Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dinner Tonight

Fall is here, so we decided to make something kind of earthy and tasty.

Irish Woman made a pan of her fabulous homemade dressing.

To go with it, I made the following:

In a wok, saute half a chopped onion, two cloves of chopped garlic, two stalks of celery, a handful of sliced mushrooms, and one granny smith apple in 1/4 inch cubes until the onion becomes translucent.  Add in one pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs, and brown the chicken.  Add one can of chicken broth and season with Old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, and whatever fall seasonings you like.  When the chicken is done all the way through, stir in a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom  and Garlic soup and two cups of chopped broccoli.  Add more chicken broth if the sauce becomes too thick too quickly.  Cook for five minutes until the broccoli is tender, then serve over penne pasta.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Louisville Edition

Some stupid, sadistic waste of protoplasm threw a border collie out of a moving car on I-65 in Louisville today.  The poor thing has injuries to it's hips, pelvis, legs, spine, and a whole lot more. 

Things like this remind me why I'm not a huge fan of humans sometimes. 

What the hell is going through your head that you take a dog, a border collie, one of the most loyal and loving breeds of a species that is noted for being a loving companion, and pitch them out of your car moving at least 55 miles an hour?

When they catch this sack of monkey dung, I hope that he or she is given the same injuries as the dog, but not all at once. First we break the pelvis, then let it heal and rehab.  Then we break the vertebrae, and let that heal and rehab.  Next we break his legs, and let him hobble around for a few months.  Finally we pull a leg out of the hip socket and make the son of a bitch walk home.  All this time, we use a Binford 4000 belt sander to strip off most of the skin on several parts of his body.  Repeatedly.  While sitting him in a fine mist of rubbing alcohol and turpentine.

It could happen here II

It was reported last night that a plan to conduct several simultaneous Mumbai style attacks in Europe has been broken up.

In Mumbai, a group of Muslim terrorists were physically conditioned, trained, armed, and let loose in the middle of a large population of relatively unarmed citizens.  Literally, a pack of wolves were loose among the sheep.  Over 200 people were murdered before Indian authorities were able to liquidate the attackers.

London, Paris, or Berlin would be just as bad.  The governments there have effectively disarmed their population, at least partially by assuring their subjects that the police will protect them.  As we learned in Mumbai, even a policeman armed with a high powered rifle isn't much use when they are cowering behind a cement column when faced with a 'roided up madman in body armor throwing grenades and spraying 7.62x39 rounds around a train station or shopping mall.

Luckily, this plot appears to have been disrupted, at least for now.  But let's transplant the scenario to the United States. Let's say that a group of people decide to simultaneously go on shooting and grenade sprees in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Saint Louis.

The result would be a bloodbath.  Even assuming that our police and security agencies would be able to react quickly to the attacks, we can assume that at least for the first few hours of such an attack, the terrorists could pretty much kill at will. 

There are a few things going in our favor, though.  First, our police are for the most part well trained, well equipped professionals, and all major metropolitan have para-military SWAT forces that are specifically trained to deal with active shooters and hostage situations.  There are cases of both situations several times a year in the United States, and if a police force doesn't deal with them directly, they at least have access to after action reports that can be used to improve their training.

Second, in large parts of the United States, a not-insignificant portion of the non-police population walks around armed.  Most states allow at least some kind of carry for personal defense.  And even in some metropolitan areas, especially during hunting seasons, it's not uncommon to find high powered rifles or shotguns in a large number of vehicles.

So in addition to trained police forces, a pretty large percentage of the populace in some cities would not be slaughtered without a fight.  Granted, a person with a 9mm pistol and maybe two magazines of ammunition will be at a significant disadvantage against a group of determined terrorists using explosives and high powered rifles, but it's better than being rounded up and shot when the police are overwhelmed.

