Saturday, May 31, 2008

Arrr, Arrr, Arrr. More Power

Now I can do some serious damage. Hopefully not to myself. Brushhogs have a nasty reputation for throwing large heavy things they come across like rocks.

Think of them as sort of a redneck trebuchet.

$2.16/gallon diesel

That's what I paid this morning in Tecate. The price along the way stateside was $5.25/gal.

Do the math.

Mexico pumps, refines and sells it's own oil through the National Oil Company "Pemex." Apparently they don't allow their retail fuel prices to be affected but the speculation of the futures market. On the other hand, nationalizing the US oil industry as proposed by Rep Maxine Waters this week doesn't strike me as a sound decision.

Sure, let's give complete control of oil to the same people that gave us the DMV, Post Office, and airport security. While we're at it let's nationalize healthcare too. (sarcasm off)

How about instead the US Government gets out of the way and allows more energy sources to be developed? I don't much care whether that means changes to tax law; increasing oil import duties; easing access to environmental "off limits" areas like ANWR, California and Florida coastal waters; coal to oil; natural gas to liquid; fastracking Nuke plant construction or a combination of all of the above.

Here's a petition for you if you want us to Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less. LINK

Sorry, Jimmy Carter. I'd look silly in that sweater. So how about let's increase energy supply? Now.

Prom Night

Normally cool and collected the Son & Heir stepped out last night, apparently a bit stressed under the cool exterior -- found his shoes, located the lost cell phone, now where IS she?

Ok, fellas. You clean up pretty well. Now listen to the old man. I know it feels strange but the pantwaist is SUPPOSED to ride above the hips.
Picked up that 60's vintage dinner jacket on e-bay. Suh-weet

A good looking bunch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Victors and Vanquished

"He conquers who endures." Persius

It's become cliche' to tell kids "You only lose if you quit." Well, not quiite. You can struggle, strive and fight to a bitter end and still lose the game, the day, the war. Bummer.

Still, Yogi Berra had it right when he observed, "It ain't over, til it's over." Useful words to keep in mind when there's still 1 minute, 1 second left on the clock. When there's still life, breath and opportunity for just one more effort.

Case in point, I'm thinking there's 20+ million people in Iraq who are glad we surged when many fainthearts called for retreat. Good news and great progress there is going largely unreported. Consider this a late Memorial Day post. Thank goodness for stout hearts and "finishers" who refused (and still refuse) to quit.

"Iraq violence falls to four-year low" Link
Mookie's militia is pretty much toast too. 4 years later than he shoulda been put down but still... "Iraqi army seizes Sadr's Baghdad bastion" Link

"He conquers who endures." Persius Indeed.

What's a boy to do...?

...when he's not into arts and crafts and he needs some puppets for a school assignment?
Why get his sisters who are crazy for arts and crafts to do his homework of course! Funny ain't it? How a parent can be simultaneously proud and chagrined by a child's behavior?

Apparently these are props for an assignment in the Son & Heirs performing arts class. He could be overhead in the back of the house writing & rehearsing (complete w/ Scot brogue) the commercial he wrote. Hopefully a video is to follow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NOLA, Jindal and a Fundamental Right

Not sure how many of you picked up on some of the government sponsored ugliness against good citizens in the wake of Katrina. Officers went door to door disarming citizens at gunpoint in their homes -- while 911 wasn't working and looters & thugs were running rampant. Here's a couple tastes of that and also a peak a emerging leadership in the cause of freedom and fundamental liberties. h/t Xavier

This next video is really something -- gives you more background on elderly woman interviewed in first video being manhandled and disarmed in her home during post-Katrina time of lawlessness and fear.

Thanks for the pain

In been quite a few years now for me of backpain and related issues along life's way (sciatica, back surgery,etc).

Somewhere along the line I got to where I was able to begin to thank God for the pain. Not like that attitude had been a goal or anything for me...

It was more of a growing realization of the good in my life (esp, my spiritual life) that was coming about as a result of the pain. In turns out that back pain has been something of catalyst for a personal revival -- revival typically starts with confession and repentance. "Refiner's Fire" I s'pose...

I was reminded of this today while reading a daily devotion from Psalm 119:75
"I know, O LORD, that Thy judgements are righteous, And that in faithfulness Thou has afflicted me."

Pain has resulted in more time on my knees (literally the only position sometimes that was comfortable). That position has become a place of more regular prayer, introspection/confession and bible reading. It took the pain to get me back where I need to be -- on my knees.

Never woulda thought I'd be thankful for this experience.
Don't get the idea I'm volunteering for more of it either. :-)
That's a faith thing too
"And God is faithful, he will not allow you to be tempted beyond that which you are able." I Cor 10:13

Thanks for that!

Out of the mouths of Babes

This from the Cajun

I remember the time that Catherine, one of my daughter’s friends when she was little, told me that she wanted to be President one day.

Both of her parents are liberal Democrats and were standing there with us, and I asked Catherine, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”

Catherine replied, “I would give houses to all the homeless people.”

“Wow, what a worthy goal you have there, Catherine.” I told her, “You don’t have to wait until you are President to do that; you can come over to my house and clean up all the dog poop in the back yard and I will pay you $5. Then we can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $5 to use for a new house.”

