Sunday, October 31, 2010

This one says it all

I refuse to comment on the accuracy of this cartoon as it pertains to me.

Halloween Ear Worm

So, come up to the lab,
And see what's on the slab!
I see you shiver with antici.......pation
But maybe the rain
Isn't really to blame.
So I'll remove the cause.........
But not the symptom!

Happy Halloween Folks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I know some very interesting people

In the spirit of Halloween, LabRat and Popehat have really good survival tips for victims of a demonic, psychotic, or supernatural serial killer.

Conversely, Stingray has really good tips for the demonic, psychotic, supernatural serial killer.  Hey, we're an equal opportunity blog sphere here.

All of these sundry rules remind me to the recent discussions of the Four Rules of firearms.  Alan boiled them down to two, and Tam was able to get down to 1:

Thou shalt not be stupid
 Funny - that rule was related to me by an old soldier in 1990, although his version had an obscene adverb to modify stupid.  Looks like some truths are timeless and can fit into just about any situation.

Update - Just found that Old NFO also has a good list of do's and don'ts for those who want to survive the weekend.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today's Thought

In Vino Veritas does not mean that you need to be drinking in order to be working on Veritas Cluster, Volume Manager, or File System. But it can't hurt.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise, makes... Aw forget it

Got to bed a little late last night, and Irish Woman decided we needed to get up early today because I have a doctor's appointment this morning.  Apparently staying up late to play Lego Star Wars isn't a good excuse.   Hey, those droid troopers aren't going to lightsaber themselves!

Oh. Sweet. Cthulhu. I'm. Beat.  How did I get up at oh my god thirty every morning for 9 years when I was in the military? 

On the flip side, there is coffee, which has always been there for me.

I'm gonna go shotgun a mug or two.  Y'all have a good morning.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Eventful Day

Well, it's been a heck of a day. To quote Paul Paulson, the wind blew and the crap flew but we're only here for a day or two.

On the drive to work this morning, the wind was blowing hard enough to push economy cars around like an air hockey puck. The walk to the building at work was also quite breezy.

About 10:30, the alarm sounded and we all trundled down to what we believed was the storm shelter. Looking back, it might be a good idea to confirm with engineering that the bathrooms all the way across the building are the storm shelter. In a real emergency we won't have 15 minutes to walk a block. As we waited for the storm and possible tornado to hit, we were entertained by the conga line of empty cargo containers gliding around on the roller floor. All of the large cargo doors were open, so the wind was able to push them around at will.

I had my radio with me, and the local AM station was transmitting constant updates. Apparently tornadoes either touched down or were close to the ground in several parts of the county.

The storm was pretty powerful as it passed over us, but it was moving very fast. Behind the fast moving gust front was heavy rain but very little wind.

We all trundled back upstairs and got back to work. Irish Woman and I were e-mailing back and forth on our phones and her work did pretty much the same thing as mine.

Our neighborhood lost power. Other than that we didn't take any damage. Overall Louisville seems to have dodged a bullet.

Many thanks to all of the first responders who were out in force to take care of business after the storm passed. The roads were clear by the time I went home this afternoon and our power is back on.

Hopefully this is fall breaking away from that extended Indian summer we've been having the past couple of months.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Presented without comment

I think this story speaks for itself.

FWIW, my father served in the 4th Infantry Division's Divisional Artillery in Vietnam.

Thought for the Day

When asked by a co-worker when you plan on having a task finished, "When you can pick your biological father out of a line up" is not an appropriate response.

Mental note - Do not look at work emails before having coffee.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Attitude Exactly

I'm getting kind of sick of protests.  I'm really sick of speeches and commercials.  Can we just vote and get done with all this nonsense?

An Apology

To the nice lady in front of me in line at Sam's Club this afternoon who wrote a check when the line was 8 deep:

I am sincerely and wholly sorry for the mean and awful things I thought about you, your forebears, and your descendants.  In addition, I do not wish for your reproductive organs to fall out after being infested with Ugandan Sand Flies.

Please enjoy the rest of your life.  Maybe you could try using a debit card once or twice and seeing how you like it?  If you want to stay old school, Sam's still takes cash.

Morning Thought

iTunes download - 99 cents
Pot of coffee - about a dollar
Waking up the family by singing 'Live and Let Die' in a bad, off key Russian accent - Priceless

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Day Well Spent

Today started off like most Saturdays. Up at the crack of dawn, get breakfast, try to find something resembling Saturday morning cartoons on the tube.

This morning I helped out as much as I could, but I had to jump on a conference call at 7 and disow production rollout for one of the groups I support at 8.

By the time I was done with that, Irish Woman had taken care of BooBoo, and was working on the weekend chores. I grabbed a cup of coffee and pitched in.

Just before lunchtime, the cable guy arrived to swap out our cable box. He did a signal reading at the TV and decided we needed all new wiring too. He then spent almost 3 hours running and moving cable throughout the house. When he was done my Internet was faster and my TV picture was cleaner. He refused to take a tip for all the extra work, so I'm sending a note to the local manager complimenting him.

Side note: you may think your housekeeping is pretty good, but you will feel like a complete slob when the cable guy takes you to all those places that are covered on dust and cobwebs.

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with Boo and grabbing a nap. When I got a chance, I took the latest batch of mushrooms out of the dryer and froze half a dozen chopped onions. We like both for their convenience in cooking, especially the onions.

Tonight we indulged Boo a bit and let him watch a couple of movies. Now that he's in bed, I'm considering an early bedtime myself.

