Wednesday, August 31, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "That's Peculiar" Department - A Marine in North Carolina recently found a training missile from a helicopter gunship in his yard.  Two questions:  Who wouldn't notice that a training missile either went missing or impacted outside the training area, and just how cool a customer is this Marine that he figured out it was a training missile before grabbing his wife, kids, and pets and getting outside the blast radius?  Then again, I've found some strange things in the tall grass when I finally break down and go out to cut the lawn, especially right after the 4th of July.
  • From the "What Were You Thinking?" Department - Two police officers in Toronto are coming under fire for handcuffing a 9 year old autistic boy when they were called in to help control him in school.  Apparently he was throwing paint and such around, but they were able to get him to lie down and then put the handcuffs on him.  No word yet on whether or not they'll be sent to taser an Alzheimer's patient who won't eat his jello. 
  • From the "That's What Children Do" Department - Parents of a 4 year old boy in England have been warned that their son will be monitored for noise level when playing outside, and they may be fined if he continues to make too much noise.  I've raised a whole bunch of kids in my life.  I've got a 3 year old now.  Now of them have been quiet as long as they're conscious.  Someone needs to find out who is complaining about a child enjoying himself outside and making a bit of noise and strap a couple of 1970's era speakers to their head so they can listen to the noise in beautiful quadrophonic sound.
  • From the "Hair Bands Go Way Back" Department - Archeologists believe that ancient Egyptians used a pomade made from plant and animal fat, and the substance may have been used as part of funeral rites to give the deceased the same hair style as they had in life.  The image I had run through my mind while I read that was Sha-Na-Na in robes singing "At The Hop" in front of a pyramid.  Will archeologists be digging up Bon Jovi and Poison in three thousand years and deciding that we all wore our hair like that?  I shudder at the thought.
  • From the "New Civility" Department - A Democratic member of Congress from Indiana has compared the Tea Party movement to the forces of Jim Crow.  Congressman Andre Carson stated in a speech the other day that "some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree."  Congressman Carson, I've got a news flash for you.  We don't want to see black people lynched.  We want to see them getting up in the morning, going to a job, and becoming a net producer for the economy.  Since that's what is expected of me every day, I don't think it's racist to expect it of others.  Speaking of becoming a net producer, what are your employment plans after the 2012 election?

Merely a coincidence

That is how the White House has described President Obama's request to address a joint session of Congress at the exact time that the Republican presidential candidates have scheduled their next debate.

Here's the money quote:
But Carney downplayed the debate as one of many on the political calendar. He said the White House would "carry forward" with its planned speech regardless of "whatever the competing opportunities on television are, whether it's the wildlife channel or the cooking channel." 
Emphasis mine.

Gee, I guess the debate between the men and woman who will be facing off against the President next year is comparable to Meercat Manor and The Naked Chef.   Way to show respect for your political rivals and act with a new sense of civility, President HopeNChange.

The White House should cowboy up and admit that this is a political move, and quit playing the "Who me?" card.  President Obama is trying to steal the thunder away from the Republicans, and I hope they call his bluff.  I agree that they ought to delay their debate until later that evening, spend the extra time loading up their snark cannons with rock salt and grapeshot, and then give him both barrels.  I won't be looking for a Republican frontrunner that night as much as I will be looking for the one who can count coup against the current resident of government housing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This is a dick move from a White House that has made dick moves part of long-range planning.  All administrations are political, but I haven't seen anything like this bunch of bozos in my lifetime.  I sincerely hope he comes off looking like an ass and learns from it.

*Yeah, I'm a little fired up.  I expect some political douchebaggery from both sides, but this crosses a line with malice and forethought.  I don't think even Nixon was this blatant about his asshattery.

You still have the right to quit

Over at Fox News, Dr. Manny Alvarez supports the decision by a hospital organization in Michigan to mandate vaccination against seasonal flu by its staff on pain of termination.  The argument for this is that people who work at hospitals are at a greater risk for contracting and spreading the flu.  The counter-argument is that an employer should respect the rights of employees as to what they inject into their bodies.

Dr. Alvarez makes a good point when he says that a hospital can mandate that a worker must have certain education and credentialing qualifications before being allowed to work, so why shouldn't they mandate vaccination?

I agree with Dr. Alvarez on this.  The flu kills on average about 6000 people in the United States, with thousands more becoming sick.  These sick people are going to concentrate at doctor's offices, emergency rooms, and hospital wards.  People who work at these facilities, regardless of their job, are going to be exposed either to the patients or to the things they touch or cough and sneeze on.  For their own health, and the health of the people they will come into contact with, they should be immunized against this highly infectious illness.

Yes, the flu shot is not always effective, and yes there will be people who get sick from the shot itself.  But the risk of spreading flu in an environment where people are seeking health care is too high.  People who have a moral or medical reason to not get the flu shot can get out of it with a note from their doctor or pastor.

The other side of the coin is the rights of the employees.  I don't like it when my employer comes out with yet another mandatory briefing, background screening, training session, or whatever that I have to do in order to stay employed.  While my company encourages flu shots and immunization in general, they don't mandate it.  But I'm not working with or around sick people either.

My take on this particular situation is that employees who don't don't want to get the flu vaccine and don't have a religious or medical reason for doing so, can always quit.  When you accept employment, even if you have the strongest union contract in the world, you are agreeing to exchange your labor and adherence to policies set by your employer in exchange for money in one form or another.  If an aspect of the work or one of those policies offends you, leave.  Drop your two weeks notice, start calling business and family contacts looking for your next gig, and polish your resume a bit.  Cashing the paycheck means you agree to the employer's terms and conditions.

A lawyer is going to need a lawyer

At least a divorce lawyer.

The attorney defending a man accused of exploiting immigrant women in his chain of massage parlors in Chicago was recognized by one of the women involved as being a client.  The lawyer admits to having several massage sessions with the lady, but maintains that nothing improper or illegal happened.  He also admits to exchanging emails and giving her gifts, so that must have been one heck of a massage.

This guy better hope he's got the world's most forgiving wife, or start shopping for a townhouse and get a charge account at Bed Bath and Beyond, the divorced man's general store.  It never ceases to amaze me how cheaply some people will throw away their marriage, half their worldly possessions, and the years it took to build and maintain their family.

The judge has declared a mistrial, and the defendant has said he wants a new lawyer. So now the search begins for a lawyer admitted to the Illinois bar who hasn't gone to one of the defendants establishments for a rub'n'tug.

Sounds good to me

JP over at Eyes Never Closed has proposed that as many people as possible spend time on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks shooting their guns and eating pork.  If he gets pictures of people doing these things, he'll post them on a website that's basically a middle finger to murdering cretins wherever they may be.

Since that's the weekend I have Girlie Bear for September and it's also Little Bear's birthday, I think I may take my kids to the range and then have a cookout.  Smoked Boston butt sounds really good after a morning out at Knob Creek shooting firearms from Savage, Ruger, and Smith and Wesson, doesn't it?

Quote of the Day

The government that is big enough to give you what you want, is big enough to take anything they can from you. - Newbius 
We're not at the "Jews in the Attic" or "People in Boxcars" point, not yet anyway.  But our political parties are starting to act more like Marius and Sulla than they are Washington and Lincoln.  How far is it from sending police to raid a business because the owner supports a political opponent to raiding a political meeting to get rid of political opposition?

Today's Earworm

It's going to be one of those days.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I've been remiss.  Julie over at Jigsaw's Thoughts asked about basic cookie recipes, and I told her I'd put up a couple of my favorites.  Life and a bad memory intervened, and I didn't think to get it done until I was baking cookies for school lunches the other night.

