Monday, February 28, 2011

A Generation Passes

The last American World War I veteran died Sunday at the age of 110.  Frank Buckles lived a long, full life, and was touched by both World Wars.

When the United States entered the First World War, Mr. Buckles tried several times to join the military, and eventually found an Army recruiter who believed he was 18, even though he was only 16.  How many 16 year olds tried to fake their way into the Marine Corps after September 11th?   He served in France until after the war ended, then returned to civilian life.  He was in the Phillipines when the Japanese attacked during World War II, and spent several years in an internment camp.  He dedicated his later years towards re-dedication of the World War I monument in Washington D.C. as a national memorial.

It boggles my mind the things that Mr. Buckles and his generation lived through:

  • World War I
  • The Roaring 20's
  • World War II
  • The Post War Peace and Prosperity
  • Korea
  • Vietnam
  • The Cold War
  • The IT Revolution

I remember several grandfathers when I was growing up who wore World War I medals with their buddy poppies on Memorial and Veteran's Day.  Mr. Torkelson, who shared a pew with us in church every Sunday, had left an arm in France in 1918.  Now they are all gone.  These men, and their sons and daughters who fought World War II, built the world we live in.  Without their hard work, even if the World Wars had not occurred, our world would be much smaller and poorer.  We owe Mr. Buckles and all who served with him a great debt.

Famous Last Words

"Hey y'all, watch this!"

Apparently drunken fools don't just happen in the American Southeast.  Two Swedish gentlemen got a bit, shall we say, tipsy, and decided to test out a knife-proof vest.  Rather than strap it to an inanimate object and attack it with various stabby implements, one of them put the vest on and the other tried stabbing him.  After one successful test, the young reveler with the knife decided to test another area on the vest.  Imagine his surprise when the knife punched right through the unarmored spot he had chosen. The "victim" was treated for a minor wound.

It makes me feel better to know that dumbasses aren't just concentrated in my general vicinity.  It would seem they can be found on other continents.  Of course, this means that if I ever try to escape, there is nowhere to go.

My Day So Far

04:45:00 - Lights in bedroom snap on.  Irish Woman yells "There's a tornado warning!"  Adrenaline takes over. 
04:45:05 - I pull on my clothes, wake up Girlie Bear, and tell her to get downstairs in the study with her bugout bag. 
04:45:30 - Girlie Bear is downstairs in the study with her BOB.  I am taking BooBoo out of his bed to take him downstairs.
04:46:00 - At the top of the stairs with BooBoo, I walk past the back door and notice that no warning sirens are going off.  We are exactly 300 yards as the crow flies from the siren.
04:48:00 - BooBoo is safely downstairs, still asleep.  Girlie Bear is still a little freaked, but is reading a novel.  Irish Woman is running through the house looking for things to pitch into the basement so they will survive the coming maelstrom. 
04:48:30 - Turn the television to our preferred local station.  The head weatherman, who normally works during the afternoon and early evening, is talking almost gleefully about the tornadoes in the area.  I now know why the sirens are not going off.  The funnel clouds and reported tornado touchdown are in the next county over.  To put that in definite terms, the closest any of the twisters come to our home is 20 miles.
04:50:00 - After reminding myself how much I love my wife, and what a wonderful life partner and mother to my children she is, and how fortunate I am to have her in my life, I 'calmly' inform Irish Woman that we are OK.  She comes in, sheepishly watches the weathercritter for a few moments, then admits that she may have overreacted. 
05:00:00 - The kids are back in bed. I am wired from the adrenaline rush, but can tell I'm going to crash at some point. Irish Woman is walking around clucking about how it's a good thing she moved out to the couch last night when I started snoring, or we could all be dead in our beds from a tornado.
05:15:00 - ZZZZZZZZZZZ

Since then, other than school being delayed a couple of hours because of a safety concern of sending school buses out in high winds, it's been a pretty standard Monday morning.  I'm going to chalk this up as a drill, and make adjustments accordingly. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thought for the day

Ever done the math to figure out if slamming on your brakes to piss off the guy tailgating you at 75 miles an hour is worth the risk of getting rear ended and having to buy a new car?  Turns out, it's an inverse ratio to how nice your car is.  I was very close to the break even point tonight.  Older, paid off minivan versus getting the asshat from Ohio to get off my butt on the freeway.  Tempting, tempting.......

I've seen this face before

The above picture is the reconstructed picture of Otzi, the man whose body was discovered in a glacier some 5,300 years after his death.  Scientists have spent years pouring over his body and clothing to discover details that bones alone cannot tell. 

A Dutch team have used the data taken from his face and skull to construct an image of how he appeared at the time of his death.  This face would fit in in any rural community where hard work in the outdoors is the norm.  I've seen faces like this sitting around a stove in a country store in the South.  If you shaved it, it would resemble the older farmers who came into town for church in North Dakota.  In Arizona, it's the face of a rancher who's tanned so thoroughly that the color never fades.

In short, this man was a man the same as any of us.  He is care worn, but still human.  He was not a brute, or a shaved ape (no more than the rest of us, anyway).  The only difference was that he lived in an age where all lives were hard lives. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Well, no kidding

Pakistan is apparently quite butt hurt over a perceived preference for India by U.S. when it comes to nuclear weapons.

Well, no kidding there, Sparky.  Let's break it down a bit:


  • Functioning Democracy
  • Trade Partner
  • Received $73.5 million dollars in aid from the U.S. in 2008
  • Actively works against Islamic terrorism, probably because it's been a target of it on multiple occasions
  • Has stopped nuclear testing
  • Hasn't given or sold nuclear technology to anyone
  • Dysfunctional quasi-democracy, sort of
  • Doesn't export much to us other than Khyber Pass Rifles and some tee shirts
  • Received $976.2 million dollars in aid from the U.S in 2008
  • Plays both sides of the fence in regard to Islamic terrorism.  Cashes our checks and promises to give us intel, but provides an entire province along its border with Afghanistan to the Taliban and Al Qaeda to act as a safe haven while its intelligence agency actively provides intel on our troops to terrorists.
  • Hasn't agreed to stop nuclear testing
  • Allowed one of their top nuclear scientists to sell "Nuclear Weapons for Dummies" to North Korea and whoever else could pay.
So you tell me, who should we be having cozier relations with?  A functional, productive democracy who is working with us against a common enemy, or a failing state that actively helps our enemies in their efforts to kill us and destabilize entire regions?

Someone needs to tell the Pakistani government that it's long past time for them to pick a side and stay on it.   Paying them off and treating them like grown-ups is tiresome and counterproductive.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are jelly donuts allowed in the barracks, Private Pyle?

This morning, I went to see my rheumatologist.  Just a checkup, and overall I'm doing fine.  Blood work looked good, BP is normal.  I really like my doctor.  She's nice, informative, and chatty, but I get the feeling she did her residency at the Lubyanka.

The range of motion check she did had me in stress positions and trying to move my limbs in ways I can never remember moving them prior to coming to see her.  However, after getting me to admit to being a party to two counter-revolutionary plots, she pronounced my health to be generally acceptable.

One problem - weight.  Yes, my tubby self has gained back most of the weight I lost last year.  I got the standard wide body lecture from her, especially about my eating and exercise habits.

