Monday, November 30, 2009

Broadening Our Horizons XI

The post title applies to the beer and not the cigars.  We're doing an indoor Happy Hour today as it's just a wee bit chilly outside... 48 degrees, as we speak type... so a Full Moon Winter Ale is very much appropriate.  And we're smoking a CAO MX2 Toro which is a "double maduro" and is also QUITE good.  Spicy.  I could see me ordering a few more of these, as this one cigar was part and parcel of the CAO sampler I ordered a while back.

Now about the cigars pictured above:  Merry Christmas to me, from me.  "Oh, you shouldn't have!"  Heh.

Overheard at Fort Meade, MD

Actually... "intercepted by Ft. Meade" would be more descriptive.  From a private communication this morning:
So... you know what pisses me off?  Last year I bought Bobby (ed: that would be SN3) the "Planet Earth" DVDs from the Discovery store for either XMas or his birthday, I forget which.  It was just around the time the DVDs hit the market and I paid something like $79.00 for 'em.  So I get this screaming (e-mail) "ONE DAY ONLY CYBER MONDAY SALE!" from Discovery this morning and guess what?

"Planet Earth:  $19.95"

Makes me wanna firebomb the bastards.
The last bit is true.  Acting on my feelings is an entirely different ball o' wax, however.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Best Post About Destroying Climate Data I've Seen...

... comes from Jim Treacher.  Excerpt:

A friendly chat with the global warming evangelist who lives in my head

Hello, hyperventilating zealot.
Greetings, denialist scum.
Now that we've dispensed with the formalities, please allow me to point and laugh at you. Ahem. Ha ha ha! Point point point!
Shut up.
That's what you'd like me to do. That's what you'd like all of us to do. Shut our mouths and open our wallets. Did you really think it was going to be so easy?
This doesn't prove anything.
What doesn't?
You know.
We both do. I just want to hear you say it.
This Clim... This Climateguh. Guh.
That's it, almost there.
Heh.  Read the whole thing.  With links!

(The toon has no relation to Mr. Treacher's post.  It comes from the usual source.)

Snippets From the AOR VII

Photo opportunities...  In this case it was a visit to the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Gen. William M. Fraser III, the commander of Air Combat Command.

Pictured above is Gen. Fraser and several of "the management" of the 451st Maintenance Group...SN1 being second from the left.  I dunno how things are today... but back in the days shortly after we retired the last of the bi-planes a visit from a general officer was always a thing of dread.  When I was a young airman I used to think generals were all ten feet tall.  I mean they HAD to be at least that tall... coz my buddies and I had to get up in the cable racks suspended eight feet overhead in our radar towers and wash all the cables down just for the general's visit.  And that was just a start to what was usually a solid week of operating-room level cleaning.  But we digress...

So... there are photo ops and then there are photo ops:

That would be SN1 and Gary Sinise.  And then there's this:

That's SN1 and Leeann Tweeden, who's been visiting the troops and raising morale in The Af since back in 2002.  Good On Her... and Good On all the other fine folks who do the same.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eatcher Heart Out, Morgan

Heh.  We could claim Morgan's heroette dropped by, couldn't we?  But we have no definitive proof and besides... last we heard Miss Alaska is on her book tour in the Lower 48.  OTOH, maybe she's back home for Thanksgiving and decided to look in to see if I'd come to Jesus yet.  Ya never know, do ya?

Update, jes a lil bit later:  Turns out La Palin IS off for Thanksgiving... so we're gonna pretend she was here and who's to say she wasn't?  Which makes the post title TRUE.  Heh.

The Abbreviated Saturday Post

Taking advantage of halftime in the Clemson - South Carolina game... Lotsa good football games today and most of 'em are rivalry games which makes for good football, indeed.  I don't have a dog in any of these fights but I will (am!) enjoy the spectacle(s).  I fully expect to be disappointed in the outcome of the one game in which I do have vested interest, although an upset would be nice.  That may be too much to hope for, however.


It won't be ALL football today.  We'll take time out of our busy day to enjoy Happy Hour on the verandah... how could we not?

Especially since the WX is gonna go to Hell tomorrow...

