Sunday, June 30, 2013

Maint Req'd

So on the way home from the hike up White Oak Canyon (pictures here - about the most picturesque hike in Shenandoah National Park) I took a wrong turn. I kept going on the the wrong road for a while, my spidey sense telling me that I was generally going in the right direction. That being said, I started to get pretty nervous and had my wife dig out my tertiary navigation system - my trusty old tom-tom. I say 'tertiary' as the primary and secondary systems were in failure. The primary system, my wife reading the printed out google directions to the lower trailhead parking improperly backwards to derive the trip home, thus giving me the wrong turn. My secondary system was my visual memory and internal compass. That was all screwed up from fatigue.

This meant plugging in the tom-tom to the only electrical outlet in the jeep which was conveniently located between my knees under the the steering wheel, a feat that requiring only basic contortions worthy of a 5th degree yogi. During this process I managed to keep keep the jeep on the road and probably only took out a couple of chickens that may or may not have been crossing the road. Why? I'm thinking because they are just dumb birds...

In any case, with a growing sense of dread, I waited for the tom-tom to charge sufficiently to power and get enough GPS signals to advise me on the proper route home. I had not reached a full panic yet, but suffice it to say that with the fatigue from the hike, I was not at my best. It was at this point that the jeep decided to try to push me over the edge. Now I have documented elsewhere (here and here) the attempts on my life by my jeep. Thus it should come as no surprise to most that the jeep took advantage of the situation to tweak me a bit.

What did it do? There is an innocuous blank spot on the control panel that I never paid much attention to. It would light briefly when I started the jeep, then go out with the rest of the lights. It was in this time of stress that the jeep decided to light up that particular panel with the very informative message "MAINT REQ'D".

"MAINT REQ'D"? Really? What does that mean? Drive 50 more miles and the tires fall off? The engine engulfs the entire vehicle in a fireball leaving nothing but charred occupants and a blackened spot where nothing will grow for 50 years? Or will the engine just stop, leaving me and wife stranded in the Appalachian foothills, playing out a Virginia version of 'Deliverance'? "MAINT REQ'D" - really? It's a jeep, there's always "MAINT REQ'D" - that's part of the 'jeep experience'. What nimrod at GM thought that would be a good thing to put on the control panel?

My reaction was predictable. We unplugged the tom-tom, as in the time spent cycling in and out of panic attacks we passed a couple of familiar landmarks and my primary navigation system came back online - which is to say my wife recognized a previous turn off and started giving me proper directions. I still proceeded to drive white knuckled, expecting the wheels to fall off at any minute, but resolved that I would get out of the foothills and as far as possible from gay hillbilly love (not that there's anything wrong with that...). Wife and I discussed stopping and turning the jeep off and on again, but dismissed it as it sounded like one of the stupid things you scream at doomed characters in movies not to do. You know, like when the babysitter decides to answer the door with the chainsaw guy waiting, or the girl who decides it's a great time for a midnight naked swim in 'Jaws'.

Since you are reading this you know nothing untoward happened. We made it home, and I unlocked the glove box and pulled out the owner's manual to see if it had some guidance on this peculiar status light. Sure enough, it was as dumb as I expected. At 82000 miles, this light comes on 'automatically' to remind you to have GM check your emissions system. An internet search confirmed that this light is mostly BS. I am guessing that the government had GM put in that light 'voluntarily' so that folks would do the right thing and maintain their pollution control systems. The whole thing is even more ironic since in Virginia I have to take the jeep into an inspection station every two years where they put it on a treadmill and use a probe up the tailpipe to verify that it's emissions are in order - a kind of official government car gay love thing (not that there's anything wrong with that...). Somewhere, there is a (now) unemployed GM car designer laughing his ass off over this as he balances his next Blatt's beer on his corpulent belly.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saturday Techno-Paloosa!

It's Saturday, and time to get all the techo crap links I've collected off my plate. So in no particular order, here I go...

(H/T I saw Iron Man 3 recently, the first movie I've seem in a theater in years, and I wondered then how far out technology was to achieving what I was seeing in the exoskeleton area. Then when I saw how Honda with their whole excellent robotics knowledge base have an assisted walking device that they are ready to start marketing, I was blown away. This will revolutionize elder care. Goodbye wheelchairs - at least partially...

