Monday, February 27, 2006


Charity is a good thing.

I tend to prefer Dad's way of charity, finding someone who needs something, and giving them a helping hand, rather than throwing money at some organization where who knows where that money will end up.

Lisa and I undertook a couple of those activities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, before Rita hit (in fact, I wound up driving home through Rita because we took a little too long getting all our ducks in a row).

Oprah Winfrey is building houses in Houston for displaced refugees from New Orleans. On the face of it, it seems to be a good charity project. Lisa and I may go help build houses there one weekend this spring. We'll keep you posted :)

On a political note: The more that average folks like us undertake charity work, as we're able (right now, Lisa and I can't spare a lot of $$, but we could take a weekend to go help), the less traction there is for the government to step in and say "We need to help these people, and your taxes are going to go up to cover it".

People help people FAR better than the FedGov can help people. Pay attention for a chance to help, and when you see one, do it. Then tell the Federal Government to shut the hell up. Beuracracies soak up money and time, both of which are precious resources; individuals can put the money and time where they'll do the most good.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Today is Eight Months

... Since Daddy died.

I'm doing better since starting this blog and writing, not keeping so much pent up inside.

The doggies are doing fine... Not exacly the way they were used to, but they've adapted well.

The Garage is being heavily utilized... I think you'd like that, since we can't keep you up late at night now.

And as I'm sure you've noticed, your third grandson, and my second nephew, was born last week. He and your daughter are doing fine; please make sure Taylor notices his newest cousin. Also please make sure Adam Plumondore is teaching Taylor to salute properly, and then roll up his sleeves as soon as God|Angel|Officer's back is turned.

Daddy, I love you and miss you,

50 Years Ago: The Beginning of the End

Khrushchev started it, although he probably didn't realize he was doing it. But by telling the truth, he illustrated clearly that communism, and socialism, are by definition a ruling elite lying to the "lower classes". Thus beginning the downfall of the Soviet Union.

Go Read.

It sickens me that even today, we have people (and I use that term loosely) here in the United States that advocate this form of government.

It also sickens me, that as much as I despise them and what they say, in order to be true to my principles I can't shoot them for saying it, and in fact, must defend their right to say it. But I sure as hell won't link to them.

However, I'll take it. I defend the rights of the commie bastards here in the US to say what they want, so I can defend the right of the right-thinking folks to say what they want, without the government being allowed to silence them.

As has been said more than once recently: "You either have free speech, or you don't. There's no middle ground".

Or, as Christ said, (paraphrasing), "Be hot, or be cold. If you're lukewarm, I'll spit you out".

Emporer Misha Nails It

Not that that's an unusal thing, but this is better than even his norm.

Money quote:

Denmark’s largest daily was honoured with the Victor Prize for “having opened everyone’s eyes by showing how easy it is to introduce cracks in freedom of expression and how so-called political correctness is infiltrating what we believe to be inalienable rights,” Hans Engell, the editor of tabloid Ekstra Bladet which awards the prize, said during a prize ceremony in Copenhagen late on Thursday.

Yeah, you read that right. Freedom (of anything) is fragile, and should be guarded with utmost jealosy. And "Political Correctness" is a direct assault on what is right and true.

Go read the whole thing, and follow the links, and see how the New York Slimes was one of Stalin's biggest fans. Almost amazing, how consistent they've been over the past 75 years.

Coming Up

Dad was QUITE the shutterbug, and I've been spending quite a bit of time going through pictures he had squirrled away in different places.

LOTS of pictures.

Did I say "LOTS"? A more accurate term might be "cubic fuckload". (Sorry about not keeping that part family-friendly, but family: you'll be seeing these, and it's gonna take a while!)

Anyway, once I create or gain access to a functional scanner, I'll have some honest-to-God OLD-SCHOOL posts about:

1: Wrench-spinning - I got started at an early age
2: Gunblogging - again, Dad started me off young, and
3: Critterblogging - Gretchen, the first dog I truly loved.

Hilarious... or Depressing.

Go read this.

A formerly-homeless artist, handing out 10-dollar bills to "the homeless" (aka, anybody who shows up) in what may be the homeless capitol of America (Due to the city gummit's coddling of them).

So-called artist gets spooked when the crowd of 500 is there waiting on him, and leaves without passing out free money.

What the hell did he expect? I'm surprised it was ONLY 500.

Note, he did the same thing on Wednesday and Thursday - Friday was The Big Letdown for Leeches (tm).

My favorite (stomach-turning) quote:

The Thursday crowd "was peaceful," he said. "Today, it just got a little out of control. There's so many people, and now they're upset they're not going to get their money."

"Their Money". Think about that. The 'he' in the above quote is Sgt. Anthony Manfreda, a San Francisco police sergeant.

"Their Money". In the mind of Sgt. Manfreda, Joe Canada walked off with money that BELONGED to the "pore and starvin". I'm surprised he didn't arrest him for theft.

"Their Money". This is what the entitlement mindset gets you.

Remember, folks, the world don't owe you a damn thing. You're BORROWING the space you take up. It's up to YOU to make the most of it.

It really bothers me that this is the city my LilSis, Bro-in-Law, and my two nephews are living in.

Bro-in-Law, please work on getting a contract here in Dallas/Fort Worth, or anywhere in Texas for that matter. I'd love to see all of you more often, and would worry about you a lot less. Not to mention, I miss all of you!

