Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Did Someone Say Snark?

Steeljaw Scribe (aka ―sometimes― as “Some Squid”) cherry-picked a couple of movie sequences in a vain attempt to convince the world at large the Navy knows a lil sumthin about airpower. So…he puts up this video of a couple of F9Fs being landed…oh-so-poorly…on the deck of an aircraft carrier and contrasts them with the venerable F-86, shown on a ramp as the credits to “The Hunters” roll. (BTW: those F9Fs were from one of the best war movies of all time, and the source of the famous quote “Where do we get such men?”)

Now the F9F is a pretty airplane, don’t get me wrong. “Pretty,” as far as those lil toy aircraft go. You know, the kind of airplanes that require an industrial strength sling-shot to get airborne most of the time and sporting some sort of vestigial appendage called a “booty-hook.” Or something like that. Anyway, the mere existence of these booty-hook thingies have been known to make grown men get all weepy with remembrance. They have strange powers, those vestigial appendages. But I digress.

The plain (or plane) fact, Gentle Reader, is REAL Men (REAL Women, too) fly BIG-ASS airplanes. Like these:

A single B-52 brings as much force to the party…any party…as an entire squadron of sea-going toy airplanes. And the B-52 has been doing so for well over 50 years Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and conflicts yet to come.

It’s a matter of fact, Gentle Reader, that those F9Fs depicted in SJS’ post were in service at the same time as the B-52. Read another way…the service life of those two airframes overlapped, however briefly. The F9F is but a memory. The B-52, on the other hand, is a sterling example of your United States Air Force: firepower and staying power. Your United States Air Force puts both firepower and staying power on target, on demand. World-wide.

For another historical example of famous USAF Big-Ass airplanes, see Mike. And while I’m at it, credit where credit is due: SJS posted a danged good treatise on the BUFF in the near way-back. Which sorta proves the point: even squids know the good stuff when they see it.

Oh…and no offense meant to fighter types, especially the air superiority guys…USAF, USN, or USMC. Someone needs to prep the battle space, and for that the Big Iron guys are eternally grateful.

Purdy, Ain't It?

The UPS Lady just came and left me this:

Which, Gentle Reader, is a box of Gran Habano VL Churchills. Ain’t it (they) just as purdy as it comes? So very pretty, in fact, that I felt compelled to share some of the artistic details with you. The first two pics are obvious…the overview of the packaging. The third picture is a close-up of the silver embossing on the box top, and the fourth and fifth pictures are details of the art work on the interior box lid. As always, click for larger.

I’ve never seen a Baby Blue box of cigars before. Which goes to prove you learn something new every day. Now if they smoke as good as they look all will be right with the world!

Pissing Contest, Part Deux

Where it stands at this hour…which is 1140 hrs MDT. I’ve been waiting all morning in the hope I’d have some good news to post, but it looks like The Proverbial Fat Lady has done sung her last note.

Pity, that. Anyway…here’s what happened since you last looked in, Gentle Reader:

-from- Buck Pennington
-to- Lori Fye ,
Lowell ,
Dick -
-date- Oct 30, 2007 6:31 PM-
-subject- Re: USAFRSVets Message Not Posted-

Hey Woody... You're famous (scroll down and you'll see a link to my post about this krep). Only 2,215 visits today , but over five million, total. And I've had eight hits on my blog from the link already. More will be be forthcoming.

You'll note...if you go that far... that I said in comments to the post that the jury's still out. And I will "make nice" if you allow my post to go through, with an appropriate post on my blog and on blogs where this lil tempest in a teapot has been noted. No pressure just is what it is. But you really are making an ass out of yourself, and... by association...the group. I don't think you intended for that to happen.

But, once again, it is what it is.


On 10/30/07 (5:29 PM), Buck Pennington wrote:

Woody, Laurie,

To be perfectly frank...I don't give a big rat's ass about what the BBB does or doesn't say about Soldiers Angels or VALOUR-IT. I care about results and the organization's reputation among the troops. I know, personally, one of the VPs in the SA organization and I've been more or less intimately involved with them and their work for two years.

Let me ask you this: if you took the time to look up SA with BBB, did you take the time to check out any of the URLs I provided in my original message or in my subsequent message (the " hundreds of Milbloggers")? If SA is a scam organization, they have sure hoodwinked a frickin' lot of reputable, honest, and dedicated service and retired. Further, did you see any of the testimonials on the SA site, particularly this one?

January 18th, 2006

Dear Mrs. Smith,
It was brought to my attention that your organization, Soldier's Angels, did something very special for the Marines of our Injured Support Battalion. I want to take this time and thank you so much for your contribution to make special memories for those who sacrifice so much.

Your contribution of laptops is quite above and beyond. I am grateful that you have taken time to honor our injured heroes.

I remain...

(jpg of Lt. Gen. James F. Amos signature block)

How many times do you think a USMC Lieutenant General's been snookered, Woody? And snookered LATELY?

I'm with Lori. The SA organization isn't the frickin' Red Cross with a Red Cross-like bureaucracy. It's a true grass-roots organization that is composed entirely of volunteers. And these volunteers work their collective asses off for the troops, and do their BEST to comply with all the damned legal requirements the government order to achieve 501 (c) (3) status. could have asked these questions right after I sent my first note instead of beating around the frickin' bush with weasel words that failed to (a) answer my question directly and (b) come to the point...if you had a frickin' point to begin with...aside from being what I perceive to be an arbitrary control freak.

If I sound pissed it's only because I AM. You've ripped your frickin' knickers with ME, Woody. A little basic research on your part immediately after I sent my first note would have prevented all this crap.

