Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Funnies - Memorial Day Edition

In honor of Memorial Day...

When I enlisted in my teens, I took up smoking cigars to make myself look more mature.

Did it work? Well, one time, as I proudly puffed away at our NCO club, an older
sergeant growled, “Hey, kid, your candy bar’s on fire.”

Our drill instructor was at the end of his rope: A recruit's ineptitude was driving him crazy. Getting in the young man's face, he demanded, “Whoever told you to join the Army?!”

Snapping to attention, the recruit proclaimed, “The Navy recruiter, Sir.”

I didn’t enlist in the Army — I was drafted. So I wasn’t going to make life easy for anyone. During my physical, the doctor asked, "Can you read the letters on the wall?"

"What letters?" I answered slyly.

"Good," said the doctor. "You passed the hearing test."

A young lady had been secretly dating for several months, and it was time to break the news to her very protective father. Her mother thought he’d take it better if she explained to him that her boyfriend was a Marine who had just returned from Iraq. This pleased Dad immensely.

"A Marine? Good!" he said. "That means he can take orders."

Soon after being transferred to a new duty station, a Marine husband called home one evening to tell his wife that he would be home late. "Dirty magazines were discovered in the platoon quarters," he said, "and the whole squad is being disciplined."

The wife launched into a tirade, arguing that grown men should not be penalized for something so trivial as a few Playboys.

The husband interrupted. "Honey, when I said ‘dirty magazines,’ I meant the clips from their rifles hadn’t been cleaned."

After joining the Navy, I underwent a physical. During the exam, it was discovered that, due to an abnormality, I couldn’t fully extend my arms above my head. Perplexed, the doctor conferred with another doctor.

"Let him pass," suggested the second doctor. "I don’t see any problems unless he has to surrender."

As he reviewed pilot crash reports, the Air Force safety officer stumbled upon this understated entry:

"After catastrophic engine failure, I landed long. As I had no power, the landing gear failed to deploy and no braking was available. I bounced over the stone wall at the end of the runway, struck the trailer of a truck while crossing the perimeter road, crashed through the guardrail, grazed a large pine tree, ran over a tractor parked in the adjacent field, and hit another tree. Then I lost control."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

As you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, please take some time to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day, and those who made our way of life possible...

...unlike the people in the following video.

Words fail me ... as apparently our public school system has failed many of them.

Thankfully there are plenty of other people around who understand what Memorial Day is all about.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.05.22

Despite yesterday's post about Dadbods and sexy beer bellies, the fact of the matter is:

I don't look good naked anymore...

God Help Us All

I don't know which is the biggest threat - Iran, or China. I do know, however, that the SCoaMF currently wasting oxygen in the White House is clueless when it comes to dealing with either one.

First, China:

Pentagon goes public with latest dust-up in South China Sea
The U.S. military has begun to carefully but publicly challenge Chinese island-building on disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea, creating fresh tension in a potential global tinderbox as both countries shift forces into the area.

In the latest incident, a Chinese military dispatcher demanded repeatedly that a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft leave as it flew near Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands, where China has dredged hundreds of yards of coral and sand and built an airstrip on what it claims is sovereign territory.

"Foreign military aircraft, this is Chinese navy. You are approaching our military alert zone. Leave immediately," the Chinese dispatcher said in a radio transmission, the Navy recounted Thursday.

When the U.S. crew responded that it was flying in international airspace, the Chinese dispatcher answered, "This is the Chinese navy.... You go!"
Thankfully, the Navy aircrew is more professional than me. I would have responded with something along the lines of "This is the U.S. Navy - You blow me!"
Regional tension has grown since President Obama announced a so-called U.S. strategic pivot to Asia four years ago, in part to keep an eye on a fast-rising China. The administration has shifted ships and troops to the Western Pacific and expanded military ties with several countries worried about China's growing clout, including Japan, the Philippines, Australia and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam.

The renewed American focus on the region appears to have led to unintended consequences, however. Beijing has become more aggressive in asserting its maritime and territorial claims in the South China and East China seas.
Gee, what a surprise. An obama foreign policy initiative has resulted in 'unintended consequences.'

Kind of like in the Mid East.
Iran's supreme leader vowed Wednesday he will not allow international inspection of Iran's military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers.
As if that's not bad enough, here's the other shoe dropping.

