Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thought you might like to know

Manure slingin', Eco-freaks and soy beans

"A Field of Beans" & somebody's Dreams

During a meeting of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), members of the "Citizens for Community Improvement" decided things were not going as they "should," (re: not to their liking).

The DNR was holding an open meeting regarding " application of liquid manure on Iowa farmland rather than banning the practice next May, as the activists had hoped."

Outbursts of “you guys are cowards,” “tin soldiers,” and “corporate shills” were shouted
by nearly 30 Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members who appealed for the
commission to prevent large-scale commercial livestock operations from applying liquid
swine manure on land where the current crop has been harvested and will be planted to
soybeans during the next crop season.

“This is one of the most dead-headed things that corporate farmers can do,” said CCI
member Cherie Mortice. “This is a disgrace. I’m really disappointed that we can’t
move the ball in the right direction.”

"Moving the ball in the right direction" seems to mean doing things the CCI-preferred way.
Police were called and the meeting broke up with no decision made to change the limitations, but that still didn't satisfy the CCI folks. I'm sure another hearing or two will be scheduled later, so for now, the manure's not gonna get slung. I'm guessing the CCI folks still have twisted panties and knotted knickers.

Female Komodo Dragons overworked! An issue for feminists? (Might be best your wife not know this.)

Miz Komodo
Not what I'd call warm and cuddly, and not not found (normally) in this part of the world. A crack research team at the University of Melbourne, Australia, believes the female critters are being overworked and their life span is suffering.

"...female Komodo dragons live half as long as males on average, seemingly due to
their physically demanding 'housework' such as building huge nests and
guarding eggs for up to six months."

I have a question. Just exactly how does "doin' wimmins' work," those tasks assigned these critters by Mother Nature herself, become species-threatening?

"The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest lizard. Their formidable body size enables
them to serve as top predators killing water buffalo, deer and wild boar and
they have also been known to kill humans."

The story doesn't say, but based on my limited knowledge of how Mother Nature set things up, that paragraph sounds like the male Komodo's job (Me Tarzan, You Jane). It also sounds a tad more "physically demanding," not to mention life-threatening, than having kids and raising them. (You ever seen film/videos of water buffalo or wild boar when they're pissed off or feel threatened? Ever thought you could take one on, bare-handed?)

I don't want to see any of Mother Nature's species disappear. Sometimes though, I think that's just the Natural Order. The way things are meant to be. And not something I'm going to get overly concerned about.

Need a Time Sucker?

I just LOL'd and spent a few minutes playing a game named, "Help Mitt Romney to catch all women with his binder!"

Since there's a link on the page to a site collecting $$$ for his campaign, I guess it's got some sort of "official" blessing. Or something. Maybe the game was created by the guys who wrote the script he used (quite well) at the Al Smith dinner? Anyway, go waste a little time. Enjoy!

This has been a service of the type we offer around here. Ya'll come back now, ya heah?

For your listening pleasure

Wurlitzer juke box. Not online at this time.

Sometimes, while clicking around, I like to listen to music. I no longer have speakers hooked up to my system (seemed to be a problem for SWMHO). Now I've got a great headphone set that works quite nicely. I click. I listen. I bop. She's happy. That's called Win/Win.

I've got playlists on YouTube I put together, depending on my mood. Artist, genre, etc. I log in, pick a list, start it up, open a new browser tab and go about my searching and reading while the music plays on. Works great.

Today, a blogger friend wrote a post that included a link to an online radio station. I checked Pandora and was disappointed. I entered Janis Joplin. (The lady could flat out sing!) They have just one of her songs, Cry Baby. Since that happens to be one of my faves, I'll overlook their oversight. For now.

Online music stations are not new. Some are good and some are very good. If you'd like to look at a few, do a Google... free online music (enter the type of music you want here) radio. Enjoy!

This is NOT potty humor

Zone of Danger

Jasmine Roberts, 7th-grade student at a New Tampa, FL, school needed a science project. She thought about it. And then she did something an awful lot of adults don't even know the meaning of. She hypothesized!

"My hypothesis was that the fast food restaurants' ice would contain
more bacteria than the fast food restaurants' toilet water."

Sound icky? Not at all. The young lady went about her investigation in a very sanitary, scientific manner. Her results were, to put it mildly, unsettling.

"I found that 70-percent of the time, the ice from the fast food restaurants
contain more bacteria than the fast food restaurant's toilet water."

But there's good news... she won $800 for her project.

A follow-up

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Eco-science being confusing. I mentioned methane gas and cows. Today I found this example of Truth in Advertising.

Naming a farm and telling it like it is.