If you choose to allow my post through to the USAFRSV group I'll resubmit. But only for the exposure to the 2,000+ vets who may not be aware this program exists. Some of those guys might have sons or daughters that are serving (I have two sons on active duty...both career officers), and it's not outside the realm of possibility that one of those sons or daughters just might NEED a voice activated laptop.

In closing, I'm with Lori, yet again, on the subject of moderation. It's simply not needed and is often abused, as in this case. QED.


On 10/30/07 (4:45 PM), Lori Fye wrote:

Sigh ...

Woody, it seems, from reading the BBB's report, that Soldier Angels doesn't meet their requirements due to some rather petty rules about what the organization hasn't provided in the way of financials. Perhaps Soldier Angels is simply too busy serving the troops to be able to meet all of the BBB's criteria in a timely fashion. That's my instinctive best guess.

Personally, I would've passed through Buck's post -- in fact, it appeared on "my" Fortuna AFS group. Then again, I handle that group differently, requiring potential members to tell me why they should belong to the group before they can join, rather than moderating every post. I don't have time to do that, plus I trust that the group's members are mature and trustworthy enough to post appropriately. Rarely do I have to deal with spam, or even with offensive posts. (Recently, I did have to write to someone off-list to ask her not to send jokes that are potentially offensive. That member immediately complied with my request, and remained a member of the group as well.)

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that a decision to disallow a post on USAF RSV has caused someone to leave. This particular decision stings quite a bit, though, as the VALOUR-IT program is a good one and something that supports our VERY deserving wounded troops.

Still mulling over my membership in USAF RSV,

On 10/30/07 (4:21 PM), Lowell wrote:


I believe you know Dick and I moderate the messages with member majority in mind. All the while, we have the primary objective of keeping on subject with radar sites experiences, etc. Some messages, we allow to go forth, as with the blue dot tail lights, because that experience is from the era of many in the group.

When we get a message with url reference, we review the website being passed along. With that review, first we ask, is this something thats well publicized and something any of the members (if interested in the subject matter of that the web involved) can google and bring up on their own. Then we ask, is this something that's reputable and and radar sites related.

The BBB has the following on the url

I'm sorry we can't please everyone with our moderation. I'm sorry we can't feel free to allow all messages to go through.

As you know, I have much respect for your, your opinions and I will hate it very much if you decide to disassociate yourself.

Buck, I don't know you, but with you and Lori having been friends for 30 years, I believe you to be a person of very high character and standards. If you feel the BBB report is off base and if you feel we should go forth with the posting, let us know and we'll roundtable it again, with closer scrutiny.

Thanks, both of you, for your input, for without input, from you we don't know when we're doing good (or bad). And, we do keep an open mind to input from the members.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lori Fye
Sent: Oct 30, 2007 12:19 PM
To: Buck Pennington , Lowell
Cc: Dick
Subject: Re: USAFRSVets Message Not Posted

Thanks for including me in this discussion, Buck.

Woody, after reading Buck's blog post about VALOUR-IT, I requested him to repost the item at USAF RSV and on the Fortuna AFS board. (Buck and I were both stationed at Fortuna, at the same time, and we are friends of some 30 years.)

I am dismayed that Buck's post, which is in support of an extremely good cause, has been rejected. Makes me reconsider my association with USAF RSV, too.


I was hopeful last evening that this brouhaha would be resolved amicably, and in favor of the Valour-IT project. But it looks like my hopes will not materialize. The last word I had from Our Moderators is in the message trail above. Looks like the “roundtable,” if it occurred, didn’t change anything.

Do ya think my last word was too harsh? Just askin’…

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


OK..this is rich. Bud Light…the original moose-piss-in-a-bottle, the Clown Prince of Beers (an allusion to the “King of Beers” that Real Bud proclaims itself to be), that sorry excuse for beer (sorry, Erm. It is what it IS)…has the unmitigated gall to make fun of ND fans?
But. I have to admit it is sorta funny. But not coming from (ptui!) Bud Light.
(h/t: jCircadian…another member of Team Air Force)

Pissing Contest

I find the following exchange hard to believe, Gentle Reader. Just as background, Lori (my Good Friend of 30 years) asked in comments yesterday if I would send my VALOUR-IT post to the USAF Radar Sites Veterans and the Fortuna Air Force Station Vets groups on Yahoo! (I’m a member of both). A great idea, that, so I did as she suggested. Well, the Fortuna AFS group put the post up with no questions asked. The USAFRSV group was an entirely different story. And it isn’t a good story either. Here, for your amusement bemusement and amazement, is the sum total of my correspondence with one of the group's moderators:

From: Buck Pennington 7:57 am
To: Lowell
cc:: Dick
Lori Fye
date: Oct 30, 2007 7:57 AM
subject: Re: USAFRSVets Message Not Posted

You didn't answer my question, Woody. But I get the drift. And I will unsubscribe to the group once I get back from my doctor's appointment this morning.

You'll allow a ten-part thread on "blue dot" tail lights while at the same time you'll delete an appeal for a charity that's supported by HUNDREDS of milbloggers.

I don't want to be associated with you any longer.

Thanks for frickin' nothing. My blog is small, but you can bet your asses that USAFRSV will be highlighted as uncaring non-players who, given an opportunity to support wounded veterans declined...because the thread was "off-topic."

I don't believe this.

On 10/30/07, Lowell wrote:


The primary intent for our message board, is to allow the radar sites veterans the ability to share experiences and knowledge from their past service on the radar sites. We moderate the messages to keep as close to this primary intent as possible.


-----Original Message-----
From: Buck Pennington
Sent: Oct 30, 2007 8:26 AM
To: Lowell
Subject: Re: USAFRSVets Message Not Posted


So. Are you saying my message was "unsuitable?" Because it apparently was rejected.

I cannot believe you would reject an appeal for a charity...especially one dedicated to helping wounded troops. Tell me if this is the case. I really want to know.


