Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hotel Review - Chase Suites, Dublin Ohio

During our mini-vacation, we stayed at the Chase Suites in Dublin, Ohio.  This is an older chain hotel that has been turned into a suites-based hotel by a private owner.  While it has a few blemishes such as a stain on the rug or a couple of cracked tiles in the bathroom, it's kept immaculately clean.  The hotel is  located in a commercial park about 2 minutes from the I-270 freeway in Dublin.  It's about 10 minutes from the Columbus Zoo, and is surrounded by entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities.


  • Kitchenette with full sized refrigerator, electric stove, and dishwasher.  The kitchenette is also stocked with real dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, and pots and pans.
  • Two televisions with satellite receivers in every suite, one with a DVD player
  • Two room suites.  The main living area held a queen-sized pullout sofa-bed, while the bedroom contained two double beds with new mattresses. 
  • Separate pool and hot-tub
  • Hot breakfast buffet every morning
  • DVD library to check out movies at the front desk
  • Free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the hotel.
  • Social hour on Monday through Thursday, which included a couple of beers or glasses of wine and hot and cold snacks.


  • Great location.   We were able to get to the Zoo, restaurants, grocery stores, and entertainment in minutes without having to navigate the interstate.
  • Immaculately clean rooms, pool, and grounds.
  • Extremely pleasant and helpful staff
  • Great value.  We stayed 4 nights for less than $400 dollars
  • An actual hot breakfast in the morning instead of just bagels and cold cereal.  This was a lot easier than going down the street for breakfast, and added to the value of the hotel to us.
  • Very family friendly, but I could also see staying there if you were in Columbus on business.
  • The Wi-fi was convenient to use, very dependable, and fast.  This was probably the best wireless Internet access I've seen in a hotel.


  • It's an older hotel, so there were minor blemishes on the trim of the rooms as I stated earlier.  However, this was relatively minor and were not unsightly or a safety hazard.
  • When we tried to check in at 2 PM on Thursday, our room wasn't cleaned yet, so we had to go get a bite to eat while room cleaning took place.  This wasn't a major problem as we were hungry anyway, but it was the one time the staff had to play catch up all weekend.  Also, we may have brought this on ourselves since check-in time isn't until 4 PM, and we arrived a little after 2.

So overall, I'd give this hotel a 4.5 out of a possible 5.  The pro's definitely outweigh the con's, and we already plan to stay there again when we go back to Columbus in the future.  I would definitely recommend the Chase Suites to anyone travelling to Columbus for business or pleasure.

Family Trip 2011 - Wrap-up

Today was the return to reality.  We got up early, had breakfast, packed the van, and headed out.

It was opposite day on the road for us when compared to the drive up on Thursday.  Captain Carsick did not rear his ugly head again, traffic was for the most part relatively light, and there were no traffic backups.  The only hang-up on the road was that Boo tried to get out of his carseat several times, which caused us to pull over and re-strap him in.

We got from Columbus to the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati in really good time, but lost all of that time when I made the mistake of trying to get a quick lunch at a Bob Evan's on Sunday at noon.  I know, I'm not very bright sometimes.  It took 45 minutes to get seated, 15 minutes to be waited on, 45 minutes to get our order, and another 30 minutes to get a check and get out of there.  If I didn't think that Boo would have melted in the parking lot if I'd tried to get him back in his carseat so soon after getting him out, we would have left after 15 minutes of waiting for a table.  It took 45 minutes to get our meals because they lost the order, but they tried to make up for it by giving us a couple of appetizers gratis while they put together our meals.  I stress the 'tried', because it'll be a cold day in Riyadh before I go cross the threshold of a Bob Evan's again.

On the way back, we took the scenic route down towards Lexington instead of taking the straight route to Louisville.  That way we avoided all of the construction on I-71, as well as the possibility of being backed up behind race day traffic at the track in Sparta.  The Bluegrass  is prettier than the route along the Ohio River anyway.

I tracked fuel economy on the way back, and the van got a little less than 22 miles per gallon driving 70 to 75 miles an hour on the interstate.  Not bad for 5 year old minivan loaded to the gills with people and luggage.

Pros for the weekend:

  • Columbus Zoo is awesome!  If you are into zoo's, it's definitely worth the time and money to get there.
  • Our hotel, the Chase Suites in Dublin, was wonderful. More on that later.
  • I am officially off of my soft, bland, sweet post-surgery diet, so I was able to partake in meals that contained actual food!

Cons for the weekend:

  • It was hot enough to boil a monkey's bum.  We've already decided that when we go back, we'll make it part of a spring break trip so we can spend more than 3 or 4 hours at a time walking around the zoo.
  • The highway departments in Ohio and Kentucky are on official notice that they can bite me.   At least half the highway between Louisville and Columbus was a construction zone, and a poorly managed one at that.  My guess is that this is the states spending the last of the money for "Shovel Ready" projects before Uncle Sugar shuts off the taps.

So there you have it.  The family got to spend 96 hours together, no-one got strangled, and everyone reports that they had a good time.

A Recommendation

A couple weeks ago, Jake over at Curses Foiled Again! added me to his blogroll, and I've been trying ever since to add him to mine. For some reason Blogger is choking on it, even though I can see his RSS feed in my reader.

Jake's a good writer, and he was nice enough to blogroll me, so I'm going to keep trying to reciprocate.

In the meantime, go on over and give him a read.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thought for the Day

Waking up the youngest member of the family by patting them on the back while singing Blue Swede and the Bay City Rollers may be fun, but it is frowned upon by the alpha female.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Give him back to the Army

A soldier, absent without leave from his unit at Fort Campbell, has been arrested in Texas for possession of a destructive device.  He has made statements that he planned to make two bombs and detonate them in restaurants in Killeen that are frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood.  During a hearing, he is reported to have shouted out the name of the Army major who is being tried for a mass shooting of soldiers at Fort Hood last year.  The most recent bozo is being held without bond in a civilian jail.

Personally, I say that the civilian justice system is not the appropriate place for this miscreant.  He joined the Army, but later decided that as a Muslim he could not serve in combat.*  After being granted conscientious objector status and beginning the process of release from the military, he was caught with child pornography, and then went AWOL, allegedly to cause mass casualties among his fellow soldiers. I would rather that this wayward soldier be handed over to military law enforcement, be read his rights, introduced to his lawyer, and courtmartialed.  The military justice system, while still fair to the accused, has few of the bells and whistles that have been grafted onto the civilian system in the past few decades.  The accused gets a fair investigation, a fair and speedy trial, and punishment is still commensurate with the crime.

If this guy did indeed possess child pornography, go AWOL, and conspire to murder other soldiers, the place for him is Leavenworth for the rest of his natural life, not a civilian prison, no matter how harsh it may be.  I hold military personnel to a higher standard of conduct than I do the general public, and I fully support harsh treatment for soldiers who break the law.  The military needs to take care of its own, even if they are criminals in need of the boom being dropped upon them.  The civilian world needs to know that if soldiers break the law, the military will investigate, try, and punish them swiftly and severely, not leave it to civilian judges to clean up after a soldier.

*By the way, I call B.S. on this one.  Muslims have been fighting other Muslims for centuries, and I served with several practicing Muslim soldiers in various places without them acting as if their beliefs would interfere with them serving in the Mid-East, even if it meant fighting against other Muslims.  My gut tells me this twit didn't want to deploy with his unit and used his faith as an excuse to get out of it.


27 rifles, including AK-74's and Druganov's, have been reported stolen from the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.  The ATF reports that the military has recovered some portion of the stolen firearms and made at least one arrest.  The weapons were apparently stolen from a warehouse on the Mojave Desert post.