When I make cookies, I prefer to make drop cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies if I'm in a hurry or if I have to make a large amount of cookies.  For special occasions or as a treat I'll take the time and make peanut butter cookies or snickerdoodles.  At Christmas we make things like pinwheels and thumbprint cookies.

So here we go:  DaddyBear's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


1 cup of your favorite butter, softened (You can wimp out and go with half a cup of shortening and half a cup of butter, but who wants to live forever?)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup of either dark brown sugar or regular brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of molasses added
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
Vanilla or almond extract to taste, probably between 1and 2 teaspoons
2 1/2 to 3 cups of white flour
2 to 3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips or half chocolate chips and half peanut butter chips
1 to 2 cups of your favorite chopped nuts.  I prefer walnuts, but play around with what you like.  Macadamia nuts are really good if you want to make something more upscale.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a mixer, cream the butter until the color lightens and it starts to rise in volume.  Add in the sugars and baking soda, and mix until all lumps are out.  Add in eggs and extract.  Run the flour through a sifter to remove lumps and add 1/2 cup at a time to the wet mixture until you get a semi-stiff dough, probably at least 2 1/2 cups, but your mileage may vary.  Add chips and nuts and mix in just until they are evenly spread through the dough.

Grease a cookie sheet or use a seasoned baking stone.  Use either a melon baller or a couple of table spoons to scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto the cookie sheet.  The balls should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.  They will flatten to about 1/4 inch in diameter during baking, so space accordingly.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the top is turning brown.  Remove from oven and let the pan sit for about 3 minutes before removing the cookies with a spatula and placing on cooling rack.  Should make between 2 and 3 dozen cookies.

The cookies should still be a bit moist, but not raw.  If you want them crispy, give them a few more minutes in the oven but watch that they don't burn.  The extra molasses in the dark brown sugar will give a richer flavor and help to keep the cookies moist and chewy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Very Strange Bedfellows

Rupert Boneham, who has competed in the reality TV show "Survivor" several times, has filed papers indicating that he may run for governor in Indiana as a Libertarian.  His website says that he's not satisfied with the candidates that have already declared their intentions to run, and he wants to serve his community.

I wish Mr. Boneham luck.  I've heard some interviews with him and he seems to be a hard-working, caring man who does indeed care about his community.  Being just south of the state line with Hoosierland, we see a lot of their political commercials.  I can't wait to see what his campaign comes up with.

The posts from Tam, Frank W. James, Roberta X, and other Indiana bloggers may be interesting if this develops into a full blown campaign.  Of course, having seen pictures of Mr. Boneham, I don't think he'll need a wookie suit.  Usel no longer needs the weerding module.

This is preferable to the Taliban?

I just read one of the most disgusting and disturbing things I've seen in a while.  Big Peace has an article about the open and widespread practice in Afghanistan of men buying teenage boys for use as dancers and sexual partners.  From what I surmise, this practice has been part of the culture in parts of Afghanistan, but it has exploded both in flagrancy and sheer number of boys being sold into sexual slavery since the fall of the Taliban.

We have our own issues with widespread abuse of children in our own culture, but at least we're trying to clean it up and we curb stomp those who we catch debasing the most innocent of our people.  

Before I go off on a rant here, this has nothing to do with Islam.  The local Islamic scholars and preachers uniformly condemn the practice. This is also not a slam of all Afghani people.  We wouldn't know how bad this situation is without reporting by Afghani journalists and others.  But something is rotten in Kabul, Kandahar, and the rest of that country and its culture(s).

Since we brought a massive amount of firepower to the side of the Northern Alliance in late 2001 and helped to push the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan, we have been regularly treated to stories of massive corruption in the Karzai government, funded of course by the American taxpayer, a huge upswing in the amount of opium grown in Afghanistan, Afghani police and army units that are more a mob of stoners than cohesive groups of armed men with a mission, and now this. 

What exactly are we getting for all of the blood and money we've poured into Afghanistan for almost 10 years?  From what I can see, not much.  If the Karzai government isn't capable of bring the warlords to heel and keeping horrific crimes like this from happening, why are we diddling with him and his family run enterprise in Kabul?

Are American interests protected by empowering men who use young boys as sexual puppets and status symbols?  Are we giving the Taliban and other groups we oppose in the region an example to point at when asked why they fight us when we put and keep such men in power?

We need to send Kabul and the rest of the scum in Afghanistan a very clear message:  Clean up your act or we walk away.  No 'slow drawdown' to attenuate the pain, no 'follow-on force' to protect them from reality, no massive infusions of cash and guns to keep them parroting democratic platitudes while they overfill their retirement accounts.  Clean up the corruption, the ineptitude, and the outright pederasty at the point of a bayonet if you have to, or we leave you to the Taliban.  We will burn or blow up all of our bases, take home or destroy all of the equipment we brought with us, and crater the runways after the last C-5 goes wheels up.  Piss us off, and we'll salt the fields of opium and cannabis with ground up nuclear fuel rods while we're at it.  It would be better for us to sit on the sidelines for a couple of years while Karzai slides down into the cesspool of history than to continue to enable his corrupt, lazy, inept, disgusting regime.

We are making the same mistake we made in Vietnam and other 3rd world crapholes during the Cold War:  Back any tin pot dictator with the blood of children on his hands so long as he keeps saying the right things to the reporters from the United States.  We either need to back someone who won't stand for the corruption of his country and the cultural and systemic sexual exploitation of its children, or we need to drop Afghanistan like a hot rock while promising to make a desert out of it and call it peace if we're ever bothered again. 

Overheard in the office

Boss:  What happened?
DaddyBear:  We had SSH sessions open to two servers, and we put the 'reboot' command into the wrong window.  Box was down about 5 minutes, but it doesn't look like it had any impact to the customers.
Co-Worker:  It was me, I put in the reboot command.
Boss:  Well, I've been waiting for this for a long time.... Give me your badges.  You're out of here.

Shocked silence

Boss: Gotcha!

That is not funny!

News Roundup

  • From the "Bad Timing" Department - UAW-represented Ford employees are voting on whether to authorize a strike as part of their 'negotiations' with Ford on their new contract.  The UAW wants to get back at least some of the pay and benefits that were conceeded to the company during the last recession, and they want the threat of a labor walkout as a tool at the bargaining table.  Someone needs to show the 'leadership' of the UAW a trending chart on the U.S. economy and ask them if they really want to start taking money out of Ford's pocket right now.  Better a job where you think you might be getting hosed than no job at all, guys.
  • From the "Going to Hell on a Scholarship" Department - Thieves have broken into a Catholic church in California several times, stealing security cameras, and a large amount of copper wire.  Someone needs to tell these guys that copper is an excellent conductor of lightning. 
  • From the "Soon to be an Un-Person" Department - A video of a Chinese general discussing espionage cases that were covered up and called such things as "corruption" has surfaced on YouTube.  In other news, there is an open slot for promotion to general in the Chinese military after the former holder of the rank had a 9mm aneurism.
  • From the "Nothing for me Today, Thanks" Department - A man in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a second time for stuffing a rack of ribs down his pants.  Dude, I told you to put the meat in the crock pot, not the.... aw, never mind.
  • From the "Dead Man Walking" Department - A man in Australia accidentally threw away his wife's jewelry when he hid it in trash bags to keep it from being stolen.  Irish Woman isn't really a jewelry kind of girl, but she does like things that twinkle a bit.  That being said, if I were to ever throw away $50k worth of gold, she'd cut my heart out with a spoon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

Any right not exercised is a right lost.  If you do not speak out and address an injustice, you have abridged your freedom of speech.  If you fail to meet your friends for any reason except you don't want to, you have abridged your freedom of assembly.  Let us say you refuse to file a complaint against a police officer who mistreats you because of fear of reprisal, you have given up your right against unreasonable search and seizure.

