Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I'm still not ruling it out, but I decided to proceed on the side of caution this time.
Presents on any occasion can be hit or miss. You might pick out that one thing they really wanted, or you might buy them something that's "nice".
So it's always good when you know that you've scored a hit. Snake Eater, Jr. got a knit hat that reminds me of a Tibetan style hat--tassles and so forth, but it's apparently very stylish. He has been wearing it for some 36 straight hours now. He also got a lacrosse stick--the only part of the lacrosse ensemble he had been missing. He already had a helmet, gloves, etc. I've had to throw him and his stick out of the house several times already.
The Bear got a pair of Winnie the Pooh socks that make me laugh every time I see them, and of all things, a pogo stick. She specifically requested the pogo stick. I never had one, but I had friends who had them, and every pogo stick I've ever seen looks cheesy next to this thing. It's one seriously hot pogo stick. Neoprene handles, the business end looks like a Monroe shock absorber...
And then there's the dog. Zephyr got a dog bed from Santa. Part of the fun was when the Bear went downstairs to let Zephyr out of her crate and found that Santa had left Zephyr a bed, the rest of the fun has been in just how much Zephyr enjoys the bed. She's one active dog, but she does come in to get some rest from time to time. She knows the bed now and heads right for it. She definitely enjoys the new bed.
Monday, December 26, 2005
I have an acquaintance with demerol. I had a chronically dislocating shoulder (trashed it while being dragged across a drop zone in Minnesota in February--I was actually headed for the front door of the officers' club when two guys jumped on my parachute and collapsed it). After they surgically fixed the shoulder I was put on demerol for a few days. I was quite the comic act after that. I couldn't sleep on the fixed shoulder, obviously; I couldn't sleep on the other side as the fixed shoulder would flop over, couldn't sleep on my stomach as the shoulder would flop forward—I could only sleep on my back. So they'd come in with this HUGE needle and stick the demerol in my posterior. The needle was, indeed, HUGE. I left blood streaks on the sheets every night. Given that I could only sleep on my back and I'd just been lanced in my buttocks, I'd pace back and forth, pushing my IV bag on a stand, until I was literally staggering around the room. My roommates got a big charge out of it. "Let's watch him stagger around the room again..." Once I was sufficently “under the influence”, I could flop into bed and go to sleep.
It's hard to impart it, but I was quite a comic act for a while.
As far as Michael Jackson...I'm not going to hold my breath.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
So to all, a merry Christmas or a joyous Hannukah. If if you celebrate neither, enjoy the warmth and fellowship of the holidays.
Busy week here, but I look forward to ranting to all of my online friends.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I've posted recipes in the past, but I haven't posted one in quite some time.
The recipes I've posted in the past have mostly been “family” recipes, handed down. This one's a bit different. I originally got it from a magazine and it immediately found a place as a holiday staple. After moving back to the US I misplaced the recipe, but just by luck I recalled that it was credited to The Inn at Ormsby Hill. I sent them an email asking for the recipe and they responded that the chef who prepared it was longer with them, but they took the trouble to forward my email to him and he responded and sent me the recipe. So, many thanks to the inn as well as to Chef Don Burd. I don't know where Chef Burd is cooking these days, but I'd definitely recommend it. He's a terrific cook and a great guy. I'd also recommend the inn. Never been there, but after living in New Hampshire, I can tell you that any inn located in New Hampshire or Vermont is worth staying at.
This might well be the ultimate holiday lunch/brunch recipe. You make it up the night before and throw it in the oven the next morning—the perfect answer to a busy Christmas morning or a New Year's day when you're not necessarily up to standing over the stove. Those are the two times each year that we make it. And believe me, we spend the rest of the year waiting to make it again. It's good. Very good.
Without further ado, Vegetable Cheese Strata:
5 SLICES WHITE BREAD, BUTTERED ONE SIDE
1/2 lB. SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE COARSELY GRATED (ABOUT 2 CUPS)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED RED BELL PEPPER (ABOUT 1/2 PEPPER)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED GREEN PEPPER(ABOUT 1/2 PEPPER)
1/3 CUP CHOPPED ONION (ABOUT 1/2 MED.ONION)
1/3 CUP ZUCCHINI (ABOUT 1/2 SMALL ZUCCHINI)
3 LARGE EGGS
2 CUPS WHOLE MILK
1 TSP. ENGLISH STYLE DRY MUSTARD
1 TSP SALT
1 1/2 TSP DRIED BASIL CRUMBLED
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER TO TASTE.
