26 May 2008

It's Memorial Day (Observed)

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest we forget!
I will remember them!

Har

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @ Explosm.net

25 May 2008

That Was Not As Hard As I Feared

I "helped" my friend JT pull the tranny and torque tube out of his 2002 Corvette Saturday afternoon.

He'd done most of the prep work, I was there just to provide the extra hands as needed.

It came out very smoothly. Easier than the trans in Pugsly's '72 Camaro by far.

23 May 2008

Quandary

I'm in a quandary.

I'm a big proponent of the melting pot and that everyone who lives here should be an American or get the heck out.

What about the Amish? They are most certainly not Americans, are they?

I think the Amish are American enough. Notice that this sets the bar damn low for our Mexican friends.

While the Amish are not participating in, or members of, the American culture; they exhibit a trait that makes me think we should let them stay when others, who are not participating in or member of our culture, should leave.

Self reliance. Self sufficiency. They are not demanding more from the pot than they are contributing.

I have often wondered, given the Amish opposition to all things military, if they object to a military defending them from the aggression of others.

Quote From Liberal Facism

"Because Hitler thought explicitly in terms of what we would today call identity politics, Jews were irredeemably Jews, no matter how well they spoke German. His allegiance, like that of all practitioners of identity politics, was to the iron cage of immutable identity."

Get your copy today.

http://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Fascism-American-Mussolini-Politics/dp/0385511841

21 May 2008

Quote Of The Random Interval

"I can promise you a day of reckoning you will not live long enough to never forget" Joe Sarno.

The film, "The Way of the Gun" is filled with such gems.

20 May 2008

On The Candidate's Spouses

Barry, Michelle; John, Cindy; Hillary, Bill? You want the comments of your spouses to be off limits to the commentators of the opposition? It's simple as dirt; GET THEM THE FUCK OFF THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL!!!

If they stop speaking for your campaign, their comments will not be part of the campaign. However, anything that's part of the campaign is fair game for discussion, analysis and ridicule.

17 May 2008

Shocking News

Every once and a while I hit Google and search for the names of people I know.

Tonight I searched for Frederick Gabow, a buddy from the Army. Got several hits to court records about his murder. His wife, Cheryl, conspired with her lover and another to kill him.

I now know someone who was murdered.

Fred owed me either $100 or a PASGT vest. I bought the vest from him but I shipped out before he could deliver it. I had sort of hoped to one day track him down and give him shit about it over a beer or something. Dammit!

Ted Kennedy Is In The Hospital

While I hate the man, I hope he's OK (or will be OK).

The irony about him going to the hospital for "stroke like symptoms" is thick enough to cut with a knife. In October he had surgery to unblock his carotid artery to PREVENT A STROKE!

I'll just bet someone is sitting there thinking, "Wow, that was sure worth the effort!"

16 May 2008

Rant

Religious types:
Whether you believe in a God or not: I will ignore you as long as you ignore me. I can respect your right to have your belief as long as you don't attempt to make me believe as you do or force me to change how I do things.

Outsiders:
I'm a member of a relatively exclusive club. The membership dues are steep and non-negotiable. There are lots of things we do to honor departed members of our club. One of those things is religious symbols on Government land. We have decided that the non-members do not get a vote about this. We are not establishing a State Religion (tm) by displaying these symbols, we are expressing honor to our fallen comrades. We will broke no attempt to dishonor their memories from people who lack the frame of reference to understand.

Effects of Religion on America:
Although I am not a Christian, I think that those Christian values are part of what made the USA the nation it was (is?). While I abhor the idea of a State Church (tm); I also think that Churches have a valid, active, role in society. The Christian values provided a framework of morality that worked well. I think our current mess is derived in no small part from the destruction of this framework without building a replacement. We've literally gone from Christianesque morality to no morality at all. There needs to be something in its place. Every culture needs guiding principles, and no principles at all cannot be guiding.

The United States has a culture!
Although it's assembled from the parts of the cultures of all the immigrants who abandoned their homelands to come here, it's still a culture. Remember the "melting pot"? They meant crucible. American culture is an alloy made from diverse metals, stronger and better than any single component. It is something to be proud of. It is something that should be emulated. It should not be shunned or ridiculed. Anyone who comes to live here must be processed in the fire. You must become American. If you will not or cannot, you don't get to live here. By the way, this crucible is the method the USA uses (used?) to keep the aforementioned Christian values from becoming a theocracy.

American is a big thing:
A huge expansive tent, covering just about everything! Part of the assimilation where one becomes an American is discarding the rigid values of the "old country". This is, in part, why the Mexican colonization is so irritating. This is why the Muslim demands for concessions to their religion rankle so. This is why our home-grown radical atheist movement is such a thorn. Americans are extremely tolerant, but it's the indulgence of an adult teaching a child. We get that you won't understand at first, so we give you time to learn. America is a big concept to digest. Some people can't; even people born here. I sometimes think that the sexism and racism that it took so long to be rid of were caused by a very patronizing (sexist and racist) attitude that they couldn't digest it, so we won't let them join. Well, the women and the blacks could sure as hell digest it, and they did! Belated welcome, sorry it took so long to trust you. The crucible works at its own pace.

