Sunday, September 30, 2012

Friday Night Didn't Get a Movie

This Friday was one of those bittersweet occasions; a going-away get together for a co-worker. He had been with the company for more than 15 years, and was quite popular to boot. The interesting thing was I think there were more former employees there than current ones. That says two things to me; this old boy had a lot of friends, and our company had shed a lot of people the last few years.

I also ran into some interesting conversations; things that are tracking with national data, but provided anecdotal evidence of the collapsing and retracting economy.

Saturday was busy as well, I spent the entire day helping the oldest boy redo his bathroom. More later on both topics, but right now I am late for another day Redneck Renovations.

Friday, September 28, 2012

If It Says Lite, It Ain't Beer

Okay; I had to share my thoughts on this post at Hot Air.

We can take this one of two ways; either Republicans are finally growing a pair (figuratively ladies) or we have an influx of new folks with a pair who are now identifying themselves as Republican.

I think we are looking at an influx of new Republicans, and we starting to out number the namby-pamby Republicans.

Me? Sam Adams is one of my lighter beers, and I ain't touching any beer with a fruit flavor. If I want a fruit flavor, I'll drink Kool-Aid.

As usual, the comments are worth reading.

One comment I had to agree with whole heartedly, from a commenter called coldwarrior:

Next week at this time I’ll be in an antiseptic environment surrounded by all sorts of folks who will be looking to examine, cut out/off body parts, radiate and flush chemicals all through me…and I think I finally figured out why.

That whole frat years, college days, early Army beer drinking, womanizing, day-old pizza eating lifestyle.

But…was it worth it?

Ohh, yeah….sure was.

It's like I always say: After all the fun I've shown this body through the years, why is it betraying me now?

More Garbage From Washington

Really? Are they serious about this?

First it was a YouTube Movie Trailer that nobdy saw; now it's this.

Can you believe that we are having such a hard time in Afghanistan and Iraq because of the serial numbers on US Rifle scopes?

I am also stunned that there is an organization that exists solely to seperate the US Military from God? I hate to link to them, but would have sworn this was an article on the Duffel Blog without proof that they realy existed.

November 6 can't come soon enough.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reminds Me of The Good Old Days

I was looking for something to blog about tonight, and was having trouble. So much to talk about, but then, so much of it is horrible. Iran and their nuke program; Israel, as the target of said nuke program; Obama and...., well, Obama and anything he says or does is horrible.

So I went some of my 'Feel Good Sites'; like Sippican Cottage; The Duffel Blog and Sippican's companion site, The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys.

That's where I found this video.

I'll have to admit I have done a few engine changes in my time. I have even done a few swaps, where we took out a V-6 and dropped in a V-8, or pulled a small V-8 and dropped in a honkin' big one. Sorry; went back to my old days there for a minute.

My sister had a VW Bug that required what seemed like constant maintenance. My brother and I had it down to a science. We could drive the bug into the garage and have the motor on the work bench in less than 10 minutes flat. But I have never done an R&R (remove and replace) on an engine in 42 seconds.

Wow. But then, I never did any of my engine swaps with a squad of Royal Marines.

And none of my swaps were on a specially prepared car, like this one. But that being said, this is still an impressive display of team work. And they may be able to drive that car, but they wont drive it far. No Radiator, no coolant, no transmission grease. The 10 meters they drove it is probably the limit of its distance; any more than that and you'll be sweeping up pieces of it.

I am trying to think about what would be my favorite engine swap. I guess it would have to be the one we did on the 1977 Lincoln Town Coupe.

Dad bought the car with a bad motor in it; a 400 big block with a spun main crank bearing. But the car was beautiful. Black, with a black leather interior, and every option Lincoln offered, including the factory CB radio.

We happened to have a 429 laying around from a 1969 T-Bird we bought for parts, so we through a few gaskets on it and dropped it in the Lincoln. This thing went from a 166 horsepower 400 to a 390 horsepower 429. Yeah; we doubled the horsepower. But then, this car weighs about 4200 pounds bone dry and empty. It was a flat dog with the 400. I mean a SERIOUS dog; I got beat off the line one time by a school bus. A FULL school bus. Being driven by a nun. Okay; that last part was a bit of an exageration, but not by much.

I think she was actually a former nun.

But, I digress.

Afterward, we had a sleeper. A sleeper is a car that doesn't look like it is fast, but is wicked fast. Like a 400 horsepower, 4200 pound Lincoln. I wish I had a nickel for every Honda that was expecting a snail, and ran into a jackrabbit at a traffic light.

I miss the good old days, when a weekend a couple of bucks would be all you would need to swap an engine. Now it damn near takes that long to disconnect the damn wires.

Well, maybe not that long, but a damn sight longer than 42 seconds.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Please, Spare Me

Last night was the long awaited- for me anyway- season premier of NCIS; the only show I watch on network TV.

And Obama almost ruined it.

If you don't follow the show, NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service; basically an FBI for the US Navy. It is more or less a spin-off of JAG, an older Navy legal show. In it's tenth season, it is still consistently in the top ten. It also follows my prime directive; a good story convincingly told.

Anyway, last season ended with a cliff hanger (don't they all?) with a bomb going off at the NCIS headquarters, and all of the stars appearing to have gotten injured at the very least.

Well, as usual, all of the stars are fine.

But in the beginning of the show the Secretary of the Navy was on the bomb scene, and explained that finding the bomber was the highest priority. And he added that "The President has been briefed". Now I know this is fiction, and in repeats, even next summer, Obama won't be President, but last night my first thought, upon hearing that the President had been briefed was: "Did they catch him between the 17th green and the 18th tee?"

There was another scene where again the Secretary of the Navy was talking on the phone, apparently to the President again, and he hangs up and proclaims that "the President is giving the issue his full attention". I was watching the show with the wife and kids.

We all laughed.

But real kicker came when the characters were watching a news broadcast of the incident, and the news reader said something to the effect of: "The President says this act of terrorism". It was then that I knew the show was not talking about Obama.

The word terrorism is not in his vocabulary.

More From Mike Rowe

Out and about on the Internets this morning I ran across this post, and then this comment from a commenter named Benjamin:

Mike’s career is fine. Do you really think leftist weenies sit around watching Dirty Jobs and ads for Ford Superduty trucks?

And now that I have your attention, the context!

