Monday, April 24, 2006

Skill Sets

Chris lists several valuable skillsets.

He splits them between "soft" and "hard" skills, and suggests that everyone should have a few.

I disagree.

The "soft" skills he lists are things that would make one valuable to a community, assuming there's a community to be valuable TO.

The "hard" skills Chris lists are the things, without fail, that EVERYBODY needs to know. These are the skills YOU need to know, in order to take care of yourself and your family.

The right way to look at this is Chris's "hard" skills are the core curriculum. The "soft" skills he lists are electives.

Everyone should fulfill the core curriculum, and pick and choose from the electives - but it's the "hard" skills that will get you and your family through the tough times.

Address those first.

Action -> Reaction

Emporer Misha fisks another story from the Paleoswinian Territories, but this is even better than his norm. Some people (specifically, in this case, the ones who voted Hamas into their majority government), just don't get that actions cause consequences. I wasn't aware that education of "Cause and Effect" was outlawed by the Koran, but this seems to be the case.


Catching up on the day's events. I was pretty much in a whirlwind all day, just now able to slow down and catch up. Already found something I want to comment on about something Chris wrote, probably more after that. And also (maybe) something a bit more serious.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bird Flu

Just seen on the local Fox affiliate news:

Local authorities today went through an exercise on local response to an outbreak of Bird Flu (yep, these newscasters couldn't even refer to it as H5N1) among the human population.

I didn't catch the whole thing, but they don't sound too prepared.

According to one "Security Expert", approx. 75% of schoolkids in Dallas County get their strongest meal of the day at school. Closing schools to limit the spread of an outbreak (Avian Flu or otherwise) would thus result in another problem with widespread malnutrition amongst children.

Somehow that doesn't seem right to me. I can't find stats on what % of kids in Dallas County are on the school lunch program, but 75% seems high. On top of that, SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF KIDS IN DALLAS COUNTY don't get as nutritious a dinner at home as they get for free at school? When report cards for the Dallas school lunch program only give it a C+?

I'm not buying this. Somebody's gonna have to show me hard numbers, from credible sources.

IF it is true, that's just one more reason I'm glad I live in Fort Worth, and not Dallas.

Part of the same story was a poll that said 52% of people don't think the gov't is prepared for an outbreak of H5N1. Hey, only 48% of the people still have their heads in the sand!

Be Prepared - it's good for the Boy Scouts, and for the rest of us, too. The Gov't won't be able to protect you from any massive disease outbreak. Be Prepared to take care of yourself and your family.

If you need help, here's two good resources.

U.S. Census Bureau

... is doing a census. If you just asked yourself, "Why, it hasn't been 10 years since the 2000 Census?" then congrats to you.

As I referenced here, it's called the American Community Survey, and it's about the most obnoxious piece of crap I've seen in a while.

If I'm applying for a line of credit, I'm not asked this many intrusive questions. And I actually GET something for that!

Being that this is not a year the FedGov is supposed to be doing a census, I was going to go down as "no response". Just don't answer the phone when they call, and don't answer the door when they show up.

Lisa got tired of the phone ringing HOURLY, though (yes, that's right - calling ONCE AN HOUR. EVERY DAY. Talk about obnoxious, and how many of my tax dollars are paying for this shite?), and told me I had to talk to them and try to get them to quit calling.

So tonight, an hour after the first time the phone rang from them, I answered, and spent about 15 minutes listening to all the GOOD reasons for the FedGov to have such intimate details about my life as "How many rooms are in your house?" "Do you have indoor plumbing?" "What time do you leave for work each day?" "What's your annual household income?" - those last two sound really spooky together, don't they? - and explaining to the Census caller, many times, in detail, (and 8x10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one) the meaning of the phrase, "That's none of your business, and I'm not going to answer that question."

(Virtual cookie to the first person who recognized the photographs quote)

We'll see whether they keep calling, or go straight to sending someone to ring the doorbell.

Of course, when they ring the doorbell, I have a different problem. One of the questions I refuse to answer is what race I am. That doesn't matter a damn bit as far as determining how many Representatives Texas sends to Washington; it's only useful for racist policies like the reprehensible Affirmative Action. However, if I open the door, they'll answer it for me.

Maybe I'll just shout through the door.

Or, maybe I'll talk to whatever quisling shows up, and explain that my personal information is VALUABLE - companies buy and sell it all the time (usually just as soon as I give it to them, IN EXCHANGE FOR SOMETHING I WANT). As a valuable commodity, the FedGov can have it, if they're willing to pay for it. Since I don't really want to part with it, though, it's going to be expensive. Say, $1000/question I answer that isn't authorized by the Constitution (ie, how many people live here).

