Sunday, August 31, 2008
I was amazed at the torrent of MSM articles and blog posts on Sarah Palin… and the fact that fully half the space on memeorandum’s page was all about Sarah yesterday. And it hasn’t let up all that much today. One of the better things I’ve read this weekend on the subject of Sarah came from Newt Gingrich, by way of Bill Kristol writing in the Weekly Standard’s blog (“Kristol: Gingrich on the Power of Authenticity”). Here’s an excerpt:
In one sudden moment Friday, John McCain fundamentally changed American politics in a manner that transcends issues and details.
There is something unaffected and "unsophisticated" (in the
She has 13 years in elected office
By any practical standard she has done far more in the real world with much more spontaneity and practicality than Barack Obama. And there is something deeply real and courageous about John McCain ignoring most of his advisers and all of the "insider wisdom" to reach out to a younger woman whose greatest characteristic is undaunted courage and a willingness to clean out the corruption in her own party.
This is a moment of stunning authenticity versus a sad collapse on the part of the Obama campaign from " change you can count on" to politics as usual, as marked by Obama's choice of a senator first elected when Palin was 9 years old.
Jennifer Rubin noted that Gingrich’s e-mails are better than most books. And she’s right. Go read Kristol/Gingrich… if you haven’t already.
It’s amazing… no, not really… how the Left is tying itself in knots trying to discredit Palin while mocking McCain’s choice as the act of a desperate pol whose campaign is going down the tubes. They can only wish. Well, Hell. Let’s review, shall we? It’s admittedly biased, but Redstate has a good post (“Tale of the Tape: Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama”) comparing Palin to The One. Wanna guess who wins and who loses?
In other news… football season has begun! Yays! And there go my Saturdays from now until the end of November. It was just SO good to lay back yesterday and watch football ALL day. Even the weather cooperated, seeing as how it was better indoors than out. Which helps to mitigate the guilt, ya know. As if there were any…
About yesterday’s games: pretty predictable, except for Big Blue (and ‘Bama, too). As for the Maize and Blue… I’m thinking they should skip the first game of the season and just go directly to the second game on the schedule. Last year it was Appalachian State, this year it was Utah. Not a good beginning for new head coach Rich Rodriguez. But Hey! Everything will be cool if he beats
As for me… I’m waiting for next week to see how the The Domers fare on their first outing. This year doesn’t look to be as intense as it usually is… what with only two pre-season Top 25 teams on the schedule. But they should do better than last year. (He said, whistling and looking skyward…)
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The Not-Really-That-Epic Poem of Obamacles
(with Apologies to Homer)
Book the First: A question for the Muse
Speak to me, O Muse, of this resourceful man
who strides so boldly upon the golden shrine at Invescos,
Between Ionic plywood columns, to the kleig light altar.
Fair Obamacles, favored of the gods, ascends to Olympus
Amidst lusty tributes and the strumming lyres of Media;
Their mounted skyboxes echo with the singing of his name
While Olbermos and Mattheus in their greasy togas wrassle
For first honor of basking in their hero's reflected glory.
Who is this man, so bronzed in countenance,
So skilled of TelePropter, clean and articulate
whose ears like a stately urn's protrude?
So now, daughter of Zeus, tell us his story.
And just the Cliff Notes if you don't mind,
We don't have all day.
Said the Muse:
I will tell the story of Obamacles through my scribe Iowahawk.
But this shit is copyrighted, so reproduce at your peril.
Fair Use, David... Fair Use.
About which: This is the best comment I've seen or heard on this subject (the Palin pick) today. This comment from Mark Steyn comes in second:
First, Governor Palin is not merely, as Jay describes her, "all-American", but hyper-American. What other country in the developed world produces beauty queens who hunt caribou and serve up a terrific moose stew? As an immigrant, I'm not saying I came to the United States purely to meet chicks like that, but it was certainly high on my list of priorities. And for the gun-totin' Miss Wasilla then to go on to become Governor while having five kids makes it an even more uniquely American story. Next to her resume, a guy who's done nothing but serve in the phony-baloney job of "community organizer" and write multiple autobiographies looks like just another creepily self-absorbed lifelong member of the full-time political class that infests every advanced democracy.But I digress. Back to the video: I especially like the way Guv'nor Huckabee beats Alan Colmes with a stick (metaphorically speaking) on MORE than one occasion. Dang. The Other Man From Hope sure has a way with words...
