Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Thanks for the Memory to Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy.

Samuel Alito has been confirmed.

That's despite an attempt to filibuster his confirmation, led by Senators Kerry (D-France) and Kennedy (D-Glenlivet). That has to sting.

And as one Ace reader points out, the fact that he was confirmed by fewer than 60 votes may actually be even worse news for the Democrats -- the fact that that is fewer than the votes that would have been needed for cloture means that the far left will be out for the heads of Democrats they consider to have wimped out.

What Can Brown (and Black and Blue) Do For You?

Thanks for the Memory to a tip from Vulture Six.


UPS Driver Attacked By Middle School Students

BELLWOOD, Ill. A UPS driver was savagely beaten by middle school students while delivering packages in the western suburbs.

The attack happened in Bellwood along the 3200 block of St. Charles.

In a CBS 2 excusive, Joanie Lum talked to the man who was savagely beaten just trying to do his job.

UPS driver Thomas Murphy says he was beaten by a group of school kids on busy St. Charles Road in Bellwood, the route he has driven for 12 years.

He says a teenager walked out in front of his delivery truck Friday at about 3 p.m. When he stopped the truck, 15 to 20 youths surrounded him.

"Somebody clocked me with a pipe. I took kicks from my right. My eyes caked over. I tried to get up and defend myself as best I could," Murphy said.

He was beaten from his head to his ankles.

"I remember being down on one knee, falling to the ground with kids on top of me," Murphy said.

He thinks a passing motorist called for help.

The Bellwood police believe the attackers came from Roosevelt Middle School, located a couple of blocks away. They have stepped up patrols in the area.

“If other delivery drivers are going to face this, we want our patrols in the area," said Bellwood Police Chief Robert Collins.

“Somebody should be held accountable for these kids. They run wild like a pack of wolves, where's the parents?" Murphy said.

In spite of his trauma, Murphy says he wants to get back to work.

"I have every intention of getting back on my route. I'd like to do it with some sense of security," he said.

Police say an anonymous witness has come forward with the names of several people involved in the attack. Murphy identified a couple of people in a photo lineup Monday afternoon, but no one's been arrested yet.
Again, animals, pack hunters. This was a cold-blooded, calculating, premeditated hunt of their prey. What's particularly frightening is the young age of these predators -- not just because it means some well-meaning, soft-hearted (but alas, also soft-headed) individuals will use that as a reason to call for leniency on their behalf, but because it's an indication of just how early an age the depravity of our society is starting.

I'd like to think that children this young can still be redeemed. But until they can, they need to be off the streets. The public needs and deserves protection from this kind of evil.

And the case for Homeshooling grows deeper and stronger by the minute.

Monday, January 30, 2006

That's Wild!

I had another change to experiment with my pork medallion recipe this weekend, using the drippings to make a reduction, but while the pork was even better than last time, the reduction didn't turn out quite right, so it's back to kitchen lab. Poor TFR, having to be my Guinea Pig.

But as luck would have it, I created a new side dish that TFR said was perfect, so it looks like for the first time in quite a while, I have a new recipe to share with you.

I was looking for a new starch-based dish, since I'm getting a little tired of potatoes, bread, and pasta, when I noticed that the store had something TFR loves and I like -- wild rice. I decided I'd try it, and figured it couldn't hurt to doctor it up a bit. Here's my recipe:

Brian's Savory Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
salt and pepper

in a small pot, combine the chicken broth, white wine, and water. Over medium high heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Add the wild rice, reduce heat to medium low, cover the pot and let simmer for 60-70 minutes, or until the rice kernels have burst open.

When the rice is almost done simmering, heat the butter in a small skillet. Sautee the onions and garlic in the butter until they are clear. Drain the excess liquid out of the rice. Add the parsley, stir the butter, garlic, and onions into the rice, serve.

Preparation time: 10 Minutes
Cooking time: 70 Minutes
Serves 4-6

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Twenty Years Yet a Lifetime

I am usually not around the computer on Saturdays, so I'm posting this on Friday and post-dating it.

Twenty Years.

I remember walking into History class my junior year to find my teacher standing next to a TV. He waited until we'd all taken our seats and the bell had rung, then told us that there had been an accident involving the shuttle, and turned on the TV. We watched the new coverage all period. they kept playing the footage over and over again. Obviously, it was all we talked about for some time.

I obviously don't have the memories of some people of watching it happen live. But I do remember thinking to myself, "This is it. This is my generation's Pearl Harbor -- a defining event that we'll always remember, the defining event of my lifetime."

And for almost 15 years, I was right. Until September 11, 2001. That day, I saw the second plane hit the tower live. I saw the towers collapse. And suddenly the Challenger Disaster was merely a blip on the radar of my life -- still an important evernt, still tragic, but the world didn't change overnight the way it did when the towers fell.

I knew this was true when the second shuttle disaster occurred and, while it was mourned, it did not take up all our thoughts and attention the way Challenger did.

I'll still always remember what happened on January 28th, 1986. But I no longer remember the time before it any differently than the time after it. All of those days, and that day itself, belong to the same past, the same previous lifetime, the same world long gone, gone since 9/11.

