Monday, August 31, 2015

Yes, I've been farming

I did go to The Farm last weekend (not the one that ended yesterday, the weekend before that) but I just haven't gotten around to posting about it. I also went to The Farm this most recently past weekend -- both days. Damn near killed me. But I'll get to that. First, the two-weekends-ago post.

 Naturally, Jeb the Wonder Dog went with me, poking his snout out the window as we drove to The Farm:

Turns out we've been having deer-protector problems and, as a consequence, deer problems. The motion-activated sprinklers that are supposed to be scaring off the deer apparently haven't been working, so the deer have been walking through the beds. Also, eating stuff, but I'll have more on that in another post:

On the other hand, the first crop of broccoli is doing well:

I also planted peas in the recently harvested onion bed, and watered the shit out of it. Yes, I know it just looks like dirt. Trust me, there are pea plants in there, just waiting to bust loose:

I returned to The Farm Saturday and Sunday and damn near killed myself. There was a lot of weeding and harvesting to be done of some very labor-intensive crops. The temperature was high. Both days, I busted my ass, went home, took a shower and went to bed right after cooking dinner. That sun will take it right out of you. So will drinking beer in the hot sun. But I digress.

Saturday, I had to weed the potato bed. I don't know what Farmer Tom and his family were up to this summer, but it wasn't weeding:

This is my haul of weeds from that bed:

I went home after that Herculean effort and died. Had to come back Sunday to actually harvest the potatoes. For those of you who have never wielded a potato fork, let me tell you it is hard fucking work. Put the temperature at 90-plus, and, yeah, I went home and died again. But first, I harvested a bunch of potatoes. Pretty good crop:

Probably would have been better if the weeds hadn't been allowed to take over. Oh well. I then turned my attention to the squash bed, which is done for the year. I took down the fence around the bed:

I was too old, weak and tired to pull up all the fence stakes by myself. Fortunately, Son of Farmer Tom helped:

Then I sprayed Round-up all over the damn thing, because I'll be damned if I try weeding that like I weeded the potato bed. There is a limit to how many times a person can go home and die in one week:

 There is more farming still to come. Most of what I have been doing is watering stuff because it refuses to rain around here. I also am deal with what appears to be a near-total failure of pollination of the second and third bean crops, as well as serious deer-munching on said crops. All to come in future posts. Stay tuned.

You'd think we'd get used to insensitivity in this business, but this instance was pretty impressive

This project has been plugging along and late last week we were told that we had about two weeks to go, hours still the same except for Labor Day weekend, when we would be off all three days. That kind of advance notice on hours planning is generally encouraging, as it shows an expectation of continued work on the part of the firm. Yeah, well, so much for that.

About two hours before quitting time today, the staff attorney who is our main point of contact (not to be confused with our fifth point of contact*) with the firm came in and said, "I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, you're going to have a nice, long holiday weekend." At this point, I already knew where we were going, and so I said, "And the bad news is because it starts tomorrow?" Ding ding ding -- give that man a kewpie doll. Got it on the first try.

Obviously, this woman, herself a former contract attorney, was uncomfortable and had no idea how to break this unexpected bad news to us. She tried to dress it up, stressing that there was more work to come after the holiday weekend, but there really is no good way to let a bunch of people know gently that you've just fucked them royally in their efforts to make a living. I had, in the last few days, turned down two projects scheduled to start tomorrow because they were short term and had no overtime, while this gig has OT and would be going for a while longer. Big mistake. Now I'm desperately seeking another project starting this week, because I refuse to reward perfidy by still being available when this shit show resumes. My odds are not good.

It does not make me feel better to have said earlier in the day that I was pretty sure Rule No. 1 was in play and that they were lying about how much work was left. It would have been nice to be wrong.

* For those of you not familiar with the expression, your first four points of contact (with the earth, dummies) are your hands and feet. If your back is to the ground, your fifth point of contract is . . . figure it out.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Puerto Rico, come on down!

Maybe somebody was just looking for porn, maybe somebody is hoping to find a job as a contract attorney because the territory is in the fiscal toilet, maybe somebody just digs wolves. How would I know? But somebody from Puerto Rico checked in, the first visitor from the U.S. possession. That sounds so colonial, which is why I used it -- I hope it drives our progressive readers batshit. Actually, I doubt I have many progressive readers. I am aware of only one. But I digress.