(h/t: Flopping Aces)
Friday, August 29, 2008
Class… and that’s all that need be said about this:
Don’t expect anything similar from the Obama camp, however. You’ll be disappointed.
I filed a trouble ticket with Site Meter last evening… because of this:
Your request has been received and a member of our support staff will review it and reply as soon as possible. Listed below are details of this request. Please make sure the Ticket ID remains in the subject at all times.
Ticket ID: ILW-766843
Category: Technical Issue
Please let us know if we can assist you any further,
Site Meter Support
Followed, in short order, by this:
Thank you for writing. We’re currently experiencing technical difficulty at this time and aware of the problem. We are working diligently to get this issue resolved as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can view your statistics by going to wwwdev.sitemeter.com. We anticipate a fix within several hours. Please know that none of your statistics have been lost. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have any other questions, please let us know.
Ticket ID: ILW-766843
Category: Technical Issue
Now this, Gentle Reader, is customer service. Elapsed time? Six minutes. And the response? Excellent, complete with an explanation, accompanied by a work-around. I really like these guys.
About the image you see directly above… I was perusing the archives for a bit last evening and came across a post I put up last July that directed you to the “Nikon International Small World Competition,” which is an annual micro-photography contest sponsored (strangely enough) by Nikon. And I got to wondering if they’d updated their site this year. The answer is “yes.” And, as usual, there are some amazing images on display in the galleries, which go all the way back to 1977. This site could be a serious time waster if you’re into photography, only your time wouldn’t really be wasted at all. You could consider the time spent here as inspiration. Or education. Or simply an excuse to revel in the beauty of a world most of us never see. Good stuff, this.
And… just for grins ‘n’ giggles, below is a screen-shot of the 1977 winners. That’s over 30 years ago, and the state of the art is pretty danged impressive… in my eyes, at least. I’m thinking you’ll agree.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Search Words: cumulative hearing and woman buttered syndrome provocation
OK, this may not be the strangest hit I’ve ever gotten but it’s damned close. This query beats all of the other strangeness that causes people to show up here, based on the sheer cryptic nature of the search words, alone. Therefore, it’s entirely natural and appropriate to wonder “What was this guy thinking?” and really mean it! Throw in this person’s rather exotic location and you get profound weirdness, from my point of view. Notice there’s no quotes, so one could come calling based upon a hit on one or more of the search words, in any combination. This is what the guy clicked through on… ten pages into his search:
Just to be visible in the back seat of a car with a woman offers provocation enough in many neighborhoods--Karima made the throat-cutting gesture as ...
exileinportales.blogspot.com/2007_06_01_archive.html - 343k –(सँग्रहित प्रतिलिपिहरू - यस्तै पृष्ठहरु
Thank God it wasn’t anything about buttered women. (Click the screen shot for larger, if you wish.)
Milestone: 45 years ago today I reported in at the Los Angeles induction center (there’s an official term for the place, like “Military Recruit Processing Center” or some such, but I can’t remember what it is) at the ungodly hour of 0530 for about five hours of poking, prodding, probing, and blood-letting… followed by the filling out of many forms, punctuated with long periods of inactivity (and thus: boredom), culminating in mid-afternoon when me and about 150 other guys were sworn in to the armed forces of these United States. Following the swearing-in ceremony the Army, Navy, and Marine recruits were immediately loaded on to buses and set off for their basic training bases, all in
My parents met me at the airport and we said our good-byes. Mom was pretty composed but she did shed a few tears. My father, ever the cynic, pulled me aside shortly before I boarded the plane and said, in all seriousness…
“I only have one piece of advice for you: Stay away from airplanes.”
Don’t forget, Gentle Reader, my father was a retired USAF Lt. Col, with more than a few missions over Deutschland during The Unpleasantness of 1939 - 1945. And, not to go on in any great detail, this bon mot was probably one of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me. In a nut shell: there’s no such thing as a comfortable or hospitable flight line. Every single one of them is either too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, or otherwise inhospitable to human life, in general. Let alone someone whose primary job is to crawl in, on, or around very large, bright shiny aluminum tubes, aka aircraft. Or stand around guarding them. Or arming and fueling them. But, Hey! Some people like that sort of thing. I don’t think I would have. As luck would have it I never did go near airplanes, professionally speaking, during my entire career. I digress.
Anyhoo. We arrived in
Wow. Welcome to Lackland!
