Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Snaking Out The Drain

Here's a solution to all the controversy regarding who should use which restroom.

Thai man bloodied but unbowed after intimate attack by snake
A Thai man is recovering from a bloody encounter with a 3-meter (10-foot) python that slithered through the plumbing of his home and latched its jaws onto his penis as he was using a squat toilet.

Attaporn Boonmakchuay was smiling as Thai television stations interviewed him in his hospital bed about the intimate intrusion, and doctors said he would recover. But photos of his blood-splattered bathroom in Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok, were testimony to his ordeal.

The 38-year-old told Thai TV Channel 7 that he struggled to remove the snake for 30 minutes Wednesday before he managed to free himself with help from his wife and a neighbor. After his wife tied a rope around the snake, Attaporn pried open its jaws before passing out.

Emergency workers dismantled the Asian-style squat toilet, with the python still twined through it. The snake was taken away to be released back into the wild, according to an emergency responder cited by the newspaper Thai Rath.

Doctors said Attaporn, bloodied but unbowed, will recover.

So all we need to do is stick snakes in the ladies restroom toilet. If there are no dangly parts hanging down, the snakes won't have anything to latch on to.

Problem solved!

Gives new meaning to 'snaking out the drain'...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

If you can watch this video without tearing up you have no heart.

I was sobbing like a baby by the end.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Funnies 2016.05.29

Politics and random comics...

* * * * * * * * * *

Why is Donald Trump always seen with Melania?
Because all his other wives support Hilary.

How does Donald Trump plan on deporting 12 million illegal immigrants?
Juan by Juan.

What airline does Donald Trump aspire to fly?
Hair Force One!

Donald Trump, today, officially clinched the Republican nomination, which means he's one step closer to moving into the smallest house he's ever lived in.

* * * * * * * * * *

Q: How many Socialists does Bernie Sanders need to screw in a light bulb?
A: Just one, but it really gets screwed.

Q: What is the difference between a magician and Bernie Sanders?
A: The magician returns your wallet at the end of the performance.

Q. Why do all of Bernie Sanders' campaign rallies have to finish no later than 5:30?
A. Because Matlock comes on at 6:00.

With the nomination of Hillary Clinton becoming increasingly certain, the campaign donations to socialist candidate Bernie Sanders have slowed to a trickle. Bernie has finally come face-to-face with what it means to be a socialist: You eventually run out of other people's money.

* * * * * * * * * *

Why does Hillary prefer dogs to Bill Clinton?
A dog chases his own tail.

If elected, Hillary promised she would do the work of three men.
Larry, Curly, and Moe.

Apparently Monica Lewinsky won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton this election.
She says the last Clinton presidency left a bad taste in her mouth.

Hillary Clinton and the Pope are sharing a huge stage at a gathering in New York, where thousands of people have come to see them speak.

The Pope leans in to Hillary and says, “Did you know that with just one wave of my hand I can make every person in the crowd ecstatic with joy?  The joy will not be temporary, but instead will go deep into their hearts and be remembered for the rest of their lives.”

Hillary, looking at the Pope with skepticism, says “If you can really do that, then show me.”

The Pope reaches out and backhands Hillary, knocking her off the stage. The crowd roars while the Pope looks down at Hillary and says, “I told you I could do it!”

* * * * * * * * * *

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weather, Texas Style

It's been a wet and wild spring here in the Lone Star State. Here's the latest weather headlines.

This one hit close to home. Our son returned to the Bryan area Thursday for summer school (Texas A&M) and his part-time job. Fortunately, he's okay.

Bryan hammered by tornado, flooding
The Bryan/College Station area was pounded by heavy rain, high winds and at least one tornado Thursday afternoon.

Dozens of homes were damaged in the Wheeler Ridge subdivision and at least three were destroyed, according to Bryan police.
Speaking of tornadoes:

Tornado Strikes Texas Prison
A tornado struck a state prison in Southeast Texas, damaging the roofs on a pair of watchtowers and an outbuilding but injuring no one.
A prison system spokesman says the tornado struck the Pack Unit in Navasota, about 65 miles northwest of Houston, about 4 p.m. Thursday. The spokesman says all staff members and 1,200 inmates have been accounted for.
We just had rain and hail in our part of the state.

