Monday, September 24, 2007
I think I've mentioned that Dau#1 came back from France engaged...to be married (**rimshot**).
In truth, this was not really a surprise...it would have been surprising if they hadn't made it official. They've been long-distance dating since high school, and now it's time to do this thing.
Soooo, we've got a wedding to put on. Wifeof- and Dau#1 have been doing a lot of looking at wedding magazines, wedding sites, etc. and we are finally settled on a site and a date. There are a ton more details to decide upon--dress, flowers, menu, guest lists, DJ--these just the ones from the top of the Father-of-the-Bride's head.
However, one of the details is now becoming a pressing concern...getting this house ready to hold an Engagement Party over the upcoming Christmas holiday. We've got new furniture being delivered, the old furniture (for the new couple) to be moved to a storage locker (yet to be rented), bookcases to have built, new mantel installed, electrician hired, plumber to move a gas line (to accomodate the new mantel), paint applied, crown molding and baseboards installed, carpet laid...well you get the idea.
Today and tomorrow we're having the popcorn ceilings removed from the house. After that, I'll have to paint said ceilings so that we can recover use of three bedrooms and the living room (in which to store the new furniture meant for the family room).
Couple all this with a need/desire to work any extra flying I can (so as to pay for the above), and it ought to be obvious that it's going to be very busy around here for the next few months. I'll try to stay engaged here, but I don't think I'll be adding to this blog much in the next few months.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Soon, Ahmad. Soon.
h/t: Soldier's Dad in the above linked OPFOR post.
Secondly, here is a posting which destroys the Lefty "If you support the war, why aren't you over there fighting it?" meme. h/t Gerard.
Finally, here is a riveting story of the courage that it takes to endure the chaos of combat while wounded and facing superior numbers. This story came through this story at American Thinker. Read both.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
"A convincing four-star general, an activist group that overplayed its hand and a plainspoken Defense secretary who doesn't bother to defend the Iraq invasion."It's not until the second to last paragraph that we get...
"...Public opinion still remains in [the Democrats] corner, and they believe that, as the 2008 elections inch closer, Republicans will be in a tighter spot."But what if this does not reflect American public opinion, but rather just the unchallenged view of the vocal Sheehan/Code-Pink/KosKidz/MSM left? Personally, while I do believe that the American public is tired of our Iraqi War front, I don't believe that we have ever wished to end it on terms other than victory. And the American public is becoming increasingly aware of the danger that Iran poses to us.
We are no more than thirty years into a Hundred-Years War against Islamofacism. Despite that the Democrats believe that they can legislate an end to the war, this won't be over soon.
It's almost enough to make one believe that hostilities with Iran are in the offing.
Friday, September 21, 2007
BTW, I continue to get some of my very few visitors from the very kind links of Theo and Fran at Eternity Road. If you're a returning visitor; Welcome back. If you're new here, I hope you like the place...such as it is. I'm especially proud of this posting from last fall. I haven't seen anyone else make this point about John and Elizabeth Edwards. Finally, we enjoyed a great Arizona vacation earlier this summer.
The fellas were kind enough to include me anyway (I wasn't the only pistol-only shooter), so I used the opportunity for what it was.
My previous month's shooting was horrible. I showed up with my DAO USP to a single-stack match (with their higher round counts and longer distances). I found myself grouped with guys who were clearly better shooters than I, and rushing my shots, shot very poorly. I was so disgusted that, for the first time ever, I did not turn in a scoresheet. Further, I decided that until I have a single-stack gun and rig, that I won't be returning.
However, at this month's match, I shot better than I had expected. Again, I was out-classed and with the wrong equipment, but I didn't rush my shots this month and did much better. [Tangentially, this match whetted my appetite to get started in 2- or 3-gun. However, this will have to wait at least until the older two kids are out of ASU and Dau#1 is married off.]
But that's not what I've learned from watching others.
One of the guys, looking very much like this guy, was all tricked out. I don't claim to know my bullet-resistant vests, but the one he wore appeared as if it was a Level II vest, with molle attachment points front and back, and he carried a suppressed AR15 with a Red-dot sight enhanced with some sort of flip-away magnifier. It was clear that he had spent lots of time and money on his rig.