Hope everyone had a good day too!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fox

By Little Bear

Way up in the cold, cold North, a fox standing in snow that sparkles like crystals
The fox is as still and quiet as the snowy ground
The fur in the fox is like fine silk
His fangs and claws are as sharp as blades
He's furious and brave like a wolf as he strikes his prey for the day
For once he's caught his own food
He's proud as he feels superior
MUNCH! CRUNCH! as he eats his meal
But suddenly out of nowhere he hears something
The fox turns around
He sees a big brown bear
The fox is as scared as a black cat on Halloween
The fox runs as fast as a cheetah
The fox gets in his den and in surprise he sees five other foxes playing and joins them
After a while they all get hungry so they dedided to eat their food that they caught earlier
While they ate, they chatted with the fox
He was so happy he had other foxes to have fun with
After they were all done they were all getting pretty tired
So they all huddled up close together and went happily to sleep and dreamed the happiest, sweetest, and kindest dreams.

This bright spot brought to you by Little Bear.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled grumpiness.

Relationship thoughts

  1. A difference of opinion does not constitute an expression of hostility.
  2. Just because I don't care for the Irish vegetable soup that is made with the recipe your Great-Grandmother smuggled out of the old country in her nether regions does not mean I don't love you.
  3. No, seriously, it doesn't.
  4. If you want it done exactly the way you would have done it, then please feel free to do it yourself.
  5. When you tell the 12 year old that she's done enough for one night while she's putting out the yard waste, you forfeit the right to get snarky with me because the yard waste didn't get put out on time.
  6. My love for you is totally separated from the rest of your family.  It is not an attack on you when I start drinking prior to our visits with them because "I'm not doing this sober".
  7. I'm a big boy.  I can dress myself.  It is neither necessary or desired for you to buy me clothes because I "can't seem to wear anything that's not earth tones".
  8. Getting up 5 minutes before the alarm goes off is not being 'pro-active', it's psychotic.
  9. I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood since 1977.
  10. Yes, it's fall.  Yes, that means football and hunting.  No, I will not be around to help you pick out lace curtain patterns for the house we don't even own.   Look at it this way, you can decorate our existing house any way you want until February.
  11. No, I do not have enough guns.  Do you have enough camera lenses, filters, and tripods?
  12. Why is it that when we were dating I was "youthful" and now I'm just "immature"?
  13. No, it is not cute when the two year old head butts me in the junk.
  14. No, he is not going to die a horrible death because he has a runny nose.
  15. No, waking up from a bad dream does not constitute grounds for an emergency room visit for said toddler.
  16. You make me 'lizard happy'.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What happened to Massachusetts?

They've gone from kicking the Europeans squarely in the testicles, to wishing they were European.

And how did people like JayG and WeerdBeerd end up in that civil rights wasteland?

A bit of advice

I have a couple of cliches for my Republican brethren:

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched

The election ain't over until all the ballots are counted, all the challenges are adjudicated, and all the court fights are over.  Yes, the GOP will probably pick up a lot of seats, but don't start making plans for who gets what committee and who's going to investigate what until after the election is decided.  Keep your eye on the prize, as I've heard someone say, and concentrate on each and every precinct that's in contention.

Pride goeth before the fall

Remember the Republican Revolution back in '94?   Yeah, we took the congress, and made Clinton's remaining time in office a living hell for him, but we still had our heads handed to us in '96.  That year we ran an ABC (Anybody but Clinton) strategy, and we lost badly.  In 2000 and 2004, we won by the slimmest of margins, mainly because the Democrats couldn't find a candidate with a pulse.  If we're looking beyond the mid-terms to 2012, we need to start laying the groundwork now to show that not only are we not Obama, but we have something better for the country than what he's proposing.  If we make the election about him and his cronies, then all he has to do is improve in the short term to undermine us. If we make it about our policies and our beliefs, then no matter what he does, the voters will know why they should vote for us.

So we need to stop crowing about the ass whooping we are about to deliver upon the Democrats, and stop making American politics about Obama. He'll mess up his career all on his own.  We need to concentrate on our near term goals of taking back the Congress and reversing the bad legislation of the past two years, and then work on our long term goals of finding a set of good candidates to choose from in 2012.  Don't bring us the usual gang of idiots who are nominated because it's their turn.  We want real leadership.  We want someone who can speak his mind and have it strike a chord with voters across the country.  We want someone who will not only be good at winning an election, but also be good at governing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Range is Hot!

This is a bit late, but it's been crazy.

Last Saturday, Girlie Bear accompanied me to Knob Creek for their fall machine gun shoot.  We met a couple of people I work with, including my shooting buddy and his two kids.  This was the first time out for the young ones, so we got there early before the big crowd gathered.

After a very well done rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, a quick safety speech, and a pretty good invocation, the fun began. 

There were automatic weapons of every stripe on the range, from WWI M1917's to mini-guns.

One drawback this time was that there were no tracers, incendiaries, or explosives allowed.  With no rain for almost two months, they were worried about burning down half the county.  Not that it matter that much during the day shoot.  It was still AWESOME!

The highlight of the morning was the old cannon.  The kids loved to watch how it was loaded, then almost jumped out of their skins when it went off.
When Mr. Fuse is lit, Mr. Cannon is no longer our friend

After watching the first go-round, we wandered over to the gun show.  Like I said last time I went, if you can't find it at Knob Creek, it's probably not available.  My shooting buddy found the M1 Garand clips he's been needing, and we both found good condition Garand slings.  I also found someone selling P-38 can openers, which will be going into our BOB's and camping gear.  My other friend from work found the 25mm ammunition boxes he wanted.  If I had known he had found them, I probably would have snarfed up a couple myself

The kids bought a few doo-dads. Girlie Bear was a little put out when I told her that buying deactivated 20mm rounds to take to school to show her friends was not a good idea, and neither was the practice grenade, no matter how cool it looked.