Friday, January 27, 2006

You Can't Take the Meme From Me

Thanks for the Memory to The Maximum Leader at Naked Villainy.

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Moya (Farscape)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Shiny. I was hoping that's what they'd say.

Birthday Boy

Today is The Lad's first birthday -- my first chance to mark the anniversary of one of the most wonderful events in my life. I know that the memories and sentiments i'm experiencing are pretty common to all parents, but they're special to me, so I thought I'd share.

I remember the fear I felt when, almost a week before his birth, The Feared Redhead's water broke, 6 weeks prior to her due date. I remember trying to keep myself calm while I drove the couple of miles to the hospital. I remember how lonely and exhausted I was by the time that weekend was over and I was going to bed alone on a Sunday night, knowing I'd have to go to work the next day and every day until she went into labor.

I remember the call at 5 AM on a work day to ask me how to deal solitaire. "Don't panic". "I already am".

I remember getting another call on Thursday morning letting me know that she was in labor. I remember the long hours waiting for things to pick up steam, while she was given Pitosin and an epidural. I remember the decision being made that since she had only been at 4 cm or so the last time they checked, I should go home, feed the dog and let her out to reileve hersef, then come back. I remember being two blocks from the parking lot, still next to the hospital, when my cell phone rang: Get back here, she's at 9 1/2!.

I remember doing everything I could to support her, to help her, to root for her. She's been very gracious in letting me know I did a good job. I remember how slow the progress was, and the increased fear I felt when the OB/GYN explained the possibility of having to use suction and the possible repercussions. I remember the moment when the doctor said "Episiotomy", and how it scared TFR so much she got the dry heaves, and how those heaves gave The Lad just enough of a push to get him out, and hhow the doc had to drop her scalpel in order to get turned back around in time to catch him. I remember the suspense as we waited to find out the baby's gender. I remember being elated that he was a boy, and guilty for being so happy, because TFR wanted a girl.

I remember that when they put him in my arms, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and how I fell instantly, irrevokably in love with him. I remember turning to my wife to tell her how beautiful our baby boy was, and being unable to speak because of how beautiful she looked to me, how deeply in love I fell with her all over again in that instant.

And then I remember her throwing me a curveball, and how I swung and missed. She asked me, "Who does he look like"? I didn't know. He was gorgeous, but he was too new for me to pick out family traits. So in my panic, I accidentally let my Inner Smartass out, and despite my own sentimental emotional state, when she pressed me again, "Who does he look like", did I reply with "You" or "An angel" or "I don't know but he's beautiful"? No, I blurted out, "WINSTON CHURCHILL!" (oh come on, you know it's true -- all babies look a bit like him) A little part of me is still in the doghouse over that gaffe.

I remember holding him, singing "Whisky in the Jar" to him (he still loves it when I sing Irish drinking and folk songs to him, especially that one. I remember seeing him in that crib in the NICU, I remember hating that we had to leave him there. I remember how precious my NICU Parent ID badge was to me. I remember leaving for work early, and stopping at the hospital to hold him for a few minutes, and the way it calmed me when I started to fret about the future, about finances, about being a good parent.

I remember the joy when we finally took him home, and how it was tempered by having to keep him strapped to a cardiovascular monitor for the first moth to warn us of any "Bradies" or apneas. I remember flying to him the minute that monitor so much as chirped. And I remember how wonderful it felt when that thing finally came off, and I could once again hold him unobstructed, and how wonderful that felt.

There's a whjole year's worth of memories, but those are the ones that his birthday reminds me of. Happy birthday, Chay Baron. Your daddy loves you very much.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Mask Comes Off

I'd post the usual Thanks for the Memories here, but there are so many blogs covering the topic, it would take all day. A few of the ones I've followed:

Ace of Spades Headquarters

Naked Villainy
Captain's Quarters
UPDATE: Jeff at Protein Wisdom has a good list of entries on this, including Yours Truly.

So the Palestinians have given Hamas an overwhelming majority in their latest elections. Like Maximum Leader and Ace, I am unsuprised. If anyhting, I'm surprised it wasn't a complete sweep. This is in a large part a result of the rampant corruption of Fatah, but I am convinced it is also, perhaps equally, because a majority of the Palestinians agree with Hamas' position on Israel. And what is that position? The stated goal of Hamas is the Destruction of Israel, and that hasn't changed:

Another Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, warned that Hamas would not hold peace talks with Israel. "Negotiations with Israel is not on our agenda," he said. "Recognising Israel is not on the agenda either now."

And these are the people the Palestinians want governing them. As I said in August, Hamas and its allies "will not rest until there remains not a single Jew in all of what is now the State of Israel."

But apparently, Jimmy Carter thinks that a genocidal regime is ok, as long as it's a duly elected, efficient government:

Potentially, it can be a good thing. We have observed very carefully the success that Hamas candidates have had in local elections. They've done quite well. And although they are officially characterized, and accurately, as a terrorist organization, I think that so far there's been no allegation of corruption among their elected officials.
And in Germany, at least the trains ran on time, right, Jimmy Chamberlain (thanks for that moniker to Vulture Six)?

