Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day of Rest

Today was a Day of Rest. Serious Rest.

I slept until 8:30, climbed back into bed at 9:00 and climbed back out at 12:30. It's 6:30 and I am ready to climb back in again.

Do you want to know why?

My last day of work was December 19th. Since then I have had parties that lasted 4 hours or more on December 21st; 23rd; 24th; 25th; 27th and 29th. And I have parties scheduled for the 31st and January 1st (technically the one on the First is still tentative). And I go back to work on the Second.

It has been a busy holiday season. I am almost looking forward to going back to work.


Friday, December 28, 2012

A note to Mitch McConnell

Here is a copy of the note I just emailed to Senator McConnell:

Senator McConnell:

Can you explain the logic behind not granting all forms of communication the same constitutional and Supreme Court reviewed protections? If US Mail and wired phone lines require a warrant, why shouldn't email and wireless phone conversations?

I have a 4th Amendment right to privacy in my papers and in my communications. The government does not, at any level, have a right to review those communications absent a warrant. PERIOD.

I have voted for you that last four times you ran for the Senate, but it has become increasingly clear that you are no longer a resident of Kentucky, but a resident of Washington, D.C.. It is time Kentuckians found a fellow citizen, like Senator Rand Paul, to represent us.

2014 can not come soon enough. 

If he reads the message, will he get it?

I doubt it.

Funny Business in Washington

I have been holding this post until after Christmas, just because I promised only happy thoughts before Christmas.

I can't come down on one side or the other; they each bother me equally.

And then I found another strip that so much so quickly:

I'm not sure how the cartoonist was looking at the issue, but Doesn't Cooperate can cover a lot of ground. My first sense was that they don't cooperate with the people who elected them, but he could also mean, given the current 'fiscal cliff' fiasco, that they don't cooperate with each other. Also true.

But it seems to me the only time the Politicians do cooperate is when they are screwing over the people who elected them.

The one exception I can think of is Rand Paul, my Senator from Kentucky. Not being a politician or a lawyer, he understands the evil that government is.

He just put forth an amendment to the FISA bill to increase Fourth Amendment protections on electronic communications; basically to give email and cell phones conversations protection from warrant-less searches. Here is the transcript of his speech on the Senate Floor.

Its about time we had some one in Washington who understands what the people want and is ready to fight for it.

Apparently, based on the vote in the Senate, we are at least 79 people short of what we need, including my other Senator, the one I don't claim much, Mitch McConnell.

He will hear from me today.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Start of the Post-Holiday Let Down

Today starts the Winter Blues Period in earnest. Nothing else to look forward to except Spring.

And that is 3 months away.

Christmas is officially over. I was at the store today and all of the holiday displays were coming down, and they were back to light rock on the music.

All of the holiday specials are off the TV and tress will start appearing at the curb in the next few days, right after the last of the bags of wrapping paper are picked up.

And today it's snowing. Not much, but enough to be a nuisance, if it starts to stick. Right now it is just hundreds of large flakes, making a great aerial display, but melting into oblivion as soon as they hit the ground.

The Winter Blahs; short, dark days; long, cold nights. Everybody is partied out and the world seems more dreary compared to the last month of constant motion and whirlwind activities. Everybody runs flat out for the month of December and then just drops flat for the next two months; poking a nose out into the world every so often, like Puxsatawny Phil looking for a shadow.

And the incipient arrival of the holiday bills doesn't help either. Visa, Discover, Mastercard. And the one from the Electric Company. Unbelievable how much it costs to run a few small bulbs, ain't it?

Stepping on the scale is definitely not a day-brightener either. How can eating a couple of pounds of ham equate to 10 extra pounds on the scale?

Trying to keep a car clean in the next few months is always a pain in the whatsis. Mud; snow; salt and slush. Everything is either dirty, wet or both. A five minute trip to the store means a 20 minute cleanup when you get home.

All I've got to do is get through the next two months. Once the flowers start to poke their green little noses out of the earth I will brighten up.

But that is two long months away.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day is Here!

I have spent the last couple of weeks crabbing about my lack of Christmas Spirit and the over commercialization of the Christmas Holiday.

Today is the Day; the reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas!

Christians all over the world look forward to today. A birth forecast by the prophets for a thousand years; the arrival on Earth of God and the beginning of a new period of revival. A gift promised to the Jewish people, the birth of Christ did little for them, and instead created an entirely new religion that has spread and splintered into dozens of sects around the globe and 2.1 billion followers; the largest religion in the modern world, with 33% of the world's inhabitants as followers.

Hard to believe it all began with the birth of a small child in a stable on this day 2,012 years ago.

Well; there are questions, both about the actual date and the year. Some even doubt the birth itself.

Considering how easily information gets confused in just a few short years, I would think it would be easy to lose track of an exact date that happened, in our case, over 2000 years ago.

The creation of a Liturgical Holy Day to coincide with an existing pagan holiday is logical as well. After all even today the Queen of England has both an actual birthday and an Official Birthday.

None of which should detract from the Celebration itself; we are celebrating the Birth of Christ; not Christ's Birthday.

That may seem like a semantic difference, but its not. We aren't concerned so much with when Christ was born as much as we are concerned that he was born at all.

Think about the concept; especially 2000 years ago. Gods demanded tribute and worship; gods were vindictive and destructive when they were not properly honored.

But here was a God that loved the people who worshiped Him to the point that he would send His Son- His only Son- to live on Earth with us; to suffer for our sins and to suffer the ultimate punishment for us; to die in our stead.

We aren't celebrating the day He came to Earth, but the concept that He did.

And that, my friends, is quite a concept.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Today is party number two, along with some other traditions we usually do on this special day; the Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park, along with the Western & Southern Insurance Creche, with life sized wax figures and live animals. Then a quick trip to the Overlook; the speed of which depends entirely on the weather. Cold wet and windy; 35 seconds. Cold dry and snowy; a couple of minutes.

The overlook has a beautiful view of Northern Kentucky and the cities of Dayton, Bellevue and Newport, as well as parts of Fort Thomas, Covington and Southgate. On Christmas Eve, when the air is clear and the Lights are lit, contrasting with the white backdrop of a recent snow, the cold seems to melt away. Old familiar landmarks are sorted out of the panorama, and pointed out to those with us, even though they are old, familiar landmarks to them as well.

Then a stop at UDF for egg nog; the Southern Comfort is already in stock. Home in time for a quick bite and a quick review of the presents, making sure we haven't missed anybody or missed a present. Then off to Walmart for just a few more things.

Then off to the homestead on the hill for another Christmas Celebration with the family. Ham again, and then a couple hours of unwrapping presents.