I've never considered myself a Peacenik

But there are stories like this that give me pause.

I know why we originally went into Afghanistan. I understand the reasoning for most of what we've done and tried to do there. I try to keep faith that the folks who run our military know what they are doing. Then I read another story about brave men like Army Staff Sergeant Matthew Sitton and I begin questioning everything.

16 more days

Friday, October 19, 2012

Those friendly insurance salesfolks (otherwise known as AARP - Defender of us old folks) have just grasped a big old hunk of The Obvious

Found at
"The nation’s largest seniors lobby on Thursday urged Congress and the White House
not to extend a temporary payroll tax holiday beyond January."

A lot of folks don't realize that AARP sells insurance. They sell a lot of insurance. Under Obamacare they stand to gain about a $billion ($1,000,000,000) in additional profits. (That's profits. As in the Bottom Line. Not gross sales. And you wondered why they supported the plan?)

They claim to represent the interests of about 37 million seniors and are only interest in their well-being. (sure) Oh, and they happen to be mostly tax-exempt!

I rarely support or agree with AARP. However, in this instance, I think they're right.

Yesterday's announcement, I'm guessing, wasn't well-received well at White House Election Central. That payroll tax holiday is the thing The Prez is referring to when he brags about cutting taxes for everyone. But, that tax cut is, as AARP correctly points out, going to rear back and bite everyone's butt down the road. The 2% everyone's been enjoying, and spending in support of our lame economy, will have to be replaced. At some time. By some body.

From the beginning I said the "holiday" idea was just more "smoke and mirrors." More political BS.

I am so happy I don't have kids in college!

I found something Romney and The Prez agree on!

An Anarctic exploration, fortitude, bravery, ghosts, the human spirit and historical puzzles ...

... all in a book I just finished. I don't consider myself qualified to write a "review," but I may pique your interest with my impressions of Dead Men, by Richard Pierce. When I read the book jacket synopsis I thought, "Sounds interesting," but I didn't have any wild expectations. Not unusual for me when I make a reading selection.

The main story is about the man (Royal Navy Captain Robert F. Scott) and his expedition that lost the race to be the first to reach the South Pole. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was first. Scott and his men are portrayed through diaries and papers that were saved and a bit of fiction. The fiction reads like very good interpretations of fact.

Rarely do I read a book "I can't put down." The only time I can remember that happening was The Godfather. I polished that off in two consecutive nights of uninterrupted reading.

Dead Men held my interest, delivered everything the synopsis promised and something I wasn't expecting. Not one, but two love stories intertwined in the telling of the adventure.

One, involving the two main characters, developed as their investigation of Scott's trek took them to Antarctica in the hopes of finding the bodies of those left behind.

The other was that of Scott and his widow. Her reaction to the news of his death was, to me, amazing.

I don't, as I said, have the qualifications to consider myself a book reviewer. If I did, I think I'd give this one 9 stars (on a 10 scale).

James Bond they ain't

Israeli model Bar Refaeli plays a Mossad seductress with actor Tomer Sisleyon a set of a film made about the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (AP/Dan Balilty)
And I'm not certain they look like Bar (a personal fave of mois), but the famous Israeli Intel Gathering Group known as Mossad, has just revealed their use of female spies.

"For female Mossad agents, life is like a spy-movie — though not always as glamorous.
Theirs is a world of intrigue, sleepless nights and, sometimes, flirtation, in conditions of
ever-lurking danger, all for the sake of the state, with immense strains on their families."

Israel has always been an Equal Opportunity Employer. The country is, comparatively, tiny. Their enemies outnumber and have them completely surrounded. Ever since they became a Nation they have been continually under attack. Everyone in the country is expected to take up arms when necessary. Women serve proudly, bravely and willingly in whatever capacity needed.

“A man who wants to gain access to a forbidden area has less chance of being allowed in…
A smiling woman has a bigger chance of success.”

Works for me.

"We flirt, but the line is drawn at sex.”

Even as a heterosexual male, I like that thought.

"Efrat noted soberly that she knows her “life is over” if she is caught — and said
it’s a risk she’s willing to take for the sake of Israel’s national security."

Reality or not, I do not like that possibility.

“Contrary to stereotypes, you see that women’s abilities are superior to men in terms
of understanding the territory, reading situations, spatial awareness.
When they’re good, they’re very good.”

Were I an Israeli, I'd be happy knowing these women are on the job. As a supporter of Israel and its continued existence, I approve of their use of whatever means necessary to continue their existence.

