Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Fruity Thangs

About ten days ago I said "I'm thinkin' I've had enough of this fruit-beer thang for a while."  Well, I lied.  Here's Round One of today's Happy Hour...

That would be a Lindeman's Cassis Lambic, rated B+ at Beer Advocate.  Here's an excerpt from one of the reviews:
Pours a dark purple red color with a thick light pink head and a ton of lacing. Super pretty. Smell is of currants and tartness. Tastes super tart with tons of oak, funk, and currant flavor. Mouthfeel is medium with a heavy carbonation. Overall, this is an awesome brew from a great Belgian brewer.
It's the tartness that makes a good fruit beer good, IM(NS)HO, and this is where the fruit beers I've sampled recently have gone wrong  -- they are all much too sweet for my taste.  Lindeman's, however, hits that sweet spot on my palate, which is a lame-ass attempt at a pun.  I really enjoy this beer but it's only an occasional treat for me, seein' as how the folks at Lindeman's are right proud of their product.  While it's true the price the Cannon Class VI store charges is cheaper than most of the prices at the link, they're not all THAT much cheaper.

Another thing... the observant will note opening a bottle of Lindeman's is a right royal PITA.  You uncap the bottle in the usual way but then ya gotta pull a freakin' cork.  Can ya say "overkill?"  Sure ya can...

Now if you'll excuse me, Gentle Reader, it's time to go set my ass down under the awning and enjoy what's left of this beer.

Update, 1600 hrs:  This might be heresy, but for Round Two of Happy Hour I combined one of those Leinenkugel Berry Wheats with about two inches of left-over Lindeman's Cassis in my pint glass.  The result was pretty danged good, as the remains of the Cassis had just enough tartness to take away the cloying sweetness of the Berry Wheat.  That was a one-time good deal!

Public Service Announcement

An Occasional Correspondent sends this along...
NOTE:  I checked with SNOPES and this really does work.
With all the fear of radiation fallout from Japan, I thought it might be useful to tell you about a cheap, effective, homemade radiation tester you can easily assemble and rely upon.
Just follow these simple instructions:

See?  It's not just used for fire detection any more.  
Heh.  In re: fire detection.  We've set off the smoke alarm in El Casa Móvil De Pennington more than once while nuking  some of Orville's best.  Why is it I never learn?

Plane Pr0n and Morale

Nice shot of a Bone on its way out from Ellsworth (as captioned in today's AFA Daily Report):

Air Frame: A B-1B Lancer launches from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., to bomb targets in Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn, March 27, 2011. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Marc I. Lane)


And then there's this...
Prioritizing Quality of Life: The continuing resolution—and corresponding lack of an enacted defense appropriations bill for Fiscal 2011—is the No. 1 issue on airmen's minds today, CMSAF James Roy told House lawmakers Wednesday. "Our men and women are deployed to foxholes around the world, yet we are dangling this [CR] in front of them, saying we may or may not be able to pay you," Roy told the House Appropriations Committee's military construction and veterans affairs panel. From a policy perspective, the top three quality-of-life issues that have captured senior leaders' attention are building a culture of resiliency among airmen and their families, continuous support for those that deploy, and upgrading the Air Force's exceptional family member program, Roy said. "The quality of life of airmen and their families is an overwhelming factor in how long they will serve," he said.
CMSAF Roy's testimony is exactly on point about payin' the troops and I hope the congress takes his words to heart.  It would be no trouble at all for Congress to craft a CR for DoD and continue to play games with the rest of the budget.  One word of caution though.  I wouldn't get too sanctimonious about Air Force "quality of life" issues if I were the Chief.  There's already too much of this shit floating around:

We have a good thing goin' here, Chief.  Don't fuck it up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Be Afraid

From today's AFA Daily Report:
A-10 Attacks Libyan Ships: The A-10, known for its prowess as an attack platform against enemy land forces, took on a different role this week in supporting coalition operations against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's forces. An A-10 engaged two small Libyan watercraft in the Libyan port of Misurata, US Africa Command officials announced Tuesday. The Libyan craft, operating with a Libyan coast guard vessel, were indiscriminately firing upon merchant vessels in the port on Monday, prompting coalition response. A Navy P-3C maritime patrol aircraft engaged the coast guard vessel with AGM-65F Maverick missiles, rendering it ineffective and forcing the Libyans to beach it. Meanwhile, the A-10 fired upon the two small craft with its 30mm Gatling gun, destroying one and forcing the Libyans to abandon the other, according to AFRICOM. The A-10 is one of the most recent aircraft additions to the coalition's quiver in Operation Odyssey Dawn. (AFRICOM release)
Well, if you happened to be a Libyan coastie the LAST thing you'd wanna see would be this...