And the noise! 14 adults; half a dozen kids over ten and another half dozen between 6 and ten and 4 more under 6. Running, playing, squealing in anticipation. and each of them taking turns hitting the buttons on Each. And. Every. Animatron. Each plays a different Carol, usually Santa singing something, except for the that probably dates to the Clinton Administration that plays a jazz version of something or the other on a saxophone. none of them gets a break until the presents are distributed, and the younger crowd has something more important to occupy them, and one parent will usually sneak a battery out of each Santa during the melee, just to make sure silence remains golden. Especially the one with the damn saxophone.

Youngest child to oldest, each unwraps a present, and each is met with either squeals of delight or the 'its-worse-than-socks' toss onto the pile, while a previous present is pulled from the pile for further inspection. I have to admit that I run about 50/50 on the squeal/socks chart. On the upside I don't think I have ever given a take or leave present; it's either pure love or distinct hate.

And then the departures start. Young children to get home and into bed; old parents who want to get the older children to bed so they try to get a few minutes sleep between Santa's visit and zero-dark:30 when Christmas Day starts.

When our kids were smaller- like between 7 and 17 we had a few chickens and a rooster. The Christmas morning rule was nobody came downstairs until the rooster crowed; that meant at least the sun was up.

Until one enterprising youngster realized that turning on the back porch light would wake up the rooster. None of them would ever admit who it was who would turn the porch light on at 4:30 in the morning, but I suspect the eldest convinced the youngest to do it.

That's just the way things work.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Countdown to Christmas- C-Day-1

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. In my minds eye I can see Santa and his helpers making their last minute preparations; feeding the reindeer; polishing the harness and the sleigh; making sure all of the packages are accounted for and the famous red suit is back from the cleaners. Elves running  every which way; dealing with last minute details and making sure Santa's yearly trip goes off without a hitch.

Similar arrangements are going on at the homestead, but not on a North Pole scale. We will be loading up the front wheel drive sleigh ourselves in a couple of hours and heading off to a couple of parties, and I am trying to get my old iPhone to load my Christmas music so I can use it like an iPod during today's festivities. But it's not going well.

I dumped the iPhone for a Droid about a year ago- one of the happiest days of my life- and I haven't messed with the cussed thing much since. I had forgotten how much of a PITA the thing is. With the Droid loading music is as easy as drag and drop. The iPod has to 'SYNC'. And it can only sync music in the iPod format. So, if you didn't buy a song from Apple or rip the CD using iTunes it has to be converted to the WMA format before it can be synced. Oh, and loading all of Christmas music means I had to wipe out the music that was on the cussed thing to start with, and after Christmas I need to go through this again to restore the music I had on there in the first place. Anyone who believes this is a good system probably has never been introduced to any other.

I know I promised no bad news until after Christmas, but I had to rant about that frustration, and add that Friday night I was talking to a group of iPhone 5 users, all of whom were crabbing about short battery life. SUCKERS!

And what little snow we had has melted, and none is forecast until the 26th, so no White Christmas this year, which isn't rare. This area has only had 7 White Christmases in the last 40 years. My memory says that ain't right, but it could just be that snow at Christmas creates a better memory than a rainy one.

Well; except for one year.

I think it was 1966. Every year on Christmas Eve we would visit my Mom's parents up in Reading Ohio; about an hour ride or so. The eating and gifts would last late into the evening, and then packing the car with kids and presents would take another half hour. we usually hit the road about 10:00 and I was asleep by 10:02.

For some reason this year I was wide awake and watching the cars we passed on the expressway and watching the rain fall. We came up beside a bright red 1967 Ford Falcon station wagon; the entire back end crammed with toys and wrapped presents. as we drew up next to the drivers window I saw the driver's full white beard and red suit; yeah, it was him. Santa took his eyes off the road long enough to see a very wide-eyed young man staring at him, and then took one gloved hand off the wheel to give me an admonishing finger wag.

I was asleep before we passed his hood ornament.

For some reason ever since I keep my eyes open for red vehicles on rainy Christmas Eves. But I've never seen him again. I guess we each only get one chance to catch Santa on his rounds. I had mine almost 50 years ago. and still remember it like it was yesterday.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Countdown to Christmas; C-Day-2

Last night was the company Christmas Party. As always a stellar event. Dinner on the top floor of a local hotel in a private club with a view of the area that spanned 360 degrees. The night was clear and we could see for miles. The meal was exquisite- Filet Mignon for me- followed by a mix of desserts and a few bourbons.

And lots of conversation. Our firm is spread out in 3 buildings locally, so some folks I have worked with for years I don't get to see on a regular basis; last night was catch-up time. Exchanging old stories and sharing new ones; hearing of new additions and old passings; just having a few hours to talk to folks without the pressure of a deadline.

It was also probably the last day of relaxation before the storm of Christmas busy hits. Like today. I should be wrapping presents, but am taking a few minutes to post to the blog. Yeah; it's procrastination. Not that I mind wrapping presents usually; I like the creating of secrets. But usually I store shop for gifts and part of the selection process is the box the present comes in. That is a dirty little secret I am sharing for the first time; the easier a package is to wrap the more likely you are to receive it as a gift.

But this year I did a lot of shopping on-line. The packages these things came in suck. All curves and odd angles and soft corners. What ever happened to a good old-fashioned 6-sided box? I do have one present that is a 6-sided box; 4 inches square and 4 feet long; yeah, that'll wrap well.

I also need to decided what will be the background. Christmas Carols? A Christmas movie? or maybe a few old Christmas Specials we have on DVD? Something to help put me in the mood to fight thin paper, sticky tape and sharp edged, oddly shaped packaging.

But if I bring presents I get ham.

Yeah; it's worth it. Now I need to find the DVD for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer....

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Prep is Done!

I am determined to do only Happy Posts between now and Christmas. I don't know how, but that is my goal.

See how hard it's going to be? I've gone negative already.

The plans are all in place; parties on Friday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday; Sunday and Tuesday will probably be all day affairs. Gifts to exchange; food to eat- including 3 hams- beer and eggnog to drink, cookies and candy are far as the eye can see in any direction. And probably a pumpkin roll or two.

Family everywhere, except tonight. Tonight is the work family. A good meal; good company and a few mellowers. But no ham.

The shopping is done, as of a few minutes ago. I just have the nail-biting wait for the delivery on one more thing and all will be wrapped and ready to go.

As you can tell, I am looking forward to the Christmas celebrations, despite yesterday's post. I still don't have the traditional Christmas Spirit, but maybe it will come, now that the stress of the season is over and the fun part is beginning.

And now that the parties are starting I can start hitting the Christmas Spirits; that always helps.