While there are no details, I'd imagine that these are weapons used by the red team OPFOR at NTC.  For a generation, military units have been rotating through NTC to get their heads handed to them in desert warfare by the OPFOR.  This regiment of highly trained and very capable soldiers started out emulating a Soviet motorized rifle regiment, but have adapted with the times and have been able to kick butt and train soldiers in various scenarios.  That being said, there is something epic about watching the OPFOR face off in the Valley of Death against an armored or mechanized force.  Hopefully, it's going to be a long time before there are real tank battles again, but I've seen three that took my breath away at the NTC.

As to how these weapons were secured and how the thieves got access to them is still unknown. Hopefully they will be recovered and the guilty parties punished so that the staff of Fort Irwin and NTC can get back to what they do best:  train our soldiers to break things and hurt people.

Family Trip 2011 - Day Three

We went back to the zoo this morning and stayed for a few hours before fatigue and heat drove us back to the parking lot.  We cut the older kids loose with admonitions to mind their manners on pain of death, and Irish Woman and I took Boo to see the Islands, Africa, and Australia exhibits.  Three days of constant motion were definitely weighing on the little guy, and by the time we called it a day, he was pretty much reduced to sitting in the wagon and crying.  For those of you without kids, that is the international signal for "Daddy, I'm done.  Take me home so that I may partake of lunch and an afternoon nap.".  Irish Woman and I were about done too, and the Saturday morning crowds were getting outrageous, so it wasn't a hard sell to pack up and go home.

The highlight of the morning was the gorilla exhibit, complete with a baby gorilla.  I know, I know, cute baby animals is a worn-out meme, but that little guy sure was cute.  Irish Woman tried to get a picture of him, but mama gorilla wasn't cooperating.

This afternoon, I'm kicking the older kids out to the pool, relaxing, and rehydrating.  I may or not take them to the local science museum this afternoon, but that air conditioned couch is looking mighty inviting.

Here are the best of the pictures from today.

I'm the king of the world!

This is the greatest jungle gym I've ever seen.  It's 4 freaking stories tall!

If one more kid knocks on that glass, I'm going to go off like a kodiak marmoset!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Columbus Zoo Pictures - Part One

Here are the best of the pictures that Irish Woman took today:

Uncle Ole.  He'll be out in a few years with good behavior

Take. The. Bloody. Picture. Mom.

Swamp Donkey

I'm gonna clean up this one horse town

Go away kid, you bother me.

What the heck is that? 
Little Bear and Boo

What you can't see is that the toddler is propelling me away from the animatronic dinosaur at a high rate of speed

Family Trip 2011 - Day Two

After getting a much needed night's rest, we got up bright and bloody early this morning to get to the zoo before the gods of heat and humidity started showing their displeasure with the American Mid-west.   We made it four hours before we pretty much wilted and headed back to the hotel for a dip in the pool.

The Columbus Zoo is great.  A lot of thought was obviously put into making sure that there was adequate shade in most parts of the zoo.  Most of the areas we walked through had tall trees growing up on both sides of the sidewalk, which was very nice on a hot day like today.  We started out wandering through the North America exhibit, which included animals I haven't seen in a zoo since I was a kid.  The buffalo exhibit includes pronghorn antelope, which I have never seen in a zoo before.  I'm surprised they've been able to keep the speedgoats from jumping the fence and running amok in the suburbs.  The new Arctic exhibit is quite large, but is well laid out.  The highlight, of course, was the polar bear exhibit, which includes a curved underwater window, which allows visitors to stand underneath the water and look at the polar bear as it swims.  On a side note, I'm not sure if the trout in that pool were for decoration, nutrition, or entertainment for the bear.  Next to the polar bear exhibit were the Alaskan brown bears.  Those big bruins were taking a nap when we got there, but their size alone was enough to keep Boo's attention for several minutes.  The zoo has decorated the grounds around this exhibit with statues made out of the mangled metal implements and hardware that the bears have destroyed.

After stopping to partake in a cold, bubbly beverage and get Boo to drink enough water and juice to get his pink cheeks to be rosy and not hot to the touch, I noticed something else about this zoo that I like.  It has a license to sell beer.  While I did not partake myself, I can definitely imagine the need to have a cold beer on a hot day when you're stressed out from trying to keep your kid from climbing the fence into the tiger exhibit.

Our next stop was the aquarium and manatee exhibit.  The aquarium includes a coral reef exhibit with some beautiful tropical fish, a hands-on exhibit with crabs, starfish, and such for the children to touch, and a 20 to 25 meter long aquarium with many varieties of fish, including small sharks.  That alone took almost half an hour to get through as we showed Boo all of the different fish.

The manatee exhibit is top notch.  The zoo apparently acts as a rescue facility for injured or sick wild manatees, and they currently have four.  These are housed in a large tank that somewhat approximates a mangrove swamp, complete with fish, ducks, and rays.  Boo was tickled to watch a manatee eat the lettuce floating on the surface of the water.  Cries of "He's eating his salad!" rang out quite often.

When we left the relative cool of the manatee exhibit, the outside temperature was in the 90's and it was very muggy. We decided to grab some lunch and go back to the hotel for a swim.   We got our lunch, relaxed for a while in the air conditioning, and then headed to the pool.  I haven't been swimming in a long time, and it felt wonderful.

After everyone got dressed again, we had to figure out what we were going to do for the rest of the afternoon.  A quick search found a movie theater across the way from our hotel, so we thought we'd go to the movies.  Irish Woman and I decided to take Boo to see Winnie the Pooh, but the older kids decided they'd rather stay at the hotel and watch a movie there.  The new Winnie the Pooh movie is pretty good.  It's definitely aimed at kids 5 and under, but it's survivable for parents.

This evening, we've been relaxing at the hotel.  We got groceries and made a pot of spaghetti, and we've thrown a movie in the DVD player.  Tomorrow we're going to back to the Zoo in the morning to see the two sections we didn't get to today, and we're considering going into Columbus to go to the local science museum in the afternoon to revel in its air conditioned spaces.

So today went much smoother than yesterday, and I'm very grateful for that.  I'm pretty sure that Irish Woman was ready to drug me and leave me semi-conscious in a corn field last night.

What she said versus what I heard

The scene: The interior of a minivan
The time: Lunchtime
Background: The family has just walked through half of the Columbus Zoo, and has decided to go back to the hotel for a while to relax and cool off.

DaddyBear - How about we go through the drive-through and get something for lunch?
Irish Woman - Sure
Teenager at Burger Joint Inc. Franchise # 1234191923B - Hello, welcome to Burger Joint! How may I help you!
DaddyBear - Yes, I'll have a #2 combo with a Diet Coke, please. What would you like, Irish Woman?
Irish Woman - I'll have a #5, with no mayonaise or ketchup.
DaddyBear - OK, we'll have a #5 combo with nothing on it. What would would like to drink, dear?
Irish Woman - I didn't say I wanted a combo, I just want the sandwich. And I don't want it with nothing on it, I just don't want ketchup or mayonnaise.
DaddyBear - Twitch, Twitch. I'm sorry, scratch that #5 combo. We'll just have the sandwich that comes with it without any condiments, please.

As heaven is my witness what I heard the second time was

I want a bacon cheeseburger made with beef ground this morning from a cow that was raised eating only the sweetest clover and alfalfa. It must have been a black and white cow, and have listened to Swedish yodelers piped in at least twice daily.  I want the cheese to have been made from the milk of a Hungarian jungle yak, and have been aged at least 4 months but no more than 6. And the bacon cannot be smoked with applewood, it must be smoked using virgin Brazilian cherry logged by indigenous loggers. The pigs must have been fed on corn harvested in southern Mongolia, and should have been bred after the sow listened to Barry White. Also, I want organic tomatoes, onions, and lettuce gently placed on my sandwich. And I want all of between two pieces of fresh, ungarnished Parisian baguette, baked by monks who were sworn to silence during the Nixon administration.

