Thursday, July 31, 2008

I snorted beer out my nose.

This little video had me laughing out loud in my hotel room. I think my neighbors think I'm crazy.

h/t to Squeaky on this.

Pop ups...

No posting today... except, you know, this one...

Pop up trip to cover a broken airplane. And because the air conditioner isn't working on our airplane, we, of course, go to the hottest places in the US. Pick up on the big D and drop on the south end of the front range in Colorado. Then a quick roundabout back to Eagle. Short/Long day if you know what I mean.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Light posting day

Light posting today. Really not to much sight seeing today. I've got recurrent training going on this month and that's about 80 hours of sheer, intense, torture. You know, the cruel and unusual kind.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gun Nuts too

A quick h/t to Ahab and Squeaky for another great show. Even with all the technical difficulties it was a pleasure to attend via the chatroom. If you didn't catch it, go to the website and you can replay the recorded show.

Travelogue

So, after eating at a cafe in the middle of downtown Eagle, I took the afternoon to drive around the town and surrounding areas. I have to say that the Rocky Mountains have some of the best views. My phone camera can't do them justice, but here are a couple of shots of what I could see once I made my way to the top of the surrounding hills.





Although hills may be the wrong word. The tops were around 7 or 8 thousand feet. Of course the valley starts at 6500 feet, so maybe hills is the right word.


And this, I just couldn't figure out. I mean maybe with nothing to do in the summer while the resorts are closed, hula hoops could be big. You never know.


====================================================================

One of the things I saw as I was driving around was this little hut, for lack of a better term, along side one of the dirt roads leading up to the top of the surrounding hills.

I look upon these sites and I wonder what the story is behind them. Was it once a trappers winter hut. Where he would hunker down and wait out the mountain blizzards that would close the passes for weeks on end. Could it have been the lookout shack for the railroad trackman. Keeping his lonely vigil for snow and rock falls that would close the tracks and endanger the people and cargo moving east or west across this continental divide. Maybe it was the root cellar for some hardy pioneer who first settled this airy mountain pass. Storing up the rations to survive in a brutal unforgiving environment.

Now. Now, it's just a lonely half buried hovel. The door long since torn from it's hinges and laying scant feet from the dark doorway. The door jamb rusting away. Solitary flakes breaking off in the wind and weather to flee from their forgotten incarceration. The solitary brace holding the rotting eaves and dirt and scrub roof from finally collapsing in and erasing this forgotten piece of man's spirit and drive to explore and attempt to conquer the world around him.

A taste of my day

This is the view out my window at the hotel. I guess you have to pay more to, you know, actually see something.




And this is the view down the main street in Eagle. You can tell they're trying hard and you got to give them an A for effort.


On the up side, I talked to a few people about local brews and theres a 1557 dark ale as well as a couple of others that I may just bring home with me to try.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Pre-Travelogue

After much head scratching and pondering and burning of jet fuel, we find our intrepid hero in Eagle, CO, beautiful, picturesque Eagle, CO. Tomorrow he shall venture forth into this new and unconquered land and bravely snap many a picture with his -2 (crappy) phone camera. For tomorrow eve, after the feast, the bards shall sing and the pics shall be posted. For in this day of the 21st century making people watch slides of your "vacation" need not be subjected to just immediate family.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And loe, he didth spake unto....

the groveling masses and it did come to pass.

http://tulsa.cox.net/cci/newsnational/national?_mode=view&_state=maximized&view=article&id=D926EKVG4&_action=validatearticle

For the Obamessiah hath spoke unto the uneducated gun-clingy religious unenlightened and it is therefore true.

Because that's why he spent the whole weeks in Europe courting the voters... err...

I'm sorry, why was he over there again? To prove he has foreign policy experience? Umm, Barack, just because you can point to it on a map....

Of course, he now knows where Iraq and Afghanistan are now. I mean, not knowing where they were wasn't going to stop him from creating policy there out of whole cloth... his imagination... hopey feeling staff... in depth analysis.

I think squeaky said it best. He's running for the office of the president of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Not the US chair to the EU. I don't know who's vote he was courting over in Europe, but it wasn't the right crowd. Ultimately IF (and I think that's a big if) he gets elected, he's answerable to the people of the US, not some foreign power. He better be thinking about what's best for us and not another country. Spending weeks in Europe campaigning isn't boosting my confidence in that area.

But I'm being too mean. He did spend weeks... most... days... some... a bit of time talking to our troops overseas. I wonder what they plugged his ears with to keep him from hearing what they had to say. The Great Ceiling Cat forbid he actually listen to people who are actually over there about what to do in the region.

But back to the original topic. I wonder what polls he's using to say that? Of course, if it's NBMSCBCNN then it makes sense. Their impartiality is well document. And any "random" poll they take of Chris Chill-Up-My-Leg Mathews will of course be accurate of the majority of the people in this country.

On the issues I care about, neither candidate is my favorite choice. In fact, if I limit myself to the 2 parties, you could say

rock / me \ hard place


But I see disaster looming nearer with Obamessiah than with McCain.
Maybe I'll just stock up on ammo, sit back, drink a beer and watch the circus roll by.

BoVLB Awardee

I'm awarding the travelling BoVLB trophy to this man.

It seems that being drunk and lawn mowing wasn't enough. When it wouldn't start he just had to get out a gun and shoot it. But, not to settle for just that, he had to bring out the shotgun. You know, the one that had the really short barrel. That one. Oh, and did I mention that he forgot to get that pesky SBW stamp for it?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Keith Walendowski. Let's all give him a hand.

Best Blonde Joke Ever.

Squeaky has a couple of good jokes. But the blonde joke at the bottom is absolutly the best one I've heard in a long while.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shakespear I'm not, but....

The Muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The number of Muses varies over time; initially there was but one, and later there is mention of three: Melete, Mneme, and Aoede (the Elder Muses). They were nymphs in Pieria, western Thrace, and their cult was brought to Helicon in Boeotia by the Aloadae. Usually there is mention of nine muses: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania, the Younger Muses.

Calliope
The eldest and most distinguished of the nine Muses. She is the Muse of eloquence and epic or heroic poetry. Calliope ("beautiful voice") is the mother of Orpheus and Linus with Apollo. She was the arbitress in the argument over Adonis between Persephone and Aphrodite. Her emblems are a stylus and wax tablets.

