Sunday, October 31, 2010


... on the subject of The Proust Questionnaire (immediately below) and, more specifically, Mr. Hitchen's answers to same (which you can read here, if'n you have a mind to do so, Gentle Reader).  Mr. Hitchens goes on to expound upon his answers, leading off with this:
Though this is only a party game (which is the form in which Proust was twice persuaded to play it), it can be revealing. Reviewing my own answers, I, at any rate, can see where I give away more of myself than might be obvious. Take the answer to the question about the “principal defect.” I used also to play the game of “If you were an animal, what animal would you be?” When others chose for me, I was quite frequently a fox. Lately, however, there have been quite a few nominations of “badger.” This is not merely a question of my becoming stouter and more grizzled. It is the “down” side of what I consider one of my happier skills, as well. In other words, I would often rather have an argument or a quarrel than be bored, and because I hate to lose an argument, I am often willing to protract one for its own sake rather than concede even a small point.
Plainly, this unwillingness to give ground even on unimportant disagreements is the symptom of some deepseated insecurity, as was my one-time fondness for making teasing remarks (which I amended when I read Anthony Powell’s matter-of-fact observation that teasing is an unfailing sign of misery within) and as is my very pronounced impatience. The struggle, therefore, is to try and cultivate the virtuous side of these shortcomings: to be a genial host while only slightly whiffled, for example, or to be witty at the expense of one’s own weaknesses instead of those of other people.
About the last bits... I know people exactly like those about whom Mr. Hitchens speaks... those benighted souls to whom being right takes precedence... always... over being correct, in both the factual and metaphysical senses.  And like Mr. Hitchens I often find myself on the wrong side of that fence.  And further, once one becomes aware of this weakness one tends to try and overcome it.  If one has a proper sense of place and is reasonably secure in one's own skin, of course.

And then there's this:
If you were offered the chance to live your own life again, would you seize the opportunity? The only real philosophical answer is automatically self-contradictory: “Only if I did not know that I was doing so.” To go through the entire experience once more would be banal and Sisyphean—even if it did build muscle—whereas to wish to be young again and to have the benefit of one’s learned and acquired existence is not at all to wish for a repeat performance, or a Groundhog Day. And the mind ought to, but cannot, set some limits to wish-thinking. All right, same me but with more money, an even sturdier penis, slightly different parents, a briefer latency period… the thing is absurd.
I never thought of it in quite that way but now that the thought has been uttered... well, yes.  It IS ludicrous to think that we could even begin to "do it all over again" if one presupposes a certain knowledge and appreciation for how things worked out in the past.  I'm not given to over-thinking things... which might COULD be a significant shortcoming of mine...  but I certainly would buy into the "more money, even sturdier penis" aspects of living life over.  The rest of it is absurd in the extreme.

Apropos of this... if you're into this sorta thing, i.e., The Proust Questionnaire... Vanity Fair's archives contain 18 web pages of people responding to the questionnaire; it's a regular feature.  You'll find Mr. Hitchens' response therein, as well as those from people as varied as Helen Gurley Brown, Eric Clapton, Bill Maher (who proves to be as shallow and worthless as one would reasonably expect), and Walter Cronkite.  I've spent hours there, Gentle Reader.  Which prolly sez something about me that may not be to my liking.


So.  We're nearly at end of Hitch 22 and we've already bought our next read, visible at right.

One might be tempted to deploy the UCR cliché about my next book... i.e., "from the sublime to the ridiculous"... but I most certainly will not, nor do I think that would be fitting.  Mr. Richards is every bit as much a philosopher and raconteur as Mr. Hitchens... he just works in a different medium.  I have spent many more hours with Keef's magnificent riffs and truisms than I have with Mr. Hitchens', if measured solely by the weight of time passing.  And I wanna know... or at least gain some insight... as to how one manages to live the sort of life Keith led for 67 years and still remain upright and sentient.  

Speaking of Keith... I thought it right and fitting he should be the subject of Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack:

Ya didn't know he could sing, didja?


Speaking of Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack... we seem to have cornered the Google market on that particular term.  From a recent visitor's google search that we chased up, just for fun:

Heh.  "We're Number One!"  And two, and three...  I might have to buy that album that's Number Four, tho.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Proust Questionnaire

Christopher Hitchens brings up the subject of The Proust Questionnaire towards the end of Hitch 22, and divulges his answers to same.  I found his answers most interesting, as he no doubt intended.  I shall not reveal those answers for a couple of reasons:  First and foremost... the questionnaire is lengthy and secondly... well, read the book.  I've already quoted extensively... mayhap too extensively... from this book.  I don't want to add to that abuse, sorely tempted as I might be, in service of the further bending and twisting of the Fair Use Doctrine.  Which I might still do, in future.  But for now...

