mytopleft

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A tale of two counties

Every weekday, I drive across the county line into Montgomery County on my way to work, and every night I drive back across into Frederick County. Frederick County tends conservative, Montgomery is known as The People's Republic of Montgomery County. As you enter Frederick County, the sign at the county line says "Welcome to Frederick County." The sign put up at the county line by Montgomery County says "Traffic Laws Are Photo Enforced."

I think that tells you everything you need to know about the two.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

This might be your basic Blue Moon event

We have three cats in the Wolves household. Two of them are sisters, and they are as tight as can be. Regular readers know that I have posted innumerable pictures and videos of Murder and Mayhem being cute. Our third cat, Mischief, is not one of the sisters and largely holds herself apart from them. Lately, she has been spotted being more familial with them, bathing each other and what not. Today, however, we reached a new pinnacle of togetherness not heretofore seen:


That would be Mischief (the black cat) and Mayhem snuggled up, asleep. Wow.

Pondering the greatest guitar riffs of all time

I started wondering the other day, what are the greatest guitar riffs of all time? There are lots of candidates, and it is difficult to select them in any particular order. I have a few candidates for the best ever, though. I would not pretend to rank them, but I think all of these songs have to be in the conversation for greatest guitar riff ever.

Even if you are not ranking your choices, it is difficult not to mention this song first: "Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones:


OK, that's a pretty obvious choice. So is this one:


But enough of the Stones. We probably could go all night with them. Honky Tonk Women, anyone? Love that open G. Anyway, there are lots more candidates. Alice Cooper, for instance:


Turn that up. Really. You also have to consider Derek and the Dominos, which of course is just Eric Clapton, who was hoping George Harrison wouldn't realize Clapton was singing about banging Harrison's wife:


Yeah, George knew. Moving forward in the timeline, I think we have to give a nod to Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits. It's a live recording but, seriously, wait for it:


There are so many choices, I thought I should throw in at least a couple that you haven't thought of. Like Head East, "Never Been Any Reason:"


That's a no-shit great riff. So what else you going to put on the list? I thought about Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." I thought about "Highway to Hell" and "You Shook Me" by AC/DC. I thought about pretty much everything by Stevie Ray Vaughn. What would you put on the list?

A post on Brexit with a little help from my European correspondent

As you probably know, the United Kingdom held a referendum Thursday on whether to stay in the European Union and voted to leave. I choose not to provide a link, because all of the stories that come up are "news analysis" explaining why the people are just so wrong to have voted to leave the EU. Naturally, this elitist attitude is part of why Britons voted to leave the EU, but I digress.

Upon learning of the results, I sent an email to my European correspondent, RAF, that said: "Is this the end of the EU? I hope so. Am I wrong to think that?"

First, let me clarify that I view the EU as a step toward world government and the end of national sovereignty. I do not view the end of national sovereignty as a good thing, for this country or any other. So yes, I am opposed to the EU concept. even though I do not live in the EU, nor will I ever. But I asked, and this is how RAF responded:
I hope so, too. And I think it is. But it will take a while for the EU to collapse. The Eurocrats are too invested in the project to just let it die.
I think they’ll come up with something in an effort to keep the house of cards standing. Britain will be punished in some minor way, and then the Eurocrats will make all sorts of arrangements so that trade and such won’t suffer.
I don’t think much will happen before another country leaves the EU. And that will only come about by popular demand.
People might joke about the silly EU rules regarding the curvatures of cucumbers and such - but that won’t make people actively work to get out of EU. It takes a lot more to get people riled up to do anything about the EU. The EU is a very vague concept to most folks. Who cares about cucumbers, anyway?
The end of the EU might come about earlier if we get another summer of muslim invasion. The last “refugee crisis" opened some people’s eyes to how incompetent, costly and insane the EU project really is. A few more examples like that, and things will start to happen fast.
Denmark, where RAF lives, is one of the prime candidates for the next country to leave the EU. The Netherlands, France and a couple others also are on the list. I guess we'll see. If our current president had any nuts -- and I would be the last person to suggest he does -- we would already be signing a trade agreement with the UK. We aren't. Draw your own conclusions.