Catherine, who was about 4, thought that over for a second, while her mom looked at me, and Catherine replied, “Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and clean up the dog poop and you can pay him the $5.”

Welcome to Conservatism kid!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day '08

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Uncommon valor remains a common virtue among our men and women in uniform. Thanks today to all who have served and continue to serve.
Lest we forget...

Medal of Honor Posthumously, Operation Redwing June 28, 2005. link to official summary of Action and Citation


...get married. But if you do, don't have small children. They become teenagers.

At least that's the advice I got when I was dating my wife. Prescient advice perhaps... :-)

Shipboard Fire

Thanks for the sea story Lex -- I think. Memories and cold sweats.

Somewhere along the line after a real live "no s*&%" GQ I wised up and started sleeping w/ nomex flight suit and boots in the open and ready for a GQ run.

The 1MC still echoes in my mind
"General Quarters! General Quarters!
General Quarters routing is up and forward starboard, down and aft Port."

on Socialism (aka modern day Liberalism)

"Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good."

- From The New Intellectual, Ayn Rand

h/t greg

Sunday Special Acts 2:38

An elderly woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services when she was startled by an intruder.

She caught the burglar robbing her home of its valuables and she yelled, "STOP! Acts 2:38 ! Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven."

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar, "Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a Scripture to you."

"Scripture?" replied the burglar "She said she had an Ax and Two 38's!"

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Memories and an excuse for some Gun Pron

That right there would be an object of my youthful desire during my growing up years. I've known it is a Smith & Wesson 32. Recently I've been told that, more specifically, it’s a .32 Double Action, Fourth Model. Pre-1898

During my growing up years dad had it wrapped up in an old piece of Pajama material in his sock drawer.

Yes, I'd sneak in and fondle when alone in the house (shh, don't tell Dad).

Yes, I learned from that and keep all my firearms locked up now that I have kids.

The mechanical geekery and gun nut thing started early. Those would also be the days I'd sit and stare at the engines of our family cars and wonder about their operation or lock myself in the back bathroom to dissassemble my big brother's electric Sears razor in the hard brown vinyl covered box (and then panic as I struggled to reassemble it in a hurry when someone would start knocking and asking how long I'd be in there).

Back to this handgun...

Dad been given it by his father some time after he returned to Iowa from the war -- that would be THE war. WWII. Maybe it was on a later visit to Iowa from Alaska when Dad was working for Pan Am.

Anyway, a couple years back Dad passed it on to me. I'm the youngest of three sons, but, I'm the lone gun nut and was also named for Grandpa from whence this pistol came. I guess that qualified me to become the next trustee of this little piece of nickel plated history. Yea! Honored to be sure.

It hasn't been fired since the late 40's or early 50's when Dad got it from Grandpa. I remember Dad's conjecture that Grandpa took it as barter or to pay off a debt -- maybe from his sorghum mill or for some horse training he'd done.

That'd be Grandpa far left on the snare next to his brother Jesse on the bass drum.

Wonder if he was packing that day... :-)

Grandpa's long gone and so is the farm and any family claim to the old homestead on the banks of the Des Moines river. Just a bunch of family names remain on markers in the old Coal Creek cemetery. Not much left to do but wonder about their stories and carry on the name with honor.

This little pistol makes me remember and wonder too.

Slippery Slope

First Vatican II, now this...
Hey, he's German! You expected schnitzel and schnaps maybe?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Inspite of, Because of

This evening during a leaders meeting at church we'd asked a man to join us to report on an area of ministry. At one stage in the conversation he was making the point that he does NOT have the gift of evangelism. He insisted it was obvious because of the obvious natural limitations of his personality (yes, he's naturally a bit of a socially awkward, reclusive fellow).

We suggested that the proof that indeed he does have the gift of evangelism is that he is out doing the work of an evangelist in our church's inner city "hood" daily and that many (0n the order of 60) have come into the fellowship as a result of his efforts over the past 18 months or so. The proof of spiritual gift in evidence is the obvious lack of any natural interpersonal ability that he was born with or possessed naturally. His passion for outreach and effectiveness of his witness is in no way the result of his natural ability.
How's that for a backhanded compliment/affirmation? LOL!

A recent sermon given by a visiting missionary came to mind. This old trade school mate of mine has spent the last 20+ years in Ethiopia. His message that Sunday was built on the story of a lame man in Ethiopia. This lame man felt a strong call to take the gospel to a remote mountain valley where the natives were hostile to outsiders. It was a difficult hike over rough mountain trails that took a couple days for a normal man. For this disabled man it appeared to be an impossible undertaking. However, he was convinced of God's call to him to make the trip. Inspite of this many in the church discouraged him from even thinking about going to that remote area. They thought he was nuts.

Now as I said, not only was this man paralyzed on one side of his body making the trek seem a ridiculous proposition, but, the people in that valley were hostile to outsiders. Outsiders usually only survived a few days in that valley before being killed.

Well, long story short, the lame man made the trek anyway. It took him 5 days and he arrived in the remote valley bloodied and bruised from falls along the way. Amazingly, he was welcomed by the residents of the valley! It turns out that in this tribe's history they'd had an epidemic that had crippled and disabled many children. This tribe was unusual. This tribe had chosen to care for their disabled instead of turning them out to die of exposure (as is typically the case in the area of Ethiopia). To this day they still gave special care and honor to the disabled.

