Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Someone needs your thoughts

Tam over at View from the Porch lost her feline companion tonight, and could use your thoughts and prayers. Up your karma and give her some love.

On Coffee

It is by coffee alone that I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of the bean that thoughts acquire speed,
The teeth acquire stains,
The stains become a warning.
It is by coffee alone that I set my mind in motion...

Anyone who knows me knows that one of my bad habits is coffee, in all of its forms. I know that the Cafe du Monde is the best place for a cup of coffee after a long night on Bourbon Street. I know what Jula Mocha is, and how best to prepare it. I know that dopio espresso means it's double strong, not double big. I've had cappuccinos brewed by a German waiter in starched white linen, and Turkish coffee boiled by a shepherd on the side of a mountain. I've had coffee boiled, pressed, dripped, and pressure steamed. I like my coffee like I like my women, strong and sweet.

I started drinking coffee at a VERY early age. My Scandinavian aunts gave it to me by the teaspoon full when I was about 6 months old. They started with milk with just a bit of coffee, and gradually worked their way up to straight black Norwegian wake-me-up. The thinking on that side of the family is that if you can take that, you're ready for solid food.

My grandmother used to drink boiled coffee by the gallon every day. This woman was up every morning at 4 to start cooking and baking, and would finish out the day playing cards or watching the late movie, always with a cup of strong, sweet coffee nearby. I think I got my liking for bean juice from her.

My parents were prodigious consumers of coffee, but they drank weak swill. I learned from them that if you can see through it, it's not worth drinking.

I began drinking coffee as an adult after I got out of Basic. I used it at that point purely for the caffeine. The more the merrier. I was taught how to suck on dry coffee grounds in the same manner as you would dip Copenhagen snoose. I also learned how to put Folgers Crystals from an MRE under your eyelid to get the quick jolt of pain and caffeine straight to the bloodstream when you're dead tired and have to stay awake just a bit longer. No, that's not oral cancer or jaundice, that's a serious case of not wanting to conk out.

When I got to Europe in '91, I started to learn about good coffee. My company commander always had a good strong pot of Kronung in his office, and the chow hall always had good coffee. I was introduced to espresso and cappuccino's by a friend who was stationed in Naples, and I've never looked back.

After I got back to the States, I developed a taste for Arbuckle's cowboy coffee in Arizona, and Community Coffee in Louisiana. I discovered Starbucks, which is to coffee what McDonalds is to lunch. No, it's not the best you can get, and a lot of smaller local establishments do it better, but it's the same cup of coffee in Louisville as it is in New York. Louisville has the Java Brewing Company, which has the best product locally. Nothing beats getting beans first thing in the morning when they're still warm from the roaster.

When I was going to college, I grew a pretty bad caffeine monkey on my back. I was drinking a pot of coffee every morning before work, drinking another while I was at work, hitting Starbucks on the way to school, and hitting it again on the way home.

Lately, I've cut way back on my consumption. I normally make coffee at home maybe two times a week, and have cut back to one cup of coffee a day at work. I treat myself at either Starbucks or the JBC once every week or so.

Coffee to me is one of life's pleasures. I drink coffee more for the enjoyment of it, rather than for the caffeine hit. Nothing feels better on a cold morning than a warm earthenware mug in my hands. Nothing wakes me up faster than the smell of a fresh pot of coffee.

Musings on the coming financial armageddon

OK, so the Congress voted down the recovery bill as it was originally constructed. The market fell 777 points, and the sky should be coming down any time now. Zombies will be walking the streets in the near future, and dogs and cats are starting to live together.

Here's my advice on how to get through this:
  1. Keep your head and your money in the game. The people who made money during the Great Depression were the ones who kept their money in the market. Don't cash out your 401k and keep the money in your mattress. You only lose money if you cash out too early.
  2. Don't switch jobs anytime soon. Noone knows at the moment how this is going to shake out, but I think it's safe to say that if layoffs happen, the new guy is probably the first to go.
  3. Don't plan on buying a new house or car anytime soon. Unless you can almost pay cash for the darned thing, odds are the bank is going to charge an enormous amount to borrow if they'll lend to you at all. Get cozy in your home, and keep doing the maintenance on your car.
  4. Pay down your debt as much as you can. If the worst happens, the less debt you have the better.
  5. Stock up on canned food and shotguns. I'm just saying.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Negative Political Ads

I was introduced to Kentucky politics in 2002. It stuck me how quickly and how deeply negative the various campaigns became. I had been exposed to negative campaigning before, but this was something else. The ads became extremely personal and nasty very early in the campaign. It didn't seem to be the desperate act of failing campaigns because campaigns that were comfortably ahead in the polls were just as bad.