In other robot news, it didn't take long for the telepresence with wheels thing to become a reality. While I can see this being necessary for some, I can also see the potential for misuse. It is at most a 5 year fad I think. Consider the next step where there are no classrooms and virtual schools - not such a long step... but a cool for now technology nonetheless. 

Reinventing the wheel - what else can be said...

(H/T Gimag) So scientist have discovered that quantum entanglement is the norm rather than the exception. Like many things in mathematics, when you think about it, that seems to to be self evident, but when the pointy heads prove it, you and everyone else go Wow! Cool! I know I did...

The satellite based tracking of aircraft by the Proba-V is the logical extension of the technology used by a certain company to track ships via AIS. Much like that technology, it relies on transponders being turned on and not spoofed. To fly in today's post 9/11 world, that is assured for most populated areas. Not quite an anti-terrorist capability, but certainly a valuable tool for flight space management.

A jeep looking watercar... how neat is that? Of course, looking over the advertising material, I am a little concerned about the apparent requirement for women in these things to be hot and scantily clad... I mean doesn't it limit the market share in predominately Muslim areas?

Friday, June 28, 2013


Just a quicky - I updated my Trail Guides with stuff from my hike up White Oak Canyon at Shenandoah National Park. Go take a look at the pics (and the videos, though they aren't near as good as the pics).

A tale of two DUIs

So this is the tale of two DUIs. First up is this guy. He obviously pissed off some officer in the lovely town of 'Surprise!' as they decided that he was drinking 'just by looking him in the eye'. Well, actually, the whole story, when you strip away the other nonsense, is one trooper's misinformed belief that bloodshot eyes mean that you have been drinking and should be arrested. Stupid trooper story...

The second DUI story is this guy:
From The Smoking Gun

Apparently the police 'profiled' him and shockingly, he was drunk!. Not sure why this was a story, except to point out that given his obvious stupor and half closed eyes, how can you tell if they are bloodshot?

Ok, so I was (sort of) wrong...

So a few posts back I lamented the Supremes decision to strike down the Arizona voter ID law. It appears that while I was right on the substance (which I usually am), I was a bit hasty in my judgement of the Supremes as they weren't quite done with voter law decisions. Their other decision that the specter of 'Jim Crow' is dead and the law no longer requires the states to get pre-approval of any vote related changes from the Feds brings a breath of fresh air into the room. In fact, Texas is rolling ahead with it's voter ID laws in the wake of this ruling.

I am still not sure what is won here is more of a reprieve than a repudiation though. It seems to me that the casting out of the voter ID is still driving the boat. What I am afraid of is what I don't understand. I suspect that I am not alone in this.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Right Kind of Empty Chair

From Reuters:

Even as a lapsed Catholic I am really starting to like this new Pope. He didn't move into the papal residence but stays at a nearby guest house, preaches humility, and when his establishment sets up a fancy shindig for the 'papal court', he doesn't show up. This is exactly the right kind of humility that our ruling class needs to emulate. Contrast this with the small and understated little excursion the our royal family took ($100,000,000 for 8 days) during a time when Americans are hurting more than ever.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who let the dogs out?

A small study on how misconceptions, half trues, and sometimes even outright lies can easily lead good people down a very wrong path.

Consider this article about dog restraints from January 2008. Notable quote:
"Bark BuckleUp is just like the 'Click It or Ticket' (seat belt campaign) but for pets," she told "We believe that getting the word out to the nation is the best way to save pets' lives."
 Now consider this Obama speech from that same month. Particularly:
There is something happening when people vote not just for the party they belong to but the hopes they hold in common – that whether we are rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take this country in a fundamentally new direction.

So time passed, things changed, but things still kinda stayed the same. Two years later, the right thinking people were still looking to save pets everywhere from painful deaths. Notable quote:
Eighty percent said they take their dogs with them on errands, going to the park, or on road trips, but only 17 percent acknowledged using any type of pet restraints.
 Obama also was having a hard time getting his thing going too.  He was having a hard time getting past the 'Bush Recession', even after throwing billions of future dollars at it. Notable quote:
"while the argument for transfers to states being stimulative is plausible, there is surprisingly little evidence on the countercyclical effects of federal transfers to states."
 Finally, we come to this year. Real scientist study the dog restraint problem and come to the startling conclusion that all the currently devised restraints are useless. Note:
"We tested them to the child safety restraint standard and we experienced a 100-percent failure rate to protect either the consumer or the dog,”
Then we have this chart on economic recovery from Instapundit (yes, it's from last year, but things have not really changed that much...)