Coz it really would be the last thing you ever saw.  Better vid:

The Warthog can kill bad guys in many different ways, but it's that gun that truly terrifies 'em.

Hell, that scares ME, and it's on my side!

Heh and Feelin' the Love

The usual source has all sorts o' toons about The One and his new-found bellicosity, mostly centered around his latest Obamateurism: "kinetic military action."  But this is the toon that caught my eye and made me grin:

Heh.  I really like Mr. Kelley.


Lest you go off thinkin' all is lost with our younger generation, let me share this cool lil note I received from Grandson Sean this morning:
I read your post about Alligator Records and immediately went to Grooveshark and found an album similar. It isn't the 40th anniversary but it's the 30th so it's close enough. I think it's great so far. I haven't listened to the whole set yet but I think I'll like it.
See?  All is NOT lost!


Amazon loves me, too.  I wish they didn't love me as quite as much as they do, tho, coz this crap could get expensive after a while: 

I'm thinkin' the Big Head Todd album looks pretty good...  God help me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Broadening Our Horizons XIX

I could mine this vein from now until the day I die and prolly WILL... for as the unnamed sage so wisely noted: "So many beers, so lil time."  Today it's a Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat...

This weissbier is sweeter than most and that's not an entirely bad thing.  The characteristic that leaps out at you as you bring the glass to your lips is its nose, most commonly described by the readers at Beer Advocate as reminiscent of Froot Loops or Fruity Pebbles.  That might be off-putting to some beer drinkers but it pleases me... today.  Tomorrow might be an entirely different story.

Today's cigar is a Drew Estate Tabac Especial Red Eye, which is rapidly becoming the cigar of choice here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington.  Well, one of the cigars of choice, anyhoo.  We're still quite partial to the Acid Deep Dish.  

Speaking of...  I bought myself a box of Deep Dishes for Christmas and that box remains largely untouched, as I'm engaged in a lil experiment.  I read somewhere that aging a cigar has much the same effect as aging fine wine... as in "the older, the better."  That presupposes you keep the cigars properly humidified, of course, which I'm doing.  So, we pulled one of the now three-month old Deep Dishes out of the humidor yesterday, fired it up, and I couldn't tell if it was any better or not.  There may be two things in play here: (1) I haven't given the cigars enough time to age properly or (2) I just don't have an educated palate.  As far as (1) goes... I'm not sure if I have the will power to let the cigars age for a year or more.  And there ain't no fixin' (2).  It is what it is.


We're taking today's Happy Hour indoors as it's not a nice day outside.  What the hell happened to Spring, anyway?  I suppose I shouldn't bitch, as some of you Gentle Readers have had snow in the last day or three.  That said, the recent good weather (read as: temps in the 80s) left me somewhat spoiled and not very tolerant of our 51 degree temperature, as we speak.  We'll be back to normal in a day or two, though.


From one of the reviews at Amazon:
Alligator Records celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2011 with the release of The Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Collection. The 2-CD set clearly lays out Iglauer's wide-ranging blues vision. From the ragged glory of Hound Dog Taylor to the raw Chicago blues of Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Lonnie Brooks and Eddy Clearwater to the harmonica workouts of Charlie Musselwhite, William Clarke, James Cotton and Rick Estrin to the guitar pyrotechnics of Guitar Shorty, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Michael "Iron Man" Burks and Tinsley Ellis to the front porch roots-rock of JJ Grey & Mofro to the gospel soul of Mavis Staples, the one constant is Alligator's dedication to releasing what has been dubbed "Genuine Houserockin' Music."

From the early days of recording only Chicago blues artists to the addition of national and international artists to the label's commitment to younger roots acts who are creating new blues for a new millennium, Alligator continues to forge ahead. Even after 40 years, Alligator is committed to discovering great new talent, proving that the passion, soul and redemptive power of blues and roots music is alive, well and genuine, capable of rocking the house for many more years to come. 
Now is that right up our alley or WHAT?  You should peruse the track list at Amazon, Gentle Reader, to see why I'm so enthused.

Number 19

I was reading Elliote Friedman's blog at the CBC web site this morning and came upon this lil blurb:
Speaking of Pavel Datsyuk, walked with him to a photo of the 2002 Stanley Cup champions. I pointed at Steve Yzerman and the first words out of Datsyuk's mouth were "hockey heart." Then he talked about how much he learned from watching Yzerman during those playoffs, how the captain could barely walk into arenas but when the game started, you couldn't tell. That really meant something to the young Russian. 
Dats nailed it: hockey heart, indeed.  Long time readers know Steve Yzerman (that's his number ascending to the Joe Louis rafters) is the first name in my B-rank of heroes.  I first saw Stevie Y play when I moved to Dee-troit in 1985 and Mr. Yzerman WAS the Red Wings to me for years and years and years, until he retired in 2006.  Gordie Howe is prolly the only other Wing who is more dear to fans than Stevie and not by much.  But Hey!  Who would compare the two, anyway?  There's enough love for both.  And young Pavel is getting there, too... you see a LOT of number 13 sweaters at Wings games.