More severe weather, hail possible for South Texas, S.A.
The National Weather Service has kept a flash flood watch in Bexar County and a few others ... severe thunderstorm watches have shifted north and northeast of San Antonio.
Flash Flooding Occurring Throughout Austin, Onion Creek Under Flood Warning
Multiple water rescues are under way throughout Austin as the area has again been hit hard with thunderstorms, this time dumping some six inches in two hours' time in some areas.
At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the National Weather Service reported about eight inches had already fallen there close to midnight.
Matters were worse in Southeast Austin, where 10 inches had been reported in a three-hour period. Both Highway 71 and Toll Road 130 were closed by late Thursday as a result of raging waters across the road surface.
The Houston area, about 200 miles from here, also got hammered.

Parts of southeast Texas under water
...strong thunderstorms and heavy rain are redeveloping over the same areas that were flooded on Thursday, and now they're starting to move south, through the Houston area.
In Conroe and throughout Montgomery County, trees are down and water is covering roadways.

Highway 290 was shut down for hours on this morning by cattle that apparently got loose during the floods. While 100 were found and are now on higher ground, around 600 are still missing.  
To make matters worse, the snakes are getting active this time of the year.

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen.

If snakes freak you out DO NOT watch this video. And whatever you do, for God's sake don't try this at home!

There's not enough beer in the world to get me to do that...

Friday, May 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday, Friday Version

Busy ... don't have time to post my usual witty, brilliant, penetrating insights. Instead, you'll have to get by with these.

Men, you'll identify with them.

Ladies, I apologize. I'll post your side in the near future.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Caution - Road Sign Ahead

Following up on yesterday's minirant in favor of small government, here's another installment illustrating to what extent we are subject to its often-hard-to-fathom whims.

Government Reverses Its Course on Highway Fonts
Highway signs will soon get a new look—or an old one, depending on your perspective. According to CityLab, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced they will change fonts from Clearview—a typeface designed to improve legibility for drivers—to Highway Gothic, a font that was developed in the 1940s and used on road signs until 2004.

... Highway Gothic was problematic for aging drivers with poor eyes, since its letters turned into a bright blur from the reflection of headlights at night. In contrast, Clearview was less tightly spaced, and mixed lowercase and uppercase styles. Designers thought this would help people see sign lettering better in the dark and from long distances.
So far, so good. Who could argue with making road signs easier to read, especially for old farts with failing vision, like yours truly.
Initial studies suggested that Clearview was easier for drivers to read, and in 2004 around 30 states chose the font for their own signs when the FHWA gave them the option to switch.
Ah, but the plot thickens...
Now, according to CityLab, the FHWA says that research shows that Clearview actually makes it harder to read signs ... the reason Clearview might have seemed easier to read was simply because the new font meant that older, worn-down signs were being replaced with fresh ones.
Ten years and who knows how many taxpayer dollars to figure out that new signs are easier to read than old, faded ones.

The FHWA stopped approving Clearview at least two years ago. In the meantime, signs with Clearview lettering won’t be taken down, but as they age they will be replaced with Highway Gothic signs.
Here's the difference.

Click to embiggen.

Only a government agency could spend a decade, along with tons of cash, on something as trivial as this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Practice And Theory Of Shampooing

In my former life as a college professor, I quickly became adept at computing course hours. Not like the English-101-is-a-three-hour-course calculation, but more focused on the actual clock hours necessary to teach a course. For example, that English 101 course might be worth three hours of credit, but it actually involves somewhere around 48 hours of class time (3 hours per week in class, times 16 weeks per semester), plus many additional hours of study and homework.

A rough rule of thumb was three hours outside of class for every hour in class, meaning that for those three hours credit a student was expected to spend 48 hours in class and another 144 preparing. However, for the purpose of the following discussion we can ignore the out-of-class hours. Bottom line - to get three hours of college credit you generally need to spend 48 hours in class. For convenience's sake, let's round that up to 50.

Remember that number - 50 hours.

Now a slight change of subject:

I have long been a proponent of small government. As Henry David Thoreau said, "That government is best which governs least." This is true when it comes to governing citizens, and equally true when it comes to governing small enterprises. Today, we are stuck with a leviathan that insists on extending its tentacles into the tiniest and most unlikely of places.

For example:

It Takes 300 Hours to Become a Shampooer in Tennessee

Yes, you read that right. In order to engage in an act as simple as shampooing, the state of Tennessee demands that "shampoo technicians" spend approximately 8 weeks learning the intricacies of lather-rinse-repeat.
The Tennessee Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners defines a shampoo technician as a “person who brushes, combs, shampoos, rinses and conditions upon the hair and scalp,” and the state began requiring shampoo technicians to attain a license in 1996.