There's a DIY component to being American:
We really are making this up as we go along. We don't have a clear road map ahead of us established by an older, more successful, culture. We do have some guidance in the form of failed cultures. This is where we know that Socialism, Theocracy, Dictatorships and Direct Democracy don't work well. We are guaranteed to make missteps along the way. Some things that will eventually become slag floating in the crucible may be part of the alloy longer than is desirable, but they will become slag!

If the [insert topic here] is really so much better in [insert nation here] MOVE THERE!
For every person who thinks we should adopt some European social(ist) policy or program, I'll bet I can find two people who immigrated to the USA from that named nation because of that policy, program or the taxes it takes to support it. America is different, and better, than those places. We will add your idea to the crucible and see if it alloys or slags.

Removing Dead Weight

There's a part of my life that I need to clip off, like a dead branch. Because it is dead wood and it's affecting the health of the rest of me.

The clipping is actually already done. Just waiting for the garbage man to come take the stuff away.

I feel better already.

13 May 2008

Disaster!

The 15" MacBook Pro took a dump today!

So I hotfooted to the Apple Store (tm) in Tampa to see what they can do to fix me up.

They think that it's the video card, it's covered under warranty, new mobo.

That will take anywhere between 5 and 90 days, emphasis on the 90. They do not guarantee the data on the machine if it has to be shipped back to China or if they replace the entire machine, even if I plunk down the $50 for the data back-up.

They will transfer my data into a new MacBook for free. Well, not free, for the price of a new MacBook. Which I plunked down for. So I have a new machine and the old one will return someday as a spare.

12 May 2008

11 May 2008

I'm A Thinkin'

I think, based on the conversations I've had about what happened with GryzInIowa, that everyone is better off without me in their lives.

That's sure a big statement, huh?

I'm a jerk, you've met me, you know it to be true. Why do you keep putting up with it? Stop putting up with it, and me.

I think it would be far better to be vaguely remembered with some good memories here and there than to have another situation like what happened with Dave. He probably doesn't hate me, but it can't be too far from it. If I had done this sooner, I would not have pissed Dave off and he might think, "I wonder what ever became of..." rather than, "What an asshole, I hope I never see him again!" Dammit, he's right, I am an asshole. I don't think it's a character flaw, but something deeper that I cannot change. Self loathing reflected on everything I see? I don't know. I do know that I am bad for everyone around me, run while you still can!

I'm not calling you guys anymore so I don't make you angry and taint what fond remembrances you do have. I also recommend that you stop reading here. My insane ranting will continue unabated, and it is insanity. You don't read Mein Kampf, do you? Why read this shit?

Resulting comments below the fold.

10 May 2008

Religion Again

1st Amendment says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

14th Amendment says a whole lot but it distills down to meaning that the Bill of Rights applies to lower government and not just the feds.

With me so far?

Churches pay no taxes. Since the power to tax is the power to destroy, taxing churches is the power to destroy them. Destroying a specific church kinda, sorta says all religions but that one. Which could be the first baby step towards establishing a state church.

Still with me?

Now, who decides that your church is legitimate and you deserve tax-free status? Congress. I am uncertain what it takes to convince them to add your church to the legit list, but the Scientologists managed to do it. Other than them, I am not aware of a church that isn't gigantic that gets that status.

Are we back-door establishing religion as only religions above a certain membership?

09 May 2008

Unfriended

GryzinIowa told me to go away and leave him alone because of what I said about Born-Again Atheists.

He took it personally it seems.

In case you missed the comments, he's been patient with me for over 20 years. Wow! Well, GryzinIowa, it sounds like you are well rid of me. In keeping with your request for no further contact, I have erased your contact information from all of my computers and the cell phone. I will not attempt to contact you again.

Critical Thinking

I even dug up my book for this.

The book spends a chapter saying it, so it's hard to gel down to a small thought.

To be doing critical thinking right, you have to read to opposition's material.

That means that even if you're an atheist, you have to read the believer's crap if you are going to be debating the topic. If you don't read it then you are a closed minded zealot, and not worth debating with because there's no chance of changing your mind. You are not debating, you are recruiting; there's a world of difference.

And what are we really all worked up about here Atheists? Manger scene on public property? Teaching that despite appearances to the contrary, there might have been divine creation? What harm do these things really do? You are taking the position that you are the rational, thinking side on this, how were you harmed?