We took a couple of hours yesterday and went to visit the Train Display at the Cincinnati Museum Center; Just the wife and I and the Young'un. She isn't as appreciative of the trains as her brothers. She couldn't wait to get out of there and hit the Children's Museum. She had a good time and we left after a couple of hours. The place was not as crowded as I feared it would be, but I guess most of the area schools were still in session; her's let out on Wednesday.

And we have snow. Not much, less than a dusting, but still snow. as long as it's still on the ground come Tuesday we can say we had a White-ish Christmas.

Lets the celebrating begin!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

And Carols Under the Tree

Today starts my Christmas vacation.

Well; almost.

I have one of those jobs that you never really get time off from.

So Today starts that period of me not going into the office and taking longer breaks in between working in my sweat pants and t-shirt while waiting on Christmas.

Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?

Back in the day when I had a job I would shower after instead showering for, leaving work meant leaving work. The whistle blew at 4:30 and work became something tucked into the back of my mind, tucked away in a hidden recess until the alarm went off at 6:00 the next morning. Didn't think about it, talk about it, or DO it.

Not because I didn't care about my job, but it was hard physical labor, and it required both the parts and the tools to machine the parts; not things I could haul around.

Now my job consists of paper. Well, not even real paper most of the time. Usually its virtual paper. I can carry my entire job around on a laptop. Very Handy.

I can take a week off and deal with 99.9% of the issues I need to with out leaving my house. Or in good weather, the back porch.

But; I digress.

This morning I slept in until almost 8:00. That's the way to start a vacation! It will probably be the last day I get to sleep in too. I still have some shopping to do, and the parties start on Friday. My schedule is full of Christmas doings from 5:00 Friday night to at least 6:00 Tuesday night, with various other get-togethers sprinkled out until I go back to work in January.

The carols are playing, the tree is up and lit and the presents are wrapped and spread around its base.

But it doesn't feel like Christmas. The sights; the smells, the bustle is all here. We've watched the Christmas movies and specials and ran through the traditions. But the special feeling that this is a special time of year is still not fully developed.

Maybe its the troubles. Fiscal cliff; Newton shootings; the news in general. The weather; chilly and rainy.

Or maybe I'm just not a kid anymore; maybe that's what I miss. Back when I was a kid Christmas was special, and not a chore. Presents magically appeared; Santa Claus was really right in front of me and that red light I saw out my bedroom window on Christmas Eve was Rudolph's nose.

Now I know where presents come from; that Santa has an army of helpers around the world and the red light really there all year- I just noticed it on Christmas Eve. The magic has gone out of the holiday.

I have just noticed that everything I am noting is concerned with the commercial holiday of Xmas, and not the religious Holy Day of Christmas.

Maybe that's why I am not feeling the Christmas spirit; I have been bombarded with the trappings of Xmas since before Halloween; they aren't as rare as when I was younger. Christmas burnout maybe?

In 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas was first aired on December 18th. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol first aired in 1962; on December 18th. in 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on December 9th. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer aired for the first time on December 6th, back in 1964. The Christmas Season was more compact, and drifted into January.

A Christmas Season that starts in October and ends abruptly on December 25th at midnight is probably the reason I don't feel Christmas like I did. It has become even more commercial than it was in '64 when Charles Schultz penned his now famous rant. With sponsorship by Coca-Cola.

I guess it's our fault. We bought into the idea that Christmas gift spending should be the driver for our economy and have spent accordingly. And that 'Spending Season' has been expanded from a couple of weeks in December to two full months at the end of the year, including a shopping bacchanal the entire weekend after -and, recently ON- Thanksgiving.

And we wonder why our government spends the way it does.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Duty, Honor, Respect

I normally am against Democrats and politicians who hold public office for their entire adult lives; I am also against those same politicians being awarded medals for ancient military service that they weren't awarded at the time. It seems they just called in a few favors and picked up an award others have died for.

Daniel Inouye seemed to fill all of those requirements. A Democrat, he has been in Congress, first in the House and then in the Senate, since 1959; before I was born. Awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for action in Europe during the Second World War, President Bill Clinton upgraded the DSC to a Medal of Honor. Honors inflation; friends will be friends I thought. Let's see what the fuss is about, then we can really make a scathing post about the the whole package.

I came away with a new respect for Captain Inouye. I still don't like that he was a Democrat, and that he spent more than 50 years in Washington, but that man should have been awarded Medal of Honor in 1945.

There is a website that has every citation for every Medal of Honor given; Here is Captain Inouye's story:

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Impressive enough, but Wikipedia has a version with a little more detail:

On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most unyielding line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.
As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside the bunker fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore". Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody called off the war!"

The reason his DSC was upgraded to a Medal of Honor was most likely because of his race; Daniel Inouye was Japanese-American. Had he been an American of European descent there would have been no doubt his actions would have merited the Medal of Honor.

No matter that Senator Inouye went on to become a Democrat; Not matter that he served 50 years in Washington- both things that are an anathema to me. In 1945 Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye was a hero. For that he has my respect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cars Aren't Guns.

I saw this on a friend's Facebook page the other day- Post Newton obviously- and had to respond. Lets look at the points one by one, shall we?

First: Title and Tag at each point of sale. Anybody know why a car has a title? I mean, besides me? Well I'll tell you. Cars were initially treated like any other piece of personal property; horses; carriages; furniture for example. A Bill of Sale was prepared by the seller and given to the buyer along with the item. The Bill of Sale was your proof of ownership. The problem was automobiles were expensive, and usually left unaccompanied in public places. Unscrupulous individuals would drive off in your horseless carriage, forge a Bill of Sale to themselves and convert your property into cash. The only way to regain your property was through a lawsuit. So the several states decided to title cars and register the titles with the state in order to stop the lawsuits from multiplying with the number of vehicles on the road. That lead to licensing, and then taxing the automobile, until we got where we are today.

Yes; guns are stolen on a daily basis, and those stolen guns are re-sold and then used in the commission of various crimes. But I really don't want a state data base or each weapon and where it is to be created, especially since there is a small and vocal portion of the country who want to confiscate and destroy those weapons.

And just for the record, if a movement is ever created to confiscate automobiles, I would be in favor of ending the state control of the licensing and titling of automobiles as well.

Second: Training. Did you know it is entirely possible to legally own an automobile, and legally drive that automobile with out a license? You just can't drive it on public roads or property. But you can drive it on your own property. Same with a gun. You can legally own and carry a concealed firearm without a special permit. As long as you never leave your private property. I am all in favor of permits for concealed carry. When you are on public property and in public places your actions will affect others- including me- so a required training and licensing is not a problem for me. As long as it is the individual who is permitted, and not an individual weapon.