Another guy, not quite the gear-do described above, had a 9mm AR15 with a Red-dot sight.
Anyway, it appeared that both these guys put quite a bit of effort into making their guns work for them. They shot well too.
But they both had serious enough failures with these customized and tricked out guns that they were unable to finish a stage. This would not be satisfactory in a gun-fight. There is simply no other option: The gun has to work. First shot to last.
What I've learned here is that there appears to be a breakover point beyond which more customization away from a stock, out-of-the-box guns leads to less reliability, not more.
Question: What's your reaction to the MoveOn.Org ad that mocked General Petraeus saying he cooked the book on Iraq. Would you like to see Democrats including presidential candidates repudiate the ad?His answer, like most of what he says about the military, seemed to me to be both heartfelt and pitch-perfect.
President Bush: I thought the ad was disgusting. And I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. Military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. That leads me to come to this conclusion -- that most Democrats are [more] afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.Org, than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal. And one thing to attack me -- another thing to attack somebody like General Petraeus.Many of the Senate Democrats, also pitch-perfect, have refused to condemn the MoveOn ad. The names of these Democrats deserve to be remembered in future elections.
Not voting were Obama and Biden.
One of the main Superbad characters is a guy--a dweeb, really--who gets a fake driver's license in the name of McLovin. One name, like Cher or Bono.
I bring all this up because not long after seeing the movie, I ran into a police officer with the most unusual name...Morris McCool.
Even if it were a family name, or somehow honored someone close to them, knowing the inevitable ridicule that would come with the name, I cannot imagine what would possess a parent to name their son "Morris McCool".
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
However, that wasn't the thing I never thought I'd see.
He had absolutely pornographic tattoos on both shoulders of naked women engaging in rear-entry copulation.
What will his little girl think when she's old enough to appreciate what Daddy has had immortalized under his skin?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Normally, I start these things out by saying "My Fellow Americans." Not doing it this time. If the polls are any indication, I don't know who more
than half of you are anymore. I do know something terrible has happened, and
that you're really not fellow Americans any longer. I'll cut right to the
chase here: I quit. Now before anyone gets all in a lather about me quitting
to avoid impeachment, or to avoid prosecution or something, let me assure
you: there's been no breaking of laws or impeachable offenses in this
The reason I'm quitting is simple. I'm fed up with you people.
I'm fed up because you have no understanding of what's really going on
in the world. Or of what's going on in this once-great nation of ours. And
the majority of you are too damned lazy to do your homework and figure it
out. Let's start local. You've been sold a bill of goods by politicians and
the news media. Polls show that the majority of you think the economy is in
the tank. And that's despite record numbers of homeowners including record
numbers of MINORITY homeowners. And while we're mentioning minorities, I'll
point out that minority business ownership is at an all-time high. Our
unemployment rate is as low as it ever was during the Clinton
Administration. I've mentioned all those things before, but it doesn't seem
to have sunk in.
Despite the shock to our economy of 9/11, the stock market has rebounded
to record levels and more Americans than ever are participating in these
markets. Meanwhile, all you can do is whine about gas prices, and most of
you are too damn stupid to realize that gas prices are high because there's
increased demand in other parts of the world, and because a small handful of
noisy idiots are more worried about polar bears and beachfront property than
your economic security.
We face real threats in the world. Don't give me this "blood for oil"
thing. If I was trading blood for oil I would've already seized Iraq's oil
fields and let the rest of the country go to hell. And don't give me this
'Bush Lied People Died' crap either. If I was the liar you morons take me
for, I could've easily had chemical weapons planted in Iraq so they could be
'discovered.' Instead, I owned up to the fact that the intelligence was
faulty. Let me remind you that the rest of the world thought Saddam had the
goods, same as me. Let me also remind you that regime change in Iraq was
official US policy before I came into office. Some guy named 'Clinton'
established that policy. Bet you didn't know that, did you?
You idiots need to understand that we face a unique enemy. Back during
the cold war, there were two major competing political and economic models
squaring off. We won that war, but we did so because fundamentally, the
Communists wanted to survive, just as we do. We were simply able to outspend
and out-tech them. That's not the case this time.