The only thing remotely close to being positive about this is that the Palestinians have made their intentions clear to the World, if only the World will pay attention. There is no longer a distinction (however illusory it was before) between the Palestinian government and the Palestinian terrorists -- the Palestinians have made the terrorists their government.

And it's already been said, but I echo the same sentiments -- they now have no one but themselves to blame if the actions of their government bring down the wrath of the Israelis, and the scorn of the World. They have taken off the mask, and revealed to the world their true faces. Hamas does speak, it is now apparent, for the Palestinians. Hamas is Palestine, Palestine is Hamas.

Sounds frighteningly familiar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

Is it just me or is the entire sinestrosphere just goofy? They're in a perpetual contest to out-lefty each other, and, as far as I can tell, it's a forty-thousand-way tie.

- Ace, Ace of Spades HQ.

That pretty much sums it up.

Anyone Have a Defibrilator I Can Borrow?

Just got off the phone with TFR. As soon as I answered it, I could tell something was very wrong. She was fighting tears, and I could hear it. And just as instinctively, I knew that the something wrong was concerning The Lad.

The conversation began:

Me: Hello?
TFR: Hi Honey...
Me: What's wrong?
TFR: Chay fell off the changing table!

At this point my voice was mirroring hers, right down to the barely suppressed tears.

Me: Is he OK?
TFR: He has a big lump on his forehead...
Me: Does he need to go to the doctor?
TFR: No, but he's going to have a black eye and he won't let me keep ice on it.

The rest of the conversation was mne reassuring TFR that it was just an accident and didn't make her a bad mother. I'm obviously very sorry for my little boy, but equally relieved that he's going to be ok. This was the first real brush with danger he's had since coming off of the monitors at 1 month.

Now if I can just remember how to breathe.

Scotch Tasting: Oban

In all the chaos of this weekend's family crisis, I almost forgot to mention that Friday night, I had the opportunity to sit back, relax, and try the first of the single malt Scotches in the tasting sampler I received for Christmas. I thought I'd share with you my impressions.

Bear in mind, these aren't the impressions of someone who's received any training in the proper teminology of Scotch tasting. So if the language seems a little unsophisticated, bear that in mind.

I started with the Oban 14 Year. Here is what the official tasting notes that come with the set have to say about it:

Dating back to 1794, Oban is one of Scotland's earliest distilleries. The clatter and steam of the coal fired engine that once drove the malt mill and steering for the mash tun have long departed. Yet the smells of barley, malt, and whisky maturing in sherry casks remain.

Oban is the West Highland malt, matured for 14 years. A singular, rich and complex malt with the merest suggestion of peat in the aroma, slightly smoky and with a long smooth finish. These pleasing characteristics position Oban somewhere between an Islay and a Highland malt.

Here are my impressions, written down as I sipped the dram. I'll expand each one into a whole sentence, but leave them in the order they came to me:

The first thing that came to mind was how warm this Scotch tastes. I was also reminded of the first impression I got the first time I ever drank Oban, which is that its taste and aroma remind me of the aroma of new, high quality leather. This also came through in the way it evoked the scent of parchment or old books. It was spicy, and I thought I caught a hint of chocolate in its aroma. There was a lingering astringency to it, and I also picked up the smell of pipe tobacco smoke. I tasted banana at the back of my mouth. I was a little put off by how hard it hit my nose after it was in my mouth. The flavor hits the reeof of the mouth as much as it hits the tongue, and fills the whole mouth. There was no sweetness at all that I could taste in this Scotch, but there was a richness to it.

Next up: Dalwhinnie 15 Year Cragganmore 12 Year.

Perfect Timing.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

At Last...

An honest liberal:

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops....
- Joel Stein, L.A. Times
We know, Joel. And as much as I loathe you for saying so, I have to give you props for admitting what your fellow moonbats won't.

Thanks for the Memory to Blogfather Rusty.

The Worst of Times, The Best of Times

This past weekend was chaotic. We had to leave Springfield at 11 PM Saturday night to respond to a family emergency in Portland. Didn't get home until 9:30 last night. Yesterday's posts were from my SIL's place in Portland.

It's interesting that it should occur on Saturday, since that was the one year anniversary of the day The Feared Redhead's water broke -- 6 weeks ahead of schedule. thus began the two most eventful weeks of my life, full of fear and sadness and frustrations and eventually joy and pride beyond my feeble attempts to describe it. What started with the worst night of my life ended in one of the best -- the birth of my son.

And through it all, my Sister In Law put her life on hold to come down here and help out while TFR was in the hospital, awaiting the arrival of The Lad. Despite the far less pleasant circumstances this weekend, I'm glad I could do the same for her in return.

Major League

Thanks for the Memory to Sailor Republica.

It looks like my candidate for governor, Jason Atkinson, has finally received national attention and national support. Go give it a read.

