In the spirit of silly quizzes and other time-wasters, I found the "You Know You're From x" selector on the Blogthings site. I grew up 30 miles east of Pittsburgh ... so here is the list of indicators to watch for. I've bolded the ones I am personally guilty of ...
Saturday, April 30, 2005
OK - maybe I should wean myself from taking every quiz that comes along ... but not yet. Especially not when the request comes from a Castle Chick! So in response to AFSister's request, I took this Personality quiz...
Posted by Barb at 8:55 AM
Friday, April 29, 2005
Checking in on the Denizens today, we have AFSister stopping for a Coke, and finding something much more profound. Unfortunately John of Argghhh! is under the weather, but still found time to provide us with some culture and history, along with some Gun Zen.
I am sublimely confident that normal Americans will not be shocked to learn that a Republican Senate plans to confirm the judicial nominees of a Republican president -- despite the objections of radical elements of a party that is the minority in the Senate, the minority in the House, the loser in the last two presidential races, the minority in state governorships, and the minority in all but a tiny number of very small but densely populated enclaves in this country that need to tax Rush Limbaugh, even though he lives in another state, just to keep all their little socialist programs afloat.
More Links ...
Thanks to Bad Cat Robot for the fun links on Elegant Math, such as Fractals. See, the difference is that I have a math degree (B.A.) while BCR actually understands the stuff - and she still talks people, too...
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I saw this quiz at She Who Will Be Obeyed, where you can see that Beth has this lovely, complex layout of musical tastes and influences. So, being unable to resist - I had to give it a shot as well. Well, guess what - I'm stuck in my rock music roots, and I'm not gonna budge ...
Heh - You'd still be hard pressed to guess what 3 CD's are taking turns in my car this week!
It gets worse ... That 1 Guy has also taken the quiz, and his musical taste is even more complex than Beth's! Check it out at Drunken Wisdom.
Okay - so I need to explore some different tunes ... I get it!
Posted by Barb at 9:50 PM
There are some great charities around who are working hard to provide comfort for our men and women in uniform, and Soldiers' Angels is one of my favorites. Their motto is "May No Soldier Go Unloved", and the number of ways they follow through on this promise grows every day.
Posted by Barb at 9:56 AM
We focus on our daily lives, dealing with work and family, things and stuff. We put off things we mean to do, thinking of tomorrow or the day after. If we're lucky, we get a nudge in the right direction. That's what happened to our good friend Bill, and we get the benefit of the nudge as well, in Off the Dime. Go read it now, and follow the thread to it's starting point ... No cheating.
Halfway down the trail to Hell,
In a shady meadow green
Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped,
Near a good old-time canteen.
And this eternal resting place
Is known as Fiddlers' Green.
Marching past, straight through to Hell
The Infantry are seen.
Accompanied by the Engineers,
Artillery and Marines,
For none but the shades of Cavalrymen
Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.
Though some go curving down the trail
To seek a warmer scene.
No trooper ever gets to Hell
Ere he's emptied his canteen.
And so rides back to drink again
With friends at Fiddlers' Green.
And so when man and horse go down
Beneath a saber keen,
Or in a roaring charge of fierce melee
You stop a bullet clean,
And the hostiles come to get your scalp,
Just empty your canteen,
And go to Fiddlers' Green.
Posted by Barb at 12:02 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
(Note to frequent visitors -- Updates have been added at the bottom)
IN the coming weeks, we may witness a vote in the United States Senate that will define the 109th Congress for the ages. This vote will not be about war and peace, the economy or the threat from terrorism. It will focus instead on procedure: whether the Senate should amend its own rules to ensure that nominees to the federal bench can be confirmed by a simple majority vote.
Hat tip to Cass at Villainous Company for the link, and for her post yesterday on Alexander Hamilton and the Appointment Power.
Jack at Random Fate poses some interesting thoughts on the Cold War in the Would that Will not Heal, and his readers offer their thoughts in comments as well. His quote of the day is a good reminder on Perspective :
Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.
Now that the amazing Kat of The Middle Ground has her computer up and running full steam again, she is using it to good effect! Her essay today on This Imperfect Freedom is a great read, fill up the coffee cup and take your time ...
Another must read is Bunker Mulligan's discussion on the Democratic Talking Points.
In other places, Punctilious has a critter round up today with buffalo, an ostrich, and silly geese, and Alan has an interesting photo needing a caption. Meanwhile, Eric gives us an instructive look at how some Marines livened up their PT time with Games.
Word has been received from our friend Heartless Libertarian that the extra Guardian Angel Squad provided from the Castle (Thanks, John and Bill!) is going to be able to stand down soon, when SPC HL returns home in the near future. However - the GA should be aware that pending force changes will require some occasional checking-in, as the HL team plans to increase to full fire-team size around the December time-frame!
