Saturday, December 31, 2011

Someone is about to have a bad day

Reports are still sketchy, but it appears that a servicemember has been caught with military grade explosives at the airport in Midland, Texas.  I see three things as possibilities for this:

  1. This is an American jihadi ala Nidal Hasan who was stupid enough to try to take his bomb in his carry-on
  2. This is a soldier coming home on leave with a little something to show the people back home
  3. This is a soldier PCS'ing to a nearby base who has a little something extra 
I've seen both numbers 2 and 3 myself.  One goober at Fort Hood once got caught trying to take a couple of mortar rounds home.  I've also seen people coming home from the Mid-East get caught with AK's and such disassembled and in their baggage.  

Either way, on New Year's Eve, someone's chain of command is getting some really unwanted phone calls.  

"Hi, First Sergeant X?  This is Sergeant Y from the Midland-Odessa Police Department.  Do you have a Private First Class Slipinschitz in your unit?"
"Yes, is there something wrong?"
"Yes, we caught him trying to board a plane at our airport with some military explosives, and he is in our custody at this time."
".......OK, let me get your phone number and I'll get back to you."
"Thanks, and 3.2..1.. Happy New Year!  Have a nice drive to Midland, First Sergeant."

Thought for the Day

There are fewer things in life more enjoyable than stumbling upon the recent mug shot and police report for an ex-girlfriend from years ago who treated you like something off the bottom of her shoe.

Today's Earworm

Remember, 12 hours from bottle to throttle!

Looking Back

On the whole, this has been a good year for us.  Irish Woman and I are still gainfully employed, and everyone is in good health.  Knock wood, but no major catastrophes have hit our little family.  The kids continue to do well.

I've met a lot of wonderful people this year, both in the real world and on the web.  I may not speak to all of y'all every day, but I read what you write and it gives me new perspectives on the world.

Thanks for putting up with my bad jokes and rants.  I promise more of the same for the new year.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 28

Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks. - Time Enough For Love

My Take - I hope that I won't be seeing any of you on "Girls Gone Wild" videos after tonight.   But tonight of all nights is a good night to let your hair down, forget the diet, and enjoy life as much as you can.  

I will be spending it, along with my beautiful wife, chaperoning a teenage girl sleepover.  I'm such a hedonist.

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 30, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Mother of the Year" Department - A female genetic provider in New York left her seven year old on the street with a stranger, went into a store with her two year old daughter, used the child as a lookout as she shoplifted, then tried to use the two-year-old in her stroller as a battering ram to escape when she was caught.  Wow, two days in a row, and I have two women who endanger their children so they can behave badly.  I hope I haven't discovered a meme.
  • From the "Well, Duh" Department - Authorities in Virginia are criticizing a television show in which they are portrayed attempting to find and arrest people brewing illegal whiskey.  What?  You mean a television producer might lie, cheat, steal, and run over puppies in order to make a show that he can sell to a cable television network?  Did these guys actually think that rural law enforcement would be shown in a light more flattering than Roscoe P. Coltrane?  And color me unsurprised that said producer would dramatize those parts of his show about illegal activity that were, you know, actually illegal.  TV producers might tend towards the slimy side of the population, but they're not normally stupid.
  • From the "Nothing Can Go Wrong Here" Department - A couple busloads of high school students caught a break the other night when police in rural Nevada let them give up their illicit alcohol and marijuana rather than be arrested.  The police admit that arresting the entire group would have been difficult due to a lack of facilities to hold them, but I'm sure there's an unused high school gym somewhere they could have used.  The kicker here:  the 'chaperones' for the group were themselves under 20.  So you've got high schoolers being minded by 19 and 20 year olds on a trip two states over from their parents.  Yeah, that's a big bag of fail waiting to happen.  Someone's daddy needs a dope slap.
  • From the "Domesticated Barbarian" Department - Retailers are coming to grips with the reality that men are doing their fair share of grocery shopping and other household tasks.  Wow, only took them 30 years to figure that out.  Personally, I've been doing about half of the cleaning, shopping, and child rearing for oh, about 20 years now.  I have never had a problem finding what I need.  I'm a little insulted that they think it's necessary to make aisles just for men to find the things on their list.  Heck, you give me a grocery list, 30 minutes, and an ATM card, and I'll stock the pantry and have time to drive through Wendy's to get a milk shake for Boo because he behaved.

Today's Chuckle - AR vs. AK

I lurve me some Dr. Seuss.  Larry Correia found this and posted it on FaceBook, and I very quickly stole it for your reading pleasure.

Range Report

Who has two thumbs and the best wife on earth?   This guy!

This fact was demonstrated today by my ability to sign into my range as a member, which my darling wife bought as my Christmas present.  This was after being urged to go shooting this morning, and being told that since my range is primarily for pistols, then I should get more pistols.  Also got told that she got me the membership for a reason, and she expects me to use it.  This from a woman that in 2003 wasn't entirely convinced it was a good thing when I got back into shooting, and is still lukewarm to the idea of her going shooting with any regularity.  Yeah, she's a keeper.

Started out with the Remington R1 again.  It's still shooting to the left a bit.  I changed my point of aim a tad and got the rounds into the center of the target.  I need to get a set of calipers and do a comparison between the clearances on this gun and my Rock Island 1911.  I field-stripped the R1 last night, and it is tight.  I could take the RIA down with my bare hands, but I had to use the included plastic wrench to rotate the bushing and push in the slide lock pin on the R1.

The CZ-82 came next.  I pushed the target out to 30 feet, and while my group opened up a bit from where it was at 21, I was still on the 10 inch splatter target I was using.  I seriously need to stock up on ammunition for this on.  I have one box of brass cased target ammunition left, and one box of defense rounds.  I do have a case of TulAmmo for it in the basement, but this range doesn't allow steel cased ammunition. I'll use that stuff for outdoor shooting and start stocking up on 9mm Makarov when I have the extra pennies.

I also shot the S&W Model 13, but with .38's.  I'm working more on my trigger pull than anything else with this one.  I was able to do a much better job of staying on target with double action shooting this time.  This is another one where I need to start loading up on ammunition.  I'm not as low on .38 or .357 as I am on 9mm Mak, but I've got less than I'm comfortable with.

Last came the S&W 22A1.  I need to get more magazines for this one.  I go through the two I have pretty fast, and it would be nice to load up four or five before going to the range.  I had some trouble with this one today.  I was shooting Winchester High Velocity from a box of 500 bullets, and had several stovepipes and a couple of duds.  I shot Remington ammunition last time out with no problem, so I may switch back to that or try the Federal bulk stuff and leave the Winchester for the other .22's.

I also noticed that the range is going to start having their Wednesday shooting leagues starting up in January.  I think I'll sign up for that and see what happens.  It's not IDPA or ISPSA, but it's an excuse to get out and shoot more often.