While we're vaguely on the topic of what schools are teaching, the whole Creationism debate takes a lot of moral capital away from some much more important battles. For example; Why don't the schools teach civics? Why don't they teach personal finance? Why do we have to pay for the state school even if our children are enrolled in a school that is decidedly religious? Why does that parochial school have to teach evolution when the state funded one doesn't have to teach creation?

That raises some interesting questions in my mind too. A parochial school will have a position on creation that will be inline with their religion; that position could very well deny evolution.

To have religious freedom, YOU HAVE TO LET THEM DENY IT AND TEACH IT LIKE IT WAS THE TRUTH!

I am getting really fed up with people demanding freedom by demanding other people be less free.

There are some serious warts with freedom, real freedom.

Real freedom means I can refuse to serve blacks at my restaurant because I am a racist. Real freedom means I can allow my customers to smoke. Real freedom means that I can hire a man for a job over a woman because I think he'd fit in with my current employees better than the, on paper, more qualified female.

We're not ready for that, are we? The cure for smoking is to allow the customers to decide. If the businesses get enough business to stay open, then they do. If you can convince enough smokers to boycott the place until it goes under, good for you! But bringing in the state to fight your battle because there are more than enough smokers to float a business...

It became clear that there were more than enough smokers and people who didn't care about the smoke that no business was going to go smoke free for economic reasons. The anti-smoking crowd decided that their right to eat out trumped the smokers and restaurant owners rights to have a smoking section. Then they put the full power of the state behind their opinion. Freedom! Freedom! Rah rah rah! Um, wait a second, how is it freedom to be dictated to by the state about what I can and cannot do? I wasn't forcing the non-smoker to come eat here, tell me again how I infringed on their rights?

Atheists, take note, you are using almost identical arguments about mangers as the anti-smokers used about smoking sections. You do not sound clever or smart when you go on and on about your religion. And you have chosen a religion. And you are just as tedious in your attempts to convince me as the Jehova's Witnesses at my door.

I will toss one bone. 1st amendment says no state religion. 14th amendment says that applies to lower government as well as the federal. That means a manger scene on the courthouse lawn can be read as an endorsement of Christianity, so it's not allowed unless every other religion is allowed to put their holy symbols up too.

It seems the real cure to the situation is to have a whole lot less state. No state schools, no chance the state is teaching something forbidden by the Constitution or infringing on my rights to worship in the fashion of my choosing.

08 May 2008

Wildlife In The Back Yard

We have not one, but two black-snakes that sun themselves in the bushes behind the house in the morning.

The larger one is not afraid of us at all.

This picture was taken at a range of about 8 inches with my cell phone. If you look carefully, you can see The Lovely Harvey watching them from the porch. When we first moved in she wouldn't have even come out there when a snake was present.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coluber_constrictor_priapus

05 May 2008

Holidays

Cinco de Mayo: In Mexico, the holiday of Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday, celebrated in the state of Puebla. There is some limited recognition of the holiday in other parts of the country. For the most part the celebrations combine food, music and dancing.

In The USA, we get shitfaced drunk. Just like St Patrick's day and Oktoberfest.

04 May 2008

The Rules

Skeezer had a short list of rules about what kind of car he'd own.

1. If it's green, it's not mine.
2. If it's a four door, it's not mine.
3. If it's front wheel drive, it's not mine.
4. If it's Japanese, it's not mine.
5. If it's not a V-8, it's not mine.
6. If it's a Ford, it's not mine.

Please note, it's impossible to break all the rules. It's extremely difficult to break 5 rules and still have a worth-while car. Worthwhile from a hot-rodder point of view, not a commuter.

My rules:

1. No more Fords. Damn Escort.
2. No more Mercurys. Damn Lynx.
3. Yellow is not a good Hot Rod color.
4. No matter the technical advantages of an automatic transmission, real rodders row their own.
5. Do not fear electronic fuel injection. No reason to not have horsepower and drivability.
6. Overdrives are good things. Poor mileage is not something to be proud of.
7. Wheels x 2 = Minimum number of cylinders. Works with motorcycles too.
8. Red interiors are just wrong.

The Curse And Glory Of Black Cars

The glory is black is it is one of the slickest colors to paint a car. The way it absorbs and reflects the light is almost magical. No other hue is deeper.

The curse is black is only glorious when it is clean. No other color shows dirt better. No other color shows the flaws in the body better.

I like to call the half hour after it is freshly washed, before dust can settle on it, the glorious thirty.

By the time I watch a sit-com the glory is over and it's dusty.

Oh yeah, she has a name now. The Dark Lady. Find the Ceili's Muse song of the same name, it's appropriate.

02 May 2008

Oh Noes! 4,000 Casualties In Five Years!

Operation Market Garden, WW2: Allied 6,654 dead. Market Garden ran ONE WEEK. The allies lost this battle, big time.

This is the sort of thing that needs to get mentioned from time to time when looking at war. The winning side can lose battles and take casualties.

Please to note, Iraq is not even a battle on WW2 scales.