Friday, January 30, 2009

Big Iron On His Hip

Sorry for the hiatus but it's been fucking insane around here. I was working until 2am Wednesday, and I'm just now (10pm Friday) finishing up work for today and getting ready to go back to Salem for more tomorrow.Woof. I'll get back on track this weekend, promise. Until then, enjoy the Peeper and Missy's Wild Basket Ride of Death: videoUpdate 1/31: Apparently Mojo sacrificed the right black chicken, because the crane (see above) died about 10am today, so I'm back in town, putting in my timesheet and ready to do some business!

Perhaps sleep.

Sleep would be good.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

U R pwned, noob.

Okay, I don't do online gaming (don't have the time, gah). But even I get the funny here:US Democracy Server: Patch Day
Version 44.0

President
- Leadership: Will now scale properly to national crises. Intelligence was not being properly applied.
- A bug has been fixed that allowed the President to ignore the effects of debuffs applied by the Legislative classes.
- Drain Treasury: There appears to be a bug that allowed loot to be transferred from the treasury to anyone on the President’s friends list, or in the President’s party. We are investigating.
- Messages to and from the President will now be correctly saved to the chat log.
- Messages originating from the President were being misclassified as originating from The American People.
- A rendering error that frequently caused the President to appear wrapped in the American Flag texture has been addressed.Vice President
- The Vice President has been correctly reclassified as a pet.
- No longer immune to damage from the Legislative and Judicial classes.
- The Vice President will no longer aggro on friendly targets. This bug was identified with Ranged Attacks and the Head Shot ability.
- Reveal Identity: this debuff will no longer be able to target Covert Operatives.
Messages to and from the Vice President will now be correctly saved to the chat log.
- A rendering bug was affecting the Vice President’s visibility, making him virtually invisible to the rest of the server. This has been addressed.

Read the rest. Thanks, Armchair Generalist.

Bears! Why did it have to be bears!?

Remember this post?

Well, I was violently reminded of it while enjoying this little treasure: the "Nine Most Badass Bible Verses".

I know my friend Al has a soft spot for the good parts of Christianity, but...

When it comes to pure-D, hands-off, gut-slam, freaky-deaky, whattheFUCKyoutalkin'about, why-do-people-believe-in-this-stuff wierdness, religious texts are pure gold. We're talking some you-couldn't-make-a-horror-movie stuff. And don't EVEN get me started about the freakin' Book of Mormon!

Jesus was a stand-up guy, and the religion he preached was a thing of great depth and beauty. And Muhammad, too, and Gautama, and a whole bunch of truly spiritual folks all the way down to the Dalai Lamas and Mohandas Gandhis of our own day.

But a lot of the stuff that made it into the Bible (and the Torah, and the Koran, and the Vedas) just makes you say hmmm...and, sadly enough, it seems like many people prefer the she-bears and the Gospel of Prosperity and the Rule of the Fearful Sky Daddy to the hard, lonely, self-sacrificing faith of folks like Jesus and Buddha.So generally I treat all religious enthusiasts as my maternal grandfar would have dealt with a Jacobite and an armed one, at that.

(h/t to Balls and Walnuts, for the awesomely freaky Bible verse link. Dude!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Brain Too Short To Box With Santa Claus

So the Peeper wanted to sleep out on the living room sofa. I made him a cozy nest on the big down couch, tucked him in, kissed him goodnight and went back to shove some wood filler in the uglier of the out-of-plumb gaps in the window mouldings. In less than two minutes I heard crying from the living room.

"I had a bad dream" announces the Peeper as I entered, wiping wood filler of my fingers.

"Peep,you haven't even been to sleep yet..." I replied, sitting on the couch next to him. That layed him a dead stymie.

"Well...I had a scary thought in my head and I couldn't get it out."

Well, that's different. So I cuddled him and we talked about scary stuff and how the daylight is nice but the dark changes stuff and makes it scary. I showed him the tree outside that was the same, and the cars were the same, and the houses. He said that trees grow and change, they start out little and change and grow. I reminded him that that was over years, not one night.

He was okay with that.

Then he struck out on a completely unexpected tangent. "What happened before there was anything? When there was nothing, before everything was made?" I said I wasn't sure, that there were lots of different ideas, but that lots of really smart people thought that there was this time when everything was all together in one tiny place, and then, in an instant, it rushed outwards like the hyperspace in Star Wars (Note: parents will recognize this as the "find a kid hook to hang your concept on" strategy) and all the universe and the galaxies and stars and planets started.

He thought about this for a little.

"I really want to know about that stuff, I think about it a lot." he said, "I really think about what was there before everything and how everything is."

I agreed that that was something to know about, and that he could learn a lot about it and think about it and he might be the one to find out the answer.

"I think only one person knows everything, maybe two." he announced, a little sleepily.

"Who's that?"

"I think maybe Santa Claus." he yawned, "And God."

"Goodnight, Peeper." I kissed his soft, little-boy-smelling hair.

"G'night, Dada." he said, snuggling down into his blankets.

And I turned down the light.

Tortured Logic

What he said.

Minstrel Boy lays it out just fine. I don't really need to add anything except this: I've been accused of being too pessimistic about my country when I state my belief that we have passed or are close to passing the point of No Return to the republican ideas that produced our Constitution.