Butter 8" sq. baking pan, Cut bread in cubes and arrange in pan. Top bread
with cheddar. In bowl toss together vegetables and arrange evenly over the
cheese. In bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mustard, and salt and
pepper and pour over vegetables. Chill strata, covered, overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Sprinkle strata with basil. Put strata in pan
in a larger baking pan and add enough hot water to large pan to reach half
way up sides of strata pan. Bake strata in middle oven 1 hour, or until
top is golden, and remove from oven and its "bath"
Cut into 6"squares; serves six.
It wasn't all Dubya, boys and girls. I know most people agree with the President, but for the tremendously vocal contigent on the left: Billy started it.
Let me know where you want to start from there.
At any rate, here's the reply. I just found it too entertaining and too moronic not to share:
Notice he takes the "Queer" route. So much for my comments on "Brokeback Mountain". He's positively contemptuous. Sorry, but I'm not the "homophobe" here. And, of course, he calls people too stupid to see everything his way "retards" and then jumps into fetal alchohol syndrome. What a f*cking jerk.
Have you ever noticed that most supporters of George W. Bush have the mental, moral and emotional development of a five year old who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome? One of the most common "arguments" that Bush supporters offer when their boy, who so many of them are positively queer for (in the Brokeback Mountain sense of the word), screws up and does something illegal, incompetent, corrupt or stupid is "Well, Bill Clinton did it, or something like it, or something that can be construed to be like it in the tiny little mind of a drooling wingnut like me, too!". For those of us who have progressed beyond the developmental level of a retarded five year old this is a lame defense, when I tried this kind of crap as a kid my Mom or Dad would inform me, quite sternly, that two wrongs don't make a right. I guess that most Bush supporters though had lousy parents who never imparted this valuable lesson, or that they were too stupid to understand it.
Posted by: Jamie Jamison | Dec 20, 2005 7:05:09 PM
Sorry guys, but this is why the next election will go Republican, too.
Well, mirabile dictu, something finally worked. I suspect the fault was with Blogger, though I still advise against updating to Firefox 1.5 or 5.1 (check with them--you'll find it listed both ways). The upgrade loses all of the neat toolbars. And Opera is still fast, but still can't interface well with Blogger. So, I'm back in action and only slightly more frazzled.
As promised, my email for the week.
I finally got to my non-business email address after a week or so of neglect. I was amazed at all I had accomplished.
I've added eight email addresses to my PayPal account (which I haven't used in four years), I've won four state lotteries with a total winnings of four million dollars, I got a nice note from right wing infiltrator Peace Moonbeam, another nice note from presidential condidate Suldog, some excoriation from Murph, notices from three banks I have don't have accounts with that “unusual activity” has been observed on my accounts and a reminder that “bottom line” is a unique turn of phrase when applied to a homosexual situation.
Not only that, but two 419 Scammers actually took the bait when I replied to their request for personal information that my name is Barney Rubble and I reside at 301 Cobblestone Way, Bedrock, CA 70777.
And best of all, I've been reminded that my nose hairs require trimming while I may be in need of male enhancement.
You just have to love the world of email.
That particular email provider doesn't do a great job in filtering email, but he's a good guy trying to provide a service. I'm not the smartest guy on the planet by a long shot, but for what it's worth, I can spot a bullsh*t email and I take great pleasure in reporting spoofing and phishing schemes to the institutions involved. I take great offense with people who try to take money that simply is not their's by virtue of having earned it.
Here's one moron's followup to my reply identifying myself as Barney Rubble. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Mario, don't hold your breath for a reply:
ATTN: Barney Rubble
Thanks for your mail,
I need you to send me the following information?s as soon as possible For the payment to be send to you, and i will tell you on how you are going to send me the balance as soon as you have collected your 10% out of the total amount sent to you.
I hope all is clearly undertsood .
1 full names and age.
2 contact house address.
3 personal direct phone and mobile numbers.
4 company name.
Immediately you have send me all the information?s the payment will be sent to you as soon as possible.
I wait to hear from you now.
Mr. Kelvin Mario
By the same token Opera is a nice, fast interface, but it doesn't work well with Blogger at all (the toolbar contains exactly zero tools).
