Friday, March 31, 2006

Public Service Announcement

Courtesy of Mr. Completely:

I would like for all of you to read the following paragraphs carefully. There will be a test after.
During a BBQ a lady stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine and had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. (they offered to call paramedics)

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening.

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital -- (at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away).

She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ - had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke perhaps Ingrid would be with us today?

Recognizing a Stroke

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

1. *Ask the individual to SMILE.

2. *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

3. *Ask the person to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) ( i.e. . . It is sunny out today) If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 9-1-1 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

After discovering that a group of non-medical volunteers could identify facial weakness, arm weakness and speech problems, researchers urged the general public to learn the three questions. They presented their conclusions at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting last February.

Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke and prevent brain damage.
Now, close your eyes and recite the three tests. If you can't, please re-read the above paragraphs and try again.


NOTE to BLOGGERS: Please feel free to copy this entire post to your blog, you never know when it might just save someone's life.......

Thank you, Mr. C.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Something Not To Forget

I grew up in Texas, back when they actually taught History.

I remember the story of the Alamo. 189 Texans against over 2000 Mexican Army Soldiers. Yep, sure enough, with better than 10-to-1 odds, the Mexican Army, under Santa Anna, won.

What a victory. A glorious victory that prompted Santa Anna's aide, Col. Juan Almonte, to note, "One more such glorious victory and we are finished". And not long thereafter, they were.

I'm an American, and a Texan. I value immigrants greatly - that's how most of us, or our ancestors, got here. But up until the last few decades, most of that immigration was done LEGALLY.

I have a problem with illegal immigrants. By definition, they're criminals.

I also have a problem with the "newspeak" terms used to describe illegal aliens. They're not "undocumented workers", they're ILLEGAL ALIENS. Citizens of another country, here without permission.

And when you start looking at the "Aztlan" movement, possibly classified as a hostile invading force.

You pissants who think the Southwest United States should be part of Mexico again? Bring it.

You had a 10-to-1 advantage at the Alamo. You won the battle, but lost the war. And you sure as hell don't have a numerical advantage now. You REALLY don't want this to get "hot", unless you all have a collective death wish.

Oh, and oh, please, come and try to put a Mexican flag above a US flag in my presence, flying above US soil. That kinda crap might be ok in Commiefornia, but it ain't gonna "fly" here. You've never TRULY seen a burning flag until you've been wrapped up in one. And it won't be MY flag on fire as it's wrapped around your criminal ass.

Here's what needs to happen, and in this order:


Fort Worth City Council with a Twist

Last night, for some unknown reason, I quit flipping between local news broadcasts and watched a bit of the local cable-access coverage of the Fort Worth City Council meeting.

I'd never seen one of those before.

I think what made me stop, and then keep watching, was a young officer (I believe he was a Captain) making a presentation to the Council. After a few minutes I realized he's a National Guardsman who lives here in Fort Worth.

The gist of what he was saying was, "Yes, we've served (apparently his unit had been to Iraq), but we're not through. We live here, we work here, and we SERVE here. And you're not doing a very good job using our service". He was FAR more polite than that, but he told the City Council they need to think of more ways to use the Guard Armory here in Fort Worth, because it's currently very underutilized.

The Captain (unfortunately, I didn't catch his name, and didn't get on the DVR button quick enough) was a good speaker, with a good prepared speech. He made the point that National Guardsmen sign up to serve, not just the country, but the community. He suggested several areas that the Council and the Armory could work together to better serve the community, but told the Council that it's really up to them. The Guard just wants to help, and wants the City to use them.

I thought it was a good speech, but I was surprised that several of the Councilmembers, as well as Mayor Mike Moncrief, were actually choked up when he finished. Choked up that after (apparently) serving in Iraq, this Guard unit came home, and said, "What do you want us to do next?"

I'm not sure if this was coincidence, or a subtle hint. I've been thinking seriously about the National Guard.

Specifically, enlisting.

The one, and only one, REAL regret that I have as an adult is that I never served in the armed forces, never stepped up to serve the country I love so much.

I'm getting close to being too old to do so.

Now I face the question: Do I go on as a civilian who never served, paying my taxes and contributing to the economy, and carry this regret with me forever?

Or do I subject my family to the hardships of military life (even if it's the reduced kind of hardships that a citizen-soldier incurs as opposed to active duty), just to salve my guilty conscience at letting someone else stand in my place defending America?

When I looked at the National Guard website, I had to dig a little bit. I was trying to make sure I'm not already too old, but everything prominent had to do with money. I was almost offended - I'm not thinking about this because of the money, but because of duty.

The conflict is from trying to balance duty to my country, which I should have done as a young man when I didn't have a family to care for, and duty to that exact family which I DO have to care for now. No, I don't HAVE to - I CHOOSE to, and that is one of the GOOD decisions I've made.

But the decision of whether or not to enlist... that's tougher. I WANT to. I DON'T want to leave Lisa alone in times of trouble. And whether or not I were to be deployed to Iraq, the Guard is called out in times of trouble, and I'd have to leave her. That's my biggest problem.

More thought on this topic is necessary. All comments are welcome (in fact, on this topic, PLEASE comment or email me - I'd like some input). I have until 1 May to make a decision one way or another.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just One Question

Joe Huffman has been asking Just One Question for a while.

I've been terribly remiss in not repeating the question, but I'll rectify that now:

"Can you demonstrate just one time, one place, throughout all of human history, where restricting the access of handheld weapons to the average person made them safer?"

Next time you hear, or read about, someone advocating stricter restrictions on gun ownership, ask that question. Just One Question.

Just one simple question. A question any anti-gun bigot should have a ready answer to, if they've studied the history of gun bigotry at all.

Just one simple question. Should be a simple answer... but it's not. It's not simple because it has no answer.

There is not one demonstrable time or place, anywhere in human history, where the restriction of access to handheld weapons to the average person made them safer.


That's why Joe's "Just One Question" is so powerful. You ask that of an anti-gun bigot, and they'll change the subject. Repeat the question, and they'll call you names, and change the subject again. Repeat the question again, and you're likely to be escorted away, if you're questioning a public official. If you're asking an individual gun bigot to answer the Question, likely THEY will go away, rather than try to answer the Question. Because it has no answer, other than NEVER.

Joe is keeping the heat on. The rest of us need to also, and this is a pretty easy way to do so.

More Food Stuff

Rivrdog has posted my latest food adventure.

This one's about freeze-dried lasagna, and was quite tasty.

