Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hero of the Week 01/19/14

Sadly, public figures that evoke the word Hero were once again difficult to find this week with all the east coast cold and impending stock market meltdown. That being said, this guy stood out and was the clear winner of Hero Of The Week award:
Why now you ask? Well it seems that by standing up to the despicable unions and forcing his legislature to stomach a sensible budget and overcome a 2 billion dollar deficit he now is looking at a surplus of 900 million in 2015. Rather than do the normal politician thing and find somewhere to spend that money, he instead is advocating property tax cuts and other means to return the unneeded and unwanted money to the taxpayer  (H/T Weasel Zippers).

Huzzaa! Governor Scott Walker - you are the  Hero of the Week for 01/19/14! 

(ahem - compare his very real cheese to the virtual cheese that the White House will be serving next week - H/T The Puppy Blender).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tired Out

The first time I remember seeing shredded tires used as a ground cover was around 2000 at this horse venue:

in their practice ring and waiting area outside the main arena. While the whole event center was something of a heady experience for a bunch if two bit 4H'ers on $1000 horses, the idea that they sprung for 'the good stuff' for horses to stomp around on seemed extravagant at the time. Now of course it is a great deal cheaper and at least for horse venues makes a lot of sense as it cuts down considerably on the cost of maintenance and dust in a competitive environment where the cleanliness of animals that love to roll in the dirt is a factor in the points awarded. 

That being said this is exactly the kind of innovation that eco-consciousness should  be getting behind. I compare this recycling effort to the rather stupid looking venture that converts plastic bags to park benches by Giant:

Talk about a rather silly PR campaign. Logically I have a hard time believing that such conversions are economically sustainable, and is just feel good BS. How to 'solve' the grocery bag problem? I am thinking making a biodegradable bag is the real answer. I would be willing to be charged for biodegradable bags to make that a reality. Instead, municipalities are mandating 'punishment' type taxes on the use of normal bags, pushing consumers to the unhygienic 'reusable shopping bags'. That is a tragedy, and just another dose of silly feel good nonsense foisted on us by tree hugging idiots.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Well this is weird...

So there was the whole build up to a big bash at the White House about Michelle's 50th birthday. The AP reported that Beyance and Jay Zee were going to sing and everything (H/T Drudge). So the official White House web site has nothing about it:

The official snapshot of the day has a rather lonely picture of the Bamster tirelessly working on a speech:

I am thinking there really is trouble in Camelot...

Here's a idle question - What's with the guy riding a horse to the right there? I mean Obama is not exactly known for his love of horses, riding, western wear, etc. I did a little searching and found this from Wikipedia:
An original cast resides in the Oval Office, a gift of Miss Virginia Hatfield and Mrs. Louis Hatfield Stickney during the Carter Administration.
A metaphor perhaps? You know, do nothing administration, borrowing a gift from another failed administration, illustrating a guy hanging on to an out of control animal? Yeah, that is a little sad...

Watching the Superbowl Today

Update 01/20/14:
Well I was right about the Broncos / Patriots game, and half right about the other one - like that has ever happened (ahem - check the name of the blog again). Yes, the San Fran / Seattle game turned on some outlandishly bad calls. It was the official's game all the way. I must admit that I did not watch past the end of the third quarter as I had an early start this morning. I did get the feeling that San Fran got the word at half time that they were not the NFL's chosen people, and their second half play reflected that. In keeping with NFL's 'new' WWF format, they decided to make the Superbowl a match up between the affable good guys - Peyton and friends, and the evil bad guys - well pretty much the whole Seahawk team, personified in the Richard Sherman interview above. I guess the natural hype of the Super Bowl, potential wardrobe malfunctions, and twerks just weren't enough. I for one am done with football this year. Somebody let me know who wins on the second. No, on second thought don't. I couldn't care less.

I will admit, I have been following the payoffs - no make that playoffs - a lot closer this year than I have in the past. I am not quite sure why that is. I guess a great deal of that has to do with how dismally the Redskins (Potato Heads) did this year. In any case, I do intend on watching the Super Bowl today. What? You say that doesn't happen until February 2nd? I am aware that a football game will be played on that day, I just don't consider it the Super Bowl. You see the Colts and Patriots game is the last real game of the season. While San Fran and Seattle can be entertaining, they are essentially lucky teams, something Potato Head fans like myself know a great deal about. Thus, their survival to this point is dependent more on luck and opportunistic officiating than the intricate chess game of move / counter move that will be present in the first playoff game today.