Friday, February 24, 2006

I'm Finally A Curmudgeon!

Well, fine then.

Actually, I think it's kinda cool. First time I've ever had a post in a Carnival, and I didn't even send it in. Thanks Rivrdog!

New Project

I need another project like I need another hole in my head. But, there's a new one I'm working on over at Paratus.

Yeah... the guy who forgets to eat, sometimes as much as a day at a time, is now a Food Editor. Crazy, huh?

Actually, it was my idea - I'm going to be testing out various foods that are designed to be stored long-term without refrigeration, as well as old tried-and-true meals that can be altered so as not to need any refrigerated ingredients.

Purpose? To know what Lisa and I like, and make sure we have plenty of it. Whether it's necessary due to a weather emergency, job loss, extended power outage, bird flu, or any other situation with disastrous consequences, knowing we've got plenty to eat will be one less thing to worry about. And that's always good, right?

Rivrdog graciously agreed to host this series of articles, as it ties right into the theme of Paratus, and hopefully will be informative to a few more people over there than it would be here. So go read, and while you're there, send some good wishes to Rivrdog - he ain't feelin' so hot these days, and on his vacation, of all times.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Chick!

My lovely and talented wife, Lisa, wrote her inaugural blog post tonight on her own blog. Hopefully she'll show her gorgeous face around these parts once in a while too.

Go read... it's a little more about US than is my normal fare, and it's good.

With any luck, she'll discover before too long that she has to change that "futuremommy" to "presentmommy", or something similar.

[edit] And yeah, it's pink. VERY pink. You've been warned, put your sunglasses on.[/edit]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Happiness is...


Lots and lots of ammo.

Brother Dave brought me 1000 rounds of .30 Carbine tonight that he had picked up for me a couple of weekends ago at a gun show.

Combined with what's in my safe, that'll be enough to finish function-testing the rest of the magazines I bought at the last gunshow Lisa and I went to, and still have plenty of ammo left over.

No promises, but I'll try to get a pic up this weekend of that handy little M-1 Carbine that Lisa likes to shoot so well, and has been a favorite of mine since Dad bought it back in the late '70s.

Interesting thing that just occurred to me... Lisa's favorite guns (pistol and rifle) are both guns we inherited from Dad. The M-1 Carbine is the only rifle we own (other than the .22s) that doesn't kick too hard for her, and the Ruger 9mm P-85 is the one she aced her CHL course with (246 out of 250, as a relatively new shooter!). It was borrowed from Dad when she took the test, but now it's hers.

Anyway... plenty, and then some, is always good when it comes to ammo. Now to find room for it in the safe....

Something's Brewing Here...

Or more accurately, something's fermenting here.

Inspired by The Skipper, I asked Lisa for a Mr. Beer kit for Valentine's Day, and of course, being the Angel that she is, that's exactly what I got.

Tonight I finally got around to brewing up my first batch - something simple, a West Coast Pale Ale. Brother Dave came by while I was sanitizing everything, to deliver some ammo he and Brother Bud picked up for me at a gun show a couple of weekends ago. He hung out in the kitchen with me while we worked our way through all the directions, and left right after I added the yeast.

Hopefully this'll turn out to be good! It needs to ferment for a week, then it gets bottled and carbonates naturally for another week. So in about two weeks, I should have a report ready...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Note to local radio station KTYS:

Playing Alan Jackson's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" while most everybody is DRIVING TO WORK is NOT FUNNY.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Takes a lot more willpower than dieting.


As I've posted before, Lisa is KICKING ASS at the gym... she's working hard.

I didn't use to hate working out - when I was at the top of my distance-running game in High School, it was not uncommon for me to run 5-6 hours every day after class. I probably ran about as much daily as I drive to work now (about 18 miles).

Ahh well... back then I could run a 4:44 mile, and 10:44 2-mile, in the same day (did it, and have the medals to back them up). Now I drink and smoke too much to even imagine something like that.

But I'll do Lisa's crunches with her. I'll also stretch with her, when she comes home sore from the gym. Stretching is something I know pretty well, and can help her with.

I'm pretty damn proud of the work she's doing to get into good shape. And I'll be doing everything I can to make it easier on her here at home.

Weight Watchers diet, plus busting her ass at the gym, means it probably won't be too long before I report here that we're expecting again :)

David Gregory, I Revoke My Proxy

Go read.

But, hey Dave, c'mon down here to Fort Worth. We can go hunting!

Hell, I'll even go one better than the Veep, and make sure I've got the right stamp on my license!

(How much is a stamp for "idiotic press corps" anyway?)

And if you want a prime example of someone better qualified to act in my interests, scroll down four or so posts.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


... is really not that hard.

IF, and that's a big IF, you are serious about it, and plan to succeed.

I'm now convinced it's all about planning.

Lisa and I have both done the Atkins diet in the past, with good success. Due to a lack of a gall bladder, Lisa can't really do Atkins anymore, which is why she's doing Weight Watchers now. Planning meals, counting points, etc.

BTW - I didn't know this before, so probably at least some of the 5-10 people who read this blog didn't either - WW counts points, not calories. Points are determined (best I can tell) by the overall content of the food - calories, fat content, nutrition, etc. I'm not sure of the formula, but I can work with the points ok to take care of Lisa's meals.

