay in the shadows.  When the time is right, we'll meet up."

"What we're all trying to say, DB, is that it's not your fault or anyone else's that we've all floated away from each other." said Eileen.  I could see the ouline of a small tear forming at the corner of her eye, and reached over to gently wipe it away.  Eileen had been the big sister I'd never had, and was loved by everyone who knew her.  Seeing such a good and gentle woman cry was enough to break anyone's heart.

"Yeah, we all try our best, but when it's time to go, it's time to go" remarked Sasha from the end of the bar. 

"And we all remember the good times" chorused Iff and Biff, now walking over to the bar.

"So we all know how much we mean to you, and our memories of the good and bad times won't ever vanish like we did." explained the tall man.  Everyone nodded their agreement.

"Well, I need to get going." said Eileen.  She gave me a quick hug and a peck on the cheek in the same way she'd said goodbye the night before I graduated in Monterey.

Sasha came over and clapped me on the back a little too hard, the same way he had when he'd last said goodbye.  Eileen and Sasha walked out of the bar together.

Iff and Biff came over and gave me a hug together, the same way they had the morning I flew home.  They left the bar hand in hand, leaving me alone with the stranger.

"Well, it's about that time.  Better finish your beer, son.  You'll be leaving soon too." he said as he finished his coffee.  He took his unfiltered Camel with him as he headed towards the door. 

Just as he got to the door to the beer garden, he turned around.

"Take care of yourself and my grandchildren, DB.  It's time you got back."

And then he left.


"Honey, wake up.  We've overslept,and I need you to get BooBoo ready this morning." said the Irish Woman, shaking me awake and back to the real world.

Some dreams vanish the instant you open your eyes.  But I swear I could still smell the cigarette and taste the beer.

Show Some Love!

Breda and Bonnie are starting up their new Internet radio show tonight!

Breda is all aflutter, but she and Bonnie have done this before and done it very well.  I think they are going to rock, and won't even break a sweat doing it!

Go on over to their sites and give them some encouragement, and then listen in.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I don't know if it's art, but I know I like it!

H/T to

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Since just about every other blog out there is doing it, here's a computer generated analysis of my writing:

I write like
David Foster Wallace
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Dear Technology Organization

I have gone to several conferences with your organization, and taken several classes with you all.  I read your website daily, and get several information feeds from you about updates to your technology field.  I have also taken part in several webcasts with you, but never again.

You see, your webcasts are, for the most part, put on by software and hardware vendors.  I don't care about that, since you go out of your way to make sure the webcasts are informative and not just dressed-up sales pitches.  The information given out is almost always very well done, interesting, and applicable.

But since I have to give my contact information when I register for the webcast, the vendors then know who I am and how to get in touch with me.  A few days after the webcast, my phone starts ringing with sales calls, and my email fills up with invitations to demo whatever product they are pushing.

I come to your organization for knowledge and information.  I understand that you all cannot just put on these presentations without some consideration to the economic part of the industry.  However, I do not wish to be subjected to two weeks of unsolicited emails and phone calls in exchange for a 45 minute webcast on securing Linux and Solaris.

I will continue to attend your conferences and webcasts that are not put on by vendors, and I look forward to taking as much training from you as my company will pay for.

But I will no longer be attending webcasts that you allow a software or hardware vendor to create.  My time and my attention are better spent doing the job that I apply your information to than answering the phone and trying to politely tell a salesman to never call me again.

Just for the record

I live in Kentucky.  I am not from Kentucky.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Van, She is Fixed

Those of you who follow my meandering thoughts are familiar with the trevails of my minivan.  Basically, it's gone through four starters in the past three years. 

I put the latest starter in a month or so ago, and it still didn't want to crank.  I could hear the starter whirring, but it wouldn't crank the engine.  I've been trying to find time to work on it, and using my truck through the summer.  It hasn't been too bad, but not having air conditioning in the truck this summer has sucked the zub kabir.