On 10/30/07, Lowell wrote:


Our policy for moderation of messages pending for our message board is as follows;

E-MAIL MESSAGE BOARD; To prevent SPAM and off-subject messages our message
board is moderated and we reserve the right to change, reject and/or delete
unsuitable posts, partially or in full.

Thanks, Woody

-----Original Message-----
From: Buck Pennington
Sent: Oct 29, 2007 11:19 PM
To: Woody
Subject: USAFRSVets Message Not Posted

Hello Woody,

Just curious... did you or the other gentleman moderating USAFRSV receive a message from me today (subject: VALOUR-IT), just after noon MDT? I've been waiting for the message to appear on the group all day...and so far it has not.

Attached is a screen cap of my submission notifying me that my message was "awaiting moderation."

If you did receive the message and decided not to post it to the group I'd like to know why. And if you did not receive the message I'd like some insight into what went wrong. I'm not a computer neophyte and the attached screen cap indicates my message went into the moderation queue as it was supposed to.

Thank you for your attention.

Be Well!
Exile in Portales

And the moderator, Gentle Reader, is a veteran. I still find this exchange hard to believe. Suffice to say I’m no longer a member of USAF Radar Sites Veterans. Oh, and Lori? She’s pissed, too.

(Update 10/31/2007. This post has been updated here.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Speaking of The '80s...

I just love this…

“I don’t fool around wit no Oscar Meyer wiener…” If that don’t make you laugh, Gentle Reader, well…there’s no hope for you.

Snarkin' On Teh Music

So…I’m cruisin’ around this morning, checking out the other VALOUR-IT Team Air Force blogs, when I come across a link posted by the The Mad Pigeon, who says (in jest) he’s never gonna post another music video again. Why? Coz it’s futile… impossible…don’t even try… to top “The 10 Most Terrifyingly Inspirational '80s Songs.”

It’s not about the music, Gentle Reader. Oh, no. The music sucketh mightily, in fact. Nope. It’s the snark, the whole snark, and nothing but the snark. Example:

Yes, somehow Kenny Loggins, the man who co-sang "Danny’s Song" plea-bargained a temporary pair of testicles and stepped up to be a man for one brief, shining moment in 1986. He wrote a song tailor-made for shadow boxing in the midst of explosions on a rainy night, while standing on a mountain top and screaming to the heavens.

"Danger Zone" is comprised of entirely guitar riffs and vague references to machines and speed. He did not settle for a lesser concept. He put you on a highway: the fastest, straightest route possible directly to an entire zone that is nothing but danger. There was no "Parkway to the Naughty Territories," or "Off Ramp to Risky Town," or even "Scenic Route Through Fistfight County."


As is the case for all deals bartered with the devil, there was a catch, and poor Loggins' balls were not to last. He quickly returned to pastels and songs about love-conquering stuff. Thus were his few glorious, fleeting moments as a male rendered all but a memory, leaving Loggins to live to this day in silent misery amidst the many fond remembrances of what having a penis felt like.

Well, Hell! Even if you have some sort of “thing” for Kenny Loggins, you have to admit the above is funny…even if you won’t, in your dementia, admit it’s true. “Your Daddy Don’t Rock ‘n’ Roll,” indeed.

DO go.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's WAR! Album-Cover War...

Trés cool.

How many of these albums do you have? I haven’t counted, but I’d guess and I have at least 20 18. Maybe more. And most on vinyl, including an original Sticky Fingers LP, w/zipper.

h/t: Dark Roasted Blend. Dang, I’m glad I found this site!

Updated 10/28/2007 @ 1745 hrs.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Too Kewl

Trust me on this one…you’re gonna love “Dark Roasted Blend.” The post I link is just chock full of creative…read that as “wonderful”…advertising images. And this is “Issue 8.” Prepare to spend some time here, ogling images such as this:

Simply amazing.

Appealing to My Inner Nine-Year Old...

Click here for the most popular videos

Friday, October 26, 2007


I’m not much on art critics or art criticism in general, but my eyes were drawn to this article in today’s NYT: Seurat, Drawing His Way to the Grande Jatte. The reason I was drawn (ahem) to the article is fairly simple: Seurat is my favorite Post-Impressionist. I have spent literally hours (on numerous occasions) seated in front of The Bathers at Asnieres (below), which occupies one entire wall in London’s National Gallery. The painting’s scale… it’s 7x11 feet… is absolutely mind-boggling and I was stunned the first time I saw it.

But, back to the Times article. It’s typical art criticism and as such may not be everyone’s cuppa. But even if you choose not to read the article, don’t miss “George Seurat: The Drawings,” a narrated multi-media slide show of Seurat's works currently on display at NY’s MoMA. That, Gentle Reader, is worth your time.

Every so often…like once in a Blue Moon… I find myself wishing I lived within driving distance of NYC. This is one such occasion.


In the “I Don’t Need THIS!” Dept…All the Tobacco in China; Taking up the habit of rulers and the common man.”

After years of resisting, a friend in Shanghai gave me the perfect excuse to start smoking. China has become so polluted, he told me, that it's better to breathe through a cigarette filter than just take in the air on its own. And if your lungs are going to get shot to hell anyway, you might as well enjoy it. So, well into middle age, I figured that it was probably a good time to take up the smoking habit. The result? I enjoy it so much that I don't know why I didn't take it up earlier.

For the Chinese, smoking carries connotations that might seem outdated, even quaint to Westerners. Real men smoke, period. And when real men hang out together, they smoke a lot. The presence of women is appreciated, of course--if they are quick with a lighter. At a formal meal or banquet, each course may be followed by a cigarette, as if to cleanse the palate, and a few more cigarettes will be smoked at the end, in place of port. As the saying goes, fan hou yi zhi yan, sai guo huo shenxian--a cigarette after a meal and you feel better than a living god.

