Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Football thoughts

Well, we're into the playoffs.

I've been able to watch quite a few games this year (yeah DVR!) and this has been a really enjoyable season. Lots of good close defensive games, and a minimum of drama.

Detroit sucked the zub kabir this year, but they did it in a historical way. No-one will ever forget this season in Michigan.

The Cowboys didn't make the playoffs. Heeheeheeheehee

The Bronco's also didn't make the playoffs, and reacted by firing Mike Shanahan. This came as quite a surprise to me. He's a good coach, and 8 and 8 isn't that bad a record. Hopefully Mr. Shanahan will find another team and show up Denver.

Brett Favre and the Great Mangini didn't make it to post season this year. My guess as to why Mangini was fired is that he told management that he could go all the way if he got Favre. Favre of course signed a contract that gave him his weight in gold and jewels, so not making it to the playoffs doesn't look so good for him and everyone in the Jets leadership that wanted to bring him on board. I predict that Favre will finally retire and mean it this year.

Of course, my Raiders didn't make it. If you watch the Raiders to watch victories, you need to stop hitting the pipe. People will start to think you're slow.

Here are my predictions for Wildcard Weekend:

Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers - Indianapolis will pull this one out, but it's going to be close. I think that these teams are almost evenly matched.

Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins - Miami will stumble here. Baltimore will win this one running away.

Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings - It pains me to say this, but I see the Eagles taking this one. They're on a roll.

Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals - I see Atlanta taking this one. No real reason. It would be interesting for the Falcons to do well without Vick and then when he gets out tell him to go somewhere else.

So there you are. We'll see how I do on Monday morning.

Looking back

Well, 2008 is in its last hours.

It's been an eventful year.

First of all, we have a new baby. Baby Bear is fast becoming a participating part of the family, and having a new member of the group keeps us on our toes.

Next, Girlie Bear started living with us full time. That alone would have made this a great year.

On a non-personal note, the country went through the most contentious election I've ever seen. Even though I don't agree with the result, I hope we can remember how to get along and work together. We're going to need it. The Zombiepocalypse is just around the corner in 2012, and we haven't even begun to dig trenches around the neighborhood and fill them with oil.

The price of oil has been the highest anyone has ever seen, and now it's at almost historical lows. I'm not sure I like that large a swing. Extreme changes in markets result in extreme reactions and consequences. If OPEC and the other oil producing 3rd world crapholes cut production too much, it's Road Warrior in Kentucky, and how is that going to help us get ready for the zombies?

The war in Iraq is finally looking better, not that anyone is giving the troops and President Bush much credit. I expect that the new administration will start drawing down our presence in Mesopotamia quickly after they take power. My hope is that I won't be seeing a withdrawal ala Vietnam 1975. A lot of blood and treasure will be wasted if we withdraw too quickly and the government we've propped up in Iraq collapses.

The war in Afghanistan, well that's another matter. My guess is that any forces that are taken out of Iraq will be re-directed to Afghanistan. Hopefully, we will be able to stabilize that area a bit more. Western powers have been able to bring peace and order to this area since Alexander, so I'll probably be talking about this next New Years Eve.

The economy this year has taken the biggest gut punch I've seen in my lifetime. A lot of the trouble seems to be that no-one in the past few years seems to remember that it's not a good idea to make loans that the recipients have no way to repay. Funny, I seem to remember that one from finance classes in high school almost 20 years ago.

Anyhoo, hope y'all had a good year. Thanks for stopping by and have a great New Years Eve.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good for him!

A young man in New York has earned each and every one of the merit badges offered by the Boy Scouts of America.

He earned his first 62 in five years. To put it in perspective, I only earned 5 merit badges in the 3 years that I was a Scout.

Congratulations for a lot of hard work!

North Dakota has more guns and less murder

H/T to Phil over at Random Nuclear Strikes.

My home state of North Dakota has had a significant drop in the number of murders statewide this year. 2 murders in a state, even one as sparsely populated as North Dakota is pretty darned good.

And I need to do some reading on the gun laws back home. Got to know what I'm getting into when I convince my employer to put the next datacenter in Minot.

The continuing adventures of Captain Braindead

OK, you're driving your 11 and 12 year old children to their mother's house so they can spend Christmas with her.

It's snowy, the wind is blowing, and it's below freezing out.

Your truck somehow gets stuck in the snow. You are 10 miles of highway away from your destination.

Do you

A) Tell the kids to stay in the truck while you work to get it out and continue on getting your truck unstuck?

B) Call the children's mother to come get them while you try to get your truck out of the snow?


C) Tell the kids to bundle up and walk the 10 miles to their mom's house while you get your truck out of a snowbank and go on your merry way?

Guess what some trogladyte in Idaho did?

This idiot caused the cold, lonely death of his daughter, and almost killed his son to boot. I feel very sorry for the mother, who is innocent in this, and I really pity the son. He's going to question himself over whether or not he should have gone with his sister or forced her to come with him for the rest of his life. And that's not to mention the little girl that died cold and alone when the parent who should have died for her was warm in a nice heated truck.

But for the moron who put those two children on the highway and sent them on their merry way? I hope he gets life without parole and is forced to have pictures of his daughter taped to every flat surface in his cell.

This isn't a momentary mistake that went wrong. This was an overt act of stupidity that he could have either not done or stopped at any time. It took those kids a long time to get too far away from their father for him to get them and bring them back. He could have stopped them and prevented a stupid mistake from turning into a tragedy.

I hope he rots, and I hope he lives a very very long time with what he's done.

Not sure if this should worry me

but it definitely got my attention.

Scientists are reporting that clusters of small earthquakes are happening with surprising regularity in Yellowstone Park.

So why, as a somewhat willing resident of Kentucky, should I worry?

Because Yellowstone Park is actually an active volcano, that's why. If you believe the Discovery Channel, then if Yellowstone blows big, it's the end of most of North America as we know it, at least for a generation or two. That's a worst case scenario, but they make a good case that it has happened before and it will happen again.

I'm not running to Kroger to buy milk, bread, and eggs yet. But I do keep emergency supplies at the house in case of some kind of disaster. This is just one of those doomsday scenarios that never seem to end well when you think about them.

What do all of y'all think? If it's just a series of small earthquakes that go nowhere, no problem. If it's a major natural disaster, what do you think the consequences would be for the US and the world?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel and Hamas at it again

To noone's surprise, as soon as the "cease-fire" between Israel and Hamas sunsetted, Hamas started rocketing and mortaring the area of Israel that butts up against Gaza. After a few days of this, Israel called in the fighters and helicopters and started making bad things happen to bad people. Unfortunately, because said bad people had intentionally mixed themselves in with civilians, a lot of civilians are being hurt and killed. And the media are howling about Israeli tactics that kill civilians. And of course, there are the more than slightly more than unfriendly demonstrations in front of Israeli embassies worldwide.

The Israelis have a lot to answer for in their history of relations with the Palestinians and the US, but they can at least say that they don't park their military (read "valid targets") next to their civilians (read "non-valid targets") in order to either deter their enemy from firing on them or to give CNN something to crow about when civilians get hurt or killed.

Israel has, for the most part, been an ally to us in a sea of Mid-East opponents. They have counted to ten more times than I can count when Hamas shells their neighborhoods. So now, I say have at it when they decide to whack Hamas upside the head. They should, and I expect that they will, do what they can to minimize non-necessary casualties, but enough is enough. You don't answer artillery barrages with diplomacy, you answer them with airstrikes and artillery.

Has it ever occured to you

how much marriage is like the Act of Contrition?

What have I done?
What have I failed to do?
In thought, word, and/or deed?

I am wholly sorry, and I humbly repent.

Please stop crying. Please?

Been doing a little reading

Since I've had some down time over the past couple of weeks, I've been able to do a bit of reading.

I started reading John Ringo's "Legacy of the Aldenata" series. I've read "A Prayer Before Battle" and I'm about halfway through "Gust Front". They're very good reads, and they're available for free download from the Baen Free Library. That is an excellent program they have there. I've been able to read up on some old Hammer's Slammers editions that I missed, and I've discovered a few works by David Drake and David Weber that I hadn't come across before. Go to Ringo's WikiPedia page for direct links to his books.

I also got two Harry Turtledove novels for Christmas. I'm almost through "Opening Atlantis" and I think I may buy its sequel. Turtledove is a founding member of the alternate history genre, and although he's not the best author and writer around, his storytelling is usually interesting and entertaining.

Both of these are pure escapism, but I am going to do some non-fiction reading when I'm done with them.

I've been reading "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose off and on for a while, and I will finally find some time to just sit and read it. Since it's non-fiction, and it's history that touches on my home state of North Dakota, I want to be able to concentrate on it. It's easier to fly through a novel, even a good novel, and still get the gist of the storyline. Historical non-fiction, for me at least, requires more careful reading.

Anyhoo, hope y'all had a good holiday!

Weekend update

Quick update since I haven't posted in a few days.

We had a really nice Christmas Eve with the kids. This was the first Christmas I've had with Junior Bear in a very long time, and we also had Girlie Bear. Little Bear was at his Mom's house, but I got to see him for a few minutes.