Last night while chatting with some friends, I mentioned that I was going to take the inspection port off the flywheel and check it for broken teeth.  Several people suggested that I re-check the electrical connections.

This morning, I crawled under the beast and rechecked all of the connections.  All of the bolts and nuts were on tight, so I started feeling around for the inspection port to check the flywheel.  While I had my hand up in there, something sharp and pointy stabbed my finger.  I twisted my head around to look, and there I found that the neutral wire coming off of the starter was coming apart at the crimp to the connector.  I took the connector off the starter, opened the crimp and re-connected the wire to it a little bit farther up the wire. 

After re-connecting the wire and re-checking that all the other electrical connections were tight, I reconnected the battery and tried the key in the ignition.  After a moment of cranking, she fired right up!

Wai, Newbius, and Agripa, I owe each of you a bottle of Kentucky's Finest if we ever meet face to face!

Remember, according to my maintenance sergeant at Huachuca, all equipment is never "right".   It is in one of these states:

  1. Broken
  2. Fixed
  3. F***ed
Now the van is fixed, when I was afraid that the flywheel was broken, and it was f***ed.  Hopefully it will stay fixed for a long long time. 

As a bonus, my Redneck Score is down by 10 points.  No more non-working vehicles up on blocks in the driveway!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mystery Jet

A friend of mine forwarded this picture to me.  It was taken recently at Bowman Field here in Louisville.

By the painting on the rear of the fuselage and the tail, I'm guessing it's a U.S. aircraft of Vietnam War vintage.

He asked me if I recognized it, and I didn't.  Since I love a challenge, I started pouring over websites that listed U.S aircraft from that era.  I've found a few things that are close, but nothing definite.

Here's all I know:  It appears to be a single engine, straight wing jet aircraft.  I'm about 85% sure on the straight wing, but if it's swept wing, it's pretty gradual.  There are what appear to be auxiliary fuel tanks on the end of the wings.  The wings sit just at the bottom edge of the fuselage, with engine intakes just to the front of and above the wing.  There is possibly another intake above and to the rear of the canopy.

Like I said, nothing I can find is a perfect match for this photo.  Closest thing I can find is the A-37 Dragonfly/T-37 Tweetybird.  But on those two, the shape of the tail and the fuselage are not quite right, so unless it's a variant, that's not right.  So, I'm stumped.

So, all of you aircraft guys out there.  Any ideas on what this is?

An Apology

I need to extend an apology to anyone who was within earshot of Case de Oso this morning around 7:30.  Apparently my sing-along rendition of Prince's "Kiss", which the local radio station obligingly played just as I was getting into the shower, scared the cats and unnerved the 11 year old. 

Hey, can I help it if I can hit the high notes while I'm in the shower and have a voice that carries?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Range Report

Girlie Bear and I got up bright and early today and went down to the public shooting range at Taylorsville Lake WMA.  We go fishing not far from there, so I knew the general area.  But I'm glad I looked at a map to find the road that goes back to the shooting range.  There is a sign on the main road pointing the way, but if you're not looking for it, you'll probably miss it.

The range itself is very nice.  It was built last year, and is still in excellent condition.  There are 6 shooting positions, each one centered on a target set at a known distance, ranging from 10 to 50 yards.  The range is bench shooting only, through tubes, so no practicing your sitting, standing, or kneeling fire.  You provide your own targets, but must use the designated target stands provided by the range.  It's great for practicing or training, but pistol shooting would be pretty boring, in my opinion. No shotgunning is allowed at all, although they have enough land set aside to set up a skeet or trap range in the future.

Overall, it's a very nice range.  The minuses I've already listed, but it has a lot of plusses.  Number one is the cost.  It's free to the public, so my hunting and fishing license fees help to pay for it.   Also, there is no range safety officer.  You're on your own honor to be safe, although there is a sign stating that the area is under camera surveillance.  When it's just a couple of people shooting, that works really well.  If I went there when it was crowded, I'd want to get to know the other shooters before I went downrange without having an RSO to watch them.  Additionally, the location of the range is closer to my home than Knob Creek, which is a big plus.  KCR is a great time every time, but it's a schlep to get there and back.  This range was only about 25 minutes from my driveway. 