Because (not inspite of) this man's disability he was welcomed into their homes instead of being killed. Several years later there now are hundreds of Christians in that area and dozens of churches.
In this case a man was used because of his limitations -- not inspite of his limitations.

If you have a limitation, it may be there expressly so that God can use you. Think of the blind man born blind (and who lived blind into adulthood) so that the glory of God could be demonstrated through Jesus.
II Corinthians 12: 9,10

"9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. "

God's glory and power is shown in our weakness. Funny thing that.

The missionary speaker went on to remind us that in the gospel story of the talents the Master of the house said "Well done good and faithful servant." What's interesting in this context of this post is that the Master of the house did not say something like "Well done good and talented servant."
He did not say gifted, or strong or smart servant, or productive or effective or fruitful servant...

It was the servant's faithfulness that was recognized and rewarded by the Master.

Faithfulness... Where have I heard that word before? Isn't that a fruit of the Spirit or something?

Christians are called to be faithful. Leave the amount of gift and the amount of fruit to the Lord.

Love it or Hate it?

Cleaning your guns that is...

It used to be that I looked forward to and enjoyed the process of cleaning my guns as much as I did tramping the Powerline roads with them or shooting them. It's part of the cycle physically and emotionally.
That was when I was a teenager and younger man. Some of that was part of my bent for mechanical things. A large part of it was the ritual and rhythm of it (related older post).

Those were the days when shooting was much less about shooting. In large part that was because dollars were scarce. Each round fired was planned carefully and savored. A full day hiking and plinking along the logging roads and powerlines might not even consume a full 50 rd box of ($.99) 22 ammo. Shooting an entire box of 20 centerfire rifle rounds was an unthinkable luxury. With each round fired there was the subconscious concern for when the next part time or seasonal job would come along to provide funds for a trip to Yardbirds for another box or two of 22 ammo or 12 ga birdshot. After which we would linger near the rifles on display in the sporting goods dept and dream of an adult paycheck and a firearms purchase.
Now that I'm older I've become less enthusiastic about the cleaning process. Actually, it's not that I can enjoy the "after action" cleaning and inspection any less now. It's that time has become a more precious commodity and often I don't have the opportunity to. Some things can't be enjoyed properly if rushed. Indeed, some activities in a man's life deserve for the clock to be ignored and for time to stand still for the duration of the activity: things like a sunset, eating a piece your sister's strawberry/rhubard pie (a la mode of course), or an intimate moment with your wife.

Still, on a dark night at sea when a much younger sailor looked up a dark Indian Ocean sky and contemplated what he really missed about being home and looked forward to -- this sort of tinkering and contemplative activity was high up the list after being back back with wife, family and friends.
Reality bites. The savoring of gun cleaning is one of those areas where life and responsibility crowds in on a boy as he becomes a man; as a boy becomes a man by choosing to defer pleasure and shoulder adult responsibilities.

Hurry up boy. There's work to be done.

Flat Earthers ;^)

"More than 31,000 scientists across the U.S. - including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties - have signed a petition rejecting "global warming," the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth's climate." Newslink here.\\

Probably just a bunch of Young Earth, Creationist/Intelligent Design Luddites... Yeah, Yeah. That's it! These are dangerous people. Must. Be. Silenced.

All together now class. Recite the Anthropogenic Climate Change catechism:
1) The earth is warming (or cooling)
2) This time it is different than all the other temp cycles science and history have described.
3) This time it is as a result of anthropogenic inputs to the system
4) This time it will certainly be catastrophic

Good job class. Now,
* say 3 "Hail Algores"
* promise to think locally and act globally today and
* remember -- the only hope for preventing the ruin of the planet is the extinction of man.

That "semi-negative" enough for you Eddie? :-)


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dear family and friends in Pacific NorWest,

hattip: Melody at Anarchangel

HS Reunion thoughts

It's been interesting watching my class's 30 year High School Reunion being planned long distance by a growing group on e-mail. It's a small town thing. Some online refer to the hometown as Hooterville.

This reunion plan is an ad hoc thing -- the result of the break down of an earlier plan by a classmate who went all Howard Hughes on us and dropped out of sight.

I missed the 5 and 10yr but finally made it the 20yr reunion. The most striking thing at the 20th was the sight those who never left town still hanging in their shrinking high school jock/soc' clique. That was truly a pathetic sight. We'd gathered in a rented space at the Eagles Hall -- really not much more than an enclosed lean-to on the side of the larger metal pole barn that is the Eagles Hall in Hooterville.

The home town guys in their dirty tee-shirts or overtight polo shirts all circled up and were nervously eyeing all those who'd left and returned to visit (and I'm not going to say anything about the sisters not quite "all in" their 1978 dancing tube dresses. OUCH, Romie and Michelle, not!).

At that point I remembered a friends mom describing that exact dynamic from her 20th when we were in Jr High hanging at his place (probably to watch Happy Days LOL).
Whoa -- prophetic.

It's been fun to have old names surface and to get reacquainted with them via e-mail. Some of these folks were the "invisible" people in our class who (back in the day) you'd never have expected to step up, voice opinions or contribute their energy to a reunion plan. That's pretty cool to see they've moved on in life and come into their own. Yet in some cases underneath that confident layer of adulthood still lies a seething core of latent insecurity, wounds, and in some cases unrequited desire. That's come out as some of them have opened up one on one.