I brought up the idea of reloading in order to save a bit of money (I know, I know) in ammunition, but Irish Woman is still not OK with the idea, so I'll let that go for now.  She's come a long way when it comes to guns, so I'm not going to push too hard.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 27

There is no safety this side of the grave. - Stranger in a Strange Land

My Take:

Stay aware of your surroundings and what's going on around you.  Carry and be able to effectively use your guns.  Never assume that "it doesn't happen here".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Good News" Department - A federal court in Washington DC has awarded Dick Heller more than $1.1 million to pay for his legal fees in his famous case against the District for violating his rights to keep and bear arms.  Looks like the Second Amendment Foundation will be getting some of the money it spent on the case back so it can continue its good work.  
  • From the "Bad News" Department - The Government Accounting Office reports that the total amount owed by the American people in the form of Social Security and Medicare, if we were to set aside money now to pay for future use, is $33.8 TRILLION dollars.  The Washington Post puts that in a great perspective by pointing out how that compares to the value of the New York Stock Exchange and the total of all homes owned by Americans.  Folks, this isn't a blogger or a guy on a late night AM radio show pointing this stuff out.  It's a mainstream media outlet.  The numbers are getting so bad that even those who might want to ignore them are finding it hard to do so.  Remember my investment advice - .22 Long Rifle, canned goods, and shotguns.
  • From the "Scary News" Department - A young Louisville girl is healing after being attacked by two dogs in the street.  She says she was riding her bike when she was knocked to the ground and bitten.  She is reported to have multiple bites on her arms and legs.  Her mother pulled her to safety in the bed of a truck while her uncle chased the dogs off.  The owner of the dogs is expected to appear in court, so these weren't strays.  These were someone's pets that were running loose.  Folks, it's not always the human predators you have to worry about.  Carry your darn guns.
  • From the "Mother of the Year" Department - A woman in Louisiana has been arrested and her foster children taken by child services after she left them at a playground and went to a nearby casino to gamble.  Mama needs more than a new pair of shoes.  She needs a good attorney and a maternal instinct.
  • From the "Officer of the Year" Department - A policeman in Cincinnati has been fired after asking a prostitute for child pornography.  He claims he was trying to investigate a child pornography ring, and his co-workers say he told them that was what he was doing.  The police department claims he was not authorized to be running such an investigation, and he never took his suspicions or plans to his superiors.  He is over course trying to get his job back, with the support of his union.  Here's the kicker:  He was employed by the police department for four years, and had been disciplined 17 times.  That's a little more than once a quarter, for those of you doing the math in your head.  If I got written up 4+ times a year, I'd have been fired long ago.  Now that's some good unioning going on right there.
  • From the "Qel Surpris" Department - Manufacturers of artificial marijuana seem to be keeping one step ahead of the law.  They have changed the formula for the chemicals in their 'herbal incense' enough that it is no longer illegal under the drug control laws earlier forms of the product were violating.  Gee, who would have thought that a chemist would have looked at the law forbidding a specific chemical, changed the formula for his intoxicant just enough that it was no longer that chemical but still had the desired effect, and then started using the new concoction.  I wish state officials luck in this particular game of whack-a-mole.  A law broad enough to make every possible intoxicant like this illegal would be so broad it would never stand up in court.  But it's all worth it because we have to keep people from getting high, no matter the cost.
  • From the "So Much Fail" Department - A man in Florida is recovering after shooting himself with a .410 shotgun shell out of the pistol he kept under his pillow.   He had heard his dog barking in the night, and grabbed his gun to take with him when he investigated.  Wow, lots of stuff going on here.  First, he kept his gun under his pillow.  One of the reasons I keep a pistol safe in the nightstand is so that I have a few moments to wake up before I touch a gun.  Second, either he put his booger hook on the bang switch while it was still pointed at his head, or he kept the gun in such a way that bedding or the pillow caught the trigger, causing it to go off.  Not going to comment on his choice of gun.  Maybe it's the gun he can afford, and any gun is better than no gun. Also not going to comment on using .410 shot as a defense load.  No-one wants to leak.  I'm just glad it hit him in the arm and not in the neck, or this would have brought on yet more of the anti-gunner blood dancing, and I don't need that right now.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 26

Live each golden moment as if it were eternity — without fear, without hope, but with a sybaritic gusto. - Stranger in a Strange Land

Darn the luck, ye scurvy dogs!

We watched the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie tonight, and it's a pretty good flick.  Review is pending.

One drawback - everything I read now has the voice of Captain Barbossa in my head.

It was amusing until I read something by the beautiful and not a scruffy pirate at all Nancy R.  Just doesn't sound right.

Not Nancy R.

I'm off to figure out why the rum is gone, and if it's not, to make it so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "So Last Month" Department - The Occupy Louisville group is asking a judge to stop the city from forcing them to dismantle their camp on free speech grounds.   Who knew there was an Occupy Louisville movement anymore?  I'll be watching this closely.  Judges around here are elected, and if a judge feels that it's OK for this group to squat in the public square (in more ways than one), then I guess I know who I won't be voting for.
  • From the "This Ain't Christmas" Department - Priests from the Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity had a bit of a brawl the other day in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  This isn't the first time I've heard of fighting going on during the yearly cleaning up of the church.  Maybe they're trying to start a new tradition.  What would Christmas be without Midnight Mass, mince pies, and of course, the annual Christmastime beatdown?  Heck, my family has had fist fights at Christmas on multiple occasions throughout the years.  Why not make it official?
  • From the "Fail" Department - A teenager in Wyoming is in trouble after a .38 Special derringer in her purse went off at a Starbucks.  Luckily, no-one was hurt.  Let's see, we've got a minor in possession of a handgun, without a carry permit, and probably without being in a holster.  Wow, she hit the trifecta.  Personally, I hope the judge orders her daddy a good beating for not making sure she didn't have a gun when she shouldn't have.
  • From the "Bad Trend" Department - 2011 has been a deadly year for law enforcement in the United States.  173 law enforcement personnel died in the line of duty this year, with 68 dying from gunshots and 64 dying from traffic accidents.  We give police a lot of heat, usually when they deserve it, but we should never forget that for every cop who's out on a power trip or is a criminal, there are plenty who are just good, honest people trying to do a job that most everyone else doesn't want to do.  Here's hoping next year is better.
  • From the "3 R's" Department - An Arizona judge has decided that a "Mexican-American" studies program in Tucson schools is illegal, which could cost the school district millions if they don't change or eliminate the program.  Tucson has a large Hispanic community.  I've never understood these ethnic study programs.  I lived in a predominantly Scandinavian area growing up, and we didn't need Norsk-American studies programs to get us to get to class and perform.  I don't think there are Hybernian-American studies programs in Boston, or Italian-American studies programs in New York.  Maybe if a little more time and energy was spent to get kids to just show up to class and put forth some effort, their ethnic background wouldn't matter.

Movie Review - The Muppets

Dear Jim Henson,

As a lifelong fan of the Muppets, Sesame Street, and just about every other project you were involved in, I would like to extend a heartfelt apology to you and your legacy for spending $19.50 to buy Boo, Girlie Bear, and myself matinee tickets to see the gilded turd that has been foisted upon the world by whoever owns your trademark these days.

I plan to begin a personal quest to discover what remains of your carcass and return it to its final resting place.  I fear that there will not be much left, seeing as how it has been picked over to make this waste of digital celluloid, but I will do my best.


Daddy J. Bear

Today was clear, bright, and cold.  If there was snow on the ground, I would have taken the children sledding.  Since I live in Kentucky, that magical region where it's too warm to get snow on a regular basis and too cold to walk around in jeans and a tee shirt, I found another activity for our little band:  we went to the movies.

Our choices that seemed at all appropriate for a 3 year old, a 13 year old, and a 40 year old boiled down to the new Chipmunks movie and "The Muppets".  Since I'd rather gouge out my eyes and immolate myself in the runoff pond from a goat ranch than watch another Chipmunks movie, I decided to go see the Muppets.

I love the Muppets. I grew up watching the Muppet Show and Sesame Street.  I have seen every Muppet movie that I can in the theaters and I own most of them on DVD.  My kids have also enjoyed Jim Henson's work from as early as I could get them to watch it.  So this seemed like a natural choice.

You know, maybe Alvin and the Chipmunks wouldn't have been that bad.