I don't care much at all for Explorer, but I'm back there until Mozilla gets its act together.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
In addition to the above, I got this link to a very special news item from Murph. Doubtless someone will find it in pooor taste , but I had to chuckle while reading it.
Monday, December 19, 2005
...I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important....How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model?...A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
He recently linked to Carnival of Comedy, and two of the posts in particular just about had me on the floor.
First, we have "Suldog's" campaign promises, then Peace Moonbeam infiltrates the religious right.
Sigh--two more blogs that I'm going to have to read on a regular basis.
I was working the Boy Scout Christmas tree sale (we make an absolute killing every year) with Dave, a guy with whom I get along well. Dave is a vice-principal at the local high school, but could have had quite the career in sales. To say that he's a “people person” would be an understatement.
Dave talks to everyone as if he's known them for years, and I sometimes forget that. At any rate a couple drove in with a young woman in tow. Presumably their daughter. By “young”, I mean early twenties.
Dave began talking to them like they were old friends and pretty soon they were exchanging details such as where everyone lived, etc.
The young lady got sucked in to the point where she told Dave that she had recently moved to be with her husband in North Carolina. Eventually she said something about Ft. Bragg. At that point I jumped in and said that I was quite familiar with Ft. Bragg.
Now bear in mind that it's a habit of military people to often speak in acronyms that make no sense whatsoever to the general public. They make perfect sense to military people, and since most of your association with is with other military people, it often doesn't even strike you to state things in a “civilian friendly” way.
When I mentioned that I knew Ft. Bragg, she said “He's in the Q-Course. He's going to be a Delta”. Well, who would have figured that selling Christmas trees in a little town I was going to meet someone whose husband is right now in the Special Forces Qualification Course, hoping to become an SF medic?
To make it even better, her dad piped up that she was a veteran of Iraq. I asked about her branch of service, etc. and she's an Army Reserve inelligence analyst.
So it was a neat event.
Friday, December 16, 2005
This one should generate some commentary (and not only from Les who thinks working with my son equals abdicating my authority as a parent).
NOTR at ROFASix comments on a film called “Brokeback Mountain”. Apparently while the critics love the movie, the general public doesn't.
Must be all those ignorant Wal-Mart shopping, NASCAR watching people who reelected President Bush. They just don't recognize a good movie...
I've never even heard of “Brokeback Mountain”, but it's apparently about two (male) cowboys who fall in love.
One thing that the Hollywood elites, who would never deign to mix with the masses at Wal-Mart or a NASCAR race, don't understand is that most of the population is heterosexual. And even the most accepting heterosexual thinks homosexuality is a bit gross. We're just not interested in it, is the bottom line. We know that it exists, but to make a great love story on the scale of “West Side Story” or even “When Harry Met Sally” ain't gonna happen.
We want to be entertained, not preached to by Hollywood fluff.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Anyway, FinnCanuck, of the blog Sotamies, inadvertantly led me to a huge linguistic mistake made by a mainstream journalist. The situation is not funny--it involves a murder. But the story title is classic: "Man Accused of Abducting Dead Jogger". Maybe I'm a bit picky with the English language, but the story title quite clearly indicates that someone kidnapped a corpse. I do know what the writer meant to say, but the fact remains that the title indicates that a deceased runner's remains were hijacked.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Sometimes I don't whether to laugh or sigh deeply. Mostly I just find myself bemused to one extent or another.
My son has been plotting his escape from parochial school for two years now. He's looking forward to the extracurricular opportunities such as an expanded sports program as well as courses that just aren't available in parochial schools. He also complains about the uniform (blue slacks and a polo shirt—big deal).
I'm looking forward to public high school as finally a break from tuition costs that amount to a second house payment. The price of the school he wants to go to is staggering. Additionally, all of the parochial high schools are located a good hour's commute away and the logistics of getting kids back and forth intimidates me.
Out of the blue he suddenly decided he wanted to go to parochial high school. It was a last minute panic as admission is competitive and the test was administered last Saturday. In rapid order we discovered he'd never brought home any of the information the students were given, he'd apparently missed a preparatory session for the test (priced at a cool $150), the test was was two days off and we didn't know anything about it. Made some phone calls and managed to find out most of the details, including that there was a $30 test fee. Even managed to find out that his friend down the road was going and his mom would be glad to take him as well. At 6:20AM as we waited for his ride, my wife discovered that she'd misplaced her checkbook. We ransacked the house, but couldn't find it (turns out she hid it and now she can't remember where). I had two dollars in my pocket. Turned the house upside down again and managed to put together $30 just as his ride pulled in.