I'm especially taken with one example. Here's a man, now retired from the military who was boots on ground behind Taliban lines Sept 19, 2001 preparing the way for the US invasion that followed. HOO-AHH!

Pretty hairy chested stuff, no? That would seem to be a basis for ultimate confidence back in "the real world," no? Yet, even this "man's man" is fearful on some level about seeing classmates for the first time in 30 years.

Thoughts like this surface from him, "...For me, this
will be the first time I have been around any of our class mates since
graduation. My "agenda" is to establish closure to what I thought was 4
years of absolute hell...
...As I remember things, most of these folks never talked to me while we were in school, can't imagine them having that much to say now and I still can't dance.
I just want to know what became of "her -- who was out of our league". "

...and that at the end is the bait that gets him beyond his angst. The unrequited desire of teenage years. Never underestimate the power of a woman over a man's mind. All those nights on watch with nothing but his thoughts and memories... Really pretty moving, human stuff that. I'm proud of that guy, his service and to be able say I know him and call him friend. Here's hoping a 30 yr reunion will enable him to leave some of those demons from high school and to open up some friendships that were forgotten -- or maybe never were.


Go Tigers! Swamp Swamptown!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feeling the pain?

This quote from Investors Business Daily
"Estimates put the amount of oil locked in shale in both Canada and the U.S. at more than 1 trillion barrels. Pulling out even a tenth of that would quadruple our current reserves."

If so, why did the left in Congress vote to block development of it -- if for nothing else in the name of energy independance/security?

link to entire IBD commentary

To quote Newt Gingrich in his recent newsletter,
"...the higher energy prices Americans are paying are the equivalent of a huge tax increase. One economist calculated that the price of oil rising from $80 a barrel to $100 a barrel had the same effect on Americans' pocket books as a $150 billion tax increase -- and the price of oil has risen an additional $27 since then!"

$4.79 gallon diesel. Feeling the pain yet?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Do dead people bleed?

for your friends who've "learned everything they know about nuclear power from the Simpsons & the China Syndrome":

The old story comes to mind about a Medical student interning at a State Hospital. One patient in particular fascinated him.

The patient was convinced he'd been dead for years and spent all his time telling folks he was actually dead.

The intern decided is was a simple matter of reasoning with the patient. One day the intern sat down with the patient for a talk and asked, "Do dead people bleed?"

"No" said the patient.

"You're absolutely certain dead people don't bleed?" he repeated.

"No, of course dead people don't bleed!" said the patient.

The intern took the patient's hand, pricked a finger and squeezed out some blood.

"Well look at that!" said the patient. "Dead people DO bleed."

So it is with the religion of antropogenic induced global temp change...

Subject: The Farmers Donkey

A story with a moral -- apropos for some "group think" things I'm having to deal with. Apologies in advance to any delicate ears for mildly salty wordplay at the end.
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried
piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be
covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed
a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey
realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's
amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He
was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his
back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the
he would shake it off and take a step up.

Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge
of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to
getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of
our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells
just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up

Enough of that happy talk. The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who
had tried to bury him. The gash from the bite got infected and the
farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.


When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes
back to bite you.

The party's over

It was fun while it lasted.

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away I Pet 1:24
That would explain my hairline (and waistline) I s'pose. :-)

but the word of the Lord lasts forever." I Pet 1:25
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Ps 90:12

Til next year then...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sneaks up on ya

Laid down at 5PM yesterday to catch 20 minutes of shuteye before dinner. Woke up at 11:40. Whoa.

Knew I was lagging on rest, but had no idea... S'pose the accumulation of life, travel for work, having been sick/allergic reaction to antibiotics/hives, back tweaking a bit earlier in the week, drawn out mediation of some interpersonal issues in the church fellowship, yadda, yadda. Sneaks up on a fella.

Find a sprinkler.

5-Day Forecast for ZIP Code 92020
101° F | 63° F (snip)

It's not even Memorial Day yet and we're "enjoying" 100 degree weather.

CA courts joins MA in Gay Marriage Ruling

In case you've been in a coma or on another planet the past couple days...
link The California Supreme Court today trashed society's traditional institution of marriage, opening it up for same-sex duos because retaining the historic definition "cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest."
Link "Will judges let people define marriage?"

This ruling was a gift to conservatives come November.

Scratch the surface of California and you'll find it's still a pretty conservative place. It’s a long way from Yreka to San Diego. There’s a lot of red counties in between w/ folks who have their shoulder to grindstone and are not paying attention to the goings on in Sacramento.

Only occasionally does a news item cross all geographic media market boundaries in CA and energize conservatives statewide. I'm guessing this would be one of those times.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Foreign Travel -- no passport required

That is if the foriegn country you're going to is Texas. Ok, weak joke, that. Posting was light last couple days. I was on the road for work to Dallas. Almost got bumped from Friday flight home. It was overbooked. No matter that I actually got back to the airport 2 hours early. That's a rare for me on business travel. I'm usually doing the "Go OJ Go!" run to the departure gate.