However, in large cities across the country, it's either completely illegal or legal-but-nigh-unto-impossible to own a firearm, much less carry one around with you.  In high-value target cities such as Washington, New York, Boston, or Chicago one of our strengths in such a wave of attacks have been taken away.  Maybe taken away is the wrong way to put this.  How about "The residents of these cities have, over several decades, given away their rights to effective self defense by electing politicians antagonistic to the concept of a regular citizens owning and carrying firearms".

So an attack in many of our major metropolitan cities would probably have results close to what happened in Mumbai.  The terrorists would run amuck pretty much unopposed for several hours while para-military and military governmental forces were brought to bear.

My point here is that "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away" is more than a slogan.  If our enemies are planning to do this in Europe, it's not hard to imagine that someone is planning such an operation in the United States.  As bad as dealing with a mugging or home invasion is, dealing with someone who has no bigger goal than killing as many people as possible before dieing is much worse.  We should remember that while our police are brave, dedicated professionals, they can't be everywhere.  We are citizens, not subjects.  Citizenship bestows responsibilities along with privileges and rights.  Our safety, and the safety of our families and communities, rests squarely on our shoulders. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rum and Propellant

So no kidding, there I was.......

As an intelligence weenie, I was expected to be able to look at little bits of information and figure out what was going on.  My first commander in Germany thought a good way to teach me to do this was to send me and all the newbies out for a few days with various units to see how they work.  I got to spend a few days at an Infantry battalion headquarters, trundling along with a transportation company who was driving from Wildflicken to Grafenwoehr, and a full week with a battery of VII Corps artillery.

Of all of these, my favorites were the arty guys.  The Infantry were well trained and STRAC, but the arty guys were complete animals.  I was introduced to about every personality type in the Army during that week.  One thing the arty guys did was drink, and drink a lot.  They followed Ranger rules about it though.  Each man was paired up with a battle buddy, and only one man in the pair was allowed to drink at a time.  This was of course completely under the radar.  The officers and senior NCO's either didn't know or chose not to make a federal case out of it.  The unit was recently returned from Desert Storm, and there was still a lot of boyish hijinks going on.

So after about 4 days of driving around in the beauty of a Bavarian fall, we were moving along a goat trail in a large training area during a night that was made even better with a light drizzle.  I was dozing in the back of a 2 1/2 ton truck with the rest of the gun crew I had been assigned to.  Amazingly enough, the bouncing of the truck in the ruts made it easier to sleep.

All of a sudden, the battery was given a priority fire mission.  This was a test to see how quickly the battery could be set up, calibrated, and get steel on target.  These guys were fast.  Within a few minutes all the guns were laid, the lieutenant had figured out all the appropriate measurements and sent them to the Fire Direction Center, and the gun commander was aiming the gun to respond to a call for fire.  They may have been completely unready for an IG inspection, but these veterans knew their combat mission cold.

The gun commander barked out the type of round to load and the number of bags of propellant to put in the gun.  The specialist I was assisting grabbed an HE round and rammed it into the breech of the gun.  The round stopped halfway in.  Apparently one of the crew had put a fifth of Barcardi rum into the breech for safe keeping during the road trip.  Frantic attempts to remove the bottle were futile.  Shoving that HE round up in the breech had jammed it in good and tight.

As the gun crew hopped around trying to figure out what to do, I heard the other gun commanders preparing to fire.  Within a few moments I heard the battery first sergeant giving the orders:

Gun 1, Fire!  BANG!
Gun 2, Fire!  BANG!
Gun 3, Fire! 
Gun 4, Fire!  BANG

Need I say I was assigned to Gun number 3?

The gun commander was at this time about to have a nervous breakdown.  As he continued his futile attempts to dislodge the booze, we could hear the first sergeant coming down the line, cussing at the top of his lungs about why Gun 3 had not fired.  Apparently an eloquence in profanity marked this senior NCO for greater things.

As the first sergeant approached the gun, the gun commander must have decided to use the most direct approach to getting rid of the rum bottle:  blow it out the end of the gun.  He threw a couple of bags of propellant in the gun, closed the breech, and fired the gun.