Happy Birthday, Chesty Puller

Lou Diamond might have been the perfect Marine, but nobody doubts that Chesty Puller was the Marine's Marine. Lewis Burwell Puller was born on this day in 1898. He died in 1971, having served the bulk of his life as a Marine. He remains the most-decorated Marine of all time and was awarded the Navy Cross five times. The Navy Cross is one step short of the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor that the United States gives. I'm not sure if Chesty is the only person ever to receive five Navy Crosses, but it wouldn't surprise me. It only surprises me that he never was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was one serious bad ass, and he believed in leading from the front. Unlike some presidents we might have who favor leading from behind (I'm looking at you, Barry.)

Chesty was a mustang -- a man who started as enlisted but earned an officer's commision -- who wound up a lieutenant general, the second-highest rank in the U.S. military. He served in some of the Marine Corps' most famous battles, including Guadalcanal and Peleliu during World War II, and Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Puller's 1st Marine Regiment was critical in getting the 1st Marine Division out of the grasp of more than seven Chinese divisions. There are various versions of the quote, but he is known to have said something along these lines at the time:
“All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”
Chesty was a bad ass. Happy birthday, Chesty, or, as Marines say nightly all over the world until this day, "Good night, Chesty Puller, where ever you are."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I couldn't have said it better myself

Back in March, a bunch of state attorneys general -- all Democrats, of course -- announced that they were going to start prosecuting "climate change deniers:"
A coalition of Democratic attorneys general in 16 states announced Tuesday an unprecedented campaign to pursue companies that challenge the catastrophic climate change narrative, raising concerns over free speech and the use of state authority to punish political foes.
Apparently, it never occurred to them that this might be just a tad beyond the limits imposed by the Constitution, but hey, they're Democrats, which means the Constitution is a set of suggestions, not the law of the land or anything like that. They ignore others who suggested they might be mistaken, such as here and here.  Oh, no, they were on a mission.

Well, not everybody agrees with their mission, apparently. Alex Epstein, a conservative pundit (among other things), was subpoenaed by the Massachusetts attorney general over his disagreement with the theory of man-made global warming. I don't think the AG's office got the response they were hoping for:

FollowAlex Epstein @AlexEpstein

My response to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
3:14 PM - 15 Jun 2016
1,0771,077 Retweets 1,6041,604 likes
If only more people had the guts to fight back against government overreach, perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation where government views us as subjects, not citizens. The consent of the governed apparently stopped mattering a long time ago.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trump's speech to the evangelicals

Maybe not on the scale of Paul's letter to the Galatians, but I'm sure it was yuge. Fortunately, I have a transcript of Donald F. Trump's remarks to the evangelical leaders with whom he met in New York this week:
Random evangelical leader: So, Mr. Trump, are you a believer? Your life history seems somewhat hedonistic.
Donald F. Trump: No, I'm a tremendous believer. I have the best beliefs. My beliefs are so good, you'll get tired of believing. You'll beg me, hey, please, stop believing, and I'll say no, sorry, gotta keep it up. Don't stop believing. Then I'll play that fucking Journey song and someone will shoot me. But I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her if I tried.
OK, so I guess that convinced them. They're totes on board now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Elvis Costello takes over terrorism policy?

I guess that would actually be Nick Lowe, who wrote the song "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?" Elvis just got a hit out of it. Unfortunately, it would appear that high-ranking administration officials believe this should be our ant-terrorism policy. I certainly don't think that Attorney General Loretta Lynch is alone in this policy:
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that love and compassion are the best responses to terrorism during remarks to the media in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday.
Lynch said the Department of Justice stood in solidarity with the LGBT community “in the light” following a Muslim terrorist’s massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub last week.
“We stand with you to say that the good in this world far outweighs the evil, that our common humanity transcends our differences, and that our most effective response to terror and to hatred is compassion, it’s unity, and it’s love,” Lynch said
Just so we're clear -- great song, not a great way to deal with people who want you dead. Just sayin'.


As a bonus, because I care, here is the original version by Nick Lowe's old band, proto-punkers/pub rockers Brinsely Schwarz:


Monday, June 20, 2016

This project apparently comes with (bad) musical accompaniment

I sit right next to a window on my new project, which normally would be considered a good seat. I am at the end of a row, far from any law firm attorneys. Perfect.