I don't think so. This, more than any other facet of our ludicrous Terrorgegensitzkrieg (sounds better in the original German, eh?), lays bare to me the poverty of our supposed "freedom" and our committment to the Constitutional rights that supposedly make us what we are. If we are "debating" the use of torture we're way beyond the decline that Caesar ended crossing the Rubicon. We're the barbarians, roaring and brawling amid the ruins of the classic glories of our Republic. Even at our worst, when we were chasing Cheyenne women and children out to die in the cold or torturing Filipinos trying to free their country we admitted that we were wrong. Just that we we needed to do wrong because it was good for us. The defenders of these acts refuse to even admit the wrongness. That is below contempt.

Because at the very heart of our U.S. system is a distrust of personal motives, panic and mobocracy. The Founders were our aristocracy, after all, and they also had the bad example of the French Revolution before their eyes, with accusations and counter-accusations, imprisonment without hearing, execution without trial. They had just won the dirtiest of all kinds of wars, a civil war against their "mother country". They knew all about terror, betrayal, judicial and extrajudicial murder, and the danger of forgetting in the fear of death that there are worse things than death.The Republican scum we chose to elect eight years ago - and their Democratic enablers in Congress - and continued to preserve as our "leaders" over the intervening time have compounded torturous treason with the utmost in sad incompetence. We are a disgrace to ourselves and to the world.

They have shat the bed so thoroughly with regard to these pathetic chattels that it would almost be a mercy to put a bullet in them, provided that we could throw the corpses of their torturers, and those who issued the orders for torture, and those who lied and covered up and defended the torture in the grave with them.

I can't believe that there's even any "debate" over this. Every time I read items like this I think of the catchphrase Driftglass used to use: you can now be a good American or a good Republican.

But you cannot be both.

Update 1/27: And, pat as the Fairy Queen in the pantomime to prove my point, here's Abu Gonzales on NPR yesterday (via The Rude Pundit - amendations his):
"Most fascinating was Gonzales's reaction to AG nominee Eric Holder's simple statement that waterboarding is torture, as we have understood torture for, let's say, ever: "I think that one needs to be careful in making a blanket pronouncement like that if you don't have all the information because of the effect it may have, again, on the morale and the dedication of intelligence officials and lawyers throughout the administration. Nonetheless, the very discussion about it is extremely discouraging. And I have talked to officials, senior officials at the CIA, for example, who tell me that agents at the CIA no longer have any interest at doing anything, anything remotely controversial, for fear that they are going to be investigated and that they have to go out and hire lawyers in order to do their job. And so, it has a very discouraging effect, and the net result of all of that is that people will not be doing what they need to be doing to gain intelligence that will help us connect the dots and protect our country from another attack."
Hmmm. Okay, well, then, here's a safety tip: if the idea that people investigating what you're doing makes you all depressy and sad and mopey and thinking about HIRING A FUCKING LAWYER in order to do your job and has a discouraging effect and makes you not do what you need to be doing than maybe YOU'RE DOING YOUR FUCKING JOB THE WRONG FUCKING WAY.

By, like, y'know, torturing people?

Baby Jesus On a Fucking Stick, people! How goddam hard is this?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Inching towards the finish.

It seems like forever - and it was over a year ago - that Little Miss slept in the converted co-screamer/playpen in the back hall closet. And that there WAS a back hall that was nothing BUT closets (Cue chorus of "In The Ghetto").IT was early in 2008 that we took the sawsall and the sledge and wrecking bar and got to work. It was ugly, remember? The "former people", who constructed structural walls and ran wiring like they were building a children's playhouse built crappy little closets like they were constructing the Gold Repository at Fort Friggin' Knox.But he hammered and bashed and sawed and cleared out the nasty little cluttered closet space...(note the dead Christmas tree - we put everything into that skip)...and even had some fun doing it.Slowly Little Miss' bedroom began to look less like a mess of closets and more like an actual place where a cute little girl could cuddle in her big-girl bed.In March, Brent helped the hell out of us taking down the siding and......installing the new windows, so now it REALLY began to look like a little bedroom.Everybody got to work and put up insulation and hung drywall (ugh - drywall!)Even the Grandpa helped install the lovely new corner windows to make the room bright and cheerful.And so they did!We took down the old texture off the existing drywall and matched the new and the old sheetrock.And, meanwhile, were still hauling off loads and loads of debris and wood waste to the dump...And then we primed the walls,and painted. We got the tongue-and-groove ceiling up, and Mojo and her dad rolled on the adorable tropical blue wall color...and suddenly, it really looks like a little girl's bedroom, doesn't it?And the best part is when our little girl toddles down to the end of the hall and looks around and announces proudly; "Maxine's room!"

Yes, it's your room, baby girl. Soon now. Very, very soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ooooh sugar sugar...

Consider what happens when a toddler gets enough chocolate and high-sugar-content vanilla ice cream on a cold January night. video
Watch the fun begin at about the 0:15 second mark.

It's cute, but it's not pretty.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Face to Facebook

So. I've been part of the facebook virtual-community for a little over six weeks now.

It all started here, where a friend referred those of us who enjoyed her blog over to the other medium. She wrote:
"I love Facebook because it doesn't take itself so seriously...It restricts your tendencies toward excess. Which I find refreshing and humbling and interesting, in the way that cryptic or aphoristic statements are always interesting."
I couldn't let that go...so over I went, filled in the little information form, and there I was feeling like I'd just gotten my first off-campus apartment.

