Friday, September 12, 2008

Why I Vote

While I was on the road the last few days and couldn't play on my pc, I spent my nights watching TV and saw this...thought I'd share it. It's worth the time and frankly...the man has a point, and I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Political Differences Aside

I am giving a tip of the hat and a nod of the head to three actors who apparently haven't cashed in all of their souls.

Apparently it took three actors to replace Heath Ledger in the last film he was making. Johhny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law have all stepped in to replace the late Mr. Ledger in his role in Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" which he was filming at the time of his death.

When they learned that he had not updated his will to include his two year old daughter, all three of these gentlemen donated all of the money they earned from that film to her.

I am truly touched. Well done Sirs.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"E" for Effort

Little Johnny may be dumb as a box of rocks, but at least he tries really hard.

That's what schools in Dallas will be going to when deciding what grade a student should receive on assignments. Some of the key points from the new policy are listed below.

•Homework grades should be given only when the grades will "raise a student's average, not lower it."

•Teachers must accept overdue assignments, and their principal will decide whether students are to be penalized for missing deadlines.

•Students who flunk tests can retake the exam and keep the higher grade.

•Teachers cannot give a zero on an assignment unless they call parents and make "efforts to assist students in completing the work."

There is not enough Valium in the world to calm me down right now. I thought that in addition to providing an academic education, schools were supposed to help our children get ready for the world outside of school.

How the hell?!?!?!?!?!?

I can promise you one thing. If my boss were to take this philosophy, our company would be out of business in less than six months, because no one would do a damned thing. Why should we? There's no incentive. Ok, I'll grant you that there are those who live a life based on a work ethic. But sadly it has been my experience that we are a minority.

On teacher quoted in this article here said,

"It's like we're sending the message to kids that deadlines don't matter, studying is optional, and no matter how little you do, you're still [going to] pass all your classes anyway," said Ray Cox, who teaches world languages at Franklin Middle School.

I just don't understand how anyone could think that this practice will improve the education of our children. All we are creating is children who have been set up to fail once they have left the tender bosom of the public school system.

I have to go lie down...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Just Let Olympic Baseball Die

I read this article today and all I can say is WTF Over?!?!? The IBAF is changing it's rules concerning extra innings in an attempt to keep baseball and softball in the Olympics. Unfortuantely the new rules will also apply to all tournaments that fall under the IBAF sanctioning body.

Under the new format, the 10th inning will be played normally. At the start of the 11th, teams will have the option of beginning at any point in the existing batting order and placing the previous two batters on base.

For example, a team that opts to lead off with its No. 3 hitter would begin with its No. 1 batter on second base and its No. 2 hitter on first with no outs.


The 12th inning and beyond would begin where the previous lineup left off, with the two hitters ahead of the batter scheduled to lead off that inning being placed on first and second bases.

Full Article Here

What's next? Giving everyone a chance to bat, quit keeping score and give everyone a trophy regardless of whether they win or not? Oh wait...nevermind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More Eats

When my wife and I were still newly married, that would be less than 5 years in, we used to share a steak and shrimp that we would cook on the hibachi every Friday. We didn't have loads of cash (still don't) so it was one sirloin and about 10 shrimp. It was quite arguably some of the best times we have had, pre-children.

We would marinate said hunk of bovis mortis in beer (I used Bud) overnight and grill it the next day with a little salt and pepper. The shrimp went on skewers with some lemon-pepper and sometimes bbq sauce. 'Scuse me while I wipe up the drool accumulating on my keyboard...


Well, after a few years we began to experiment with our food. We both love shrimp and we both love pasta, so the following recipe was destined to show up at some point. It took the place of our Friday night steaks for awhile. I hope you all enjoy it.

Tole's Shrimp Parmesan

4-6 shrimp per serving - they need to be big enough to handle, I like to use the 10-12 per pound size

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don't use the stuff in the green can, get fresh and grate it yourself. You'll be glad you did.)

1 strip prosciutto ham for every two shrimp.
Slice these length-wise to make 1" wide and about 4" long strips

eggs for egg wash

Pasta of your choice.

Marinara sauce. (We usually make ours, but your favorite jarred sauce will work. I recommend Classico Sweet Basil.)

Peel and de-vein the shrimp. Wrap each shrimp in a strip of prosciutto and dip in egg wash. Dredge them in the Parmesan cheese and fry until golden brown. Serve on top of pasta and marinara. If you like a little kick to your food, add Louisiana Hot Sauce to your egg wash.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Judge William Young

Below you will find the sentencing of Mr. Richard C. Reid. Mr. Reid for those who may have forgotten is the notorious "shoe bomber" from shortly after 9/11. I heard this read on the radio a few days ago and immediately had to have a copy of it for myself.

I am not an expert on The Honorable Judge Young's record. As a matter of fact this is the only ruling that I can say I have knowledge of. However, it gives me great pride as an American to know that this type of thinking exists in today's judiciary.

Here's hoping that those who now seek rememdy in our courts after leaving Club Gitmo will end up in this man's courtroom or the courtroom of one like him.

The attached transcipt was part of an article published on and can still be found there I believe.

