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.
Creative Commons License
DaddyBear's Den by DaddyBear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at