This is where I weigh in

"Awww, you were such a cute baby, Jon."
Looking around at the morning news, I found an NBC TV story about The Prez's latest gig on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. I'd heard about His Highness's "optimal" remarks and wondered if this might give me a little more information. It did.

You've probably heard and heard and heard about "optimal," so I'll skip that and comment on a few other tidbits. (Just part of the service we offer around here, finding stuff you may not know.)

Keep in mind, this program was pre-recorded. I doubt Stewart or his staff edited anything but, if the Prez, at any point in time, said anything he thought was really, really dumb, I'd think he could/would stop everything and ask (maybe even issue some kind of "Directive" or "Order" or claim a "Privilege) for a do-over. I know there are "Guidelines" (Rules) about his gigs. And I'd bet a stack of Benjamins bits and pieces were even scripted. By His Highness's sycophants/minions.

"After weeks of listening to Jon Stewart cheer, cajole, criticize, and generally fuss over the
state of his campaign, President Barack Obama showed up to “The Daily Show” on Thursday
and got the chance to speak for himself in person rather than through cable news soundbites."

So, he came prepared. He'd been briefed (since this didn't involve National Security, he showed up for the briefing).

"The president and Stewart talked about issues domestic and foreign,
with jokes mixed into the generally serious conversation."

His "numbers" are going down the crapper, he's concerned about folks' opinions of his term in office, he wants to "speak for himself" and he jokes! Tells you something about the audience he's playing to. 

"But Stewart started by asking what he’s asked on the air since the day it happened ... 
what went wrong for Obama during that first debate?"
Not my idea of an opening question, since the subject's been off most folks' radar quite some time now. But, it's his show, so he get's to ask (or, maybe The Prez wanted another shot at essplainin').

Stewart, being a comic, added this before The Prez answered...

“Sometimes I’ll go onstage and have an open-faced turkey sandwich and a shot of
NyQuil, and halfway through I’ll look up and say 'Are we on?'"

To which The Prez replied...

“Obviously I had an off night. The presentation wasn’t what it needed to be..."

Duh. Obviously it wasn't. Even your pals in the "media" knew that. And talked about it. A lot.

I do not want a man sitting in the Oval Office who does not go into any situation, anywhere, at any time, unprepared. I do not want to hear my President saying he "had an off night." I do not want the enemies of my country hearing my President talking about "off nights."

He then proceeded, evidently, to go into Campaign Mode. Blame, shift responsibility, blame, deny, rinse and repeat. You know, politician stuff.

Now hear this (as my Navy buds often say)...

“We could be growing even faster than we have if Governor Romney’s allies in
Congress would move on some of the things we’ve recommended.”

Lord love a duck! Those "allies" are the Republicans. The opposing party. The "other side of the aisle." The folks he should be having sit-downs with. Negotiating with. Finding things to agree on with. Maybe even, occasionally, compromising with. And getting positive things done! (Please note: I'm refraining from commenting on the "growing even faster" part.)

“We ended the war in Iraq. We’re ending the war in Afghanistan. We’ve gone after al-Qaeda
and its leadership. It’s true that al-Qaeda is still active, at least sort of remnants of it are staging
in other parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Sometimes you’ve got to make some
tough calls, but you can do so in a way that’s consistent with international law and with
American law,” Obama said.

"At least sort of remnants?" What the hell does that mean? Is that a description used in the Daily Presidential Intelligence Briefings? Oh, I forgot. He doesn't attend those briefings. They're scheduled when he's on the golf course. (Ever seen the video clips of his swing? Funny stuff.)

And let's be damned sure, when dealing with thugs, cretins and troglodytes, we're concerned with Law. (Always at the top of my list of concerns.) Maybe that's the "tough call" part. With Eric Holder as his Attorney General, Law can get kinda fuzzy. And it's "tough" to figure out if he knows what the hell he (Eric) is talking about. Law-wise.

"Not surprisingly, the President treated the interview like a stump speech, and he
closed with a plea for people to go to the polls."

(Insert another "duh" for the "stump speech" observation.) Then it's back into Campaign Mode. (refer back to above)

The article's author (Craig Berman, NBC News contributor) wrote...

"Of course, there was some humor mixed in with the political discourse."

I thought there was more than "some" humor and a helluva lot of "political discourse" (re: BS)

If you're interested, there are video clips at the link to the story.

I'd just like to be on record

Your Friday morning scientific lesson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A little potty humor

Don't sit down without it.

You'll have to visit an online friend of mine, but I think you'll find the trip worthwhile. Follow the link in his story for...
  • A South Carolina town named North with an exploding toilet problem
  • A central U.K. city celebrating the arrival of its "first ever public Chinese-style squat toilet"
  • Toilet plunger-carrying kids wreaking havoc in a New Yawk City school
  •  Pictures
Sound interesting? Then set the sails, hoist the anchors and click away.

