Sunday, July 31, 2005

Final Honors for Fallen SEAL

Matt Heidt / Froggy of Froggy Ruminations was able to attend the funeral of Petty Officer James Suh this weekend in Los Angeles, rendered with full military honors. Reading his account of the service, I could almost hear the guns firing the 21-gun salute.

Please go there to read the whole story, see the pictures, and remember this fallen hero. Dozens of members of SDV Team One were in attendance as well, and I learned how these men honored their lost brother. Hint ... look for the trident.

Navy SEAL Trident

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Blog Crawl 2005!

Welcome, Blog Crawlers! Feel free to leave comments -- I am out for the day and evening. See y'all later!

Friday, July 29, 2005

What's Happening?

Many fun and interesting things ...

First, MSG Keith is now a Grandpa - as his daughter Katie gave birth to a beautiful little girl named Eleanor Louise on Wednesday! Go over to his place and hand him a cee-gar, why dontcha...

Then there's the Blog Crawl ...
It started as a bit of a joke because That 1
got somewhat drunk totally wasted one night and typed up this insightful little gem. He then wandered drunkenly around the blog 'hood, leaving a few insightful comments.

It sounded like Such Fun, that Contagion suggested the Bad Example and Frizzen Sparks Families should plan a Blog Crawl this weekend!

For more details, go here to read all about it.

Just a reminder --- If you haven't visited the new digs of FuzzyBear Lioness, then make sure you check out Fuzzilicious Thinking today. She put some thought into the decorations, and hasn't wasted any time in sharing her viewpoints!

And one last major announcement for today ...

It's the Armorer's birthday!!!

Now, we all know what John likes - so go out there and find some nice shiny brass cannon or other fine piece of artillery, and go visit the Castle to leave the link. Or you can leave the link here in my comments, and I'll add it to the post !!

To start off the fun, here's a fine gift from JM Heinrichs, because "the Armourer is approaching Senior Status and hearing has become difficult."

From myself, I'd like to offer John a nice little mortaretto - small and relatively portable.

Happy Birthday, John!!!


Don't miss the great Redleg tribute and history from Cass at Villainous Company.

Bloodspite of Technography has some Really Big Pics linked in celebration.

And, of course, SWWBO is delivering the best gift of all -- she is arrving home tonight!

Self Portrait Friday

Today's theme for SPF is Favorite T-shirts. Here I am wearing my favorite geek t-shirt, and here is the image on it.

Thanks to Katy at The Grass Isn't Greener for creating the SPF theme ... Check out today's Self Portrait Friday collection.

Also, make sure you visit some of the other folks who are playing today, especially Erik. He managed to post a cheesy pic from Iraq! Go leave him a comment, pretty please!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tagged (Part II) - And an Announcement

Yesterday I responded to the "What's on my Nightstand" tag from John, but left the second tag on Favorite Movies for today.

Before I complete that task, I have to divert for a quick flogging and announcement. The flogging is for me ... since I missed a key date yesterday! I totally forgot that FuzzyBear Lioness had a birthday to celebrate!
*hangs head in shame*

But -- the Announcement is that FbL has joined the blogworld with her own space. YAY! So head over to the blue waters of Fuzzilicious Thinking and wish her a Happy Belated Birthday!

And Thanks to BillT for the reminder. No, Bill - you Don't get to perform the flogging...

My Favorite Movies

High School
I loved Young Frankenstein, and can still watch it over and over. Of course, the urge to repeat the dialog tends to annoy anyone around me!

Star Wars - the original. What can I say, I'm a product of my times. But the combination of Sci-Fi, effects, and humor is still fantastic. To put it in perspective, I learned to love Sci-Fi by watching the original Star Trek series ... *grin*.

Recent Favorites
Lord of the Rings - Return of the King. When I saw that the movie was 200 minutes long, I figured it would never end. When it did end, I wanted more -- great cinematography and total fun!

Finding Nemo. Another fun Disney, Dude.

Favorite Disney
I love Disney animation, and I'm working on replacing my VHS collection with DVD replacements, starting with Beauty and the Beast. But that one isn't my personal fav, although I love the special extended edition. We bought it first because it is the Hubster's favorite! In fact, it's one of the few he will watch over and over.

My personal Disney fav is Tarzan, not just for the animation, but for the music as well.

Favorite Non-Disney
A toss-up between Shrek and Monsters, Inc. -- love 'em both.

All-Time Favorites
The films I can watch any time -- and have watched so often I can almost recite the dialog ...
The Thomas Crown Affair -- love the story, the acting, the music - the whole bundle.
Groundhog Day -- Ironic, isn't it ?!

Since I just tagged five lucky folks yesterday for the Nightstand meme, I won't name any new victims for this one. If you would like to play, leave me a comment and I'll link to your post.

Popcorn, anyone??

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

This will make you proud

This one is for Sgt B, and all of the war-fighters out there ... active duty / retired / reserve / guard. Thanks to each and every one of you. This one will make you proud.

H/T to Sarah at Trying to Grok, who got the link from her Dad. Many thanks!

Tagged! (Part I)

I've been tagged by John to bore you with the objects residing on my nightstand, thanks to a tag from Les Jones.

Our bed has one of those complete wall-units that encompasses cabinets, shelves and drawers (and mirrors - Whoo Hoo!), so I won't detail all the crap inside -- that would be cruel and unusual punishment!

On my side of the bed are...

* The books I've read, which right now numbers only one ("Mister God, This is Anna"), but varies from week to week - depending on how fast I move the finished books to the big bookcases.

* Book(s) I have staged, or am reading. This morning that included "Deception Point" and "Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown, and "Dark Lady" by Richard North Patterson. The one I am actually reading right now is "Wings of Fire" by Dale Brown - but it's residing in the bathroom at this point.

