Thursday, February 25, 2010

This one's for Breda

Breda, the world's best heat packing librarian, recently had a run-in with an oblivion who managed to hit her twice from behind and leave incriminating evidence at the scene after he cut and run.

This pic pretty sums up that guy's accomplishments:

Here's hoping Breda a quick recovery!

Overheard in the kitchen

Irish Woman:  Mumble, mumble, oatmeal, mumble
DB:  What's the matter, darling?
Irish Woman:  Where is all the blueberry oatmeal?  All that's left is that nasty strawberry and peach!  I can't eat that!  Someone has eaten all of my blueberry oatmeal!
DB, in his best Gollum voice: We can't eat nasty strawberries and peaches!  It burns us!  Nasty hobbits eat all of the good blueberries and leave us to starve!
Irish Woman, walking away: Mumble mumble mumble smart mumble wise mumble.

Case de Oso, always on the edge of madness.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twofer for Kentucky

A gentleman in central Kentucky decided it was a fine day to ride his horse to church.  And he went packing heat.  No-one would have objected, except he was apparently enjoying a little more booze than the shot glass fill of sacramental wine they had at communion, and he took his hogleg into the church with him.

I'm all about the lawful carrying of firearms.  And Sunday was a fine day to go on a horseback ride.  And I appreciate a snort of Kentucky's finest every so often myself.  But for heaven's sake don't do all three and then go to church.  Alcohol and guns don't mix, and alcohol and religion are even worse.

In further news, there is a move in the state legislature to remove the promise not to engage in duels from the Kentucky state oath of office.  Apparently it was thrown in there when Kentucky became a state, and has never been removed.

I support this wholeheartedly.  I watch a bit of what goes on in Frankfurt, and there is quite a lot of vitriol being spewed by politicians on both side of the aisles.  I believe that it is this promise alone that keeps our state representatives and senators from taking each other out back and going at it with Bowie knives.  Maybe if we remove this sacred vow not to take the guy who just called you the "half wit son of a syphilitic sheep pimp" outside and knocking his teeth in with a shillelagh if he doesn't take it back, politics might become a more civil affair.

In fact, I'd like to see this become how business gets done at the national level.  George Bush might have had a quieter administration if he could have taken Dingy Harry Reid or Nancy "The Joker" Pelosi out behind the White House for pistols at 10 paces.  Or, if President Obama doesn't like to be called a socialist, he could get Michelle to beat the snot out of Glenn Beck.

Update -

Just saw that Uncle John over at  Dvorak seems to hold the same opinion I do.

Firemen love doing this

My brother-in-law and several of my neighbors are volunteer firefighters, and they tell me that nothing raises their mood more than seeing a car parked in front of a hydrant when they get called out for a fire.  If they can't find the owner in about 8 seconds, the hoses are going through the window.  If the window is closed, so be it.

Bonus points if it's a Mercedes or Lexus.

Note to self

When one is driving to work at the crack of dawn to meet with upper management and an auditor from the government for the entire day, it is not good to realize that you left your laptop at home as you drive into the parking lot 5 minutes before the beginning of a yearly audit.

Oh well.  Wasn't going to get promoted anyway.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Groaner for the day

An onion truck overturned in downtown Louisville today.  Apparently it was quite a cleanup.

Oh well, no use crying over spilled onions.

No Kidding?

UPI is reporting that the Army may have overlooked warning signs over the butcher who shot up his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood in 2009 because they didn't want to lose the "diversity" of having a Muslim psychiatrist.

In other news, when water gets cold, it can get hard enough to walk on.

Anyone who is surprised by this should check themselves in for a check to see if their brain has come unplugged.

When I was in the Army, it was common for "minority" soldiers to skate on anything subjective, such as job performance, conduct, and even uniform wear.  Leaders who tried to correct them would be counseled about their "lack of sensitivity", and would learn very quickly that it was easier to find a way to shuffle them off to a place they wouldn't do any harm than to fight the current and get the soldier in question to actually do their job, or to stay out of trouble.