Oh, well.  It IS the end of November, innit?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Google Loves Me

I've posted on this subject before yet I remain amazed at two things... first: the stuff Googlers click through on when they visit EIP and second: Google's amazing and mystifying (to me) search algorithms.  Another case in point... (click for larger and you'll see EIP scored eight of the first 21 results)
Our Googler clicked through on the oft-published pic of TFMP (second from left, lower row)... which obviously has nothing to do with radar.  But she had a LOT to do with SN2.  Not that that matters to our Googling friend from parts unknown.  I hope.

Speaking of The First Mrs. Pennington... What the Hell.  Let's post the pic again:
I like this picture.  As Blog-Bud Lou sez: "it's artsy."  The pic was taken in our little three-room, sea view apartamento in Beautiful Wakkanai-By-The-Sea, as far north as you can get in the Land of the Rising Sun.  1969.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Last Word...

... on Thanksgiving, since it's over in about half an hour.  "Thanksgiving: a displaced Brit writes..."  The first bits:
When I first heard about this “Thanksgiving” thing, I thought it sounded like a great idea.

We Brits spend a ridiculous amount of time each day giving thanks to strangers – we say thanks to people who hold doors for us, thanks to people who stop their cars to let us cross the road, thanks to waitresses when they give us our bill; even thanks again when we hand over the money to pay. But apparently you Americans – innovative people that you are – had found a way to streamline the process.
Rather than waste hours each day expressing gratitude, you had decided to compress all of your thank-yous into one annual 24-hour-period of uninterrupted Thanks Giving. Get all that politeness out of the way in one go. An inspired solution, I thought, and one we should copy back home. Hell, we should have a ’sorry’ day too – we’d reclaim weeks of time.
But apparently I’d got the wrong end of the stick. Having consulted Wikipedia, it turns out that today is not about mundane expression of gratitude, but rather about big-ticket Thank-yous. For friends, family, a baby’s laugh, spreadable cheese. Stuff that really makes it a joy to be alive, and living in the home of the brave.
In just under an hour, I’m heading out to my first ever Thanksgiving dinner; I gather there will be turkey involved, and sweet potatoes – whatever they might be. And, despite my British cynicism, I’m very excited. But before I go, given that today’s celebrations began with some Brits moving to the USA and giving thanks for its awesomeness, I thought it might be appropriate to share five things – technological and otherwise – that make me… well.. thankful that a few months ago I too decided to make America my new home.
Here goes…
Now go read the rest... it ain't long and has a couple of things you may not have thought about today.
(h/t: Instapundit)

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the third year in a row...  If the Wall Street Journal has been running the same piece since 1961 I figure I can get by with re-runs, too. I'm not quite as good as they are, though. But seriously: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Gentle Reader. I’m going to be lazy today and re-run what I said last year (in part...there was more), mainly coz (a) it’s all true and (b) I’m fresh out of original i-deers. So…from Turkey-Day-2006:
Of all the things I’m thankful for on this day…family, friends, reasonable health… I thank God most of all for making me an American. Most all of the good things in my life begin and end with that one single fact.
You could do much worse today than read the editorial the WSJ has published every Thanksgiving since 1961.  An excerpt:
We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.
And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.
As true today as it was back in 1961.
The images come from Thanksgiving Corner, which has a great collection of Thanksgiving wallpaper. Normally I'd only post a single topical image, but I was so taken with the second image that I had to post it. Shades of Ben Franklin, and all that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


SN1 sent this along today...

George Bush, Queen Elizabeth, and Vladimir Putin all die and go to hell. While there they spy a red phone and ask what the phone is for. The devil tells them it is for calling back to Earth. Putin asks to call Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he was finished the devil informs him that the cost is a million dollars so Putin writes him a check.

 Next Queen Elizabeth calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When she was finished the devil informs her that cost is 6 million dollars, so Queen Elizabeth wrote him a check. Finally George Bush gets his turn and talks for 4 hours. When he was finished the devil informed him that there would be no charge for the call and feel free to call the USA anytime.

