Thursday, September 30, 2010


I just ran into this article while out and about on the web.

One point I found interesting; today all of these planes are older than their crews, and in some cases older than the crews' parents. Shortly, they will be older than the crews' GRANDPARENTS.

And it is still an effective warbird.

Here is the US Air Force site for the plane, and Wikipedia has a great article as well.

Having served in SAC back in the day, on a B-52 base, I have seen my share of these birds on the ground and in the air, and constantly wondered how in the world these things were able to fly, much less loaded with 35 TONS of bombs.

The article says the USAF is flying about 85 of these birds, which is probably about half of what was built. I saw a video a few years back of the Air Force destroying dozens of these planes in Arizona as part of some treaty or the other, and it was a sad sight. They also salvaged a whole bunch of the nose art from the destroyed birds, and the Air Force Museum in Dayton had probably 2 dozen of them on display at one point a couple of years ago.

A great plane, flying since before I was born, and not scheduled to retire until after I do.

One final question; do they plan on keeping these planes flying for so long because they are the epitome of design, or because we can't do any better today?

PS: BUFF? It is a very endearing name for these veteran war planes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Call Me a Prognosticator

I wrote this as a post 6 years ago, during the Bush- Kerry election cycle, as a response to a post at the old Atlantic Monthly site.

I didn’t keep a copy of the post I was responding to, but my guess is it was a Democrat who was pulling the holier-than-thou attitude and claiming that it was only the Republicans slinging mud, probably through the Swiftboaters. Even with that context, some of this won’t make sense, and I have tried to edit out the worst of it, but because I build on some of those points, I have had to leave a few in.

That being said, the following predicts the Tea Party activity we are seeing this year, which I why I thinks its worthy of posting again.

You beat a good tattoo, as long as it's not your ox getting gored. Step out of the box and count the mud balls the Dems and their unindicted co-conspirators are throwing.

Give and take, send and receive. Only a mindless (hell, I'll use it) Kool-aid drinker, from either side, thinks his noble cause is the blameless receiver of unwarranted mud and guano.

Face it, neither side wants us to KNOW the issues, much less debate them. They'll spend the next two months spouting talking points, spewing and defending mud, saying nothing and doing less.

We'll play here, and other sites, and in the letters to the editor, and come November one side will lose, one side will win, we'll lose another right or two, and the whole stinkin' mess will start again in four years.

We have two options- play along and do our best to keep Big Brother from controlling our lives down to vegetable we have for supper, enjoy the charade every four years and keep our heads above water, or give in, go smoke dope in a corner and become one of the clueless masses who are "undecided" until they step into a voting booth and pull a lever for name they think they recognize.

I'll keep fighting, and I'll keep losing, as long as the Republicrat party exists, and I'll keep hoping one day the rest of this country pulls it's collective head out of it's collective sports induced fog long enough to help.

The smoke screens over Bush's attendance at guard drills, or Kerry's back up for his medals is just to distract us from the fact that everyday government takes over more and more of the economy, mostly through regulation (for our own good, don't you know), but also through Jobs. According to the latest statistics one person in four works for the government at some level.

Stalin never had it so good.

But don't mind me- go back to the bickering- But if nothing changes in 2005, wake me up and let me know, will ya?

And things didn't change much in 2005, did they?

Polls lead me to believe things will change a little in 2011 though. Will they? Or have we been snookered again?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cousin Throckmorton Checks in Again

Dear Cousin Red,

As I have probably mentioned, Gunkel Holler is in Miserable County, which is dry. A’course I suppose most counties which are dry are miserable, but I’m just guessin’. An’ I guess y’all know what a dry county is, that’s one where only the locals are allowed to have booze.

So I guess you could say that it’s only a dry county for strangers. We been drinkin’ down at H.G. Rembert & Sons Butcher Shop for years. We started down there ‘bout 50 years ago when he had the only cold box big enough to store enough beer. We used to sit in the back, next to the cooler in the renderin’ room. If y’all have ever been in a renderin’ room, y’all will know how hard up we was for a cold beer.