The facebook is a curious thing, and it has interesting effects on those who visit there. The person who got me interested is very natural there. She usually posts a nicely varied mix of updates, notes, photos and information, being entertaining while clearly entertaining herself. She's a "good facebooker".

At the other pole are the people who never use the thing - they made a page and then left it, a sort of bookmark in the aether, a lamppost in the deep woods that, once lit, shines lonely and unvisited far from the busy chatter of the rest of the facebook world. You wonder - why? Was it just Not Their Thing? Too much timesuck? Just didn't trip their trigger? What?

The one person that I thought would react that way to the application has become, instead, a sort of uberfacebooker, a facemaniac; joining groups, signining petitions, sending and receiving chickens, cows, mardi gras beads, cocktails and sushi. It's been fun, really, watching this tender comrade become more facebook than the old hand facebookers.

I have to admit that I find the FB gimmicks and gadgets silly and a little irritating, the way that once I'd become comfortable with digital commo I found the cute little gimmicks on America Online frustrating (yeah, I was one of the original Eighties AOLers - Christ, I'm older than dirt...) The little goofs are fun at first, then just something to get through, finally a minor irritation; a Dancing-Paperclip-for-the-Internet sort of thing. It's not that I object to someone sending me an imaginary drink, I just think "I could probably spend this time mixing one of these upstairs and it'd taste better..." And, frankly, the snowballs just baffle me. WTF?

On the other hand, teh Facebook can be good for a quick larf, as in in this exchange that took place today:

J is relishing the smell of monkey dung in the morning. 8:54am

First Friend at 8:58am January 22
you should probably wipe better than:)

FDChief at 9:19am January 22
Smells like...evolution?

FDChief at 9:28am January 22
Bipedal locomotion?

FDChief at 10:28am January 22
Opposable thumbs?

J at 10:31am January 22 via Facebook Mobile Texts
Chief-do some work!

FDChief at 12:44pm January 22
Brachiation?

FDChief at 12:45pm January 22
Binocular vis...oh, sorry. I'll go do some work.

J at 1:01pm January 22
You crack me up Chief!

Second Friend at 2:50pm January 22
Gross

I think the capper for me is Second Friend coming in at the end with the classic Witty Comment On The Original Post ("Gross") after we'd already made a stand-up gag out of it. Sometimes the best funny is the guy who completely misses the gag.

Curiously enough, as I went to lunch thinking about writing this post, I open the World's Worst Newspaper and what's on the front page of the Living ("Where J-School Failures Go To Die") Section? Just 1500 words from the textually-challenged Peter Ames "What's Happening NOW!" Carlin on "Are people hiding from Life on Facebook!?", full of useless crap quotes from somebody about their opinion bout facebook. Damn, Peter, if I want to read someone babbling idiotic bullshit I'll dictate to myself, thanks.

Which means, of course, that the Facebook has had its 15 minutes and will soon go the way of AOL, populated by sad old bastards and aged grannies desperately trying to hook up with their grandkids using The Next Big Thing That Was Big Ten Years Ago.

So I guess that so far, my feeling is that FB's fine. It's not All That. I enjoy it for the e-mail and instant-messaging I can exchange with friends. But I'll pass on the snowballs and sushi, thanks. I still find that I enjoy the broader canvas of blogging and other writers for the breadth and depth of what they produce, for the thoughtful responses the more complex fora provoke in me, and provide for me. But if you just want to drop me a line, I'm around the facebook, every day, once a day or so.

Just don't come expecting to get a cyber-chicken out of me.

I don't do chickens.

Double Whalespouts!!

Are you ready for some industrial grade cuteness? Then behold, little Miss' adorable double whalespouts!Mojo loves these twin ponytails, but keeping them in place in the hair of a bouncy toddler is next to impossible. But she'd just gotten out of the bathroom this morning and I managed to catch her with them still in place. So this is for you, my love: your little girl and her cute hair. Nice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again

It occured to me as Mojo and I were driving home from the lovely Will and Meghan's Inauguration Party that I'd kinda-sorta been here before.

Y'see, I remember that day in August, 1974 - I was seventeen - when I heard on the car radio that Dick Nixon had resigned. I think I jammed on the horn of the Ford Pinto station wagon (and THERE was a chick magnet, let me tell you; I don't remember getting laid that year and I'd like to think the Pinto was to blame...) and shouted out the window with excitement. I wasn't a real political kid but my mom and my cousin were; they'd gotten me following the Watergate Hearings and by '74 if there was one thing I knew it was that Tricky Dick was a Grade A rat-bastard prick that hanging was too good for. But resignation would work in a pinch.But here's where the picture was different. There was none of the elation then that I feel from many of my friends today. I checked in on facebook when I got home and read many friends' comments about excitement and gratitude and happiness. And in a sense it is good; the election of a young man, a man who promises hope and change, is a good thing after the past eight years of stupidity, shame, war and wastefulness. I listened to President Obama's inaugural address and thought that it was a good speech. Full of many of the usual bromides of promise and hard work, hope and freedom, yes, but also somewhat realist and clearly thought through.

I don't think that things will change, not that much, and given the wretched economy and the fact that he's going to have to govern with Rush and Michelle and Anne and Newt and the other monarchist and Christopathic traitors meeching and shouting and praying for Obama and America to fail so that they can do their mean little "I told you the nigger was too stupid to govern!" dance I wouldn't have the Presidency as a gift.