Now, to illustrate that a diet isn't hard, if you do something reasonable: We had Hamburger Helper for dinner tonight. Yeah, not real healthy, but we'd been busy all day, and were both too tired and too hungry to spend a LOT of time making a "diet" dinner. So, HH made with 92/08 ground beef, some vegetables, and some bread with low-fat margarine, FILLED LISA UP - to the point where she didn't finish what she'd put on her plate. And only cost a fraction of her allotted points for today.

With a little forethought (mainly having vegetables on hand to eat, and having 92% lean/ 08% fat ground beef in the freezer), we made what's normally considered to be an unhealthy, fattening meal into something healthy, and that fit into a weight-loss framework. Not to mention very easy, and quite tasty!

Tonight, Lisa's diet took ZERO willpower - she ate until she was FULL. NO deprivation at all.

Instead of using willpower to eat less than what she wanted, we used a little advance planning, to make sure we had plenty of GOOD food for her to eat, so she ate all she wanted, and still ate less points (WW-wise) than she was allowed. She finished dinner full and satisfied, but it was GOOD food that she filled up on.

Then, after dinner had settled, she did 50 crunches and I did 50 sit-ups. Ugh, on both our parts. But they're good for us.

Anyway, the point of this post is, we didn't do anything extraordinary tonight. We spent a little bit more for a pound of lean ground beef instead of the cheapest stuff, and spent a little bit of money for some fresh vegetables. Then we both ate until we were FULL. Not a bit of limiting our portions; in fact, like I said, Lisa wound up putting some back because she couldn't finish what was on her plate. I'll be taking some of that for lunch this week as leftovers.

Then a little bit of light excercise, nothing major.

This won't result in 20 pounds loss in two weeks, or any other miracle claim. But this kind of eating and activity, over time, WILL get the results we want (hell, I may even drop the few extra pounds I'm carrying around also).

Not through deprivation or starvation, or Herculean effort of will, but just by some common sense and planning ahead. With a little bit of help from Weight Watchers quantifying nutritional information into a points system.

I wish this was surprising...

Cops are "bullies with badges" on the other side of the Pond, too? Say it ain't so!

I quit looking up to cops about the same time my best friend's Dad retired from the force.

[edit] That was also about the time it became REAL popular for cops to start acting like wannabe Delta Force/SEALs.

Cops playing Special Forces ain't cool. Cops are supposed to enforce laws, Special Forces are supposed to ensure military victory. Two VERY different missions. [/edit]

As they say, call 911 and report a home invasion, then call Domino's and order a pizza. See who gets there first, and who's more courteous when they arrive.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Self-Sustaining Exothermic Reaction

Also known as Fire.

Dad's house has an auxilliary propane furnace, but it's not very efficient. Mostly good for warming things up on slightly chilly days.

The workhorse source of heat is a wood-burning stove in the living room. NOT a fireplace - this is Ben Franklin's idea, carried forward about 200 years.

Cast iron firebox, surrounded by a thick sheetmetal shell, with a fan that blows air across the firebox, and out the vents in the shell.

And I'm here to tell ya, that thing can pump out some HEAT!

The kind of heat that will get your jeans so hot it hurts to move.

It's also very efficient. Since it's not a fireplace, it is possible to almost completely control the airflow into it. Get a good bed of coals, put in a couple of good heavy, dense logs, and starve it for air, and the thing will still be putting out heat 15 hours later.

We're dealing with low-30 degree temps tonight - that would run the propane furnace almost nonstop. And propane is now expensive!

So I spent a couple of hours at Dad's tonight, building and banking a good fire. The house got SO cozy... and while central heat keeps everything nice and comfy, there's nothing like getting up close to a woodstove when you're cold, and having it chase every chill out of your entire body.

Critterblogging, Vol. 2

Well, Og is apparently fed up with cats on blogs, so I won't subject him to another picture of Rascal (who, by the way, lived up to his name in SPADES last night).

Instead, here's one of my canine four-footed companions:

Lucky is one of the dogs I inherited from Dad. She's about 12 years old, I think - hard to tell since she was a stray. A Very Lucky stray (thus the name).

You see, Lucky had heartworms when she noticed the pawprint on Dad's gate that said "Dogs are safe and well-cared for here". After she impressed Dad with her intelligence and attention in near-record time, he took her to be spayed and get her checkup and shots - and when he found out about the heartworms, agreed to have them taken care of.

Now, killing heartworms is easy. Doing so without killing the dog is the hard (and thus potentially expensive) part. Once the heartworms die, there's a big chunk of dead worms in the dog's heart. Decomposing dead worms. Artery-choking, deadly, dead worms.

The dog has to be kept calm and confined for something like six weeks (iirc) and her heartrate kept from becoming elevated until the body has had time to pass the decomposing worms out. If the dog gets her heartrate up, it's likely to wash a chunk of worm carcasses out into the bloodstream and kill the dog.

Dad paid $1200 to take care of Lucky's heartworms. Within a few years, he reckoned they were even.

Right now she's looking at me as if I owe her money. Oh, duh - it's dinnertime, and she knows it. Better get to that.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Other Dad

This one's been percolating in my brain since Tuesday.

If you've been following this blog, you know it's title comes from my Dad, who died last summer, and the garage we built just a couple of years ago which he left to me.