Mr. Friedman gives good blog... there are 29 other hockey "notes" at the link, including more from/about Dats, Holmstrom, Lidstrom, and Mike Babcock.  And stuff about other teams, too... as if that mattered.  dog products

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Just In...

Well, I'M just in... from the day's errands.  We picked up our eye-meds at the Cannon Airplane Patch pharmacy, registered for our surgery at Roosevelt County General, got The Green Hornet washed, whipped into the Cannon Class VI for some beer, and just generally gallivanted all over the countryside... not in that particular order, of course.  In so doin' we noticed the redbud trees are in full-bloom and they are a LOVERLY sight.  We don't have near as many of 'em here on The High Plains of New Mexico as there are in... say... Oklahoma, where everybody and their Mom seems to have a redbud tree or three in their yard.   That said, they ARE the loveliest of trees and even give the cherry blossoms a run for the money.  One of these days I'll remember to take the camera with me on my various and sundry outings; the picture you see comes from a generic Google image search.  It'll just have to do.

So... this morning we reviewed the pre-surgery literature given to us by our fine eye-surgeon and were shocked to find words to the effect of "no alcohol for 24 hours prior to surgery or 24 hours after."  Say WHAT?  I think that's asking just a bit much, don't you?  I'm also thinkin' what my eye-surgeon doesn't know won't hurt her... or me either, for that matter.  There are just some places we will NOT go and El Casa Móvil De Pennington is NOT a beer-free zone now, nor shall it ever be.  I'd rather frickin' DIE first.


An Occasional Correspondent sends this along...

Good advice and I'll be takin' it later after the errands are done.

New To Me

Another tsunami video, courtesy of The Mayor.

New Shocking Video Of The Japanese Tsunami by timbarracuda

It's like the whole damned Pacific Ocean dropped in with evil on its mind.  My feeble lil brain just can't grasp the magnitude of this catastrophe, even with the evidence right before my eyes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's On Again

The tech industry out in Kallyforhneeya is on another hiring binge and this piece in the NYT brought back some fond memories...
Computer whiz kids have long been prize hires in Silicon Valley. But these days tech companies are dreaming up new perks and incentives as the industry wages its fiercest war for talent in more than a decade. 

Free meals, shuttle buses and stock options are de rigueur. So the game maker Zynga dangles free haircuts and iPads to recruits, who are also told that they can bring their dogs to work. Path, a photo-sharing site, moved its offices so it could offer sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. At Instagram, another photo-sharing start-up, workers take personal food and drink orders from employees, fill them at Costco and keep the supplies on hand for lunches and snacks. 
Big money and perks!  Yup, I remember that.  I came out of my first whirl with (civilian) retirement to take a job with an SFO web services start-up in 2000.  The money was good great (including a tremendous furnish-your-trendy-apartment-in-Berkeley-with-Swedish-furniture signing bonus), there was a virtually unlimited supply of free Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam in the company fridge, weekly catered lunches from SFO's best eateries, stock options, and a chance to get in on the ground floor with a start-up.  What's not to like about that?  

The dot-bomb implosion, that's what.  My company went from around 350 people a few months after I hired on to about 70 by the time I got tired of doing a lot more with a lot less (a lil over two years later) and said goodbye.  And those stock options?  They should have been printed on a roll, because then they would have been useful if less than absorbent.  And scratchy.

Let's hope this latest tech boom works out better than the last.

Photo:  In the office, October of 2000.  Don't I look pleased with myself!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Apologies Are Due

I rarely... read that as "never"... check my "awaiting moderation" screen in Blogger since I killed comment moderation.  And I should check it... coz Blogger brought up this screen when I went to compose the post immediately below:

My apologies to Ron, Jim, Jerry, and Al.  Said comments are (finally) published.  Jim's comment goes all the way back to the middle of last month... Dang.

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

If they were me and I was you
Would you have liked a present too?
Ah... I loves me some Clare!  This brings back a lot o' memories of Former Happy Days.  It'll prolly be days before I get this tune out of my head, tho.  If this ain't The Mom of All Ear-Worms it's at least the great aunt.  Dang.

OK, This Is Schmaltzy to the MAX...