Instead of the bang of propellant firing the bottle downrange, the propellant went off, broke the end of the rum bottle, and ignited it as it flew down the breech of the cannon.   When it reached the air at the end of the barrel, it expanded into a blue fireball that lit up the battery like sunrise.

The first sergeant was stunned as he came to the gun.  He made sure the breech was clear and then silently walked to the front of the gun.  Reaching down, he picked up the still hot neck of the rum bottle, looked at it, and put it in the cargo pocket of his pants.  He gave the the gun commander "The Look", and walked back to his truck.  You probably could have heard a pin drop at that moment, if the pins had had the guts to make a sound.

A few minutes later, we were ordered to displace and continue our trip to the other side of the training area.  As we bounced down that dark and muddy trail, every man in the battery must have been searching the equipment and baggage for contraband, because a steady rain of beer cans, bottles, and jugs went flying off into the weeds.

I finished my rotation with the artillery and returned to my own unit a couple of days later.  The battery was still in the field when I hitched a ride with a supply truck back to main post.  I never found out what happened to that gun commander and his crew, but I'm sure it wasn't pleasant.  Hell hath no wrath like a first sergeant who is not only pissed, but has time to think about it before acting.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Influencing Young Minds

Today, I chaperoned and volunteered at a field trip for Girlie Bear's school.  The local Junior Achievement group has a facility that is used to teach kids about financial responsibility and budgeting, among other things.

Today, a group of 7th graders got a day of learning how to budget.  I was assigned to run the storefront for the local Stop 'n' Rob, where 6 students were assigned as workers.  I passed out little cards that had their "identities" on them. This was such things as their age, marital status, number of kids, income, and tax information.  The kids had to take that information, figure out their take home pay, and then figure out the lower and upper limits of what they could afford based on percentages of their net pay for such things as housing, a car, groceries, etc.  They then gathered information from all of the other store fronts about what these things could cost, and then they had to complete a budget based on their income and levels of expected spending on the categories of expenses.

My job was to keep these 6 on task and assist them.  Part of it was checking their math, but mostly it was explaining things such as taxes, health insurance, and what some of the services they had to budget for were.


Student:  Sir, what's a sewer?
Me:  You know when you flush the toilet?
Student:  Nod
Me:  The sewer is where it goes after you flush

Male Student:  Should I buy the 4 bedroom with a monthly payment of $750, or the 2 bedroom for $500?
Me:  Do you have any kids?
Male Student:  No, but I'm married.
Me:  Buy the bigger one.  It's easier in the long run. 

Student:  What are all these taxes?
Me, in my head:  Well, federal taxes are for the government to pay for things that you don't want to pay for, Social Security is used to make sure the old, lame, and lazy don't starve to death, and Medicare is to keep your grandmother alive when she gets sick.
Me, out loud:  Those funds are taken from your paycheck to pay for services, help out the old and sick, and to provide health care to senior citizens.

Anyhoo, it seems to be a great program.  There were a lot of the 'aha' moments as the students realized just how much it sucks trying to raise a family on the income you get at a convenience store.  They were all able to make their budgets work, but figured out really quick that making $18K a year isn't much when you have to pay your own bills.

As a sidenote, a lot of my anxiety about Girlie Bear and boys was laid to rest this afternoon:

DaddyBear:  Sweetie, are all of the boys in your class so.......
Girlie Bear:  Stupid?  Yes dad, they're all morons.

Some things do a father's heart good.

Ham Days

Sunday we took BooBoo to Lebanon Kentucky to attend the annual celebration of pork, Ham Days.  Irish Woman was feeling better, so she decided to tag along. 

After a pleasant drive down two lane country roads, we got there at about 11 AM.  The line for the country ham and egg breakfast went around the block, and it was worth it.  Boo and I tucked in and ate like pigs, and Irish Woman nibbled at hers and got a to-go box. 