Interestingly enough, if a good leader who happened to be of the same "minority" happened to be in that soldier's chain of command, the standard would come up to at least what was expected of other soldiers.  A "minority" officer or NCO was insulated from being labeled "insensitive", and could demand performance.

Maybe if the chain of command for Nadal had given more of a damn about the good of the Army than having "diversity", those soldiers at Fort Hood wouldn't be in the hospital or the morgue right now.

Jack is Back

HatTip to UberPig over at Blackfive

A few years ago, I read a blog by a fellow named Jack.  His "Texas Music" was an excellent read, and got me started in reading police blogs.  After a few months of reading him, I was disappointed to learn that he was quitting blogging.

Well, Jack has started blogging again.  His new blog is also called "Texas Music".  Go, enjoy.

A good mechanic is worth his weight in gold

This weekend, I took advantage of the good weather to do a little maintenance on the truck.  Nothing much.  I changed the air filter and replaced a blown headlight bulb.

When I fired it up, I noticed the RPM's were a tad high, but thought it might be from the new air filter.  The old one was pretty gunky, and I thought it would even out once the computer got used to getting more air.

But when I took her out on the road, I had an unpleasant surprise.  The brakes were extremely stiff, and I had almost no braking power.  Further investigation yielded nothing.  I got her back in the driveway with no crashes.

I know little about fixing modern brakes, so I called my mechanic after he opened this morning.

He said it sounded like either a power booster or master cylinder, or both.  A quick check of a parts website showed that parts alone would run into the $200 range, and then add in labor and taxes.  Plus a rental car to get around for a few days while he ordered parts.  Ouch.

So, with trepidation and thoughts of my ammunition budget for the next couple of months flying away, I nursed the truck to the garage.

He took a look, started the engine, and then put a brake hose back on that I didn't see when I knocked it loose.

Charge - nothing except a handshake.

As I drove home, my brakes were good as new, and my RPM's were exactly where they belonged.  I guess the engine was working overtime trying to get pressure into that hose, and that's why it was racing.

Someone earned himself a box of donuts tomorrow morning and a recommendation every time someone in Louisville is looking for a mechanic. We've bought tires and such from him in the past, and Irish Woman takes her car there when something goes wrong that I can't fix.  I think I'll be taking my cars there more often too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I love my guys

I've worked in some environments where you always checked your back for knives every night before going home.  The kind of place where everyone is either striving to get that next promotion or to keep their heads above water and not get laid off, and they're not above crawling over the bodies of their co-workers to do it.

Luckily, I've fallen in with a wonderful group of people who support each other and work together on everything.  No-one is worried about getting promoted enough to try to sabotage anyone else, and we've all worked together long enough that we know each others' strengths and weaknesses.

We have a way of acknowledging our unintentional mess-ups that makes them into light-hearted learning experiences.

We call it "The Order of the Golden Lobster".

Basically, when you mess up really bad through a simple mistake, you acknowledge the error and work with the rest of the group to correct it.  Afterwards, a small parade is held through the office, where the Golden Lobster is taken from its last recipient and you receive it.

Your boss gets gets the "Little Black Raincloud" trophy, which symbolizes the amount of crap that may rain down on them from above.

It's a good way to acknowledge our human failings without making it personal.

This afternoon, I was working on two servers.  While doing something to one of them, I was distracted by a phone call.  Afterward, I turned back to my xterms and put the reboot command into the wrong window.  I then went on with my business and waited for the server to come back up.

A moment later one of my coworkers asked why the main configuration management server was down.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that the xterm to the configuration manager was gone, but the window to the other server was up.

So I have the Lobster.  Haven't had it in a couple of years.  I won't have it long, I hope.  We're doing a lot of storage work over the next few months, and that is ripe for opportunities to become crustaceanified.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Quiet Hero

Nowadays, the word hero is used a lot.  I had to gently admonish my nephew and niece last year when they thanked me for being a hero on Veteran's Day.  I'm no hero.  I served my time, but it wasn't anything to write home about.