Looks like all those Girl Scout cookies I ordered last month are going to have to be given away or put up for a long time.  I'm already looking at schedules with Irish Woman to figure out when I won't inconvenience the family by going to the Y to work out.  Luckily, Girlie Bear wants to do an aerobics/dance class a few nights a week, so I can take her and work out while she's in her class.

What has me snuffling is the thought of cutting way back on all the foods that make life worth living.  Bacon, sausage, beer, ice cream.  Sniff.  And those Samoas and Tagalongs are going in the cupboard to be dolled out in school lunches and such.  I'm going to be going to a steady diet of fiber and fruit.  Have I mentioned how much I hate oatmeal?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Over Thin Mints?

Two women in Florida took to beating on each other after one of them fed a box of Girl Scout cookies owned by the other to her children.  The fight eventually involved a call to the police, and now the original owner of the cookies is in jail.

Point 1 - I'm not saying that I've never been willing to take a human life over a box of Girl Scout cookies.  I'm not going to say that the sight of an empty box of Tagalongs or Samoas in the freezer hasn't driven me to an angry tantrum.  Not going to admit anything.  But Thin Mints?   If you're going to cheapen human suffering enough to lay a beating on your room mate over cookies, at least have it be over one of the good ones.

Point 2 - While I don't condone her actions, I have to hand it to Ms. Howard for her forethought in dropping the stabby implement she initially grabbed and going for the nearest blunt objects to beat on her roommate.  Scissors can quickly turn a "You shouldn't beat on your roommate over Thin Mints" conviction into a "You stabbed your roommate 31 times over a box of Thin Mints?" conviction. 

BTW, my orders of Girl Scout cookies should be in any time now.  Any lapse in regular blogging over the next couple of weeks can probably be explained by my pancreas finally giving up the ghost.  mmmmmm, Samoas.......

Get Some Rope

The 4 American citizens who were aboard the yacht Quest when it was taken by Somali pirates have been gunned down.  U.S. forces, upon hearing the shots, stormed the yacht and captured 13 pirates, in addition to two who were already in custody.

So we have 4 American civilians, who were taken hostage by foreign non-governmental parties in international waters.  After a period of days, these civilians were gunned down in cold blood by their captors.  Several of the captors where killed when the boat was stormed, and more were taken prisoner.

It's time for the U.S. government act like a sovereign nation and not a pewling git.  Because both the Bush and Obama administrations have allowed this festering sore in the Horn of Africa to blossom, U.S. citizens are dead.  Not held hostage, not inconvenienced. Dead.  No appearances on Oprah, no inspirational books about how their faith, or their marriage, or their belief in Great Leader inspired them to carry on.  D.E.A.D.  Due to a lack of a coherant strategy and appropriate response to earlier provocations, I lay their corpses at the feet of our elected representatives of both parties.

The perpetrators should be tried quickly aboard whichever Navy vessel they find themselves on as of today.  If the powers that be feel it is necessary, a military judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney can be dispatched to the fleet and hold a court martial.  Otherwise, I'm pretty sure that the commanding officer of a warship in international waters can convene one with just as much legal weight as if it were held in Hampton Roads.

If found guilty of piracy, which to my understanding means "Was the accused on  the ship without permission of her master and a party to her taking and/or  the killing of her crew?", I suggest that all of the guilty be hung by the neck until dead within sight of their home port, with the event being broadcast live on CNN, Fox, SkyNews, and Al Jazeera.  Any network that refuses to broadcast this warning to barbarians would lose its license to broadcast in the United States.  All of the bottom feeding, cave dwelling, murderous cretins of the world need to know that after we count to 10 more than a few times, bad things happen to bad people.

After that, the president needs to man up and get congressional authorization for a punitive naval expedition against the pirates and their nests.   My idea would be the immediate bombardment, not bombing, of the coastal villages that seem to breed this scum.  A bombing would be too quick.  I think the slow, systematic shelling of every standing structure in the port sends the right message. Nothing shows you care like having a cruiser park outside of RPG range and level the village.

I save the air attack for the ships the pirates already have in their grasp.  My suggestion is to utilize our carrier borne aircraft to sink them where they are found.  The families of the crews, if they are harmed, will be compensated lavishly, as will be the companies or countries that own them.  Just to be generous, we could give the responsible countries a few days to mount their own rescue effort before we create a few new man-made reefs.

After that, the air arm of the Navy should be used to hunt down every Somali craft that can be found in international waters between Africa and India.  These ships should be interdicted and boarded, the crews arrested and returned to Somalia with only the clothes on their back, and the ships sunk.  I'd keep this up until it is safe for the Harvard rowing team to stroke their way from Alexandria to Kuwait.

I'm not looking for a quick pin prick air strike, or the swift snatching up of a few "leaders" for show trials.  I am looking for a brutal, violent, public response to this barbaric act of piracy. 

That's what I truly believe needs to happen.  Here's what I expect the U.S. will do:

That's right.  Absolutely nothing.  President Obama will probably make a statement, possibly show up at a funeral or call someone's family to express condlences, and then go back to his golf or basketball.  More attention will be paid to the whining of public servants in Wisconsin than to the cold blooded murder of our citizens by pirates.  No questions will be asked at press conferences.  Most of the press will stop talking about it the next time a cute kitten shows up on the internet. 

And the problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean will continue.  Piracy appears to be quite lucrative as long as no-one is arming the prey or avenging their taking.  Preying upon the intentionally weak is the pirates business, and business appears to be good.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thought for the Day

Just once, I'd like a politician to be honest and say "Guys, the next two to three years are really going to suck.  We'll do what we can to blunt the impact on those who can't do for themselves, but everyone else needs to brace for hard times."

A little honesty would make me feel a whole lot better about our political leadership.  It would also snap some people out of the magic fairyland they live in where Big Brother will always provide and make sure they are OK.  

I'm not hopeful, but it would be nice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Showing the Difference

Here's the situation - 

Your baby is gasping for air.  You call 911, and they dispatch an ambulance, but there's a blizzard howling outside.  The roads are clogged with snow, and you fear your child won't make it until they arrive.

If you're in New York City this past December, you probably couldn't do much more than pray to $DEITY and hope the ambulance can weave its way through the snow packed streets.

If you're in Baraboo, Wisconsin, you pray to $DEITY that the ambulance is led to your house by Manuel Canales, a snowplow driver for the local government.  When this man heard over the radio that a baby was in distress and the ambulance would have a hard time getting there in time, he kicked his truck into gear and plowed them a path.  He then plowed a path for them to get to the hospital.

So what's the difference?  

One difference I see is that it happened in a mostly rural area.  People in small towns and the country look out for each other.  In the times I've lived in large cities, I never felt that anyone I didn't have a preexisting relationship with would stoop to help me if I needed it.  When I've lived in small towns, it's an expectation that you will help out in any way you can, and that others will step up if you need them.

I won't comment on the union versus non union status of the drivers in question.  The rumor is that at least part of the problem in New York was a union instigated work slowdown.  But who's to say that Mr. Canales isn't part of a local union?