To get a license, aspiring technicians must pay a $140 fee to the state, complete at least 300 hours of education in a course on the “practice and theory” of shampooing, and must be at least 16 years old.
“practice and theory” of shampooing - really?

Remember that "50 hours" figure discussed above? According to the state of Tennessee, it takes the equivalent of six college courses (300/50) to figure out how to wash someone's hair.


But it's not just shampoo technicians, and it's not just Tennessee.
According to a study released by the Obama administration in July, the percentage of the workforce covered by state licensing laws grew from less than 5 percent in the 1950s to 25 percent in 2008.
How did we ever survive the 1950s, when only 5% of the workforce was licensed?

The cherry on top of this regulatory sundae?
... licenses rarely are recognized across state lines, which disproportionately affects military spouses.
There are two primary reasons for the creep of licensing requirements: special interest groups, and power-hungry government regulators. The special interest groups - often entrenched businesses - use their influence to convince legislators to pass anti-competitive legislation. Meanwhile, government functionaries follow a basic imperative: expand, or die.
“Once you get a board in place to do something that might have commonsense value, that board has an incentive to keep broadening their power and expanding things under their control...”
Sad to say, I don't see the situation improving anytime soon. In fact, I fully expect it to get worse, no matter who gets elected in November. It's the nature of the beast.

I love my country, but I fear its government.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Self Identity

This post is a little on the long side, and tends to meander a bit before it gets to the point. But please bear with me - I think (hope)you'll enjoy it. It eventually raises some interesting questions. So pour yourself a drink of your choice, settle back, and enjoy.

I've been an Allen West fan ever since he first appeared on the political horizon. I was thrilled when he was first elected to congress, and disappointed when he didn't get re-elected. Since then I've followed him as he spoke out on various issues, finding myself nodding in agreement much more often than not.

A few days ago he was elected to the NRA's Board of Directors. At about the same time, this image highlighting the difference between the Huffington Post's Editorial Board and the NRA Board of Directors appeared.

One organization preaches the virtues of 'diversity,' yet is composed of all white women. The other is vilified by the media, yet is more of a cross-section of America.

Can you say "Do as I say, not as I do?"

Speaking of diversity, we have this individual, who certainly is a favorite for the gold medal in the Diversity Olympics.
If there’s a high bar for which social justice warriors strive, surely it was set by Britain’s first transgender gay Muslim woman.

Amid the ongoing bathroom wars in America, conservative blogger Brandon Morse took to social media to call attention to Lucy Vallender...

Vallender, formerly known as Laurens before “he” became true to “herself,” is a former British soldier who had a sex operation in 2010 to switch out his male parts for female parts. Vallender would later convert to Islam, saying it’s a “peaceful” religion and take things even further by marrying a Muslim man the ex-soldier met on an online dating site.
Okay, if you look closely at the above image, in the upper left hand corner you'll see the date it was first posted - Sep. 4, 2013. But the fact that the story is three years old doesn't make it any more stupid. Converting to islam because it's 'the religion of peace' makes about as much sense as going to an orgy because you're in favor of chastity.

As for the rest of the story, well, maybe there's been so much of this self-identification nonsense in the news lately that I've just become numb. And here's where we come to the main point of this post.
This article is not satire. It offers a series of philosophical discussion points that I'm sure many people share these days...

So here's the logical question in pursuing the "self identity" trend that progressive society is now exploring. Today's society has arrived at a place where it largely accepts the idea that people can choose their gender. A person can be born as a male, but decide to identify as a female... Can a person choose their race, too?

Put another way, society currently accepts the idea of a person choosing to be transgender. So is it then okay for someone to be trans-race? And if that's accepted, then what about trans-species? Carried to its logical extreme, can a white male human being declare to the world that he's actually a female Peruvian llama?

What if John Doe, for example, wants to self-identify as a "Spotted Owl"?

Or maybe Jane Doe wants to identify as a member of the Delphinus delphis species... the common dolphin. Maybe she can even learn to speak dolphin and order in dolphin at the McDonald's drive-through.

There are, indeed, people who have come to believe they are certain animals. Dennis Avner, for example, believes he is a great cat, and he has undergone extreme biological modifications in an attempt to adopt the shape and structure of a great cat. The following photo is not Photoshopped:

I hope you see the point in this serious discussion. If people can choose to decide to be something which they are not from a physical or biological perspective, then is there any real meaning to concepts like male, female, Caucasian, African or even human?