Facts - they are such tricky things...

Things I Don't Understand...

So I saw this article about how Kenny Chesney fans trashed Pittsburgh and I didn't get it. I can't think of another country fan group that had the distinction of being 'trashers'. Ok - yes, Jimmy Buffet's parrotheads are goofy and loud, but I don't think of them as well, rednecks run amok (at least not in any real destructive way). Going back a few years, I am certain that at the concerts of Willie Nelson there was the odor of a certain illegal substance  wafting about, but lets be serious; potheads are rarely violent. So why Kenny fans?

There is a great deal of frustration out there I think. There are too many young people hurting in this economy and lacking a future or even prospects of a future. That frustration is going come out somewhere. Where else but Pittsburgh where unemployment is endemic? Yes, the rate is only reportedly 6.5% compared to elsewhere in the rust belt, that's nothing. I suspect the true statistics are much more frightening.

On the other hand, it is a shame if the former skinhead crowd has attached themselves to Kenny Chesney. There was this recent article about some redneck waving a rebel flag and shouting obscenities. I suspect they have latched on to the whole 'no shoes nation' thing a bit too literally. Hey jerks - it's a state of mind thing, not a literal way to live your life. There's a difference. That being said, there is a media bias to latch onto such behavior. Similar expressions of racism at a concert with  a large non-white patronage would not be notable or even lauded by the press. Such is the state of today's discourse.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Germany wants their stuff back...

(H/T Drudge) On the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the largest military attack of WWII, the  Chancellor of Germany tells the Russian President that Germany would like to have it's stuff back. Now your typical answer to that from an American would have been something like "Sure, right after you give Poland back all it's Jews. Wait, my bad - you can't!". Instead, Putin being Putin, said that maybe Germany should give Turkey back it's stuff first - or words to that effect.

This is a decidedly odd redirection by Putin, which I am not enough a scholar of history to understand. There is this demand by Turkey for the Met to return it's 'looted' antiquities, but that seems to have little bearing on Turkish assets being held by Germany. I suspect the comment was more a gentle reminder to Merkel that there are reasons for Turkey and German to not be so cozy - strong historic reasons that her neighbors still remember.

Matt Groening had it right

Why do these things always happen in Springfield? Course a barely dressed stripper probably shouldn't be multitasking and smuggling heroin on her way to work. I am guessing the 'real' criminals in this, the guy who is supplying it and the guy at the club that she was bringing it to are in the wind. I am trying to think about how that particular scenario went down:

Lamar: "What da hell! BoPeep at the club just called and they are outta smack! Yo, Tiffany, your on your way to work - take dis to him"

Tiffany: "Sure"

Tiffany, after running a red light & seeing the blue lights in her mirror: "Oh darn, I have been waylaid by a law enforcement officer! What ever will I do with these bags of illegal substances? Lamar will be ever so disappointed if I fail the get this delivery to his associate BoPeep at the 'Scratch & Tickle'. Oh, I know - I will place them in my bra and underwear. Since they aren't TSA trained experts, the local constabulary shall be quite inept at a pat down and will never discover items secreted in such a clever way!"

Drat! Tiffany foiled by physics again - a G-string and pasties just can't hold 47 bags of heroin... who knew?

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Faith...

As a mostly lapsed Catholic, I freely admit I am not in any position to criticize how other Catholics practice their faith. In fact, it is a basic tenet of the faith that each person is individually responsible for their relationship to God, and we are not to judge others. In fact, the best way I have ever heard this put was by a priest and deacon that I happened to be walking near at a peaceful 'protest march' after the court had granted the husband permission to remove the feeding tube of the not quite vegetative state Terri Schiavo. The priest was talking to a deacon, and mentioned that while the husbands actions were wrong, we have to keep respect for the individual. The deacon responded "Love the sinner, hate the sin". Which the priest nodded, and repeated.

That being said, I think this philosophy can be taken to the point of foolishness. The church seems to have no problem excommunicating those within it's organization when they stray (far) from the churches teachings. It does seem to have a problem doing anything about excommunicating those church members that very publicly work against it's basic teachings on the sanctity of life. Especially when that individual is a powerful member of Congress like Nancy Pelosi. That's why, while I was heartened to see that a group including priest were petitioning for her to stop calling herself 'Catholic', it is discouraging to realize all the years that the church has allowed her and other prominent Democrats to continue be 'in communion' with the church. Similarly,  this call for the pro-abortion Georgetown University to stop calling itself 'Catholic', is movement in the right direction, but lacks the moral force to do the right thing by unilaterally cutting the ties that bind. There is a weakness of action there that calls in question the Church's moral stance. I am not sure what will move the Church to actual action. Perhaps I just need to find a door to nail some papers to.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The life...