I swear, Irish Woman is a living saint.  She puts up with me and my hellions, but she is the pickiest eater I've ever seen when it comes to any kind of sandwich.  It's a good thing I love her so much.  The bad thing is, the kids are starting to order their food in the exact same way.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

I looked behind me and saw only one set of footprints. Jesus looked at me and said "The sand people travel single file. To better hide their numbers." --Salamander, Gunblogger Conspiracy

Family Trip 2011 - Day One

We're taking a mini-vacation this weekend.  I've always wanted to go to the Columbus Zoo, and it looked like an easy drive up from Louisville, so we started planning back in March.

This morning dawned bright and early at Casa de Oso, but I promised myself that I wouldn't be a raving maniac trying to get out the door.  Most of the clothes were packed already, we knew what we were taking with us, and the car was prepped.  I got up at 6 and started getting things staged on the front porch for loading into the van.   I loaded up the cooler, finished getting my bag packed, and got the wagon into the van.

While I was doing this, Irish Woman was in the back yard trying to make the fancy new water timer work so that the dogs would get fresh water into the wading pool in their area every few hours.  Apparently it takes two hours to figure out how to set the darn thing up and get the water to flow in the right direction, but she eventually got the water to both fill the pool and mist an area over it so that the dogs could cool off. Did I mention that our dogs prefer puddle water to tap, and they are afraid of water that comes from the sky, such as when you squirt them with the hose or it rains?  Yes, they're labradors, why do you ask?

At 7, I woke up the kids and instructed them to get through the bathroom so we could get moving.  I got Boo something to eat and told the others that we would be hitting a drive-thru for breakfast.  His breakfast apparently wasn't up to snuff, as the little angel raided the fridge while my back was turned.  I took a deep breath, put him back in front of his breakfast, and cleaned up the mess.

At 7:30, I noticed that the older kids were still sitting bleary eyed on the couch, so I more firmly told the older kids to get a move on.  I then ran out into the driveway to retrieve Boo, who had made a break for it and was heading in a generally northerly direction as fast as his little legs would carry him. With a screaming three year old under an arm, I continued getting things moving towards the van.  Have you ever tried to move a loaded cooler with a squirming toddler under one arm?  It beats the gym every time.

Little  Bear and Girlie Bear eventually got through the bathroom and brought their bags out for loading.  Luckily for me, Girlie Bear's suitcase wasn't zipped, and I noticed that all the pants she had packed were two pairs of shorts that were two sizes too small.  I told her in what Irish Woman calls my warning growl to go back and try again.  I then found out that every other pair of shorts the girl owns were at the bottom of her hamper and smelled like feet.  Irish Woman saw my eyes rolling into the back of my head and the vein in my temple starting to throb, grabbed them, and whisked them into the washer.  They are now hanging from the clothesline in the hotel bathtub.

After getting the clothes out of the washer, retrieving the two cats that Boo had let out for a 4 day jaunt around the neighborhood, checking with the neighbor to make sure things were cool for him to feed the dogs this weekend, packing the van, getting cleaned up, and piling two teenagers, a toddler, an Irish Woman who has an impulsive need for someone to be talking, and a Norwegian with a raging tension headache into the van, we headed off at 9:06.

We made a couple of quick stops to pick up odds and ends before getting on the road.  As we left Louisville, the traffic was heavy, but moving quickly.  As we passed the exits for Sparta, I quipped that we were making really good time and were almost to I-75.

Just as we passed those exits, two things happened:

  • Traffic came to an almost standstill because of construction, and remained so off and on for the remainder of the drive.  It seemed that as soon as I got up to speed, we were slowing down for more construction.
  • BooBoo's alter ego expressed itself for the first time:  Captain Carsick

In his defense, this is probably the longest drive he's made in his short life, and the stop and go traffic of getting through the construction zones was probably rough on him.  After the second time we stopped to clean him up and change his clothes, we gave up and left him in his underwear for the remainder of the drive.

In order to calm Boo down, I switched the iPod to our "Kids" playlist, which is basically light pop with a heavy leavening of Disney movie music.  Being stuck in traffic listening to Mary Poppins and The Lion King must be against some portion of the Geneva Conventions.

What should have been a 3 1/2 hour drive turned into an almost 6 hour drive to get to Columbus.  Amazingly, once we got to the city, traffic sped up, and we didn't have to drive through the main city to get to our hotel.  Getting here was such a relief that I wasn't even upset when the desk clerk told me that my room hadn't been cleaned yet and could I come back in an hour?  Heck, I almost skipped back to the car, drove to the nearest McDonalds with a toddler habitrail, and sipped a cold Coke while I watched Boo, now feeling much better and wearing his 4th set of clothes for the day, scramble up, over, under, and through.

At the moment, I'm laying on the bed under the air conditioner, sipping a cold drink, and getting myself together.  Irish Woman has taken the kids down to the pool for a couple of hours to give me a break.  I'm not sure if she's doing it for her benefit or mine, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Tomorrow we will get up as early as we can and fulfill one of my bucket list items by touring the Columbus Zoo.  My plan is to go from shady spot to shady spot, and take it easy.  If we don't see everything we want to, we also have Saturday as a backup.

Here's hoping that all the bad luck for the weekend happened today.

Military Ranks Explained


  • Leaps over tall buildings in a single bound
  • Is faster than a speeding bullet
  • Can fly higher than a mighty rocket
  • More powerful than a locomotive
  • Gives policy guidance to God
Lieutenant Colonel
  • Must take a running start to leap over tall buildings
  • Speed compares favorably with a speeding bullet
  • Can fly as high as a B-52
  • Can wrestle a train to the ground for two out of three falls
  • Talks to God

  • Can leap over short buildings
  • Not quite as fast as a speeding bullet
  • Only flies as high as a C-130
  • Loses Tug of War with locomotive
  • Listens to God

  • Runs into the building while trying to leap them
  • Can shoot bullets, sometimes accidentally hits target
  • Has trouble getting off the ground
  • Knows what the underside of the train looks like
  • Talks to animals

First Lieutenant
  • Can occasionally find the door to a building, usually attempts window first
  • Not issued ammunition
  • Walks with no assistance
  • Can identify a train two out of three times
  • Talks to posters on the wall

Second Lieutenant
  • What's a building?
  • Has a good time with a super soaker
  • Walks with assistance
  • Likes to wave at the choo-choo
  • Has a wonderful vocabulary that was learned from Sesame Street

  • Kicks building out of the way and keeps on going
  • Catches bullet, chews it to bits
  • Flies higher than then angels
  • Inspects locomotive, chews caboose
  • Is God

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Overheard in the Living Room

Girlie Bear, watching Star Wars:  Are the guys in the white suits good guys or bad guys?
Me:  Honey, those are imperial stormtroopers.
Girlie Bear:  So they're..... bad?


I have messed up as a father.

A step in the right direction

NASA and SpaceX have announced that a SpaceX Falcon rocket will be launched on November 30 and dock with the ISS on December 7.  This is part of a move to shift a portion of the space missions for the United States to private launch companies. 

This is where I agree with others about how the U.S. space industry needs to be run.  NASA has changed a lot from the 1960's.  Where in the Gemini and Apollo eras NASA was using cutting edge technology and methods to push towards a goal, it's been muddled ever since in trying to justify its existence.  Now that technology and capital have been developed to make at least the low earth orbit part of NASA's mission a commercially viable option, NASA can contract out the day to day launches and do what it seems to be doing well:  exploration using unmanned probes.