I found something interesting in the e-mailbox today

I've been known to indulge in the occasional malt/barley/hops concoction and what's sometimes referred to as the Fruit of the Vine. But never, ever have I considered planning a trip of any distance to visit the origination point of either delight.

When we lived in Houston, we spent a family day at the Busch Gardens/Amusement Park (now closed). The kids were young enough that it wasn't un-cool. Exotic fowl, simians and other critters found in rain forests, along with the flora. Plus amusement rides. They seemed to enjoy it.

The Gardens were only open for about two years. Problems with animal health, low attendance and high operating costs did it in.

Another trip, another reason, I toured the adjacent brewery. Fascinating, informative and at the end of the tour... free beer! Yep, a tavern was on-premises and sampling was encouraged. Not much encouragement was required.

Since those trips involved about 40 miles round trip, it didn't require much planning. Or time. Today, though, it's been suggested I consider one of ten breweries or ten vineyard regions (complete with 39 suggested nearby wineries) for a visit.

Two of the breweries are in Missouri, so they might be considered. Some time. The others stretch from North Carolina to California. No thanks.

The vineyards are mostly, as you've guessed, in California. They do nominate one in Colorado (a possibility), one each in Washington (state) and Oregon, plus two in New York state. Again, no thanks.

However, if you, Dear Reader (I stole that from one of the Landers sisters), are interested, have at it. Enjoy! When you get back I'd appreciate a Trip Report (photos would be nice, but not required).

An interesting recap of a few Electoral College results


I just read an interesting recap of and look back at, the past 10 Presidential elections and the Electoral College results.

At the end of the post is a link to an interactive map. Each state is shown as "Solid, Likely or Leans" for a candidate or the state is a "Toss up." Click on a state you think will vote differently than predicted and the Electoral College totals change. Decide your own scenario -- "What if Florida votes for Romney and Ohio votes for Obama, but California...."

It's one of those Win/Win time suckers. Now go play!

Happy 161st Birthday Moby Dick!

Artist unknown

"Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little
or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought
I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world."

From that opening line (frequently referred to as "Call me Ishmael), for some unknown reason, I knew I'd enjoy reading this book. It was one of the dreaded Jr. High "assignments." And, once again, "Teacher Knew Best." I enjoyed it. And enjoyed the class discussion. I think I even correctly answered most of the test answers.

The story of Ishmael and Captain Ahab's hunt for the Great White Whale, Moby Dick, is a classic. It's full of things that intrigued my young mind... a giant sea creature, whaling ships, a crazy captain and a lot of interesting crew members.

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891), the author, was a novelist, short story writer and poet. Moby Dick or, The Whale (1851), is his best known work. Thanks, Herman. It was a good read.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fifty years ago this week... Another enemy... Another crisis

"On the morning of October 16, 1962, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy informed
President John F. Kennedy that U.S. surveillance aircraft had discovered the presence of Soviet
missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from American soil. It was the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis,
which brought the world to the brink of nuclear war."

A comparatively young (45 years) President was about to face the unthinkable. And the man with the authority to "push the button" on the other side of the world, causing the crisis, was a chubby little tyrant by the name of Nikita Khrushchev. A piece of work who was known to rant and rave during United Nations Assembly meetings. The same guy who talked of "burying" the US. A man not considered to have all the cards in his deck.

I didn't vote for Kennedy. I didn't have a very high opinion of him. But the man had what it took to face the crisis, make the decisions that needed to be made (without giving any thought to opinion polls or future elections) and take actions that avoided nuclear war. My opinion of him changed. Considerably.

I take things like that event into consideration when I vote for a President of our Nation. I want someone who I think will be able to stand up and do what's needed. Diplomacy is always the prime consideration. Sanctions must be an early option. But, when it's time to stop cutting bait and get on with the fishing, I want someone who knows what to do. Who won't be afraid to take on the first responsibility of a Leader... positive action.

The History Channel has a brief article and some facts about the incident you may not know.

Lurrnin' 'r fun

The above is an example of the creative minds who publicize the Science and Technology Museum, Science World British Columbia, in Canada. In addition to gaining attention where their ads appear, they pop up worldwide courtesy of the internet and folks eager to share a little humor. I'd bet when they amortize the original cost of an ad, using the internet exposure, their cost per view is less than a penny.

One of my favorites is a simple balloon...

Cute kid, huh? Always a good idea to include kids in ad campaigns.