We then had a walk around to all of the crafts booths.  Since it was about 20 degrees cooler in Lebanon than it was in Louisville, we bought a small quilt for Boo to wrap around himself in the stroller.   There were of course the obligatory University of Kentucky memorabilia vendors. These people are ate up.  One had a "Last Supper" with Adolf Rupp as Jesus and all of the UK basketball greats as the apostles.  And yes, before you ask, Gillespie was Judas.

The pony rides and all that had happened on Saturday, so we just took boo to the midway area and let him ride the carousel and a merry go round a couple of times.  After that, both he and Irish Woman were about done physically, so we made our way back to the car and had a nice leisurely ride home.

On our way back to the car, we passed by the local Church of Christ, which was having an outdoor Sunday service.  Out of respect, I crossed the street so as to not disturb them.  Boo took that opportunity to start melting down.  I leaned over and stage whispered "Stop it Damien", which caused the older lady who was sitting on a wall listening to the pastor to start laughing so hard I thought she might start speaking in tongues.

Overall, it was a great morning.  I love going to these fall festivals.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Heart Bleeds

No really, I feel a lot of schadenfreude for the peaceful government run industries of Iran which have been hit hard by Stuxnet.

Say it with me children:

1.  Keep your OS, software, and firmware up to date.
2.  Pick vendors who view security as a basic tenet of their work
3.  Minimize the number of devices on your network to the bare minimum you need to do the work.
4.  Minimize the services and open TCP/UDP ports on each device to the absolute rock bottom bare minimum you need for the device to do its job, and secure those ports you need to only allow the users and devices that require access.
5.  Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt!
6.  Harden every device on your network.  There is no such thing as a secure network.

But if stuxnet had to hit someone, Iran is better than some I can think of to take a pounding.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tomorrow's Dinner

I'm going to put this on in the morning before we leave for Ham Days, and it should be yummy served with rice or noodles.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  It's just something I whooped up while making dinner tonight.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 pound bag of frozen corn
1 pound bag of baby carrots
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried red pepper flake
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 Handful of dried bell pepper slices
1 cup water
1 cup Tequila
Soy Sauce
Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients well in a crock pot.  Place in a refrigerator overnight.  Put in crockpot cradle on medium heat early in the morning.  Serve over pasta and rice with steamed fresh broccoli or your favorite vegetable.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Results - Week 1 and Picks - Week 3

Week 1 - 7 and 8.  Not bad. 

Here are the picks for week 3

Tennessee and New York Giants - Tennessee
Cinci and Carolina - Bengals
Pittsburg and Tampa Bay - Steelers
Buffalo and New England - Buffalo
Cleveland and Baltimore - Cleveland
San Fransisco and Kansas City - Kansas City
Dallas and Houston - Dallas
Detroit and Minnesota - Vikings!
Atlanta and New Orleans - New Orleans
Washington and Saint Louis - Redskins!
Philadelphia and Jacksonville - Jacksonville
Indianapolis and Denver - Indy
Oakland and Arizona - Raiders!!!
 San Diego and Seattle - Seattle
New York Jets and Miami - Miami
Green Bay and Chicago - Green Bay

A moment of levity

On a tip from C-90-RI in the GBC, I was pointed to this story of poisoned mouse corpses being used to try to clear out an invasive species of snake in Guam.

Yes, it's dark and probably only funny to me because I haven't slept more than 2 hours straight for 3 nights, but here's what went through my mind after reading that:

Fighting Rodents from the Sky
These are mice, that have already died
100 rats will be dropped today
but only 3 win the furry beret!

With apologies to SSG Barry Sadler

Light Posting

Sorry for the light posting in the past few days.  Work is crazy, and now a stomach bug is making its way through the family.  I'm the only one who hasn't gotten it, so knock wood I'm OK.  Just run down.

I'm working on a couple of longish posts that might actually make sense, so stay tuned to this station.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Show Some Love

Roberta X has lost her feline companion of 20 plus years. 

Go on over and show some love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thought for the Day

If you are walking through the grocery store with your youngest son, and he points at a bunch of yellow and pink roses and yells "Yellow Flowers", you can be sure that you will accumulate innumerable cool points by purchasing said roses and having your son deliver them to his mother.


