Monday, September 22, 2008

Spore



This is a widget that's supposed to let you see my creatures from Spore.

Friday, April 11, 2008

To Our Friends Who Are Still In The Desert

"To Our Friends Who Are Still In The Desert"

(I've used this title before it seems.)

This is an old, old French Foreign Legion toast. I tried to look it up on wikipedia with nothing and google it without result. I likely read it in a book on the foreign legion years ago but I can't recall which one now.

I think of this when I read reports of the numbers of soldiers we've lost in Iraq (and Afghanistan). Or recently when one of the bloggers I regularly read told us her sister's national guard unit has been mobilized and will deploy to Iraq. I would find her news ironic since she's a staunch conservative and was a Bush supporter. If it wasn't too serious for that. If I had absolutely no idea of the anguish she's going through now. But I can't. We've disagreed before but she's shown herself to be intelligent and articulate and the facts of an issue will sway her point of view. I used to think that my mother never worried about me while I was stationed in Germany (1982-1986). A few years after I came back she disabused me of this notion. And that tour wasn't nearly as dangerous as current tours in Iraq or Afghanistan (although we did have four deaths in our battalion - 500-600 men - during those four years). I think I can say nothing affects a soldier the same way as those boots with the helmet on top that are set before the podium in the chapel during a memorial service. Or the lone bugle playing Taps afterwards. Especially not an officer.

I can't really say I know how they (deploying soldiers) feel, it's been too long since I've been a soldier. But I can empathize with their desire to "get the job done". If they don't seem to accomplish anything over there then all those deaths (American and Iraqi) would be pointless. And that thought is simply abhorrent. So I can understand that from their point of view we can't leave until the job is done. The problem comes from politicians not defining what "the job" is before sending troops into combat. And the platoon and squad leader or even the grunt on the ground can't really influence this. But since it's an all volunteer Army now, they've chosen to be in the Army and thus have to take it all. Eventually the number of deployments a soldier goes on may wear even this commitment away. That will be a sad day.

But what does this quote mean? I've used it before but I don't really think anyone who heard it understands. It refers to the comrades that Legionnaires have left behind in the desert dead. It links to the Legion motto "March or Die" from their very earliest days in the North African desert. And their indomitable spirit. Get the mission done regardless of cost. If you won't march, you'll die. An American quote I've heard soldiers use is often "To Absent Friends". This is the same.

This I think, is the spirit of our soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed. In that same spirit I can only support our soldiers (but not the people who sent them there with no clear goal) and raise my glass to repeat the toast.

"To Our Friends Who Are Still In The Desert"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Infantry Weather

That's what I always say when people remark on the rain. No one ever understands, so I present something some of them may have heard at some point ...

"Every day is a holiday ...

Every formation is a parade ...

Every paycheck is a fortune ...

Every meal is a banquet ..."

The last line is "God I Love the Corps" and I recall it from Aliens(1986) and ... well I thought it was in Jarhead but I guess not. Well google doesn't show much either. It must be a Marine quote. Hoo Yah!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The NEW Granola State

It used to be California, the land of "fruits, nuts and flakes". But I submit to you that the new granola state is the District of Columbia, Washington in fact.

EPA Chief Defends Shielding of Global Warming Papers

And Mister Johnson is right, California doesn't need it's own standard. There should be a Federal standard that everyone has to follow. But since "president" bush's government won't enact one, some states see the problem and the urgent need for action and decided to take it on their own. Perhaps hoping to shame the Federal government into action.

And then trying to claim that he needs to keep things secret for court action. Cheers for Representative Boxer for calling bullsh!t on him.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Taxi to the Dark Side

Taxi to the Dark Side

I heard about this on NPR this morning on the way to work. I want to see it, maybe even own it. It sounds truly disturbing and ties in directly with what I've been thinking about posting about for awhile now.

Congress is all up in arms about the CIA's destruction in 2005 of tapes of "harsh" interrogations of suspected terrorists in 2002.

House Panel Criticizes CIA Tape Destruction

I agree that it's deplorable that they've destroyed this sort of thing without getting anyone's permission or anything. However in all the hue and cry I think one serious issue has been overlooked. That these CIA interrogators TORTURED PEOPLE IN THE FIRST PLACE. All while our "president" was telling us (and the world) that "the US doesn't torture people (so we don't need any new rules or laws or anything)".

Just how far down are we going to allow our leaders to let America fall before we do something about it?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Have I mentioned

that I love irony?

Why Science Can't Save the GOP

Hahahahahahaha

To begin with, this is a man who has Parkinson's. So stem cell research could very well have a significant impact on his life and that of his family. So, while he's not a doctor or medical researcher, he has a vested interest and I think his opinion might be more important than mine (except, perhaps, to me).