Halloween costume idea of the day

Lamp shade not included.

Of pirates, sailors and seals

"With piracy on the rise and fast becoming a serious global security issue, Admiral Terry McKnight
took command of a new multi-national task force in 2009 to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
As task force commander, he directed operations that disrupted several hijackings and resulted in the
 capture of sixteen Somali pirates. After running head-on into a U.S. policy of catch-and-release,
he realized that there was more to fighting piracy than just catching youngsters armed with
AK-47s and RPGs."

That's from notes about a new book written by Rear Admiral Terry McKnight, USN (Ret.) and Michael Hirsh. I liked the "catch-and-release" phrase.

Admiral McKnight was the man in charge (April 2009) when the famous US Navy SEAL Team Six took out 3 pirates with 3 shots. Since his retirement he's been researching the problem of pirates off the coast of Africa, security of ships sailing in those waters and solutions. He offers insight into the men, weapons and tactics employed.

Considering the primitive nature of the pirates and their resources, I doubt he's providing them with anything that will help in their thuggery. Hopefully, if they were to even read the book, it would serve as a deterrent to future activity. Doubtful, but a nice thought. I thought.

The word is Terrorism

During a 1964 Supreme Court case involving pornography, Justice Potter Stewart wrote that hardcore pornography was hard to describe, but he knew it when he saw it. (Not an exact quote. I paraphrased.)

There are folks in DC that throw the words Terror, Terrorism and Terrorist around and use them however fits their purpose. Frequently they seem hesitant to say "Terrorism" when they fear they might offend some person, country or belief system. Dammit, acts of terrorism are blatantly obvious to most folks. Call a spade a spade. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, you can bet a stack of Benjamins it's a damned duck!

The is from an online dictionary ...

ter·ror – [ter-er] noun

1. intense, sharp, overmastering fear: to be frantic with terror.
2. an instance or cause of intense fear or anxiety; quality of causing terror: to be a terror to evildoers.
3. any period of frightful violence or bloodshed likened to the Reign of Terror in France.
4. violence or threats of violence used for intimidation or coercion; terrorism.
5. Informal . a person or thing that is especially annoying or unpleasant.

ter·ror·ism – [ter-uh-riz-uhm] noun

1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

ter·ror·ist – [ter-er-ist] noun

1. a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism.
2. a person who terrorizes or frightens others.
3. (formerly) a member of a political group in Russia aiming at the demoralization of the government by terror.
4. an agent or partisan of the revolutionary tribunal during the Reign of Terror in France.

Isn't it obvious to someone besides moi that.... When a person(s) commits an act of Terror, they are committing Terrorism and their action(s) is Terrorist in nature? Am I wrong? I'm open to correction and/or opposing views.

The Brits have tax loophole problems, too

From The Guardian newspaper

And one of the holes getting attention lately involves USA companies!

A US company wants to make some bucks offshore (and maybe avoid a few US tax payments) so they find a friendly country willing to give them a few tax breaks to ring their (the US company) cash registers on said friendly country's soil.

These financial machinations are frequently referred to as "loopholes." But that depends on whether you're the Loopholer (you got the $$$ breaks) or the Loopholee (you lost the tax $$$).

In this case, did a US company avoid US tax payments? I don't know. The tax laws are a tad confusing/complicated/convoluted, but in some cases, some companies seem to.

In any case, some of our British friends are screaming bloody hell about Starbucks having only paid 8.6 million pounds ($13,892,815 US) during the 14 years they've been doing business there. In that time their revenues amounted to 3 billion pounds ($4,846,258,935 US). Folks, dollars aside, that is one helluva lot of coffee in a land known to be full of tea drinkers.

While tracking down this story (just part of the service we offer around here) I found that the dastardly corporation Facebook is also guilty! FB's sales in the UK last year were 20.4 million  pounds ($32,957,662 US) and they managed to pay only  pounds ($384,489 US). A right nice piece of managing there, Mr. Z.

Considering the number of US companies piling up revenues in the UK, you just know the list of targets is going to grow and grow. And if the UK succeeds in revising their tax laws, adds to their coffers and maybe begin to get a handle on their national debt problems, we may see a few changes in our own tax regs. Maybe.

Modern day Rome is burning, and modern day Nero(s) are still fiddlin'

Tom Coburn, Senator (R), of Muskogee, Oklahoma (yep, a gen-u-ine Okie from Muskogee) publishes what he calls the Wastebook. It's a compilation of wasted tax $$$. The 2012 Edition is available online. All 202 pages of it. I've skimmed through it and found waaaaay too many funny/ridiculous/outlandish/dumb/scandalous/unbelivable "projects" to even pick out a few to tell you about.