Meanwhile, the local public high school team was on their way to a professional stadium to play for the state championship in front of some 10,000+ spectators. They lost by one touchdown in double overtime—no shame there whatsoever.
We managed to survive Saturday; and Sunday the local paper appeared at the door with photos from the game and tales of glory.
Today, my son announced to me that he's changed his mind and wants to go to public school after all, so he can play football on that team.
I think I'll just be bemused. Saturday's history, the pain has subsided and I can look forward to finally saving money for the kids' college tuition.
Some years ago they were antsy and sleepless as usual on Christmas Eve, and for some reason I remembered that a NORAD spokesman used to make an appearance on the news every Christmas Eve and announce that NORAD was tracking a curious object which appeared to be a number of reindeer towing a vehicle driven by a man in a red suit--or something to that effect. (this was back in the 60s, before Al Gore had invented the internet)
I'm sure someone at NORAD started the whole thing as a lark, but it eventually grew into an entire project in its own right. There is now an entire website devoted to "tracking Santa". There's a link from the official NORAD site, but you can also go straight to it at noradsanta.org. It's a nice site, with downloads, games, etc. as well as Christmas music performed by US and Canadian military bands (NORAD is a joint US/Canadian effort).
But the best part of the site is that they "track Santa". Beginning with the Aleutian Islands, there are periodic updates, narrated by various NORAD spokepersons, and "satellite images" are shown of his sleigh as it passes by landmarks. They throw in a little education in as well.
The website worked like a charm. The kids were wound up and didn't want to go to bed, but when NORAD announced that Santa was nearing the east coast of the US, they were off as though shot out of a cannon.
Oh, for what it's worth, the website is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I stumbled on quite the coincidence.
While I was in Phase One of the SFQC (Special Forces Qualification Course), we had two remarkable guys who used to come up with songs for us to sing to the instructors from time to time.
One was a guy from 20th Group—I think Alabama—whom we called Hollywood. The other guy was a former Ranger by the last name of Joseph who we called (of course) Ranger Joe.
Hollywood and Ranger Joe would huddle together late at night while the rest of us were trying to sleep on the plywood sheets that served as bunk beds and make up songs that served us immeasurably as morale boosters.
The instructors at the SFQC are referred to as TACs (to this day I don't know why), and the TACs came to anticipate our song of the day.
One day we came out with “The Sniper's Song”, sung to the tune of “Winter Wonderland”. I've pulled most of the lyrics out of my head, but I'll have to wrack my brains a bit to provide you with all of the lyrics. So I'll publish it another time.
I have to wonder if our SFQC classes weren't close together, time-wise.
Now, Hollywood and Ranger Jo also came up with a parody on “Ballad of the Green Berets” that the TACs thought was very funny, even though it was highly insulting of the TACs. But the “Camp Mackall” song had us doing pushups all day.
I'm not sure of what established tune this follows, but here's the Camp Mackall Song:
Camp Mackall is a h*ll of a place
The organization's a f*cking disgrace
E-6s, E-7s and officers, too, with thumbs up their a**es and nothing to do
They stand on the corners, they scream and they shout
All about things they know nothing about
For all of their knowledge they all ought to be
Shoveling sh*t on the South China Sea
We literally took a break from the training schedule to do PT all day after singing that song to the TACs.
Well, the obituary associated with our mini-adventure the other night finally hit the local paper.
The guy has several living brothers and sisters, and at the ripe old age of 43 has already been predeceased by three brothers. I'd hazard a guess that the males of the family have tended to involve themselves in high-risk entrepreneurial pursuits.
In retrospect, so many facets of that whole incident have become clear. We were used. I've never been a police officer—many years ago when I brought home an application from a big city department my parents and then girlfriend (now wife) had paroxysms. I dropped the matter and have always regretted it. But nonetheless, I did have a job for several years that required me to drive around that same city from 7PM until 7AM every night, opening buildings in the wee hours to check them out as well as escorting lottery money to the bank, and I carried a handgun. I met many a cop in the course of that job, and they were all cynics. Now I know why.