I decided very early that I wouldn't listen to negative campaign ads. I may watch them for the entertainment value, but I refuse to take any of their assertions into consideration when I'm deciding how to vote.

In 2004 and 2006, I tried to figure out which party was the most negative, or who seemed to throw the first mudball. I gave up in both endeavors. Both major parties shamelessly sling mud at each other, and neither seems to go nastier or earlier than the other.

Here's the deal, folks: Convince me to vote the way you want me to by describing what's good about your candidate or your cause. Tell me what good is going to come from your victory, not what evil will come from your defeat. Don't waste your money and breath telling me how your opponent tortures baby goats under a full moon. Tell me how you are going to enforce the laws, secure the country, keep your meathooks off of the majority of my money, and how you're going to be a good steward of the money that I do pay in taxes.

Negative ads don't convince me to not vote for the other guy, the lead me to believe that you don't deserve my vote.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


OK, folks. We've got two choices:

1. We let the market flow freely, with a high probability that huge chunks of it will bottom out due to very poor investing on the part of the "smart people". The economy will probably go into a tailspin for at least a couple of years, and things will get much worse before they get better.

2. The federal government steps in, buys up all of that bad debt, and keeps us out of of a deep recession. All of the "smart people" get to keep their high paying jobs, and probably come out of all this at least as rich as they are now. We will probably go into a recession anyhow, but in the short term it won't be as bad as it could have been. Our national deficit goes up at least another trillion dollars or two. Our children, grand children, and great-grandchildren will be paying for this.

Personally, I don't see a good choice here. I believe in free markets, but I don't want to see the economy circle the drain for a decade because of greed and bad judgement. But I also don't want the government to continue its habit of keeping the terminally stupid in the black.

Teething Baby, Sleepless Daddy

And Mommy.

Baby Bear appears to be very close to having his first tooth. He was very cranky last night, and woke up last night very snarfly and fussy. We thought he might have caught my cold, so the Irish Woman took him into the doctor this morning. Doctor ruled out a cold, and found the lump in his gums.

Soon, he'll have his first ankle biting implement. Until then, I'm a zombie shuffling through my day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Weekend

Well, this weekend was a toss-up.

Woke up Saturday morning, and felt like dirt warmed over. The Irish Woman "convinced" me to go to the doctor. $15 for the doctor and $75 for the anti-biotics and antihystamines later, I went back to bed and slept through most of the rest of the day.

Had to drive through the Ryder Cup traffic to get to the doctor. Must send a thank you card to the city fathers for the crowd in my front yard.

Sunday was a better day. Woke up too late to go to church, but did go to Knob Creek in the afternoon. The muzzleloader still put 3 rounds in a 10 inch circle at 100 yards, but I had a hell of a time with the Mosin. I had to aim at the dirt three feet in front of the target in order to graze the top. If I aimed center mass, I was hitting the hill behind the target.

When I got home and cleaned the Mosin, I figured out why. I recently removed the LER scope and mount that I had on it and returned to iron sites. I put the leaf spring on the rear site in upside down, and that was forcing the rear site up about an inch too high. High rear site forced a much higher than expected point of impact. I corrected the error and the site looks like it's supposed to. Should have caught that when I put it in the first time.

Got to spend some time with Junior Bear and Baby Bear. Also caught the first quarter of the Dallas/Green Bay game.

Overall, the weekend was a wash. Lost most of Saturday to either the doctor's office or sleep, but had a pretty good Sunday.

Blackfive for the funny!

H/T to Blackfive for a good laugh on a Monday morning.

Reminds me of when the CNN and AP reporters had to go through winter training at Wildflicken at the same time we did so they could cover military units in Bosnia.

Half of them lost their voice from bitching about how cold they were, and the other half got treated as heat casualties when they wore 16 layers, including their bear suits, during the 1 mile walk from the chow hall to the training area.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not a good day

Woke up this morning feeling pretty low. My allergies had kicked me right between the twins.

A long shower. two Aleve, a Claritin, and a cup of coffee later, I at least felt human. Spending time feeding Baby Bear and listening to him growl between mouthfuls helped my attitude.

Had to drive through the traffic for the Ryder Cup. Took 45 minutes to drive the 5 minutes to the freeway.

Got Junior Bear and Girlie Bear over to a friend's house for the day. Still no school, we'll find out on Sunday night if they go back on Monday.