Puerto Rico has dropped by, and now must receive the Eff You welcome it so richly deserves. So here it is:
[O][fficially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, literally the "Free Associated State of Puerto Rico"), is a United States territory located in the northeastern Caribbean. Puerto Rico is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands. The capital and largest city is San Juan. The territory does not observe daylight saving time, and its official languages are Spanish, which is predominant, and English.
Puerto Rico's rich history, warm tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, renowned traditional cuisine and attractive tax incentives make it a popular destination for tourists, academics, and business visitors. Because of its location in the Caribbean and history of colonization, Puerto Rico's culture is a melting pot of Taíno, Spanish, African and North American influences.
The island is tropical, the weather is nice, tourism is huge and hey have some nice old Spanish ruins. Plus the commonwealth is bankrupt. So anyway, welcome, don't bring your bankruptcy with you when you come to the US. Glad you came by. I guess. Frankly, I'm in favor of giving you the independence you so richly deserve.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Need more proof that Russia's new stealth fighter sucks? Got it right here

The vaunted Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA fifth-generation stealth fighter is a steaming heap that can't compete with U.S. fifth-generations fighters, despite what critics might say about the F-35, such as here and here.. If you doubt this, ask India, which is seriously upset that it is paying billions for a piece of shit. And if you don't believe India, ask Russia, which apparently is already trying to develop a new fifth-generation fighter to replace the sack of crap that it hasn't even deployed yet:
Turns out, the dreaded Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA is not the only fifth-generation fighter jet under development by Russia. The PAK FA is expected to enter services in 2017. But the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG is developing yet another cutting-edge lightweight fifth generation fight jet. The new lightweight fighter jet will be based on Mikoyan Project 1.44 (NATO reporting name: Flatpack), reports Sputnik News.
The problem is, even this new project relies on technology developed nearly two decades ago:
The Mikoyan Project 1.44 was meant to develop an alternative to the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) project of the United States that led to the development of Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. The aircraft made its first flight in 2000. It boasted of stealth technology, advanced avionics, super-cruise, and super-maneuverability. However, Russia shut down the project over a decade ago.
Ultimately, the short-coming here is that Russia lacks the funding to develop something  truly new, and so it is recycling old ideas and pretending they are new, competitive aircraft that are superior to what the U.S. is fielding.. It simply isn't true. The so-called new fighter will be no such thing:
On Tuesday, MiG CEO Sergei Korotkov said that the company will use the experience gained from the Project 1.44 to develop the new fifth-generation fighter jet. He added that the new plane will also use some of the technology developed for MiG-35 (Fulcrum-F) air superiority fighter. The new fifth-generation jet is supposed to replace the ageing MiG-29, which was first introduced in 1983.
Project 1.44 and the MiG-35 both are simply upgrades of the MiG-29. Just as upgrades have improved the F-16 and F-15 for the U.S., these upgrades likely will improve the MiG-29, but it still will be just an improved MiG-29. That's a fine fighter for its day, but both the F-16 and the F-15 could kick its ass when it was new, and they can kick its ass now. So can the F-22 and F-35, both of which are true fifth-generation fighters. It would appear that what Russia is developing now is simply a fourth-generation-plus fighter, much like the FA-18 upgrades that we call the Super Hornet. Great plane, but not fifth-generation.

The fact that Russia already is trying to develop a new fifth-generation fighter before its first one is even deployed says a lot. Frankly, I don't think either one will prove to be a true fifth-generation fighter. It's not easy to create one on paper. It's even harder to create one in the real world. It doesn't sound like Russia has managed to do that so far.

I guess Hillary envies Ted Cruz's street cred

A lot of folks missed this the first time around, but there was a pretty good photoshop of Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz that was either intended to give him street cred, or to ridicule him:

He embraced it, and it gave him street cred. Can't remember where I got this (I've been sitting on it for a few weeks because it makes me cringe) but somebody did the same kind of photoshop on Hillary!, although I don't think street cred was their goal:

Yeah, sorry about that. Cringe away.

I post the cute kit-tay photos because I can

Mischief, the third M, is the newest and youngest of our kit-tays, and easily the favorite of Mrs. Wolves. Personally, I would feed all of the M's to Jeb, but they would probably rip him to shreds, as he is a little bit of a wimp. In any event, Mischief is currently winning the Cute Olympics at Chez Wolves:

Murder, who used to routinely occupy that spot, is less enamored of this activity than, say, Mrs. Wolves. Mayhem still has her favorite spot and so is less concerned.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Must be almost time for college football

A friend of mine who is a fan of Ohio State University recently received an email from a friend of his who is a fan of Penn State. Both schools, obviously, are in the Big 10, which is now the Big 97 or some such shit, because there damn sure ain't just 10 schools in the Big 10. But I digress. In any event, here is the picture that the Penn State guy emailed to the OSU guy:

Yeah, let the games begin. (Double click on the image to enlarge.)