But it wasn’t long before one of the Rembert sons realized they we’re making more money from sellin’ beer than they was from butcherin’ an’ they quit sellin’ beer part time an’ went at it whole hog. They cleaned up the renderin’ room, an’ installed a bar. Well, it was really just a couple a 2X12’s stretched across some empty 55-gallon drums, but they had ‘em painted up real nice. An’ once they moved in some old picnic tables we had it made. After a couple of years the wives started showin’ up an’ they wanted things a little nicer, so the Remberts moved the butcher cases out of the front room and put in a real bar and nicer picnic tables.

But they left the sign the same on the window: H.G. Rembert & Sons Hog Butchers and Wholesalers of Hog Fat. I ask H.G. Jr. when they were goin’ to change the sign an’ he said what for? Everybody who needs to know does, and everybody else, we don’t want ‘em to.

We tend to spend a lot of time down Remberts, ’specially come winter. In fact, it was there that we invented an indoor version of horseshoes. The only place we could find was a hallway out behind the chiller that was only long enough for a half court. So we figured we’d hang an old box spring off of a king size bed on the wall at the end an’ see how well it would work. It worked sort of well, but ya had to careful where ya threw, because there wasn’t quite as much bounce in the middle as there was on the sides, and once they come off there a little out of whack, there took some terrible ricochets off the concrete walls. But it didn’t take us long to find the sweet spots in that old box spring, an’ we were back to throwin’ ringers like we had a full deck. I mean a full court.

One day we also worked on a way of playin’ lawn darts on our indoor horseshoe court. Like I heard a guy say on the radio, alcohol was involved in this incident. It was real hard to decide which way was better, when the darts came back like they was supposed to, or when they stuck and we had to go chase them. When they came back we was duckin’ and runnin’ from the way they bounced around. When they stuck, we was duckin’ and runnin’ ‘cause the other ole boy was still takin’ his turn. Like I said, alcohol was involved in this incident.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Rembert’s. They do a real nice business, selling beer an’ light lunches. But for some reason they tend to limit themselves to BLT’s and ham sandwiches. They also do some real nice french fries and onion rings. But do yourself a favor and don’t touch the egg salad. It’s a registered deadly weapon. An’ bring your cash, ‘cause they don’t accept American Express.

Best wishes from all of us in the Holler,

Throckmorton Q. Sheisseschnitter

Friday, September 24, 2010

Who Needs a Laugh This Morning?

I was reading this over at Sippican Cottage this morning, and literally had tears in my eyes.

If you are not familiar with the Kingston Trio's MTA, watch the video first, catch the tune, and sing the words as loudly as possible.

Hopefully in a room with the door closed, and not your cubicle.

Maybe I was just in the mood to laugh uproariously at 7:00 in the morning, but I laughed so hard I cried.

I guess I should admit to having cropdusted a time to two...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Have You Caught Any of This?

I don't know how many of you are familiar with the Erik Scott shooting in Las Vegas last July; I just became acquainted with it myself a day or two ago.

This seems to be a pretty good analysis of both side of the debate.

I don't care how you slice it this was a tragedy.

I also have to add a personal bit of evidence.

A year or so ago I went through a police training exercise involving a Glock 9mm modified to shoot a laser and video scenarios that, based on the size of the screen, looked and felt real.

After about 6 or 7 scenarios (where they have a paintball gun shooting small ping-pong balls at you at when the suspect takes a shot, I stepped out and went to sign my name to the visitors' roll. and I realized my hand was shaking like a leaf. I took stock of my physical reactions and found my heart rate was up and so was my breathing.

Even in a situation where I was 100% sure I was going to exit alive. I can't imagine daily strapping on that weapon, not knowing if today was the day I would need to use it to save my life or some one else's.

Or not be the one who unbuckled that belt at the end of the day.

What is my point?

That without proper training- and lets face, I had absolutely no training in facing a situation like that- adrenalin takes over and all Hell will break loose. The local police forces use the same training exercise I used to make sure their officers are trained, and will go into a given situation with the ability to think and react, not simply run off emotional energy and react poorly.