I haven't mentioned my other Dad, but I think I should, mainly because he deserves it, and also to avoid confusion in the future.

My StepDad married Mom when I was eleven - if there's a worse time to become an authority figure in a boy's life, I'm not sure what it is. StepDad and I butted heads pretty regularly for the next seven years, not because he was a bad parent - far from it! - but because I was a typical teenager, headstrong, who always KNEW I was right. Just ask me! And Mom and StepDad were good Parents - I didn't get away with that shit. Which would be one of the leading reasons I've never spent a night in jail, much less any time in prison, or worse. In other words, while I ain't perfect, I at least got a good start on life, due in no small part to how Mom and StepDad raised me. The same can be said for our "Brady Bunch" family - a son and a daughter from each of them when they got married, and then one, my youngest brother, they had together - and none of us has spent any time in prison, or even a night in jail that I know of, and we're all successful in our chosen lives.

Anyway, in the interest of clarity, I will in the future continue to refer to the Dad I share DNA with as "Dad", and the Dad who put up with my dumb teenage ass for seven years, and still managed to do a good job being a positive father figure (and not killing me) as StepDad.

I hope I've explained that well enough, but just in case:

StepDad is in no way meant to be derogatory, or a "lesser" name than Dad. Although we didn't get along well for many years, that was due to my being a teenage asshole. After I grew up, and grew a little bit of good sense, we have gotten along well as two men who respect each other.

There's also the little thing about StepDad being married to my Mom for nearly 25 years now (damn, that makes me feel old!) and making her, in her words, very happy. Even if I didn't love or even like Stepdad (which, now that I'm grown up I do, and have for a good 15 years now), that's something that would have my respect and gratitude.

If I get an ok, I'll start using StepDad's given name. If he wants me to.

Otherwise, I'll keep using Dad and StepDad, just so you readers will be clear who I'm talking about. Don't any of you dare think, though, that the STEP part is in any way a derogative.

BTW... the reason I started thinking about this on Tuesday, is because it was StepDad who called first to tell me I was a new Uncle. Mom is with Lil'sis, StepDad will be joining her in the next few days (if he hasn't already - I wasn't clear on the travel dates).

Anyway... thanks Mom, thanks Dad, thanks StepDad... you all did a damn fine job raising kids. My f*ckups are entirely my own; no shrinks will get any money out of me trying to figure out that my parents, all three of you, are to blame for my problems.

Texas Weather

"If you don't like it, wait a bit; it'll change."

Pretty good example of that right now. Today's high was supposed to be 80F, and I think officially it was right about there. The thermometer in my truck hit 89 on my way home from Plano this afternoon - I actually had to run the AC for a little while, when crosswinds made me roll up the windows.

Right now, about two hours after sunset, I'd guess it's in the mid-60s, windy, and dropping fast.

The high tomorrow is supposed to be 40F. That's right - a 40-degree difference in daytime highs, from one day to the next. I'm not sure that today's LOW was as low as 40 degrees. And that will be tomorrow's HIGH.

Have I mentioned that I HATE cold weather? And to all you Northerners - yeah, I'm a Texan, and 40 and windy is friggen COLD! Think I'm a wuss? Come cut, haul, and stack firewood with me this August. I'll even pay for the medical care when you pass out from the heat.

Oh well... guess I have to take the bad with the good... it was nice being able to walk around in shirtsleeves the past two days, in the middle of February :)

I think I'm about to head over to Dad's, do a bit more packing in the house while I get a good fire going in the woodstove so not too much propane gets burned overnight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

One Year Ago Today

As Kim said, "Catastrophe".

"Walter and Adam" were two snipers who we in the Nation of Riflemen were supporting - initially with some new (and apparently sorely-needed) equipment, and after they deployed to Mosul, Iraq, with care packages.

Adam was killed by a car bomb while on patrol a year ago.

Here are more postings illustrating the impact this tremendous young man had on people who knew him, and even on people like me, who only knew OF him:

Paying Respects

Now It's Personal

One Last Thought About Plum

Whom We Mourn

Just in case you think the LTC Kurilla in the above post is some stuffed-shirt Army brass, go read about how he operates.

It so happens that Adam was from the same town as Rivrdog, who also attended Adam's Memorial Service and delivered the wreath from the NoR.

Rivrdog also attended the graveside service on behalf of the rest of the NoR. Please read that touching account, as well as the photo album he has posted.

Stryker Brigade News also has a roundup of news reports and online posts.

Adam, I regret that I never met you when you were alive. Thank you for your sacrifice - we won't forget.


UPDATE: Today, Rivrdog posts "Present Arms", and mentions that he's not linking anything, so as not to try to bump his blog statistics. I thought it worked the other way around, that BEING linked increased statistics, but I'm new to this and very well could be wrong. Anyway, if anyone would rather not follow my links (if that matters at all?), go to as well as , and read their archives for the last half of February and early March from last year. Also, Google for "Adam Plumondore" see what you can find that I missed.

Valentine's Night

Lisa and I had a pretty good evening last night.

All she wanted was the traditional Valentine's stuff - flowers, candy, and dinner out.

I've never done traditional Valentine's well - pushback against the "Hallmark Holiday", I guess.