Googling The Proust Questionnaire brings up MANY results, almost all of which are fascinating.  I decided to post the questions (as I found them... you might wanna hit that Wiki link, above) and my responses, which are MUCH more pedestrian than those I found in my googling.  So here goes... my responses are in italics directly underneath the questions.
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being satisfied with what you have and not being consumed with envy over that which others have.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Alzheimer's Disease, or otherwise losing my mind.  Closely coupled: being totally dependent on others for my basic needs.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Sloth, of the mental variety.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Dishonesty.  Hubris is a VERY close second and probably irritates me more than anything else, given I tolerate hubris... to a certain extent...
but do NOT tolerate dishonesty. (I added the last bits after thinking on this for a while.)
5. Which living person do you most admire?

Wow.  This one's tough.  My two adult sons, if one wants to cut close to the bone.  Maggie Thatcher, if one considers historical personages.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Cigars and pricey booze.  We are simple people.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Generally satisfied; somewhat wistful.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Virginity, both literal and intellectual.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

I'm cribbing this from my source of this questionnaire: "When the truth would be too mean, or when the other person’s reaction would be detrimental to me. You know, same as most people."

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My frame.  I'm entirely too skinny.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

Another toughie.  Castro?  Ahmadinejad?  Benoit?  There are many...

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?


13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Titties.  Just KIDDING!  If I HAD to name one: honesty tempered with tenderness.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

The f-bomb, verbally.  In writing?  The elipsis.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I will be completely honest:  The Second Mrs. Pennington.

16. When and where were you happiest?

From 1975 - 1997.  In various countries on three continents.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?

Musical talent, specifically the guitar.  But any instrument would do.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd like to be able to forgive and forget.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

This might be trite, but my military service.  Or mebbe cultivating a damned fine marriage for at least 18 years.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I'd want to be The Second Mrs. Pennington's dog.  You have NO ideer how well that being lives, Gentle Reader.

21. Where would you most like to live?

How long do you have?  London.  The Oregon coast.  Pattaya.  There are many more.
22. What is your most treasured possession?

The Green Hornet.  I suppose.  At the moment.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


24. What is your favorite occupation?

Of the ones I've had: the Air Force, specifically being a programs management guy.
25. What is your most marked characteristic?

My eyes.  Which is completely subjective, of course.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

Loyalty and honesty.  And a wicked sense of humor.

27. Who are your favorite writers?

Many and varied, depending on mood.  And who I read last.  Tom Robbins, if you must.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?


29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Charlemagne, if sheer admiration and impact on Western Civilization are the objectives. 
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
The First and Second Mrs. Penningtons, coz each saved my life in their own particular way.  I'm forever freakin' grateful for that.  Steve Yzerman, on a completely different and admittedly superficial level.

Feel like playing?  Be my guest.  Please!

Best Halloween Costume Ever

The helmet is an old bike helmet that didn't really fit him anymore, so I ripped out all the padding inside and glued on a piece of plastic I cut out from an old bucket to make the front visor part. The circles on the sides were orange-juice-container lids. The chest piece is made out of an empty laundry-detergent bottle and the back is made from milk jugs. The arms and legs are cobbled together out of 64-oz Trader Joe juice containers. I made the boots by gluing a bunch of plastic crap to his old rain boots. Then I painted everything metallic gray. (from the link above)

LOTS more pictures and full story at the link.  And like the original Robocop, the kid is in Dee-troit.  Too cool.

h/t: The Awl.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Production and the Lack of Same

I glanced at my sidebar this morning and saw we're on a pace to exceed last year's production in the blogging department.  Last year we put up a record 698 posts about little or nothing... which makes one wonder how any one person could say so much about so little, so much so that I'm reminded of one of my favorite sayin's... "My, but I DO go on!"  We still have 63 days left this year and we've already put up 649 items of little or no interest, not including this piece o' drivel.

I'm thinkin' I need a life.  My surroundings are tellin' me that too, as El Casa Móvil De Pennington is in desperate need of a field day.  There used to be a time when I prided myself on my ability to keep clutter at bay, when "a place for everything and everything in its place" was more than just a tired ol' cliché.  These days I'm up to my ass in empty Amazon shipping boxes, old cigar boxes, stacks of magazines, and various and sundry other detritus, flotsam, and jetsam.

I'll reiterate what I've mentioned quite often in the past:  we are in need of some serious nagging.  The big stuff always gets done; it's the little shit that's killing me.  

Yeah, I know:  bitch, bitch, bitch.  Beer me!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

From long ago and far away... when Sir Elton was relevant:

Apropos of nuthin'... isn't it amazing how the words to certain tunes become so deeply and indelibly etched in our brains?  I found myself singin' along to this tune right out loud as the song rolled out of the speakers of My Very Expensive Radio.  And I didn't miss a single word, beat, or inflection, either.  Perhaps it's repetition or mebbe it's something else, like the singin' of the piece to a significant other countless times.  