We had an early morning on Christmas and had a good breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes and ham. MMMM Ham....

Baby Bear was, as expected, more interested in the wrapping paper than the presents, but he did very well. Junior Bear and Girlie Bear also got a small pile of their own. I'm the boring parent, so mostly the kids got clothes and books.

I got a new sweater and some other small stuff. Irish Woman got a claudagh ring and her very own iPod.

After we cleaned up the debris from presents, I took Girlie Bear over to her mom's house so she could spend the rest of Christmas break with her. She then got to open more presents.

We made the rounds of the various families for the rest of the day, and when we were done, both Irish Woman and I were very tired and starting to feel crummy.

By the next morning, we were both quite sick. Irish Woman went to her office to gut her way through the day, and I headed over to the urgent care clinic. I was pronounced a classic case of sinus and ear infection. The doc threw a couple of prescriptions at me, and I went home to get some rest. Irish Woman went to the clinic after work, and she had bronchitis.


We flipped coins over the weekend to see who got to take NyQuil every night. The other one did the best he or she could do to get some rest and still be conscious enough to take care of Baby Bear or hear the fire alarm.

I'm feeling marginally better today. Still not approaching 100%, but I'm human again.

Junior Bear is at home working on some homework, or at least that's what he's telling me.

Both Irish Woman and I started rotations on pager support today, but hopefully things are slow enough that we won't have too rough a time of it.

Overall, I had a good holiday, but the rest of the weekend was a waste. But I can't complain.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's about time

Ford has announced their new Fusion, which comes in a very aggressive hybrid. The price for this car appears to only be a few thousand for the hybrid model over the standard.

My questions now come down to availability, reliability, and actual mileage savings.

If you can't get the car, Ford loses.

If the car gets a reputation for being a garage junkie, Ford loses.

If the car gets significantly less gas mileage during actual driving as opposed to the best case scenario 41 MPG Highway, then Ford loses.

Here's hoping this helps Ford pull its fat out of the fryer.

Grinch wanna-be's busted

The local police arrested two young people for stealing packages off of people's porches.

Luckily, it appears that most of the purloined presents will be returned prior to Christmas.

I'm glad to see that the two yutzes will have to face up to the people they stole from and return the loot.

Maybe if more of our young delinquents had to actually talk to the people they victimize and make amends for their crimes, we wouldn't have as many problems with crime in our society. A little shame goes a long way.

New rules may make cottage industry toys too expensive

New rules have been proposed that would make it too expensive to create hand-made toys for children.

I love to go to crafts fairs and get homemade toys for the kids, such as sock monkeys, wooden trains, and building blocks. My little ones have all loved playing with these simple, non-electronic, non-plastic toys.

Now, the people who make them can either pay an exorbitant amount of money to get them certified as safe or close up shop.

There needs to be some kind of exception for toys that are hand-crafted by local merchants.

Now, I'm going to go play with my blocks.

Burress Update

Looks like the authorities are looking further into Plaxico Burress' life.

A recent search of his house found several guns and some ammunition. They also took the pants he wore on the night he shot himself.

Some of my gun buddies and I have discussed this kind of thing before. We've all seen the news features that talk about how a house was searched and a large cache of guns and ammunition were found and confiscated.

So what makes a large cache of guns and ammo?

I personally own upwards of 5 or 6 guns. For each of these guns, I own at least a few rounds of ammunition. For some of them, I own a lot of ammunition. When you shoot on a budget, and you find bulk surplus ammunition on sale, you buy it so you can go shooting during lean times.\

So it would be safe to say that I have a lot of ammunition stored in my house. Don't worry, it's stored in safe containers to keep it away from prying eyes and small hands.

But if my house was searched for any reason, would I be trotted out in front of news cameras as a gun nut? Would my small collection be put on a table along with the various boxes and cans of ammunition to show that I was a dangerous criminal?

Talk amongst yourselves. Topic - What consititutes a dangerous amount of guns and ammunition?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Big Cache of gold coins found in Jerusalem

Interesting fact - None of them were created by the Franklin Mint.

A British tourist helping out at an archeological dig found a cache of ancient coins.

I can see the conversation now.

"OK, let's see, shell casing, shell casing, bottle cap, bottle cap, shell casing."

"Wait a minute, that's not a bottle cap, it's a coin!"

"Huh, what do you know, something that's not trash thrown down here from the 2000 years worth of tourists and invasions."

Wreaths across America

H/T to Blackfive.

Wreaths Across America has decorated the graves at Arlington, and it's not only touching, but it's beautiful.

Service organizations like this are always good to see. When Junior Bear was a Tiger Cub, we went to the Veteran's Cemetary near our town in Arizona and helped to put flags up for Memorial Day.

When you do things like this, you see people from every walk of life spending a little bit of their time to do something noble.

Back on day shift

and slowly adjusting.

My week long turn at 3rd shift went pretty smoothly. Work was pretty much sitting on my butt and watching monitors on my servers. We only had two or three small issues all week.

I got sleep when I could. Some days I slept from 9 AM until 4 PM, which was nice. On others, I grabbed as many cat naps as possible. By cat naps, I mean Timmy, Koshka, and I curled up on the couch and snoozed hard.

I fell off the caffeine wagon for the week, but have gone cold turkey again. Yesterday I had the sluggishness and headache again, but I'm better today.

Girlie Bear had a Christmas concert downtown on Wednesday, and 30 young children singing "Jingle Bells" in Latin is pretty neat, if I do say so myself.

Cable Guy's on his way!

Crews are working on fixing the broken underwater cable in the Meditteranean.

I wonder if someone has to be in the Med waiting for them sometime between 2 and 8 or they'll have to reschedule?

Sometimes things go as planned

Sometimes, not so much.

Apparently, someone didn't want to just chip the ice off of his porch.

Using a bush burner might be easier in the short run, but it is hard on the structure.

That being said, when I was growing up in the great white north, I used to fantasize about using a flame thrower to melt the snow in our drive way and then squeegee it off before it froze again.


First, to the nice young woman who served me my hot cocoa this morning, yes, my son is very cute, and he does like smiling at you. So did his daddy. Nice presentation.

To the assbag who decided to play his music at glass rattling levels this morning at the stoplight, I hope you actually achieve your goal of attracting women with your stereo. And when you do, I hope they're the kind of women who are impressed by the size of a man's stereo.

To the poor soul who was driving the salt truck down I-64 this morning in preparation for another snow-pocolypse. Thanks for the effort, and I hope you don't have to continue doing it for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wikileaks steps on Superman's cape.... again

Danger Room is reporting that Wikileaks has posted a classified report on one of the jammer systems the military has developed to counter the threat of remotely controlled IED's.

I'm not going to debate the merits of the system, or even discuss what's in the report. What's in that report isn't any of my business. It certainly isn't something that I want to help pass on.

Listen up kids:

Things like this are classified for one of very few reasons. They either talk about operational plans, sources and methods for intelligence, or the capabilities and shortcomings of technology.

I think we all understand why we don't want to talk about operational plans. Anyone who paid attention to the early stages of the Iraq War remembers when Geraldo Rivera (occupation: tool) was kicked out of the AO for broadcasting plans for the unit he was attached to. Broadcasting plans for upcoming operations puts soldiers lives in jeopardy. Broadcasting plans for operations that have already happened lets anyone listening learn about how things are done, and can help them predict what's going to happen in the future.

Intelligence methods and sources are just as easy to understand. If a target knows that someone or something is a source for our intelligence staffs, they can eliminate that source. In real words, that means that a living person will be killed, usually after some pretty horrific interrogation.

The last one, at least to technology types, seems to be hard to understand. When you talk about the pros and cons of a given piece of technology in the civilian world, it's a good thing. If you try to conceal problems with your technology, especially if it's something that has to do with security, you get branded with "security through obscurity".

In the military realm, openly discussing problems and limitations of technology tells our enemies what our technology can and can't do. It can help them develop countermeasures to our technology, or to develop tactics that take advantage of our limitations. Classifying these characteristics is an attempt to force opponents to learn these limitations the hard way, through having to face our technology in combat and pay for it in blood.

Some people I know think that the government classifies most things to cover up bad deeds or stupidity. I'm not going to argue that that doesn't happen because it does, and it will happen again. And when the press publishes reports on these instances, I'm all for it. That's one of the reasons we have a free press, to publicise instances when the government is either stupid, malicious, or both.

But publishing documents that put the lives of our soldiers in danger, however indirectly, is irresponsible and criminal. I'd like to have the yutz who leaked this staked out on the lawn of the Pentagon for a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

French Toast Emergency

On Monday and Tuesday, Louisville had what we call a French Toast Emergency. This is when all of the Kentucky people rush to Kroger or Walmart to get eggs, bread, and milk. They do this in anticipation of a winter storm that will shut down the city. I've been here 7 winters now, and we've had exactly 1 storm that made me park my car and stay home.

But if I'm snowed in, I want something more substantial than the ingredients of french toast to get me through. I guess they think they can get through just about anything if they can make breakfast. Me? I stock up on steak, potatoes, and pie.