Clio
The Muse of historical and heroic poetry. With Pierus, the king of Macedonia, she is the mother of Hyacinth. She was credited for introducing the Phoenician alphabet into Greece. Her attribute is usually a parchment scroll or a set of tablets.

Erato
The Muse of lyric poetry, particularly love and erotic poetry, and mimicry. She is usually depicted with a lyre.

Euterpe
Euterpe, her name means "rejoicing well" or "delight". She was born from Zeus and Mnemosyne. Euterpe is the Muse of music and lyric poetry. She is also the Muse of joy and pleasure and of flute playing and was thought to have invented the double flute, which is her attribute.

Melpomene
The Muse of tragedy. She is usually represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus (the boots traditionally worn by tragic actors). Sometimes she holds a knife or a club in one hand, and the mask in the other.

Polyhymnia
Polyhymnia is the Greek Muse of the sacred hymn, eloquence and dance. She is usually represented in a pensive or meditating position. She is a serious looking woman, dressed in a long cloak and resting with an elbow on a pillar. Sometimes she holds a finger to her mouth.

Terpsichore
Terpsichore is the Muse of dancing and the dramatic chorus, and later of lyric poetry (and in even later versions, of flute playing). Hence the word terpsichorean, pertaining to dance. She is usually represented seated, and holding a lyre. According to some traditions, she is the mother of the Sirens with the river-god Achelous. She is also occasionally mentioned as the mother of Linus by Apollo.

Thalia
The Muse who presided over comedy and pastoral poetry. She also favored rural pursuits and is represented holding a comic mask and a shepherd's crook (her attributes). Thalia is also the name of one of the Graces (Charites).

Urania
The Greek Muse of astronomy and astrology. She is occasionally mentioned as the mother of Linus by Apollo. She is represented with a globe in her left hand and a peg in her right hand. Urania is dressed in a cloak embroidered with stars and she keeps her eyes towards the sky.

If anyone has seen any of these girls, please let them know I'm looking for them.

Even writing about muses provides no inspiraiton. That is messed up.

It's not that there isn't stuff to write about. Lord knows, this week with Mike V's opinion on gun registration, the Obamassiah over in Europe winning votes, McCain's display of snark talent, you'd think I could find something to write. But the muses, they have abandoned me.

sorry.

Friday Mind Game.

Today's wit destroying song is:




I am an evil genius. With this song running over and over in your head through the power of my psychic. You shall be left witless. And once you are all witless, I shall rule the blogiverse. For truly, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king and I, I am a halfwit!

Cue ominous laugh.

What a day....

So, since I've got a long trip coming up starting this weekend, I got up relatively early (8:00) today to get everything set. Grab my drycleaning, run out to the car and nothing. Dead, dead, dead. Grab my multimeter and the battery is dead, as in fried. So, wrench, wrench wrench, yank the battery out and walk 2 and a half miles to the nearest Interstate Battery shop. Did I mention it was 90F this morning and just getting hotter? Right, back to the story. I trudge the new battery back and get it in as well as changing the terminal clamps on the battery leads. And the car fires right up. Yeah! Of course, it's nearing 1 pm at this point. Too late to get the drycleaning in and out in one day, but I've got no flights till saturday. At which point, yeap, you guessed it. ring. We've got a pop up and you're on it. "I don't have any uniforms." "What do you mean?!" "I mean, I've got a week and a half trip coming up and you're supposed to give me a day to get ready. Are you telling me that's no longer company policy?" "You're the only pilot we've got." "Oh, you mean you sold the airplane without a crew to fly it. Sounds like a problem. Only not mine." "Well, start driving up here and we'll find a uniform for you." "So, I don't get a day to prep for this next trip. That's just a pipe dream on my part."

The trip was supposed to run from 3:30 pm to 2:00 am. Luckily, the passengers finished by 9:30 and I'm home ranting about it by 11:30. I love my job.

Just keep repeating that....

I love my job.




I love my job.





Crap.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hey, it's happy flu season.

I caught it from Jovian Thunderbolt.







Travelogue

Right, back from points north. The countryside around Sheboygan, I have to say, is some of the most picturesque I've seen in a while. I picked up a local beer from a brewery called Central Waters. I'm sipping on a Ouisconsine Red Ale right now. Truly an exceptional beer. I can see why it was voted the number one microbrew in the state. I didn't take too many pictures, mostly because CarTeach would laugh me out of the blogiverse for my phone-camera pics. But we did stumble on:


No sign of President Groucho or his ministers Chico or Harpo.


Edit: The brewery web site is: www.centralwaters.com. Check them out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Radio night

Hope everyone is ready for tonight's Gun Nuts: TNG show.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts/2008/07/23/Gun-Nuts-The-Next-Generation

Edit: Great show. The 45 minute format is starting to get too short. The interview with the VCDL was excellent. I wish a little more time could have been given to the "Mothers Against Guns" segment. I was left with more questions about this "organization" and no time to ask them. Maybe Ahab or Snowflake could keep on this item and post what they find.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hotel internet.

I've got a bunch of choice words about hotel internet and outbound email server ports. But I'm afraid I'd make a Russian Sailor blush if I actually said all I want to say. To all of you out there that might be expecting emails from me, I'm sorry. I've got emails queued up, but since the outbound email server resides in yon ivory tower beyond the port of no communication, y'all'll have to wait till I get home.

And yes y'all'll is a real word... Maybe not up here in northern northbay outside of northcity, northland. But, down where the tea is sweet and comfort food is... comforting, it is

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Authorities: Autopsy shows woman in baby mystery was eviscerated, uterus cut open


PITTSBURGH (Associated Press) -- Investigators on Saturday were trying to identify the body of a woman found bound with duct tape with her uterus cut open in the apartment of another woman who falsely claimed a newborn baby was her own.

Allegheny County Police Assistant Superintendent James Morton said investigators were also trying to verify that the dead woman was the mother of a baby brought by Andrea Curry-Demus to West Penn Hospital on Thursday night.

"Circumstances would dictate that it has to be. There can't be too many cases similar to this at the same time," Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams said.