But back in '74 we had Jerry Ford. Not the Jerry Ford we have now, overlaid with the moronic bumblings of Chevy Chase, but the pallid, competent timeserver from Michigan, an Organization Man, and one that we hoped, at best, would try and "do something" about the mess Nixon had left behind. Of course, what he did was pardon the sonofabitch, and so we've had to put up with the wretched refuse of Nixon's teeming execuive shores, the Cheneys and Rumsfelds and the like. Gaaah.

But as Nixon-pardoning, mediocre, and lame as Jerry Ford was, he was just lame and mediocre. His little country-club-Republican-lawn-jockey-kiss-the-wealthy's-ass-nightlight flckered feebly beside the neutron star blackness of Nixon's pure monarchical evil. So that when that power-sucking dark star imploded the light admitted, the remaining shadow cast by Ford was a little less dark than the black hole of Nixonism we had loured in before.

So perhaps that's the real best that we can say that about today; the darkness that was Bushism is officially gone. Our work now is to illuminate the shadowy corners that remain and relight the light of democracy and government of the People, by the People, and for the People.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Four Hundred Pounds

But an otherwise utterly unremarkable weekend: Im Westen Nichts Neues.

During which we managed to:

1. Make a Class I resupply run to the WinCo in the 'Cuve, where we also managed to avoid the dreaded Bin World Dumpster Dive (wherein one or more children does a front lay-out into the Sticky Sweet Candy Bin and emerges with a face full of pure high fructose corn syrup).

2. Stop at Home Depot and pick up all the remaining interior mouldings for Maxine's bedroom.

3. Play repeated games of Monster Daddy and the Screaming Children; once on the playset, once in the living room...I lose track. Lots, anyway. Plus piggyback, race cars, and read "Owl Babies" and "Daisy Comes Home" repeated times.

4. Try on Missy's new Big Girl Undies - which she loves WAY more than diapers, although not as much as going "'mando" (commando, that is).

5. Move an entire truckload of assorted clothes, toys, games, books and household items to the Goodwill.

6. Eat some curly fries.

7. Truck four hundred pounds of dimension lumber and a scattering of debris to the transfer point (i.e. the dump).

8. Enjoy a brief but delightful visit from Thor and her entourage. She is almost as adorable as Little Miss and a WHOLE lot bigger and stronger. What a sweetiepie!

9. Bike (Peeper and Missy), scooter (Mojo), and walk (me) down to our little McKenna Park, around and back to Astor School and then home to enjoy the chilly but prettily sunny day.

9. Enjoy a savory dinner of bratwurst with sauerkraut and apfelmus and a garden salad with pears, grapes, walnuts and chevre.

10 Blast our way through the Separatist's droid armies (me and the Peeper) or through the entire box of Legos (Missy).

11. And then to bed...

I don't know about you, but I'm beat!

So let's play you out with the Dance of the Sugar-fueled Plum-sauce-smeared Little Fairies from last week's company do at Edgefield: video

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pretty and Not-so-pretty Things

Just doing a little housekeeping before going to lunch. First, last pictures from the Bull Run: the ethereal cirrus clouds yesterday morning. They looked as chill and sharp as the air around us.Lovely.And second: here's "Count Dooku" from the George Lucas "Star Wars the Clone Wars" series, a big fave of my little Peeper. He's an evil Dark Lord of the Sith, in case you're not familiar with the trope.And here's me. Now, tell me honestly: do you think I look like an evil Sith Lord?'Cause my kid does. And if I do, is that a bad thing?

Hail To The Chief

(Explanatory Note: I was thinking about the upcoming Inauguration next week during the down times up in the Bull Run. And I got to thinking, okay, wiseguy, what would YOU say if YOU were getting sworn in on Tuesday?

So - here's what:)


FDChief's First Inaugural Address:

My fellow Americans, guests of all ages and all the ships at sea. Good evening.

I’m sure you’re all well aware of the freakish circumstances that have elevated me to this, the chief executive position of this land. I see no purpose in revisiting the events of the past week, save to say that I personally don’t believe in the whole “Rapture” thing. Fourth Dimension, maybe. Whatever.

Enough bloviation. You probably want to get back to your regularly scheduled network reality shows, and I don’t have all night, either, for reasons I’ll get to. So let’s get you the skinny on my programs and policies for the next four years, okay? That’s why you’re listening, right?

Let’s start with our country and how we’re doing at home

What a fucking mess, eh?

Let’s face it, the economy is dropping like a stinking park pigeon full of rat poisoned birdseed and the only thing keeping us from all standing at the top of the freeway off-ramps with “Help Me I Beg You” cardboard signs is that the Chinese and the Europeans are still stupid enough to keep buying our T-bills. Shhhh! Don't tell 'em!

Not to mention that about two-thirds of the whole magilla was driven by you people buying big cars, disposable crap and mortgaging your house eight times to go to freaking DisneyWorld. And you expected the prices of that house, and your stocks, and your paycheck, to just keep on rising.

Sweet Baby Jesus, folks, were you smoking crack?

Add to that we’re spending fifty cents on the dollar on fancy war toys designed to defeat the Evil Empire that crashed and burned eighteen freaking years ago, and we have more bases in foreign countries than we have WalMart stores in Oklahoma. The fella who sat here last year got us into two, not one, mind you, but TWO land wars in Asia and put it all on our credit card. Why y’all didn’t impeach that nimrod I’ll never know. The only thing that asswhack didn't do was go in against a Sicilian when death was on the line. Y'all weren't paying attention, there, were ya? What were you thinking..?