Rivrdog mentioned on his main blog, and I think I should repeat here:

Neither Rivrdog nor I are getting any form of compensation from Mountain House. The meals of theirs that I've tried, and reviewed very positively, I paid for out of my pocket at Academy Sporting Goods. While I think these things are great, they do have drawbacks (biggest is price), and I describe those.

I give these things positive reviews because I LIKED THEM, and so did Lisa. Now, if Mountain House wants to start paying Rivrdog and/or me for testimonials, well, Mom may have raised an ugly boy, but not a dumbass. I'll take money and/or free product if it's offered. But I'll also be sure to tell you if that's the case. And I won't pull punches just to keep a corporate sponsor happy. If something's nasty, I'll say so, both to you, my Readers, so you'll be cautious before spending hard-earned $$, and to Mountain House, to try to help them make it better.

Og's Getting A New Critter

In my not-so-humble opinion, there's something wrong with a household that doesn't include a dog.

Og's beloved dog, unfortunately, died recently... but he's adding a new four-footer to the family!

I wish him the best of luck. As I said in comments over there, I've never had very good luck with purebloods. Mutts and I seem to get along a lot better.

But, I hope Og gets the joy from his new family member than any good dog brings to a home. Even if it DOES keep peeing on him.

Doc Russia - Right Again

The Label Effect

Doc's right, again.

I think he's right that the efforts of the Minutemen brought the immigration issue to a head.

I also think he's right that the term "racist" is being slung about with such abandon that it's about to become very meaningless, or possibly even a point of pride.

Check your clock, and see how long it takes for "Xenophobe" to Join the ranks of "Gun nut," "infidel," "Jesus freak," and "Capitalist pig" as a label of pride.

Doc's got a point.

When the term "racist" finally becomes, as it looks like it's going to, a term meaning "someone who holds everyone to the same standards", I'm going to start thanking people if they call me racist.

I know what REAL racism is. Maybe not quite on the same visceral level as some people, but I'm a white man married to a black woman, and I'm just a tad touchy about rednecks' or gangstas' sideways glances (or muttered statements) about "outside your race".

REAL racism is treating people differently (either positively or negatively) because of the color of their skin, or where they came from, or the accent they speak with.

Holding everyone to the same standard is NOT racism. But if the "progressives" manage to newspeak racism into that definition, then I'll be proud to be a racist.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

SKS note

I installed a 10-round fixed magazine in my SKS tonight. The removable 30-rounders I had were, at best, picky.... at worst, utter and complete pieces of crap. Not to mention, changing a removable mag in an SKS is so difficult as to be only moderately quicker than recharging the mag in place using stripper clips.

Something that wasn't noted in my manual, however, was the need for the safety to be in the "safe" position to remove the trigger group (required for installing or removing a fixed mag).

Needless to say, I struggled with the thing for WAY too long, and when I found the key to the puzzle, let loose with a "DUH" of profanity-laced, biblical proportions.

On a related note, I got the rear sight removed from the M1 carbine tonight. Soon (hopefully tomorrow), I'll get a tiny set screw, drill and tap the sight, and re-install it with the set screw to hold it place so it doesn't wobble left-to-right by an eighth of an inch in the dovetail, and I'll be able to shoot decent groups with it.

Internal Conflict

Doc Russia apparently got a letter from the Navy, offering to help pay off his student loans in exchange for a service commitment.

Remember, Doc did his duty as a Marine already, but the Navy's still interested in having him back.

This would not be a fiscally responsible move, according to Doc. Not to mention the lack of say-so about his life, separation from his wife, and everything else that goes along with serving in the military.

But he finds himself still thinking about it:

And then I start to get mad. I have a beautiful and loving wife. I have a great future, with the assurances of a great income. I have already done my duty. I already had my butt out there on some godforsaken corner of dirt. I have all of these things, and I would have to be pretty stupid to want to push it all aside, and risk it all just for some misguided sense of honor or duty, or some other intangible that I cannot lay words upon. Yep, one would have to really be soft in the head to do that, I think to myself, as I try unconvincingly to laugh at it. But I am not laughing, and that's why I am mad; I must be the dumbest sunofabitch on the planet, because in the face of all of this overwhelming logic spelling out in fine detail why I should just toss it in the circular file, and never think about it again, I can't quite get myself to throw away a stupid piece of paper.

Doc, that's because you're A GOOD MAN. One of the best neighbors I've ever been priveliged to know was a retired Marine GSgt, and he said, with very much the same tone you have in your writing, "Once a Marine, always a Marine".

I thank God for you, and the men and women like you, who are so motivated to defend our Nation.

My hat's off to you, Doc.

Can I Be an Honorary Viking, Please?

I have brown hair and eyes, but you could always claim I was adopted, or stolen on a raid...

The Danes seem to have it together properly. (Yes, that sentence was heavily edited).

I mentioned this before, and Misha has an update, with his normal level of commentary I'm just not prepared to embellish on.

Now, unlike the linked article, I DO CARE what laws they have. Now, I wasn't blogging back when Afghanistan ratified its Constitution, but I thought then, and commented to friends, "A Constitution that names Sharia as the ultimate law of the land isn't good... this is going to cause problems".

And so it has.

Afghanistan has a choice - stick to the Constitution that they wrote, and alienate virtually every Western supporter they have, or violate their Constitution, and alienate their hard-core Islam supporters.

It may turn ugly either way. But this is a very important issue to be addressed, which will largely determine Afghanistan's future relationship with Western Democracies.

Saudi Arabia, are you paying attention? You may be next.

HCI=Public Schools?

Well, they're both pretty incompetent, and both pretty wrong-headed...

Pistolero spells it out pretty well.

"If you just try, you'll get a good grade, whether you succeed or not!"

Makes me want to puke, but neither of the organizations in question is worth the abdominal effort.

Possibly Good?

Too much political doublespeak, but this might turn out well.
h/t: Xyba

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Fanny Pack Holsters

SarahK notices that she's being noticed.

Honestly, I don't think fanny packs are a good way to carry concealed, unless you WANT everyone to know you're carrying concealed.

I have a fanny pack holster that I never use anymore, because it draws too much attention.

The only people I've noticed who can wear fanny packs, without the fanny packs drawing undue attention (even if they're NOT holsters), are flamboyantly gay men. Not sure why that is, but nobody seems to look twice at a fanny pack if that's who's wearing it. Anybody else, and it's assumed to be a holster.

At least, that's what I've seen. Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Terrorizing Children

Read This.

Those kids look completely terrorized, don't they?