Today, Girlie Bear and I shot .22's.  She had her single shot Rossi, and I was breaking in the new 10/22.  We concentrated on trigger squeeze and follow through.  Over time, her technique on the trigger got better, and I introduced her to dime and washer exercises.  We'll keep working on it and go back to the range in a couple of weeks.

I put about 100 rounds down the barrel of the 10/22, and my groups weren't too bad.  I tried adjusting the rear sight to bring my groups into the center of my target, but the factory sights require the loosening of two small screws, moving the sight, and tightening the screws.  Not very easy to do on the range.  I got some advice on better sights, and am intrigued by the TechSights 10/22 sets.  They seem to be modeled on the M16A2 peep sights that I'm familiar with.  Those might make a nice addition to this little rifle.

We had a great morning.  Many thanks to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife for the new shooty place!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thought for the Day

Half a dozen Dunkin Donuts Munchkin doughnut holes, when placed in a toilet, will indeed float.  And when flushed, will plug said toilet better than anything BP has come up with.

This PSA brought to you by BooBoo Bear, who reminds you that the terrible two's aren't permanent, and little boys are made cute as a self-defense mechanism.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Overheard in the Living Room

Irish Woman, while watching a "Her Man Done Did Her Wrong, and Now She's Getting Hers" movie:  Check this out.  This woman caught her husband cheating, shot him, and was able to get off by calling it a crime of passion.  Do you ever worry that I'll kill you?

DaddyBear:  No sweetheart, I don't ever worry that you'll kill me, justified or not.  You'll just keep talking to me until I commit suicide.

Icy stare in 3...2...1

Word for the Day

Mediocracy - A system of government or leadership where by governance is done by those who are just not quite good enough to excel.


Since our company is a mediocracy, the boss thinks he knows what he's doing, but only has about 75% of the skills necessary to plan intelligently.

Watching what the kids watch

A couple of weeks ago, BooBoo started making a habit of sitting on Shadow's back and yelling "Giddy-up!".  For the most part, Shadow either just lays there and waits to be petted or he sits up and lets BooBoo slip off of his back before laying back down.  No-one said my dog was stupid.

We wondered where BooBoo picked up the idea of riding a horse or dog like that.  He's not a "cowboy" kind of kid, and I've only given horsie rides a couple of times. 

Then we noticed that he could pick Woodie and Buzz from Toy Story out of one of his Disney books by name.  We let BooBoo watch a movie every so often, and he likes Toy Story.  In the second Toy Story movie, Woodie rides the family dog like a horse.  Apparently BooBoo was emulating Woodie in trying to get Shadow to take him for a ride.

This gave me something to think about.  While this is a pretty benign and cute manifestation of it, kids are influenced a lot by the entertainment we let them enjoy.  I grew up watching Fes Parker play Davie Crockett, and we played Alamo in the basement for years.  Kids who watch a lot of television are going to be influenced by the characters and stories they experience, for good or bad.

Currently, there is a large crop of TV shows for kids between 9 and 12, the dreaded tweens.  Some of it is bubblegum stuff, some of it is a half-hour of goofiness and toilet humor, and some of it is obnoxious trash.  Movies and music are about the same.  This reminds me of the pattern I see in entertainment during the late 50's, 60's and 70's.  The Baby Boomers were a large group of consumers with money, so the entertainment industry pandered to their taste.  Now there is the large group of Generation X's children that have the money, and the entertainment industry is providing to them.

I'm not saying that this is bad.  That's how market economies work, and entertainment is a large part of our market.  Even if I don't like what's being produced doesn't mean I don't think that there are some who do and will spend their time and money on it.  I acknowledge that I'm getting older and crankier and think that just about all TV, movies, and music produced today is crap.  I yearn for the golden age of cartoons about robots, TV shows that have special forces guys who can't hit the broad side of a barn in a firefight,  and hair metal.  Now get off my lawn you damn kids.