Third: Written Test- See Second, above.

Fourth: Practical Test- See Second, above.

Fifth: Health Requirements. One of the things a firearm does in level the playing field. It allows a 75 year old woman to be equal to her 25 year old attacker. What would a Health Requirement be? You can never be too old or frail to be able to use a weapon for protection.

Sixth: Insurance. Based on? A car is capable of doing expensive damage if misused, or even through no fault of the driver if there are adverse environmental conditions; rain, snow, ice or fog. There are statistics on everything on the insurability of an automobile- and its driver. The same car will vary, depending on the age, marital status, driving record and sex of its driver, just as the same driver's insurance cost will vary between a Camaro and a 4 door Accord.

What will be the standard? Last year guns were used in the commission of say, for the sake of argument, 300,000 crimes, from assault to robbery to murder. Who do we determine insurance rates? Out of the more than 300 million guns estimated to be in this country, 300,000- assuming each weapon was used only once to commit a crime- we are looking at a less than one tenth of one percent use for damage on average. And of the more than 200 million gun owners, again, less than one tenth of one percent have misused their weapons. And that demographic probably doesn't even carry car insurance.

The vast majority of gun owners are already responsible for their weapons. Insurance would be a superfluous requirement and an onerous burden for no practical purpose.

Seventh: Inspection and Renewal. For who? owners, concealed carry permit holders or the guns themselves? Inspections are a requirement that has been dropped for the most part for automobiles; Permit renewals are a requirement already for concealed carry, and again, I have no issue with that requirement. But a yearly requirement to have each weapon inspected would be just like insurance; an onerous burden for no practical purpose.

All in all, each of these requirements would be a gun banners dream; they could still allow gun to be 'legal' but practically outlawed.

All of you in favor of making those points requirements for a firearm, think about this:Each abortion performed would be required to have a permit issued by the state; training for the mother in what stage of development her baby is at; testing to make sure she has absorbed that training; she must have written permission of the father in order to have the abortion;a requirement that she be financially responsible for the proper burial of the baby and a requirement that she attend the burial.

Hey; what's your beef? Abortion is still legal.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gas Drops = Economy Sucks- Says Obama

On the way home tonight I saw gas for $2.99 a gallon; down almost a buck since the election.

Remember what Obama said during the second debate with Romney about why gas was so cheap before he was elected?

Maybe a refresher?

OBAMA: Well, think about what the governor -- think about what the governor just said. He said when I took office, the price of gasoline was $1.80, $1.86. Why is that? Because the economy was on the verge of collapse, because we were about to go through the worst recession since the Great Depression, as a consequence of some of the same policies that Governor Romney's now promoting.
So, it's conceivable that Governor Romney could bring down gas prices because with his policies, we might be back in that same mess.

But if gas drops when the economy sucks; why is it dropping now, Mr. President?

Does your economy suck?

My guess is he doesn't think so.

And his probably doesn't.

It just that for the rest of the country the economy sucks, and has since 2008.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Change in Attitude is Required

Friday was a horrific day. I find it impossible to believe that any parent who did not have their child close enough to touch when the heard the news from Newton didn't experience feel a sudden pang of unease; a sharp fear for the safety of their child. I know I did.

The news media has really covered themselves in glory in this tragedy as well haven't they? About the only thing they had right in the initial reports were the name of the town and it's distance from New York City; like anyone out side of New York City would really care about how far away it was.

Some of that can be attributed to the 'fog of war' (which is a really bad analogy to use, I know), but most can be attributed to newsreader's requirement to be first. There is no requirement to be second, and accurate. They didn't even bother to get the shooter's name correct before rushing to make sure the whole world knew who this individual was.

And that is the first point I want to make. Why do we care who committed this atrocity? Lets look at it this way: let's say I have some mental problems, and I want to end my life. When was the last time a suicide got more than a couple of lines in a local paper?

But; if I take some others out with me, I will get National News Coverage. The more innocent the victims, the more famous I'll be. And the more of them there are, the wider and longer the coverage. I might even make it into a trivia game as the answer to the question; "Who is the worlds biggest mass murder?".

After all; more people know the name Hitler than know the names of the millions who fought against him.

There was an episode of NCIS a few years ago where the heros were chasing a serial killer, and at the end, when he is captured he taunts them with the idea that everyone will know and remember his name for its infamy, while they will all die in anonymity. The leader of the team that captured the killer tells him; "Wanna bet?", and then has him declared a terrorist, and his name cannot be released for national security reasons. His notoriety is now locked away; his name will die with him.

As humans we can't help it I suppose. We are drawn to the dark and ugly by our natures. We cannot look away from the accident on the other side of the highway, or from the house fire, the flood or the ambulance outside the house up the block. The news media has a phrase- If It Bleeds, It Leads. That is our fault, not theirs. We see a possible danger to ourselves in what happened to those we see, and our hunter/gather brains want to learn from the incident. It will probably take another 10,000 years of evolution before we can look away from someone else's tragedy.

Step One to stopping these tragedy's is to stop naming the shooter. They aren't normal, functioning individuals. They don't see the pain and hurt they are causing the people they are directly or the ripple effect into the wider world. Their focus is on themselves and the attention their death will draw; whether self inflicted, or through suicide by cop.

Step Two is to eliminate 'Gun Free Zones'. The old adage that 'When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns' is not just an NRA bumper sticker; its a truth. Eliminating a technology through law, properly called a PROHIBITION never works. For examples, see any any prohibition ever passed. Our ones on alcohol and drugs have been complete successes, haven't they? The ban on Guns in England has meant an end to gun violence there, right? Oh; well maybe not.

Banning a technology is a Pollyanna approach. An If-I-Close-My-Eyes-It-Won't-Exist theory. I don't think it springs from a belief in the innate goodness in mankind, but more from the attitude that 'I don't know what to do about this issue; lets ban it' state of mind. No thought is given to the facts; fact: a gun can be made very easily by a competent person; fact: there are guns in existence every where outside your Pollyanna world, and we can't keep hordes of people or tons of drugs from being smuggled into the country; a few crates of guns wouldn't be hard.

Laws for gun free zones are stupid. They are an advertisement that no one but the shooter will be armed. I don't think it is a coincidence that all of the mass shootings in this country have been in gun free zones. The shooters are in search of a public suicide, notoriety and a control they feel they lack over their lives. Carrying a gun into a school gives them that control. You will notice that none of these shootings have taken place in a police station or FOP Lodge; a gun shop or show or at an NRA convention. I wonder why?