The Senator even uses 66 of the 202 pages citing and linking to the "Official" details of each and every "project."

And some folks wonder how we piled up $16,000,000,000,000+ in debt. (please take note of those 12 zeros!)

I just spewed coffee all over my keyboard!

The woman currently residing in the East Wing of the White House says her husband doesn't have a big ego!

"You see this in, you know, how he leads the country," the first lady said, staying on message in
an interview taped weeks ago to air before debate coverage. "I mean, he is very open to other
people's opinions. And he's always willing to compromise and he's always, always listening.
So that would kind of be the last thing that I would think of when I talk about my husband is big ego.
Because he just doesn't have that. So it's not much to check."

Never, ever, at any point in time during the Prez's time in office have I...
  • Considered his ego to be anything except SuperSized
  • Seen any sign of his being open to opinions other than his own
  • A willingness on his part to compromise
Maybe she meant in comparison to her own? Did you notice the story title on that Vogue cover? I doubt it ran without her approval.


"Some of the reporters covering tonight’s presidential debate at Hofstra University in Long Island
may be F.W.I.–filing while intoxicated. Anheuser-Busch is apparently a sponsor of tonight’s rhetorical
battle and the beer company has set up a “hospitality tent” outside the media filing center where reporters are being treated to free food, brews and souvenir glasses."

Filing While Intoxicated! Can they be ticketed for that? Doubtful. Their Press Passes are probably some sort of "Don't Ticket Me, Bro," and "Stay out of Jail Card." Gives new meaning to "Power of the Press."

But this little bit of insight just might explain a couple of things about... 1) The content/nonsense of some reports you read about the debates. 2) Why reporters have reportedly been clamoring for these assignments. Yeah, who doesn't want to get in on free souvenir glasses?


A few days ago I wrote about the American Flag. A reader pointed out something I didn't include. What to do with the flag you're replacing. I'll correct my "haste makes waste" (and incomplete posts) error right now.

You've probably heard that tattered and torn American Flags should be disposed of by burning. I don't like the sound of the perfectly good word, "disposed" in this context, but it is what it is. And some folks don't like using another fine word, "burn," when discussing Our Flag. How about "Retire, Retiring, and Retirement?" I like those. And that's how the subject is described in the American Legion Manual of Ceremonies.

Most Legion Posts will Retire your flag for you. And, a number of Boy Scout Troops will help you. Give them a call.

I like the picture I ran, so much that I'm putting it up again.

Image Detail: Melinda Bula of El Dorado Hills, Calif., made this art quit for her son
serving in the U.S. Marines. It's titled "Our Flag Was Still There."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Not so great news about our military capability

"A major international naval exercise last month in and around the Persian Gulf and
Arabian Sea, led by the U.S. Navy with more than 30 other nations participating,
located fewer than half of the practice mines laid at sea.
This outcome of the highly publicized military drills — not publicly known until now — 
underscores how difficult it may be for the United States and its partners to detect and
incapacitate waterborne explosive devices that Iran has threatened to plant if its nuclear
facilities come under attack."

U.S.S. Enterprise (The "Big E")

I don't see this as a weakness of our Navy. I see it as an example of why they conduct "exercises." They practice and they learn. They fix problems and get stronger. I'm thankful they discovered something that needs fixing under circumstances that won't get somebody killed.

I do have one concern. Why do we continue to tell the world about a weakness? Shut up and fix the problem. I have no idea who thought this was a good idea or what they hoped to accomplish.

I like scientific minds capable of reducing things down to my level of comprehension

For example...

Have you ever wondered about planets spinning around the sun and never bumping into each other? (a good thing) One of NASA's space telescopes pulled in some information and...

"UCLA astronomers looked at data from NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space
telescope and found that more than 85 percent of alien planets have inclinations 
of less than 3 degrees. This means they orbit around a star near the same axis as
other planets in their system." 

Not readily understood by the masses. (us regular folks) Talk in pancakes. Folks know pancakes. I know I can relate to pancakes. (with real butter and genuine maple syrup, please) 

Enter the pancakes...

"The best mental image for the geometry of planetary systems is somewhere between a crepe
and a pancake," UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot explained in a statement today (Oct. 15).
"I made pancakes this weekend to verify our analogy. I measured a mean thickness of 7.3 mm
(a little under one-fourth of an inch) and a mean radius of 65 mm (about 2.5 inches).
This corresponds to inclinations of six degrees," Margot said. "So most planetary systems are
flatter than pancakes, by about a factor of two."