We (about 100 of us, by this point) spent the next two hours in-processing. We were then assigned to Basic Military Training (BMT) flights, handed over to our TIs, and marched (such as we could) off to our barracks, where we bedded down just before 0300. I had been up for nearly 24 hours and was beginning to question the wisdom of joining the Air Force.
I really questioned my decision when we were gently awakened two and a half hours later at 0530 by loudspeakers right outside our windows blaring Reveille and our TIs (two of ‘em) stomping down the middle of the open bay barracks, shouting - no, screaming... and that was ALL they did, seemingly - obscenities at anyone and everyone, for no good or apparent reason, other than to make noise. We were rousted, showered, shaved, dressed, formed into yet another ragged formation (all in about ten to 15 minutes... the pace was “dead run") and marched off to the mess hall, about four blocks away. And so began my first full day in the US Air Force. Breakfast was the best part of that day... let me tell ya.
And so began my career, too, 22 years of it. But Hey! It was fun. Really. All's well that ends well.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
It sure did for me. Ah, Youth! Where DID ya go, and why did ya leave SO soon?
PS: It's only a 1:41 vid, so it's watchable for nearly everyone... no matter at what speed you access the 'net.
No link, no cite... just what you see. Dunno if it's real or if it's Lex's own brand of Memorex, but it sure as Hell is FUNNY! Unless you happen to be from somewhere down there in 'Bama, at which point you might take offense. In which case: Suck it up.
MONTGOMERY - Alabama Governor Bob Riley urged his citizens to remain calm on Tuesday, one day after Wal-Mart stores across the state reported a run on ammunition stocks. Pistol and rifle cartridges were out of stock in stores everywhere, although birdshot could still be had in Auburn, Birmingham and here in the capital.
Interviewed in the street, one grim faced citizen told this reporter that while the Russians may have steamrollered through Georgia, “They sure as hell ain’t doing it to Alabama.”
Update... later that same day (as it's said), from Lex's comments:
Well... there ya have it. Miss Birdlegs gets the credit for concept; Lex gets multiples for director, producer, and star. And Capt. Lex is being most kind with his phrasing, ain't he?
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Sad… In yesterday’s The Times (
Lady Thatcher, 82, was advised to stop public speaking on health grounds shortly before her husband’s death. Although it is known widely that she has suffered a number of strokes, her dementia has been far less publicised. The first signs were apparent when she was 75, according to her daughter, who tells of her becoming confused about the Bosnian and
Nowhere is the word “Alzheimer’s” mentioned, but there’s precious little difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia. And, for those of us “of a certain age,” it may be the biggest fear we have about growing old. One can compensate for physical infirmity, but there’s nothing one can do when the mind begins to go. While it’s particularly sad when a high-visibility and much admired person such as Dame Thatcher is afflicted, there are literally thousands upon thousands… if not millions… of everyday folks who are similarly suffering. These people may be living, but they have no lives.
I find this rather interesting, given as how I receive a monthly love-letter (complete with a pittance of a remittance) from those wonderful folks at Ed’s Famous Data Company:
Hewlett-Packard said Tuesday that it has completed its US$13.9 billion purchase of massive systems integrator Electronic Data Systems, and it also revealed that EDS' top-level management structure would remain largely unchanged.
HP had already made it clear that EDS president and CEO Ron Rittenmeyer, would continue in a leadership role. On Tuesday, it confirmed that Rittenmeyer's direct reports would include key executives from EDS continuing in their roles as vice presidents overseeing various regions of the world as well as functions such as global sales, transformation, outsourcing and marketing.
I completely missed the fact that HP was acquiring EDS… the announcement was made this past May and I only found out about it last month. EDS is a great company and I truly enjoyed the 16 years I spent working for them. It makes me a little sad to see they’re no longer independent, but then again, General Motors acquired EDS shortly after I joined the company and held it for a number of years before spinning it off and allowing the company to be independent, yet again.
My bottom line: I really don’t care who owns the company… just keep those checks coming in, please.
Here’s a great idea, at a great price… from the NYT, “Your Photos, Off the Shelf at Last.”
So if you, like millions before you, have a collection of prints somewhere, it’s probably crossed your mind that they really ought to be scanned — converted into digital files, both for protection and for ease of displaying. In that case, you, like millions before you, have probably even decided when you’ll do all that scanning: someday.
Because let’s face it: scanning hundreds or thousands of photos yourself, one at a time, on a home scanner, is a time drain the size of the
You could send them away to a company that does the scanning, but that’s incredibly expensive; most charge 50 cents or even $1 a photo.