US presses Israel on talks for Middle East nuclear-free zone
The United States has sent a top official to Israel in an effort to revive talks on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, a central issue of a nuclear treaty review conference that some fear will end Friday without progress on global disarmament.

Secretary of State John Kerry this month called the proposed zone an "ambitious goal and fraught with challenges" but worth pursuing.

Iran, a party to the treaty and engaged in talks with world powers on its own nuclear program, this month spoke on behalf of more than 100 mostly developing countries in calling for Israel to give up its nuclear weapons, calling them a regional threat.
So according to obama, it's okay for a theocracy that openly calls for the destruction of Western civilization to have nukes, but not the only true democracy in the region?!?

Oh my aching back...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Do You Think I'm Sexy*

Imagine my surprise when I found out that babes everywhere consider me the hottest thing around this summer.

Well, not me individually, but me as a prototype for the latest trend that has ladies going ga-ga; the Dadbod.
Worried about getting in shape for the beach season? Maybe you feel just like me, that you have an extra couple of pounds around your waist and belly? Don’t worry. You will be the hottest thing this summer.

Because the latest trend is the “dadbod”, or the dad body.
What exactly is the "dadbod," you ask?
The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, "I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time." It's not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either.
A typical Dadbod.
So why do chicks dig the Dadbod? Here's what the ladies say.
It doesn't intimidate us.
Few things are worse than taking a picture in a bathing suit, one being taking a picture in a bathing suit with a guy who is crazy fit. We don't want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don't need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.

We like being the pretty one.

We love people saying "they look cute together." But we still like being the center of attention. We want to look skinny and the bigger the guy, the smaller we feel and the better we look next to you in a picture.

Better cuddling.

No one wants to cuddle with a rock. Or Edward Cullen. The end.

Good eats.

The dad bod says he doesn't meal prep every Sunday night so if you want to go to Taco Tuesday or $4 pitcher Wednesday, he'd be totally down. He's not scared of a cheat meal because he eats just about anything and everything.

You know what you're getting.
Girls tend to picture their future together with their guys early on. Therefore, if he already has the dad bod going on, we can get used to it before we date him, marry him, have three kids. We know what we are getting into when he's got the same exact body type at the age of 22 that he's going to have at 45.
Adding icing to the cake, there is research that indicates men with Dadbods make better lovers.

Men With Big Bellies Make Better Lovers (Says Science)
Hey ladies: take a break from chasing that six-packed Adonis and instead divert your gaze to the oft-overlooked Homer Simpson doppelganger. You may thank us for it.

A study out of Turkey concluded that overweight men with obvious bellies last longer in bed than their thinner counterparts. These heroic researchers (dedicated to finding answers to life's big problems) studied the BMI and sexual performance of 100 men seeking help for sexual dysfunctions contrasted against 100 men who reported no problems.

The result? Men with a higher BMI and, yes, unsightly guts, lasted an average of 7.3 minutes where the slimmer of the group could barely hold on for 2 minutes. Ouch, right? A five-minute difference is pretty significant. As in three times as long kind of significant. In fact, they found skinnier guys more likely to suffer from premature ejaculation, too.
So there you have it, ladies. If you want to be hip and with-it, plus get mind-blowing sex to boot, find yourself a guy with a little padding around the midsection.

Once you've had Dadbod, you'll never go back...

*Another 'name that title reference' contest.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How High Is The Water, Momma?*

I don't want to open that whole global warming/climate change can of worms. But when I see stories like this one I want to shake people by the collar and say "Get your head out of your ass and address the problem. Assign blame later."

America's oldest city is slowly drowning.
St. Augustine's centuries-old Spanish fortress and other national landmarks sit feet from the encroaching Atlantic, whose waters already flood the city's narrow, brick-paved streets about 10 times a year — a problem worsening as sea levels rise. The city has long relied on tourism, but visitors to the fortress and Ponce de Leon's mythical Fountain of Youth might someday have to wear waders at high tide.