The soldiers of our new enemy don't care if they survive. In fact, they
want to die. That'd be fine, as long as they weren't also committed to
taking as many of you with them as they can. But they are. They want to kill
you. And the bastards are all over the globe. You should be grateful that
they haven't gotten any more of us here in the United States since September
11. But you're not. That's because you've got no idea how hard a small
number of intelligence, military, law enforcement and homeland security
people have worked to make sure of that.
When this whole mess started, I warned you that this would be a long and
difficult fight. I'm disappointed how many of you people think a long and
difficult fight amounts to a single season of 'Survivor'.
Instead, you've grown impatient. You're incapable of seeing things
through the long lens of history, the way our enemies do. You think that
wars should last a few months, a few years, tops. Making matters worse, you
actively support those who help the enemy. Every time you buy the New York
Times, every time you send a donation to a cut-and-run Democrat's political
campaign, well, dammit, you might just as well FedEx a grenade launcher to a
Jihadist. It amounts to the same thing.
In this day and age, it's easy enough to find the truth. It's all over
the Internet. It just isn't on the pages of the New York Times or on NBC
News. But even if it were, I doubt you'd be any smarter. Most of you would
rather watch American Idol.
I could say more about your expectations that the government will always
be there to bail you out, even if you're too stupid to leave a city that's
below sea level and has a hurricane approaching. I could say more about your
insane belief that government, not your own wallet, is where the money comes
from. But I've come to the conclusion that were I to do so, it would sail
right over your heads.
So I quit. I'm going back to Crawford. I've got an energy-efficient
house down there (Al Gore could only dream) and the capability to be fully
self-sufficient. No one ever heard of Crawford before I got elected, and as
soon as I'm done here pretty much no one will ever hear of it again. Maybe
I'll be lucky enough to die of old age before the last pillars of America
Oh, and by the way, Cheney's quitting too. That means Pelosi is your new
President. You asked for it. Watch what she does carefully, because I still
have a glimmer of hope that there're just enough of you remaining who are
smart enough to turn this thing around in 2008.
So that's it. God bless what's left of America. Some of you know what I
So, just what is going on with the airline business?
Here is my insider's perspective.
Firstly, the two ladies. While they are attractive young women (although the blond doesn't do a thing for me), let me be clear: They are not dressed appropriately for airline travel. For a night at the clubs: Yes. For airline travel: No. The word circling around the internet on the Kyla Ebberts story (but not heard in the MSM) is that she wasn't wearing any undergarments. Regardless of that...take a closer look at her photo in the link above. Her "skirt" is maybe 6 inches top-to-bottom. The top of her skirt rests clearly right on her pubic area. From the back, this would make her butt-crack clearly evident. Her top is pulled down to make it appear to all flow together, but she is clearly not dressed conservatively. Put her seated for any length of time in an airline seat, and her dress is entirely too short for the public to be exposed to. Qassim came in with her "Me Too" story, but offers little else (except to come off as a dim bulb, if you watch her TV interview). Her dress is a bit Marilyn Monroe-esque, which doesn't make it as "bad" as Ebberts was (in my eyes), but still more of a party dress than something for public view.
I'll get back to the girls in a minute.
Collier expresses a common frustration with airline travel: Having to deal with changing policies and an uncaring employee group. I'll tie into this too a bit later.
But first a story...
At my airline, new Captains go to a two day event designed to allow them to interact with some of the decision-makers in the company. I went in 1999. One of the issues percolating back then was something called the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights [I'd like a Bill-of-Rights Bill of Rights which says there is only one Bill of Rights. It is formed from the first 10 Amendments to our Constitution. Everything else is just policy. But I digress.], which sprang up after Northwest had a gridlock event (during a storm) and was unable to get passengers off their planes. Northwest is not the only problem-child here. American did it in Austin in 2006 (again with a major storm delaying flights into DFW), and then JetBlue most recently on Valentines Day of 2007 (where, let's not forget, that airplanes and jet-tugs were literally frozen to the ground). [Source] Everybody recognizes that these are frustrating situations to find oneself in...the question is: What can be done about it.