You’d be forgiven, then, for raising an eyebrow at the offer made by a
So what’s the catch?
Actually, no catch, but lots of fine print.
Lots of detail, including the reporter’s experience with the service (he was pleased), at the link. I think I’ll stick to the do-it-yourself scanning. Once I get around to it, of course. Mr. Pogue’s point about the level of effort required to scan photos is very well-taken. And I’m lazy.
So… SN1 and I were discussing ‘puters today, and we both agreed that a Mac just might be in our future(s). There are more than a few reasons to switch from a PC to a Mac, not the least of which is the Mac’s relative invulnerability to viruses (virii?), ease of operation, yadda, yadda, yadda. After a bit of discussion, we decided to google the downside of Macs... coz there’s got to be something wrong with ‘em, right? And in so doing… we found this:
Well, OK, then. I might just stick with the PC. I mean, Hell… I do have 20+ years of experience with the Wintel conspiracy and no one has ever questioned my sexual preferences based on the computer I use… (Tongue planted firmly in cheek, as I type.)
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I didn’t get to pace all that much, though, because I had hardly arrived in the day room when the phone rang and I received the anticipated message. The First Mrs. Pennington was in labor for all of about 30 minutes before Ivan Anthony Pennington arrived in this world… which is pretty danged good for one’s first-born. And... just in case you're wondering why I was in the day room and not the delivery room, Buck was born back in the day when fathers were barred from the
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since August of 1966. I’ll repeat what I said last year on this occasion: “As the citations accompanying military awards and decorations always say: ‘By his significant accomplishments and superior performance, Captain Pennington has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.’ His wife, children, and parents, too.”
Happy Birthday, Buck!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
For generations, my family has sent sons off to war. The first, Jacob Zumwalt, lies in
Growing up, my brother and I were never told that we had an obligation to serve. It was by osmosis, through witnessing our father's sense of duty to country, that we felt compelled to do so.
Similarly, I never told my son, James, that he bore such an obligation. But I felt great pride when he, too, chose to serve.
Military service must be in our DNA. Even so, it is very difficult for a father to watch a son go off to war.
The first few paragraphs… especially those I’ve quoted above… resonate with me, a LOT. And why would that be? Well… SN1 and his unit are deploying to The Sandbox on September 2nd. It’s not like this is his first time, or anything, and the situation in-country is a whole helluva lot better than it’s ever been. Still and even: I’m a father, and Buck is my son. Worry is part of the territory. I've known about this upcoming deployment for some time now, but what I didn't know... and neither did Buck, until yesterday... was the exact date the unit was gonna saddle up and head out. We know now... and now is when the worry begins.
But, that said, Lt. Col. Zumwalt’s closing paragraph says it all, and says it well:
I shared one other thought with James. Having lost a grandfather, father and brother, I had come to believe all my heroes were gone. But I was wrong about this, too. In bidding my son farewell as he goes off to war, I realized I have been blessed with yet another hero.
What he said.Today's Pic: Predictable, this. I have a LOT of pics of Buck...but I really like this one. Not so much for who's in the photo with Buck, it's ALL about the occasion and circumstance. The Dining-Out (and Dining-In) is a fine military tradition... and this pic just seems appropriate. YMMV, especially if your name is Erma. In which case, there's this pic:
Buck and Erm... at Buck's AMMOS graduation. This year, at Nellis AFB, NV.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Via Lex… something that will interest most everyone, unless I miss my guess. Excerpt:
I am often asked if the Olympic village - the vast restaurant and housing conglomeration that hosts the world's top athletes for the duration of the Games - is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is. I played my first Games in
Ah yes, the swimmers. For some reason the International Olympic Committee insists on bunching the swimming events towards the beginning of the Games with the inevitable consequence that the aquatics folk get going earlier - sexually I mean - than everyone else. So much so that, at the outset of the Sydney Olympics, Jonathan Edwards, a Christian and triple jumper extraordinaire, caused a ripple by telling them publicly to keep a lid on it. Edwards was simply concerned about getting woken up by creaking floorboards, but given his biblical credentials, it became a story about morality. Not that his intervention made a blind bit of difference.
So… does Michael Phelps’ mom know about this? Where is she staying? But leave us not digress. You’re just waiting for the link, ain’t ya? In The Times (
And now you know the inspiration for today's post title. This isn't one of Knopfler's better-known pieces, but I love the moodiness and semi-flamenco qualities of the guitar work (in places). Knopfler is simply one of the best...