Apparently in 1994, Louisville shut down for a few days when a major blizzard piled a couple of feet of snow in the major roadways. What they call 'The Big One of '94', we used to call 'Tuesday' back home in the Great White North.

Now everyone panics if it starts to rain or snow any time between December and March. The weathercritter spins everyone up into a frenzy, the city fathers dump a few tons of salt on the roadways, and I have to provide 3 phone numbers to the schools so they can get in touch with me in case school gets called. All of this before the first teensy weensy snowflake falls.

I'm hoping that one of these years we actually get a real winter here and my neighbors here in Kentucky grow a bit of perspective. A snow shower doesn't seem so bad when you already have 3 feet of snow piled up in your front yard.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going Nocturnal

I'm working 3rd shift this week. Started last night. Got home about 8:30 and slept all day. I think I've flipped to night work pretty well this time. Of course at the end of the week I'll have to flip back, but you can't have everything.

And I've fallen off the caffeine wagon for the week. I'm not working 3rds and still having a family life without some directional aids. I promise to go cold turkey again starting next week.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Bill of Rights Day

On this date in 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution were ratified.
For those of you who took a hit of blotter acid prior to civics class in high school, these are the ones that say what the government isn't allowed to do to you. These are rights, not priveleges. They're not granted by the government. We grant power to the government so that these rights can be safeguarded. Sometimes we forget that.

Here are all of the amendments to the constitution and my interpretation of them. This is a long one, but I think you'll like it. H/T to Wikipedia on this one.

Amendment # 1
The government can't force you to have religion, and the government can't force you not to express your religion. It's none of their business. You can say or print pretty much anything you want to and the government can't do much to stop you. This right will not, however, keep your ass from getting kicked due to what you say or print. We can all get together to do something as long as we're not hurting anyone, and we can complain to the government any time we want to when they screw up. Some people make a living doing this. What a country.

Amendment # 2
We have to defend ourselves, sometimes from the government itself, and the government can't take away our guns or stop us from getting them. And it's noone's business but my own what I have.

Amendment # 3
The government can't force me to put up and feed soldiers during peacetime, although I can pay for their beer if I want to, and during time of war, they have to actually pass a law forcing me to do this. But all they'd have to do is ask nicely, and I'll sleep on the couch so a couple of paratroopers can get a good nights sleep and a good breakfast.

Amendment # 4
Got a warrant? No? Then come back when you get one. Please put that thermal imaging system away. And thanks for being a cop.

Amendment # 5
The government can't just drag me into court. You have to convince people just like me that I've actually committed a crime. The government only get to try to throw my fat self into jail for doing something once. The government can't force me to testify against myself, and I'm not saying anything until my lawyer gets here. The government can't take my land to build a strip mall unless you actually pay me for it. And that better be a really nice strip mall.

Amendment # 6
The government has to let me have a lawyer. Hopefully one with a clue. The government can't throw me into jail for a few years before they get around to actually accusing and trying me. I can't be arrested in Kentucky and tried in Minnesota for something I did in New Mexico. I have to be told what I'm being accused of, and the government can't stop me from trying to prove that their witnesses aren't lousy stinking lieing rats who should be thrown in front of a truck.

Amendment # 7
We have to take our arguments to be decided by 12 people who couldn't get out of jury duty.

Amendment # 8
The government can't hold you on $2 million dollars bail for spitting on the sidewalk, and they can't fine you that $2 million for said spitting. As satisfying as flogging a child molester or hanging a multiple murderer up to his neck in pig droppings would be, some panty waisted loser would have his feelings hurt, and we can't have that.

Amendment # 9
Just because we didn't think of it in here, doesn't mean it's not a right. This must be where that right to choice is.

Amendment # 10
The federal government only gets those powers that are given to it in the Constitution. If it's not in here, they don't get it. All of that stuff goes to the states, or better yet, the actually people who pay taxes and keep the train rolling.

Amendment # 11
The Federal courts can't be used by anyone to sue a state unless the state agrees to participate. So you have to have their consent to try to sue them. Good luck with all that.

Amendment # 12
Way too long to put the text in here, but basically, we vote for electors, the electors vote for President and Vice President, and if you can't be President for some reason, you don't get to be Vice President. From the length of the amendment, you can see that the lawyers had already taken over by 1804.

Amendment # 13
You don't get to own other people. And the government can pass laws to make sure you don't. As a transplant to Kentucky, I can tell you there are a lot of people who either have a problem with this one, or haven't heard about it yet.

Amendment # 14
Again, the lawyers must have eaten their Wheaties when they wrote this one. Way too long, but they were trying to cover a lot of bases with one amendment. First, if you're born in the United States, you're a citizen, even if mama came across the border only to have you in the ER in San Diego. Second, every person in a state is counted as a whole human being when figuring out how many electors the states get for electing the President. No more math in figuring out what 3/5th's of a person is. Third, if you made an oath to the Confederacy, you don't get to be a part of the government. No kidding? You can't be an officer of a government you tried to overthrow? We actually had to write that down? Fourth, we're going to pay our debts, but I'll be damned if we'll pay off the debts of the Confederacy.

Amendment # 15
Ex slaves get to vote, and Congress can pass laws making sure they get to. We passed this on in 1870. Only took 80 or 90 years for this one to be enforced at all.

Amendment # 16
Congratulations, the government figured out a way to punish you for making more money than it takes to keep your family at the poverty level. And there's nothing you can do about it.

Amendment # 17
Another wordy one. We get to directly pick our Senators in an election, instead of the former manner, which involved something resembling the "Twit of the Year" contest.

Amendment # 18
Yet another one that was written by a committee. You can't be trusted to drink alcohol, so it's illegal. Everywhere. Unless you happen to be a Kennedy.

Amendment # 19
Women get the vote. Whoopee. Pants suits for everyone.

Amendment # 20
For the love of God, were they being paid by the word? The President and Vice President have to show up to work in January, and the Congress actually has to show up once a year.

Amendment # 21
18th Amendment? We don't need no stinking 18th Amendment! You have to believe in something, and I believe I'll have a beer.

Amendment # 22
You only get to be President for two terms. Not 4, just 2. No President for life. At least not again.

Amendment # 23
The District of Columbia gets to actually have someone represent them in the Presidential election. They just don't get a Senator or Congressman with an actual vote.

Amendment # 24
You can't be denied your right to vote because you can't pay a tax. You should have to pass an intelligence test, but we haven't passed that amendment yet.

Amendment # 25
The Vice President gets to be President if he bumps off the President.

Amendment # 26
18 year olds get to vote. Still can't buy a beer, but they can at least vote for the guys who keep them from drinking.

Amendment # 27
The accidental amendment. Proposed in 1789, ratified in 1992. If a Congressman votes himself another unearned raise, he has to go through another election cycle before he starts to rake it in. This one is also a monument to that great American motto "I'll get around to it".

So that's it. 27 amendments to the document that has governed the country since its founding. Not bad for a bunch of oppressors, or as we who actually deserve to be protected by the Constitution would call them, the illustrious geniuses who designed and founded our Republic.

Update -
Tam has a great post going on this one too. Check it out.

Houston, we have a tooth

Baby Bear was very fussy over the weekend, and we chalked it up to him bonking his head on Friday.

We comforted him and gave him Tylenol.

Sunday morning, I noticed that he was drewling like a fiend and chewing on the cat.

I felt his gums, and lo and behold there was a rough spot in the front.

He's officially toothed. Soon, he will begin chomping on his siblings and life as the animals know it will cease.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting into the express line for Hell

I, like most men who grew up after about 1955, have perused my share of Playboy magazines. Not so much in the past few years, mainly due to the creepy feeling I get when I realize that most of the women in recent editions are almost young enough to be my daughter.

But I do appreciate that Playboy is a provocative, entertaining, sometimes funny magazine that is enjoyed by many people around the world.

But I have to wonder exactly what was being smoked and passed around the office at the Mexican branch of the Mansion when they came up with this idea.

Bad Idea # 1 - Put a mostly nude model on your front cover emulating the mother of Jesus.
Bad Idea # 2 - Do this in a mostly Roman Catholic country that has a major historical habit of revering said mother, especially since she's actually visited it.
Bad Idea # 3 - Publish it just prior to the holiday that reveres this mother.

I've known a lot of Hispanic men over the years, and the three most important women in their lives are the Virgin Mary, their mother, and their wife. Posting provocative pictures of any of those is probably going to get their blood up, paco tiempo.

Someone was either high when they came up with this idea, or they were totally insensitive to the sensibilities of their target audience, or they were out to make a quick buck by creating controversy.

It will be interesting to see if the Church has anything to say about this, and how sales of this edition do in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.


Looks like Playboy has apologized.

An Ode to Sheepdogs

Blackfive points us to a great poem that pretty much sums it up.

Give it a read and much love.

Auto Bailout on hold

Well, looks like Chrysler and GM will have to find some other way to keep the wheels on until people start buying their products again.

Kind of ironic that the UAW would rather see the jobs of their members put at risk of total obliteration than to take a pay cut for the time being.

Wonder if they'll get as good an offer if 2 out of 3 American car companies have to either lay off almost everyone or go into bankruptcy and force renegotiation of union contracts?