Even more interestingly, could humans add themselves to endangered species lists by simply announcing they are an endangered species? "I'm Otto the Spotted Owl." The implications for the EPA and the U.S. government would be quite fascinating. For example, to my knowledge, I don't think the IRS can levy taxes on Spotted Owls. So if a person announces they are a Spotted Owl, are they now a "sovereign animal" that's protected by the government in their "habitat" apartment?

Without question, a court judge would denounce a person trying to claim they are a spotted owl. But let's follow the logic here. That judge would say, "You are obviously not a spotted owl. You weren't born a spotted owl and if we run a genetic test on your cells, they would not be consistent with a spotted owl."

Let's take that same test and run it against Rachel Dolezal. Following that test, a court judge would say much the same thing: "You are obviously not black. You weren't born black and if we run a genetic test on your cells, they would not be consistent with an African-American."

Tracking this same logic back to Bruce Jenner, a court judge would also be forced to conclude much the same: "You weren't born female and if we run a genetic test on your cells, they would not be consistent with a female."

From a genetics point of view, then, Bruce Jenner is a male, Rachel Dolezal is white, and John Doe is not a spotted owl. But that's not how progressive society recognizes them, at least not with Jenner. They are recognized according to how they WISH to be identified.

Restated, the question that emerges from all this is as follows:

Should society treat people as they physically are, or as they psychologically WISH to be? In other words, where does freedom to choose collide with the absurd?
I don't know about you, but I think we've already passed that point of absurdity...
In other words, reality now has no meaning because what we're being taught is that there is no objective reality when it comes to people, gender, races and beings. You can decide to be a unicorn, if you want, and who can argue with that? Just don't forget to wear your giant horn. And yes, it's a rainbow-colored strap-on.

This discussion brings up all sorts of important practical questions for society. If people can self-identify their own gender and race, then it becomes immediately obvious that all white people can apply for college scholarships by self-identifying as African-Americans, for example. I'm not condoning this -- the very idea is ludicrous -- yet it's where we now find ourselves in a society that believes everybody can "choose" to be whatever they want to be, despite what they really are.
That's it in a nutshell - "reality now has no meaning."

All this philosophizing has made me thirsty. I think I'll self-identify with several Shiners...

Monday, May 23, 2016

Final Thoughts

Want to leave more money to your heirs? Want to help save the planet? If the answer to one or both of those questions is "Yes" here's an idea for you.

Save Money On A Funeral With A Rental Casket
A rental casket is a good cost-saving option if you want to have a traditional casket at a viewing or funeral but don't want to purchase a casket.

A rental casket is a casket that has a removable interior. The body is placed in a simple wooden box and the box is placed inside the casket, giving the appearance that the body is actually in the casket. In fact, the body never touches the casket, and the wooden box is easily removed after the service. The body can then be buried or cremated in the simple wooden box, and the funeral home can re-use the rental casket.

Purchasing a casket can be a major expense, and many people either don't have the means to pay for a casket or would prefer not to spend such a large sum of money. Using a rental casket can also be seen as an environmentally friendly option, as the rental casket is re-used many times, as opposed to a traditional casket, which is used only once.
Of course, if you're one of those people who don't care what happens after you're gone then you can go ahead and blow a bundle of cash on a fancy casket. But this idea makes a lot of sense to me.

However, if you decide that the rent-a-casket route isn't for you, here's some alternatives.

You might be interested in a used casket.

If you're a 'classic car' fan you might enjoy this model.

There's even a pin-up calendar put out by a casket company.

Finally, always leave 'em laughing...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Funnies 2016.05.22

I apologize for the scatological source of these jokes, but when I ran across this website I found the jokes compelling funny. I hope you do as well.

Many more at the source...

* * *

How does Moses make his tea?
Hebrews it.
I’m serious. That Israeli how he does it.

* * *

Burnt my Hawaiian pizza today.
Should have put it on aloha setting.

* * *

A man on a tractor just drove past me shouting “The end of the world is nigh!!”
I think it was Farmer Geddon.

* * *

I'm organizing a charity event for people that struggle to reach orgasm.
Let me know if you can’t come.

* * *
Why did the blind lady fall into a well?
Because she couldn't see that well.

* * *

Me: Doctor you’ve got to help me, I’m addicted to Twitter.
Doctor: I don’t follow you.