Morton said the woman's fingerprints didn't match any of those in a police database and she had no identifying scars or tattoos. Williams said dental records would be used to try to identify her.
The body was found Friday after reporters called authorities about a foul odor coming from inside Curry-Demus' Wilkinsburg apartment. Police had been at the building Thursday night, but did not go into that apartment, Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said. Instead, a relative of Curry-Demus led them to another apartment, she said.

The woman appeared to have been dead for about two days, Williams said. Her hands and feet were bound with duct tape, and her face was covered with a plastic material that had also been secured with duct tape.

"We found a lot of evidence of a struggle having occurred," Williams said. He said there was evidence of drugs at the scene and investigators will look for their presence in the victim's system.

The cause of death had not been determined, Williams said.

The baby was "apparently doing well" although there had been problems initially with a low heart rate and low temperature associated with blood loss, Williams said. The hospital would not release any information about the child.

According to police, Curry-Demus showed up at the hospital Thursday with a newborn that still had the umbilical cord attached. Tests later proved that she was not the mother.

Curry-Demus then told police she miscarried in June and didn't want to upset her own mother by telling her she had lost the baby. She said she befriended a pregnant woman and discussed buying her child when it was born, according to the criminal complaint. Curry-Demus told police she paid a woman named Tina $1,000 for the baby.

Curry-Demus was charged with child endangerment and dealing in infant children. She has been jailed in lieu of $10,000 bond and a psychiatric exam.

Morton said further charges in the case would be filed after the body is identified.

Jail officials declined to say if Curry-Demus had an attorney, and Morton said he didn't know. An attorney who once represented her did not immediately respond to a phone message left Saturday.

Ivee Blunt, a neighbor who attended a shower for Curry-Demus, said she wanted her in the delivery room when she delivered. Blunt said Curry-Demus told her on Sunday night that she expected to have the baby the next day, but on Monday said she wasn't ready to give birth.
In 1990, Curry-Demus, then known as Andrea Curry, was accused of stabbing a Wilkinsburg woman in an alleged plot to steal the woman's infant. A day after the stabbing, Curry-Demus snatched a 3-week-old baby girl from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The baby was found unharmed with Curry-Demus at her home the next day.

Curry-Demus pleaded guilty in 1991 to various charges stemming from both incidents and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, according to court records. She was paroled in August 1998 and began serving a 10-year probation term.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. When I read about things like this, I don't worry that our society is collapsing. I know it already has. Really a sad, sad glimpse on what our feral humams are doing out there. The amazing thing is this goblin had done it before. Apparently the only thing she learned from the last time she did this was to make sure the mother was dead. This thing has deep deep problems and shouldn't have been let anywhere near mothers or babies. Lets hope this time when the courts finish with her, that will be true.

On concealment choices.

A friend of mine just submitted his paperwork for the CCW and he's opted for a Kahr PM9 for his carry weapon. One of his concerns was anything larger would be impracticle to conceal effectively. I've mentioned it before, I think. But if not, I believe that the two best things you need for concealment are an appropriate belt and a well designed holster. I carry a full size Springfield M1911A1 and have no unusual troubles with printing. In fact I've had friends at gun shops mention that they didn't know I was carrying till I lifted my cover.

A good belt and holster don't need to break the bank. In fact the best IWB holster I've owned only ran about 70 dollars and it's the one I use every day. My belt is a Looper Leather belt. The internal kydex reinforcement completely changed the way the holster hangs on my frame, and that belt alone did more for pulling the butt of the gun snug against my side than any holster has ever done. My holster is an AKJ Concealco IWB. The design is great, the fold open mouth works as good as the all kydex holsters I have for ease of reholstering. The snap loop system allows me to take the holster off and put it on without having to drop trou to do it.

His other concern was comfort. I didn't tell him at the time, and maybe I should have, but we don't carry a gun because it's comfortable, we carry it because it's comforting. A good belt/holster combo can help in that area too. A holster that rides on the belt higher may be better for someone long waisted than someone long legged. There are as many different body types as there are, well, people. Fortunately, there are a great many holster and belt makers out there. A holster that fits me comfortably may not be right for you. On top of all that, men and women are shaped differently (Vive la differance!) and a women's curves mean a completely different class of holsters. For the same reason jeans are cut differently for men and women. Did I mention vive la differance?

I, like many others, have a drawer full of holsters that for one reason or another weren't right for me. I've collected them in my way to finding the right holster for me. Unfortunately, I can't think of any other way to find the right holster. And I'm still looking for an OWB holster that fits me.

The things we say...

Overheard this morning as we were running the Ercoupe up.

Me: Yeah, it just isn't idling like it's supposed to.
R: Wait a sec, let me get a screwdriver.
S: Make me one too.

Friday, July 18, 2008

RobertaX's "Big Secret Project"

Yes folks, you're seeing it here first. Undercover hidden camera footage of the trial runs of the "Big Secret Project" smuggled out by my crack team of investigative trappist monks. Watch and be in awe and wonder.

Friday Mind Game.

This weeks mind game shall be this song:





I shall now cause it to play over and over in your head through the power of my mind alone.
[insert mad scientist laugh here]

Your psychic kung fu is not teh strong.

Squeaky wheel seeks... links

It's a tally rally folks. Squeaky isn't the first google hit on "squeaky wheel blog". The call is going out. Link to her folks and get Squeaky over the top.

Remember it's :

Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease

That is all

Edit: Apparently hitting the same link in less than 15 words is a google no-no. So, I took out all but the most important one.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yeah, yeah, I know...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have added another Blog to my roll. Allow me to introduce The Armed School Teacher to those of you haven't met him yet. Which apparently is just me.

Citizen or Resident?

Just so you all know. I'm not happy with this post. It's not the most coherent. There are underlying meanings to some things that I don't think I communicated effectively. I've got serveral ideas muddled together here. But it's been struggling with me all day now and I thought that maybe if I just posted it I could gain a better perspective on it and fix it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt
in a letter to the president
of the American Defense Society
January 3, 1919




A comment on my Stagecoach post by Carteach0 got me thinking. Thinking on the meaning and differences between being a citizen and being a resident.


A quick browse through my dictionary and a few online ones showed me something. On the surface they both mean living somewhere. Both the following definitions below are from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (because I like copy/paste verses having to type them out).