This extremely well thought out position on why we should make use of all of our rights was brought to you by Sean D. Sorrentino's father.  Mr. Sorrentino is apparently becoming more active in the Second Amendment rights movement, and explains his decision to open carry his sidearm.   

Thought for the Day

The two highest compliments I can give someone are "That's OK, I know you'd do it for me." and "I'd trust you to walk behind me with a loaded gun in your hand.".

News Roundup

  • From the "Mace is a Condiment"  Department - A study has shown that for people suffering from nasal inflammation the use of nasal sprays that include the active ingredient of hot peppers could bring relief.  I expect that police unions will come out against this.  Who wants to have a product on the market that Mookie can use to do the iocane powder routine against Officer Friendly's pepper spray?
  • From the "Jewelry for Cancer?" Department - A first grader in Texas has been suspended because he wears his hair long and is wearing a diamond earring in violation of his school's dress code.  His mother claims he's growing his hair out for Locks of Love, a charity that provides real hair to make hair pieces for cancer patients. I'd probably buy that and condemn the school if it weren't for the diamond earring.  Take the shiny tackle out of the boy's ear and we'll talk about feeling empathy for him.  Ask me sometime about my experience with dress codes, a diamond earring, and a small scar I have on my earlobe.  It's a riot if you like Clint Eastwood movies.
  • From the "This is my Shocked Face" Department - A former TSA agent has admitted in federal court that she used her position to assist a drug smuggler in evading airport security.  Shocked, yes shocked, I am that another TSA agent has been caught breaking the law.  Why, everyone knows that the government spent massive amounts of time and money to properly organize the TSA and does a thorough screening and monitoring job of its employees.  How could something like this happen again and again and again?
  • From the "Apples to Oranges" Department - Former Vice-President Al Gore recently made comments comparing the global warming debate to the American civil rights movement.  Yeah, because police in the American Southeast are using firehoses to keep Prius owners down.  Oh, and the federal government is sending the 101st Airborne Division to make sure that climate scientists aren't forced to publish their raw data.  Mr. Gore, do us all a favor: Go home, drink a bottle or two of wine, and spend the evening polishing your Nobel Peace Prize while cruising the Internet you claim to have invented.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Missed a good party

Brigid over at Home on the Range has a good write-up of today's Indy Blogmeet.  Looks like I missed an opportunity to have dinner with a lot of the great people from the blogosphere that I've met over the past couple of years. I would pay good money to sit in a room and listen to Og, OldNFO, and BRM swap stories. I definitely need to head up to Indy one of these days.  And I definitely need to get one of those Secret Squirrel velcro patches!

Congratulations to Tam on the sixth anniversary of View From the Porch!  It's great that her blogiversary coincided with a blogmeet.  Tam's one of the nicest people I've ever met at a shooting range, and I wish her luck as she continues to dish out the USDA recommended dose of snark.


Hi, this is DaddyBear.  I'm away from the blog at the moment, but your reading is important to me.  Please leave your message after the beep, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Para espanol, marque el numero dos.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Well, looky there

If you'll check the top of the blog, you'll notice something new.  Robb Allen used his mighty talents and came up with a new paw-print symbol for me, and I used it to build a new banner for the page.

Many thanks to Robb for the great set of claws!

Saturday Spider Pics

Not sure if this is going to be a recurring theme here, but I have more spider pics for a Saturday morning.

This big fellow was relaxing on his web between two shrubs at the StopnRob when Girlie Bear and I stopped off to pick up a couple sodas last night.  I didn't get too close so I wouldn't disturb him, but he looked to be about 2 inches long, with some really interesting black, tan, white, and yellow markings on him.

Contest for a Cause

Carteach is holding a contest, and the result is donations to a good cause.

If you make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, he'll put your name into a hat and then draw for prizes from the official goody bag.

Wounded Warrior provides services to help our wounded get back into normal life.  They do good work for those who have already given too much.

If you've got a few extra shekels, consider sending them to a good cause.  Who knows, you might just get something back.

Today's Earworm

This one comes with a story.

Oleg Volk asked if anyone could think of a modern peaceful revolution, and the first thing that came to mind was German reunification in 1989 and 1990.  There was relatively little violence, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, ceased to exist, and it's citizens and lands became part of the Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany.  Of course, when I remembered those days, Ode to Joy came to my head and it's been there ever since.

This performance happened a few months after the fall of the wall, and I remember listening to a recording of it on the local classical station a few days after Christmas in 1989.  I know my classical music hipster douchebag street cred is destroyed by admitting this, but I fell in love with Beethoven's 9th that day, and it's theme has been a lullaby to all of my kids.  Girlie Bear surprised herself last night when she could hum along to it while I played it on the stereo in the van.  I guess those stories about early exposure to classical music may have some worth after all.

Bernstein changed a couple of words in this rendition to reflect the jubilation of the moment, but I don't think Beethoven would have complained.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Carpentry is not a crime

The other day, Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee were raided by federal agents.  The company reports that wood, computer files, and finished guitars were taken in the raid, but no-one will tell them the charges against the company.  Indications are that because the company had some wood from India that hadn't been finished by Indian artisans, they were in violation of the Lacey Act.  Basically, if possession of the wood would have been illegal in the country it came from, then it's illegal here.

Are all of you sure that the wooden grips or stocks on your guns wasn't made from wood that could bring the weight of the government down on you? "That's a nice stock on that rifle.  Do you have proof that the company that sold it to you didn't break any laws in Turkey?  Why don't you hand it over until you can prove it's legit?"

Let's think about that for a moment.  You have a commodity or product in your possession that you purchased on the legal market here in the United States, say some Brazilian hardwood, that you want to spend a winter making furniture out of for your home.  You bought it from a reputable outlet, and have no criminal intent and no reason to suspect that the wood was harvested, processed, or exported from Brazil illegally.   Some arcane aspect of the Brazilian lumber law makes someone think that your future dining room set might be illegal if you had it in Brazil.  Let's say that Brazilian law says that a special tax on hardwoods must be paid, and you don't have a tax stamp or something from your supplier to say that the tax was paid.

So your home could be raided, your wood, tools, financial records, computers, and anything else they think was related to this "crime" could be taken, and you could be charged with a crime for possession of something that is three or four levels of separation away from its origin in South America.  You didn't cut it down or mill it.  You didn't export it to the United States and sell it.  All you did was buy it and try to use it.  The law that you are accused of breaking is outside of the control of your elected representatives, so you can't even appeal to them to get it modified or repealed.  But you're the one who got raided.  And it doesn't have to be raw lumber.  Can you prove that the Brazilian hardwood dining table you inherited from grandma was made from wood imported before these restrictions were put in place?  If not, when you are questioned, you are out a dining table, out a fine, and out of luck.

Now go back to those last two paragraphs and substitute the offending products with the following words:  gun, book, movie, recording, photograph.

If the government wants, it can try to impose the laws of another country, however diametrically opposed to our freedoms, on our citizens.  I support the efforts to stop over-logging of the world's forests, both here and abroad, and I also recognize the need for our government to work with other nations to keep their cultural and environmental treasures out of the market.  But the consumer in Kentucky should not be responsible for the bad acts of others, which may have occurred thousands of miles away and decades ago.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting ready for the hurricane

Those of you along the Eastern Seaboard should be preparing for the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene. Since you'll get 500 storm tracks from 500 meteorologists all looking at the same data, you never know what this storm will do or where it will go.  Heck, I live in Kentucky, and Irish Woman and I are talking about what we should do if it makes a radical turn and comes over the Cumberland Gap.