What I am saying is that as parents, we have to be aware what influences are being shoved on our kids.  We can't wait for the government, the media, or anyone else to do it for us.  I don't let my kids watch gross cartoons on Nickelodean or the Cartoon Network. (I'm a bit of a hypocrite here, because I love to watch Ren and Stimpy and their brethren.  But I didn't graduate from Scooby Doo and RoadRunner cartoons until I was a teenager, and I think that was pretty typical).  I run parental controls on my cable box, computers, and game consoles.  I encourage my children to read, but I don't encourage my daughter to read teenage romance novels like Twilight.  There will be time enough for that when she's actually a teenager. 

Parents have to know that when they let television, music, or any other form of media into their children's lives, they are letting that media exert influence on the behavior, values, and outlook of those children.  As parents, we have to know what our children are accessing, and influence them to make good choices when it comes to these inputs.  If they make bad choices, we have to modify their behavior.  When they make good choices, we have to encourage them to continue down that path.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mental Note

When taking a two year old boy to see Toy Story 3 at the earliest showing, make sure he has had both a nap and his lunch prior to going.

Failure to follow this guideline will have you paying $25 for tickets and cokes in exchange for seeing 30 minutes of ads and previews, followed by 20 minutes of the movie.

It looked really good.  I'll have to buy it on DVD when it comes out so I can see how it ends.

Overheard in the Living Room

Tall, willowy blond cooking pork chops in TV:  Just sprinkle 1/4 tablespoon of canola oil on each chop so that the spices will adhere.

Irish Woman:  Where's your bacon grease, sister?  What about melted butter?  Ah, hell, she's never cooked with butter, she's wearing velour!  She's wearing hot pink velour to cook in, I can't take her seriously!  And no bourbon on her pork chops.  How unsanitary!  Pork should always be served with a blessing. It's unholy to cook pork without bourbon!

As a married man, I decided to not inquire as to the connection between cooking with animal fat and the wearing of velour. Some things men are not meant to know.  As to the bourbon, I tend to agree.

1 Month to Preseason!

Viva Raiders!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

I'm sitting here listening to the salutes of fireworks my neighbors are firing off in righteous opposition to the law.  I couldn't be prouder.

After eating my fill of hot dogs, chocolate cake, and vanilla ice cream, washed down with good old American Coca-Cola, I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself of why this day is significant:

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Remember, we're all in this together.  Our experiment began 234 years ago today, and will continue as long as we are willing to exercise and defend the rights that are important to cause the men who signed this document to risk everything they had, including their necks.

Fishie, Fishie in the Brook

Irish Woman's pond fish have been fruitful and multiply.

Here's one of the schools of minnows:

There are at least two other schools like this in the smaller pond.  There are orange goldfish, black goldfish, and mixed black and gold goldfish.

Great, 60 more mouths to feed.

Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!

We went berry picking this weekend.  It's towards the end of the season for blueberries, but we were able to get 4 to 5 pounds in about an hour of picking.

We made sure to pay a few dollars extra when we checked out.  BooBoo had been foraging while Irish Woman and I picked.  Hopefully he doesn't blow up and turn blue before all is said and done.

We had homemade blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning, and the rest will either be made into pie filling or put through the food dryer.  Nothing better than fresh blueberries with breakfast.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Couple of Suggestions

While meandering through my day today, I saw a few things that I'd like to point out:

To the people who planted pot in a farmer's cornfield in Southern Indiana:  If you're going to plant weed in a cornfield, do it more than a couple of rows back, and try to plant it after the corn is tall enough to hide it.  Two rows from a road and a foot taller than the corn is not very covert.