Oh, I am sure that the other game will be interesting, but mark my words, the result of their play will ultimately depend on who the officials have determined will win. Let's pretend for a minute that I am right about this. If you were the entertainment industry that is today's NFL, who would you want to win that particular contest? On one hand you have a Seattle, a city that has grown into a place that is certifiably nuts about football. If you have any doubts about that just look at the "12th Man" flag flying from the Space Needle. On the other hand, you have San Fran, a city personified by limp wrist-ed liberalism as demonstrated by the continued re-election of hopefully forever former Speaker Blinky. Like the decline of their economic power base in Silicon Valley, San Fran's football interest is mainly belied by their understandable attraction to their tat'ed pretty boy quarterback. Looking at the match-up from a profit perspective, i'd say it's in the NFL's best interest for San Fran to end up in the Super Bowl and give that organization a much needed, albeit temporary, boost in their fan base. A bad call here or there, and tat boi is going to the Super Bowl. I won't call it "the show",  as that name is enshrined properly to the real competitive sport of baseball.

Either way, today is the day to watch football. That thing that is happening on the 2nd? That will be all all about marketing, money, and wardrobe malfunctions. Today is the last real entertainment until spring training gets rolling. Yep, it's going to be a long winter. Me, i'll be cooking some steaks and warming up some of these:
*not a recommended paleo-diet supplement

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hero of the Week 01/12/14

There were a great many choices for Hero of the week this week, just as Denny (if he wasn't distracted my all that nice white powder) had a lot of choices for AOTW also. In any case, my Hero of the Week award goes to this guy (and his many friends):

I believe his name is something like Buddy Simonaz but I don't speak Spanish and it's hard to make out on the audio for a non-Spanish speaking listener. In any case, his town had been taken over by the local Cartel and they were extorting money from the residents. The Mexican government and soldiers were apparently powerless to stop them. He and his neighbors banded together, brought their illegal arms out into the open, and formed a vigilante police force to oust the Cartel from their town. They set up checkpoints, and threw the local drug lords out of the town. If you want to be inspired by what a few good men can do, they are a shining example. So congratulations Buddy (and your many friends) - you guys are my Hero of the Week!

The video is here - (H/T Reason via the Puppy Blender for the story)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Horology Update

So the movement I previously talked about finally came in. I unboxed it and found that it was exactly what I expected. As is unfailingly common with my projects, I immediately hit a roadblock. It seems that when I previously gave up on this project, I failed to preserve both the back panel of the clock or the clock hands. Oddly enough, the screws that hold the movement in the clock body were still available.

Knowing that I can get hands from a local clock shop, and that the back of the clock is not really that important as I can make another one, I wasted no time screwing the new movement into the body. A couple of things were immediately evident. First, the striker would need to be adjusted so that it would hit the spring to make the hourly 'bong'. While this is no major effort, I was loath to do any adjustments until I verified that the new movement would function. Thus, the second part of the effort - getting the new movement to run in the old clock body.

Now I was assured by the seller that this movement was working flawlessly so I had confidence that actual functioning could be achieved. That being said, when I attached the supplied pendulum and gave the movement a few turns I was disappointed when I got a few ticks, then nothing. After running through my rather limited store of choice curses, I unscrewed the movement and proceeded with some rather futile efforts to determine why the damn thing wasn't working. After playing with it in my hand for a while, I decided that I would need to put it back in the clock, then attempt to level the clock so the 'beat' was correct.

Getting the beat correct is something of an art. For me it consisted of getting out a level, and shimming up the clock until the it was perfectly level in all respects. Once this was achieved, I got a little longer run time (almost 30 seconds) but still no success. The next thing I attempted to to do was to adjust the tension, which either makes the clock run faster or slower. I tried to get it to run slower, and predictably, it would stop ticking after a few more seconds. Aha! I was onto something! I adjusted the tension all the way in the other direction and the clock would run for just over 60 seconds before stopping.