I found a link to the post through Instapundit, talking about Mitt Romney's campaigning schedule, and specifically how Mitt would be appearing with Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, at an Ohio event. A previous comment was concerned about Mike's career, after being seen with Mitt Romney.

And then Benjamin's comment.

Read the post, and as usual the comments are the best part.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gold Is HOT; Why?

I just heard on the radio that Facebook stock has dropped again. As far as I know I don't own any stock in Facebook, unless it is in a Mutual Fund somewhere, but here is why I find this interesting.

The Facebook IPO (Initial Public Offering) was the only- or one of a very few IPOs- that the insiders shared with the real public.

And it tanked.

Here is the question: is it cause and effect or effect and cause?

What I mean is, did the stock tank because the general public was allowed access, or was the public allowed access because the insiders KNEW it would tank?

Interesting question, ain't it?

I have the same question about gold. I know you've heard the ads; Gold is set to explode; Gold is set to double in value; Hurry- Buy Now!.

If there is such a fortune to be made in gold, why are the insiders sharing the information?

Or is it, as I suspect, that the bottom is about to drop out of gold and the insiders want out?

That puts a different spin on the issue, doesn't it?

I could be wrong. Maybe gold is ready to explode. But how many other investments that are ready to double have we been let in on?

Or how many other IPOs that skyrocketed from their original price? Doesn't it seem strange that we are only allowed in on the ground floor of those investment products that have then proceeded to the basement, and not the penthouse?

But maybe I'm just cynical.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nostradamus I Ain't

I was reading this article yesterday. Amazing what the press won't report with a Democrat in the White House, ain't it?

I normally don't like making predictions, because predictions can go so disastrously wrong. So many little things go into an event, and all it takes is one of the steps to turn out B instead of A and you look like a damn fool.

Think "Dewey Defeats Truman".

But in this case I feel secure in my predictions. Because they are based on recent history.

I predict that once Romney is elected- and no, that's not a prediction; that is a fervent hope- we will start again hearing about the cost of the wars. We will start having body counts again on the evening news, and pictures of flag draped caskets in full color on the evening news.

I predict that once Romney gets elected, we will start hearing about the homeless problem in this country. We will see images of homeless children, living in cars, and barely surviving. The numbers of homeless won't go up or down, but the attention to them will increase dramatically.

I predict half of the people in this country will starve to death once Romney is elected, or it will at least seem that way. Every time an elderly person is found dead in their home it will be because of 'recent' changes to Medicare an Social Security.

I predict that after Romney's election half of the bridges in the country will collapse, or it will seem to appear that way. Every time a backwater two lane bridge is closed for repair it will be because of 'recent' cuts in the transportation budget.

I predict Romney's Presidency will result in a dramatic increase in teen pregnancy, teen suicide and teen alcoholism. All because of 'recent' changes to Federal programs. At least, that's what the media will try to convince you of.

 I also predict that there will not be any change in any of these areas. There maybe slight drops in some rates- a change that will not be mentioned anywhere, or you risk a charge of heresy- because despite the trillions of dollars cast at these problems for the last 40 years, there has been no dramatic change on the rates of any of these issues.

But all of the issue we have not heard a peep out of for the last 3.5 years will suddenly become urgent, and drastically increasing in urgency.

Just like they did when Clinton was President; all of these issues disappeared, from the press anyway, for 8 years, only to appear cicada-like moments after George Bush was sworn in.

That's why I can make these predictions so confidently; I have seen the media's playbook.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Will Be a Day of Rest

Because Saturday sure wasn't.

We hit the road yesterday around 1:00 and didn't get home until 10:00 last night.

In between we drove almost an hour to hit a going-away party for a family member leaving for Army National Guard training, drove another hour to Mom's house for a family get together, and then left there to hit a fireworks display.

Which we had to leave early because we had the Young'un with us, and she suddenly announced that she 'had to good to the bathroom real, real bad', and refused to use anything but the bathroom at home.

The fireworks display was probably a once in a lifetime thing. and what we saw was spectacular. I tried to get a few photos, but things were too dark for my camera. I did manage to get one shot (yeah, that's from my phone camera), and you can see the Ohio River in the foreground. The colors were phenomenal. Some of the displays had an almost LED brilliance and color tone. Others were Gold and Orange; colors unusual in pyrotechnics, to me anyway.

We didn't go to Coney to watch the show; why pay to stand close to something you can see from across the river? For those who don't know, Coney Island is one of America's oldest Amusement Parks. Started as a picnic grove in the 1860's, by the 1950's Walt Disney was using Coney Island as a prototype for the original Disneyland. Located in a bend of the Ohio River, it is possible to stand on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River and watch the displays. I figured we would be pretty much alone watching the fireworks.

Boy was I wrong. An hour before showtime the spot we picked was filling up. By the time we left- just about halfway through the show- cars and people were lined up for miles in either direction. And it wasn't just the road and the railroad right of way that was crowded; the river was so full of boats I almost think I could have walked to the other side.

And that was only part of the drama. During a break in the show we all heard a loud 'THUMP'; a noise that brought a police response a few minutes later. Rumor was a plane had crashed just up the road. I found out this morning that those rumors were true.

I have been searching the news all morning, trying to find some video of the show, and to find out who won, but no luck.

 I'm rooting for whichever country had the gold colored shots; they were incredible.

If they hold this competition here again next year, I'm there. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday Night at The Movies VIII

Last night it was time for an old family favorite again; It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. 2 hours and 41 minutes of some of the best comics of the era doing there best gags; a virtual Who's Who of the greatest names in the business.

I remember seeing this movie on TV several times, usually on New Years Eve, from 9:00 to midnight, back in the day before the whole evening was about setting to watch The Ball drop on Times Square. It looks better in color on the wide screen.

It's hard to pick a favorite scene. The shares scene at the beginning of the movie? Sid Caesar tearing up the hardware store? Buddy Hackett trying to fly an airplane? Milton Berle and Terry-Thomas in a fist fight beside the road? There is a whole lot of good stuff packed into what seems like a short movie.

And the best part? The movie works. It's not just a series of gags, The plot is believable, the characters motivations are well laid and consistently followed, and as usual (for me anyway) a good story, convincingly told.

