Friday, May 4, 2012

I'm Outta Here

If anyone wants me, I'm taking my blog and moving.

I'll be over at  Please come on over and enjoy my madness.

The term you're looking for, if you're a Blogger user, is "final straw".

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 30

To business that we love we rise betime,
And go to ’t with delight. -- Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV, Scene IV

My Time - Like I said "Sometimes it's a blast, sometimes, it's a paycheck".  When it's a blast, I can't wait to get back to it, even when it's the most difficult thing I've ever done.  If you see me coming home covered in dirt, bleeding, and bruised, but with a smile on my face, you can be pretty sure I'll be up early the next morning to get back to it with that same smile on my face.


Hmmm, blogger appears to have boogered my fonts up really good now, and I seem to have been aiding it.

I'll be trying to salvage it, so there may be a few blog blinks along the way.

Today's Earworm

In honor of the Kentucky Oaks, where the fillies race for the lillies:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

test test test

Where is, repeat, where is Task Force Thirty Four? The world wonders.

test test

The swift brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Thought for the Day

Gingrich has bowed out of the presidential race.  All that is left in the Republican field are Romney and Paul.

Our choice is now down to the RINO or the gyno.

News Roundup

  • From the "This one goes to 11" Department - A man in New York was arrested recently when police clocked him going over 150 miles an hour on the highway.  He is reported to have bragged that his motorcycle could go up to 190, which I'm sure every police officer loves to hear.  "You're busting me for this?  Heck, I can go a lot faster!"  Captain Turnpike didn't have a motorcycle license either, and is being held on bail.
  • From the "Not Helping" Department - The head of Russia's armed forces has threatened to conduct pre-emptive strikes against NATO anti-missile sites in Eastern Europe.  His remarks were made during a conference on how to overcome friction over missile defense between Russia and NATO.  This is a good chance for President Obama to show a little spine.  If he were to come out in the next few days demanding that Russia clarify the general's remarks and either affirm or repudiate them, I'd give him credit.  But I'm not holding my breath.
  • From the "Samurai Sword Savings" Department - A shoplifter in Washington escaped recently after he pulled a sword on a security guard.  Captain Kirosawa left his ill-gotten goods behind when he ran away.  This is one of the reasons I'm OK with security guards carrying a gun. In this case it would have been wakizashi meets Walther, and I'm pretty sure Walther wins.
  • From the "Get An Intern" Department - A road in British Columbia was closed recently when a truck hauling sewage overturned and sprung a leak.  And you thought you had a bad day.  Somehow this puts having to sit on a conference call all afternoon into perspective. 

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 29

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon 'em. -- Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V

My Take - There are very few heroes in our world that are prepared to be heroes.  Most people who have that title put on their name woke up the day they earned it and got on with life just like everyone else.  It was when life threw something extraordinary at them and they reacted to it in a way that few others could or would that they became heroes.  I always try to remember that my heroes are almost always ordinary people who had something in them that let them do extraordinary things.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Don't you feel safer?" Department - A young man in California is suing the government. He alleges that he was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Agency, locked in a small cell, and left there with no food or water for several days, and that's not the worst part of the story.  If his assertions are true, I hope heads roll.  But thank goodness the government got such a dangerous person off the streets for a few days.  I mean, he could have gotten high and not bothered anyone that whole time.  Can we find a way to end the War on Adults, please?
  • From the "This Will Not End Well" Department - Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is foregoing the traditional meeting of the national championship Kentucky basketball team with President Obama this year.  He is instead coming to Louisville to attend functions related to the Kentucky Derby.  This may blow up in the good Senator's face.  Lots of people in Kentucky enjoy the Derby, and people in Louisville lose their minds for a few weeks over it.  But basketball is one of the three main religions here in the Bluegrass, and some of the more rabid blue-wearing acolytes might not appreciate Senator McConnell skipping out on the White House event.  I guess he's not up for re-election this fall.
  • From the "That's A Relief" Department - Scientists have announced findings that suggest the volcano under Yellowstone Park isn't quite as bad as we have been led to believe.  I welcome this news. It will give me an excuse to get rid of all those ash shovels, fireproof roof blankets, and extra sleds I've been keeping in the basement for use in the event that parts of Wyoming and Idaho start raining down from the sky.  Of course, I'll be keeping the extra-fine breathing masks and goggles, because they make me look oh so sexy.  Hey, I've got to have something to wear when I pick Girlie Bear up from school.
  • From the "Playing Through" Department - An older gentleman in Florida has been arrested after crashing his golf cart into the group in front of him on the course and assaulting at least one of them with a club.  His complaint seemed to be that the group was drinking, taking their time playing, and driving their carts in a manner he didn't care for.  My friends who play golf tell me that those activities are called "having fun".  Someone needs to tell this vigilante in the rough that assault isn't exactly the way a gentleman complains, and that there will not be a golf course waiting for him when he gets to the big house.
  • From the "BOFH" Department - A boy in Pennsylvania is in trouble after destroying $36,000 worth of Apple laptops by urinating on them.  Obviously, this young man has a future in IT.  I've often used the term "pissing into the cooling fan" to describe what someone has done to their computer. 

Gunnie Dream

I had a gun dream last night.  It wasn't one of those dreams where you have to pull your gun to defend yourself and it won't come out of the holster or every round has a malfunction of some sort.

This was actually a good dream.

I was back in basic training, and it was day one of Basic Rifle Marksmanship.  But instead of handing me an M16A1 that was older than I was, the armorer was handing out the M41A pulse rifles from Aliens. I was going over the weapon, the trigger, the sights, the grenade launcher, when I looked at the selector switch.

It had three settings:

  1. Click
  2. Boom!
  3. Awwww  Yeaaahhhhhh!
Too bad I woke up before we got to the range.  I was looking forward to that.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 28

A good wit will make use of anything; - Henry IV, Part 2, Act I, Scene II

My Take - When you're working on a problem, take whatever tool and skill you have to find a solution.  Use any toehold, crack, or soft spot in the puzzle to find a way to crack it open.  The solution is usually there, waiting for you to find a method to coax it out.