Because of traffic, didn't get to the office until almost 9 AM, so I had to park in the remote lot. The long walk gave me a lot of time to think about why I came to work at all.

Got to the top of the stairs in our building, and the smell of rotten eggs greeted me. Luckily for me, everyone else can smell it too. Either a pipe has broken somewhere, or someone shipped something they shouldn't have.

I've spent the morning doing small work and drinking more coffee. Hopefully the afternoon will go well.

This weekend should be OK. I'm working a fund raiser for Girlie Bear's PTA tomorrow morning, and I'm planning on going to the range on Sunday after church.

Better wash that foot before you insert it!

The Canadian agricultural minister apparently doesn't know that you don't make jokes about people dieing.

Dude, please remember that everything you say will be held against you. Don't joke about people dieing from food poisoning, and for the love of God don't hope that one of the casualties is one of your opponents.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hypocracy at work

Saw a good post by Phil over at Random Nuclear Strikes.

Politicians from both parties resisted regulation of the financial markets, for whatever reasons. Now that the market has had the carpet pulled out from under it, and we're paying to keep the lights on in institutions that are deemed critical, the roaches are scattering.

My only real beef with this whole process is the fact that these government rescues always seem to include some really nice golden parachutes for the executives of these companies. If you've run your business into the ground so bad that the government is stepping in and buying you out, why do you still make more money that some small countries?

Another day with no school

Well, another day when the kids don't have school.

I spent yesterday getting over working a 3rd shift watching our servers in an area that has had power problems. Apparently the generator backup had issues, and they wanted several people on site at all times to shut down servers if the power went out again.

Luckily, the generator was repaired, and I didn't have to do another midnight to 8 shift last night.

School is still out in Louisville, although power seems to be returning to a lot of the area. I spent almost an hour yesterday morning looking for a gas station that had both electricity and gasoline. Got lucky and was able to fill up with less than half a gallon of gas left in the tank.

Junior Bear and Girlie Bear have spent some time in the last couple of days cleaning up our yard. Lots of leaves and small branches to clean up. I also introduced Junior Bear to a pool skimmer net to use to get the leaves out of the pond. The cherry tree next to the big pond shed almost half of its leaves in the storm, and had turned the water to the color of strong tea. The fish seem to be OK, but it can't be good for them, so we got the leaves out.

Going to start picking up cut up wood from people we know who lost trees soon. May as well stockpile it either for late in this winter or for next year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Owing Money to Your Employer

Apparently a lot of money is owed to the government by government workers.

Funny, when I was in the military, it was common for the government to just take what was owed directly from your paycheck.

I can't imagine it would be too difficult for the IRS to get a judge to let them do the same to civilian workers.

It's never a good idea to be in debt to your employer, especially when that employer has the ability to get it back.

Late update

Sorry I haven't put anything up here for the past couple of days. Saturday Girlie Bear and I went fishing, and we spent the rest of the day working on the trim work in her bedroom. It looks nice now with the new paint and a chair rail.

Sunday we had a combined birthday party for the three older kids. We sometimes do this because their birthdays hit so close together. We had a few friends over, and I smoked a turkey in the grill. First time I ever did that, and it turned out very nicely. Going to have to do that again sometime. The kids made out like bandits, and of course Baby Bear was cooed over. Highlight of the day for me was Little Bear coming over. He hasn't been over to the house in weeks, and it was great to spend a few hours with him.

About noon the wind really started up. My car was being pushed all over the road, but we made it home OK. By the end of the afternoon, we'd had 75 mph gusts knocking over trees and power poles all over the area. By the end of the day LG&E reported that most of their customers were without power. All of the schools in the area are closed.

Luckily for us, we only had a couple of blips in the power at the house. We lost digital cable and broadband for a few hours, and I need to take the chainsaw to some limbs that got snapped in the wind. Overall though, we're in good shape.

Friday, September 12, 2008

From the Your Tax Dollars at Work department

One of the local governments has had a bit of a personnel problem. Basically the city hired a a crackhead as the public works director. When he got busted, they fired him.

Now the city council wants to put in random drug testing on all city employees. The cooler heads of the city attorney advised them that doing so would be violating at least one of the amendments to the constitution, so now they're considering doing them on new employees.

Now they're talking about starting to do background checks on new employees. That's funny, I can't apply to work at McDonalds without giving permission for a background check, and the local government isn't doing it routinely?

Things that make your head hurt on a Friday morning.

Bring it, little man

Apparently Hugo Chavez thinks that it's time to up his ego trip a notch.