* Remote control for the ceiling fan. I keep it on my side so that *I* can control the fan speed. Having a remote for this is Heaven, by the way!

* Water spray bottle - This is used to keep my 4-footed child from joining us in bed. He used to be locked up in his own room at night, but now is free to wander the house ... as long as he does not disturb us! Since he has severe short-term memory issues, he needs an occasional spritz in the face when he jumps on the bed.

That's it for my stuff - the Hubster's side is pretty similar, with different books, and the TV remote. Separation of powers ... *grin* ! The joint section has the clock/radio, where we both can reach it.

There was another tag in John's post, which I'll work on later. Oh ... and I have to tag 5 people. Sgt B, That 1 Guy, Punctilious, Boudicca, and Teresa ... You are all On Deck!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This is good ...

From ABC News ...

Authorities Arrest Men With NYC Maps, Video
Five Men Detained in New Jersey, Set to Be Deported

July 26, 2005 — Five Egyptian men with maps of the New York City subway system and video of New York landmarks have been arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, N.J., ABC News has learned.

FBI and law enforcement officials told ABC News the five men — four illegal immigrants and one law enforcement fugitive — were arrested Sunday night following a tip to the Newark Police Department. In addition to the subway maps and video, the men had train schedules and $8,000 in $20 and $50 bills.

The men were identified as: Karim Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 21; his brother Mahoud Ahmed Abdel Latif Ahmed, 19; Ahmed Mohamed Atta, 30; Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber, 34, and Mohamed Palat Anwar Jozain. When Newark authorities converged at the group's location at 246 Ferry St., Karim Ahmed answered the door and agreed to allow police to enter. Officers said they noticed the maps, and video cameras and Karim and his brother agreed to a search.

Karim said he had the maps because he had a new job as a street vendor. Initially, Karim said no one else was in the apartment, but police came upon the three other men upon further search.

FBI officials said the men have no known link to a terror network but noted that none of them could adequately explain the items they had in their possession, the large amount of money or their reasons for being in the United States. Mohamed Ibrahim Gaber has been a fugitive since he jumped ship from an Egyptian flagged freighter in September 2000.

The men, all of whom claimed to be unemployed civil or chemical engineers, are set to be deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Notice that one of the men is named Ahmed Mohamed Atta.

I applaud the Task Force - this is good news. I'd rather read about these kinds of arrests, than about bombs going off, wouldn't you?

Now THIS is Art...

John over at Castle Argghhh! posted some nice examples of Art of the Liberated yesterday. Today, he has added some new items, and I begged him to let me post them here as well.

A great jointy effort between the Armorer and Kat of The Middle Ground

Hosted by Castle Argghhh!

And two terrific montages from Bloodspite of Techography

Hosted by Castle Argghhh!

Hosted by Castle Argghhh!

Please check out the complete post ... Art of the Liberated, Part II

Think of it as Evolution in Action

So the Brits killed a man who was not about to blow himself to kingdom come. While this is a shame, I am glad to see that they are taking the risk of more bombers in London very, very seriously.

Thanks to Damian at ConservaThink for pointing me to this lovely little Monday Morning Rant from Jeff Harrell at The Shape of Days. If the F-word causes you grief - you might not want to go there, by the way.

My favorite line ... "It was f**king Darwin, come to collect his due." (Asterisks mine, not Jeff's!)

Mayhem in the Med

Several years ago, the Hubster and I were all set to go on a cruise for our 15th anniversary. We were going to fly to Tahiti and sail among the islands in comfort. Unfortunately, that was in 2001, and the cruise company went out of business after 9/11.

Still - the idea beckons, and I imagine that someday we will correct the deficiency. I just hope that we don't have the kind of excitement and intrigue that occurred during Huntress' cruise of the Mediterranean.

You may have read about this story in the NY Times "Greenwich Man Disappears From Ship on His Honeymoon".

The Huntress tells the story her way ...

Cruising The Med: Murder Mystery Mayhem

A honeymoon couple board a cruise ship, and he disappears under mysterious circumstances, with blood found in his stateroom and on the awning underneath his balcony, his new wife is escorted off the ship, to the American embassy in Turkey, where she is met by her parents; a young woman is raped aboard the same cruise ship, and a 52 yr old man dies of a heart attack or possible aneurism brought on by heaving endless vomiting, at least 5 members of a family traveling together are offboarded in Italy accompanied by the FBI and Italian authorities, divers are dispatched to make sure the British Cruise ship while in several ports of call, remains safe from potential terrorist attacks, and the family of the missing man are alleged to have boarded the ship in Italy, while FBI agents remain on board to further investigate these incidents.

Is this the script for a new adventure at sea feature film, a movie of the week, a new book about to become a best seller?

NO! This is what happened on the "Brilliance of the Seas" Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship during my 12 nite Cruise of the Mediterranean!

There's much, much more to read -- but you have to go there to read it. Catch her two other posts as well, to Set the Record Straight, and the Final Word on the cruise event.

This kind of excitement we would all like to avoid. I'm just glad we have her back in one piece!

Welcome home, Huntress !!!

Monday, July 25, 2005

If it isn't Art, what IS it?

I read of this tasteless piece of imagery in ALa's Weekend Mini-Rant, and again today, when she pointed out that the "artist" had his own blogspot site.

I caught a little of the Pearce's on Scarborough Country tonight, although they were saying nothing that I wanted to hear. Can someone explain to me WHY the Attorney General of the State of California should have this so-called artwork displayed in his office??