* * *

Why can't you hear a pterodactyl using the bathroom?
Because the P is silent.

* * *

My doctor wrote me a prescription for daily sex.
But my wife insists it says dyslexia.

* * *

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wild Animal Undies

Ladies, if you want to make your man feel like a wild animal, here's some underwear that will do the trick.

No, I'm not making this up. You can really buy these and similar undies. More at the link.

If that's not enough for you, how about a wolf 'sausage warmer'?

  • 3D wolf pattern print underwear make man looks sexy and wild
  • the wide waist design makes a man comfortable - no tight feeling
  • U convex design, large space and breathable
  • High quality material and great handwork, perfect gift to boyfriend or husband
Let me know how this works out for you...

Friday, May 20, 2016

News Of The Absurd 2016.05.20

There's been a spate of weird news stories lately. For the convenience of my loyal readers (both of you...) I've compiled some of the weirdest. Enjoy.

I think most of us would agree that politicians, as a class, are sleazy crooks. Here's the latest example.

Oops: Virginia congressional candidate leaves porn tabs open on Facebook post
A Virginia congressional candidate (posted) a screengrab on Facebook that happened to display his earlier X-rated browser searches in the upper-left corner of the screen. 
The post published to the Mike Webb for Congress Facebook page included a screen grab with pages “LAYLA RIVERA TIGHT BOOTY” and “IVONE SEXY AMATEUR.”

Speaking of weird and kinky sex, here's a teacher-student tryst story with a twist.

Substitute teacher, student caught in cemetery tryst
A 49-year-old Pennsylvania substitute teacher who had recently served as the head of her Lutheran church’s council was charged Tuesday with institutional sexual assault after she allegedly was caught in a cemetery having sex with a 17-year-old student earlier this month.

Aldinger was in charge of Christian education, worship, music, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School as the council president at St. Paul III Lutheran Church...
I guess that's what they mean by "fallen angel."

This next story sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

A gay black muslim and two gay white guys walk into a bar on Cinco de Mayo...
A Bronx man bashed a gay couple over the head with a chair inside a Chelsea BBQ joint after one of the men smacked him in the face with his purse...
You can't make this stuff up.
Jonathan Snipes, 33, and boyfriend Ethan Adams, 25, were drinking margaritas at Dallas BBQ when Snipes learned in a message that his uncle was ill...

“He started displaying his emotions, speaking loudly and Ethan was grabbing his arm and begging him not to leave,” (ADA Leah Saxtein) said.

Snipes got up to go home and knocked over his margarita and allegedly overheard El-Amin mumble, “F—-ts over there spilling their drinks.”

A soused Snipes marched over to El-Amin’s table and blurted, “What did you call us? You don’t know us” then smacked him with a “soft, small purse,” Saxtein said.

A hulking 6-foot-5, 260-pound El-Amin hit and kicked Snipes then stood up and tossed him on the floor.

“The defendant lifted his large size foot and stomped on Mr. Snipes’ head,” the prosecutor said.

“Mr Snipes is tiny. Unfortunately, his mouth isn’t, and he continued to scream,” she said.
The district attorney just said a gay guy has a big mouth. Insert your own joke here.
El-Amin became angrier and angrier, and ... picked up a wooden chair and smashed it over their heads.

Defense lawyer Percy Diego Gayanilo said that El-Amin not only is gay but has been active in the LGBT community for more than 19 years.

He insisted that his client had not used a homophobic slur. He argued that El-Amin had simply acted in self defense after Snipes’ wild provocations.

The two so-called victims had been drinking for nearly 7 hours and “their judgement was impaired,” Gayanilo told jurors.
The accused is black, gay, and a muslim. That's three protected classes right there. The victims, although gay, are also white. That cancels out their gayness. My bet is that El-Amin beats the rap.

Finally, we close with my favorite of the bunch.

Woman’s obituary says she died rather than vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump
A Virginia woman is being spared having to vote for a candidate she didn’t like in the 2016 presidential election — because she’s dead.

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68,” her obituary, published in Tuesday’s Richmond Times Dispatch, reads.

Noland, you could say, was feeling the urn.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


During my short stay in the U.S. Army I was a proud member of the 2nd Armored Division. As a former tanker, I was appalled to come across this story.

In NATO tank competition, U.S. comes up short
Six NATO countries squared off last week in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, a two-day competition that pitted some of the alliance’s best tank crews against each another in a series of events centered on armored warfare.