This is why Mischief almost went with Cpl. Wolves

Because she's ridiculously cuddly, that's why:

No, really:

Even Married Into Wolves was ready to test her allergies to keep this kitten. Alas, allergies won. So Mischief is back at Chez Wolves. Which means she is at the mercy of Murder and Mayhem, right? Maybe not:

They seem to be getting along OK at this point. Mischief is fearless, and Murder and Mayhem respect that. Plus, any cat that wants to spend lots of time in the window is cool with M&M. So now we have 3M. I think that puts us one cat away from "crazy cat people." Not happening. No matter what this looks like:

Our European correspondent tells us what he did for his summer vacation

 Editor's note: Our European correspondent went on summer vacation and happened to touch upon a Raised by Wolves obsession: old fortifications. Fortunately for me, he sent pictures and a narrative. Here it is:

Eff You European Correspondent
I hope things are well. As you might have noticed, traffic from Denmark has been a bit on the light side for a couple of weeks. We got the opportunity to borrow a “sommerhus” (a beach or summer house), and we took full advantage of that to get away from home for a bit. Internet access was spotty at best.

Not far from the house was an old Renaissance stronghold from the 1600s. I took a couple of pics, as you said at some point that you like old fortifications.

The place is called Hals Skanse, and is situated by the mouth of a fiord that serves as a channel into the interior of Jutland. A nice place from which to shoot up evil invaders attacking from the sea. (And what is Jutland, you ask? It’s the mitten-shaped bit of Denmark).
The fort is quite small and not much is left of the original buildings. It was built in the classical Renaissance “Star” shape, allowing for fire along the walls of the fort. The moat and some of the cannons are still there. The fort is in the middle of a small town.

The moat and earthworks:

A cannon from the period:

The cannoneer’s view. The harbour area visible on the photo was built centuries later than the fort:

A casemate for storing gunpowder:

The original layout of the fort:

The fort was attacked (and taken?) by the Germans, the Swedes and the Brits during a couple of centuries of warfare. The Germans again used it for their local commandant in the 1940’s, and the last Germans in Denmark surrendered here several days after the war was over in Europe.

The Nazi Germans built several bunkers of their own nearby. I briefly explored them with my son. They were in quite decent shape, and oddly, above ground. The Nazis built a gun emplacement, observation bunker, and two personnel bunkers in one cluster.

Nearby they built two bunkers for anti-aircraft guns. I believe a few Allied planes were shot down by fire from these AA guns. The AA gun emplacements were on the roof of the bunkers. I only took this one pic, as the camera battery died. This is my son approaching the lower entrance to an AA gun emplacement bunker:

This particular specimen seem to have been set on fire at some point after the war. Perhaps for fire fighting drills?

And that is how I spent my summer…

Monday, August 24, 2015

Jeb and the beanstalks

Jeb the Wonder Dog ventured into the soybean field next to our house the other day. Any questions?

Still rolling through Central America

Guatemala checks in, y'all, confirming my utter domination of Latin America, South and Central. Yeah, Guatamala. First-time visitor to Eff You, so we gotta do the welcome:

Guatemala . . . officially the Republic of Guatemala (Spanish: República de Guatemala), is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, Honduras to the east and El Salvador to the southeast. With an estimated population of around 15.8 million, it is the most populous state in Central America. A representative democracy, Guatemala's capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.
Guatemala has been in a state of civil war, realistically speaking, since it became independent. Add it up:
Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved in 1841.
From the mid to late 19th century, Guatemala endured chronic instability and civil strife. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. In 1944, one such authoritarian leader, Jorge Ubico, was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating the ten-year Guatemalan Revolution, which led to sweeping social and economic reforms. The revolution was ended by a U.S.-backed military coup in 1954.
From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala underwent a bloody civil war fought between the U.S.-backed government and leftist rebels, which included massacres of the Mayan population perpetrated by the former in the Ixil Triangle.[6][7] Since the end of the war, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections, though it continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, crime, drug trade, and instability.
So, basically, from about 1841 until 1996, the country was either in a state of civil war or ruled by a military dictatorship backed by the people who brought you Chiquita bananas. I like bananas as much as the next guy, but that shit sucks.