Bolivia has kicked out our ambassador, and we've told his ambassador to not let the door hit him on the ass. So Chavez has puffed out his little chest, gotten onto a step stool to reach the microphones, and told our ambassador to get out of his country. Why he's done this is beyond me. It doesn't even begin to concern Venezuala, but why ask why a crazy bastard does what he does.

He's also threatening us again when it comes to oil. Why we continue to buy from this maniac is beyond me.

Here's an idea: We tell Mexico and Canada that we'll buy every drop of oil they can sell us, and we start producing more of our own.

Then we tell this twit with a Napoleon complex to go get stuffed. Let's see how much the world cares about his 3rd world jerkwater hole when he doesn't have the yankee dollars raining in. Sure, he can sell somewhere else, but he won't make as much doing it. And we don't have to make it easy for him to do.

Here's another idea: We tell the world shipping community that any ship that transits Venezualean waters in any way is no longer welcome in our ports. Same goes for airplanes.

We're not telling the rest of the world to not do business with Chavez, we're just telling them that if they do business with Chavez, they don't get to do business with us.

Screw him and the rest of his crazy Latin America head kooks in charge.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not in my backyard!

What a crock.

One of the local homeless shelters wants to put a facility for women and children into a building that used to be a Catholic high school, and the local neighborhood association and city council member are opposing it.

This is the second time that Wayside Christian Mission has tried to acquire property to move into and has been shut down by the local authorities because they don't want something like this in their back yard.

It's not like they're moving across town. Check this out.

That's right ladies and gentlemen. They're moving 1.4 miles. Apparently it's OK for a good work to happen on one side of the railroad tracks but not on the other.

This NIMBY stuff gets under my skin something fierce. Louisville likes to portray itself as a progressive city, but when an organization that actually walks the walk wants to move to a good area of town and actually provide services to the homeless, these so called humanists get up in arms.

Fall is here!

OK OK! Fall is finally here, and I'm totally stoked!

The hot and humid Kentucky summer is dieing, the trees are starting to turn, football is here.

And last, but not least, the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks. My favorite spicy goodness has returned from it's summer long hiatus!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Going to the amusement park with teenagers

Sunday was the Irish Woman's company picnic at Kentucky Kingdom. The weather was beautiful, and we went early in the afternoon. We had purchased tickets for Girlie Bear and Little Bear, but they were spending the weekend with their mom. So Junior Bear asked two of his friends to come along.

Once we got to the park, Junior Bear and his friends disappeared to go do as teenagers do in an amusement park.

Irish Woman and I had a nice walk around the park with Baby Bear, and we took him to an area that's set aside for small children at the water park portion of Kentucky Kingdom. He was a little apprehensive at first due to the water being cold and all the noise, but he got into it eventually.

We took him for his first ride on the merry go round, and he cooed and giggled the entire time.

We gathered the older kids up and headed out at about 5, and everyone agreed that going to an amusement park on a wonderful late summer day is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Some things will just make a man cry....

I was going to go shooting at Knob Creek on Saturday morning, but the weather was rainy and drippy all night, so my shooting buddies and I decided to wait a couple of weekends and try again. Since I was thinking about it, I thought I'd do a quick wipe down and lubrication on the guns. The black powder, shotguns, and handguns looked great when I pulled them out of the safe, but when I reached back to get out the Mosin Nagant 91/30, the barrel had patches of orange and the bore looked pretty dark.

After cussing and swearing as I cleaned the gun inside and out, she looks OK. I love shooting the Mosin, and she's my pride and joy.

I'm going to have to get a dehumidifier for the safe or something. I put a really good layer of oil on the Mosin, but I can't pack her in cosmoline every time I put her away.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy

Well, as if this weekend wasn't good enough.

Never liked the guy, never will. Sad to hear that another human being is in pain, but if it had to happen, I'm glad it happened to Brady.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Someone can't take no for an answer

According to Fox News a guy tried to pick up three women in a doughnut shop, got shot down, then tried to run down the ladies in the parking lot.

Hey, Captain Success, learn to take rejection. Dunkin Donuts is not the best place to pick up women. If you're looking for a hookup, try a night club or something. People at the donut shop are looking for something to eat and a cup of coffee, not a romp in the back of your van.

Awesome link


Courtesy of IMAO, a wonderful picture of our future vice-president.