When Putin hears this he goes ballistic and asks the devil why Bush got to call the USA free. The devil replied "since Obama became president of the USA the country has gone to hell, so naturally it's a local call."

This presupposes Russia has changed a whole helluva lot for the better since Putin took power.  I think not, but that's another story.  And this IS a joke...


So... Last evening we watched "Objectified," a film about design on PBS' Independent Lens and it was pretty danged cool.  I went to the web site to see if there was a trailer I could embed in this post but, alas... there wasn't.  And more's the pity, because the film is fascinating.  Here's a quote from the web site:
Look around you. Within five feet of you are dozens—if not hundreds—of manufactured products that you interact with every day. If you are at work, perhaps there is a laptop, a stapler, a No. 2 pencil, a paperclip, a mobile phone, a coffee mug, a pushpin or an ergonomic chair. At home there may be a flat-screen TV, a pair of boots, a razor or a kitchen utensil. All told, we each touch or otherwise interact with an average of 600 manufactured objects every day.

"Objectified" concerns itself with contemporary industrial design and says nothing about the great designers, schools of design (e.g., movements, like Bauhaus or Art Deco),  or design houses that have gone before and that's about the only criticism I have of the film.  But I suppose you have to limit your subject matter when you're tackling a subject as broad as this. The film was absorbing and is highly recommended, and not just for design junkies, either.  Just as a teaser... Mac and iPhone owners will be most pleased with their great good taste.  There are clips from the show at the link, or you can just wait for your PBS station to re-run it.  They always do...
Now that we have the oh-so-amateur critic gig out of the way... The film's web site comes with this spiffy lil quiz that purports to show which iconic design object you are.  Or maybe the object you wanna be; you choose.  The web site's designers apparently don't know jack about internet quiz memes, coz there's no embeddable code to show your result and prompt others to take the quiz.  Not only that... there's no ability to cut 'n' paste text containing your results as they're displayed as images.  You have to take a screen shot if you wanna display your results.  Which I do, of course.  I mean... why else would one do this if not to share?

Pretty damned close, all things considered.  I DO like skinny ties, and I DO own a trilby hat.  And there's our daily Happy Hour, of course, along with our determination to remain unemployed for-frickin'-ever.  I am just about as sophisticated as anyone who lives in a trailer park possibly can be, and that's the truth (can I get a big "heh?").  But... I'm "nostalgic about an era in which I wasn't even alive?"  Hunh?  How do they know this?  Baby, I LIVED most of the damned scenarios in the questions and still do for the most part (kinda sorta). 

This question nearly tripped me up, though:
A toughie, that one.  I mentally flipped a coin to choose between HST and Steve McQueen.  Actually, not... I decided I'd rather go riding with McQueen then have cocktails and dinner (and stuff) with HST.  With Julia Child in the kitchen, Martha as her sous chef, and Sinatra crooning for us.  Hell, come to think on it... wouldn't the list in its entirety make for one helluva dinner party?

Take the quiz.  It's fun and some of the questions might cause you to think just a lil bit.  Report back. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Plant Pr0n

From a way-cool NatGeo article:
Then one day more than 375 million years ago, it happened. One lineage of plants evolved pollen grains and seeds, and from then on nothing was the same. Let's not mince words. Pollen is plant sperm—two individuals per grain—surrounded by a single, often golden, wall that offers both protection and chariot. If the tension in the long story of plants was the distance between lovers, pollen was what would bring them together, over feet or even across continents. It was an evolutionary trick that transformed the world by letting strangers have sex.
With pictures!  Good ones, too.  That said... I've always been in favor of sex with strangers to a certain extent... especially when you find yourself on a different continent (about which: a cheap-ass and blatant self-promotion ploy.  And you know there may be more, for those of you who are new to EIP.).  But back to stranger-sex: with suitable caution, of course.  We must be politically correct.

Late to the Party... As Usual

So... in the "we've been meaning to blog about this" category... Sesame Street turned 40 (!) on the tenth of this month.  It was a pretty big deal and rightly so.