Monday, January 23, 2006

St. Filibert Bless Us

I'm probably a bit biased since they grow here, but all my life, my favorite nut has always been the filbert. That's what most Oregonians call hazelnut. It's an older European word for the nut, named so because they're harvested close to the same time of the year as St. Filibert's Day. Oregon is the nation's top producer of the nut, growing about 99% of the US crop. In fact, I live about a mile from the nation's oldest commercial filbert orchard, Doris Ranch. Worldwide, the top producer is Turkey, but the Oregon crop gives them competition. In recent years, we've had a problem with Eastern Filbert Blight, a fungal infection that came from the east coast (thanks ever so much) and for which there is currently no solution except the destruction of the infected orchard. Let's hope we get a handle on it.

One of the things I've grown to appreciate about filberts is their versatility. Their rich, mild flavor goes equally well with sweet or savory foods. I've used them in desserts, in salads, in main courses, and of course, they're popular as a flavoring for coffee.

It's been a while since I blogged on any new recipes, mostly because life has been too hectic for me to experiment with any. But this weekend, I tried two new ones, both of which went over well. Both used filberts. They neet some tweaking before I consider them ready to post here, but I intend to try them both again as soon as possible. One was a pork medallion recipe using a grannysmith apple and filbert stuffing, the other was crab ravioli with a filbert pesto. The medallions were perfect, but I'd like to work on a reduction sauce for them next time. The pesto was also almost perfect, but the ravioli needed something -- mainly something to mic the crab meat with to make it hold together while scooping it onto the ravioli dough.

So for those of you who enjoy my recipes, sit tight -- I'll get more to you ASAP.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Recipe Blegging

That's right, blegging, not blogging. I'm looking for suggestions and help with preparing a specific dish.

As part of a renewed effort to lose weight and be healthier, and in addition to eating smaller portions and less red meat, The Feared Redhead and I are trying to use as many organic foods and organinc or free range meat as possible in our diets. That's easy to accomplish here in Eugene/Springfield, as we have a local chain of grocery stores (Market of Choice) that fall somewhere in the gray area between a regular grocery store and a health food store, and thery have an excellent meat department for such things (wild salmon and steelhead, free range meat, including buffalo, etc.). Yesterday while I was in the store, I noticed a sausage that intrigued me. It's a raw sausage, in natural casing, made from cranberries and free range lamb. The links are fairly long. like kielbasa or linguica. I'd like to try my hand at it, but I'm stumped for a good recipe. I'll try to think of something, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No Bad Hair-esy Day for Me!

Thanks for the Memory to Samantha at Uncle Sam's Cabin.

You scored as Chalcedon compliant.
You are Chalcedon compliant.
Congratulations, you're not a heretic.
You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in
every respect, apart from sin.
Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
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Friday, January 13, 2006

The Power of Uff Da Compels You

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

As if Jesse Ventura wasn't bad enough:

MINNEAPOLIS voters, who eight years ago elected a former professional wrestler as their governor, may find a self-proclaimed vampire on the ballot for the office this year.

"Politics is a cut-throat business," said Jonathan "The Impaler" Sharkey, who said he plans to announce his bid for governor on the ticket of the Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party.

More here.

The Feared Redhead is from Minnesota. I'm just going to file this away so I can show it to her the next time she gives me grief about Oregon weirdness.

A Link About a Link

Thanks for the Memory to Blogfather Rusty at the Jawa Report.

For those that claim there was no Saddam/Terroristm link

Not that I've ever argued that such a link was the reason, or even the most compelling reason, for the war. Just saying.

Though I Dream in Vain

My best friend Brian (aka known as "Lurch") knows full well that while I'm not the physics nut he is, I do take a passing interest in astrophysics (he's a quantum man) and astronomy. So when he comes across articles that he thinks will be of particular interest to me, he sends them my way.

Today when I got to work, an email from him was waiting for me with a link to the following article:


NASA's Stardust mission return capsule will land Sunday, Jan. 15, at approximately 2:12 a.m. Pacific time (3:12 a.m. Mountain time) on the Utah Test and Training Range. Stardust is completing a 2.88 billion mile round-trip odyssey to capture and return cometary and interstellar dust particles to Earth.

All of which is very cool. And I'm sure that Lurch thought it would be particularly of interest to me because of this:

The Stardust capsule will be visible from parts of Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho and Oregon when it returns on Jan 15 at 2:57 AM MST (09:57 UTC).

(bold added by me)

Unfortunately, the person at NASA who wrote that article either isn't familiar with the Oregon climate, or forgot what time of year he's talking about. I'm sure that east of the Cascades it'll be visible, but on this side of the mountains, the only way anyone in that viewing arc will see it is from a plane. For those of us poor schmucks on the ground, the only thing we'll be watching fall from the sky is a lot of little drops of water.

Oh, well, I still hope we collect some cool data.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Combining Today's Themes and Memes

I went looking and found a quiz:

You are Book, the Shepherd. Your mission is to
bring the Good Word out to the heathens and to
act as a spiritual guide. Your faith can
withstand any logical assault and your hair can
scare even the most hardened soldier.