And I find another kindred soul in his phrase

"the small but intense minority who believe that a clump of a few dozen cells floating in a petri dish has the same human rights as you or I."

I've posted here before my amazement that the rights of this hypothetical person are more important than the rights of a living, breathing person standing right here in front of you asking this very question.

And he points out that the cause of the creation of all these embryos is the in-vitro fertilization clinics. Which aren't illegal and may be receiving federal monies. And don't seem to be the target of attack for the rabid forced-pregnancy proponents and their anti-research cronies. None of them seem to address the concept that if we stopped these procedures there wouldn't be extra embryos which needed to be protected.

But then, if I recall correctly other reading I've done, logic has little impact on these people ...

Friday, November 02, 2007

So Resign

If you don't want to do your job then.

Why Diplomats Won't Go to Iraq

I saw this topic come up yesterday and I'm still of the same opinion. I find it amazing that they're given a choice of their assignment in the first place. True you can ask for an assignment in the military but it's a well known fact that you go where you're sent.

If they don't want to go to Iraq then they can resign the Foreign Service. That's very simple. The military doesn't even have that option. Once you sign up your done. You go where you're told when you're told to or you're brought up on charges and face a Courts Martial. Until you're mustering out date. Also very simple.

It very much strikes me as

"WAAAAA Coach, I don't want to wear the pink polka dot shorts!"

To which I respond, "tough".

Monday, October 29, 2007

This time he didn't save the ship!

Okay, I may have been, just slightly, one of the Trek fans who was of the "Die Wesley Crusher, DIE!" variety.

It seemed, back then, that lazy writers who had little idea of good science fiction would, too often, after having gotten the Enterprise and her crew into trouble, resort to using a brilliant idea by Wesley as the "Deus ex Machina" to get the ship out of the jam. That got old even the first time we saw it, given the other badness they gave Wil Wheaton as dialog. But he was just a teenager and didn't realize it or didn't really care about it. I won't dwell on this too much except to put it into context. I didn't think much of the actor and really didn't like the character. I did see "Stand By Me", it was a good movie and I enjoyed it, but I couldn't really bring Wil to mind recalling the film.

Then, and I don't recall how, I found his blog at http://wilwheaton.typepad.com/ (these days). I started reading because I was in our operations center and sometimes we don't have much to do except wait for the phone to ring with people calling about problems. He was a geek like me, got to work on Star Trek and was a pretty good writer. Enough to come back. And in the days when lots of people were blogging but they mostly didn't have a lot to say. I even ended up buying his first two books, "Dancing Barefoot" and "Just a Geek". I enjoyed JaG but haven't actually read the first yet.

So when he published his latest book, The Happiest Days of Our Lives I bought that one too, after reading about how much fun he had packing envelopes to the folks who had already bought it. There is a warning in the first few pages that most of the material in there he's published on his blog already. And as I read the stories I recalled first reading them. But that doesn't seem to matter. I just finished it today and I enjoyed it very much. I just passed it to a friend of mine who on reading the first few pages already laughed out loud. I think he'll like it. And I'm fairly certain he doesn't read Wil's blog so all the stories will be new to him. And he'll relate to them just like I did because he's a geek too.

So without going into much detail about the book itself, I will heartily recommend it to anyone whose youth may have included;


  • playing Atari
  • playing pacman (or any other arcade game) in any of a variety of stores, offices or other places
  • geeks growing up in the 80s
  • role playing geeks
  • gaming geeks
  • computer geeks
  • geeks who are parents


Or anyone else who enjoys good, well told stories that will make you feel something. :)

Try it, you'll like it.

If not you can come back here and hit me with a fish!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

And now for something

totally strange.

123,910 People
JustSayHi - Dating

Unusual Deaths in 1961

* On march 23, soviet cosmonaut trainee Valentin Bondarenko died from shock after suffering third-degree burns over much of his body, due to a flash fire in the pure oxygen environment of a training simulator. this incident was not revealed outside of the soviet union until the 1980s.

People who died on November 21 (various years)

* 2006 - Pierre Amine Gemayel, Lebanese Cabinet minister (assassinated)
* 2005 - Alfred Anderson, last Scottish World War I veteran
* 1993 - Bill Bixby, American actor and director
* 1969 - Mutesa II of Buganda, President of Uganda (1924)
* 1963 - Robert Stroud (The Birdman of Alcatraz), American prisoner
* 1924 - Florence Harding, American First Lady
* 1916 - Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria
* 1899 - Garret Hobart, Vice President of the United States
* 1844 - Ivan Krylov, Russian fabulist
* 1361 - Philip I, Duke of Burgundy (plague)
* 496 - Pope Gelasius I

Hmmm. What's a fabulist ... ah, that makes sense.