... but how can you NOT like it?

You obviously have to stay until the end to get the full impact... which, to me, beats bein' on the Jumbotron at half-time, the seventh inning stretch, or in between periods at a hockey game.

Well done, if it's real.  The comments at the Tube O' You suggest otherwise.  Party-poopers.

The hat-tip goes to the Guardian's viral vids list, where I also found this:

Yup.  Goin' to Hell.  No doubt.


A year of Japanese food in Tokyo (you might wanna turn down your sound to avoid the irritating Japanese techno-pop music)...

Prolly not for everyone but this sure makes MY mouth water.  The Second Mrs. Pennington (when she was my intended) and I ate out a LOT when we were in Tokyo in 1975 - 1977.  We were fortunate that there were at least three sushi bars within walking distance of our house in Tachikawa, and there were even more options available to us when she was in her apartment in Musashi-Kogenei.  Sushi was only part of the story... there were the ramen stands (and there is NO comparison in between fresh ramen and the ubiquitous packages of cheap-ass ramen noodles we have here), the mainstream restaurants, and the yakitori stands sprinkled all over Tokyo. 

Herewith lies another reason I miss Dee-troit and livin' in some other Big Cities in these United States, especially San Francisco (which is a GREAT restaurant town!):  I used to have access to any number of excellent Japanese restaurants in the way-back.  Nowadays?  Not so much.  Not at all, actually.

Photo:  TSMP and me in a Tokyo sushi bar, 1991.  Click for larger, as usual.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Always SUMTHIN', Part Ten

When it rains, it pours.  We're just in from runnin' the day's errands and I was shocked to find my kind and gentle wash 'n' fold folks are foldin' up their tent and movin' on.  After commiserating with the Sweet Young Thang who minds the counter (it's worse for HER... I'm out of a service; she's out of a JOB) I duly trucked on down the street to the sole remaining dry cleaners in P-Ville and was chagrined to find that, no, they don't do wash 'n' fold.  I have one other option to follow up, as I'm told one of the local laundromats used to do this sorta thang.  So, we're not defeated yet, but neither are we hopeful.  I HATE the thought and/or prospect of wasting three hours in our laundromat... watching the washers and dryers go round and round while hobnobbing with some of P-Ville's finest citizens.

As if that wasn't enough,,, the "check engine" light came on in The Green Hornet this afternoon.  Well, it actually came on last evening as I was making my way home from dinner, and we duly checked all that could be checked before we set out on the day's errands.  Everything seems good... fluid levels, which is to say coolant, oil, brake fluid, etc., are all good; she starts right up with no complaint; oil pressure is normal; she's not overheating; power is good; and there are no unusual noises emanating from under the hood.  Yet that obnoxious little light remains on and the nearest Mazda store is way the hell over in Lubbock (a two-plus hour drive), to complicate matters.

It's always frickin' SUMTHIN'.

Gettin' Down to the Wire...

... what with only a handful of games left in the regular season and teams bunched up tighter than a gnat's ass for the final five playoff spots in the West.  As of today there are only six points separating number eight from number four in the standings, and only two additional points separating number ten from number four.  Tight ain't the word for this... with anywhere between six and eight games remaining for those teams that are on the bubble.

Speaking of bubbles... here's Eric Douhatschek writing in the Globe and Mail:
Chicago? Well, suddenly Saturday’s date with the Ducks’ travelling road show looms critical, given that they then head out on the road for a back-to-back set with Detroit and Boston and then finish up with the Red Wings home-and-home to end the season. Detroit isn’t playing its best hockey right now, but if some of their injured stars - most notably Pavel Datsyuk - return, they will pose a major threat. And, in Hockeytown, where the Blackhawks-Red Wings’ rivalry has come alive in the last two years, there would nothing sweeter than ending Chicago’s hopes of defending the Stanley Cup before it could even get started by denying them a spot in the playoffs altogether.
Heh.  "Sweet" ain't the word; I'm thinkin' more along the lines of orgasmic.  Here's hopin' Dats, Franzen, and Big Bert get well before the Chicago/Detroit season finale... not to mention the playoffs.

Further To the Post Below

Michael Ramirez has a habit of distilling things right down to the bare essentials.  Or, to invoke another cliché, the naked truth.