She eventually got herself a tee shirt, and seemed happy with it.  Yes, she went all the way to Knob Creek, and all she got was a tee shirt.

Overall, it was a beautiful day.  By the time we left at about 11:30, the crowd was growing, but wasn't outrageous.  Of course, Knob Creek had everything running like clock work, as usual. 

Girlie Bear says she wants to go back, so I'm going to check this as a success.

Book Report

I've been able to get two new books under my belt lately, which is remarkable.  Reading for me is deliciously selfish, and I normally don't get to read for more than 15 minutes at a stretch.

First, I read Beyond Exile:  Day by Day Armageddon, by J.L. Bourne.  This story continues the journal of the main character in Day by Day Armageddon as he continues to survive in a world where 99% of humanity has been turned into flesh eating zombies, there is no real government to speak of for the other 1%, and he has to work day in and day out to survive and help others he gathers along the way.  My only quibble is that it plods in places, but I think that's an artifact of the main character's day to day recollections of survival, rather than telling a story. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  The author made sure you felt the main character's budding despair and fatigue of continually having to fight to survive. 

Next came Monster Hunter Vendetta, by Larry Correia.  This is another sequel, this time to Monster Hunter International.  The main character, Owen Pitt, finds himself being hunted down by followers of a cult centered around the Old Ones.  His family and friends are targeted in order to get to him, and Owen starts to become more aware of who he really is.

I'd definitely give this one an A.  Read it after everyone else has gone to bed, and expect to have a late night.  It's a real page turner.

Both books are the second book in a series, although MHV is more of an independent story with connecting storyline to the pre- and sequels.  Either way, I look forward to reading the next installments in both story lines.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Attack the target until it changes shape

Last night at dinner, Girlie Bear related a couple of stories from school that disturbed us. 

First, her best friend was told to "Get out of line, white girl" at lunch.

Then, Girlie Bear was told to "Hurry it up, white bitch" on the stairs between classes.

She also told about a few kids who were ganged up on by some of the other kids and beaten up.

Irish Woman and I told her, again, about the need for knowing where she was and who was around her at all times (situational awareness), and her need to not take verbal bait and start a fight when someone insults or threatens her.

Then I told her that if someone hits her, she is to defend herself until either the other person stops resisting or a teacher pulls her off of the offender.  Little did I know how far apart my wife and I were on this point.

Irish Woman objected strenuously.  Her point was that if Girlie Bear fought with one of the melanin enhanced members of her school, she was likely to either be beaten up by a bunch of her attacker's brethren, or will be jumped at a time and place of their choosing. This rocked me back a bit.  Irish Woman is a no-kidding, don't mess with me, firebrand of a woman.  I've seen her face off with a man twice her size, and the bruiser backed down before her redheaded onslaught.

But for the past 30+ years, she's had it pounded into her head that a Caucasian has no business fighting back against a minority assailant.  She grew up going to pretty segregated private Catholic schools.  The only time she had exposure to desegregated public schools was when her older cousins were bussed to a predominantly black high school and had a lot of problems.  She sincerely believes, due to those experiences and the multiple episodes in Louisville where a Caucasian has fought back and got in trouble for doing it, that Girlie Bear should just take the beating because the consequences of fighting back are worse.  In her opinion, Girlie Bear should take a pounding until she can escape, and then run to a teacher or other adult.

I also come from a pretty vanilla-ish background.  Let's face it, there were no significant population of African Americans or Latinos in the Dakota's in the 1970's and 1980's.  There were some, but they were usually Air Force transplants who came and went.  If you'd asked what minorities I knew prior to high school, I'd have said Finns and maybe a few Polish.
And then I moved to the edge of the Bay Area in California. 

I was the big, dumb hick who didn't know the social queues.  Within days of me arriving, I had my first fight when I "disrespected" some dumb ass.  Since I learned to fight by having my head handed to me by my older country cousins, I beat him up pretty quickly and barely started breathing hard.  Within a few days, a few of his friends and cousins decided to square off with me and teach me my place.  I took a beating, but I gave as good as I got.  My shirt was bloody, but more than half of it wasn't mine.  In the end, all of us basically agreed that the fight was over, with no-one laying on the ground bleeding.  Well, almost no-one.  One guy had to be helped away because I'd kicked him square in the kneecap while wearing  a pair of work boots, but he wasn't outwardly bleeding.  I limped a little, but I could at least walk on my own.  After that, I wasn't messed with too badly.  My reputation for fighting dirty seemed to keep all but the most aggressive away for the next two years until graduation, plus I became better at knowing which groups to stay away from and how to not inadvertently invite conflict by crossing the local social mores.

I eventually was able to talk to Girlie Bear and tell her my philosophy on fights. 

  • Always have good situational awareness.  Know where you are, who's around you, and what they're doing as much as you can.
  • There are no such things as "Fighting Words".
  • Don't start fights.  Don't be sucked in by someone's trash talking into a situation that becomes a physical confrontation. 
  • If confronted, walk away.  If you're in a place where you can't walk away, take the verbal abuse silently.
  • If attacked, fight as dirty as possible.  Bite, kick, stomp, club, whatever.  No body part is off limits for injuring.  No handy implement is off limits for use as a club.
  • Fight until they stop resisting, or until a teacher pulls you off.
  • Don't ever throw the first punch, but always try to throw the last punch.