Something went wrong with a drug deal that night (I already just knew that, but it was confirmed by a police contact, albeit with no further details, other than it might have had to do with a delivery that wasn't paid for). Joey, our guy, strode into our meeting so nonchalant that some of us thought he was a new parent. Thinking back, he wanted to blend in. Then he begged for us to lock the door, for obvious reasons.
Joey told us he had just opened the door on the car to talk to his brother when someone stuck a shotgun in his brother's “open” window (it was cold that night, and I suspect neither of them had a great tolerance for cold), yet Joey was uninjured and there was no blood spattered on him. Shotguns at close range tend to be somewhat messy, and Joey should have been directly in the line of the shot—you don't open a rear door to talk to someone in the front seat, you open the opposite door. For an extremely graphic and extremely unsettling look at what shotguns do at close range you can click here, but I don't recommend it. Anyway, methinks Joey sensed it coming down and bolted. He wasn't talking to his brother at the time. He heard and maybe saw the shooting and hauled posterior, looking for safety in a group of people. He then went into the role of the sobbing victim, playing on our sympathies.
He begged us to take him to the police station. We tried waiting for a police car to come by, but he kept badgering us. I finally succumbed and made another call to the police. At that point the dispatcher said they were so tied up that she couldn't tell us when a car would come by. He begged and cried until we took him. Hell, he knew that was the only place he'd be 100% safe. That's why he begged us to take him there. In retrospect, it was also obvious that the detective knew exactly who he was.
I've been trying for some years to not be such a “nice guy”--they really do finish last. This may be a big push in that direction.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Well, I just saw a line at Camarillo Brillo (whatever the hell that means) that cracked me up. The line?---"Adam to Eve: Stand back, I don't know how big this thing is gonna get!"
Unfortunately, I wouldn't have been much of a threat...
This has already been posted and blogged about some eight million times, but I have to add my two cents.
Federal air marshals shot and killed a man at Miami International Airport.
The reason I feel like I have to add my two cents is that the Monday morning quarterbacking is in full force. The marshals should have waited, they should have done this, they should have done that, etc. And, of course, since he was Hispanic, the marshals are racists even though nobody knows what race the marshals involved are.
He said he had a bomb in his backpack, bolted from the marshals, then stopped and reached into his backpack. One or both of the marshals then shot him.
What the hell were they supposed to do? Wait for him to detonate a bomb so they could be absolutely sure that he had one? As it turns out he was mentally unbalanced, but I think that can be said of all bombers. They're all nutty in one way or another or they wouldn't be blowing fellow humans up.
Or, and I love this one: Shoot to wound. A firearm is a deadly weapon. There are fractions of an inch between wounded and dead, and when you're firing a handgun under stress at a moving target there is no way in hell you can say “I'm just going to wound him”. Shoot for the leg, they say, the thigh's a big target. It is, and it also contains the femoral artery. You so much as nick that thing and he'll bleed to death in seconds. A firearm is a weapon of last resort, and when they had every reason to believe that guy was gong to blow things up, they had no other alternative.
Another tough one. On 30 NOV, Marine Corporal Joshua Snyder died as the result of wounds sustained from small arms fire in Fallujah.
Cpl. Snyder graduated from Hereford High School, the same school that Marine LCpl. Norman Anderson graduated from. LCpl. Anderson, the son a fellow 20th Grouper, was killed in action in Iraq on 19 OCT. They were classmates-both graduated in 2002-and team mates on the high school football team.
I've been around the world at least once. Seen a thing or two. But last night trumped everything.
We live in a fairly rural area, though we live minutes from an incorporated city. I call it “the town”. Most east coast people would agree—it's just not big enough to even consider calling it a city. But, true enough to the moniker “city”, it has its problems.
The Boy Scouts meet at a school that doesn't really fall in the city. Technically it's within city limits, but “the city” is main street (the longest in the US) and a few tangental streets. It's not a big city by any measure. The church is way up on a hill and way on the outskirts.
Just as the Scout meeting was ending, a guy strode in and sat at the Scoutmaster's table. Later, the three of us who had the testiclees to deal with the situation all agreed that we at first thought he was a new parent.
Well, after calmly walking in and sitting down, our guest suddenly announced that there'd been shooting and he was afraid that his brother was dead. Everyone pretty much froze—what was this all about? Then he started demanding that we lock the doors. I knew full well things weren't right and dialed 911. The operator confirmed that there had been a shooting and asked me to sit on the guy we had until the police picked him up. Another guy called 911 just after me, and we had concurrent conversations with the operator.
