Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Reminder

You wouldn't know it from mainstream media reports, but thousands of U.S. military members remain deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan - not to mention thousands of others stationed in the region to support them.

A friend of ours is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he has three kids who also graduated from the Academy. Two of them are currently deployed to Afghanistan - a son, who is a Forward Air Controller, and a daughter, who is a squadron Maintenance Officer. His third child, a daughter (also a squadron Maintenance Officer), recently returned to the States from her Afghanistan deployment.

My wife and I periodically send care packages to his kids. Nothing fancy - just some snacks and a few books and magazines.

What the troops really appreciate more than the contents is the reminder that folks back home remember them, and support them.

So if you are so inclined, please consider sending your own care package to our servicemen and women.

Here's a couple of links for more information.
Link 1

Link 2
Here's a link to some ideas about what to send.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Trip To Home Depot

A Man's Age, as Determined by a Trip to Home Depot

You are in the middle of a few projects at your home: putting in a new fence, painting the basement walls, putting in a new garden.You are hot and sweaty, covered in dust, lawn clippings, dirt and paint. You have your old work clothes on. You know the outfit -- shorts with the hole in the crotch, old T-shirt with a stain from who-knows-what, and an old pair of tennis shoes.

Right in the middle of these projects you realize you need to run to Home Depot for supplies. Depending on your age you might do the following:

In your 20s:

Stop what you are doing. Shave, take a shower, blow dry your hair, brush your teeth, floss and put on clean clothes.

Check yourself in the mirror and flex. Add a dab of your favorite cologne because, you never know, you just might meet some hot chick while standing in the checkout line.

And yes, you went to school with the pretty girl running the register.

In your 30s:

Stop what you are doing, put on clean shorts and shirt. Change your shoes. You married the hot chick so no need for much else.

Wash your hands and comb your hair. Check yourself in the mirror. Still got it. Add a shot of your favorite cologne to cover the smell.

The cute girl running the register is the kid sister to someone you went to school with.

In your 40s:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a sweatshirt that is long enough to cover the hole in the crotch of your shorts.

Put on different shoes and a hat. Wash your hands. Your bottle of Brute is almost empty, so don't waste any of it on a trip to Home Depot.  Check yourself in the mirror and do more sucking in than flexing.

The hot young thing running the register is your daughter's age and you feel weird about thinking she's spicy.

In your 50s:

Stop what you are doing. Put on a hat. Wipe the dirt off your hands onto your shirt. Change shoes because you don't want to get dog crap in your new sports car. Check yourself in the mirror and swear not to wear that shirt anymore because it makes you look fat.

The cutie running the register smiles when she sees you coming and you think you still have it. Then you remember -- the hat you have on is from Bubba's Bait & Beer Bar and it says, 'I Got Worms'.

In your 60s:

Stop what you are doing. No need for a hat any more. Hose the dog crap off your shoes. The mirror was shattered when you were in your 50s. You hope you have underwear on so nothing hangs out the hole in your pants.

The girl running the register may be cute but you don't have your glasses on, so you're not sure.

In your 70s:

Stop what you are doing. Wait to go to Home Depot until the drug store has your prescriptions ready too. Don't even notice the dog crap on your shoes.

The young thing at the register stares at you and you realize something is hanging out the hole in your shorts.

In your 80s:

Stop what you are doing. Start again. Then stop again. Now you remember you need to go to Home Depot. Go to Wal-Mart instead.

You went to school with the old lady greeter.

You wander around trying to remember what you're looking for.

In your 90s and beyond:

What's a home deep hoe? Something for my garden?

Where am I? Who am I?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throw Back Thursday - Spotlight On Baylor University

Today we think of Baylor University as a quiet, peaceful, Godly institution of higher learning. But it wasn't always that way.
The pen is mightier than the sword, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton insisted... but it was no protection against the bullet that buried itself in the back of William Cowper Brann, acid-tongued editor of Waco’s controversial monthly newspaper, the Iconoclast.

As Brann strolled down Austin Avenue in Waco on the evening of April 1, 1898, enraged businessman Tom Davis shouted unprintable epithets, leveled a pistol at Brann’s receding back and fired, hitting him “right where his suspenders crossed” wrote Charles Carver in “Brann & the Iconoclast” (University of Texas Press, 1957).
Brann returned fire.