Here are some tips for weathering the storm:*

  1. Leave.  Staying in the path of a hurricane is the definition of idiotic.  Pack your kids and everything you care about, call a relative further inland and get out of Dodge.  Preferably a relative who lives two states towards the center of the continent.  Things you should take include heirlooms, food, clothing, weapons, pets, and liquor.  
  2. Remember the liquor.  Living with your brother-in-law for a few days with all of your and his kids is going to be hard enough without trying to do it sober.  Don't get sloppy drunk and for heaven's sake don't drink tequila.  Just a nice mellow buzz.  Bonus points if you share with said brother-in-law, especially if you break out the good stuff.
  3. If you can't get out, or your brother-in-law is already full up with the rest of the family, then you'll have to sit out the storm.  While this is sub-optimal, it can be done.  Just be ready for Lord of the Flies for the next few days.
  4. Arm your significant other and send him or her to the grocery store now.  They will need to fill up a cart with as much stuff as possible if you don't already have half a year's worth of food, water, liquor, medicine, clothing, books, board games, cat food, cat litter, and dog food.  Kiss them goodbye, as she may not return from this mission.
  5. You're not out the game, though.  Your job is to go the hardware store and get all of the other stuff your family will need to survive.  This includes tarps, visqueen, shingles, nails, nail gun, compressor, sheet upon sheet of plywood, flashlights, batteries, extra keys for the outbuildings that will soon be spotted off of Nova Scotia, tie down straps, bungie cords, 550 cord, sail cloth, gas cans, gasoline, 25000 watt generator, extension cords, and roofing tar.  All of this will be used to weather and water proof your home and survive the storm's aftermath as much as possible, and in the event that you do get washed away, you can lash as much of the debris as possible together and sail to Scotland where the weather is much nicer this time of year.
  6. Take all of the hardware store goodies, and start nailing, screwing, glueing, lashing, and welding them to the outside of your home, especially the windows and doors.  Note:  Have someone other than your family secure plywood to the last door to your home after you have gotten yourself and other members of your family that you care about into the house.  Anyone who gets there late should be advised to hole up in the tree house for the weekend.
  7. Put all of the supplies you bought in the highest room of your home.  That way it'll stay dry when the first floor or so become an indoor swimming pool.  Put an axe up there too so that you can cut your way out of the house once the storm has passed.  Remember, you've cut off all of the windows and doors from the outside for your own protection.
  8. Remember, this storm has already been to the Caribbean, where the zombie menace originated.  Watch your spouse and children for evidence of zombie infection carried by the wind, and respond as necessary.
  9. Once you have your supplies secured and every opening to your home has been boarded over, settle in for a nice quiet weekend of listening to the soft rain and gentle winds of mother nature re-landscaping your yard into a beautiful water garden.  Good movies to watch during this time include Storm of the Century, The Abyss, and of course The Shining.  If you prefer reading, I suggest Misery, Moby Dick, and The Road.
  10. When the storm hits, keep your children up for every minute of it so that they can have the rare life experience of hearing shutters ripped off of the roof or the cap on the chimney embedding itself in the old oak tree in the front yard.  This is an experience that they will relive every time the wind blows for years to come.
  11. Play games with the family to keep spirits up.  I suggest "Beer beer, who's got the beer?", "Where did Mommy hide her 'medicine'?", and "Who can sit quietly while Daddy tries to figure out how to get wet matches to light?".
Hopefully you've found these suggestions helpful.  Good luck, and enjoy your North Sea adventure!

*Of course these are all tongue in cheek and are meant as a joke.  If you are in danger from the storm, I hope that you will be able to take care of you and yours.  Something tells me y'all are smart enough to get out of the way or to hunker down without losing your mind.

Quote of the Day

From Tam:

Where the hell do you get off thinking you can tell me I can't own a gun? I don't care if every other gun owner on the planet went out and murdered somebody last night. I didn't. So piss off.
What she said!

Thought for the Day

Grendel's tastes where quite plainish,
For breakfast, just a couple Danish.

Sorry, that's all I've got today.

Health Update - Final

Well, final for now. I'm not going anywhere.

I had my last check-in with the surgeon today.  He says I'm doing about as well as can be expected.  I'll still have a few weird things that need more time to heal or become the new normal, but otherwise I'm good to go.  I'm sleeping better, can breather better, and overall I feel pretty good.  He released me to go back on my arthritis treatments, so I'll be feeling pretty good in a few weeks when I go back into the rheumatologist to get my Remicade topped off.

Now that I'm on the other side of the surgery and recovery, I'm glad I did it.  I was cautioned that the surgery only helped with the sleep apnea and snoring in about 60% of patients, so I guess I was in that 60%.  Irish Woman says I don't snore anymore at all, even when sleeping on my back.  I wake up without the headaches and sore throat, and I feel like I actually got some rest.  I'll be going back in for another sleep study to prove that I don't snore anymore, but I'm doing that more for the doctor than for me.

I mentioned to the doctor that I've lost my taste for some of the things I used to enjoy, and he said that that should correct itself over the next few months.  I hope he's right.

So, I'm back and as ornery as ever, but I don't make funny noises when I sleep.  Hopefully this is the last surgery I have to go through for a long time.  The recovery on this one was a pain, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Movie of the Week

Here's a scenario:

Hurricane Irene skips along the Eastern Seaboard until it gets to Boston Harbor, where it makes a sharp left and hits Boston head on after reving up to Category 4 due to the abnormally warm waters of Cape Cod, caused of course by global warming.  A plucky young meteorologist, structural engineer, and exotic dancer sees it coming, but is disregarded by her older, more conservative managers, who are blinded by their greed and maleness.  They don't want her freaking out the tourists just before Labor Day, closing the beaches, and destroying the economy of their small New England town.

The Big Dig gets flooded, causing a collapse of the tunnel's roof.  The last we see of downtown Boston is it falling into the resulting hole.  CGI explosions and building collapses abound, which will make for a good trailer to put on between episodes of "America's Funniest Concussions" and "Hog Swap".

Before that happens, our intrepid heroine breaks all the rules, sounds the alarm, and evacuates the multitude of people, saving innumerable lives, including a family of mixed-breed puppies and an entire Chevy Volt full of kittens. She leads the throng of refugees to the heights above Boston, where a train load of Pepsi, Papa John's Pizza, Miller Beer, and Jack Daniels awaits them. (Product placement is everything)

In the last scene, we see our young, brash President giving a speech about how we will rebuild from the disaster, and of course blaming Bush.

Cut to black.

This thing almost writes itself.  Ted Turner and James Cameron will jump on this in a New York minute.

Things you wish you'd learned growing up

Cracked has a hilarious photoshop essay up about stuff we should have been taught in school (Link may be NSFW).

Here's my favorite:

Those of you with kids will understand that sometimes the hardest thing to get your kids to understand is that they're not a perfect little snowflake, and occasionally they need and deserve a boot in the ass.  Junior Bear and I went round and round about his schoolwork, and one of his main retorts was that his teachers loved him and told him he was doing fine.  Of course, the bleakly low grades on his report card kind of contradicted that worldview, but who was I to throw reality into the picture?