Whenever I hear about a TV star or writer about my age kicking the bucket, I always look first to see what they died of. Then I usually sit back, and think about what effect they had on me. When I saw where James Gandolfini died it was no different. For me, he will always be Tony Soprano. I have been taking about 6 months to work through the series on Comcast. I have to take it a bit slower than I did the Dexter series. The reason for that is that unlike the strange reality that is Dexter, the Sopranos is more entertaining and horrible because it interleaves the painful ordinary with the stark awfulness of the gangster lifestyle. Much or all of it's success was what Mr. Gandolfini brought to the table. It also meant that that like Wil Wheaton (an admittedly weak comparison), he was going to have a very hard time filling any other acting role. That he died of a heart attack is almost a cliche.

His early death and manner of death is something a metaphor for the warning that the series itself has for folks of my age. Sometimes it is too easy to slip into the the daily grind and not look out beyond the next day or year. From what I see on the series, while 'Tony' had all the hot women, money, and booze he could drink, he would keep loosing sight of the five year plan and instead concentrate on the 'fix' the stuff that was up close and now. I suspect that Mr. Gandolfini, like many actors, may have had similar issues in real life. While we are amused by the life and antics of guys like William Shatner,   you can't help but admire what he has done with his 'post famous' lifestyle. There's a guy with five year plans extending out to his post century mark, and no lack of self admiration.

More important than having a five year plan, there is the enjoying the moment that lets one find themselves worthy of such things. That I suspect is the real rub with this stage of life. Loosing the joy of life is to lose the will. In that there lies an early grave and a lesson for us all.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Supremes Highway to Hell...

There has been a lot of preliminary pontificating on this decision by the Supremes about the Arizona voting law. I am sure there will be more. I thought I’d throw my two cents in the bucket and take a whirl at it.

The best summary I’ve seen of what they actually decided was at ScotusBlog, which is:
On the one hand, the Supreme Court agreed that, for now, Arizona’s proof requirement must yield to the federal form’s approach — that is, it is enough to register, using that form, if the would-be voter swears that he satisfies the citizenship requirement. 
On the other hand, however, the Court also ruled that Arizona can seek permission from federal officials to impose its proof-of-citizenship requirement.  If it fails with that request, it can go to court and argue that it has a constitutional right to make proof of citizenship a binding requirement for all voters.
Essentially they are saying that a law that is from a common sense perspective constitutional and does the right thing cannot be applied until a State jumps through hoops and brings a different challenge to the Supremes. While I am sure this makes all the legal sense in the world, but from a practical viewpoint, the effect is the Supremes play a nice fiddle while the glow of the Republic grows on the horizon.

I believe what is lost on these scholars is that to overcome yet another barrier that has been erected by the court requires a political will to do so. Such a will of course depends on elected officials doing what they believe is the intention of their electorate. As long as these officials are empowered by a legally qualified electorate everything works. But open the door for extra-legal input and the system breaks down. One or two election cycles, and you have a very different system, where a shadow of extra-legal entities control the gates of power and patronage. The original system the founders intended is rendered moot, and the courts high and well meaning rulings are merely echoes of a somewhat familiar melody in an empty concert hall with an audience of the ghosts of our forefathers.

Friday, June 14, 2013

One Lucky Bastard...

This guy is is one of the luckiest guys in Africa today. Well, despite being in the toilet when the tug boat he was the cook for capsized... The real heroes here are the divers from DNC Global, than upon hearing of the accident, pulled their divers from the job they were on, adjusted their saturation depth during the 17 hour trip to the accident site, then took on very dangerous task of diving on an unstable ship to not just retrieve the one survivor, but the bodies of the 10 crewman that perished. When you hear about heartless global companies, remember that there are just as many ones with real people like these out there too.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wheat & Chaff...