Glad to see that Ford seems to think it can get through this with no government help. Hopefully the other two will also be able to do it.

A little excitement for the morning

Had a bit of an emergency this morning, but thank the Lord it was only excitement, not injury.

Irish Woman has today off from work, so she decided to take some pictures of Baby Bear. He has learned to pull himself up on things, and she was snapping a few pictures of him holding onto Little Bear's desk chair in our living room.

Baby Bear noticed his teddy bear on the floor next to the chair, let go of the chair and fell backwards.

He landed on his butt, then flopped back further and knocked his head on the edge of the fireplace hearth.

Apparently much crying and screaming commenced.

I got the tearful phone call here at work, and we were off to the emergency room.

I got there to find Baby Bear with a lump and some scratches on the back of his head. But he felt well enough to smile and flirt with the nurse who was looking at him, so I knew he was OK. Irish Woman, on the other hand, took a lot of hugging and talking to calm down.

Baby Bear is fine. Just the first goose egg of many. Irish Woman has calmed down and is going to spend the rest of the day cuddling Baby Bear.

My mother was on a first name basis with the nurses at our local ER when we were growing up, and one of the nurses recognized us from when we were there with Junior Bear last year. Seems that making frequent use of emergency medicine is a family tradition.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just the way they seem to be saying it

Hat tip to Random Nuclear Strikes:

Yes, I know the pic doesn't look good, but use the link to see it all.

I've been paying attention to the auto industry bailout debate. Like I said, I'm of two minds. But the manner in which the executives of the companies, the UAW leadership, and the congresstrolls who support them seems to be "If you don't give us a ton of money, everyone in America will suffer".

Don't come to me with your hat in hand, and tell me that if I don't make your payroll for you my life will be ruined. It's just not a good way to approach me.

The universal importance of backups

My work laptop recently bit the big one. I didn't cry too much because it was getting kind of long in the tooth, and I was thinking of asking for an upgrade anyway.

Luckily, the technicians were able to get my email and documents off of the system, and the Linux virtual machine that I use to develop and support was recovered. Unfortunately, they only were able to recover a snapshot that's about a month old.

A month ago I was thinking about working on a script to do something kind of hard. It took me until last week to get it working to the point that I was satisfied with it.

Did I mention that my VM's backup was a month old?

So, I have my VM, but not the script that I worked for over 3 weeks on. I realized this the other day, and after half an hour of looking at every server I support trying to find a copy of the script, I had nothing but some scribbled notes to fall back on.

Some things will just make a grown man cry.

I started work on re-doing the script. Luckily, I was able to remember at least most of what I did, so it looked like it would only take a week or so to recreate my work.

Last night I was looking for a report on my thumb drive, and stumbled across an old copy of the script. It wasn't debugged at all, but the base functionality was laid down. I know where my bugs are, so I should be able to get it working in a couple of hours.

Back your stuff up people. Get a drive and copy to it. Then safeguard that drive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas musings

OK, this is the more later.

I'm not a Christmas person.

Haven't been in my entire adult life.

I identify with the Grinch, even if he did wimp out there at the end.

I do all the religious things about Christmas, and I make sure I give a bit more to charity this time of year. I try to be pleasant to my friends and coworkers a bit more. And I of course indulge my children and wife a bit with treats and presents.

But I try to do all of those things throughout the year, even if I fail at it regularly.

I don't buy the artificial cheerfulness that infects everyone during these times. I certainly don't buy the "Peace on Earth, goodwill to men" bit while I'm watching the Lord of the Flies shopping experience on the evening news, or the latest "Kill them in the name of God / The children are all dieing because someone higher in society cut off the food" coverage from some third world craphole.

I've seen a lot of how badly people can treat each other, both here and abroad. I've heard the catch phrase "Make every day Christmas". But it's just a slogan, a marketing gimmick. Until people can act like they care that someone other then themselves lives or dies, I don't buy the Christmas Spirit thing.

When we have food and clothes drives for the poor in June, and they're well taken care of, don't wish me a Merry Christmas.

Until parents stop beating their kids and each other during the rest of the year, don't tell me how nice it is that Mom and Dad don't fight over the holidays.

Until you understand that your kids need time with you doing something meaningful all year long, don't tell me how great it is that you were able to score the latest electronic babysitter for them by pushing a grandmother and her walker out of the way at WallyWorld.

No, I'm not the best human being in the world, and I'm as guilty as the next guy when it comes to not loving my fellow man as I would like to be loved myself. But I at least recognize how hypocritical it is to mark off a few weeks during the winter where we have to at least act like we care about the rest of humanity.

So, to all of you out there, have a Merry Christmas. And while you're at it, I wish you a good time throughout the rest of the year. I'll try to do my part to help you along with that one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Someone agrees with me about Christmas

Og over at Neanderpundit shares my view of Christmas: Warning! Strong Language Ahead!

Merry Christmas to every last one of you politically correct, worthless
XXXXX out there who have nothing better to do other than to waste
perfectly good oxygen and bitch about phrases like, ‘Merry Christmas, God Loves
you, and Napalm Sticks to Kids.’

More on this later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's all a matter of perspective

Roberta X has a good post on dealing with chronic pain.

I've been creaky in one form or another since I was 19. When I was young, it was normally muscle soreness from physical exercise, leavened well with the occasional minor injury. I was never one of those "good hurt" types, and I've never had a runner's high. Unless you count the feeling after a run that I might puke and then pass out. If that's a runner's high, you can keep it. I'd pop a few ibuprofen, stretch a bit, and get on with it.

When I got to be 26 or so, the pain started moving into my joints. Mostly my knees, but also my ankles, feet, and hands. Like an idiot, I just ignored it, changed over to naproxen, and got on with my life. Should have gone to the doctor, especially considering my families history with arthritis, but had to be a big man and show that I could take care of myself.

By the time I was 32, I was walking with a distinct limp sometimes. I was using Aleve every morning and every night. The Irish Woman and I had been together for a couple of years, and her mantra had become "Go to the doctor, go to the doctor....". I finally went, with her in tow to make sure I actually kept the appointment.

And guess what? I had arthritis, and it was treatable. Doc put me on some anti-inflamatories, and I started doing better. I've been on about 6 different medications over the years, some pretty basic, and some kind of exotic. When the Irish Woman and I were trying to make Baby Bear, I came off all of it for about 2 years, and thankfully we were able to conceive before I had to go back on my meds.

Luckily, I've stayed away from the hardcore pain killers. Aleve isn't cutting it anymore, but the Doc has me on something a bit more potent, but still not a narcotic.

My mother died from complications of Lupus after 20 years of high doses of prednisone and narcotics. It got to the point that she could pretty much get Demerol and Fenigren on demand at the local hospital. By the time I was an adult and had my first child, she was pretty much an addict and spend 3 days out of 5 in a fog.

I'm not going down like that. I may limp, I may need a cane when I'm older, but I'll get old with a glint in my eye and all of my mental faculties.

Nowadays, I'm sore in a few areas all the time, but the treatments and medicine keep the edge off and keep me from growing fangs and claws during the course of my day.

Roberta X is spot on when she says that the pain becomes part of the background. If I concentrate on how cruddy I feel on bad days, nothing gets done. So I take my medicine, ignore it as much as I can, and know what my limitations are. If I spend a day lifting 200 pound servers with one of my guys, I know I'm not going to be in good shape the next day. So I make sure I have 2 or more guys to help move servers.

So, I get on with it, and remember that there are a lot of people who are worse off.

Monday, December 1, 2008

How does he zip his pants

with balls this big?

BHO is buying his wife a $30k plus ring made from rhodium and diamonds during a time when most Americans are having to tighten their belts and worry about the future. The president elect is telling everyone that they need to be prepared to pay higher taxes in order to "spread the wealth" and that CEO's should give up their bonuses and salaries for the good of the country. And he's spending more than a lot of people make in a year on a piece of jewelry for his wife.

Pure chutzpah.

Yes, he should purchase nice things for his wife. Yes, she's earned them by putting up with all of the garbage that a 2 year presidential campaign brings into her and her children's lives.

But a ring made overseas from materials that most people haven't even heard of?

The Irish Woman made an observation about this, and I think it makes sense to post it here. There's a good chance that at least some of the diamonds in this bauble are blood diamonds mined by low paid or unpaid Africans. And the rhodium the ring is made of was probably mined in South Africa by low paid Africans. So the descendant of African slaves will be wearing an enormously expensive ring created from materials produced by Africans who are either worked as slaves or are paid slave wages.

Kind of ironic, dontcha think?

Come on, buy her a nice ring made from gold mined here in the United States, or at least made by a domestic company. We have wonderful jewelers here in America, and I'm sure you could find something a little less improper for your lady.

Nighttime Football

Football is one of my few vices.

I have always loved football. I enjoy it live and on the TV. I watch replays of classic games on ESPN and the NFL Network. I enjoy watching it alone, with my buddies, and with the family.

But something is starting to get to me, and that is nighttime NFL football.

When I was growing up, I could watch the first half of Monday Night Football and not feel like I've missed much when I headed to bed. It was only two quarters of football, and I'd watched two games on Sunday.