Briefly, Five men (Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters, Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney) all stop to help the victim of an automobile accident (Jimmy Durante). Durante tells the men about the money he stole 15 years earlier ($350,000.00) and where its buried. The rest of the movie is the race to Santa Rosita to retrieve the money.

Sounds simple, don't it? They tried to remake Mad Mad World in 2001 in a movie called Rat Race, which tanked pretty spectacularly. The formula may sound simple, but the correct execution is complex.

The movie holds up well. Almost 50 years old (released just a few days before JFK was shot in Dallas) the gags still are funny, and don't rely on knowing what was happening in 1963 to be funny. Without even knowing who most of these actors are, the movie is still funny. And most of the cast is dead by now.

So what makes it funny? Time-honored, universal humor. Milton Berle, traveling with his wife and his constantly badgering mother-in-law, Ethel Merman. Jonathan Winters, becoming enraged, and destroying a gas station. The chase through the abandoned building; all of these gags were probably first written is Latin, if not Ancient Greek or Sanskrit.

And how could I forget the star of the movie, Spencer Tracy? He is the cop who has been looking for the money Durante stole for 15 years. Driven to madness by his annoying wife and daughter, he is the joker in the deck that creates the madness in the last 30 minutes of the movie.

A few hours to kill, especially on a snowy Friday night; a few good beers and somebody to laugh with you. The perfect combination for a viewing of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Be Different

I found this through Bing this morning. Hundreds of pictures of people holdiong up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Now I know what to do the next time I'm in Pisa.

Take my picture with the Leaning Tower.

But I'll be pushing it over!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Did I See This In The News?

Sometimes it s impossible to satirize a situation.

I have posted about my new favorite site, Duffel Blog. 100% military satire. Including this article. I think.

Just how much Cultural Awareness do we need? Just how many times have our Marines had the idea that they need to be 'culturally aware' of the enemy?

And who on the other side is making sure they are culturally aware of us?

Yeah; that's what I thought.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's Been Twenty Years; Get Over It

The U.S. Air Force on Sept. 18 celebrated its 65th anniversary.

As usual I was looking for something else and found this article.

Well, damn the bad luck.

I feel sorry for the guy. One incident twenty years ago has ruled his entire life ever since.

But that is HIS FAULT, nobody else's.

And of course, it's coming up again now because of an agenda.

How many of us can point to one incident in our past, back when we were young and dumb, that has had a profound influence, for good or evil, on where we are now? And how many times has it been us who has tied ourselves to that incident, especially for evil, and has not allowed the world to move past that incident? Even though the rest of the world has long forgotten that part of our past?

To me, just the fact that this guy has failed to let go of a 20 year old incident, and has allowed it to create who he is marks him as a loser.

Two other interesting points. Well, to me anyway:

The incident that caused his downfall happened somewhere I am well acquainted with; the RAF Mildenhall NCO Club. If I had a nickel for every drink I've hoisted in that place...

I'll admit to having been rip roaring drunk in there a time or two.... Dozen. But you know what? I never kissed a male friend in the joint.

I ain't ever been that drunk.

Part two of why this is interesting?

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the founding of the US Air Force.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You Sometimes Reach a Point

I ran into this story while out and about on the Internets. I think somebody has over reacted.

We can start with whether or not this guy should have taken his dog mountain climbing with him, then move into not being properly prepared to be on the mountain. 

The guy's story rings true with me. I can see who he would have made every decision he says he did, based on the situation he says he was facing. I can also see why he would cough up the bucks for the vet's bills after dog was rescued.

But then, I am a dog lover, and hated losing each of my dogs when they died. It would have been a hard decision for me  to leave a treasured companion on the mountain like he did.

So why the animal cruelty charges? Was what he did cruel to the dog? Absolutely. But it wasn't intentional.

Unless somebody believes he should have stayed on the mountain and risked his life and his companions because of the dog?

As I said, I'm a dog lover., But after all, he is an animal. There has to come a point where you weigh the value of the two lives involved, and determine that the human life is more valuable.

Treating this guy like a criminal is just adding insult to injury. Animals should be protected from abuse. And pets see too much abuse in this country as it is.

But treating this guy as a criminal abuser cheapens the real abuse.

And the picture is a couple of my dogs. The light colored one is my wife's long-haired chihuahua Bandit. He left us late last spring, and is up on the hill next to Junior. The dark one is Daisy, the Young'uns dog. And yeah; I took the picture.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Target Rich Environment

This morning the news was full of blogging material. I couldn't turn around without hearing something that set my teeth on edge and my blood pressure soaring.

There was some woman on the radio this morning talking about suing a local park district because she doesn't like the rules at the park; it seems that a rule against 'Garbage Picking' is code for 'We don't want the homeless in our park'. Who knew?

And then there was Obama and his speech today in Cincinnati. Apparently he feels there is too much government support of automakers.

Not in this country; in CHINA! apparently having your government actually, you know, OWN an automaker is not problem. But just financially supporting them is against the rules.

But the winner?

The Fed is going to print money to buy MORTGAGES!

Here is how this will help (allegedly):

By printing money to buy mortgages they will keep interest rates low (lower than 0%!?!?!?) by keeping the banks flush with cash (you mean more than the Trillions they are already sitting on from TARP and the other 'Quantitative Easing' programs?!?!?!?), so more people will be able to get a loan (based on WHAT JOB!?!?!?) and buy a house, increasing demand and raising housing.

And then all of the unicorns will fart a hundred rainbows and everybody will sing Happy Days are Here Again! and the economy will instantly recover. I made up a part of that. I'll let you guess which part.

They are completely missing that housing prices are a SYMPTOM, not a cause. The cause is TOO MUCH MONEY SUPPLY.

Which printing more money will not help, will it?

50 more days until we can get rid of these idiots.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Define Self-sufficiency

I found this through Instapundit the other day; a very good read. I guess I liked it because we have a man of superior education who agrees with me.

The modern world is almost completely cut off from self-sufficiency. Some of us like to think we are self-sufficient, but in reality we are as dependent on others for survival as the biggest welfare queen.

For example; say your water heater goes out. You call a plumber, he installs a new one, and you pay the bill. Not very self-sufficient.

Now lets say instead of calling the plumber, you install one yourself. That's self-sufficient you say?

Maybe. Did you make the water heater, or did you drive on government roads in a car you bought to a big box store where you bought a new water heater that somebody else made and somebody else shipped in a truck made by somebody else on the same government roads you are about to haul your new water heater home on?