Except for the dirt-fuck, rat-prick, no-talent homeless fuck (and if he's not homeless, he should be evicted) who plays saxophone outside the window for most of the day.

I am not automatically opposed to saxophone players. Unfortunately, street players, like this one, usually bring a boom box and play along with songs they know as the songs play on the boom box. Most of them, like this one, play far too many notes, so that you often are far into the song before you can recognize it because the dude is just blasting totally extraneous "music." It took awhile our first day, but I recognized "My Cherie Amor" and "The Girl From Ipanema." Both of these songs are highly recognizable, certainly to someone of my age, but it took a long time. This guy has diarrhea of the fingers when it comes to extra notes.

On Thursday -- our first day -- a guy in the kitchen told us that his project was in our room when it started, and that we should look out for Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." I thought that meant we would hear it. Boy, was I wrong.

Almost since the moment the temp in the kitchen warned me about the Journey song, this jackhole has played nothing else. It's all "Don't Stop Believing," all the time. I thought about taking up a collection to pay the fucker to move to a different Metro stop. Today, the firm attorney --who never says anything unrelated to the gig -- suggested with pass the hat to see if we could pay the dude to play another song. At this point, I am willing to kill the fucker for free.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope this is a short project.

I think it's time we brought this out into the open

Let's face it, Donald F. Trump has little stubby sausage fingers, as John Oliver hilariously noted back in February. Finally, there is a political action committee that wants the full truth about Trump and isn't afraid to ask the hard questions:



Hat tip to Red State.

BTW, if you missed the original John Oliver rant -- and I, too, do not watch John Oliver, here it is:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One bridge done, one to go

I put up a post back in November 2015 about the bridge project between me and I-270, the road I take to get to work each day. I put the completion over-under at March 1 for that project, and took the over. I would've made some money if a bookie actually cared about that bet. Even with winter time off, and rainy spring delays, these guys were way behind. Nonetheless, in late May, the bridge opened:


Still a sharp turn involved:


Should be OK, I guess.

I also put up a post in August 2015 indicating that a second bridge project was starting to look like a bridge. Now, it is starting to look like a one-lane road, and I don't know when they will finish:


Bibi gets it

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu understands what Orlando was all about. It would be nice if our own president, not to mention the two scumbag morons running to replace him, understood it as well. Go Bibi:



That's a leader.

How about more projects in English?

Yesterday, in a single day, a single agency in town advertised projects that in total called for people who speak about half the languages in Europe. They all came through The Posse List, a list serve that posts temporary attorney projects. First up was this:
[An agency I have worked for as an English-speaker] is actively seeking licensed attorneys fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian or Spanish for an upcoming document review and translation project in Washington, D.C.
A short time later we got this:
[The same damn agency] is actively seeking licensed attorneys fluent in Danish, Finnish or Swedish for an upcoming document review and translation project in Washington, D.C.
And then, finally this:
[Still the same agency] is actively seeking licensed attorneys fluent in Czech, Dutch, German, Russian, Turkish or Ukraine for an upoming document review and translation project in Washington, D.C.
One day. Three projects. Thirteen languages. And I don't speak a damn one of them well enough to work the project. I can ask for a beer and the bathroom in a third of them, but I don't think that gets you in the door. Fortunately, I started a new project Thursday and so will be able to eat next week despite my lack of linguistic skills, but damn, y'all. Makes you want to buy Rosetta Stone or something.









Friday, June 17, 2016

And just like that . . .

Update: Link added.