I will probably never be able to afford a trip to space, and I doubt it will be economical enough for my children to do it in their lifetime.  But if someone can figure out a way to get into orbit at low rates, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't become affordable for my grandchildren.  If we are ever to do more than voyages of discovery outside of our atmosphere, there has to be a profit motive.  Columbus, Cortez, Cartier, and Hudson may have been successful explorers who were financed by governments, but it was the settlements like Jamestown and Saint Augustine that were settled by people motivated by not much more than a yearning to do better economically that opened up the New World.  The same will probably be true of space.  NASA and the other governmental space organizations will do exploration, but the wish to find riches will drive the masses of people and equipment that will be necessary to colonize and exploit the rest of the solar system.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dear Glenn

Bite my ass.  Seriously.

Who cares why the young people who were killed last week in Norway were gathered together?  People send their kids to all sorts of camps all the time.  Growing up, I went to church camp, Scout camp, and even went to a camp put on by the union my father belonged to.  We didn't sit around and discuss Marxism and unionization.  We went boating and roasted marshmallows.  I sincerely doubt this was an indoctrination camp.  My guess is that the party put on the camp so that kids with similar backgrounds could get together and have some fun.  Yes, I'm sure that whatever lessons were drawn from the experience supported the party line, but that's entirely beside the point.

You bloated, whiny, ignorant, arrogant ass.  You are dancing in the blood of children in order to make a political point.  They haven't even started holding the funerals yet, and you're questioning the motivations of the parents of dead children.  Real classy.

Do those of us who lean to the right a favor:  When you have a thought, keep it in your head.  Don't verbalize it.  It might be useful if you just stopped talking and writing altogether.  I am sick unto death of being challenged by liberals because of the crap that you and your ilk spew.   Get.  Off. My. Side.

Haven't seen one of these in a while

When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to read about people from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact defecting to the west and asking for political asylum.  Sometimes they were government officials who could feel the power slipping away, sometimes they were artists or athletes who wanted greater opportunities in the West, and sometimes they were everyday men and women who were given an opportunity to flee and took it.  After the fall of Communism, defections and requests for asylum became rare.

Recently, a journalist from Russia requested asylum in Israel.  He feels that his life is in danger because of work he has done uncovering corruption in the Russian legal system.  I wish him luck.

That's one thing I can say about our country and most countries in the West.  You don't see a lot of people who play for the U.S. Olympic Team trying to defect to China, and you don't see Brad Pitt and Nancy Grace running to the Russian government seeking asylum when they do overseas work.  America and the rest of the democratic nations are the hope of the rest of the world when they are oppressed or in danger.

Quit complaining and vote

The head of the NAACP is comparing requirements in some states to show a government issued ID before voting to Jim Crow laws.  It seems that asking people to prove that they are indeed the person they claim to be is in some way discriminatory. The argument seems to be that the poor cannot afford an ID, young people might not get an ID, and the elderly might not be able to get to the license bureau to get one, and those groups tend to vote in a way that makes the NAACP happy.  The evil people who support these laws must be racists, ageists, and classist in some way.  Apparently, these laws are a racist reaction to the election of the first African American president, even though I've been hearing proposals for these laws since the mid-1990's.

My response:  Shut up.  I'm tired of hearing about it.  The laws have been passed by the people's representatives, approved by the chief executives of the states, and upheld by the courts.  The time to act like a petulant child is over.  If getting the young, the poor, the minority, and the old to the polls in order to support politicians that the NAACP likes is so important, then quit your bellyaching and start getting these people to the DMV to get an ID and then get them to the polls.  These groups obviously don't have a problem getting to a government office to arrange to have free money delivered.  Every state I've heard of has some program that allows the indigent to get an ID at no cost.  For those without the necessary paperwork, such as a birth certificate or Social Security card, you have over a year to get off your butt and get that taken care of so you can get an ID and vote.  Quit complaining, get off your butt, and do what needs doing.  If you can't be bothered to devote a couple of hours to get an ID, then I doubt you'll be bothered to register to vote and actually vote.

You know, I think some people would complain if it was raining gold.  Not too long before I was born, a person who wasn't lilly white had a hard time voting at all in some parts of this country.  Now you can get on the rolls and vote pretty much anywhere with little to no hassle.  And now the NAACP wants to complain because the voters of some states are being asked to prove their identity so that elections can be a bit cleaner.

Sometimes, I just want to stand on a corner yelling "Stop being a jerk!".  Comparing a requirement to acquire and present a little plastic card in order to do the most important thing a citizen can do to laws that restricted Americans of African descent from participating in most of society is asinine.  And while we're at it, how about a requirement to have an index finger dipped in flourescent indelible ink so that the slogan of "Vote Early, Vote Often" becomes meaningless?

Keeping the Warthog in the air

According to DefenseTech, the Air Force is looking for proposals to keep the A-10 Warthog flying until 2040.  This may be one of the smartest things the military has done in a long time.  The A-10 is one of the few fixed wing aircraft that has a dedicated air support role.  Yes, there are fighters from the F-15, F-16, and F-18 families that have a ground attack role and do some Close Air Support (CAS) work, but there's nothing like a virtually indestructible airplane build around a big gun that can linger for a long time to make you feel better about your day.

When I was stationed in Arizona, A-10 pilots from Tucson liked to buzz our columns when we were in the field.  The A-10 is surprisingly quiet when it's coming at you, and amazingly loud when it flies over you.  If the pilots had lit us up with their cannon, most of us wouldn't have known they were there until big holes started appearing in our trucks and tracks.

I hope this comes to fruition.  There's been no talk about replacing the Warthog with a comparable airframe, and this friend of the ground soldier fulfills a crucial role in our fighting capabilities.

Our long national nightmare is over!

OK, I know it's a tribalistic exercise in watching millionaires play a child's game.  I know that there is little to no social value in professional sports as practiced in this country, and that all I'm doing is making the rich richer.  And I know that watching it on TV makes me into a couch potato and a raving lunatic at times.

But football's back baby!  Starting next month, my Sunday, Monday, and Thursday dance card is full.  I will re-acquaint myself with the family in February.

I'll be back after I go stock up on beverages, snacks, and grillable meat.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thought for the Day

After eating very little more than jello, pudding, some pasta, and either chocolate or vanilla protein shakes over the past three weeks, I believe that the person who finds a way to make a protein shake that tastes like good sausage gravy will be a billionaire in about 15 minutes.

What to know when you go to college

A doctor in Illinois has compiled a list of things to know for new college students and their families.  It includes the normal admonitions about drinking, drugs, and health needs.  I thought I'd add to it.

Here's my list:

  • There is no magic underwear fairy at college.  The dirty clothes will not magically appear in your drawers overnight, clean and folded.  Learn how to use a laundry.
  • The laundry is not in your mom's basement.
  • The following people are not your friends:
  1. The guy who doesn't check ID's too closely at the liquor store
  2. The guy who deals on campus
  3. The girl who asks you to do her homework for her in exchange for the privilege of taking her out to dinner
  4. The guy who asks you for a date to attend the party at his frat house just to introduce you to all of the guys
  5. The professor or TA who really really seems to like you
  6. The guys handing out free tee shirts in exchange for a credit card application
  7. The guy who sold you that Xbox after you got your student loan check
  • It is amazing how many meals can be made using nothing more than a microwave oven and a coffee maker
  • When there are mushrooms growing in the shower, it's time to break out those cleaning supplies your parents sent with you last semester
  • When you start to smell so bad you offend yourself, time to break out that soap and shampoo that they also packed
  • Captain Condom says: Wrap that rascal!
  • You may hate rice, ramen, tuna fish, and bologna, but you will be amazed how quickly you can get over that when you're hungry
  • If the only thing you can honestly say you learned last semester was how to do a beer bong or roll a joint, you're doing it wrong
  • Your professor may truly care about whether or not you get a good education, but she's going to get paid whether or not you show up to her 9 AM class.  You're paying for it, you might as well go.
  • Very few people are going to pay you for a degree that boils down to four years of BS'ing with the professor and navel gazing.  Remember, there are millions of starving artists, musicians, and poets in the world, but a plumber rarely goes hungry.
  • The world needs ditch diggers too.
Any additions?