So the one guy at the CIA that tried to get an honest word in edgewise to the Benghazi cover up has resigned to 'spend more time with his family'.  I guess this is really no surprise, and such a 'retirement' is preferable to the worst case scenario that could happen when you disagree with the leadership. For a overview of the characters involved, see my Rogue's Gallery - People of the Benghazi Cover Up E-Mails.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tales of a Cold Warrior - Hat Apology, Long Dusty Walks, and Grenades

(To get the full story, you may want to go back and start from the beginning)

I would like to say that much of the memories of basic training have not faded, but alas time is the great thief of memories. There are a few bright images from that period that stand out that I will never forget, either because they were frustrating, poignant, or amusing. The hat apology was one of them. To set the stage, even in the brutal environment of basic, I attempted to be a shadow. That’s not to insinuate that I took crap from anyone, but it does imply that I did not have an aggressive personality. One of the points of basic was to cull the timid out of you. There is no place on the battlefield for a timid soldier. The drills, being excellent at assessing the troops under their tutelage, spotted this tendency in me and worked to remove it.

The turning point for me came one morning in the mess hall. During meals, all the drill sergeants sat at the head table. Directly behind them was the entrance to the kitchen where trays and plates were dropped off for cleaning. They would make it a habit to place their drill hats on the ledge of the low wall separating the mess hall from the scullery, which ran behind their table. I believe their purpose for sitting there was four fold. First, it gave them a full view of the mess hall so they were able to see if any trouble was developing among their charges. That's not to imply that fights were common. I guess they might have been if we weren't all so damn tired most of the time. Secondly, it faced the entrance of the hall, so they could see if anyone important came in (like a lost officer) and when their troops were exiting. Thirdly, they could monitor the plates being returned to ensure that everyone was eating. Eating was extremely important as the activity during training was necessarily at a high level and the caloric intake had to match that demand. It is safe to say that I never ate so much and lost weight as quickly as those first few months in the Army. Finally (and probably most important) the wall was a great place to put their hats while they were eating.

So on this particular occasion I was rushing to get my tray returned and back outside. You see we were not allowed to idle over or meals. We had a very limited time to eat, and were expected to do so with as much dispatch as we could muster. To this day I don’t know if I was bumped, careless, or just tired, but on the way out of the scullery, I brushed against Sgt F’s hat at the end of the wall, knocking it off and onto the floor. Now in a normal society such a transgression would be no big deal. You would pick the hat up, brush it off, put it back, and go about your business. This was not a normal society. A drill’s hat was his mark of authority. The mere act of touching it was transgression that was at the root of many a motivational speech. For example “You little weakling, if you think your tough come & knock this hat off my head” (no one ever did). As I watched the hat drop, I knew I was in for it. Everyone in the mess hall did too, for a hush fell over the hall, as my fellow recruits waited for what was sure to be a swift and entertaining retribution.

Sgt F responded immediately. In his best Barney Fife voice, he demanded “Who knocked this hat down?” I immediately confessed to the transgression, and made the mistake of saying “I’m sorry, I did it”. I suspect that my frequent use of the phrase “I’m sorry” was starting to bug Sgt. F, as he responded “I’m SORRY? Are you SORRY? Or did YOU make a mistake and want to APOLOGIZE? ‘I’m SORRY’ means you’re a SORRY person! Are you a sorry INDIVIDUAL? TELL you what – since you’re SORRY, why don’t you tell the hat how SORRY you are? Drop and give me 30 pushups!” As I dropped and started, he stopped me. “NO – you are NOT doing that RIGHT. With every pushup I want you to say ‘I’m SORRY hat!” So there, to the amusement of all the drills and my training company, I did 30 pushups, yelling “I’M SORRY HAT” with each one. To this day, I never say “I’m sorry”. I’ll say “I was wrong”, or even “I apologize”, but never “I’m sorry”. The one lesson I learned from that experience is that to say you’re ‘sorry’ diminishes yourself, while admitting a mistake does not. There is a fine but infinitely important line there, and a valuable life lesson.

Much of the rest of basic was conditioning. We walked everywhere we went, whether it was a range 5 miles away, or a confidence course 5 miles in the other direction. On these long marches we walked in two columns, one on each side of the road, rifles slung. More often than not there was one poor sap jogging a circle around the group, rifle held aloft, working out some transgression (usually in attitude). For want of anything better to do, I ended up getting the Hispanic guy that I usually followed on these marches to teach me Spanish curse words.

The most frustrating thing I recall from basic training was the grenade training. The drills were less than thrilled to do the grenade training at all. After all, most of us were not destined for the combat arms, and would never see a live grenade after leaving basic training. That being said, since the Army had determined that all recruits would be trained in the use of grenades, we were. Now naturally, the drill’s goal in this training did not necessarily mean that we would actually be able to use a grenade in combat. No, I suspect their goal was mainly to get everyone through the training without a drill or a recruit getting some critical piece of anatomy blown off. With that goal in mind, we were taught to pull the pin, throw the grenade, and duck! 