I was watching the final moments of the San Fransisco - New Orleans game last night and realized I'd completely forgotten to make my picks for this weekend.  I'll just not have those games in my results and pick it up again this week.

Random Thoughts

These are a bunch of random things that have been rumbling around in what calls itself my mind for a while, but aren't beefy enough for their own post:

On Star Wars

  • George Lucas is a testament to the American Dream.  This is the dream where a street performer takes a priceless, beautiful Picasso, shits on it in the middle of the sidewalk, then draws obscene graffiti in it.  During this entire process a crowd is applauding furiously and showering him with money because the special effects are amazing.
  • No, it's not the end all, be all of science fiction. It's a serialized storyline compressed into six movies of varying quality.  But the three movies that came out when I was in grade school will always have a place on my shelf.  The others don't even get mentioned to the children.
  • Anakin Skywalker started out as an obnoxious, unsupervised kid.  He turned into a whiny pain in the ass teenager who should have had his ass beat by Obi-Wan for his own good.  He then turned into a spoiled fair haired golden boy who porked a Senator, killed off his own order of monks, and destroyed a democracy in the name of emo kids everywhere.  He then turned into the ur-badass, but then bitched out at the end.  Kwai-gon should have neutralized him on Tattooine as soon as he figured out that he was too dangerous to leave untrained but was too old and messed up to train properly.
  • Han shot first, bitches.
On Star Trek

  • Picard negotiated, Kirk impregnated.
  • Geordi and Scotty were either wonderful mechanics who could fix anything in record time, or they sucked so bad as engineers that any combat or unexpected condition caused their overly fragile systems to break in an unexpected manner.  Pick one.
  • Picard was an idiot for letting his senior officers sleep around within the command group.  Just saying.  And if he was going to allow shenanigans to happen, he should have been banging Dr. Crusher like a cheap gong.
Other mind droppings:

  • Indiana Jones is the only fictional character that has ever had actual experience of the existance of a higher power on at least three occasions, (Old Testament Judeo/Christian Yahweh, Hindi Gods,  and Jesus Christ), and still has to go to the South American jungle looking for evidence of aliens.  Let it go guy, you've had enough of the mystery of the universe explained for one lifetime.
  • The people who produced, wrote,  directed, and acted in the "Starship Troopers" series of movies better hope they never die, because Robert Heinlein is waiting for them in the afterlife with a suit of power armor and a vendetta.
  • I saw a young lady last night in Walmart wearing acid wash jeans.  For the love of Jeebus, did I ever think those stupid things looked good?  Did my mother take the brown acid even though she didn't make it to Woodstock?  Children, look at the fashions of the late 80's and early 90's and learn from our mistakes. 
  • Why is it that I feel that the pinnacle of American automotive technology was the 1971 Ford pickup truck?  It might have something to do with the ability of a mechanical moron like me to maintain and fix it without having to call in the MIT CERT team.
Thanks for listening.  I needed to get those out of my head before they spurted out my ears.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Overheard in the House II

Ananis Morissette, singing on the radio - "You're my best friend, best friend with benefits!"

DaddyBear - Sweetie, are you my best friend with benefits?
Irish Woman - Well of course you are!
DaddyBear - When do we get the benefit packet for next year?  And how much is my copay?
Irish Woman - Snort!  You haven't met your deductible for the year yet!

Ladies and gentlemen, it's moments like that that remind me why I married her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Overheard in the House

Irish Woman:  Some nuns were in the hospital today selling fudge as a fundraiser, so I bought a box.  Would you like a piece?

DaddyBear:  Sure.  munch munch munch.

Irish Woman:  Pretty good, huh?

DaddyBear:  Tell the sister that her fudge is good enough to make a man sin.  And you need to hide that box.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct was brought into military doctrine in the 1950’s.  It is a reminder of what is expected of American servicemembers if they are captured.  I’ve used it as a reminder of how to conduct myself in the bad times.