Thoughts on the Day

  • I don't often cuss at work, but I at least had the wherewithal to do it in Russian when I did it today.
  • When a southern woman cocks her head to the side at you and lifts the index finger on her dominant hand to emphasize her syllables, you have exactly seven and one half seconds to get out of the blast radius, assuming a standard nuclear trigger.
  • Hope is not a plan, and "someday" is not something I can put in a project plan.
  • Note to vendors: Kissing my ass is not necessary.  All I require is for you to do what you contracted to do and not lie to me.  Is that so much to ask?
  • Mothers of America:  If your mother wouldn't have let you go to a chorus concert in that skirt, you shouldn't be letting your daughter to to a chorus concert in that skirt. "If you've got it, flaunt it" has no place in middle school.
  • Karaoke and lip syncing to Beyonce, Michael Jackson, and ABBA weren't part of any school musical program I remember as a child.  Apparently that has changed in the intervening years.
  • It's a good thing I'm a forgiving soul, because all of the people who got up to leave the audience while Girlie Bear was being recognized for being in the chorus program for all three years of middle school will survive to see the dawn.
  • Listening to about 50 middle school girls sing in Latin is quite nice, actually, even if they learned the song by rote.
  • I always have worries about Girlie Bear growing up, but having seen the boys who are in her peer group tonight, I may not have as much to worry about as I thought.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thought for the Day

Tonight on the way home from work, everyone in Louisville knew I had somewhere to be and slowed down accordingly.


Let's say there are two grocery stores in your neighborhood.  To be honest, there isn't much difference between them, except for the signs over the door and one has a few more organic vegetables than the other.  One of them is the dominant store in your town, and you've been buying your groceries from them for a few years.  To be honest, you aren't happy with the quality of their wares or the service you get.

So when the other store gives itself a makeover and has a bit of publicity, you decide to go over there one morning.  You buy a few things, and while things are pretty much the same as at the other store, your experience is marginally better, so you start doing regular business with them.  You notice that there are a lot of people who start shopping at the second shop at about the same time you do.

A few weeks later, you get an email from a friend.  It's basically asking "Have you seen this?".  The first store, the one you left because of service, price, and quality, has put up a big billboard in front of their store.  On the billboard is your name, your picture, the times you went to the other store, and the amount you spent.  It also details the things you bought, and even goes so far as to make aspersions about your character based on any run-ins you'd had with store management over the years.  They have a little section for each person who has stopped doing business with them in favor of the new store.

For a grocery store, this is pretty crass and classless. For a President of the United States, it's shameful.

President Obama and his re-election campaign are doing something very similar when it comes to people who are donating money to the Romney campaign.  The campaign's website is singling out individual donors to Mr. Romney and impugning their motivations and character for committing the sin of supporting Obama's opponent. 

These are not the actions of a man and an administration that recognize the rights of citizens to support whatever political candidate or cause they want.  This is voter intimidation just as certainly as if he had posted thugs at the polls with cudgels. 

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone reading this that I don't care for Mr. Obama, his politics, his values, or his work ethic.  I don't have a much better opinion of Mr. Romney.  I've been very torn as to whether to vote for Romney this year.  I don't like his record as governor of Massachusetts.  Nothing he has said during the primaries has convinced me that he has changed enough since then to make me want to support him.

But I will be damned if I will be intimidated by some Chicago machine thug from questioning and opposing President Obama, no matter who I vote for in November.  Things like this make me want to vote for Romney if for no other reason than to spit in the eye of the President's campaign. 

Want to see me cut my nose to spite my face, President Obama?  Keep pulling stuff like this.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 27

This above all — to thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet, Act I, scene III

My Take - If you can't keep promises to yourself, how well will you honor promises to others?  If you're not honest with yourself, can you be honest with the people in your life? 

Conversely, if you are dishonest with others, can you be honest with yourself?

Today's Earworm

It's going to be one of those days.

Monday, April 30, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Hubris" Department - A rich man from Australia is contracting with a shipyard to re-create the Titanic.  He plans to follow the plans for the original ship but utilize more modern technology.  Here's hoping he tweaks the hull plating and lifeboats.  Anyone want to bet the Titanic II only sails in the tropics?
  • From the "WTF?" Department - Two Pennsylvania teenage girls are in the hospital after they were struck by a car.  What makes this noteworthy is that the girls maintain that they fell asleep while sunbathing on the road before they got run over.  Not sure how much of that I believe, but stranger things have happened.  Here's hoping they recover fully and learn to sunbathe somewhere with a little less traffic.  People of Pennsylvania, please resist those who will have a knee jerk reaction to pass a new law making sunbathing on a public thoroughfare a crime.
  • From the "Government Solutions In Action" Department - Efforts by the federal government to kill unwanted species have killed more than 50,000 non-targeted animals, including animals on the endangered species list.  There are also allegations of cover-ups to keep the public from knowing the extent of the problem.  Think about that:  If we as private citizens try to root out a pest, say feral hogs or coyotes, and instead we kill a rare animal or someones dog, we're going to jail.  I wonder how many members of the government will even get a stern look over this?
  • From the "I need Oreos stat!" Department - A truck driver in Texas is recovering from injuries sustained in an accident with his milk truck.  Several thousand gallons of milk were spilled on the roadway, causing a need for a detour so that motorists did not skid out of control or hit one of what must have been hundreds of cats who showed up for free milk.  I wonder if the driver will be charged with a mooooving violation?


CNN is running a piece on "Stand Your Ground" laws, and gives four cases where they have been exercised to protect people from prosecution or to acquit them:
  • A mentally handicapped young man was shot and killed at a restaurant drive-thru after a close call between him and a car became violent.  The shooter maintains that he thought the man had a weapon and meant to do him harm.  He has not been charged with a crime.
  • A man shot and killed someone who rushed into his trailer after asking for a drink of water.  The shooter maintains that the man was threatening his wife when it happened.  The man who was shot had contact with the police earlier in the evening, and they believed he was intoxicated.  An autopsy showed that the man had a skull fracture, which might explain his behavior.
  • A man shot and killed a teenager after a group of young men broke into his home looking for snack food.  The man maintains that after he had subdued the group of teenagers, one of them lunged at him and he shot him.  He was prosecuted, but acquitted by a jury.
  • A man learned that someone was robbing his car, grabbed a knife, and gave chase.  When he confronted the robber, the robber swung a bag full of car radios at him, and the man stabbed the robber in the chest, killing him. He was charged with a crime, but a judge dismissed the charges.  That dismissal is under appeal.
CNN goes on to express editorial opinions, drawing on the opinions of a law professor at Loyola, several prosecutors, and police officers to assert that the laws being examined are bad.

Here is my opinion, and please keep in mind that I am far from being a lawyer:

Where I have a right to be, I have a right to defend myself.  To go with that right, I have a responsibility to stand before the law if my judgement is wrong.