It was hard for me to take this article seriously in this Politically Correct day and age, and I kept looking for a “gotcha!” or an “April Fool!” Or something. But no, it is as it reads above: a paean to the Evil Weed. Doubtless some pinched-face do-gooder will come out with a “tsk-tsk” editorial response to this charming and informative little piece…it’s just a matter of time.

But back to the subject at hand. Ya know what? I miss it. I really do. But I won’t…can’t…go back. It really was killing me, and that’s not hyperbole.

I wonder if Barack has quit yet?

Today’s Musical Interlude… Two gems from the BEST incarnation of Fleetwood Mac: the Peter Green years

And one from the second-best iteration of Mac…the Bob Welch years. Nice photos here.

You’ll note I didn’t include a cut featuring the abominable Stevie Nicks. If I ever hear that frickin’ Rhiannon song again it’ll be too soon. Thus spake The Ol’ Fart.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Can the NYT write with authority…and more important, credibility…on the subject of Tex-Mex food? That isn’t exactly a rhetorical question, given yesterday’s article titled “A Celebration of Tex-Mex, Without Apology.”

It is hard to pin down experts and restaurateurs as to what happened to Mexican food when it crossed the border. The best explanation is perhaps the most inelegant: it got cheesier, chili-er and meatier.

“Cal-Mex is long on burritos and sour cream,” Mr. Walsh said. “In New Mexico, it’s all about green chilies, and in Arizona they are proud to have invented chimichangas — deep-fried burritos. The embodiment of Tex-Mex is a cheese enchilada with gravy.”

While superior Tex-Mex food may be specific to Texas, it is hardly restricted to one region or city. In 10 years as a Texas resident, I learned that there is no such thing as a best Tex-Mex restaurant in any given city. Instead, there are favorites recommended by locals. This is because the restaurants are family run, and the true Tex-Mex aficionado is usually a good neighbor who supports more than one family.

Just a taste, Gentle Reader…just a taste. In the FWIW Dept., my answer to the question I posed is “yes.” Not a bad article, not bad at all. Your mileage most certainly may vary, but I found the article accurate and informative…beginning with the admission that Tex-Mex fundamentally doesn’t exist in NYC. True, dat. I know…I’ve looked.

And, yeah… we’re ALL about the chilies here in New Mexico… which is as it should be, given New Mexico is home to the world’s finest. But it really doesn’t matter if your favorite variation on the theme originates in Dallas, LA, or Albuquerque. It’s all good. That said: The First Mrs. Pennington makes the world’s best enchiladas, bar none. It’s a pity most of y’all haven’t tasted them.

Just sayin’.

(photo: NYT)

"Red Hair and Black Leather — My Favorite Color Scheme..."

Richard Thompson singing his classic “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” Arguably the best song about motorcycles ever written, featuring one of the best motorcycles ever made. And such delicious finger-picking, eh?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Well, the rounds have been made, the news has been scanned, and the coffee’s almost gone. And the weather, she is beauteous. Just the kind of day for a ride, which I fully intend to embark upon just as soon as I put up this post, which only serves to fill the square marked “daily post,” and just barely, at that. I’ll take the camera along with me when I head out. I just might find something of note…ya never know.

In the mean time, here’s a couple of pics from my back pages. Back when El Casa Móvil De Pennington was new and we had just hit the road. The first pic was taken in my home of record…the Escapees RV Park in Livingston, Texas. What you see is a rear view of El Casa Móvil De Pennington and the ol’ Yama-Hammer’s traveling accommodations. This was obviously before The Green Hornet entered my life…

Livingston was my first stop while engineering my “new” life. I spent a few days there getting my Texas drivers license and registering the of the process necessary to become a Texan. And then it was onward, outward, and upward. While Livingston is OK in terms of weather and scenery, it left more than a little to be desired. First and foremost were the cramped living conditions: I never did like the “cheek-to-jowl” accommodations at some RV parks — it’s just too danged close for comfort, speaking both practically and aesthetically. Second: Livingston is in a dry county. And that, Gentle Reader, was THE fatal flaw. I can’t... won't... live that way.

Livingston did have its attractions, though, not the least of which was beautiful Lake Livingston. Example above.

November, 1999.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Some may call it schmaltz, but I dearly love “Avalon.” As a matter of fact, the Roxy Music album of the same name was the very first CD I ever purchased, waaay back in 1984 or so. Bought, of course, to augment the well-worn vinyl copy of “Avalon” that resides in my LP collection. But I digress. I auditioned several versions of this tune to select one for posting…and chose a live version. The studio version is simply exquisite, and benefits from (probably) hours of fine-tuning the mix on the console. There’s not much to quibble about in the studio version…the background vocals are suitably ethereal, the horn charts are subdued yet simply awesome, and Bryan Ferry’s singing…love it or leave it… is magnificent.
What the Hell. Here’s the studio version as soundtrack to some video whose meaning is completely lost on me. Pun intended.
The Second Mrs. Pennington and I did numerous turns around numerous rooms in numerous locations to “Avalon.” And the effect was nearly always the same…ecstasy. In one form or another.
Oh, yes.


In case you missed it yesterday... the President presents the Medal of Honor to the parents of Michael Murphy, Lieutenant, United States Navy, at the White House.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Memo for Record


A short time ago, I wrote in jest about what I would do if I am elected president. Of course, that was written all in good fun.

Like most of you, over the summer and into the fall, I've been watching, listening, studying and praying about who could lead this country as our next president.

I won't leave you in suspense. Though Giuliani might be savvy enough to lead people, Fred Thompson wise enough to wade through the tides of politics, McCain tough enough to fight terrorism and Romney business-minded enough to grow our economy, I believe the only one who has all of the characteristics to lead America forward into the future is ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Chuck Norris

So…peeples…if you know what’s GOOD for you, you’ll pay attention.