The plot of this 'movie' centers around two brothers, one a Muppet and one a human.  The human brother is in love with the school shop teacher, played by a cute redhead with a tolerable singing voice.  The human guy, well, he could hit some notes but hold few.  Yes, this is a musical, in the tradition of most of the other Muppet movies.  Difference is that in the other Muppet movies, the main characters were mostly Muppets, and they did the majority of the singing.  Here, it seemed to be a Muppet musical about humans singing.

Also, in other Muppet movies, the creators were trying to tell a story.  In the original Muppet Movie, it was about how the Muppets came together as a group.  Same goes with the rest of the movies, all the way down to Muppets in Space.  Yeah, that one was cheesy, but it was funny, and it was Muppets telling a story, not Muppets for the sake of Muppets.

Basically, this is a "let's get the band back together by a deadline" movie.  For those of you who've seen the Blues Brothers, it's kind of like that, but without the car chases, good music, Illinois Nazis, or jokes.

The movie spends most of its first two acts poking fun at Muppets cliches.  Some gags worked, some didn't.  The third act moves pretty well, but if you've seen the other movies and watched the Muppet Show a bit, you've seen most of it already.

The villain, because there has to be a villain, is a rich oil executive.  Yeah, rich white guys who want to exploit Gaia get to be the bad guys.  I could have accepted that as them doing another cliche, but the gangster rap number the villain did just didn't click with me.

About halfway through the movie, I quit trying to kickstart my interest in the movie and started observing the crowd in the theater.  Like I said, it's slim pickings for movies that are appropriate for young kids, so the small theater we were in was busy.  What I heard was kids talking and playing with toys, with adults occasionally bursting into laughter.  Once the popcorn, soda, and Skittles were gone, Boo gave the movie about 20 minutes before he started to get really bored.  Girlie Bear didn't even make it that long.  By the time I looked up, she was reading a book by the light of her cell phone. (We were in the back row of the theater, so I didn't mind so long as she was polite about it).

I think this one is going to go into the "Movies I will not admit exist" file, along with Highlander 2 and Starship Troopers.  If you want to see this movie, give it a year or so, at which point it will be played repeatedly on Disney Channel or one of the other cable channels that wants to appeal to young families.

Going to have to watch this one

The Indianapolis Star is reporting that a Kroger store manager reacted to someone putting something up to the back of one of his employees and demanding that she go to the back office by shooting the thug in the face.  Said thug has reportedly shuffled off this mortal coil.

Not surprisingly, Kroger seems to have a "No guns in the workplace" policy, as do most businesses.  Being in Indiana, employees are allowed to keep firearms in their locked cars while at work, but companies are allowed to prohibit them in the workplace.  I don't have a problem with that, by the way. Company premises are usually private property, and what a property owner wants to allow or not is up to them.

Authorities are still investigating, as is Kroger.  I imagine that the family of this misunderstood young man, who was turning his life around and only went out of the house to get his mother's medicine and to take orphans to vespers, will be hiring themselves a lawyer within the next 36 hours.  I fully expect both the shooter and Kroger to be sued six ways from Sunday on this, no matter what the police find.

Of course the newspaper has to throw in a couple of digs, but that's to be expected:

Records suggest Elliott at one time had a carry permit for a gun, but it's uncertain whether that's still the case because lawmakers recently changed the law to make such information confidential.
As I understand it, the law was changed to make them confidential because some newspapers wanted to do a Google Map mashup of CCW carriers' addresses.

On the other hand, not all shoppers would feel entirely comfortable if they thought the produce guy might be a wanna-be Wyatt Earp.
 Right, because all CCW holders have fantasies of being an Old West lawman who goes on a personal vendetta against a gang of men who shot up his family.  Yep, that's me.  Hey, I've even been to Tombstone!

Like the title says, I'll be watching this one.  My family shops at our local Kroger a lot.  But if this manager is fired, I'm switching to somewhere else.  I left Walgreens after they fired a pharmacist for defending his life, and I'll leave Kroger too.  Not calling for a boycott.  I'll leave it up to everyone else, but I sure won't be giving them any more of my money.

What I really listen to

Yesterday I listed the top 25 songs played on my iPhone.  Just from that list, you'd think I was pretty white bread in my tastes, and to a point I am.  But that list skews towards family friendly stuff because I usually listen to music in the car when I have the family with me.  If I'm alone in the car or listening to headphones, I usually listen to podcasts.  Curiously, listening to the sound of people talking in a  podcast helps me to drown out the sound of people talking in the office.

So here's what I normally listen to when I'm listening for myself:

  • Bryan Suits on KGO - A podcast made from the daily show on a San Diego radio station.  Center-Right politics, but the snark is strong with this one.  Lots of reminders of why I'm glad I never moved back to California.
  • Coffee and Markets - Libertarian/Republican economics and politics
  • Common Sense with Dan Carlin - Libertarian politics and current events.
  • Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - Essays about historical topics given from the standpoint of a dedicated amateur
  • Dark Secret Place - Weekly show by Bryan Suits about the military, politics, and military technology
  • Down Range Radio - Michael Bane's weekly talk about guns and shooting, from the secret bunker high atop the Rocky Mountains.  Bonus points if you're familiar with the music he plays at the beginning and end of the podcast.
  • Empty Mags - JP does a bang-up job discussing shooting topics for the everyman.
  • The History of Rome - Good semi-weekly show that's been going for years.  Great chronology of the Roman civilization, starting with the founding of the city.  The series seems to be winding down, as the host is just about to the point where the western empire dries up and blows away, but all of the old episodes are available for download and it took me weeks to listen to all of them when I decided to restart.
  • Vicious Circle - A guilty pleasure.  Good talk between good friends, but definitely not something I'd listen to with the kids around.  Sometimes very insightful, always entertaining.  Warning - DaddyBear is not responsible for loss of sanity points due to listening to Vicious Circle.  Especially if Weerd and Stingray are having a "Who can find the grossest stuff on the Internet?" contest or if the participants are indulging in porno theater of the mind.  You have been warned.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 25

Each sunrise is a precious jewel…for it may never be followed by its sunset. - Stranger in a Strange Land 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Trick Question

When attending a family pot-luck, in the event that your sister-in-law made the same dish as your wife, a dish you know for a fact that the SIL makes better than your wife, which do you eat?

Do you:

A) Eat them equally?
B) Eat the one your SIL brought?
C) Eat the one your wife made like the antidote was in it?

The answer of course, is C.  Ever see those films of the Soviet congresses back in the 1930's and '40's where delegates would clap for half an hour so that they wouldn't be the first to stop clapping for Stalin? Yeah, you eat like that.  Bonus points if the wife never knows you know the SIL brought a dish of any kind.

Quote of the Day

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got? 
You can say that again! Huh? 

-- The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz 

What the heck?

Following Tam's lead, here are the top 25 played songs on my iPhone:

  1. Learning to Fly - Pink Floyd
  2. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - Beatles
  3. Your Wildest Dreams - Moody Blues
  4. Magical Mystery Tour - Beatles
  5. Revolution - Beatles
  6. Get Back - Beatles
  7. Yellow Submarine - Beatles
  8. Deadbeat Club - B-52's
  9. I am the Walrus - Beatles
  10. The Invisible Man - Queen
  11. Harry's Game - Celtic Woman
  12. Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
  13. Dragula - Rob Zombie
  14. Roam - B-52's
  15. In My Life - Beatles
  16. Call Me When You're Sober - Evanescence
  17. Got to Get You Back Into My Life - Beatles
  18. May it Be - Enya
  19. I Know You're Out There Somewhere - Moody Blues
  20. Drive My Car - Beatles
  21. You've Got Another Think Comin' - Judas Priest
  22. We Can Work it Out - Beatles
  23. D'You Know What I Mean - Oasis
  24. You've Got to Hide Your Love - Beatles
  25. Silly Love Songs - Wings
Lots of Beatles in there, but they're heavily represented in the playlist I have for when the kids are in the car, which is most of the time I've been driving lately.  Truth be told, about 90% of these are from that playlist.   Sigh.