I saw a portion of her speech last night. I'm impressed. She makes a very good attack dog for McCain, as Biden does for Obama. She made some good points, and is showing just how valuable an asset she will be to McCain, both in the election and his administration.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fellow Horndogs, we have a VP candidate

I was pleasantly surprised on Friday to learn that Senator McCain chose someone unexpected for his running mate. I was expecting either Romney or Pawlenty.

Instead, Johnny Mac picked a pretty, vivacious, anti-abortion, pro-gun 44 year old mother of 5. Sarah Heath Palin may not be the most experienced VP candidate we've ever had, but she is surely the prettiest. http://vpilf.com/

I'm impressed with her because she's a real person. She's held down actual jobs. She's worked in really bad conditions, even to the point of being injured on a fishing boat. She's worried about how she's going to pay for her kids' education. She's a relatively clean politician, and isn't afraid to stand up to an entrenched party hierarchy.

She's got executive experience, even if only for a few years. She's had to do a budget and work with legislators to get laws through.

Of course, there will be the occasional bone in her closet, but for the most part I'm not afraid of anything I've heard so far. I've heard about the state trooper she wanted fired and the politician she fired for not firing the state trooper. I've heard about the state commission she sacked en masse and replaced. I've heard about the DUI her husband had in the 80's. And of course I've heard about how her oldest daughter is pregnant.

None of this diminishes her as a great candidate in my eyes.

If McCain didn't have my vote before, he has it now.

All of this hoopla about Mrs. Palin brought something to my mind. Is it just me, or do the Republicans almost have the market on beautiful women in politics cornered? John McCain is married to a beautiful blonde heiress. Sarah Palin is a former runner up for Miss Alaska. And Fred Thomson is married to a serious hottie that's half his age.

Of course, Dennis Kucinich has his own hottie at home, but that's the only one that comes to my mind.

In closing, remember, only you and your vote will put this beautiful woman a heartbeat away from the White House.

My weekend

Well, it was a pretty good weekend. Girlie Bear went to her mom's house for a visit until this morning, so Irish Woman and I started the process of updating her room. We're putting in a chair rail and doing a two-tone paint job. A light shade of purple will go above the chair rail, and a darker shade will go below it. Girlie Bear picked these out with help from Irish Woman. Irish Woman is doing the actual painting, and I'm doing the grunt work and chair rail.

I also got Girlie Bear a new desk. She's outgrown the desk she's been using for the past couple of years. Once it's done, her room will no longer be a little girl's room, but will be where a pre-teen goes to study and sleep. That'll be a surprise when we finish her room.

Irish Woman got an early birthday present. I got her a new iMac for her sole personal use, and a new computer desk to put it on. We put it up in the bedroom so that it's not a temptation for the kids to try to use it, and Irish Woman can use it in peace when she's working on her photography.

It took several tries to get all of her data from the old Mac Mini to her new iMac. I tried to do it over the network, but she just had way too much data and it kept timing out. I eventually had to dig up a firewire cable and connect the two computers.

Irish Woman is very happy with her new computer and is currently trying to find the maximum load she can put it under.

Baby Bear went swimming today for the first time. At first, he wasn't too sure about the whole thing, but after a couple of moments he was laughing and splashing away. Girlie Bear and Junior Bear had fun playing peekaboo by ducking under the water and then coming up with a splash.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend as much as I enjoyed mine.

Minneapolis Mayhem

I love Minneapolis and Minnesota in general. I grew up for the most part in North Dakota, and would go camping and fishing in Minnesota often. My grandparents lived in southwestern Minnesota, and Junior Bear's mom is from Minneapolis. I have never met anyone from Minnesota that I didn't like, and Minneapolis/Saint Paul is one of the cleanest, nicest cities I've ever been lucky enough to see.

That's why I'm sad to see that some morons have chosen to act like asshats in Minneapolis to protest the war in the Middle East. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/09/01/anti-war-protest-at-gop-convention-turns-violent/

Here's the deal people: trying to set fires, breaking windows, and throwing caustic chemicals at people isn't going to get anyone to take a serious look at your side of an argument. Especially in Minnesota, where as one of my favorite comedians puts it, the introverts stare at their shoes and the extroverts stare at your shoes. What it will get is middle America not even blinking when you're arrested and put into a small cell for disturbing the peace or whatever.

That being said, the groups who held a peaceful march to the state capitol were doing things exactly in the way that gets my attention and gains my respect, even if I don't agree with them. It worked for Martin Luther King, and it can work for them.

Come on guys, you've all gotten some form of education, try to act smarter than this. Put away the black clothes and the matches and start learning to express yourself without destroying something or hurting someone.
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