More here.

(Note: This post doesn’t constitute an official EIP endorsement of a specific candidate for the upcoming presidential election. But it’s really, really, really close.)

The Benefits of Dust

Two pics of last night’s sunset. All that airborne dust made for some fiery vistas in the sky. Better watched from indoors, though. It simply wasn’t a nice evening to be out and about.

Now it’s off to make the rounds…

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Another Crappy Lil Video

The “wind” video I posted the other day was just a mild breeze compared to this particular bit of meteorological madness…

And here’s what the WX Channel’s web site had to say about the wind along about the same time I shot this vid. I think we were more like steady “40+ mph” with gusts to 50 mph and beyond. You’ll notice I didn’t venture very far from El Casa Móvil De Pennington, Gentle Reader. The dust was just incredible, even though it doesn’t show up on the video all that well.

I sure could taste it.

Video taken at approximately 1740 hrs, 10/21/2007.

An Old Photo...

Back in the Beserkeley Days (2001)… and…


Now I wouldn't recognize this as me if'n I saw it/me on The Tube. YMMV, Gentle Reader.

You can Simpsonize yourself here. If ya wanna. There are many more than a few customization options. What you see here is a “quick and dirty.” Very quick. And very dirty!

(h/t: Becky)

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I rode out to the base this morning to do a lil light shopping for mission-essential stuff. Not much on the list (coffee, half and half, nicotine gum), so... given the weather was in a cooperative state (light wind, high 60s ~ low 70s), the day and the mission were tailor-made for the bike. A great day for a ride.
I always park the bike in those lined-off zones at the top of the row in any given parking lot…those places where, even though they’re plainly marked “no parking,” there’s a tacit agreement between bikers and law enforcement personnel that, yeah, you can park there. I’ve never been ticketed nor even admonished for parking the bike in those places and neither has anyone else, to my knowledge.
So. I arrive at the BX, wheel up the parking lot row, slide into the lined off space, put the kick stand down, switch off the bike, and begin to disassemble myself. As I’m taking off my helmet I notice there’s an older man walking by with a young girl of about six or seven years of age in tow. The girl has a BIG grin on her face and is staring at Miss Zukiko as she and her dad (?) walk by, hand in hand. The girl turns and continues looking over her shoulder as they pass…and keeps staring over her shoulder all the way to the entrance of the BX/commissary…a distance of about 100 yards. I smile, both inwardly and outwardly. Miss Zukiko is indeed a comely wench!
There was a time, Gentle Reader, when YrHmblScrb and his mount received lots of approving glances from that girl’s sisters…females about 15 to 20 years her senior. And in that time period there was always a reasonable doubt about who…or what…was the intended recipient of said approving glances. In other words: Me? Or the bike? But these days?
It’s always the bike. {Sigh}
More’s the pity.
And now…football!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Today's Pic

Today’s Pic: This morning’s sunrise Ten minutes (or so; maybe 15) before dawn over the Super Eight…crystal clear (self-evident), cold (37 frickin’ degrees!), and best of all…calm. Nary a breeze at all. After 48 hours of being immersed in the maelstrom calm is welcome, indeed. Miss Zukiko is gonna stretch her legs today. Fer shure.
Speaking of wind… I had to laugh while watching the WX Channel last night. One of their reporters was going on about the wind in Chicago yesterday… “gusts of 30 mph!” Granted, there was more than that; some Chicago suburb recorded a gust of 71 mph and that exceeded what we got during the last couple of days here in P-Ville. But only by 15 mph or so. Our winds at one point yesterday were 35 mph steady, with gusts exceeding 50. And that’s what I saw with my very own eyes.
Flag Gazer... Thanks for the tip about the cache. Dunno if it's coincidence or what...but I cleared my cache and Wallah! A Pic, posted.

News You Can Use. Maybe. Sorta.

Here’s something useful (YMMV) and could be a serious time-waster for political junkies: MSNBC’s “Candidates + Issues Matrix.” One has to approach the matrix with something of a jaundiced eye, however. Keep in mind: this is MSNBC we’re talking about here. I’d be more inclined to trust the stated positions (paranoia ‘r’ us!) if the site were hosted by someone like The League of Women Voters. I’ve used their guides in the past and have been impressed with the lack of bias and general straight-forwardness. But, all that said, you can spend a lot of time on this matrix. I’ve bookmarked it.

(h/t: Catmoves @ The QuerkeyTurkey)

If you’re at all interested in the Armenian genocide resolution brouhaha I posted about yesterday then you must read Mr. Krauthammer’s op-ed on the subject in today’s WaPo. He’s basically fleshing out some brief comments he made during the “Panel” segment on Fox News Channel’s Special Report the other night. And does a good job of it, too. Here’s his closing paragraphs…but lest you forget, Gentle Reader…sometimes it’s the journey, and not the destination.

So why has Pelosi been so committed to bringing this resolution to the floor? (At least until a revolt within her party and the prospect of defeat caused her to waver.) Because she is deeply unserious about foreign policy. This little stunt gets added to the ledger: first, her visit to Syria, which did nothing but give legitimacy to Bashar al-Assad, who continues to engage in the systematic murder of pro-Western Lebanese members of parliament; then, her letter to Costa Rica's ambassador, just nine days before a national referendum, aiding and abetting opponents of a very important free-trade agreement with the United States.

Is the Armenian resolution her way of unconsciously sabotaging the U.S. war effort, after she had failed to stop it by more direct means? I leave that question to psychiatry. Instead, I fall back on Krauthammer's razor (with apologies to Occam): In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit.