My good friend Max is a great source of info on Special Forces, where he's served for 17+ years. He recently pointed me to some good reading material on the SF methodology. As part of a series on Counter-Terrorism posted at The Strategy Page, it reminds us of the complex role played in the GWOT by these special operators...
April 22, 2005: The U.S. Army Special Forces tactics are becoming very popular in the war on terror. These techniques involve going in and making friends with as many people as possible, and then waiting for the people you have helped to reciprocate with information, or even actively joining your efforts to chase down terrorists. The first thing you have to do is make an assessment, and this is why Special Forces training includes learning the languages of the area they will specialize in. The five active duty Special Forces groups (brigades) each specialize in a different region of the world. Going around to villages or neighborhoods to introduce yourself usually goes over very well. The Special Forces is an exotic visitor who speaks your language, knows your customs and is very respectful. Two men in each twelve man Special Forces team are medical specialists, and being able to provide professional medical attention in Third World countries is a great ice breaker. Since they know the culture, the Special Forces operators know when it is polite to offer something, how to do it, and when to keep quiet. The people in these poor countries know of America as a rich, generous country, so it’s not difficult for the Special Forces to offer assistance. After all, America has so much, and likes to share, and there are so many poor people.
From The Strategy Page / Counter-Terrorism Operations News
Some other resources, and some great stories, on the world of SF from various perspectives can be found at such sites as Go Jack Army and SF Alpha Geek. They are constantly adding other sites to their blogrolls - check 'em out!
Posted by Barb at 9:50 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Over at Blonde Sagacity, Sgt B answer the Sandbox Challenge with flair and poetry.
Posted by Barb at 11:50 AM
Some mental gymnastics to tune your brain up for the day ahead...
This quiz will gauge your mental flexibility and creativity. Few people can solve all of them in one sitting, and some may only get half on the first day. Many reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed, and some reported solving it over a period of several days.
I received this in an email some time back, and forwarded it to my brother and sister. At the end of the day, we each shared what we had completed. Between the three of us we had all of the answers, and each of us had about two-thirds of the list complete.
Posted by Barb at 12:30 AM
Monday, April 25, 2005
I noticed a new meme making the blog rounds the other day. Take a list of occupations and complete the phrase "If I could be a ..." about 5 or more of the professions on the list, add more if you like, then pass the list along.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
I goofed off most of the weekend, playing golf Saturday and hanging with some friends. Today was yard work and a movie - The Interpreter - good movie, tense drama with some interesting twists.
Friday, April 22, 2005
ALa at Blonde Sagacity has a few new entries to her In The Sandbox series today. First, we have Castle contributor MSG Keith from Afghanistan, who recently celebrated his 30th year in military service. Go to ALa's and check out In the Sandbox...The Castle Replies / MSG Keith.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
How well prepared are you and your family for adverse events, whether it be from terrorist attack, or a chemical truck overturned on the highway near your neighborhood. Sgt B at the Gun Line points to a good resource you should consider reading, with real suggestions that you can use to prepare.
Posted by Barb at 8:52 AM
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
There's a lot of goodies to enjoy at the Castle today...
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The skill and daring needed to herd a helicopter safely through the skies are impressive enough, but the amazing BillT of Castle Argghhh shares a glimpse of his poetic side with In The Sandbox at Blonde Sagacity. The prose and pictures need to be absorbed together - go to it!
Posted by Barb at 9:27 AM
Monday, April 18, 2005
Looking around this morning, I found some great pictures of Maine, courtesy of Alan at GenX at 40. Nice shots, Alan ... Thanks for sharing! I particularly like the image of a fish as a weather-vane.
Posted by Barb at 7:58 AM
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Last night I was intrigued by Jack's post Another downside to globalization. After pondering the question "what are the larger implications of China having control over such a large percentage of the world output of this metal?", and deciding that the implications are sizeable, I was compelled to find out more.
This lady can cut the legs out from under her adversaries and beat them with the bloody stump, all the while smiling benignly behind the pulpit.
I love it!Also, go and check out the Afghanistan update from MSG Keith at Castle Argghhh. The material is from Thanksgiving timeframe, but it is still great reading - and the pictures are wonderful. I especially like the shot of young girls singing in their colorful clothing. Good things are happening there, we just need to be reminded by reports like this.
SWWBO reminds us that this week's Carnival of the Recipes is up over at CounterTop Chronicles. Yumm!
Posted by Barb at 11:44 AM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Given the current turmoil over the gubernatorial election here in Washington (yes, still!), I found this list of Top 20 Papal Election Nightmares a crack-up.