I did find an interesting item while researching a bit on the web, though. It turns out that a young man named Andy Nevis has started a Petition to force the AG to take the painting down. I added my name and a short comment - you can do the same. Keep the comments polite, please!

I was intrigued by Andy's site "California High School Conservative". You see, Andy is a Sophomore this year.

You wouldn't know that from his writing, though, as I found it pretty thoughtful and interesting. Heh ... I also enjoyed the image "T'anks to Mr. Ted"

The amazing Lance Armstrong

Sure, he has some interesting physiology that helps him to perform at the top of his field, and he showed determination in his fight against cancer. What goes in the record books, though, is the fact that Lance won the Tour De France seven years in a row!

Jack of Random Fate was in Paris, and offers a unique view of the event in today's Letters from Europe.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday grins & games

Wandering around the Millblog ring today, I found the Partamian Report, with a great Bastille Day post. James included some French military history, and this amazing gadget ...

French Army Knife
(click image for larger version)

Of course, our own military folks enjoy a little inter-service rivalry now and again, as demonstrated by the comparison of Military terms and translations at Castle Argghhh! Make sure you read the comments ... Heh!

Meanwhile, if you want to find me, I am caught up in Gridlock ... the computer puzzle. Gridlock is the creation of Graphics/Web designer Corwin Derkatch, and is one of the coolest things I've ever seen done with Flash.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Homeland (in)security

I heard on the radio this morning that a local construction worker in the third Runway project at SeaTac airport was fired recently, after expressing concerns over the level of security at the project.

The workers are in the process of flattening and earth moving to prepare the land for the third runway, next to the end of the two existing runways. A simple chain-link fence surrounds the existing airport grounds, and there has been almost no security in evidence at the construction entrance.

The heavy equipment operator, it turns out, envisioned that someone with ill intent could essentially drive one of the earth movers or heavy trucks right through the fence to gain access to the rest of the airport. So he reported this to his management, and now has lost his job. The story hasn't hit the news yet, but I will be watching to see where this goes.

On a much larger scale, this ties to the issue of global nuclear concerns in Scratching at the Door over at the Castle. Thanks for ruining the rest of my breakfast, Bill.

What women Really want ...

It's the dream of every woman, with children or without, whether she works outside the home or not. If only she could get a man to do it, she'd be in heaven.

I could explain it ... but Bill does such a good job, there's nothing left to say.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Where I'm blogging from ...

So it's Wednesday night, and I am sitting in the Las Vegas airport ... where I am stuck until midnight. That's when I will finally get to board a plane back to cooler, greener climes.

The Good News is that the wireless access is free - yay! The Better News is that I will be sitting in First Class when I do get on the airplane - Big Yay! This is thanks to the apologetic gate person who tried her best to get me on earlier flights, after my Previously Confirmed Flights were changed - without my knowledge or permission. Apparently the person who helped me get going on Monday helped me just a leetle bit too much ... ARGGHHH! I was supposed to be home by midnight, not boarding a plane for a 3-hour ride.

I am tired - and looking forward to my own home and bed. So these new eyeball benders are just whirling away for me right now! Thanks to Boquisucio for providing more ways to prove I need more sleep ;-)

Black Dots

Whirley Things


Not to be outdone, JM Heinrichs found a wonderful resource, chock full of wild and crazy Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena!

Monday, July 18, 2005

How stress free are You?

The linked pictures are used to test the level of stress a person can currently handle.

The slower that the pictures move, the better your ability to handle stress.

Alleged criminals that were tested see them spinning around madly, while senior citizens and kids see them standing still.

None of the images are animated!




Hint ... Right now I am sitting in the airport hoping for a standby spot on a plane. The little images won't hold still - although they aren't going full steam!

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I'm flying from cool, green/blue Washington to hot, humid Dallas (ugh) on business for a few days. I may not have much opportunity to post, but you will find some great links over at the Castle, thanks to John's Linkfest!

If you get a chance, go help ALa battle the Moonbats over at Blonde Sagacity.

Also - I see that Chuck Z has been up and walking, quite an achievement with the injuries he sustained. Please go visit his blog, leave a message for he and his amazing wife Carren, and his equally wonderful mom Alice. Carren has also posted an address, if you are inclined to send a card - Chuck loves 'em! Keep him and all our wounded soldiers in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday Gun Pr0n

I was wandering around at Cowboy Blob's the other day, and found him musing about the number of .22 pistols a man needs. Turns out the answer in his case is 5, and he has precise reasons for each one. Even better - he has Gun Pr0n ... a nice picture of all 5 to admire.

And admire I did, especially when I spotted the S&W 622. I recognized it instantly, because I have one of these sweet little items as well. Actually, 'little' is a bit incorrect ...

click for larger image

With a 6 1/2 inch barrel, it is not the smallest, but v-e-r-y accurate, even in the hands of an amateur (me).

I don't have 5 different .22 pistols, but here's a pic of the handguns that the Hubster and I keep around ...

Click for larger image

Clockwise from the 622 in the upper right, the rest are a Ruger Security-Six (.357), an SW9V (9mm), and a S&W .40 caliber. Nice grouping, eh?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Like this is a surprise ...

I saw this at bRight & Early ...

I am 5% Hippie.
So Not a Hippie.
What? Am I a Republican? Why did I even bother taken this test?! I guess I’ll back to my George W. Bush fan club and tell them I just wasted 10 minutes of my life. At least I don’t stink, man.

I'm surprised that I even registered on the scale!!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Links and a push

Acidman over at Gut Rumbles is getting close to an amazing 2 million visitors. Please go visit him, browse around, leave a comment, and give him some linky love if you have a blog. Let's help push him over that magic mark this weekend.