Sage advice, that. For folks on both sides of the aisle. (and the emphasis is mine.)

Today’s Best on memeorandum… Taking a Whack Against Comcast…Mona Shaw Reached Her Breaking Point, Then for Her Hammer. Excerpt:

Being a responsible newspaper, we must note that this is a misdemeanor, a crime, a completely inappropriate way of handling a business dispute.


Who among us has not longed for a hammer in this age of incompetent "customer service representatives," of nimrods reading from a script at some 800-number location, of crumbs-in-their-beards plumbing installation people who tell you they'll grace you with their presence between 12 and 3, only never to show? And you'll call and call and finally some outsourced representative slings a dart at a calendar and tells you another guy will come back between 10 and 2 next Thursday? And when this guy comes, pants halfway down his behind, he'll tell you he brought the wrong part?

And there is nothing, nothing you can do.

Oh yes there is…and Mona Shaw did it. She’ll pay a price, but who amongst us hasn’t longed to actually DO what Mrs. Shaw went and did? Read the whole thing…

Oh. While we're on about telecom providers and service... Are you listening Yucca Telecom? Hello? Yucca? (This cryptic entry to be explained at a later date…)

Today’s Pic: Is delayed until further notice from Our Friends at Blogger. Why? Beats me. All I can tell you is this:

Unable to upload image

We are aware of this problem and currently working on a fix.

When reporting this error to Blogger Support or on the Blogger Help Group, please:

Describe what you were doing when you got this error.

Provide the following error code and additional information.


Uh…OK. Whatever. Just visualize this morning’s crystal-clear sunrise, Gentle Reader. Until such time as Blogger gets its act together.

And there I go again…complaining about free sh!t. Sheesh. Some people's kids…

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Minor Mystery

I’m still blocked in the PRC, according to The Great Firewall of China. So howcum I got a hit from there yesterday? (You can see one lonely visit from Chinaif you have the patience to wait while the “Are We Global Yet?” widget in the sidebar does its scroll thing.) Is this a case of “some animals are more equal than others?” Or is the Great Firewall site…um…wrong?

Enquiring minds wanna know.

Politics As Usual... Around Here

Yesterday I first read about General Peter Pace leaving his stars at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial on the day he retired from the Marines and his job as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Today Flag Gazer has a post… with photos… documenting General Pace’s gesture. If you haven’t read this story yet, do go over to Flag Gazer’s place and have a read.

It’s much more than a damned shame General Pace didn’t get a second term as Chairman. It’s an outrage. But, Hell. Outrage is so common these days most of us don’t even blink. Sad.

In the Maniacal Laugh (Buh-wah-hah-Ha-HAHA!!) Dept First there was this:

Randi Rhodes is the Victim of a Violent Attack

Randi Rhodes was mugged on Sunday night on 39th Street and Park Ave, nearby her Manhattan apartment, while she was walking her dog Simon.

According to Air America Radio late night host Jon Elliott, Rhodes was beaten up pretty badly, losing several teeth and will probably be off the air for at least the rest of the week. At of late Monday night we have not able to locate any press accounts of the attack and nothing has been posted on the AAR website.


Pointing out that Rhodes was wearing a jogging suit and displayed no purse or jewelry, Elliott speculated that "this does not appear to me to be a standard grab the money and run mugging."

"Is this an attempt by the right wing hate machine to silence one of our own," he asked. "Are we threatening them. Are they afraid that we're winning. Are they trying to silence intimidate us."


Apparently, some right-wing critics of lib talk aren’t happy that conservative talk only accounts for 90% of the programming on talk radio. These whack jobs appear determined to whatever it takes to silence the opposing point of view.

Not surprisingly, the only talk radio host killed for his political views was a liberal. In 1984, two right wing extremists gunned down Denver talk show host Alan Berg. Berg’s tragic murder was memorialized in a chilling movie Talk Radio.

And then there was this:

Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes is temporarily off the air, but cops and her lawyer say reports she was mugged near her Manhattan apartment were bogus.

Fellow host Jon Elliott said on the liberal network that Rhodes was attacked at 39th St. and Park Ave. on Sunday night while walking her dog, Simon.

Elliott, who said Rhodes lost several teeth in the attack, waxed about a possible conspiracy.

"Is this an attempt by the right-wing hate machine to silence one of our own?" he asked on the air, according to the Talking Radio blog. "Are we threatening them?"

A police source said Rhodes never filed a report and never claimed to be the victim of a mugging.

Rhodes' lawyer Robert Gaulin told the Daily News she was injured in a fall while walking her dog, but she wasn't sure exactly what happened.

Followed by this:

Air America released a statement saying that "the reports of a presumed hate crime are unfounded." Elliott followed that up with a retraction.

"I shouldn't have speculated based on hearsay that Randi Rhodes had been mugged and that it may have been an attack from a right wing hate machine. I apologize for jumping to conclusions based on an emotional reaction," he said in a written statement.

Good luck finding Air America’s “statement” on their web site. And Elliot’s retraction cum apology. They’re well-hidden, if they exist at all. I looked and I couldn’t find ‘em. But Hey! No need to publicize an apology. There’s truthiness in what they said about the Rethuglicans, isn’t there? Even if they’re just a lil bit mistaken about the facts in this particular case? All right-thinking people understand this. Next time they’ll have enough facts. Just you wait. But, in the meanwhile, let’s just get on with the Conservative-Bashing.

Excuse me…I feel another maniacal laugh coming on.

In the “Broken Clock Is Right Twice a Day” Dept… From The Hill:

On Wednesday, five House Democrats, including a powerful ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), asked their leadership not to bring the resolution to the floor.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee said 55 to 60 Democrats would vote against the resolution if it came to the floor Wednesday.

“If it came to the floor today, it would not pass,” Murtha said.