Which Firefly character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

One More Reason to Appreciate Marrying a Redhead

I can tell (or link to) the best blond joke ever without fear of domestic disharmony.

Michael, There's a Meme Up Ahead!

Thanks for the Memory to the LlamaButchers (Baywatch, huh? Posers).

Knight Rider Hasselhoff

You are Knight Rider Hasselhoff. You kick ass, you're dead sexy, AND you are the proud owner (or perhaps life partner) of a talking black Trans-Am. What else could one ask for?

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

Parenthood Cliches

Today's cliche is "They grow up too fast!"

Well, yeah, they do. Two weeks from tomorrow will be The Lad's first birthday. And already there's a part of me that misses how tiny, how new he was, how sweetly he lay in my arms. What I DON'T miss is the lack of sleep, and the constant worry that comes with caring for a preemie. And while he's gone from a cuddly bundle to an active, stubborn, wiggly 1-year-old, he's a fun, bright, loving, sweet 1-year-old. I've started calling him my little M-109, because he's now self-propelled and he's definitely an area effect weapon. He has a vocabulary of 3 words (hi, dada, and baba). He's eating solid foods, and likes the flavor of barbecue (that's my boy!). At Christmas time, we had to buy him his first sippy cup.

When he first becam mobile, we weren't sure how he was doing it, because it went on for some time before we actually witnessed it happen -- we were only able to observe the end result. We'd put him in the middle of the Turkish carpet, turn away, and when we'd look back, he'd be at its edge. I suspected tectonic/seismic activity or some sort of wind or other meterological phenomenon, The Feared Redhead was advocating an aliens/levitation theory. Eventually we realized he was scooting. The scoot has evolved into a sort of semi-scoot/semi-crawl, where he puts one leg in front of himself and one behind, with the one behind being in a typical crawl stance (knee to the floor, sole facing backwards), and then uses that leg and his hands to pull himself along.

But now the fact that he's developing so quickly has caused us some concern (beyond the obvious realization that our living space must be rearranged with logistics, not esthetics, in mind). We've seen him begin to make the first halting moves towards standing -- he is able to push up with his hands and get his knees off the floor. But he hasn't actually started crawling yet. And we've read studies that indicate that babies who skip the crawling stage have developmental issues later on -- crawling is supposed to develop all sorts of motor skills. So I'd like to see him crawling soon.

But aside from that, he is the most beautiful little boy I've ever seen. See?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

He's a little shy, but once he warms up, he's a flirt, and he's already differentiating between the sexes and devoting his attention to the ladies. He's also amazingly strong, and has on one occasion (unintentionally) made daddy bleed (apparently babies are excellent head-butters). I'm already trying to teach him more words, words that will serve him (and me) well later on: Free Agency, First Round Pick, Signing Bonus....

Ultimately, as much as I miss the newborn stage, I'm having the time of my life getting to know him, seeing his personality develop, interacting with him as a tiny little human being.

And even when he's no longer my baby boy, he'll always be my son.


Guess what arrived in the mail from Amazon yesterday?

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
I've finally got my DVD's, you can't take the sky from me.

Expect reviews to follow within a few days.

Thanks for the Memory to The LlamaButchers.

A Serenity sequel? The Shininess just keeps getting... well, shinier.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bumper Sticker Bull S.... Consider the Alliteration

Thanks for the Memory to Russell at Mean Mr. Mustard 2.0.

The bumper sticker I specifically have in mind is the one that says, "Pro Family, Pro Child, Pro Choice."

The next time you see it, remember this quote, directly from the NARAL blog:

I could not be more sick and tired of the intolerable misogynist position that women should (a) suffer horrible emotional debilitation over the supposedly traumatic decision to excise a few parasitic cells from our personal organs..

(bold text added by Russell)

Oh, yeah, that's pro-child.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


As I alluded to in my entry regarding weird things about myself, I am an addicted gamer, both of RPG's and wargames (particularly sci fi), and in fact belong to an email discussion group for one set of such games. Today one of our group members sent notice that he must unsubscribe because he is redeploying to Iraq. He is a U.S. Army combat engineer. As one who dallies in observing military history (I am by no means a historian, and hesitate to even call myself a 'student'), I have developed a great deal of respect for those in the military whose jobs require not only that they go in harms way, not only that they actually fight, but that they busy themselves with fulfilling duties other than returning fire while in the enemy's sights. At the top of my list is combat medical personnel, but combat engineers come a close second. I thank John for putting himself in harm's way so that I can be free to do things like post to this blog, and I assure him that he and his brethren are in my prayers, and I will commend his care to Our Heavenly Father.

I would also like to commend to you his livejournal blog. It's well written, and if you want to get a glimpse of the way a modern military man thinks, it's insightful. These are the people that stand in the Thin Red Line, the least we can do is try to understand them (since understanding is a component of appreciation).

Besides, how can you not like someone who reads Victor David Hanson? And the essay at VDH linked to is excellent, even if not written by Victor himself.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Some Dreams Come True

A while back I blogged on a dream I had about a revived version of the Camaro. I was checking my visitor stats today, and noticed that the entry was somehow linked to an article on Ford's plans to release a Boss Mustang to compete with the new Dodge Charger and new Chevy Camaro.