(Long silence. Sighs, shakes head, looks up)

But the point is that we’re not looking good, people. And what can we do about that?

Okay, well, first, we need to get our fiscal house in order. And right now, that means we need to get more people back to work, get the economy moving again, and to do that we need to get more money into the bank so we can help pay for that.

So first off, I’m introducing legislation to return our basic tax rates to where they were in 1960. Quite the little engine of prosperity we were back in those days, eh? Those 70% marginal tax rates for you millionaires and billionaires? Welcome back, baby! Time to help repay your fellow citizens for all that filthy lucre you socked away when the GOP was your sugar daddy!

Oh, and thinking about the Bahamas? Nuh-uh, daddio. Included in the bill are provisions to make tax dodging a Federal felony, and to make inheritance, interest and dividend income taxable at the same rate as what us working stiffs make, plus making the full income of every American open to Social Security deduction. Why stop at the first hundred grand?

Those of you who are the beneficiaries of great wealth have great obligations to the society that nurtured you and provided you the opportunity to amass that wealth. You country needs that wealth to be strong: to educate the next generation of Americans, to build and repair our roads, and rails and airports. Think of it as your way of serving America like poor people do in the Army and Navy except you don’t have to eat Beef With Spiced Sauce or turn off the shower to soap up.

Oh, and Rush, Ann, Michelle, Michael, and all you other fatheaded shouters on the Right? Let’s get this straight. I know that y’all didn’t want to risk you precious butts in a uniform, either. But you served when you paid your taxes. And you need to start telling the other oxycontined fatheads who listen to you that paying their taxes is the privilege of a free citizen. ALL their taxes. Taxes are what builds our civilization, pays our cops and our soldiers, defends our borders. Any of you who pretends that this isn’t true is a lying wad of fuck. Oh, and a traitor, too. Not that I'm pointing at you litle weasels. Just sayin', is all.

And, by the way, speaking of the Army and Navy...we’ve gotta do something here, folks. Our worst enemy right now is some hypertrophic A-rab sitting on his raggedy ass in a cave in West Bumfuck, Pakistan, and yet we’re spending money buying high-speed weapons like a San Diego hooker going down on drunken sailors. Star Wars? Gimme a fuckin’ BREAK! Greedo did NOT shoot first and we do NOT need to spend fifty gazillion dollars on some pie-in-the-sky gimmick to shoot down nukes when three Saudis and a rental van can drive one across the border into Minnesota any November afternoon while the Border Patrol guy is parked at Skunk'y Bar in International Falls watching the Vikes lose again.

So right now I’d like to introduce my new nomination for Secretary of Defense. And yes, I see you, so you can stop making those faces, Jim. You’ve made a convincing case that you’re not some Secretary of DEE-fense and this ain’t no football game with ‘roid freaks slapping each other on the ass. What soldiers do is kill, and what killing is is war. So as of today we’re gonna have a War Department and he’s your new Secretary of War.

He’s right…yeah, that’s him. Wave to the nice people, Jim. We like to call him “Ranger Jim”, because he showers every week whether he needs it or not just like a good Ranger, unlike some other Special Forces types who’ve gone REAL troppo and just rub themselves with goddam wiki-wiki bark or some goofy shit like that.

My man Ranger does have another thing in common with the other Rangers – he puts lead on target. And I’ve told him I want him to go in and do two things.

First, he’s gonna get us a Geopolitical Strategy for the 21st Century. Reeeeal deep brain work. He’s gonna figure out who our likely potential enemies are, and then determine their Most Dangerous Courses of Action.

And second, when he and his people do that, we’re gonna start figuring out how to fight smart and lean. We’re gonna go in and make Donnie Rumsfeld look like Cherry Ames. From MRAPs to F-22s to aircraft carriers. I don’t care how cool they are; if they don’t help kill the enemy for a price we can afford, they’re gone.

Y’know what else is gone?

The goddam Air Force.

Yeah, sorry, wild blue yonder and all that. We’ve spent waaayyy too much jack on your damn heavy bombers trying to prove Billy Mitchell and that Eyetalian guy right. Time to come to our senses; airpower exists to, and needs to, serve land and seapower. You’ve had sixty years to prove your little “Victory Through Air Power” fantasy – time to shoot that toothless dog in the head.

The Army covers the land and the Navy the sea, ain’t nothing lives in the air but clouds and birdshit, guys. Navy gets the missiles, and the renewed Army Air Corps takes over the air transport, air superiority and tac air missions. I’m sure that any bluesuiters who want a job outside the AAC can look up the guys over at FedEx.

Oh. That reminds me; another thing that’s gone. Lobbyists. Yep. Look, I understand how important Boeing and Lockheed and Rayethon and Blackwater are to the well informed warporn nut and/or average reader of Soldier of Fortune magazine.

But, sorry, guys, you want to talk to your Congressman?

You’re gonna have to write him a letter just like the rest of us.

That’s right. The “My Government is NOT for Sale” bill I’ve kicked over to the Senate will, among other things, make it a federal Class I felony to knowingly influence, coerce, lobby, coax, tempt or seduce a Congressman other than for purely carnal motives. Hey! I’m not an unreasonable guy, and even a Congresscritter needs to get laid now and then. But those junkets to Rangoon? The golf vacations from those industrialists in your district? The plane rides from the nice man from Weyerhaeuser who wants you to vote for his fat contract? Ix-nay, sweetpea. You’re gonna start working for the People, not for the people who grease your palm.