Both participants in this Wild West-style shootout died of their wounds.

Davis’ daughter attended Baylor University, and the institution was one of Brann’s favorite targets for editorial assault. The defensive father was among hundreds whose threats against Brann had been “thick as the bluebonnets in the meadows,” wrote Carver.

Baylor University, the educational jewel of the Baptist Church since 1845, hit a stretch of rocky road in 1895 after a 14-year-old female student from Brazil working in the home of Baylor’s revered president, Rufus C. Burleson, became pregnant and accused one of Burleson’s young relatives. Brann decried this “brutish crime against the chastity of childhood” and referred to Baylor as “a factory for the manufacture of ministers and Magdalenes,” a comment that didn’t sit well with Baylor’s many supporters...

Brann...was well aware of the boost to circulation that would result from an assault on Baylor. Nothing sells papers quicker than controversy. “Change is the order of the day,” Brann wrote, “and as Baylor cannot very well become worse, it must, of necessity become better.”

Wacoans snatched up the paper for its biting controversy interspersed with bits of wisdom and wry humor. By the late 1890s, almost 100,000 subscribers across the nation and in England, Hawaii and Canada read the Iconoclast.

In October 1897, Brann launched a particularly mean-spirited attack on candidates hoping to replace Burleson, who was retiring as Baylor president, accusing them of “blatant jackasserie.” The scalding commentary prompted a group of Baylor students to kidnap Brann. Several hundred milling students planned to tar and feather him, but someone had gotten wind of the plan and hid the tar and feathers. Frustrated, the students began to chant “hang him.” Only the intervention of some Baylor professors saved Brann, but not before he had been tied up, soundly beaten and forced to sign a promise to leave town by sunset.

Brann did not leave town and took the “Baylor bullies” to task in his newspaper. He planned to let it go at that, but others in Waco did not consider the matter settled. Tempers flared again when Brann offered to teach a night school at Baylor free of charge “… for the instruction of its faculty—if each member thereof will give bond not to seek a better paying situation as soon as he learns something.”

In early April, Brann scheduled a lecture tour beginning in San Antonio. His wife, Carrie, suffered from frayed nerves brought on by the host of threats, and the timing was right for a vacation. The day before they were scheduled to leave, the deadly shots rang out on Austin Avenue.

Hundreds of people lined the streets as Brann’s funeral cortege made its way to the cemetery, preceded by a brass band. No one had ever seen so many people at a funeral in Waco, although it was unclear whether the spectators loved or hated the deceased. A large obelisk was erected above his grave bearing a bas-relief profile of Brann done in marble. Before grass had grown over the grave, an unknown gunman fired a final bullet into the side of the controversial editor’s carved face.
My goodness. Pedophilia, lynchings, and shootings abound in the history of Baylor - "the educational jewel of the Baptist Church."

Who woulda thunk...?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wyoming Bound

If all has gone well we are on our way to yet another vacation (it's good to be retired!). This time it's our annual pilgrimage to a ranch nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming.

Cloud Peak and the Bighorn Mountains

It's how we decompress. No television, no cell phone service, very limited Internet access - nothing to do but ride horses, hike, fish, eat, drink, sleep, and talk.

We have a number of friends that come here the same time each year, so it's also a reunion of sorts. We look forward to catching up with each other in a more in-depth manner than Facebook posts. It's a way to reconnect with friends, family, and a way of life that is rapidly vanishing.

The plan is to fly into Billings, Montana via Denver. We rent a car in Billings and drive from there to the ranch - about a two hour drive.

On the way we pass by the Little Bighorn Battlefield where George Armstrong Custer's 7th Calvary was wiped out. It is IMO one of the best national parks in America. If you ever get the chance I highly recommend a visit.

Fear not, loyal readers. I will have something here daily for your entertainment, education, and edification. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I plan on enjoying myself...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trump This

Another in an irregular series of comments on 2106 presidential candidates. Today's subject target is Donald Trump.

Trump is currently riding high as the leading GOP presidential candidate.

However, I'm not convinced he's the right person to be the next President. But I do have to admit that he's done very well at two things.

One, he's doing a great job of promoting himself. That certainly fits his persona - IMO he's an egotistical blowhard who loves nothing so much as talking about himself - except, perhaps, reading the headlines about himself.