20. Minority cardinals forced to wait for hours in long lines to vote
Posted by Barb at 8:09 PM
Friday, April 15, 2005
I saw the linguistic test at Frizzen Sparks first, then at Technicalities, so I had to try it out.
Considering I've never lived in the upper midwest, I have no idea where that part came from. I'm just a linguistic Mutt!
John Donovan looks at an article from Ralph Peters ... and has a few points of his own to add. Go read Ralph's Clashing Military Cultures first, then go read Stupid Officer Tricks, and don't miss the comments. Castle Argghhh is a very 'Jointy' site, with active and retired military folks from all of the services, the discussion could get lively!
If we want weblogs to be taken seriously, we cannot participate in these high school level shenanigans such as deleting opposing views in which Paul at Wizbang indulges, and Kevin, the supposed owner of Wizbang allows.
This is in reference to blog comments being removed, not because they are trollish and crude, or contain foul language, but because the viewpoints expressed are not in line with those of the blog owner. As Jack points out, this will be our downfall if we do not take care of our own.
One of the best features of Castle Argghhh has been the ability for people with varying viewpoints to express them respectfully, to disagree without rancor, and to sometimes agree to disagree. If we all agreed all of the time, on every topic, we would be bored quickly. Instead we have discourse, and are better for it.
Cass clues us in to an amazing event -- Good News in the GWOT! Of course, the news isn't what really amazes us - it is the fact that it is reported...
For eye candy - check out today's cannon pics at the Castle, or scan the fun offerings provided by Bill, who is pushing the rating envelope again! Bill also points out that Kat of The Middle Ground scored a radio mention - You Go, Girl!
It turns out that Sgt B is a Beast, in more ways than one, and AFSister provides a little comic relief to cheer us up.
Fellow denizen Alan is vacationing, and reports on the Fenway Fight which took some of the fun out of beating the Yankees.
And Punctilious is talking about taking the family to Disneyland, and requests advice. I advised her to take me with her ... Heh!
Posted by Barb at 8:59 AM
Thursday, April 14, 2005
While I was scanning through my digital pics tonight, I ran across some nice astronomy shots taken by a friend of mine several years ago. Dave is an astronomer by education and avocation, and takes some pretty interesting photos of eclipses, comets, etc.
Posted by Barb at 10:40 PM
It's tempting to use the old saw "If it bleeds, it leads" when observing the stories chosen for headline emphasis in the so called Old Media these days. But perhaps it is even simpler than that.
Posted by Barb at 7:30 AM
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Harvey, posting at IMAO, enumerates some Totally True Tidbits about the American Flag.
Posted by Barb at 12:55 AM
Monday, April 11, 2005
Thanks to Blackfive for pointing out the latest Russ Vaughn poem, "Forever Green", and for linking to Gold Falcon at Jump Blog who explains why he's Not Fonda Jane, especially after reading this story.
Posted by Barb at 9:30 PM
Saturday, April 09, 2005
I am sure that I'm not alone in avoiding Wal-Mart at all costs. To help them shape up their image, Varifrank has provided 10 Helpful Tips for Wal-Mart. Thanks to Snarkatron at Snark Patrol for the nudge in the right direction...
Friday, April 08, 2005
Maybe I am over-analyzing, but I can't stop thinking about blogging and the interactive realm of the internet. What is it, how did I get here, what role does it play in my life, what need is it fulfilling, what's too much, who do you trust, are people really who they portray online....? These are just some of the questions that roll through my mind.
Why are we here? Whether you blog or leave comments, or simply read or lurk, then pass on by, what is the draw of the Blogosphere for you?
I started reading blogs less than a year ago, and was quickly drawn to the Milblogs. I wanted to know more about events in the GWOT, and I found the Milblogs as a great resource. The political discussions attracted me, especially on those sites where differing viewpoints could be discussed without rancor.
Why did I decide to stake down my own little corner of the 'sphere? Good question ... Next question? *grin*
Seriously, I can't give a simple answer to that one. Part of it comes from finding so much that interested and challenged me in other blogs. After I ventured into comments, then I started to want to say other things on my own. Part of it was the fact that I could dabble in it quickly, and new technology was fun for itself.
ALa also poses an interesting thought on the relationships that derive from blog interactions :
Are we friends even though we have never met? Can we be friends if we've never met? Many of you I speak with more than people in my 'real' life...so what's 'real'? When I make my Christmas card list this year --who deserves a slot? The 'real' friend that I haven't actually seen in three years or some of you that I speak with everyday, but have never laid eyes on. And what about when this world crosses over...on the phone, on IM or over dinner...or a Blogger's Ball? Does it become 'real' then or was it 'real' all along?I had several conversations just the other night around this same area. So I have been thinking about this idea quite a bit.