Note - the playground toys were made from "old HMMWV parts". I haven't heard of any HMMWVs being retired in Iraq... any guesses as to whether these "old parts" are parts that survived IED explosions, while the rest of the vehicle was rendered useless?

Speaking of useless... John Kerry, call your office.

At least those playground toys look as if they're a little less likely to FLIP-FLOP than Kerry is.

I Guess Gratitude Isn't a Christian Virtue

Not according to the Christian Peacemaker Teams, anyway.

This sickens me.

Note: I am a Christian, and happy and proud to say so.

No, I'm not a holy-roller, or a Bible-thumper. I believe in the First Amendment, and the right for people to choose whatever religion they want, or to choose not to be religious. That's an individual choice each of us has to make.

I do, however, have a problem with people who interpret their religion as instructing them to CUT MY HEAD OFF because I don't share their religious views.

I also have a problem with people who profess to be Christians, and sympathize more with people who would like to CUT THEIR HEADS OFF FOR BEING CHRISTIANS than with the soldiers who went into harm's way to make sure those particular heads stayed attached to the proper shoulders.

I have a problem with people who say they were "released", when what really happened was that their captors were overwhelmed by military force to bring the former captives to safety, and the former captors to justice.

These people disgust me, and I'm embarrased to have to say that I share my Saviour with them.

Once again, I find myself agreeing with Misha... "Next Time, Let Them Rot".

Time Flies

Wow, I just realized I haven't posted anything since Sunday.

Maybe that's a good thing, because before editing, the previous sentence looked like a bad Babelfish translation from Chinese or something.

I don't have a lot of note to talk about myself, as I've basically been working at work, working at Dad's, and working at home. Sleep? Oh yeah, I knew I was leaving something out of my routine...

Here's some bloggy goodness worth noting, however:

Kansas Goes Shall-Issue. That makes Thirty-Nine states where law-abiding citizens may legally carry concealed. Remove the obvious (New Yak, New Jerky, Taxatwoshits, and Kommifornia), and that's only seven left to go.

On a more personal level, let Kim know if you know of any good (preferably indoor and inexpensive) shooting ranges around North Dallas. The excellent DFW Gun Range, Kim's "home" range, had its roof collapsed by the torrential downpour last weekend, and he's looking for options. I've offered him the use of the range at my club, but Plano-to-Mansfield is probably an hour and a half each way, AT LEAST. He's said before that he'd like to bring the Son&Heir to come shoot with me sometime, but that kind of drive isn't really practical for a several-time a week shooter.

Joe Huffman asks for opinions on holding someone accountable for dishonest behavior in college, once that accountability starts hurting them post-graduation in their job hunt. Give him your thoughts... I think my comment is about the sixth one down.

There's a new study out (apparently from Berkely, natch) reporting that in general, whiny kids in preschool grow up to be conservatives.

One commenter at Michelle Malkin's postulates that as humans, we're born with a certain amount of whining inside. Conservatives use up their whining early, Liberals don't get started 'till later in life.

I have a different theory: Preschool-age childeren can't do much for themselves. Maybe the whiny ones know something's wrong (like a dirty diaper), and try to fix it in the only way they know (being whiny or fussy). The ones who grow up to be liberals (remember, the non-whiny ones), just don't know they ought not sit in their own feces. You know, that Constitutionally-guaranteed right to sit in shit.

Doc Russia matched! Yeah, old news, I know, but I'm glad for him, even if it's going to mean a year-long program separated from his wife. But he matched in Emergency Medicine, which was his goal. Sounds like he's gonna make a good ER doc. I'm selfish, I keep hoping he ends up practicing here in Fort Worth. I'd feel a lot better about going to the nearest ER if he were the doc handling things when I got there.

AnalogKid has some thoughts on gasoline vs diesel, and availability in an emergency. Valid arguments on both sides, but the bottom line in a wide-spread emergency or disaster is going to be "fuel's hard to come by". The best answer, in my not-so-humble opinion, is have your own, already stored where you're likely to need it. Storage concerns give the nod to diesel. Unfortunately, I have MANY vehicles to maintain, and they're all using gasoline. Given that I don't want to have to solve more than one set of fuel-storage requirements, I'm stuck with gas. Kind of a shame, considering what current diesels are doing performance-wise, and the attention the performance aftermarket is starting to pay to them. I may have to revisit this topic sometime in the future.

Emporer Misha has a look at the Afghani man facing the death sentence for converting from Islam to Christianity. He's got his normal level of snark going on over this (ie, it's turned up to eleven), but it's a good point. We kicked the Taliban out to get rid of a government based on fundamental religious extremism, lack of human rights, and support of terrorism. And we may have replaced it with a government based on fundamental religious extremism and lack of human rights. If Abdul Rahman is put to death for CHOOSING WHICH RELIGION TO FOLLOW, I'm gonna have to go with the Rott's suggestions - first, pull all coalition troops out of Afghanistan (starting with Karzai's bodyguards), and second, when the Taliban remnants start causing trouble, fix the trouble with MOABs. Screw the whole "surgical strike" thing - in this case, the cure seems to be just about as bad as the cancer it was supposed to treat. Of course, we have to be realistic - unless Abdul Rahman gets out of Afghanistan, he's a dead man one way or the other. Radical Islam will kill him. The $64,000 question, however, is whether it's an individual or group committing a crime when they kill him, or the State utilizing its monopoly on the legal use of force. If the State executes him, then we have Afghanistan still being ruled by Radical Islam, and we're no better off than when we started, except that the terrorist training camps will have to eventually be rebuilt.

Ugh, that one left a bad taste in my mouth. Of course, when the Afghani Constitution was passed enumerating Sharia as the ultimate law of the land, I had a sinking feeling something like this would happen sooner or later. Maybe better it's sooner, before we REALLY invest too heavily there.

Mel has a good post up about the indoctrination of our kids going on right under our noses. This is something I've noticed before, and I'm not entirely sure what the answer is. I wish I did... and I'm going to have to find an answer before too long, because...

Lisa's ROCKIN' on her weight loss/physical fitness program.

I feel bad that she's so intimidated by the scale, but as she posted, I've said about everything on that I can think of to help. One thing she never posts on, though, is the strength gains she's making. See, she's not just losing fat by dieting, she's also building muscle by hitting the gym for 4-5 hours per week, and working with a strength trainer on top of her cardio workouts. I see it all the time, when she stands up, the way she moves, the way she keeps up with my (fast) walking pace when we're in parking lots or stores... she's not just lighter, she's STRONGER than she was before. And much healthier. She's going to be, not just not overweight, but PHYSICALLY FIT when she reaches her weight goal... and that's when I'm going to have to start finding the answers to questions like Mel's, because about nine months after that, we should be parents :)

That's probably about enough for this whirl around the blogosphere... I've got hungry doggies to feed, and should feed myself too... so I may have something up before long over at Paratus, on another long-term-storable food (since Lisa's at work, I'm the only one I'll be subjecting my culinary trainwreck on tonight).