But more importantly, he is shrewd enough to tap into a powerful discontent rumbling throughout this country - the feeling that our federal government is broken, and that the ruling elite of both parties - and their cronies in industry and the press - don't care about fixing it.

“In the land of the blind,” so goes the saying, “the one-eyed man is king.” Donald Trump leapt atop other contenders for the Republican presidential nomination when he acted on the primordial fact in American public life today, from which most of the others hide their eyes, namely: most Americans distrust, fear, are sick and tired of, the elected, appointed, and bureaucratic officials who rule over us, as well as their cronies in the corporate, media, and academic world. Trump’s attraction lies less in his words’ grace or even precision than in the extent to which Americans are searching for someone, anyone, to lead against this ruling class that is making America less prosperous, less free, and more dangerous.

Republicans brahmins have the greater reason to fear. Whereas some three fifths of Democratic voters approve the conduct of their officials, only about one fifth of Republican voters approve what theirs do. If Americans in general are primed for revolt, Republican (and independent) voters fairly thirst for it.

Trump’s barest hints about what he opposes (never mind proposes) regarding just a few items on the public agenda have had such effect because they accord with what the public has already concluded about them. For example,Trump remarked, off the cuff, that “Mexico does not send us its best.” The public had long since decided that our ruling class’s handling of immigration (not just from Mexico) has done us harm. The ruling class – officials, corporations, etc.- booed with generalities but did not try to argue that they had improved America by their handling of immigration. The more they would argue that, the more they would lose...
The point here is simple: our ruling class has succeeded in ruling not by reason or persuasion, never mind integrity, but by occupying society’s commanding heights, by imposing itself and its ever-changing appetites on the rest of us. It has coopted or intimidated potential opponents by denying the legitimacy of opposition. Donald Trump, haplessness and clownishness notwithstanding, has shown how easily this regime may be threatened just by refusing to be intimidated.

Having failed to destroy Trump, Republicans and Democrats are left to hope that he will self-destruct as Perot did. Indeed, Trump has hardly scratched the surface and may not be able to do more than that. Yet our rulers know the list of things divide them from the American people is long. They want to avoid like the plague any and all arguments on the substance of those things. They fear the rise of an un-intimidated leader more graceful and precise than Trump, someone whose vision is fuller but who is even more passionate in championing the many resentments the voicing of just a few channeled so much support to Trump.

Republicans and Democrats profit personally and through their corporate cronies by a welter of legislation and regulation by which they command what we must eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not: mandating that a third of the U.S. corn crop be turned into ethanol, restricting the use of coal, how we may use our land, etc. ...
At increasing speed, our ruling class has created “protected classes” of Americans defined by race, sex, age, disability, origin, religion, and now homosexuality, whose members have privileges that outsider do not. By so doing, they have shattered the principle of equality – the bedrock of the rule of law. Ruling class insiders use these officious classifications to harass their socio-political opponents...
Habitually, our ruling class tries to intimidate its opponents by calling them “haters” (“racists,” etc. is part of the all too familiar litany.)...
No argument that Trump is highlighting serious problems that the ruling class is failing to address. But I remain skeptical about his ability to get elected, and if elected, about his ability to solve those problems. He is, IMO, a richer, more bombastic version of Chris Christie.

Don't get me wrong. I think The Donald is performing an invaluable service in pointing out the failures of the ruling class. But I don't think he's the right person to do anything about it...

Monday, July 27, 2015

FOD 2015.07.27

Just because barry is running around out of the country checking on his roots or something equally inane doesn't mean that he still isn't screwing up things at home.
Now that he’s “solved” the problem of Iranian nukes and re-established ties with the Communist dictatorship in Cuba, our Dear Leader has finally declared war on dishwashers. Naturally, the American people are the big losers.
Companies that make dishwashers are warning that the Obama administration’s latest efficiency standards for their industry would backfire.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is accusing the Department of Energy (DOE) of a politically motivated drive to increase dishwasher efficiency, which are so bad that they would cause consumers to re-wash dishes, erasing any efficiency gains.

Rob McAver, the group’s head lobbyists, said regulators are going too far, and the new rules will allow only 3.1 gallons to be used to wash each load of dishes.

“At some point, they’re trying to squeeze blood from a stone that just doesn’t have any blood left in it,” McAver said.