... And I was happy to see number 11,000 tick past today ... only 1,989,000 to go.

H/T to SWWBO, who is a nerd of very high caliber, and a sharp cookie ... maybe too sharp. Heh!

Speaking of cookies, don't these Lemko Nut Cookies sound interesting? Another fine recipe from the Carnival of the Recipes, wonderfully hosted by VW Bug at One Happy Dog Speaks

Friday Picture

Well, my Friday morning just didn't go as smoothly as I'd like, so I didn't get a picture of me with a cup of coffee.

But I promised Katy a picture, so here you go :

click for high res
[dial-up users: the Hi-Res is verrrrry large!]

Yes, it's one of those dang-blasted Magic Eye pics. Am I in it?? You tell me ... heh!

Blog 'outed'

I've had great fun meeting up with some local bloggers recently, live-blogged by fellow Washington blogger Snarkatron at Snark Patrol. Meeting people who you've met through blogging / emails is a great - being able to put faces with the personalities and add dimension to friendships.

In a twist on the norm, the new blog that I've added to my 'Bloggers I have met' sidebar belongs to someone I knew before either of us started blogging. We actually met through a mutual work friend over 4 years ago ... how time flies!

It tickles me that Delta Mike Charlie, or DMC for short, has joined the blogosphere. In typical fashion, he is starting off very well -- with a mention from Hugh Hewitt on his radio show yesterday! Hugh was highlighting DMC's post on the explosion in Trinidad.

WHOO HOO!! Way to go, dude! Nice post about Patricia Herbold's nomination for the post of Ambassador to Singapore, also.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Price of Supporting the War

What does it cost us, in human terms, to support the war ... knowing that sometimes the dead are complete innocents like the children killed yesterday by a suicide car-bomber?

Harvey at Bad Example provides the most moving and eloquent answer to that question I could imagine in Looking at the Price Tag.

Surveys and other things

Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) wants to know why you blog. It's a quick survey, check it out and help him to fill the knowledge gap with some data.

Why Blog?

Thanks to Jim at bRight & Early for sharing the link. If you get a chance, go visit his Blogathon 2005 post and add your suggestions for charities he could support in the Blogathon.


Check out the reaction that AFSister got recently when she was 'outed' as a blogger to her in-laws. It starts off with humor, then considers the topic of Blogging friendships ... even if she didn't quote me, I'd like her thinking! That came out wrong. What I meant to say was that I really like what AFSis has written, and I still would have even if she had *not* quoted me!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ideology, not Poverty

Michael Yon brings us the 5th segment of his Walking the Line series today, as he completes his travels with CSM Mellinger. His email update introduces the segment :

The American soldiers in Iraq have been appalled by the attacks in London. This morning, as the identity of the attackers comes into focus, we see yet again that poverty is not the root of terrorism. Ideology is.

The war goes on here in Iraq. Recent media reports indicate that troop reductions are not far away. Only time will reveal its secrets. Interestingly, however, some Kurdish-Iraqi troops have moved into Mosul. These Iraqi soldiers use more "relaxed" rules of engagement than our soldiers. Again, only time will reveal its secrets, but sooner or later, the Iraqis must again govern themselves. Their society will be in their hands for better, or for worse.

Go read the entire series at

For a good time...

Visit MSG Keith at My Army Life, take a ride with Biff on an F-14D Tomcat that is absolutely hilarious! Then scroll down to check out his Military trivia and humor post. Both are guaranteed to start your day with a smile!

Geez, I'm a nerd

I am nerdier than 80% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Cheerfully stolen from Jim at bRight & Early.

For an even nerdier score, check out Linda at Right As Usual.

Other Scores ...

Check the comments below for some Interesting results! And for the best score I've seen so far, go visit Beth -- She ROCKS!


To address the discussion in the Comments regarding Nerd versus Geek, I offer the following from Wikipedia.


Traditionally, the designation nerd (occasionally in the form nurd) applies to an intellectually gifted (probably > 120 or so IQ) but lonely and socially awkward person, one fascinated by knowledge, especially science and mathematics, and less interested in physical and social activities. Visual impairment (hence the glasses) and some form of High-Functioning Autism are also common characteristics, and the social impairment can often be explained by the latter. Beginning in the late 1990s, many nerds on the Internet reclaimed the word nerd as a badge of pride, and began using it as a positive description of any technically competent person, with less implication or focus on social awkwardness. Dispute continues as to whether to regard nerd and geek as synonyms, or if not, as to exactly how they differ.

A geek is a person who is fascinated, perhaps obsessively, by technology and imagination. Geek may not always have the same meaning as the term nerd (see nerd for a discussion of the disputed relation between the terms).

The definition of geek has changed considerably over the years. Below are some definitions of the word "geek", in order from newer to oldest. All are still in use.

* A person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media. Comparable with the classic definition of hacker. Late 20th century and early 21st century

* A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest. This definition is very broad, and allows for mathematics geeks, band geeks, computer geeks, politics geeks, geography geeks, geeks of the natural sciences, music geeks, history geeks, Good Eats geeks (Briners), linguistics geeks, sports geeks, figure skating geeks, SCA geeks, gaming geeks, ham radio geeks, public transit geeks (metrophiles), anime and manga geeks (otaku), Stargate geeks (Stargate SG-1/Atlantis fans, Gaters), Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel geeks, Star Wars geeks, Star Trek geeks (Trekkie), Tolkien or fantasy geeks (Tolkienite), geeks of many colours, genders, and styles, and last but not least, Wikipedia geeks. Late 20th Century and early 21st century

* G.E.E.K. as an acronym came from the United States Military. It stands for General Electrical Engineering Knowledge. It is unclear if this was the origin of the current meaning for geek, or if the acronym was used in a joking way toward the pre-established meaning for geek (a backronym).