I am an American fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life, I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

This is what I am, not what I do, and the lengths to which I am willing to go to fulfill my mission.  In the worst of times, this may be the only thing you’ve got to keep yourself going.

I will never surrender of my own free will.  If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

I will never give up so long as I have the ability to continue to strive towards my goal.  If I am a leader, I will never give up on my people so long as they are still able to continue their missions.  Knowing that your leader believes in you and will stay by your side means more than just about anything else in tough times.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available.  I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape.  I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, the worst happens.  Even then, never give up.  Work with your people to either make the situation better or get out of the situation altogether.  I will not make my life better at the expense of the lives of my people.  Neither will I take comforts that are not available to them.  Everyone benefits or no one benefits.

If I become prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners.  I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades.  If I am senior, I will take command.  If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

I will stand by my people, no matter what.  I will do nothing that will hurt my organization, no matter what personal benefit I may gain.  I will not be afraid to take charge in a difficult situation, even if that exposes me to ridicule, deprivation, or worse.  If someone else takes charge, I will follow their leadership wholly.

Should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth.  I will evade answering questions to the utmost of my ability.  I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies.

There are some things you have to do when you’re in a bad situation.  Other than that, don’t do anything to make it worse.  Don’t trade the lives of your comrades for your own personal gain.  Remember that there are some things more important than your own personal comfort or survival.

I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free.  I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Again, this is who I am, not what I do.  I will take responsibility for what I say and do, and will remember why I should do the right thing in a bad situation.  I will remember that even though I may be isolated, I am never alone.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ain't it the truth!

Actually, I can't complain.  All of my kids have loved their vegetables and fruit. 

H/T to GraphJam 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thought For the Day

Today is the 9th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.  Others will memorialize the actions of the heroes on that day, and will do so much better than I could.

I just want to share a few quotes that remind me of what this day means to me:

    Then out spake brave Horatius,
          The Captain of the Gate:
     "To every man upon this earth
          Death cometh soon or late.
     And how can man die better
          Than facing fearful odds,
     For the ashes of his fathers,
          And the temples of his gods,

     "And for the tender mother
          Who dandled him to rest,
     And for the wife who nurses
          His baby at her breast,
     And for the holy maidens
          Who feed the eternal flame,
     To save them from false Sextus
          That wrought the deed of shame?

     "Haul down the bridge, Sir Consul,
          With all the speed ye may;
     I, with two more to help me,
          Will hold the foe in play.
     In yon strait path a thousand
          May well be stopped by three.
     Now who will stand on either hand,
          And keep the bridge with me?"

Shakespeare's St. Crispin Day speech, from Henry V.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
And my own thoughts -
  • I will never try to understand the motivations of those who attacked us.  They are barbarians in the most classic sense of the term, and I will not give them the honor of my thoughts other than to disdain them.
  • Those who died in the attacks earned our respect and reverence.  Those who try to justify their suffering deserve nothing but wrath.
  • It is to us, those who watched these horrible events unfold, to keep this day to remember what happened, and to make the world a place where barbarians will never have the ability to harm us again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thought for the day

One of the benefits of having a Siamese cat is that sometimes you get to stand in as prey. Usually just as you start to fall asleep.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Or you could just carry a gun

Badass of the Week looks at home defense.

Military Marriages Words to Live By

These are things I wish I'd either known or done before I was married in the military.  By saying this, I admit that I followed mostly none of these:

  1. Never give her a reason to mistrust you.  Don't even take the chance of a mis-perceived operational necessity such as shared sleeping quarters to surprise her.
  2. Corrolary - Always make sure she knows who you work with.  If going out for a beer with the guys includes a ravishingly beautiful brunette hardbody in your squad, make sure she knows her beforehand. Failure to do this may tend to get your belongings thrown out into the yard between the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM.
  3. Corrolary - If you're working late, make sure it's not alone with said brunette.  If you have to work alone with a member of the opposite sex, if at all possible, take your work home and do it at the kitchen table where your wife can see you.
  4. If you're a one income family, budget her expenses before you budget your own.
  5. If you're a two income family, her money is not your money, but your money is probably shared.
  6. Always have money she doesn't know about and can't get to.  I once met a retired sergeant major who spent seven years in a Vietnamese POW camp who came back to an empty apartment, no money in his accounts, and nothing but the uniform on his back.
  7. Corollary - Giving her General Power of Attorney when you deploy is a good way to come back from deployment penniless and several tens of thousands in debt.
  8. Always be honest with her.  If your orders are for a 179 to 364 day deployment, tell her you'll be gone a year.  If you're not there on day 180 after you told her you'd be gone 6 months, you're in deep kimchi.
  9. "You knew I was a soldier when you married me" is probably not a good thing to say when trying to end an argument.
  10. If you're a dual military couple, make sure you're in separate units.  You may worship the ground she walks on, but spending almost every waking hour together for several years would wear Ward and June Cleaver out.
  11. Corollary - If you outrank your spouse, it never gets mentioned at home.
  12. Corollary - If you outrank your spouse, do anything you have to in order to avoid being their supervisor.  Nothing says marital bliss like putting your blushing bride on KP duty, or even worse, giving her a counseling statement because she's taking advantage of being the mother of the team leader's eldest son.
  13. You may be the most bad ass mother in the valley when you're at work, but when you get home, put on your apron and do some housework.  "I make the money, you clean the house" is a really good way to find yourself sleeping in your shelter half in the back yard.

Dinner Tonight

Redneck Yakisoba

Fill up a one gallon stock pot with salted water and put on high heat until it comes to a boil.  Add one package spaghetti or fettucini noodles, broken into pieces of two to three inches each.

While the water and pasta are cooking, finely chop a strong white onion and two cloves of garlic.  Saute in a wok with olive and sesame oil until the onion is soft.  Add one pound of stew meat from your favorite meat producing animal.  Add one pint of sliced mushrooms and saute until the meat is browned and the mushrooms change consistency.  Add half a cup of white cooking wine, a quarter cup of soy sauce, and your favorite seasonings (pepper, sesame, chilis, etc.).  Add one bottle of your favorite terriyaki, kung pao, or General Tso's sauce, along with double that amount of water.  Add one bag frozen peas and carrots.Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature and allow to simmer uncovered until the sauce starts to thicken but is still slightly runny.

When the pasta is cooked to your tastes, drain well.  Put back in stock pot.  Pour meat, vegetables and sauce into stock pot and mix thoroughly with pasta.  Put over low heat, stirring very often, until the sauce is absorbed into and coats the noodles.

Serve hot with your favorite cold refreshing beverage.  Makes enough to feed a mongol horde.

Out of the Park

Chris Muir puts one into the parking lot this week:

Our country has been providing billions of dollars in aid to majority Muslim countries for decades.  But for some reason we're shown as being anti-Islam by the world press and Muslim leaders.  Kinda makes me think it's time to shut off the tap for a few decades.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

NFL Picks, Week 1

Here we go again.  Another regular season starts this week.

Here are the rules:  I will pick every regular and post season game.  I will pick against the straight score, not against the spread.  I will almost always pick against Dallas and New England.

Week 1 picks:

Minnesota at New Orleans - Vikings!
Cleveland at Tampa Bay - Cleveland
Miami at Buffalo - Buffalo
Cinci at New England - Cinci
Indy at Houston - Indy
Denver at Jacksonville - Denver
Atlanta at Pittsburg - Steelers
Oakland at Tennessee - Raiders!
Carolina at New York Giants - Carolina
Detroit at Chicago - Chicago
Green Bay at Philadelphia - Green Bay
San Fransisco at Seattle - Seattle
Dallas at Washington - Redskins!
Baltimore at New York Jets - Baltimore
San Diego at Kansas City - Kansas City

Range Report

Well, yesterday morning, along with being my beloved Irish Woman's birthday, was also the first time I've been to Knob Creek in months.  I got out there about half an hour before they opened the range, and that gave me enough time to get set up and meet my buddies for a group shoot.  The range was eventually packed to the gills, so I'm glad I got there early.  You couldn't have asked for better conditions.  It was cool, with a slight breeze directly to my back as I shot. 