That got me to thinking. the tension adjustment basically expands or restricts the swing of the pendulum. I was currently using the weight shipped with the movement from the supplier. That weight wasn't necessarily the weight that the supplier used for testing the movement and had a long loop where the weight attached to the swing mechanism. This effectively increased the moment arm of the swing. I still had the old weight, which had an adjustable loop, so I thought if I used that one and shortened the loop, that might just work.

The rest as they say, is history. The clock ran all night and is still ticking away. Here's a picture with the old and new movement:

There is something comforting and calming about a ticking clock. Both the cat and the dog settled down in the living room where I had the clock running and laid down facing the clock. I think it put the dog asleep, while the cat was trying to figure out how to play with it. For myself, once I stopped listening for it to stop working, it faded into the background noise of the house. Whenever I listen for it though, it is there. I think the memories that the ticktock sound evokes is something imprinted on my earliest memories. With a ticking clock, I see my grandparents home on their farm, taste my grandmother's fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and see my grandfather joke about eating them for breakfast. Through that small sound, I can once again can go back there. Well worth the effort I think.

Update 01/19/14:
So it is back to not working. I adjusted the ding and the dong so they actually worked, placed the broken hour hand in and set the minute had as best I could. After watching it run for an hour or so, determined that it was running fast. I went to adjust the tension, using the front time adjustment and things went to hell. The gear on the back adjustment broke off, meaning the only way to adjust it was with the weight and manipulating the adjustment gear from the back. In the process of trying all that, it stopped running for more than 4 minutes at a time. At this point I am willing to pass it along to a real clock guy for repair and adjustment.

One place I will not be taking it is the clock place in Vienna. We stopped by there Friday to try to pick up some hands. Now I have admitted to not knowing that much about clocks, but I am not an idiot. Here's how the exchange went:

Shop Owner: How can I help you
Me: I've got a Seth Thomas Amatitine clock
Shop Owner: That's Adamdine - go on
Me: It's got a 4 1/2 movement, which I replaced..
Shop Owner: With a different or same movement? Just tell me what you want...
Me: I'm looking for hands for for it
Shop Owner: I can't help you. <snidely>

Then he goes in the back, gets a box of hands, and says that when I bring in the clock, I can sit in the corner (with or without a dunce cap) and try to find a pair of hands that will fit the clock. Now granted, I wasn't dressed nice, and in fact had little mud spatters on my shirt from slipping a bit from doing a the aptly named "Billy Goat Trail" rock scramble, but that was no reason to be rude or condescending. That guy will not get my business again or recommendation. I'd rather ship the whole thing off to the other regions of Mongolia for repair.

The most interesting man...

Who is really the world's most interesting man? I guess that depends on your definition. For me, it's someone who lives their life without pretense, yet somehow achieves happiness. It's not a destination, it's a journey.

So a few candidates popped up for me this week. First off is this guy:

I saw this montage about his - er - unusual approach to life and thought, yep, there's a guy that has it figured out. Of course, he is a bit of a flaming liberal, but still, he does manage to not take himself too seriously or be painted in a box, and that is something to admire...

Sadly, this guy died yesterday, but 'The Professor' from Gilligan's Isle - Russell Johnson, was one the greats. He was a WW2 ace, got shot down, broke both his ankles, and got the Purple Heart, then went on to star with two (yes Ginger and Mary Anne both were) of America's sweethearts. He made being a nerd cool.

Going back to 70's TV stars, this guy

who also passed this week, is not in the same category. But, everyone who watched TV in the 70's knows his character's name, so there is something he achieved that few do. That is more than most of us can say.

I think in the end, attempting to be the 'world's most interesting man' is a worthy goal, as it really means going out there, following your muse and reaching beyond your comfort level. That is a singularly hard thing to do, but a worthy endeavor none the less.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy Dance

Happy Dance Time! This guy (Jim Moran) has decided that he will not be seeking re-election. Another Kennedy wannabe steps down. Sadly, I doubt he will be replaced by a Republican, or at least a non-RINO one given his district in Virginia is one of the state's most liberal... But for now - a happy dance in his honor!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Imagine if...