* A person who swallows live animals, bugs, etc., as a form of entertainment at fairs etc. This often included biting the heads off of chickens. The Geek would usually perform in a "geek pit." This probably comes from the Scottish geck, meaning 'fool', in turn from Low German. 19th century

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Read My Lips

I talked about the chipping away at the First Amendment the other day in this post. Two radio talk show hosts supported the signing of petitions to ensure a ballot initiative against the recent Gas Tax hike in Washington State were judged to have made 'In-Kind' donations to the initiative campaigns by their discussions with the calling public.

Similarly, I write here about my political viewpoints, for my own enjoyment, to rant about the things that frustrate, to support the military, and so on. It is my right, by the First Amendment, to say it here, just as much as I have the right to speak it on a street corner or on a public stage.

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

However, thanks to some who accepted payment for their blog opinions, the unwieldy axe of McCain-Feingold is headed towards the blogworld. The threat is to make FEC rules regarding election finance apply to blogs.

ALa at Blonde Sagacity has a very simple rule to suggest ...
I believe that Bloggers that did/will take campaign money --like Daily Kos-- who I hold personally responsible for opening these floodgates, should be subject to FEC rules --but those of us who are only exercising our right to free speech ...for free, should not be effected by these rulings…

For the record - I agree with that as a guideline. Check my sidebar - I don't have any kind of donation button, there is nothing coming to me as a result of this blog - except the community of civil discourse.

So Read My Lips ... This is my living room - or better yet - my back deck. Come here to discuss, debate, tell jokes, share news, etc. Just don't try to limit my free speech. I hereby stake my right to post on whatever topics I wish, as is my right!

"The role of the blog [has been vital] in reawakening of public participation in the political process, the likes of which we've not seen since politics were openly argued in the town squares and roadside inns of bygone times."
(McCain-Feingold Insurrection)

The new flag flying at the top of the sidebar is my signal, it shows I have joined the Insurrection. Visit them to register your support, add your voice, and get a flag, if you too want to fly one.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm a Bad blog-sister

I almost missed my own blog-brother's birthday today ... *blush*

Go visit The Gun Line and wish a very
Happy Birthday to Sgt B !!

I can't afford one of these for your present, so all you get is a picture :

Gun pic cheerfully stolen from FireBase Rockford

I couldn't afford the pic, either, so I stole borrowed it from Firebase Rockford!


Bill at Castle Argghhh! points out that in addition to failing in my sibling duties, I also dropped the ball as an Adjutant.

And, Yes, Boquisucio ... the noodles were well boiled first!

And so it begins...

We knew when President Bush was re-elected that he would likely have an opportunity to select at least one Justice to the Supreme Court. With Justice O'Connor resigning, the battle of wills and words has begun over the right person to replace her.

Most of the rhetoric I've listened to in the past week focuses on keeping the status quo. The undercurrent, from what I've seen, is that we mustn't topple the balance so far to the conservative end, that Roe v. Wade will somehow magically be overturned by osmosis. So the President is being exhorted to find another justice who will match O'Connor and 'maintain the balance'.

Will someone explain to me why this is more desirable than adding a strong judicial mind who will actually (*gasp*) compare the legal issues to the Constitution without a specific social agenda? I'm speaking of an agenda in either direction, by the way. Someone with an ax to grind on conservative issues is no more desirable to me than one with a liberal bias. What we need to do is reinforce our Constitutional roots - it is our strength and identity.

Today's editorial from Charles Krauthammer says it far better than I can.

On the topic of O'Connor's judicial 'flexibility' :

She had not so much a judicial philosophy as a social philosophy. Unlike a principled conservative such as Antonin Scalia or a principled liberal such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, O'Connor had no stable ideas about constitutional interpretation. Her idea of jurisprudence was to decide whether legislation produced social "systems" that either worked or did not.


Such elasticity earned O'Connor the title of "pragmatist," a coveted virtue in Washington. Today it is particularly prized by liberals who are happy with the judicial revolutions of the past half-century, and are delighted that an appointee of Ronald Reagan should have upheld them in pursuit of social stability.

The problem with ad hoc pragmatism, however, is that it turns the Supreme Court not only into a super-legislature, but into a continuously sitting one. Does anyone have any idea exactly how many reindeer are required to make a town's Christmas creche display constitutionally kosher? Or exactly how much weight you are allowed to give racial preference in hiring? The only way to know is to sue and go back once again to the Supreme Court.

His conclusion is my point, exactly :
... What we need is a nominee who has a judicial philosophy — grounded in constitutional principles that provide legal guidelines that politicians and citizens can understand and live by. I happen to prefer conservative ("originalist") to liberal constitutional principles. But either is preferable to none.

Showing our colors

I picked up the dual flag for my sidebar from Are You Conservative. Click the flag itself today for a little Mayberry humor, also courtesy of AYC.

Thanks to Annika for the link to the flag, by way of this post.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Instapilot fisks Oliphant

Check out the Instapilot's take-down of Tom Oliphant's interview with Hugh Hewitt. It's a long read, but oh-so-worth-it ... grab a big cuppa and read his whole Homework Assignment.

FYI to the left ... Dusty is not an anomaly. He is a fine example of the intellect of our modern professional military men and women.

While we're on the topic of the high-caliber of our military men and women ... I found SF Says by way of comments on Blackfive. Today he has an excellent take on The Paradox of Strong Men.

If you've never met such a man I feel sorry for you. Really. You've missed out on one of the most reassuring, life-affirming experiences I know of. Knowing such men exist is like having tens of thousands of trusted teammates--men you know would guard your back in a fight, as you would for them.