Labels:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Satisfied for now

Libby must begin perjury prison sentence: judge

I'm satisfied that the judge is standing up to this. I'm also dismayed that all these "constitutional scholars" are jumping on his bandwagon to appeal that he remain free during his appeals process. While what he did isn't, in my opinion, quite as bad as what they were investigating, he did lie while under oath and if the judicial system allows that to happen and sets a tone for that kind of behavior then the whole system will become a farce (or perhaps I should say "even more of a farce").

Combine that with

Google Search

I can't bring myself to actually click on any of these but I didn't avoid managing to find out that she was released from jail after 3 days of her 45 day sentence. A "medical condition". Then when prosecutors and the judge found out and complained to the state prison system, they hastily recalled her back to prison. Her "acting agency" dropped her (I suppose I shouldn't pan the agency, from their perspective they'll cover anyone regardless of "talent", in our country today even the most moronic untalented "actors" can make big bucks, just look at this reality TV crap that floods the airwaves (like a backed up sewer)).

And between those two what could that leave the rest of the world thinking about the American Legal system?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Amazed

I thought I had a definite image in my mind of the limits of human incompetency. That I knew, or had some inkling, just how badly people could screw things up if they had absolute no freaking clue what they were doing.

Apparently I was wrong. I stand amazed at the depths of corruption, incompetency and even malice. I figured that the republicans and Bush being in charge couldn't be that much more corrupt than democrats. I mean they're all politicians. Heck we even have a representative from Louisiana who keeps his bribe money in his freaking freezer (and is this a new definition for idiocy? or simply a new poster child for stupidity?).

Almost every day I hear more stories coming out about corruption and incompetency. NPR has a series about how badly the reconstruction in Iraq has been bungled.

Rebuilding Iraq: A Contract Goes Awry
What Went Wrong with the Rebuilding of Iraq?

Yesterday part one talked about shipping 12 billion dollars (billion) in $100 bills to Iraq. On pallets in bundles wrapped in cellophane. Just how smart is that? And they still have no idea where eight billion of it went. I think this is the definition of the phrase "What the fsck?". How is it that the folks responsible for this aren't in prison? And whose the genius who came up with the idea of the "no-bid" contract? How could they not see that it was a recipe for disaster?

To top things off, Mister Cheney thinks that he shouldn't be responsible for what he's done.

Immunity Sought for Cheney, Top Officials

We can hope the judge calls bullsh!t on this.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Me and the clipboard"

Okay. I was wrong. Men do need to do the thinking about abortion so that they have an idea where they stand. This is why.

My Views on Abortion

I have no words for what this guy went through.

"Only now, my wife is so out of it, from blood loss, from the painkillers, that the doctor said she is no longer able to legally consent."

"Made worse by being a decision of either kill the baby or potentially watch both my wife and the baby die."

"It was my wife. And I didn't have exactly a lot of time to think about it. It was just me and the clipboard. An empty line there, marked for my signature."

Things got worse and they discovered that the baby was doomed.

"This was what went through my mind as I sat there, waiting to see if, after my baby died, my wife had died as well."

And he started thinking about the politicians. The pro-lifers (whom I call "forced pregnancy proponents"). Until they've been in this guys shoes they can shut the fsck up.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Evil by Inferance?

I never really considers Mister Bush to be a Truly Evil man (like say, "Mister" Cheney is, shooting lawyers and all). He was certainly a few apples short a pie and not very articulate, but he seemed to be well-meaning in a moronic sort of way.

But at what point do you become Evil(tm) by allowing Evil to be perpetrated by those around you (or who work for you)? How much Evil does it take for that? How Evil does it make you?

I mean it's been clear for a long time (almost since the beginning) that his interests were in no way, shape or form related to that most people would think the American People's were (except that one or two percent who are corporate CEOs or multi-millionaires). Tax cuts for those who least need it, cuts in corporate taxes, easing of restrictions on corporations and now rewriting environmental policies (since rewriting the laws won't float at this point) so that more pollution can be dumped onto the planet.

Add that to torture, indefinite imprisonment, mutilated civil liberties and thousands dead in a war of choice. How can he not be considered Truly Evil?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Truth, Justice and the American Way

means a whole different thing these days.

Guilty plea the best news exhausted father could get

The most (to me) telling sentence in this pieces is

'Mr Hicks would only say that his son felt a guilty plea was the only way "he's going to get out".'

So his presumed guilt is tossed aside, by both sides it seems, to make way for expediency. The only way he felt he could escape torture was to plead guilty (and this presumes that he isn't guilty).

So this old phrase becomes

"Truth", "Justice" and the American Way