This gentleman, on the other hand, qualifies:

Stamatakos took off his parachute, for better leverage, and lowered himself cautiously into the bomb bay. He straddled the bay, which was open, the two bombs at his feet. He had a hatchet handle in one hand and was clinging to a leather grip with the other.
(H/T to This Ain't Hell.)

Imagine, you're 19.  Your job is dangerous enough to have a life expectancy measured in weeks.  There's an emergency, and you climb out into an open bay 20000 feet above the ground to whack at two BOMBS with a hatchet handle. You save not only your own skin, but also that of all of your crewmates.

And then you go through a successful life and you receive a letter from the Pentagon.  You've been given awarded the Silver Star, the 3rd highest decoration you can get.  Do you do the talk show circuit, expounding on policy since you obviously know what you're talking about?  No, you feel humbled by the honor and only after your family has written proof of your feat do you tell them about it.

Can you imagine your average 19 year old today doing something like that?  I know quite a few teenagers, and none of them come to mind.   Can you think of someone in our current generation doing something like that and then not beating on their chest or whining about not getting the recognition they think they deserve?

My next door neighbor is in his 80's, and he fought in Europe during the Second World War.  We talk every now and then about the military, mostly about Iraq and Afghanistan.  But he rarely even mentions his own experiences.  Most I've gotten out of him is that he saw and did things he never wants to remember and that is all he has to say. 

I hope that when the current crop of veterans takes their grandfathers' example and runs with it.  Real heroes don't need the recognition to show their worth.  It comes out in everything they do.  But it is good to see that a long overdue honor has been given to this most deserving warrior.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Fool for a Client

An accused drug gang leader wants to represent himself in court.

His court appointed lawyer thinks it's a bad idea and is fighting it.

I say, let him. He's a big boy, let him flush his life even further down the toilet.

Let's see if all those years of watching Judge Judy and Law and Order help.  Hopefully it'll be something funny to watch on the Daily Show.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Irish Woman and I are watching the men's figure skating from the Olympics at the moment.  Ahh the things we do for love.

There's a Japanese skater doing a routine choreographed to a Jimi Hendrix song. 

Never thought I'd see that. 

Dude, you could at least wear a headband and then set one of your skates on fire at the end of the song.  Come on!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Nighttime Visitor

Well, look what we found:

We found deer prints all over the yard this afternoon when we went out to split some wood.  The carrots off of Girlie Bear's snowman were either gone or chewed up, and I'm pretty sure it was snacking on some of the ornamental grasses that Irish Woman has planted close to the house.  Looks like either a doe or a young buck based on the size of the prints.

I love living on the edge of the country.  I've never known a deer to come that close to a house before.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I have a new name for pain

This evening, the Irish Woman passed me as she was going across the living room.  Being the sweet, wonderful wife she is, she decided to give me a smooch as she passed.

As she leaned down to kiss my cheek, a bolt of lightning arced from her nose to my eyeball.  Apparently the throw rug had energized her as she crossed it.

I'm glad the kids weren't in the room for a few minutes, as I expressed my surprise and pain in a language that would make a nun swoon.

No real damage, but I now flinch when she comes near me.

What a wonderful, romantic way to start the Valentines Day weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Manners Hint


If you are on an elevator with someone, and you notice that they are a younger and thinner version of your ex-wife, please don't ask her what her last name is to ascertain if she's related.  It's creepy.

Just a word to the wise.


This headline caught my eye:

Chrysler offers minivan return policy

My first thought was "All right!  I can take that hunk of junk back!"

Then I read the article.  Turns out if you trade in a competitors car for a Chrysler minivan, you can bring it back in the first 60 days.

Oh well, back to my plans to trade it in later this year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Pictures

Here are some pics from this afternoon once it had stopped snowing:

We got between 4 and 5 inches.  Some of my friends got more.  Hopefully the schools will be open again tomorrow.