I didn't tell her this last one, and I hope I never have to.  Girlie Bear is still very much an innocent on a lot of the ugly things that life contains, and I hope to keep her that way as long as possible.

  • Be a peaceful person, but if someone raises a hand to you, take their arm off.

What makes the grass grow?

Let's do a couple of thought experiments:

  1. You're a military truck driver in one of the 'Stans, hauling gas, beans, and bullets across mountain passes to our troops in Afghanistan. Most of the drivers in your convoy are contracted local drivers, who may or may not be unarmed.  You're one of a few Americans in the convoy, and you're carrying your M-4 carbine and basic load of 250 rounds of ammunition.  As you wend your way through the mountains, you're ambushed, and the convoy is forced to stop and fight for its life.  You unass the truck, and return fire.  Rapidly, your load of ammunition dwindles as you try to drive off the ambushers while you wait for air support and rescue.  Eventually, you're down to one magazine of ammunition, and you can hear the bad guys maneuvering to close with the convoy and either capture or kill you and the rest of your unit.
  2. You're an infantry soldier, serving along the DMZ in South Korea when Jim Jong Il goes to the Great Worker's Paradise In The Sky.  In order to cement himself as the new national savior and dictator for life, his son picks a fight with South Korea and the United States, and brings along the Chinese just for kicks and grins.  Instead of spending a year watching the border and partying in the local bars, you get issued ammunition and become part of Pusan Perimeter the Sequel.  Supplies are low, and artillery and air support are hard to come by.  Welcome to an infantry war circa 1949, except it's in 2010.  You never seem to have enough bullets, but the Chinese and North Koreans never seem to run out of bad guys.
  3. You're a Military Intelligence pogue at a rear area base in Kuwait.  Life sucks, but it's not too bad.  You're not issued ammunition, but your commander insists you carry around your M-4 all the time.  Suddenly, trucks at all of the gates to your compound explode, and screaming jihadis are running through the camp, shooting everything that moves.  You don't have any bullets, but you have your LBE, your helmet, and your M-4, and all your gear-do battle rattle that you picked up at the PX.

In all of these situations, you're in a world of shit.  American soldiers are trained to always have the best of everything, and plenty of it.  Everything from cold sports drinks and coffee at the AAFES mall to flat screen TV's in the MWR tent are taken as a given in most units.  Only at the very sharp end of the stick do these luxuries start to disappear, but firepower and ammunition on tap are still considered essentials. 

But when the world falls in, and you can't have hell rain from the heavens on demand and your ammo pouch feels a little light, what do you do when confronted with a situation that requires you to stand and fight?

If you ask a soldier today, you'll probably be told it's time to fix bayonets and fight.  American soldiers have been taught the rudiments of bayonet fighting since Baron von Steuben talked his way onto Washington's staff.  Yes, it's a tactic that was born centuries ago, and U.S. Army units haven't done an organized bayonet charge since the early 1950's.

But the bayonet is still there as the weapon of last resort for American soldiers.

Recently, the Army announced that due to time constraints bayonet training will be dropped from Army basic training.  I'm assuming it will be kept for Infantry training, but that leaves the majority of soldiers without this skill. 

As you can guess, I think this is a mistake.  Bayonet training not only gives soldiers a skill they can use during worst case scenarios, but it also takes away the fiction that fighting is a real-world analog to video games.  Let's face it,shooting a rifle at the range is pretty impersonal, as is calling in artillery or setting mines.  When you practice butt strokes, thrusts, and blocks, you're looking at another soldier that's almost at nose picking distance from you.  Do it often enough, and you might start to take all that GI Joe stuff seriously. 

Also, it's good physical exercise.  Think you're in good shape?  Take a 20 pound dummy rifle with a sharp bayonet on the end of it, swing it around for an hour, then run a 2 mile bayonet course.  I was in what was probably the best shape of my life, and I was laying in a pool of sweat after doing that.

The Army needs to either find time in the training schedule to put bayonet training back in, extend the schedule to accommodate it and other basic combat skills, or take a lot of the feel-good sensitivity training that has crept in over the past couple of decades.

Blogging about the company

The other day, we were all pointed to a website that had a nice video discussing proper ways to discuss my employer on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.  We're all supposed to be positive about the company, and not do anything that will bring discredit to the company.  Basically, the message was "Don't blog about the company.  Let us control the message".

Also, we were all warned that use of company time and/or  equipment to connect to social networks was a fireable offense.

So I'm blogging about it.  :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Polish Ursine Patriot

So a Polish Army bear walks into a bar.....

Wojtek, the smiling warrior bear, is getting a memorial in Edinburgh, Scotland.

During the Second World War, he was the mascot of a polish unit which saw hard fighting in Italy.  After the war, he came to Scotland, and eventually lived out his life in the Edinburgh zoo.  Imagine facing a unit in battle that cavorted with bears for fun!

I can just see the German scout reporting to his commander:

Mein Kommandant, the Polen have several gun emplacements along this ridge, and they appear to be well defended.

Well, that's nothing to worry about.

Ja, mein Kommandant, but they have a frigging bear! 
 Gott in Himmel!  I'm not facing interlocking artillery pieces that are guarded by a verdammte bear!

It's good to see a Polish cousin finally get his recognition!