Now that's the Good news.  There's Bad News, too.  As with everything these days... and most especially "things" that appear on PBS and NPR... Sesame Street has become Politically Correct, and more's the pity.  Proof:
Those early years are now available on DVD; and the discs contain a disclaimer that essentially states that they are intended for nostalgia purposes only. The warning reads as follows:
"These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child."
Say what!? Never did I ever think I'd see "Sesame Street" and "intended for grown-ups" in the same sentence.
On the DVDs, Cookie Monster can be seen as his character of Alistair Cookie in his "Monsterpiece Theatre" segment (a spoof of Alistair Cooke's "Masterpiece Theatre") smoking a pipe.
Yep, Cookie Monster smoked.
He later eats the pipe because, as he was often prone to doing, he thinks the pipe is a cookie. Cookie Monster used to become so overwhelmed by his desire for cookies that he'd start seeing (hallucinating about?) cookies that weren't actually there. He'd eat (rotary) telephones, typewriters (what are those?), pencils, almost anything. It was funny.
Today, Cookie Monster's diet is much more balanced, as he has adopted the philosophy that cookies are a "sometimes food." Cookie coincidentally changed his tune in 2006 amidst reports that childhood obesity had reached epidemic proportions.
Early "Sesame Street" had some other elements that would not pass muster today. Oscar the Grouch is just plain nasty, children are seen riding their bikes without helmets, and there's even a sketch where the human character of Gordon can be seen approaching a little girl on the street. He takes her by the hand and brings her into his house for milk and cookies (again with the cookies!). Clearly, that could be misinterpreted by today's standards.
Now, some 4,000 episodes later, 123 Sesame Street has gotten that power washing. Peeling paint is nowhere to be found, and the only visible garbage can has a tenant. It's much more sanitized. I'm tempted to make fun of this, but then I notice the bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel on my desk and bite my proverbial tongue.
For better or worse, today's preschooler is very different from the 1969 version. And children's television programming simply has to reflect that. 
Worse, I'd say.   But CNN is right when they say early Sesame Street was as much for grown ups as it was for the kids.  One of my favorite memories of SN1's and SN2's early childhood are the days when I would get off a mid shift, come home, go to bed and the three of us... SN1, SN2, me (and quite often The First Mrs. Pennington, as well)... would watch Sesame Street as I slowly drifted off to sleep.  But sleep wouldn't come easy when the show was on... as The Count would crack me up and so would Oscar.  Big Bird not so much. I always thought he was kinda cheesy.  All that said: Congrats to Sesame Street and may you have 40 more years!
Time flies, eh?  Which is a left-handed introduction to posting a gratuitous pic of the boys from around that time...

That would be SN1 (about five) on the left and SN2 (about three) on the right.  SN1 pins on his major's leaves a week from today and SN2 will pin on the silver leaves of a squidly commander sometime in the coming year.  Time does fly right by, indeedBoth boys have far exceeded their Ol' Man when it comes to military success, and that's (a) a good thing and (b) no big-ass surprise.  I'm bettin' I had more fun, though.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

We're still on this Allman Bros jag, which ain't all bad.  The great thing about Pandora is the associated music one gets when one chooses a particular band to define a station.  In this case... specifically the Allmans... one gets a lot of blues-based music.  Not the least of which is this:

Which got me to thinkin'... almost to the point where we were sorely tempted to go indoors and drag one of our Hendrix albums out and do an A/B comparison where "Voodoo Chile" is concerned.  But we didn't, coz the very next tune encouraged us to "get out on the street and leave our blues at home."  Which is more than appropriate these days...  A visual:

Ah.  And while we were leavin' our blues at home we returned... a slight return (Heh)... to that age old question: Jimi?  Or Stevie?  It's Stevie, for my money.  At the considerable risk of pissing off legions of Old Hippies who worship at Jimi's altar, of course.  And, truth be told, I'm one of those guys.  I have more Jimi music in my collection than I do Stevie's... but that's just a function of the relative size of their respective catalogs.  I like Stevie more because I believe he remained true... or truer...  to his blues roots, whereas Jimi broadened his repetoire in later years to get a lot more jazzy and improvisational.  (Yeah... I know "Red House."  Who doesn't?) Like all things where taste is concerned... you pays your money and you makes your choice, no?  I love 'em both, but I tend to fall down on Stevie's side when the discussion turns to "who was the greater guitarist?"