But whatever it might be, this song stands the test of time... unlike SO many of His Lordship's other compositions.  I'd be thinkin' of "Candle in the Wind" and "Crocodile Rock," among many others... the likes of which might make me physically ill if I hear them but ONE more time.  YMMV, of course.


I hesitated for quite a while before creating this post, mainly coz I'm just sick to death of political sniping.  But it's election season, so what does one rightfully expect?  There WILL be lotsa "yer stoopid!" and "Yeah? Well, yer eeeevil!" and all that other horseshit we're so fond of throwing around this time o' year.  And we're not casting aspersions towards any of our favorite blogging friends.  Well, mebbe we are.  You KNOW who you might be when trying on that shoe.  And you're NOT of the female persuasion.

But we digress.  What the sergeant REALLY wants to do is link another piece o' brilliance from James Taranto in today's WSJ.  An excerpt:
When Sarah Palin called Obama a "professor," some professors accused her of racism. What she really meant, they claimed, was "uppity." Kloppenberg's similar characterization, however, draws a quite different response:
Those who heard Mr. Kloppenberg present his argument at a conference on intellectual history at the City University of New York's Graduate Center responded with prolonged applause. "The way he traced Obama's intellectual influences was fascinating for us, given that Obama's academic background seems so similar to ours," said Andrew Hartman, a historian at Illinois State University who helped organize the conference.
One assumes that Andrew Hartman is a serious scholar, although one doesn't know for sure because one has never heard of him. Barack Obama, by contrast, is a scholarly dilettante, a professional politician who has moonlighted as a university instructor.
Yet Hartman's remark about Obama's "academic background" is revealing. Professors imagine Obama is one of them because he shares their attitudes: their politically correct opinions, their condescending view of ordinary Americans, their belief in their own authority as an intellectual elite. He is the ideal product of the homogeneous world of contemporary academia. In his importance, they see a reflection of their self-importance.
Mr. Taranto's brief bit is less a criticism of our president (although he does get his licks in, as always) and more a well-deserved thumping for academic twits who have a tendency to confuse their asses with their elbows.  I'm always up for that kinda stuff.

The Singing Anesthesiologists

The Singing WHO?  Yep...  Anesthesiologists... in scrubs, no less.  An Occasional Correspondent sends along a link to these guys... who are pretty danged clever with their lyrics:

Their other stuff is pretty funny, too.

I Broke the Seal...

... on the furnace tonight. Coz Baby, it's cold outside.

It's 35 degrees out as I type and we're supposed to have our first hard freeze this evening, as noted above.  That's a great good thing coz it means Death To Flies! ... the bane of my Happy Hour existence. 

And yeah... we're up at weird hours yet again.  I went to bed at a decent hour earlier tonight but slept fitfully, if at all.  So about a half hour ago I gave up, got up, and am debating whether to fire up the coffee pot and make this official or hold out hope that I'll be able to get back to sleep sometime in the next hour or so.  The coffee will prolly win.

In the meantime, here's the unlikely duo of Willie and Norah doin' an appropriate tune.

Dang but I loves me some Norah...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More From...

... the latest read.  Mr. Hitchens is known as a master wordsmith and rightly so; anyone who reads him regularly knows that.  His memoir is just chock full of bon mots and page after page of just the right word put in the right place at the right time.  Those that read him regularly also know he's not above schoolboy humor from time to time.  Case in point:
I have already offered the excuse that the puerility of these was at least a muscle-building dress rehearsal for a higher form. You may think it absurd or pathetic, for example, to see what happens when you subtract the word “heart” from any well-known title or saying and then substitute the word “dick.” Some of the results are in fact mildly funny (“I Left My Dick in San Francisco,” “Bury My Dick at Wounded Knee,” “Dick of Darkness,” “The Dick of the Matter,” and so forth), and others can recur to one at absurd moments (“Dickbreak Hotel,” “The Sacred Dick,” “The Dick and Stomach of a King,” “The Jack of Dicks,” “An Affair of the Dick,” “The Dick Has Its Reasons,” “The Dick Is a Lonely Hunter”) where they even threaten to be apposite.
You can—I warn you—spend years working on a coal-face like this before hitting an unlooked-for seam. How were we to know that Woody Allen, when questioned about his decision to run off with his adopted teenage daughter, would so tonelessly say: “The heart wants what it wants”?


As a noun, and perhaps marginally more ambitiously, the word (love) was to be dropped and replaced with “hysterical sex” thus: “The Allegory of Hysterical Sex,” “Hysterical Sex Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “What Is This Thing Called Hysterical Sex?” “Hysterical Sex in a Cold Climate,” “Hysterical Sex, Actually,” “Free Hysterical Sex,” “Hysterical Sex Story,” “Hysterical Sex Potion Number Nine” (which has only just occurred to me), and “A Fool for Hysterical Sex” as well as “Ain’t No Cure for Hysterical Sex.” In spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…
I've spared you the instances where Hitchens and his literary round-table... gathered for drinks and a meal at some watering hole... substituted the Anglo-Saxon euphemism for sexual congress for the word "love" in book and song, but those substitutions are no less hilarious than the examples cited above.  And there are many such.  This is definitely NOT a case of "you hadda be there," even tho I wish I could have been.

