Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mardi Gras

I'm a 6th generation American of German and Norwegian decent. I'm Lutheran. I was born in South Dakota and raised there and in Wyoming. So Mardi Gras doesn't mean squat to me. But to my dear wife's family is from Louisiana. She went to college in Lafayette LA. She was born and raised Catholic. She loves Mardi Gras. She went to several of the parades and celebrations while going to school in Louisiana. My dear wife has an entire trunk full of beads, doubloons and other souvenirs. A brief clarification, she collected her beads the hard way - with her shirt on.

So to my wife and children Mardi Gras is a fun time. They wear beads to school and work. We have gumbo or jambalaya or etouffee for dinner and my dear wife usually bakes a king cake. This is the part of Mardi Gras that I have learned to love - the food.

Dinner this evening was sausage and chicken jambalaya. We also had king cake for dessert. This year however, my dear wife didn't bake it. As part of our personal attempt to help rebuild New Orleans after the hurricanes we ordered our king cake from Haydel's Bakery. I ordered the cake Friday afternoon and it arrived via UPS this afternoon. The cake arrived in remarkably good condition considering the box was pretty beat up. The cake was delicious. I shouldn't admit this, but it was as good if maybe just a little bit better than my wife's. But don't tell her I said that.

Happy Mardi Gras!

30th Class Reunion

I just found out that my 30th High School Class Reunion is going to be held in Cheyenne Wyoming on Aug. 11-13. They are planning an Icebreaker on Friday evening. A formal dinner with the our cross town rivals East High School on Saturday evening and maybe a picnic on Sunday.

If you are interested there is a link to our reunion information here:

Cheyenne Central Class of 1976

I would love to be there for this event. But my family is already planning on spending a couple weeks in Wyoming in July. The University of Wyoming has a volleyball camp the third week in July that my oldest daughter wants to participate in. The family is going to spend some time at Yellowstone and then back in Cheyenne for a few days to catch a little Frontier Days action.

So I don't know if I will be able to get back there again in August. That weekend is one week before Chaos starts school. It will also be really close to coinciding with high school volleyball tryouts. I may be able to get back there by myself, but I doubt that the family will be able to go with me. Also I will have to be hoarding my vacation time since my middle school volleyball season will be starting the end of August and I always end up using a lot of vacation time with that.

However I do have some concerns about the decision to combine our dinner with our old cross town rivals - East High School. Granted we are all 30 years older now and should be able to behave like adults. But I wouldn't count on it. If everyone gets to reflecting on the good old days the dinner may end early when we all sneak out early to go egg each others buildings or repaint the rocks outside of each other's school buildings.

Now that said, my lawyers tell me I should make it clear that I never threw eggs at East High School. I never painted their landscaping red. I never wrote crude comments in chalk on the sidewalk outside their front door. I never wrapped underwear over the head of their thunderbird mascot. I never drove past their outdoor activites yelling rude things or mooning the crowd. I never wrote "East High Sucks" all over the seats on their side of the stadium before our football games. I never wrote "Go Central" in ketchup on the seats on their side of the gym before our basketball games. I never sat in the parking lot during their home football games and threw snowballs over the back of the bleachers into the crowd.

I'm also sure that none of my fine upstanding classmates ever did such things either. We were good, hard working, hard studying students who would never commit such rude acts. We respected and enjoyed the friendly rivalry that we shared with our cross town classmates.

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, February 27, 2006


It has been raining here since about one o'clock this afternoon. It has been a nice gentle rain. The kind of rain the desert needs but seldom gets. We usually get these violent little gullywashers that turn into flash floods. This rain has been slow and steady. Giving it plenty of time to sink into the soil.

I like rainy days like this. Mostly because we don't get too many of them. I would probably get tired of them if they happened all the time.

Internationalism or Isolationism

Hillary Clinton is confused. She doesn't know whether or not she wants the United States to be Internationalist or Isolationist.