And Now, the Weather

With your Hippie Dippie Weatherman, Al Sleet.  (Language Warning)

We've gotten about 3 inches of snow so far, with more falling.  I'm at home with the kids, and trying to work from home while riding herd on a toddler. 

Once the kids are up and about, I'll kick them out to start shoveling.   I'll go out and help too, once BooBoo is down for his nap.

I'll try to get some pictures and post them later.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Couldn't have said it better myself

Brigid over at Home on the Range is preparing to return home from a trip to Ireland, and her goodbye to the ancestral homeland is eloquent, and sums up my feelings when Irish Woman and I came home.

Of all the places I've been, Ireland will always be special.  I've never been anywhere that felt so close to home, or where I felt so accepted.  My mother's Irish ancestors left there in the 1800's, but everywhere we went were reminders of family and history.

Brigid, thank you for reminding this barbarian that there are good, soft places in a harsh world.

John Murtha has died

Fox News is reporting that Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania has died due to complications from surgery.  

For those of you who aren't in the US, John Murtha was a representative from Pennsylvania who has become notorious in the past few years for his opposition to the Iraq War and accusations he has made against the soldiers and Marines who are fighting it.

He may have some 'splaining to do when he gets to Fiddler's Green, but he was a Marine combat vet, and deserves our respect for that if for nothing else.

Rest in peace Congressman.  I may not agree with you over much, but thank you for your service.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Oh Well

Just finishing up watching the end of the Superbowl.  I had to run and get Girlie Bear from her mom's house, so I set the DVR and am just getting to the end of the game.

Of course, I was being careful to not check the internet so as to not give away the ending.

Then I got an email from a friend of mine in Alexandria, Louisiana, which read, and I quote "Who Dat? Saints Win!".  Of course, I checked email when my phone chimed.  Doh!

He had no way of knowing I hadn't kept up with the game in real time, so I can't blame him for celebrating.

So anyway, congratulations to New Orleans.  Guess having a Super Bowl parade during Mardi Gras is pretty cool.

I'll tally up my final record later.  I'm going to hit the sack.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

I usually kvetch a lot about the way that our municipal employees take care of the roads during snow and ice storms, and how Kentucky and Indiana people react to them.

This morning was an exception, and I was happy to see it. 

We got about 2 inches of heavy snow last night after a day of hard rain.  When I left the house this morning to take Junior Bear to work, the streets were plowed, and the Kentucky people were driving like normal, sane people.

Just when you thought you had something to complain about, you get a pleasant surprise.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Last year, a man in California witnessed a fight between two men after a road rage incident.  One of the men swung a hammer at the other, and the witness, along with others, called police.

Now he's getting sued for his trouble. The man with the hammer is suing him, saying it's impossible for him to do what the witnesses say he did because of a physical limitation.

While the case will probably be tossed out of court, it goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished.

A couple of years ago, I was in a local convenience store getting a coke before going out to cut wood, and the place got robbed.  The guy was in and out in a few minutes, and while he showed us his gun, he never actually pulled it.

After he ran off, I watched which way he'd gone, and went over my description of him, especially details that security cameras wouldn't pick up, in my mind.  All those training sessions in the Army about the details you need to remember finally came in handy.  When the police arrived, I gave my statement, as did the other witnesses.  At the time, I thought it was strange that the policeman made sure we all knew each other's contact information.

Now I suspect he was preparing us in case the yutz who robbed the store decided to sue us.  If we could give our lawyers the names and addresses of other witnesses, then we could corroborate what we put in our statements.

How did a lawyer even think that such a lawsuit was doable?  A witness to a crime should be immune from suits if he or she gives true testimony, especially if other witnesses back up that testimony.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One of those weeks

Got a bit ill on Monday.  The familiar feeling of a head cold.  By lunchtime I was hacking and coughing enough that my co-workers were coming over to check on me.  Called my doctor to see if she could fit me in that afternoon.  When she heard my symptoms, she said I had another sinus infection and she would just call in prescriptions for antibiotics and steroids.  Saved me a trip to her office, so I can't complain there.