There ought not be an officer in these guys chain of command left on a police force anywhere in this country.

They went into a situation poorly trained and ill-prepared to handle the situation and an innocent man died, in my opinion.

And it wasn't the fault of the cops who physically pulled the triggers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Right Place, At The Right Time Isn't Enough

Do you ever watch The Antiques Roadshow?

Almost every episode they have somebody who found an antique worth thousands of dollars for a few bucks at a yard sale, charity auction, Goodwill store or something similar.

How many other people were at the same sale? They were in the Right Place; Right Time, but came away without this bargain. Why was that?

Probably because they were missing the vital third component that nobody wants to talk about: Right Information.

Right Place, Right Time is easy; it is also an excuse. It basically means 'You got LUCKY'.

But adding Right Information, then it's not luck; it's preparation.

Like looking for a job; everybody in the area is in the right place at the right time. How many have the right information, as in knowledge of the opening and the job skills required, to become "lucky"?

I was at a Lowe's one time as the manager rolled out a massive cart, 4 shelves high, full of assorted miscellaneous junk. Basically, these were leftovers from larger lots- like 6 rolls of mis-matched wallpaper- returns, like a router and a grinder missing some small parts, and things that just didn't sell- like plug cutting bits.

I bought the whole rack for $30. 3 people in front of me turned down the offer. I took it. The receipt totaled almost $1100 before the discount kicked in.

Yeah, I hauled home a bunch of stuff I wound up throwing out, but I knew how to replace the missing bits on the tools, and got a $250 router and a $120 angle grinder for $15 apiece.

Which means everything else I got for free. So if you need one roll of Floral pattern wall paper for some reason, let me know. I've 6 to choose from, and I'll let them go cheap.

See? if you need cheap wallpaper your in the right place at the right time- and you have the right information!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Not So Glass Menagerie

On or about March 12th, 1995 my family moved into our new home in the country. On or about March 13th, 1995, we acquired our first pet. We now have a menagerie that would have Noah jealous. The current census indicates we have four fish, three dogs, two chickens, one cat, and a partridge in a pear tree. The last part I couldn't swear to, but we do have quail about the place, and two pear trees, so their combination is pretty much inevitable.

This accounting does not include the pets who have come and gone, such as the gerbil breeding farm my eldest started in his bedroom, the tank full of goldfish that have taken that final, spiral swim. Nor does it include the litter of eight puppies that was presented to us on St. Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. I also can't enumerate the unauthorized pets of our sons' we have evicted over the years, such as frogs, turtles, spiders, and other assorted life forms commonly thought of as vermin.

The problem is probably genetic, and definitely my wife's fault. She has had an overwhelming variety of pets, all of them strays or free to good home, since I've known her. This gathering of new pets has gotten so bad I can't even send her to the mailbox without fear of a new addition to the zoo. This year, three or four days after Easter, she came back with the day’s mail and a six-week-old chick she found wandering the road. A day or two later we found the box it had been dumped in. I guess somebody else found out the hard way that chickens do not make good house pets.

Some of the blame is mine, I guess. It was I who brought home our first pet, when I had to have a dog. I didn't even care about whether or not she was fixed until I found out for certain that she wasn't. (Which I still think is strange terminology, when you take something that works perfectly, break it, and then call it "fixed".) This is when the collection started to grow. We had to keep one of the pups. The others all went to good homes, and if our pup is any indication, turned out well.

Our third dog was adopted slightly differently. One of our neighbors had a dog he rescued from the road after almost hitting it with his car. As near as our vet can tell, it's two major breeds are chow and shar-pei. I like to call him five pounds of dog in a ten pound skin. Our neighbor was a bachelor, and Titan was a pup who needed to be around kids. He developed a close attachment to my middle son, probably due to the all baloney that kept mysteriously disappearing. The time he spent fenced in the neighbor's backyard was soundtracked to his yelps and cries. It was sort of like musical chairs. When the music stopped, the beeline to a seat on our porch started. Our neighbor finally decided that he needed a dog guarding his place, not ours and told my son Titan was going to the pound. He came home with Matt instead.

