Monday, February 13, 2006

More Than Meets the Eye

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Let's face it. Boys like toys that are loud and mechanical and make lots of noise -- or at least give us an excuse to make noise. We like toy cars and trucks and tanks and planes. And we LOVE giant robots. As a young man, one of the RPG/Wargames I was seriously into was Battletech. I remember as a kid the whole Transformers/GoBots craze. That one to me seemed the least plausible -- the whole robots that can transform into vehicles concept.

I stand corrected. OK, so it's barely bigger than a toy. It IS a toy, probably. But it's proof-of-concept. That's pretty cool.

I'm still not sure what the real world applications would be, even if they can build a working full-sized vehicle. The military applications are iffy -- the taller the vehicle, the easier to hit. But if someone can find a way to make it useful, whatever the application, I'd love to hear it.

The Madness of Queen Ann

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades HQ.

Apparently, during the recent CPAC, Ann Coulter is reported as being heard to make the comment,

I think our motto should be post-9-11, "raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences."
Now, aside from Sean Hackbarth, no one else is confirming that they heard it. But if she did say it, it disturbs me deeply, and for three reasons:

The first reason is both obvious and obviously the most important: It's just wrong. I know that the context was the GWOT, but the term "raghead" is a generalization of all Arabs, not specifically the terrorists and their apologists. It's racist. I would have had no problem with "Jihadist" or "Tango" or "Islamicist", but "raghead" paints too broad a brush.

Secondly, it disturbs me that someone who is accepted as a leading spokesperson for the side of the political spectrum to which I belong would so cavalierly toss around such a phrase. It does not reflect the real sentiments of myself or most conservatives I know, and it does us a disservice.

Finally, while I don't read her columns or watch her being interviewed, I've read two of Ann's books, Treason and Slander. And while I'm not as quick as Ann to ascribe certain motives descrived in the books to all Liberals, I thought they made some excellent points, and were well-documented and interesting. Furthermore, the only responses I have ever seen from Liberals to either book was to question her motives, inpugn her character, and excoriate her as a waspish, hateful right-wing harridan (ironically enough, this reinforces the point of Slander). I've yet to see a comment from a single Liberal or Leftsist who will cop to having read either book and offer any refutation of the facts and sources Ann offers in support of her assertions. And the more strident and comabtive and intentionally offensive Ann becomes, the easier it becomes for her detractors to employ this Ad Hominem technique. Nothing Ann ever writes or ever has written will be given a fair consideration, because it will be considered tainted by her reputation. "Oh, Coulter wrote it? Well, it must be false". And that's too bad, because sometimes she makes a good point.

Don't shoot the message just because of the messenger.

Ice Station Llama

The Llama Butchers blogged over the weekend on the big snowstorm that hit the east coast, and apparently they got quite a bit of snow. In the meantime, it was in the 50's here and sunny yesterday, so I took the opportunity to fire up the smoker and barbecue some ribs.

Before you get too jealous, East Coasters, just remember, we get our nastiest weather here in March, and February is usually our "flase spring". So this was a fluke. In fact, we're expecting a weather front later this week, with rain and winds, and the snow level is expected to drop to 3,000 feet. I'm only at 500, but I could drive to the 3,000 foot level in half an hour.

The thing is, down at sea level, we don't get it that cold usually here -- we sit right next to the world's largest thermostat (aka the Pacific Ocean), which prevents it from getting too cold in winter or too hot in summer. Now, my friends in SoCal or Texas will tell me that weather in the 30's is indeed cold, but my response to them is: Go visit Minnesota in February. 'Nuff said.

But we do get a whole lot of wet. And up in the Cacades, the weather gets colder, and all that wet turns to snow. So while even our mountains aren't as cold as the upper midwest, they're just as snowy or snowier. In fact, Crater Lake, Oregon averages 44 feet of snow per year. The road to the lake, as well as several other highways in the Cascades, get closed every winter, and some don't open till the snow clears in July.

I just hope the weather holds long enough to do a little grilling, too.