Imagine for a minute that this picture was displayed to the general population of a major public university:
Then imagine if that university had the following demographics:


American Indian or Alaska Native374041
Black or African American82717181,006
Hispanics of any race1,22312391,355
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander311133
Two or more races96577151,057
Not reported6993160790
Nonresident alien9891,73832,730

That's like  71% white. Next imagine that the white students noticed this, and protested this depiction and forced the school to apologize and change the initially displayed picture on their web site to be one that more correctly reflects their demographics. Unimaginable, right?

Imagine no more. Here's the picture that the grocery store ran:

Here's the staff of the Black Historical College calling them out and Giant's apology:

Unimaginable! (for the record, Howard is a Federally Chartered, Private school)

UPDATE (01/16/14): It seems Howard University staff has a thing about white women. As Michelle Malkin noted this morningRussell Adams, chairman of Howard University's department of Afro-American studies, doesn't much care for white women either.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Timely Confession...

I am a recovering amateur horologist. I am also lazy, so I have two or three old cuckoo clocks in my workshop that I am eventually going to get around to. In addition to those, I have an old Seth Thomas mantle clock that we got from a friend of my wife's family that I used to have running, but sadly the movement stopped working. The wear on the gears essentially meant that the movement probably would never work again. When it did run, it kept perfect time and had a wonderfully resonate 'bong' that rang out in the hour. Since that time I have had the movement in a box in my workshop and the body of the clock resides over the fireplace. I recently started doing some research on the clock and looked on Ebay to see if I could get a replacement movement. Low and behold the above one showed up. Today I finally pulled the trigger on purchasing the movement. My plan is to do a careful restoration and cleaning of the clock body and install this refurbished movement.

The lesson here is a bit deeper I think. Years ago I thought that kayaks looked cool and that owning one would allow me to get some much needed exercise and fishing opportunities. Even though I had the means to buy an inexpensive one, for some reason I kept putting it off. Years passed then one day while wondering through my local 'Dicks Sporting Goods' something clicked. In an uncharacteristic fit of self indulgence, I bought the Swifty.  The rest, as they say is history, and with a growing fleet of kayaks, I have a hobby that doesn't really cost me that much, dramatically increases my quality of life, and, with respect to kayaking,  I wish I had 'indulged' myself much sooner in life.

The purchase of this movement is along the same lines. While not pennies, this movement was relatively cheap to purchase. The clock itself is probably over 100 years old, and hearing it cheerfully bonging out the hours will add to the texture of my family's life. With the refurbished movement, it will probably function for another 100 years and hopefully will be a heirloom for my children's children. There is a lesson there on the push and pull of indulgence and self denial. One is a sin, then other is a shame. Finding a balance there is perhaps one of life's most important lessons.

Hero of the Week 01/05/2014

I was sorely tempted to give the Hero of the Week award to this guy:


Peter Mayhew. As he found it in his heart to share this picture he took while playing Chewbacca in the venerable Star Wars series:

A generation of formerly adolescent males thanks him.

No, instead I turn to two large and up-and-coming space companies for their accomplishments this week. As noted by the puppy blender both SpaceX and Orbital had successful launches this week.

Long time readers of the blog know I have a bit of a stake on both of these companies and their launches. SpaceX's continued successful launches mean that a fleet of satellites that I finished working on a couple of years ago will finally make orbit. In fact, they are scheduled for an April launch. I also worked peripherally on Orbital's Cygnus vehicle, so seeing it being launched and on it's way to fulfilling it's designed purpose warms my heart. Congratulations to the boys and girls at both SpaceX and Orbital - you are the Hero's of the Week.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Awe, Hell No!

So I'm going though my standard list of morning blogs, minding my own business and I see this on Drudge:

Yes I read that as:
Boehner Remains Presidential Contender
It felt like I was caught in a time warp and we had skipped forward a couple of years and Boehner is the stupid party's pick to run against Hillary. Yes - I can see them doing that and putting the Clintons back in the White House for eight more years! God Help Us All!!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hot! Hot! Hot!