But Pelosi is resolved to bringing the measure to a vote, according to Murtha.

“She feels very strongly about this,” he said.

In case you haven’t been following this particular brouhaha, it’s all about a congressional resolution to condemn Turkey for something the frickin’ Ottoman Empire did back in World War One, and it’s been hanging around the congress for, oh, about 25 years or so. The last time the resolution got close to a floor vote, President Clinton personally intervened with then-Speaker Hastert and Hastert wisely blocked a floor vote.

Minutes before the House was to vote on a measure condemning the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey 85 years ago as genocide, J. Dennis Hastert, the speaker, withdrew the resolution tonight, citing President Clinton's warnings that a vote could harm national security and hurt relations with Turkey, a NATO ally.

In a telephone call late Wednesday and in a letter today, Mr. Clinton urged Mr. Hastert to withdraw the measure, saying it could inflame tensions in the Middle East, embolden President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and interfere with American efforts to stabilize the Balkans.

And, according to yesterday’s WaPo, President Bush did exactly the same thing:

"The president called the speaker today and requested that the resolution not be brought to the House floor. The president and the speaker exchanged candid views on the subject, and the speaker explained the strong bipartisan support in the House for the resolution," said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

As of yesterday Pelosi apparently intended to bring the resolution to a vote (although there are signs she’s wavering), despite what the President and influential members of her party think. And regardless of the impact this resolution will have on Turkey, a nation that used to be our staunchest ally in the region. Let me quote an op-ed in Tuesday’s WSJ:

Where is the upside in October 2007 to this Armenian resolution?

The bill is opposed by eight former U.S. Secretaries of State, including Madeleine Albright. After Tom Lantos's House Foreign Affairs Committee voted out the resolution last week, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Washington. Turkey serves as a primary transit hub for U.S. equipment going into both Iraq and Afghanistan. After the Kurdish terrorist group PKK killed 13 Turkish conscripts last week near the border with Iraq, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked the parliament to approve a huge deployment of the army along the border, threatening an incursion into Kurdish-controlled Iraq. This of course is the one manifestly successful region of post-Saddam Iraq. In a situation teetering on a knife-edge, President Bush has been asking Mr. Erdogan to show restraint on the Iraq border.

Somehow, none of this is allowed to penetrate Speaker Pelosi's world. She is offering various explanations for bringing the genocide resolution to the House floor. "This isn't about the Erdogan government," she says. "This is about the Ottoman Empire," last seen more than 85 years ago. "Genocide still exists," insists Ms. Pelosi. "We saw it in Rwanda; we see it now in Darfur."

Yes, but why now, with Turkey crucial to an Iraq policy that now has the prospect of a positive outcome?

Why, indeed. The cynical amongst us think it’s just another roundabout way of ensuring “Bush’s War” ends in defeat, and damn the long-term consequences. Given the facts, as they stand, I’d say there’s merit in that argument. YMMV.

Finally…back to Murtha. You done good on this one, Jack. But one lil attaboy ain’t NEAR enough to erase the TON of aw-shits you’ve accumulated. Keep tryin’.

Update: Good op-ed on this subject in today's Philadelphia Inquirer: The House Genocide Resolution; And the point is . . . ?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


From My Buddy Ed in Florida, via e-mail:

A group of kindergartners were trying very hard to become accustomed to the first grade. The biggest hurdle they faced was that the teacher insisted on NO baby talk! "You need to use Big People words," she was always reminding them.

She asked Chris what he had done over the weekend. "I went to visit my Nana. "No, you went to visit your GRANDMOTHER. Use Big People words!"

She then asked Mitchell what he had done. "I took a ride on a choo choo." She said, "No, you took a ride on a TRAIN. You must remember to use Big People words."

She then asked little Zach what he had done. "I read a book," he replied.

"That's WONDERFUL!" the teacher said. "What book did you read?" Zach thought real hard about it, then puffed out his chest with great pride, and said, "Winnie the SHIT."

A Crappy Lil Video... illustrate the type of day we're having here in Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park.

Sorry about the quality, Gentle Reader. I shot this using the "avi" function in my still camera. The camera takes excellent pictures, but videos? Not so much.
Just after noon today.

And They're He's Off!

Got a call from my Good Buddy Greg Prior yesterday afternoon. He had some interesting news to share, and it’s pretty danged exciting. Seems he’s off to Dubai next Tuesday on a business trip, his first to the Middle East. So, what’s exciting about Dubai, you ask? Just the nature of the biz…that’s all. (One assumes the web site will be updated in the near future for this year’s event.)

History of the DC

The United Arab Emirates, founded in 1971, comprise seven Emirates; Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al Khaima, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain.

The terrain varies from the bare rock mountains of the north and east to the spectacular sand desert that runs south into Saudi Arabia and is the northern edge of the Rub al Khali - the "Empty Quarter".

The event was conceived by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, whose motorsport career goes back to the early '80's. Mohammed who has a record 14 FIA titles to his name, is the driving force behind the event is uniquely qualified in his role having very considerable experience as a competitor and an organiser together with unparalleled knowledge of the desert, local customs and protocol.

The event now spans six days, starting with the Prologue, a spectator "show" stage in Dubai which serves as a qualifying stage ie establishes the running order for the main event in the desert.

The event begins with a ceremonial Start in Abu Dhabi and heads south into the desert for the first of five hard days of stages. The desert base, the "Bivouac", is located at a new site, the Moreeb Hill, the sixty degree slipface of which is used as a hill climb in a unique and rapidly developing niche sport.

Although deep in the desert, communications are maintained for the Media thanks to the generous support and expertise of Inmarsat, whose support of the WRC is well known.