Bourbon, The Brownest of the Brown Liquors

Radley Balko points us to a New York Times article about bourbon and the American bourbon industry.

Being currently located just north of bourbon country, I consider myself blessed by the whiskey gods.  I have Buffalo Trace, Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and Woodford Reserve within an easy drive of the house.  What this means to me is that I have an opportunity to taste and enjoy a lot of different bourbons that most everyone else either can't get or pays a lot of money for.  What you have to go to a premium liquor store for in Manhattan, I can usually get in the Kroger liquor mart.

Funny anecdote #1 - When Irish Woman and I were first dating, she invited me over to make and eat barbecue chicken.  She was making her barbecue sauce, and noticed that her bottle of Jim Beam was almost empty.  She asked me to, and I quote:  Go to the store and get a bottle of whiskey.  Being an innocent bourbon neophyte, I went to the liquor store and returned with a bottle of Jack Daniels.  I returned to the house, and was met in the driveway by my lady love.  She looked at what was in the brown bag, put it back in my car, then drove to the liquor store to get herself a bottle of Jim Beam.

That was the day that I learned that Jack Daniels, while a wonderful Tennessee whiskey, is not bourbon, and Irish Woman cooks with and drinks bourbon.  We use bourbon in much the same way that others would use vanilla or liquid smoke.  Bourbon adds a sweet, smoky flavor to whatever you cook with it.

Funny anecdote #2 - When Irish Woman was making our first Thanksgiving meal, I noticed that the level in the bourbon bottle was going steadily down.  The turkey had a bit of bourbon poured into the cavity for flavor, the country green beans with ham and onions had a drop or two of "blessing*", and Irish Woman herself was having a nip or two.  I joked that everything cooked in Kentucky had a blessing.  Later that day, we went to her aunt's house for dessert, and I found that I really liked the pumpkin pie. I commented on it to the aunt, who innocently admitted that she used the recipe off the can of pumpkin, but added a good amount of bourbon to it as well.  Irish Woman almost had pumpkin pie come out of her nose as she burst into laughter.

I'm not a bourbon connoisseur any more than I'm a beer or a wine connoisseur.  I can't afford the really good stuff with any regularity, and to be honest, I've found what I like in my price range.  My palette isn't good enough to sense too many notes in whiskey, beer, or wine.  Hey, I was raised on Mogan David, Christian Brothers, and Hamm's Beer, what do you expect?

Bourbon, like every potable made by man, has its dregs and its ambrosia.  The trick is to try a bunch of them and find the ones you like.

So here are my favorite bourbons, just to add to what the Times is discussing.  Now, remember, I like all of these bourbons.  I cast no aspersions on any of them.

  • Jim Beam - Lowest shelf bourbon we use.  Honestly, Jim Beam is to bourbon as cooking sherry is to wine around here.  Yeah we're spoiled.  
  • Maker's Mark - A great bourbon for mixing or cooking.  Irish Woman lerves her some Maker's and Coke.  Up until a couple of years ago, this was usually the best bourbon you could get outside of Kentucky in most places unless you really searched.
  • Maker's Mark 46 - A new entry from Maker's.  I tried this this past January, and it's much richer, darker, and smoother than original Maker's Mark.  This one definitely goes into the rotation.
  • Elmer T. Lee - This is a small batch from Buffalo Trace.  Mr. Lee was a master distiller for BT, and this is one of my favorites.  It's very smooth, and is considered a good value for top shelf bourbon.
  • Woodford Reserve - Our sipping standard.  A little Woodford with a drop or two of water in it will usually fix what ails you.  Funny Anecdote #3 - During a January campout with my guys a few years ago, we were all huddled around the bonfire-of-massive-proportions, with several bottles of happiness making their way around the circle.  The bottles of Jack Daniels and Jim Beam usually went from person to person quite quickly, and took two or three trips 'round the fire to empty.  The bottle of Woodford, on the other hand, crawled around the circle as each of us kept it to take more than a sip or two, and it was almost dry by the time it got back to where it started.
  • Knob Creek - A little harsher than my other favorites, but has a really good flavor and color.  Also, what gun guy wouldn't like a whiskey with the same name as his favorite outdoor shooting range?
  • Eagle Rare - Also a good sipper.  Comes in a very distinctive bottle that can't be mistaken for anything else.  Good sweet notes with minimal burn at the end.  Makes a good gift to friends who are learning bourbon.

I've tried a few of the new flavored bourbons, and they're good.  I like Woodford Reserve's Maple Finish, and Wild Turkey's American Honey is quite nice on a cold night.

So, what do you all like?

*We call it "Blessing" because the way you measure it is to pour it out long enough to cross yourself.

Today's Earworm

Guess what was playing on the Classic Rock station this morning....

Praise the Lord and pass the Geritol!

News Roundup

  • From the "Custodiae Venalicium" Department - Police are reporting that a large group of 'juveniles' at the Mall of America in Minnesota started a fight at the food court, then broke up into smaller groups that roved the mall after police moved in to stop the fight.  Sounds like they could have used more men dressed in RobbAllen's best.  Alert Food Court Six.
  • From the "Tasty, Tasty Murder" Department - PETA is asking the Illinois Department of Transportation to erect a memorial plaque for cows killed in a traffic accident.  While I question their motives, I think that PETA would do their best to make this a mooooving memorial.  I just hope they don't get too bossie about it.  I mean, there's a a lot at steak here.
  • From the "Equal Protection Under the Law" Department - The Supreme Court has been asked to take up a case that tries to better define when a police officer is protected against litigation or prosecution.  This could get interesting.  If police can be taken to court more easily when they break the law or abuse a citizen's rights, then maybe fewer of them will be willing to do stupid crap.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 24

I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much… because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting. - Stranger in a Strange Land

My take - Life can be an enjoyable, wonderful experience.  A lot of it is an irritating pain in the butt. Some of it is excruciatingly painful.  We laugh, play, sing, and do whatever it is we do to let the pressure valve in our soul open up so that we can let some of that pain go.  Maybe it's shooting electronic Nazi's, or a little recoil therapy, or playing an instrument, or laughing until your ribs hurt, but we all need something.  The cost of not letting it out is damage to your psyche and your soul.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blog Roundup

  • Captain Tightpants links to some good life lessons from Firefly.
  • An  Ordinary American brings us our daily chuckle.
  • Flopping Aces discusses the unemployment situation since Obama took office.  To me, the Democrats crowing about the unemployment rate going down is like tobacco companies crowing that lung cancer rates have fallen because a lot of their customers have died.
  • Reason has a good set of predictions for 2012.  
  • Christina's daughter Silver has a brush with death.
  • Pissed makes me feel old.  I have either owned all of those toys or I have played with the ones owned by my uncles.


I did a lot of my Christmas shopping in the Internet this year.  Most of it was laziness, but a lot of it was just that I hate crowded stores.  The advent of free shipping means I can usually get what I want, with less effort, at at least a comparable price without having to leave the house and put up with people.

