Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Rolling Stones!
You don’t think of the Rolling Stones… at least I don’t… when it comes to delivering socially-conscious messages in song. But I can’t, for the life of me, think of a more appropriate tune for Labor Day. So, it’s in that spirit that I give you “Salt of the Earth.” (lyrics here)

It’s interesting to note that Jagger dismissed this song as one written in “total cynicism.” While that may be true, I prefer to derive my own meaning from the lyrics… and in MY interpretation, those “hard working people” are indeed the “Salt of the Earth.” Screw a bunch of cynics.
On the other hand… I could have posted this tune (Hell, I’m gonna post it anyway), which is kinda-sorta appropriate for Labor Day, innit? Both of these songs are from “Beggars Banquet,” which… apropos of nothing… just might be The Stones’ best album.  (ed:  No it's not.  Exile On Main Street is.)
Factory girls: God Love ‘Em!
Enjoy your Labor Day, Gentle Reader.
Yeah, the above is a re-run and it's one of two Labor Day posts I put up every year at this time, the other one... which is a bit screedy... is here. That post contains links to a Mike Rowe TED Talk about work and a good PBS video interviewing the author of "Shopcraft as Soulcraft."  The PBS video is particularly good.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warmish, Redux

It's not even 0900 hrs and it's rather warm (uncharacteristically humid, too) already.   And it looks like the next couple o' days are gonna be rather brutal:

The down side: we might be forced to take Happy Hour indoors today and tomorrow.  There's an upside, too: After Dinner Whiskey Hour will be quite pleasant.  Prolly longer than usual, as well.

Final Frontiers and All That

NatGeo's website has one of the better articles about the Voyager spacecraft and their missions that I've ever seen.  A couple of screen shots (click to embiggen, as always):

Be prepared to spend about a half-hour (more or less) when you go.  It's well worth the time.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday: Play Ball!

Wait, that's not right.  There isn't an iconic term to describe the kick-off (heh) of the college football season, so toss the coin, choose to kick or receive, and let's get underway.  In honor of the first Saturday of college ball season, here's my UCR opening weekend post:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Rules

I missed this today before I posted, but it would have fit right in with the lead two items in this morning’s post: Time for the new rules for college football fandom.” Samples:

1. As a fan, you have to pick a school, one school, same as if you were filling out applications to, you know, go to school there. You may not be a fan of a conference, teams from a specific state, "West Coast football" or college football in general. Nobody is a fan of college football in general, not even Lee Corso. Nor may you root for Harvard and Yale, any more than you could matriculate at both places, unless you're really, really smart, in which case you're probably building prototype military surveillance nanobots in your MIT dorm room, and/or devising a computerized ranking system* to shame Jeff Sagarin.

1a. Under extenuating circumstances, however, you may have up to three Division I-A rooting allegiances, so long as the schools meet the following criteria:

(a) Your birthplace/family school – especially if an inheritance is at stake, or if a campus library bears your last name.
(b) Al(most)ma mater – the school you transferred from.
(c) The school that actually handed you a diploma. Or would have, if you hadn't finished three credits short.
(d) Your spouse's school, especially if the program is vastly superior to your own, or your spouse cares waaaay more than you do, in which case: good call on getting married!
(e) You're a bandwagon-jumping, low-self-esteem weenie and scurry from Notre Dame to Miami to Ohio State to USC to Boise State depending on the year, the polls and the amount of water flooding into the ship.

If you can't be true to a school, at least be true to your own weaselly nature.


4. If you attended a lower-division or NAIA school, you're allowed to pick a D-I school of your choice. But you must consistently root for that school year in and year out, and it's preferred that the school be geographically close to you.

4a. Or you can just root for Appalachian State every week.

4b. Notre Dame? How very original.


9. You are allowed to root freely against the following schools for no specific reasons: Notre Dame; Notre Dame in their puke-green jerseys; Notre Dame when playing on "Triumph of the Will"-shaming propaganda house organ NBC; USC; any school that plays its fight song approximately 4,387 times per game like USC; Michigan; Miami; Ohio State; any school like Ohio State with a pretentious "the" in front of its name, because otherwise how would we know which Ohio State university they were talking about?; any school coached by Steve Spurrier; any school coached by Nick Saban. (ed: I’d add “any team from Florida” to this list, but that’s a minor quibble.)

You may have noticed that I’m in the 4b fan category. Given that I never went to college, I’m free to root for the school of my choice, under rules Four and 1a (d) above, even if that means I root for my former spouse’s school (The Second Mrs. Pennington is a Notre Dame alumna). And I have been an ND fan for nearly 30 years now and don’t foresee any change in that status on the near or far horizons. It’s way too late to change allegiances at this point in life. While we’re at it, I should mention I’m a fan of, and root for, at least three schools, depending on who’s playing whom: ND, Michigan (the ten year living-in-Detroit connection), and Air Force. For reasons that should be obvious now. The only time I’m torn is when ND plays Air Force…and I well and truly don’t know what to do during that game. Very traumatic, that.