I will say that the difference here was that Mr. Canales put his own comfort and possibly his own safety on standby to help out someone he probably never met before.  I can't say that I'd expect someone in Washington, Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles would do the same.  I'm making a gross generalization here, but I don't expect to see a lot of stories like this out of the big cities.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dear Insufferable Yuppie

I was the snarling, hunched man who stood behind you coughing and sneezing at the pharmacy pick up window this morning.  You remember, that was when you spent 10 minutes arguing with the pharmacist over the cost of your medicines.   By the look of the gold watch and oh so fashionable running shoes you were wearing, paying $50 for your prescriptions might not be a stretch.

Thank you for pointing out to everyone in earshot that the pharmacy, the drug company, and your allergist were just out to tap your bank account.  Yes, your health is important, and and our time is not.

And I'm surprised that a man of your superior intellect and social station had never heard of this thing called the Internet, where one can look at a pharmaceutical companies website for coupons.  Once this was explained, I was shocked, shocked I say, to discover that you could not see where the name of the drug and its manufacturer was written on the printout, but I'm glad that the pharmacist took the time to write it down, explain the process to you, and then answer your question which amounted to "Huh?".

I do apologize for snarling at you in Russian as you passed me, but I think it was a healthy venting of anger and frustration.  Also, when you get home, if there's a burn or raised blister located on the back of your head, that's my fault.  I was boring a hole in your skull with my haterage vision, and I hope that the tumor that I wished to be implanted on your medula oblongata thrives for years before you find it.

Here's hoping you feel better, and that you are able to save a few drakmas when you return later today for your prescription.

Friday, February 18, 2011


A group of people at a Michigan Chuck E. Cheese restaurant had a wonderful time attending a child's first birthday party. When the check came, they taught the little ones in attendance a valuable life lesson:  How to dine and dash.

When their server presented them with the check, they stalled her for a few minutes and headed for the exits.  Police were called and have been able to track down at least one of the adults involved.

Real classy folks.  My guess is that the birthday child wasn't the only munchkin in attendance.  What a beautiful memory they will have of the time they got to do the 100 meter dash to the minivan after Mummsy and Daddsy decided to not pay for their pizza, cake, and ice cream.

As punishment, I'd make each and every one of these adults work a 12 hour shift bussing tables and mopping floors at that Chuck E Cheese.  Although even my hard heart might consider that cruel and unusual.  12 hours of bad pizza, screaming kids, clanging video games, and that infernal animatronic rodent would be enough to make me stick my head in the garbage disposal.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thought for the day

Today I realized that I am married to an absolute angel.  I got home and she was up in the air harping about something.

Guess which one I am

I am the IT analog of the 1950's shop mechanic.  I keep the wheels on, make improvements, and just in general figure things out.  The guys who were under muscle cars back in the 1960's and 1970's?  Their kids are sysads.  I'm mildly interested in the design and manufacture of the code and hardware that I work with, but for the most part I care about how much performance I can squeeze out of them and how well I can keep them working.  "I void warranties" is my profession's mantra.  I write scripts to make my life easier, but make them as simple as I can so I don't have to continually figure them out and fix them.  Contrast me to the programmer who takes joy from how beautifully her source code reads, as if it was poetry.  She may be Shakespeare or Bacon, but I'm the guy who figures out how to build the stage the actors use to put on her masterpiece.

My brethren database and network administrators work hard in their own realms to make the semi-fantasy world of pure programmers and computer scientists interface efficiently with the real world.  We are the tired voice at the end of the cell phone link at 3 AM when something breaks.  In another life, we would be the guy in the greasy coveralls who climbs all over the engine to figure out why the train doesn't move. We share a proud lineage that goes all the way back to the armorers in Caesars legions who kept the onagers kicking, the smiths who built and fixed the Antikythera mechanism for some unknown genius, and the mechanics who kept the T-34's running in the field for Marshall Zhukov.  

H/T to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for the inspiration.

You're Welcome

The Interior Department is distributing almost $750 million to state fish and wildlife programs this year to pay for state programs.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday in a release. "These funds will support important fish and wildlife management and conservation, recreational boating access, and hunter and aquatic education programs."
This money comes from excise taxes paid by sportsmen on licenses, fishing equipment, guns, and ammunition.  Even if you don't like guns or don't hunt and fish, some of your enjoyment of the outdoors is paid for by those of us who do.

  • The walking trails at the state park you like to use after family picnics without buying tickets?  You're welcome. 
  • The boat ramp at the lake where you put in your cabin cruiser without paying a usage fee?  You're welcome.
  • The restored wetlands that clean the water in the stream your children play in?  You're welcome.
  • Those wild deer, elk, and turkey you take pictures of in an area where they were unheard of 30 years ago?  You're welcome.

Thing is, this is one tax that I gladly pay.  Yes, it makes my hobbies a lot more expensive than their sticker price, but I can see where the money is going on this one.  I also enjoy boating on the lake and hiking on the trails, and nothing makes the drive to work better than seeing a deer or turkey in the fields along the road.

So please, go out and enjoy the parks, lakes, and wildlife that our excise taxes help pay for.  And please try to remember them the next time you're ranting about the inhumanity of hunting and fishing, or complaining about Walmart selling ammunition, or that the state fish and wildlife agency put up a small shooting range in the back of beyond in your local state park.  Without the taxes that hunters, fishermen, and shooters pay every day, your enjoyment of the outdoors wouldn't be as nice as it is now.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Zero tolerance policies are for people with zero intelligence"

H/T to Radley Balko over at The Agitator on this one.

The title of this post is a quote from State Senator Greg Brophy of Colorado, who was commenting on a moronic situation that is directly impacting a young man he represents.

You see, this young man has been afflicted by diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus, which can cause prolonged seizures.  He lost out on a lot of last school year due to his illness and the narcotics he was given to deal with it. 

When the narcotics, and the rest of the pharmacopoeia that was thrown at him didn't seem to work well enough, his doctor put him on a new cocktail of drugs that included the use of THC lozenges in the event that a seizure was not prevented by his other medications.  THC is the active agent in marijuana. This formula, including lozenges, seem to work for the young man.

The administrators of his school have informed him and his parents that he cannot come to school on days he has used the THC medication, and cannot use it on campus.  His father has appealed to the local officials for their understanding, but has hit a brick wall.  Apparently the local school officials would rather he be doped up on morphine at school or miss school entirely than let him put a THC cough drop in to keep a seizure at bay.

This young man wants to finish his education.  He wants to be a functioning part of society.  He is not blazing up a little Acapulco Gold in the parking lot when he feels a little woozy.  He is trying to go to school and participate by taking medication that is legally prescribed by his doctor and dispensed by his pharmacist.  And the nitwits who run his school are making him miss class in order to control his illness.

Things like this grate on me for a few reasons.  First and foremost is the medical marijuana issue.  I support the legal use of any medication when it is prescribed by a competent physician.  I'm  not going to talk about just legalizing it, that's for another post, but I am 100% for its use as a medicine.  My arthritis is well controlled, but I know several people who have one form of non-osteo-arthritis or another who couldn't control their pain without heavy narcotics who have at least some relief because they live in a medical marijuana state and use it under a doctor's supervision.  They're not stoners, they just use a drug in order to deal with their disease.  If I couldn't control my arthritis and the accompanying pain without the use of narcotics, and it was legal for me to do so, I'd fully support a suggestion by my doctor to try cannabis.