I heard birds singing as I came into work this morning - no kidding! I guess we will survive after all.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Damn It's Cold (Part 2)

(I know - Coal Miner, not Cold Miner, but's that's the way I have always heard it)

So it's still cold. According the the weather guys, it will be cold all day, then will warm up and be 50 by Thursday - either that our we are all going to die and they are just trying to make the last moments of Earth's life pleasant or something. Or, perhaps only people in the Southern Hemisphere will survive and they are trying to keep everyone from running south, because if all of the Earth's people went down there it would cause the Earth to tip over like this guy asserted about Guam:

Who's up for a little global warming right now? Anyone? Hello?

My main worry this morning was if the jeep would start. It's been a while since I did an oil change since the snow and ice and crap have interrupted my usual schedule, so I feared that the gunky oil would tax the starter's cranking power. When I was in Alaska, we all had heater cores installed in our vehicles and there were electrical outlets in the parking lots to plug them in. The heaters kept the oil warm so the sub-zero weather didn't cause the engines to freeze up. I suspect that the newer synthetic infused oils do not have that problem, or at least I haven't heard it talked about in the news. Another freezing fear was that when it was really cold the rubber in the tires got stiff. If you tried to go too fast too soon, the tires would reportedly shatter. I personally never witnessed that particular phenomenon. 

In any case, the jeep started. After only a couple of 'cuhchug's it caught and fired right up. The next question was how long to let it warm up. One school of thought is to let it warm up until the oil pressure gauge shows normal pressure. I am a bit more conservative, I wait until I see my water temp gauge start to move off of cold, then initially drive slowly at first to give my transmission time to warm up. My thinking that since the jeep is like 100 in car years, it deserves a little time to get up and moving around.

Stay warm out there. We only have another day or so of this crap to go (one way or another).

Monday, January 6, 2014

Damn it's cold!

With the dreaded polar vortex sweeping across the nation, about the only thing I can think about on this first day back to the real world of work and worry is how damn cold it is. Have I mentioned how much I despise the cold of winter? Yes? Good! I must admit, in my current secret bunker in an undisclosed location in Maryland, the vortex has yet to make itself felt. I fear that by tonight we shall be in it's dreaded grasp. I believe a polar vortex was the basis for this movie:
I think we are safe though. The temperature is only projected to reach down to the single digits tonight in the DC area. While our fearless leader has returned to capitol city to face this dreaded menace with up, he wisely decided to his lovely bride in Hawaii. I don't know what to say about that other than as a taxpayer, I don't appreciate the additional $100000 or so this move will cost me.

I recall the coldest temperature that I ever experienced was during my stay in Alaska under the kind care of Uncle Sam and the US Army. As I recall, the temps were 30 below or so, and we deployed to Fairbanks for the annual winter exercises. No sled dogs were needed for this little journey, instead the venerable jeeps, equipped with 'winter kits' and pulling trailers containing 8 man tents, cots, and flooring were all that was needed.

Upon arriving at out camping spot, er bivouac area, we went about setting up. The eight man tents were erected, cots set up, and Yukon stoves installed. A Yukon stove is a bizarre invention. It basically is a stove that burns gas or JP4. The gas can goes on the outside of the tent, and the feed line goes into the stove. The gravity fed gas stream drips on the hot burn plate where it explodes/burns and the glowing stove heats the tent up to a tolerable level. That being said, it was common to find a sheet of ice underneath the sleeping bags on the cots from moisture evaporated from the sleeping bags.

I mainly remember the pain of the cold more than anything else. I also recall that once the temperature got down to -15 or so, there wasn't much of a difference between that and -30. The cold does funny and unexpected things. For example, certain chemical reactions will not happen once the temperature drops below a certain level. This was illustrated for me rather dramatically. As the one counter-intelligence squad in the Military Intelligence Detachment, it was our job to evaluate the use of camouflage by the troops. To perform that task our lieutenant had secured the use of a helicopter to fly over the units to evaluate them. I was tasked to go along as the photographer. Other than a short hop as part of my training when I first arrived in Alaska, I had never been on a helicopter, so I was agog by the adventure of it all. We got airborne, and the lieutenant started directing me to take pictures. The problem was that the camera hadn't been protected from the cold, so the emulsion agents necessary for the Polaroid film to work had turn turned into a gooey mess. When I triggered the first picture, the camera jammed beyond all recovery. The conversation went something like this:

lieutenant (in the front seat): "there - get a picture of that!"
me (in the back): "Yes Sir!"
lieutenant: "Did you get it? Do we need to circle back?"
me: "Sir... we have a problem..."
lieutenant: "Campbell - what's the problem"
me: "Well Sir, the camera seems to be malfunctioning"
lieutenant: "Keep working on it"
irritated pilot: "Do we need to go back?"
lieutenant: "No, i'm sure he will get it fixed."