Your Kinetic Military Action Update

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons return to Aviano Air Base, Italy, after supporting Operation Odyssey Dawn on March 20, 2011. Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn is the U.S. Africa Command task force established to support the larger international response to the unrest in Libya. A broad coalition of nations are partnering to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1973, which authorizes all necessary means to protect civilians in Libya under threat of attack by Qadhafi regime forces. JTF Odyssey Dawn is commanded by Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III. (US Army Photo by SSG Tierney P. Wilson)  (photo as captioned at

From today's AFA Daily Report:
Coalition Operations over Libya: The United States had flown 449 sorties, including 222 strike sorties, as of mid Thursday US East Coast time, since the air campaign began over Libya last weekend, Vice Adm. William Gortney, Joint Staff director, told reporters during a Pentagon briefing. Coalition forces had flown a total of 310 missions, he said. Within the 24-hour period prior to the briefing, US aircraft flew at a hefty pace, completing 130 sorties, including 49 strike-related ones. In addition to interdiction, the sorties have comprised aerial refueling and intelligence-reconnaissance-surveillance support as well as combat air patrols. Gortney said there are 350 coalition combat aircraft involved, with slightly more than half belonging to the United States. Nine additional nations have publicly stated their involvement, while as many as four others are involved, but have not openly divulged their presence. Gortney said the coalition's no-fly zone now spans across the northern portion of Libya. His briefing came just hours before NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the alliance would assume command for the NFZ from the United States. (Gortney transcript) (See also AFPS report by Karen Parrish)
Interesting, eh?  By that I mean there's no break-out on how many combat sorties have been flown by the air and naval forces of each participating nation.  There's no doubt in my military mind USAF/USN are flying most of these missions... witness the 130 sorties in a 24-hour period statistic.  There was a question during ADM Gortney's briefing that indicated the US is flying 70% of the combat sorties but the admiral neither confirmed nor elaborated on that figure.

So now we know NATO will assume control of Odyssey Dawn (otherwise known as "Operation Porn Star," for obvious reasons) at some point in the near future.  I'm thinkin' it will be fun to watch the way this plays out over the next few weeks.  What is NATO, after all, if not American forces with a thin veneer of multi-national command and control assets?

Lastly... about the post title...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Broadening Our Horizons XVIII

From the Great Pacific Northwest...

... a Pyramid Haywire Hefeweizen.  Beer Advocate... the first and last word in beer criticism... gives this brew a C+.  I'd be a little kinder than that; I think the beer deserves a "B."  It has the right color and consistency for a hefeweizen and tastes quite good, as well.  While it won't replace Franziskaner as the hefe of choice I would definitely buy more of it.

OTOH, mebbe the reviewers at BA were a conservative bunch.  One might could suspect the brewery is trying to appeal to "a certain demographic..."

Ya think?  Berkeley?  There's a brewery in BERKELEY?  Who knew?  Hell, I lived there for a year and had no ideer.

Low But NOT Slow

From today's AFA Daily Report:
Too-Low Flyover Draws Referee's Flag: Maj. Christopher Kopacek, a 25th Flying Training Squadron pilot at Vance, AFB, Okla., has received nonjudicial punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for violating altitude and speed restrictions when he led a four-ship of T-38s that overflew a University of Iowa football game in Iowa City last November. Kopacek is separating from the Air Force of his own accord, according to a release Wednesday from Vance's 71st Flying Training Wing. "While I understand that fans attending the game enjoyed the flyover, rules are in place to ensure everyone's safety," said Col. Russell Mack, 71st FTW commander. He added, "[T]his was a serious breach of flight discipline and it was necessary to take administrative action." Among the violations, the wing's command-directed investigation found that the pilots flew only 16 feet above the stadium's press box when the minimum height difference for a flyover is supposed to be 1,000 feet.
I have mixed emotions about this.  First: An Article 15 seems pretty harsh when a letter of reprimand or even a "What the HELL do you think you were doing?" appearance on the carpet might have sufficed.  But perhaps there are other reasons for the NJP (prior offenses, piss-poor attitude or performance, yadda, yadda) and that's usually the case.  Sceond:  Sixteen feet?  Damn!  THAT must have been LOUD!  Third:  The major is voluntarily separating?  While probably true in the literal sense, the man had no choice as his career is OVER.  No O-5 for YOU, Sir.  I suppose this is how airline pilots are made...

And there's video (source), too:

Yup... that was LOW.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here, There, and Everywhere

Well, we got off the dime today and ran those deferred errands from yesterday.  So the prescriptions for pre- and post-op meds have been handed over to a very nice LtCol at the Cannon Airplane Patch pharmacy (who addressed ME as "Sir."  I let that slide.), the larder is racked and stacked, the freezer is jammed with nukable food, and we have more beer in the fridge than I can shake a stick at.  See?

I just lurve the way that looks...