And then there's the parent's rights issue here.  These parents have worked with a medical professional to find an effective treatment for their son's malady.  They have changed their son's school so that he can go home to take his medicine.  As far as I can tell, they have bent over backwards so that their son can put a cough drop in his mouth when he feels a seizure coming on.  But the drones who run the school have done everything they can to thwart their efforts in getting their son a good education.

Things like this, where low level officials can't or won't make an independent decision, makes my blood boil.  If put in the same situation, I'd find it hard to remain civil with the principal, the school board, and the rest of the local government.  If I had it within my means, I would be finding a good private school that would be reasonable about accommodating my son's situation.  If not, I'd be doing what this father continues to do, which is to fight with all legal means necessary to get his son the best education he can.

Parents and doctors should decide which drugs are allowable for a student to take, either at home on a school day, or at school.  Principals, school boards, or legislatures would do best to keep their noses out of it.  I wish this family luck as they seek to do the right thing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Thought for the Day

When giving physical security training, the answer to "What is the correct way to stop someone without a security badge in a restricted area?" does not include:

- Two to the chest, one to the head
- Hitting them with a folding chair
- Body slam
- Keelhauling
- Bouncing their forehead on the hood of a truck

Monday, February 14, 2011

Reader Demographics Questions

Just out of curiosity, I'd like to know a little bit about y'all.  Don't worry, I'm not going to ask anything too humiliating.  These are pretty simple questions that don't probe too deeply.  Have fun with them.  Leave answers in the comments, please.  Even though most of these questions are a "this or that" type, feel free to answer with another choice.  After a week or so, I'll come back and write a post with the most original or entertaining answers.

General Interest

  1. Standard or Metric?
  2. Minivan or muscle car?
  3. Speed boat or pontoon boat?
  4. Star Wars or Star Trek?
  5. Snow skiing or water skiing?
  6. Cabin in the Mountains or Condo on the Beach?
  7. Iced Tea - Sweet or Un-Sweet?
  8. Ebook or dead tree?
  9. Unicorn or heffalump?


  1. Glock or 1911?
  2. 9mm or .45?
  3. AR-15 or AK-47?
  4. Revolver or semi?
  5. Shotgun - Pump or semi?
  6. AR-15 - Iron sights or optics?
  7. Black Powder - Flintlock, cap, or in-line?
  8. Samuel Colt or John Moses Browning?
  9. Full Auto or three round burst?
  10. .30-06 (God's Own Caliber, Old Testament) or .308 (God's Own Caliber, New Testament)


  1. Sausage or bacon?
  2. Irish Coffee or Tequila Sunrise?
  3. Jack Daniels or Maker's Mark?
  4. Pizza - Thin Crust or Deep Dish?
  5. Ketchup or mayonnaise?
  6. Barbecue - sweet and tangy or hot and spicy?
  7. Chili - Beans or no beans?
  8. Christmas - Ham or Turkey?
  9. Easter - Lamb or Rabbit?
  10. Sushi or Thai food?
  11. Steak - Moo or charcoal?

Complete the following sentences:

  1. A man and his _______ are soon _______.
  2. The easiest way to a man's heart is through his  _______.
  3. My bologna has a first name, it's _________.
  4. I'd like to teach the world to _________.
  5. A _______ in the hand is worth two in the ________.
  6. I wish I were an ________, that is what I'd really like to be.
  7. Better _______ than _______.
Try to keep your responses PG-13.  I can't wait to see how twisted some of y'all really are!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Friday belongs to the Iranian people and how they changed their country, U.S. President James Carter said of Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's resignation.
"There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege of witnessing history taking place," Carter said. "This is one of those moments."
The anti-government protesters' voices "have been heard and their country will never be the same," Carter said.
On February 11, 1979, the government of the Shah of Iran, a steadfast U.S. ally, was deposed by a popular uprising.  The Shah himself had left the country a month earlier.  Continued U.S. support of the Shah was the excuse the Iranian revolutionary government took to attack and occupy the American embassy on November 4, leading to 444 days of captivity for U.S. diplomats and Marines, as well as the further rotting of the Carter administration.  Also in November, the temporary secular government of Iran dissolved, allowing for the theocracy that we see there today.

32 years later to the day, February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak resigned from his 30 year reign over Egypt.  

Today in Egypt, a temporary government has been formed with the military providing its backbone, just as happened in Iran in 1979.  I won't honor this arrangement by calling it a democracy.  What we have is an autocracy that has fallen due to a popular protest movement and some international pressure.  It has been replaced by a (hopefully) temporary military junta and quasi-civilian governing council which have pushed the protesters off the streets, dissolved parliament, and promised to hold elections.   

In the event that this government doesn't either clamp down hard enough to squelch dissent or come through with complete democratization (whatever that means), I expect to see protests in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria again before summer ends.  At that time, it will come down to who has the most men, guns, and ruthlessness.  If the Muslim Brotherhood has co-opted the rank and file of the Egyptian army, then I expect Egypt to be a repeat of Iran in 1979.  If the army manages to keep itself from being infiltrated to any large degree, then open armed insurrection will probably be decided quickly by the army.

As to what the United States and the rest of the West can and should do, I'm not sure.  I will say that we should do nothing that will provide the anti-western and anti-U.S. forces in the mid-East a propaganda victory.  The U.S. Embassy occupation was Khomeini's Reichstag Fire.  President Obama would be wise to not provide the Muslim Brotherhood with one of their own.  All dealings with anyone in Egypt should be done as much as possible in the light of international press.  Don't give one faction the leverage of pointing at another one as the stooge of Washington when clandestine contacts invariably come to light.

One thing I think might be a good idea for our government to do, as well as the governments of the rest of the civilized world, would be to make a statement in support of or neutrality towards Israel.  Israel is a good ally and a proven democracy.  If things go as I think they will, they may will probably our only friend in an unfriendly region.  They need to know who they can rely on for help, and who will stand by and let the Islamic horde try to force them back into the sea.

Oh, and the title deals with the quote at the top of the post.  I took the first paragraphs of this article, and transposed Carter for Obama, The Shah for Mubarak, and Iran for Egypt.  History sometimes goes into re-runs.  Let's hope this is more of a re-write.

Sports Navel Gazing

This post is of no importance whatsoever, but I thought I'd let some of the thoughts in my head come out.