I took along the 91/30, the Garand, the 10/22, and a couple of pistols.  One of my friends brought along his new-to-him Garand, and we each shot a few clips of ammo through each other's rifles. 

I spent some time shooting the 91/30 now that I've extended the front sight post.  For the non-Mosin crowd, that rifle was designed to be shot accurately only with the weight of the very long bayonet sticking off the end of the barrel. It was probably the last infantry rifle designed around the "Fire off a few rounds, then charge the enemy with bayonets fixed" tactic.  Without the hog sticker on the muzzle, the force of the round going going off kicks the muzzle too far up, and it shoots very high.  To compensate, a narrow tube of some kind can be put in the end of the front sight post to make it longer.  A longer front sight forces the shooter to point the muzzle a touch lower, bringing point of impact down with it.  A few degrees down at the muzzle equates to several inches or more at 100 yards. 

My shots seemed to be low enough, but now I'm shooting about a foot to the right.  That's either lack of practice, or the extension to the sight may be off center.  I'll keep practicing and see if it improves.  If it doesn't, I can re-do the extension and make sure it's plumb to the existing sight post.

So, I put 24 rounds through the Garand, about 60 rounds through my Mosin, and another 25 or 30 rounds through my 1911 and .38.  The 10/22 only got fired for 20 rounds.  I'm going to have to do a range trip where all I take is the 91/30 and 10/22 so I can concentrate on things I need to improve on and not just on the things I really really enjoy.  Of course, any day at the range is fun, and the dull ache from my right shoulder still makes me smile.

Before you ask, yes I got back home before noon so I could spoil Irish Woman.  BooBoo and I got her some things, and we had really really good Italian food for dinner. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome Home

A United States soldier whose body has been missing for 60 years returned to his hometown this week.

Sergeant Charles Whitler's body was returned to Kentucky after being found in a mass grave in Korea.  He was executed by North Korean forces after being captured and interrogated.

Welcome home soldier.  You've waited too long for this.

National Attention to Border Inaction

OK, I've found the subject that I'm going to be shrill about.  I've been posting for a while about what I believe should be done along the US-Mexico Border.  I've pointed out what I believe is wrong, and I've posted a couple of times about what I think should be done.

The federal government has been delinquent in its duty to secure our borders for decades.  This is not an "Obama" problem, or even a "Bush" problem.  This is a problem where even Reagan failed to take sufficient action to stem the flow of illegal aliens.  

There has always been some enforcement along the border.  The government hasn't allowed itself to be seen as completely abandoning the border.  The Border Patrol has been beefed up several times in the past, and the president promises to do it again.  Shannon recently had an encounter with the Border Patrol that is pretty much indicative of what the present administration wants to do:  Hassle ordinary citizens well within the border, do things that can be seen but don't do much good, and act like the problem will go away.  I posted at one time about an area  in Arizona that's been marked as off limits.  Apparently whole sections of Arizona are being marked as no-man's land by the federal government.

And now the national press is starting to notice:

The federal government has posted signs along a major interstate highway in Arizona, more than 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, warning travelers the area is unsafe because of drug and alien smugglers, and a local sheriff says Mexican drug cartels now control some parts of the state.
Emphasis mine.  H/T to Dvorak.

So now, rather than enforce our border and protect our citizens from foreign invaders, they're just warning us that some places over 100 miles from the border aren't safe for us to use and leaving it at that.

Someone please wake me up when the rest of the country gets as pissed off as I am.  Thanks.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hint for the Day

If, when you get out of bed in the morning, your neck, spine, knees, elbows, ankles, and hands all crack like popcorn, it will not be a good day, no matter what you do.

That is all.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

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