To the motorcycle dude who cut me off:  Yes, I know you're a bad mamajama.  You've got a straight pipe hog that makes more noise than a Huey helicopter.  You've got a "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" bumper sticker on said hog.  But wearing a confederate flag bandana, black leather jacket, and blue jeans with your CAMOUFLAGE CROCS shoes does not say "biker rebel" to me.  And if I hadn't stood on my brakes and missed your rear tire by less than a foot when you wove across two lanes of traffic to get to your exit, I would have had a flat tire and a bent fender.  You, on the other hand, would have had to be scraped off of the pavement.  Learn to drive your bike and put on a helmet.

To the group of vintage VW Beetle owners who drove en-masse down the freeway today, you guys are my heroes for keeping so many of those things going for all these years.  Also, thank you for not doing your VeeWee parade on a day that Girlie Bear was in the truck with me.  She would have pounded on my arm for each and every one of you, and I can't take bruising like that at my age.

Dear Shoe Sales People

I know I don't fit the pigeon-holed model of what you define as "normal".  I am tall, broad in the shoulders, long in the leg, and I have big feet. Not big as in "average in men is a 10, so a 12 is big".  Big as in "how many cows will it take to make these boots?" big.

I wear a 15.  It's bigger than average, but not so big that I have to get shoes custom made because Nike, Adidas, and Rockport don't make my size.  I have successfully found shoes in my size at retail stores in the past, but have fallen into a habit of buying them on-line because the brick and mortar crew normally only stock one or two pairs of size 15 anything.  It always seems to be oxfords when I need sneakers, sneakers when I need boots, and sandals when I need dress shoes.

Today, I noticed that my canvas tennis shoes were starting to look pretty ratty, and decided to start the process of finding a pair of shoes to run around in.  I'm not looking to hike the Pyrenees, run the Derby Festival Marathon, or dress for dinner with the president.  I wanted a pair of cloth sneakers that I could wear daily throughout the summer while doing such things as walking the zoo, going to the store, and playing in the yard.

In the first store I went to, exactly one pair of shoes was found that was size 15, and these were black patent leather Nike basketball shoes with shiny chrome accents.  Pass.  I asked a salesman if they had any larger pairs of shoes in the back, but the music was so obnoxiously loud he thought I was looking for the Converse tennis shoes and pointed me at the stack of size 8 to 12 shoes I'd already gone through.

The second store was much quieter, but after combing the  store and finding precisely zero pairs of shoes in my size, I again asked a saleslady for assistance.  The look of disdain for even bothering her for my mutant sized shoes told me I was out of luck.  Surprise, surprise, they didn't have anything either.

I then went to a sporting goods store to look at Vibram Five Fingers shoes.  I've seen a few people wear them, and I've been told they're great, comfortable kick around shoes.  Yes, they're a little more than I was budgeting for at $80-$85 a pair, but I figured I'd try them this summer.  If I didn't like them, I could continue "Quest for Shoes".   I picked up the example shoe on the sales floor, and asked the nice man in the salmon pink button down shirt and khaki green cargo shorts if they carried my size.  He snorted through his nose ring when he sized me on the special Vibram sizing guide.  Apparently I'm a 48-49 size, which is at the very edge of human as far as that company is concerned.  He checked the back but reported that he had "nothing even close to that huge" in stock.  He offered to check to see if a larger pair could be ordered for me.

I returned home wearing my ratty old Chuck Taylor Converse tennis shoes.  After two hours of searching for a pair of shoes with no luck and having my human-ness questioned by three separate sales people, I'm a little dis-enchanted with the whole "support local businesses" thing.  

Guys, I'm a consumer. I have money I want to give you for your products.  I'm even willing to pay quite a bit of money for a pair of quality shoes that I like.  By not stocking my size in anything a grown-up would want to wear, or not at all, you take away your opportunity to take my money from me.  By giving me attitude when I ask for your help in your store,  you discourage me from bringing my money and the rest of my family to your establishments when they need shoes.