H/T to BRM for the tipoff!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Daily Report

01:30 - Finish working on Girlie Bear's new netbook
01:45 - Order a new pistol from SOG. God Bless America!
05:45 - Get up to help get Girlie Bear, BooBoo, and Irish Woman out the door.
06:45 - After a leisurely breakfast, leave the house for work.
09:15 - Arrive at work.  Pass by 4 separate, unrelated accidents, 5 more that were related to those accidents, and was almost killed on at least two occasions by rubberneckers who slammed on the accelerator while looking at an accident, then slammed on the brake to miss the next one.  A 35 minute drive on interstates turns into 2+ hours on surface streets.  Thanks Kentucky Drivers!
11:45 - While eating re-heated chili for lunch, was accosted by a Database Administrator who wanted to know why he only got 16gb of SAN space allocated to his database when he requested 160.  After checking when I got back to my desk, I checked his email, and he requested 16.  Tell him, very politely, to go pound sand.
16:00 - Finish allocating almost 2 terabyte worth of disk space to 92 separate file systems, on 20 different servers, attached to four different SAN's.
17:00 - Go to Girlie Bear's school for teacher conference.  Alles in Ordnung
18:00 - Dinner.  Spaghetti.  No beer.  No ice cream for dessert.  Diets suck.
19:00 - Present new computer to Girlie Bear.  She does some homework on it and plays for a while before pronouncing that it is satisfactory.
20:00 - After a little TV, put BooBoo to bed.  He falls asleep in minutes!
20:15 - Do dishes and put away dinner
21:00 - Get on chat line with buddies
21:40 - Write on blog through haze of exhaustion.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dear Commissioner

Have you lost your bloody mind? Monday night football should not start at 9:15 at night. Some of us work for a living.

Put the game on tape delay for the west coast, don't allow live reporting outside of the broadcast, and sell instant access at a premium on the west coast.

It doesn't have to be this hard to watch MNF.

Christopher Who?

In the United States, today is Columbus Day.  When I was young, this was the day we celebrated the day that Christopher Columbus discovered America.

Except it was only the Caribbean islands.
And there were natives waiting for him on the beach.

Well, OK, maybe there had been people living here since the last Ice Age.  Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the Americas.

Except for the Vikings
And possibly a drunken Irish Monk

OK, so he was an Italian expatriate who hired himself to the Spanish crown to find a way to the far east so the Spanish could beat out the Portuguese in bringing silk, spice, and gold to Europe from India and China.

Except he couldn't calculate how far the East Indies are, so when he ran into land that was 1/4 of the circumference of the globe away from where he thought he ought to be, he faked it and declared victory.

OK, so he was a great leader.... Wait, what?  

Mutiny?  Skull duggery?  Slaves?  Diseases?

OK, today we celebrate an Italian mercenary who couldn't read a map or the stars, and survived his little adventure as much by luck as by skill and effort.  He brought diseases to the Caribbean that helped to wipe out entire races, and probably introduced a few in Europe that ran wild for hundreds of years.

But hey, he was a heck of a guy!  Happy Columbus Day!

Dinner Tonight

I was going to make a pot roast, but what I thought was a beef chuck roast turned out to be a bunch of pork steaks, the pork chops older, better brother.  So I winged it. 

Layer the bottom of the crockpot with 1/2 inch of miropoix  That's one chopped onion, three chopped carrots, and three chopped stalks of celery.  Place one pound of pork steaks on top of the vegetables in an even layer across the pot.  Add soy sauce and Worcestershire to taste, along with two chopped cloves of garlic. 

Pour in one dark fall beer.  I used Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, but any dark spicy beer will work.  Don't worry, the pumpkin in this beer is a very minor note in a very complex brew. 

Pour in one can of low salt beef broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

On top of the meat, broth, and flavorings, add the potatoes.  I prepared these by quartering 5 or 6 large russet potatoes, then cutting the quarters into 1/4 inch slices.  Layer the potatoes across the top of the meat.

Set the crockpot to high heat and let it cook all day.

I'm going to make a big pot of steamed broccoli.  It's BooBoo's favorite vegetable, and it's fun to watch him make the Ent army on his plate before devouring them.

I will serve by taking the potatoes out of the pot, then carefully taking the pork steaks out and putting them in a shallow pan.  Then I will re-add the potatoes to the crock pot and mix them thoroughly with the vegetables and juice.

I will garnish the pork with a healthy serving if Dixie's Awesome Sauce.  Since I already opened the Chipotle flavor, I will use that tonight.  Use whatever meat sauce strikes your fancy.

I'm DaddyBear, and I approve this message

It's morning in America.  We've all been on a bender for the past four years, and now it's time to pick the next set of dudes to send on a beer run.

The children have been in charge of this country for too long.  For their entire life, they've gotten everything they wanted just by asking.  The most work they've had to do is throw a temper tantrum, accuse their denier of being mean, and then sulk until they get their way.  For the past four years, they have used these tactics to bankrupt us, deny that our country deserves to be defended, and denigrate their betters who forgo the pursuit of money and power to make the world a better place.

And what has this gotten us?

Our national debt, including deficits and unfunded obligations, is now measured in numbers that we used to use to make hyperbolic statements.  Our standing among our closest allies is somewhere between whale crap and the bottom of the sea.  Our enemies treat the threats and pronouncements of our 'leadership' the same way I treat the barking of a Pomeranian with irritable bowel syndrome.

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

The federal government isn't supposed to actively sabotage the economy.  But for at least the past 18 years, the government has been actively undermining our countries ability to provide for itself.

First there was NAFTA, or the Bush/Clinton Third World Jobs Program.  Ross Perot should be offered the role of Cassandra in the next Broadway ripoff of Agamemnon.  Manufacturing jobs have been moving south and east so fast I'm surprised there isn't a backblast.  I'd love to continue to buy American, but all of the jobs that Sam Walton created by being proud to stock American made goods at Walmart have been exported to a slave labor camp somewhere in Inner Mongolia now that his children are in charge of the company.