Sounds simple, doesn't it?  If only it was.

In two of the cases above, the cases of the man defending his wife and the man who stabbed the thief, the situations are very clear cut to me.  When confronted with someone acting aggressively and not giving you time to think, you react.  A man who rushes a woman in her home or turns around and swings a heavy object at its owner is presenting a clear threat, and in both cases, I have no doubt that the people who defended their lives did so with good reason. In the case of the man with the skull fracture, the homeowners had no way to know that he was hurt.  All they could know was that he appeared to be trying to harm them.

The other two, on the other hand, are much more murky.  The case in Texas basically comes down to who you believe, the man with the shotgun or the youths who broke into his home?  Did he execute a boy or even just have a negligent discharge while pointing his shotgun at a home intruder who had surrendered?  Or did he shoot a teenager who initiated an attack against him after initially surrendering?

The Arizona case is also difficult for me, because I've been on both sides of it.  I've almost run over people because one or both of us weren't watching where we were going, and I've almost been run over.  It doesn't help that the shooter maintains that the man he shot had a pipe or some other weapon, and none was ever found.  Did he take the time to load his pistol and then shoot the man out of malice or fear?

The calls to use a deadly weapon to cause non-deadly injuries are of course specious.  I carry a gun to stop a threat in the most effective way I know.  I am under no illusions about my skills, reflexes, and capabilities to do much more than center mass shots when I am under stress.  Center mass shots on humans tend to be fatal.  After the fact questions about why a person was killed instead of wounded are unrealistic.

Would CNN and the academics, police, and prosecutors who are complaining about these laws prefer that we second guess ourselves when confronted with danger?  Is it preferable that a woman be harmed in her own home while her husband try to figure out why she is being attacked?  Is it preferable for a man to be bludgeoned with a bag of electronics while he tries to decide if he is really in danger?  Should a man with his pregnant fiance in the car wait until they are actually being harmed before he reacts?

I guess where I'm getting at is that "Stand Your Ground" laws have a place in our society, but we have to remember that our rights come with responsibilities.  We have a responsibility to use deadly force only when absolutely necessary, and we can aid ourselves in that by not letting ourselves be rushed into the decision to use it.  Stay aware of what's going on around you and you won't fall into non-thinking reflexes.  But we also have the right to defend ourselves when we feel threatened, no matter where we may find ourselves. 

To me, there is only one answer:  I am going home to my family every night, and we are going to be safe in our home.  What that costs me and someone who threatens me is much less important to me than that simple goal.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 26

Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war. -- Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

My Take - You know, sometimes it's just more appropriate to just quit the pretense of civility and let them have it with both barrels.

Thought for the Day

Ladies and gentlemen, what you see here is all a homeowner needs to keep things up and running:

  • WD-40
  • Velcro
  • Expanding foam spray
  • 550 cord
  • Duct tape
  • Multitool
Only other things I need is a six pack of something cold, a radio with a baseball or football game, and solitude, and I can fix just about anything around here.  Might not be pretty, but it'll be 'fixed'.

Rough Few Days in Kentucky

Not for me, although Irish Woman has been working me like a rented mule.  There has been a lot of shootings in the local news, and I thought I'd give y'all my dva kopeka.

  • A Louisville man is in custody custody after shooting two other people in a car they were all travelling in.  Since the only picture the news has of one of the victims is a mug shot, for the moment, I'll notch this one up to possible criminal-on-criminal violence.  Only other possibility I can see is self-defense if the shooter was grabbed and stuffed in the car for some reason.  I use that off-ramp to go to Knob Creek.
  • A Louisville police officer shot someone this weekend.  Not a lot of details on this yet, but the person who got shot survived and was arrested.  Irish Woman drives by the Cannon's Lane exit on I-64 every morning.
  • A woman was hit by gunfire after two men started shooting at each other in the parking lot of a business.  The two shooters ran away and are being sought by police.  I chalk this one up to being in a bad neighborhood and not having a chance to duck.  There are no details on this, but it sounds like she was just struck by a stray bullet when two assholes started blazing away at each other.  I take this tone when describing the two guys with guns because if it's a legitimate shoot, one of them (the one defending his life) would more than likely have stuck around.  My gut tells me this was more criminal-on-criminal foolishness, and the lady just happened to be there.  No word on whether the men actually hit each other.  One of my hardware stores is across the street from there.
  • A man in Guston, Kentucky, is dead after the son-in-law of his girlfriend shot him with a shotgun.  The man had decided that he wasn't going to let his girlfriend walk way from him after a domestic dispute, so he crashed his car into a mobile home and forced his way inside, where he met Mr. Buckshot.  Not going to celebrate this one, but I'm not exactly going to weep over it either.
  • A 13 month old child is dead in Radcliff, Kentucky, after being shot in the head by a 3 year old sibling.  This one has me seeing red through a tunnel.  I know people who vehemently argue with me that it's quite all right to leave a loaded gun in drawers, on shelves, even under furniture when there are small children around and unsupervised.  Their reasoning seems to boil down to "I told them to leave it alone, and they know better than to do something I told them not to".  I need to print off the details of this one and just hand it out.  
So what do we have here?  One probable criminal-on-criminal shooting, an officer involved shooting, a self-defense shooting, a lady who was in the line of fire unexpectedly, and a child dead because of stupidity.  In several of those cases, they happened at places that I or Irish Woman frequently pass through.  One hits close to home because I have kids, I have guns, and I try to be responsible with both of them.  The self-defense reminds me that I can have the safest, most stable home in the world, but I'm only a couple of levels of separation away from other people who might come to us for help and have someone who views other people as objects follow them.

All of these situations happened unexpectedly.  I'm sure that the young soldier from Fort Knox didn't think he would be shooting someone this weekend, and I'm absolutely certain that the parents of that child didn't put the gun out in hopes that the three year old would find it.  The person who called 911 about the dead people in the car most likely was just trying to get through their day, same as I do when I drive by that intersection.  The woman who got shot just minding her business in the parking lot of a store didn't expect to be rushed to the emergency room this afternoon.