  1. The NFL is probably going to kill the golden goose in the next few months.  Billionaires arguing with millionaires are going to ruin the NFL 2011-2012 season.  If the disagreement was over something altruistic, such as providing financial and medical assistance to former players who have fallen on hard times and can't make ends meet due to injuries from their playing years, I could probably go along with it.  But my gut tells me it's going to be a pissing match over money and the length of the season.  Nothing kills an entertainment activity like it going away long enough for us to find something else to do.
  2. The influx of European and especially Eastern European players into the NHL has improved professional hockey.  When I was a kid, there were talented players, but there were almost as many bruisers on the teams.  These thugs were on the ice for no better reason than to lay a beating on whatever talented player or bruiser on the opposing team was targeted by the coach.  Now, there seems to be at least two talented players for every bruiser, and the officials seem to be coming down hard on the thugs.  This leads to more athletic and exciting play, with what I consider fewer fights and cheap shots.
  3. Those of us who grew up in the United States in the 1970's will remember the ABC Wild World of Sports.  Howard Cosell and Jim McKay would come into our living rooms on weekends when there wasn't a major football, basketball, or baseball game going on.  You'd see an hour or so of skiing, them some bowling, a hockey game, and then something oddball like fencing.  There would also be a shooting, hunting, or fishing show mixed in occasionally, which is unheard of on today's broadcast stations.  For several years, that kind of mix disappeared as the big three American sports completely dominated the airwaves.  Now that there about 17 cable sports networks that broadcast games, the broadcast networks seem to be picking up the idea of a mixed sports card again.  So far this afternoon, NBC has broadcast a hockey game, a couple hours of skiing/snowboarding, and now they're showing a rugby game between South Africa and England.  As much as I love my football, and will sometimes watch baseball and basketball, watching/listening to other sports is a lot of fun.  Here's hoping that this trend continues.  Heck, someday they might start showing Australian rules football or Irish soccer on American TV.
  4. BooBoo has started playing soccer for a couple hours a week at his day care.  It's part of a program the director has to get the kids more physically active every day.  He also has a tumbling activity once a week, and spends an hour a day in a little gym they've set up for the kids.  Boo is little enough that it's just running around and trying to kick the ball, but some of these kids are taking it way too seriously.  That means their parents are taking it way too seriously.  When I was growing up, organized sports didn't start until the 2nd or 3rd grade at the earliest, with most kids not taking it seriously until junior high.  Now, my friends talk about taking their first and second graders to soccer practice two and three days a week, with games on the weekends.  Someone Irish Woman knows has a daughter who is extremely talented at competitive swimming, and is pushing her to try for the 2012 Olympics.  This child, who has been swimming competitively for over a decade, spends at least 6 hours a day in the pool, and is in a competition almost every weekend.  Homework and a normal social life are sacrificed in a pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team.  You can't tell me that is healthy for her.  I understand that the cost of college is skyrocketing, and competition for athletic scholarships is tight, but turning your child into a one trick pony who will falter when they finally blow a tendon or lose interest in their trick is a disservice to your child.  A counterpoint to this is my other friend who has three girls who all play soccer.  He and his wife work hard to make sure the girls have every opportunity to succeed in soccer, but they also make sure they have other activities and do well in school.  An athletic but still well-rounded young lady will go further in life than a single threaded jock who has been taught since day one that the only thing she can do well is run, swim, or kick a ball.

Anyway, that's my sports thoughts for now.  Football is gone for the time being, but you'll be seeing some of these core dumps every so often.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Well, what do you know?

Like most parents these days, I worry that my kids won't want to read much at all, or won't want to ready anything but garbage.

Imagine my surprise when my daughter asked to read our copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and has been having lengthy discussions about racism and the civil rights movement with Irish Woman.

Add to that the fact that she wants to get a copy of "The Diary of Anne Frank" and Little Bear wants to read it when she's done.

And knock me over with a feather when Little Bear asked for my copy of "Schindler's List" this morning when he told me about reading "The Devil's Arithmetic" in school.

I'm not sure if I can take credit for this, but I'm happy with the situation.  Girlie Bear has already read both "Monster Hunter International" novels, and she's chomping at the bit to read "The Grimnoir Chronicles" with me.   I think for their birthday this year they might be getting some Heinlein.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rule 4 Violation

Be Sure of Your Target and What is Beyond It
The manager of a cookie factory in Wisconsin decided to clear out some of the birds from his factory with a shotgun.  At least one pellet of bird shot missed its target and struck one of his employees.

Where do I begin?  First, using a shotgun inside of a structure to kill nuisance animals is the wrong answer.  You're more likely cause harm to the structure and its contents, living or otherwise, than you are to scare off the critters.

Next, he obviously didn't make sure his employees weren't down range.  It's only by sheer dumb luck that the employee only dug one piece of lead out of his head, and wasn't hurt more seriously.  Don't start with the "bird shot won't kill" argument.  My son's Red Ryder BB gun will kill if it hits the right part of the body at the right angle.

Then of course there's the fact that there are bleeding birds flying around in the rafters of a food factory.  We will occasionally have a bird get into our house through the basement door, and once we flush it out of the house or the cats catch it, there's always a mess to clean up.  I can't imagine the mess that a number of birds living in a building will create, but I can sure imagine where it will land.   How this situation got past the local health department is beyond me.

I sincerely hope that the employee who was shot has no long-term problems, the blunt skull who peppered him with bird shot is punished, and that the cookie company calls a real exterminator.   Moron gun owners like this give the rest of us a bad reputation.

Now y'all excuse me while I go downstairs to check which brands of cookies are in our stockpile.

Quote of the day

From Tam, of View From the Porch fame:

At least you don't have to shovel cold.

We're supposed to have a warm sunny spell next week here in Louisville.  Hopefully Irish Woman will recharge her solar cells.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Federal Premium and American Eagle Ammunition Recall

H/T to Carteach on this one.  Spread the word.  These are very popular brands of .45 ACP.

Immediate Action Required
Certain lots of recently manufactured 45 Auto ammunition may contain an incorrect propellant charge. Use of product from these lots may result in firearm damage and possible serious injury.

38X628 through 38X765
38T401 through 38T414

If you have in your possession any 45 Auto with the following brand names and part numbers, check to see if your ammunition package contains the above lots: American Eagle® (AE45A, AE45N1, or AE45A250), Champion™ (WM5233), GoldMedal® (GM45B), Hi-Shok® (45C, 45D) and Federal® Personal Defense® (C45C, C45D). Example below:


If you possess ammunition from any of these lots, or have questions concerning this warning, please contact us at 1-800-831-0850 or 1-800-322-2342 and ask for Product Service. Federal will provide replacement product and will cover the cost of returning the affected product. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

A Damn Shame

Senator James Webb (D) of Virginia has decided to not seek a second term.  Senator Webb has been serving our country in one form or another for a good chunk of my lifetime, and I believe that the Senate will be diminished by his absence.

Webb is a combat veteran from Vietnam, and has worked hard at championing the causes of veterans and service members.  He is an old style gentleman, who even if I disagree with some of his views, can still show respect and be respected.

Look for the fight over his seat to be extremely contentious as the two dominant parties gouge, kick, and bite over control of the Senate in 2012.

Beach People Give Up Large Calamari Dinner

A group of people in Florida helped a 3 foot long squid which had washed up on shore get back to deep water.  They all seemed very concerned for the delicious animal's well being, even quipping:

"He'll probably get eaten by a shark," Gorman said. "But I'd rather have (the squid) die in the ocean where it's supposed to."
 Mr. Gorman and his companions have obviously never had fried calamari as an appetizer, or fettuccini tossed with sauted squid, garlic, and white wine.  How we as a species stay at the top of the food chain sometimes escapes me.

These are the same kind of people who get upset that a dog gets into a park and takes out some of the flying vermin, and will try to chase the geese out of the canine avenger's path.  The people I hang out with get upset because the geese can't be cleaned, plucked, marinated, and roasted after Rover chews on them.