My wife's sisters have helped enable our addiction to buying pet food, too. But it's been done in a sneaky way, by giving the kids pets. The time I came home from work and found my three-year-old was the proud owner of a six-week-old kitten springs to mind. When her younger sister thought that a baby chicken for Easter was a good idea is another. And to be fair, my family isn't much better. It was my Mom who started us off on goldfish.

The goldfish are a classic case of how pet ownership evolves. For my son's third birthday in 1996 he was presented with one goldfish in a bowl. After six or seven months of bi-weekly bowl cleanings, I figured the darn thing was immortal and bought a tank and filter. Two weeks later we found him belly up on the top of the tank.

This is where I believe we started to throw good money after bad. We bought more goldfish, one of which was with children. Patrick was ecstatic. We watched those fish grow for almost eight months. After one of the monthly tank cleanings, a parent’s job, don't you know, we forgot to add the de-chlorinator before we added the fish. There were no survivors, and all victims were buried at sea. Or, at least, at close as we could come. My guilty conscience bought more fish.

I'm fairly certain there will be more pets in the future. It took lots of will power not to adopt a miniature sheltie that a friend was recently had to give away, but we managed. She found it a good home, instead of taking it to the pound, which helped. I also think my wife is ready to "just say no" to more pets. When one of the dogs got into the house after his bath recently she seemed a little pet weary. It could have been because he didn't stop to shake between the hose and the living room, but I'm not sure. What I do know for sure is I'm waiting until she's in a real good mood before I talk to her about replacing our weedwhacker with a goat.

UPDATE: No, we do not have a goat. I got a riding lawnmower instead.

And I'll tell you what prompted this post. The Young'un got some goldfish. One of our neighbors has a goldfish pond in his yard and he gave the Young'un some fish from the pond. It’s a Lose-Lose situation. He lost some goldfish, and I gained 3 more mouths to feed, and a fish tank in the living room again.

All of the pets in the story, except Titan are gone. The picture is Daisy, of course, and Bandit, my wife’s lap-rat dog. Pat’s kitten became a cat and was with us 7 years, until he got a little slow crossing the road one day. He’s buried up on the hill under the pear tree. And was replaced by Patches.

I really don’t see an end to the pet situation. I have had a dog in my life since I was 5, and intend to always have one. The fish keep the kids happy and feeding a cat is cheaper and easier than baiting and emptying mouse traps. But my wife and I still have one pet battle.

She wants a cow. Not for steaks and hamburger, but for a pet. There I draw the line. I am not going to have a 2000 pound pet wandering the backyard. Probably. Maybe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I have to promote both a great post and a great blog for a minute; Sippican Cottage.

He makes furniture for a living and wordplay for a hobby; and does very well at both.

And he's right, you know.

My County just did the same thing.

Above is the Old Courthouse; built in 18 and 88. Full of marble and stained glass.

I can't find a picture of the new "Administration Building" on line. Spent millions of my dollars on the place and aren't proud enough of it to even post a picture.

Not that I blame them. It's a flat mess. They faced it North, on a one way street that heads North, so unles you twist in your seat like a corkscrew, all you can see is the back.

And that is concrete and dark windows, and not many of them.

The inside isn't any better. A two story lobby that is concrete and glass and stainless steel.

About as inviting as a cell block.

I can't imagine being forced to spend 40 hours a week in that soulless box.

Government buildings didn't leave the warm and comfortable behind by accident. It was done on purpose. What good is the Town Square, except to give folks a comfortable spot to sit and watch the courthouse and its goings-on?

Do you see the issue? Can't have folks keeping an eye on the government, now can we?

Best to drive them away, and allow the government to function away from prying eyes.

Monday, September 6, 2010

News You Can Use

I received this story in an email from my Aunt, and was initially going to blog it because it showed the bias in the media.