The 19th century, and earlier, idea of being self-sufficient is completely different than today's version. Very few people lived in towns, because town did not allow enough ground to raise you own food- both flora and fauna- and to hunt from the wild what you didn't or couldn't grow. Like trees for housing and fuel.

a 19th Century man knew where his bacon and eggs came from; he had raised the hogs and chickens, slaughter the hog and cured the bacon in a smokehouse he built from the stones he cleared from his fields over a fire he fed with wood he had cut from his own land.

Or he lived in town, and created something he was able to sell that would allow him to purchase what he needed from those who had excess. And even in town he would have had a few chickens.

There is a family farm near me that has been in the same family for generations. Around a hundred acres, that farm is still producing, just like it did in the 19th Century. But the same farm that once supported a family in style solely from the work they did on the farm, now does not. The farm still produces the same, but our modern life style requires us to be dependent, and not self-sufficient.

A 19th Century farm will not produce a new water heater, nor the electricity to run it, nor will it produce enough excess to create the cash needed for these items, or the hundreds of others we now 'need' for survival.

Go back just 40-50 years and think about the lifestyle we all lived. One TV; black and white usually, but maybe color. And only 3 channels; maybe 5 if you have a UHF tuner. One phone; black, with a dial and tied to the wall with a fat cord. I could go on; as could you. In a little over one generation, look at what God hath wrought.

And every change has made us less self-sufficient and more dependent.

Some of us know how dependent we are, and some don't. I like to believe that those of us who know we are dependent are the conservatives. We know the cost and value of labor, and are willing to share with those incapable of laboring.

And then there are those who don't know the cost or value of labor, and are willing to share yours with anybody else.

I think we need more people in this country who know that bacon doesn't come from Kroger's, but comes from the hard labor of a lot of folks; just like they did in the 19th Century.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday Night at the Movies VII

Friday night was another video night. A few months ago I found Cool Hand Luke in the Wal-Mart 5 Buck Bin, and Friday night I finally broke the seal.

It has been a few years since I had seen Cool Hand Luke. Some scenes were familiar; others barely remembered.

Of course it was easy to remember Paul Newman in the title role. In the opening scenes of the movie, where his character Lucas Jackson is caught drunk, cutting the heads off of parking meters in the dark. At times it seems like the only light in the scene is coming from Newman's famous blue eyes.

When he is delivered to the prison camp the camp warden, played by Strother Martin, and known only as Captain, reads off his service record from the Korean War, including a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, and promotions to Sergeant, as well as demotions to Buck Private.

Our friend Luke seems to have a problem with authority, but not bravery.

The balance of the movie is Luke's battles with authority, both the official Prison system, and the more informal prisoner system.

The Prisoner system is easy. Luke has a fist fight with the prisoner's self appointed leader Dragline (George Kennedy in the role that won him an Oscar), that Luke refuses to lay down for. Dragline eventually walks away from the fight, leaving a battered and wobbling, but still standing Luke in the ring.

His battles against the official system doesn't end as well, or as easily. After numerous stays in The Box, a cramped, unheated, windowless structure, where the prisoner has a can of water and a bucket for a bathroom, Luke escapes. After he is caught and beaten, he is returned to the camp and kept in leg irons.

Luke's return the chain gang contains the most famous line from the movie: "What we have here is failure to communicate." Luke has not gotten the message about who is in command.

He escapes again, and is caught again, beaten again, and put in a second set of leg irons. Unlike the prisoner's control system, which appreciates a man's spirit, the official system does not. The Captain determines that he has to break Luke's spirit.

After several days and night of brutal treatment, Luke finally breaks. He has ended his brutal treatment at the hands of the guards, but lost the respect of his fellow inmates.

He becomes a toady for the Bosses, the guards who watch the prisoners work along the road; running errands and fetching water for the other prisoners. Everyone believes he has been broken. But he is just biding time, gaining the trust of the Bosses.

One day, out on the road gang, Luke steals the keys from all of the trucks while performing his toady jobs, and when told to go to a truck for an item, steals the truck instead. as he is driving off, Dragline jumps onto the running board, escaping with him.

Dragline and Luke split up, and Luke winds up hiding in an old. back-country Church. He sees the lights of the prison vehicles and the local police pull into the church yard just as Dragline steps through the back door into the church. Luke steps to a front window, overlooking the vehicles in the yard, and throws the Captain's words back at him: "What we have here is a failure to communicate".

At that point one of the Bosses shoots Luke square in the chest.

As Luke is being driven away to the prison hospital, he looks out the window of the patrol car and grins at Dragline.

Luke has spent the entire movie battling against authority. Did he win or lose? The movie doesn't let us know if he lived through being shot or not, but the impression is that he did not.The prisoners are seen in the final shots talking of Luke's exploits; including his final smile.

If you look at Luke himself you could say he won. He was no longer under the thumb of the prison system. He was dead, but he went out on his terms, defying their authority to the last. He was also a hero to the prisoners.

But you can also look at the larger picture. The prison system was free of Luke, and they had killed him. He was no longer around to challenge their authority. They had made him an example.

Or had they made him a martyr?

To me, the movie says a lot about challenging authority. Luke is working hard in the first scene, cutting heads off of parking meters. He's not stealing them; just cutting them down. To make a point. To challenge the city's authority to charge for parking. The challenge costs him 2 years in a prison work camp.

Once in the camp, he challenges the authority he finds there. The self imposed authority of the inmates he beats easily; Luke shows he will not be beaten down, and the authority accepts that he is an equal. The authority that Dragline has a leader is granted to him by the other prisoners, and when the sympathy for Luke from the prisoners threatens Dragline's position, he does the only thing he can do; he acquiesces to that sympathy and stops fighting.

But the state imposed authority is a little more hard nosed. Not only will it not accept his challenge, it refuses to accept being beaten. The guards do not have to answer to a higher authority, as Dragline does. Their job is to control all of the prisoners, up to and including the ability to kill a prisoner.

The question is, which type of authority have we created in our government; Dragline's, or the Bosses?

Had Some Fun This Morning

I was directed to this site by an email from my Aunt. I thought it was interesting, so I had to share.

My first time I was a Bobbing Bobcat; the second I was a Rocketing Rabbit.

How about you?