Just sayin'.  Your mileage most certainly may vary, if'n ya care about such things.  I most certainly DO care, Gentle Reader... much more so than I care about stuff that's in the news today.  I much prefer the simple pleasures associated with the complex alchemy of blending water, barley, hops and malt into a sublime beverage, the similarly complex process of blending aged tobaccos into a simple tube of pure pleasure, and the bending of notes on a Strat to the frickin' health care debate.  Call me simple if you like, but it is what it is.

Broadening Our Horizons X

Decisions, decisions.  We may still be drinking our morning coffee but it ain't too early to begin thinking about Happy Hour.  As a matter of fact... we may just forego the last cup and move directly to the finer part of our day.  But which of the below should we put a match to?

The Maduro?  The Cameroon?  The America?  Heh.  This is the sort of dilemma I like!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today's "WTF?" Moment

I wasn't gonna post today but I can't let this slide:

Major Nidal Hasan had his first hearing in the Ft. Hood murder case. The hearing was held in the hospital. His lawyer says he is paralyzed from the chest down, incontinent and in severe pain.
He will be tried in a military court, and additional charges may be pending. Military prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.
How barbaric that the military will seek to kill a man with no sensation in his body from the chest down. He might prefer it (I certainly would) but it's inexusable behavior for a civilized society and way beyond the pale of decency.
I quote the post in its entirety and I will NOT link.  If you're curious go here and scroll down; it ain't too hard to find.    As for barbarity... I could show you "barbaric."  It's a damned good thing I'm not the head nurse on Maj. Hassan's ward.  I would make it absolutely certain his pain meds were "forgotten" or otherwise lost.

As for the original post and its author... the military is barbaric but not the perp, eh?  The Liberal Mind... ain't it a thing of beauty?

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Just finished watching the Michigan - Ohio State game... and I had my hopes up until about four minutes into the fourth quarter.  But alas, the hated Buckeyes pulled it off... 21-10. In the Big House.  This game is one of college ball's best and longest rivalries, but the bloom is coming off the rose the farther I get from Michigan in both space and time.  I'd like to say today's game was a good one but again: alas.  I just can't.

So we now switch over to the ND - UConn game, already in progress.  It's only late in the first, but this game looks more promising:  ND is up, 7-0.  Yeah, I know... if the Michigan game was so bad, why didn't I switch over to the Irish and catch the kick-off?  Can you say "glutton for punishment?"  I thought ya could...

Friday, November 20, 2009


So. We went and got a haircut before Happy Hour today.  Being as how we've been incredibly lazy of late, I decided to patronize one of our local barber shops instead of driving all the way out to the base, which is my usual drill where the quarterly haircut is concerned.  I arrive on the scene and slide into the chair immediately... no waiting whatsoever.  "Cool," thinks I.  The following conversation transpires:

She:  How do ya want it?
What I said:  "I wear it rather longish.  I like it to touch my ears on the sides.
What she heard:  "I've been recalled to active duty.  Cut accordingly."
The result:
The hair on my face is longer than most of the hair on my head.  Oh, well.  It'll grow out by Spring.

And now:  Happy Hour.  With Allman Brothers!

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack… A Preview

We gonna be Suthin' Fried this afternoon, assuming the weather holds… or to use the vernacular: "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise." I dunno why it took so long, but we finally created ourselves an Allman Brothers Band station on Pandora yesterday. And it's good, Gentle Reader, because of tunes like this:

That would be "One Way Out," (the "Live at the Fillmore East" version) which may or may not be the quintessential Allman Bros song. Lord knows there are way too many to choose from and your mileage most certainly may vary. But "One Way Out" works for me! Or maybe "Midnight Rider"…

I like to think I was in on the ground floor for that five year or so period of time when Southern Fried Rock dominated the rock charts in the US. I know for a fact I was there in 1970. From an old post