But always the responsible blogger, I wanted to check the veracity of the story first. Chain emails have been known to get things wrong, and the story seemed to good to be true, as far as confirming the media ban on 'good' stories from the military.

If you followed the link then you know the details, and you know the story is true. You also know that the recent email changed some details.

Which is why I'm doing this post.

The email leaves out the fact that petty Officer Monsoor was a SEAL, probably to make the final tribute seem more poignant.

They also changed the dates of the event and the awarding of the Medal of Honor, probably to make the story a current event.

And that's what has me torqued off at this point.

Somebody thought that they could use this brave SEAL's heroic death to gin up some political controversy, and created LIES about that death and tribute to make it seem like a current event.

And that has me madder than the original story. You don't use heroes for politics.

And the fact that apparently my side of the debate is doing it doesn't make it right; it makes it worse.

We are supposed to know better.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cars I Have Known, Part V

I found this on The Truth About Cars a couple of days ago and was waiting for time to do a proper post on it.

I still don't have time. But I am going to do a post anyway, because the spirit has moved me.

And I'm supposed to be cleaning my desk. But, I digress.

The article is about the Oldsmobile Cutlass body style series that started in 1978. As a refresher, the 1977 Cutlass was a monster. Long and wide, usually powered by a 350 V-8 it was considered a midsized car. That could seat 6 fairly comfortably, if two were children, and handled like the Queen Mary.

The '78 on the other hand was about a foot shorter, 6 inches narrower and was powered by a 260 V-8. It didn't wallow into corners like the '77, and being smaller, was easier to maneuver in traffic and parking lots. It still seated 5, if one was a child, and became an instant hit.

For years this body series, which lasted, with one update, for 10 years, filled 4 -6 spots on the Top Ten Most Stolen list. a dubious distinction maybe, but also a hint of its popularity.

Spots that, coincidentally, have been taken by Honda Accords. According to the article, the Accord is the Modern Cutlass.

I have owned 4 of these Cutlasses. Two '78 two-doors, an '80 wagon and an '82 two-door. And I loved them all.

My first I called my American Bimmer. Bucket Seats, Factory Gauge Package, Glass Moon Roof, 260 V-8 and, the reason I bought the car, a Factory 5-speed. Mine was Midnight Blue, with a Baby Blue vinyl Landau Top. It had an interesting history. A couple bought it new in 1978 and shipped it to Denmark, where the husband was stationed for his job (details on the job are classified). In '82 or '83 they gave the car to their son, who lived in Cincinnati. In '86 he showed up with it in the garage I worked in because the headlights didn't work.

It was love at first sight for me. We agreed on a price and I took her home. We had two young'uns at the time, and putting car seats in and out of the back was a pain in the back, but everything else made it worthwhile.

That body style was big on the inside, small on the outside, and one of the last cars you could still work on. It averagaed probably 20 MPG (who measured gas mileage in 1986?) but still was able stay out of the way of traffic. and the rare 5-Speed gave it just a little bit of foreign feel.

The other Cutlasses have their own great stories that I'll tell later.

But back to the article; there is one point I have to argue with. The '78-'88 Cutlasses are comfortabel to me; the Accordss, not so much. Mom has one (2005 I think), and while adequet for short trips, after an hour I am ready to ride in the trunk just to see if I can find room to make my legs comortable.

To my 6'-4" 280 pound self, they just aren't comfortable. my legs rub somethng no matter where I put them, my butt gets tired after 30 minutes and I can't seem to shift my weight to somewhere that isn't already sore or tired. Give me an old Cutlass anyday.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Just Took A Few Minutes

I am waiting to finish a beer and go to bed, after a long day of working in the yard, and re-read some of my old posts.

It seems like every other one, since last January any way, was how how far left Obama and the Democratistas (i just found that word in an old post) were taking the country.

But lately those posts have dropped off. Because Obama has moved right, or because we have become immune to the Socialism?

God, I hope its the former.