I'm going back to the on-line stores exclusively.  Yes, it's preferable to hold a pair of shoes in your hands and try them on before buying them, but I know what kinds of shoes fit my feet well, and I'll just keep buying those kinds.  If the local small business people don't want to stock for my needs and give me grief when I try to get their help in giving them my money, then they can go piss up a rope.

Overheard in the house

DaddyBear, trying to dress an uncooperative BooBoo:  Boy are you grumpy in the morning!  You got that from your mama.  Your daddy is a happy guy in the morning.  If you didn't look just like me I'd think you hadn't sprung from my loins.
Irish Woman, half jokingly:  Nothing has sprung from your loins.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crockpot DaddyBear Irish Stew

Put the following into a crock pot:

1 12 ounce bottle of beer
1 finely chopped white onion
2 chopped stocks of celery
1 can low-salt beef broth
1 pound beef stew meat
2 cans crushed tomatoes
1 handful dried mushrooms
6 potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
Worcestershire sauce
Canadian Steak Seasoning to taste (dried garlic, course ground black pepper, course salt)
1 bag baby carrots
1 chopped bell pepper, deseeded
1 chopped serrano pepper, deseeded

Mix all ingredients together and set the crockpot to high and let sit through a work day. 

Serve with a crusty whole wheat bread.

This was one of the first things I learned to cook.  I've adjusted the recipe a bit as I've gotten older.  It's easy, tastes good, and it's really cheap to make a lot of it.  The perfect thing for when you know you're on a budget and won't have a lot of time in the evening.

Time for a new approach

For the past several years, we've watched a low-level civil war hit northern Mexico.   The Mexican army and police have been shooting at the drug gangs, the drug gangs shoot at each other, and sometimes the army and police shoot drug gangs at the behest of other drug gangs.  For the most part, we've been spectators.

That changed on Tuesday. Seven shots from the Mexican side of the border hit city hall in El Paso Texas.  Odds are they were stray rounds, but they were just as deadly as aimed fire.  Luckily only the building was hit, but the rounds penetrated to the interior, and it was only good fortune that kept someone from getting hit.  It could just as easily have gone into a neighborhood, or a shopping center, or a playground.

Mexican and Central American gangs are terrorizing our cities and rural areas.  Meth, cocaine, and marijuana are easier to get than beer in our schools.  The crime and social issues that come from the drugs and influx of illegal aliens are bringing our social safety net to its knees.

It's time for a new approach with our troubled neighbor to the south.

First, we need to let the Mexican government know that we are tired of their internal problems causing issues along our border and throughout our country.  They have to step on the neck of the narco-gangsters and keep pushing until they stop wiggling.  Failure to get control of this situation risks reaction by our country to lock down the border not just in the hinterlands, but also at ports of entry to restrict the trade of the traffickers.  Shutting off the tap of Mexican goods coming into our country and American dollars flowing into Mexico would probably go a long way to focus the attention of the Mexican government. 

Next, we need to militarize the border, both in the back country and in urban areas such as El Paso, San Diego, and Nogales.  We survey 200 feet back from the actual border, put up triple strand of concertina wire, and then put in a mix of pressure detonated CS gas mines and command detonated anti-personnel mines between the border and the fence.  We put guard towers at least every half mile along the border, and garrison them with both Border Patrol agents and Army MP's.  The Border Patrol agents are there to arrest anyone who makes it to the concertina and tries to enter the country but surrenders peacefully when challenged.  The MP is there to assist the Border Patrol agent in subduing or neutralizing anyone who resists.  To make this legal, we make the land along the border to a depth of 1/2 mile a military reservation, including in Indian reservations that butt up to the border.  One of the problems we have currently is that those who want to cross the border are sometimes more heavily armed than the law enforcement officers who encounter them.  We can fix that by arming the MP's with patrol rifles, their vehicles with M-2 .50 machine guns, and putting M240 7.62mm machine guns in the towers.  Somewhere in that mix is enough firepower to give them at least parity with the criminals who want to enter our country.

The local commander of these posts would have the authority to order his troops to return fire across the border if rounds come over into American territory.