Oh, and don’t you worry about those campaign contributions you’ll be missing, ‘cause right after the “John McCain Memorial Campaign Finance Act” passes all candidates will get free air and print time paid for by Uncle Sugar. And ONLY by Uncle Sugar. It’s time to quit kidding ourselves; when you make giving cash to politicians “freedom of speech” then the only speech the politicians will hear is from the peope with the cash. That’s not American and that’s gotta stop.

And we need to think hard about what we’re doing with our prisons here, folks. Goddam Bernie Madoff and Jeff Skilling steal fifteen gajillion and they sit in their penthouse or a country club prison and eat quiche? But you blow a little weed and you’re doing hard time?

That ain’t right. I’ve directed the FBI and the Department of Justice to shift 35% of their assets to fighting white-collar and economic crimes, with special attention to the crimes committed involving politicians. And I’ve directed the Attorney General to prosecute these crimes to the full extent of the law, and the federal corrections people to clear out SuperMax for the assholes that looted Enron and Merril Lynch and took the bailout money at AIG and partied hearty. Drop the soap in THAT shower, dildos. We’re going to transform the War on Drugs to a War on Dregs – the dregs of the economic elite, the malefactors of great wealth. Once we’ve legalized the personal use of drugs – but don’t you go driving, stoners, dammit! – we can fill our prisons with the people who REALLY threaten our society; those who use its privilege to loot its piggy bank!

There’s a whole bunch more economic and political stuff to hash out. Things like quitting giving goddam tax breaks to people who eliminate and offshore American jobs. Fewer Americans need to make a living serving each other coffee and hamburgers and wiping butts and juggling securities. Look, folks, wealth, REAL wealth, the kind of wealth that builds nations and families and societies comes from making things and building things and doing things. It doesn’t have to be with your hands, it can be with your eyes, your heart, your mind. But being a barista means that your very existence is in the hands of the people who come in to buy your coffee. By letting our manufacturing and agricultural jobs go away, or go elsewhere, we’ve made ourselves dependent on every other person who DOES make things, to pay us. That’s not a good thing, people. But we’ve got time to talk about the details later.


Okay. Now let’s talk about the world around us.

First of all; let’s get one thing straight. Right now there’s no one in the world who can destroy us. No one. And that’s a pretty amazing, and very cool, thing. There’s no Stalin, no Mao, no Hitler…like I said, our public enemy number one is a cave-dwelling Saudi with about eight hundred illiterate followers, no army, no navy, no air force. He got lucky – once! – and we’ve been pissing ourselves about it ever since.

Well, damn. I gotta say, that’s about half stupid. Look, folks, it’s time we grew a pair. Grew up! Got over it! The booga-booga “Islamofascist” Empire isn’t coming to Get Us! To twist ourselves around the axle about this fantastic delusion isn’t good for anyone.

So I’m going to direct our military forces to begin to DEROS from Asia today. Now. We’ve been in Afghanistan for nearly seven freaking years; in Iraq for six. It took George Washington less than five years to train the Continental Line that won at Yorktown. If our Afghan and Iraqi “allies” haven’t gotten their shit together after all this time then we’re wasting their time, our money and our soldiers' lives. Time to turn over the property book and grab a hat, folks.

We have no quarrel with Islam. If the Saudis, the Iraqis or any other nation’s leaders cannot rule their own people, our soldiers cannot and should not. There has been lots of talk lately of “counterinsurgency”, which is a bloodless way of describing the bloody process by which governments kill those of their own citizens who don’t like them. Sometimes those citizens are criminals or would-be tyrants, like the narcotraficantes in Mexico today. But often they are just people, common people, driven to rebel against rulers who oppress them. A nation founded by revolution has no business crushing other revolutions; they will need to succeed or fail on their own. As of this minute we are out of the business of propping up foreign regimes, and I have directed the Pentagon to begin bringing our military advisory groups home from over 60 countries worldwide.

And that goes for a whole lot of the other 170-some bases we have overseas. This isn’t 1899 and we don’t need a goddam coaling station on every tropical island. We shouldn’t be an empire, our country began in a revolution against being a colony of an empire, and we don’t need little outposts of America all over the globe.

We also need to remember that our interest is in America. There are other nations we like and admire, others we’re not so fond of. But geopolitics isn’t a fifth-grade classroom; we don’t, and we shouldn’t, make our foreign policy based on who we like.

For example, right now Israel is fighting a vicious little war in the Gaza Strip. Now I’m not here to discuss whether Israel should be there, or whether Israel should be at all, or whether Israel should be where it is. It’s there, and Israel and its neighbors will need to deal with that.

But Israel’s problem with the Gaza Strip is not OUR problem with the Gaza Strip. We have no reason to aid or support Israel in killing Arabs in the Gaza Strip; the Israelis are not being our friends by killing them, and the Arabs being killed are not our enemies.

So, as I discussed, I have directed our State and War Departments to prioritize our strategic needs, both now and for the next half century, to the extent they can be forseen. Some nations are of geopolitical interest to us, others may be trading or political partners. Some we may need to make alliances with. But these relationships will be based on the best interests of the United States. Those nations – and I name no names but they know who they are – that have depended on American sentiment and political lobbying to gain them our favor will need to begin restructuring their policies.