And I need to get the next part of the Constitution up... we'll see how well the dogs' post-dinner ZZZZs stick to me.

Update: If you EVER feel like you don't get enough attention, I have the solution. Go down to the pound, and adopt four dogs. Get them into a pretty regular routine, and then be about a half-hour late with their dinner. I guarantee you'll have all the attention you would ever want.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Ok, so don't go away, just SLOW DOWN A BIT!

Emporer Misha has something to say about the rain in the DFW Metroplex this weekend, too.

Some parts of the Metroplex have seen between 1/3 and 1/2 of their normal annual rainfall in the past 48 hours.

Needless to say, IT'S FRIGGIN' WET OUTSIDE. Flash flooding is common, and possibly getting worse - there's another storm band headed this way later tonight. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if more resevoirs had to open spillways (or open them more), resulting in sending more water downstream, where there's already too much in many areas.

Of course, there are upsides - threat of brush & grass fires is now nearly nil (after just this past week having 800,000+ acres burned in W. Texas). And this should have also done a good job bringing resevoirs up to their normal levels, thus negating, or at least delaying, the need for water rationing later this year - something rather common during Texas summers around here.

I'll keep reminding myself of that tomorrow morning, when I WADE out to the truck to go to work.

Poor Old Fella...

... Talking about Buddy.

Buddy is my 14-15 year old border-collie mixed dog. He's the elder statesman for the pack. Utmost manners and politeness. Think Donald Southerland, in "A Time To Kill", but with four legs.

Buddy's biggest problem is chronic ear mites. We just can't get rid of them. So periodically we have to wash his ears out with Epi-Otic, which I just did.

Take the bottle, stick it in the microwave for 5-8 seconds (so it's not COLD stuff going into his ears), sit down in the kitchen floor, and get him to come lay his head in my lap.

Yeah... 60# dog, head in my lap, and I'm squirting stuff he don't like down into his ears, and then working them over with Q-tips. That's a combination of trust and good manners. To be precice, trust on my part, and good manners on his.

The whole time his back feet are going ninety to nothin', and he says "ooowwwwww... oooooooowwwwwwwwww".

Now Buddy's walking around, shaking his head trying to get the remnants of liquid out of his ears, and saying "oooowwww... ooowwww...". Poor old guy. But he's not digging at his ears with his back feet 'cause they itch so bad.

And Edgar's jealous of the attention Buddy got... but Daddy trained these dogs VERY well. All I have to do is pat Edgar's head, and then wiggle my fingers at him and say "That's all. Go lay down" and he goes and lays down, instead of trying to crawl into my lap looking for attention. And I'm not particularly fond of a 70-pound dog trying to crawl into my lap.

Good Dogs... something to truly appreciate and enjoy.

As I've been writing this, Buddy apparently got all the liquid out of his ear canals. He's laying down and being calm now.

Of course, all four of them are sticking rather close to me... it's stormy out tonight, and none of them like thunder. So they stay close to the two-legger.

I'm glad I have the company of all four of these dogs... Buddy. Lucky, Buster, and Edgar.

I'll continue to do my best to take care of them. Hopefully "All Dogs Go To Heaven" is true, so when they're not mine to take care of anymore, Daddy can resume where he left off.

Until then, I'll keep tending to Buddy's ears :) And whatever else needs attention.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Is It Possible to Have Nostalgia...

... for something that only happened six months ago?

Seems like a LOT longer than that, but it was just September of last year that I went to Mississipi.

Many thanks again to Rivrdog, for posting my observations about the trip back when I hadn't committed to running my own blog. Also for the really nice things he said about me back then :)

Shortly after that trip, I started thinking seriously about looking for a position in FEMA that I was qualified for. See, I LIKE helping people, and if I could have a job where I was being PAID to help people, that would just rock.

Well, I'm not a college graduate, and apparently (according to FEMA), only college graduates are qualified to help others. So I never applied for a job with them.

This is probably a Very Good Thing(tm).

See, here's the thing... With a very, very few exceptions, PEOPLE and PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS (whether they be private charities, or corporations) are better at DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING than the FedGov is.

Charity is most definately NOT one of those few exceptions.

I'm going to keep my good-paying IT job, not go to work for the government. I'm going to keep vacation time on the books, so I can take time off when I decide I should. I'm going to keep good ties to friends, family, and private charitable organizations. I'm going to keep money in the bank. I'm going to look after my family FIRST.

And next time a disaster like Katrina hits, I'm going to talk about it with Lisa, and if we agree, I (or we) will take time off work, let friends and family and local charities know what we're doing and ask for their support, buy anything needed to fill the gaps, and then take as much as possible to where it's needed.

We acted WAY too slow after Katrina. We waited to hear from my brother-in-law, Donnie, who was in the disaster area, and comm networks prevented communication for TOO LONG.

Next time, we'll act on comms from news (preferably bloggers, not the MSM) and other charitable organiziations like Red Cross and Salvation Army, to move with what's needed, and move QUICKLY.

I fully expect to beat FEMA to the local scene. I'll be proud if I can beat Wal-Mart and FedEx. Again, showcasing how individuals and private organizations are better at ALMOST EVERYTHING than the FedGov is.

Support your local charities, take care of people around you, support missions to help those further away, and tell the FedGov to go piss up a rope.

And in this post, I'm not even going to address the gov't proclivity to theft and perjory... that one has me seeing red too much to write coherently yet.

A Food Post I Didn't Do

Kevin over at The Smallest Minority has a post up about Rice-A-Roni Express Packs, the kind of thing I might have reviewed over at Paratus.

I say "might have", because #1: I don't like regular Rice-A-Roni. And #2: After reading Kevin's review, I don't think I'll subject myself to that muck, no matter how efficient it looks.

After all, learning from others' mistakes is far preferable to committing the mistake yourself.

Thanks for taking one for the team, Kevin.

[edit] This does bring up an important point - before laying in large stocks of foodstuffs (or anything, for that matter), make sure it WORKS. In the case of food, make sure it's something you and yours can actually stomach. What's the point of having plenty of food, if you can only make yourself choke down half the calories you need per day because it tastes so bad?