To make a long story short, I didn't get it fixed as gooey film, once frozen could not be reconstituted. I am not really sure how critical the pictures were to whatever we were doing up there, but I felt really bad about it, even though I had no experience with that kind of weather or Polaroids. At the time I had quite a bit of experience with 35mm film and cameras, and the unit had no shortage of those and a darkroom. Of course the darkroom, cameras, and film were in Anchorage and we were in Fairbanks, which is why we were using Polaroids. Needless to say, the trip was something of a waste, and I learned a valuable lesson about the cold and Polaroids.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Chef Speaks: How to make Microwave Popcorn (from scratch!)

I have decided to augment my blog with cooking instruction. Today I take on the awesome challenge of making microwave popcorn (from scratch!). I know, this sounds really hard. For those faint of heart, look away now. For the rest of you up for this culinary challenge read on! Today we cook!

This is what you will need.

  • A plain brown paper bag
  • bag of bulk (unpopped) popcorn
  • butter (about a tablespoon)
  • salt (in a shaker)
I know some of these may not be in your kitchen, as they are truly unusual ingredients. Well, I must tell you that any prospective chef that does not have these is not worthy of wearing big hats. So, if you don't have these, go to Costco and buy a pallet of each. Got them? Good - now we can proceed.

The first step is to measure out 1/3 of a cup of popcorn. If you don't have a proper measuring cup, or if you were drinking shots out of your measuring cups the night before and they are all dirty, that's fine. You shouldn't really need a measuring cup anyway. Real chefs can estimate such measurements.

This next step is tricky. Place the popcorn in the measuring cup into the brown paper bag. If you can execute this deft trick without spilling a single kernel, then you can promote yourself to master chef as you have great promise. Note: they bag must be open to accomplish this task. Throwing the kernels in the air and attempting to catch them in the bag just makes you look stupid and the dog laughs at you.

Summoning you inner origami, fold the top of the bag thusly so it will fit in the microwave and constrain the popped popcorn. Chaos theory being what it is, the bag will immediately attempt to unroll itself. Do not let it get away with this. Re-roll it immediately to show it who is boss. Repeat this process until it is clear you are not smarter than a plain brown paper bag.

Place the paper bag upright in the microwave. This is critical: upright! Now comes the hard part. I have conducted hours of research with my microwave and have determined that the optimum popping time is 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Beyond this the popcorn becomes a smoking mess, under that and the there are a disappointing number of unpopped kernels. I could beguile you here with tales of wattage and other scientific nonesense, but why bother. Just set the timer for three minutes, and when you can count to three-mississippi and have not heard a popping sound, you know that it's done. Note: do not start counting until at least 2 minutes have passed. Another Note: Only you can prevent microwave fires!

Opening the microwave you may notice that the bag has fallen over. DO NOT PANIC! This is normal as plain brown paper bags get tired after being in the microwave for so long. Remove the bag from the microwave and place your butter in there.

I find that butter melts nicely in my microwave in about 30 seconds. Do not overcook the butter in the microwave! It tends to explode, then everything you cook in that thing for the next week has a weird buttery taste. Not that I've ever done that. Ever. Honest.

Now open up the bag - ummm - popcorny smelly steam escapes and there is all that yummy popcorn. Time to put the finishing touches on this and plate it.

First add salt. A lot of salt. Then shake the bag and add more. This ensures that you are getting your daily requirement of salt and the salty goodness is spread evenly throughout the cooked popcorn.

Next add the butter. I usually drizzle about half of the butter in, shake the bag, then add the rest. This again distributes the yummy buttery flavor throughout the popped popcorn.