Somehow I don't think they'll take me up on my generous offer.

Statist pricks. The whole lot of them should be FIRED.

Sorry for the light posting

I've been working over at Dad's every night this week. Combination of disassembly inside the house, and sheetrocking inside the Garage, and prepwork for running a water line to the garage, so we'll have running water and a bathroom when those are disabled in the house.

In other words, go to the paying job, then go to the I'M-paying job, then come home and sleep. In between, try to squeeze in whatever quality time with Lisa we can.

Oh, and still take care of four dogs, two cats, and the U.S. Census Bureau (more on that later), and try to stay at least a little informed about what's going on in the world around me.

I'm glad Bud convinced me we should take tonight off before we hit it full-time tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Ok, so I'm late posting it.

This is the first gun I've ever named. Ivan, meet My Readers. Readers, meet Ivan.

Ivan is a Mosin-Nagant 91/30. He's pretty cosmo'd up right now, something I'm going to have to take care of before I take him out to discover if he deserves his name.

I showed up at Military Gun Supply about 30 minutes before they closed Saturday, after finishing my yardwork, and spent the time looking at furniture and bores, and testing actions and triggers.

Now, (as far as I know so far) Ivan's a Russian military piece. No precision engineering here. But the action's not bad, and while the trigger has a good amount of creep, it's pretty much smooth. And even cosmo'd, his furniture is beautiful, and the bore, while it's collected a fair amount of crap in the cosmoline, looks good. I'll know more about that after a good cleaning.

So that's my BAG Day purchase. And I did it on April 15th. While I understand why others may have bought theirs a little early, or a little late,

"I fart in your general direction"


I did it on Tax Day! So there!

Now we'll just have to see how Ivan shoots, after a VERY thorough cleaning.

Ditzy Twits

They have a new song out... "Not ready to make nice". Lisa wanted to hear it, so it's playing behind me right now.

Typical Bush Derangement Syndrome BS. I heard it on the radio about two weeks ago, and I changed the station immediately. Until the Ditzy Twits issue a full apology to President Bush, I'll not listen to their crap, and I'll let the radio stations here in Dallas/Fort Worth know that if they play that garbage, they'll have lost a listener for at least as much time as it takes for that song to end.

Then I realized... I heard that crap ONCE, when it was released, about two weeks ago. Haven't heard it since. I guess a few folks around here let the country radio stations know that the Ditzy Twits are still persona non grata here in heartland America.

Fire Congress

Ok... I've worked at cleaning this up to family-friendly levels, but it's still gonna be a little harsh. If you're easily offended by language, pass this one by.

This is a plan on how to fix the Feddle Gummint.


I first though about this roughly 15 years ago, shortly after I was old enough to vote, and disgusted with Congress as a whole.


Doesn't matter that it might result in a (D)umbass Congress... we could do it again in two years. But it would get some attention.

As in, "You sorry sacks of shout... you haven't been listening to your bosses (voters), and your job performance is abysmal. YOU'RE FIRED.

FIRE every member of Congress. Send letters, phone calls, emails and faxes to the FNGs replacing them, explaining that their predecessors were FIRED for not listening to their bosses, and they'll be subject to the same treatment if they don't listen to their BOSSES.

Of course, this could be started in the primaries, so we could still vote against leftists. But I'd take two years of a Leftist House against what we've got right now.

These forkers have forgotten what they were sent to Washington to do, and it's time they got a wake-up call. Vote across party lines, across ideology, and VOTE THE FORKERS OUT!!!

Every damn one of them. I'd love to see a 100% turnover in the House this year (like I said, if we start with the primaries, we don't have to make it a (D)umbass House), and see 1/3 of the Senate lose their jobs (again, ideally in the primaries).

"Congress has done such a poor job representing We, the People, that I will vote against each and every one of you".

Don't stay home in droves. Show up in droves to VOTE THE FORKERS OUT.

I guarantee the next generation of the House (and the Senate, if they can re-awaken a few higher mental functions) would sit up and take some notice that they ought to maybe start paying attention to what voters (and not illegal aliens) are saying... or they'll be the next casualties in the "Reclaiming of Congress".