This morning I woke up to almost 100 spam emails from various vendors.  So here's my take on it:

  • I know what I need and most of what I want.  If I've done business with you in the past, I will check your website for good prices before buying something.  Getting 5 emails from the same company in one day moves that company down the list.
  • If I'm already sending your charity a check every month, rest assured that it's the most I can afford to send at the moment.  As things improve, my donations will also improve.  There really isn't a need to ask for more.  And yes, I already tell my friends about your cause.
  • If you're a charity and you sell my information to other charities so that they can spam me, kiss my donations goodbye.  Look at it this way:  My charitable donations budget is a finite amount of money.  Every additional charity that catches my attention and gets a bit of it reduces the amount of money for those causes that I already support.  Is the couple of bucks you get for my email address enough to compensate for having my donations reduced or eliminated?
  • If you're a political party, candidate, office holder, or advocate organization, the quickest way to lose my support is to start sending me requests for funding more than once a month or so.  I had 15 emails in the past three days from a large gun-rights organization.  Guess who's going on the naughty list?
  • Being sneaky is a bad idea.  One clever lady sent me an email that read like a family Christmas newsletter, but all of the information was about how her agency could save me money on insurance, and the family-sounding link at the bottom of the email led me to her business site.   Nice try.
  • NFL teams - I either hope that you will dominate or I hope you lose in an epic way.  Sending me emails directing me to your team paraphalia store isn't going to get me to like you any more. Honestly, I already have a Raiders tee shirt and a Vikings hat.

So, that's what I don't like about solicitation emails.  Here's how to do it right:

  • Send me emails when you come up with or start carrying new products, preferably once every month or so.  That way I know what's going on with companies I've done business with in the past, but don't feel pressured.
  • Send me emails when products go on sale that are consumables, such as ammunition, cleaning supplies, or camping food.  If I know it's something that I will use and then have to replace, I'm more likely to stock up if I see a good deal.
  • Be honest.  If you're emailing me to try to get me to buy something from you, be up front about it.
  • If you're a charity, an occasional email telling me about what y'all have been up to recently is nice.  No need for daily or weekly updates.
  • I use my smart phone to read my email.  Send emails that can be read easily on that platform. Bonus points for plain text.  Big minus is to just send a picture that links to your website.
If we all play by these guidelines, I'll get less spam, you'll get more of my money, and we'll all feel like we came out ahead in the game.

Quote of the Day

"The question became, how do you hide an elephant?" a National Reconnaissance Office report stated at the time. It decided on a simple response: "What elephant?"

Fox News - Discussing how a satellite reconnaissance program dealt with secrecy for 40+ years.  The program was recently declassified

In order words:  "Intel?  Never heard of it!"

For other examples of people who did good things, but kept their trap shut, see:

For a more recent example of someone who decided it was better to endanger his fellow soldiers in order to get in with the cool kids on the Internet, please read up on Bradley Manning (Hawk Spit). 

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 23

I have learned two ways to tie my shoes. One way is only good for lying down. The other way is good for walking. - Stranger in a Strange Land

My take - There is no such thing to me as useless knowledge and learning.  However, some learning might be more useful than others.  The trick is to know which is which before you start learning.

Dear Southwest

Hi guys,

Just read this, and I have to say, that's not Christmas.

A child is given a medical device that allows him to sit up without someone holding him, and your flight attendants insist that he instead sit with his parents keeping him from falling over for a flight.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm intimately aware that you have to follow all FAA regulations.  I understand that most child seats are indeed inspected by the FAA and approved for airliner use.  However, I think that something that's being used as a medical device falls outside those guidelines.  It probably would have been better to follow the same rules as you do for someone who is strapped into a wheelchair without use of the lower part of their body.

I see that you are already apologizing and trying to make things right for this family, and I give you full credit for that.

Hopefully you learn from this.  Southwest is one of the last good domestic airlines left, and I'd hate for y'all to lose that reputation.


Daddy J. Bear

Thoughts on the Weekend

  • Working a week of 10 PM to 6 AM night shifts and finishing up on Christmas Eve morning makes for a wonderful Yuletide attitude.
  • Nothing says "Merry Christmas!" like having lunch with your ex-wife on Christmas Eve.  Yeah, I had lunch with my ex after 3 hours of sleep.  What could go wrong?
  • We watched "A Boy Named Charlie Brown", and all I can say is that Lucy is an insufferable wench.
  • If there was anything healthy to eat in the house this weekend, it wasn't our fault.  Lots of comfort food, baked goods, and sweets.  Healthy diet starts again on Monday.
  • Gunny Claus was good to me.  He worked with Irish Woman to get me a membership to my indoor range.  Sounds like permission to go shooting more often to me!
  • My daughter is officially out of children's clothes in any way, shape, or form.  That sound you hear is me aging 20 years in one morning.
  • As a stocking stuffer, Boo got a packet of soft rubber snakes and lizards.  I look forward to many fun mornings of finding them stuffed in the toes of my shoes or under my pillow.
  • Remember rule # 1 - All NERF guns are always loaded.
  • Labrador retrievers crave peppermint candy canes.  I did not know that.
  • Husky mix puppies are indeed cuter than should be allowed by law.  No, we do not have a new puppy.  No, we are not getting a new puppy, no matter how much Boo loves puppies.
  • Dinner tonight:  Spaghetti with meatballs and sausage, lasagne, and a spicy sausage/chicken pasta in a creamy cheese sauce.  All delicious and all made by Irish Woman and other friends.  Good people and good food.
  • Mileage total this weekend: 302 miles.  Never left Louisville.
  • Time for a long winter's nap.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Final Christmas Thought

It's over.  Thank God.

Today's Earworm

If I cannot bring you comfort, then at least I bring you hope.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 22

I am explain. I did not have the word. You grok. Anne groks. I grok. The grass under my feet groks in happy beauty. But I needed the word. The word is God. - Stranger in a Strange Land

Christmas Thought

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
 2The same was in the beginning with God.
 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
The Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verses 1 through 5

Today we commemorate the birth of a small child in a conquered land.  He was born in a strange place, far from home and family.  His parents were neither rich, nor privileged.  He grew up in a small village during tumultuous times, and rose to found a great movement in human history.  If you believe in his divinity, he was sent in order to be the sacrificial lamb for the entire human race by a God so forgiving that he gave of his own flesh and blood for that sacrifice, and his teachings are our guiding lights to find our way to his kingdom.  If you are only looking for wisdom or guidance, the writings of what he taught show a path of forgiveness, love, and understanding of the lowest of the low among us.

This is the Christmas I celebrate.  I thoroughly dislike the tinsel, the shopping, the schmaltzy music, and the saccharine kindness from people who normally would gladly step over my corpse in the street. But a few moments of quiet reading and reflection remind me that underneath all of the dreck that has been heaped on the occasion there is a bedrock of faith and learning that we should remember.

My Christmas is one that reminds me that I am responsible for my brother, and that even a small child born in squalor can rise up to be an example of light to the world.

I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas.

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and me and my spouse
Were assembling gifts and cleaning the house
The house smelled of pine and cinnamon spice
A fire was in the fireplace, and it felt really quite nice

The kids had crashed about an hour before
And I had just returned from a run to the store
With her in her robe and me in my sweats
She was dusting something and I was feeding the pets

When out on the lawn there came a big bang
And a moment later the telephone rang
"Hello?" I answered, actually I hissed
"DB?  This is Tony.  You're gonna be pissed"

"Come on outside, I need your help"
"I'm on my way. Keep it quiet, you inconsiderate whelp"
When out on the lawn I saw Tony's truck
And I knew that my night was out of good luck.

Under the Ford was a sled all covered in snow
Eight reindeer milled 'round, watching the show
Santa just stood there, he looked quite glum
Tony just stood there, stuck quite dumb

"What happened?" I said, hoping for the best
"This moron," said Santa, puffing out his chest
"Was doing doughnuts on the ice, and smashed up my sleigh!
And now I'm waiting for a tow truck to take it away!"