What's this, you as? A new Camaro?

I'm glad you asked:

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More proof there is a God.

No, Son, it's ok. Those are tears of happiness!

The Spirit (of the Meme) Moves Me

Thanks for the Memory to Smallholder at Naked Villainy. Since he won't tag anyone, I'll tag myself:

I hadn't completely replaced Smallholder's TV shows with my own. That has been corrected.
Ditto on the movies.

1. Parking Valet
2. Mail Clerk
3. Dishwasher
4. Technical Support agent

1. The Princess Bride
2. Cold Comfort Farm
3. A Mighty Wind
4. Serenity

1. The Killer Angels
2. Lord of the Rings
3. Armour by John Steakley
4. God in the Dock by C.S. Lewis

Going backwards chronologically
1. Fort Wayne, Indiana
2. Tenmile, Oregon
3. Filer, Idaho
4. San Diego, California

1. Firefly
2. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
3. Anything on the Military Channel
4. Good Eats

1. Istanbul, Turkey
2. Yellowstone National Park
3. Lemolo Lake, Oregon
4. San Diego, California

1. Naked Villainy
2. Darth Apathy
3. The Llama Butchers
4. Ace of Spades HQ

1. Seafood (almost any)
2. Italian Food
3. Mexican Food
4. Barbecue

1. In a log cabin in Alaska
2. Camping
3. Ireland
4. Portland

Friday, January 06, 2006

I'm Rick James, Bi... err... Son!

Last night while caring for The Lad, I was singing out loud to him, as I often do to entertain him. I suddenly realized I was singing "Super Freak". I also realized it was making him smile and giggle.

I'm not sure which realization should be cause for more concern.

Which Comes First?

knowing I love Single Malt Scotch, two fasmily members purchase the Water of Life for me for Christmas. One SIL/BIL combo gave me a bottle of Orach Dram, a malt with which I was previously unfamiliar, but quite like. The other SIL/BIL combo presented me with a boxed tasting sampler, with 6 small bottles containing a dram each of the following malts:

Cragganmore 12 yr.
Dalwhinnie 15 yr.
Glenkinchie 10 yr.
Oban 14 yr.
Talisker 10 yr.
Lagavulin 16 yr.

Here's my question for any fellow Single Malt afficionados who may read my blog, especially the more well-rounded drinkers: In what order should I sample these six drams? The only one I've ever had before is Oban, which was actually the first Single Malt I ever tried. I expect to enjoy the Lagavulin, because I prefer Islays, and the Talisker intrigues me, being the only malt distilled on Skye (my ancestors include MacAuleys, and one of the two MacAuley clans were descended from Skye royalty). I don't expect to NOT like any of them, but I have no Idea where to start and how to proceed.


You Asked For It

Mr. Priapus has tagged me. In response to a challenge by Nicki, he haws listed what he considers the five weirdest things about himself, then picked five people he'd like to have do the same. And guess what, I'm one of them.

Are you sure you really want to know, Chris? I'm serious, because while I might seem pretty normal, I have some deeply odd stuff just under the surface....

OK, well, since you asked, here goes:

1. I slept with a stuffed animal until well into my 20's (a short time after college). When I was a child, I was given a stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh bear who was my constant companion through countless childhood diseases and four (yes, four) major surgeries by the time I was ten. This was coupled by the fact that I had a frighteningly vivid imagination to make Winnie a copilot, fellow liferaft survivor (on a beanbag afloat the Livingroom Sea), astronaut, Fellow GI in WWII Europe, mountain climber, etc. And I became very attached to him. I did eventually outgrow him, but kept him. Sadly, Winnie (aka Infrabear to my college friends Brian and David) will never play with any child ever again. He is the ultimate Velveteen Rabbit -- so well-loved and worn that his fabric is too weak to hold a stitch, he is no longer a whole bear, just a deteriorated shell and loose stuffing saved in a ziploc bag.

2. One of my hobbies is Role Playing Games (the old rule book/paper/dice kind). that's not the weird part. The weird part is one of my sub-hobbies: I like to imagine and create elaborate fictional background settings for such games -- alternate histories, fictional planets, etc., with complete geographies, histories, cultures, etc., but I almost never get a chance to play any actual games set in these background settings.

3. I have a birthmark shaped like New Jersey just under my left nipple.

4. As a child, I read the encyclopedia for entertainment.

5. I like to eat mustard just for mustard's sake -- especially yellow mustard. One of my favorite childhood snacks was mustard sandwiches.

So there you have it. Nothing spooky weird like making hats out of human hair or anything, but still, a little um.... quirky.

So my turn, huh? OK, I'd like to think big and nominate:
The Maximum Leader
The LlamaButchers (that counts as two)
As well as my buddies:

Thursday, January 05, 2006

To All My Friends...

...Who Managed to Get Boxed Sets of Firefly on DVD Before EVERY DAMNED STORE ON THE PLANET Was Sold Out:

I sincerely hate you all. Happy New Year.