But now there are 3 games during prime time every week. Games played during prime time now occur on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. That's half of the professional football that's broadcast. You get 3 games on two networks on Sunday, then the nighttime games. If you miss half of those games, that's a huge percentage of the football you have available that you don't watch.

The pregame show starts at about 8:30 for each of these where I live in the Eastern time zone, with kick off some 15 to 30 minutes later. Assuming that the game only lasts 3 hours, that means best case for the end of the game approaches midnight. For those of us who actually have families and jobs, that's quite late. I get up at about 5 every morning, and if I show up for work 3 days out of 5 with only 4 or 5 hours of sleep, my boss is going to hurt me bad.

Why do these games start so late? I've heard the argument that they start so late on the East Coast so that they're on during good times in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. But if a game starts at 9 in Louisville, it's starting at 6 in Los Angeles. No way most people are home by 6 to watch a football game by 6 on a work day. In the Mountain and Central time zones, the time is a bit more reasonable, but that means that a large percentage of the audience probably misses at least part of the game.

How about this: Start the games at 7 PM in each of the time zones. Tape delay it for the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones. Yes, real-time video and game commentary will be available on the Internet, but I'd be willing to bet that a large majority of fans won't cheat themselves by going that route. And if they do, who cares. Most people watch these games on their TV, so show them the game during a time frame that doesn't force them to stay up way too late or rush home to watch the game.

I know, I'm getting old, and midnight isn't that late. But 3 nights with reduced sleep is way too much to ask for football. And I can and do record the games so I can catch the second half later, but I shouldn't have to, and I wouldn't if the networks would just start showing these games at times that are more convenient to the consumer.


Our Thanksgiving went pretty well.

Girlie Bear spent the day with her mom and Little Bear, so it was me, Irish Woman, Junior Bear, and Baby Bear.

We started the day off making a turkey in the roaster and dressing. We had plans to have dinner with friends later in the afternoon after we'd visited the Kentucky family.

We made an appearance with the Kentucky family, and Baby Bear was the hit of the show. He's really become a little guy instead of just furniture that burps, and he was in great form. We saw one of the cousins who had a baby 3 months ago, and their little guy is as cute as a button.

We left there, went back to the house, and grabbed our vittles for dinner. When we got to our friend's house for the party, most of the crowd was already there. Both Irish Woman and I were both on pager for the weekend, so no drinking allowed, but it's kind of fun to be the sober one in a room full of people who have a good buzz on. Not drunk and loud, just mellow.

My turkey was a hit, and the dressing was eaten up and the pan scraped clean. There were about 6 teenage boys and 3 teenage girls, so not much was left over.

Friday we had Girlie Bear back, so we had our family Thanksgiving at home. Girlie Bear helped me bake the pumpkin pies, and we made another turkey. After dinner, Girlie Bear went back to her mom's for the weekend.

Saturday we went to the Thanksgiving celebration with the Indiana family. More turkey, and a great time with a loud, close, fun group of people. Baby Bear was held by everyone, and ended up falling asleep for the night in one of the aunts arms.

Sunday was cleanup and relax day at Casa de Oso. My pager went off regularly all weekend, but nothing major happened.

We ate the last of our leftovers tonight, and I think I'll make something entirely unlike turkey for dinner tomorrow. 3 turkey dinners in 4 days, with leftovers for every other meal besides breakfast gets old.

I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and memorable time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No caffeine, Day 5

No headache today, and I was able to get out of bed without too much groaning.

My attitude is a bit better than it was yesterday, and I didn't even have to drive out of my way so that I didn't see a coffee shop on the way in.

I might just be coming out of this.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


H/T to iFeminists for this link to an article about Drill Sergeants getting into trouble for inappropriate behavior with their soldiers.

Apparently, this problem is starting to creep up again.

As I said before, I was an instructor at the Military Intelligence schoolhouse. While I was there, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) had a lot of emberrassing moments as instructors and Drill Sergeants at several posts around the country were caught, literally, with their pants down. We all went through education about sexual harassment and inappropriate contact with trainees. Several instructors at Fort Huachuca got into trouble, including one of my co-workers who only stayed out of a court-martial because the female trainee in question didn't tell him she was in the Army and that she wasn't supposed to be off-post.

I served for 9 years in MI, which is probably the most integrated branch, gender-wise. Just about every unit I ever worked with or served in was almost 50-50. I imagine that almost every non-combat MOS is going to be co-ed at some level, and the soldiers have to learn to live and work with members of the opposite sex.

But it seems to me that mixed gender basic training seems to be more trouble than it's worth. Every few years we hear about how some group of NCO's are abusing their position in order to get into their privates' privates. They get thumped, things are tightened up, and then it all happens again. And this says nothing of the shenanigans that happen in the barracks when privates are practicing night land navigation skills to find their way to some meeting place.

So, my opinion of mixed-gender training is pretty low, at least as far as basic training goes.

There are always going to be those guys who abuse their power to get what they want, including getting a few of their soldiers into bed. I have always felt that even if the female soldier in question says she consented, it should still be considered coerced. An 18 year old recruit, who is totally disconnected from her entire support system, would have an immense problem saying no to a Drill Sergeant who wants to get her in the sack in exchange for a couple of favors, or worse, to ward off harsher treatment if she declines.

My solution to the immediate problem is to throw the book at any leader who uses his or her position to gain sexual favors from a soldier of lesser rank, regardless of whether or not it was consensual. I'm talking jail time and a dishonorable discharge. NCO's are there to take care of, lead, and train these soldiers, not abuse them. The behavior of these people dishonors every one of us who earned our stripes and kept our hands off of the privates.

In the long term, I believe that the Army should return to gender segregated basic training. Female Drill Sergeants should be integrated into both sexes training liberally, but only one or two male Drill Sergeants should be allowed in each female company. Heck, it would be an honor to know that you were trusted in an area that few males are allowed. The sexes should be segregated from attending classes together, or living in the same building. I'm not even above saying that there should be a separate battalion in each training brigade for females.

The male Drill Sergeants and instructors are showing time and again that some of them can't keep from taking advantage of the situation.

It's time to change that situation. The soldiers that are being trained today are tomorrow's Army, and they deserve no better than an environment where they aren't targeted by predators.

4 days, no caffeine

and I think the crew is close to mutiny.

After seeing my doctor on Friday, I've given up caffeine cold turkey. And I feel like leftover turkey.

No coffee, no sodas with caffeine. I've been hedging a bit with hot cocoa, which has some caffeine in it, but not much.

I've found a couple of herbal teas that are somewhat satisfying when I'm in the mood for something hot to drink, and I'm going to investigate decaffeinated coffee starting this weekend.

Even though I thought I didn't have too big a caffeine monkey on my back, he's there and he's kicking the side of my head with jump boots.

My friends that have gone caffeine free tell me this will wear off in a few days.

Until then, I'm a bit grouchy, have an eternal headache, and have a bit of an energy problem.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thoughts from a former life

I wrote these a few years ago, but they still sound good. Enjoy.

  • Even when you rest, scan the horizon.

  • You only truly appreciate sunrise if you've endured the cold night.

  • It only takes a few grains of carbon to turn a sophisticated weapon system into a club.

  • It doesn't matter how good the truck looks if it breaks down constantly.

  • You are never given a promotion or award that matters. You earn the ones that count.

  • No job operates independently. The Intel weenie doesn't directly engage the enemy, but the infantryman can't be utilized effectively if he doesn't know where the enemy is.

  • A march is only long if you haven't done it before.

  • Sometimes it's a blast, sometimes it's just a paycheck. If you can't remember the last time it was a blast, get another job.

  • It doesn't matter how heavy a load you carry at the beginning of the march.

  • Any moron can shoot. It takes skill to hit.

  • If you're not willing to maintain and fix it, you don't get to drive it.

  • Take pleasure from the small things. They may be all you get.

  • Leadership is more than giving orders.

  • Sometimes you have to be at the bottom of a well to see the light.

  • Genetics doesn't make a family.

  • Say hello as if you haven't seen them in years.

  • Say good-bye as if you'll never see them again.

  • Cherish the ones that are there, honor the ones that came before, and train the ones that are new.

Is this a bad thing?

Apparently a "veteran" member of the SWAT team in Utah left his M-4 carbine behind when he was leaving a crime scene. The story goes on to say that he would be disciplined, but probably not fired.

Umm, why not?

Leaving a loaded weapon a front yard in a neighborhood is pretty dangerous, and borders on the stupid.

Let me imagine the scene:

"Flex cuffs, yep. Flash grenades, yep. Flashlight, yep. Body armor and helmet, yep. Guess that's all I need"

Don't you think he would have noticed that his weapons holder in his car was empty or something?

Remembering your weapon is one of the most basic things in the world.

If he doesn't get fired, I think he should have the darned thing super glued to his hands for a day, or at least have to have it tied to his belt for a while to teach him not to lose track of weapons.

Low a or High B on Civics Exam

H/T to Radley Balko.

I got 30 out of 33 (90.91%) on this Civics Quiz, which apparently has stumped a lot of our elected officials.