Specific things to point out:
1) You can oppose a war, but you're not allowed to lie about what our troops are doing, or about their morale.
2) You're not allowed to spend MY money indiscrimately.
3) You're not allowed to buy votes with MY money
4) You're not allowed to ignore the 10th Amendment. The Interstate Commerce clause is not a "do anything you want" card.
5) You'd better get straight on A- control spending B- Control our borders C- Don't play games with our rights any more. In fact, roll back rights-disrupting laws.
6) Untangle the INS red tape. We DO need immigrants, but we need them to be legal. Quit making it so hard to obey the law.


Last night, as I was cleaning out the last of the kitchen cabinets at Dad's House, I found a coffee mug Lil'Sis had sent to him.

On one side it had a pair of typical embarassing baby pics - ass out naked. On the other side, it had "GrandDaddy, somebody took my Pants!"

I didn't pack that one up with the rest of the dishes. It's just too cute.

Happy Easter

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life."

That's one of the few Scriptures I have memorized, and I think it's the most important. Today we celebrate Christ's Resurrection, and the promise that we don't have to be perfect (damn good thing for most of us) - we just have to accept that He died so we don't have to.

I try to live according to the original rules - the Ten Commandments - but often I fail miserably. It's nice to know that God gave us standards to try to live by, but also a safety net for when we don't measure up.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Baby Talk

I look at this picture and I have this terrible, uncontrollable urge to say “Oochey-goochey-gooey widdle baby. Who’s um’s daddy-poo?”.

If any of you quote me on that, I’ll beat you senseless.

Anyway, congrats to BMEWS member Jaguar and his wife. As one commenter said, "This is why we fight".

Thanks, Skipper!

Oh, and Skipper? Bring the ass-whoopin'. We'll settle it down over homemade BBQ and homemade beer.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Not sure exactly how "Eastery" I'll be this weekend - lots of work to do. But I won't forget (and you, dear Readers, shouldn't either) what this Sunday represents.

If you don't know what this Sunday means (besides mythical bunnies, colored, boiled eggs and candy), find a small- to mid-sized church and attend services Sunday morning. Trust me - if I didn't burst into flames walking into a large Baptist church for my wedding, you'll suffer no harm in a smaller, friendlier church on Easter Sunday. And it's almost universally a good sermon this weekend.

Ok. That's my evangelizing quota for the forseeable future.

In other news, there's no carpet left in Dad's House. Plans are being developed for further progress, and money's reserved to buy building materials. Pretty big job, rehabbing an entire house (parts of which are most likely more than 100 years old), but should result in a good, sturdy house for my long-time friend Bud to live in for a while, and eventually be a nice little house for Mom and StepDad to live in (a few dozen yards from the house Lisa and I will build) when they get old enough for the tables to be turned - they took care of me when I was young, and I'll take care of them when they're old.

Friend Dave grew up with that arrangement, as he reminded me tonight. His grandparents' house was a few dozen yards away from the house he grew up in. Their offspring & spouse were just across a large yard, with grandkids around and about all the time. No nursing homes for them. Some measure of independence, with a FAMILY support structure ready at hand.

Dad's Mom and Dad (my Grandparents) are doing much the same thing, with Dad's siblings (my Aunts and Uncle). Some changes going on there, and there will be plenty of work for all of us to do to facilitate those changes, but it'll be a good thing when it's all done.

I don't like nursing homes. I do like extended family, and I especially like having lots of extended family together in one place... visits are that much better!

Anyway... I'm worn out, about to call Lisa at work and tell her goodnight. Probably more will be written this weekend, possibly something that some of you shouldn't read if profanity offends you. I may unleash the RantMonster on Congress. Keep in mind the reason for this Holiday, and if you don't know much about it, find out.

And have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Good Writing

I don't know if I'd call this poetry, (h/t Kevin) but this is some GOOD writing. Go check it out.

Dad's House

I don't think I've said much here about the house Dad lived in, about 50 yards or so from the Garage. There's a LOT I could say, but I'll give you the short version.

It's small, it's old, and it was mostly handbuilt by a guy who didn't have many resources.

It was old in '79. I think part of it was built pre-1900.

There's quite a few repairs that need to be done before it's lived in again. And I want it to be lived in, because I don't want that piece of property vacant.

Enter an old (as in, I was in Junior High when we met) friend of mine. I'll call him Bud.

Bud loves the country, and hates apartments. But due to various circumstances, this old friend of mine lives in an apartment here in Fort Worth.

Coincidence? Maybe. Bud and I started planning last summer on the repairs needed to the house, and him moving out of his apartment, and into the house, and paying me enough rent to cover property taxes.