In my case, the "Food Project" is something I'd been planning to do for a while, for just this reason. Even had Rivrdog not wanted my posts, I'd still be doing the periodic testing that I've been writing about, making sure Lisa and I will actually enjoy what we're stocking up on. Sharing it via Paratus is just a bonus. [/edit]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Post I'm Proud Of

Right here.

I think that if Lisa had her way, all girls would be issued handguns and sent to a training course with them right after their first menstrual cycle. I know I'd be in favor of that. I think we'd see rapists become a VERY endangered species shortly thereafter.

Despite watching (ok, causing) Lisa's progression from fearing the presence of guns in the house to a CHL-holding proponent of armed self-defense, and reading (and being greatly moved by) Mrs. duToit's exellent piece Word To Women, I find myself with little patience, and less sympathy, for women like the one described in Lisa's post.

I have little patience for people who ignore facts. Especially when said facts LITERALY hit them upside the head, as in, "There's a person who is motivated (for whatever reason, justified or not) to do ME, personally, bodily harm". Oh, sure, she has a guard at work walk her out to her car. Neighbors watch her house. There's a court order against him; police are supposed to be present any time he comes near. Her son was accused of assault. Falsely, sure, but HER SON had to step in to stop violence against her.

Whoopty-freakin' doo. "Everybody else has to protect me - I'm not going to do it myself!"

I'd be one proud Daddy if, at some time in the future, one of my kids was able and willing to step into harm's way to protect me. HOWEVER - and I'm sure Lisa feels the same way, even though we haven't discussed it - I would be MORTIFIED with myself that I let a situation get so out of control that one of MY CHILDREN had to go in harm's way to protect me. It's supposed to go the other way - I put myself in harm's way to protect my children.

What's worse, given her attitude of "No guns in MY house!", is that her 19-year-old son was likely very poorly prepared to stop an assault against his mother. Fortunately for everyone, the son was physically bigger and stronger than his stepdad, but that's the only thing he had going for him. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts he's had no practical weapons training, and had the assailant NOT been physically smaller and weaker, or had been armed, his intervention would have turned out far more tragically. And SHE put her son in that danger, with her pacifist attitude of "Someone else protect me".

I try to have patience, because logic can bring people around.

I try to have sympathy, because she probably never thought of any of this, and almost definately never in these terms. Not to mention the constant bombardment by anti-gun bigots' lies that indoctrinate society against any effective means of self-defense.

I did it with Lisa. I'm glad Kim did it with the Mrs. But it's hard to be patient or sympathetic to those who expect others to go in harm's way on their behalf, and are unwilling to take ANY steps to mount any defense themselves.

Even if Lisa wasn't a shooter, and I was one of the sick individuals who would raise a hand against their spouse, I wouldn't EVER hit her. I do have a good self-preservation instinct, and even if I won a physical fight with her, I'D KNOW I'D BEEN IN A FIGHT.

I almost feel sorry for anyone who would raise a hand to Lisa in anger - she's gorgeous, but no delicate flower, and they'd likely wind up in the hospital. And that's BEFORE I got hold of the sumbitch.

Ok, enough of the frustration and vitriol... let's get down to discussing FACTS:

- "If there had been a gun in the house, he would have used it on me." What, exactly, makes you say that? Your home is full of weapons; did he use any of them? I assume you have a hammer in the garage. Golf clubs and/or baseball bats (or some other long bludgeoning item... maybe a 2x4?) somewhere around. Is your kitchen devoid of sharp instruments? If so, how do you prepare food? In fact, at striking distance, ALL of these common household items are as potentially deadly as a handgun. If he didn't use any of them, why would he have used a gun against you?

- "There's a restraining order. He can't come around here without a police escort." He commited an assault against you. This is a felony. Do you really think a court order is going to be a serious deterrent? The man is unstable. Unstable, as in, his mind is not processing information properly. My guess is his decisions are being driven by emotion rather than logic, and legal pieces of paper, if they stir any emotion at all, will only stir up anger that you had a restraining order issued against him. The logic of cause->effect leading to jail time if he violates the restraining order isn't going to penetrate the emotion of anger. He'll do what he damn well FEELS like (note the difference of FEELING and THINKING), without thinking about the results of his actions landing him in jail. Sure, he'll end up in jail. Will that make you feel better if you're in the hospital or the morgue?

- "Security at work, and neighbors at home look out for me" I'm leaving the venomous response to this in the first part of this post, this part is about LOGIC. Could he get into the building you work in? Does he know the time and route of your trip to work? Are your neighbors watching your house at 3am? If he shows up at your house, and kicks the door in (not difficult in most houses) or breaks a window to come in (even easier), how long will it take the police to get there after you dial 911? Call the police and report a break-in in progress, and then call Domino's and order a pizza. See which one gets there first. In a large part of the United States, the pizza will be the "first responder". And you know, when you're hungry, exactly how LONG it takes for dinner to arrive. Help against a violent intruder will be longer, and you'll be in a lot worse shape than just being hungry.

Honestly, you can't count on anybody else to take care of you better than you can take care of yourself. Nobody else is around you as much as you are. And there are very few people in the world (in fact, if there are ANY, consider yourself well-loved) who put more value on your life than YOU do.

- "Guns are inherently dangerous." Only in the hands of the untrained, and even then, it's the untrained PERSON who's really dangerous, not the gun itself. A gun is a machine. No different from a power saw, a garbage disposal, or an automobile. It does what it was meant to do, and if it's used improperly, it can have tragic results. Just the same as someone using a power saw without stabilizing the piece they're working with, or someone sticking their hand down a garbage disposal to clear a jam, or someone driving while drunk, talking on a cell phone, or while putting makeup on. If you put as much care and caution into handling guns as you do to driving safely and responsibly, that gun will NEVER hurt you or anyone else, just like your car won't.

If you don't drive safely, you'll hurt yourself and/or others. Same thing with a gun.

I'm going to wrap this up (for now) with two offers/requests:

#1) If you disagree with any of the facts I've written, or have a problem with my logic, please let's start a discussion in comments. I promise to stay calm, level-headed, and non-abusive, and I promise to delete any inflammatory comments, or comments intended to be abusive. We'll keep this discussion cool and logical.

#2) If you're interested in learning about safe handling and usage of firearms, and live in or around Fort Worth, Tx (or plan to travel here), let me know. I'll provide the firearms, ammunition, range fees, instruction, and a safe range for you to learn. The only thing you have to do is let me know, and then show up. This will be factual instruction in how to handle a firearm safely, and how to use it effectively - I will not try to "indoctrinate" you, or preach to you. All I'll do is share the knowlege that I have in handling firearms safely, and using them effectively.