I read all of the above while out on the verandah during today's Happy Hour, just concluded (or rather: moved indoors, as a seasonal chill is in the air).  My neighbors musta thought I'd lost it, given the literal "laugh out loud" moments those passages induced.  Ah, well.  The reality is no one noticed, I'm sure.

No Cause Is Truly Lost

It's that time o' year.  The time when we ring up Mr. Panza and beseech him to help us in our annual tilt against the windmills of commercialism.  Well, it's more like me being ol' Sancho to Jim's Don Q.  But... lost or not... I'm all FOR what Jim is selling. Here's what I said last year and the year before: 

Blog-Bud Jim, aka Suldog, has launched his second annual “Thanksgiving Comes First!” campaign… and has asked those of us who agree with him… and who are the proprietors of blogs… to join the campaign. Well, I can’t think of anyone who actually approves of seeing Christmas sales, Christmas advertising, Christmas-this, or Christmas-that, before Thanksgiving has come and gone. NO ONE… period, end of report, full-stop (ed:  It has since come to my attention that I'm wrong here.  There IS one person I'm aware of, and only ONE.). I’m quite sure even the employees and management of those businesses who launch Christmas before Thanksgiving is even here have a distaste for the project at hand. I mean… how could you NOT?

So. I’m on board with this. I hope you are, too. Jim has great narrative reasons and not a few rants on the subject at the link above and here, as well. Do go read.
The links in the quoted bits above are older.  Jim has updated his original post and added thoughts at my link in the first graf.  Won't you help us?

(Secret note to Blog-Bud S-Andy:  I know.  You don't have to tell me again.  But feel free to use this as blog-fodder for a contrarian rant of your own.  Be advised I may throw one of your wasp grenades back atcha , tho.)

Found In the Mailbox and Elsewhere

An Occasional Reader sends this along, apropos of atheists and yesterday's thread:

And then there's this, stolen from Louisiana Andy, who stole it from The Man With The Best Header In All Blogdom:

Want.  My Dubya sticker from 2004 is beginning to fade terribly.

We might be back later, much to your dismay.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Head Hurts...

... after wading through all the comments in the post linked below.  The ever-so-slight pain is prolly due to infrequent cogitation or perhaps too much of same at a single sitting.  Nonetheless, there's a cure for that:

That would be a 1554 ("beer requiring cutlery to consume," as Blog-Bud Daph sez) and a San Lotano box-pressed maduro.  The latter is new to me as of a couple o' days ago and I love it.  The stick is a medium-to-strong, flavorful, and immensely satisfying smoke.  

And now it's outside for the first time in a couple of days for an outdoor Happy Hour.  In full sun, no awning wanted nor required.


There's this, for those of you with a philosophical and/or moral theory bent:
I’m looking for a discussion here, not a fight. I don’t want to challenge anyone’s belief system, and I hope that we can keep the discussion civil, without any aspersions cast or offense taken. It is possible to argue in light of human advancement over the last two hundred years that ancient belief systems are necessary but not sufficient to a shared understanding of what it means to be a moral person, no argument there.
But I really do want to know: Given my assumption that secularists find Jennifer Petkov’s actions morally repellent, upon what foundation do they pretend to judge her? They have their community, she has hers. Granted it was a mean and awful thing to do: So?
That would be Lex speaking.  I've just begun to wade through the 121 comments in this discussion and I expect to be there for quite a while.  There will be civility and there will be light.  Those are the BEST things about my favorite (former) Naval Radiator's house.  Well, there's great plane pr0n, too.  Can't forget that.


Not to jinx anyone or anything at this very early stage... but this is encouraging:

Note that four of the top ten in ESPN's power rankings are in the Central Division, which is shaping up to be the usual, customary, and reasonable dogfight.  Only poor Columbus fails to make the top ten... coming in at number 16, which is pretty danged respectable, actually.  The Central is tough.  And Chicago?  Wassup with them 'Hawks?  

Further on the Wings... The injury bug hasn't bitten down hard on them as yet, but it has taken a nibble.  Well, a bit more than a nibble:
  • D Brian Rafalski (knee) had arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 12 and will be out until early November.
  • RW Kris Draper (groin) was injured Sept. 19 in training camp. He had surgery for a sports hernia on Oct. 21 and is expected to miss an additional four-to-six weeks.
  • C Justin Abdelkader (ribs) was injured during a preseason game on Oct. 2. He is practicing and hopes to return on Thursday.
  • D Jonathan Ericsson (back spasms) was injured on Oct. 8. He hopes to return next week.
Losing two of your top four D-men would literally kill most teams but the Wings seem to be keepin' on keepin' on.  We're holdin' our breath, so to speak, coz staying healthy is the key to the Wings' season.  I have an immediate grasp of the obvious... it's one of my better qualities.  (Injury report from Yahoo! sports)

Here's what the Western Conference looks like today...