Citizen
  1. an inhabitant of a city or town; especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
  2. a: a member of a state
    b: a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it
  3. a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state
Resident

  1. a: living in a place for some length of time : residing
    b: serving in a regular or full-time capacity; also : being in residence
  2. present, inherent
  3. not migratory
But, citizen carries an underlying meaning of owing allegiance to the place you live. By owing allegiance to that place you become entitled to certain services that place can provide such as a common defense. A resident, conversely, while living there isn't entitled to those services because they owe no allegiance to that place.


Have we become a nation of residents? We seem to have a growing entitlement mentality, but no corresponding allegiance to support it. One thing I notice living abroad for several years was we americans were the only country that identified ourselves by another country. The Scots were scottish, Welsh were welsh, French were french, etc. We, on the other hand are German-American, or Arab-American, or... Well, you get my meaning.

Maybe we should be calling ourselves American.

But I digress.

People, for some reason, want to enjoy the benefits of citizenship, but not be subject to the allegiance. Can there be citizen-residents? I'd think that there can't be. Someone might say that it's a redundancy, but I'd say they are an oxymoron, mutually exclusive terms. You can't be both. And I'd go further to say that when you identify yourself as an hyphenated american you're trying to do just that. I'm not saying that you should lose or deny your heritage, but ask yourself this. Are you exalting your heritage to the exclusion of being an American? Is your pride in heritage stopping you from doing any sort of assimilation into America? Ultimately, are you proud or ashamed to be living here?


Remember for every benefit you take from citizenship, someone had to pay something in to provide for that. It may have been a grandparent on the beaches of Europe, or a parent working in an election campaign office, or a brother or sister over in the sands of the middle east. It could be something as massive as laying down your life to protect someone from a criminal or something as simple as just holding down a job.
If you think the world, the government, or someone "owes you a living" ask yourself what you've done to earn it.

Speaking of John Wayne.

The other night I was watching an old movie. For those of you who care, it was "Stagecoach". This movie among other things launched John Wayne's career into A-list actors. But that's not what I want to talk about tonight.

The characters in the movie could be a slice of Americana. It's very probable that John Ford, the director, set them up that way to reflect society of the times, 1939 that is. At the time, Europe was just starting WWII, and Asia had been fully involved in WWII for nearly 3 years after the invasion of China by Japan in 1937. At home, the nation was divided between the isolationists and the globalists. Strangely enough, these groups bear very little similarity to the globalists and isolationists of today.

One of the characters was a bank manager/embezzler named Henry Gatewood. Gatewood was a character motivated by the most one-dimensional self-centered egotism that can only be portrayed by movie characters. This man throughout the movie cried and moaned about what the government should be doing for him, what the cavalry should be doing to protect him, etc. Yet, there was no thought on his part on providing for himself, protecting himself or contributing to the welfare of the others on the coach. In short Gatewood had the attitude that the world owed him a living and he bore no responsibility for himself or others.

So, of a coach full of people, when the chips were down and the cavalry was nowhere in sight, the others stepped up and defended themselves and Gatewood. Ford and the writers gave the impression throughout this movie that the Gatewood character embodied the worst of what made up America. But, also, that this sort of character made up only a small portion of the people of this country.

Fast forward to present day. If that movie was made today, would the Gatewood character be the minority on the coach? Or would the coach be filled with Gatewoods waiting helplessly for someone else to take responsibility with no notion that they were the someone else. We've become a nation that expects handouts, will not take any personal responsibility. When did this happen? At what point did we turn from a nation of pioneers and builders to a welfare nation? We've gone from a society that punished the person who committed the crime to one that blames the gun, or the environment, or anything else besides the person that chose to commit the crime.

Let me ask you this. Would it make sense to say, "It's not the thief's fault, its the home owner's fault for buying the plasma screen TV". From my standpoint. not only no, but hell no. Yet some of you out there would rather blame someone or something other than the person who made the choice to commit the crime.

We have people that still expect the government to support them nearly 5 years after Katrina. There were Katrina displaced people in Houston threatening to commit violent crimes if the government didn't extend their hotel stays. WTF people? Here is another group that not only feels no responsibility to provide for themselves, but feels that the world owes them a living.

Late last year a mother and son were arrested for a string of home invasions and burglaries. Someone else worked hard to earn some nice things and this "family" felt that they could take whatever they wanted. They weren't willing to work and earn anything on their own, but they expected it anyway. This entitlement attitude is becoming ingrained into us. We're teaching our next generations that that is what to expect.

On the other side of the fence we've got right-wing liberals teaching in our schools that defending oneself is wrong and not our responsibility. They're teaching our children that this concept of a nanny state providing everything is a natural way to run a country.

We've got groups of people on both sides of this pendulum respectively pushing and pulling towards a society that has more and more drawing from the community and fewer and fewer working to put into the community. What happens next?

Fortunately, there are factors working today that may stop this ominous swing of the pendulum. We've got a generation of men and women tempered in the forge of Afghanistan and Iraq, people that understand that defense and responsibility are incumbent on the individual and the group as a whole benefits from this. A generation of people that understand what the generation of men and women of WWII learned.


Freedom requires responsibility.

Quote of the Day.

In today's Sluggy Freelance:

Riff: "Any plan the starts with not firing lots of guns don't make no sense at all!"

Torg: "I'm with you but lets play this one out."

Riff: "No! I'm shooting stuff and that's final!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

One of my all time favorite shows...

Your results:
You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
























Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
70%
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
65%
Wash (Ship Pilot)
60%
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
60%
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
50%
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
40%
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
40%
Alliance
35%
Inara Serra (Companion)
30%
River (Stowaway)
30%
A Reaver (Cannibal)
15%
Honest and a defender of the innocent.
You sometimes make mistakes in judgment
but you are generally good and
would protect your crew from harm.


Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test


And I get to be captain. Tee hee

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The first BoVLB award.

I'm going to make it official. I'm going to monthly, or maybe whenever I want, award the BoVLB trophy to that most deserving person who can deftly open mouth and insert foot.

The BoVLB award is based upon this quote courtesy of Breda:

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
- Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner


Unlike Winnie who recognizes that he's a BoVLB, and that makes him a very smart bear indeed. This award will go to that person or organization who "doesn't get it". That person or organization who, in the face of overwhelming data and facts, can still prove to the world at large that contrary to Darwin, stupidity seems to be a survival trait. Because it just keeps popping up where you'd least want it to.