Yesterday was just a blah day.  The cold was going a bit better, but the steroids gave me a case of the fidgets and the munchies.  Meetings all day, with not a lot of actual technical work.  When I picked up Junior Bear, he was hot to the touch, and complained of feeling awful.  Put him to bed with Tylenol and Nyquil.  I, on the other hand, was up until 2 AM with steroid induced insomnia.  How do athletes take these things and still function?

This morning, I checked on Junior, and he still felt pretty low.  Emailed my boss to tell him I'd be dialing in from home, and then tried to fire up the work laptop.  It came up OK, but the display is very dark and I can't get it to lighten.  I could recognize the login screen, but the desktop was unusable.  So I had to email my boss again to say I was just taking a sick day instead.  Tomorrow, I'll get with the PC techs at work and have them look at the laptop.  Hopefully they can either fix it or replace it. 

I hope the second half of the week turns out a bit better. 

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Should Become Don't Care

President Obama is working towards getting rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  For those of you outside of the US, DADT is the Clinton era policy that kept the American military from persecuting homosexual service members so long as they didn't come out of the closet.  Basically, if a gay soldier doesn't come right out and say he or she is gay, or isn't seen at a club making out with someone with the same naughty parts, their command can't try to get them kicked out of the service for being gay.  Prior to this, if a commander suspected that someone was gay, they could open a criminal investigation and kick them out of the service without any admission or physical evidence.

He's going slow, but doesn't need to.  He's trying to get laws changed, but could change the policy just by signing an Executive Order.  The military would immediately be forced to stop persecuting openly gay soldiers.  The thousands of currently serving gay servicemen and women could stop living in the shadows.  

I served in the Army just prior to and immediately after DADT went into force.  There were people in all of my units that were probably gay, but it wasn't any of my business.  I had enough dealing with my other soldiers who were getting DUI's, beating their spouses, or being beaten by their spouses to care what someone did in their bedroom that didn't interfere with them doing their job.  Since we all had some form of security clearance, homosexuality was considered a bad thing because of the possibility of blackmail by the bad guys.  I guess that could have been true.  But to be perfectly honest, all of my chains of command, prior to and after the advent of DADT, didn't go after anyone for it, even when presented with pretty good evidence.  They had better things to worry about.

Two weeks after I left the Army, I had lunch with a former subordinate who was also considering leaving the service.  She wanted to know how I liked my new job, and whether or not she should apply with the same company.  As we ate, she looked me in the eye and came out of the closet.  I looked her in the eye and told her that I had been pretty sure she liked girls for a few years, and it never entered my mind to say anything about it.  It was none of my business.  I'd lived in close quarters with her in a variety of environments, and who she slept with when she'd gone less than a week since her last shower didn't even enter my thought process.

And I hope that my attitude was the predominant attitude among leaders in the service.   Sure there are bigots in the Army who have a hangup about gay people, but there are still bigots who don't like black people, hispanics, or women in the uniform.  There are idiots in any environment, and they are the ones that need to leave the service if they can't control themselves.

LabRat over at Atomic Nerds has a really good post about this.   Check it out.  Someday I hope to be as eloquent as he is.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Big Kitty

A co-worker forwarded this to me.

Here's the write-up from his email:

Here is a photo of a cougar killed 5 miles west of Rogers City, Mi.The guy who shot it is 6 foot tall and weighs about 220 lbs.  He was in a deer stand and saw the cat pass him downwind. He then saw it pass him upwind..  When the cat passed him again (closer this time) downwind, he knew that it was hunting him.  So, boom. 

Just for the record, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife maintains that there is no natural population of large cats in the Commonwealth, but apparently there is in Michigan. 

I go to the woods feeling pretty secure that the only other predator I have to worry about is Billy Joe Jim Bob, not Casey the Cougar.  Not sure how I would react if I saw such a large predator tracking me while I was up in a tree.  Probably not as coolly as this hombre did.
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