Some of the group’s members, which include companies like GE Appliances & Lighting and Whirlpool Corp., tweaked their models to comply with the DOE’s December proposal to ratchet up standards.

They then ran standard tests with food stuck to dishes.

“They found some stuff that was pretty disgusting,” McAver said.

McAver brought DOE officials to his office recently to show them the results, and released photos of it publicly this week.

He’s hoping that the disgusted reactions to the tests will spur DOE to go back to the drawing board for the standards, and work more closely with the industry this time.

“The poor performance that would result would totally undercut and go backwards in terms of energy and water use, because of the need for running the dishwasher again, or pre-rinsing or hand-washing, which uses a lot of water,” he said.
Sounds similar to those damn low-flow toilets that were mandated by the feds back in the 1990s. The house we live in now was built in 2001. It has low-flow toilets ... and a plunger in every bathroom. Our family motto is "Flush early, and flush often"

Somehow I doubt if we are saving any water when multiple flushes are required to accomplish the same thing that a single flush used to do.

Leave it to the government to screw up something as simple and effective as a device that has been pleasing its users since the mid-19th century. And now that same government is going after our dishwashers.

God help us all...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.07.26

I don't want to say it's hot here, but...

It's so hot that:
You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a bit chilly.

You discover that it takes only two fingers to drive your car.

Your biggest fear is: 'What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?'

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hardboiled eggs.

Cows are giving evaporated milk.

The trees are whistlin' for the dogs.

Chickens are laying omlettes.

Directions on soup cans now say "Just pour and eat."


Ranchers in Texas hit by sweltering heat are selling fully cooked barbecue right from the barn.

"We let the customer choose the cattle and then we hose it down with sauce and send it out into the pasture.  Within twenty minutes the barbecue is piping hot and ready to eat," said a Texas rancher.

Barbecue restaurants are crying foul over the direct sales of the product to the public.

"This damn heat wave is killing our business.  We can't compete with the lower overhead of the rancher when we provide our customers with a table, chairs and fans, as well as swatting flies," said waitress Flo Moore of the "Greasy Fat Dripping Spoon" restaurant in Amarillo.

The heat has also changed business for farmers who are using their former crop fields as giant baking pans for brownies.

"It's the only way I can put my land and this hellish heat to any use so I'm baking white chocolate, espresso brownies with macadamia nuts for those rip-off coffee houses, said a farmer outside of San Antonio.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Some Lives Matter More Than Others

The last two days have seen two separate and horrific events.

Wednesday in Broken Arrow OK five members of a single family were slaughtered in their home. A sixth victim clings to life.

Thursday two people were killed and nine wounded in a Lafayette LA movie theater. The suspect killed himself as police closed in.

Keep an eye on how the media treats these two stories. Both, of course, are terrifying and tragic. Both deserve national attention. However, I suspect we'll hear much more about the LA killings that those in OK.


Because  in LA the killer used a gun. In OK the victims were stabbed and hacked to death.

Given the liberal persuasion of the mainstream media, expect the by now familiar cavalcade of anti-gun propaganda. Also expect the media to salivate over the depiction of the shooter as an angry white man and a right-wing extremist. In addition, the media will also ignore the fact that the death toll in OK was higher than in LA.

In other news, media attention and #blacklivesmatter protesters are focused on the case of Sandra Bland, a black woman who hung herself while in jail in Hempstead TX. While it seems that her arrest was questionable, to say the least, there is little doubt that she committed suicide while imprisoned. Another tragic and regrettable death of a black person while in police custody, this case certainly merits a close examination, which it will get.

However, where is the mainstream media and the #blacklivesmatter folks when it comes to multiple deaths of blacks in Chicago?

10 dead, 34 wounded in weekend violence
Much of the shooting was concentrated in the East and West Garfield Park, Lawndale and Humboldt Park neighborhoods on the West Side, from about Division Street south to Ogden Avenue east of Cicero Avenue and west of California Avenue.

Eighteen of the people wounded over the weekend were shot within those boundaries, including four people shot a few hours apart near St. Louis Avenue and Grenshaw Street early Saturday. Two of the 18 died.
Wanna guess the predominant ethnicity of those neighborhoods?