Bummer night to get bumped. 12 yr old Daughter #3 (aka Boo-Boo) home alone w/ Mom and all the older sibs out on a Friday night -- on the OPENING NIGHT of "Prince Caspian." Definitely a "Daddy/daughter date night" on the calender. Would stink to miss that one for an overbooked flight.

breathe in, breathe out, relax. faith. "He's" in control.
Be thankful I'm not in Quito being bumped from an Empresa Equatoriana flight and being told "Not to worreee Meester. There ees ay-nooother flight next weeeeek."

Good thing I arrived early this time. The gate agent offered bribes for others to give up their seat. I was the last one to make the flight. Actually I got called to the counter for a seat and had to sit back down with a guy changed his mind. (AAACCCK!) It was looking grim at that point. Thought it was game over for certain. Deep Then low and behold I got called again at the last minute. Yea.

Oh, and yes. Even if you're not a Narnia reader, "Prince Caspian" rocks. I think it's better done than Walden Media's first Narnia film. The animals and effects were greatly improved -- much more seamless/believable. The financial success of the first film must have enabled a better production.

Support this one at the box office too!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy 45th b'day

The 41 magnum cartridge is 45 years old now. Thought by many to be the ultimate or optimum wheelgun cartridge. Except for a small, dedicated following of shooters and collectors it is fading into obscurity. Here's an article from it's 40th birthday. link

Stopped in at So Cal Guns on the way home last night. The 41 mag had been mentioned in watercooler talk at work as an ideal sidearm cartridge for hiking here in cougar country. I remembered seeing this classic S&W Model 57 Ni plated beauty in the display case recently. By my reckoning this one would be safe/range queeen -- too rare and nice to carry in the woods.

They're rare in Nickel and this one's finish is as close to perfect for a fired gun as you'll find. Looks spendy right now -- they're asking $880. Supply keeps getting squeezed by regulation and Lawyer/litigation features keep getting added to foul up classic models. All that conspires to drive demand up for quality classics. A couple years back this would have been a $4-500 piece. The saying goes, "You can never pay too much for a nice firearm, you can only buy it too early."

Epi redux

Oops, thought that was going to be the blood red plant. Got them mixed up. Still, a delight to see this on the patio in the morning light.

Blonde Haiku

It's not a porch.
The blonde told the homeowner.
It's a Lexus.

That one is pretty oblique unless you're familiar with the original joke.

"A blonde knocks on the door of a fancy house looking for work.
The homeowner says he needs his porch painted.
The blonde comes back knocking in 30 minutes to say she'd finished painting it..."
You can probably guess the punchline at this point.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Periodontic Haiku

As gumlines recede
the wind loosely waves the teeth.
Many uvula.

I had a couple colleagues who I'd trade haiku with occasionally. Most of mine were the result of killing time and engaging brain during SoCal slow_and_go drive time. Some good efforts. Mostly bad. :-) I might dust a few oldies off and see if it stimulates any fresh creativity. Good memories all.

Jobs change. People move on. New people replace them.

You're never as close to the newer hires. You end up surrounded by hundreds of people and not feeling connected to any. Tempermentally those who hire into our (now) large stable/mature company are different from those who came in as startup/small company hires. That difference in the company's life cycle attracts a different sort of person.
The newer hires came to the company during a different era (mature vs startup), with different expectations, with a different level of intensity in their work (and play).
A bit of morning melancholy in that perhaps. Oh well. When things stop changing you're dead. So considering the alternative...

Change is the only constant.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's "Epi" time of year!

The light's a bit harsh in this shot but it should give you an idea of the size of the Epiphyllum bloom.

Epiphyllum (aka Desert Orchids) have quite a following here in San Diego -- The climate is ideal here. These engender an almost cult-like obsession with some folks. I had a friend who had a small (ahem) collection of over 150 plants. Sort the way I feel about tools and firearms I suppose...

Anyhoo, this is my kind of plant. This is a plant that thrives on neglect. However, you need to pay attention this time of year. It's like driving through a small town in West Texas. Don't blink, you might miss it.

The blooms are spectacular, but, come and go fast. There are (I am told) varieties that only bloom momentarily at night. I have nothing so exotic as that -- just your run of the mill plants that set a nice bloom for a day or two. My favorite are the deep red blooms this plant puts on. Tick tock goes the clock. Waiting, waiting, any day now...

If you're interested the San Diego Epiphyllum Society is a great resource. link

Speaking of "The Vision Thing"

Flashback to a post last week (here "Darkest before the Dawn") about the conflict and confusion within the NRCC and negative comments from some House Reps about Newt's "vision thing."

Newt's not taking it lying down. Say what you will about his personal life or his politics -- The man IS a communicator.
For your consideration here's a link to some of that "vision." Give the Top Ten a looksee (link). I don't agree with all the things proposed therein. Mick Jagger was right, "You can't always get what you want." So eat the chicken, leave the bones.

Apparently this is what leadership looks like. This appears to be "poll-driven" approach to platform building. Or is it a poll supported approach to selecting platform planks to promote? Chicken or the egg?

This approach is different than the all or nothing, absolutism that characterizes so much behavior on the political right. Agree or disagree with the planks I was surprised to see such broad agreement on so many seemingly controversial issues.