This month, to kick it off, the award goes to John Wiley Price for this little todo. Apparently the Honorable(?) Price lacks even a basic understanding of science today. I'm fairly sure any 5th grader knows, if not the theory, at least what a black hole is. Also, so as not to be thought of as an idiot, Mr. Price decided to open his mouth and remove all doubt. He accused his fellow council member of racism and posited on white holes. The fact that, with regards to light, black is all wavelengths absorbed and none reflected and white is all wavelengths reflected, none absorbed. And in astronomy a black hole being the ultimate in celestial vacuum cleaners. Both of which apparently accurately describing the ability of the central collections office's ability to take things in never to be seen again.


So, to you Mr. Price, I award the first BoVLB travelling trophy. Don't worry, you wont get to keep it. Someone else will do something soon to merit the award, I'm sure. And don't worry, the average person's attention span in this country would make a Mayfly seem positively geriatric anyway. So, nobody will remember.


There are people and organizations that deserve a permanent BoVLB award, The Brady Foundation, Dennis Hennigan, etc. I'll award those as I get the nominations in.


For you, both of you, my readers. Feel free to nominate anyone you see fit. I'm creating a permanent bubble on my page for the awardee's.

Two excellent reads

I was trolling teh intrewebz for something to blog about. And in my daily read list are two excellent posts. One by Brigid at Home On The Range called "TIMES PAST, COMMON SENSE LOST", and the other by Xavier at Xavier Thoughts called "Evil Among Us". Sorry couldn't get a direct link to Xaviers post. But it's the first one of Tuesday, July 15th.

Both cover two of my favorite topics; "Why I carry" (Xavier's post), and something I'm thinking of entitling "BoVLB" (Bears of Very Little Brain), (Brigid's article) concerning the lack of intelligence or even a basic education among those who've taken it upon themselves to rule... lord over... trample upon... govern us.

I'd love to be able to write as well as these two. Xavier's been at it a while and has the polish that comes from experience. Bridig's only been at it a few months and seems to be a natural. I'd hate her for that except she's just so damn good at communicating via the written word. You've got to respect that.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cryin' in my beer

Everyone seems to be up in arms over the purchase of Budweiser by Stella Artois. Leaving aside the obvious comments about most American lagers and water....

When I lived in England and learned what beers actually taste like. We used to be able to get really, rily good Budvar. Budvar is what Budweiser was meant to be. In fact, if I remember correctly the family that founded Budweiser here in the states came from the Budvar brewery.

Now, after tasting real beer (Ales, Bitters and Lagers) I came back to the states 3 years later and couldn't stand the usual suspects of bar beers. Call me a beer snob, a hops elitist, I don't care. The ice water that we Americans have been forced to drink and settle for has left us missing whole universes of flavor that beers can have. The hoppiness of some, the subtle fruits of the summer brews, the heady-ness of winters. Most people just don't get it. I'd venture that 90% of all beer drinkers are drinking it to get drunk. Drinking a beer should be about the flavor, not the buzz. If you want to get drunk, drink vodka. There's no flavor and it works faster. Drinks, and food for that matter, should be about the flavors and aromas and the experience. Not some mad rush to sate a primal instinct. But I digress.

So, I've been driven to seeking out the local micro-brews where ever I go. I, because of my job (duh), travel a lot. And when I get the chance, I'll ask the bartender, wait staff, cook, who ever what they have on tap that's local. I haven't been (seriously) disappointed yet. From Moose Drool up in the Northwest, to Boulevard in Kansas, Shiner down in Texas, a blueberry beer up in Maine, and some great spicy's down in Florida. They're out there.

On a side note, when I ask the "What's local on tap" question and the response starts with Bud, or Coors or any of the myriad big names, I know that they've grown up in the era of beer desert.

It used to be, a hundred years ago, you drank what the pub house or inn brewed. But the era of mass transit made breweries send their beer all over the place. The problem with that is all the stabilizers and preservatives that they needed to add to make the beer last the trip have killed art and localness of brewing beers.

Beers really don't last all that long after they leave the brewery without massive amounts of chemical preservatives. And even less time after the kegs been tapped. The oxygen... well, oxidizes.

Don't get my wrong, one of the best beers I've ever had was at the tasting room at the Coors plant in Colorado. Of course that stuff was fresh and without the preservatives.

I think I've ranted enough for tonight. Beer drinkers of America unite, you have nothing to lose but your bland beer. And that's a good thing.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Another linky

I've added a new comic to my daily comic list on the right. It's Gone with the Blastwave. A post-apocalypse lighter side comic. It's not really a daily comic. He posts to it only sporadically. But if you've had any connection with any of the military, the humor is excellent. In a gallows sort of way. I like it, that's all that matters to being added to my links.

Airplane geekery

Because when you're a propeller head, common sense is never enough, we all just drove out to the airstrip to check the runway for water. About a third of the way down, or two thirds depending on you're point of view, there's a low spot. And wouldn't you know it, there's standing water all the way along the low spot. Oh, and a dead bird. But that's just a bonus, we weren't actually looking for those. Now, there were Citabria's and other light tail draggers popping in and out, but the little Ercoupe really doesn't have the power to weight to comfortably do that. So, we hem'd and haw'd and scuffled and sighed and finally opted for the safe option. I tell you, it nearly killed us to do that though.

The plan now is to fly next weekend. I'll have a test flight report for you then. I promise.

Confessional

I, like all good superheros, have one weakness. My weakness?... LOLCats. Come on, look at this







And tell me you weren't all a-chuckle inside. I can and have read LOLCats and LOLDogs for hours. I'm waiting for a 12 Step Program.



Ooo... and Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream.

I guess that would be 2 things then. I wonder what the superhero rules on more than one weakness are? Well, anyways, I have just 2 weaknesses. And I completely own them....

And any cookie with "chunk" in the title....

Three, I have three weaknesses...

When exactly did i become a Monty Python sketch?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This realy brought it all into perspective for me.

Look...the mortgage situation sucks, oil is at record highs, no one can pay their bills...OHHH LOOK NEW IPHONE...EVERYONE GO STAND IN LINE.