Fill Dirt Needed, Fast

The director of Boston's Big Dig project says that water leaks are a major concern to the tunnel structure and are causing damage to support girders and electrical systems.  While he maintains that the tunnels are safe, I don't think lights falling from the ceiling are a good sign.

Since the Big Dig runs through downtown Boston, a collapse would probably be pretty catastrophic.  The pessimist in me has to ask whether or not it would be worth the expense to just fill the thing in with the dirt and rock that were taken out to build the darned thing.

In the event that I go to Boston anytime soon, I think I'll take my chances with surface streets that aren't above the Big Dig.

Family pictures

Fox News has a new slideshow, and it's good to see photos of my ex-wives in all of their different body forms and hair styles.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Bad To Worse" Department - A man in Florida strapped a fake bomb to the underside of his car and headed off to get an oil change.  A technician at the garage noticed his package and alerted authorities.  Apparently the man was going through a bad divorce, so one could see this as either an attempt at "suicide by cop" or a cry for help.  I see this as someone who wants to spend more quality time with his lawyer.
  • From the "Get A Rope" Department - Police in Wisconsin are advising citizens to keep an eye on their air conditioners after a string of robberies.  My guess is thieves are stealing them to resell the copper in the coils.  In the summer, this should be a hanging offense.  I'm a winter guy myself.  I can always add another layer of wool or poly-pro when you're cold.  You can only get so naked when you're hot before the neighbors start to talk.  For those of you who will have that image in your head as you try to go to sleep tonight, I'm sorry.
  • From the "But It Is Terminal" Department - A lawyer in Florida has coined the phrase of the day:  "He's guilty of felony stupidity...but I don't think that should be a federal crime".  His client is charged with getting drunk on a cruise ship, breaking into a control room, and releasing one of the ship's anchors.  Personally, I believe this could have been fixed with a little something they used to call 'keelhauling', but that's just me.
  • From the "How Can They Tell The Difference" Department - A transit strike in Italy caused snarled train, bus, and ferry traffic in the land of good wine and better food.  Having driven in Naples, I cannot imagine how it could have been worse than normal.  The streets in Naples were just big enough for two small Fiat micromachines to pass each other, and the Italians routinely try to fit five in the same space.  That being said, it's good that you can't swing a cat in Italy without hitting a church, because I regularly had something to confess about the thoughts I had towards other drivers and the language I used in reference to their skill and breeding.  Of course, I could also ask the priest to pray for me as I tried to make it across town.

Thought for the Day

This weekend, I have had the Guano Touch.  Everything I've touched has turned to crap.

An Hour and a Half

Reports from Norway indicate that the shooter at Utoya had an hour and a half to shoot children before the police were able to get to the the scene and arrest him.  Apparently he surrendered as soon as he was confronted by police with guns.  The delay in response was lengthened by the police helicopter not being available and a lack of boats for the police to use to get to the island.

Imagine being in an active shooter situation, unarmed, with little to no cover or escape route, for an hour and a half.  You can hide or play dead, but until the SWAT team gets there, the shooter has nothing but time to sort the quick from the dead.

This is one of the reasons I carry.  I don't have delusions of grandeur or fantasies of being the hero in a shooting.  All I want to do is survive a bad situation if it should ever happen.  While active shooter situations like this are relatively rare, they do happen.  More common are the usual criminals who want to rob me or the store I'm in.  The thing that convinced me to learn how to shoot pistols and get a carry permit was the robbery of a store where I stopped off to get a Coke.  In that case, the thief flashed a gun and left after he got his money, but all it would have taken to make a bad situation worse was for a policeman to stop off for some coffee or for the thug to decide that witnesses were a bad thing.

People, we're not movie heroes.  We don't go out looking for trouble, and we shouldn't fantasize about being the guy who stops a shooter in his tracks.  But we have to be prepared.  We have to carry, we have to know how to safely and effectively use the tools we carry, and we have to think about how we would react to the most common threats for the environments we frequent and at least spend a moment thinking about the uncommon threats.  These people weren't in a bad neighborhood or at the local Stop 'n' Rob.  They were at a summer camp for children, and the sky fell in on them.

Like Breda says, carry your gun - it's a lighter burden than regret.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Which gun was she using?

A woman in Chicago was sentenced to 55 years in prison for trying to shoot a police officer in 2007.  Luckily for the officer, the bullets in her gun had fallen out when she was running with it.

Which begs the question:  What brand of gun was she using that allowed the bullets to fall out during a foot chase?

I want to know so that I never buy that brand.  Even if she just bumped the magazine or cylinder release while running and they fell out afterwards, I want to know.

Although I could see the advertisement now:  "Brand X handguns.  Easiest to unload in a hurry".

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alt for Norge

Today, a children's camp on Utoya Island was shot up and a government building in Oslo was blown up.  At the time of this writing, casualties number 16 dead with many more injured.  I expect the death toll to climb as some of those who were wounded at Utoya die and more bodies are uncovered in Oslo.

At the moment, no-one has taken responsibility for these atrocities, so we don't know if it was a terrorist group or the Norwegian equivalent of Timothy McVeigh.  My gut tells me it was some Islamic terror group, but we will see in the coming days.  Norway, like most European countries, has had its share of problems with Muslim immigrants and the terrorist fish that swim through that particular sea. However, the gunman at Utoya is described as Norwegian.

Norway is a NATO ally, and has stood with us in Afghanistan and elsewhere even as a fifth column of Islamists has threatened her.  Through the Cold War, Norway was one of the few NATO countries to actually border the Soviet Union.  Now is the time for us to repay 60 years of allegiance by standing with her.

In the late 1900's 1800's, my grandfather boarded a boat in Oslo.  He left behind the fishing and farming that his family had been doing for generations in the hard, cold land of Norway and sought a new life of hard work and prosperity in the hard cold land of North Dakota.  He found a job, raised two families, and passed on pride of being Norwegian to his sons and their sons.  Today, pride in being Norwegian needs to go beyond "Kiss me, I'm Norwegian" shirts, lefse, and krumkake.

My thoughts and prayers go out to my grandfather's countrymen and our allies in Norway.  We Norse have a reputation for being strong, stubborn, and hard to beat, and I hope that Norway lives up to that reputation in response to this atrocity.  With everything I have this day, I stand with Norway.

No Sympathy Part II

Three people died the other day when they went over the 317 foot Vernal Falls at Yosemite National Park.  Witnesses report that two of them crossed safety barriers and waded out into the water above the falls to take a picture.  One of them slipped, the other slipped trying to help the first one, and a third person crossed barriers to get to the first two.  The rest of their group, including several children, watched all three go over the falls, apparently to their death.

In the same vein, a 50 year old hiker in south-eastern Arizona was rescued after being lost in the Cochise Stronghold for seven hours.  She apparently was on a hike with family and got lost.  Since she was able to walk out, I'm going to assume she had at least a little water.  7 hours in the open in Cochise County during high summer without water is a good way to die. I've hiked that area, and this lady is lucky to have been found alive.

Every year someone decides to try to climb Mount Hood a little too late or a little early in the year, which causes huge search and rescue efforts, sometimes leading to the injury or death of rescuers.   Do people not look at weather predictions and the news before heading out?

The Coast Guard regularly rescues people who try to take a little boat in bad repair or improperly equipped out onto the big ocean.  These dedicated people take their lives in their own hands to save the lives of people who shouldn't have gotten off the dock.