Such men certainly do not wish for war, but they don't hide when it comes, either. And they instinctively know when things have reached the point beyond which all the sincere negotiations in the world won't do any good.


Let me end this with a positive note: Good men--no, astonishing men--still exist in America. And because they totally believe in defending our way of life, and in self-sacrifice when that's required, a disproportionate number serve for at least a few years in the U.S. military.

And later, they make great fathers.

I'm proud to say I know some astonishing men, active and retired, and I am far richer for it. One of the joys of this blog is 'meeting' active service people who are doing the hard work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world to keep you and I safe here at home.

They make great friends, too.

London commuters speak

An acquaintance in London pointed me to a Guardian piece sharing quotes and images of London commuters on Friday morning. If you needed any proof of the resilience of the Brits ... here is is.

Bev Deacon, 47
'I felt scared getting on the tube at a quarter to nine this morning - I didn't want to get on, I was looking around at everybody with a bag, and I was very glad to get off. This evening I'm going home on the bus and I'll be just as scared, but you've just got to do it.'

Rosemary Broadbent, 31, solicitor
'I didn't feel nervous getting on the tube today after what they said yesterday about taking all the trains off the tracks to check them all; in fact, it felt a lot safer. The attacks could have happened to anyone at any time. I'm just going to carry on with my life as it is. I'm not going to let anyone dictate how I should live my life.'

Saeran Ramaya, 23, trainee solicitor
'I used a different line today and thought it would be a lot busier but there didn't seem to be many people on the platform. It was probably quicker. I was a bit apprehensive getting on the tube today. My flatmate and I decided to travel together, which we don't ever do. My heart was beating a bit faster but you just have to get on with it, haven't you?'

Friday, July 08, 2005

Looking Around...

MSG Keith kicks off his Now and Then series. Also - check out his sidebar, which links back to all of the posts created at the Castle during his tour in Afghanistan this past year.

It's not too late to join in the Caption Contest over at Cassandra's place. Just one thing -- some people should not wear leather...

Sgt B has a message of solidarity with our British friends, including a little visual mnemonic for the terrorists.

Kat ponders appeasement and short memories regarding terrorists.

In response to the bombings in London, Alan at GenX at 40 encourages us to Go About.

Punctilious hosts this week's Carnival of the Recipes #47 ... Yummy!
... Almost forgot ... You should also check their Digested Readers, a new Book carnival. Excellent if you need to find good reading material!
(Hint, MSG Keith!)

Speaking of food - SWWBO is concerned about how the Olympic athletes will survive on British food. Meanwhile, the Armorer is annoyed at silly Army tricks, but appreciates the Spirit of the British people.

AFSis gives us some reunion images - both hers, and a father meeting his son. Go wish her well, she's feeling punk...

Bad Cat Robot is off de- and re-constructing her home space.

Meanwhile, Jack is taking some time off - but left lots of folks with keys to the blog. Some very interesting posts - make sure to scroll down and catch the various authors.

This is just Wrong!

I enjoy listening to talk radio during my drives to and from work. I can listen in the morning to one of several stations, one of which is my favorite KVI, a local Fox News affiliate.

In the mornings I listen to Kirby Wilbur, and sometimes I drive home in time to catch the last bit of John Carlson - both intelligent right-thinking hosts who cover the gamut from local politics to international issues.

Recently the state legislature passed a law which will raise the gas taxes we pay by 9.5-cents per gallon, starting immediately this June with a 3-cent per gallon raise. Very quickly an initiative (I-912) was registered, and petitions have been out for signature for the last month. Much discussion was held during Kirby and John's shows regarding the tax, the state's woeful inability to keep spending down and lack of accountability, and the current petition drive status.

Now, a judge has decided that the amount of time spent by the hosts correlates to advertising for the campaign!!

In support of free speech, and KVI
Friday, July 8, 2005

Judge Christopher Wickham of Thurston County Superior Court trod dangerously on the First Amendment last week.

He ruled that Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson of KVI Radio had pushed the gas-tax rollback initiative so zealously on the air that it amounted to advertising. Therefore, he ruled, the campaign had to report their support as a political contribution.

The campaign duly estimated the value of Wilbur's and Carlson's support at $10,000 each for the month of May, and reported it to the government.

See what is being done here. The judge is following a simple syllogism:

All political contributions may be regulated;

Speech is a political contribution;

Therefore, speech may be regulated.

Whoa there, Judge Wickham, there's this little thing called the First Amendment. Perhaps you've heard of it?

I understand that there is a concern in keeping political discourse open to both sides of an issue when there are elections pending, and both candidates are provided with equal access to the airwaves. But what-in-hell does that have to do with public discussion on an initiative?

By the way - both John and Kirby have also donated their personal time to the petition drives, and both also donated money. There is no question that they supported the initiative, as do at least 230,000 other people who signed the petitions. But they actively tried to bring onto their shows opponents of the initiative for discussion, there was no forcing of an issue down the throats of the public.

First McCain-Feingold and the threat of applying it to bloggers, now this. Our rights are being chipped away bit by bit. I hope and pray that this is fought in the appellate courts - it needs to stop NOW!


Heartless Libertarian also has some words on this.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bad day in London

More cowardly bombing attacks - in the subway and bus system of London. Pray for the victims and their families.

Ghost of a Flea has an informative post with running updates.

H/T to John Donovan at the Castle, where the Union Jack flies today, as it will here.

As John says ... Wahabism Delenda Est!


Excellent Letter to the Terrorists posted at Michael Totten's site! H/T to Dusty at Castle Argghhh!

Funny, and yet sad...