This was an excellent instruction method for training safety. However, it vexed me that I couldn't watch the arc of the grenade and thus correct my throws and improve their accuracy when working with the practice grenades. The value of the ‘duck’ instruction was realized when it came time to use ‘real’ grenades. I had never seen the drills so formal or grave as they were at the grenade range. For the real deal, you would join a drill in the throwing pit. He would hand you the live grenade, instruct you to pull the pin and throw it. I suspect their greatest fear was a troop with a live grenade, pin pulled but unable to release it. 

My time with the live grenade was uneventful and anticlimactic. I may have come close to the target, but given the ‘throw – duck’ execution, I will never know. It was grenade next to the chest, pull the pin, extend the arm, for the briefest of moments consider releasing the spoon and letting it cook off like they do in the movies - then reject that as something that would cause me much pain in running around the formation, an awkward overhand lob, then a duck! (not so kindly assisted by the hand of the waiting drill). As I recall there was one guy that muffed the throw and did not clear the throwing pit. The drill grabbed him and jumped in the pit behind, placed there for just that purpose. They weren't injured - well unless you count the burning ears of everyone in audible range of the drill in question. As I recall that guy was circling us the whole way back to the barracks.

Next: Final Blowout, Graduation, and Orders 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The last suit you'll ever wear...

So congress is going to try to cut the TSA uniform balance by 18%? The horror! Let's take a look at what that means. As noted in the article the budget allowed for an expenditure of $1000 a year per screener. Now that is cut to just $820. How will they manage? To be helpful, I did a little research on Amazon to see if I could come up with a cost for a typical security screener uniform. I am going with worst case estimates here which is a very fat man. I suspect that, given what I have seen this is more 'typical' than 'worst case', but it gives a fair comparison.


The Tru-Spec Navy Gen 1 Police BDU Pants will be all the rage for the TSA screener set. It looks bad-assed and would be what a 'real' cop would wear (at least until plastered to the wide load of that guy pawing through the luggage in lane 1). Added bonus? large pockets for storing 'hohos' or stuffing traveler's electronics when they aren't looking. Price - $35 + $10 shipping = $45. Now in most cases 3 pair of these would probably be more than enough. But we are talking about the TSA here - spillage from eating mishaps and the unmentionable 'brown cap' incidents would warrant a cautious purchase of at least 5 of these.
(Total So Far: $225)


The Black Braided Elastic Stretch Belt is the obvious choice to style, comfort, and (let's face it - those 'hohos' aren't doing your waistline any good) adaptability. Since they are mesh, no messy holes to punch after pigging out on that extra large bean burrito from the 7-11. Cost: $8 (free shipping!)
(Total So Far: $233)


The Short Sleeve Uniforms Dress Shirt is not an obvious choice, but I feel it is a good one. Yes, this is primarily for overweight parochial school kids, but let's face it - they could probably whip your butt, so it is about right for the really 'tough guy' look you are after. Cost: $13 + $7 Shipping. Now let's not be coy - between the flop sweat and the fore mentioned eating incidents, you are going to need 5 of these (one for each shift).
(Total So Far: $333)


Since you require no real police training I thought we could really have some fun & save some money here. These personalized badges will serve both as a badge and a name tag! Fun huh? Cost: 0.37 + $3 shipping = call it $3.50
(Total So Far: $336.50)

Yep - I've selected the unparalleled quality and style of Crocs for the choice of shoes for our airport's finest. They are easy to slip on at beginning of shift when you are too hung over to barely tell left from right, and are easy to slip off to give the toes some wiggle room at that all important first 1/2 hour break after a laborious hour of  of listening to traveler's whine about their so called 'rights'. Cost: $45 (free shipping!)

(Really? Who are you kidding - you are not going to wear socks)


Grand Total: $381.50

So it is possible to outfit a TSA screener for less than $1000. Or here's a thought - perhaps they could get a substandard 'allowance' and fork the difference out of their own pay - kinda like the military does. Or even better - get nothing at all!