Friday, September 14, 2012

4 Dead in Libya

People have always held differing opinions. Cain and Abel came to blows- and death- over their differing opinions, and that was, depending on you point of view, around 3,500 years ago. But civilized people have learned to argue differing points of view without bloodshed or injury, even during contested elections.

Not that we are completely blameless.We have had a Civil War and deadly riots in this country, and may have them again.

But for the most part, and most of the time, we accept one another as we are and peacefully coexist. Sometimes our feelings get hurt. We have government funded artists creating images that are disrespectful of religion, or of a particular faith. We express our outrage in blog posts, calls to radio shows and Letters to the Editor of the local paper.

But we don't determine that the artist was an atheist and go on a violent rampage against every atheist we can find.

Our currency of exchange in disputes is verbal, not physical.

After September 11th, both this week and 11 years ago, radical Moslems have clearly defined what their currency of exchange for discussion is.

It is violence and death.

As long as we fail to negotiate in the same currency we are seen as weak.

It is time to start being seen as strong, not weak.

They kill 4, we kill 40; or 400, or 4000.

Since violence and death are the currency they understand and seem to prefer, it is time to start talking in a way they will understand.

The problem is we can't. Our history; our culture, our religions, won't allow us to retaliate wholesale against a people for the actions of a few.

And it shouldn't.

But that restraint puts us in a terrible position for an exchange of ideas with the Middle East. Bluntly, I am no expert. I haven't spent years living in the area, or even studying the various cultures and sects. All I know is what I read in the papers and on the internet.

And I see a culture that believes the only way to deal with an issue that you don't like is to kill it.

James Lileks had a great column up yesterday, discussing this same thing. I guess it is on a lot of people's minds.

He references some recent occurrences, talking about the killing of gay young men in Iraq, and the incident in Afghanistan where a group of people were sentenced to death- a sentence that was carried out- for dancing.

I recall back in the late 1999 the Taliban were shelling with artillery fire an image of Buddha-  one that was thousands of years old and rather large, carved into the side of a cliff- because their religion didn't allow images like that. No discussion of what the culture that created it believed. They didn't like it, and they destroyed it.

The riots the other day in Egypt and Libya were allegedly caused by a movie available on YouTube that cast aspersions on the prophet Mohammed. They couldn't destroy the movie; they couldn't kill the men who made it, but they did ransack two US embassies and kill 4 Americans, including the US Ambassador to Libya.

As long as we are using words as our currency, and they are using violence, we can never come to any agreement. Its like trying to make a deal with a culture that prizes cow chips, while we are trading in gold; neither medium of exchange has any value in the other culture.

True, this is a subset of Islam, and only a certain number of people believe that jihad is the way to deal with the world. But it doesn't appear to me to be a Westboro Baptist Church situation and the balance of Christianity, or even the Baptist religion. Every time Westboro crawls out from under their rock they are soundly criticized. A verbal display, and a verbal chastisement.

When is balance of Islam going to chastise the violent segment of their religion?

Are they unable to, or just unwilling?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Can See That Happening

This is flat amazing. Just the construction of the device (?) is a head scratcher. And then he dumps water in it.

I was out to a site I visit occasionally, There I Fixed It, the home of Redneck Repairs.

I don't know what he fixed, or even how it was broken, but the video is amazing.

And I have no idea how it was done, but I suspect some sort of video trickery.

Or maybe dark magic.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Say What?!?!?!

Sometimes the news is just too unbelievable. I ran into this at Althouse today, and I just had to comment.

Hanoi Jane as Nancy Reagan?!?!?

But is that better or worse than Severus Snape as Ronald Reagan?

Free Speech May Become Costly

If you have read much of this blog you know that I have very little use for the ACLU- The American Crazies and Looneys Union.

But I just found out about a new law- passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President- that can be used to restrict free speech.

And the ACLU agrees with me. Or I agree with them; its one or the other. Either way this is not a normal situation. They are a little more fiery over at the Blaze (pun intended).

When the Lion lies down with the Lamb time.

When these tow both agree that his is a bad law, then it must be a bad law.

And the vote in the House wasn't even close. 288 to 3, with 42 not voting.

The Senate was even worse. This travesty passed by UNANIMOUS CONSENT.

And you thought the Republican were going to protect us, and help take this country back.

Yeah; good luck with that.

Did you hear about this in the news? Maybe Limbaugh talked about it? Hannity maybe?

Nope, nope and nope.

It just might be time to oil up the shootin' iron.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Ago Today

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New York.

That's not news, is it?

I'm not sure how I feel about today. And the reason I lack a clear feeling about today is because of the media.

Any one over the of 16 remembers the attacks. Most of us watched them live, and watched the reporting go from a tragic and unexplainable plane crash to an attack. When the Pentagon was hit it became even plainer that there was an orchestrated attack under way.

We watched live as the second plane hit the second tower. We continued to watch live as almost 3000 fellow Americans died. Some by their own hand, in preference to dying in the towers themselves.

We were angry then. We should be angry now. But the images have faded. Where is the video that we all saw that day? The images of the planes hitting the towers; the smoke rising and the bodies falling? The video of men and women both running from and running to the towers? The images of a beautiful blue sky marred by the smoke and dust?

But these images are dangerous. They call out for revenge. On September 12th we were ready to go. Point us to an enemy and get the Hell out of the way. We were eventually pointed to Afghanistan, and then Iraq. As President Bush famously said: "Your either with us or against us".

We have fought Al-Qaeda for almost 11 years. We have found and killed Bin-Laden. We have cut  multiple heads off of the terror snake, but still we aren't done.

And it seems we are losing our resolve. The war has gone on too long; too many deaths. Too much treasure.

The problem is if we quit Al-Qaeda wins. They will get stronger. They will attack us again. and the war will go from being fought by the military in the Middle East to being fought with innocent lives in the Midwest.

Communism became the enemy of the West in the 1930's. We started fighting them in the 1950's, and beat Communism in the 1990's. Every President from Truman to Clinton fought Communism.

We didn't quit. We won.

We had constant reminders of the evils of the enemy. Even though most of the victims were their own citizens, and not ours, we fought. We had a resolve to win.

In 2002 we had a resolve to win this war too. Until the press politicized it; made it Bush's War. Constant reminders of the cost of the war were on TV.

But never footage of the reason for it.