That ain't half-bad as far as the Wings are concerned, either.  But it ain't too good if you're a 'Hawks fan.  Or a member of the Chicago sports press, who are not amused.  Already.  Sometimes it's NOT good to be the king, no matter what Mel Brooks sez.  Heh.  We SHALL rag on those guys for more than a little while.  We'll close with the usual disclaimer: there's still a lot o' hockey to be played.  75 games for the Wings, in fact.  So far so good!

Let's Go Red Wings!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mr. Berry Schools Mr. Richards

Stay with it until the end and you'll be rewarded with a kick-ass version of one of Mr. Berry's signature tunes.  But it's the interplay between Master and Student at the beginning that's simply priceless.  Who knew "Carol" could be so hard?

BTW... Mr. Berry celebrated his 84th birthday a week ago today.  Long Live the REAL King of Rock'n'Roll!

The Usual and the Unanswerable

I'm just in from an uneventful yet exciting trip over to The Big(ger) City™.  Why exciting?  Well, because of this:
Strong winds will continue to impact the central mountains eastward to the Texas state line through the mid afternoon hours. Damaging wind gusts between 60 to 70 mph will impact areas to the Lee of the central mountains such as between Moriarty to Santa Rosa as well as between Raton to Clines Corners. Persons traveling on Interstate 25 will especially be affected due to the cross wind orientation to the strong flow. Winds will tend to be westerly through the rest of the afternoon but will eventually turn northwesterly later today due to a vigorous cold frontal passage. Some blowing dust and visibility restrictions will result due to the strong winds.
"Exciting" is defined as unanticipated lane changes... or nearly so... due to a sudden gust.  We also had two episodes of "reduced visibility" due to "some" blowing dust as we were warned about above.  So it's yet another indoor Happy Hour today.  Coz it's not nice outside.

We were over to Clovis today to get a couple of nu shooz put on The Green Hornet's front end.  Now here's a mystery: I had to replace the rear tires on TGH a lil over two years and 15K miles ago.  One almost always buys tires in sets of four and such was the case with Baby's second set.  Yet her rear tires wore out... and I mean they wore out, nearly down to the cord... long before the fronts did.  

It's not like I'm in the habit of laying dual streaks of smoking rubber on the pavement when leaving stop lights... mainly coz TGH's 148 rather anemic horses can only manage to break traction in the wet, so smoky burn-outs are out of the question.  I don't consistently slide around corners with the ass-end hung out, either.  OK, once in a while where the latter's concerned, yeah, but not as a rule.  So why did a set of identical tires get 15K more miles on the front than on the rear?  No one has been able to offer me a plausible explanation to that question.

And while we're on the subject of unanswerable questions... does Joseph A. Bank ever NOT have a sale?

I am SO sick of these freakin' ads after hours and hours and hours of late-night exposure to same!  Dayum... you'd think that they could at least cut a new ad once in a while.  Or ease the pain by giving us eye-candy in the form of a sloe-eyed houri draped over well-tailored shoulders like Men's Wearhouse occasionally does.  I really miss the days of sexist advertising but that's the subject for another day and another rant.

Beer me.

Just a Lucky Shot

A quickie... but watch the whole thing.  The blur you see just above the "play" icon is a puck coming right at you at warp speed.

"How cool does that look in HD?" sez our announcer.  Pretty cool, sez me.

h/t: Wyshynski.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Your Perspective Changes

My Buddy Ed In Florida sends along one of those typical "grandparent" e-mails chock full o' cuteness, such as this: 
13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."
My reply?  "My favorite granddaughter quote of late (just this past July, as a matter of fact)... 'Hey Grandpapa... ready for another beer?"'

They're all grown up now, with kids of their own.  These two, anyway.

But not ALL of 'em.  There are more, too.  This is just the SN2 side o' the house.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I like NPR, unlike a lot of folks on the right side of the political spectrum.  Like the woman in the picture, NPR was a drive-time staple of mine in the way-back.  I don't listen as much these days since the only commuting I do is out to the base or Wally-World, and the drive is too short for much of anything except a few jams.  That said, I had NPR on my radio for nearly the entire drive out to the East Coast and back this past July.  I take their political shit with a ton of salt but otherwise?  Smart and interesting programming with no screaming shock jocks or "classic rock" songs you've heard ad nauseam.  Ya can't say the same for their management, tho.  What WERE they thinking?

And now... back to football.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New To Me...