“DC” stands for Desert Challenge…and Greg, a powertrain engineer with GM Racing in Detroit, will be working with an off-road racing team from Opel, GM’s German subsidiary. Greg’s normal “beat” is NASCAR but he’s broadening his horizons, so to speak. The Dubai Desert Challenge is a sort of work-up, or prelude to the Biggie of all off-road racing…the Paris to Dakar Rally. Which Greg will also be attending this year.

I made him promise to take a lot of pictures while he’s in Dubai and to send a few to me, as well. I’ll post ‘em, if and when they arrive. This trip isn’t exactly a vacation for Greg—he’ll be working and may or may not have time to snap a few pics. But I have my fingers crossed.

Some people have rather fascinating jobs, eh? Oh…to be a fly on Greg’s wall!

FYI…I previously wrote about Greg and his involvement with the powerplant of the Cadillac STS-V here. There are links to a short video featuring Greg and a technical article on the STS-V’s supercharged 469 hp motor. If you’re interested, of course. I know there are at least a couple of gearheads that read EIP…and this should be right up your alley!

gee... ell... OH!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ten Seconds of Utter COOLNESS

And to think the Good Commissars of the Greater San Francisco Soviet Socialist Republic almost succeeded in preventing the Blues from appearing at Fleet Week this year.


Remind me to tell you about October of 2000, when I was out on the water in San Francisco Bay in a large party boat cum yacht with about 200 of my closest friends at one of our pre-Dot-Bomb corporate bashes. The Blues were practicing that day and did several low passes over our drunken merry band of IT professionals. It's oh-so-amazing, not to mention amusing, to watch Leftards agape at the wondrous display of military hardware...right in front of their noses, so to speak.

(h/t: Lex)

What He Said

Dontcha just LURVE the way the Brits express themselves? A spade's a spade, and all that, but put in highly articulate terms. I used to know more than a few of these kind of guys...and my "local." Miss 'em, too. No web site available for my real local, which was in Bourne End, just up the road from High Wycombe AS. You'll just have to make do with a generic description. OTOH, I tipped a few pints here...on more than a few occasions, too.

Well, now. That fired off quite a lot of not-so-dormant synapses!

(BIG h/t to FHB.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

So Trivial It Hurts

Dang, but it takes me a long time to make the rounds these days. There just might come a time when ALL I do is read blogs. Nah. Real Life has its appeal, too. But the fact remains that there is simply SO much good stuff out there. Everyone has a story to tell and with the advent of the ‘net and blogs many more than a few people are taking the time to tell those stories. I think they’re fascinating, to say the VERY least.

It was cold when I woke up this morning…something like 43 degrees outside. OK, that’s not really cold, it’s just chilly. Chilly enough for me to drag out the ol’ auxiliary heater from its summer storage place and fire it up. I love that lil electric heater…it puts out just the right amount of warmth (when strategically placed near the ol’ tootsies) and saves on the propane consumption. I’m thinking I just might grit my teeth and have Cortez Gas set me a large propane tank this fall. When it gets really cold… a relative thing, ya know… I fill El Casa Móvil De Pennington’s ridiculously small tank about once a week. The convenience of a large tank is certainly alluring, offset only by the necessity of dropping a couple of Franklins (or more) to actually get the job done. I hear tell propane is gonna go up by about six or seven percent this year. It’s always sumthin’.

Now that the weather is turning chilly the frickin’ flies seem to be swarming, and they’re doing their damnedest to get into the house. Seeking warmth, and all that. There must have been two dozen of the nasty lil buggers hanging out on my screen door last evening when I began to button up. And I exaggerate not a whit, Gentle Reader.

I’ve developed a fun new game to deal with ‘em, though. Involves a can of Raid and said screen door, with me standing on the inside of El Casa Móvil and the flies on the outside of the screen. I think my record, so far, is about ten kills with a single burst. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from killing the nasty things and the Raid drives off the survivors just long enough for me to open the screen, reattach it to the main entry door, and shut the assembled contraption…all without allowing the flies entry into the house. Good fun, it is, but it’s a lot like spitting in the ocean. There are more flies in P-Ville than in any Middle Eastern souk I ever walked into, and that’s sayin’ something, believe me.

What a remarkable illustration of how absolutely mundane my life has become…

Today’s Pic: SN3 in his highchair, circa Fall of 1997, when he was about six or seven months old. This is a scanned photo from back in the days before I got my first digicam. The interesting thing about this pic is the good folks at our local Wegmans (where we got our film processing done) asked for and received our permission to use this photo in their advertising. The photo was still on the wall at their photo kiosk/counter when I left Rochester back in ’99. It may still be there today…who knows?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Interesting Than Most

So, I was perusing Phlegmmy’s back pages and came across this… the only quiz I’ve ever taken with a question where "Richard Brautigan" is a possible answer… and here's the proof:

Who writes the most interesting stuff?
Danielle Steel
Walt Whitman
Stephen King
Richard Brautigan
It's a tie between Nietzche and myself.

If you’ve looked at my profile, Gentle Reader, you know Brautigan is one of my faves. (I’m not alone in this regard, either. Surprised?) Oh, that quiz would be this one:

You Are

Fool In The Rain

You are a very bizarre person, to say the least. You don't think the way most other people do. And you probably don't really care.

You defy convention, and probably really like burritos. And you're very content with your life. You're a ray of sunshine. Piercing, bizarre end-of-the-world sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless. While most people are going to college to be lawyers or accountants or something, you'd be just as happy working at Tippy's Taco Stand in San Dimas, CA.

You probably have a really interesting car. You definitely do not drive a Honda Civic. There's a good chance that you smoke weed. There's a good chance you sell it.

Everybody worth anything likes you a lot.

Take the Which Led Zeppelin Song Are You? Quiz

Well, now. Ahem. NO comment. Just a grin and a giggle manly laugh. Or three.