Meanwhile, parents right and left just said “screw it” and bolted. Can't really blame them. It's my nature to insert myself into these situations, so I stayed.
The police never showed up for the guy, so I called again and the dispatcher told me everyone was at the scene and she didn't know when a car would be available. While I was having this conversation the 75-year old Scoutmaster simply shut the place down. I don't know if he was oblivious or cranky and didn't give a hoot. Either is entirely possible. Plans were hastily made that I would drive the guy to the police and another couple would take my son and meet me at the station. While we made those plans the only two other fathers with any nads took the guy and put him in a car. Andy, a mountain of a man, sat behind the guy. I followed them to the station just as extra security.
When we got there, the guy's change in demeanor was astonishing. The guy who had been chewing on his coat and moaning that he thought his brother was dead became downright belligerent. The detective was absolutely unflappable, though. She told him his brother was ok (turns out she lied—he was killed) and got on with taking our information. Then he demanded access to his car (in which his brother was shot) so he could get his cell phone (because his contacts are in it, my wife reminded me). She told him he wasn't getting in his car any time soon. Then he started asking for water. The detective said she'd get him a glass of water and he demanded bottled water. I snapped at that point and started laying into his sorry butt. He'd used us. He was neck-deep in whatever got his brother killed (drugs, undoubtedly), he played on our sympathy even though he probably hated us, and now he was playing games while his brother laid somewhere bleeding. The detective reminded me that I was done, so I sheepishly removed myself from the station.
Someday I'll learn about trying to help people. Meanwhile, I'll shed no tears if the shooter manages to catch up with that guy, too.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The evidence at hand isn't Republican vs. Democrat, but it's idiological, and fits quite well in the Us vs. Them status that the Democrats have established in Congress. The writer is particularly dangerous as he's a very smart guy and a good writer (and for certain reasons should be toeing the Democrat line). Ergo he has been racking up rude, uninformed comments by the minute. Mostly just rude. And uninformed.
Anyway, it's a good read. Check it out at Michael Williams.
Jack Abu bin Murtha is at it again. And frankly, he's crossed the line into treason. When you give aid and succor to the enemy, you've committed treason. Bin Murtha has for some reason (see Bear Creek Ledger for possible reasons—seems bin Murtha and Li'l Rich Girl Nancy Pelosi may have been caught with their fingers in the cookie jar) found fit to announce that the Army is broken down. That's giving succor to the enemy, plain and simple. He's telling them that the battle is theirs, they need only stick it out—our military is on the verge of collapse. And John bin Kerry (did you know he was in Vietnam?) has called our troops terrorists. I'll say this: You can be a Democrat and a patriot. But you can't agree with those two jackasses and be a patriot. NOTR at ROFASix has a good take on the misconduct of House Democrats as well. Check out the link to the Sacred Cow blog.
Sometimes you get help in unexpected places. I met my most cherished friend when I visited a Yahoo science chat room and my response to the postings of an utterly insane chatter led her to message me. We subsequently became friends in real life.
Every once in a while I go dumpster diving in the waaay out blogs and message boards just out of curiosity, although it's never a fun exercise. The grunts and squeals of the Orcs that inhabit those blogs and message boards usually leave me with dangerously high blood pressure.
But a visit to Kurt Nimmo, a Wal-Mart photo clerk and Commander in Chief of the Tinfoil Beanie Brigade, led me to another neat blog, Dread Pundit. Bluto, the writer at Dread Pundit, has annoyed poor Kurt. Congratulations, and welcome to the club, Bluto.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Even I have reservations about the death penealty, but one thing I can guarantee you is that scumbag, who ambushed a woman in a parking lot and killed her in front of her six-year old grandson for $10, and who spent most of his life in and out of prison for hurting people, will never hurt anyone again.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Fall cleanup at the cabin is something of a family get together. The hunting club goes way back on the distaff side of my family and the roster includes two uncles, a cousin and the husband of a cousin.
The husband of a cousin was active duty Marine Corps for several years and then went into the reserves to pursue what has apparently been an extremely lucrative career in the financial field. He was reactivated as we pursued the war into Iraq and has spent considerable time there over the last two years. I gather that he has been involved in rebuilding Iraq's financial infrastructure. Although an active duty Marine, he spends his days wearing a business suit—but commutes by helicopter. What I didn't know was that he has prior experience in the Middle East, but I didn't get any real specifics. He's not the easiest person to relate to. A good guy, just not much of a conversationalist. But—he can hold forth when a subject comes up that pushes one of his buttons. And he knows the Middle East well.