Your Humble Scribe did a stint as a DJ (and later as Station Manager) at KBOK, a closed-circuit radio station for the population of TUSLOG Det. 4 (Diogenes Station), Sinop, Turkey in 1970 or ’71. That particular “job” was one of the most rewarding and fun things I did in the military. There wasn’t any monetary compensation involved, but I did my level-best to tape the station’s entire music library and that was more than enough compensation, in and of itself. I use quotes around “job” because DJ’ing was a volunteer thing, my real job was fixing electronic spook stuff, or attempting to, anyway. More trivia: “KBOK” is a play on words, “bok” being Turkish slang for “shite.” GIs. Gotta love ‘em!
I mention KBOK because the Allman's "Revival" (from "Idlewild South") was my theme song… it was the intro and outro music for every show I did. Let's review:

Ah… "love is in the air." Indeed. So… the Allmans kicked off the Southern Fried trend and they were followed in close order by groups like the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Allmans also influenced later artists like ZZ Top and the immortal Stevie Ray.

It's good to know Gregg Allman recently launched about the third or fourth incarnation of the ABB… they played a fabulous 15-night stand… featuring Eric Clapton for two nights… this year. And while we're speaking of concerts … one of my peak rock 'n' roll experiences was seeing the Frères Allmans on a triple bill with Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on New Years of 1971/72. You really don't wanna know just how insane that evening was, Gentle Reader. Oh, noes… you don't.

Let's close this out with my favorite Marshall Tucker song…

Oh, my.

The Jetsons?

Not quite like I remember the show...

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The final results for this year's Valour-IT fundraiser are in and we did MUCH better than last year!  Team results as follows... with last year's results included for comparison's sake.

Army: $32,758.80
Navy: $19,108.04
Marines: $43,060.89
Air Force: $15,662.17
General Donations: $2,535.00
TOTAL: $113,124.90


Army: $31,927
Navy: $21,475
Marines: $10,081
Air Force: $9,437
Coast Guard: $1,766
General Donations: $8,400
TOTAL: $83,086
A HUGE Thank You to all who contributed!  You'll note Team Zoomie brought up the rear again this year... and I'll invoke the usual, customary, and reasonable saying for that sad fact:  "Wait 'til next year!"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Of Limited Interest....

... to perhaps two or three of you Gentle Readers and mebbe many less, given as how Brendan is a Devils/Blues/Red Wings/Rangers kinda guy.  That said, yet another passage:  Brendan Shanahan announced his retirement yesterday.  We quote from NHL (dot) com:
Shanahan's greatest on-ice success came during his nine seasons with the Red Wings. He played at least 75 games each season, scored at least 30 goals seven times and more than 40 goals three times. He also won his three Stanley Cups, in 1997, '98 and 2002. In 1997, Shanahan placed second on the Red Wings in playoff scoring with 9 goals and 8 assists for 17 points while helping lead Detroit to its first Stanley Cup in 42 years. In 2002, he ranked second on the team and tied for third in the NHL with 19 points in 23 games, helping lead the Red Wings to their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
The second pick of the 1987 Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, Shanahan also played for the Blues, Hartford Whalers, Red Wings and New York Rangers during his career.

After four seasons with New Jersey, he signed with St. Louis following the 1990-91 season as a free agent; as compensation, the Devils were awarded defenseman Scott Stevens. Shanahan twice scored 50 goals in four seasons with the Blues, and then was traded to Hartford following the 1994-95 season, in exchange for defenseman Chris Pronger. Shanahan spent just one full season with the Whalers, and then was dealt to the Red Wings two games into the 1996-97 season.

He signed with the Rangers prior to the start of the 2006-07 season, and spent two seasons on Broadway.

Shanahan last played in the NHL last season, signing with Devils midway through the season and finishing with 6 goals and 14 points in 34 games. He re-signed with the Devils over the summer, but left the team during training camp when he and coach Jacques Lemaire couldn't come to an agreement on what Shanahan's role on the club would be.
Which is a sort of ignominious end to a brilliant career.  Shanahan was placed on waivers by New Jersey earlier this year... he opted to retire after no one picked him up.  Still and even, we remember Brendan with fondness... and wish him well in his future endeavors.