If you're not in or around Fort Worth, let me know what city/state you live in, and I'll find someone who will do the same thing. I'm part of a volunteer organization, part of whose objective is to teach new people to be safe and effective with firearms, and not to be afraid of them. If I can't find someone near you, I'll travel from Texas to you, on my dime, anywhere in the continental United States.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Democrats and Leftist

No, not always the same.

And sometimes the differences are amusing.

Dems looking for re-election are having to walk a fine line. They're literally between a rock (the noisy minority Far Left, backed by the likes of Soros) and a hard place (undecided America, who sees the Far Left, and issues a collective "WTF?!?"). If they go for the campaign money, they lose the undecideds. If they go mainstream, and look for the votes, their campaign coffers dry up.

While I must admit to a bit of schadenfreude, watching the Left twitch as they are hoisted by their own petard, it also brings up another problem.

The Stupid Party has no coherent opposition, and are running right to the Big Government that they are supposed to be opposed to. This ain't good.

The Leftists are wrong, period. But we really need a good, coherent opposition to the Stupids to keep the FedGov in line. I wish I knew what that opposition was.


You don't watch "60 Minutes", do you?

I didn't think so. I'm sure my readers are too smart to fall for that particular program's "Fake but Accurate" line of Happy Horseshit.

But just in case you were accidentally exposed while flipping channels, here's a well-written beatdown regarding See-BS's recent attack on the champions of free speech in Denmark.

Numbers Games

Arbitrary numbers are just that - picked out of thin air.

Is three enough?

How about 18?


If your answer was anything other than "For what?", you've already missed the point. Go enroll in the nearest class you can find on critical thinking (like any of those EXIST any more).

These numbers came from this post by From the Grand Stand (h/t: KdT). Very perceptive, considering the same arguments keep being used, after moving the goalposts: "Two years is long enough!" "1000 American deaths is enough!" Remember when those quotes were in the "news"? Notice the only thing changing is the number?

Remember, folks: The thing the Left fears worst is history. I'm not sure if that's because it keeps jumping up to bite them on the ass, or if they just can't see it through the haze of pot smoke, and therefore it's SCARY.

But the last five years especially, if you look back or just remember the "important headlines" of the day, keep showing arguments going in circles. Get up in the Grand Stand, instead of down on the ground with the "24 hour news cycle" that expects you to forget what they said last week, and get a clearer view.

[update] Holy crap... I was only meaning to be snarky about the pot-smoking lefties not remembering history, or being afraid of it... and then I read this. (h/t: Skipper)

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Food Post!

Over at Paratus, I've got the second installment of my investigations into long-term-storable, non-refrigerated foods. This one's about Mountain House Pro-Pak freeze-dried beef stew - turns out, this one's a pretty tasty meal, with all the advantages of freeze-dried food, and few of the drawbacks. Mountain House did a good job on this one. Go read the whole thing.

Spinnin' Wrenches, and Contortionism

2001 Mazda Millenia. Overdue for a fuel filter change.

I had to go buy a book to find the thing. (And that's the topic of another post.)

Would it be such a terrible imposition to ask auto designers to put the fuel filter, a regularly-serviced item, some place where you don't need to be the little Chinese Acrobat from Ocean's Eleven to get to the damn thing?

2001 Mazda Millenia is a mid-size sedan, with a mid-size sedan sized trunk. And you have to go through the VERY FRONT of the trunk floor to get to the fuel filter.

Not great when you're six feet tall, and weigh somewhere a little north of 200 pounds. Lisa enjoyed the spectacle greatly, however.

Anyway, that maintenance item is checked for the next little while. And Mazda designers are getting dangerously close to going on the same list as Ford designers (yeah, I know they're probably the same people).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Big Mouth, Little Ass

Al-Qaida's apparently spouting again. (h/t: Instapundit)

This strikes me as another case of diarrhea of the mouth on the case of the Turbaned Tumblefucks. I have a hard time believing that if Al-Qaida COULD hit us hard again, they would just threaten it, instead of DOING IT.

This sounds a lot more like a case of "big mouth making promises that the scrawny ass can't back up".

But anyway, they want to "bring Americans to their knees". Ok, fine. Here's what I think of when someone mentions "Americans on their knees":

Bring it, you sorry-assed seventh-century suckwads. Go ahead and piss us off AGAIN - and see where it gets you.


Ahh... an excellent dinner, with beloved family.

It don't get much better than that.

Uncle Alex and Aunt Gail's 20th wedding anniversary was earlier this month. Tonight, Lisa and I visited them, returned the compression tool I borrowed for AFLPITA, and took the anniversary dinner we didn't have time to do on their anniversary.

Last night, I took eight 4-oz Top Sirloins we got from Omaha Steak Company, and put them in a marinade consisting of about 2 cups of K.C. Masterpiece Garlic & Herb marinade, about 1/2 cup each of A-1 steak sauce and Lea&Perrins Worstorshire Sauce, about a teaspoon of chopped garlic, a few shakes each of garlic powder and onion flakes, a tablespoon or two of Cholula Hot Sauce, a healthy dose each of coarse black pepper and Mrs. Dash, and about 3/4 of a beer.

Marinated the steaks for about 18 hours, and they turned out GREAT! Served with stuffed baked potatos, grilled Texas Toast, and salad - along with my first batch of homemade beer.

Beer was a tad flat - something with the carbonation didn't work quite right - but tasted GOOD. Even my non-beer-drinking cousin Austin, and Gail, who isn't much of a beer drinker either, thought the taste was pretty good.

All in all, even though it was late, Alex and Gail appreciated their 20th anniversary dinner. Success!

And Granddaddy gets some of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow - he'd already eaten KFC for dinner, or we'd have had him over too... Ahh well. I hope he enjoys it as much as we did.

And of course, the evening full of visiting with family is something NOT to be missed. Got to visit a little with Granddaddy, Aunts Susan and Liz, and Cousin Crystal as well - altogether, a VERY NICE evening :)

Can ya tell I love getting together with my extended family?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On Fear, and Dealing With It

George over at GM Roper's Corner has a post up about dealing with fear. (h/t: Instapundit)

George goes into quite a bit about how fear can be crippling if you let it, or you can put it aside, and go on about your business, and he is quite right about that. Very good article.

One thing he doesn't go into, however, is how fear can be incredibly useful. I'm not going to address how causing fear in others can motivate them to do what you want - I find that, while sometimes necessary, to be distasteful at best.

Rather, I'd like to address how fear can be a good personal motivator.