...but mebbe not to you, Gentle Reader.  The concept in this video is painful, slightly tacky, and the execution is heavy-handed, but there IS a tiny kernel of truth herein:

Don't ask how I know about that tiny kernel of truth.  Let's just say I was young and clue-free.  But that's all behind me now... there is no dog house here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington.  The solitary life has its benefits... however small they may be.  Well, check that.  These days I never find myself in a position where I have to be a mind-reader as a matter of course and that's a benefit of indescribably large proportions.  Ah, the simple life.

h/t to Jewel, who posted this vid in a comments thread at The Haven.  Coz Daph is in the dog house.  Surprisingly.

We Promised Quotes...

... from my latest read but we shall go further afield, at the risk of abusing the "Fair Use" doctrine.  Here's the first example I encountered of the young socialist... not all that far removed from his Socialist International days as an Oxford undergrad and when he was writing for the (UK) left-wing New Statesman... beginning to recognize the error of his ways.  The occasion was a cocktail party held in the House of Lords shortly after Mrs. Thatcher had been elevated to the Tory leadership and (presumably, but perhaps not) before she became Prime Minister.  Without further ado:
“Care to meet the new Leader?” Who could refuse? 

Within moments, Margaret Thatcher and I were face to face. Within moments, too, I had turned away and was showing her my buttocks. I suppose that I must give some sort of explanation for this. Almost as soon as we shook hands on immediate introduction, I felt that she knew my name and had perhaps connected it to the socialist weekly that had recently called her rather sexy. While she struggled adorably with this moment of pretty confusion, I felt obliged to seek controversy and picked a fight with her on a detail of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe policy. 

She took me up on it. I was (as it chances) right on the small point of fact, and she was wrong. But she maintained her wrongness with such adamantine strength that I eventually conceded the point and even bowed slightly to emphasize my acknowledgment.
“No,” she said. “Bow lower!” Smiling agreeably, I bent forward a bit farther. “No, no,” she trilled. “Much lower!” By this time, a little group of interested bystanders was gathering. I again bent forward, this time much more self-consciously. Stepping around behind me, she unmasked her batteries and smote me on the rear with the parliamentary order-paper that she had been rolling into a cylinder behind her back. I regained the vertical with some awkwardness.  As she walked away, she looked back over her shoulder and gave an almost imperceptibly slight roll of the hip while mouthing the words: “Naughty boy!” 

I had and have eyewitnesses to this. At the time, though, I hardly believed it myself. It is only from a later perspective, looking back on the manner in which she slaughtered and cowed all the former male leadership of her party and replaced them with pliant tools, that I appreciate the premonitory glimpse—of what someone in another context once called “the smack of firm government”—that I had been afforded. 

Even at the time, as I left that party, I knew I had met someone rather impressive. And the worst of “Thatcherism,” as I was beginning by degrees to discover, was the rodent slowly stirring in my viscera: the uneasy but unbanishable feeling that on some essential matters she might be right.
This is how the young Hitchens first met Dame Maggie and it made me grin from ear to ear; I hope it does likewise for you, Gentle Reader.  There have been MANY notable and quotable bits in Hitchens' early life story so far and they ring true or as true as they can to someone who moved in similar left-wing... albeit much, much lower... circles during this time period.  I can't begin to recommend this memoir enough -- it's remarkable insight in how a young Leftist evolved from a Left Wing polemicist into one of the MOST articulate voices on the Right.

Remarkable, and highly entertaining.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Plane Pr0n

That's an Avro Vulcan, the RAF's answer to the B-52.  This particular aircraft is shown flying at the at the 2010 Royal International Air Tattoo and is the only airworthy example of the type left.  As always, you should watch in full-screen HD if you have the bandwidth.  

It's a pity the sky wasn't bright clear blue because the Vulcan reminds one of nothing less than a giant metallic manta ray moving through the sea... even on a cloudy grayish sort of day.  Beautiful.


Red Wings style... in the OC Register.  Five reasons on each side of the coin; here's one of my favorites:

 Reason No. 3 to love the Red Wings: Success in the salary cap era. How have the Red Wings been able to make it to two straight Stanley Cup Finals in an age of one-Cup wonders? By finding gems through the draft: Pavel Datsyuk (171st overall pick in 1998), Johan Franzen (97th overall in 2004), Henrik Zetterberg (210th overall in 1999) and Tomas Holmstrom (257th overall in 1994). How consistent have the Red Wings been? Last season was the first since 2005-06 that the Stanley Cup champion did not have to go through Detroit.
The Register lists "Red Wings fans" as a reason to hate, bemoaning all the Wings sweaters one sees in the stands during a Ducks game while asking the semi-rhetorical question...
Just look around Honda Center for all the red jerseys at the next Detroit-Ducks game. There can't be that many Detroit transplants, can there?
A commenter at the Register site breaks it to them gently... Yes.  Yes there are that many expats.  While that doesn't say much for the city it sure sez a lot for the Wings and their fans.  We're every-freakin'-where!

We'll Spend the Day Indoors...