St. Augustine is one of many chronically flooded communities along Florida's 1,200-mile coastline, and officials in these diverse places share a common concern: They're afraid their buildings and economies will be further inundated by rising seas in just a couple of decades. The effects are a daily reality in much of Florida. Drinking water wells are fouled by seawater. Higher tides and storm surges make for more frequent road flooding from Jacksonville to Key West, and they're overburdening aging flood-control systems.
This is not some theoretical argument over global warming. Nor can there be much disputing one basic fact: the sea level is rising.
Despite warnings from water experts and climate scientists about risks to cities and drinking water, skepticism over sea level projections and climate change science has hampered planning efforts at all levels of government, the records showed. Florida's environmental agencies under (Republican governor Rick) Scott have been downsized and retooled, making them less effective at coordinating sea level rise planning in the state...

"If I were governor, I'd be out there talking about it (sea level rise) every day," said Eric Buermann, the former general counsel to the Republican Party of Florida who also served as a water district governing board member. "I think he's really got to grab ahold of this, set a vision, a long-term vision, and rally the people behind it. Unless you're going to build a sea wall around South Florida, what's the plan?"

The issue presents a public works challenge that could cost billions here and nationwide. In the third-most populous U.S. state, where most residents live near a coast, municipalities say they need statewide coordination and aid to prepare for the costly road ahead.

Communities like St. Augustine can do only so much alone. If one city builds a seawall, it might divert water to a neighbor. Cities also lack the technology, money and manpower to keep back the seas by themselves.

"We will continue to make investments and find solutions to protect our environment and preserve Florida's natural beauty for our future generations," the governor said in a statement.
Words, not deeds. Get off your ass and do something.
St. Augustine's civil engineer says that the low-lying village will probably need a New Orleans-style pumping system to keep water out — but that but no one knows exactly what to do and the state's been unhelpful.

"Only when the frequency of flooding increases will people get nervous about it, and by then it will be too late," engineer Reuben Franklin said. "There's no guidance from the state or federal level. ... Everything I've found to help I've gotten by searching the Internet."

Across coastal Florida, sea levels are rising faster than previously measured, according to federal estimates. In addition to more flooding at high tide, increasing sea levels also mean higher surges during tropical storms and hurricanes, and more inundation of drinking wells throughout Florida.

Water quality is a big concern for many communities. It's especially bad in South Florida — just north of Miami, Hallandale Beach has abandoned six of eight drinking water wells because of saltwater intrusion. Wells in northeast and central Florida are deemed at risk too.

While South Florida water officials have led the charge in addressing sea level rise concerns in their area, their attempt to organize a statewide plan was met with indifference, documents show. The Scott administration has organized just a few conference calls to coordinate local efforts, records show. Those came only after Florida's water district managers asked DEP for help.

The list of other problems across the state is growing. Miami Beach is spending $400 million on new stormwater pumps to keep seawater from overwhelming an outdated sewer system.

In St. Augustine, homes built on sand dunes teeter over open space as erosion eats at the foundations. Beachside hotel owners worry about their livelihoods.

Tampa and Miami are particularly vulnerable to rising seas — many roads and bridges weren't designed to handle higher tides, according to the National Climate Change Assessment. Officials say Daytona Beach roads, too, flood more often than in the 1990s.

"For us, it's a reality, it's not a political issue," said Courtney Barker, city manager of Satellite Beach. The town near Cape Canaveral used to flood during tropical weather, but now just a heavy rainstorm can make roads impassable for commuters.
That's the worst part of this whole situation. People are getting bogged down in whether or not climate change is occurring, and if it is, whether or not it is responsible for the rising sea level.

But regardless of cause, the water keeps rising.

A whole bunch of Neros are fiddling while Rome burns drowns...

Homes built on strands of white sand in Vilano Beach now teeter precariously as high tidewaters cover their front steps. St. Augustine is one of many chronically flooded communities along Florida’s coast, and officials in these diverse places share a common concern: They’re afraid their buildings and economies will be further inundated by rising seas in just a couple of decades. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

* Bonus points if you got the title reference.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Drought Update

It's been a wet spring here in Central Texas. We've received around 14 inches of rain since 01 January, about twice our usual total. Everything is lush and green.

How lush and green is it?

We're growing mushrooms on our property instead of cactus.