Things have improved since the civil war ended in 1996, with respectable economic growth. Tourism is an important industry, along with agriculture. And, of course, there is a thriving trade in sending unaccompanied children to cross illegally into the U.S., where Emperor Barry I welcomes the newest, youngest Democratic voters with open arms. I always knew that bastard was a Journey fan.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Fiscal Times gets punked on the F-35

The Fiscal Times, widely viewed as a conservative publication, appears to have been suckered with respect to the F-35. Relying heavily on a "study" by the National Security Network -- and not much else -- the FT reported recently that the F-35 is a dog and a waste of money. The problem with relying on a defense spending study by the NSN, of course, is that they self-describe as "progressive" and are basically opposed to defense spending in general. Reading the FT article gives no indication that the "study" had any actual basis in fact. The article simply regurgitates the "conclusions" of the "study" while ignoring that the study does not actually include any facts:
A new report by a progressive think-tank says the astronomically expensive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is inferior compared to other “near-peer” competitors and will be mismatched against emerging threats.
The study by the National Security Network states the jet, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history, will not only be outmaneuvered and outgunned by Russian and Chinese aircraft but will also be limited in range and its stealth capabilities will be easily overcome.
Normally, when reading a couple paragraphs like that, you would expect to see somewhere in the article facts and figures supporting those assertions about how the F-35 is about to get it's ass kicked. The report claims that the F-35 can't dogfight with top Russian and Chinese fighters -- a proposition unproven, because the testing restrictions haven't been lifted on the F-35 yet in the dogfighting tests conducted. Further, the F-35 has only been tested against the F-16, and the top Russian and Chinese fighters also cannot compete with the F-16. With all restrictions on testing lifted, it is not at all clear that the F-35 is not a superior dogfighting aircraft compared to the F-16 and, by extension, any foreign aircraft it might have to face. Finally, the F-35 is not designed to go head-to-head, fangs-out in a dogfight with another plane. It is designed to kill the other plane before the other plane knows the F-35 is even there.

On this front, too, the NSN "study" claims the F-35 fails, based once again on speculation, not actual study:
[T]he F-35’s stealth avionics and sensors might not make much of difference against the fighters operated by Russia and China, since those countries have made strides in radar, computing, and infrared sensor technology, the NSS report states.
Presumably, the NSN is referring to the Russian T-50 and the Chinese J-20, those nations attempts at fifth-generation fighters. Well, they ain't doing so hot. For China, the problem is engines:
Engines are a critically important component of any fighter aircraft, and they present Chinese airplane manufacturers with a dilemma. Their new fifth-generation fighter prototypes, the Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31, sport sophisticated airframes and avionics that are clearly intended to make them a match for the United States’ most advanced aircraft. However, China’s ability to manufacture jet engines has not kept pace with other sectors of its aerospace industry. Regardless of how capable other Chinese aircraft systems may be, without a reliable, high-performance turbofan engine to power them, both the J-20 and the J-31 will be crippled.
The Chinese can't make good jet engines. Period. And their fighters will only be as good as their engines -- or the better engines they can buy from the Russians. If you think the Russians will sell China enough jet engines to make China's air force a threat to Russia, you really haven't been paying attention.

As for the Russians, their plane is being test-driven by a potential customer, and the customer is not happy:
Russia’s new T-50 stealth fighter is fast, maneuverable, heavily-armed and hard to detect on radar. In theory.
But according to Indian air force officials, in practice the Sukhoi-made stealth jet is also too expensive, poorly engineered and powered by old and unreliable engines.
The Indians’ complaints illustrate the yawning gulf between stealth warplane design and the actual production of radar-evading jets. In other words, it’s one thing to sketch an advanced warplane on paper. It’s quite another to build one and get it to work.
The fact is, National Security Network is a left-wing, self-describe progressive group that opposes defense spending. Any "analysis" they conduct will conclude, without exception, that U.S. spending on (fill in the blank here with the most expensive U.S. weapons system of the day) is foolhardy because it can't compete with whatever whoever is already putting in the field. The fact is, the F-35 is a more capable fighter than the F-16 and the F-15. It certainly is a more capable fighter than anything our enemies can put in the air,  now or in the foreseeable future. We're better at this shit than they are.

Should we have put all of our eggs in one basket and made the F-35 a one-size-fits-all fighter for every military branch? No. Almost undoubtedly not. Should we have stopped production of the F-22 air superiority stealth fighter? Absolutely not. But we did, on both counts. We're stuck with the F-35, because nothing we have in the inventory can stay in the air long enough to develop a different replacement. We should keep the A-10 for close air support, and we should renew production of the F-22 for air superiority, and let the F-35 fill the role of the F-16. It is not a bad aircraft. Can we do better? Yeah, probably. But not soon, and not if we try another one-size-fits-all approach.  We need to return to procuring aircraft designed for a particular role. In the meantime, quit worrying about the F-35: no one we are likely to fight anytime soon, including Russia and China, can match it.