The challenge, which concluded Thursday and was held in Grafenwoehr, Germany, was the first of its kind there since 1991. The competition was designed to foster “military partnership” while showcasing the ability of NATO countries to work together...

Germany took top honors in the competition, followed by Denmark and Poland in second place and third place respectively.

The challenge featured seven tank platoons in total. Denmark, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Poland all competed with one platoon, while the United States sent two. Each platoon included four tanks manned by four men. Germany took the gold in its Leopard 2A6 tanks, while the U.S. Army in the M1A2 Abrams didn’t place. (emphasis added)
Holy Crap! We didn't even beat the damn Polaks!?!

FWIW, my heritage is Polish. I love Polish jokes. For example:
Why don't Polish women use vibrators?

They chip their teeth...
Anyway, the bottom line is that the U.S. military is being castrated. Forget about who pees where. This is ... well, words fail me...

Can you say "Distraction...?"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Another One Bites The Dust

I came of age in Austin during the 1970s. It was a magical time - before liberals ruined the place - a time of hippies and rednecks mingling freely and happily; the genesis of the long haired country boy. One of the things that made it such a special time was the music. A melding of folk, country, and rock, played in places like the Armadillo World Headquarters, Soap Creek Salon, and the Broken Spoke. The performers from those days aren't household names, with the exception of Willie Nelson. But we grooved to the sounds of Doug Sahm, Billy Joe Shaver, Jerry Jeff Walker, Marcia Ball, Alvin Crow, and many, many others.

One of my favorites was Guy Clark. Sadly, he died yesterday.
Guy Charles Clark,  the gravel-voiced troubadour who crafted a vast catalog of emotionally charged, intricately detailed works that illuminated and expanded the literary possibilities of popular song, died in Nashville Tuesday morning after a long illness.

Born in Monahans, Texas on Nov. 6, 1941, and raised in the Lone Star State, Mr. Clark was a Nashville songwriting fixture for more than 40 years.

His songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Bobby Bare, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and legions of others.

“The patron saint of an entire generation of bohemian pickers, Guy Clark has become an emblem of artistic integrity, quiet dignity and simple truth,” wrote Robert K. Oermann in the 1995 liner notes to Clark’s “Craftsman” collection.

“I’d play ‘The Red River Valley,’ and he’d sit in the kitchen and cry,” begins “Desperados Waiting for the Train,” a song about a young boy’s friendship with a grandfatherly old cuss. “Run his fingers through 70 years of living, and wonder, ‘Lord, has every well I’ve drilled run dry.’”

Another of his classics, “That Old Time Feeling,” opened with the lines, “That old time feeling goes sneaking down the hall, like an old grey cat in winter, keepin’ close to the wall.”

Both “Desperados” and “That Old Time Feeling” were featured on Mr. Clark’s debut album in 1975, “Old No. 1..."

Mr. Clark, the son of a lawyer, was raised in dusty west Texas and moved to the Gulf Coast town of Rockport, Texas, at 16.

In the late 1960s, he headed to Houston, where he played Bob Dylan-inspired folk music on a club circuit that included contemporaries Van Zandt and Eric Taylor as well as blues legends Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb.

Mr. Clark spent time in San Francisco and Los Angeles, inspiring later songs “Madonna w/ Child ca. 1969” and “L.A. Freeway...”

Jerry Jeff Walker recorded “L.A. Freeway” for a 1972 album, and “Desperados Waiting for the Train” the following year, and Mr. Clark garnered a reputation for uncommon poetic perception.

By the time “Old No. 1” released, Mr. Clark was a local icon, an arbiter of taste and song sensibility, and a vodka-fueled sage. He maintained each of these reputations throughout the remainder of his life.
"a vodka-fueled sage" - That's one hell of an epitaph.

He influenced later generations of songwriters, as evidenced by this tribute from Robert Earl Keene.

I enjoyed so many of his songs it's hard to single out a favorite or two, but here's a couple I particularly enjoyed. The videos aren't much to look at, but the music is sublime. Crank up the volume, pay attention to the lyrics, and raise a glass to Guy Clark, singer/songwriter extraordinaire.

Guy Clark - RIP, brother...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

1911s In The News

I 'm a big fan of the 1911 model pistol. I also am a big fan of Springfield Armory products (I have no financial interest in the company - I just think they produce a quality line of firearms. I also happen to own a Springfield 1911, in .45 ACP, of course.) And I respect and admire Christ Kyle. So I read with interest this announcement.