But since that's what she wanted, that's what she got - a dozen roses, heart-shaped box of candy (that she has to be careful with not to blow her diet - ???), and we had a steak and potato dinner at Outback.

QUITE delicious, and Lisa didn't blow her diet beyond the extra points she's allotted each week, even including cheesecake for dessert! *waits for applause to die down*

I'll take this opportunity to say, Lisa was even more GORGEOUS than usual last night:

Although I need more photography practice, and probably better than a 1-mp camera. That pic does NOT do her justice.

And... the rest of the evening is officially None Of Your Damn Business(tm). :)

Welcome, Boy!

Last night I got a call - medical issue in my family.

We'd been expecting it for a while, but calls like this are never routine.

Fortunately, it wasn't as serious as Insty's situation... although I agree with Glenn, extended families ARE good.

The news? I'm an Uncle, AGAIN!

My sister and brother-in-law are now the proud parents of their SECOND beautiful (taking their word on that - no pics yet, but I'm sure it's true), healthy baby boy!

He was born just after 3pm, Pacific time, at 8 lbs 1 oz. He got a little in a hurry and came arm-first, getting tangled in the umbilical, but everything worked out fine.

Congrats to lil' sis and bro-in-law! Lisa and I should be providing cousins in fairly short order :)

*wanders off smiling to investigate the newest offerings in youth .22 rifles*

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest

Regarding the past couple weeks' flare-up of the Incessantly Indignant over a few artists' renderings, I don't have much to add do the conversation.

But just for the record, I'll say Free Speech is not relative. There is NO SUCH THING as a "right" to never be offended. But there IS such a right with regards to being able to speak one's mind without the government punishing the speaker FOR THE SPEECH.

Now, the Iranian gov't newspaper is trying to be clever and fight back with Holocaust cartoons.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Respond to depictions of a holy prophet with depictions of the murder of millions.

Actually, there might be a bit of insight in there somewhere...

Anyway... using SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is running a campaign to make sure the search phrase "Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest" doesn't give the Iranian state paper the top billing on Google.

Also known as a "Google Bomb".

So here's my few grains of powder (I only have a few readers, after all) to the bomb. Considering I've always sided with America's ally Israel, until recently the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, against terrorists and the states that sponsor them, this is the least I can do.

Especially - and don't forget this - Iran's current leader is one of the terrorists responsible for taking the American Embassy personell hostage back when I was a kid. That camel-botherer can go pound sand as far as I'm concerned.

And they say Americans have short memories...

My Gorgeous

So by now, you should all know that my wife's name is Lisa. And just in case you didn't notice, I love her VERY MUCH.

In fact, the day of our wedding, I forgot everything from the rehersal that we did the night before, and kept trying to say "I DO" at all the wrong times. Interrupting the pastor, etc. Over and over, "I DO". And I STILL DO.

Now, we lost our first son, Taylor, because of an unforseen medical condition with Lisa. Now that we know about it, though, it can be dealt with. Part of dealing with it involves Lisa being on bed rest for about the last 2/3 of the pregnancy. Obviously, this won't do good things for her muscle tone, or her weight, so we have a goal to reach before she gets pregnant again.

And she's busting her ass to get there.

I'm trying to do my part - I hate gyms, so I can't really contribute much there, but on her diet, I'll do whatever it takes. She's on Weight Watchers, which seems to be quite a reasonable diet plan. There's a reason WW has been around for DECADES.

Now, Weight Watchers is all about portion control. And it seems to work. And I told Lisa I'd do whatever I could to help her - same meals, etc. No way am I going to ask her to cook one thing for her dinner, and something else for me.

She thinks this is something special. So do the people she talks to on the WW message boards.

I'm not doing anything special. I'm just doing what I said I would do, and taking care of my family - right now, it's just Lisa, but soon it will be a little one. And then another little one, and then maybe another :)

I love Lisa very much; and I look forward to us having kids. I'll do anything I need to in order to make that a reality. Including eating diet foods with her. She's my Gorgeous, and if all goes well, she'll soon be the mother of my children... in other words, a Goddess. Oh, wait... she already is. After all, she puts up with me!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Lies and Liars

I've seen this too many times.

Sometimes, you might get away with little white lies.

Living a lie, however will ALWAYS catch up to you.

When I started this blog, I had to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to use my real name. Yes, this is no nom de plume, I really AM Aaron Neal.

Using their real names has caused several bloggers a great deal of trouble.

I could impact my future employment prospects.

I could have people threatening to kill me and/or my family.

Or, I could be myself, and stand up and say, "Yes, this is who I am."

In the end, I think a currently-popular Country song helped me make my mind up. It says something I've always believed, and says it very clearly: "It's better to be hated for who you are, than loved for who you're not".

There's a reason I don't say anything specific about work - I could easily cross the line of a company policy that could get me fired.

I like where I work, and would like to stay there a while :)

But when I do, eventually, start looking for another job, it's almost guaranteed that the HR departments where I apply will Google my name. And this blog now shows up on the first page of results if you Google "Aaron Neal". In fact, my user profile is the 3rd hit as of right now.

If I REALLY piss somebody off, and they have any kind of skills in searching, someone could figure out where I live and come to my home uninvited.

*Note to uninvited vistors: In this house, unless we're expecting guests, we answer the door with all precautions in place. Trying to storm the house would be a BAD(tm) idea on your part*.