Life throws things at us, and while we can't be on high alert all the time, there are some things we should keep in mind:

  • No matter how high you put it, no matter how well you hide it, they will climb and they will uncover it.  A child will figure out how to work the trigger on a double action pistol.  A child will figure out how to work the slide on a shotgun.  A child will figure out how to work the selector switch on a rifle.  They are curious, they are geniuses when it comes to mechanical items, and a child that young CANNOT BE TAUGHT TO NOT TOUCH SOMETHING EVERY TIME, ALL THE TIME. I very much support and practice the keeping of firearms for self-defense, but leaving a loaded gun out where a young child can get to it unsupervised is irresponsible and stupid.  Get an easy-for-an-adult gun safe and keep your children out of the ER, morgue, and Michael Bloomberg's radar. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings as much as you can.  Like I mentioned, we go to several of the areas where these shootings happened.  Louisville is a relatively peaceful city for its size, and we still had all of these shootings in different areas this weekend.  Keep your head, and watch what's going on around you.  Remember, there is no such place as a place where bad things don't happen.  Assholes have cars now, and some of them come from 'nice' neighborhoods.
  • Know when to take yourself up a notch.  If a family member is coming to your home for shelter from an abusive relationship, take the time to arm yourself and be watchful before they show up to continue whatever it was that caused their partner to run.  And no matter where you are going, if it is legal to do so, carry your gun and know how and when to use it.
I'll end by saying that this set of shootings is an anomaly in this area.  Like I said, Louisville isn't that bad crime and violence wise, especially when compared to other cities in the South and Mid-West.  It just goes to show that bad things can happen anywhere. We owe it to ourselves and our families to use our heads and be prepared for the curve balls that are always being thrown.

Update - Edited to update the link on the officer involved shooting.  Looks like the guy not only got shot, but also got introduced to a land shark.  Oh, and BTW, not only was he shot along the route that Irish Woman usually takes to work, he robbed one of the gas stations I use.  Either I go a lot of places in Louisville and happen to go a lot of places where these people got shot, or I'm a jinx.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Thoughts on the Weekend

  • Whoever came up with the idea of giving away samples of food at the grocery store on a Saturday morning ought to be drug out into the street, beaten with a frozen carp, and then left to die while tied tightly to a storm drain cover.
  • I never thought I'd be glad to see $3.65 a gallon for gas.
  • Apparently me wearing a gun to the grocery store and other errands is becoming normal to Irish Woman.  She asked if I was going to carry the revolver, the CZ, or the big gun (1911) yesterday.
  • My grandfathers are spinning in their graves.  I went out and paid good money for dirt this weekend.  Granted, it was compost, topsoil, peat moss, and potting soil for the garden, but it was dirt.
  • Pro-tip - Do not wear contact lenses while mixing up compost, topsoil, peat moss, and potting soil in a big garden bed, or you will have the sudden and immediate urge to scratch the back of your eyeballs out.
  • Lightning, thunder, and flickering lights might just be nature's way of telling you it's time to shut off the computer and go to bed.
  • Hint to history professors who do podcasts:  Do not try to do a podcast while eating your dinner.  Seriously, dude, I could hear you chewing as you looked at your notes and the clinking of silverware on crockery was a dead giveaway.
  • Bad thing #1 - The tub was draining very slowly and I couldn't find my drain snake after drain cleaner and a plunger didn't work.
  • Bad thing #2 - After acquiring a new snake to clean out said drain, I fished it down the drain about two feet and proceeded to get it well and truly stuck.
  • Bad thing #3 - While trying to remove said drain snake from said drain, the snake broke.  So I had a clogged drain and a sharp pointy piece of metal sticking out of it.
  • Bad thing #4 - Growling at Irish Woman as I came back up from the basement with a set of vise grips to get hold of that sharp piece of metal and by God drag it out of the drain.  I think I said something along the lines of "My hair isn't long enough to clog a !#!@ drain."
  • Good thing #1 - After dragging that piece of sharp metal out of the bathtub drain, I realized that there was an access port for that drain in the basement.  I got it off with no issues, drained off the resultant water into a bucket while only getting about 1/3 of it on me and my clothes, and found the clog.  It was quite intricate and gnarly.  I think I will call it Herman if it survives its first night out in the trash and gains sentience.  It may have a future in Kentucky politics.
  • Good thing #2 - I got the plumbing back together without causing Irish Woman to call a plumber, a first in our relationship.
  • Possibly bad thing # 5 - I informed Irish Woman and Girlie Bear that I expected both of them to report to me by 0800 tomorrow morning with regulation high and tights and that they were henceforth forbidden to use anything but baby shampoo to clean what was left of their hair.  I based this directive on the fact that I don't have hair as long as what I found in the drain, and that it was all held together with what can be best described as the remnants of too much feminine hair care product.
  • Possibly good thing #3 - Irish Woman didn't knife me in the kidney when I didn't laugh with her after directing her to stop using conditioner and to get a Marine haircut.
  • Is it ominous to you other married men when your wife comes to you and asks how many board feet of 2x4 you have in your work area?

Garden Update

After a month and a half of weekends, the new raised garden beds / retaining wall is complete.  We've even got some things planted.  More will go in if we can ever get a good stretch of warm weather.

Probably going to be watermelon or cucumbers

250 Strawberry plants.
Irish Woman and Boo harvested a few berries from the plants that were
transplanted from the old bed

Carrots are sprouting

Tomatoes will probably go here

Onions are coming along well.
The other side of the bed will be either cucumbers or watermelon
 Our fruit trees are doing OK.  Some are doing better than others.  We had hopes for another great harvest of cherries, but we had a false spring and even with draping canvas and such around the trees at night, we didn't have very many cherries out of a whole lot of blooms.

It's a good year for peaches

and grapes

Not such a good year for cherries

Our big cherry tree
It was covered in blooms, but has very few cherries on it
We also cleaned up a couple of the beds in the front of the house.  It's amazing what a shovel, a rake, a few yards of weed barrier, and some mulch can do.
I saved some volunteer flowers and sunflower plants when I put down barrier and mulch

24 hours ago, this was overgrown with weeds 
Two new peach trees
It's also a great year for tiger lillies
We are definitely going to have to thin and split the tiger lillies next spring.  They are taking over.  They grow wild here, so any place you give them a little cultivation and attention they run rampant.
The tiger lilly thicket
In a couple of months, you won't be able to see the house through all the orange

The false spring that hurt our cherry crop also burned some of the shrubs
We have a few critters in the yard.
Old Mr. Frog is slowly becoming one with the earth
We've had him as long as we've had the house

A giraffe finds his way out of the jungle

The Giraffe was done by YardBirds
We have a few of their sculptures scattered around the yard.
Once I get the tiger lillies under control, maybe I'll find them.