RICHARD REID: I start by praising Allah because life today is no good. I bear witness to this and he alone is right to be worshiped. And I bear witness that Muhammad Sa'laat Alayhi as-Salaam is his last prophet and messenger who is sent to all of mankind for guidance, with the sound guidance for everyone.
Concerning what the Court said? I admit, I admit my actions and I further, I further state that I done them.

JUDGE WILLIAM YOUNG: I didn't hear the last. I admit my actions and then what did you say?

REID: I further admit my allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah. With regards to what you said about killing innocent people, I will say one thing. Your government has killed 2 million children in Iraq. If you want to think about something, against 2 million, I don't see no comparison.
Your government has sponsored the rape and torture of Muslims in the prisons of Egypt and Turkey and Syria and Jordan with their money and with their weapons. I don't know, see what I done as being equal to rape and to torture, or to the deaths of the two million children in Iraq.
So, for this reason, I think I ought not apologize for my actions. I am at war with your country. I'm at war with them not for personal reasons but because they have murdered more than, so many children and they have oppressed my religion and they have oppressed people for no reason except that they say we believe in Allah.
This is the only reason that America sponsors Egypt. It's the only reason they sponsor Turkey. It's the only reason they back Israel.
As far as the sentence is concerned, it's in your hand. Only really it is not even in your hand. It's in Allah's hand. I put my trust in Allah totally and I know that he will give victory to his religion. And he will give victory to those who believe and he will destroy those who wish to oppress the people because they believe in Allah.
So you can judge and I leave you to judge. And I don't mind. This is all I have to say. And I bear witness to Muhammad this is Allah's message.

YOUNG: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.
On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive one with the other. That's 80 years.
On Count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you on each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million.
The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.
The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.
The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need not go any further.
This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and a just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you.
We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.
Here in this court where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice.
You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.
And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists.
We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.
So war talk is way out of line in this court. You're a big fellow. But you're not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.
In a very real sense Trooper Santiago had it right when first you were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and you said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.
What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today? I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing.
And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.
It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.
Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.
It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We care about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.
Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.
Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here, in this courtroom, and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.
The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.
See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom. You know it always will. Mr. Custody Officer, stand him down.
REID: That flag will be brought down on the Day of Judgment and you will see in front of your Lord and my Lord and then we will know. (Whereupon the defendant was removed from the courtroom.)

God Bless the U.S.A.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My 8 year old daughter, and only daughter for as far as that goes, is a Food Network junkie. When she's not watching ***shudder*** Spongebob, she watches Food Network. She knows all the stars by sight and is beginning to grasp some of the basics of food combinations and varying cuisines. It's kind of cool to watch.

My wife and I are foodies as well, so we encourage her every chance we get. She gets to help shop and cook. By the by, it's true that kids are much more likely to eat something if they have a hand in preparing it. I've seen it happen.

I tell you that bit so I can tell you this bit.

The family and I were making our monthly trek around Sam's Club a while back doing our damnedest to spend about a month's pay (and doing a fine job)when my wife, who was recovering from surgery announces that she needs to sit down for a minute. We all make camp in the lawn furniture and I take the full cart to the front of the store to exchange it for an empty.

When I get back I am informed that my daughter has had an inspiration. It came in the form of "Mommy. You know what sounds good?" That comment was followed by this recipe, which the little darling came up with entirely on her own. We've had it three times now and it still blows my mind that she came up with it.


Munchkin's Honey Lime Chicken

4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Limes
Zest from the limes (we used the zest from all 4 limes, but you could use less depending on your taste)
2 cloves of garlic
1 Tbls Honey
a dash of hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the lime juice, zest, garlic, honey, salt and pepper and hot sauce and marinate chicken for 30 minutes to an hour. Then grill until the chicken is done.


Monday, June 23, 2008

So Long and Thanks for the Laughter and the Insight

For those of us who don’t take the world at face value today is a sad day indeed. George Carlin, the voice that woke me up to the bull that the world puts up in front of your eyes to hide the way things are, passed away Sunday from heart failure.

I remember the first time I saw him doing stand-up. I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. He made me laugh until my sides hurt. After it was done and I started to think about what he had been discussing, I realized that there was much more to his talk than simply humor. There were concepts and thoughts swimming below the surface of that humor that the people it was aimed at would probably never recognize.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of his material was just plain old blue humor. I am reminded of the list of 7 dirty words that over the years had grown to over 2000 words that people found vulgar or obscene. It took him almost 5 minutes to read it. His delivery while simply reading a list of words made me nearly hurt myself laughing. But thinking back the thing that makes it so very funny is that they are just words, but words that people find offensive. The list pointed out how stupid we, as humans can be to find words bothersome.

I’m still at kind of a loss here. I almost feel like I have lost a childhood friend. I am embedding a clip here. It is NOT WORK SAFE nor is it child safe, so please exercise some restraint. In a perfect world, the words in this clip shouldn’t even matter, but the world is as the world is.

He was due to receive a Mark Twain award in November. I think that the celebration should still be held and the award given posthumously. This man deserves it for the influence and the endurance of his career.

He will be missed.