Classic WIN-WIN situation - I get a renter looking after the place who I'd trust with Lisa's life, and get the property taxes covered, Bud gets out of the apartment and into a house, and out of the city and into the country (and still close to his job), and pays less rent in the bargain.

But we have to do some repairs first. They started this week, with Bud and a 6-foot, probably 15-pound wrecking bar ripping up flooring so we could find out what's wrong with the pier-and-beam foundation.

Basically, it wasn't built right to start with, and now it's a little shy of worthless.

This is gonna be a big job... but I think we can manage it. I'm subscribing to a derivative of the school of mechanical engineering that may have been pioneered by a good friend of my Grandfather's (who designed the first multi-level carhaulers you see on the roads today) - he didn't phrase it this way, I'm sure, but my derivative is "When in doubt, overbuild the damn thing".

It's going to be a lot of work for Bud and I, and I'm quite sure I'll wind up spending an awful lot on materials, but when we're done, Dad's House will have a foundation and subfloor to make anybody proud. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 10, 2006


This is one of the funniest things I've read in I don't know how long.

I read it to Lisa, but I had to keep stopping to regain my composure, because I'd start laughing too hard to keep reading.

Thanks, Kim!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lots of phone time

I spent this evening tonight talking to my Grandfather, my StepDad, and Rivrdog about enlisting in the National Guard.

There aren't any links to my Grandfather of Stepdad that I know of, but Rivrdog is somebody worth talking to. I feel honored that he called me, and shared his insight on issues relating to the military.

Not only is Rivrdog worth listening to, he's worth reading regularly too. Pay attention.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Good Common Sense

Courtesy of Tammy Bruce (h/t: Gullyborg).

I'd not read Tammy before, I think I need to pay more attention to her.

Go read the article, and the comments. She's right.

McCain was a heroic POW. If he'd never done anything but that, he'd have my respect. However, he tried to parlay his heroism into popularity, and turned into a whore.

I'm probably not the only one who doesn't have a great deal of respect for whores.

News for McCain: I have a good-paying IT job, but I'd quit to go pick lettuce for $50/hr. Thing is, nobody's paying $50/hr to pick lettuce. I'm not sure it's possible to pick $50 worth of lettuce in an hour, so that "offer" just shows how full of Happy Horseshit McCain is.

Good Common Sense? Nowhere to be found within line-of-sight of that lackwit McCain.

Wrench Spinnin' - Theoretical-style

AnalogKid is looking at a new (to him) set of wheels. Apparently he's a fan of high-winding, small-displacement, powerful motors. There's certainly no shortage of 'em coming out of Japan.

Rivrdog disagrees, via comments, advocating in favor of low-rpm grunt engines that don't have to wrap their elbows around their assholes to get something done (my interpretation).

Well, in fact, they're both mostly right. Thing is, the Kid's talking apples, and Rivrdog's talking oranges.

AnalogKid likes to go FAST. Rivrdog likes to go ANYWHERE. Since we're talking about four-wheeled passenger vehicles, not helicopters, the two are pretty much mutually exclusive.

NOTE: I'm staying out of the diesel end of things here - that's not an area I know enough to talk about. I've heard wonderful things, but I don't have enough understanding to comment with much intelligence, much less any authority.

Something to remember: T=T, and H=H. As in Torque=Tugging, and Horsepower=HaulingCookies. Two very different requirements.

Something else to remember: Horsepower=(Torque*RPM)/5250. Yes, this means Torque=Horsepower at 5250 rpm, always. It also means that high horsepower usually comes at higher rpm. This is variable, based on many different engine design decisions.

It also means different engines are made for different purposes.

But, something is ALMOST univerally true, that AK either doesn't understand, or doesn't believe:

There really IS no replacement for displacement.

I admit, I loves me some big fat V8s. But I also love the little 1600cc aircooled engine in my 1970 Beetle, and no, it ain't no "flower power" Bug; it's built to run autocross, and run it hard.

The Japanese did some REALLY cool things with small engines, cranking out almost unbelievable horsepower/ ratios... thing is, those developments usually scale pretty well.

If you figure out what makes a 2.5L V6 run so hard, and do the same thing, but tack another two cylinders on the front of it, you're going to have a winner. The V8 WILL produce more power, every time.

Comparing old-tech V8s to new-tech I4s or V6s is comparing apples to oranges.

Engines are, basically, just big air pumps. The more air you can move through them, the more power they can make. Efficiency does play a big part here, but you can make big engines work about as efficiently as small ones, and the big ones can move more air, thus making more power (given approximately equal volumetric efficiencies).