So, to the author of “The Rules,” especially Rule 4b: Put a sock in it. I like ‘em, otherwise.
So there's that.  It's been our practice for the last year or so to post one of the week's best viral vids, taken from here.  There are always exceptions to the rules and today is one of 'em (besides that, fully half of this week's viral vids have to do with ice buckets and we've seen enough of those).  But I DO have a video for ya:


Friday, August 29, 2014

Cleanin' Out the Fridge, a la Buck

All this went into the dumpster about 15 minutes ago:

It really pained me to toss out perfectly good beer, if one defines "good" as beer that's serviceable, of good quality, and from reputable sources.  All of the foregoing are true but there's just ONE fly in this ointment: I don't like these beers.  We'd reached the point where a dozen loose bottles were taking up space that could be occupied by beer I LIKE.  So, out it all went.

I used to be able to give away my beer cast-offs and rejects to the kids from ENMU that lived two doors down but those guys moved out.  More's the pity and what a waste.

Update, 1330 hrs:  Two things.  First, I lied used poetic license in the narrative above.  I hadn't actually thrown the beer out when I wrote the post and there's this, too.  My new(ish) neighbors pulled into their driveway as I was walking to the dumpster with all that beer in hand.  So I walked over, introduced myself and offered them the beer, which they gladly accepted.  It turns out the beer wasn't wasted, after all.  The Deity At Hand moves in strange ways, doesn't she?

So, after a bit o' small talk I jumped into The Tart and motored on over to my local likker locker to... surprise, surprise... buy some beer.  Where I saw this:

Well, now.  The glare blots out most of the top line which sez: "No Alcohol Sales."  Bummer!  It's a great good thing that I NEVER let the available beer supply fall below the one six-pack mark now, innit?

Not Your Father's Air Force XXXV

From the Usual USAF Source...
SrA. Shabree N. Heasell, a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center at Ramstein AB, Germany, is one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2014. As a tactics and training analyst, Heasell identified 43 smuggling routes across a 193-square-mile area, leading to the discovery and elimination of 12 enemy workshops, 20 improvised explosive devices, and 50 weapons caches. She developed nine primary and alternate evacuation routes for the Secret Service, ensuring the safety of the President of the United States and 223 staff personnel during the President's diplomatic visit to Africa. Heasell also volunteered 1,270 hours for 15 organizations and led 350 volunteers through 53 events, raising more than $2 million in sales and proceeds that were donated to local schools and charities. Air Force Magazine is shining the spotlight on each OAY in the days leading up to AFA's Air & Space Conference that starts on Sept. 15 in National Harbor, Md. AFA will honor these airmen there.
First of all: congratulations to SrA Heasell on her selection as one of USAF's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.  That's a Big F'in Deal (as Uncle Joe would say).  That said, take a look at the right hand screen the SMSgt is using.  Wikipedia?  Wiki-Freakin'-Pedia?  This photo is supposed to represent intelligence operations, innit?  And The Wiki is a source?  This is the sorta thing that makes me entreat The Deity At Hand to save us.  Please.

I've Been Doin' It Wrong

I recently learned I've been eating sushi wrong, after oh, say, 45 years or so.  This is supposedly how one does it:

OK,  Naomichi Yasuda is Japanese and he's a master sushi chef so there's no arguing with his credentials.  That said, I will continue to mix my soy sauce and wasabi together, thank you very much.  And I eat individual fish pieces with my fingers, not with hashi.  I know, I know... I'm a barbarian gaijin.

In other news....  Speakin' o' doin' it wrong, there's this:

Would someone please explain WTF that thing is eclipsing the sun?  It LOOKS like a hockey puck, kinda-sorta, but I don't think that's what this means.

Update, 1430 hrs:  All is explained in comments about that eclipse thing.  To my GREAT shame.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I dunno about a failure to recognize emotions, but I DO know people spend waaay too damned much time looking at their phones.  That would be ALL people, not just the young.

In other news... today is one of those dates that I'll never, ever forget.  It was 51 years ago today that I raised my right hand and solemnly swore "that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...", amongst other things.  Today was also the day I took my first ride in a jet, flying in a 707 from El-Eh to San Antonio.  To say what happened on this date was a life changing event is a massive understatement; things were never the same after this day.  Totally.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sixty Years

From the Usual USAF Source:
C-130 Marks 60 Years in Production
Archived photo of the YC-130 Hercules during its ferry flight from Burbank, Calif., to Edwards AFB, Calif., on Aug. 23, 1954. The C-130 is still in production today, making it the longest running military aircraft production line in history. Air Force photo.
In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower was in his first term as President and an expansionist Soviet Union was generating global tensions in the emerging Cold War. On Aug. 23 of that year, a four-engine turboprop transport took its maiden flight at Lockheed Martin's plant in Burbank, Calif. Sixty years later, the C-130 Hercules still is in production, making it the longest running military aircraft in continuous production in history. The Air Force took delivery of its first C-130As in December 1956, and a total of 428 different models of the Hercules are being flown by nearly every major Air Force command, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard. Hercules also are operated by the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and are in military or civil use in 70 countries. According to Lockheed Martin, a total of 2,471 have been produced. And the latest model, the C-130J Super Herc, continues to roll off the assembly lines. "In its first six decades, the C-130 shaped aviation history, redefined industry standards and exhibited flexibility that other aircraft have yet to match," George Shultz, Lockheed vice president and general manager C-130 programs, said in a company release. (USAF release).
Note that Mr. Shultz  said "its FIRST six decades."  I don't have much doubt the ol' Herky Bird will still be flying somewhere at the end of the 21st century.  The aircraft will most certainly have a longer life than I will.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Is It October Yet?