If you're a fan you might check this out. I think it would be well worth the cash. If you've never really seen him before, it would be well worth your time to rent a few of his dvds.

George Carlin's All My Stuff


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dammit Dammit Dammit

I'm so friggin mad I can't even put together enough cohernet thought to express my anger. SO I will let Justice Scalia say it for me.

Various excerpts (citations omitted) from Justice Scalia’s dissent (joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Thomas and Alito):

Today, for the first time in our Nation's history, the Court confers a constitutional right to habeas corpus on alien enemies detained abroad by our military forces in the course of an ongoing war…. The writ of habeas corpus does not, and never has, run in favor of aliens abroad; the Suspension Clause thus has no application, and the Court's intervention in this military matter is entirely ultra vires.
The game of bait-and-switch that today's opinion plays upon the Nation's Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed. That consequence would be tolerable if necessary to preserve a time-honored legal principle vital to our constitutional Republic. But it is this Court's blatant abandonment of such a principle that produces the decision today. The President relied on our settled precedent in Johnson v. Eisentrager (1950), when he established the prison at Guantanamo Bay for enemy aliens.

[I]n response [to the Court’s 2006 ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld], Congress, at the President's request, quickly enacted the Military Commissions Act, emphatically reasserting that it did not want these prisoners filing habeas petitions. It is therefore clear that Congress and the Executive—both political branches—have determined that limiting the role of civilian courts in adjudicating whether prisoners captured abroad are properly detained is important to success in the war that some 190,000 of our men and women are now fighting…. What competence does the Court have to second-guess the judgment of Congress and the President on such a point? None whatever. But the Court blunders in nonetheless. Henceforth, as today's opinion makes unnervingly clear, how to handle enemy prisoners in this war will ultimately lie with the branch that knows least about the national security concerns that the subject entails.

What drives today's decision is neither the meaning of the Suspension Clause, nor the principles of our precedents, but rather an inflated notion of judicial supremacy. The Court says that if the extraterritorial applicability of the Suspension Clause turned on formal notions of sovereignty, "it would be possible for the political branches to govern without legal constraint" in areas beyond the sovereign territory of the United States. That cannot be, the Court says, because it is the duty of this Court to say what the law is. It would be difficult to imagine a more question-begging analysis.… Our power "to say what the law is" is circumscribed by the limits of our statutorily and constitutionally conferred jurisdiction. And that is precisely the question in these cases: whether the Constitution confers habeas jurisdiction on federal courts to decide petitioners' claims. It is both irrational and arrogant to say that the answer must be yes, because otherwise we would not be supreme.

Putting aside the conclusive precedent of Eisentrager, it is clear that the original understanding of the Suspension Clause was that habeas corpus was not available to aliens abroad, as Judge Randolph's thorough opinion for the court below detailed.… It is entirely clear that, at English common law, the writ of habeas corpus did not extend beyond the sovereign territory of the Crown.

Today the Court warps our Constitution in a way that goes beyond the narrow issue of the reach of the Suspension Clause, invoking judicially brainstormed separation-of-powers principles to establish a manipulable "functional" test for the extraterritorial reach of habeas corpus (and, no doubt, for the extraterritorial reach of other constitutional protections as well). It blatantly misdescribes important precedents, most conspicuously Justice Jackson's opinion for the Court in Johnson v. Eisentrager. It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens abroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically, it sets our military commanders the impossible task of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner. The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Room for Discussion

Since this is my own personal little soapbox from which I proclaim the things I think and believe, I thought I would post the best music video ever. Period. End of Discussion.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Joke Fodder

I heard something on the radio today that will most likely make me lose sleep thinking up jokes about it for at least the next week. What could it be you ask?

How about a movie version of 21 Jump Street? Yep, that classic **snark** TV series from the 80's will be the next piece of dren to be cranked out by Hollywood.

My first thought was WHAT?!?!? Followed closely by OMFG NOOOOOOOOO!!!

I think that if we put all the movie people in one room with an infinite number of chimpanzees typing on an infinite number of typewriters, the odds of an original thought being developed into anything resembling a good film would only be slightly better than the odds of that same combination finding a cure for the common cold.

Oh well. If you're truly interested in the story here's a link.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Unintended Consequence

I ran across a story on the intranet at my office that I thought I would share with you all. It's the kind of thing that everyone could benefit from, so please share it with as many folks as possible.

Meth critters are using the exchangeable propane tanks to hold the anhydrous ammonia that they use in the manufacture of their drug of choice. They rent them, empty them and return them when they are done. The ammonia is extremely corrosive and weakens the steel in the tanks. When the tanks get refilled and the propane mixes with the left-over ammonia in the weakened tank, bad things happen.

There will be a tell-tale greenish corrosion on the valves. If use these services, please check the tanks before you tank them for that greenish corrosion and if you see it ask for another tank.

I would just use my own tank and have it refilled at a propane station.

If you'd like the read the alert from the National Propane Gas Association you can find it at the link below.

Be safe.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Could it be a Sign?

I had to go get a new chair for the old computer desk today. Why?? Because the hydraulic cylinder on my old one burst. I know I could have gotten another cylinder, but the foam was pretty well destroyed and the fabric smelled like old shoes....maybe I should get up out of my chair more.