Springfield Armory Released Limited Edition Chris Kyle 1911
Springfield Armory announced earlier this week that it will be honoring the memory of famed US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle with a limited run of 1911 TRP pistols collectively called the Legend Series. Kyle, who is perhaps better known for his expertise with rifles, carried a Springfield Armory TRP on occasion and counted the pistol among his preferred favorites, even reminiscing about it briefly in his best-selling book American Sniper.

Some of the favoritism may be due to the fact that the gun possibly saved his life.

“In 2004, I brought over a Springfield [Armory] TRP Operator, which used a .45 caliber round. It had a 1911 body style, with custom grips and a rail system that let me add a light and laser combo,” Kyle wrote. “Black, it had a bull barrel and was an excellent gun – until it took a frag for me in Fallujah. I was actually able to get it repaired – those Springfields are tough.”

Kyle, often recognized as deadliest sniper in US military history, was also an avid firearm enthusiast. While he was more often associated with the .300 Winchester Magnum M24 and later on, the Magnum Accuracy International, Kyle also was a fair shot on the pistol course and had previously earned an expert Pistol Marksmanship Medal, the highest decoration that one could receive for weapons qualification. Kyle especially preferred 1911-style pistols for shooting.

Each handgun in the Legend Series will be laser engraved with a unique serial number and comes with a customized mahogany case, certificate of authenticity, and silver Chris Kyle challenge coin. In addition, the firearm will also be issued with a memorial copy of American Sniper, signed by his wife Taya Kyle. Only 1,000 of the pistols will be produced.
The MSRP of the pistols is expected to be $2,499, and a portion of each sale will be donated to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Taya Kyle to assist military families.

Now if I could just come up with $2500 I don't need...

In other 1911-related news:
A vintage pistol that was once owned by legendary performer Sammy Davis Jr. was among 791 guns that the Los Angeles Police Department collected during a weekend gun buyback program, officials said.

The Rat Pack member’s 1911 .45-caliber pistol was one of the weapons turned in for Ralphs grocery store gift cards during the events held in Mission Hills and South Los Angeles.

No details were available about who donated the gun or its origins because the program is anonymous...

Boy, I bet there's a great story behind how that particular 1911 ended up in the gun buyback program. I wonder if whoever turned it in knew what he had.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Well, We Wanted The Government To Be Run Like A Business

One of the undoubted reasons behind the improbable rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Saunders is that many of us have become totally fed up with how the political establishment goes to great lengths to feather its own nest, while at the same time giving the rest of us a royal screwing.

Here's the latest example.

Congress Declares Itself a Small Business in order to Qualify for Obamacare Subsidies

No, that's not a joke. Read on for the disgusting details.

Remember way back when, when obamacare was being debated, that there was a large outcry when it became apparent that Congress had exempted itself and its employees? In response, Congress removed itself from its existing health insurance coverage - the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program - and required members of Congress and staff to enroll in the new health insurance exchange system.

But then they discovered the flaws in obamacare (remember "We have to pass the bill so we can find out what's in it"?). The chief one that affected Congress was the cost.
Obamacare’s insurance subsidies for ordinary Americans are generous, but capped by income. No one with an annual income over $47,080 gets a subsidy. That’s well below typical Capitol Hill salaries. Members of Congress make $174,000 annually, and many on their staff have impressive, upper-middle-class paychecks.
That's bad enough. What followed is even worse.

Below is a history of how our elected representatives assholes have tried to circumvent the same rules they shoved down our throats. It will no doubt sicken and disgust you, but shouldn't surprise anyone who has been paying attention.
Act One—Congress Has a Panic Attack

Realizing what they had done, congressional leaders sought desperately to get fatter taxpayer subsidies in the Obamacare exchange system. In a nutshell, they wanted special funding unavailable to other Americans. The standard excuse was that, without a special “sweetener,” a Capitol Hill “brain drain” would ensue; the best and brightest would flee to the private sector to get more affordable employment-based coverage.

From 2010 to 2013, House and Senate leaders schemed to get extra taxpayer subsidies—past “the Tea Party rabble”—without a lot of noise, and secure a nice, quiet “administrative” remedy from the Obama administration.

Their hopes centered on a compliant Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency that administers the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, providing the unauthorized relief. No recorded votes. No ugly floor fights.