And don't get me started about the recent college grads (or dropouts) who have been told their entire lives that all it takes is effort and a little PowerPoint to get through life.  I've watched several go into meltdown over the years when they were told that no-one gets paid for just showing up or for making something pretty that doesn't actually accomplish anything.  My favorite was when a mini-project done by an intern at Fort Meade was described as a "self licking ice cream cone" by the crusty old warrant officer who she reported to.

So, what do you all wish you'd learned in school, or wish your kids would be taught today?

News Roundup

  • From the "Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator" Department - Fire officials in California are predicting that a tank full of liquid propane that has been on fire will soon explode after seeing signs of melting and cracking.  They worry that when that particular train car blows up, it will take the cars and other gas storage equipment around it along for the ride.  Thousands of homes have been evacuated.  Reminds me that I need to double-check our bug out bags.  Disasters don't just come from Mother Nature. 
  • From the "Right to a Cavity Search" Department - The government has issued a new set of rights that airlines will have to respect when dealing with their passengers.  They include increased allowances for people who get bumped, more transparency about fees on websites, and restrictions on keeping passengers sitting on the tarmac during delays.  No word yet on dignity, personal space, or that pesky 4th Amendment. 
  • From the "That's a Good Thing" Department - David Berkowitz, also known as the "Son of Sam" killer, has decided to not seek parole after 34 years in prison.  He believes that it is unnecessary since forgiveness of his crimes by Jesus Christ has already freed him no matter where he is.  While as a Christian I  believe that divine forgiveness is available to anyone, I don't think parole is in the cards for Mr. Berkowitz, so this is a pretty safe thing for him to say.  Seriously, Mr. Berkowitz, Jesus may love you, but everyone else hopes you die in a fire.
  • From the "Stop Breathing So Deeply" Department - The Russian Progress spacecraft that was ferrying supplies to the International Space Station crashed in Siberia after failing to reach orbit.  I hope that the ISS was built and provisioned by preppers, because it's a long way to Kroger from low earth orbit.  And you thought having a couple of weeks worth of food and water in your basement was a pain in the neck. 

Today's Earworm

I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Day

  • I'm glad to see that Qaddafi has been rousted from his compound in Tripoli.  Hopefully the shooting part of the kinetic action ends soon.  I look forward to the victory parade for President Obama in the press over the next couple of weeks.  But someone needs to tell the guys looting in Tripoli that what comes up must come down, and friendly fire isn't.  Also, someone needs to make sure that President Obama isn't handed an AK near anyone with a camera for the next few days, or he might just crank off a few rounds at the sky in celebration.
  • I'm glad that everyone on the East Coast came through the trembler today with no casualties.  No word from President Obama as to how many billions of federal dollars will be spent on shovel ready projects in response to the earthquake.  
  • The Atlantic coast from Washington DC to Key West is bracing for a hurricane.  I suggest that in addition to the canned food, plywood, bottled water, and batteries that are being bought in prep for the storm, that the hardy souls who are going to sit out the storm add a bottle of good bourbon.  Do it for the children.
  • Coming home in a filthy mood is not good for domestic tranquility.  That's all I've got to say about that.
  • There is no such thing as a BooBoo proof gate latch.  Luckily he only went as far as the neighbor's pear tree before we noticed he was gone.

Why it's fun

I don't talk about work too much here.  My employer's policy on blogging and other uses of social media is very strongly worded, and I'm under no illusions as to the speed with which my employment would be terminated if I brought up dirt on the company in such a public forum.

The IT organization I work in is pretty mature.  In a field where you expect to move to a new job every two years, our company still expects that if you work hard and stay out of trouble, you will retire with a pretty generous set of benefits after more than 20 years of doing various jobs within the organization.  The trade off for that is you don't tend to work with the bleeding edge of technology, and you do things their way unless told to figure out something new.   Big companies don't stay profitable by chasing the technology dragon and trying every high-speed thing that comes up at conferences.  There's something to be said for using mature, stable technology to turn a profit.

We work under a lot of guidance to use the same procedure to do the same thing every time.  Standardization and lots and lots of planning is the order of the day.  This can lead to a lot of talking followed by short bursts of actual technical work.  My normal rhythm is to spend six to eight weeks of planning and coordination followed by four to six weeks of implementing those plans.  Of course, there's always the day to day work of monitoring my systems and fixing things that break.  Also, not everything is as well planned as it should be, so there is also a lot of work that goes from requirements and planning to implementation and documentation pretty quickly.

Sunday night was supposed to be a pretty boring example of "plan a lot, implement a little".  All I was doing was patching the OS on a few servers and working with a hardware technician to update the firmware on the box itself.  Sounds pretty simple and boring, doesn't it?

Three quarters of the work was exactly that.  I worked from a good project plan, and the techs who worked with me were competent and had done their part before.  Everything went smoothly, at least for a while.

It's that last quarter that made the job interesting.

One of the servers went into a reboot loop.  That means that after applying power to the system, the operating system would try to come up, something would happen, and it would restart.  Repeat ad infinitum.

One of the other servers refused to even get that far.  The system would come up and test itself when plugged in, but would stop before even trying to boot.

For the first box, we did a lot of troubleshooting.  Booting into a maintenance mode didn't show anything wrong with the system.  The hardware logs were useless, and when we'd checked everything and bounced the box, it went right back into its loop.  The technician grabbed a spare box, put the hard drives from my system into it, and it booted as if nothing was wrong.  Well, almost.  All of those reboots had damaged a few things, so I had to fix those too.  Eventually, though, the system came back up as happy as could be.

The other box required some hardware voodoo to fix.  The technician rolled the bones, muttered some profane incantations, and the box came up.  From my perspective, this one was easier than the other one, but still required some recovery work to fix things.

Guess which portion, the easy and sane or the harder and insane, portion of the nights work I enjoyed more.  If you said "You enjoyed reacting to unforeseen problems", there is a box of cookies in the back of the room.  You can help yourself.

There's a fine line between challenging and grinding, and that night I was in the zone.  Three quarters of the night was spent following a project plan.  The other quarter was spent diagnosing and solving problems, and I had a ball doing it.

In any job, you have to strike that balance.  If all you do is follow procedures all day, you'll get bored and lose interest.  If all you do is fight dragons, eventually you'll burn out.  Finding the right balance between boring/easy work and interesting/challenging work keeps your head in the game for the long haul.

Dear Netflix,

I wanted to say thank you for giving me an opportunity to examine another aspect of my monthly expenses and compare what I pay for with what I actually use.  I've been getting disks from you for a year or so, but I realize now that I only exchange one or two disks a month, which makes the cost of renting them from you very expensive on a per disk basis.  Now that you've decided that you want to bring the cost of having physical media delivered to my home expensive enough that I have to make this calculation, I've decided I no longer wish to pay for a service that I do not use very much.

Since we do use the streaming content portion of your service quite a bit, we will continue to do business with you.  But I must tell you that there are other options for streaming movies and other content.  You can either improve the number of titles you provide across the Internet, or wait for one of your competitors to overtake you and earn my business.

It's your choice.


Daddy J. Bear

Monday, August 22, 2011


The United States Olympic Committee has announced that there will be no United States city competing for the 2020 Olympics.  Apparently there's some high level pissing match over money that's blocking the process.

My reaction:  It's about darned time.

I like sports as much as the next guy, and you see the best athletes in the world come together every couple of years in the Summer and Winter Olympics. I think the ideal of young athletes from around the globe coming together to compete on an even plane is wonderful.  Unless of course you count the professional athletes screwing up basketball and hockey, but that's a rant for another time.  Or the athletes that dope the heck out of themselves with the full support and cooperation of some of the the best bio-chemists on the planet, but I digress.