But that's another story :)

Now, I'm not throwing rocks at ANY bloggers who use a pseudonym to post. Some degree of anonymity is a good thing.

But it's not for me.

I am who I am. Like it, love it, hate it, leave it. It's all up to you.

I try to be fair to everyone... Even the foaming-at-the-mouth Liberals can possibly be redeemed, if they'll just start listening and thinking.

But I'm not going to hide who I am. I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I'm not.

Be careful, please. You honestly don't know crap about someone posting under a screen name. And it's not easy to find anything out about them.

Now, I trust Kim, Chris, and Joe (linked above) pretty well. Writing under their own names gives me an immediate boost in the trust factor. And in fact, I've met Kim, walked around a gunshow with him, and Lisa and I had lunch with him and David Copperfield (yeah, that's a pseudonym I don't have a link for - but he's a British cop who pretty much has to hide the fact that he LIKES guns).

Out of those three (Kim, Chris, and Joe), there is ONE who I'd trust my life to, or trust to protect Lisa... and that's Kim.

Not that I DIStrust Joe or Chris... but I've never met them. I've never seen their body language as they speak. I don't KNOW them.

Now, Kim and I aren't best friends... but I've MET him. I've seen him, face-to-face, spoken, shared a meal... and he IS what he says he is.

And as for anybody posting under a screen name... well, no. I can't even research you. You're a ghost. Now, some of those ghosts are people I'd LIKE to meet face-to-face, like anybody in my blogroll who uses a screen name, but until we meet, there's ZERO real, personal trust.

Anyway... as if this needs to be said, take everything you read on the Internet with a grain of salt. Don't be a sucker.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Parable

This is from Eric S. Raymond's site. In case you don't know who he is, he's one of the Big Guys in open source software. Quite accomplished, and I was pleasantly surprised to find this piece.

Spinnin' Wrenches - Maintenance

Oil-changing party tonight.

Capn'Mo and I left work today and went to the Garage, to change oil in AFLPITA and my Silverado. Lisa joined us later, 'cause her Millenia was due as well.

My boss at work has a serious hatred of Fords. He foolishly bet me a case of beer that Capn'Mo and I would be re-doing the repairs we recently finished within a month.

I think I've got about 3 weeks left before I get some free beer.

Although, he did get REAL excited when he heard Capn'Mo and I talking about meeting at the Garage after work - "Got something else to fix?!?"

Nope, sorry boss, just changin' oil. You're gonna buy me beer yet :)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bitch-slapped by a sonofabitch

Another one I found via Glenn, who gives a tip o' the hat to Austin Bay:

Now, I don't particularly dislike Barack Obama. It's entirely possible that I missed something significant, but the worst I've seen of him is that he was the Filthy Party's golden boy last year, and the MSMidiots couldn't get enough of his face on my TV.

On the other hand, the last "reforms" McCain's name was on is threatening to cause an insurrection. I'm deeply wary of McCain, and anything his name is on.

I'm a slightly-above average sized guy, and not terribly muscular (6'0", about 195lbs), but I promise, that without Secret Service intervention, I could throw McCain a HELL of a lot farther than I trust him. Of course, depending on the scale you're using, anything can be "a hell of a lot farther" than zero.

Not quite sure what to make of this letter, though. If it wasn't made public, I could see it as a pretty serious jab. Publishing it, on the other hand, smells like a publicity stunt to drum up support for whatever "reforms" McCain is working on.

Given McCain's past record on "reforms", I just might have to side with Obama on this one. We'll see.

BTW, just in case it wasn't clear - it'll be a cold day in Hell before McCain gets my vote on anything less solid than "The sun will more than likely rise in the East tomorrow morning". Given that he's the kind of politician who reflects poorly on weasels and rats (or am I being redundant?), it needs that "more than likely" qualifier that you and I can do without.

Critterblogging, Volume One

Stopped at Dad's Garage on my way home from work today. Needed some T-post fencing ties for a fence we're putting around Lisa's rosebed in the backyard (since it gets watered frequently, the dogs have been digging in it for cool spots), as well as a pair of fencing pliers.

And on the way down the rural road to Dad's, I saw a fox. No, not the two-legged kind in a hot Mustang, the four-footed kind like they used to hunt in England.

Never seen one of those around there before.

However, Saturday night, while stopped for beer & cigarettes at the convenience store up the road from Dad's, I DID see a stray dog with a very fox-like build and features. Looked full-grown, but young.

Maybe the local mutts are interbreeding with foxes? I dunno.

Just thought it was interesting.

Here's a picture I just found from about 16 months ago, of our younger cat Rascal (oh, Lord, if we'd only known how appropriate that name would be).

He takes up a lot more room on my shoulder now, but he still likes riding there from time to time :)

Lisa and I have four dogs and two cats - I'll be doing critterblogging again from time to time, sharing the rest of my immediate family with you, my fair readers.

Interesting stuff from Today

Couple of items found via Instapundit:

First, Eugene Volokh, on the importance of mathematics. Read the whole series, and next time somebody rattles of some "x number of y crimes happens every z minutes", fact-check their ass and make sure the numbers add up. The initial report adds up to somewhere in the neighborhood (warning: VERY rough guesstimation) 1.3 rapes per female (including children) per year in the United States.

Now to be fair, that was probably not an outright lie. Much more likely was a mis-reading and/or mis-understanding the original press release.