"Are you done with your rounds?" I asked, expecting the worst
"Not even close.  This continent was my first."
"Santa" I said, "What can we do?"
"Well, with some help, I think we'll pull through!"

We moved all the bags from the sleigh to the truck.
I explained it all to Irish Woman, and she wished us all luck.
Santa bolted something under the hood
And wouldn't you know it, that Ford flew really good!

We drove 'round the world, with Santa in charge
Delivering presents to houses both little and large
And just as the sun started to rise
I got home with sleep in my eyes

As I opened the door, guess what I found!
An M-1 Garand and a spam can of rounds!
Santa left a note that just said "Thanks!"
All Tony got was half a box of blanks.

So Christmas was saved
I hope you got all that you craved.
To all of my readers, both pro-Christmas and con
Merry Christmas to you, now get off my lawn!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dinner Tonight

Ancient Family Tradition for Christmas Eve - Swedish Meatballs


5 pounds of ground meat (beef, pork, turkey.  Tastes good if you use a little from column A and a little from column B). The meat should have a bit of fat to it, as you will need to make a sauce with drippings.  I use 80/20 hamburger mixed with ground turkey.
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup dried onions
1/4 to 1/2 cup rolled oats
Black Pepper
1 tsp allspice

Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized white or yellow onion, minced
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup flour
3 cans beef broth
Finely ground white or black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine meat, eggs, milk, dried onions, and oats.  Add salt and pepper to taste, along with the allspice.

In your largest saute pan, heat enough olive oil to barely cover the bottom, then add the garlic and onions.  Saute until the onions are clear and soft.  Shape the meat into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs and brown in batches.  When meatballs are browned, put them into a shallow dish and place in a warm oven.  When you are cooking the last batch of meatballs, add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are done.  Scoop out all of the mushrooms, meatballs, and onions you can into the shallow dish and keep in the oven.

In the saute pan, which should have a good amount of fat and liquid in it by now, add the flour and whisk until the flour is completely absorbed.  Continue cooking over low heat until the flour mixture has become a light brown.  Add the broth and season with the pepper to taste.  Continue cooking over low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth and thick.

Add in meatballs, mushrooms, and other tasty bits and stir together gently.

Serve over rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes.  Goes well with lefse or fresh whole wheat bread and your favorite winter vegetable.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 21

We make war as personal as a punch in the nose. We can be selective, applying precisely the required amount of pressure at the specified point at a designated time. We've never been told to go down and kill or capture all left-handed redheads in a particular area, but if they tell us to, we can. - Starship Troopers

My take - Heinlein wrote these words back when war was an overwhelmingly indiscriminate killer.  We can still wage war so that entire grid squares get burned to the ground, but we've invested decades of time and billions of dollars to create weapons and tactics that allow us to pick and choose our targets well enough that the deaths of bystanders is now considered an anomaly.

News Roundup

  • From the "History Rhymes" Department - The government of Cuba has announced that it will be releasing several thousand inmates from its prisons.  I believe the next play in the Castro brothers' playbook is to hold a massive boat lift of people they don't want in their worker's paradise, necessitating an equally massive humanitarian effort on our part.  Some might consider this a creative way to save money on your prison budget.  I see it as another way in which the Obama administration parallels that of President Carter.
  • From the "Bad Year" Department - The Russian space agency has had a pretty bad run of luck lately.  Several high profile missions, including a supply run to the ISS and a probe to Mars that didn't quite go well.  The latest is a satellite launch that didn't make it to orbit.  This will tell you how far Russia has come.  30 years ago, we would be reading of a glorious opportunity for new rocket scientists to continue the glorious path to the stars set by their late predecessors.  Now, the head of the agency holds a press conference, admits fault, and predicts that a new generation of scientists will step forward.  Russia isn't exactly going gangbusters toward liberal democracy, but it's a sight better than it was a couple of decades ago.
  • From the "Bless His Heart" Department - President Obama has flown to Hawaii to join his family for the Christmas holidays.  I expect he will be taking a much needed break from his hectic schedule for the next few weeks.  I certainly hope he finds time to get in a couple rounds of golf, seeing as he's almost had to take up that hobby recently.  I also certainly hope that the First Lady has a chance to indulge a bit in that epitome of healthy eating that is Hawaiian cuisine.  Lord knows she's earned a break from her campaign and lifestyle of healthy eating.  I'm sure that all of the assistants, security, military personnel, and other people who always accompany the President and his entourage will be thankful for having the opportunity to spend Christmas in a tropical paradise without being encumbered by their family and friends.
  • From the "This Ain't Christmas" Department - Nike has cranked up the Michael Jordan money printing machine it's kept stashed in the basement of its corporate headquarters again.  Apparently, this year's model has the magical ability to cause otherwise peaceful and law-abiding people to start rioting in order to get their own pair.  Either that, or the people who lined up two days before Christmas to buy shoes include a fair percentage of jerks.  You be the judge.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Local News Outlet

Putting some woman who has delusions of grandeur because her elementary school music teacher told her she had a good voice on the TV because she won a Facebook contest is not journalism.  Letting her belt out a few bars of the latest ballad from pubescent romance fantasies is the opposite of journalism.

Here's a rule of thumb:  If it gives you a warm and fuzzy, it's probably not news.  If it can be classified as a "human interest story", save your breath, I'm not interested.

Space Junk

It's the Illudium Q-38 Explosive Space Modulator!

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 20

War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him...but to make him do what you want to do. Not killing...but controlled and purposeful violence. - Starship Troopers

News Roundup

  • From the "Cornered Cat" - An 81 year old woman in Florida showed that the maternal instinct never ends.  When the ladies 61 year old daughter was getting into her truck to take them both to a TV show taping, sumdood decided to rob and beat the daughter.  The 81 year old woman, knowing that the thug had a gun and she had nothing but her attitude, started beating on the miscreant and drove him off.  How many times do I have to tell these people?  Don't mess with Grandma!
  • From the "Then You Do It!" Department - A federal judge has stuck down parts of South Carolina's anti-illegal immigration statutes.  I suppose now that police officers are prohibited from inquiring into the immigration status of someone they suspect, all that's left for them to do is to ask nicely that illegal immigrants consider camping out on the front yard of the federal courthouse.  Hey, if the feds aren't going to enforce immigration laws, then maybe they ought to be inconvenienced by their refusal.
  • From the "14 minutes, 55 seconds" Department - The Occupy Something movement has announced that they plan to bring their own floats to the Tournament of Roses Parade in California next weekend.  They are apparently going to have floats that include 'alternate' wordings for the Constitution, and of course, Cindy Sheehan will be there to speak.  I guess now that the Iraq war is over, she needs something new to make sure she gets her Vitamin D from the limelight.  I look forward to footage of soccer moms who have been camped out on the sidewalk in Pasadena for three days laying a beating on some hippies for screwing up their morning.
  • From the "My Heart Bleeds" Department - Witnesses for Bradley Manning, the young twit who is accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, have asserted that their unit did not have appropriate levels of supervision.  In earlier testimony, Manning's defense team has asserted that he was under an unusual amount of stress because he was a closeted gay soldier before the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and that prompted his crimes.  Here's my take - This whining little punk obviously shouldn't be issued non-blunted eating utensils because he can't be trusted to eat without injuring himself without proper supervision.  Same thing goes for using the men's room and getting himself dressed.  Not enough supervision?  What a crock. Military Intelligence teams are loosely lead at best.  A soldier, especially an analyst like Manning, has to be expected to be able to work on his own within very broad guidelines, so long as his work is supporting the goals of the team.  It's called being an adult.  Thousands of soldiers do the same job with the same amount of supervision, and they don't betray their country.  And as for  his assertion that being a gay soldier in the military is so stressful that he had to act like a twit, well, let's just say I don't buy it.  I knew intelligence soldiers who were in the closet before Clinton came out with DADT, which means that they were under continual threat of being investigated, losing their access and/or clearance, and being booted out of the military.  To my knowledge, none of them printed off a bunch of classified material and sent it to the Soviets.  Here's an alternate theory:  This piece of crap decided the Army was mean to him, and he wanted to get in good with someone who disliked the Army as much as he did, and he paid for his way into the in-crowd with classified material.  Now, he doesn't have the ability to sack up and accept the consequences for his actions, and is instead blaming everyone for his crimes.  Yes, his leadership failed, especially when they realized just what a little putz they had on their hands and didn't take him out of the SCIF by the seat of his pants and put him on human waste removal detail.  And yeah, having to be secretive and discreet about your sexuality sucks.  But that's no reason to betray your oath.
  • From the "Qel Surpris" Department - Jimmy Carter has sent a letter to the new leader of North Korea, expressing his condolences for the death of Kim Jong Il and wishing him luck as he takes the reigns of the country.  You know, there have been those who express the opinion that Jimmy Carter is finally being surpassed as the worst president our republic has ever had now that Obama is being used as a proof of the Peter Principle.  But things like this turn the competition to be worst president ever into a horse race.  I think Obama is really going to have to up his game both now and after he leaves office in order to overtake Carter.