In any case, instead of concentrating on that which separates us, Newt's chosen to determine what Americans do agree on, then work on advancing solutions to those issues.

He's smart enough to see if anyone is willing to follow. After all, if no one is following you, are you really leading?

Interservice Translator

Today's post in honor of nephew Jack who is currently lounging in Lubbock at the Spa (aka USAF basic training).

It'd be funnier if it wasn't mostly true.

h/t Lex for this

Monday, May 12, 2008

USS Montana

An oldie but a goodie. Usually it's an Aircraft Carrier. Fun to see it done as a video though.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Take off your mask

The Divine Miss M, daughter #2 sings a trio in the finale from "Hi-Tops" Saturday night. Music starts at :43 into the video. Earlier post here


Daughter #2, "The Divine Miss M" singing "Standback" on closing night of "Hi-tops"l Music starts at 1:53 into the clip. Audio of dialogue really weak before that.

Anti-theft cell phone

Gotta git me one!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Water balloons for breakfast

Well actually, water balloons before breakfast -- and after.

There's been a lot of activity on the family calender recently. Daughter #3 was promised a sleepover with friends for her birthday Apr 30 but she had to wait a couple weeks for us to be sufficiently clear of house guests. She finally got to host a sleepover last night. We'd forgotten that 6th grade girls don't tend to sleep in. Breakfast schedule was a bit behind. While the cook was working the girls wasted no time in the SoCal morning sun finding a hose bib and getting to work.

Oh to be 12 again...

Friday, May 9, 2008

What would you do with the money?

Joking aside, most of us will never win the lottery.
So let's play "what if." What would you change about the life you lead if you won the lottery?

After the party is over, after the initial flush of excited materialism, extended vacations and unexpectedly difficult decisions about charitable giving (who do you really trust to be a wise steward of a large gift?) would pass in time. Then what?

Is there a dream you would love to live? Quit work? Change careers? Go back to school? Follow your calling? Go on a mission? Be Jimmy Carter on a Habitat for Humanity construction crusade?

What's keeping you from doing any of those things now? A lack of lottery money? Or a lack of something else? A lack of clarity about your life calling/vocation? Fear or an absence of courage?
Maybe we should be living in such a way now so that we would have to change nothing. How cool would it be to be living so contentedly, so in sync with your God given bent and calling, that winning the lottery would simply mean keeping on with what you're doing now?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Of wooden ships and iron men...

Uncle Tommy served on board a subchaser during WWII. He's full of stories of those days. He's in his mid-80's now. We should be capturing some of those stories for posterity. This came in e-mail from him recently.
Found this website when I googled U.S. Navy subchasers - I was on SC664 in 1943. You might be interested in reading about them.
We escorted Roosevelt out over the horizon (He was on his yacht, the Potomac). Later the world was told he was at Yalta to meet Stalin and Churchill.

110 ft stem to stern, narrow abeam, shallow draft. Made for a ride with serious rocking and rolling. Like PT boats they were a wood hull, no armor, but not as much speed as a PT(20kts vs 40 kts max). Designed to go in harms way. To put themselves between shipping and enemy subs. Sacrifically if need be.

Pretty hardy duty that...

Darkest before the dawn?

Here's a morning warm and fuzzy for you right of center folks in this election season (NOT).

GOP leaders warn of election disaster

Here's the letter from Newt that is referred to in that article. My Plea to Republicans: It's Time for Real Change to Avoid Real Disaster

Not sure his top points are my top priorities but there's definitely major overlap. Let's give the History Professor credit for laying out an easily understandable lesson plan for Congressional Republicans.

Pride goes before a fall, and a haughty spirit before defeat. Proverbs 16:18

From the sound of things NRCC leaders are about to choke on their pride this election cycle -- and leave us to reap the benefits (whirlwind) in the next Congressional Term. Unless something changes, that is.

Give Newt credit where credit is due. The man DOES know how to communicate vision.
Thank God for that. Ol' Sol also said "The people perish for lack of vision. Proverbs 29:18"

If you haven't read Gingrich's "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America." I heartily recommend it. Take or leave his arguments. As the old preacher said "Eat the chicken, leave the bones" but exercise your mind in this area. Be challenged to think about the big issues confronting America.

It's Friday, but Sunday's coming... Isn't it?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Aim small. Miss small

It's really true that if you aim at nothing you'll hit it for sure.

That's a stickon "shoot and see" dot in the top center between the two bullseye targets. The stickon starts black and then cracks open to show a bright yellow when/if you hit it. It's handy for seeing point of impact down range. That's a nice "reactive" feature for a shooter since it's not always possible to see where you're hitting in the black on a traditional target.

In this case I put it up there to see what effect shooting at a smaller target had on my accuracy. In fact, my accuracy (precision actually is the right word) improved by 1/2 over the 3-4" bullseye. That's even with the shiny old school fixed sights on the Vaquero. The windage (azimuth) narrowed condsiderably. That's me. The elevation still shows a wide range. That's me (my old eyes) to some extent but is really showing the limitation of the shiny, loosy goosy fixed sights on the old Cowboy gun.

Moral of the story:
We're always telling kids:
"Raise the bar!"
"Aim high!"
"Set stretch goals."

Yep. It works.

Aim small. Miss small.