I pushed and pushed to get this post into the all-time top 5, mostly just because I felt like it, and I succeeded. And now, with no prompting from anyone, this post just rose into the top 5 from nowhere, bumping my electric cars rant out of the leader board. Just a random post. No idea why it rose, but it sure did, for no apparent reason. Go figure.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A farmin' we will go, I guess

Monday, having no employment, I went to The Farm with Jeb the Wonder Dog. Of course, he hung his head out the window the whole trip over:


When I got there, Farmer Tom had weeded the onions, which are looking good:


The potatoes continue to thrive:


The peppers are in varying stages of development. Just seedlings, really. July and August will tell the tale:


Lots of spinach in the small bed:


The last of the radishes are approaching harvest time, too:


And a full bed of spinach has me scrambling for preservation options. Ain't but so much damn spinach salad you can eat. Just sayin':


The first crop of beans is starting to look good, too:


The peas are producing:


The carrots are just getting started, since we had to replant after the freeze:


The cauliflower looks great, but I see no heads yet, which has me nervous. Cauliflower is not a warm-weather crop, and the deeper we get into summer, the less likely it is we'll get a good crop from this batch:


The broccoli, on the other hand, is producing nicely:


The jury remains out on the Brussels sprouts. The plants look great, but I see no fruit forming yet:


The first garlic bed looks kind of anemic:


The second, smaller bed is doing better. I expect both to be fine by harvest time:


I got some zucchini and squash plants:


I put them in the ground, too:


Also put up the fence around the cucumber plants that are planted on the outside of the squash/zucchini bed:


Watered the crap out of all of it. Since then, we've had some localized rain from thunderstorms -- including right now -- so things should be bustin' when I go this weekend. Probably have to harvest some things and plant more beans. We'll see.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

These cats will play with anything

Cpl Wolves came by the other day. While he was here, he brushed Jeb the Wonder Dog. Before anyone could clean up the pile of hair, Murder got into it:


Big time:


She seemed really disappointed when we took the dog fur away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Never let a crisis go to waste

Well, here they go again, attempting to solve a non-existent problem with an ineffective solution:
Leading U.S. Senate Democrats on Monday urged quick passage of legislation defeated last year to impose additional gun controls in the wake of the weekend mass shooting in Florida.
Four Democratic senators, led by Chuck Schumer of New York, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, called for immediate passage of a bill preventing people on "terror watch lists" and other "suspected terrorists" from buying firearms or explosives.
Never mind that the so-called "watch list" involves no due process and so depriving someone of a constitutional right on that sort of basis is blatantly unconstitutional. Progressives -- liberals, Democrats, whatever -- don't care about that sort of thing. They know that depriving law-abiding people of their right to keep and bear arms will have no effect on whether criminals can get guns, but they don't care. An armed populace frightens them, and they want to put an end to it. They would much rather disarm the U.S. population than admit that the problem is Islamist terrorism, which they don't actually want to do anything about.

I say fuck 'em. If we're under attack from Islamist terrorists -- and we are -- the last thing I want is for some big-government fuck-chops to disarm me. So suck it, Chuck. This post still applies. As does the update.


Legislation still won't stop crazy

A couple years ago, after the Newtown shooting, I wrote the post below.Now, following the terrorist attack in Orlando, I am hearing all the same noises about how this proves we nee more gun control laws. I think that's horseshit, and would do nothing to reduce gun crime, much less terrorist attacks. That salient fact was true in the case of the Newtown crazy shooter. When it comes to an Islamist terrorist, it's still true, so I put the post up here in its entirety:

Legislation won't stop crazy

It is astounding to me how uninformed the "debate" over gun control has been so far. Even ignoring whether the Second Amendment is implicated by the proposed "solutions" to gun violence (yeah, I'm using a lot of quotation marks to indicate that I think this is all bullshit), no one seems to be discussing whether any of these "solutions" would actually solve anything.  The fact is, they won't.

The reason for this is simple: criminals don't obey laws. That's what makes them criminals. Ban magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds? There are millions if not billions of 30-round magazines already out there, legally owned. A couple dozen are in my house. Not to mention that these things are just sheet metal and springs -- there are probably only a couple million guys in this country who could make the damn things in their garage.

Ban "assault weapons," however you  moronically decide to define that term? There are millions of them out there. Criminals will find them. They will steal them, buy them illegally or do whatever they have to do to get them if they decide they need them for their crime. Ironically, they usually will want a handgun. Fucking nobody commits a crime with a rifle. More people are killed with hammers and clubs than with rifles. Oh hells bells, you're twice as likely to be beaten to death with someone's bare hands than to be killed with a rifle of any kind, much less a so-called assault rifle. So enough already with the "assault weapon" ban.