Every summer you hear about people who get mauled and killed by bears who attack after being fed or are startled while raiding coolers and food boxes in camping areas.  Apparently people never learn to tie their food up in trees while in bear country.  I know people who are shocked when I tell them they shouldn't be storing food in the same tent they sleep in.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  People regularly do stupid things when leaving civilization and don't realize how quickly Mother Nature can kill you.

For those who die because of their own stupidity, I feel nothing.  They put their own lives and the lives of everyone who tries to rescue themselves at risk by being morons.  If there is a guardrail and signs telling you to not get any closer to the waterfall, don't cross it.  If you're going to go for a hike in anywhere more rugged than the local golf course, you need to go prepared.  That means taking food, water, a first aid kit, a knife, and a way to make fire.  If you think the world is going to take pity on you because you don't know what you're doing, you're dead wrong.  And if you're taking your family with you when you take your dumbass act on the trail, you're killing your children while you commit slow suicide.

In the Yosemite incident, I feel for the people who watched the hikers die, and I feel for the person who sacrificed herself trying to save two other human beings.  The other two were dead as soon as they left the parking area.

People, don't assume that anything is safe.  Enjoy the world that doesn't include hotels and paved parking lots, but be aware of how quickly things can go bad.  Know what you're walking into, know the expected weather, follow posted safety notices, and have what you need to keep you and yours alive when things go to hell.  I won't feel bad for you when you die because of stupidity, but I will feel horrible for those who love you and those who are injured or die trying to find and rescue you.

No Sympathy

Two American citizens were arrested and spent 5 days in a Canadian jail after trying to cross the border with several undeclared guns. 
The Canadian Border Service Agency said when officers searched their 2008 Winnebago after the pair said they had nothing to declare, agents found a derringer-type pistol, a revolver, three semi-automatic pistols and a shotgun.
While I fully support all of the rights of our citizens, including rights to firearms, those rights don't extend once you leave our borders.  When you leave the jurisdiction of the United States, you have to follow the laws of the country you visit.  The same goes for any behavior, but firearms laws are probably enforced just as stringently as drug laws.

Even when you travel from one of our states to another, you have to know what the laws are.  For example, in Kentucky, you can put a loaded pistol in the glove compartment of your automobile without having a concealed carry permit and you are perfectly legal.  The same does not go for all of the neighboring states, and it certainly isn't legal in less gun friendly states such as Illinois and California.  An excuse of "But it's legal in my state!" isn't going to fly.

When you're travelling, you have to learn what is legal and what is not in all of the states you will be going through.  If your CCW license isn't recognized in one of the states you will be crossing, then you can either play felony bingo and hope you don't get stopped by the local police or you can stop before crossing the state line and secure your firearm in the manner that's legal in that state.  If you're crossing an international border, it is incumbent on you to know the laws that deal with bringing your firearms with you and to follow them.

We as gun owners will be judged as a group by the actions of the most stupid of our brethren.  We have two things to do.  First, don't be that guy.  Don't impede the progress we've been making by willfully breaking the law because you think it's garbage.  Second, we have to educate and police ourselves.  If our lowest common denominator messes up, we should make sure they aren't having their rights abused, but we shouldn't defend someone just because he's a member of our tribe.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canton CCW Controversy

A video from a police dash camera is making the rounds.  In a nutshell, an Ohio CCW carrier is approached by police at a traffic stop, tells the officer that seems to be in charge that he is legally carrying a gun, and the officer becomes very angry, to say the least.

Here's the video (Language warning):

My initial thoughts:

  • The situation the officers roll up on seems suspicious, but I'm not qualified to judge whether it was probable cause for the tactics they use.  It's possible that this took place in an area known for high levels of prostitution, and the officers seem to recognize the passenger and the woman outside the car.
  • I did vehicle searches at checkpoints in the Army, and removing the driver and passengers prior to starting one is pretty basic.  I'm not a police officer, but if the officers had taken the driver out, after forcefully taking charge of the situation as they did, they would have given him an opportunity to inform them sooner without interrupting them.  There is also the issue of safety.  If the driver had tried to flee or fight, the officer in the car would have been at a disadvantage.
  • The only place I can fault the CCW carrier is that there was indeed a police officer in the car with him for several minutes, and he could have notified him then, even if he had to assert himself and initiate communication after being told to be quiet.  It is possible that after the forceful way that the officers took control of the situation and made sure that all communications were initiated by the police that the driver was cowed into silence.
  • That being said, when the driver tried to tell the officer, the officer prevented him from finishing a sentence.  The driver was hesitant, and was obviously very nervous.  The officer raising his voice and cursing didn't help.  Even when the driver tried to hand his CCW license over with his drivers license, the officer refused to take it.  The driver was handcuffed while holding his CCW license, so the officer knew he had something in his hand.
  • The officer's abusive use of profanity and threats of both physical harm and future harassment were unprofessional and probably actionable.   Note that most of these happen after the driver is disarmed and neutralized by being handcuffed.  At that point, even if the officer initially felt threatened, he was in no danger whatsoever.
  • The driver did himself a big favor by remaining calm, being polite, and not becoming emotional or resisting.  Even when he was uncomfortable, he apologized for complaining to the officers.
  • Incidents like this are the reason I believe that any interaction with the government should be recorded.  Without that tape, the driver would have no reliable third party to act as a witness for him.

When I took my CCW class here in Kentucky, how to interact with police was covered pretty extensively. Basically, we were told it was a bad idea to surprise a police officer.  What we were advised to do, and what seems to work very well, is to hand over your license along with your identification.  Not have it in your hand, not try to hand it over after the license has changed hands.  Do it in the same action. I have only had to inform an officer once, and that was when I was a witness to a traffic accident. By giving him both my driver's license for his report and my CCW license, he knew to ask the "Are you carrying and where is it?" question without me surprising him.  The officer was pleasant and professional after making sure I knew not to touch my gun or make any movements toward it.

I am curious to hear from those of you who live in Ohio as to how you were instructed on this responsibility to inform.  Was a specific time frame discussed, or was it as nebulous as the notes in the video from Ohio Concealed Carry lead us to believe?  What methods for informing were you told about in your training?  Is there a way to inform that is more common than others?  While one would hope that this officer's reaction to being informed, late or not, is an aberration, is a negative reaction to being informed the norm, or do the majority of officers react in a polite and professional manner?

Hopefully, the officer in this incident is reminded of his obligation, even when he is angry or going through an adrenaline dump, to be professional.  I also hope that this incident, now that it is getting so much exposure, can be used to improve police conduct with CCW holders, as well as help CCW holders know how to better meet this responsibility to inform.

Update -- I asked Breda how she was told to inform an officer that she was carrying, and she looked it up.  She says that a CCW holder is supposed to keep their hands on the steering wheel and verbally inform the officer that they are a CCW holder and they have a gun.  In this case, I think the driver should have done this as the officer was coming up to the car, even if the officer was interacting with the woman on the side of the road.  Interrupting the officer might have pissed him off, but the driver would have been legally in the right from the get go, taking away any excuse to berate and threaten him.  I'm not saying the officer would have reacted differently, but the driver would have definitely been on the side of the angels in that circumstance.  David Hardy reports are that the officer has been suspended pending an investigation and the charges against the driver have been dropped.


One of the main complaints about the X-ray booths at airport security has been the perception that a realistic nude image of the person being scanned is viewed by TSA personnel.  Frankly, it's one of the reasons I've kept myself and the rest of my family away from flying, especially since the alternative is to be groped by a TSA agent.

Now, the TSA has announced that new software will only show a generic picture of a person and highlight anything unusual on them.  So you see a blocky humanoid figure with alerts for non-normal things, which could range from terrorist weapons and narcotics to prosthetics and insulin pumps.