National average is 77.6%, so while I'm not perfect, I'm ahead of the curve on this one.

I'm shocked sometimes at how little some people know about our country. If you don't do well on the quiz, then please do some reading and try again. If you do well, help out those who don't.

This is the only country we've got folks. We owe it to ourselves to at least be educated in what makes this country a union.

No luck this week either

Went hunting Wednesday night at a friend's farm. Sat in the blind with him from about 4 until dark at 6. No luck. Beautiful conditions, low-40's, no wind. Saw a couple of squirrels.

My friend took another buddy out on Thursday evening, and they got two. From the exact same blind at the exact same time. Snowing out, with some wind.

I must be a jinx.

Oh well, I have the later muzzleloader season, and I'll continue to hunt with the bow until the season closes in January.

Until then, this pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

OK, I need to go wash

after reading this over at Fox.

Ick, ick, ick.

I'm not much of a germophobe, but I do wash my hands and cook my pork. I've heard of worms from pork before, but never in the brain.

Now I'm going to go take a shower and dowse myself in GermX.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Need to start kicking some tuckus

OK, this is beginning to get on my nerves.

Apparently, the pirates that are using the Horn of Africa as a stomping ground and sanctuary are starting go for some stretch goals. They've now taken over a huge oil tanker and and a grain hauler. Must have eaten their Wheaties or something.

I have couple of questions:

Why aren't we exacting a little blood tribute from these guys? I mean, come on! What are they armed with, machine guns and RPG's? Like we've never had to face those before.

Put a couple of destroyers and cruisers alongside the ships, demand surrender, and if they don't, send in a company of Marines with assurances that there's no need to be careful about taking captives. If we can't take the ships, I suggest we sink them and let the pirates try to swim to shore under fire.

And then the Marines can add another line to their Hymn.

Piracy for ransom is only profitable if the pirates in question believe that someone will pay for their captive ship or crew, and that someone with more men and bigger guns won't come in and turn you into shark chum.

Lloyds of London needs to start telling the people who insure their ships with them that they need to prove that adequate armed security is onboard if the ship is going to be going into these waters. I'm sure that Blackwater would be happy to put a squad or two of mercenaries out for hire. Once the pirates learn that the targets are going to start shooting at people who try to board them, they'll either back down or escalate to the point where national powers intervene in a meaningful way.

I'm not convinced that shippers will do this, but a convoy system from the Suez canal to Yemen might be in order. At least that way there'll be a couple of destroyers available to knock the snot out of anyone who tries to get frisky.

Isn't this how most killer alien movies start?

NASA has sent two orb spiders into orbit for an educational experiment. Apparently, the spiders haven't figured out how to spin a proper web in micro-gravity, but that's not the real story.

You see, the space agency reports that they can't find one of the two spiders they sent. In their defense, they're sure that the "missing" spider is somewhere in the enclosure, and isn't running loose on the ISS.

OK, but that's what they always say, just before some mutant arachnoid alien space monster starts picking the crew off one by one.

I just hope the ISS crew has access to an escape vehicle and flame throwers.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Senator Ted Stevens, who was recently convicted of lying to Congress, looks like he's going to lose his nice position in the Senate.

Good. Best news I've heard all day.

Ted Stevens has been an embarrassment to the Republican Party for years. He set out to make himself rich, and he did. He's the Robert Byrd of the GOP, bringing in a ton of federal dollars to Alaska that could have been used better elsewhere, or better yet not spent at all. He's also infamous in tech circles for his description of the Internet as a "series of tubes".

I'm glad to see that the good people of Alaska finally threw this creep out on his ear, and I hope he spends some long days in a nice Federal prison. Even though this means one more step towards a Democratic filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, the GOP needs to clean up its act and bring in new blood. We're not going to improve our standing by having a corrupt, uneducated geezer on the payroll.

I think this is a good start. Now we need to take a look at the rest of the senior Republican leadership.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rule Number 4

was broken by a dumbass who "accidentally" shot a child, and gave yet another example that will be used against those who want to safely and ethically hunt.

Rule # 4 reads:


Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.

Yes, you can safely hunt in an area that has houses in it, but you have to be careful. You have to know exactly where they are located, and set up your hunting so that you are not in danger of either shooting through your target and coming near them, or having an errant shot cause a tragedy.

If the area you hunt is that crowded, consider hunting with a bow. Heck, that gives you more chances to get out and hunt.

But because this guy didn't make sure that there wasn't a house behind his deer, a child is dead. Two families are destroyed because he either didn't take the time to learn about the environment he was hunting in, or he didn't care. And other hunters will pay for his actions. Land owners in the area will hesitate to allow safe hunters to hunt on their because they fear that something similar will happen. Anti-hunting and anti-gun groups will use this incident to push for even more restrictions on an activity that can be done safely if it's done properly.

I hope they throw the book at this guy, if for no other reason that it will drive home a personal price for being a dumbass with a gun. Remember, we as hunters and gun owners will be judged not based on the actions of our geniuses, but on the actions of our stupidest.

I don't blame them

even if I think it's a bad idea.

Iceland is inviting Russia to use an airbase, which would give Russia a rather good strategic position in the north Atlantic.

Of course, this spits in the face of Iceland's NATO allies, but those same allies didn't aid Iceland when their banking system almost collapsed in the past few weeks, and Russia did.

If you want someone to continue to help you, you have to be willing to help them.

Sometimes healing requires bitter medicine

Phil over at Random Nuclear Strikes has suggestions on how the American automobile can be effectively bailed out, and the cure would be pretty hard for the patient to withstand, but it would certainly put it on the road to health.

I agree with Phil. If we are going to give money to any company or industry to keep them from failing, we must demand that the things that caused the problem in the first place must be fixed.

I have family and friends that work for Ford and GM or their suppliers, mostly UAW, but not all. I've seen them go from feast to famine, and I've avoided the entire auto industry because I don't want to follow their example. Going from massive amounts of overtime to unemployment insurance several times a year is not how I want to go through my career.

American automakers need to trim all the fat they can, and unfortunately, a lot of good people will suffer while that particular ship rights itself. Ford, GM, and Chrysler should have started the process several years ago, but they kept wishing that manufacturing big trucks and SUV's would continue to be profitable in the face of facts that said it couldn't. Now, things are at a crisis, and all of the restructuring that should take years to happen will have to happen in a few months. Lots of people are going to lose their jobs, and it's going to kick our economy while it's down.

Guys, start making cars that last more than a couple of years without major problems, don't cost a mortgage payment to fuel, and are comfortable to ride in, and you'll gain market share. Continue to crank out gas guzzlers that need major work within a year after the end of their warranty, and you'll be studied in history courses.

Someone with a clue agrees with me

Saw this at Danger Room:

While the public and media are occupied with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the potential conflict with Iran, the downward spiral in Pakistan, and a global economic meltdown, a new, rapidly-evolving danger — narco-cartels and gangs — has been developing in Mexico and Latin America. And it has the potential to trump global terrorism as a threat to the United States.

Mexico is gripped by a set of inter-locking, networked criminal insurgencies. Daily violence, kidnappings, assassinations of police and government officials, beheadings and shoot-outs are the result of violent combat between drug cartels, gangs, and the police. The cartels vying for domination of the lucrative drug trade are seeking both market dominance and freedom from government interference. Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and other border towns are racked with violence. Mexico City itself is not immune. An infusion of police and military remains stymied as corrupt officials chose to side with the cartels.

I commented on this earlier, but these people actually know what they're talking about.

I hope we're both overestimating the problem, but I'm not that hopeful.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Think I'll have to go see this one

I've always been a James Bond fan, and I really the direction that Casino Royale took the franchise.

I'm stoked to go see Quantum of Solace, and so is Junior Bear. We may go next weekend.

Speaking of which, Tam over at View from the Porch has the best review quote I've heard in a while:

He was using that licence to kill like it was earning him frequent flier miles.
I can't wait to see it!

No Joy

Well, no venison in the freezer, but it's been a great weekend anyway. Any day in the woods is better than the best day at the desk.

We got out to the woods at 0 dark 30 on Saturday, and it was already raining. The temperature continued to drop, and the wind got worse and worse all morning. By 10 o'clock, I was soaked to the bone and shivering so bad I don't think I could have shot a deer if it walked up and said hi.

My buddy and I met up back at the truck and checked the weather radar on our phones. The rain wasn't going to stop any time soon, so we decided to take the afternoon off. Our guide later told us that everyone in our group was gone by noon, so I don't feel like too much of a weenie.

Got back out this morning, and it was a gorgeous day. Some clouds and cold wind this morning, but this afternoon the sun came out and it got up into the 40's. We decided to try the same spot we were at yesterday because my friend had seen a few deer there, and we hoped they had stuck around. It was a dry hole, but we marked it on our map because it's a great location. Lots of good food for the deer, lots of cedars for them to bed down in.

After lunch, we went to an open field in the southern part of our hunting area and we each took a section of woodline to watch. I sat under a pine tree for a few hours, and noticed that a lot of the small pines around it had been beaten up by bucks rubbing their antlers and heads on them. When it was almost time to go, I walked the perimeter of the field, and saw lots of tracks and other sign, so I'm hopeful that that area will be worth another look if we get drawn again next year.