There is a report out recently that there was a concealed carry permit holder in the Clackamas Town Center who may have stopped the shooting.  This man had to have been interviewed by the police; his story had to have become a part of the official report. Yet he has not become a part of the news. The shootings at Pearl High School in Pearl Mississippi were stopped by a vice principle with a handgun; one he had to retrieve from his car, parked outside the 'gun free zone'. The Appalachian College of Law shootings are another example of of a 'good' weapon controlling a 'bad' one.

It has been said many times before, and will probably be repeated many more times in the future. Guns don't kill people; people do. A gun is a tool; a tool for killing. Which makes it a very effective tool for protection and defense. It also makes it the tool of choice for those who wish to make a name for themselves.

The solution to stopping shootings like the one Friday are not to ban more guns, but to ban gun free zones. We can't afford the ideology that banning weapons from a particular place will make them safe. We need to recognize that the possession of a firearm in the hands of a competent owner does more to protect a school than an eight by twelve sign in the front yard declaring it a 'GUN FREE ZONE'.

Sandy Hook is just another example of when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Sandy Hook Tragedy

As I write this the details are still unfolding on the Newtown Connecticut Elementary School Shooting.

At this point all we really  know for sure is that a nut case used at least one gun to kill 27 people; 18 of them elementary school children.

We also know the gunman is dead. 

How do you respond to a tragedy like this? As a parent and grandparent you have very few options. Your first thought is for your own children and grandkids who are in their own schools today, and utter a quick prayer for their safety.

You thoughts then turn to the children and their parents. The children who are now gone and their parents are first in your prayers. Second are the children who witnessed this horrible event, and their parents. Knowing how close your child was will keep many a parent awake at night; replaying the scenes in their minds eye will keep many a child awake as well.

And already the calls for more gun control are beginning.

Yes; this nut case- who I hope is never named or identified; let him rot in anonymity- used a gun, and with that gun or guns was able to inflict an amount of damage well beyond any other weapon. Yes; he could have used a knife or a club, and the death toll would not have been as high.

But also bear in mind that one person in that school armed with a gun could have saved lives.

Guns are tools; only as good or evil as the hand that holds them. They can with the simple pull of a trigger take a life, or save one.

More details will come out, and we will find out things we would gladly have shielded ourselves from.

But hiding our eyes and ears will not change the world. Avoiding the fact that evil exists won't protect us.

Preparing to battle the evil will.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Friday Night at the Movies XIII

Technically it was Saturday Night at the Movies, but why mess with tradition?

Surfing around on Netflix I found an Agatha Christie/ Hercule Poirot movie on, Evil Under the Sun. I love a good mystery story, and Agatha Christie did some of the best.

You can tell a GOOD mystery, because all of the clues are there, and at the end you can look back and say "yep; I missed it".  Where as with some you look back and call bull manure on the solution that was pulled out of thin air. Or someplace darker that creates the same euphemism.

Agatha Christie created two very memorable detectives who appear in multiple novels; Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. Poirot relies on finding the hard facts, and making sense of them; Miss Marple takes the facts and through a deep understanding of human nature, figures out where the clues lead. Poirot relies on an encyclopedic knowledge of everything; Miss Marple on an encyclopedic knowledge of everyone. Solutions with both tend to ring true, as far as motivations and responses to stimuli, at least to me.

Evil Under the Sun was a made for English theatrical release, and follows the book well in some parts and deviates wildly in others. Peter Ustinov plays the title detective, and in 1982 I might have accepted it. But not now.

I am a huge Christie fan. If she wrote something that I haven't read  it would surprise me. And like any fan, I have developed my own vision of the characters she has so exquisitely drawn. Peter Ustinov is not Hercule Poirot; he plays a caricature of the little man with the egg-shaped head.

His voice was even wrong; instead of speaking in French (yes; I know he is actually from Belgium) accented English, he sounds like what he is; an Englishman trying to fake a French accent. He also exaggerates, probably for comic effect, some of Poirot's characteristics.

I don't know if it is because who ever did the casting for the Poirot Series on A&E (at least in the States; British and Australian TV also had a hand in the production) had the same vision of Poirot as I do, or if the character is so well drawn that everyone has the same vision, but David Suchet is perfect as Poirot. Eccentric, but not comical; vain, but not to the detriment of the man. Even the accent is perfect; just what I would hear in my head while reading one of her mysteries.

But it probably isn't fair to compare a theatrical release movie with a TV series from 10 years later. Although in this case the series wins.

But; I digress.

The movie was very watchable. It was English; the acting was superb. The sets; the dialogue and the photography were all top-notch.

Except Ustinov was not, to me, believable. even the final wrap up seemed contrived, something I never feel in a Christie novel.

Maybe I'm just hyper critical because I have seen what can be done, and won't accept a lesser product. Or maybe this would seem to be a lesser product in any case.

Maybe I need to find somebody not familiar with Christie's work to watch it with me and see what they think.

I also need to re-watch the other Ustinov/Christie movie, Death on the Nile and see how it compares.

Looks like I have some homework to do.

News of The Day

News you can use; without comment.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making a Stand in Michigan

My dad was a member of the UAW (United Auto Workers) for more than 35 years, and at one point was Union Steward.

I was a member of the Ornamental and Structural Iron Workers Union for about 5 years myself. My Mom's Dad was a member of a Union, although I can't recall which one, but I do remember it was his Union picnic that took us all to Coney Island one Saturday a year when I was a kid. I believe My other Granddad was an Iron Worker as well, because of where he worker in the 1940's, but it wasn't something that was ever discussed. I've also had Uncles in the Steelworkers and the UAW and a son who is a Teamster.

I doubt any of them could explain what happened in Michigan today. I know I sure can't.

I am, as you probably know, a student of history. I am well aware of the bloody struggles it took to gain Union recognition back in the '30's. The UMW- United Mine Workers and their struggle in the Appalachians; the UAW and the sit-ins at GM. The Bloody Battle of the overpass at Ford. Union men fighting- and sometimes dying- in the physical battles against company thugs.

All for an ideal; a purpose. God knows they needed it. I can't imagine a situation desperate enough for me to climb into a mine shaft to earn a living in 1930, stand an assembly line or run steel on the Empire State Building. Jobs were short, Labor was begging for jobs and the companies were still in the early Industrial Age mode; Life was cheap. Use them up; spit them out move on to the next man- or woman; boy or child- in line and make another dollar.

Workers needed a voice; and the only way they got that voice was through Union representation. Life- All lives- have value, and it was only through Union activity that that value was recognized.