A couple o' random notes... I don't get out a whole helluva lot during winter so I don't take The Green Hornet by the gas station all that much; once a month is the usual, and that might be pressing things where the gawdshonest truth is concerned.  That said... I was shocked to find gas is up to $3.55/gallon for mid-range (remember: it was mebbe mid-February the last time I bought gas).  I don't pay a lot of attention to gas prices as a rule... you can't bargain over the price and you can't go without... so I just fill 'er up and the devil take the hindmost.  I'm grateful for two things (a) TGH is a thrifty girl, averaging just under 30 mpg and (b) I don't have to do a lot o' drivin'.  Times are hard for those folks with big-ass SUVs and long commutes.

I want to express my appreciation to all you taxpayers once more, this time for the fact all the drugs I need (heh) are pretty much paid for by My Favorite Uncle and there are NO co-pays.  My eye surgeon warned me the drugs she prescribed were expensive and "insurance may or may not cover them, depending on the plan."  Not to worry, Ma'am, My Favorite Uncle... and you taxpayers... always comes through.  We are blessed and I thank you.


Today's Happy Hour soundtrack... more Stones:

It's the graveyard watch,
Running right on the rocks,
I've taken all of the knocks.
You ain't giving me no quarter.
I'd rather drink sea water,
I wish I'd never had brought you,
It's gonna be the death of me.
There's some wicked piano playin' on this track and Jagger's vocals are just too damned cool fer school.  This is yet another track from Exile on Main Street (Number Seven on Rolling Stone's Top 500 albums of all time and should be Numero Uno as far as I'm concerned), which is STILL in TGH.  Full disclosure: I own TWO copies of the CD, one for TGH and one for the house.  That's how good the album is.

Beer me! 

No Heh Here... Just Truth

The "it's the Real Thing,"no-shit-really BEST political cartoon about Obama I've seen to date.  It'll take some doin' to beat Eric Allie's latest.

Test Drive, Part Two

Well, not exactly like Part One of "Test Drive"...  I've bought this puppy, said puppy bein' Firefox 4.0, which has all the features of IE9 and a VERY slightly different layout.  Witness:

Click to embiggen, as always

FF 4.0 is off to the races...
After a slow start, Firefox 4 picked up its download pace considerably late yesterday and throughout the night: It scored about 7 million downloads in its first 24 hours after launch. By 9 am PST today, the download count blew past 8 million and there are no signs of a slowdown. Previews of Firefox 4.2 are already available.
And, appropriate for a racehorse, the browser is fast... much faster than 3.6.15.  I like the new layout, too, which is much like IE9 in that it gives ya more content space (without having to figger out how to hide your menu bars).  Muscle-memory is killing me, tho... I have to make two moves with the mouse to change tabs.  A lil more familiarity with the new interface and this, too, shall pass.

We all have out favorite browsers... I've downloaded and dabbled with both Chrome and the latest incarnations of IE... but I always come back to Firefox.  If you're one of those undecided but objective types when it comes to browsers, PC Mag has a good three-way comparison between FF, IE, and Chrome.  Spoiler:  PC Mag rates Chrome as the Editors' Choice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Procrastination Я Us

I really should have been out and about earlier, coz I have various and sundry errands that must be attended to... like filling three prescriptions before my eye surgery in two weeks time, restocking the larder, and replenishing the beer inventory.  But we weren't out and about and we ain't gonna be so, for we are having another wind event here on The High Plains of New Mexico.  Shorter: it ain't nice outside.  None of the foregoing items are time sensitive and the beer supply is adequate for the moment, so... everything can wait.

Well, sorta.  I'm drinkin' the second bottle of that beer for people who don't really like beer and I'm seriously considerin' chuckin' the four remaining bottles in the trash.  Throwin' out beer is a RARE thing at El Casa Móvil De Pennington but it HAS happened (we disposed of this moose-piss-in-a-bottle with no regrets).  OTOH, I might save what's left of this berrry interesting stuff, if only because I have occasional female visitors who might like it.  Mebbe.

In the mean time we have an adequate stock of suitable beers for our second and possible subsequent round(s).  Coz we're good like that.


Speakin' of wind events... we were out and about for about five hours yesterday, having journeyed to Cannon Airplane Patch to resupply the meds and then over to The Big(ger) City™ for our pre-surgery eye appointment.  I made the grievous mistake of leavin' all my windows open while I was gone, with predictable results: the 40-mph winds left a fine coating of miserable frickin' grit all over every-gotdamned-thing.  I gave the desk a perfunctory wipe-down when I got back in last evening and saved the heavy-duty cleaning for today, which took me at least an hour... no shit, really.  Suffice to say our windows are shut tight today and we WILL use the AC if conditions require.  Housework is the curse of the drinking class, yanno?