That's it! If you have carefully followed these steps you are entitled to call yourself a microwave popcorn chef and garner all the prizes and adoration that title deserves. Just don't forget to share the spoils of your efforts with your long suffering assistant chef:

Whole lotta nothing

A lazy Sunday round up of stuff in no particular order that caught my eye this morning

I am thinking that Steven Segal would make a great Congress Critter. While most of the critics of him running compare him to Jesse V, he doesn't have that crazy factor that Jesse has. He actually is aikido master. While my study of martial arts mainly was taekwando, I have a great deal of respect for guys who have aikido expertise. Of course the guy is a bit of a show off, but have you ever met a congress critter who isn't? The only thing is I would urge him to run against Dirty Harry Reid for Senate. That would be epic!

Here's something that I never noticed before, but in thinking back on, eh, personal observations, it seems to be about right - dogs do try to align themselves North and South when pooping. There is so much we don't now about nature...

So it was inevitable that someone would make an app for voting. Basically, it generates a paper ballot with then gets scanned into a counting machine. The article doesn't mention how security is implemented, but i'm sure its all good. NOT!  This falls into the really bad idea column. There is no reason that does not involve voting fraud for making voting easier. Not. One. If the a voter cannot get off their lazy butts and make it to the polling place, they really should not be voting. Ditto for counting votes. It should be a mechanical process that any moron can do. Machines just make the fraud easier. End of story.

So now they are thinking that there is a 'dark matter' disk around the equator? I remember when I was working satellites we had to take into account a region called the South Atlantic Anomaly where satellites were prone to going haywire. I wonder if the two are connected?

I'd say it's about time that local police are being sued for providing color of law pressure to support the Feds randomly collecting DNA from citizens. It's wrong and the only way to stop this nonsense is to hit the responsible jurisdictions in the pocketbook. Now if only we could do something about those damn revenue cameras.

A definitive guide to cooking steak. While I don't think warming the steak before cooking it is a great idea, I have to say that the scientific arguments they make for doing it makes sense and has me rethinking my preferred methods.

Does anyone remember the Battle of Fallujah? No - well here's a little summary. So now it appears that it is firmly back in the hands of Al Qaeda. Nice job of statesmanship there Obama administration. Guess you don't mind seeing everything we accomplished over there going the shit.

So the Australians have cleverly figured out a method to tag sharks so that when they are near swimming areas the tweet the beach to alert bathers to not go in the water. Brilliant! Of course just avoiding swimming during their prime feeding times at night would probably be a good idea too.

If you read this blog much you know I really like my classic YJ jeep. It breaks my heart that Chrysler has been sold to the gutless French <spit> Fiat. That it was basically stolen then given away to them by our current leadership is beyond disgusting. Buy American doesn't quite mean what it used to.

That's the most important (and less important) stuff that caught my eye today. Tune in again for more mindless drivel, drooling, and butt scratching.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hero of the Week for 12/30/13

Even though my last hero was only awarded recently, I decided that this week deserves it's own hero of the week, so here it goes. The hero of the week award goes to the soon to be gone incandescent light bulb, or in the common vernacular - light bulb. You had a pretty good run light bulb. Edison knew very well what he was doing when his researchers developed the first viable commercially available light bulb. With a single stroke, he saved millions of lives from a death by a fire caused by overturned oil lamps or candles. If Mrs O'Leary had been milking by a light bulb rather than oil lamp, the Chicago Fire may never had happened!

Like I think most people, the light bulb has always been a source of comfort for me. Where there is light, there is warmth, and where there is warmth there is life. I can recall many times while hunting on my grandfather's farm, coming in at dusk and seeing the porch light that my grandmother always made sure was on to greet us. That light meant that there was a fire going in the fireplace, steak or fried chicken on the table, and, if the season was right, a game on the TV. I can also remember nights of sickness where a warm incandescent light bulb was the only thing I had to keep me company in a night of misery. The light bulb is therefore more than a utilitarian item for me, it is symbolic a simpler way of life. 2014, and this first week of it, will mark the end of the light bulb, not because it has outlived it's usefulness, but because of corrupt politicians and unprincipled corporate leadership engineered its demise. Join me in cursing them in the darkness or by candlelight.