And then... something went wrong. Maybe it was the labor shortage of the '50's, or the Cold War days of the '60's. But Unions went from NEED to WANT. 6 weeks; 8 weeks; 10 weeks of vacation. 8-10-12 holidays a years. Add another dollar; add another buck-fifty; no, a buck seventy-five an hour. And sick days. Insurance; Medical, life, dental, long term care, short term/long term disability. 2 breaks, no 3 breaks a shift.

Absolute power corrupts; absolutely.

The UAW is probably the poster child for Union over reach. The center of automobile production in the world was Detroit, Michigan. Every automobile on the road in this country for 30 years had a UAW sticker on it somewhere.

And now? I'd have to guess that less than 10% of the cars on the road are Union made, and probably less than that have a Union hand in their production.

The number of private sector Union workers in this country is rapidly approaching single digits, and today didn't help that at all.

Yes; Michigan made it easier to have a job and not pay Union dues. Did that hurt the UAW; King of Michigan? Maybe; maybe not.

But video of 4 guys in Union jackets beating up a reporter and tearing down a tent with a woman inside most definitely did.

The UAW had control over one of those events; but not the other.

Guess which one will get the least attention in the Union halls?

And Union approval will drop another few points. The Unions will wonder why; why is membership shrinking? After the fine job we did not giving into the bastards at Hostess. After our spirited defense of Union rights in Wisconsin and Michigan. Why are people no longer supporting us?

And the four thugs who are criminals to us will be heros to them.

And they will never figure it out.

Scary Numbers

I was just listening to the news on the radio and they had a case of dueling quotes.

John Boehner was asking Obama where his list of spending cuts were.

Nancy Pelosi was asking where Boehner's revenue was coming from.

Nancy: right now the Federal Government is spending over $11,612.00 a year for each man, woman and child in the country, over $4,800.00 of that amount is borrowed money.

Don't take my word for it; do the math yourself. $3,600,000,000,000.00 spent; $1,300,000,000,000.00 borrowed divided by 310,000,000 million citizens.

Scary number, ain't it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kind of Neat

I found this picture interesting.

To me, it shows the real extent of modern civilization, meaning the places in the world that use energy, as compared to the areas that are not converted for our comfort.

If you look at just the eastern US it's pretty easy to pick out most of the major cities.

The site has a video as well; a couple of minutes well spent.

What hath God wrought?

Just another interesting place on the internets I found through Instapundit.

Oh and before I forget, one of the first comments is from some Luddite decrying the waste of energy and the light pollution.

What an ass.

More Beer

This article really demonstrates part of what I have been saying for years; nobody really liked most of the corporate beers. They just didn't have any alternatives.

Now; we have alternatives. Like we talked about in this post about Beer, people have wanted better beer for years. Now we can get it.

The one interesting point is about Michelob. Back when getting a Guinness was a pipe dream, beer aficionados drank a lot of Michelob. It was a better beer than the normal brews.

And then we were able to get Guinness.

So what happened to Michelob? Was it the ability to get better beers that has caused its slide (Sales loss (2006-2011): 72.0%, according to the article), or was it the cheapening of the Michelob brand that caused it? Beers like Michelob Ultra.

But they also produced some better beers, like Amber Bock that I really enjoyed and a very drinkable Porter.

Could be one or the other or both. It wouldn't be the first time a good product was squeezed from both sides. It was more or less a niche beer that has had its niche disappear.

It was a good domestic large beer. Now if you want a good beer, you go microbrew; if you want a large beer you go (hold on while I pause for an involuntary shudder) Bud Light.

I find it interesting also that the  'cheap crap' beers have also lost sales. Old Milwaukee; Milwaukee's Best and Amstel have all lost between 35% and 58% of their sales. Is that a reflection of increased taste among beer drinkers for better beer, or a loss in sales to cheaper drunks, as cash strapped budgets looked for cheaper alternatives? Hard to say.

But this article from 2010 basically says that the loss in top shelf booze is more than made up for in the increased sales in lower priced stuff. Is there enough room in there for a few former beer drinkers?

My guess is yes.

Bud Light is sort of an anomaly in this report, with 39.15 million barrels sold last year it is the undisputed king of the hill in Beer sales.

Its not really hard to figure out why. Most sports stadiums and arenas sell it almost exclusively. If you want to drink beer, you (please allow a short break while I pause for another involuntary shudder) drink Bud Light.

I'm sorry; I just don't under stand how anyone with a single functioning taste bud can drink that swill. I seriously would rather drink dishwater than Bud Light. That's not a recent opinion; I have never liked Budweiser or Bud Light.

I guess it has something to do with having an edjamikated beer palate.

I was, you may recall, raised on Weidemann.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stirring Up Some Old Memories

According to BING, today is the 50th birthday of the Petrified Forest National Park. Well; Happy Birthday.

Somewhere I have a picture of me, my sister and our Dad in the Petrified Forest. We're sitting on a log about 8 feet long and maybe 30 inches in diameter. I'm about 4; Sis is 3 or so. Dad is wearing a cowboy hat. That hat is still in the family. It is a white Stetson, and I don't think Dad ever wore after we left Texas a few days later. But he kept it for the next 40 years, hanging off of a basketball trophy on his chest of drawers.

Back in the 60's real Stetson cowboy hats were kinda rare in our part of Kentucky. So, when a local theater group did a production of Oklahoma!, Dad's hat did a star turn on the head of Curly. We got free tickets to the show.

But, I digress.

The visit to the petrified forest was on the return leg of our California trip. A real Vacation trip that took us through Denver to Los Angeles and Disneyland, then up the coast to Knott's Berry Farm and San Francisco, then home the southern route through Arizona, for the Grand Canyon, and Texas. One Day I am going to do a series of posts on that trip. I just have to figure out who has the movies.

My Mom's Dad was on the trip with us, and took hundreds of feet of film from Cincinnati to LA and back, some of it with the hood ornament of our '55 Oldsmobile figuring prominently. Dad had the super 8 footage converted to video tape years ago, and I think my brother had it converted to DVD a few years later. As soon as I figure out who has the movies, I'll rip 'em to my computer and post pieces in the blog.

Our trip wasn't as exciting as the trip the Griswolds took 20 years later, and Disneyland was open when we got there, but I can still remember bits and pieces almost 50 years later.

I have to confess; the primary memory I have of that trip is the smell of hotel rooms. A combination of cleaning fluids and air conditioning, that smell remains with me today for some reason. I associated that smell with air conditioning for years; that trip was the first time I remember spending a considerable amount of time in cooled air.

Amazing what will impress itself on the mind of a 4 year old, isn't it?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What's Your Emergency?

Sometimes a blog post comes easy. Sometimes I have to hunt for something to talk about. Today I had to hunt.

And them I found this.