First, torture. Personally, I'm sick to death of hearing about this. It's in no way officially sanctioned. Hell, it's against the law. And taking silly photos of naked guys with leashes is juvenile and stupid, but it's not torture. I read an article the other day where some bonehead journalist just made the bald assertion that we are torturing prisoners. Period. No maybes, no ifs, just we are. I think better of our armed forces than that, and here's the take from Lieutenant Colonel Cousin's Husband: Most of the bad guys we capture are released pretty quickly. The few that we hold on to are people who don't even communicate on the same level as the rest of us. They are seriously bad guys. They aren't reachable. They are like some movie version of a calloused, psychotic, hard-core murderer. They get sent to Gitmo, etc. For everyone, there is the process of getting caught, processed and questioned. Sometimes our guys catch someone who they know was involved in an explosion yesterday that killed one of their buddies (yes, our HUMINT is that good). Things might get a bit rough for that guy. Can I approve of that on a purely dispassionate, intellectual level? Of course not. Can I understand the human reaction? Absolutely. Would I participate? Probably. And the message for Abdul is if you don't want to get your a$$ kicked, don't blow people up. Cease and desist, and we'll stop kicking the snot out of you. Once the bad guys have been captured and processed, we want to ask them a few questions. According to LTC Cousin's Husband, they might take the bad guys out and make them do exercises until they're tired and then hose them down with water. I know first hand that sucks, because I've been through it. It was called Basic Training.
Next an uncle asked about white phosphorus. I jumped in with my limited understanding—WP is mostly used as a spotting round (it sends up a lot of smoke and marks a target), but there is also a larger ground burst round that is mainly used to generate smoke to obscure troop movements. The fact that it can also create havoc among enemy troops as an incendiary is a plus. I knew that my uncle's question was spurred by recent reports in the European press that we used chemical weapons in Iraq, and that claims were made that we actually burned up bodies without burning the clothes they were wearing.
Before we go any further, let me lay a few things out. First, a chemical weapon is defined by international law as a weapon that kills by its own toxic properties. WP will set your gluteus on fire and burn clean through you, but it's not toxic in its own right. I can make an aerosol of scotch, set it on fire and kill someone, but scotch is not a chemical weapon. Secondly, gruesome as the photos of the alleged bodies are (and no doubt they selected photos very carefully to make us look as bad as possible), they weren't killed by WP. Someone actually noted that some of the bodies were caramelized. I caramelize onions on the stove. Bodies don't get caramelized. And flaming chemicals don't cook people inside their clothing without setting the clothing on fire. The bodies in the photos are bodies that got left out in the sun too long. Pure and simple. Those photos out there which they claim are victims of WP/chemical warfare...wrong. Just plain wrong. Lies, actually, since I'm sure those international journalists are so smart and so experienced that they know better.
Now, for the one part that's true—we did use WP. Gasp. We used a weapon in the conduct of war. Imagine that.
I'd forgotten that LTC Cousin's Husband had once been an artillery officer, but he filled me in on the third type of WP round. There is an airburst round, which is what was used in the “incident” the European press is trying to create. WP is really mainly a smoke round. The airburst round contains some 115 pieces of felt, each soaked with WP. When the round bursts, the pieces float to earth, creating a more effective curtain of smoke than a ground burst. The fire mission was completely planned. There were no civilians whatsoever in the area at the time. What we were facing was dug in enemy troops, so we fired airburst WP. The rounds created a curtain of smoke that prevented them from seeing our troops as they maneuvered, and further the rounds created a psychological effect as the flaming WP streamed to earth, driving the troops from their trenches.
All of this stuff I'm talking is war. Plain and simple. It's not great, it's not fun. It's war. Certain elements have been nipping at us for years, then they finally got our attention one sunny September day. Now we've brought war to them. Too bad guys. AC-130s, WP, Predators, etc. You chose to poke us and wake us up, now you have to deal with it.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The "Crabs" webpage also has a pretty good dictionary of Bawlmorese—a subdialect of the Merlin dialect which is spoken by
Baltimorons Baltimorians. Merlin, of course, is the state located between Virginia and Pennsylvania and Bawlmore is its largest city.