Personally, I would have used that cooler to ice the son of a gun down and get him home quickly so that he could be used as an organic meat supplement for the family dinner.  But that's just me.

Today's Weather Video

From my wonderfully humorous Brother in Law, who advised me to not let Irish Woman see this one.  Caution - Salty Language ahead!

Before you ask, yes, that is what my home area in North Dakota looks like in January and February. And that is my definition of winter beauty.

Dinner Last Night

Last night I made one of my favorites, Potato Corn Chowder.


6 to 8 large potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
2 cups cream
2 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
2 12 ounce cans creamed corn
1 pound fresh baby carrots or 2 cups chopped carrots
1 pound fresh frozen whole kernel corn
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms, or two handfuls dried mushrooms
1 medium white onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine

After scrubbing the potatoes clean, slice lengthwise into quarters and then slice the quarters into 1/4 inch slices.  Place in a LARGE stock pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes.  Salt liberally and bring to a boil.  Once the potatoes come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just barely fork tender.  Skim off the foam at the top of the pot and then remove about half the water.   Add rest of food ingredients and mix gently.  Add seasonings to taste.   Simmer until onions are tender and sweet.  Thicken with a slurry of corn starch if preferred.   Serve with a nice crusty bread or biscuits.   Prep and cooking time - less than an hour.   Feeds an army.

What seasonings should you use?  That's up to you.  I added some more salt, lots of black pepper, and a liberal dose of Essence.  This made the soup really peppery and flavorful.  I've also used red pepper flake, Old Bay seasoning, or whatever floated my boat at the time.  This is a pretty forgiving, free-form dish to make.

Variations -

Fry up two or three thick slices of bacon until very crispy but not burnt.  Use the resulting fat to make a rue and use that to thicken the chowder.  Crumble up the bacon and add to the chowder, but reduce the amount of salt you use.

Add your favorite bi-valve to make a really good clam chowder.  I usually use canned clams because I can't smell the ocean from here and add all the water from the can along with the meat for added flavor.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Update to Thought of the Day

If your doctor says that you shouldn't eat 12 hours before surgery, then don't eat or drink anything during the 12 hours preceding your scheduled surgery time.

If your child's doctor, even if said child is 14 years old, tells you not to let him eat for 12 hours prior to surgery, don't leave him alone with a box of donuts the morning of surgery.
While getting braces put on his teeth, Little Bear's dentist noticed that he had an impacted molar that was coming in sideways behind his other molars.  Basically, his jaw isn't big enough for all of his adult teeth.  A surgeon was consulted, who scheduled Little Bear for surgery to remove it.

Since he would be going under general anesthesia, we were advised that he could have no food or drink for 12 hours prior to his surgery appointment.

This morning, we all showed up at the hospital at 6:30 to get Little Bear registered and into the surgical ward.  Little Bear and his mother were driven by his grandmother, who we will call Medusa, because apparently having your ex-husband drive you and your son to the hospital makes too much sense.  But hey, why rob Medusa and me of a chance to sit across a room from one another and think hateful thoughts at each other?

Anyhoo, registration went quickly and we were escorted back to a small room where surgical prep began.  Little Bear changed into the normal gown, an IV was started, and we began the wait.  After the nurse, the anesthesiologist, the nurse anesthetist, surgeon, another nurse, another anesthesiologist, the janitor, the local representative of the forces of evil, his counterpart in the forces of good, two guys who were lost and looking for the shortest route to Las Vegas that didn't go through bat country, and the doctor again all came through the area, asking us questions and having us fill out paperwork, we found out that we would be delayed an hour or so due to an emergency surgery that had bumped us.

Mind you, each of these people asked us if he had had anything to eat or drink since last evening, and Little Bear and his mother avowed that he had indeed fasted the prerequisite 12 hours.

Medusa and I stayed in our neutral corners.  I chatted with Little Bear, read several articles from a magazine with him, and did some web surfing on my phone.  Medusa came and went as she needed to find coffee, somewhere to smoke, a restroom, another smoke, more coffee, and another trip to the restroom.  Maybe somewhere in there she went off to terrorize a village or something.  Personally, I was hoping that someone would drop a house on her, but I digress.

After a couple of hours of waiting, the nurse anesthesiologist came in and administered the pre-surgery medications, including a good healthy dose of Versed.  Within a minute or two, Little Bear was quite relaxed and happy.  I can now say I know what signs to look for if he should ever try narcotics.  After another half hour or so of waiting, the charge nurse came in and did final prep for surgery.  As she was unhooking Little Bear from all of the room monitors and getting his IV and such ready for transport to the operating room, she went though all of the initial questions one more time:

What's your name?
What are you here for today?
Do you have any allergies?
Have you had anything to eat or drink in the last 12 hours?

To the last question, Little Bear, still being stoned out of his gourd, replied "Nothing last night, but I had a piece of a donut this morning before we came to the hospital.".

Needless to say, the surgery is being rescheduled.  A patient under general anesthesia has to be competely empty because if he were to vomit, he might asperate, causing pneumonia or death.

To say that I was irritated with my ex is an understatement.  Yes, he's 14, and he should know better, but why even have donuts on the kitchen table when your son can't eat?

Once Little Bear sobers up, I'm going to have a long talk with him about peronsal responsibility and why he shouldn't do what he's told not to.  I'm just glad that we were delayed long enough for the Versed to turn into a truth serum with him and that he fessed up before they put him under.

As for Medusa, I'm sorry to say that the sun wasn't out today, so she didn't melt into a pool of icor when she stepped outside.  Better luck next time, I guess.

Thought for the Day

There are few worse ways to start the day than to spend a few hours in a hospital waiting room with your ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 7, 2011

Darn it

Looks like I picked the wrong time to lose my taste for chocolate.

Hershey's, purveyors of such lovely edibles as the eponymous Hershey Bar and Hershey Kisses, has released a study which shows that chocolate powder and dark chocolate have more anti-oxidants than some of the "super fruits" such as acai or cranberry.

The total flavanol content of dark chocolate was significantly greater than cocoa beverage on a per-serving basis and both dark chocolate and cocoa beverage had significantly greater total flavanol content than hot cocoa mix, acai, blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate juice, the study says.
Over the last year or so, I've lost my sweet tooth.  I can probably count on two hands the number of pieces of chocolate that I've eaten since last fall.  For a lifetime chocoholic, especially for dark chocolate, this is a catastrophe.  I still love the way chocolate smells, so there's still hope.  Maybe if I convince myself that a piece of  dark chocolate before bedtime is good for me, I'll get back into it.

Hanging Offense

A man in Chicago found a good form of street justice when his security camera recorded a neighbor stealing his snow shovel after almost two feet of snow fell.

Back in the Old West, stealing a man's horse got you about 6 feet of rope for a 10 foot fall.  Having lived in an environment where shoveling snow is a daily, and sometimes hourly, chore, stealing a snow shovel is just as bad.

The gentleman from Mordor decided to go easy on the nice lady who stole his shovel, and just buried her car in snow.  Personally, she got off light.

Post Superbowl Thoughts

OK, last football post for  a few months.

That was one of the best Superbowls I've seen.  I liked both teams, so I could let my partiality go and just enjoy the game.  