But you also see the country, state, and city that are hosting it spend years of time and billions of dollars getting ready, running the darn thing, and then figuring out what to do with all of the venues they created for the games.  Seriously, does Chicago need more swimming pools and stadiums?

The Olympic ideal of young people and nations coming together peacefully without regard to politics fell apart in 1936 and has never come back.  The rampant nationalism of the Cold War continues to this day as the U.S., Russia, and China hiss and spit at each other every 2 years.  Instead of natural talents being nurtured and displayed to show how humanity can come together to peacefully compete, we get academies for gymnastics, figure skating, and whatever other events countries want to stake their national pride on.  Instead of talented teenagers being plucked from academic sports programs and sent to compete, we get battalions of five-year-olds doing nothing but figure out how to put one more spin into their ice skating jump when they turn 16.

The United States needs to rethink whether or not it wants to continue to make NBC rich by participating in the Olympics at all.  Yes, we don't directly subsidize the USOC through tax dollars, but any time one of our cities gets delusions of grandeur about hosting the games, we end up spending our treasure and prestige to 'convince'* the IOC to honor us with their presence.  From a hardnosed financial and national policy perspective, we need to ask what we're getting out of it.  The answer, as far as I can tell, is less than nothing.

We don't get credit for running a good set of games once the torch goes out.  No country that opposes us in the real international arena gives an inch because we were gracious hosts to their athletes.  No third-world oil baron decides to buy American equipment or services because he liked the way the stadium at the Olympics was built.

The United States needs to wake up and realize that the Olympics are a vanity project at best, and a money pit at worst.  Our time and treasure would be better spent on something that produces better results than a few metallic trinkets on ribbons and a really neat track and field stadium.

*convince:  (konvins), noun, see "bribe"

All the cool kids are doing it

Ever one to jump onto a bandwagon, here's the NPR's list of top 100 SF and fantasy books.  I'll bold the ones I've read.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange, Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Apparently I need to start reading more SF and fantasy.  I shall hang my head in shame.

Spiderweb Pic

We saw this rather impressive spiderweb strung across part of our back yard on Saturday morning.

The industrious arachnid had run one long line from a bush in the neighbor's yard to the one of the cherry trees, then run from the cherry tree across our patio and back yard to the maple tree.  She then created a large web that ran almost to the ground.  So she basically ran a 20 to 25 foot support line between three trees, and then made a pretty good web in one night.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stump Speech # 1

Good evening.  It's great to be attending the (NRA/SAF/CALGUNS/ETC) meeting here in ___________.  I'm here to discuss Candidate X and (his/her) position on guns.

First, let me introduce myself.  I am Daddy J. Bear.  I grew up around guns, and as an adult came to realize that gun rights for the American citizen are civil rights, no less than the right to publish a newspaper or have a lawyer represent you in court.  I am a member of the NRA and the SAF, and have blogged a bit about guns and gun rights at my blog.  I am a proud gun owner, target shooter, and attempted hunter.

Candidate X and I share much the same beliefs about guns and gun rights.  Basically, it's none of the government's business whether or not a citizen owns guns, which guns they own, or whether or not they carry a gun in a lawful manner.  Unless you break a law, you should be left alone.  Gun rights are important in America for a number of reasons, but the ones that come to mind immediately are these:

  • Self defense - I do not want to the United States become a country that has a policeman on every street corner, but that's what it would take for law enforcement to provide the same amount of defense to people and property as an armed populace provides.
  • National Defense - A nation of riflemen is a nation that can defend itself.  If a young man or woman is brought up in the shooting sports, they have a leg up on someone who has to be convinced that a gun will not reach up and bite them and then taught how to shoot.  
  • Keeping the Government Honest - As much as I enjoy target shooting and hunting, that's not why the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment into the Bill of Rights.  They knew that a government that controlled the weapons of its people could easily control the people themselves.  So they put in language that limited the government to regulating, not outlawing, firearms and the manner in which the civilian population can obtain and use them.  A government that has nothing to fear from its citizens becomes a tyranny very quickly.

Recognizing these and the myriad other reasons that we value the civilian ownership and use of firearms in our country, Candidate X and I, when we are elected, plan to do the following to protect and re-establish gun rights:

  • Within the first 100 days of the administration, we will introduce legislation to amend or repeal the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.  In NFA 34, we will remove language that deals with suppressors, short barreled rifles, and short barreled shotguns.  A suppressor is nothing more than a muffler for a gun, and there are specific reasons a gun owner may wish to own a short barreled rifle or shotgun.  In GCA '68, we will remove the prohibition against interstate commerce in pistols, and relax provisions pertaining to the purchase of firearms through the mail.  We went almost 200 years in this country where you could legally ship a gun from one state to another without having to go through an FFL, and we see no reason to stop that now.  As for FOPA '86, we will remove the provision that prevents the transfer of a newly manufactured automatic weapon to private citizens.  If you want to burn up your ammunition with a gun that is equipped with a happy switch that is newer than Return of the Jedi, have at it.
  • In addition, we will introduce legislation supporting national reciprocity of concealed carry licenses.  If you can get a driver's license in Maine and have it recognized in Oregon, then your main CCW license should be just as good in Oregon.  Of course we will leave it up to each of the several states to come up with their own laws as to how and where a gun may be carried by citizens within their borders.  Whether or not a state requires a CCW license in order to carry a gun is up to the states, but we will encourage this at the federal level.  
  • We will also direct the civil rights division of the Department of Justice to work through the courts to assist citizens whose gun rights have been infringed upon by states whose gun laws are so restrictive that they restrict gun ownership, carry, and use.  Things that will bring the weight of the federal courts and the Attorney General down on a state include may issue CCW laws or a lack of CCW at all, gun registration and gun ownership licensing, lists of allowable guns, or onerous fees and requirements for a citizen to get a CCW license.  
  • We will direct the director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program to expand that organizations efforts to promote gun safety training and marksmanship programs in our nations high schools and universities.  We ask that the NRA and other gun rights groups put their weight behind these efforts in order to promote this effort.
  • Candidate X and I will never sign international treaties that infringe on the 2nd Amendment or any other Constitutional guarantee of rights, and we will pull out of any such treaties that have already been signed but not ratified by the Senate.  If a treaty that the Senate has ratified infringes on any civil right of our citizens, we will work with Congress to have that ratification revoked.
  • We will work with the CMP and our foreign allies to repatriate as many of the weapons that we have loaned or sold to the world over the last 100 years.  These weapons of war can be brought back and resold to our citizens at a profit to the CMP and used to train the next generation of citizens to be responsible gun owners.  We built these guns, we paid for them, and now we should bring them home so that they can be used once again to make America stronger.

Candidate X and I truly believe that a nation of people who own and use their guns is a nation that respects itself and will stand on its own without government interference.  We also believe that with every right in the Constitution comes a responsibility to use it responsibly.  You have the right to print a newspaper, but you do not have the right to libel someone or to plagiarize their work.  As gun owners and shooters, our 2nd Amendment rights are tempered by our responsibility to police ourselves, lest those who want to take them away become emboldened to try again.  The NFA and GCA were passed because of a public perception that the common ownership and use of firearms of certain types was causing problems in our society.  If the most onerous parts of these and other gun control laws are stripped away, we must, as responsible gun owners, prevent those who would abuse gun rights from becoming a big enough problem that anti-rights groups can take our rights away again.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have one final request for you:  Get involved.  Whether or not you support Candidate X, become as involved as you can in this election and the political process.  Vote, and encourage those around you, including those who disagree with you, to go to the polls in November.  Take your children with you to the polls so that they learn how easy it is to vote and can see how important it is to make your voice heard through the ballot box.  On other political matters, learn about the issues that Congress and the President are dealing with, and make sure they know how you feel about them.  Write to your legislators, both here in _____ and in Washington.  Go to their offices and tell them in person what you think they should do.  Attend rallies and demonstrations so that they know it's not just a few people trying to talk to them, but rather a vast multitude of voters.