Of course, the math doesn't add up in the original press release either.

Folks, Left or Right, whatever your personal cause, when you're trying to convince someone of something, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT! Provably incorrect statements like this leave your audience with one of two opinions:

1) You're lying, and trying to persuade your audience with lies.
2) You're stupid. Causes championed by demonstrably stupid people don't often win much support from a neutral listener.

And Volokh makes a good point: "All of life is word problems!"

Second: This is something I've been waiting for since early September, 2001.

I hope it's real. No confirmation so far, and I've not seen it linked from anywhere else. Insty's usually pretty good about checking his sources, though, so I'm hopeful.

Call to Bloggers: If this IS, in fact, real, you know damn good and well the MSM blithering idiots aren't going to give it a minute of airtime. Lots of us have been calling for moderate Muslims to speak out, and say "Not In Our Name" to terrorism. Lots more of us haven't written about it so far, but have been silently hoping.

IF, and I stress that if because it's the internet and anybody can do anything, this is not a joke or a hoax - LINK THEM. Open dialogs. Al-Jazeera and CNN give the terrorist Islamists an open mic. We can do the same for moderate Muslims who want do practice their religion, and leave us to practice ours, while we all live the good life in a free society.

Painting moderate Muslims with the radical Islamist brush is no better than painting me, an average white Christian male from rural Texas, with the KKK brush.

Curiouser and Curiouser

h/t: Doc Russia

I like that banner. Didn't realize it dates back to the Crusades.

Maybe the nutjobs shouldn't have picked a fight with Vikings?

Another One Outta' the Park

Chris Byrne is an interesting fellow. Quite likely to get on your nerves at some point, and in dire need of a spellchecker, but he often has some pretty intriguing points of view, and he expresses them very well.

Like this:

For example, I find most abortion offensive, but it is the law of the land and I have no right to try and stop it except by changing the law, or changing an individuals mind; and in fact I don’t think the law SHOULD be changed; but as many peoples minds as possible SHOULD be.

I don't know if I've ever heard my views on abortion expressed so precicely. I know I've never said it that well myself.

Something I never noticed

Re-watched (for me) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tonight with Lisa (she'd never seen it - poor, deprived child).

At the beginning of the movie, after Indy is poisoned, and then gets away with Short Round driving the getaway car, it shows the outside of the club where the fight happened.

The nightclub's name?

"Club Obi Wan".

Oh, for the days when Lucas and Spielberg made GOOD movies.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ammo Availability

I heard rumors, which by all appearances seem to be true, that a few months ago the US Government contracted with Wolf Manufacturing (former Soviet military ammo supplier, now a cheap source of ammo for the Free World) for ALL their output of 7.62x39mm ammo - in other words, the cartriges used by SKSs and AK47s, to build supplies for the Iraqi Military and Iraqi police forces.

I've not found any "official" confirmation of this, but what I have found is a definate scarcity of 7.62x39 ammo online and at some B&M stores locally.

Ammoman now has some available, but it's not Wolf, and it's friggen EXPENSIVE! $199 for 500 rounds?!? Wolf is usually $149 for 1000!!!

I guess it's better than nothin'... but I'm glad my safe is full, and I don't NEED to replenish right now.

The reason I mention this, though, is that recently I heard the same rumor, about the US Gov't, buying up surplus .223 ammo. Again, I've not seen "official" confirmation, and I don't own a .223 rifle so I'm not as familiar with its prices, but it's something to pay attention to. If you own one as one of your main and/or SHTF rifles, look at your ammo stocks, and if they're low at all, STOCK UP while it's still available.

You won't like the sinking feeling in your stomach when you go to your normal sources for ammo for your SHTF rifle, and discover that the bulk buys you're used to now cost nearly 3 TIMES as much, IF IT'S AVAILABLE.

Spinnin' Wrenches - Taurus, Verse Six

Well, Blogger seems to be having some issues this morning, but I'm going to write this anyway as I unwind from the busy day/night (see previous post).

It's currently 3am, and I'm still too keyed up to sleep - and it's too late to take a sleeping pill if I want to be anything resembling useful tomorrow. Hopefully writing and a few beers will help.

Anyway... on to the wrench spinnin'!

So, Tuesday after work, Capn'Mo and I had everything we needed to get the Taurus, AFLPITA, back up on it's own four feet. We damned near made it, too. We've had the top end of that engine apart and back together enough in the past several weeks that we're pretty good at working on it together - we both know what needs to happen next, and can be working on different things and still staying out of each other's way.

Things were cranking right on along, got the new heads on
(did I mention I hate torque-to-yield bolts?), got the valvetrain together, stop for a function check. Rotate engine by hand and verify all the valves are opening/closing as they should... and #4 intake doesn't look right. WTF? I should mention, #4 intake has a new pushrod - somewhere along the line, the old one got chewed somehow, and we didn't want to risk losing it. And now it looks like that valve isn't closing all the way.

So, pull the rocker arm and pushrod, and compare the new pushrod to the old one... and the new one is about 1/16th of an inch longer.

*skips the ranting and raving that followed in the interests of keeping this a family-friendly blog*

Well, ok, says us. We can leave that valve cover off, and do that pushrod tomorrow night after getting the right one during lunch. Proceed to intake manifolds (yes, on this V6 there's an upper and lower intake manifold...), exhaust manifolds, reconnect everything in the world, putting the power steering pump and alternator back on, as well as idler pulley and tensioner, coolant bottle, etc etc...