But hey, shouldn't we ban really big magazines? No one has explained how having to reload after firing 10 rounds instead of after 30 would prevent some nutbag from shooting up a school, mall, bar mitzvah or whatever. And anyone who has ever switched out magazines on a semi-automatic rifle knows that the time delay involved in using 10-round versus 30-round magazines is negligible. Besides, the guy who shot up the movie theater in Colorado started out with an AR 15 with a double-drum 100-round magazine. It jammed a few rounds in, and he had to switch to the other weapons he had. (I'm not providing a link because I'm getting tired of doing research for libtards who won't believe it anyway.)  That's what huge magazines do -- they jam. Too many bullets, not enough spring strength. It happens with 30-round magazines, too -- my son is a Marine who told me that, in Afghanistan, nobody put 30 rounds in a magazine because they would jam. About 25 or so was the limit to avoid jams. Anybody who has fired one of these weapons knows this.

As for the "assault weapons" ban being proposed -- this article about "assault weapons" generally makes it pretty clear that the term "assault weapons" is meaningless. It did not exist until the 1994 ban was put into place, and the definition turned out to be mostly cosmetic. The ban, called the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, prohibited the sale and manufacture of weapons that met the following description:
(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–
(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a bayonet mount;
(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
(v) a grenade launcher;
(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of–
(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;
(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;
(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;
(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and
(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and
(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of–
(i) a folding or telescoping stock;
(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and
(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.

 The ban did not really stop the manufacture of any of the targeted weapons. It simply meant that weapons that had a pistol grip, bayonet lug, flash suppressor, detachable magazine and folding stock -- such as the AR15 -- ceased to have some of those features. In the case of the AR15 -- one of the weapons used at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting -- the weapon continued to be manufactured with a pistol grip and detachable magazine, but lost the flash suppressor, bayonet lug and folding stock. Big deal. Connecticut has a ban on "assault weapons" and that did fuck-all to stop whats-his-face from killing his mom, stealing her weapons and killing lots of kids. What law would stop that?

Certainly not the "assault weapon" ban being discussed.  Look at the original version, in 1994. Two years in, a government study concluded the ban had not delivered any measurable impact, stating "public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated."

An update of the 1996 study in 2004 found that the benefits were mixed at best, and analyses of the data in the report, such as this one,  showed that the use of so-called assault weapons in crimes was so rare that it was impossible to tell if the ban had any impact.

So where does this leave us? A ban on particular kinds of weapons is extraordinarily unlikely to pass, and less likely to withstand Constitutional review. It is worth noting that the ban described above -- the one that used to be the law of the land -- left at large the nasty, nasty, evil Winchester 73, which has a fixed magazine capacity of 15 rounds but is a lever-action rifle, not semi-automatic and so not covered. And that is the Winchester 1873, by the way.  This means, of course, you could still put a shit-load of lead into people with a century-old weapon with more rounds than a modern weapon "ought to have" under the law. So fuck off. Nothing in these kind of laws does anything to protect anyone.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sadie gets cleaned up and moves to her new home

Married Into Wolves has been wanting a pet for quite some time. Cpl. Wolves test drove cats, as long-time readers know. but Married Into Wolves is allergic, so that did not work. A solution did present itself, however. Married Into Wolves loves Sadie, the Auxiliary Back-up Dog. So we took her to a groomer and got her cleaned up for a possible transfer:


She looks pretty good, I have to admit. Also very energetic:


So Sadie the Auxiliary Back-up Dog went over to live with Cpl. Wolves and Married Into Wolves. She loves it:


She plays kill the sock with Cpl. Wolves constantly:


Looks like a good fit. We miss our auxiliary back-up dog, but we are happy she gets so much loving attention at her new home. Cpl. Wolves was always her favorite, so it isn't too much of a dislocation for her.

Of course, this has Mrs. Wolves talking about a new puppy, God help us.

Oh look, a bunny toy!


Yesterday, a baby bunny was hanging out in a neighbor's yard. Ours too, for that matter. It seems to be living under a neighbor's porch. Anyway, it's around a lot:


Why, yes, the kit-tays have noticed:


Sure, they might just want to play with the bunny. Or they could view it as lunch. My money is on lunch.