My fellow citizens of the United States of America, we are fortunate in that a lot of the restrictions to our gun rights are being won back, even when opposed by the government.  The National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the myriad other pro-rights groups in our country are doing wonderful things through the state legislatures and the courts.  Now, it's time to send a president who understands and supports gun rights to Washington.  I hope that throughout the campaign, the election, and the administration of Candidate X, you will support us as we try to continue the trend of restoring and protecting gun rights to the people of the United States.

Thank you for your time.   God bless you, and may He continue to bless America.

Overheard in the Kitchen

Irish Woman, baking Girlie Bear's birthday cake - DB, can you come in here?
DaddyBear - Yes, sweetie?
Irish Woman - Can you get the vegetable oil down from the very tippy top shelf in the pantry where you put it?
DaddyBear - Of course, love of my life, apple of my eye, cream of my coffee, Jessica to my Roger, Juliet to my Romeo, Mary Ann to my Gilligan....
Irish Woman - Would you just get the darn oil down, you goof?

Oh yes, it's love.

T-Shirt Idea

We were discussing guns in GBC last night*, and I brought up cap and ball revolvers.

Then it occurred to me.  People who shoot cap and ball guns are really proud of their guns (I know, who isn't?), and they might like some apparel to get people to notice their rather unique firearm.

What I have in mind is a t-shirt with a picture of a cap and ball revolver with the slogan "My gun has nipples" across it.  Sell them at gun shows and such.

What do y'all think?  Too juvenile, or just juvenile enough?

*I know, go figure.

Today's Earworm

I'm not really a country or bluegrass fan, but for some reason, this is one of my favorites.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Today's Earworm

It's been one of those days.  I need some bad attitude music.

Thoughts on the Day

  • There is a certain amount of satisfaction in finishing a project that you've let sit undone for a long time.
  • Children seem to have an instinctual ability to become cute just as their parents are about to lose their cool.
  • It saddens me to realize that the young lady I took for a babysitter or older sister at the playground turns out to be the very young mother of the cute little kindergartener who was taking turns on the slide with Boo.
  • When given the option between watching a movie or taking a nap after lunch, take the nap.
  • Taking the family out to get dinner at a drive-in restaurant on a warm August night is a very nice way to cap the day.
  • My little girl turns 13 tomorrow.  She's noticing boys, but doesn't seem to notice when they notice her.  I'm in big trouble when that little circumstance changes.
  • When your youngest son climbs you like a tree and the doctor on the other end of the phone with your wife asks if everything is OK, then maybe you cried out in pain a little too loud.
  • There are few better ways to end a Saturday than by drinking a huge glass of Southern Comfort and Coke while watching the Muppet Show.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Today's Earworm

This one comes with a story.

This morning, as Irish Woman was driving Boo to daycare, she was listening to one of the local classic rock stations.  She was paying more attention to the traffic than the song until she heard the chorus of this little ditty coming from the backseat:

Boo was singing along "hiwaah to heww" throughout the refrain.

I've never been so proud.

I'll Do It

According to Politico, the discussions about who will be the vice-presidential running mate for whoever gets the Republican nomination next year are already starting up.  Marco Rubio of Florida seems to be the favorite so far.  He's Hispanic, conservative, and from Florida, one of the king maker swing states, so he's very desirable for the second spot on the GOP ticket.

I've decided to indicate my interest in the job.  Here's what I can bring to the ticket:
  • I'm from the upper Mid-west, but I've lived all over this great land of ours, so I can speak to and appeal to lots of crowds.
  • I've actually held down a non-governmental paying job in my lifetime.  That alone give me a big leg up.
  • I'm ex-military, and I'm not afraid to go all Gunnery Sergeant Hartman on a wayward general or admiral.  
  • I'm socially moderate, meaning I don't care who sleeps with whom or how they find their personal high as long as they don't bother the neighbors.
  • I'm fiscally conservative, meaning that I truly believe that every penny that flows out of Washington should be tax money, not borrowed money, and that we should only spend on things that are absolutely necessary.
  • I'm not afraid to be a hatchet man with anyone.  Seriously, I would love to make Wolf Blitzer cry like a little girl on national TV.  It's a life goal of mine.
  • I know how to keep my zipper zipped, so you won't have to worry about me embarrassing you with a sex scandal.
  • I'm a heck of a nice guy, unless you make me angry.  Don't make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
  • I've never held elective office, so there'll be no embarrassing record for your opponents to grab onto.  Hey, it worked for Obama.
  • I'm a true American mutt.  I can campaign at Oktoberfests, Norsk Huskefests, Saint Patrick Day Parades, and anywhere else they need someone to tap a keg or pour the whiskey.
  • I know when to shut up, which is a great improvement over the current guy in the VP's office.
  • I don't want to be president, so you won't have to worry about me undermining you so I can run against you in four years.  Not to say that I'm not ready to take over as president and get the job done.  It's just that I don't sit in my living room at night fantasizing about all the neat things I could do while sitting in the big chair in the Oval office.
Yes, I won't agree with everything my running mate may do or say, and I won't be shy about it.  But if elected, when given a priority by the president, I'll get it done, with or without the use of high explosives, but preferably with high explosives.  I've been used as a training aide by Army interrogators, so I know a thing or two about locking a recalcitrant White House staffer in a room and getting him to agree to support something without leaving a mark.  I'd make a great guy for you to point to and say "Hey, you can work with me on this, or I can unleash the Bear.  It's your choice.".

I even have some good ideas for fellow bloggers who could round out the cabinet and get fresh ideas for our country.  Getting a few non-career politicians into the Departments of Defense, Interior, Justice, and Treasure Treasury would go a long way towards making things make sense again.

So what do you all think?  Would I make a good second half to a presidential ticket?

Losing My Religion

This morning I was in the break room getting something to drink when something hit me.  I haven't had a cup of coffee since the 4th of July weekend.  When I had my surgery, hot liquids of any kind were off the table, and since I've been able to handle pretty much any food or drink I want, I haven't had a hankering for coffee.  No home brew, no Starbucks, nothing.

For me, this is strange.  I've been drinking coffee in one form or another since I was an infant.  I've gone from a raging maniac over coffee a couple of years ago to a casual, social coffee drinker, and now it seems I'm off of it completely.

I still have a soda occasionally, but I've just lost my craving for coffee.

A few months ago, I realized I had totally lost my sweet tooth. The only sweet things I still enjoy are an occasional dish of ice cream and a mug of hot chocolate.  Everything else, including cookies, cakes, candy, and especially chocolate are off my menu for the most part.  Eating a candy bar actually makes my teeth hurt.

And the other day I tried to drink a beer, and realized I really didn't care for the taste anymore.  I've never been a heavy drinker, and so far wine and other drinks are still enjoyable, but my taste for beer is waning. I'll try a few other kinds of beer and see if it's just IPA's I've lost my taste for.

I'm not sure what's happening to me, but I suppose it's for the best.  My addictions to coffee and sugar weren't good for me.  Depending on which study you believe, I was probably drinking too little for my health, but I did enjoy a beer on a hot day.