There is the reason I am not sure how to feel about today. It is still politicized, and not just the War on Terror, but even the events of that day themselves.

Right down to Obama spiking the Bin-Laden football as often as he possibly can.

We haven't seen the cost of the war in the last few years. But I guarantee you we will as soon as Romney is sworn in. The death tolls will be come front page news again, and the anti-war protesters, recently dwindled down to a few die-hards (no pun intended) will start to gain in numbers again.

Today is not so much about remembering the men and women who died in the opening salvos of the War on Terror, as it is a weapon to be used by the media to gin up support for or opposition to the President, depending on whether he is friend or foe.

I'll take few minutes today, not just to remember the fallen heros of 9-11, but also those brave souls who have given the final sacrifice in the ongoing war.

And do my level best to forget the media even exists.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Out and About on the Internets

I was visiting at The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys when I ran across this post of his, and I just had to share, for several reasons.

First, it is a wooden model. Anybody with access to a couple of trees and chainsaw could make one. Okay, that maybe a simplification, but you know what I mean.

Then there is the way the video explains the entire process, as they add parts to the model to make the next step of the firing process happen. they manage to take a hundred years of weapon development and make it seem like this was all a logical progression.

If you think about what they were trying to do with this video, you have to marvel at the genius behind it.

In the 1940's they had to take men from all walks of life and introduce them to semi and fully automatic weapons. Not just to fire, but to maintain, troubleshoot and depend on, up to the cost of their life.

The pace is a little slow, but then was done 70 years ago; well before the invention of the music video.

Now I've got the bug; somebody may get one of these for Christmas....

I meant the gun, not the video.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Issue is Jobs, and Work

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I have been a fan of Mike Rowe's for years. You can't beat on hour spent with Dirty Jobs. When I found this bit on Instapundit this morning I was not surprised. Mike did something similar a few years ago (I linked to a shorter version then) in a video. Its long- about 20 minutes- but really for the first time somebody with at least a modicum of authority, and a healthy respect for what work is defends working and workers.

And I have been saying the same thing for years myself.

Most of the job and labor related government agencies are not about protecting jobs, but all about destroying manufacturing in this country. OSHA and EPA are the worst.

Lets face it; you take some college educated idiot who has most likely never worked a day in his life, much less in the industry he- or she- is now in charge of regulating, and now they have the authority to force a manufacturer to change any aspect of their process for any reason. Or, more importantly, no reason at all, other than the agencies say so.

For instance, in the early part of the video Mike talks about castrating lambs. He runs through the procedures as approved by PETA, SPCA and a few other alphabet soup outfits. He then sees how the process is actually done, and then compares it with the results of the process as approved by the folks who don't do it.

What a surprise; the approved method is a mess, compared to the way it is done, if done without interference.

OSHA has determined first and foremost that you, as an employee, are stupid, and will not do anything to protect yourself from being killed. Having spent 20 years in industry, I have met these people. They are out there. We don't need a million regulations to stop most people from harming themselves; we need one regulation allowing an employer to fire the idiots.

I have worked with folks who have reached into an operating machine, and damn near lost an arm because of it. Guys who finished welding two pieces of metal together, tried to grab the hot metal with a welding glove on, couldn't, and then removed the glove to grab the hot metal, and seriously burned their hands.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Have you ever read the warning labels on, say... a bottle of shampoo? Warnings like "Do not take internally"? Your first thought is: 'who would be that stupid?' That warning is there because somebody WAS that stupid, and either he or his heirs won a lawsuit over that stupidity. Its the same in manufacturing.

A new machine tool- a machine meant to process a raw material into a finished good, like a CNC Mill or Lathe- has probably a dozen or more labels; each one named after the lawsuit that caused it. In each case, somebody too damn stoopid for their own good did something that harmed them, and their reason for getting hurt was that nobody told them what they did was stoopid. And for some reason employers can't fire you for being stupid.

Instead they need to listen to some fool who never worked a day in their lives tell them how if they had done such and so, the incident wouldn't have happened, so so now they need to do such and so and the other thing as well. The employer smiles and nods (he really can't do anything else), implements the new procedure, and few a few weeks puts a disciplinary report in the "Permanent File" of any employee who violates the inane new rule, and then quietly goes back to letting intelligent folks get the job done.

The question is why? I see three options:

1) The Federal Government is so concerned about YOU that they will use the full power of the government to protect YOU:

2) The Federal Government wants to end manufacturing in this country:

3) A Federal bureaucrat sees a way to make sure next year he has more money to spend; more peons to boss around and a bigger salary, if he can prove this is a BIG issue.

Yeah I tend to lean toward 2 and 3 myself.

Lets hope we can change that come this November.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Busy Saturday Morning

This morning I am sitting on my back porch, listening to the rain hit the roof. I like sitting on the porch in the mornings, drinking my first cup of tea and enjoying the waking world. Usually I can watch the birds flitting about on their birdy business, and watch the squirrels run along the trees.

But today the weather has kept them indoors, or at least they're not playing out in the rain.

The weather almost kept me in as well. It is about 60 degrees, and when the breeze blows it feels a little chilly. But I have my tea to keep me warm. And the battery from my laptop.

I like a covered porch. Like this morning, I can be sitting on the porch swing, watch the breeze shift the tops of the trees and see the rain hit each leaf as the drops head to the ground; feel the cool damp air and feel like I am a part of nature.

While being dry and comfortable. Better than camping out.

It took me all summer, but I finally have Morning Glory blooms. I don't see them most mornings; I'm always in a rush to get to work by the time I leave the house. No time to stop and see the Glories. There is most likely a metaphor there, but if there is I'll let you work it out.

But this morning the rain has dampen their spirits some. each bloom is hanging down, and not stretching out to reach the morning sun.

I planted them late, around Memorial Day, which explains why I didn't get my first blooms until almost Labor Day. I also must have been mistaken, or planted the wrong variety. I believe my Dad had some Morning Glories planted on the sunset side of the house, and they would open in he evenings, when the full sun hit them. Mine are on the sunset side of the house. I was hoping to have a grand display of blooms every evening, while I was rocking on the porch with a cigar, and enjoying the end of the day. But, it didn't work out this year.

Really, otherwise, why plant a flower you can only enjoy 2 days a week?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

As Usual, I Got Lost On the Internets

Out and about on the Internets, I found this.