Man Rapes Girl, Judge Rapes Justice

Thanks (or no thanks) for the Memory to Darth Apathy. Though this is already all over the Blogosphere, understandably, I read it first at Vic's blog. And you can imagine why, as a parent, I'm among the ranks of those expressing anger and disgust.

Burlington, Vermont -- January 4, 2005

There was outrage Wednesday when a Vermont judge handed out a 60-day jail sentence to a man who raped a little girl many,many times over a four-year span starting when she was seven.

No, really? Imagine that. Some nitwit of a jurist decides to lightly tap the hand of a monster who preys on innocent children, and you were expecting what, a parade in his honor?

The judge said he no longer believes in punishment and is more concerned about rehabilitation.

That statement is wrong on two counts. First of all, even if it WERE up to you to decide between punishment and rehabilitation, you are obviously living in some kind of cave if you are unaware, as mentioned by reader Moonbat_One at Ace of Spades, that child molesters have high recidivism rates and are unlikely to be rehabilitated. Second of all, this is exactly what we mean by judicial activism. We don't care that you think punishment is icky, asshole, it's definitely constitutional, and it's the will of the people when a crime is committed, especially one this heinous

"The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn't solve anything. It just corrodes your soul," said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the on-lookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced.

Do you think that maybe having your body, soul, and innocence repeatedly and irrevocably violated might damage your soul a bit, too, Eddie? And do you really think that by showing the family that you hold this animal in higher esteem than their daughter, you're going to mitigate their anger? Lackwit. This family is going to be dealing with plenty of "Soul Corrosion", you've done nothing to help the process by adding the fear that this sack of scum will be back on the street to repeat his crimes! Hell, we ALL have to deal with THAT fear, thanks to you!

"Punishment is a valid purpose," Chittenden Deputy Prosecutor Nicole Andreson argued to Judge Edward Cashman.

"The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that method of sentencing but the state does. The state thinks that it is a very important factor for the court to consider," Andreson added.

Damn Straight! Furthermore, not only is punishment valid, so is the need to protect the rest of us from this kind of vile creature!

But Judge Cashman explained that he is more concerned that Hulett receive sex offender treatment as rehabilitation. But under Department of Corrections classification, Hulett is considered a low-risk for re-offense so he does not qualify for in-prison treatment. So the judge sentenced him to just 60 days in prison and then Hulett must complete sex treatment when he gets out or face a possible life sentence.

So it's more important to you that this ape gets to spend time telling a therapist about his mommy not loving him enough than it is that Justice and Public Safety be served? What kind of sorry-ass excuse for a judge are you? And just what constitutes "completed" treatment? The word of a therapist whose own objectivity may be even more questionable than your own (as hard as that is to conceive)? Thanks, but no. The only way to guarantee that this maggot never rapes again is to make sure he never sees the light of day again.

"I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value;it doesn't make anything better;it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger,"Cashman explained to the people in the court.

I'm sure that all the victims of repeat offenders will be glad to know that you consider their safety "nothing of value".

Skylark of Valeron makes a valid point. The article reports that:

"I don't like it," the victim's mother,in tears, told Channel 3. "He should pay for what he did to my baby and stop it here. She's not even home with me and he can be home for all this time, and do what he did in my house," she added.

As Skylark asks, what the HELL was the mother doing for the entire FOUR FREAKING YEARS that this worm was doing this to her daughter? Was she unaware? In denial? Either way, she failed her daughter as assuredly as the system has.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Well, Alright.

If you look closely at the rights extended to us by the US Constitution, you will realize that several of them are not just rights, they are the duties of free peoples. This is because the very EXERCIZE of those specific rights helps us maintain them and all other rights. The first two amendments of the constitution stick out foremost in my mind -- by worshiping as we see fit, we are reminded that our rights are endowed to us by our Creator, not the whim of the state. It is by speaking freely that we keep the flame of freedom lit in the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens, and it is by assembling that we can communicate and coordinate any and all efforts to protect our freedom.

But the second amendment is even more essential, for an unarmed populace is powerless to do anything to protect itself or its freedoms except to call upon and trust in the good graces of the powerful. That is not a bet I care to place. You see, while I do not intend to downplay the usefulness of firearms as a way of securing food (hunting) or self-defense, I believe, as many of us on the right do, that the core purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect us all from Tyranny -- and not just to arm the military to proterct us from foreign tyrrany, but to arm the populace against domestic tyrrany. The Founding Fathers had taken up arms in such a cause once, they intended to provide for the possibility of a repeat performance in the future.

I came to the above realization while pondering the recent brouhaha regarding the Christmas Cross that Lars Larson was planning. At least on poster at Portland IndyMedia made comments fantazizing about doing bodily harm to Lars. I supported Lars' decision not to go through with the cross raising, believing he had taken the moral high ground. But two things about the incident struck me: One was that I found it highly ironic that those on the Left (Let's be clear here, I'm not talking about liberals, I'm talking about THE LEFT -- people whose politics make Howard Dean seem centrist) would call Lars a Fascist and in the same breath threaten violence to silence him. But while I was bemused, I was not surprised.