How often does the burglar call 911?

Apparently there were other times when they could have, but lacked the opportunity.

One report I saw on line said civilian guns are used 2.5 million times a year to stop crime. Although that seems a little high, we are talking about a country of over 300 million people.

There is also ample evidence that once states have enacted concealed carry laws crime rates drop.

There are people who are against private ownership of guns; obviously I'm not one of them. They believe that guns only have one purpose, and that is to kill, and that no individual needs that power.

In some respects they are right; guns are an effective killing tool. Notice the last word: TOOL. Wikipedia defines TOOL as any physical item that can be used to achieve a goal. I think that is an adequate description. A person can defend themselves with any number of tools- sticks; bricks; bats; knives; swords; physical prowess in defensive arts like boxing or karate. Or a gun. Each method is a weapon.

Guns can also form a defense without being used, only displayed, like in our initial story. Wikipedia defines weapon in part this way: In a broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary. Guns make good weapons because they instantly create that advantage.

Knives will work to create that advantage as well, like in this scene from Crocodile Dundee. This scene also displays, to me anyway, how weapons can level the playing field. The crook initially has the advantage, by having a weapon, and then accomplices. Dundee evens the odds by not only having a weapon, but by having a larger weapon. And knowing how to use it.

The knowledge is key. Any weapon is useless without the knowledge of how to use it.  Having a gun isn't a defense. Having a gun and knowing its proper use is. If you decide to own a gun; make sure you know how to properly and safely use it.

Just like any another tool. Having a table saw is usually a good thing. Not knowing how to use one safely is a bad thing.

But those stories are for another day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I found both this article and the comments interesting.

I didn't read all of the comments- there were over 800 when I was looking at the article- but i didn't see a one that was pro- drug control.

I wonder why? Are people becoming pro-drug, or anti-government?

I don't think its either; I think folks are just becoming more freedom oriented, and less believing in the omniscience of government.

Its called experience. They have seen what government can do, and what it can't. They have also seen what government is unable to do, such as drug interdiction.

We have been fighting a war on drugs since the 1960's; escalated in the 70's; 80's and 90's.

And not only can you still buy marijuana on dang near any street corner, there has been a proliferation of more dangerous drugs created that didn't exist when the war began, like crack cocaine and crystal meth. Pills- both illegally manufactured and prescription- are available for the asking. Doctors and pharmacies are cashing in; creating 'Pill Mill' offices where a short visit and an exchange of currency will allow a prescription to be written for 'Back Pain'. A prescription that will be filled in the doctor's own pharmacy, occasionally paid for by Medicare or Medicaid.

No-knock raids, some going horribly wrong, is just the latest weapon to be used, and mis-used, to fight a battle that few want fought and the government can't seem to win.

But we continue to fight the War on Drugs. Just like we tried to fight the War on Alcohol 70 years ago, and finally admitted defeat.
What is behind the War? Is it a desire to protect people from themselves? Or is it a desire to extend government control and activity?

We have surrendered a lot of freedoms to the war on drugs. With images of drug soaked criminals to bolster the requests, we have surrendered freedom for security from the rampant druggie.

Only to no longer have the freedom nor have we gained the promised security.

Washington State and Colorado both recently, by popular vote have called a truce in the war.

Maybe its time more places considered doing the same.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Schedule? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Schedule

Last night we turned on NCIS- which is just about the only show I watch on broadcast TV- and I wasn't on. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was instead.

And we turned it off.

A classic Christmas program, one I have enjoyed almost my entire life. And we turned it off. Why?

Because the shows that we once waited all year to see; the shows that defined and delineated the Christmas Season are all sitting on the library shelf; viewable any time, in High Def and without commercials.

Why sit through a program on someone else's schedule when you can view on your own?

In some respects, that is the most modern of TV metaphors, and the reason both broadcast TV and even cable TV is dying.

Yes; you can DVR a show and watch it later. And when you do, do you watch the commercials or zip through them? But cable is $80 a month; Netflix is $8. Save a few bucks and stop paying for channels you never watch; cut the cable. It's happening all over the country.

You can even watch most shows on your computer, at your convenience. No more rushing to meet that 9:00 PM on Thursday time slot. Kick back on Friday when the dishes are done at 6:39 and fire up the show you want to see.

How long until the cable channels get wise and stop distributing shows over cable, but have their channel available internet only? Would it be a successful business model for the History Channel to be available over the Wii? Shows that once were scheduled for Sunday night at 9:00 will now be available for viewing anytime after 9:00 on Sunday.

No more surfing through 90 channels of garbage to see what's on. 50 million homes at $1 a month is some pretty long green. Plus an ad or two at the beginning of the show.

I would go into more detail, but its 9:41PM; I think I'll go fire up something on the Wii; I feel like watching a Mythbusters episode.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Comments Anyone?

The article is more or less fluff. Its the comments I find interesting. Not enlightening mind you, but interesting.

The article is a back handed compliment/slap at Sarah Palin.

The comments are pure Lefty hatred.

What is it about that women that raises the left's hackles so bad?

Okay; He Did What?

Okay; I had a few minutes while the water was heating up so I could do the supper dishes- Have you ever seen a 7 year old girl burn through every drop of hot water in a 40 gallon tank in ONE flippin' shower?

Any way; took a minute to visit a few friends; Sippican Cottage and its companion site, Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys, where I ran into this.

And all it took was a $2.00 yardsale shovel. And a little know how. And a few extra parts. And the guts to pull the trigger when he was done.

Amazing; ain't it?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Family Lore Turns Into Official History

My Grandfather on my Dad's side was a United States Marine.

Family lore was always that he had done his basic at Paris Island and was then sent off to the Dominican Republic. This was the lore. Now I have the proof. is a wonderful resource. I have been using it for years in my genealogy research. Recently they added more military records to their resources, including the muster rolls for the Marine Corps.

Based on these monthly records I was able to reconstruct Grandpa's entire military career. Well; almost. There are a few months missing; I just need to figure out how to find the missing months.

These records are interesting, even without the family connection. They list every Marine in the Corps, by unit and by rank alphabetically. The sole identifier, after their name, was their muster date in this period. Typewritten, they contain small details, like when they were transferred in and out, and if the Marine has gotten into trouble, requiring a reprimand and/or loss of pay. 

As it stands now:

Enlisted in on June 16, 1918 to Company X, Marine Corps Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina; one of 396 Privates in the company, noted without comment.

On July 8, 1918 he was assigned to 3rd Regiment, US Marines, Santo Domingo City, Dominican Republic, along with quite a few of his Training Company.