Then we have the changes to the financial regulatory system, especially the part that watches the banks and mortgage industries, brought in during the Clinton administration.  While we were all worried about the president lying to a grand jury, (it's called perjury, look it up.  It's one of the few crimes actually mentioned in the Constitution) Clinton's minions were pissing in the intake fans of the parts of the economy that create the friggin money!

Then we had Bush the Younger, also known as W.  Not only did he not reverse the damage his father and Bubba did to our economy, he borrowed money from BLOODY COMMUNISTS at a rate that at the time seemed astronomical. Is it just me, or is it not a bad idea to be going into debt with a country that less than a generation ago we were actively considering how to nuke back to the Stone Age.  A country that 30 years ago was killing its own people trying to figure out how to grow enough grain that parents wouldn't have to draw lots to see which of their children ate that day?

And now we have Barack Obama, the first black Irish president.  I was appalled by W's spending, but this guy makes W look like small potatoes.  It would take the rest of my life to count to the number this bluntskull spends before breakfast some days.  He has pissed in the face of the British, who by the way have been our friends since before his granddaddy thought grandma looked kinda sexy in her bathrobe.   He's bowed to every two bit, uneducated, inbred, anencephalic son of a scruffy looking nurf herder that he's met in the past two years. 

Don't get me started about defense.  Our troops are flying aircraft that at best was designed and tested prior to the start of my college student's life.  They're using rifles that were designed in the '50's.  They're driving trucks that are usually older than their drivers.  They're driving tanks that are usually older than the staff weenies who tell the tankers what to shoot and then run over.  We haven't had a coherent strategy since the fall of the Berlin Wall on how we're going to protect the lives of American citizens and the American homeland.

And our rights as citizens?  Puhhlease.  We should re-bury John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after we wrap their horrified corpses in copper wire so we can at least recoup some green energy from their outrage.  Every time I turn around, the Department of Homeland Security is looking for a new way to search grandmothers in wheel chairs while actively resisting any methods that single out those who have a high statistical chance of being terrorists because that might hurt their feelings.

So with Election Day 2010 just around the corner, I am pleading with the voters of the United States to wake the hell up.  We should be mad as hell and we don't have to take this anymore.

The incumbents are the problem.  We have created a political class in this country that believes that as long as it gives us bread and circuses we will continue to let them ride this country into the ground.  That's right, we created them.  By allowing politicians and their staffs to set up permanent kleptocratic offices inside the Beltway, we've created a ruling class in our society that wasn't designed to have one.

Next month, vote them out, vote them all out.  I will be voting against each and every incumbent that is on the ticket.  On the few races that are open this year, I am voting for the candidate that is honest enough to tell me that the government is broken and that the next few years are going to suck the Zub Kabir.

Here's my advice for the upcoming elections.  Please take it into mind when you're trying to figure out which of the usual gang of idiots you're going to vote for:
  • If someone is telling you that a bright new day is just around the corner, put your hand on your wallet and lock up your valuables and your women. 
  • If someone is crowing about their accomplishments in the past few years as a politician, they are a deranged person, and need sedation and treatment away from society.
  • If someone tells you that their opponent is a low down dirty lying snake in the grass, take it as a given that they're projecting their own issues.

This message brought to you by the DaddyBear Committee to Bring Politicians to Heel.  Or at least neuter them so that the bloodlines clean themselves up over a few generations.

I'm DaddyBear, and I approve this message because I'm tired of being 'led' by the kids that didn't get enough hugs in Mrs. Torkelson's preschool.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 5 Picks

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date.  No time to say hello, good bye, I'm late.

But here are my week 5 picks:

Jacksonville and Buffalo - Jacksonville
Denver and Baltimore - Baltimore
KC and Indy - KC
Green Bay and Washington - Washington
Saint Louis and Detroit - Saint Louis
Chicago and Carolina - Chicago
Tampa Bay and Cinci - Cinci
Atlanta and Cleveland - Atlanta
New York Giants and Houston - Houston
New Orleans and Arizona - New Orleans
Tennessee and Dallas - Tennessee
San Diego and Oakland - Oakland
Philadelphia and San Fransisco - San Fransisco, as much as it hurts my heart to say it.  I'm not voting for Michael Vick.
Minnesota and New York Jets - Minnesota, even if they did pick up a waste of protoplasm who happens to have the ability to catch a ball this week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Overheard at the Dinner Table

Irish Woman - Some species eat their young
DaddyBear - Some species eat their mates.  You know.  "Well, the kids weaned, time to start basting you."
Irish Woman - Are you saying you'd make pulled pork out of me?
DaddyBear - No dear, of course not.  You're more of a ....
Irish Woman - Choose your words very carefully.
Girlie Bear - You're more of a very lean pulled chicken
Irish Woman - See, your daughter is smarter than you are.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Not Getting the Point

 Caveat - I read Non-Sequitur every day, and have for over a decade.  

I don't think Wiley Miller, the artist who does the wonderful Non-Sequitur cartoon, understands what he's criticizing here.

He seems to be suggesting that there's a disconnect between wanting good government and not liking government very much.  He also doesn't seem to understand the concept that someone can be a good statesman without wanting to make politics a career.

"That government is best which governs least" - Thoreau

What the TEA Party, which I believe is who he is attempting to lampoon here, is looking for is simply this:  The government should fulfill those roles that are enumerated for it in the Constitution of the United States, and nothing more. Cutting the direct role of the government will make it more efficient and allow us to either pay down our insanely humongous public debt or cut taxes on our citizenry, which will spur growth more than 20 million union shovel leaners ever could.