That chair was a replacement for one that I broke while leaning back. I miss that was very comfortable, but it was one of those that the back bolted directly to the seat instead of being held on by the arms. I leaned back one night and broke the fittings that were embedded into the plywood base...and sheared the head off of one of the bolts.

As I look back on this, I think it is a sign that maybe...just maybe...I need to shed a few pounds....

NAH!! Must be inferior quality merchandise. Now if you'll excuse me there is a chocolate cream pie in my refrigerator that needs my attention.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Got Tagged

for a book meme, so here goes nothing.

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Gonna skip step five, so join in if ya wanna.

Tonight's excursion wasn't something I could charge Murphy for--she'd have my ass in a sling if she knew I was running around asking questions, poking my nose in where it shouldn't be. So, if I wanted money from the Chicago P.D., I would have to spend time doing the research Murphy wanted--the black-magic research that could get me killed all by itself.
Or, I could work on Monica Sells's missing-husband case.

That's from the very first Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Best series, bar none, that I have read in the last 10 years.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

When Hollywood Was Part of America

I have mentioned before that my father was a huge influence on the person I am. (That's right Dad, we all blame you. lol)

When I was a little nard, my father owned a television sales and service shop in my home town. Mom worked in an office, so my brother and I spent our afternoons and summer days in Dad's store.

Imagine the sensory overload when there are rough 20 televisions, all with cable, all turned on at one time or another. It was alot.

We usually ended up watching TBS, WGN or ESPN, though at that time in history, ESPN really only played professional rodeo and ARF (Australian Rules Football, and what a game that is.)

As you can guess I grew up watching Abbot and Costello, Martin and Lewis, Hope and Crosby, The Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. I could actually recite the entire Who's on First routine at the age of 10.

I also watched alot of westerns, both TV series and movies. I still enjoy the occasional episode of Bonanza or the Rifleman. For movies you really should check out Support Your Local Gunfighter or Support Your Local Sheriff starring James Garner. You also can't go wrong with ANYTHING starring The Duke...John Wayne...

That being said, I was not surprised to see an attachment to an email with a clip of John Wayne and Dean Martin. Imagine my surprise to see it was a clip with John Wayne talking about what he wanted for his new daughter and not from a film.

To put this in context, this would have been during Vietnam, but I can totally relate to everything he has to say. I would like alot of the same things for all of my kids.

Enjoy. I know I did.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Glimpse Inside

I think that it is important to, every now and again, share with people a small tidbit about who and what I am.

The fact that I find this bit hi-damned-larious most likely speaks volumes. Though I have to admit that almost everything Eddie Izzard does just slays me.



Sunday, April 13, 2008

I Think I Broke Him

Here's a very important lesson. When a friend, especially if your friend is me, says, "Hey what are you doing this afternoon?" your best and safest answer is anything other than "Nothing."

I goat-roped Lawdog into helping me remove some "volunteer" trees from my fence line that had grown up into the power lines. To be fair to myself, they were there when we bought the house, but I've ignored them. I tried to get the power company out to clean them up, but they are only responsible for stuff in the lines from pole to pole. Anything between the pole and the house is all on me.

So, LD and I attacked my tree at noon yesterday. Four hours and a broken chainsaw later, we've got about 2/3 of it down.

If you look closely at this picture you may notices that LD tends to SUNBURN really easily. It's a combination of genetics and meds, but after about 6 seconds in the direct sunlight without sunscreen he starts to sizzle. When he left my house yesterday (it was around midnight), he didn't need me to turn on the lights outside because he was glowing in the dark. It was kind of cool actually. Like watching a tracer round in slow motion at night.

He's not coming back today to help me finish up and I FULLY understand.

Oh and I am cutting the tree down in the alley as well. See we called the local power company shortly after we bought this place (almost 2 years ago) and it's still there. Maybe I didn't get my point across to the LOCAL power company when I talked to the call center in Calcutta or Delhi or wherever they are farming it out to. Someone DID show up 3 weeks after we service our power, it would suck to have your power out for 3 weeks.

When I told him we called to have a a tree removed I was told that he'd submit a ticket for it. He must have had to call it in as well, because no one ever showed up.

Oh well, being the rugged individualist I am (yes that is sarcasm) I have decided to handle it myself (it just took me two years to pull on my boots and get to it.)


Friday, April 4, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It always makes me feel good when one of my children uses the mind God gave them. BUT when they use it to overcome the indoctrination that schools seems to want to impose on them, it means a little more.

My oldest, who is 7, came home from school a couple of days ago and proclaimed that the world would be safer if we didn't have guns.

Now, in a Utopian world, where no one commits any violence against anyone else, I agree with her. However, human nature bring what it is, we all know that we'd just find another way to kill each other, but I digress.

My wife, God love her, told my daughter to stop and think about her comment for a minute.


Light dawns and my daughter says, "Wait a minute. That doesn't make any sense. For the world to be safer we ALL need to HAVE guns. That way we can defend ourselves from bad people."

Now I ask you. If a seven year old can figure that out on her own, why oh why, is it so difficult to convince more "edumercated" folks of that same fact.