Basically, The Fiscal Times got taken in by a group with essentially no military expertise. The NSN starts from the premise that defense money is better spent on more "progressive" goals, like single-payer health care or some such, and then trashes defense spending in general under the guise of a "study" that had its conclusion before it was started. Well, fuck 'em.

The fastest white boy in the league ain't moving so good right now

The joke around the Wolves household for several NFL seasons now has revolved around Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers' top wide receiver. Every time Nelson made a catch, I would say, "Jordy Nelson, fastest white boy in the league," and Mrs. Wolves would tell me to stop saying that. Naturally, I trained Married Into Wolves to help me out. I would say "Jordy Nelson" and Married Into Wolves would say "Fastest white boy in the league." Mrs. Wolves really couldn't do anything about that.

Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers did. Jordy Nelson went down today with what appears to be a season-ending injury. I don't think this kills the Packers Super Bowl hopes -- Aaron Rodgers turns mediocre receivers into good ones, and good ones into great ones. The Packers have a lot of good receivers on the roster. People will have to step up. But I still hope Jordy isn't done for the year, if only so that Married Into Wolves and I can irritate Mrs. Wolves with our schtick. Guess we'll know soon enough. Maybe Jeff Janis can be the new "fastest white boy in the league."

If I sold swag, would you buy it?

I'm thinking of having some T-shirts made. Probably be in the $12-$15 range, depending upon volume and what kind of deal I can get. I'm going to put up a poll, and you can respond through the comments. Anybody interested? Also, commenters can provide design suggestions. Fire away.

This pains me, but it wasn't Marines who jacked up the French train jihadi

Apparently, it was an Air Force guy, a dude in the National Guard and a civilian. Mind you, my hat is off to everyone who serves this country. It just stays off longer for people who join branches of the military where they are more likely to get shot at. Which makes it that much more impressive that an Air Force puke jumped right in where angels fear to tread:
(CNN) -- A Kalashnikov assault weapon with nine magazines of ammunition, a Luger automatic pistol with extra ammo and a box cutter were carried by the man who attempted to attack a packed high-speed passenger train, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday.
With that kind of firepower, a massacre might have occurred if three American friends traveling together and a British passenger had not tackled, beaten and tied up the suspect, authorities said.
Of the Americans, two are U.S. servicemembers. Spencer Stone serves in the Air Force and Alek Skarlatos is a member of the Oregon National Guard. The third American is Anthony Sadler, a college student.
Naturally, CNN gets the description of the weapons wrong -- the Luger is a semi-automatic, not an automatic -- but they accurately describe the bad-ass-iness of the guys who jacked up the jihadi. Air Force. Damn. Go Blue, I guess. Seems like a natural thing, though, that Americans were the ones willing to step up and fuck up a terrorist, even though they were unarmed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

He isn't a soldier, dammit, he's a Marine, and he's a 100 percent BAD-ASS!

Some Moroccan jihadi with an AK-47 tried to shoot up a train in France and got jacked up by some U.S. Marines who happened to be on the train. Oh, yeah -- they also happened to be unarmed:
A US Marine who foiled a terrorist attack on a French-bound train was shot in the neck while disarming the crazed gunman.
The marine, one of two unarmed servicemen, spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to arm his weapon in the toilet of the high speed train between Amsterdam and Paris.
The gunman got on the train in Brussels and attempted his attack soon after crossing the French border.
The 26-year-old Moroccan national, who was known to security services, came out of the toilet brandishing the gun and opened fire. Fortunately, the Marines were nearby and overpowered him before he could massacre passengers.
The suspected terrorist had at least nine full magazines of ammunition holding almost 300 rounds. He was also carrying a knife.
Unfortunately, one of the Marines was shot although his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
You gotta do more to a Marine than shoot him once in the neck if you want to put him down. Sounds like they just did Marine stuff to me:
Speaking in Arras, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the Marines for their timely intervention.
He said: 'Thanks to them we have averted a drama. '(The Americans were) particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.'
The man was arrested by police near the town of Arras in northern France.
Belgian journalist Marin Buxant Tweeted that the US Marines were on leave in Brussels when they spotted the man and followed him on the train. When the suspect went into the toilet, the Marines recognised the sound of a weapon being armed and decided to act immediately.
Of course they recognized the sound of an AK-47 being loaded -- they're trained that way:

OK, an AK-47 being loaded sounds pretty much like any other external magazine rifle being loaded. Still, good for the Marines to act on their suspicions, saving who knows how many lives, and good that the injured Marine apparently will be OK. While The Daily Mail used a headline referring to the Marine as a "soldier," the paper wisely and correctly called the men who halted the attack "Marines" in the body of the article. Semper Fi, y'all.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way to the coronation

It looks like Hillary! is in deep doo-doo over her efforts to avoid public records laws while she was Secretary of State. A guy at Commentary Magazine is even asking, "Is Hillary Clinton Finished?" The question is not just click-bait:
That may seem like a wildly premature question in the summer of the year before the presidential election. To which I would respond: It’s too early to know the answer the question, but it’s not too early to ask it.
I say that because the extraordinary developments surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s private email server, which we now know contained material classified as Top Secret and is now in the hands of the FBI. It was on August 11 that the FBI took possession of Clinton’s server hardware and three thumb drives in her lawyer’s possession, which are said to contain copies of everything she turned over to the State Department. In addition, experts say that tens of thousands of emails she deleted may be recoverable. Which means Mrs. Clinton has now lost control over events, which is precisely what she was trying to ensure when she created her own homebrew computer system in the first place.
He goes on to lay out recent events that make it clear that Hillary's campaign has some serious issues ahead of it, not least of which is the potential incarceration of the candidate. Nobody believes a Clinton will actually be made to pay the full price for crimes committed, but things are not going well for Hillary on that front, and escaping jail time is not the standard by which this country normally chooses presidents. Hell, even the Washington Post's Chris Cilliza -- not exactly a conservative -- thinks Hillary is fucking this up. And who wears prison colors to claim they've done nothing wrong?

Let's face it: nobody does sincere reactions like Hillary:

If she had a sincere bone in her body, maybe she wouldn't always looks so fake. But she doesn't, so she does. And this is all the Democrats have?

You're going to hear from this guy, too

I already pimped for Chris Janson and "Buy Me A Boat," and now that he is on the verge of hitting No. 1 on the country charts, I feel qualified to put forward Drake White. I am, after all, clearly destined for a late-life career as an A&R man (artists and repertoire) for a record label, spotting new talent. And this guy has got it:

If you ain't dancin', you ain't listenin'.

OK, not passing through

The new kitty, recently sent to live with Cpl. Wolves and Married Into Wolves, is back. Apparently allergy medicine and kitty wipes weren't enough to overcome Married Into Wolves' allergies to cats, and so back she came. I think she was named Artemis by the folks we got her from, but we're calling her Mischief. Fits in with Murder and Mayhem, after all. So Mischief, part of the M-cat family again, naturally did what the M-cats do: She went to sit in the front window:

I'm sure she'll fit right in:

Ain't she cute?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This really is a shitty way to make a living

As projects go, this one actually is better than most. We have a good rate (for the times, anyway), overtime available and they leave us alone. Even though we are actually at the law firm, the firm almost never checks in on us and the agency never does. Being left alone is good. So, for the most part, this project is OK.

Of course, we have our tense moments. Because the project was advertised as 2-3 weeks (and we hit two weeks tomorrow), speculation is rampant about when the ax will fall. Last week, we were told on Wednesday that there had been no decision on weekend hours, or even whether we would continue with overtime. That led to near-panic that we were about to get cut -- until later that afternoon, when we were told the overtime was there and so were the weekend hours.

Today, we got an email letting us know that there would be an announcement later in the morning. Again, panic. But when the announcement came, it was almost all administrative crap about signing in and out properly and shit like that. And that we would have weekend hours as before and the cap is at 60 hours total, as before. Status quo with a side of administrative bullshit, in other words.

Which leaves us still wondering when the ax will fall. We know we have this week, through the weekend. After that? Who knows? Guess we'll find out.

She was just passing through

This isn't a cat blog -- unless I say it is, of course -- but we had another kitten pass through this week. Mrs. Wolves was hoping to keep this one, but she moved on to live with Cpl. Wolves and Married Into Wolves. Apparently, they have a strategy to control the allergic effect on Married Into Wolves. Of course, if that doesn't work, I suppose that Mischief will rejoin Murder and Mayhem here. As it is, Mischief, the sweet black kit-tay on the right, is currently named Artemus or something. Here, though, she is face to face with Murder, who finally accepted her into the family:

Mayhem was not as welcoming, although I think she was coming around.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Weeding and watering, y'all, weeding and watering

That's what growing stuff is all about this time of year, and, yes, I went to The Farm both days this weekend. Yes, I did a lot of weeding and watering. Also some harvesting and some planting, but mostly weeding and watering.