I have an in-borne distrust of authority, due at least in part to watching the growth of the Federal Government and its reach into all aspects of our lives during my lifetime.  And it goes back further.  The Roosevelts, Teddy and Franklin,  Woodrow Wilson, and Lyndon Johnson pushed the envelope violently during the 20th century to expand the powers of the government into areas that the founding fathers didn't see fit to put in the Constitution.  Clinton, Bush II, and now Obama seem to have been spending a lot of their energies in expanding even further during the 21st. 

I am a member of the Republican party, but I consider myself an independent.  I will vote for a Democrat if he or she makes sense and promises to govern in a way that I approve of.  Yes, I have my own sacred cows  (defense) that I have to make a conscious effort not to knee-jerk approve of any expenditure, but overall, I think the government could do its job better and more efficiently if it concentrated on those areas that are actually its job.  These include security of the United States, which is different from Homeland Security, regulating trade between the states and with foreign countries, and collecting the minimal taxes that it needs to operate.  I believe that a lot of the things that our government does need to either be terminated or be spun off to the private sector.  I plan on doing a series of posts detailing this sometime in the future.

As for those in government not wanting to do it, I support candidates who promise to serve for only one or two terms.  It is my opinion that enforceable term limits would require an amendment to at least the federal Constitution, and possibly the constitutions of the various states.  But if a good candidate tells me that she will serve for at most two terms, then that's a plus for them.  But Cthulhu help her if she runs for a third term.

Government service should be an honor, served well and in a limited time span.  If you have been in the Congress or an executive branch position for longer than I've been allowed to drive, you really need to go do something more useful for the country.

Those of us who hold these beliefs are ridiculed as being naive, but I'd rather be idealistic and effective than cynical and stagnant.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In Memorium

Imagine you're a 30 something highly trained professional.  Throughout your military career, you've worked hard to be the best you can be at everything you do.  You've been through all of the Army's toughest training, and have ascended to the pinnacle of the Special Operations Forces pyramid with an assignment to be a sniper in Delta Force. 

You've deployed all over the world for both training and combat, and you're tasked with providing sniper support to a routine snatch and grab operation in some third world shithole.  Absolutely routine, same op as you've done a number of times in the past few months.

Then the world falls in. 

First, one American helicopter is shot down, and then another falls from the sky.  A search and rescue team is able to make it to the first helicopter, but the crew of the second crashed bird is alone and thousands of pissed off natives are converging on it.

You ask permission to leave the relative safety of your helicopter to assist the downed crew several times, and eventually convince command to let you go.  You and your buddy grab what weapons and ammo you have and make for the crash site.  You evac the crew from the helicopter and defend them from the barbarian horde that is breathing down your neck.  Between you and your partner, you kill 24 of the enemy and wound a great number more.  Then your partner gets hit and goes down.  You grab his weapon and give it to the survivor of the crash to defend himself with, and return to the fight.  Eventually you're hit too, and your bodies are dragged through the streets for all the world to see on CNN.

17 years ago tomorrow the Battle of Mogadishu started.  By the time it was over, 19 Americans were dead and 83 were wounded, including SFC Randall Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon.  These two Delta Force snipers threw themselves into the teeth of a Somali mob to protect men they probably never met.  In doing so, they probably saved the life of the one survivor of the crash, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, but gave their own lives in the effort.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  John 15:13

Week 3 Results and Week 4 Picks

Just in the nick of time.

Last week, I batted .500, correctly guessing 8 of the 16 games.  For the season I'm 15 and 16.

Here are my picks for this week:

New York Jets and Buffalo -  Jets
Cinci and Cleveland - Cinci
Baltimore and Pittsburg - Baltimore
Denver and Tennessee - Tennessee
Detroit and Green Bay - Green Bay
San Fransisco and Atlanta - Much as it pains me to say it, San Fransisco
Carolina and New Orleans - New Orleans
Seattle and Saint Louis - Saint Louis
Indianapolis and Jacksonville - Indy
Houston and Oakland - Raiders! 
Washington and Philadelphia - Washington, but this one is gonna leave a mark
Arizona and San Diego - Arizona
Chicago and New York Giants - Da Bears!
New England and Miami - Miami.

Maybe I can break .500 this week!

There's a place and time for everything

Danger - Basic Training Story Dead Ahead!

So no kidding, there I was......

In Army Basic Training, one of the last GI Joe things we did was the grenade range.  We spent the morning learning the parts of a fragmentation grenade, the proper sequence for arming and throwing the grenade, and practicing our throws.  

Interesting fact:  American hand grenades are shaped like baseballs so that they will feel like a familiar object to American teenagers.
The way our grenades worked was that first you removed a safety clip from the outside of the grenade that kept the pin from coming out accidentally.  You then grip the grenade  firmly, evenly, and constantly so the spring loaded "spoon" stays up against the body of the grenade.  After you pull the pin, the spring that holds the spoon is released, and as soon as you let go of the grenade by throwing or dropping it, or stop holding the grenade tightly enough, the spoon will move enough for a striker to start the 5 second fuse in the grenade.  Normally, the spoon will fly off when you intentionally throw the grenade, but the spoon only has to move a fraction of an inch to release the spring and set off the fuse.  When the fuse finishes burning, it sets off the explosive in the grenade and kaboom. 

Since the fuse can start burning without you letting go of the grenade if you don't hold it VERY firmly, or milk it by gripping firmly then easing off then gripping firmly, a lot of emphasis is put on holding the grenade as tightly as you can and still maintain control of it.  Before even giving us practice grenades, we were drilled and then tested individually on properly taking out a grenade, preparing to throw it, gripping it, and throwing it.