Hey... We're just about done!

Um, where's that large-ish bolt go?



Crap. Take the coolant bottle back off, remove the idler pulley and the tensioner, and put the 3rd bolt back into the power steering pump bracket, and put everything back together.

After labeling the car :)

We called done about midnight, having everything together except the afore-mentioned pushrod, the valve cover that goes over it, and the plug wires that go to the coil mounted on said valve cover. Not a bad evening's work, if I do say so myself!

So, Wed at lunch Capn'Mo gets the right pushrod, and we head to Dad's after work to finish up. Get off work at 5, and we've got it running by 6!

... only it was running like crap. Backfiring, sneezing, etc.

Kill it, start checking... oops... somebody (I'm not sayin' who) got two plug wires reversed on the coil pack. Fix that, crank it again, MUCH BETTER!!!

Wait... there's a miss there. Double-check plug wires, all ok. Well, the ECM's definately gone stupid by now, maybe it's trying to sort itself out.

Checked vaccuum, MUCH BETTER (I want to say 16 inches at idle - I wouldn't mind seeing more, but it was a steady signal, rather than the bouncing it was doing with bad valves. I'll take it for now).

Capn'Mo took it for a short test drive, while I waited at the Garage in case I needed to follow in a pickup. He returned and reported that it seemed weak.

Further investigation revealed that the coil pack wasn't firing for #3. Quick phone call and a $55 trip to the parts store later, new coil is on, and AFLPITA is running just about as fine as I could ask!

Of course, that's after Capn'Mo pulled the wire for #3 to observe it sparking, and found out that the new coil pack is sparking a LOT harder than the old one did... as he was leaning slightly below waist-level against the car.

He had to bite his tongue pretty hard, as two of his kids were there with the Wench... He was kinda twitchy for a minute or two...

Anyway, today the Wench reported that AFLPITA is running better than when they bought it. I'm pretty happy about that.

We'll change oil in it this weekend. The oil in it is new, but I'm concerned about having had oil passages unsealed for so long... oil and filter are cheap insurance.

It's also time to change oil in Capn'Mo's truck, my truck, and Lisa's Millenia - I've gotten a little behind, with all my garage time being occupied. So we'll have a big oil-changing party sometime this weekend.

Then it's on to the Caprice, to find out what went wrong in the dash while the Wench was driving it, and a fluid and filter change on it's transmission - just to be on the safe side after its explosive decompression.

And then, after catching up on some of the house projects that Lisa has been VERY patient in regards to with me, maybe someday I can afford to start thinking about some of my project cars again :)

BusyTired... or is it TiredBusy?

Ugh, this week has been non-stop. I think the last time I took an hour to relax was Monday night with Lisa.

Lunchtime Monday, Capn'Mo and I went to Cylinder Heads Int'l in Grand Prairie to buy a set of reman'd heads for the Taurus (aka AFLPITA). Monday night we spent with our respective families.

Tuesday, normal workday, then head to Dad's to see how far we could get putting the engine back together - and I was impressed! By midnight, we had everything done except one pushrod and one valve cover - that was starting from the block, and moving up. More on that shortly.

Wednesday, Lisa and I went to the OB/GYN to talk about how close we are to being ready to try for a baby again - pretty close! I'm excited - we both REALLY want kids.

Wednesday after work, another trip to Dad's to finish AFLPITA.

Thursday, I slept in a bit because I was going to be working late patching one of my servers at work (could only be done after-hours, according to a waste of potentially useful organs who shall remain nameless). Little did I know just how late I was going to be...

About 7pm or so, I got a call from a friend, G, telling me that another friend of ours, J, had gone to the ER this afternoon, and it looks like he'll be staying at the hospital overnight. Not sure what the original problem was, secondhand info and all, but the part that required immediate action on my part was Maddie. See, J is single and lives alone, except for his dog Maddie - who's an inside dog. Beautiful, sweet dog, some kind of Collie mix IIRC. But she hadn't been walked or fed since J left for work in the morning.

Not a big deal - G and I both have keys to J's place, as he used to travel a lot for work and we'd take care of Maddie for him so he didn't have to take her to a kennel. Only problem is, my keys to his place are at home. And J lives about 2 miles from work.

So I got off work, drove home, tended to my doggies, grabbed J's keys, drove almost all the way BACK to work, walked Maddie, and then thought, "Duh... why keep making extra trips? I have a fenced backyard now, and a dog-safe portion of the house... Maddie, you're going to stay with me until your two-legger gets home."

Turns out Maddie LOVES going for rides... as soon as I said "go for a ride?", she ran to where I'd set her leash down, and started spinning in circles and barking!

So I've spent the last hour or so introducing my pack to Maddie, and Maddie to my pack (that was an excercise in "I'm still the two-legger here, and you WILL listen to me!") and getting Maddie settled in - I'm surprised she didn't hyperventilate, what with all the sniffing she was doing. It's currently about 2:50am Friday, and I need to finish unwinding and get to bed. Still too keyed up to sleep though.

... and now Blogger won't let me post. Saving this for later...

... and now Blogger seems to have untangled itself. Here ya go.