So far, I still enjoy bacon and bourbon, so there's still hope for me.

But at what point should I consult a medical professional?  When bacon is just salty fat?  I sincererly hope it never gets to that point.

Update - Good Lord!  I just admitted to another gunny that I may buy myself a Glock if I can find one that's priced right, and that the mini-van was a wise choice in cars!  What's happening to me!!!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Schlong Becomes Schlort" Department - A Kentucky man is suing his urologist because the doctor removed his penis when cancer was found during a circumcision.  Every man reading this just crossed his legs.  But imagine coming out of surgery, and having your little soldier gone completely.  No reports yet if the suicide hotline will be called as a witness.
  • From the "Going to Hell on a Scholarship" Department - A Florida man is being charged with animal cruelty after running over a group of baby ducks with a lawn mower while laughing.  That's right.  He turned baby ducks into MiracleGro and appeared to be having the time of his life while doing it.  I suggest we bury him up to his neck and see how he likes it.  No word yet on whether or not he will be referred to the urologist from Kentucky.
  • From the "Who Let Him Out of His Cage?" Department - Reporters are charging that Chinese officials got physical when they tried to get journalists to leave a venue in which Vice President Biden was speaking. I hate to tell the Chinese this, but taking away his audience isn't going to shut Biden up.  Seriously, he's really just talking to the voices in his head. 
  • From the "Officious Prick" Department - A terminally ill woman in Oregon was told to shut down her backyard garage sale when some soulless neighbor called the city to complain.  Someone needs to tell the city managers of Salem the difference between legal and just.  And someone needs to find the neighbor who called in the cancer patient's attempt to raise some money to stay off the public dole and beat them with the passenger door from an 1974 Ford Grenada until they grow some compassion.
  • From the "Yeah, That'll Work" Department - President Obama has signed an executive order that calls for the Syrian president to resign, orders the government to cut ties with the Assad regime in Syria, and imposes economic sanctions against Syria.  This follows the glorious example of the sanctions that Jimmy Carter imposed on Iran in 1979, which quickly led to the fall of the Khomeini regime and made Iran a shining example of democracy in the middle east.  And of course we all know how economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation has made North Korea a paragon of liberal deomocracy and an economic powerhouse.  Something tells me the best thing we could do for the protesters in Syria would be to airdrop in pallets of AK-47's, RPG-7's, and boatloads of ammunition, then make popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Another Remake Movie I'll Miss

According to Big Hollywood, during a recent interview the director of the recent Planet of the Apes remake used the movie's protagonist, a chimpanzee that has gained the ability to speak English, to evoke the image of Che Guavera.  For those of you who were educated in the American school system, Che Guavera was the Cuban Communists' analog to Felix Dzerzhinski and Lavrenti Beria.

Wait a minute... hmmm......

Let's try to explain that a bit.  Guavera stood up the Cuban Communist secret police, massacred peasants who didn't bend their knees to the hammer and sickle, and tried to export his genocidal ideology to the rest of Latin America and Africa.  He was eventually killed while running like a scalded dog from government troops in Bolivia.

No, that's probably assuming too much.  Hmmmmm.

OK, let's try this:  Contrary to what that really neat economics and history professor told you, Guavera was a cowardly butcher who preferred to kill off those who disagreed with him rather than either modify his own beliefs when they were proven wrong or convince his opponents of the rightness of his position through argument and example.  He made it even worse by putting together his own unique blend of sadists and muscle to break heads and bust caps on anyone who dared to show a little thoughtfulness before acquiescing to his demands.  He then tried to 'convince' the downtrodden populations of the rest of the Third World that giving up self-direction and personal freedom was better than cyclically electing the best and brightest to try to bring their lives out of the crapper.  Yeah, the guy on that really neat OD green t-shirt was a putz.  We'd all have been better off if his mother had drowned him at birth.

Did y'all get that?  Good.

For those of you who understood what I meant before reading past the first paragraph, thanks for hanging with me while I brought the others up to speed. Now back to my rant.

I have had it up to here with 'entertainment' being used to shove revisionist history of Fascism, Communism, terrorists, and athlete's foot down my throat.  Nazi's are always evil, as are communists, people who blow up pizza restaurants for fun and profit, and the guy who invented talking toy robots with no volume control or off button.  Their image cannot be rehabilitated and those who try to do it are either uneducated, intellectually dishonest, or a little of both.

Here are some plot elements of which I have no interest in and will waste neither my time nor my money on:

  • Soldiers of any nation treated as doops, idiots, or victims who didn't know better and were betrayed by The Man
  • Soldiers that are nothing but sadists who are given a license to prey upon the poor people they come across in their conquests
  • Members of any species, race, religion, or political leaning shown as being uniformly evil or virtuous
  • Evil corporations who subvert government to maximize profit, preferably by causing harm to ordinary folk
  • Plucky single mothers who are able to make a great life for themselves and their children while afflicted by the presence of the ubiquitous evil penis owners, all while still able to keep their active social life going
  • Humans and their evil technology which does nothing but despoil otherwise pristine, virginal Nature
  • Communist revolutionaries or their symbolic surrogates who do nothing but fight against the plight of the common man while creating a new, better world.

I have known many people from Latin America whose lives were adversely effected by the Communist ideology exported from Cuba by Che Guavera and his ilk, so this kind of stuff trips a trigger with me. Che Guavera, Stalin, Beria, Pol Pot, and the rest of that crowd of mass murderers deserve nothing but our scorn.  The 'intellectuals' who lionize them deserve no better.  I gave up on such 'entertainment' long ago, and I don't see anything that will entice me back into the theater coming along anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is my surprised face

A convicted swindler has made assertions that he gave money and other gifts to University of Miami football players over the last few years.  Gifts included cash, sex parties, cars, and access to exclusive bars and clubs.  The NCAA is investigating, and players he has implicated are either being kept away from reporters or are making no comment.

Shocked, yes shocked I am that this kind of thing is going on at a prominent NCAA football program!

You mean that "student" athletes are accepting unauthorized gifts of money and favors from someone who desperately wants to give them?  How long has this been going on?

What's next?  Are athletes going to be assigned a smart guy to tutor them just enough to keep their grades in the eligibility zone?  Is the smart guy going to be paid to attend classes and take tests so that a running back can devote more time to the weight room?  Are athletes going to be given athletic scholarships even if their SAT scores and high school grades indicate that they're just not cut out for college level courses?

Sweet zombie Jesus, are athletes going to take these scholarships for a couple of years and then leave to make millions playing ball in the NFL while talented students have to put themselves thousands of dollars in debt to finish their degrees and get a real job?

My Lord, how widespread is this?  Tell me it's not happening at Notre Dame or Ohio State!

Something for the smoker

Workers at a wastewater plant in California have reported that a capybera was seen swimming in a pond.  Capyberas are a large rodent normally found in South America, so this is probably somebody's pet that got loose somehow.  Reports are that a capybera, hopefully the same animal, has been seen in the area several times over the past few years.

Let's assume that this isn't the same critter being seen in different places, and there is an invasive population of Rodents Of Unusual Size in southern California.  My questions are: 

  • What caliber for capybera?  .22 LR or .223?
  • What method for cooking capybera?  
  • Do you slow roast in hickory smoke, or do a braise in the crockpot with potatoes and carrots? 
  • Is thin sliced roast capybera good on ciabatta bread with swiss cheese and crisp lettuce with a honey mustard dipping sauce?
  • Do you serve roast capybera with red or white wine, or is this a good dish to serve with beer?
  • Can you make capybera bacon?
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