As I was leaving my hide site, I came across two young bucks, each with 4 little points, who were coming out of the woods. I froze, and they stopped and looked at me. Rules at Fort Knox say that a bucks antlers have to extend beyond his ears, and these two most certainly didn't fit that description. I watched them for a moment, and they must have known I couldn't harm them, because after a minute or so they continued their walk back into the wood line. Not running, not even in a hurry, just walking.

I also saw a large doe up on the road, but the road is verboten for hunting, so she was also safe.

Did I put meat in the freezer? No. Did I see more wildlife than I ever have while hunting in Kentucky? You betcha.

I'll definitely be putting in for Fort Knox next year, and I may also put in for their bow hunting season so I can at least scout out some areas.


Sorry for not catching it earlier, but comments were disabled. I've turned them on. Keep it civil, children.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go

This weekend is my Fort Knox hunt. Going to get up early enough that I'll have to kick the rooster in the ass on my way out the door in order to get down there in time, but it's going to be a great hunt. We're meeting our guide near post at 4 AM, which is causing the friend I'm going with to blow a gasket. He'll get over it as soon as he starts to hear other hunters shoot. Only drawback is a full moon this weekend, so the deer may do their feeding and moving around overnight and then lager up for the day. Hopefully it'll be cold enough that they'll need to move around during the day.

Our area is kind of rugged, but that may work to our advantage. Tomorrow is being called for rain in the morning, with steady winds and dwindling temperatures all day. Going to get myself down into a nice draw and stay out of the wind. Hopefully Mr. Antlers will need to walk around to stay warm and I'll get a shot. Pulling a deer out of the valleys may be a bit of a chore, but I think I'll manage if I have to.

Like I said before, I love hunting at Ft. Knox. Just the quiet and beauty of the area is worth the drive. I plan on going both days even if my buddy decides to sleep in on Sunday.

I'll update as the weekend goes on, but I'll probably be too tired tomorrow or Sunday to put much up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What was I dreaming last night?

I woke up this morning with the lyrics from "What's Opera Doc?" running through my mind. It was so maddening that I was singing and humming it all morning long while I got the kids ready for school and day care.

Baby Bear apparently thought Daddy was funny as I sang "Weturn, my wove" to him while he had his peaches and cereal this morning.

Got to listen to something with a back beat for a while to get it out of my mind.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Help me out here, kids

How exactly does disrupting a church service, throwing leaflets, and picketing a church advance your cause?

Like I've always said, reasoned, calm, peaceful protest is what really grabs my attention and gets me to listen to you. Doing stupid crap like this is only going to alienate the people you're trying to reach and convince them that you're the loony they always thought you were.


Or you could just take a poke at an old lady who has the audacity to disagree with you.

Middle School Open House

Well, Girlie Bear's middle school had their open house last night. Just a tour and some get-to-know-us speeches from the principal and teachers.

I ended up taking Baby Bear with us because the Irish Woman was swamped with work stuff at home. I only expected it to last a half hour or so, but it ended up being a 2 hour engagement.

I have to say that I'm quite excited about Girlie Bear going to this school. It's clean, appears to be in good condition, and has a reputation for order. We'll have to invest in khakis and polo's for her, which I'm not thrilled about. But I prefer my children wearing something close to a uniform if the alternative is to have all of the other girls dressed in the "I wanna be a ho" starter set and have her ask me why she can't wear skirts that would be better used as belts.

Thankfully, Baby Bear behaved himself throughout the evening. No fussing, no crying, nothing. I kept him entertained byletting him maul one of the brochures they handed out. He was quite heavy by the end of all the tours, etc., but I can't complain about a baby who's patient for 2 hours.

But when we got back to the car, he let loose and kept crying until he fell asleep in our driveway. He was tired, hungry, and over stimulated, and he told me in no uncertain terms that it was all my fault. He was OK once we got him into the house and took care of his needs.

So, my baby girl is going to middle school next year, and my baby boy is excellent in public. Nothing to complain about here....

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fire!!!

Looks like the Pentagon has come up with a bomb that is full of randomly flying rocket powered flaming tennis balls!

Just think of the civilian applications for something like this!

Cave monsters menacing your small midwestern town? Toss a canister of these down the old abandoned mine shaft they're coming out of.

Aliens taken over your colony base? Bomb it from orbit with a series of these and watch the fireworks!

And I may have finally found a solution to those !#$!@! moles and gophers in my lawn. Fourth of July, cooler of cold beer, and a stack of self propelled rocket balls being thrown down gopher holes. Ahhhh, now that would be a good use of an afternoon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Captain Success strikes again


They're giving away the Eucharist for free, but only one per customer. Come on, dude, just share with everyone else in the church.

Veterans Day

Today is the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I. I tried to explain to my daughter last night why that was so significant, and she had a hard time getting her 'tween mind around the joy that flowed through the world when the guns finally fell silent. I spared her the gruesome statistics of how many were killed or wounded, but I did try to tell her just how awful it was for everyone involved, and how glad they were when the war was over and they could go home.

Most of the Irish Woman's Kentucky family never served. Her father served in World War II, and so did a couple of her uncles, but they've long since gone on to better places. Their sons stayed out of Vietnam, and none of the grandsons chose to join. Hoosier Dad served in Korea, and we've shared a couple of beers talking about it, but he's about it for that side too.

So I'm kind of an oddball in the family. I fly the flag most days outside our home, I pay attention when I hear a bugle call in the distance from one of the cemetaries. I don't dwell on it, and since most of the family has nothing in common with that part of my life, I don't discuss it with them. It's kind of lonely sometimes, but they wouldn't understand, and I don't know how I could get my point across to them when discussing why certain things are important even if they don't put money in their pockets or make their lives easier in a direct way.

I took the Irish Woman and the kids to a local veterans cemetary a few years ago to find one of her uncles who died as part of a bomber crew in World War II. We found the marker, and left some flowers. The Irish Woman commented that she couldn't remember the last time someone had talked about visiting this particular grave. For some reason that didn't surprise me.

The next year, we went to Washington DC on Veterans Day. It was just me and the Irish Woman, and we walked the mall and visited Arlington. She didn't seem to understand how holy the place was until she saw me stop and wait respectfully for a Navy officer to finish his visit to a grave and salute it. We visited the Vietnam War memorial . She began emotional when I pointed out soldiers in the wall with names that come from her side of the family. Then I showed her the wall at the Korean memorial, and how the ranks of young men and women whose portraits are engraved there will always remind us of how many we owe so much to.

Since that time, she has become more appreciative of why I always want to pull down her decorative flags to fly the Colors. She doesn't ask why when I want to go down to the Fort Knox museum on Memorial Day for a ceremony. And while she doesn't understand why I cry during certain movies or TV programs, she knows to just let me snuffle a bit and get on with life.

Members of my family have been serving this country since our first ancestor got off the boat from Europe. Sometimes they've just been technicians and clerks, and other times they've been combat soldiers. I was raised by veterans near a military base, and several of the men I model myself on carried scars home from faroff places named St. Lo, Luzon, and DaNang. I was fortunate to serve in a lot of places where I could do some good, and I wouldn't have missed a moment of it for anything. No, I wasn't Sergeant Rock, but I wasn't Gomer Pyle either, and I sure as heck wasn't some long-haired, peace sign waving hippie.

Tonight, I'll sit down with my kids and look at my photo albums of all the places I've been and the people I served with. Some of them still stay in touch, some of them have been lost to the four winds that is PCS/ETS. I remember them all, and always will. I do this with my kids so that they don't get a romantic vision of the military, good or bad. If they choose to join up after they graduate, I want them to do it with both eyes wide open.

Blackfive has two excellent articles about Veteran's Day. I suggest you go read them and think for a moment of the grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters who have stood ready at a moments notice to protect you and allow you to live in peace.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blind man lands airplane

Apparently, a pilot in the UK had a stroke in mid-flight, and had to be guided to the ground by the RAF.

And afterwards, I'm sure the inside of his plane had to hosed out and his pants changed. I'm also sure the upholstery on his pilots chair had to be replaced when the pucker factor ripped it off of the frame.

That effort took balls, both on his part and the air traffic controllers. I can't imagine what went through his mind when he realized that he couldn't see and he was thousands of feet in the air.

Glad to hear it all turned out OK, and I wish the gentleman good health and a swift recovery.

Big snow back home

Well, the first true blizzard of the year seems to have hit the Dakota's over the past day or so.

It's kind of early for such a strong storm, but I remember a lot of Halloweens where I wore a snowmobile suit under my costume for trick or treating. It gets cold and snowy up there early, and I don't remember a single year where our school year wasn't extended at least a week because of snow days.

Although the danger of such a strong storm, especially to people who were caught out driving or outdoors in it, are great, the plains need the moisture. The more snow they get this winter, the better. Especially if they have a slow warming in the spring and all that water doesn't end up in the Mississippi or the Red River as a massive flood. Got to recharge that aquifer.