One last thing. Religion. Now I’m going to be straight with you; I don’t have any religion and I don’t need any. I meditate when I’m feeling stressed, and whenever I get the itch to credit a Super Sky Daddy with furry kittens, good scotch, sunrises and black silk stockings I make myself remember syphilis, tsunamis, witchburnings and “From Justin To Kelly”. I’m not having a chaplain at the inauguration and I won’t have one in the White House. Which reminds me; I’m not the goddam pope or the Emperor of the North, either. I’m the head clerk of a people’s republic and all this silly saluting and ruffles and flourishes stuff has gotta stop. Remind me to tell the protocol people to get rid of “Hail to the Chief” and all the other imperial nonsense. Oh, and the Congress is going to get my “State of the Union” letter as a letter, like it’s supposed to. Worked for George Washington, dammit.

Anyway, religion. Look, folks, religion is like dandruff – lots of people have it and enjoy spending time and money fiddling with it. But it has nothing to do with the business of a Republic. Religious decisions are made based on what God wants, assuming he just told you that last week, and the decisions of a Republic are made based on the good of the people. Fiddle with you’re dan – religion – on your time, people. Keep it out of the business of government.

Let me end on a personal note. We’ve been living on the fat of the land since the end of World War Two. And because of that we’ve become fat, and lazy. We expect other peoples and other nations to do what we want. We expect to have everything now and pay for it later, if ever.

Those are bad habits, people, and we’re going to change them.

Now, my lovely wife has got some kind of tricky nightie that she calls her “First Lady” that she wants to show me and we’ve got to try out the Lincoln Bedroom, anyway. So y’all have a good evening, and I’ll see you around. Remember – America is your friend. So try not to screw your friend over. Judas was a buddyfucker. Nature hates a buddyfucker.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Where The Water Comes From

I've been working long days up in the Bull Run Valley, south and east of Portland in the foothills of the Cascades. Much of Portland's drinking water comes from here (one reason why we're working there). And the Bull Run water is so clear and clean and sweet that the City waterworks does not filter it. But the real treasure of this plase, behind the locked gates that keep out litter and sprawl, is the pure Cascadian beauty of it.

Indeed, to call this place "beautiful" is to shortsell beauty; the Bull Run is perfect in the way that nature can be perfect, by being complete in itself. The dark firs and cedars are reflected in the bright water. The mist drifts dreamlike through the heavy forest. The sounds are the rush and roar of water on stone, wind in treetops, the calls of birds; the delirious twitter of the wren, croak of raven, skeer of jay. It needs nothing but to be where and what it is.

There are places where time slows to the rate of the erosion of a stone or the growing of a douglas-fir. Where even the works of Man are subsumed, and softened, by the rich land around them.

This is one.I have to sleep. Hope you enjoyed the visit to the valley of the Bull Run. G'night.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

All Dressed Up

So we went to McMenamin's Edgefield last night for my company "Chrismas" party (deferred from the 12/20 by the Arctic Blast of 2008). And as you can tell by the Peeper's crazy happy face, it was one wild time!
Here's the Peeper all "fancy" - see below.
Here's Mommy and Missy looking VERY adorable...
Daddy taking a break from playing "Kill the Magical Pony with forks" with Baby Girl.
The grunions are always a crapshoot as to whether they'll make nice for pictures. Here, they do. Notice the Peeper's stylin' Glengarry cap; the belt with the pretties is a little harder to see. When he caught me sporting my kilt he announced that he needed seven "fancies". The cap and belt were two, and we rounded up a play sheriff's star, my old Good Conduct Medal, a small clan badge of Mojo's, a bead necklace and a Scooby-doo sticker, which the Peep announced were sufficently "fancy".
I think that Mojo is looking slender and lovely in this one. And I drag out the kilt once a year so that my coworkers get their one chance to feel me up. Missed it again, boys. Better luck next year.Starting tomorrow my work schedule goes completely insane. I'm going to try and get back here, but it'll be sporadic. Drop me a line on facebook and I'll tag you back, if you just want to chat. Otherwise, have a great week.

Clearly Obscure

It's late and I'm tired - long evening with the kidlets at our company Christmas do - but Jim from Ranger Against War left a comment on the last post that reminded me of this tale from my misspent youth I just had to tell.

Back in the 90's I was working as an 81mm mortar platoon fire direction chief; we were live firing on the range at Ft. Lewis, Washington.We had been firing all day shooting our METL* missions and now night was falling. We fired several rounds to adjust in the forward observers (referred to as "The Hill"), when I walked the line of steel to check on the round count. At this point the platoon sergeant informed me that the ammo point had issued us a lot of defective ammunition - a bunch of mortar ammo had been sent to Saudi in '91, sat around the desert getting too hot, too cold and generally fucked up, and then returned to CONUS - and as a result we had no high explosive (HE) rounds to shoot. All we had on the firing point were illumination ("'lume" or ILL) and white phosphorus ("Willie Pete" or WP).

(Despite the nonsense you may have heard, WP is NOT a "chemical weapon". It burns hella hot and can be used as an indecendiary, and it puts out a thick, white smoke and is commonly used as an "obscurant", to blind an enemy or hide your own troops, i.e. a "smoke screen").