I am not going to drag out the soap box and give the dissertation on how guns make people safer. I'll leave that to Lawdog and his counterparts. I just thought it was interesting that she drew this conclusion on her own.

Next target...Global Warming and those damned polar bears, lol.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

White Guilt My Great Aunt Fanny

On my daily commute I heard something on the radio that made blood run out of my ears. I actually think it might have triggered some sort of cranial episode.

I am realtively young, but I have learned that there are times to speak your mind and times to shut the hell up. One of the most important things I have learned is to think about what I am going to say before I actually let the words dribble out of my face.

This is a even more important skill if you are a public figure and are in front of people with record devices. Without further ado I give you superdelegate for Hillary Clinton, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver(D-MO)..

"If I had to make a prediction right now, I'd say Barack Obama is going to be the next president...," he said. "I will be stunned if he is not the next president of the United States. Now, when he is sworn in, 99.9 percent of Americans won't know who he is or what he stands for. But it doesn't matter at this point."

That's because, Cleaver says, many white Americans are supporting Obama because "they are looking at Barack Obama and saying this is our chance to demonstrate that we have been able to get this boogeyman called race behind us and so they are going to vote for him."

He says this is causing many African-Americans to "tremble" because they believe white Americans won't want to address issue of race then, saying it's been addressed by Obama's election.

I wouldn't vote for Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. if there were goon squads in black leather overcoats standing at the polling stations shooting anyone who didn't. I'd take my bullet and know that I died defending my country from a progressive descent into Socialism.

Now that I have read that again, I am going to have to go and lie head hurts.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Star Wars Episode 2.5

Lucas announced at Showest this week that the animated film about the Clone Wars was good enough quality that he has decided to release it to theaters as well as to tv. Look for it in August.

Article here:

Video sneak peek here:

and here:


Friday, March 14, 2008

My Brain Was Busy Today

and it's all the stupid election's fault. On my way to work today I heard a question on the radio that occupied my thoughts all day.

Should patriotism be a requirement for the President of the United States? The answer is, without question or pause, yes.

If you owned a company, from which you make your entire living, and were looking to hire a new CEO, would you hire someone who wants your company to succeed as it stands?

Would you want that CEO to have a deep seeded belief that your company is the best in its industry and wants to see it stay there?


Would you want some one at the helm of your company, from which you make your living and provide for your family, who thinks that your company is intrinsically evil and must be brought down?

Would you want someone who believes that the only way to save your company is to completely stop all of its production, take all the money it has and give it to the employees and lock the doors?

This is what we must ask ourselves when we go to vote in November. While none of the three we have to choose from at the moment are 100% in alignment with my beliefs and philosophy, I do feel confident that at least one of them loves this country and wants it to continue to be the freedom loving, force for good in the world that we have been in the past. (hint: I speak not of a Dem. )

I fear for my country. I fear for my freedom and I fear for the future of my children. When we cannot question the beliefs of a man running for the President of the United States.

I fear for all these things when our words are chosen for us so that we avoid offending some one who might find them objectionable.

I fear for all these things when I look at the indoctrination of our children into these beliefs in our schools.

Finally, I fear for my ability to provide for my family when the government has to tax us at a rate like those in Europe, in the 50% range, just so that they can provide for us from the cradle to the grave.

I do not want my government that deep into my life. Where is my incentive to ever achieve anything for myself if I know that I can do nothing and get the same results.

Just remember…

The government that is big enough to give you everything you want, is powerful enough to take everything you have. – Thomas Jefferson


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I'm SO Proud

I was sent this video of my state legislature at work and it brought a tear to my eye and a bit of joy to my tired old heart. (smell that? that's sarcasm. **grin**) Just remember the election isn't over until the cemetary's been counted.

One hundred and seventy two years of practice and we're still just flailing around. My favorite was the bit where one of our legislators gets up to go vote for an absent member and someone near that monkey hits HIS vote button when he gets up.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Now THAT'S Funny

Everyday on my way to work, or what passes for work, I listen to conservative talk radio while "drinking the blood of small people who are different from me." (Yes, I am an evil, hate-mongering conservative. Deal.) Glenn Beck being the show that is on at that time, it is how I start my day. Yesterday he was discussing the upcoming Academy Awards, and the discussion drifted to how Hollywood seems to be doing nothing lately but making message movies that aggrandize the liberal point of view and tear down America in general.

I was getting somewhat riled up and issuing my morning "damn straight"s and "hell yeah"s when he started talking about classic films and the way they would be marketed today. I almost wet my pants laughing, so I thought I'd share them with you all.

The two biggest issues in America today collide together for the first time on the big screen: Global warming and health care. You'll be gripping the edge of your seat as you take a journey with one Midwestern woman's wild escape from global warming as she flees into exile and meets up with three amazing friends with one common plight: They all need medical care and organs to survive. But a struggle to live without any universal health care coverage. Will a Democrat get elected in time to give them universal health care? Will the Government help and stop tornadoes caused by global warming, or will the evil Republicans give tax credits to the wealthiest 1% and let them all die? See the Wizard of Oz.