Vaquero Rethroat Range Report

Finally! I was able to work in a quick trip to the range. This was the first firing of the Colt 45(old model) Vaquero after receiving the rethroated cylinder back from the Cylindersmith. Background posts here and here.

The old school cowboy fixed sights and shiny surfaces on the sights are hard to shoot well. Would love to have this guy do some sight mods but no way that's in the budget. Wonder how much damage I could do with a checkering file from Brownells?

Off the cuff observations:
Subjectively: There was less crud flying around in the air in the indoor booth. No way to quantify that. However, intuitively it makes sense with the cylinder no longer shaving or swaging the 0.452" cast bullets down to 0.448" prior to entering the barrel forcing cone. Still it's putting out a fair bit of smoke. That's to be expected with an old smokeless powder like "Unique." It's been around since the 1890's. Smokeless can be a relative term. It's an oldie and a goodie and hard to beat it's overall utility (range of calibers served) with more modern powders.

1. Clean up went well but hard to tell if it was any easier. This stainless steel pistol has always cleaned up well.
2. The point of impact (POI) moved up to spot on at 15yds.(!!!) This gun has always shot 2-3" low at 15yds. YOWZA! This difference alone makes it worth it to me. I really wasn't looking forward to regulating the sights for my loads (by filing the front sight down).
3. Velocity, repeatability? No idea. Here's wishing for a chronograph for b'day or Xmas. :-)

That's about as good a shooting as I can do at 15yds w/ those sights. I know, I know. That's bold talk coming from a one eyed fat man.

Trying to reason out why the POI moved up... Other than it changing from a musket ball to a rifled slug (courtesy of fitting barrel lands properly now). I can only speculate.
Buehler? Anyone? Anyone?

Glass half full

This isn't exactly new news but in case you're feeling like a voting demographic piece o' meat...

Hillary is going after the "faith" vote. link Well at least they're taking "red state" America and Traditional Values voters seriously enough now to try marketing to them.
Keep your parka and mukluks handy. I feel a snow job coming. This of course will precede the obligatory photo op in October in Mossy Oak cammies and a duck blind to woo the portion of the NRA vote that's completely brain dead.

Clinton hires faith guru
By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 12/13/06 12:00 AM [ET]
Burns Strider, one of the Democratic Party’s leading strategists on winning over evangelicals and other values-driven voters, will join Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as she prepares to launch her 2008 presidential campaign.

Color me cynical...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

When seconds count!

Victim Disarmament Zones: Redux
A corollary on the subject of Gun Free Zones.

A picture is worth a thousand words... They're only minutes away.

If you grew up in a rural area you didn't live under the illusion that the cops would be there to help you. The reality is that it's no different in urban areas -- just the expectation is different.

There's liberal theory and good feeling -- and there's what really is. What really works (and doesn't). A link for your consideration if you think 911 will save you.
Personal responsibility. Oh and yes, you ARE your brother's keeper.

Word of the day: Kindness

My wife and I both read a bit each day from the "One Year Bible." Part of today's reading was the wrap up of the story of Ruth.

Old Boaz had heard of young Ruth's kindness to her widowed mother-in-law Naomi (Mara). Ruth could have dumped Naomi and done alright for herself back in Moab. Ruth was a young widow with no kids. She probably could have got by fine on her own back home. Instead she schlepped to Israel with Naomi where Ruth could count on being treated like an outsider. Apparently Naomi was too old to get out and glean in the fields as Ruth did. No matter, Ruth stuck with Naomi and went to work providing for her the best she could.

Boaz saw this and returned the kindness by instructing his field crews to look out for Ruth, inviting her to work the whole harvest in his fields, to leave extra grain for her to glean and even inviting her to eat with them at lunch.

Later, after the night on the threshing floor and promising to marry her, Boaz sent Ruth home with 6 measures (ephahs) of barley. This time the grain he gave was more than just an act kindness. This time it was his promise, his "earnest money" to Ruth and Naomi. His committment to get about the whole process of redeeming Ruth and marrying her.

How many times have I read about those 6 measures of grain without picturing it? It's quite a picture. That's a serious load Ruth carried home to Naomi. If an ephah (measure) was 3/5 bushel, Ruth went home to Naomi carrying over 3 1/2(!) bushels of grain. How did she get 3 1/2 bushels home on her own? My aching back...

The kindness of Boaz, the faithfulness and kindness of Ruth. I'll bet she didn't mind the load. Wanna bet she was thinking about Naomi all the way home?

There's another picture in this to consider.
The deal has been done at the Cross.
It's all over but the shouting.
In the meantime, we wait for the "closing date" and the return of the bridegroom.

"I come that you may have life and have it more abundantly. _Jesus_ John 10:10

Have some grain in the meantime.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Twinfin, Heather and the girls

Twinfin & Heather

Heather and the girls

Opening weekend for "Hi-tops" has come and gone. One more weekend and 3 shows to go.

The divine Miss M's pink mascara may be permanently etched on her eyelids. Probably be back to normal just in time for Thursday's show. :-)

All in all a surprisingly good production for a small High School. Saturday night they lost a sound man and fell back a bit on sound quality/levels. We'll see what kind of difference a week makes.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bolivia: Texas Attitude?