I called my battalion to check and see if they wanted us to cease firing. Nope. We were supposed to fire a night mission - a "coordinated illumination", where we adjusted the 'lume rounds so that the flares would light up an area, and then, while one gun continued to fire 'lume rounds, the remainder of the platoon would plaster the now-supposedly lighted-up bad guys with high explosive.

Except, of course, we HAD no high explosive. So, by God, we would shoot the mission using phosphorus rounds instead of HE.

So I called up to the Hill.

(Me) "You, this is me, be advised, HE withdrawn, stand by to observe coordinated illumination with Whiskey Papa** in effect***, over."

(The Hill) "Me, this is you. Do I copy that you will fire WP, I say again, Whiskey Papa in effect, over?"

(Me) "You, me, that is correct, over."

(The Hill) "Me, you, let me be sure I understand this correctly: you wish to both illuminate and obscure the target, over?"(Me) "You, me, that is correct, over."

(The Hill) "Me, you, roger, we will continue to illuminate until the target is totally obscured, over."

(Me) "Roger, out."

I have to tell you: unless you've seen it, the white phosphorus clouds under the hard light of the flares are like nothing else extant. They may possibly be one of the most unearthly and beautiful things created by man. The billows of perfectly white smoke bubble, roil and twist under the light, and are, in turn, lit from within by a million tiny stars of burning phosphorus.

Anyway, for his wit and good humor, I bought that observer his every round at the NCO Club the following evening.

I'd almost forgotten that story. Glad I got to tell it to you. G'night, y'all.

Notes:
*METL: Mission Essential Task List - the stuff the Army and your higher believes you gotta know and do right to win in battle.

**Whiskey Papa: phonetic spelling of the letters "WP"

***"in effect": When you are moving the fall of the mortar or artillery round so as to hit your target - usually done with one gun - you are "adjusting". When you get on target you fire the entire battery, section, platoon, or battalion in order to spoil your arget's entire day. This is called "fire for effect" or just "in effect".

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ohhh...oh...I think I lost control of my bowels...

...just for a moment.

Laughing at this: "Fuck You, Penguin"

Thanks, wzgirl. Ohmifuckinggod, when you bring teh funny, you bring it. Joe Bob says checkitout.

And for those of you who couldn't live another goddam minute without another one of those annoying blog meme things, here's "25 Things (You Hate) About Me", the byproduct of an inspiration from my homegirl L over at You Know Where You Are With. Here's her original explanation: "Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you."

So.

1. Dick Nixon and I are homeboys: both natives of Whittier, CA.
2. I cannot do that thing where you put your fingers in your mouth and whistle REAL LOUD. Tried. Can't.
3. I am seldom ill but am a semi-hypochondriac - I worry constantly about little niggling health things when I have them.
4. I love being warm. I an stand much more heat than I can cold Which begs the question, why the hell do I live in Portland, Oregon.
5. There was a very good chance I would have been a professional soldier. In a life with only a handful of deep regrets, one of them is that I retired before I made First Sergeant, one of the few life goals I never fulfilled.
6. My ex-brother-in-law had a girlfriend who was afraid to orgasm because she was convinced she'd lose control of her bowels if she did.
7. I once spent a half hour under a bush with a dead man. Neither of us had much to say.8. That said, my dirty little secret is; sometimes war is fun. When I would shout "BATTERY, FIRE!!" into that hand mike and the guns would thunder at my command like the iron voice of the God of War, I understood what Homer meant.
9. I love the early morning, right before dawn, when the night is just turning to day.
10. My ex-wife, my wife, and I are credited by the Oregon Bird Records Committee for the first (and so far, only) confirmed sighting of Louisiana Waterthrush in the state. Long story.
11. I usually sleep with a calico cat on my chest and cat farts reek.
12. I once dated a woman known as "Nancy, The Llama Lady".
13. Favorite cold weather meal? Split pea soup, beer bread with butter, warm cider or malty ale.
14. I voted for Ronnie Reagan. But I got over it.
15. I completely lost the remnants of my faith when my baby daughter died stillborn. It's not that I don't believe in one God or another, or that believe one way or another that there IS a God. I just don't want anything to do with Him, Her or It. You want credit for saving tsunami victims and starving orphans? Then you get the blame for my daughter, you murderous son-of-a-bitch.
16. There is nothing in nature as beautiful as the face of a sleeping child, the flight of a gyrfalcon or the curve of a woman's hip.17. "Mamma Mia". Why?
18. I have always had a terrific crush on Janeane Garofalo
19. But "The Truth About Cats And Dogs" sucked.
20. I worry that I am fundamentally unlikeable because I seem to be unable to keep friends or friendships. My life has been a succession of friendships that ended, in anger, or sloth, carelessly immediately or so slowly as to be almost imperceptable. Now I work hard to try and keep up with friends to the point where I reek of desperation which is, of course, the kiss of Death.
21. I have four tiny screws that hold my right pinkie together, the gift of a loose ball and a right inside back with a kick like a hammer.
22. Which never dimmed my secret dream, which was to have been a professional soccer goalkeeper.
23. I love to cook but hate fussy recipes. I don't really like to bake, but I love baked goods.
24. I was born with something called "patellar subluxation" and as a result my knees hurt all the time.
25. Will I be alive to see my kids graduate from college?

That's all. I've got a lot more to say, but I'm too damn tired to say it. So instead, enjoy Fred Peeper and Ginger Miss doing...the Happy Chicken Dance!
video