After the mid-day meal, we were put through a qualification course with practice grenades.  A qualification grenade is a solid steel sphere with two holes about 1 inch across drilled across from one another.  In one hole, the head of a grenade is screwed in. There is no explosive beyond the totally legit fuse and blasting cap in the grenade head, which would explode with a loud pop so we could know how long the fuse in a grenade burns when we used them.  We practiced preparing grenades for use and throwing them at targets such as machine gun nests, concentrations of pop-up targets, and vehicles.  Eventually, we were tested on our ability to accurately drop, toss, and roll grenades into these targets.  Those who could do at least a minimum number of these targets correctly went on to the next stage, live grenades.

As we lined up to march to the live grenade range, I watched our drill sergeants take turns calling home to speak to their wives on the range phone.  I watched men who had routinely handed live ammunition to armed men who hated their guts without batting an eye call home to say goodbye.  They were all worried that our class, mainly made up of truck drivers and MI weenies, would manage to kill or injure at least one of them when handed a live hand grenade.

We were marched to the range, and we filed into a bunker at the rear of firing (throwing?) line.  On the side of the bunker that faced the fighting positions we would be throwing grenades from was a thick plexiglass wall that allowed us to observe other soldiers throwing their grenades.  I was far enough back that I was able to watch several groups of soldiers cycle through the range before it was my turn.

As we got ourselves situated in the bunker, we saw our drill sergeants go out to the fighting positions.  For once, their beloved brown drill sergeant hats were not in evidence.  They were all wearing kevlar flak vests and kevlar helmets.

Each trainee was suited up in a kevlar vest, and issued two live hand grenades, which he placed in the grenade straps of his ammunition pouches.  He was then marched individually out to a fighting position, where a drill sergeant paid personal attention to where the trainee's hands were in relation to the grenades.

What was supposed to happen was this: On command from the range tower, the drill sergeants and trainees would enter their fighting positions.  After getting clearance from the tower to proceed, the drill sergeant would tell the trainee to take a grenade out of his ammo pouch and remove the safety clip.  After that, the drill sergeant would instruct the trainee to "prepare to throw".  The trainee would grip the grenade firmly, put his finger through the ring on the pin, and bring both hands together up to his chest.  On command to throw, the trainee would pull the hand with the grenade in it to the back, push the hand holding the pin in it forward, pulling the pin with it, and then loft the grenade down range.  The trainee and drill sergeant would then duck down inside the fighting position until the grenade goes off.  The procedure would be repeated for the second grenade, and then the trainee would return to the bunker and another private would be suited up and sent out.

Didn't always happen that way, even when everyone was trying to do their part.  Evidence of this was the the holes blasted in some of the fighting positions by badly thrown grenades.

As I watched the first cycle go through, their first grenade went well.  No problems.  On the second grenade, instead of heaving the grenade for all he was worth, one of the privates rolled it off of his fingers like Magic Johnson trying to do a lay-up.  The grenade went almost straight up, bounced off the edge of the foxhole, and rolled about five feet forward before exploding.  The drill sergeant in that hole saw what was happening, grabbed the private, threw him on the floor of the fighting position, and threw himself on top of him.  It was supposed to be to block harm from the private, but it looked more like an Andre the Giant power slam.  After the tower cleared the range, that particular private pretty much lived in hell for the next few hours as that drill sergeant followed him around and did everything he could to make the young man contemplate his own death.

The second cycle went through pretty much according to the book.  We were all fervently reminded to "throw the !#$!!#$! thing like we !@#$!@#$ meant it".

Then it was my my turn.  I suited up in a flak vest, stowed my grenades, and trundled out to position number 3, the position where Private Slipinschitz had finger rolled a grenade earlier.  The company senior drill sergeant had taken over that position after the drill sergeant who had had a grenade almost land on him was sent back with the offending private.

We went through the procedure by the book for the first grenade.  Acquire the grenade, prepare to throw, throw, duck. 

While waiting for the tower to clear us to throw the second grenade, I thought about the man in front of me. The senior drill sergeant had taken a bit of a disliking to me when I had hurt my ankle and had to be driven by the company driver to and from ranges and classes for a few days. This man had ridden my butt for the past 7 weeks.

I didn't want to hurt him.  Even as immature as I was, I knew that he was really only doing his job.  But the temptation to mess with the man who had made it his job to make me miserable was too much.

The senior drill instructor looked me in the eye and barked "Acquire the grenade!"  I pulled out my second grenade and removed the safety clip.

"Prepare to throw!"  I placed my thumb through the ring on the pin, and gripped the grenade firmly in my right hand, bringing both hands up to the center of my chest.

"Throw!!!"  I threw my left hand forward and my right back.  Half a second prior to throwing the grenade, I looked the senior drill instructor in the eye and shouted "So Sergeant, where you from?"

I then heaved that grenade just as hard as I could and threw myself on the floor of the fighting position.  Before I heard the explosions of our group's grenades, I was landed upon by a very angry senior drill instructor.

We were the last group, and we marched back to where our gear was stacked to be searched for grenades or grenade pieces (no souvenir grenade pins) and then marched back to our bivouac site. At least, the rest of the company marched.  I on the other hand did the half mile in a series of 3 to 5 second rushes with several yards of low crawl through the grass and gravel in between.  By the time I caught up with the rest of the company, I was filthy and bleeding, and my uniform was torn in several places.

But I never stopped smiling.
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