A little shooty goodness.

Today was a shooty day for me. A friend of mine who just took his CCW class and submitted his paperwork wanted to fire his soon to be carry piece. He picked up a Kahr PM9 (?) for carry. And I had some new ammo from a past gun show that I wanted to try out. It's a factory reload from an outfit called Outdoor Marksman Corp.

So, off to the range we trundled. After a puzzling jam on his Kahr with his first round, fun was had. It's always good to go to the range. There's something sort of Zen about it. There's a rhythm about it. A physical mantra, if you will.

Loaded mags placed to the right.
Unloaded 1911, slide locked back, in the center.
Pick up gun
Load mag
Rack slide
Safety on
Set gun down pointed down range.
Breath
Stance
4 rules
Breath
Draw the gun
Take aim
Safety off
Front sight, press
Breath
Front sight, press
Breath
Empty mag, slide locked back
Remove mag, place on the left
Set gun down

Repeat as long as you want or can afford.

The same process repeated. Allowing you to push the thoughts and worries of the day aside. Freeing the conscious mind from them and allowing the unconscious mind to mull them over. It feels good to punch holes in paper for a couple of hours and not think about anything else.

Of course it could just be me.

And Obama's gonna TALK to them?

China, when asked by US diplomats about it's dramatic military buildup, said that it's purely for defensive purposes. Seems to be I recall the same sort of comments from another country some 65 or 70 years ago. That one cost about 12 million lives.

Here are some numbers on China's "purely defensive" force.
Minimum Military Enlistment Age: 18 Years Old
Available Military Manpower: 342,956,265
Total Military Personnel: 7,024,000
Active Frontline Personnel: 2,255,000

Compare that to Germany during the first 3 years of the war
1939: 4,722,000+
1940: 6,600,000+
1941: 8,154,000+

The numbers for Hitler's Wehrmacht include all auxillary units such as police and fire fighters. So, China's defensive force in peace time is as large or larger than Germany was fielding during active war years. Shall we compare some other numbers?

How about armored vehicles.
Current reported numbers in China:
Armor: 13,200
Germany during the same 3 years of the war:
1939: 1362
1940: 2586
1941: 5870

I suppose we could go on an compare airforce, navy, etc., but I think you get the idea. I'd take China's claim to a purely defensive force with a grain of salt.

Oh, by the way, China spent 81 billion dollars on it's military in 2005. That was billion with a 'b'

Weather Woes

As the storms roll ever so (not) gently over this corner of Oklahoma, it's not looking good for the Ercoupe flying tomorrow. The airpark its at is a little grass strip up around Collinsville area. And grass strips don't improve takeoff performance when you waterlog them. Ah well. Maybe Monday if it dries out fast enough.

I'm such a propeller head. Teehee.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's a conspiracy I tell ya...

Both Brigid at Home on the Range and Bear at Bear on a Bicycle are putting up fantastic pasta blogs. I, of course, have... ramen noodles.... I think I'm gonna cry.

There's a little Rooster Cogburn in all of us...

Even in Joan Rivers... But he's trying to get out.





What Kind of a Western Bad-Ass are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as John Wayne

You a classic all American cowboy who does the right thing. When you're sober. Which means occasionally. You like horses, the outdoors, whiskey, hot tempered women, whiskey, and bourbon.


John Wayne


88%

Clint Eastwood


63%

Lee Marvin


50%

Lee Van Cleef


38%

Charles Bronson


38%


My psychic kung fu is teh strong....

I shall now through the power of my psychic make you hear this song all night....



Your psychic kung fu is weak....

Another Scratch yer Head

Why does Blogger think I'm pacific time zone? Time now: 6:06 CDT.

Laugh of the day.

Over at Front Sight, Press this little DIY project had me all a lol-in.

Religious Fail.

Man sues Tenn. church for injuries after claiming spirit of God forced him to fall
07-10-2008 12:45 PM

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Associated Press) --
A man says he was so consumed by the spirit of God that he fell and hit his head while worshipping.

Now he wants Lakewind Church to pay $2.5 million for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Matt Lincoln says he is suing after the church's insurance company denied his claim for medical bills.

The 57-year-old has had two surgeries since the June 2007 injury but still feels pain in his back and legs.

He says he was asking God to have "a real experience" while praying.

Lincoln says he has fallen from the force of the spirit before but has always been caught by someone.

Lawyers for the church say other congregants saw him on the floor laughing after his fall. They say he failed to look out for his own safety.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

---------------------------------------------------

Because nobody's to blame. Except maybe God. I mean he made everything, didn't he? And failed to place the warning labels where we all could see them. I mean sheesh, where was the legal department when God was setting the whole universe up?

More linky-love

I've added a new link on my blogroll.

He's Bear on a Bicycle. His photography is amazing. He's got to be using something better than my phone-camera. I'm just saying.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wha?

Why do loafs of bread come in odd number slices? I mean, how many slices do you use for a sandwich? How many do you grab to make toast? So, why do they cut them in odd numbers?

Just some food for thought.

Not Yours To Give
Col. David Crockett
US Representative from Tennessee
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," by Edward Sylvester Ellis.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it.

We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I ever heard that the government was in arrears to him.

"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but as I thought, rather coldly.

"I began: 'Well friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates and ---

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"This was a sockdolger... I begged him tell me what was the matter.

"Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting you or wounding you.'

"I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.

But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the honest he is.'

" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?

"Well my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just the same as I did.'

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.'

"'Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this country as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have Thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.'

"The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'

"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:
"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'

"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'
"If I don't, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. 'This Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you. "

'Well I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."
"'My name is Bunce.' "

'Not Horatio Bunce?' "

'Yes "

'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'
"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, and for a heart brim-full and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before."

"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.

"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'
"He came up to the stand and said:

"Fellow-citizens - it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'

"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'

"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'

"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. "There is one thing which I will call your attention, "you remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $20,000 when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

__________________

In this era we live in with .gov funded relief programs for both domestic and international groups, welfare states that make it impossible to get off of them, what would this statesmen think?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gun Nuts: The Next Generation

I caught the show live last night on BlogTalkRadio.com. Excellent job guys. I'm definately putting it on my weekly things to do.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

State Mottos... or at least what they should be.