Ok, the words are still a little scientificy, but I've got a better idea now of what they're talking about. So, I went hunting for a picture. Voila!

Our Solar System

 And that's today's science lesson. I hope you've been enlightened.


They promised they'd call. Why don't they call?

And now, a brief moment of humor. Or not.

Our politicians are pondering. That's usually not a good thing.

The Prez is dealing with another dilemma. "He Who Personally Takes Down Terrorists," is looking around for somebody(ies) to off as payback for all the trouble he's had to deal with over BenghaziGate. (It's cramping his plans for playing palsy with celebs and raking in campaign $$$.)

As usual, in the case of a dilemma, tough decisions must be made. Time must be taken away from golf. (poor baby) And, as usual, the tough decisions don't involve helping Moochelle (as I've seen her referenced) decide which pants to wear. (Do these make my posterior look big?)

He needs a specific target...

"And if the administration does find a target, officials say it still has to weigh whether
the short-term payoff of exacting retribution on al-Qaida is worth the risk that such
strikes could elevate the group's profile in the region, alienate governments
the U.S. needs to fight the group in the future and do little to slow the
growing terror threat in North Africa."

Please take careful note of the verbiage. They're worrying about alienating somebody? And that any action might do little to slow down things? Give. Me. A. Break. You want payback? Get it. Cowboy up. You wanted the Big Job, you got it. T.C.B.

My newest "I want one of those babies!"

Flies bug the hell out of me. I swat. I spray. They keep on coming. And multiplying. They are unbelievably relentless. Where are they coming from? How can I get near Fly Headquarters and fire bomb the place?

I'm not a violent person. I usually don't wish harm to befall anyone. (maybe a little discomfort, but never harm) Except when it comes to flies. The only thing that would make me happier when I nail one of the little suckers with a swatter, is to hear just a little scream. Not overly loud or protracted. I'd just like to know he/she suffered just a little in their last moments.

As trusty as the Fly Swatter is, I've just found a new Weapon of Fly Destruction! It just could become my Weapon of Choice. I'm afraid, though, I've found this marvel a little late. The guy who invented it can't keep up with the orders he has (21,400) and he's suspended sales. Damn!

Ready, Aim, Shplatt!

 Besides looking like a lot of fun, the ammo is cheap. Table salt. Yes, table salt! (no ATF paper work involved) The inventor says it's "lethal against mosquitoes, spiders and all sorts of irksome insects." Want this. Must have this.

This new "Idol of All Men" had a website loaded with videos and a page notifying you about the backorder status. Oh, they're available in bulk at discounted prices. Really cool for putting together your very own Army of  Fly Assassins.

Is this what being the Prez is about?

The Prez did another of his "appearances." This time it was a phone interview with an airhead in Miami. He weighed in on something referred to as "the Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj feud." (I don't watch it or care about it, but I noticed something about the two ladies being on some TV show.)

“I think they are going to be able to sort it out,” President Obama, 51, joked to Yo.
“I am confident. I am all about bringing people together, working for the same cause.
I think both outstanding artists are going to be able to make sure that they’re
moving forward and not going backwards.”

The president went on to say that he knows Carey, whom he described as “a wonderful lady,”
as well as her husband Nick Cannon because the singer had “done some events for us.”
And while he doesn’t know Minaj, 29, personally, he noted that he listens to her on his iPod.
So how would he do on “American Idol”? Not well, Obama laughed, adding,
“I’m going to keep my day job.”

The Dueling Ditzes
I feel so good, knowing our Prez is confident this Major Problem will be resolved. By the parties involved. Even though he's "all about bringing people together," and won't have one single thing to do with bringing these two parties (or party-ers) together. If they ever do get together. (no jokes, please)

And, I love how he managed to get the "moving forward and not going backwards" worked into the "interview."

“I’m going to keep my day job.” Maybe. Maybe not. 20 days and counting.

Good for Romney/Ryan or just another publicity seeking opportunist?

I saw part of a clip on TV, supposedly supporting Romney/Ryan (well, mostly Ryan) and wanted to see the whole thing. Attractive young woman, pining for Paul, doing aerobics and in a skimpy bikini. Politics?

YouTube to the rescue! Indeed the clip is online. A parody. I watched. Maybe a little risque to some. I don't think so. It's well below the "Rated PG13" standard I use around here. If you want to watch it, go here. I can't get the thing to upload. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Maredith Walker

I wanted to know more about the young woman. Googled and learned...

Her name is Maredith Walker; actress; went to Wake Forrest and spent a semester at University of London. Part of her resume..."Sports: Boxing... Accents: Southern... Other: Riflery..."