Pittsburgh kept it close enough to keep it interesting, and neither team played perfectly, so you never knew what was going to happen.  I was surprised by how much passing went on.  Green Bay didn't start their running game until the 4th quarter, IMHO. 

It was a relatively clean game, with a couple of exceptions where players let emotions get away from them.    I didn't see any calls from the officials that made me invoke deities or profane gods.  

After the game, I was most impressed by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.  He gave a quick interview at the door to the locker room and was nothing but gracious and classy in defeat.  He didn't blame anyone for the loss, and made sure that the audience knew his people had given their all.

Congratulations to the Packers, and better luck next time Steelers.  Thanks for a great game, and thanks to all the players for all the fun this season.

Update - One final thought:  I'm not seeing any pictures on the news of tires being burned, cars being overturned, or stores being looted in Milwaukee or Green Bay. Hmmmmm.  Guess Packer fans don't care as much as Lakers fans.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Range Report

Today being a rather nasty day weather wise, my shooting group decided to forego the outdoor range and have an hour or so at the nice, heated indoor range.  Apparently we weren't the only ones who had this idea, because there was a wait for a lane when we left.

I took along the CZ-82, Taurus Model 85, RIA Government Model 1911, and the new S&W 22A-1.


  • The 22A is a great little pistol.  Mine is the base model, so the sights are pretty basic, but easy to see in good lighting.  I'm going to use it as a pistol trainer for Girlie Bear and Irish Woman, so I won't be putting an optic on the integral rail.  Only thing I might do is put a dab of orange or white gun paint on the front sight.  I shot Winchester high velocity .22 long through it, and the muzzle flipped less than an inch during rapid fire.  My groups started out at about 10 inches across, but tightened up some as I continued putting rounds downrange.  
  • Between me and the rest of my group, we put about 150 rounds down the 22A, and I had three failures.  One was a stovepipe on ejection, the other two were problems with feeding from the magazine.  One of the failures to feed dented the cartridge bad enough I discarded it.
  • Disassembly of the 22A was about as easy as I've ever seen on a pistol.  Lock the slide back, push in the disassembly button, and lift off the upper part of the gun.  Definitely easier than a 1911 or Mark III.
  • The CZ-82 is fast becoming my favorite pistol.  It's as light as the Model 85, but has enough weight that it doesn't flip around a lot from recoil.  It shoots very well, has a good trigger, and made a ragged hole in the target at 21 feet.  I was firing Fiocci rounds out of it today.  Next time I go to the outdoor range, I'll try out the cheap Tulammo steel cased ammunition I bought for it.  
  • The 1911 is probably going to come out of rotation as a carry piece.  It just doesn't want to consistently feed non-FMJ ammunition.  If I can get my hands on some EFMJ ammunition, I'll try it and re-evaluate carrying the 1911.  It's a perfectly adequate range gun, and it is extremely enjoyable to shoot.  Some have turned their noses up at the RIA brand, but other than the issues with hollow point ammunition, it's pretty solid. I'm between 1000 and 2000 rounds into its lifespan, and no components show any signs of problems.  
  • The Model 85 is my carry piece, and I need to seriously start doing dry fire on a regular basis.  The DA trigger isn't too stiff, but I need to strengthen my hands in order to consistently fire it accurately.  At 21 feet, I was still hitting the vitals with every shot, but my groups were between 6 and 8 inches across.  I want to tighten that up so that I can hit a 3 inch group with a cold gun.  Other than that, I really love this little revolver.

Hopefully spring will hurry up and get here so I can get out to the outdoor range and spend a little more time shooting.  It's hard to linger over your shots and analyze when you're paying by the hour.  The indoor range is really nice though, and I definitely enjoy going out there when the weather is bad or I don't feel like driving the 45 minutes to Knob Creek.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Color me Shocked

An unqualified politically appointed "diplomat" has left our embassy in Luxembourg in a complete shambles.  Apparently U.S. and local employees, some of whom have probably worked there for decades, are described as demoralized and stressed.  Considering how easy-going the State Department types I've worked with in the past tend to be, that's saying a lot.

Apparently, Madam Ambassador Stroum terrorized embassy employees, wasted taxpayer money on searches for personal housing and staff that are commensurate with her station, or at least the station she believes she deserves, and spent thousands of taxpayer dollars in re-stocking the embassy liquor cabinet with booze from Europe when she should have been buying American.

Shocked, yes shocked, I am that a political appointee, who got the job by raising money for President Obama's 2008 campaign, would abuse her position to make her own life more luxurious while belittling the people who keep the wheels on.  I am also surprised that she did not fly Air Pelosi back and forth to the States, since she seems to be cut from the same cloth as the representative from Northern California. 

Luxembourg, along with the other Low Countries, have been good, loyal friends and allies since the end of the Second World War.  They deserve better than to have a political prima donna sent to be their conduit to the United States government.  But then, the Obama administration doesn't seem to have a problem pissing in the tea of our oldest and closest European ally, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

President Obama needs to remind all of his minions that they are employed to serve our nation, not to be serviced.  And Mrs. Stroum should repay the taxpayers for every penny we paid for her European junket.

Tootin my own horn

Tam over at View From The Porch has been struggling to clear the demon ice from her sidewalk after the latest version of Snowmageddon hit her lovely home of Rosenholme in the wilds of Indiana.

I was inspired by her tale of woe to pen the following comment, and I'm so proud of it I'm reproducing it here:

OK, stop, she's choppin' and chippin'
Tam is out and she's got a mission
Something falls from the sky there nightly
Rosenholme is covered up in white stuff oh so tightly
Will she ever stop,yo, I don't know
Stop with the work and the drifts will grow
To the extreme she smacks the walk like a vandal
Cover it with mo-gas and light it like a candle!

Snap, the ice breaks with a boom
Hitting her noggin, raise a knot like a mushroom
Deadly when it smacks upside her melon
Get the walk cleared or be considered a felon
So much ice other Gunnies say Damn!
If ice was a drug, she'd sell it by the gram!

If there's an ice sheet, yo, she'll whack it
Sharpen the axe so Roberta can hack it!

Ice Ice Baby!

Head on over and give Tam a little encouragement as she clears her driveway and sidewalk in time for the next round of snow and ice.

Hitting one out of the Park

If the anti-gunnies want to get rid of our right to have guns, then let them get an amendment to the Constitution through.  If they're going to repeal or modify the Second Amendment, I say let it be something like this:

If bears are armed with the frequency by which we currently bear arms, then the PSH will continue, but will at least be fun to watch.

Superbowl thoughts

My attempt to pick the games this year pretty much fell apart due to a lot of factors, but I will pick the Superbowl.

I'm really torn about this one.  I cheered for the Steelers back in the '70's, but Green Bay is one of my teams.  I'm going to pick the Packers to win, but I hope it'll be close.  But if the Steelers win the Super Bowl in the first year that Jerry Jones' penis extension of a stadium is open, I'll be OK with that too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Liberal Dictionary

anticsrocks over at Flopping Aces has put together a pretty comprehensive liberal to English dictionary.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

“Fully fund” = Blank check
“Working Americans” = Only lower and middle class Americans
“Tax the rich” = Increase taxes on anyone making $250,000 a year or higher, $200,000 or, er, I mean $150,000 a year – *sigh* this number keeps getting lower

Go and have a read.  They're quite entertaining and ring true with me.  If you've got any suggestions for additions, leave them in comments either here or there.