UH; What?

Okay, I understand the show, and understand the reason why folks would want to watch the running of high steel.

That's not my problem.

But what does this have to do with weather?

I mean any more so that any other outdoor job? I would think a show about farming and farmers would be more apropos on the Weather Channel.

I guess they're looking for diversity.

Maybe they should change their name to the Whether Channel?

Life Imitates Art

I just can't help myself. This year the elections are following O Brother, Where Art Thou? so closely its uncanny.

Just after the Republicans had a couple of Hispanic speakers at their convention- Governors and Senators- the Dems pull up the Mayor of San Antonio Texas as a speaker.

Reminds me of this scene:

The Money Line is of course:
Junior O'Daniel: We could hire our own midget, even shorter than his.
Pappy O'Daniel: Wouldn't we look like a bunch of Johnny-come-latelies, bragging on our own midget, doesn't matter how stumpy.

And since the Republicans had a speaker who has changed sides because of Obama, the Dems had to have one too. The Repubs had Arthur Davis, the Democratic Representative who seconded the nomination of Obama 4 years ago.

The Dems had a Former Republican Firefighter. Is that the best Party Traitor they could find?

Throwing up their midget, no matter how stumpy. I tell ya, this year the parodies are writing themselves.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cars I Have Known VII

Here is one of those apparent good deals that requires close study. I know what this guy is talking about, Been there, done that.

Well, still doing that actually. Several years ago a guy offered me a 1988 Mercedes 190e for 300 bucks. I thought it was a steal. It was only after a few repairs that i found out which one of us was the actual thief.

Don't get me wrong; it is a fantastic car. It'll hit 70 in a heartbeat, rides like a cloud and still has some sport manners in the corners. But it has..... ISSUES. Some are because it is 24 years old. Some seem to be designed in.

Like the fuel pump relay. The electric fuel pump will quit randomly, and usually at the most inopportune time. Usually where there is no where to pull over and you have a line of cars behind you. It is a simple fix. Open the hood; pull the cover off of the relay housing; pull the fuel pump relay; jump pins 3 and 8; replace the relay; start the car; replace the relay cover, close the hood. Except sometimes you have to repeat steps 3-6, as the car won't start the first time.

So why not just replace the relay? Because the problem could either be the fuel pump relay or a separate relay that controls voltage to the automobile. each relay is $120, and I have a problem throwing $250 at a $300 car. Luckily I am still finding a few of them in the junkyard. So between finding used parts cheap and doing the work myself I have been able to keep it going.

But I can see where paying somebody to maintain an old MB can bet expensive. Parts are available to repair almost every aspect of the car. But those parts are expensive, and a good MB mechanic is at least $75 an hour. You can count on dropping a grand each and every trip to the shop. If you have that kind of money, paying somebody else to keep your old car on the road may be worth it.

But you can easily see how a car that a few years ago sold for 50k new, is now worth $300; if you can get it.

The picture is not my 190e, but mine is red. And I think it is that red color that has attracted the attention of the local constabulary.

I have been stopped by police exactly 4 times in the last 20 years. All four times I was driving the 190e. all four times I got a ticket for not wearing my seat belt. All four times it was the same cop.

Yep; driving a Red Mercedes can get expensive.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A New Guilty Pleasure

I saw This on Instapundit today, and I think I have found a new guilty pleasure.

The article that lead me there, President Obama To Receive Honorary Green Beret, Induction Into Special Forces Association, was hilarious, once I was sure it was satire. Some of the other titles are obviously satire.

At least, I hope. But then, a course like this would have been welcomed, back in my day.

They have a whole section for each branch of the Service. The Air Force Section has articles on such varied topics as:

There seems to be a certain lack of political correctness involved here; classic satire.

Back in my day we didn't have this Internet thingy, but we did have the bathroom walls. In an effort to control the writing on the walls, our young second lieutenant had legal pads hung in all of the stalls in our duty section. 
There were various things written on the pads, including a rather lengthy treatise on how we need to rise up and act as one to fight the tyranny of the Strategic Air Command.

I don't know whether it was my handwriting that was distinctive, or maybe it was the writing style or the opinions expressed where identifiably mine, but the next afternoon when I showed up at the office, I was immediately called into the NCOIC's (Non-Commissioned Officer, In Charge {and no, I'm not making that up}) office, and was confronted with my previous post, as it were.

After being asked if I had written the treatise, and confirming I had, I was told it was very well written satire, but there were other young Airmen in my section who may not be as well versed in the art of satire, and may take the satire as truth, and things like this may cause those other young Airmen trouble within the unit.

I smiled, nodded, and confirmed I would not write any similar treatises, for the sake of my fellow young Airmen.

All the while I was wondering: "What makes him think this is satire? I was serious as Hell!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sunday Night at The Fair

The Sunday before Labor Day is always our day at The Fair. I say THE Fair, as if there is no other fair in the world. Around here, The Fair is more important than the State Fair, any other County Fair, or even a Worlds Fair. When you are asked in Campbell County if you are going to The Fair, everybody knows what you mean.

The Alexandria Fair and Horse Show has been running since 1856. It was cancelled 3 times in it's history, during The War, in the 1860's. It's still pretty much the same. The horse shows run all 5 days, and are  prime draw, and make The Fair unique. Other Counties have demolition derbies or tractor pulls. The Fair has a world class horse show.

Outside of the Horse Show, The Fair is pretty much like any other fair. A dozen rides or so, the hustler games lined up outside the rides and the food booths. And Beer; gotta have a few cold beers.

The food booths are as varied as the people at the fair. Over here you can get hot dogs, brauts- with sour kraut and horseradish-and hamburgers and cheeseburgers. In the mood for Chinese? Around the corner, next to the Pizza trailer. Philly cheese steaks? A couple of booths over, between the booth with the big alien drink containers and the one selling deep fried everything. And I do mean everything. Deep fried Twinkies and Oreos? Old hat now. Deep frying has gone healthy. How about a serving or two of deep fried green beans?

Yep; deep fried green beans. They taste like a deep fried onion, but look kinda like a french fry. Proof I guess that you can improve the taste of anything by deep frying it.