You see, when you're afraid of something, you have a choice to make: You can succumb to that fear, or you can control it. And if you control it, you can make it work for you.

For example: I'm afraid of dying in a car wreck. Not because I'm afraid of dying (I'm really not, we all will sooner or later), but because I'm afraid of leaving Lisa, and in the future, our children, without the support I bring to our family. I don't avoid driving (except on Amateur Drunk Night aka New Year's Eve); I carry a lot of insurance. Granted, money won't completely cover my absence should I be killed, but plenty of money will make things easier for my family. I don't mind the monthly cost of the insurance, because that's how I deal with that fear of leaving my family without me.

My greatest fear - in fact the only REAL thing that terrifies me - is that I might somehow fail to TAKE CARE of my family. I don't sit and shake at night thinking about it; instead, I think of ways that I CAN take care of my family, come Hell or high water. "Murphy, I don't know your face, but I know your name - I'll be ready for you, whatever face you have on when you show up". I try to have plenty of everything - food, water, fuel, backup power, medicine, dog and cat food, cash on hand, firearms, ammo, money in the bank, tools, spare parts, firewood, propane, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, clothing, shelter - you name it.

Not being able to provide for my family is my GREATEST fear. Whenever something boils up in my psyche, and that fear rears its ugly head, I don't go to bed and cry about it - I USE IT. It motivates me, to analyze what gaps I have in being able to take care of my family, and then close that gap.

Of course, there are more immediate fears - face-to-face threats aren't something you can sit back and think about objectively.

But if you pick out, and identify, the long-term fears, and turn them to your advantage by addressing them, then you start to learn to face fear aggressively.

And as any military commander worth his salt will tell you, being aggressive, and taking the initiative, is priceless.

If you make a habit in your day-to-day life of identifying and acting on your background fears - being aggressive and taking the initiative against them - it will become second nature.

Then, when you're faced with a sudden, or immediate, stressful situation, you won't collapse in uncontrolled fear - you'll face it head-on, identify and evaluate your options, and proceed accordingly.

And Fear will never again be your master - only an occasional passer-by, and sometime servant.

Friday, March 10, 2006

New Series

As I said earlier (and apparently well enough to have been mentioned in the Carnival of Curmudeons!) I don't know as much about the Constitution as I should.

I'm about to start correcting this. You're welcome to come along with me, on this semi-regular series of posts. Comments are highly encouraged.

The Constitution of the United States

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.
Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Just a short one tonight, but I'm going to go through the whole thing here over time. Stay tuned.

[edit] Lisa pointed out a typo above, which has since been corrected. At this point, I want to note that I'm not doing copy-paste for this series - I'm manually typing the whole thing from my book, "The Declaration of Independance and The Constitution of the United States". Copy-paste won't teach me a damn thing, having to manually type it might help it set in a little better. [/edit]

Worth Repeating

As I was cooking bacon for Lisa and I:

Me: "I don't know why fairy tales made the "big, bad wolf" out to be the bad guy. I mean, pork tastes GOOD!"

Lisa: "... You realize you are NOT A WELL MAN."

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Simple Prayer

Tonight, we're on the cusp of a severe weather event here in North Texas.

Predictions range from destructive wind-shear translating into straight-line winds, to severe thunderstorms, to large hail, to numerous tornados.

Just about right for Springtime in Texas.

After hearing the screen door pop a few times, I just walked out in the backyard to see what the weather's doing - right now, just quite windy.

But when I went out, Edgar wanted to go with me. Once we were outside, he decided "This isn't such a good idea", and stayed within 18 inches of me. When I said, "Let's go back inside", he headed for the door - stopping every few feet to make sure I was still walking behind him.

I don't own these dogs - I just look after them. I'm the Pack Leader; if any of them wanted to leave the pack, they would. My fences aren't determined-dog-proof.

They look to Lisa and I for safety, and comfort, and they get it, as best we can provide. If we fall short (it happens, but rarely), they don't notice, other than to whine or grunt a bit more than normal.

Which reminds me of one of the bestest, shortest prayers I've ever heard:

"Dear God, please help me to be the kind of man my dogs think I am".

If I could really acheive that, I'd at least be a Knight, and maybe even be Sainted by the time I'm 40.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Doctors We Will Have

Let there be more like him.

My response:

Damn good post.

Excellent description of your balance of duty to society that we all have, to wipe out predators, vs your duty to society as a doctor, to give the best care you can to all people.

That's gotta be a tough call to make, and I think you're making it the right way. Whatever crime was done, punishment is already being served - not your place to add to it.

Care for the patient, and let them finish the sentence they were set.

Docs get to ask the MOST intrusive questions, and DO the most intrusive things (I don't let just anybody stick a knife in me, or shove a camera up my ass, after all!).

On the other hand, there's probably things you don't need or want to know. And as they say, "If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question".

Good job, Doc, and once again, I hope you wind up practicing in Fort Worth.

Unsolicited Advice

Something Dad told me several years ago, more or less out of the blue:

"Take pictures of every house you ever live in, every car you ever own, and every dog that decides you're worth hanging around for".

At the time, I thought it was a nice idea. After having spent a fair amount of time going through some of Dad's old pictures, I'll say that was probably pretty good advice. I'll have to follow it more strictly.

Still working on getting the pic of Gretchen that I found scanned.

I have more pictures I need to take.

Critterblogging: The Pics

Here are the doggies, post-haircut.

This is Buddy, being a bit camera-shy:

Buddy, with Edgar looking on, wondering, "Are we going outside?"

And Buster, in front of Lucky's chair, hoping he doesn't have to go outside:

When I left for work this morning, Buddy and Buster had coats where the outer hair was probably 6-8" long. Now their hair is shorter than Lucky the Dalmation's.

Lisa's hoping I'll get my hair cut next.

It's a little saddening... Buddy's hair grows in thick and black, but when it's cut short, all the gray/white hairs show. Every year there's more. This year his ears are seriously salt&peppered... he's getting old.

I've been finding some great pictures of the dogs that Dad took... I really need to get my scanner working so I can post them. Which brings me to the topic of my next post...

Critterblogging: Haircuts!

Since about Spring of 2000, we've had a twice-a-year event:

Buddy and Buster get haircuts.

See, they're both long-haired dogs. And I DO mean long-haired. Buddy once fell asleep curled up in the middle of the yard, and then it started snowing. His fur was so thick, he didn't lose enough body heat to melt the snow off of him. Buster's hair is just about as long and thick.

Here in Texas, they start getting pretty miserable this time of year.