Of course, there's also the question of application. Rivrdog wants a grunt motor. AK wants a fast screamer. There's places for both, just like there's places for a snubnosed .38 Special, and places for a .308 boltie. They're meant for different jobs, and neither can do the other's job well.

For example: I've got a '79 GMC 2wd 3/4 ton pickup, with a 454 in it. This truck is NOT fast, even with a Gear Vendors overdrive in it. The overdrive means I'm not dangerously slow on the interstate, that's about it. But... I'd be whatever amount of money AnalogKid wanted to bet, that we could tie that truck and his choice of ANY Toyota (4wd and AWD included) back-to-back, with any (Toyota-based) engine he can imagine, and I'd drag it backwards through a cloud of its own tire smoke. More than likely, I'd never go over 1500 rpm doing so.

On the other hand, take that same fasty-fast Toyota of The Kid's, put it on a road-race course with the old GMC, and if it's more than a mile-long circuit, I'm quite sure he'd do two laps before I finished one.

Difference in purpose, difference in results.

When you're buying a new car, or a daily driver in general, you have to think about what you want to do. Compromises MUST be made, even if you're building your own engine - no one engine will do EVERYTHING well.

Thus, we have guys like me, who have vehicles specialty-tuned to particular endeavors, just as avid shooters have specific guns tuned to specialty shooting scenarios.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Category Error

Rarely does a fictitious work really "get to me".

Maybe it's just 'cause I'm dirt-tired, but this left my skin crawling.

h/t: Misha

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Government is giving me a Headache.

First, the American Community Survey. Here's another take on it.

Here's what happens if you don't "comply".

I know I've been remiss on the studying and posting here of the Constitution, but the part that addresses this is coming right up - in fact, it's in Article 1, Section 2. The Census is supposed to be a headcount, for the purpose of determining how many Representatives each state sends to Congress. It's supposed to be done every ten (10) years.

This "American Community Survey" is being sent out to different groups of households, MONTHLY!!!!

And what in the ever-loving @#$%$'s business is it of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT what time I leave for @#$%ing WORK in the morning?!?!?!?

Why did we make Afghanistan and Iraq go to all the trouble of coming up with their own Constitutions? We should have just given them ours. It worked pretty well for a good long time, and we're not using it anymore.

I'm not even going to get started on F-Troop.

Or the sorry excuse for public education in this country.

The more I think about it, the more I think the we need a Ctrl-Alt-Del for the FedGov - reset to the Constitution, as originally laid down, with the Bill of Rights attached. Re-vote on all constitutional amendments. The obviously good ones, like the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th, would automatically re-pass. The rest (such as the 16th and 18th, might face a bit more debate).

And while we're at it, I'd like to make the Bill of Rights amendments 2-11. The new First Amendment would read to the effect that "Should any Representative or Senator sponsor or co-sponsor a bill that becomes Law, and is later found to be in violation of the Constitution, said Representative or Senator shall be found to be in violation of Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution, and shall be subject to the penalties for Treason."

Sen. Feinstein, call your office. It's time for your neck measurement.

On the other hand, Kim notes that things are slowly heading back in the right direction. Slowly being key - it took a long time for things to get this bad, it's gonna take a long time to get them back to being right.

Just like it takes time to become obese, it also takes time to go from obese to fit. Dedication, consistency, and patience are key, and they work.

In the case of government, it takes a dedicated, consistent, and patient constituency to turn around the behemoth that the FedGov has become. It's happening - slowly. It helps to have people who know something about government, so educate yourself, then educate your friends and family. For example, Lisa didn't see anything wrong with this questionnaire, until I started pointing out that the correct answers to most of the questions, according to the Constitution, are "None of your business, and why do you want to know?". Then she started noticing how intrusive the questions are, and how that's really none of the FedGov's business.

Note - my big problem here is with the Feral Government demanding that I answer these questions. If the City of Fort Worth asked the same questions, I'd be a lot more inclined to answer. The City actually has an interest in what time I leave for work and how far I drive, since the City has to plan for handling traffic efficiently. Thus, this data is (at least marginally) valid for them to have. I use public utilities here, and the City has to do capacity planning for that, so asking how much water and natural gas I consume are valid questions for them to ask (although I'd think it would be more accurate to get those data from the utilities themselves). But things like that are NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER of anybody in Washington, DC.

Ugh. This whole business has NOT left me in a good mood tonight.