Not all of our landscaping is edible.
Some of it is just pretty

We started out with one yucca, which Irish Woman unsuccessfully tried to kill
We now have 12
I keep them around because they remind me of Arizona

Today's Earworm

This one's dedicated to NavyOne, who has the most interesting picture of a frog I've seen in a long time.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 25

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues,
And every tongue brings in a several tale,
And every tale condemns me for a villain. -- King Richard, Act V, Scene III

Saturday, April 28, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Mama's Little Snowflake" Department - A family in California is suing their school district after their son was kicked out of an honors class for cheating.  The young man admits to copying the homework of another student, and the parents and student signed a form stating they understood what it would take to get bounced from the program.  But the parents are pointing at a conflicting policy and suing to get their kid re-instated.  Apparently he can't go anywhere in his life and will end up living in a van down by the river if he isn't in the super-dooper high speed, low drag English program.  I guess you can tell where my sympathies lie.  Don't want to get kicked out of a highly selective, competitive educational program?  Then don't cheat.
  • From the "All That Is Old" Department - A rancher in California is reporting that using shepherding dogs to watch over their flock has cut down on predator attacks.  Those of you who pay attention to human history should not be shocked by this.  Who would have thought that putting a dog that's been bred for a few thousand generations to protect sheep would be successful in keeping mountain lions and coyotes off the herd?  Pretty soon we should be hearing that having a few cats around the house is a better way to control mice and rats than poison and traps, and thousands will faint over their morning coffee at the shock.
  • From the "Cyber-Dumbass" Department - A Kentucky man is under arrest after allegedly ordering a pound of marijuana from someone he met while playing video games on-line.  He is accused of paying $2300 for the weed, and was caught when it was sent to an incorrect address.  He then admitted to the crime, and his intent to sell the contraband to pay bills.  Folks, this is so full of fail I don't know where to begin.  First and foremost, he used the mail to smuggle drugs.  Second, he either did it with someone dumb enough to not triple check the address before mailing it, or he was dumb enough to admit that the package was his when it was delivered and the mailman asked specifically if he was the person to whom the package was addressed.  Finally, he opened his mouth and admitted everything.  Of course, he bought pot from somebody he met on XBox Live, so we're not exactly talking about a criminal mastermind here.
  • From the "No Kidding" Department - A study shows that 30% of civilian-employed U.S. adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night.  For those of you with small babies, I know you dream about getting six sequential hours of sleep.  I normally average between five and six, but that's why the good Lord gave us coffee.  It would be interesting to see what the percentage of the participants take sleep aids, and how many of those are in the 30% that don't sleep much.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 24

Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.  -- The Tempest, Act I, Scene II

Friday, April 27, 2012

Picture of the Day

Saw this up on the Wikipedia main page. 

United States Navy personnel engage in Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE) training between a Sikorsky SH-60 SeahawkUSS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). SPIE involves either a person or goods being lowered from or raised to a helicopter via a cable above terrain on which landing would be difficult.

Not shown is the the method used to keep the man at the end of the tether from clanging when he walked.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 23

When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions.  - Hamlet, Act IV, Scene V

My Take - Most of us can handle one thing coming at us at a time without breaking much of a sweat.  But it always seems that the world shotguns us.  I know several people who found out their wife was pregnant, their parents were sick, and they were being outsourced within the space of a couple weeks.  When life throws that much crap at you, all you can do is your best and lean on the help of your friends and family.  Don't worry, you'll be there for them to lean on when life inevitably sucker punches them at the same time it's shanking them in the back.  That's yet another reason to always have a tribe.

Today's Earworm

This one is dedicated to JayG, who put this little ditty into my mind last night in GBC.  Perhaps thanks to the extra spicy fried rice I had for dinner last night, I dreamt last night I was in a dive bar I used to frequent. George Thorogood was up on stage playing it over and over and over.  Now, that's not exactly a bad dream.  Nothing like dreaming about sitting in a bar, enjoying a few drinks, and listening to music.  But doing it in that never-ending dream time became tiresome.

And yes, it's still scratching at my temporal lobe.

What the F'ing F?

I'm pretty open minded.  I recognize that there are different people doing and believing different things all over the world and in my backyard.  I understand that what my values and the laws of my country might find absolutely repugnant might not be that bad in another country or in another culture.  I have my own cultural biases, but I try to mind my own business and stay out of other peoples' affairs.

But what in the name of Chewbacca's hairy nether regions is wrong with lawmakers in Egypt?

Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death
So let me get this straight.  Your wife dies, you're stricken with grief, and you think it would be a good idea to have a goodbye romp with her cooling corpse?   I've been lucky to never have lost a wife in that manner, but I cannot imagine why a law allowing such a thing would be needed, much less conceived and debated.  I love Irish Woman with all my heart and soul, but in the event that she dies, I cannot imagine wanting to have a quickie with her corpse in the first six hours after her death.

You know, I try to remember that the god of the Muslim is the god of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.  I really do.  I try to not have hard feelings about the differences in beliefs between us, and emphasize the good in all my fellow hairless apes.  But I think I draw the line at state sanctioned necrophilia.  I don't think that abusing a corpse is a proper expression of grief in any sane worldview.

I'm not a Koranic scholar, but if anyone can point to the sura that makes this OK, I'd appreciate it.  My gut tells me it doesn't exist.

Another Reason I Will Never Employ Anyone

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently approved new guidelines on the use of criminal background checks by employers when trying to decide whom to hire.  Basically, employers are having new restrictions imposed on them when they want to consider past criminal history during the hiring process.  The EEOC states that their goal was to make it easier for minority job seekers with a criminal record to find work.

I can understand that.  Everyone makes mistakes, and just about everyone deserves a second chance*.  But if I were to trust someone enough to let them handle my money and interact with my customers as my representative, I would definitely want to know if they have ever done something that indicates they can't be trusted.  Part of that would be a background check that showed any convictions.   An employer shouldn't be surprised by the history of their employees when they repeat past crimes upon the customers, inventory, or cash in the till.

Please notice that I said convictions.  If you've been arrested and had the charges dropped or been acquitted, you're good.  If it's something that happened years and years ago, we can talk about it and see if you've been able to get your act together.  Heck, if you just got out of prison and are looking to make a fresh start, if you're otherwise qualified for the job, I'd probably still give you a chance to talk.

And if someone doesn't want to submit to inquiries about convictions and a background check?  Well, then I guess they don't want to exchange their talents and labor for my money.