The Left's fringe has become stronger, louder, and more openly embraced by the "Party" in general. And it's become apparent to anyone paying attention that the Left is becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of doing anything they must to further their views, including using violence and lawlessness. They also seem more than willing to do what they must to silence the expression of opinions contrary to their own. And while they might believe they are "Freedom Fighters", they are striving for a political and social order that is frighteningly oppressive in its tolerance of personal freedom. It seems more and more apparent that what the Left wants is Revolution, or at least Civil War. Case in point, note the tone taken by the reader "Unapologetic Liberal" in the comment thread of this post at Ace of Spades HQ.

But the left may be biting off more than they can chew.

This was the second impression I got from the Christmas Cross incident. As one conservative (I can't remember who or where) pointed out that this would be unwise, ever since a leftist idiot revealed Lars' home phone number at Michael Moore appearance and Lars began receiving death threats, Lars has had a CCW permit and actively exercizes his Second Amendment rights. While Lars decided to back down to prevent violence, if any of the PDX IM crowd really tried to do Lars bodily harm, I'm sure they would regret it -- if they lived.

There's a lesson about the Right to be learned by the left from that angle to the story, just as we are learning about them from their reaction. You see, while there is a fringe element to both sides of the political spectrum, it seems that in recent years, the Right has more and more marginalized its fringe, distancing ourselves from it, rejecting its extremes in a way that the Left has failed to react to their fringe. And while it's popular to cast the Right in the light of being the oppressors, we have for the most part shunned violence and domestic unrest as a means to our ends. We have tried to take the moral high ground, abide by the law, distance ourselves from unscrupulous allies and distinguish ourselves from unscrupulous adversaries.

But we can only be pushed so far. And if we find ourselves in a position where our own ability to push back is all that stands between us and being overrun by those who wish to oppress us, we will push back -- and our push is harder. We strive to uphold and respect the Rule of Law. But if you finally get what you want, if you achieve revolution in the streets and open conflict between us, remember this: We're the ones who believe in and exercize our right to bear arms as a means of protecting our other rights. Usually that means from the random criminal who would mug or rob or rape us or our families. Strategically that means from a tyrant who would invade our country from without. Theoretically, the Framers believed it could mean from a corrupt government that would usurp its authority from within. But make no mistakes. If you try to impose a Marxist order on us through violent overthrow of the Government, we are highly likely to decide that you are a greater threat to our freedom than the Government ever could dream of being.

And you won't like what happens when we take sides.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Salena Zito has written an excellent column on why Condi is the perfect GOP candidate if Hillary (*shudder*) gets the Dem nod in '08. It's something that's been said before, but it's an idea that's picking up steam. But Zito makes a point that must be heeded regardless of who the Right nominaters, and one that goes beyond Dick Morris' theory of the Hillary v Condi gambit:

What Republicans must do is go to great lengths to lay down the markers of
how truly liberal this woman is.

Precisely. It's not going to be easy -- by taking a hawkish stand on Iraq, and a few other manouvers, Clinton is trying to cast herself as a "moderate" cut from the same cloth as hubby. But don't be fooled -- she's as liberal at Ted Kennedy (D-Glenlivet) ever dreamt of being.

I suspect that Hillary herself will end up helping us in this regard -- she'll have to curry the favor of the increasingly strident left wing of the Democratic party. Either way, she'll be in no position to refute those markers if she wants to keep her base.

Waking Up Next Year

So it's 2006 today. Yesterday was 2005. So how did I spend the last day of the year?After sleeping in and having a late breakfast, we (TFR, I, and the in-laws) drove my mom to the Minneapolis airport so she could fly back to San Diego. I'm going to miss her, and my heart breaks for her in the situation she's facing: Caring for my grandmother as she succumbs to Alzheimer's, watching one sister use drugs and another rely on oxygen due to emphyzema, leaving only two sisters able to help and only one WILLING. It also pissed me off and broke my heart to hear how my one aunt's drug use has brought about the loss of priceless family heirlooms. Pardon my French, but fuck drugs.

We (TFR and I) then proceeded to drag our butts around the Mall of America for several hours while the in-laws watched the Lad. Then it was home for shrimp and steak fondue, then a movie, then Dick Clark at Midnight, then to bed.

The movie was Monster-In-Law. Ugh. Trust me, not my choice. Let's set aside my feelings about hanoi Jane, or the acting ability of the cast. The movie was one of those trite, formulaic Chick Flicks, and badly executed at that. The timing in particular was awful -- some dramatic moments happening too soon, others delayed too long. In short, don't bother.

It was bittersweet watching Dick Clark return to Times Square. I'm glad the old boy showed up, but it was sad to see the toll the stroke took.

On the other hand, Mariah Carey was a nice bit of eye candy. I've never been a big fan of her music, but she's gained a little weight, and it's gone to the right places -- she was curvy and soft-looking and shaped the way a woman should be. Yummy.

Then in was to bed, quite toasty warm and warmly toasted. Thankfully, the Lad slept through the night.