Update: I understand that there is a flood of IMAO readers coming in here due to a rare mistake by the distinguished Harvey. Welcome! As long as your here, take a look around. If you are looking for serious, I've got a little of that too. I try post about every day (unless I have more important stuff going on), so drop back by when you can or subscribe to my RSS feed. I can't promise there won't be cat videos, but I can promise to only the highest quality ones...

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reading & Writing & Other Silly Stuff

So I read over this article about student loan fraud (H/T Instapundit) & got to wondering, how were people doing this. So I delved deeper & looked over the actual DE IG report to get a clue about what they were talking about. What I learned is that apparently the fraud that they are talking about is mostly identity fraud cases where the criminals submit applications for student loans in the names of real people to scam the system. Since the market is so huge and DE bureaucracy handles it all, only the really stupid and unlucky ones get caught. As an overall percentage of loans granted, they are actually talking about a very small percentage:

$874,000,000 potential fraudulent loans / $509,900,000,000 total loans =  0.17%

The real problem is that second number and the amount of debt that it represents. If the job market were not set up to force millions of people to get 'education' to enter the job market, then such expenditures would not be warranted. If various professions, mine included, transitioned to an apprentice system the 'college loan problem' could be solved almost immediately and supply the market with actually useful candidates. I have taught kids with Master's degrees in CS how to program. It really isn't that hard if you have the aptitude and desire. I suspect that numerous if not most other professions are similar. Now - where is that yellow brick road? Because the only way that will ever happen is if I am transported into a strange and wonderful parallel universe.

And for those of you saying "Hey - programming requires Math", i'd say "So What? You think you need four years of college to do math?". You want to be amazed by math skills? Visit a job site where a good carpenter is plying his craft & watch him work out an estimate for materials for a complex job on the back of an envelope - an estimate which, if too low will mean money out of his pocket and if too high will mean his failing to get this job or the next one. That is impressive math...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's a Jeep Thing...

So I saw this article about Jeeps catching on fire and I had to look into it. As I may have noted elsewhere, I have driven a Wrangler for many years, so a headline implying that I may face a fiery death naturally grabbed my attention. After looking it over, I was relieved that it was referring to the 'pretender' jeep lines (Grand Cherokees and Libertys). Then I saw the link to the Wrangler fire issues and had to read that too. That referred to the 2010 Wranglers, which while they share the same name and some of the traits, really are no match to the earlier era Wranglers I have owned. My current beast of burden is a classic 4 cylinder lifted 1992 YJ, all steel frame striving to not become a rusted hunk. I had a co-worker who had one of the 'modern' Wrangler and when I road with him I was horrified by all the plastic and lack of road noise. I might as well been in a Toyota. Anyway, it appears I am free from a fiery death if I am rear ended, though most people do everything they can to avoid me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Speaking of a butt kicking needed...

So when I saw this picture:

(H/T Drudge) It reminded me of when the Army switched from the "c*nt cap" to the beret. I remember thinking then that there were going to be a lot of leg & REMFs that would get their butt kicked by the snake eaters when this went into full effect at Ft. Bragg. Oddly enough, the snake eaters in typical nonchalance shrugged off the indignity and moved on. Now to see this little prick wearing the green is really a slap in the face... yeah - someone needs their butt kicked... i'm just saying...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Almost third world...

So Cleveland is not a third world country - it is a parody of a third world country. This story about the teenage mommas starting a brawl at a kindergarten graduation leaves little doubt to the fact. Note the sour expressions of the cops as they are putting these prizes into the cars for a trip downtown. To add insult to injury, this convicted felon who is back on the city council gives a lament about 'how we can't have nice things anymore'. Fun stuff... unless you have to live there...

Nothing to worry about...

So, medicare will run out of money in 2026, and social security by 2033? Not a problem.. let's see, how old will I be then - let me do the math... Aw Crap!

Cold shiver...

So the Soviets are rearming their nuclear fleet and sending them out again. It's almost as if they had some sort of plan to feign death, wait for the stupid west to disarm in the face of massive corruption at all levels, then emerge again with little to fear in the way of retaliation or repudiation... kinda a 'five year plan' deal... naw - never happen...

Is this a great country or what?

So this guy just happens to by driving through the swamp, sees the 3 foot tail of the python poking out of the bush and decides to get out & grab it? Then when it starts attacking him by wrapping around his legs, his buddies hlep him by killing it... I have a hard time believing no alcohol was involved... best part of the story is catching & killing the big snakes is encouraged...

(oh - just in case you think you know how the above video goes, watch it anyway - brings back memories huh?)