Hat tip to John Lott and his excellent blog shedding light on the situation in Bolivia. He linked to this Boliva blog by John and Kelly.

Due to family, I have a interest since childhood in Bolivia. In fact, I spent part of a summer down there after graduating High School -- big adventure for a 17 year old. My older brother has made it home for nearly 4 decades now (mission work).

He doesn't say much about the political situation in Bolivia. Figures he's there for the Lord's work and doesn't want to mix it up/mess it up with politics. The better part of wisdom, that. Besides, politics in Bolivia is like weather in Denver. If you don't like it, wait a minute. It'll change. I remember being told when visiting in the 70's that Bolivia had one stretch of 75 yrs with something like 83 different governments.

Here's e-mail commentary back from my brother (long):
"Hey (Bro),
That was well written and he covered it very well.
There are some other funny things happening here..... in the econony.
Everything is getting much more expensive. Cost of lots of foodstuffs has
gone up about 50% in the past 6 months. During the same period the exchange
rate for the dollar has gone down about 8%. I know the dollar is slipping
world-wide but that doesn't explain the whole picture. Some people suspect
that the Bolivian economy is strong due to increased coca production. That
is a logical assumption since our actual president was (I don't know if he
is presently) president of six different coca grower sindicates.
Besides that, there is the spiritual dimension which David and Kelly
Boldt didn't touch on. There was a whole lot of animism, blood sacrifices,
incantations, hooded and painted earth and sun worshipers concentrated
together for the inauguration. That, followed by a concentrated series of
attacks on Christianity, both Catholic and evangelical: proposals to
secularize all education which would automatically shut down all parroquial
schools, to introduce folk medicine as alternatives into all hospitals and
clinics in the country (institutionalize witchcraft) and a whole lot of
other proposals and actual moves in opposition to everything that falls
under the broad category of Colonialism. "Colonialism" is a big bad word
with this regime. Like they intend to turn the clock back 500+ years to the
"good old days". Lots of the government's moves engender immediate protests
so they aren't immediately put into effect. But they just keep pushing and
all in the same anti-Christian direction.
The blog didn't mention the number of decrees that have come from this
president: a whole plethora of things which trample constitutional rights
and annul internation agreements. Of course, there is no redress since the
high courts have been closed down by the government too. Of course the
constitution is kind of suspended since they're working on a new one. So,
no checks and balances are in place now.
They mentioned the Texas attitude. There is a serious "Don't mess with
Texas" feeling in the Chaco where the last big confrontations occured last
week. Centralist forces came to take over some haciendas claiming that it
was traditional tribal land. Local Guaranis were marshalled to stand in
front but behind them were agitators from high-land Indian groups. In one
place, Ron Larsen's ranch, there were believers in the front lines on both
sides. The government-supported forces had come to "liberate" the slaves of
the abusive plantation owner. But, who was defending Ron's property? His
Christian workers. It was a battle of sticks and stones until the army came
in to support the "liberators". They shot off a great quantity of tear gas
and just as it filled the air a huge gust of wind came out from between the
hills and cast it on the attackers so they disbanded. Like a divine answer
to their aggresion!
But all the land-owners from this area (ChaqueƱos) have banded together
and are ready to fight this one out.
I wonder if you sent this on to Sam or anyone else. It deserves some


The show must go on

Busy weekend around here. Kid's activity, houseguests and biggest of all opening weekend for the High School Spring Musical. A week of 5-6 hour final rehearsals culminated in Tech/Dress Rehearsal Thursday. Opening Night was last night (Friday).

The Divine Miss M, daughter #2, is playing "Heather" in "Hi-Tops." She's in all her 9th grade glory singing and dancing through an 80's musical with big hair, flourescent colors and (of course) leggings. No leg warmers for her this time.

Dress rehearsal had a few (ahem) problems with the sound. I was thinking they should bill the show as "Hi-Tops: The Silent Movie Version." You could hear the band (too loud) and that was about all. What a difference a day makes! Opening night had some adult supervision at the sound board and it went off quite well.

Back again tonight and three more shows next weekend. Hopefully I'll figure a way to get some sound or video samples to link in a post to follow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Pancho! What is that in the mail?

Eet ees your 45 ceel-een-der Cees-co!
She has come back from the
She ees all shiney, oily and preetty!

Si, Pancho. Received, reinstalled and waiting for a test firing.
Will the hoped for improvements from rethroating the chamber result in hoped for accuracy and smoke/fouling improvements? original post

Range report to follow.

Victim Disarmament Zones

This quote from my "Big Employer" Professional Conduct Code came up yesterday in discussion on a hobby e-mail forum at work.

>This policy provides the following example as an "act of hostility or
>"Possession of firearms or other weapons including but not limited to
>bullets, weapon parts or similar representation of weapons on Company
>premises or at Company sponsored events."

My question back to the forum:
"Hmm, wonder if HR would mind civic minded employees offering to post these around the parking lots.

Ya know, as a community service thing. Just a bunch of kind hearted folks doing their part to assist in creating a more non-threatening and non-hostile work environment."

So does the policy statement "including but not limited to bullets, weapon parts or similar representation of weapons" include article of clothing with 2nd Amendment graphics of firearms, NRA logos or the Minuteman statue? How about we just all agree to celebrate our diversity?

Available here in black or white. link