Sometime around early to mid- March, once we're pretty sure we're done with SERIOUS cold weather (around here, that means anything below 40F), Buddy and Buster go to the groomer's, and come back looking like they just entered boot camp.

Well, except this time - they went all froo-froo on me, and left Buddy's ample tail long-haired. I think I'll take Friday off, and take him back and make them finish the job.

I'm tempted to get up early tomorrow morning and go outside and play with Buddy - his first morning after his haircut always makes him act like a puppy, instead of the 14- or 15-year-old Elder Statesman that his has become.

Of course, by late June/early July, it'll be time again - they'll be pretty shaggy by then, and that's heading into the hottest part of the year. And, doing the second cut then, lets them grow enough hair back to be comfy when the weather starts cooling off in the Fall.

I'll try to get more Puppy Pics up soon.

Not Sure Which Is True

Either I'm getting better at this whole "Being a Good Husband" thing, or she's really easy to please.

Or maybe it's some of both... The iPod is a kinda neat gizmo, though.

Friday, March 03, 2006



That's about how my last week or so has gone.

Not Fun. I apologize for not posting more... I've actually had several things I wanted to write, but either had no time to do so, or no energy to sit here and type.

Did I mention that this hasn't been a fun week?

Anyway, more details to follow, but here's the highlights:

Cisco should let somebody else write their install scripts and documentation thereof.

IPods are rather cool... so is ITunes. Volume control on the IPod would be nice, though.

ITunes lets you download a song for $.99... WAY better than buying a $15 CD that you only like one, two, or three songs from. I'll support this business model all day long. The only thing I can think of that would be better, is if you buy a couple of singles as they're released, then discover you like the whole CD, and you get a credit for the singles you already bought. Don't really see the record companies doing that, though.

I can do house wiring, but I don't like it. Got Lisa's new microwave working, though.

I can also do door framing, and don't mind that... I'm just disgusted that it took me so long to get around to taking care of the office -> garage door.

Dunno if I mentioned this or not... but I hate my sinuses. Especially when they result in me coughing up blood and spending a whole Saturday laying around on OTC drugs.

Hot coffee can make a sore throat feel better. Probably hot anything; I just prefer coffee.

Beer is good. I bottled my first batch of homebrew tonight. Pulled a shot first; it smelled like good beer, it tasted like good beer gone flat. Which is to be expected, since it hasn't been carbonated yet. It's now bottled and carbonating... I'll let ya know how it turns out.

Happy 20th Anniversary to Uncle Alex and Gail, and Happy 33rd Birthday to Lisa!

I'll write more later, but right now, I'm just wore slap out. REALLY looking forward to bed.

G'Night, All.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Now I'm Mad.

I'm not sure I know where to even start with this.

Amendment I

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

The initial read made me very depressed. The kind of depressed usually I can only get myself into.

Then I got mad.

Civics. History. Literacy. Logic. Critical thought.

These are the things that make a person something more than a wage-drone. Things that make a person capable of independence.

And they're the things that our public education system have systematically destroyed over the course of the last several generations.

My local FOX affilliate ran a bit on this story on the six o'clock news this evening, with 'man on the street' interviews. The ONLY example they showed of someone who knew all five freedoms from the First Amendment was some guy in his 50's (guessing). And judging by the percentages in the story, he may have been the only one they found.

Folks, if you don't homeschool your kids, start thinking about it. If you can't, think about private schools. If you can't afford that, AT LEAST spend some time with your kids teaching them the things the unionized, far-left public education system DOESN'T want them to know. Like exactly what their rights and freedoms are, and mean. And support some form of voucher system, so you can send your kids to a school that will TEACH.

I'm no Constitutional scholar, by any means. While I know what's there, I usually have to look it up to quote it properly (much like I have to do with the Bible). I've got my own remedial studying to do, as I'm a product of this same thrice-damned "educational" system - and I went to an EXCELLENT public school, in comparison to most.

We've made some notable gains on the freedom front in this country in the last couple of years - encouraging, to say the least, but certainly not enough to sit back and smile about.

However, this drove home the point that we have a bigger fight on our hands. Bigger, even, than restoring lost liberty and reclaiming power from the government that the Constitution says it's not allowed.

We've got to get serious, and get BUSY, about educating people. Our peers, our friends, our families, and most importantly, our kids.

Too many people don't even know what freedoms they SHOULD have, that have been taken away, and don't care. They don't know that they SHOULD care.

This is very terribly demoralizing to me. I didn't realize just HOW far behind we are, and how far we have to go just to pull even.

It feels like racing, and you're running good lap times, and they're getting quicker - you're improving! And then the lead guy laps you, and you realize just HOW FAR back you really are.

At this point, we could "birthday" America - repeal ALL laws, go back to nothing but the Constitution and start over - and within two generations, maybe less, we'd be as bad off as we are now, if not worse. Nobody knows to protect it. Nobody knows Liberty NEEDS protecting.

Damnit, this hurts. I don't usually pay attention to "opinion poll" stories, but this one is damn near bringing me to tears. I'd rather take a kick to the balls for every word in that story than read it again. I think it would hurt less, or at least less deeply.

But I'm going to print it out, and put it up in my cubicle at work. I'm going to put it on the refrigerator here at home. And I'm going to stay MAD about it, because I'll do something about things I'm mad about.

(And that triggered a memory that helped. Way back when TRS-80s were OK computers, and I was in High School, I had a coach who pegged that attitude of mine right off. He'd run me until my legs were Jello, and when I finished the workout he prescribed, and said, "Anything else, Coach?" He'd reply, "Nope, that's it. But what do you think Able Oviedo's doing right now?" Then he'd go home. See, Able was the only guy to beat me my senior year in the two mile run. Coach would piss me off, reminding me of my losses, then go home... and I'd run another two hours. And at District, when it mattered, I won by a BIG margin.)

Go for it, Beeb. Keep writing crap like this. Hell, even keep putting the most important part, the five freedoms, at the end of the last sentence of the last paragraph of the story. Keep me pissed off. See how far in second place YOU end up.

Funny thing, how outsiders repeatedly mistake what result their actions will have on Americans. Just to list a few:

Pearl Harbor - shock, sense of loss, grim determination, victory.
World Trade Center - shock, sense of loss, grim determination, victory (to come)

This one's something I can do something about personally - and it's headed in the same direction.

I'm no sleeping giant - but the ideas this country was built on, and that WILL be re-awakened, make giants seem miniscule.

You socialist shitstains don't know what you just did, by pointing this deficiency out for us.

But you will, because you just woke a LOT of us up.