Seattle is often referred to as the Emerald City, and it is indeed a very green area. The evergreen trees abound, and the mountains are not far, it's a pretty place to live.

Click for larger image

But as Stefan Sharkansky of Sound Politics explains, not as Green as it could and should be.

Seattle's new city hall is an energy hog

Seattle's new City Hall was designed with the environment in mind, using the most energy-efficient technologies.

But the building acts like an old-fashioned electricity hog. It has lofty public spaces and walls of glass designed to welcome citizens and suggest an open and transparent government. It also uses 15 percent to 50 percent more electricity some months than the older, larger building it replaced, according to Seattle City Light utility bills.

The new City Hall cost $72 million, by the way. And the new one is smaller! Pretty high price tag for inefficiency, wouldn't you say?

It gets better ...

In other Seattle environmental news, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cited the city of Seattle for illegally filling wetlands.

All of which reminded me of general liberal silliness, like this Conversation with a Liberal from new blogger Pre64M70 at Fort Constitution. Minor language warning - but it's fun ... go read !

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

When Eagles Learn to Fly

Kristin Johnson read a poem written by Pfc. Jamie A. Goldsteinm that inspired her to create the Poet Warrior Project. This is a section of her Poems for You site that is dedicated to the works of those serving and their families.

When Eagles Learn to Fly
by Pfc. Jamie A. Goldstein
2nd Battalion, 58th Regiment
Jan. 14, 2005

High atop a mountain,
The newest look around.
In their hearts they yearn to jump,
But to the nest, they're bound.
They see what's going on abroad,
And it consumes their thoughts.
There's shoes to fill and prey to kill,
And targets to be caught.
They may be mean, they may be angry,
Strong may be their drive.
But all of that means nothing,
'Til these eagles learn to fly.

They sacrifice their blood and sweat,
Earn feathers one-by-one,
And bleed and sweat they will, until
The day of training's done.
And at that time, they then reflect,
On things they all have learned,
And often re-read passages,
From pages that they've turned.
With contempt for their confinement,
They sing verses as they cry,
But that will all soon change
When these eagles learn to fly.

Their blood is hot. Their eyes are cold.
Their hearts know not of fear.
They dream of wreaths of olive leaves,
But still clutch tight their spears.
Collectively they ponder,
The enemies they will try.
They've skills to hone and wings to grow,
But that, they know, takes time.
When the sand has fell completely,
And their wings spread true and wide,
They'll soar across the skyline
And the world shall hear them cry:
"Those who dare burn olive branches,
Those who force their way,
Those who seize what isn't theirs,
And dare refuse to pay,
Those who live by wicked values,
And dare to walk with pride,
Clear your throat and swallow,
For we have learned to fly!"

"Those who dare crusade,
Against the name of what is just,
Those who dare raise arms,
By exploiting others' trust,
And expect a repercussion,
No more violent than a sigh,
Today you shall be proven wrong,
For we have learned to fly!"
"Those who dare condemn us,
For enjoying our free will,

Those who feel our choices,
Make us wrong enough to kill,
Those who dare assault us,
Anywhere at any time -
You've met your final adversary;
For we have learned to fly!"

Original story here, as part of the America Supports You series.

Remembering those lost

I stand firm on support for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the overall mission of taking war to the terrorists. We must never forget the sacrifices of those lost, however.

The current toll is over 1700 souls, but the number doesn't really tell the tale completely. To help bring home the cost and personalize it, check out this site from the Palm Beach Post. You may zoom in on areas of the map, and select a dot, to see the names of the service members lost from those communities...

(Click map to connect to live site)

The Cost in Lives

Thanks to Cassandra at Villainous Company for sharing the link.


Boquisucio points out in the comments that the interactive map only displays the lower 48 states plus the District of Columbia, not Hawaii or Alaska, and also does not include the territories. This is a really good point.

I explored the map, and found that once you open the interactive page, you can read the Editor's Note to find this addendum...

The casualties reflected on this map are names released by the Pentagon as of Wednesday, June 29. It doesn't include 37 soldiers whose hometowns were in other states, U.S. territories and, in one case, a different country:

Puerto Rico, 20
Hawaii, 5
American Samoa, 4
Federated States of Micronesia, 2
Virgin Islands, 2
Alaska, 1
Guam, 1
Northern Mariana Islands, 1
United Kingdom, 1

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Military Blogger with a Request

Erik Holtan of A Long Strange Trip is a deployed MN National Guardsman currently in Iraq. He has his back up, and needs some help.

First, he has legal concerns requiring both 1st Amendment and employment specialties. Then he'd like to find a journalist, especially in Minnesota, to hear his family's story. Go read his post, you'll understand.

New Blog Alert!

Welcome new blogger MSG Keith to the blogworld, over at My Army Life. If you have been hanging around Castle Argghhh!, you will recall that Keith was in Afghanistan this past year, and was a wonderful source of great news from there. Now he can tell his stories directly for us to link!

A win-win situation ...

Welcome, MSG Keith!!!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Independence Day!

I wish everyone a safe and happy 4th! There are a lot of deployed troops in the Milblog realm - here are just a few to visit today...

From My Position...
Chuck is now at Walter Reed being treated for the wounds received when he tangled with an IED almost two weeks ago. His wife Carren is a great lady - keeping us all informed of his progress.

Others include Dadmanley, Firepower Forward,AH-64D Apaches over Iraq,Assumption of Command, The Siegrist Blogs, A Strange Long Trip, and Major K. Also, remember folks like ArmorGeddon and Trying to Grok, and others who are posted to bases outside the U.S.

For other links, check out Castle Argghhh!, Blackfive and Mudville Gazette - their sidebars are much more complete than mine.