Act Two—Congress Gets Taxpayers’ Money Without Appropriating It

(In 2013, outsiders pointed out) that neither the Affordable Care Act nor Chapter 89 of Title V (the law governing the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program) authorized the transfer of monies in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program trust fund for use in health plans outside of the program.

(Furthermore, obamacare exchanges) are only open to individuals and small employers. No large employers can participate in the exchange... There is no provision, therefore for large employers, including the largest—the United States government—to pay for exchange coverage... “OPM initially ruled that lawmakers and staffers couldn’t receive the subsidies once they went into the exchanges.”

But, at a July 31 closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats, President Barack Obama had promised he would “fix” the mess they made of their health coverage. 
So, on Aug. 7, 2013, just as Congress was getting out of town for the August recess, the Office of Personnel Management ruled that members of Congress and staff enrolled in the exchange program would get Federal Employees Health Benefits Program subsidies, even though they were no longer in the program.

Act Three—Congress Magically Becomes a Small Business
In a second iteration of its rule-making, the Office of Personnel Management declared that Congress and staff were eligible to enroll in the Washington, D.C., “SHOP” Exchange, a health insurance exchange reserved for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The exchange offers special insurance subsidies to participating small businesses.

The problem was, of course, that Congress is not a “small business,” at least under any clinically sane definition of the term, and no section of the Affordable Care Act provided for any congressional exemption from the ban on large employer participation in the SHOP exchanges. It’s hard to imagine a more arbitrary ruling.

Act Four—Congressional Bureaucrats File False Paperwork

In filing to get the special insurance subsidies for enrolling lawmakers and their staff members in the D.C. “SHOP” Exchange, congressional officials claimed that the Senate and House each had only 45 employees. That false information allowed both chambers to meet the magic number requirement.

In Feb. 2015, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Senate’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, attempted to subpoena these un-redacted documents, only to be stymied by all nine committee Democrats and five Republicans.
But thanks to those pesky outsiders - notice the recurring theme here - the truth was uncovered.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that unnamed officials who administer benefits for Congress made clearly false statements when they applied to have the House and Senate participate in D.C.’s ‘SHOP’ Exchange for 2014. Notably, they claimed the 435-member House had only 45 members and 45 staffers, while the 100-member Senate had only 45 employees total. Rather than a good faith clerical error, this was an intentional falsehood, which makes it a crime under both federal and D.C. law.
Of course, nothing much will come of this. How many government insiders were prosecuted for the Fast and Furious gunrunning debacle, or the IRS selective prosecution of conservative organizations, or the four dead Americans in Benghazi, or the use of private unsecured email servers for transmission of classified information, or ... well, you get the idea.

It's reached the point where Congress can, with a straight face, declare itself a small business, and no one bats an eye.

I weep for my once-great country.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Funnies 2016.05.15

Our kids are home from college for the summer - or at least for part of the summer. They'll be coming and going according to the demands of summer classes, internships, and of course, 'educational' weekend trips and outings. In fact, daughter dearest just left ... to attend a concert ... in Austin, which is about 80 miles NE of us. I shudder to think what she's learning there.

Anyway, you might be a college student:
If you have ever price shopped for Ramen noodles.
If you live in a house with three couches, none of which match.
If you consider Mac and Cheese a balanced meal.
If your underwear supply dictates the time between laundry loads.
If you have ever had to justify buying Natural Light.
If your trash can is overflowing and your bank account isn't.
If your idea of "doing your hair" is putting on a baseball cap.
If you get more sleep in class than in your room.
If you consider McDonald's "real food."
If you know the pizza delivery guy by name.
If your weekend begins Thursday afternoon and ends Monday morning.
You might be the parent of a college student if:
Your potted plants stay alive.
You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to sleep.
You hear your favorite song on the elevator at work.
You carry an umbrella.
You watch the Weather Channel.
Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.
You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
You're the one calling the police because those damn kids next door don't know how to turn down the stereo.
Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
MTV News is no longer your primary source of information.
You go to the drugstore for ibuprofen and antacids, not condoms and pregnancy test kits.
A $4 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
"I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."
You don't get liquored up at home to save money before going to a bar.
Things I tell my college-age kids:
Don't major in astronomy. You'll just be taking up space.
Your grade in Marine Biology better be above sea-level.
Home is like college, except the lectures are free.

My wife treats the kids like royalty when they get home, especially when it comes to fixing their favorite foods...

... but they're in for a shock once they finally graduate.