But to have the government discourage business owners from even asking or considering the history of an applicant?  Yeah, that's out of bounds.  I can see the government requiring that things that the applicant can't help, such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, be verboten for consideration.  But to discourage business owners from being able to know that the person they're hiring doesn't have a history that could be detrimental to business just smacks of social engineering at the expense of the part of our society that creates jobs.

*Child molesters, rapists, child pornographers, and that kind of ilk deserve to be branded under sedation so that the rest of society can know to keep them isolated from the rest of us.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughts on the Day

  • Today, I had a computer remind me that even though it's designed with mathematics and logic in mind, it is on occasion completely irrational and illogical.  It was almost as bad as working with people.
  • Boo got measured today.  He was in the 95+ percentile in every possible way.   Obviously Irish Woman's plot to breed height back into her gene pool is succeeding.
  • Hell knows no wrath like a four year old who has to have two tubes of blood drawn, especially when it takes two attempts at the finger stick.
  • I had to make him strong, didn't I?  It took me, Irish Woman, and two nurses to hold Boo down so that he could get five immunizations after the blood draw.
  • Ice cream has psychic healing properties.  Several minutes after getting a strawberry shake, all sins were forgiven.
  • Apparently I overstated how spicy I wanted my fried rice when I ordered it.  My innards feel like I swallowed butane.  Hopefully I don't have vindaloo dreams.
  • Siamese cats have no respect for personal space when chicken is involved.

I'm getting to this point

Non Sequitur is one of my daily reads, and it never fails to draw at least a smile.  No, I don't consider myself a professional blogger, but it's becoming my main hobby.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 22

By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes... Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I

My Take - You can't depend on premonition or omens, but you should be able to look at your surroundings and know what's about to happen.

Today's Earworm

A bar in Tennessee has announced that it will start having a streamed viewing of Sunday church services available for customers.  The management of the Drunk Monkey in Tulsa has worked with the pastor at a local church to make services available to people who might not be comfortable in a church.  This makes sense to me.  Christ didn't come to preach to those who already believed. 

Of course, the heathen in me had this running through my head when I read it.

Thought for the Day

There is a not-insignificant feeling of freedom when you finally realize that it's OK to tell someone that you can't care about their problems more than they do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Overheard in the Living Room

Boo, handing me a ball from his pneumatic tennis ball launcher:  Dad, here!
Me, taking it from him:  Why is the ball wet?
Boo:  It fell!
Me:  Where did it fall?
Boo: It fell in the potty!
Me:  OK, off to wash hands!
Boo:  I want my ball!

Ah, the joys of parenthood.

Today's Earworm

This is Minot
It snows here eight months out of the year, and rains for three more
The food here is tough and tasteless
The people here can be even more so.
The highlight of living here is the pests.  We have ..... Norwegians.

And yes, Irish Woman's pet name for me is "The Viking" or "Stoic".

Dear Person Sending Emails

Thank you so much for your kind email.  I am honored to know that after you just "stumbling" upon my little blog, your clients are excited to create an advertising relationship with my collection of brain droppings.  I must be doing something right if you can accidentally find my rants, musings, and bad jokes and immediately associate it with your customers advertising requirements.  

Unfortunately, I decided long ago to only put links on the blog for causes and companies with whom I have a relationship.  For example, I donate to Soldier's Angels, so there is a link for Soldier's Angels.  I know the proprietors of Michael's Custom Holsters and Dragon Leatherworks, and I am a customer of those fine companies, so I put up links to their sites.  I think you get the idea.

But I draw the line at putting up advertising for companies with whom I don't have much of a connection beyond a monthly check.  This is pretty much a hobby and self-administered catharsis for me, so I don't put up advertising for companies I have only a slight connection to.  And to be honest, making this a commercial enterprise would create ethical issues for me.

However, if your clients wish to send me examples of their wares so that I can test them and put up a review, I'd be more than happy to do so.  Heck, I'll even ship the product back when I'm done if they want. But I'm not interested in being paid for advertising space on the blog.

If you truly like my blog and are now reading it, you'll see this message.  If you think we can do business on mutually agreeable terms, then please contact me again. If not, then I wish you luck in the future, but I don't need to continue to get emails on a regular basis from you and your associated websites.

Again, good luck, and I hope to hear from you again soon.


Daddy J. Bear

Shout out

To the guy who dropped a few dozen roofing nails in the parking lot, I hope you live a long and painful life rotating the horse waste piles at Churchill Downs.  And don't worry, I picked them all up, thankfully not with my brand new tires.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 21

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world. -- The Merchant of Venice, Act V, Scene I

My Take - To a lot of people, a good act, even just a kind word to be polite, can mean a lot.  We are bombarded, both by the media and in our lives, by darkness and conflict.  By being good to someone, you bring a little light into their lives.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quote of the Day

We’ve got to quit stabbing ourselves in the eye with an ice pick and then complain we can’t see. --Ted Nugent, in the Washington Times, discussing the "War on Poverty"
H/T to MaddMedic for the link

Repost: ANZAC Day

This is a repost from April 25, 2011.  H/T to Julie over at Jigsaw's Thoughts for reminding me of the date.

Today is ANZAC Day.  Today we commemorate the brave men of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps's involvement in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I, which was an attempt to knock Turkey out of World War I and open the Bosphorus to Russian, British, and French shipping.  By the time that the British high command realized that the fighting at Gallipoli was going nowhere, almost 150,000 Australian, New Zealand , British, French, and Indian soldiers were dead or wounded.

As far as I know, I have no familial ties to Australia or the rest of the Commonwealth.   But I do remember my mother and her mother making ANZAC Cookies every April.  It was only later in life that I learned just what those hard, sweet cookies meant.  I did serve with some outstanding Diggers from Australia once or twice, and if their great-grandfathers were half as resourceful, professional, and friendly as the soldiers I met, then a lot of good men had their trial by fire on the shores of Gallipoli.

If you're interested in learning a bit about the Battle of Gallipoli and the soldiers who fought on both sides, the 2005 documentary "Gallipoli" was very well done.  I also came across this poem a few months ago, and thought I'd share.  It was written by an Australian soldier who was convalescing from wounds received at Gallipoli.

The new dawn lights the eastern sky;
Night shades are lifted from the sea,
The Third Brigade with courage storm
Thy wooded heights, Gallipoli
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Australians tread Gallipoli.

Thunderous bursts from iron mouths -
Myriad messengers of death,
Warships ply their deadly fire
Watching comrades hold their breath
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
There's hell upon Gallipoli.