If it works as advertised, I suppose this will alleviate one of the arguments against the perv-o-tron scanners.  And that's a big 'if'.  I want to see it in action.  It would help if a projection of what the TSA guy can see is put up on a screen so that the scanned passenger can see what the TSA is looking at.  Something as simple as a mirror reflecting the agent's monitor to the passenger would work.

On the other hand, there are unanswered questions about the amount of radiation the scanner puts out. Before I get down off of my soapbox and stop railing against this technology, the TSA is going to have to come across with independent documentation about the dose of radiation that thing puts out.  For someone like me who flies infrequently, it might be like having one extra chest X-ray over the course of my lifetime. For someone who flies all the time, such as OldNFO or flight crew, it could be a huge problem.

So I look at this as a start.  As to why they didn't just put up blocky cartoon graphics instead of the more lifelike images in the first place, we will probably never know.  Someone had to have known there would be an outcry over it, but probably didn't care.  If the TSA is being honest about the new images and provides some verifiable documentation about radiation doses, then I will probably drop my opposition to their use.  Mind you, I won't be holding my breath.

Today's Earworm

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health Update

Well, I'm two weeks post-op, and I'm doing OK

The first few days were pretty rough, but that was expected and Irish Woman and I had planned for it.  Thank goodness for good friends and Girlie Bear, who were a real help to Irish Woman while she split her time between the family and the hospital.  I spent two nights in the hospital instead of one because my doctor's practice forgot to tell the hospital to discharge me, but since I was still on IV morphine for pain until the end of the second night, that was a blessing in disguise.

My post-hospital pain management took some adjusting, but eventually I was comfortable.  My doctor started me out on liquid Percocet, but I had to have him change that to another medicine because every time I took Percocet, I'd pass out, have horrific nightmares, and wake up with the worst tension headaches of my life.  Once my meds were adjusted, all that would happen was that I would get kind of dopey and fall asleep, but I was comfortable.  I switched over to over the counter pain relief on Sunday, and I'm doing OK.

I've been able to eat a little normal food for the last few days, but my diet is still mainly made up of jello, pudding, yogurt, and protein shakes.  I've had ice cream a few times, but not too much.  I tried drinking some broth, but it tasted like a mouthful of chicken grease, so I haven't had too much of that. When I weighed myself this afternoon, I was down 15 pounds from my weight on the morning of my surgery.  That curve is probably going to flatten as I start eating more and more normal food, but I've cut a lot of the crap out of my diet, so I expect to continue to lose weight slowly.

At my check-up this afternoon, the doctor said my throat is healing as well as can be expected, but it's going to be about another month or so before I'm back to 100%.  He said that I can expect to have a sore throat for a couple more weeks, but I can eat whatever I want as long as I can stand the pain.

I started back to work today.  My boss is being very understanding, and is letting me work half days for the rest of the week at the office.  I will dial in from home after lunch.  Next week is a short week for me, so I'm easing back into work.

So, to sum up, I'm doing OK.  Recovery from this was a bit rough and painful at first, but after spending the first week pretty much flat on my back, I've been able to do a little more every day.  Irish Woman tells me that there is a noticeable lack of snoring when I sleep, which is one of the main reasons I did this.  Hopefully that continues.

For those of you who stuck with me while I was blogging while stoned on pain meds, thank you.  I've gone back and read my posts, and I can tell that a lot of my filters were definitely in the off position.  Hope I wasn't too obnoxious.


  • To the lady in the doctor's office today with her son:  There was no need to thank me for asking the receptionist to switch the television from CNN to Disney.  I've been in your place, and I know how hard it is to keep a munchkin from losing it in a non-munchkin environment.  Plus, I got to read my book in relative peace while I waited for my appointment.
  • To the geriatric hippie driving the smoke belching VW van on the highway today:  Thank you for keeping the mosquitoes down along I-64.  I am truly impressed that you are able to keep that POS on the road at all, but if your top end is 45, maybe you should try taking side streets.
  • To the lady in the Walmart checkout this afternoon:  I suggest the use of mace and shock collars to keep your brood of 7 children in line at the store.  If you're not willing to do so, I'm pretty sure I can get volunteers.
  • To the two young men who were behind me in line at Walmart:  Guys, you were pushing a cart full of pudding cups, Dolly Madison cupcakes, beef jerky, and Mountain Dew.  You weren't fooling anyone by trying to act straight while giggling like fiends and smelling like the inside of a bong.  Thankfully, I don't think you were driving, because you dragged along a girlfriend, who seemed to be sober.
  • To the sober young lady with the two stoners:  I'm so sorry about your situation.  I'm sure you could do better.
  • To the lady in the Walmart parking lot wearing the pink business suit:  Maybe if you smacked the young man you were walking into the store with, who I assume was your son, a few times, he wouldn't walk around with his pants down around his knees, wear a ball cap for a basketball team halfway across the country cocked 45 degrees, have a sleeveless tee shirt with a vulgar picture and saying on it, and words carved into his purple hair.

Now I'm really hungry

Here I sit, drinking a low-fat protein shake because it's easy to swallow, and I read this article.  Why do I do this to myself?

I know I can't eat anything on that list more than a couple of times  a year, but it all sounds wonderful. 

My loving wife is one of the best cooks I've ever met.  I didn't get fat because she can't cook.  She loves cooking with pork fat, bourbon, and spices.  One of her favorite breakfasts to make is biscuits and gravy made with a local sausage that tastes more like bacon or ham than sausage served with a fruit salad to cut the cholesterol. The other night she made beef stroganoff from scratch and I played through the pain just so I could have a little of it.  The smell of her cuisine over the past few weeks has been driving me mad.  It should tell you something that in the two weeks since I've stopped eating her cooking, I've lost between 10 and 20 pounds.

As I've recovered, I've tried eating a few normal things with varying degrees of fail.  After two weeks of eating soft foods like jello, pudding, protein shakes, and soft noodles, the thought of a Fried Cheese Melt or a Farmhouse Burger is almost sinful.  When this is over, I'm going to lunch at a Chinese buffet and I'm not leaving until I've tried a little of everything.

Hurricane Dora?

Hurricane Dora is churning in the Pacific, and is expected to hit Mexico's coast soon.

Upon hearing that a hurricane had been named after a cartoon character, I wonder what's next?  Could we have a year with a list of hurricanes named after annoying children television characters?

Here are a few suggestions:



And yes, before you ask, I've watched way too much kids television in the last 20 years or so.  Why do you ask?

We're going to need a bigger boat

Scientists off the coast of South Africa were treated recently to an opportunity to conduct an up close and personal observation of a great white shark in the wild.  Specifically, a 9 plus foot long shark jumped out of the water, landed on the stern of a research vessel, and proceeded to thrash about, cutting fuel lines and such.  Eventually, the shark was returned to open water.

How'd you like to have been the research intern who was chumming when that thing jumped over you?  I just hope that same intern wasn't the one who had to hose out the bottom of the boat that day.  My guess is that it was especially foul after this incident


A Lions Club fair in Lexington, Kentucky, is featuring a dunk tank manned by a woman impersonating Casey Anthony.  She apparently taunts the crowd to elicit more participation and hence more income:

I wanna see some real men -- I've been in prison too long," the Anthony impersonator says to one ball-thrower before plunging into a pool of water. She taunts another, "You think I'm guilty?
People, y'all need to let it go and move on with your lives.  The trial is over.  She was found not guilty.  No-one is going to sue her ala OJ.  She is going to live out her life in infamy and obscurity.  She was a white trash nobody before Nancy Grace plastered her and her dead child in front of the hooting mob, and that's where she will return.
We've got more important things to worry about.  The two parties are playing political and economic chicken to see who sells us down the river.  The price of everything but bullsh-- is going through the roof.  We are fighting 2.6 wars in places that most people can't find on a globe.