While we're on about hockey... there's this:

Well... let's just say this is the "Not Ovechkin" post-goal celebration and leave it at that.  Heh. But ya gotta admit: it IS funny. We hope no hockey players were harmed in the production of this video...

Time Changes

First of all... let me be literal. I'm usually a "go with the flow" sorta guy. Usually. But I noted in these pages recently that I'm having trouble adapting to the time change this year,  especially where my Happy Hour routine is concerned.  The shorter days mean I have to get started at least an hour to an hour and a half earlier than I really want to.  Happy Hour has turned into more of a late liquid lunch rather than a contemplative postscript to my busy day.  (That last is dripping with intended irony, if'n ya missed it.)

And Happy Hour ain't the half of it, either.  There's the time change and there's also the change of season... which means it's chilly now.  Not cold, not yet.  But chilly.  That impacts another ritual of mine... which is more of an occasional, as opposed to daily, sort of thing.  And something I only do during the warmer to warmest days of the year.  And that, Gentle Reader, is a sly introduction to a (lightly edited) re-run.  Herewith...

Morning Coffee

So. I took my morning coffee on the verandah today…three cups of it, anyway, accompanied by about a third of a cigar. And, in so doing, I put off my usual routine of coffee/making the virtual rounds until rather late in the morning, as defined by folks with real lives and…um…dare I say it?

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I stepped outside, coffee in hand, this morning. And it was already up to 75 degrees at 0830. A beautiful day, in other words. So, there I sat, coffee in one hand, cigar in the other, feet up and feeling pretty danged good about things. I got to thinking about days gone by and of other places I’ve had my morning coffee.
The first place that came to mind was here, and this is a pic of my deck at the ol’ homestead in Fairport, NY. I was always an early riser back in my working days, and I’d often take my first cup of coffee on the deck (and sometimes the second cup, too, depending on the schedule) and watch the sun come up over the neighborhood…say around 0530, or so. In the summer time, of course, the deck being not quite as accommodating in the winter, as you can see. The thing I loved about this particular place and time was the quiet…traffic hadn’t yet begun its crawl out of the sub-division, the birds were chirping, most of the world was still asleep, and there was always a certain coolness in the air before the summer sun began warming Upstate New York. It was very peaceful, in other words, and a good place to get organized while contemplating the upcoming day.
So…various and sundry other places popped into and out of my mind, as well. The dining room table in Ferndale, Michigan that overlooked the backyard, aka “the garden,” as the Brits say. Watching the dogs chase the squirrels in the early summer morning, windows open, and warm, humid breezes blowing in and billowing the lacy curtains back and forth.
Or sitting on my patio at the house in Oklahoma City (Choctaw, actually, a suburb of OKC), looking out over the property which consisted of two acres dotted with numerous scrub oaks and two or three “real” trees (i.e., over ten feet tall). One of the real trees was a towering oak of about 40 feet or so that sported an old-fashioned two-seat swing suspended from a thick low-hanging bough. Coffee was taken in that swing too, often in the company of The Second Mrs. Pennington…but she usually only joined me in the swing on the weekends.
And then there were those times back in my Work Days when I was on the road and had to arise, get cleaned up, and get fully dressed before I had my first cup. I took those first cups in various dining rooms or coffee shops at the hotels I stayed in. London. Singapore. Beijing. Moscow. Various places in the US of A.  The coffee was uniformly bad, nearly always. A good cup of coffee in the days before Starbucks and especially overseas was a rare thing, indeed. Eventually I took to carrying my own coffee with me.
I thought about other places where morning coffee was had…places like the various apartments I’ve lived in, the Air Force chow halls, and the RV parks I’ve stayed at/in, too. My morning coffee, and the rituals surrounding it, is perhaps the one thing that has remained unchanged throughout my life. A lot of things change in life as we move forward …people, places, and things… but some things remain the same. And my morning coffee ritual is one of the constants. The end is nigh if that ever changes…

Heh. I may be back later in the day with something new and different. Or maybe not. I've also brought to your attention we've been singularly uninspired of late. We ARE working on that...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Of This World...

I think this is kinda cool:

More here if you like this time-lapse thing… including an interesting video of Manhattan Island.  Watching this particular video, however, makes one wonder why there aren't many more marine collisions.