Serried ranks upon the beach,
Courage beams in every eye
These Australian lads can face
Giant Death, though e'er so nigh,
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
There's death upon Gallipoli.

On they press in endless stream,
Up the heights they shouting go;
Comrades fall; but still press on
They press the now retreating foe
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
The Turks flee on Gallipoli.

One by one the brave lie low,
Machine Guns, shrapnel do their work;
Brave Australians know no fear,
Never have been known to shirk,
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Their names carved on Gallipoli.

Reduced, cut up, there numbers show
The murderous fire that swept thy field;
But still victorious they stand,
Who never have been known to yield
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Thick dead lie on Gallipoli.

For days they hold with grim set grip,
Their feet firm planted on the shore,
Repelling every fierce attack
And cheerfully they seek for more
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Their trenches line Gallipoli.
For thirty weary days they fight,
For Britain's sake they give their best;
With uncomplaining voice they stand
And neither look nor ask for rest
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
They've conquered thee, Gallipoli.

The waves break on thy wave swept shores,
The breeze still blows across thy hills;
But crosses near and far abound,
A sight that deepest grief instils
Gallipoli! Gallipoli !
Their graves lie on Gallipoli.

For those brave hearts that died to show
Australia's worth in this dread war,
The far off tears and sighs for those
Who sleep beneath the cannons roar
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Thou still, shalt pay, Gallipoli.

The few that valiant still remain,
War worn but grim and anger yet
To hurl full vengeance on the foe.
Because they never can forget
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
They ask the price, Gallipoli.

Gallipoli I warn you now,
Australia's sons and Turks shall meet
Once more, and then our onslaught yet
Shall sweep the ground beneath your feet
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Thy end's in sight, Gallipoli.

Upon the Graves of those that sleep,
Upon thy wooded slope and vale,
We shall avenge. Remember then,
Australians cannot, will not fail,
Gallipoli ! Gallipoli !
Thy doom is sealed, Gallipoli.

Staff Sergeant Sydney Bolitho.
6th Battalion A.I.F

Repeat after me

  1. All guns are always loaded.
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
A man and his wife are being treated for gunshot wounds after he shot himself in the hand with a pistol, the bullet passed through him, and then it struck his wife in the leg.   This negligent discharge happened during a handgun safety course at a residence in Virginia.  The instructor reports that he had left the room when the gun discharged.

Let's see here:
  • Rule 1 violation - Why was a loaded gun being handled at someone's house during firearms safety instruction? Why was live ammunition even in the room?
  • Rule 2 violation - The guy muzzled himself and his wife.
  • Rule 3 violation - Unless the gun malfunctioned, it didn't "just go off"
  • I'm sure there's a rule 4 violation in here somewhere, but I can't articulate it, so I'll give him a pass on that one. 
  • Why were inexperienced shooters being left alone with a loaded gun?
Ladies and gentlemen, this wasn't a "stupid accident".   A "stupid accident" is when a normally responsible driver hits a patch of black ice and slides into a bus stop.  A "stupid accident" would have been if the gun was faulty and discharged on its own.  Based on what I can see here, I don't call this an "accident".  I call this "negligence stacking".  There was live ammunition in the gun during non-firing training, there wasn't proper supervision of a new shooter, the shooter pointed the gun at himself and his wife, and he probably had his finger on the trigger.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've said it before:  We will not be judged based on our most responsible and safe gun owners.  We will be judged by the mistakes, negligence, and damage done by those who are not responsible and safe.  We owe it to ourselves to be safe and to police up those who have a lapse in judgement.

Update - Jake does an excellent job summing up the situation.


Californians will be voting this fall on whether or not to continue the death penalty in their state.  Proponents of the change in the law cite the cost in time and money to carry out an execution and possible racial issues with who gets the death penalty. 

I'm conflicted.  At a gut level, I believe that if you intentionally take the life of another human being without mitigating circumstances such as self-defense, then you should pay with your life.  The death penalty in the United States has become rare and used for only a very narrow range of crimes, and the restrictive manner in which a person can be condemned helps to ensure that it will only be used in the most egregious circumstances.

But if the point of the death penalty is to punish the offender and deter crime, it's a failure.  If someone commits murder today,  and is then arrested, tried, convicted, and condemned to death, they're almost as likely to die of old age as they are to get a needle in their arm.  How do decades of time spent in a special wing of a prison, with food, shelter, health care, and entertainment taken care of, punish someone?*  How does the occasional news report or celebrity protest against an execution deter someone who has absolutely no connection to either a crime that happened years ago or an execution that is done behind concrete walls and out of the public square.   If the purpose is to punish and deter, then executions should be done in public in the community where the crime happened and done as soon after the crime as possible.

Another issue is the small, but not insignificant, number of people who are exonerated** years after their conviction, sometimes after spending years on death row.  I know that they are a small percentage of those who are convicted of crimes, but I still believe in "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".  Add to that the fact that once a person is executed, no amount of new DNA evidence or confessions by the actual killer can bring bring them back.  Giving the state the power to take a citizen's life puts the most critical responsibility in the world, the responsibility to only take the life of those who truly deserve it, in the hands of a group of people who couldn't make a profit with a whorehouse. 

So to make a long blog post short, I have mixed feelings about the death penalty.  My emotions and values tell me that there are indeed those who deserve to have their lives ended because of their crimes.  I don't believe that the way we do it currently is the correct way to do it if we are going to do it at all.  I don't think it's effective as a deterrent for others, and I don't believe that the state does a good enough job in making sure that those who get the death penalty truly deserve it.

If I still lived in California, I'd probably vote for this measure.  If the way we administer the death penalty in this country was more effective and better at sorting the sheep from the goats, I would probably feel different.

*Of course, the same could be said about life in prison with no parole as it is practiced today.

**Yes, I know that that website is horribly biased in this debate, but that particular page seems to have empirical data as opposed to emotion and opinion.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 20

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones; -- Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene II

My Take -  What will you be remembered for?  Are the acts you commit and the way you live your life going to cause you to be remembered as a good person or as an oxygen thief?