This event I went to in '99 brings all the big-cheeses in the company to these new Captains to offer their perspective on their parts of the company, and to answer very frank questions about the direction of the company. [Another brief digression...It takes a lot to become an airline pilot, and as a result, pilots are generally driven, focused individuals. We often believe that we could be successful at anything we tried. This can lead to a bit of arrogance...and in the case of new Captain posing questions to a CEO, the questions often come with more than a bit of attitude.] A question was asked of our CEO at the time (who has since departed) who he was supporting in the 2000 Presidential race. Answer: Al Gore.
However after this, he digressed into the PBoR thingi and what he saw for the future. He said then that the industry was moving 700-800 million passengers per year, and that the forecast growth of airline travel had the industry hitting it's capacity in the next 8-10 years (essentially now). When we hit capacity, there would be all kinds of cries for the government to "do something" to correct these problems. He said that he didn't believe it would matter which party was in power at the time...the government would have to do something.
I don't care what industry you're in, you can't operate at capacity forever. General Petraeus knows that he can't keep The Surge working past next spring. General Motors knows that you can only make cars and trucks so fast for so long. If you encounter one little problem, it throws a giant monkey wrench into the operation. There is no flexibility to adapt to the inevitable problems which will crop up.
Collier, after becoming frustrated at Delta over their changing policies, says: "I'll never be back". Delta (and every other airline) can change their policies-- at will--because they know that for every passenger who says "I'll never be back", there is at least one other passenger who has said the same thing to one of Delta's competitors. Collier isn't the only blogger with problems with Delta...Glenn Reynolds has had them too. Collier and Reynolds also both touch on something else: Uncaring employees. Not to offer a defense of poor customer-service in a customer-service industry, but I will appeal for a bit of understanding. Airline employees have seen jobs lost, their wages slashed, and their retirements disappeared. Couple that with watching more-than-a-few senior executives flee with extravagant golden parachutes, and a public which often seems to want a Waldorf-Astoria experience at a Motel-6 price, and a less-than-caring airline employee might be understandable.
Southwest can remove these two young ladies dressed as trollips (Thank you, Paris Hilton), because they know that by doing so, they'll please more than a few other passengers.
I hope the reader will not infer that these problems are limited to Northwest, Delta, JetBlue or Southwest.
I submit that the airline industry is operating very near to it's capacity. What you're seeing here is evidence of a systemic problem.
The FAA has very recently said that the airlines need to reduce "over-scheduling". The airlines will respond: "If the flights are all very full (see the "11-year Summary"), then how will reducing flights make things better? We're only offering what the public wants." The analysts will offer that (scroll down to "Announcing: The Marie Antoinette Solution To Airline Delays" and read the whole thing):
"... Delays are caused by flight volumes that the FAA Administrator's ineptly-managed ATC system cannot handle. Airlines are not adding a flood of extra sections for the holidays, so the number of aircraft flying across the nation will be about the same as last week-end, and the week-end before that...." [emphasis mine]The solution here is long and complex, and a fast-food public won't want to hear it.
If you want the air travel system you're seeking, we've got to build more runways. Lots and lots of them. This will take both time (locating sites for new airport facilities and fighting the inevitable NIMBYs) and money (tax dollars). Boyd is right: The FAA needs to update their Air Traffic Control system. This has been occurring, but at a dial-up pace in a world used to their high-speed connections (pun only somewhat intended). For those with the means, please do not fall for the folly of the Very Light Jet phenomenon. While on the surface it may appear that you'll be skipping the security lines and the wonder of your chances of making that Atlanta/Dallas/Chicago major airline connection, these VLJs will do more to clog up an already slow system than anything we've seen in decades. The airlines could do a better job of scheduling (read: build enough time into your trip to allow for the flexibility that the system doesn't have today), but this will cost the public too. An idle airplane is like an idle factory: It isn't making money. The airline industry is only now getting out of the predicament where nearly 40% of the industry was either in- or near- bankruptcy. They don't have the excess profit margins to offer this gratis to the public. You want good service? Great. How much are you willing to pay to deal with an employee who isn't surly? The good service you get at the Waldorf doesn't come just with the territory. Those employees are well paid.