Home Alone

 A Louisville teenager had a scare today.  While he was home alone today, a couple of thugs broke into his home, held him at knife point, and ransacked the house.  One of the fine upstanding proactive property redistributors held a knife to his throat and asked if he wanted to die.  How charming.

This one hits close to home.  Girlie Bear spends about an hour or so every afternoon at the house alone when she gets home from school.  Also, sometimes we can't get a whole day off work to be home with her if she's home for a day off of school, so she may spend half a day alone.  We don't worry about her doing anything she shouldn't.  She's a responsible young lady, and we haven't had any issues with her being by herself so far.

But what should she do if she's surprised by someone in the house when she gets home or if someone breaks in when she's home alone?

My advice to her has been to run.  She has to fight as hard as she can to get away, but she has to get away.  I'm under no illusions that even my hellcat of a daughter can physically subdue or drive off robbers.  Because Boo is so young, all of our guns are religiously locked up, and Girlie Bear doesn't have the combination to any of the safes.  To be honest, I would consider myself a fool to think that a 13 year old, either boy or girl, would have the wherewithal to unlock a safe under stress when I have to practice it regularly myself.

So what do y'all think?  Do you tell your kids to defend themselves and the home, cooperate with the thugs, or run like their ass was on fire and get help?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 19

There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men. - Starship Troopers

My Take - 

The bomb, the gun, the rocket, the sword, the club, the rock - all are tools.  They are not in and of themselves dangerous, no matter what the bed-wetting set wants to think.  The weapon is between your ears.

Geek Christmas Carols

Yeah, I'm finally in the mood.  Not the Christmas mood, just a mood.

Jingle bells, UNIX smells
Windows laid an egg
The mainframe it just vapor locked
But the VAX is A-OK!

I'm dreaming of a white laptop
Just like Jobs used to sell
With a one button mouse
It costs as much as a house
But it goes with black turtlenecks so well!

The users called me
The network is down
They can't surf their pr0n
The network is down
The tech is on his way
The network is down
Email jokes can't be sent!
The network is down
Network is down
Network is down

Silent NOC
Happy NOC
No alerts
No drama
Reading a novel
And eating take-out
Hoping my shift
is quiet no doubt
Keep my board clea--ar
Ke-ep my board so clear

Just see those servers crashing
And hard drives thrashing
Oh joy!
This is a great profession
for someone with a pain obsession
Oh boy!

Quote of the Day

I carry a gun so my last thought won't be, "If only I was armed...."

-- Roberta X, "Gun Myths/Gun Realities"


Not sure about this one

Authorities in Ohio are reporting that a young Amish girl was killed when she was shot by a man who fired his muzzleloading rifle into the air to clear it before cleaning at the same time as the girl being shot.  I'd like to go on a diatribe about a Rule 4 violation, which this situation very much deserves, but one thing catches with me:  the distance from where the man says he fired the shot and the place where authorities believe the girl was hit.

The distance is being reported as 1 1/2 miles.  I just can't see a muzzleloader firing a round that far, but I could be wrong.  Investigators are bringing in an expert to examine the bullet from the girl's body in order to see if it was indeed fired from the muzzleloader.

Now, to go back to Rule 4, this guy needs retraining in safety, whether or not his bullet was the one that killed this young girl.  When you squeeze the trigger, you're responsible for where that bullet goes and everything it hits.  If you have to shoot your gun to clear it, then use a backstop, or invest in and use a bullet puller .

When the forensics are done on this, I'd be very interested in hearing whether or not this man's muzzleloader fired that bullet.  If so, I want to know what gun he uses, what powder he used, how much of it, and what bullet he was firing.  Something just feels fishy about this.  1 1/2 miles just sounds way too far for a muzzleloader.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

News Roundup

  • From the "Run Run Rudolph" Department - An Ohio man was able to re-capture a reindeer that had gotten loose from a cattle truck.  Luckily, the animal only got minor injuries from it's escape attempt.  Apparently, reindeer truly cannot fly, at least from the back of a truck going 55.
  • From the "Road Hazard" Department - A volunteer fire fighter in Texas pulled a man from a burning car while dressed as Santa.  He then started directing traffic around the accident.  My guess is no-one gave the Jolly Old Elf any lip when he told them to take a left turn when they wanted to go straight.  When they make a movie of this, I see Bruce Willis as the main character, a gruff veteran firefighter who has lost his holiday spirit, but gets it back when the car explodes.
  • From the "Beer is Food" Department - A new report asserts that eating certain foods, such as turkey, grains, and vegetables, can reduce stress due to their nutrition.  Personally, I've found a steak, a cold beer, and homemade macaroni and cheese does wonders for my attitude.
  • From the "Cold and Dark" Department - New EPA regulations will require operators of coal fired power plants to install new equipment that cleans mercury and other pollutants out of their emissions.  The new rules will go into force in 2015, and will probably mean the closure of some power plants that cannot be retrofitted in a cost-effective manner.  No word yet on whether or not new nuclear power plants will be started in time to make up the difference, or if those of us who actually pay for energy will just have to pay more for keeping the lights on and the house warm.  
  • From the "Walking While Blotto" Department - A doctor in Illinois is asserting that walking home from the bar is just as dangerous as driving home.  I guess friends don't let friends stumble. Remember, no matter what it takes, take away their sneakers.  Walking home drunk can lead to getting hit by a car, passing out on the front lawn, and having to make the walk of shame the next morning.

Thought for the Day

Tonight is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.  For those of us who are solar challenged, it's the most wonderful time of the year.  No need for sunblock, big hats, or long sleeves.  The weather and light conditions match my personality, cold and gray.

For those of you who worship the sun, take hope from the knowledge that you'll start gaining back sunlight tomorrow morning.  Just do me a favor and let me enjoy my mid-winter's bad mood in peace, OK?

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 18

"My mother said violence never solves anything." "So?" Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. "I'm sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that." - Starship Troopers

My Take - 

Violence should be our last problem solving tool, if we can help it.  And we have to recognize that, like all solutions to problems, there are unintended consequences to using violence, a lot of which are less than optimal.  But violence, if properly applied at the correct place, at the correct time, and in the correct amount is a valid tool to solve problems.