I've been sorta depressed of late, even though I hate to use that term because of all the negative baggage that comes with it. I recently learned through roundabout means that life has delivered a crushing blow to a lady who used to be near and dear to me. The woman's brother has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, which amounts to being sentenced to a slow and painful death that will play out over the course of the next year. The man is only 55 and has two teen-aged daughters, which makes things worse… if that's possible. And there's not much that I or anyone can do, other than commiserate.

My heart goes out to the lady and her brother in equal amounts even though the man and his immediate family will experience the greater loss. I worry for my lady friend, however. While her public face is one of strength and stoicism I know her private persona to be the sort that is sensitive and slow to heal. Her brother is the sole remaining member of her immediate family and she will take this hard. I'm not the praying sort, but what passes for prayer in my world is focused on all involved in this tragedy.

I know life isn't fair… all of us have our trials and tribulations… and not one of us gets out of here alive. Still and even, an event like this makes me think that a quick exit from this vale of tears is the best we can hope for. Death is inevitable, but it really sucks to know one's expiration date well in advance. For all concerned.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We Ain't Got Much Today

What a helluva way to begin our fifth year, eh?  We are singularly uninspired today and this does not bode well for our future endeavors.  But: stuff happens occasionally.  I blame it in part on nicotine deprivation... more about which, below.  Here's today's meager pickings:

Via Cassandra, humor for the over-educated.  A sample of same:
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will fling an enormous rock at your head.
Yeah... it's all Greek Latin to me!

While we're linking stuff... you should trot over to Gordon's place for a cool video reconstructing Capt. Sullenburger's masterful landing in the Hudson River... and all that preceded it.  I'd post it myself but (a) I'm too lazy and (b) I've had enough of stealing other people's finds.  For the moment, anyhoo.  I'll be back in character tomorrow or perhaps the next day.


So... we received an e-mail from our Good Bud Tim at this morning, advising us that Davidoff White Label cigars are now available.  I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but it'll be a cold day in Hell the proverbial hottest of hot places before I'll drop northwards of $15.00 for a single cigar... any damned cigar.  Yeah, I have done so in the past but it was only for contraband.  And very rarely, too.

We had our first hard freeze last night and that is a great good thing where fly control is concerned.  Sitting outdoors this afternoon will be a chilly experience but there won't be many, if any, flies to speak of.  And chilly is OK with me... that's why we have sweaters and sweatshirts in our wardrobe.

We will probably kick off Happy Hour earlier than usual today, as well.  Yesterday was not a nice day and we canceled Happy Hour altogether.  Thus: a small amount of pent up demand is in evidence here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington.  We did celebrate our blogoversary with three fingers of single malt... administered in multiple applications.... but passed on the cigar.  Oops.  So much for the "All-American" blogger claim, eh?

And now if you'll excuse me... I hear a beer calling my name. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Voice of Reason

Occasional readers know I link my favorite (former) fighter pilot frequently and quote him quite often, too.  Well, Lex has gone and done it yet again, and I quote:
Not every spasm of manufactured outrage on the right – or the left, for that matter – requires a counter-spasm from its increasingly polar opposite. The more customary and probably appropriate response when facing such an inconvenient set of facts is simply to ignore it, and hopefully move on to more substantive matters.
Like firing the White House protocol staff, for starters, who are serving not merely our president but also our country very poorly. Because getting the small things right in foreign diplomacy is important to all of us, since it sets the expectations of foreign leaders – all of whom are, quite naturally, angling for advantage – about the character and intelligence of the man they are negotiating with.
Our president is many things, but he is not nearly as stupid as his people are making him  – and us – look.

That, of course, is all about this, as illustrated above.  Yeah, it was stupid.  Yeah, it was a significant breach of protocol and most certainly a reason to clean house in that space.  Lex is right... fire each and every incompetent SOB on the White House protocol staff, which would appear to be ALL of 'em.  Other than that?  Let's talk about Afghanistan.  Or certain pending trials in New York City.  Or frickin' Obamacare.  There are many other, larger fish to fry.