First of all, friends are friends - whether we met first through the internet or in person matters not. Secondly, I think that not only can we form true friendships without meeting one another, it may lead a purer form of friendship.
We didn't form these friendships because we happened to work together, live next to one another, etc. We formed them because we shared ideas with each other, and came back for more. As long as we have been honest, then the bonds between us are not based on age or physical parameters, or on other accidents of location. Instead the bonds are based on how we think - and that is a better, stronger bond to me.
Getting to meet any of you face to face will just be the icing on the cake!
Many thanks to Aunti Craker for the link tip.
Speaking of Friends ...
John Donovan at Castle Argghhh has a bleg posted on behalf of one of his friends, take a moment to check out his post, please.
Also go read Snarkatron's entry for today on Zen Signal Processing ...
Posted by Barb at 10:10 AM
Thursday, April 07, 2005
While I haven't written about it lately, the controversy continues over the election results for Governor here in the state of Washington. But I found it interesting this morning to find that former Senator Slade Gordon is calling for a criminal probe...
The whole article is worth reading, as it lists many of the issues that have been uncovered over the last few months.
Taken as individual acts, each of the problems uncovered might be viewed in either the light of fraud, or simple incompetence. At one time, I felt that was immaterial, but I've become certain that each spot act is part of the larger picture, and fraud and incompetence are going hand in hand here, it seems to me.
Regardless, this is further proof that as citizens of the state, we had better take steps to get it right. As of this moment, I have no confidence in the election system in the state, and most especially, here in King County.
I did have to laugh at this paragraph :
King County Executive Ron Sims, a Democrat, dismissed Gorton's call for an investigation as "pure partisanship."Heh ... If that isn't a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is!!
This is just one small slice of the political circus here, but there is some good news. As reported by Stefan Sharkansky at Sound Politics, the trial date for the legal challenge has been set for May 23.
I meant to post an update on Bryan Suits, local radio host on KVI, and a recent returnee from Iraq where he served with the Washington National Guard. So I found it interesting when I read that his absentee ballot is one of those NOT counted in this election. As Shark says, That was the wrong ballot to "misplace"!
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Among the 20 photographs announced today as Pulitzer Prize winners is the one which captured the
Posted by Barb at 1:56 PM
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Here's some nice news for a change -- something which adds to the comfort of our troops serving in Afghanistan. The new Pat Tillman USO Center has opened at Bagram Air Base :
I especially like the support shown by the NFL players who took the time to travel to Afghanistan and take part in the center opening.
Reminder to the Castle Denizens ... JustThisGuy is celebrating a Birthday today!! Go wish him a Happy Birthday :-)
Monday, April 04, 2005
Maybe you don't know them by that phrase, perhaps you know them as the Quiet Professionals. Still not sure ... How about Special Forces? Okay, then try Green Berets - got it now?
The book sounds quite interesting, and it just went on my reading list.
If you are interested in quick insights on the Special Forces, check out Go Jack Army - the blog of a SF recruiter. In particular, he recently pulled together a recap of his postings on Special Forces, check it out here!
Another source of interesting stories is SFAlphaGeek - he's been to the sandbox, and shares some good tales. For a good intro, check out So what do you do for a living?
By the way - the Special Forces article is but one small item from John's "Things I like on a Monday" entry. Make sure you check out the whole thing!
Posted by Barb at 9:50 AM
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Jack Army has a post up today about his blogging relatives, so I made the rounds to check them out...
His other blog is Redneck, with more serious tones. I was touched by his post Becoming numb to Memorial Services. You have to do what you can to deal with constant exposure to emotional events, when it's your job to report on the loss of good soldiers.
Cass at Villainous Company points us to a toy for your iPod, in case it's lonely.... Heh!
Posted by Barb at 1:32 PM
Saturday, April 02, 2005
It's been a strange week. Much debate raged over Terri Schiavo, who is now at rest - though the controversy is not. I hope that the debate over the choice for Life, versus the cult of Death, continues ... in a constructive way.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Greg Hammond is gathering comments today for a good cause, to help in the battle against the breast cancer which claimed his wife Cheryl a year ago. In loving honor of her memory, he and others are pledging donations based on the number of comments he can garner in this single day.
NOTE: As of 9:00 p.m., March 31, we have about $6,000 in total pledges. If we get 1500 comments, and each of those commenters also donated just $3 apiece, we would hit our target of $10,000...
If you have not visited Greg's site before, you may want to read through his Chronology as well - it is a history of their lives that is sure to touch you deeply.
Hat tip to guest Dbie "AFSister" at Castle Argghhh! for the pointer.
Posted by Barb at 8:20 AM
Little Old Lady in court......
Posted by Barb at 6:31 AM