About that eye appointment... I've decided to go with an upgrade and will get my astigmatism fixed when the cataracts are removed.  Medicare won't pay for the upgrade but the price is reasonable and it will be a welcome change to go through the rest of life without glasses.  Well, sorta.  I'll still need reading glasses for close-up work but that's not all THAT bad now, izzit? 

So... beer me! 

Plane Pr0n and Other Stuff

Occasional Reader Ron C. sends along a rather cool video put together by Jeremy Blaney at Vance AFB in Oklahoma...

The Toby Keith song has become sort of an unofficial anthem at many military events; I've heard it more than once at various ceremonies and gatherings out at Cannon Airplane Patch.  It DOES make a nice soundtrack for the above, doesn't it?


In other Air Force news... there's this from today's AFA Daily Report:
Odyssey Dawn Units Identified: The Air Force has identified units that participated in the attacks against Libyan military targets in the opening salvos of Operation Odyssey Dawn this past weekend. In addition to B-2 stealth bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., the Air Force sent F-15Es from the 492nd Fighter Squadron and 494th FS at RAF Lakenheath, Britain, as well as F-16CJs from the 480th FS at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. The B-2s struck combat aircraft shelters at Ghardabiya Airfield in Libya, and, based on post-strike photos that the Pentagon displayed, precisely hit them. The F-15Es and F-16CJs attacked ground forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gadhafi that were advancing on opposition forces in Benghazi and threatening civilians. KC-135s of the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, Britain, refueled the strike aircraft en route to an unnamed forward air base. C-130Js from the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, moved ground equipment and personnel to the forward base, as did theater-based C-17s. Pentagon officials also said EC-130 Commando Solo psychological operations aircraft participated. The Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing in Middletown operates these aircraft. (Ramstein release) (See also our initial coverage)
Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue... and a few of our closest friends.  It surprised me to read that the US was responsible for taking out that tank convoy outside of Benghazi; initial reports speculated it was the French who did that.


Yesterday's news item about a certain USAF Major General generated an interesting e-mail thread between YrHmblScrb and a few of my Occasional Correspondents.  About which... there's this in the "let me be perfectly clear" department: 
Just generally (heh) speaking... the concept of women Air Force generals or Navy admirals doesn't bother me at all, either, if they have suitable experience, and by that I mean combat experience.  Flying fighters, for instance.  Bombers, even.  Or driving ships into harm's way and having had weapons-release authority.  But a cursory look at Gen. Woodward's biography shows stuff like "protocol chief" and "deputy (DEPUTY!) director of colonel matters," whatever the hell THAT means.  I'll cop to the squadron and wing command slots, even if those were "just" tankers... coz the flying gas-station guys are an integral part o' each and every OpPlan.

OTOH... I KNOW there are chicks out there who have spent a good amount of time with their asses strapped into A-10s, F-15s, and F-16s... the point bein' why not
them?  I smell a lot o' politics here... just sayin'.
Which, of course, is my amplification on the point I was tryin' to make in yesterday's post.  So just don't be callin' me a male chauvinist pig, mmmkay?  It all boils down to "Who are ya gonna believe?  Me or your lyin' eyes?"

(Photo credit: Official USAF photo from MGen Woodward's bio page)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Not Your Father's Air Force XI: A Short Quiz

Notice anything unusual or different about this blurb from today's AFA Daily Report?
B-2s, F-15s, F-16s in First Wave of Libya Airstrikes: Air Force strike aircraft participated in the initial wave of attacks against Libyan military targets. Following the US and British cruise missile attack on Libyan air defense sites that launched Operation Odyssey Dawn on Saturday, three B-2 stealth bombers, flying from their home station at Whiteman AFB, Mo., struck Libyan airfields on Sunday. They flattened hardened shelters used to protect Libyan combat aircraft, Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Joint Staff director, told reporters Sunday. Four F-15Es and eight F-16CJs also flew in the opening strikes, said Air Force officials. "Our bombers and fighters performed magnificently," said Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, 17th Air Force commander and joint force air component commander for Odyssey Dawn. KC-135s from RAF Mildenhall, England, supported the strike aircraft. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (Mildenhall photo caption by SrA. Tabitha M. Lee) (Ramstein release) (Whiteman photo caption by SrA. Kenny Holston)
Not unusual or different... this cool pic of a B-2 from Whiteman AFB:

3/20/2011 - One of three B-2 Spirit bombers returns to Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., from a mission in support of enforcing Operation Odyssey Dawn no-fly zone over Libya March 20, 2011. The no-fly zone was imposed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizing military action. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kenny Holston)

Photo captioned as found.