So here's how it went. I checked out the pumpkins (the ones I never planted). They looked good:

So I put some water on them. Then I checked out the broccoli. It look good, so I put some water on it:

And I weeded the broccoli and the empty bed next to it. I planted some spinach in the empty bed. And I put some water on it:

I checked out bean crops Nos. 2 and 3. No. 2 is flowering, No. 3 is close behind. You might be detecting a pattern here. I put some water on them:

The carrots are mostly out, as Farmer Tom's family harvests a few every day. I have harvested and frozen some, eaten others. This is what is left, and all of them are much bigger than what we got last year in the old location. To celebrate this success, I put some water on them:

The former garlic beds were empty, except for the whole weeds thing:

This struck me as a waste of space, so I weeded the shit out of those beds. Then I planted some radishes. Then I put some water on it:

I had two empty beds from Bean Crop No. 1. In one of those beds, I planted some broccoli and cauliflower plants I got at Southern States on Saturday. Then I put some water on it:

In the second bed left empty by the final harvest of Bean Crop No. 1, I planted some peas for fall harvest. And, yeah, I put some water on it:

All in all, not a bad two afternoons. Harvested some tomatoes and peppers, and I'm making hot sauce tonight with some of that. Already jarred some tomatoes, and turned some into tomato pie yesterday. Basically, all this bounty is being put to good use. Made some dill pickles, but got the cukes for that from another friend, as my cucumber plants succumbed to too much tomato shade. Gotta find a place for them next year.

Next week, probably going to harvest the potatoes, maybe put some more peas in the empty onion bed. We'll see. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The new bridge is starting to look more bridge-like

The county is building a new, bigger, straighter bridge across Lake Linganore on Boyers Mill Road, and it is starting to look bridge-ish:

That picture is taken through the windshield of a moving vehicle piloted by the photographer. Please, kids, don't try this at home. Even if you are wearing your Mr. Science lab coat. Not sure when it will be finished, but the bridge will eliminate the horseshoe curve to the right that currently takes you across this narrow neck of the lake (and takes the road out of the frame in this picture). There is another local bridge project that I hope to photograph soon, perhaps this weekend. Not that any of you care, of course, but I like shit like that. Also, this is not a bridge-construction blog -- unless I say it is. Dissatisfied readers may refer to the title of the blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Who thought this was a good idea?

I have two dogs, as regular readers know: Jeb the Wonder Dog, a collie who weighs about 60 pounds, and Sadie the Auxiliary Back-up Dog, who weighs about 10 pounds. Needless to say, they use different leashes, especially since I often walk both at the same time.

Now, in their infinite wisdom, the makers of dog leashes -- and we're talking about retractable leashes here -- make the leashes of different sizes and strengths depending upon the weight of the dog to be walked. Big dogs = heavy-duty leash, small dog = light leash. This makes sense, of course -- at least when you are talking about the actual leash, string, whatever that attaches to the dog. When you're talking about the handset, though, somebody had a failure of imagination. As you can see, the big-dog leash is big, and the little-dog leash is little:

But did they think my hand would get smaller when walking the little dog? Seriously:

All of my fingers fit in the big-dog leash, while I can barely get three fingers in the small one. I understand why the cord is smaller in one than in the other, but my hand is the same size regardless of which dog I am walking. These leashes happen to be from the same manufacturer, but this disconnect applies to all makers. Who the fuck designed these things, and do they own dogs? Or have hands?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Frank Gifford, RIP. Turn Out The Lights.

Frank Gifford died the other day. I kept my mouth shut at first, he was a big part of my youth in some unusual ways. Gifford was a Hall of Fame NFL running back in the 1950s and early 1960s. He played for 12 seasons (a lot for a running back), won the NFL MVP award in 1956 and still holds many of the New York Giants' team rushing records.

His playing career, though, was before my time. He lives in my memory as a sports broadcaster, primarily as one of the three original hosts of Monday Night Football, along with former Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith and legendary sports broadcaster (and asshole) Howard Cosell. Everybody knew Dandy Don was getting hammered every Monday, but we find out through Glenn Beck (who is good friends with Gifford's widow, Kathie Lee Gifford) that Don wasn't alone:

GLENN: He said when that happened — he told me the story of when that happened and the times — he started telling stories about Monday Night Football. And the times that they would drink during the commercials. And he said, we were drunk almost every single Monday night.
PAT: You’re not kidding.
GLENN: No. No. He said they were hammered. The hosts.
PAT: Like Frank and Howard and Dan and Don were hammered?
GLENN: He said they were hammered.
STU: We have to try that on this show.
GLENN: Yeah. He said, every Monday night, we were hammered. He said, however, there was one night that we were more hammered than usual. And he said — I don’t remember which one of them threw up in a garbage can at their feet on the air. And the cameraman just — one of them was talking and kind of gave a sign like, I think I’m going to hurl. So they switched over to someone else. And he said, we could hear. I don’t know if Americans could hear it. He said, but we could hear him vomiting, he was so hammered.
STU: Oops.
Turns out Beck had interviewed Frank Gifford and got all kinds of fascinating information from that talk. Regardless of how you feel about Glenn Beck, it is worth it to read the entire transcript of their recent segment on Gifford. So RIP, Frank.

Even if we didn't know at the time that he wasn't alone, even as kids we all knew Don was pounded:

He sang that song at the end of the game every Monday night. We loved it.

Botswana? Am I that big in southern Africa?

Sure, I've had visitors from Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, and a whole bunch of North African nations, but I have to tell the truth, I was not expecting Botswana to drop by. Well, expectations be damned, everybody give a big Eff You welcome to first-time visitor Botswana:
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. . . . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966.[6] Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred metres long.
Mining of precious minerals, primarily diamonds, provides about half of government revenues. Exploration indicates gold, copper, uranium and oil also are present in viable quantities, and the government is supporting efforts to exploit these elements to reduce reliance on the diamond trade, as reserves are expected to peter out in the next 20 years or so.

Tourism appears to not be a big deal for Botswana. It has a lot of desert, apparently, and is landlocked, so the attractions are limited. Plus AIDS is a big problem. But they have a lot of nice museums in the major cities, so they have that going for them.

Botswana is among the most sparsely populated countries in the world, and used to be among the poorest, but now has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a pretty decent per-capita income, one of the highest in Africa. I guess it's good to have diamond mines.

Anyway, everybody give a big Eff You welcome to Botswana! Come again soon, and bring your friends.

Monday, August 10, 2015

These are the guys "protecting" the environment? Seriously?

Because the country is in the best of hands, naturally:
(CNN)A federal cleanup crew accidentally caused a big, and potentially hazardous, mess in Colorado, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
An estimated 1 million gallons of wastewater spilled out of an abandoned mine area in the southern part of the state on Wednesday, turning the Animas River orange and prompting the EPA to tell locals to avoid it.
Really, are these the people telling us we can't cook out in our back yards, that we can't do this or that with our property because there is a fucking mud puddle that qualifies as a "wetland," that we need to do without electricity because of carbon dioxide, which is plant food that every human on the planet emits copiously? Fuck 'em. Because this is what the guardians of our environment do to our rivers:

I guess if you're a fan of the University of Tennessee Volunteers, then orange rivers are cool. Or maybe not:
Officials said they believe the spill carried heavy metals, mainly iron, zinc and copper, from the mine into a creek that feeds into the Animas River. From there, the orange water plugged steadily along through the small stretch of winding river in southern Colorado and across the state border to New Mexico where the Animas meets the San Juan River. The EPA said it will continue to sample water downstream from the mine until the contamination has passed and it determines there are "no additional concerns for aquatic life or water users." When asked if the spill could affect drinking water, the EPA spokesperson said she did not yet know.
The list of what the EPA doesn't know could fill volumes. We absolutely must stop treating these people as authoritative and start treating them as the partisan ideologue hacks that they are.

Did a little farming this weekend

So, I went to The Farm this weekend -- twice. My main trip was on Saturday. Mostly I watered, but I did a survey of the crops and a little harvesting. Turns out that volunteer melon-like plant over by the tomatoes is a pumpkin plant. And it's doing OK:

There are at least four pumpkins on the vine. Here's a couple more:

The broccoli continues to do well. It requires frequent watering to get it through this hot dry spell, but I think it's going to make it:

Bean crop #2 is thriving:

And bean crop #3 is coming along, as well. Probably see some harvest from crop #2 in a couple weeks:

The hot, dry weather has been particularly well-received over in the pepper bed, however. The banana peppers continue to pump:

And the serranos also are cranking, as are the habanerors, the chilis and the bells:

As I mention, I did a little harvesting. Got me some carrots, lots of tomatoes, good number of habaneros, some zukes and a squash:

Sounds like more zucchini bread coming, as well as some hot sauce on the horizon. Stay tuned.

For my Sunday trip, I watered and grabbed a few more tomatoes. Not much else to do, really, although with Farmer Tom now off on the Appalachian Trail until October, I have three or four beds that need fall crops. Need to pick something soon. Suggestions?