Power-seeking politicians have no mercy when it comes to starting war for oil, but what happens when technology expands beyond the atmosphere, when space travel is as easy as activating the hyper-drive? The endless potential for power and control of the universe becomes too much for evil politicians to resist. Entire planets are destroyed. Billions of lives are lost, and military industrial complex rules the universe. This summer see Star Wars.

When giant bank corporations have their backs up against the wall, they don't take it lying down. Follow one good local man's journey as he's forced by an evil corporation to jump off a snowy bridge and kill himself, only to have an angel save him and show him how horrible the world would be without him. If only everyone who was forced to commit suicide because of an evil giant corporation had an angel, which by the way don't exist -- save their life. See It's a Wonderful Life.

A common species with one uncommon characteristic, a tiny little difference in pigmentation has caused a world of hate. This winter don't miss the film that challenges conventional wisdom and shows black and white working together with all the gray areas in between. See Casablanca.



Monday, February 18, 2008

A Basic Tejas Philosophy

When I was but a young little nard, my grandfather, GOd rest him, told me the most important thing about fighting that I have ever heard. "The Hell with fighting fair, fight to win."

After reading Lawdog's last post on the Taser C2, I think that the folks manufacturing that particular device could stand with a lesson or two in that area.

My Dad has restated and reinforced that philosophy in me for as long as I can remember. I think it is with that in mind, that he forwarded this to me and that I share it with you.

To all you old law dogs now just lyin' in the shade, current pistoleros
and other fervent Second Amendment believers: I would rather be your friend,
but if you are not interested in that, I am prepared to be a capable and
efficient enemy.

This is the law: The purpose of fighting is to win. There is no possible
victory in defense. The sword is more important than the shield and skill
is more important than either. The final weapon is the brain. All else is
supplemental. As some wise man once said:

1. Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

2. If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck.

3. I carry a gun cause a cop is too heavy.

4. America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall.

5. When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away. (but shoot first anyway, then call 911)

6. A reporter did a human-interest piece on the Texas Rangers. The reporter recognized the Colt Model 1911 the Ranger was carrying and asked him 'Why do you carry a 45?' The Ranger responded with, 'Because they don't make a .46.'

7. An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

8. The old sheriff was attending an awards dinner when a lady commented on his wearing his sidearm. 'Sheriff, I see you have your pistol. Are you expecting trouble?' 'No Ma'am. If I were expecting trouble, I would have brought my rifle.'

9. Beware the man who only has one gun. HE PROBABLY KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!!!

10. I was once asked by a lady visiting if I had a gun in the house. To which I said I did. She said 'well I certainly hope it isn't loaded!' To which I said, 'of course it is loaded.' She then asked, 'Are you that afraid of someone evil coming into your house?' My reply was, 'No not at all. I am not afraid of my house catching fire either, but I have fire extinguishers around, and THEY ARE ALL LOADED.'

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Well, That'll Teach Me

So I take the day off from work to take care of my family and how do they show their appreciation? They give me the crap they have. I guess I should know better by now.

Fever, stomach malfunctions, and lack of ability to remain upright for more than 10 seconds for 48 hours. I also got to have my first experience with IV fluids.

I need to give a nod of thanks to my boss for keeping me from getting seriously dehydrated. He asked that I get a doctor's note for my abscence from work. The request came from a phone call at 1:30 pm, and my regular doc closes up shop at noon on Fridays.

Running a fever, I called my Dad to drive me down to ye olde ER. Lucky guy that I am, my regular doc was on call and sittin there just waiting for me to show up. Vitals check, poke and prod on the old stomach and he retreats to the sink to scrub from his armpits down all the while remarking on how highly contagious this stuff is. Like I didn't know.

Then he checks the stats the nurse had jotted down...high pulse + low blood pressure + more than 24 hours since I last had the urge to pee. He rubs he chin, looks at the nurse and says, "stick him. One liter and push (something I can't pronounce, to make my stomach stop doing barrel rolls.)"

Took a little over an hour to get it all in there. But after it was all done, my headache was gone, my fever was down, and I felt much better. Still slept for 18 of the next 24 hours, but hey, what else can you do when you feel like death on a hot plate?


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Please GOD Make it Stop!!!

About a week and a half ago, my kids all got this stomach bug that has been going around along with a nice case of pink-eye. By some sheer act of mercy, my oldest and I missed out on it.

I screwed up and mentioned that fact. Never, and can't stress this enough, NEVER tempt fate. She's a deceitful old bitch.

The baby got it again. Followed a day later by my wife being laid low. I told my boss I was taking the day off to fill in for her and then last oldest son comes down the hall doing a damned fine rendition of Linda Blair from the Exorcist. My God it was everywhere. I spent the better part of an hour cleaning it all up, and the rest of the night doing laundry just to try and get the smell of sick out of my house...I failed.

My oldest child, my daughter, gets up this morning and starts playing Old Faithful.


As I write this I am the only breathing body in my house not down with this flu. (knocks on wood) Oh did I mention, the doctors tell us that the flu that is going around wasn't covered by the flu shots this year? Yeah...God hates me.