... unless things change for the better later.  Right now it's simply pissing down rain:

Which made quite the mess in my bathroom as I left my roof vent open last evening.  What a wonderful way to begin my day: mopping up the floor and wiping down EVERY horizontal surface in the water closet.  (sigh)

Well, I'm exaggerating about beginning my day... as I've been awake since 0215 hrs this morning... so the mopping up wasn't my actual start.  Close enough, tho, and a major PITA.

So now I have a decision to make... will it be back to bed or another pot o' coffee?

Update, noonish:  I went back to bed and it was PRIME sleeping conditions... which is to say it rained all morning and was cooler than the proverbial cucumber both indoors and out.  We GOT some rain, Gentle Reader, and I am refreshed.  

It's still sprinkling as we speak and this is what the NWS has to say about the situation...
Showers and thunderstorms will continue moving north and east through late morning. In Roosevelt County...strong thunderstorms near Elida...Dora...Causey...Pep...and Milnesand will move north toward Portales...Clovis...Oasis State Park...and across highways 60 and 70 and state roads 209 and 268. More thunderstorms near Broadview... Bellview...and Grady will move north and east across Interstate 40 from Tucumcari to the Texas line...or from mile Post 330 to mile Post 370. Expect gusty winds to 40 mph...lightning...hail...and downpours as these storms move through. Downpours will fill arroyos and ditches and may block low water crossings...with poor visibilities in heavier showers. Elsewhere...expect local gusts... occasional lightning...and rainfall up to several tenths of an inch in scattered showers.
I'm not sure if the climate will support an outdoor Happy Hour today but I don't much care.  In or out, makes no nevermind!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Sent by a friend...

The Lemon Picker
The  woman applying for a job in a Florida lemon 
grove seemed to be far too qualified for the job.
The foreman frowned and said, "I have to ask you this:
"Have you had any actual experience in picking lemons?  
"Well, as a matter of fact, I have!"
I've been divorced three times, owned two Chryslers, 
and I voted for Obama."

Heh.  The attitude in play here used to be known as the triumph of optimism over experience.  That was, of course, before the 2008 election.  We won't speak of our own lemon-picking experience but I will say I didn't vote for Obama.  And I've had some pretty cool cars.

My Thoughts EXACTLY

Take your $250.00 and pay down the national debt, asshat.  Or rather don't frickin' ADD to it on my behalf.  I don't want it; I don't NEED it.

Barbarians At the Gates

I'm feeling a little like a Roman this morning... specifically a Roman in the time of the Visigoths, at empire's end.  Three items from AFA's Daily Report...
Coming Home One Last Time: When a lone KC-135 returned home to Grand Forks AFB, N.D., earlier this month after a stint in Southwest Asia, it completed the last-ever Stratotanker deployment for the 319th Air Refueling Wing. After flying KC-135s for 50 years, the wing is converting to operating RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft, courtesy of BRAC 2005. "It's sad to be marking the end of more than 50 years of history. but it will be okay. We are ushering in the future of aviation," said Lt. Col. Noel Bradford, 905th Air Refueling Squadron commander. This unit is the last of Grand Forks' four flying squadrons to drawdown in preparation for inactivation. The 905th's KC-135s began departing Grand Forks for good in August. The last KC-135 is scheduled to leave the base in December. (Grand Forks report by A1C Rachel Waller) (USAF photo from the Grand Forks report)
"...marking the end... of history."  Sad, indeed.  Related:
Get it Right: Perhaps, the biggest "secret" of the Air Force's KC-X tanker contest is that the KC-X could end up being the only new aerial refueling aircraft that USAF ends up getting, writes Rebecca Grant, president of IRIS Independent Research, in her new white paper, "Nine Secrets of the Tanker War." The chances of fully replacing the aged tanker fleet via a second and third phase of recapitalization dubbed KC-Y and KC-Z, respectively, "aren't too good," given factors like the Air Force's track record in recent times for restocking its aircraft types in inadequate numbers, she contends. "In that case," she asserts, "it's essential to get KC-X right." Among the other "secrets": the KC-X program will be good for the US aerospace industry, no matter if Boeing or EADS North America wins; the losing bidder will not go under; and fuel offload matters. Above all, "The time for KC-X is now," writes Grant, who is also director of AFA's Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies and a frequent contributor to Air Force Magazine. (IRIS release)
"...given factors like the Air Force's track record in recent times for restocking its aircraft types in inadequate numbers..."  Oh, you mean only buying 187 F-22s to replace our 630 F-15s?  Or limiting the B-2 fleet to 20 aircraft?  Like that?