Nico doing THE most bizarre take on Jackson Browne's signature tune... from the soundtrack of a weird little comedy called "The Royal Tenenbaums," which I'm watching as this goes to press.  IMDB on the movie:
An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when one of their member announces he has a terminal illness. 
The movie is really funny or mebbe I've had too much single malt.

You hadda be here?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Broadening Our Horizons XVII

"Berrrry interesting... but..." as Arte Johnson might have said:

That would be a Leinenkugel Berry Weiss, which is berry mediocre according to the readers at Beer Advocate.  One dude really didn't like this beer (copied exactly as found... don't be yellin' at ME for the grammar and spelling errors):
i knew i was in trouble when this candy like color starts to fill the glass, with a fizzy white top that seams to pop up and fall down immediatly. ehh. but then i took a whiff, fake berries, and just light kool aid like aroma. not even close to a good fruit beer. way too light and the flavors and aromas are so blatently artificial it was downright scary. light berrys and hints of sweet malts try and poke up but they are just remnants of what would make a good beer. 
I agree to a point, but not as much as that guy above; the beer is like an alcoholic Kool-Aid.  That said, it is nice for a warm Spring day but it also won't be seein' the inside of my fridge again for a while, if ever.  This one really IS too sweet for my tastes... I shoulda saved the "Barley Pop" post title for this particular beer.  I'm thinkin' I've had enough of this fruit-beer thang for a while. 


Spring is officially here... or it will be soon, what with the official arrival date bein' March 20 at 2321 hrs GMT.  That's close enough for gub'mint work, I suppose, and we consider ournearlyfineself to be a gub'mint employee of sorts, seein' as how we subsist largely (tho not completely) on a military pension and the largess of you taxpayers who contribute to my monthly Social Security stipend.  And we are grateful to you.  Yes we ARE.

But we digress, as is our wont.  The ornamental cherry tree directly outside El Casa Móvil De Pennington burst into bloom yesterday and is festooned with these things as we speak:

Full disclosure: that's an old pic from an old post, but it IS an accurate representation of what is on the cherry tree at the moment.  The fact is we are not fully caffeinated as yet and can't be troubled to go outdoors and snap a new picture in the service of truth and journalistic accuracy.  Such is the nature of journalism in this day and age... even citizen-journalists take the odd liberty with facts and circumstances now.  What IS this world comin' to?

I did notice a rather strange thing when searching the archives for this pic: the cherry tree bloomed on the third of March back in 2009 and didn't bloom at all in 2008.  Mother Nature is sure one fickle bitch.

More Trouble Than It's Worth?

A time-lapse video of what it takes to setup and then snap the Montreal Canadiens' team photo.  Who knew?

I'm thinkin' this is (a) a helluva lot easier and (b) a helluva lot more gratifying:

It might be a while before the Habs find themselves in that position, though.  Just sayin'.

h/t: Kukla's Korner.  Apropos o' nuthin'... see that light gray tee shirt the two trainer dudes are wearin' (second row, extreme right)?  I have one of those.  I don't have the hat, though, what with me bein' a black-hat sorta guy.  I don't do white.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Looking For Wakkanai?

I've been getting a lot o' hits the last week or so from folks searching for Wakkanai Air Station or variants on that theme.  One of the very first posts I put up on EIP was about Wakkanai and that post ranks high among Google searches for the term.  Every Wakkanai-searching visitor I've had of late clicks out to "Wakkanai Was My Home," which used to be the definitive website on the subject, and it was a real jewel.  David Lynch, the creator of "Wakkanai Was My Home," did a bang-up job and his photo archives... which featured many contributors, a few o' whom were my contemporaries back in '68 ~ '70... were a treasure for those of us who served there over the years.

Alas, the site is no more.  All you get when trying to go there is the shortest of messages informing you "This website has been cancelled (sic)."   There used to be an app for that... or rather an app to overcome that.  While Google Cache will show you the main page of "Wakkanai Was My Home," the links to the photos and other pages won't get ya to where you wanna go... they're all dead  The same thing holds true for a Google image search; there's a dearth of pictures of Wakkanai AS where there used to be hundreds.  That's a damned shame.  One of the best... arguably THE best... Wakkanai resources has gone dark.

Update, 1545 hrs:  I was doing some looking about on the net and came upon this lil gem:

This video is from 8mm home movies shot in 1962.  Although the time-frame precedes my time at Wakkanai by about six years it appears little had changed in between the time this video was shot and my arrival at WAS.  I'll say it again:  despite the weather and the isolated location, Wakkanai was one of the best assignments I had in my 22-year USAF career, topped only by London (RAF Uxbridge) and Tokyo (Yokota AB).  It was really one of those "ya hadda be there" experiences.