Sistas gotta hang together

Two of our cats are from the same litter, and thus are sisters. They tend to hang together. Like this:


They also like to hang out in the window and watch the world go by:


Which reminds me of a song from my college days:


Twisted sister

Not the way you might think:


Maybe this is what you were thinking of:


I love this shit

If you are the last person on earth who has not seen this Facebook video, take a moment to watch it. That way, you can truly enjoy this:



Just shoot me. Hat tip to Red State.

This is Bob Dylan. Seriously

Apparently, Bob Dylan played at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA on June 9th and closed his set with this:




Takes some balls to cover "Free Bird," which is just one of those iconic songs that belongs firmly to the original artist. Pity the viewer only posted this much of the performance. Hat tip to Yahoo.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Typical of this steaming heap of poo

So, a while back, after winning the New York primary after that Socialist was given so much ink about how much he could shake things up by winning, Hillary! gave a speech blowing hard about how wonderful it was that someone with a va-jay-jay was going to be the nominee and railing on about how she was going to do away with income inequality. Watch it here if you have the stomach:



Oddly enough, while she gave her harpy fish-wife-sounding speech about income inequality, she was wearing a $12,000 jacket:
Hillary Clinton’s New York primary victory speech in April focused on topics including income inequality, job creation and helping people secure their retirement. It was a clear attempt to position herself as an everywoman.
But an everywoman she is not — she gave the speech in a $12,495 Giorgio Armani tweed jacket.
Shithead said they left the White House "dead broke" knowing she received a multimillion dollar book advance weeks before she and Bill left the White House. What a heap of hypocritical crap. Plus this:


Enjoy.

If you're going to do a blog, you should probably post occasionally

Sorry for my absence, but life sucks and it gets hard sometimes to put something up here. Actually, the worst part of being in Temp Town has been rearing its ugly head lately -- short projects, or projects that die early, followed by a week or so of unemployment. My mortgage holder is nervous. But I soldier on. Maybe Temp Town will give me something interesting soon. Or maybe not.

Yet another unemployment haiku

Since about mid-February, I have had no luck at all with projects. One after another, they plotz after a week or two. It's part of the business, which is part of what makes this a shitty way to make a living, but that's a conversation for another day. Right now, I just had yet another project  implode on Friday. Naturally, this makes me feel poetic:

Another gig ends
I don't want to blaspheme but
Jesus fucking Christ

Lots of projects but
No offers forthcoming yet
Fuck me with a rock

I realize haiku traditionally celebrates harmony with nature and all that good shit. Fuck it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Remember D-Day

Seventy-two years ago, thousands of soldiers from the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada and other allied nations stormed ashore on the beaches of Normandy, France. Thousands of them died gaining a foothold on the beaches in a campaign that ultimately drove Nazi Germany from power in Europe and opened a new era of freedom. They made the sacrifice because they had to, but you never heard that generation complain. They believed they were fighting for freedom, and they were. I wonder what they would think about the current political situation, with a Socialist, a future felon and a thin-skinned narcissistic reality TV star vying to become the so-called leader of the free world. Never mind the complete turd those three hope to replace. I hope they didn't die for nothing.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Hell, we can't even seem to build an oil pipeline anymore, much less a pipeline this heavenly