Early storms like this can be gruesome. Trees that haven't lost their leaves will break under the weight of snow build up on branches that hold the snow instead of letting it slide off. Wildlife might not have finished their migrations to winter quarters, so you'll see some die-offs of geese, ducks, deer, antelope, and other animals. People who tried to drive through the snow are already stuck on highways waiting for help. Here's hoping it gets to them in time.

I've been in strong storms like this, and it's no fun. I remember being sent home from school early when I was in the 4th or 5th grade because of an approaching storm, and having to carry/drag my brother from snow drift to snow drift and tree to tree through winds so strong we had to crawl under them. Not sure what my teachers were thinking by letting us walk home, but we're lucky the only thing we got was frost-nipped ears and noses.

And losing your power in a storm like this can be a killer. For some reason, one of the houses we grew up in had electric heat, but a gas stove. If the electricity cut out, I would have to turn on all 4 burners and the oven, which kept the kitchen at least warm. Not fun, not fun at all.

Cattle always end up having problems with such strong early storms. Come the spring, if this storm is the beginning of true winter, a lot of farmers are going to find some of their cows frozen standing up in some low spot in their pasture. Cows tend to bunch up for warmth when they're caught out in the open in a snow storm, and the herd will head to low ground to get out of the wind. Eventually, they'll freeze to death and get buried by drifting snow, and in April the whole herd will be uncovered as the snow melts. Not a pretty picture.

So, to my family and friends still living in the Great White North, stay warm, stay together, and stay safe. Remember, 30 below keeps the rif-raf out, and only the best come north.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Well, it's finally over

Last night, I fell asleep too early to hear the speeches, but the results were waiting for me this morning.

Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States in January.

While I don't agree with some of the tactics he and John McCain used in their campaigns, and I really don't like some of the reports of fraud and intimidation I've heard, the election seems to have been relatively clean overall.

I'm not going to congratulate Obama. He's signed up for a tough, thankless job that will only get worse as he goes along. I hope he has more up his sleeve than hope, because he's going to need it. If he can manage to be a good president when 2012 rolls around, I'll congratulate him then.

My opinion of the man hasn't changed, but he has 4 years to convince me that his presidency wasn't a mistake.

If more than a couple of the following things come true under his watch, then he's failed:

  1. A major terrorist attack occurs somewhere in the homeland, and he does not respond in kind to those who conducted the attack.
  2. The economy continues to go into recession and stays anemic for more than a year.
  3. Either Iraq or Afghanistan becomes a failed state again. He's been handed a relatively finished product in Iraq, and he has to figure out what to do in Afghanistan.
  4. The crime rate in our country continues to climb, and he does nothing to try to stop it.

Anyhoo, the next 4 years will tell us if all of the hype was deserved. I don't care about his approval ratings, or whether or not he's skewered by the press. I want to see results based on what I feel is important for the country as a whole and me as an individual.

I may not respect the man, but I do respect the office he will be holding. For the sake of the country, I hope he exceeds my expectations and earns my respect.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A fungus amoung us

LiveScience is reporting on a fungus that has been discovered in the rain forest that turns cellulose directly into fuel.

Use of high-sugar food crops for fuel helps to drive up prices and clamp down on the amount of food on the market. If we could make fuel from agricultural waste such as stalks and sawdust, then we'd be a lot closer to energy independence without hurting the food supply.

Then the corn could be used for the correct product, instead of fuel.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I want my embassy back

On November 4, 1979, the American Embassy in Tehran was violated by a controlled mob. This was no spontaneous escalation of a demonstration into an international incident. It was planned and approved by members of the Iranian revolutionary movement.

This deliberate, premeditated attack on American sovereignty was used to humiliate our country for 444 days. The reason the Iranians felt they could, and indeed did, get away with this was because we had the weakest excuse for a president we will ever see in the person of one James Carter. This weak willed individual allowed that 3rd world sh**hole to drag us around by the nose for over a year.

A man or woman that deserved their office would have turned Iran's oil and agricultural industries into smoking holes that glowed in the dark for about a century and a half. The cost to the world economy would have been worth it to see the rest of the cave dwellers in the world learn that to mess with us is to invite annihilation.

Another solution would have been for the CIA to seize every single known relative of the Iranian revolutionary movement's leadership we could find and offer to exchange them for our people and the heads of the people who violated our embassy.

Instead we got to watch on the evening news night after night as American diplomats were paraded before the cameras. We also got to listen to Carter bleat on about how he was still trying to get the hostages released peacefully.

Hopefully we never have to go through something like that again. And if we do, I pray that we have a real leader in the Oval Office instead of some blithering idiot who should have stayed on his peanut farm.

OK, this is it!

This election finally starts to end tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I don't care if you're in labor. Get out of bed and vote.

Take a deep breath, folks, it's almost over.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Man Day

Well, yesterday was a Man Day.

Got up early and took Girlie Bear over to her Mom's house for the weekend. She stayed with us on Friday night so she could go trick or treating with some cousins. A good time was had by all.

From there, I went over to Knob Creek and practiced with the 91/30. I really enjoy getting there early when it's not so busy. The regulars tend to get there early too, and they're a great bunch of good old boys. Conditions were absolutely perfect. No wind whatsoever, as was evidenced by the smoke and dust kicked up by the large exploding target that one of my co-shooters blasted on his first shot of the day. It hung around for over an hour before slowly clearing.

I shot OK. I was practicing shooting the Mosin using iron sights. I was able to tear up a 10" target at 100 yards with the 80 rounds I put down range. I think it'll work for hunting.

When I was on my way home, a buddy called and asked if I wanted to go out to his wood lot and cut up some logs. I swung by the house and picked up Junior Bear, and we went out to his farm. We spent the afternoon cutting and stacking wood. Nothing like a chain saw to work out stress.

When we got home, we finished repairing the Caravan. The new starter had come into the dealer on Friday, and once I could see what the part looked like, I was better able to visualize how it was connected to the transmission. It only took an hour to finish removing the bad starter and put in the good one. One bolt was on there so tight I had to use a cheater bar to break it loose, but no harm there.

I only had one more glitch, this one entirely of my own making. I got in a hurry when I was putting things back together and connected the battery backwards. Positive to negative, negative to positive. I blew a bunch of fuses, but thankfully, that was all. Took another hour to find them all and replace them. Never said I was bright......

So, drove the truck, shot the gun, used a chainsaw, and fixed a car. Yes, truly, I felt like a man.

Now I'm going to go do some laundry and then I may make some bottles.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bring me the head of a Chrysler engineer!

Yesterday morning Girlie Bear and I got into the van to get to school and work. When I turned the key the lights came on, the radio started playing, but no cranking. After repeated attempts with no luck, I figured out that a relay was clicking over under the hood, and I could hear the starter whirring. But no cranking.

I transferred us over to the truck, and we made our way to work and school. I took the afternoon off to try to fix the problem or make arrangements at the shop.

I did some research online and in my Haynes manual, and it could have been a loose connection to the starter, a bad relay, a bad battery, or the starter itself. I checked out the cables, and they looked OK. I trust the relay because I can hear it clicking when I try to start the car. I took the battery to the parts store, and it came out of the test as a good battery. So I'm down to the starter.

According to the manual and the internet, it's a matter of disconnecting the battery, disconnecting the starter, and then unbolting it from the engine.

Disconnecting the battery took about 2 minutes total. Bonus!

Disconnecting the starter from the electrical system took almost an hour. It was only 2 nuts to remove and one wire to pull out, but to get my big meathooks into the small space the starter is in was painful, ungainly, and maddening. Bogus!

I removed the first of 3 bolts from the starter after doing some real yoga-like contortions with my wrench. The other two bolts remain hidden by other parts of the engine, waiting for my hands and forearms to heal enough that I can try to figure out the 3d puzzle that is a Chrysler engine compartment and remove them.

I will have a replacement starter tomorrow morning. I will probably wait until Saturday to try again.

But I have made a decision. It will be a cold day in hades before I purchase another Chrysler product. I loved my first Chrysler, a Dodge Shadow. It was a crackerbox, but it was comfortable, got good gas mileage, and was really reliable.

When I finally gave in and got something else, I stayed with Chrysler and got a used Sebring. That car lasted 18 months, and then its transmission broke going 70 miles an hour on the freeway at 10 PM on a Friday.

I had been considering getting another car anyway, as this car wasn't as comfortable as I thought it was. I didn't think anything bad about the car, because it was used, and I didn't know how hard the previous owner had driven it.

So I got the Caravan. And it's a nice, comfortable daddymobile. I've had it almost 3 years. It's on its second transmission, has blown almost every lightbulb in the car, and has started getting gas mileage in the F250 range.

The only reason that I pause before dumping this van and getting a Ford or something is because it's almost paid off, and I'm looking forward to not having a car payment for a while.

This is not a complaint about the people I have worked with at Chrysler. Between us, the Irish Woman and I have bought 5 cars from the same salesman at our dealership. I also really like the people I've worked with in the dealership like the mechanics and technicians.

But good customer service doesn't make up for the continual need for me to maintain this heap. And when I do work on it, the unreasonably tight quarters of the engine compartment make what should be a 20 minute job into a multiday exercise in knuckle busting. No amount of styling or good service makes up for that.
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