And then there's this...
Britain Abandons F-35 STOVL Variant: Britain is reducing its planned buy of Lockheed Martin F-35 strike fighters and will forgo the F-35B short takeoff variant in favor of procuring solely the F-35C naval model, state the findings of that nation's new strategic defense and security review released Tuesday. Neither the review nor British government officials discussing it on Tuesday specified the reduced inventory size. Previously Britain had plans to acquire up to 138 F-35s. Abandoning the F-35B is tied to the decision to install catapult and arrestor gear on one of the Royal Navy's two future aircraft carriers to enable longer range power projection. That "will allow us to switch to the more capable [F-35C] carrier variant," reads the review. With this move, Britain will operate "a single" F-35 model, "instead of different land and naval variants," reads the document. A spokeswoman with the British embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed to the Daily Report that both the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy will operate the F-35C. Stay tuned for more SDSR coverage. (SDSR full text; caution; large file.) (British MOD release) (See also BBC report)
Barbarians at the gates and here we are with a rapidly diminishing means of defending ourselves; the hits just keep on comin'.  Reading the Beeb's article on the UK defense cuts is a sobering experience and is a harbinger of things to come here in the US.  Well, not "to come."  It's been going on for a long time now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Better Than I Thought...

SN1 called earlier today to let me know the Air Force had FINALLY caught up with him and was sending him to Leavenworth, which is an inside joke for us military types.  But what The Major really meant was he's in receipt of his next assignment... here:
The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (USAC&GSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a United States Army facility that functions as a graduate school for United States Armed Forces and foreign military leaders. It was originally established in 1881 as a school for infantry and cavalry by William Tecumseh Sherman.
That's from The Wiki (I cut most of the links).  So... congrats are most appropriate, as are commiserations of the highest order.  Coz he'll have to put up with one solid year of "HOOAH!"... the Army's universal answer to every question known to man.  Example:  "What is reality?"  Acceptable Army response:  "Hooah!"

I feel for the boy.

My First Ever Piggie Post

That would be Mister Male Chauvinist Piggie, to you.

Oh, my.  SO many thoughts as to a caption are rattling around in my sexist, exploitative, demeaning brain.  Where to begin? (Which works both as thought and caption)  Will the circle be unbroken?  A Virtuous Circle, indeed!  (Please note I did NOT say "vicious.")  What?  I'm open to suggestion.

It IS quite the photo, though... innit?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The INIMITABLE Bonnie Raitt and John Lee Hooker team up for "I'm In the Mood..."

I originally went looking for... and found... Ms. Raitt and John Hiatt doing "Thing Called Love" and nearly posted that tune until I found the end of the song was truncated in a most terrible and undeserving manner.  I hate it when that happens.  But that was a good thing, actually, coz it prompted me to go searching for alternatives... and the vid I posted shows off Ms. Raitt's bottle-neck work SO much better.  AND it has John Lee.  Win-Win.

I've seen all three of these artists on a number of occasions, but the best of all was seeing JLH in a club atmosphere shortly before he passed on... which is to say "up close and personal."  That said, I dearly love Ms. Raitt, Mr. Hiatt, and Mr. Hooker.  The collection has lots of these folks.


We're having an indoor Happy Hour today as a front is moving in and the wind she is fierce. So we're polluting... or perfuming... our environment (I prefer to think the latter, YMMV) with the aromatic fumes from an Acid Kuba Maduro while quaffing a couple o' Franziskaners.  And surfin' through Bonnie Raitt vids on the Tube of You.  Life's pretty good.

Makes Sense

I've posted on this subject before... albeit oh-so-briefly... but it looks like this Good Ideer is moving right along.  From AFA's Daily Report:
For Pennies on the Dollar: Test pilots and engineers at the Air National Guard Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz., are evaluating the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6C two-seat turboprop as one possible candidate for the light attack aircraft that the Air Force is considering procuring. "We learned a lot from initial testing earlier this year and made several adjustments," said Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, AATC's director of engineering. He added, "Future iterations of tests will integrate Hellfire missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinders, and various other weapons." Cost effectiveness is a big factor in the deliberations since a light-attack platform could potentially serve in scenarios where a fighter's full capabilities aren't needed, and at a fraction of the cost. Indeed, the per-flying-hour costs of an A-10 and F-16 are pegged at $15,000 to $17,000, while the AT-6 has cost about $600 per hour to operate. (Davis-Monthan report by Maj. Gabe Johnson) (USAF photos from the D-M report, click for larger)
Shades of the Spad, eh?  I'm only about the lebbenty-lebbenth guy to say this, but why doesn't USAF refurbish the A-1s sitting out in the desert at Davis-Monthan (assuming there are such... coz I really don't know)?  I suppose operating costs would be lower for the AT-6, as would support and logistics costs.  They ain't making any spare parts for those old A-1Es any longer and mechanics that could work on those big-ass radials are few and far between.  

I suppose I'm just indulging in Old Fart romanticism where the A-1 is concerned.  But I have good reason for doing so... Col. Bernard Fisher, one of the Air Force's living Medal of Honor recipients, earned his MoH in the A-1.  His is a remarkable story and you can read it here:   "Into the Valley of Fire."