The Keystone XL pipeline can't get past Emperor Barry's hatred of fossil fuels. So what is keeping the U.S. from having a beer pipeline?
Some men dream of one day owning their own bar or brewery, but Xavier Vanneste already had one — the De Halve Maan, or The Crescent in English.
Unfortunately, achieving one’s dreams often comes with its own obstacles. De Halve Maan sits in the city-center of Bruges, the cobblestone-laden, storybook town in Belgium. As Wired noted, the brewhouse is too small to contain its own bottling plant. And as beautiful as they might be, those small cobblestone streets make transportation a challenge. That might not have been an issue when the brewery opened in 1856, but trucks have a hard time slipping through the city’s narrow corridors to the bottling plant that, in 2010, moved about two miles away. Vanneste was stuck with a frustrating logistical problem.
Then, one morning he looked out his window to see construction workers laying underground cable. It hit him like a barrel-full of hops: build a pipeline.
The sumbitch is doing it, too, using a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. Fucking brilliant. They overcame a number of logistical and engineering challenges along the way:
The roughly two-mile pipeline sleeps about six feet underground — 100 feet at some places — and is made from high-density polyethylene, a high-grade plastic that Vanneste assured The Post won’t affect the taste of the beer. It was the first thing he tested. The line can pump about 1,056 gallons (4,000 liters) each hour. It’s cleaned by pumping water and cleaning solution through the pipeline between each batch of beer.
The ingenuity of people who really, really want to drink beer always brings a tear to my eye. You go, Xavier Vanneste. You go.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

This is kind of a big anniversary for me

In 1969, on June 4, Johnny Cash released his album "Live At San Quentin." It remains to this day one of the greatest albums of all time, and even if it wasn't, it would still be the greatest album of my childhood. We didn't own a lot of albums -- vinyl in those days, y'all -- so it had to be pretty good before the folks would lay out the money for one. (Marine officers in the '60s did not make a lot of money, mmm'K?)

Anyway, we listened to "Live at San Quentin" endlessly.  We loved Johnny Cash, and we sure as Hell loved that album. One thing I will never forget is that Johnny played "A Boy Named Sue" back to back at the concert, and kept both on the album, because the prisoners loved it so. When they demanded he play it again, he did, and the record reflects that. It is interesting to note that the song has no chorus, largely because it is based on a poem by Shel Silverstein (who wrote "The Giving Tree," one of my elder son's favorite childhood books). Anyway, I give you "A Boy Named Sue:"


Loved that album. Still do.






I think you should back what your party backs. And choke on it.

A friend of mine went to Monticello today. I'm sure you've seen it on the back of a nickel -- it is the home in Charlottesville, Va., of Thomas Jefferson. She sent me some pictures, but I'm not publishing those because that isn't my point. Because she is a diehard Democrat, I wrote back to her, "Monticello is nice. Built by slaves, of course, so you have to feel guilty at the same time. According to your people. In fact, you should probably set it on fire."

The Social Justice Warriors who are running the Democrat party these days are completely out of control. Trump is evil, apparently -- I am willing to stipulate that he is a narcisisstic ninny and a nasty man with extraordinarily thin skin -- but they are passionately devoted to either a felon or a Socialist, with a capital S. The Constitution is racist, people should use whatever bathroom they want, depending upon how they "identify" that day, and yes, we should take money from people who earned it for no other reason than that they earned it. Their programs don't work, unless you consider creating a larger and larger bureaucracy that takes more and more of our rights without solving the problem the bureaucracy is supposed to address "working."

Actually, as we all realize, they do. The point is not to make people's lives better. The point is to ensure that government controls all aspects of those lives. They try to twist the Clean Water Act from covering "navigable waters" to covering "occasionally damp areas." They try to twist the Clean Air Act from covering actual pollutants to covering carbon dioxide, which is produced in far larger quantities by nature than by man and has almost nothing to do with climate, not that we could change the climate even if it did. Damn the cost, do something!

The party of science is totes OK with snuffing out unborn lives, but opposes the death penalty. The party of equality wants to subjugate the rights of more than 99 percent of the population to the "rights" of less than 1 percent of the population so that some confused, mentally unsteady people can pee where they want. The party of freedom of expression wants to shut down speech on college campuses that is just too "triggering" for the delicate snowflakes there who can't stand to hear opinions that differ from theirs. The party of justice wants to take money from people who have done nothing more wrong than earn too much money and give it to people who have done nothing. The party of freedom is gangbusters for, well, actually nothing that actually supports freedom.

So go ahead. Burn Monticello. Makes sense these days for a Democrat.

Update: I was under pressure from Jeb the Wonder Dog to take him for a walk, leading me to neglect to even mention the pressure the Democrat administration is putting on colleges to punish young men for "sexual assault" without any due process and to force high schools to let anyone who "identifies" as the opposite sex to use the opposite gender's lockerroom and bathroom facilities, regardless of their actual gender or even their actual gender identity. This is what passes for equality in the Democrat Party.