The wait to see a pediatrician is over 4 hours. People are getting really angry at their doctors when they spend a day waiting to see them only to be told, "It's a virus. Nothing we can do. Here's some stuff to help with the vomiting. Go home, drink fluids and pay the cashier on your way out. Oh, by the way, you could have just called and saved yourself half a day. Get well soon."

My wife, God love her calls. We avoid the toxic wastelands that are doctor's waiting rooms whenever we can.

The ERs here are cranking trough like 400 people a day because the clinics are all full to overflowing.

I really want to just dig myself a really deep hole. Crawl in it and pull the dirt in after me. Just gonna lie low until spring.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep You Mitts Outta My Wallet

I often sit and wonder what I can share with my readers. Lawdog gives some great advice and instruction on how to protect yourself from critters who like to pounce on their victims in the proverbial dark parking lot or alley. While I have some similar training, I have a lot more experience in keeping virtual critters out of your financial business.

With that in mind I sat down and did a little research on ways to prevent identity theft.

Anyone who has ever gone through a big case of having their identity co-opted out from under them, knows what a HUGE pain in the butt it is. The sad thing is, there are some very simple steps you can take to help keep your name off the list of people waiting to hear from their local police department that there has been some break. The sad truth of that is, there are so many of those cases out there that you could end up at the bottom of a VERY long list of victims.

In an effort to save you that grief, I thought I’d throw out some steps and encourage you all to find out more. Think of it like building a fortress around your good name. The more important your name is to you, the thicker and higher the walls you will want to build. I am currently working to build a virtual version of Alcatraz around my credit. Nothing in or out unless I put my eyes on it and allow it to pass.

The first thing I would suggest is NEVER let your mail sit in your mail box. If you aren’t home when the postman brings your things around, get yourself a locking mail box for your home or if your post office won’t use one, a PO Box and use it. One of the most common methods that identity theft critters use is just to simply follow the mail truck and steal the mail out of the boxes right behind him. In this same line of thinking, if you still use paper checks, have your bank change the delivery option for your checks. I strongly recommend having them delivered to your local bank branch and go pick them up there when they come in. I know it may be inconvenient, but not nearly so much so as trying to recover from some critter writing hot checks in your name.

Shred every piece of paper with your name and address on it that you throw away. Plain and simple. Drive to your local Wally World or office supplies shop and buy yourself a $40 shredder and use it. I even shred my junk mail. No paper leaves my house in pieces larger than ¼” by 1”. If I had an incinerator, I’d burn it all. Trash is another very common place that people have their personal information taken.

Keep the antivirus and anti-spyware software on your computer current and if you don’t have any GET SOME. If you are on cable internet or DSL, your computer is an open window into your life. Protect it. You’ll be glad you did.

I have been hearing a lot about a company named LifeLock. Most of what they offer you can do for yourself, but just to satisfy my curiosity I went to their website. Understand, I am NOT endorsing their service. They had a great analogy for what they do though. Think of it like changing your own oil. It’s not hard and you can save some money, but unless you are diligent, your car won’t get the same level of service that a professional could provide. So, what I AM saying is that if you are like me and tend to let small things slip, a service like this might be a good option.

As to what they do for you that you can do for yourself.

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit report. With this in place any business who receives an application for credit under your name/social security number will have to contact you to verify that you are indeed the one applying for that credit. Fraud alerts must be renewed every 90 days. Some states will allow you to even permanently lock your credit report effectively making it impossible to use it. With a lock in place, you will have to contact the credit bureau to lift the lock. There are costs involved in doing that, but again it is cheaper than recovering from having fraud committed against you. My state will only allow locks after you are a victim. I am helping that to change by contacting my state senator and U.S. Representative. Until then, I will be placing and renewing fraud alerts on my and my family’s credit reports.

2. Opt out of pre-approved credit card offers. You can do this at If you do it on the web it must be renewed every five years. You can opt out permanently by mail. The instructions are on that site.

3. Take advantage of the free annual credit report available to you by each bureau. You can do that at this site Review them and dispute anything that doesn’t belong. Be careful of the services that advertise on television that claim to get it for you for free. Most times they want you to subscribe to a credit monitoring service. If you’ve done step 1 above, then you don’t really need to subscribe. The website above is free. Most credit bureaus will want a small fee to provide you with the actual credit score.

4. Safeguard your personal items like wallets and ATM cards. Don’t leave them laying about and NEVER give your PIN to ANYONE for ANY REASON. I can’t tell you how many times we have had members/customers who have been ripped off by a family member they thought they could trust. If you just have to give your PIN to someone for an emergency, get that card re-pinned as soon as possible. Your bank or credit union will most likely do this for you for free.

5. The biggest thing they provide is insurance if they fail you. You are your own best insurance.

I think the most important thing to remember is just to be diligent. Educate yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of “it won’t happen to me” because it can and will. The only way we will ever put a stop to this crime is to protect ourselves. Law enforcement just doesn’t have the resources to be proactive. They can only help you after you’re a victim, and the help they can give is minimal. Be your own best defense.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Just Something to Discuss

Here's something I heard on the radio today that has spawned a great deal of discussion with some my friends and co-workers.