The Four Chaplains

On this day, in 1943, the USAT Dorchester, a troop transport taking soldiers across the Atlantic, was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat.   On board were four chaplains:  Reverand George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Father John Washington, and Reverand Clark Poling.  These saints in the flesh not only provided a calm hand to guide men to lifeboats and assisted the wounded, but they also gave up their own life vests so that others might have a better chance at survival.  Soldiers and sailors who survived the sinking remember watching these men pray together on the deck of the ship as it went down.  Their sacrifice probably saved more than a few lives that night, and has been an inspirational example to me since I first heard their story.

Military chaplains are the quiet heroes among the rough men and women that make up our armed forces.  They provide moral guidance to leaders, comfort the wounded in body and spirit, and remind all of us that there are better things than the heat, cold, sand, mud, and heartache that comes with the military.  They act as staff confessor, conscience, and counselor to most military units.  Any soldier knows that if he has a problem, he can go to the chaplain, if for nothing else than to find someone who will listen attentively and make suggestions that are reasonable.  On more than one occasion I have taken Holy Communion from the back of a truck, with the Father just as wet, cold, and miserable as the rest of us.  The difference was that he chose to leave the relative warmth and comfort of the TOC to make sure that the soldiers in his flock were taken care of.

I have known chaplains that were saints walking among men.  I have known chaplains who were only slightly more holy in their manners than the men and women they tried to guide to a better life.  One Catholic chaplain I served with was Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger qualified, could drink like a fish, would flirt with waitresses as much as the rest of us, and was as viciously loyal to Notre Dame football as anyone I ever met.  He was also the man who baptized my oldest son, blessed my marriage to his mother, and helped to bring me peace when I came home from a particularly hard assignment heartsick and broken.

To all of our chaplains, I say thank you.  There are some debts that can never be repaid, but I hope that my words have some worth in that process.  Even though a good minister can always find a comfortable, safe posting if they look hard enough, they go into the wilderness to preach to and care for the men and women who need them the most. 

Your Daily Dumbass

Following in the footsteps of BRM and his "Doofus of the Day" posts, here is your Daily Dumbass:

An official in Portland, Ore., says a house fire that caused $30,000 in damage was apparently started by tenants who were using a hole in the floor as an ashtray.
When we lived in California, my step-father used the crawlspace under our house as a dumping ground for every noxious chemical he came up with. Paint thinner, pest poisons, paint, old gasoline cans, and used propane cylinders.  The other corner of the crawlspace housed his crates of ammunition, which my mother wouldn't let in the house.  He was also a smoker, and on more than one occasion I was worried he was going to kill us all with his non-chalant smoking in high-fume areas or flicking a butt at containers of flammable liquids. 

But to be honest, I never saw him flick his ashes into anything indoors other than an ash tray or soda can.  What kind of moron doesn't know that you don't use the basement or crawlspace as an ashtray?  Details are sketchy, and I hope that no-one was hurt in this fire, but if so, it's only by luck.

By the way, what is the correct term for a group of dumbasses like we have here?  You have a gaggle of geese, a herd of cows, and a grouch of SysAds.  What do you call a group of dumbasses?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Overheard in the Living Room

Irish Woman, in a discussion with her loving husband:  I am not menopausal, I'm just psychotic.

Breaking the Rules

Some A-1 jerk from Louisville broke some or all of the rules and shot a a young girl in the bloody head due to his stupidity.  Apparently he was practicing his Audie Murphy gun tricks or something and the fool thing went off.

Say them with me now:

  1. All guns are always loaded!
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are notwilling to destroy!
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!
  4. Always be sure of your target!

This blunt skull obviously ignored all four of them, and it's only by sheer dumb luck that the young lady was only wounded and not killed outright.

Listen Junior, guns are not toys. They are tools.  They are not evil automatons bent on killing.  They almost always require a human being to pull the bang switch before they go boom.  Because you were "playing" with a loaded revolver a child has been closer to death than she has a right to be, is scarred for life, and will probably grow up in fear of inanimate objects.  Personally, I hope they throw the book at you and you spend the rest of your young years looking at the world through barbed wire.  But since the gun will be blamed, you'll probably be left on the street where your innate stupidity will continue to be a danger to me and mine.  And of course this will just go down as another case of EVIL GUNS hurting children, as opposed to some jackwagon whose father should have pulled out hurting a child.  Jerk.

Sending a Supreme Message

The Supreme Court has apparently decided to send a pretty blunt message to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  They've unanimously reversed 5 recent cases that came up to the Supremes from the 9th.

Experts seem to think the Supremes are trying to nudge the lower court a little more towards the middle.  I'm thinking it's going to take a little more than a few judicial black eyes to get the 9th to start living in the real world.

This is the court that has been reversed more often than any other court of appeal.  In my lifetime, it's been a laughing matter in conservative circles when a conservative cause has come before the 9th.

Hopefully a judicial kick in the ass of legendary proportions is in the works for this wayward court.  Justice needs to be consistent, and it just hasn't been that way for a long time in the areas where the 9th Circuit holds sway.

Wednesday Morning Music

Before you say it, you're welcome!


What? We're out of coffee? Hold on......

Clank clank zip zip

Just walk away. I promise you safe passage in the waste lands. Just leave the coffee and walk away.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Today's Earworm

With all the work we've been doing around Casa de Oso lately, this seems appropriate.

Thought for the Day

Driving home in a cold rain after a long day at work is not enhanced by listening to Alice In Chains.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

An Open Letter

Dear Mother of my Oldest Son,

20 years ago this week, you and I pledged to each other that we would be good partners to each other and good parents to any children we might bring to this world.  We had plans on being married Command Sergeants Major by this point, travel the world, and have a small clutch of children, but like the saying goes, there's many a slip between cup and lip. 

It took less than two years for us to start failing at our jobs of spouse and parent, and by our sixth anniversary we had thrown our hands up and admitted failure.  Unfortunately our inability to be functioning adults together had a harsh negative impact on our son, some of which I fear will take years to even begin healing.

I'm not saying I miss our marriage, because I don't, but I regret the way it turned out.  I sincerely wish we had listened to the advice of our friends and family and waited to make sure.  I'm pretty sure that if we hadn't short circuited the courtship process and gone our separate ways for a year or so, we would have had a remarkably different, and possibly happier, outcome.

I cherish the child we created, even if he makes me absolutely mad sometimes.  I recognize that without the bad circumstances of our marriage, I would never have had the children that were born after we split up.  For their sake, I thank you.

I hope that your new life is successful and fulfilling.  I hope that your new child brings as much happiness into your life as my children bring into mine.  I must admit that I do enjoy a guilty amount of pleasure when I learn of some minor trevail in your life, or read how your professional life is unpleasant when your name or employer occasionally pops up in the news.  I'm sure that you sometimes feel the same when you learn about some complication in my life.

In closing, let me leave you with this:  It's been 20 years.  I'd be out on parole by now.

Best Regards,

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