Happy Birthday, U.S.!

Offering Prayers and Thanks

While you are planning for July 4th events like picnics, parades and fireworks, keep in mind the origins of this day, and honor the wisdom of our founding fathers. Read again the words of our Declaration of Independence (image from the Library of Congress site, text here):


WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed ...

WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour.

With Honour and sacrifice, the men and women of our military serve every day, going into harm's way so that we can continue to live in a free and strong country. Their families also serve, giving up their loved ones for long deployments. They do this so that you and I can stay home, in comfort and safety. Think about what you can do to give back.

The news last week of the downed helicopter, and loss of all 16 soldiers and sailors onboard was devastating. Offer your prayers for the families, and for the SEALs still missing.

Then take some time to do something for them, and something for the men and women now in Iraq and Afhanistan. Blackfive reminds us of some great organizations who help the troops and their families :

One thing that you should do is visit America Supports You. Another is donate to Soldiers' Angels or volunteer. There's a great need right now for help in the hospitals in DC and San Antonio, Texas. So, if you're in that area and want to be an Angel to our wounded, and are not afraid of committing a lot of time over the next few weeks to help, please contact Soldiers' Angels and volunteer.

And finally, the United Warrior Survival Fund and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation need your help to provide for the spouses and children of our Fallen Heroes.

Show your support, and take a minute to thank the service people and veterans around you. We are still the Land of the Free -- because of the Brave!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Linky stuff

A new blogger asks and answers Who in their Right Mind would be joining up? Since he's already flying AH-64D Apaches Over Iraq, I think he's answered it quite well for himself!
Desultory Girl better be listening ...

If you've been following the news on Chuck Ziegenfuss, his wife Carren has added two must-read entries. First a long time friend talks about things we should already know - but which should be said anyways ... about sacrifice and the rest of us doing our part. Please go read it - then go follow his advice.
Then move up to the next post, because Chuck Speaks!!! With all that has happened to them in the past week and a half, I am humbled that Carren keeps finding the time to share Chuck's progress with us. They truly appreciate the words of encouragement and prayers ... go visit, won't you?

Beth reminds us that this week's Carnival of the Recipes is up ... with the recipes organized by color!

Sgt B continues his Piping lessons, and entertains a great debate (in comments) over the proper music for a Piper in training.

Continuing her Self Portrait Friday theme, Katy asked folks to post tattoos. Quite an interesting bunch. Wonder what she'll think up for next week?

Need a chew toy for an active puppy? Check out what Sarah at Trying to Grok lets her little guy Charlie chew on!

Thanks to Kermit for sharing the link to this treatise on the Genus Libratas Americana.

Libratas may be found on every continent of this planet. The genus is as diverse and varied as any other found on earth, yet there are many common threads, as it were, that positions them in a singular genus. While the untrained observer may not differentiate between libratas and homo sapiens, there are indeed key differentiations between the two genus.

The following is a general list of attributes that libratas shares with our kind, as well as a basic guide to be used in distinguishing libratas from homo sapiens, especially for the untrained observer.

Distinction One: Libratas has a sparse fur, or hair, covering its body, except in cases of abnormal bodily disfunction. Much like homo sapiens, the fur, or hair, is concentrated on the top of the head, pubic areas, and beneath the arm pits. We did find however, that this fur or hair covering was oft time more pronounced in Libratas than in our kind.

Distinction Two: Libratas is warm-blooded, as is homo sapiens, however, libratas is susceptible to bouts of irrepressibly elevated body temperature when certain stimuli are introduced to its environment. While the authors could not hope to compile a complete list of these "triggers", we did find that the utterance of certain sounds, or words, could stimulate this unusual increase in body temperature. We submit the following examples:

Example one: The verbalization or utterance of the word "bush", triggered incredible increases of body temperature in most libratas. We found this unusual, because similar utterances, such as "shrub", "tree", or "hedge" had no visible effect on libratas.

Example two: The word "rove" (as in, "bison rove o'r the plains) was particularly stimulating to most Libratas south of the Dominion of Canada, causing rapid increases in temperature and anxiety. When presented with similar sounding words, such as "drove", or "cove", we could discern no basil temperature change in libratas. We humbly submit that there seems to be no reason for libratas' reaction to certain sounds or words, other than the fact that the words are monosyllabic.

Heh ... That's just a tiny sample. Keep reading and hitting Next, to reveal the habits of the various species like "Libratas Scriptor" and "Libratas Administratio"!!

Finally, I found this t-shirt hugely funny, although I probably wouldn't wear it!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Don't beat yourself up

This brings a Whole New Meaning to the phrase ...

Weekend links

It felt more like a weekend than a Friday while driving in to work this morning - lots of folks taking of early for the 4th. If you're driving somewhere ... Be careful and stay safe.

Some folks are staying off the roads and keeping their fingers to their keyboards for a good cause this weekend. The Puddle Pirate and Word Girl are doing some Rear Echelon blogging to raise money for a good cause. Make a donation to their special tip jar to benefit the Armed Forces Relief Trust, and get a blogger on caffeine to post on a topic of your choosing! H/T to The Armorer!

I learned to read Science Fiction through the books of Asimov and Heinlein, so I enjoyed reading Dean Esmay's defense of Heinlein's work. I agree with much of what Dean says. However, I happen to enjoy the latter half of Heinlein's 'catalogue' as well as the first half - I just won't give them to children to read!

And speaking of Reading -- Punctilious at Blogoram has an interesting concept / proposal -- a Book Review carnival. She and the rest of the Blogoram gang are trying to churn up good reading ideas, to help avoid mental atrophy during their airplane travels. I hope to get time to join in with a post & link of my own this weekend