I guess the good folks at #blacklivesmatter didn't focus on the slaughter of blacks in Chicago because they were too busy booing Martin O'Malley for saying "All lives matter."
Several dozen demonstrators interrupted the former Maryland governor while he was speaking here at the Netroots Nation conference, a gathering of liberal activists, demanding that he address criminal justice and police brutality. When they shouted, "Black lives matter!" a rallying cry of protests that broke out after several black Americans were killed at the hands of police in recent months, O'Malley responded: "Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter."

The demonstrators, who were mostly black, responded by booing him and shouting him down.
According to them, only black lives matter.

And we're the ones being called "racist."


Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.07.24

After this morning's post, what else could today's song be but...

An American Icon

It's the weekend. Time for grilling, partying, and just kicking back and enjoying yourself.

Any and all of the above activities are often accompanied by what has become an American icon - the Red Solo Cup.
If you’re attending a backyard barbecue, pool party, or any kind of group gathering, chances are someone’s going to offer you a beverage in a red Solo cup... the disposable, recyclable, and brightly colored plastic cup has been a de facto accompaniment to good times in the good old U.S. of A.

Especially popular at the beach
Although the Solo Cup Company has been making paper cups since 1936, it wasn’t until the 1970s — the decade of Animal House and Dazed and Confused — that the plastic version was first released and immediately adored by collegians, campers, and backyard burger-flippers alike.

Officially called the Party Cup, it was originally introduced in four sizes and four colors, but it’s the red 18-ounce version that’s risen to iconic status...

And here’s something you might not know about the party staple: it’s not just a place to pour your drink, it’s a place to measure your drink too!

Yep, the lines on the classic cup design aren’t just for aesthetics or grippiness — in an act of kismet, they correspond to common fluid-ounce measurements. Starting from the bottom up, they mark one ounce (a perfect shot of bourbon for your Boulevardier or gin for your Negroni); five ounces (a standard wine pour); 12 ounces (a typical can of soda or beer); 16 ounces (aka a pint); and the final 18-ounce mark for any overflow from ice.
Click to embiggen.
So if you’re ever in a pinch and can’t find your trusty Pyrex measuring cup while you’re cooking, you can always grab a cup from your party stash and save the day.

Just don't over-indulge...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Irony Abounds

Here's a classic example of irony that would be funny if it wasn't so serious

Baltimore anti-violence group work suspended after guns, drugs found in raid
City officials have suspended operations of the Safe Streets anti-violence program in East Baltimore after police officers found seven guns and drugs stashed inside the Monument Street office.

Safe Streets, a grant-funded program under the city's Health Department, uses ex-felons in an effort to stem crime...

The program has had trouble in the past, with offices previously suspended in 2010 and 2013 amid criminal allegations against employees. It has also faced criticism over its recruiting practices.

... a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said, "The Mayor remains supportive of the program and the effective way it has been able to reach many people in our city and reduce crime. But she recognizes the program must be vigilant with respect to the activities of the program's participants and staff members."

The city had been in talks with the Abell Foundation about creating a new Safe Streets zone in Sandtown-Winchester, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested... The foundation approved a $180,000 matching grant to help fund the expansion...
Ah, now we're getting closer to the reason the program lives on after multiple failures. Can you say "kickbacks"?
... When officers eventually raided the (Safe Streets) office, they found guns, heroin, cocaine, and other items used in the manufacturing and sale of drugs, including cutting agents and scales, police said.
That shouldn't be too surprising. This is the same city that's been controlled by liberals and democrats (but I repeat myself) for the last 50 years. It's a case study in corruption, back room deals, and abuse of power.

In a related note:
So far this year, Baltimore recorded 155 homicides, including three people who were killed late Tuesday evening near the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. The 2015 homicide toll is 50 people higher than it was at the same point last year.

On Wednesday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, citing the spike in murders in the city.
Somehow I don't think the top cop is the reason for the surge in murders. Can you say "scapegoat"?

Speaking of the mayor, let's end on a light note.
A woman ran up to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings–Blake and dumped what appeared to be water on her head at the Mondawmin Festival.

Aides helped the mayor dry off after the incident Saturday morning...

Rawlings–Blake attended the festival at the same mall where violence and rioting erupted in April.
I guess you could say the mayor of Baltimore is all wet...

"Space to destroy..."