Please quit obsessing over a 20 something refugee from Girls Gone Wild and concentrate on something important.  You're starting to become annoying.  Don't annoy me Mr. McGee.  You wouldn't like me when I'm annoyed.

Update - 7/21/2011

It appears that good taste has surprisingly sprung in this incident.  The fair has torn down the dunking booth.  It's amazing how quickly people realize they've acted like morons when the light of 1000 websites shines upon them.

Today's Earworm

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Boo stayed home from school today, and he played hard all morning.  Irish Woman caught him nodding off with Timmy, the half cat/half Angus beef cow.

News Roundup

  • From the "Busy Night" Department - An Ohio legislator has pled guilty to DUI.  At the time of his arrest, he was driving under the influence, had a stripper in the car, and had Viagra in his system.  Wow, there's a lot going on there.  If you wrote that into a movie script, it would be rejected as being unbelievable.  Then again, I had no problem believing it in the news report, so who knows?
  • From the "Stupid Is As Stupid Does" Department - A group of college students in Utah were injured when their pastime of dropping Molotov cocktails and fireworks down an abandoned mineshaft literally backfired on them.  Apparently it was just fun and games until someone arrived with a metric crap-ton of gasoline and it got spilled down the mineshaft and caught fire. If the word 'blowtorch' just ran through your mind, congratulations, you're right.  Several people were badly burned and had to drive themselves down out of the mountains to get some help.   Remember people, stupidity and flammable liquids don't mix.  I don't know how often I've had to say that.
  • From the "This is Revolution!" Department - A judge in Minnesota refused to help bar and liquor store owners who wanted him to force the state to issue liquor licenses even though the government is shut down due to budget issues.  Civilization may not come to a stop if the government isn't there, but it will come to a screeching, fiery halt if the supply of booze slows to a trickle.  No reports of mobs with torches and pitchforks have been provided, but I expect to see them any day.
  • From the "Buzz Kill" Department - A Goodwill store in Kansas reports that someone accidentally put some marijuana in with a recent donation.  Somewhere in Kansas, a stoner is walking around wondering what happened to his bean bag, his "Dark Side of the Moon" glow-in-the-dark poster, and his stash.
  • From the "Have you met my brother-in-law?" Department - Canadian scientists are claiming to have found genetic proof that early homo sapiens interbred with Neandertal populations they found when they walked out of Africa.  For those of you who have met me or my kids, this should come as no surprise.  I can proudly say that I am the third generation of my family to walk upright, but there are some scars and callouses on my knuckles.
  • From the "Are you bloody kidding me?" Department - The National Institutes for Health is under fire over a 2009 report that correlated the size of a gay man's penis with his preferences in the bedroom. I won't go into detail here, but government money was used to correlate and publish data over whether a gay man was more likely to be a pitcher or catcher based on some of his attributes.   I'm not going to make a witty observance here.  I'm in awe of the bad taste, fiscal   irresponsibility, and the fact that they actually filled out that grant request.

Quote of the Day

“Initially, it was like, ‘OK, he’s dead,’ ” McAlister recalled thinking. “Focus on the firefight, getting everybody out of here. When he came back to life, it’s like, ‘Oh, here we go. This just got interesting.’ ”  --Sgt. Alan McAlister, USMC
Sgt. McAlister wasn't talking about something from a Larry Correia book.  He was talking about HM2 Jake Emmott, who took a rifle bullet to the side of his nose, which travelled through his sinuses, and ejected near his ear.  Did I mention that he was taking care of a wounded Marine when he got hit?  After regaining consciousness, he stood up, refused aid, and continued to provide critical first aid to the Marines he was charged to take care of.  When it finally came time for him to get on a helicopter, he did it under his own power.

I like to think I've got a good work ethic and can take a lot of pain.  But to be perfectly honest, I don't think I'm tough enough to take a rifle bullet to the face, refuse pain meds, continue my job, and walk out of the freaking area.  

And to top it all off, HM2 Emmott is trying to finish his rehab and get back into shape so he can pass the Marine physical fitness test and go back to being a combat medic with his Marines.  He's lost half his hearing, the left side of his face is mostly paralyzed but getting better, a good chunk of his skull has been replaced with a plate, and all he wants to do is return to Afghanistan and continue his mission.

As a proud Army veteran, I have to say that this is a story about a Navy medic that should be told to every boy and girl in American schools so they know just how dedicated the men and women who protect them are.

H/T to This Ain't Hell and Navy Times for the story. 

Today's Earworm

Thought for the Day

Somewhere in Kenya, a village is missing its idiot.

H/T to BoingBoing and MAD Magazine for the image.
H/T to the hippie who was in front of me in traffic today for the bumper sticker that inspired this twist on an old chestnut

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today's Earworm

Here's a hint

When given the opportunity to bone the wife of one of your subordinates, turn 90 degrees, set off at a quick step, and drop into a double time to the nearest exit.

A lieutenant colonel stationed with the Army recruiting group in North Carolina is alleged to have decided to give his personal phone number to a woman who was working for him and incidentally is married to one of the Non-Commissioned officers who work in his recruiting offices.  One thing led to another, and soon the good LTC and the army wife were carrying on like a couple of college kids in heat, according to evidence provided by the woman's husband.  

At the same time, the cuckolded NCO, who was showing signs of stress related psychological problems, got busted for DUI, and not for the first time.  There are few things that will end your military career as quickly as a DUI, and having more than one is a big "Game Over".  You can get through beating your wife, destroying government equipment, or being a scumbag on duty.  But Lord help you if you climb into the driver's seat after getting lit.  No excuses for the good sergeant. He's a big boy and he's taking his lumps.  The BC took a special interest in SGT Streeter, and began trying to kick him out of the Army while he was sleeping with the man's wife.

When he found the text messages and pictures his wife had on her phone from his battalion commander, SGT Streeter did the smart thing by going to a forensics company to get all of the data he could off of the phone.  He didn't harm his wife, his commander, or himself, although I can tell you from personal experience that the temptation was there.  He sent a copy of his evidence to the Inspector General and another copy to the press.  Some will fault him for going to the press, but after seeing a lot of the "rules are for little people" mentality in all parts of the government, including the military, I can't blame him for putting a bright light on the situation from outside the chain of command.

So now we have an NCO who is still probably going to be booted from the Army, a wife and a husband who have a badly bruised marriage but are trying to patching things up, and a Lieutenant Colonel who is under investigation by the Army and may have thrown away almost $2 million in retirement benefits along with his career over a fling.  

All of the accusations against LTC McNair are of course just that, accusations.  The investigation continues, but it doesn't look good for this officer.  If he's found guilty, I hope they throw the book at him.  I will end this screed with something that should have rung through his mind when confronted with the temptation to bone the wife of one of his soldiers: (Emphasis is mine)

Officer's Creed

I will give to the selfless performance of my duty and my mission the best that effort, thought, and dedication can provide.
To this end, I will not only seek continually to improve my knowledge and practice of my profession, but also I will exercise the authority intrusted to me by the President and the Congress with fairness, justice, patience, and restraint, respecting the dignity and human rights of others and devoting myself to the welfare of those placed under my command.
In justifying and fulfilling the trust placed in me, I will conduct my private life as well as my public service so as to be free both from impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, acting with candor and integrity to earn the unquestioning trust of my fellow soldiers--juniors, seniors, and associates--and employing my rank and position not to serve myself but to serve my country and my unit.
By practicing physical and moral courage I will endeavor to inspire these qualities in others by my example.
In all my actions I will put loyalty to the highest moral principles and the United States of America above loyalty to organizations, persons, and my personal interest.
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