Department of Redundancy Department:

Sigh.  Our teevee is getting a LOT of rest this summer.  Which ain't new or different from summers past.

H/T for the image: Rummy.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keepin' It Clean...

First, there's this from the Usual USAF Source:

Air Frame: A KC-135 Stratotanker taxis through the wash rack, also known as a bird bath, after a mission Aug. 18, 2014. The KC-135 is assigned to the Tennessee Air National Guard's 134th Air Refueling Wing. (Air National Guard photo by TSgt. Jonathan Young)
I learn sumthin' every single day; today I learned there actually IS a way to wash airplanes that doesn't involve two or three one-stripers, brushes, buckets, and hoses.

And there's this, in the not-so-clean category: "The complete guide to swearing at work," from Quartz.  An excerpt:
Modern media tell us that workplace swearing is cool. Take Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, whose brash yet professionally successful characters dropped 506 f-bombs, a record for a feature film. In a 2006 survey by Associated Press/Ipsos (pdf), 74% of Americans said they encountered profanity in public frequently or occasionally and 66% said that as a rule, people curse more today than 20 years ago.

There are some prominent examples. After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, US president Barack Obama famously commented on the Today show that he’d been talking to experts about the spill to figure out “whose ass to kick.” T-Mobile CEO John Legere, a renegade executive known for his potty mouth, badmouthed competitors AT&T and Verizon at a recent press event by saying that “the fuckers hate you.” Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz once told her staff at an all-hands meeting that she’d “dropkick to fucking Mars” anyone whose company gossip ended up on a blog (which her comments promptly did).
The article is fairly interesting, what with its links, statistics, studies, and recommendations.   I agree that a well-placed f-bomb can do wonders in getting your message across and I used that tactic more than a few times in my civilian career.  We won't talk about my Air Force career, where it seemed like every other word outta my mouth could be described as "purple prose."  I'm tryin' to clean my act up now that I'm fucking retired. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Burnin' Some Rubber


I found this fascinating and watched the vid at least four times.

In other news... we went to bed (well, "went to couch" would be much more accurate) around 2130 hrs last evening with predictable results: up at oh-dark-thirty.  I have a feelin' nap time will arrive a bit earlier than usual today.

In other, other news... SN1 is 48 today, 50 is right around the corner.  I dunno if he feels old or not but **I** sure as Hell do.  Happy Birthday, Buck!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Broadening Our Horizons LXXXIV

It's either a late lunch or an early Happy Hour today and here's what's on the menu:

This is a mePhone pic, believe it or don't.

That would be a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale; I'm about halfway through this glass as we type and so far, so good.  We'll drink this stuff carefully as the alcohol content is a staggering (for beer) 8.19%.  That said, the brew is tasty, indeed.  The Bros like it and I'll quote from their house publication:
Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #51 (April 2011):

The pale amber color and sufficient lacing does not tell much of a story, even though it’s a great-looking beer. At first sniff, the nose is filled with barrel juice from the freshly used bourbon barrels—fusel with sweet vanilla and oak. Has the body of a well-attenuated ale, though there’s warmth from the aggressive alcohol. Hopping is modest at best; the dryness and high level of alcohol seem to balance this beer out. Boozy with fresh bourbon flavors from start to finish. Any sweetness seems to come from the feigned direction of the bourbon as it throws down that vanilla flavor. Some graininess within to remind us that this is a beer. Drinking this one slow. Definitely sets itself apart from all other bourbon barrel aged beers, which makes it a must-try.
Well, OK.  We've tried it but this beer won't go into our normal rotation, mainly because it's pretty damned expensive.  You'll note the beer is sold in four-packs, not six, and it's still pretty damned pricey (14 Yankee Dollars for a four-pack, on the 'net).  An interesting beer, to be sure, but there are better beers out there for less money.

And now it's out to the verandah to finish this puppy off before it gets too damned hot to be outdoors.

Saturday: Can We Get Some More Ice Over Here, Please?

Continuing on with a theme...

God, but I miss that guy.  And his lovely wife... especially his lovely wife.

Occasional Reader Darryl brought this to our attention yesterday (and so did Digg):

Ya gotta admit:  Stewart gets BIG bonus points for style and good sense; minus points for tearing off both the check AND the duplicate plus suspiciously bad-looking whiskey (that looks like a bottle of Chivas, I know he can afford better).