Alabama
Hell Yes, We Have Electricity.


Alaska
11,623 Eskimos Can't Be Wrong!


Arizona
Yes, But It's A Dry Heat.


Arkansas
Literacy Ain't Everythang.


California
By 30, Our Women Have MorePlastic Than Your Honda.

Colorado
If You Don't Ski, Don't Bother.


Connecticut
Like Massachusetts, Only Smaller


Delaware
We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water.


Florida
Ask Us About Our Grand kids....And Our Voting Skills.


Georgia
We Put The Fun In Fundamentalist Extremism.


Hawaii
Haka Tiki Mou Sha'ami Leeki Toru(Death To Mainland Scum; Leave Your Money)


Idaho
More Than Just Potatoes...Well, Okay, We're Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good.


Illinois
Please, Don't Pronounce the "S"


Indiana
2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free.


Iowa
We Do Amazing Things With Corn.


Kansas
First Of The Rectangle States.


Kentucky
Five Million People;Fifteen Last Names.


Louisiana
We're Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That's Our Tourism Campaign.


Maine
We're Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster.


Maryland
If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It.


Massachusetts
Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden 's And Our Senators Are More Corrupt!


Michigan
First Line Of Defense From The Canadians.


Minnesota
10,000 Lakes... And 10 Zillion Mosquitoes.


Mississippi
Come visit And Feel Better About Your Own State.


Missouri
Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work.


Montana
Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-wing Crazies, and Honest Elections!


Nebraska
Ask About Our State Motto Contest.


Nevada
Hookers and Poker!


New Hampshire
Go Away And Leave Us Alone.


New Jersey
You Want A ##$%##! Motto?
I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right here!


New Mexico
Lizards Make Excellent Pets.


New York
You Have The Right To Remain Silent,
You Have The Right To An Attorney...
And No Right To Self Defense!


North Carolina
Tobacco Is A Vegetable.


North Dakota
We Really Are One Of The 50 States!


Ohio
At Least We're Not Michigan.


Oklahoma
Like The Play, But No Singing.


Oregon
Spotted Owl... It's What's For Dinner.


Pennsylvania
Cook With Coal.


Rhode Island
We're Not REALLY An Island.


South Carolina
Remember The Civil War?
Well, We Didn't Actually Surrender Yet.


South Dakota
Closer Than North Dakota.


Tennessee
Home of the Al Gore Invention Museum.


Texas
Se Hable Ingles!


Utah
Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus.


Vermont
Too Liberal For The Kennedys.


Virginia
Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don't Mix?


Washington
Our Governor can out-fraud your Governor!


West Virginia
One Big Happy Family...Really!


Wisconsin
Come Cut the Cheese!


Wyoming
Where Men Are Men... And The Sheep Are Scared.


The District of Columbia
The Work-Free Drug Place

Experience, Shmeerience.

A while back, a co-worker of mine sent me an email saying she'd been "let go". So, drop my dinner and grab the phone. To try to keep the situation concise... The company handed down a "wage adjustment" that basically didn't even meet the inflation rate for the last couple of years. The problem with doing that to my co-workers department is that they see all the raises that everyone else gets. Can you guess which department she is in? So, after seeing $10 and $15 thousand dollar raises for management and then getting slapped in the face for making these managers look good, she went into her bosses office and said as much. Although, she probably put it nicer than I would have been able to. At which point her boss says she was planning on having my co-worker train in her replacement anyway, and if she felt the way she did, maybe she should be looking to move on anyway.

After taking to her, it occurred to me that it's become a rather common story. Some fresh out of MBA school bean-counter somewhere figured out that having a work staff that was all on initial hire pay was much cheaper than having a work force that had been with the company any length of time. Also, the shorter the average worker's been with the company, when you cut back on company insurance and benefits, the less likely they're gonna know what they've lost.

Eff-in brilliant, right?

This way companies don't have to even attempt to keep up a satisfying work place environment. Hell, they don't care. They don't want you around longer than a year or two anyway. Six months to train you, 1 year to figure out how bad the place is, and 6 months for you to train in your replacement. That means they won't have to do more than one raise and then it's back to cheap labor again.

The problem, I see, is one of experience. There are careers out there that the more experience you have at the job, the better you'll be able to do it. Call it seasoning, picking up some intuition, familiarity, whatever. What it boils down to, is there are some jobs that the more experience you have, the more efficient you'll be, the cheaper you'll be able to perform the job.

Take background checks, something that has to be done on every employee hired. An experienced person could, to pick a random number, do the check in 2 working days. A new person might take twice as long or longer doing the same thing. Just from having to look up the procedure or who to call to do the job, whatever. So, say your HR department has to hire 150 employee's per year. That's 300 man-days of work for one experienced employee, according to my example, and even if it only takes half again as long for an inexperienced one, that's 450 man-days for a new person. But wait, there's only 365 days a year, total. That means I'm using half of next year to hire the people I need this year. So, you, brilliant manager that you are, think "I'll hire 2 people to do the job and get it done in half the time. There done in 225 real days". Quicker than my mythical experienced person, you scoff.

But wait, it gets better.

If we both hire our people (I'm naming mine Mabel) at the same starting wage ($30,000) and we both do, for example, a 5% yearly raise. After 5 years, I'm paying Mabel roughly $38,300 per annum. While you're still paying $30,000 for yours. Oops. my poor lonely Mabel is doing the same job that you're paying 2 people to do. So, you're wage costs are actually 60,000 to my 40,000 for that year. No, you can't have my Mabel. She knows her job and, in fact, I can afford to bump her salary come review time by 10% for doing such a bang up job and still have lower overhead than you. And I like her lemon bars she brings in on occasion.

So, my company's widgets are cheaper than yours because my work force, while individually paid more, is more efficient. Creating my widgets in less time and cheaper per unit than you. Eat my widget making dust.

I didn't say who it got better for.