I offer this all not to dispute that passengers don't have a right to be frustrated at air travel today (you do), but rather as another perspective on these frustrations and what it will take to get to the service level both passengers and this pilot would like to engage in.
But as I said, this year, I chose to be at work. I guess because this anniversary fell on a Tuesday, I got caught up in wanting to stand up and say: "Al Qaeda...We're still here. You can't knock us down." So, this year, for me, 9/11 fell on the last day of a three-day trip.
Anyway here, in no particular order, are more Random Thoughts...
- The Democrat-led Congress had scheduled themselves to receive their report from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker over 9/11. This seemed to me to be an intentional poke at President Bush.
- While at this point it should not come as a surprise to rational person, Move-on.org found a way to plumb new depths.
- The Democrats, and especially the Democrats running for President, cannot find it in themselves to distance themselves from these nutcases.
- Some of the Democrats are nutcases themselves. How they continue to be re-elected is beyond me.
- Despite this, Petraeus and Crocker absolutely slayed the nay-sayers.
- Gerard, in his always-wonderful essays, offers some remembrances and observations. A wonderful picture. Our wounds. And finally, questions whether we remember that we're at war.
Here is the tie tac that I wear every day while I am at work.
(Click to enlarge)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
I'm not quite certain when or where I took this photo (it's been in my phone for a while), but I think it was in New York City near Madison Square Garden maybe a year and a half ago.
If it is not obvious, you are looking at the door to an armored car.
Note the bottom left corner of the window.
Specifically, note the bullet splash in the glass. Not one of those cute stickers but a real bullet splash.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
"...The trend is an outgrowth of the tendency to lionize CEOs as critical to the businesses they lead. If their performance is so vital, the researchers say, investors should want to know anything that could affect it...."
"...[The three finance professors] were able to track links between CEO-family deaths and the companies' profitability over a decade.
It slid by about one-fifth, on average, in the two years after the death of a CEO's child, and by about 15 percent after the death of a spouse...."
"...A study [Yermack] co-wrote looked at executives' home purchases. It found that on average, the stocks of companies run by leaders who buy or build megamansions sharply underperform the market...." [emphases mine]
So, why did this pique my interest? Since you asked, I'll tell you.
John Edwards is running for President. Essentially, CEO of the country. A while back, I wrote of how the recurrance of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer, in an uncurable form, will affect his chances at the polls. I repeat my sincere wish for her health, but the numbers do not lie: She is dying right before our eyes. The Edwards also just moved into what can fairly be described as a "megamansion".
I have fundamental differences with John Edwards' political positions. Yet on these two counts, "investing" in a company with John Edwards as CEO does not seem to be a rational investment.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Oh, wait. He's gone, isn't he?
Maybe this is just a good thing to do. And if raises the blood pressure of Harry Reid or Hillary Clinton, then well...c’est la vie.
The D's and the MSM are, even at this late date, still learning that Bush has some tricks up his sleeve, and that he deeply loves our troops.
And here I begin to see how all this connects.
The world is on the cusp of a world-wide financial and monetary crisis. I don't know what to do about it, but millions of others are going to be caught totally unawares.
Related: I often wonder if I were an African villager or a guy living paycheck-to-paycheck in Detriot, if I wouldn't have better skills at living with the upheavals that may be about to be on us than a guy of some modest means and an understanding of what is happening around him.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
I've seen TDBFB in bookstores, and have briefly looked at it, but not having a son (or grandson) of an age who would benefit from it today, I really haven't looked at it deeply. It seems to be a great gift for a guy like myself who would like to give a son a glimpse of the glories of Danger.
But, courtesy of Gerard, I see that TDBFB includes some less-than-manly topics...for instance: "How to Marble Paper". Gerard also directs the reader to Sippican Cottage, who offers his modern-day version: The Borderline Sociopathic Book for Boys, and the companion blog, The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys. Do read both.
Ah. Childhood. Sweet memories of burning bugs with any means possible, drawing pictures of guns and tanks and fighter jets, making gunpowder with my chemistry set, and shooting my brother with my BB gun.