But seriously, folks...
A weak El NiƱo pattern has fueled spring storms, giving Texas badly needed relief from a nearly five-year drought that had begun to rival a record event of the 1950s...
The problem is that the recent rains have caused a public perception that the drought is over. The reality is that, while it has lessened, over one-third of the state is still officially categorized as remaining in a drought. Furthermore, while the rain has been plentiful (or even overwhelming) in some areas, it hasn't fallen where needed to help lakes, reservoirs, and underground aquifers to recover.
With all the rain we've had since January, you might think the drought in the state has finally come to an end. But you'd be wrong. In fact, North Texas is still experiencing an extreme drought, and Austin is only a little better off than before...

The reason it can rain almost every week, or every day, yet we're still not in the clear is that the precipitation just hasn't been enough to reverse the last eight years of shortfalls. For almost a decade, the scarcity of storm clouds in Texas has lowered lake levels and dried out the soil deep below the surface to such a degree that we'd need another four months of rain like we've had so far just to break even.
In this part of the state, practically all the drinking water comes from lakes and aquifers. They have been slow to recover.
“If you think in terms of hydrological drought in our region, we have not recovered yet,” (Todd Votteler, a seasoned water expert and executive manager of science, intergovernmental relations and policy with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority) said. “The rain has not really been in the right place to replenish regional aquifers and surface water supplies.”
Local lakes Medina, Canyon, Travis, and Buchanan all remain substantially below normal.

Medina Lake was 6.4 percent full Sunday afternoon, up from 2.8 percent a year ago, with more than twice the amount of water, at 16,252 acre-feet, or about 5.3 billion gallons. But it was still nearly 80 feet below normal. Canyon Lake was 84 percent full Sunday, up more than 3 feet from a month ago but still nearly 8 feet low.

(click to embiggen)

Despite recent rain, Medina Lake still suffers with drought-stricken water levels on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Home owners and business people are happy about the rainfall but are still hoping for more rain to help bring the lake back to pre-drought conditions. (Kin Man Hui/San Antonio Express-News)
Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the rain we've received so far. And I certainly don't wish storm damage or flooding on anyone. But I sure wouldn't mind if a nice tropical storm hovered over the lake and aquifer recharge zones for a few days - just long enough to bring them back up where they belong.

After all, everyone needs a little fun on the water...

Monday, May 18, 2015

FOD 2015.05.18

The ongoing chronicle of obama's miscalculations, mistakes, and outright failures has become so commonplace that each new one no longer generates more than a tepid 'meh.' It's not until someone takes a step back and examines the implications of that SCOAMF's unending cascade of foolishness that our sense of outrage is renewed.
North Korea just announced a new sub-launched ICBM, allowing it to send nuke-tipped missiles anywhere in the world.  As for the mullahs of Iran, they now control the strategic port of Aden, the chokepoint to the Red Sea, and they already have land-based anti-ship missiles to threaten oil traffic in the Strait of Hormuz.  When rusty Iranian naval ships wheel around and charge U.S. Navy vessels, our ships retreat.  When the mullahs steal a container ship under U.S. protection, we do nothing.  Every time ISIS posts another gruesome human butchery – with no punishment by civilized nations – teenage kids around the world discover their inner sociopath and yearn to join the bloodbath.

... Obama's endless parade of cringing retreats speaks louder than our actual military clout.  Power without the will to use it means nothing.

But now there's a shift in the wind.

Conservatives are winning elections – in the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Israel.  France's President Hollande is promising to help the Saudis and their allies, abandoned by Obama.  Norway has actually expelled thousands of Muslim criminals, followed by a "surprising" drop in the violent crime rate.

After the Charlie Hebdo massacres in Paris, fence-sitting European politicians actually tried to form a united front against barbaric jihad.  Had Obama chosen to join that movement by saying the magic words "the enemy is Muslim jihad," we would be seeing real unity today...

The world now looks more explosive than ever.  In Egypt, Obama tried to install a Muslim Brotherhood fascist as president, but the political elites rebelled and put President El Sisi in the presidency.  Today El Sisi is by far the most impressive spokesman for Muslims who don't want nuclear martyrdom for themselves or their children.  (Believe it or not, such Muslims do exist, by the millions.)

Obama sent his own operatives to elect the left in Israel, but when things look really dangerous, Israelis vote for solid mainstream conservatives...

For sixty years, the U.S. president was the leader of the free world – not to boost our national ego, but to protect the things that civilized nations cherish most.  Europeans would routinely shout and holler at us, but in the end they knew who protected their safety, freedom, and prosperity.  By pulling the rug out from under our allies, Obama has confronted them with a reality the Europeans didn't want to see.  Now they see how vulnerable they are.