If this is the country you want, by all means, vote Democrat. And choke on it.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Further proof that the military procurement system is run by stupid, stupid people

Everyone has heard about how slow, expensive and inefficient military procurement is in the United States. Famously expensive hammers, toilets and the like -- even though the truth is not that simple. Less publicized, but just as common, is the same sort of waste in buying weapons, large and small. Here's the latest example, at a simple level pretty much every gun owner can understand:
The Department of Defense will soon chose three finalists in a competition to be the U.S. Army and Air Force's new sidearm. One of the three finalists could go on to outfit all of the services, with total sales of of 500,000 handguns—but not before the Pentagon bureaucracy makes it as long and complicated as possible.
The Modular Handgun System (MHS) is a $17 million dollar effort to replace the aging Beretta M92 handgun. First adopted in the 1980s, the U.S. Army's Berettas are beginning to wear out. The M92 is also a product of another time, and hasn't kept up with recent advances in pistol technology.
The problem here is not cost, just as it was not with the hammer. The problem is the cost added by the time involved. A handful of gunnery sergeants from the Marines and first sergeants from the Army could take the candidate pistols, put some rounds through the tubes and figure out which one to by in a single day at the range, with plenty of time for beers afterwards.

Everybody knows that the M92 is not a good weapon. It jams a lot and is generally unreliable. Replacing it is a no-brainer. The weapon the Beretta replaced, the Model 1911 Colt, remains a better pistol. It stops what it hits. Period. It is not famously accurate at more than short distances, but it isn't supposed to be, although in the hands of a trained user, it is an accurate weapon.

Pistols in the military are carried by officers and vehicle crew members, such as tankers and pilots. The officers need to be paying attention to leading their unit, not going off firing their pistol thinking they can hit something. And for vehicle crew members, if they are using their pistol, things have really turned to shit, the bad guys are very close, and stopping them with one hit is the primary concern.

Nonetheless, the military -- at least the Army -- wants a pistol more accurate than the M92 (which is more accurate than the 1911). Is this really the way to go about finding it:
The selection process—beset by the Pentagon bureaucracy—is progressing at a snail's pace. First begun in 2015, the MHS program will chose three semifinalists in August, with a nine month evaluation process to follow. A winner will be picked afterward, with the winning entry to go into "low rate production." That means it will be at least another thirteen months before any pistols are delivered to the military.
The program's complexity has been stifling, prompting complaints from the Army's top general and Congress. The paper outlining the MHS's requirements runs a ridiculous 350 pages. Senator John McCain described the handgun selection process as "byzantine", and Army Chief of Staff General Mark Miley complained in March, "We're not figuring out the next lunar landing. This is a pistol. Two years to test? At $17 million?" Miley claimed he could walk into a Cabelas outdoors store with $17 million dollars and buy a handgun for every person in the military.
Maybe not for everyone, but certainly for everyone rated to carry a pistol.  A 9mm is not necessarily a bad solution -- Marines Special Operations Command, which officially uses a 1911-based .45, allows MARSOC operatives to use 9mm Glocks if they choose. But it shouldn't be this hard to pick one. Too many civilian bureaucrats in the process whose jobs depend on them having something to do, even if they don't do it well and what they do isn't really necessary.

Kind of like the rest of the federal government.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Come into my parlor, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has added to my dominance of Central America, dropping by Eff You for the first time recently. Costa Rica,
literally meaning, "Rich Coast"), officially the Republic of Costa Rica (Spanish: República de Costa Rica), is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, andEcuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city,San José.
Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous people before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared sovereignty in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following a brief but bloody civil war, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming the first of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.
The country is tropical, the weather is perfect year round, it is a surfer's paradise with Pacific and Caribbean coasts. It is the most stable of Latin American democracies. The economy is pretty good but poverty is high, as is unemployment. Can't have everything, I guess. Still, it looks pretty good:


No really:


Why don't you believe me:


I could go on. I feel no need. Please extend a big Eff You welcome to Costa Rica. Thanks for coming by, and come back soon. Bring your friends.