TSA Christmas Carol

Members of the TSA tried to bring a bit of holiday cheer to travellers at Los Angeles International Airport the other day.  They have been practicing on their own time, and sang patriotic and inspirational songs.

I thought I'd suggest a new Christmas carol for them:

Wow! Man this sucks
I spent 600 bucks
All they can say
Is throw shampoo away

Still standing here
Kids shedding tears
Harassing the old
Pissing off the bold

Bad Touch, Bad Touch
That is their job
Agents two by two
With hands of blue

Please spread your legs
Are these your bags?
Searching your hair
Groping a pair

Daily they work
Acting like jerks
Take off your shoes
Start to sing the blues:
Gonna gonna gonna gonna miss my flight!
Gonna gonna gonna gonna miss my flight!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The White House today re-affirmed its support for Vice-President Agnew's assertion that the "Viet Cong are not our enemies per se".  Even though most attacks against American forces in the Republic of Vietnam are carried out by the VC, administration spokesmen assert that the United States got involved in South Vietnam because of an attack against American vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, not to fight the Viet Cong or to protect the Saigon government against them.

Agnew further asserted that the United States is working towards two goals in South Vietnam:  First, to root out international communists who can damage American interests in the region, and to help the government in Saigon become strong enough to either negotiate with or defeat the Viet Cong on their own terms.

Newspapers are reporting that the United States is trying to conclude a set of secret negotiations with Viet Cong leadership, with the aim of being able to leave South Vietnam by the target date of 1973.  American negotiators are reportedly offering to release VC prisoners for a promise to renounce violence and refrain from Communist agitation, both in Vietnam and in other countries in Southeast Asia.

30 Days of Heinlein - Day 17

Premenstrual Syndrome: Just before their periods women behave the way men do all the time. - The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

Memorial to Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il, supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, also known as North Korea, died on December 17.  I can find no better way to eulogize him than this:

That Was Quick

The last U.S. truck to leave Iraq hasn't even been to the wash rack yet, and the opening political salvos of the Iraqi civil war have been fired.

Iraq's Shiite-led government issued an arrest warrant Monday for Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, the country's highest ranking Sunni official, on terrorism charges.
al-Hashemi's Sunni Iraqiya faction has threatened to leave the coalition government, so I guess the next logical step is to neutralize, either politically or physically, its leadership.

Here are my prognostications:
  • Continued political wrangling, including arrests and forced defections, over the next month or so
  • Targeted assassinations of Sunni and Shiite leadership by spring
  • Terrorist attacks against religious demonstrations and significant monuments (mosques) by April
  • Full on civil war by June
I also think the Kurds will use the fighting between the Shiite and Sunni sectors to finally make their defacto independence official, which will go a long way to piss off Turkey.  Saudi Arabia won't stand by and watch their Sunni brothers get the snot kicked out of them by a numerically superior Shiite population.  If the Saudis send in troops, then Iran will go from covert support of the Shiites to actually sending in their own troops.  Whether the fighting stays in Iraq or not will depend on whether or not Iran wants to try to bite off the Shiite area of Saudi Arabia.  Riyadh isn't equipped to stand up to Tehran in any form, so we would probably get dragged in if Iran actually invades Saudi Arabia.

Who's going to win the Iraqi Civil War of 2012?  In Iraq, it'll be the Shiite and the Kurds.  The Shiites are too numerous and well-supported by Iran for the Sunnis to prevail.  Iran and the Shiite factions have been working together for years to plan and prepare for the day after we left.  I don't think the Sunnis have really ever recovered from losing power in 2003.  They certainly don't have as active an international sponsor as the Shiites.  The Kurds will probably stay out of the fighting and if they're smart will go dormant when it comes to Iran and Turkey until the dust settles to their south.

Internationally, I see Iran benefiting the most from all this, unless they invade Saudi Arabia.  If they can keep the fighting local to Iraq, especially if they can keep their support covert, then the Obama administration will have no credible reason to get involved.  If they publicly send in their military, or if they and Saudi Arabia lock horns, even Obama will have to sit up and take notice.  In the end, Iran will own Iraq in the same way that they own Syria.  Maybe they don't claim the territory outright, but they'll definitely be the ones pulling the strings.

Any way this plays out, Iraq is about to get at least as chaotic and bloody as it was before the surge in 2007.  I hope I'm wrong.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Quote of the Day


-- Larry Correia, The Christmas Noun 4:  Occupy Christmas Noun

Blog Roundup

  • Firehand links to a great story about people standing up and defending themselves.  The image I have of the Jewish guy taking on 20 Nazis is more Bruce Lee than Indiana Jones.
  • Borepatch tries to explain to the Republicans that we're tired of voting for people just because it's their turn.
  • Jeff Knox makes a good point.  The groups that are called the "Gun Lobby" are nothing more than an aggregate of the millions of us who own, shoot, and enjoy guns and shooting.
  • BRM points us to an article that pretty much convinces me that Newt just isn't the one for me.
  • George Smiley sums up the situation on the Korean peninsula quite nicely, and points to some of the things that the new Dear Leader is going to have to do in order to keep power.
  • Shepherd seems to be fitting right into the dad department.  Yeah, we all get mushy about our kids, no matter how macho we are.

Pardon My Skepticism

North Korea is pledging to stop enriching uranium, and the United States is pledging to supply the communist paradise with 240,000 tons of food over the next year.  One smart thing the U.S. is doing is not giving the North Koreans rice, which could be easily diverted to feed the military.

I see a few reasons why North Korea is making this deal

  1. They have no plans whatsoever to follow through on this pledge.  Maybe they'll shut down their enrichment program for a few months so they can get some food out of the Americans.  Maybe they've opened up new facilities we don't know about and won't even shut down at all.  
  2. They have enough enriched uranium to fulfill their weapons needs for a while, and are taking advantage of that by suckering the U.S. out of a quarter of a million tons of food.
  3. They have another source of enriched uranium, such as Pakistan.  No, that couldn't happen. There's no way that Pakistan would provide help to North Korea when it comes to nuclear weapons.  It's not like there's a large country between them that's friendly to both of them and could allow a railcar full of uranium to travel to Pyongyang without being on a plane or boat that could be intercepted or something.
  4. I don't know.  Maybe Kim Jong Il gets religion and starts being a smart statesman instead of a bugnuts crazy dictator.  Maybe in this season of peace he's truly starting down the road to nuclear disarmament and international cooperation.
Guess which one I don't think is likely.

The other three I'd say are a toss-up.  I'm not sure how easy it would be for them to create a new enrichment program without us finding out about it, but it could be done.  I think it's a good bet that the North Koreans have a big pile of weapons grade uranium buried deep and quiet, or that the Pakistanis are continuing their stellar non-proliferation work by keeping them supplied in U-235.

I see exactly one reason the U.S. is making this deal:
  1. We're a bunch of suckers and President Obama and his crew need something to point at during the campaign to say they have an achievement in getting North Korea to stop making nuclear weapons.  I shouldn't give the president too much crap for this, though.  The last three presidents have been just as moronic when dealing with North Korea.
Remember, they're halting enrichment, not dismantling anything.  Either when we piss them off or they have a need for more home-grown uranium goodness, they'll crank it up.  I'll give them style points if they use a little waste heat from the centrifuges to heat up some food with "A gift from the American people" printed on the box.

Update - Fox News is reporting that Kim Jong Il has died.  No details yet, but my guess is that right about now every swinging Richard in I Corps is putting on his battle rattle and doing a quick PMCS of his vehicle and weapons.  As for what this means, if true, for this deal is anyone's call.

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