Man v Car; Car Loses

I found this though Instapundit this morning, titled as "IN THE FUTURE, everyone will be George Costanza for 15 minutes". The link goes to Althouse, where I initially saw the article, but I liked Instapundits' title better.

You don't need to read the article; just look at the pictures.

You have to assume that the heroine (for lack of better word at this point) of the article selected the picture of her and her husband that appears in the article, right?

Would you have picked that shot, if it were you?

AND, she is upset that her 2008 Dodge Charger was totaled when this guy fell on it.

First; its only 2 years old and worth 14k. she can probabaly find another one on Craig's List in a couple of days. And she's had it; What? 2 years max? Plus, according to the article she already needs brakes front and rear that have cost her 'Hundreds of Dollars'.

Can you say LEMON!?!?!

Get a life woman.

And get a car you can really cry over when it gets totaled, get one like THIS.

A couple of small quibbles with video. That is a 1959 Oldsmobile; the 455 did not come out until the late Sixties. And the car they use for the interior shots is a late Sixties Buick Skylark.

Which is good; it means they didn't ruin an Oldsmobile.

Like GM did. But that fiasco is another post.

I found this on Yahoo this morning, and as usual the comments are the best part.

Well, the most interesting part anyway. If you are interested in pathological hatred.

I read just one page of the comments, and couldn't stand anymore. what the Hell is the matter with these people?

You would think this girl was an ax murderer or a serial drunk driver they way she is being talked about in the comments.

And her mother hasn't even become President yet and ended all of the Socialist programs that allow these bums to live in their parents' basement and pretend to be adults 'cause they can find the 'naughty' sites on the Internet. Imagine the vitriolic rants when she does.

Oh that's right; if these idiots actually had to work they would have time for garbage like this.

I really do see that as a win-win-win situation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can't Miss The County Fair

Dear Cousin Red,

This comin' weekend is the Miserable County Fair, held every year since 1855 on whatever weekend in September the Farmer's Almanac says will be the most sorry. If'n the other three weekends are dry, the Fair gets drowned out in 12 inches of rain. If'n the other days are warm, then Fair weekend is either cold enough to freeze y'all's cotton candy, or hot enough to set fire to the paper cone.

I recall one year we had fun while choppin' tabacca by seein' who could raise the biggest cloud 'a dust by spittin' in the dirt. Fair weekend, even the concrete was soggy enough to make mud pies. We even had a judgin' for mud pies that year. My wife took second place with one that left the kitchen as banana creme.

An' I also rec'o'lect one year they canceled the horse show, 'cause of flies. But that was only after two of them flies carried off the prize winnin' Belgian. We found him later in the parkin' lot, next to a guy cryin' over a new Cadillac, with the windshield covered in somethin' that belonged 'round some roses.

We always manage ta’ have a good time though. Between the beer booth, an’ the rides, an’ the beer booth, an’ the stock judgin’, an’ the beer booth, an’ the food vendors, an’ I want to make sure I mention the beer booth, an’ the midway games, and a’course friends y’all run into at the beer booth, it’s sure to be fun, even in the rain.

We take the young’uns every year anyway. At least until they’re old enough to take theyselves. And that day don’t come too soon sometimes. ‘Tween the games, and the rides and the eats you can run thru 20 bucks like crap thru a goose. Then we go over an’ sit down ta watch the horse show. Or sumtimes just people watch.

The wife looks at the couples. Y’all know what I mean. Who’s with who, and who ain’t with who. I just watch the women. So what is it with some of these women who think the law says they gotta wear the same clothes to the fair every year that they wore when they was 16? 25 years in the same pair a’ shorts is more than enough.

An' whoever thought mother/daughter matching halter tops and hot pants was a good idea must'a been two cans short of a twelve pack. Or ten cans into a twelve pack, sometimes there's not much difference. It's not that I have sumthin' again' seein' a women's body, It's just seein' what 'peers to be two women's bodies in one shirt, with enough left hangin' over the belt ta' hide the buckle, ought'a be outlawed.

Best wishes from all of us in the Holler,

Throckmorton Q. Sheisseschnitter