I was listening to El Rushbo today and he interviewed Sly Stallone on the topic of the new Rambo movie.

Over the course of the discussion, Sly says the following, "War is natural, peace is an accident. I mean, we can start a war in 6 minutes but take hundreds of years to achieve peace."

I have often told my friends that Stallone is alot smarter than people give him credit for, but that comment is an amazing insight into human nature.


Friday, January 18, 2008

What Moves Me

I am a HUGE fan of music. I try not to limmit myself to a particular genre, but I do tend to focus on one for a while and then move to another. But I can listen to just about anything if it is done well.

The last few days my radio has been on a local country station. I have found quite a few songs lately that have hit a chord in me. I thoughtI'd take the time to share one while it was on my mind.

A lot of people who know me, don't understand me. I guess I am more complex than I like to believe, but a song I heard today seems to sum me up pretty well. Here's a link to the video.

And here are the lyrics...

Sometimes I think that war is necessary.
Every night I pray for peace on Earth.
I hand out my dollars to the homeless.
But believe that every able soul should work.

My father gave me my shotgun that I'll hand down to my son, try to teach him everything it means.

I stand by my right to speak freely. But I worry 'bout what kids learn from TV. And before all of debatin' turns to angry
words and hate, sometimes we should just agree to disagree. And I believe that Jesus looks down here and sees us, and if you
ask him he would say

I'm a man of my convictions. Call me wrong, call me right. But I bring my better angels to every fight. You may not like
where I'm going, but you sure know where I stand. Hate me if you want to, love me if you can.

Hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Debit Card Quirks

OK, I've been toying with this topic for a while now. Not because it is controversial, or anything like that. Just simply because I didn't know if you'd give a damn. After much deliberation and introspection I've decided, what the hell. If one reader finds it interesting, then that's good enough for me.

I learned of most of this as a result of working at a credit union, but some of my support of my point of view is an left-over of my teenage "put it to the man" attitude.

OK, that's enough set up. Let's get down to brass tacks. When you swipe your debit card you are often given a choice of Credit or Debit. Without fail I always choose Credit and here's why.

The first difference is, who pays for the transaction? Since a debit or PIN transaction works just like an ATM withdrawal the cost of the transaction is passed on to the financial institution. Now granted, if you bank at one of the huge banks, this doesn't really mean spit. BUT if you bank at a credit union, this savings in costs are almost always passed on to its members as higher interest on savings or lower interest on loans. Some financial institutions are even starting to charge for this type of transaction, just like you took the cash out of a foreign ATM.

If you do a credit, or swipe and sign, the merchant pays that fee. I get a little satisfaction knowing that Wally World has to pony up 1-2% of my purchase for the privilege of taking my money. Plus, a portion of that fee goes to your bank/credit union. Once again, since credit union are not-for-profit organizations, they pass the income on to their members in the ways I mentioned before.

Here's the BIGGEST reason though, and this is the one nobody talks too much about. When you do a DEBIT or PIN based transaction, especially at the gas pump, the merchant places any amount they see fit on hold at the beginning of the transaction. That hold can stay in place for 48-72 hours. While that hold in in place those funds are not available to do things like, pay for checks or drafts that come in during that period. Legally, a merchant could freeze your entire account for up to 3 days, even though they got their $$ the instant you finish the transaction.

By the way, if you do shop at Wally World or any other place and when you swipe your debit card it automatically asks for your PIN. You have the option to press Cancel and select Credit for the transaction. Wally World even hides the cancel key to make it hard for you to opt out. When you think about the dollar volume that they do every day you can understand why. 1-2% of a million bucks is 10,000-20,000 dollars in income they have to give up.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

One Big Hell Yeah!!

I am here today to give respect and a big old Hell Yeah to Jane Hambleton of Des Moines Iowa. It's always nice to see a parent who practices the ancient art of, well, parenting.

The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

You can find the entire article here.

Hats off to you Mrs. Hambleton.


Friday, January 4, 2008

The Rumors of My Death

have been greatly exaggerated.

I am in point of fact still sucking air, but I am also extremely guilty of neglecting my blog. Long story short, my department at work has been woefully understaffed, and I have been too tired when I get home to put together more than 2 coherent thoughts at a time. Unfortunately, I've needed those to do things like remember to put on pants before I venture outdoors or turn on the water when I am in the shower. Small things such as that.

With year end behind me finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and this time I feel reasonably sure that it is not an on-coming train.

If there are any of my readers left, I have set myself a goal of posting at least 3 times a week. (This one doesn't count.)

Oh...about the tree in the toilet. We had to bust out floor, cut out about 3 feet of cast-iron pipe (the plumber went through 32 saws-all blades to get it) and now we are preparing to gut that bathroom completely and start over. Doesn't that sound like fun?

In truth, I am very excited about it because I enjoy that kind of stuff. Especially the demolition...maybe I missed my true calling. If you'd like to see a photo-journal of the whole process just say so and I'll make it a regular feature on the old blog.

Sorry I was away so long. It won't happen again.


To Kill a War Leader is Live

 I uploaded the "final" version to Amazon last night. It is available on KU as well as for purchase as an e-book.  I'm not sur...