In addition to these guard posts, there should be manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft watching the border 24 hours a day.  Stationary blimps should be used to provide round-the-clock monitoring of the borderlands.  

Those who put their hands in the air when they're caught crossing the border get to spend 5 years in prison, then are deported.  If you're caught again, you get 15 years then deportation.

Next, we need to shut off the supply of jobs for the people who are coming here to work.  We have to make employing illegal aliens expensive enough that US companies will start paying attention to our immigration laws.  If a company is caught employing illegal aliens in any way, they lose the ability to do business with the federal government.  If they are growing, processing, or shipping food, their product is not allowed to be purchased for military rations or commissaries, school lunch programs, or food stamp programs.  If the company is in the manufacturing business, the government won't buy those products or products from companies who do business with companies that hire illegal aliens.  If a construction company gets busted, then it cannot work on any project that is financed using any federal dollars.

Then we come to narcotics.    

We need to change our approach to illegal drugs.  We need to either legalize their use by adults, same as we do with tobacco and alcohol, or we need to get serious with discouraging their use and helping those who need help quitting.

If we legalize, we can regulate their manufacture, processing, and sale.  We take away the profit motive for smuggling narcotics when are legally available at the local liquor store.  It's cheaper to declare importation of a legal substance through a port of entry at Nogales than it is to pay someone to smuggle it in on the back of a mule through the Chiricahuas.

If we want to shut down use of illegal drugs through enforcement and treatment, we have to crack down on the parts of our society that import, process, transport, and sell this poison to our citizens.  If you're caught smuggling drugs into our country, you get to spend the rest of your life behind bars.  If you're caught processing or transporting drugs, then you get to spend 10 to 15 years at hard labor.  For a second offense, you get to join the smugglers getting old in prison.  If you're caught dealing, you get to spend whatever remains of your life turning large rocks into little rocks. 

If you're caught using drugs, then you get two chances at treatment to help you stop using.  After that, you go to jail for 5 years.  4th offense gets you 10 years.  5th offense gets you life.  By that time, we have to realize that you've had too many chances to get your act together and you're too stupid to be allowed to walk the streets.

These penalties are for citizens.  If you're an illegal and you get caught smuggling, processing, transporting, dealing, or using you get 25 years at hard labor, followed by deportation. Don't come into our home, do business in poison, and then expect a slap on the wrist.

And this isn't just for those who come across the Mexican border.  If you come in via Canada and break our laws, you pay the same penalty.  If necessary, we can militarize the Canadian border too.

As for those who are in the country illegally already, they get two months to get out.  If they have children who were born here and are citizens, the parents can either leave with them and the children can return when they reach 18 if they wish, or the children can be put in our foster care system and the parents can leave.  Either way, illegal aliens have to get out of our country. 

Illegal aliens who are identified in the country after the deadline get to spend 5 years in jail the first time they are caught and 15 years the second time.  Either way, they lose the ability to apply to return legally.  If you break into my house, you don't get to ask nicely to come in through the front door.

As for the so-called "sanctuary cities", any state, county, or municipality that refuses to turn over illegals caught in their area loses all support from the federal government.   If there's a base near the city or in the state, then the personnel on that base will be restricted from spending money off base.  All federal funding for schools, research, roads, or whatever gets cut off until the removal of illegal aliens becomes a part of day-to-day business in a "sanctuary" city. 

Will this ever happen?  Probably not.  A lot of this flies in the face of several parts of our constitution, and gives federalism a kick to the crotch.  Additionally, we'd have to abrogate the NAFTA treaty and probably several other treaties, including treaties with Native American nations who have reservations along the border.  We'd also have to provide a clear path for legal immigration to not only show that we do not reject citizens of other country who want to come here and be a productive member of our society, but also to allow for the healthy benefits that legal immigration brings to our country. 

This is an extreme solution, but I believe it would fix the problem of illegal immigration and drug smuggling.  What problems it would either exascerbate or cause remains to be seen.
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