But the last two years of Obama may be even more dangerous.

The rogues are trying to consolidate their conquests (like the mullahs grabbing the strategic chokepoint of Yemen), and they will grab as much additional power and territory as possible, just in case we elect another Ronald Reagan in 2016.  The Iranians are now doing everything possible to push their power in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  They are not waiting for Obama's foolish "peace agreement," which they will never keep anyway.  When the enemy looks weak, they grab what they can.  It's in their nature; it's even in their jihadist doctrine.

A fierce battle has broken out in the mountains of El Qalamoun near the borders of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, where Iran and its proxies have been trying to break through.  For the time being, Israel is quietly helping the Sunnis, as despicable as they are.  If Sunni gangs look like they are winning, Israel may support the other side.  This was British policy for centuries: support the French when the Germans are rising, and vice versa – to keep any power from conquering all of Europe.

Watch for increasing danger in the next 20 months as Obama gets more desperate.  The world now understands Obama's surrender on nukes to be a pure kabuki play.  The nuclear horse has already left the barn, and our carnival barker is claiming a phony victory to cover up his real surrender.

No wonder the mullahs can't stop laughing.

Yet the mullahs are in a hurry, because they have bad memories from Ronald Reagan's stunning defeat of Jimmy Carter in 1980.  As soon as Reagan was elected, Ayatollah Khomeini released his U.S. diplomatic hostages.  Reagan didn't have to bargain or beg.  When he was elected, the mullahs got the point, and they gave in to the Strong Horse.  They may be evil, but they are not stupid.

So when Obama called for a meeting last week of Arab Gulf nations at Camp David to explain his brilliant Weak Horse strategy, the Saudi king declined the invitation.  So did Kuwait and even Qatar, one of Obama's "best friends" in the Middle East.

In Japan, Prime Minister Abe is seriously rearming for the first time since World War 2.  Putin's invasion of the Crimea and Ukraine is forcing the French and Germans to finally get serious about Europe's defenses, along with Finland, the Baltic states, Norway, Sweden, and the Slavic countries.

When the United States retreats, the result is not peace.

It's just one explosion after another.
Like it or not, someone has to be the world's policeman. If not us, who?

China? Russia? Iran?

I fear for the future...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Funnies 2015.05.17

Kids are home for summer vacation...

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Nectar Of The Gods

It's the weekend...

Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2015.05.15

The thrill is gone...

Full House

Both our kids came home from college yesterday. That means our tranquil lifestyle has just been disrupted, the dogs will become unbearably spoiled, and our food bill will triple (at least).

Not that I don't love them, and aren't happy to see them. But it does require certain adjustments. For example, we had a pleasant dinner with lots of lively conversation as we all caught up and reminisced. Then, about 11:00 p.m., my wife and I headed off to bed while the kids headed out.

I guess that's understandable. After all, they've spent the last nine months in an unstructured and unsupervised environment. They have different interests and habits. They basically just want to sleep in, hang out with friends, stay out late, and generally do whatever they’ve been doing at school. That's their new normal.

For the most part, I'm okay with that. They're somewhere between being children and becoming adults. But they're not all they way there yet. So there will be a few 'house rules' - probably more than they want, but fewer than I would prefer.

The girl won't be a problem. Despite being the youngest, she's very reliable and mature. She's leaving next week for a short mission trip in Peru, followed by a brief trip to Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. When she gets back she's already got a full-time job lined up. It's with the same firm she worked at her senior year in high school. They think highly enough of her that they were willing to take her on this summer, even on an abbreviated schedule.

The boy, however, is another story. He is scheduled to spend a summer semester at the University of Stirling in Scotland. It's about a six week program. That leaves him with another six weeks of unscheduled time. He is supposed to be spending part of that time interning in his chosen field, but there has been a curious silence on that topic recently. We'll see...

To complicate matters, our 15-year-old washing machine died yesterday, even as the kids brought in mountains of dirty laundry. We knew it was on its last legs, and have already bought a replacement.

It will be delivered one week from today.

Hopefully they have enough clean shorts and t-shirts to last seven days. If not we can always go old school...

...or adopt a field expedient approach.

Anyway, our summer of excellent adventures has begun.