Last night was a typical Sunday night at The Fair. We usually go on Sunday night because of a competing event down on the River that draws most of the idiots. It makes the rides more accessible and the crowd is a little more genial. Last night we were able to take my grandsons for the first time to The Fair. They couldn't wait to hit a few rides and play a few games. They each caught a fish at the Fish Pond, and took home a stuffed Elmo, and rode the Merry-Go-Round twice. Number 1 and his Dad took a ride down the Big Slide, and it was hard to tell who was grinning wider; My Boy, or his.

They were just starting to go up for a second ride when the rain hit. a light sprinkle at first, so we abandoned the rides and went to find shelter in the Beer Tent, and then the Grandstand. The rain wasn't too bad, but all of the sudden we got hit with the remnants of Issac. Wind started blowing tents over, and started driving the rain up under the roof of the grandstand. Luckily the wind quit before the hard rain fell. Buckets of hard rain. It was time to hit the road. Through superior planning on my part we were close to the gate we parked near (it is also close to the beer booth; what can I say?), so we sent the too oldest boys out to fetch the cars, and we bailed with a minimum fuss and rain.

It wasn't quite a regular The Fair night.  We didn't see any of the Horse Show (the picture is from a few years ago), and missed stopping for a pair of Funnel Cakes on the way out. And we were home in time to watch The Fireworks in TV. The Fireworks are a lot like The Fair; we have the only ones around.

But that is another story.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer's Last Hurrah

Labor Day Weekend. This is supposed to be it. Summer's End.

The season itself won't end until late this month, and the school kids summer ended a couple of weeks ago. And for those of us who work for a living, Summer really has no meaning anymore; its just a time when we pay air-conditioning bills instead of heating bills.

So why do we mourn the end of Summer? I suppose we can equate the seasons of the year with the ages of a mans life. Spring of course is the age of youth; of childhood. When any path is open and all things are possible. Spring gradually, almost imperceptibly, gives was to young adulthood- Summer.

By Summer the courses are clear, and hopefully well chosen. All things are in their prime We have the freedom and the ability to do as we please; the only constraints are time and money, yet both seem to be in vast supply. School is in the past; whether 12, 16 or 20 years worth, and the view forward seems limitless.

Fall arrives like the season; all at once and like a cold slap in the face. What once was easy is now difficult. Like the song says; it now takes all day to do what I once did all day. Things that were once beauty personified are now wilting and turning brown. The days begin cold and warm slowly, and sometimes don't warm at all. The trees, once so resplendent in all the shades of green, are now starting to show bare limbs, and pulling out their fall wardrobes of warm reds, oranges and yellows.

Fall is in someways a rewarding time of year. We are rewarded for our work in the garden all year with beans and corn; the fall colors are a visual delight; something looked forward to because of their varied and limited displays.

Fall in life is rewarding like that too. Careers are fully matured and usually offering rewards not given earlier. The children are grown and no longer your responsibility, and the only child-rearing you do is occasionally watching the grandkids. Grandkids, another fall reward. But we are not talking about the rewards of Fall; we're talking about the passing of Summer.

I think that we, who barely notice the end of Summer, really feel a need to commiserate with it's passing. We don't notice the change with a demarcated line, like the difference between Summer and School, but we feel the change; we smell it in the air; feel it in our bones. Summer is over, and Fall begins.

Then Winter sets in, all cold and miserable. But we don't want to talk about Winter today. Today is Summer.

At least for a few more days.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Friday Night At The Movies VI

Last night was another DVD night. After last week's post about Macho movies I did some thinking about the most Macho movie and added to the post that I thought John Wayne's last film, The Shootist, was about the most Macho movie around. So last night I watched it again.

Briefly, Wayne's character is an aging gunfighter who has just had a diagnosis of terminal cancer. After his doctor describes what his last days will be like, he plans a birthday party and invites the three best gunslingers in town. The shoot'em up is inevitable, and in the course of the battle, The Shootist is killed, dying the way he wanted to, not in a bed having strangers tend his every need.

Set in January of 1901, the movie sets up the death of one era, and the beginning of another. The age of the Gunfighter in the Old West is over. Civilization, Law and Order and Technology have arrived. Carson City Nevada has paved streets, indoor plumbing, electric lights and motor cars. The lawless West that created men like Wayne's character, J.B. Books, is disappearing, and soon so will the men themselves.

And you can't beat the cast: John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Richard Boone, Harry Morgan and Ron Howard. Made in 1976, it was Wayne's last movie, and one of his best. My basic criteria are met- a good story competently told- and as usual the film is beautifully photographed.

Why do I consider this the greatest Macho movie? First, J.B. Books, has a very natural reaction to his diagnosis, and his progression from the diagnosis to his final actions are logically made. A man who has faced down many enemies is given another battle. This one he knows he cannot win, so he redefines what winning will be. Even so, in the end, although his wish is to die in a gun fight, and he has set up a battle against 3 gunmen, his will to live causes him to defend himself. Almost too well.

Second, John Wayne had fought and beat cancer in the late 1960's, and was diagnosed with the cancer that killed him a couple of years later. He knew the fight his character was fighting was personal, and knew it personally. Just how much was real and how much was character is anybody's guess. You also have to read into the movie if Wayne knew this would be his last film or not.

I think he knew. He was almost 70 at the time, and the making of a movie is a long and arduous process. By that point he had made over 250 movies, starring in over 140, and I think he wanted to go out well, not as a has been. He wanted his last film to be the culmination of his career, not the last gasp of a wanna be has-been.

This film is that. From the opening sequences- clips from some of his older movies, starting with Red River- through his various talks with Ron Howard's character Gillom Rogers, J. B. Books becomes John Wayne, not the reverse. I forget who said it, but someone once said the greatest character John Wayne ever created was John Wayne. You knew what he stood for, and would defend that position to the best of his ability.

Third, this movie is about a man who has lived his life on his terms, always in control. He was now facing not death- death he was always prepared for- but facing a loss of being in control. So while he is in control he decides to control everything he can, including the end.

And it almost works. Books does die at the end of the final gunfight, but not from the bullets of competent men, but shot in the back by a shotgun-toting bartender.  The final scenes are integral to the movie, and to the message. J. B. Books lived his own way, and died his own way.

But it was his way. It was a way of life developed for a specific time, and that time had passed as well.

Macho has taken on a definition that includes crazy and ignorant actions. I'm not a fan of that definition, and I think it has been developed to emasculate men. You want a true definition of Macho? Watch The Shootist.