So, she boxes, kin tawk suthurn and shoots guns! Damn! How come she ain't married?

I'm guessing she's a Republican, but I can't find why she did the video. Politics? Publicity? Both?

Whatever, she's pretty, the song on the video is clever (near the end there's a terrible electric keyboard riff), well done (in a low budget way) and I'm not sure it's going to get one single vote more for Romney/Ryan. Not even among men. (the polls say we're pretty much locked up) Big question:  Will it irritate any "undecided" women? (a category that's up for grabs -- please, no jokes) I guess it might/could.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hillary Clinton -- Class Act, or just another Very Shrewd Politician?

Love her, hate her, say what you will about her (and believe me I've said tons about her), she either showed an awful lot of class by her willingness to accept responsibility for the actions (or inactions) of others in BenghaziGate, or... She has demonstrated, once again, the shrewdness of she and her (cough-cough) husband.

BO's folks have been running around telling everyone the "Ball's over there in the State Department's Court. Not ours!" (A variation of The Dog Ate My Homework.) I was sure the lady was P.O.'d to the max limit of the scale. Me, I'd have been all, "Take that finger you're pointing and stick some where!"

Does she truly have a sense of responsibility? Was she either not well-informed by her staff or did someone not correctly interpret information they had? Did she make a bad decision? Questions we'll probably never have the answers to. At least not until one of her books is published years from now.

Enter now my "Shrewd" theory. She's still considering running for Prez. If she chose not to fall on her sword, take the heat off BO, be the Good Democrat, that won't be forgotten inside the party. Ever. Future endorsements ($$$) are at risk. Future support by those whose support is absolutely essential to even getting near a nomination could be jeopardized.

It's one of those "only time will tell," things. And sometimes time is just too damned slow.

A cup of joe

I love coffee. Been drinking it way more than I can remember. I've run so much of the stuff through me I'm immune to the "can't sleep after drinking it," problem. I've been reading in bed, drinking coffee and after closing my book I've finished my coffee, turned out the light and gone immediately into a deep sleep. More than a few times, on a long drive, I've needed the "stay awake" effect of caffeine. Just won't happen.

On active duty I put a 32 cup West Bend in my work area. I only drank about 10 cups, but I found the thing empty at the end of every work day. Word got around about my coffee "pot."

Some legs of my Guard unit's overseas flights would be about 10 hours. At each stop it was part of my job to get 2 gallon stainless jugs of coffee. The flights would have a crew of 6 to 8. I always got an extra jug. Haggling was usually involved, but I made sure we got 3 of those babies.

What I'm finally getting around to is...  G.I.'s like coffee! Lots and lots of coffee.

There's a website where you can help make sure some guy or gal in uniform gets a cup. Or two. The program is called, "Cup of Joe for a Joe."

Happy G.I.s - the best kind of G.I.
You can buy a card good for coffee at military facilities around the world. I've bought cards. I've gotten e-mails from troops that received them. It's a nice feeling. I like the program. I recommend it.

When you have a question, look around for the horse's mouth. Not the other end.

We've all been hearing a lot of talking, arguing, discussing, debating, speculating, guessing, and other things, lately about the Behghazi, Libya, attack on our US Consulate. Good folks died. Blame is being placed. Politics are being played.

Something was said tonight that triggered a memory...

I frequently read a blog written by a US Marine. He's been around and knows things. When I first heard about the attack and murders, I went to his site looking for any information he might be sharing. No, the man does not mouth off about stuff he knows shouldn't be mouthed off about. He's a Marine, for cryin' out loud!

If you'd like some insight as to the duties, manpower, etc., of the USMC at our diplomatic facilities in foreign countries, I recommend you read this.

A blatant, upfront, transparent plug (as in sales pitch)

One of the blogs I frequent is written by a lady who uses the nom de plume,* Bookworm. Her blog is titled Bookworm Room. She's entertaining, insightful, thoughtful and, warning, Conservative.

She's written a book I found interesting. It's a Kindle book ($1.99) and being sold by the folks at Amazon. This is a from their site...

"This short book explains what I’ve figured out over the years as I’ve worked to
cultivate my children’s personalities, their values, and their practical approach
to life. It won’t tell you how many minutes a time-out should last or what type of
punishment you should give a child who hits. Instead, it will share a life philosophy
that I’ve applied to my parenting, one that has resulted in my having children who
respect me and who frequently tell me that their friends think I’m the
coolest parent around."

 She's also a pretty cool blogger. You may not agree with her, but she knows of what she speaks.

 * Your French lesson for the day (in case you didn't already know)...
nom de plume:  pen name