Monday, April 23, 2012

News Roundup

  • From the "Crossing Palms and Taking Names" Department - Walmart seems to be in a bit of hot water after being accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Mexico.  Apparently you can't build large stores and offer cheap consumer goods in the third world without having to wet someones beak.  The Obama administration has stepped up enforcement that restricts U.S. companies from taking part in foreign corruption.  To me, this raises the question of how can one do business in countries where the wheels of bureaucracy and law enforcement are greased with liberal doses of bribery?  We want U.S. industry to compete on international markets, but have the vapors if a few dollars are given to encourage the local potentate to do the job he was 'elected' to do in the first place.  Something tells me the Chinese don't have any such qualms.
  •  From the "Second Verse, Same as the First" Department - The North Korean military is threatening grave consequences for South Korea.  This is probably connected to the failed launch of a 'peaceful scientific rocket' by the North, which appears to me and everyone else in the world who noticed to be more along the lines of "they tried to launch an ICBM, but it blew itself up in mid-air".  The North is also expected to conduct another atomic weapons test soon.  The North has quickly become the guy who gets drunk at the party and threatens to beat the crap out of the school boxing champion just to show he's no wuss.  Maybe if we could get Japan to friend them on Facebook, they'd settle down and finish that circling of the drain they've been on since 1949.
  • From the "Free Range Dumbasses" Department - Two men in Utah have been arrested for setting booby traps along a popular walking trail.  When I first saw the headline, I thought these two had set up some sort of IED, but it turns out it was sharpened sticks and tripwires.  While these can be deadly, I fail to see the point of what these two numbskulls were doing.  Someone ought to tell them that "Pitfall" was just a video game, not a computer training simulation.  Maybe they were watching "Raiders of the Lost Ark" while stoned and thought it would be a good idea to create some of the traps Indiana Jones found in the Mayan temple.
  • From the "Friendly Skies" Department - Fox News has posted a list of things that most people didn't realize they can take on a commercial flight, either as checked baggage or carry-on.  The list includes sporting equipment, service animals, and firearms.  Of course, the list doesn't include "dignity", since the TSA has been taking that away from travellers for over a decade.
  • From the "Goaaaaaaalllllllll!" Department - A soccer ball lost during the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last year has washed up in Alaska, and is on its way back to its owner.   A man in Anchorage found the ball, along with a volleyball, while walking on the beach.  It is believed to be the first of many finds as the field of debris from the tsunami reaches North America.  Hopefully more mementos can be returned to survivors of the disaster in the coming months.  

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 19

A fair face will wither; a full eye will wax hollow: but a good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon; or, rather, the sun and not the moon; for it shines bright, and never changes, but keeps his course truly. -- Henry V, Act V, Scene II

My Take - My wife is beautiful, and she always will be.  But what makes her beautiful to me is more than her soft red hair and flashing green eyes.  It's the size and depth of her love for me and my children, her forgiving nature when I inevitably mess up, and her ability to look beyond my failings to see the man she thinks I am that keeps her beauty as the years go by.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oh yeah

Last night, I showed y'all the two big pork roasts I was going to cook up for Sunday dinner.  After a good rub and a night under tin foil in the refrigerator, I put them on the smoker for about 5 hours.
Skin and fat side up

The meaty side went down on the grill, while the skin and fat side went up.  I put charcoal on either side in the grill, and put damp cherry and maple twigs on top of the charcoal.  I was going to use apple too, but couldn't find the bag of apple wood I put back last fall.

The smoke ring was about half an inch deep in the meat, and the skin and fat has a very nice smoky smell to it.  I saved all that, and I see a big pot of beans and rice sometime in my future.

Irish Woman didn't have time to make barbecue sauce from scratch, so we took a couple bottles of our favorite store-bought, juiced it up with half a cup of Woodford Reserve and some chili powder, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.   It had a very nice smoky flavor and a bit of a bite from the chili powder.  I have some of that left, so the leftover pork is probably going to go into a crockpot on low with it for a few hours tomorrow and be served up on buns.

Our sides were au gratin potatoes, some of the last of our corn from last summer, and country style green beans with bacon and onions.

A good feed was had by all, and since several of the families we'd asked over couldn't make it, we had a huge load of leftovers.  Look for my cholesterol to skyrocket over the next few days.

Thought for the Day

We must have bought very good bacon yesterday.  When we took it out of the refrigerator this morning, we were immediately inundated with cats.  We hadn't even punctured the seal yet, and Koshka knew there was BACON to be had.  Normally the "Summon Kitty" spell requires either the actual cooking of the bacon or the opening of a tuna can.

Review Follow-Up - CZ-82 Holster from Michael's Custom Holsters

This time last year, I got my first custom made holster.  It was a basic high-rise pancake model from Michael, and it looked and felt wonderful:

Brand New Front
Brand New Back
I've been wearing this holster regularly for a year, and I have to say that it's held up surprisingly well.

One year on, front
This is the color of leather I prefer.

The opening is still stiff and snug

Belt loop

Belt loop

Back, one year on

Reverse of belt loop
As you can see, the leather is aging to a nice brown, and it should continue to darken as time goes on. On advice from Michael, I have used saddle soap and SnowSeal to clean and treat the leather.  The holster continues to be very stiff where it needs to be, but the belt loops have worn in to allow a gun belt to run through them without losing their grip.  Basically, it's easier to get the holster on, but once I have it set, it doesn't move until I move it.  

The holster grips the gun very well. If anything, it grips it better now than it did when it was brand new, as the leather has molded itself to the pistol.  The rough back has held up very well, but there is a very slight touch of wear where the belt runs against it.

As you can see, the construction of the holster is holding up extremely well  The stitching on the back has no sign of fraying or wearing out.  The layers of leather are all holding together very well, and like I said, it's become more comfortable and usable as time has gone on.

Normally when I do a review, I try to find a few things I like and a few things that could be improved, but in this case, I can't find anything amiss.  The comfort, looks, construction, and usability of this holster are all excellent.  I would definitely recommend Michael to anyone who wants to get a holster.

30 Days of Shakespeare - Day 18

Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice
To change true rules for odd inventions.  -- The Taming of the Shrew, Act III, Scene I

My Take - OK, I admit I'm a bit of an Apple fanboi and I have, on occasion, been accused of being a gadget geek.  But when it comes to guns, I guess I'm an old stick in the mud.  I have and use guns with polymer stocks, and for EDC, a polymer pistol, Kydex holster, advanced optics, and synthetic sling make a lot of sense.  But my heart reaches out for guns made of wood and steel, holsters and belts made out of leather, and guns with iron sights.   Something tells me that no-one is going to be hanging great-great-great-great granddaddy's AR-15 over the fireplace in a couple hundred years.  I lust after a Kentucky long rifle to hang over the mantel.
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