Don't like that example? Think about this every time you climb on board that regional airline. They're hiring those guys, right now, at 600 hours total flight time because their older pilots are moving on as quickly as possible to better paying jobs. The guy in the left seat might have upgraded to that seat in as little as 6 months. Depending on where they did their training, they might have 2 years flying experience when they hire on. That's just 2 cycles of seeing what the weather, controllers, airports, runway conditions can do. And most of that will have been in small single or twin piston engined trainer airplanes. Every time I climb on board one of those jets, I quite probably have more time flying turbine engined airplanes alone than they have total flying combined. Don't misunderstand me. The airlines train their pilots to the highest of standards. But, no matter how good the simulator, there's still a world of difference between shooting an approach to a weathered in airport with an inch of packed snow and ice on the runway and simulating it. I've done it, real world, more times than I like to remember. I can't say the same for the guys on that RJ. If you're stuck on that airplane having to do that, who would you like to try it? What's your safety worth?

Okay, I'm done ranting. And I'm not saying that all industries are like that. There are some, many really, that know the value of experience. Cops never send out rookies on their own. They pair them up with an experienced training officer and then a veteran officer first. Air traffic controllers are required to be mentored, reviewed, and monitored by more experienced shift managers constantly. These are guys who are controllers themselves, not some johnny-snot-nose who got an MBA straight out of high school before seeing a real job. There's just some company men out there that don't look far enough into the situation to see it's cheaper in the long run to keep you employees and keep them happy, than look at some number on a spreadsheet showing "wages paid" at the end of the year.

The lemon bars are a bonus.

Total Fucking Idiots

I HATE MICROSOFT! The lastest "security" update completely fucks up my internet connectivity. After an hour of messing around with it with microsoft insisting that it was either my router or modem. I finally just erased the update and loe and behold! My internet it back. Those elmer's glue eating mentally stunted ijits couldn't find their ass with both hands, a map and satellite photos.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Creature from the Life of a Charter Pilot

After safely not being called today, I start my one and only week off this month tomorrow. My plan is to go the the range tomorrow and shoot every gun I own. Not a large task considering I have a Springfield Mil-Spec 1911 in .45 and a GI M-14 built up on an Armscor Receiver. Unfortunately it wont be a lot of ammo since the cost of said ammo is... pricey. I know my firearm collection is limited to say the least, but I subscribe to the "Beware the man who only owns one gun..." theory. And I dry fire, snap aim and any other drill that doesn't involve actually live ammo as often as I can.

Next, its a chili day. I figure 4 to 6 hours to do the beans right, I've got the steak slowly defrosting in the fridge and I'm just missing a couple of spices that I'll pick up tomorrow. That should take a day to do and then it'll be frozen chili for the next month or so whenever I want.

I'm also gonna be flying a friends Ercoupe to check it out after it's annual. I flew it last year after it's restoration. It's a fun little puddle jumper to tool around in. Just keep your eye on the cork. The Ercoupe is a interesting little airplane. Originally designed with no rudder peddles. The airplane has a rudder, rudders actually. It's a twin tail fin design. But the rudders were tied into the ailerons through a unique control cabling system. It's literally impossible to fly that airplane out of coordination. Conversely, when you want to fly out of coordination, like on a cross wind landing, you don't have the option. You see, no rudder pedals. Just a yoke for control. Crabbing an airplane all the way to the ground when you've trained your entire flying career to do a slip to keep the gear aligned with the runway is a little disconcerting the first time you do it. That and taxiing the airplane around steering it like a car feels odd.

And I'm not making any more plans. A little extra sleep will be a good thing. A couple of days at the park or lake maybe. Who know. But I will be drinking a beer or two. I'm down to my last Moose Drool, I've been nursing those along as long as I could, but I just haven't been up Northwest long enough to get any more.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Have a happy 4th.

Happy 232nd birthday everyone. Enjoy the cooking out and fireworks.

Return of Life of a Charter Pilot

Sorry for the light posting. Starting from Wednesday, the 2nd, my life has been.

Tulsa
Addison, TX
Kalispell, MT (Glacier Natl Park)
Denver, CO
Sleep
Dayton, OH
St. Louis, MO
Sleep
Fireworks
Sleep
Panama City, FL
Naples, FL
Sleep
Memphis, TN
Tulsa.

That's home on Sunday, in case you got confused. I'm lucky to be conscious. I'll blog, actually blog, when I get home. To tide you over, here's some of the weather we've been flying around so far. With a shot of our radar display for the stuff after the sun set.








Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Blogroll love

I'm adding a new blogger to my blogroll. Brigid over at Home on the Range. She came highly recommended by Lawdog and Tam. Read and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bride of Life of a Charter Pilot

If you all haven't already guessed, these posts tend to be more whinging than anything else. If you don't like that, then... I don't know, you won't like it, I guess.

Anyhoo. Here's the company line. For any flight, the standard is a hour and a half show. So, say the flight launches at noon. That means we're there by 10:30 and the airplane is prepped and ready to go no later than 11. Simple. Ahh, but there is a catch. You see, we're federally regulated to a duty day no longer than 14 hours. So, that automatically leaves 12 and a half hours for the flight. Most of our regular passenger understand this and they will work with us to keep from putting our licenses and livelihoods on the chopping block. Not so much the management, but that's for a different discussion. There are some passengers, thank the great ceiling cat that it's only some, that for some reason don't understand that if we bust the 14 hour duty day we're in possibly serious trouble. So, they say they want to take off at noon, but don't show up till four and a half hours later, and then get confused when we say that they have to be back in time for us to finish back home by the 14 hour point from the original show time. Folks, the regulations are very specific about this. We can't be sitting at the airport and still be considered to be "in rest". The second our feet hit the airport, the duty clock is ticking. I'm sorry if that's not convenient for your world, but do you really want a couple of overly tired guys trying to move you along at 450 mph at 43,000 feet, possibly asleep at the controls? Or worse, yet how about landing when you're falling asleep. Trust me, you don't want that. If you don't want to worry about it, buy you're own airplane and crew and you can fly to your hearts content without worrying about the regs. Of course, just because there aren't any regs there, doesn't mean people don't get fatigued. I'm just saying.

Now, I haven't worked for a company yet that doesn't push the duty regs to the breaking point. The paradigm there is the company only cares about making a buck and getting it into the pocket of the company, not the pilots, the company owners and management. If that means sacrificing little things like safety to do it, then so be it. It sometimes becomes a tug of war between the pilots and the company. The company pulling and pulling with veiled threats about your job on one end and the pilots on the other trying really hard to get home alive and in one piece at the end of the day. Fun, ain't it.