He arrived in Santo Domingo on July 22, 1918, sailing on board the USS Hancock, and became part of the 44th Division, 3rd Provisional Regiment, 2nd Brigade, USMC.

August is interesting. The muster list for the 44th only list those Marines that were being punished for some transgression, were sick or had died. Several of the Marines died from 'incised wounds in the skull'. But no reference to Grandpa; thankfully.

In September he spent the 26th to 30th "in field, in Providence of Santo Domingo".

I checked October pretty thoroughly, and could not even find a reference to the 44th Division; maybe the records are incomplete? I did not look at every one of the 480 some pages, so I may have missed something. Still; are the records complete? Hard to say.

The next record is January, 1919, where the record indicates he spent the entire month "in field in Providences of Macoris and Seibo, DR".

Next record is April of 1919, again with no comment.

Then comes July of 1919, that contains a rather (for these records anyway) lengthy comment:
"22 participated in an engagement with native bandits at Plata de la Palma, DR. 25 transferred to Barracks Detachment per Regimental transfer order 92, dated July 25, 1919".

There are two records in August of 1919. The first is from the Barracks Detachment, Third Provisional Regiment, Santo Domingo City, DR: "7-transferred to US on USS Kittery".

The second is from the Barracks Detachment, Marine Barracks, Charleston, South Carolina: "14- disch. (discharge) by S.O. (special order) of the MSG (unknown; Marine Strike Group?). Char. (character) 'Excellent'." Basically, he was involved in a battle with the bandits they were in the Dominican Republic to fight, and 3 days later was sent back to Headquarters and rotated back to the States for discharge.

Total time in service: June 16, 1918 to August 14, 1919; just shy of 14 months.

Also according to family lore there were only a few things that could be saved from the family home in Newport before it was flooded in the Flood of January, 1937, and two of the things Grandpa saved were his Marine Corps uniform and discharge papers.

Interestingly enough, as near as I can tell there were only two Marines in the 1918-1919 period with my Grandpa's name; the other mustered in in April of 1917, and spent his time in France.

Lots of questions answered, but like with any good mystery, more questions remain. What was Special Order 92? What does MSG mean? Strike Group is a fairly modern term, so I doubt it is correct. And why are there months missing?

I just wish I would have been able to have this done a couple of weeks ago, for Veterans Day.

Servant; or Master?

In the United States of America the government is supposed to be the servant of the people; we, as the voters are supposed to be in charge. Congress is supposed to listen to us, and act accordingly. The President is supposed to hear our voices and respond.

Isn't that what they tell us every 2, 4 or 6 years? Hell; some of them may even believe it.

But then the election is over and the mask slips. Then we find out out servant is a tyrant.

Take for instance the EPA and the new ethanol requirement. There has been a lot of resistance to the increase of ethanol in gasoline, but all of the complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Big, jug-eared deaf ears.

The EPA doesn't care that less than one-half of one percent of the vehicles on the road right this minute can use this fuel without damage. Knowing this administration, they probably consider that a feature; not a bug.

What type of damage are we looking at? Well, ethanol is alcohol, which absorbs moisture. so anything it comes into contact with that contains moisture will start to be dried out; things like fuel line hoses; rubber seals on gas tanks and gaskets on intake systems. Ethanol is also less cohesive than oil based gasoline; meaning it will flow past the rings in engine cylinders, washing the lubrication off of the cylinder walls, allowing the rings to mark or scar them, which will hasten engine wear.

This cylinder wall bypass will also allow ethanol to contaminate the engine oil; thinning it so that it provides less protection, increasing wear on the bearing surfaces of the internal moving parts.

Bottom line: ethanol will cost the owners of 228 million vehicles in the country money. money for either a major engine repair or a new car or truck. What are the chances you vehicle is one of the 228 million affected? Odds are pretty dang good.

I don't know about you, but in the New Normal Economy (also known as Obama's Depression) I ain't got that kinda cash.

And that is just cars. This fuel will also damage/ruin your lawnmower; chainsaw; weedeater; rototiller and snow-blower, as well as every other piece of gasoline powered equipment you put it in.

 Plus- and here is a real kicker- the addition of ethanol LOWERS fuel economy. There is less 'bang' in each quart of ethanol that there is in a quart of gasoline, so the more ethanol you burn the more fuel you will use. Since the addition of ethanol will not lower the price of a gallon of gas, the cost of your commute has just gone up.

And ANOTHER kicker; burning food in your gas tank will raise the demand for corn, which will also raise the price/cost of the corn. Which means the addition of ethanol will most likely mean an increase in the cost of a gallon of gas.

Unless the Federal government continues to subsidize the ethanol industry with a larger subsidy, paid for out of our taxes. Unless of course they just borrow the money (hey; when you are $16,000,000,000.00 in debt already, whats another billion or two?) instead, meaning we will pay for the subsidy and the cost of the interest to borrow the money to pay the subsidy, in addition to paying for the repairs to our gas powered equipment caused by the ethanol we are paying to subsidize.

But that subsidy won't apply to other uses of corn; like as animal feed or creating sugar. An increase in the cost of corn will lead to an increase in the cost of any foodstuff that relies on corn. Not only Fritos, Doritos and tacos, but anything that contains High Fructose as an ingredient, or eats corn, like cattle/beef, hogs/pork and chickens.

Not to mention what this will do to the cost of moonshine and bourbon.

This is a government that is the servant of the people?

How do I fire this servant?

Oh yeah; never mind; apparently we can't fire this servant until we can find a suitable replacement.

And we have to wait four three two more years to even start the search.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beautiful Weather

Today was an absolutely beautiful day around here. 64 degrees and sunny. Probably the best December 1 I can recall.

And what did I do with it?

Spent the day with my oldest boy removing the transmission from my BMW. Which was perfectly enjoyable. I can remember spending some raw days in December working on cars. Like the heater core in my sister's Dodge Aspen. I had to take out almost the entire dashboard. It seemed like hundreds of little screws, and took hours. Especially when I had to stop every 40 minutes or so to warm up. It was cold out- probably 20 degrees- and the small screws meant I couldn't use gloves. That was a miserable job.

Batteries had to be replaced every winter it seemed, and going the entire winter without replacing a water pump or a radiator was pretty rare. All things that seem like ancient history. I haven't replaced a water pump in 4 or 5 years. I can't remember the last battery I bought.

But today it was beautiful and I was pulling a transmission.

Sometimes life is good.

Sometimes the strangest things pop up on the simplest of searches. I did a search for Beautiful Weather Images.

Did you know there is an entire website devoted to pictures of beautiful weather girls?

Apparently it is a part of the weather girls' job in Mexico to report on the weather half naked.

Don't take me word for it; you can look it up.