That being said, the demise of the light bulb will probably not effect me very much as long as I remain firmly eschewed in the upper middle class. While the cost of the CREE replacement bulb is approximately ten times as much, it remains affordable for me. We go through maybe 5 light bulbs a month in my household. That translates to monthly cost of $5 or so. Since CREEs are about ten times more costly than normal light bulbs, that part of the budget went from $60 to $600 per year. Suffice it to say that won't break the bank for me. The ones who will be hit the hardest by this are of course the poor. They actually do have to buy the new bulbs or curse in the darkness. I predict that when the supplies of incandescent run out in a few months, there will be a great amount of darkness cursing going on. Meanwhile, the folks in China and Asia will be laughing their asses off at us and lit up like a Christmas tree.


"Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness"

(lighting a candle for the poor)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Tiny What?

When I read about PETA sending lettuce clad women out to promote vegan-ism in sub-zero weather, my first though was that if they sent a man out in those conditions they could save a lot on lettuce cost...

Hero of the Week for 12/23/13 to 12/30/13 or something

(sorry for the late post - it's a holiday week damnit!)

The last hero of the week award goes to Mother Nature. That's right, normally she tolls in anonymity, making rain, sun, shine, and snow - all those things that let us know that yes, we are living a real life on a real planet 92,960,000 miles from the nearest life giving heat source. So when some crazy adventurers decided to believe their own rhetoric rather than their 'lying eyes', the hilarious result of Mother Nature being a bitch at their hubris amused and titillated us all. That's not to say that all crazy adventurers are beaten by her, mostly just the stupid ones that fail to respect her. Thus, Mother must share the weekly award with this young lady:
Maria Leijerstam

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pot Calling Kettle Black

As reported by Drudge, today is the day that Colorado makes recreational pot smoking legal. As a conservative you might think I would be all up in arms about this outrage, if so, then you really haven't been paying attention to my post.

No, I think this move by Colorado is a good move on a couple of levels. First, to some extent it decriminalizes an activity that is only harmful to the extent that it makes criminals of a large segment of the population that have experimented with pot. Potheads, while generally useless for the most part, are almost never violent or dangerous, unlike drunks and outer hard drug users. To ruin lives over the experimenting with this substance is absurd.

By way of illustration, I am going to talk about the first time I was offered pot. I was 14 or 15 years old. A friend from high school had invited me to join a Masonic youth organization. Since he is now a well respected guy, i'll call him CS. CS was always a smart guy, far smarter than me, and in fact continued to show his intelligence throughout high school. What he did that day was show a bad choice of friends. This guy that was toking away and driving along like everything was fine. As I've said before, I often wonder how I survived the years between 15 and 25. In any case, when they offered me a 'hit', I declined and asked to be brought home. They were pissed, but did it. After that, while we continued to be friends off and on, my relationship with CS remained cool throughout high school.

So there are two aspects to this little story of high school angst. First off, there is the inexcusable ignorance of the douche driving the car that put my young life in danger with his rather caviler use of a hallucinogenic substance. He really had no business driving that car. That being said, that was not the last time I ever got in a car with a impaired driver at the wheel. Stupidity all around. The second aspect to take away from this is to consider for a second if I had been offered a cigarette rather than a hit on a bong? My refusal would have been the same, as back then I didn't much care for cigarette smoke. That it was an illegal substance put myself, my friend, and the driver in jeopardy for a conflict with the law. This escalation from peer pressure to legal entanglement is unfair and silly.

While I was in the (all volunteer) Army, I knew a few guys whose lives were ruined by succumbing to the temptation to smoke some pot in their barracks rooms. They by and large were otherwise very intelligent guys, who did a stupid thing. At that time, the unit commanders had the right to 'inspect' the barracks rooms, using a drug sniffing dog to detect the presence of drugs. The fact that equally ranked married guys who were living in base housing were not subject to similar inspections was not lost on us. On the other hand, the rules were very clear, and those that chose to ignore them were perhaps not as intelligent as they appeared. That was actually the point I think.

So it comes down to judgment. At one time or another, we all fail to exercise good judgement, and sometimes the consequences of the bad decisions can haunt us for years. By legalizing pot, Colorado has dampened the consequences of making the bad decision to use it. The windfall here is that the law enforcement effort to contain pot usage can now be employed on more needy areas. This I think is a good thing.