Speaking to the Council on Foreign Relations on Dec 15, 2003 she had this to say:

We need a tough-minded, muscular foreign and defense policy, one that not only respects our allies and seeks new friends as it strikes at known enemies, but which is understood and supported by the majority of the American people. The consequences of unilateralism, isolationism and overtly expressed preemptive defense, I think, are severe. We will end up with fewer nations, fewer intelligence services and fewer law enforcement personnel internationally helping to protect us against attacks, fewer nations helping to counterattack when we are struck, and less leverage in advancing democracy, freedom, open markets and other values that we believe elevate the people of the world even as they protect our people here at home.

This is not to propound some golden rule of international affairs, because I think it's rooted in the intelligence and the success of the 20th century. The more we throw our weight around, the more we encourage other nations to join with each other as a counterweight. We have a lot of problems besides Iraq and Afghanistan on the horizon. The number one problem remains the spread of weapons of mass destruction and those falling into the hands of either rogue nations or borderless terrorists. And so we have to have a united front of the world that cares about life more than death; that consists of builders instead of destroyers, standing together, fighting together, working together.

Then just last week Hillary and Democratic Senator Robert Menendez (N.J.) announced that they plan to introduce legislation barring the sale of port operations to foreign governments.

That's right. All foreign governments. So I'm guessing that when Hillary said that we have to be "builders instead of destroyers, standing together, fighting together, working together" she should have added "unless you are a foreign company".

Now I will admit that on a gut level the thought of an Arab company running some ports makes me nervous. Does that make me islamophobic, or a racist, or an isolationist? Nope it makes me human. We were attacked by radical islamists on 9/11 and are currently fighting a global war on terror against more radical islamists. So the thought of doing business with Arabs makes a lot of people nervous. But not all Arabs are Muslim and not all Muslims are radical Islamists.

So I suspect that eventually this business deal is going to go through on way or another. But in case it doesn't, I would like to recommmend that they contract be awarded to APM Terminals of Denmark which is part of the shipping giant AP Moller Maersk Group, a publicly traded company that is controlled by the Moller family of Denmark.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Eminent Domain - part 2

As I mentioned here, the rights of all property owners in Ridgecrest is under threat by the Community and Economic Development Director Gary Parsons said Ridgecrest Redevelopment Agency.

Rite-aid, a company that already has a business here in town wants to buy a lot at the corner of Ridgecrest blvd and China Lake Blvd to build a new store. The fly in the ointment of Rite-aid's plan is that the property owner at the corner where they want to build wants more to sell his property than the Rite-aid developer wants to pay.

Rite-aid's solution is to petition the Ridgecrest redevelopment Agency and the City Council to use the power of eminent domain to force the property owner to sell to them at a lower price.

This is a completely absurd situation. In the last few years there have been several eminent domain cases in the United States where people who did not want to sell their homes were forced to. But this case is different. The property owner is willing to sell. Rite-aid is just not willing to pay his price.

What ever happened to the rule of supply and demand? What ever happened to the rights of property owners? If Rite-aid wants this property then pay this owners price. If he is asking more than you want to pay then let him keep his property and buy somewhere else or better yet keep doing business in the location where you are already located. If Rite-aid really wants to move, there are a lot of empty buildings in town and lots of other empty lots. Buy one of them.

It seems like our City Council and the Gary Parsons, the Community and Economic Development Director have lost touch with what the people of Ridgecrest want. There have been several letters to the editor of both our local papers all condemning the use of eminent domain for this cause. Most of the authors of these letters all say the same thing. They believe that this is wrong and they will not shop in the new Rite-aid if they gain this property through eminent domain and they will also vote against any member of the city council who supports this action in the next election. Talking to people in town about this issue I haven't found a single person who thinks this is a proper use of eminent domain.

Yet, in the face of these objections to this use of eminent domain Gary Parsons seems dead set in making it happen. In the Tuesday Feb 21st edition of the Daily Independent Mr. Parsons had this to say.

"He’s going to sell it," said Parsons. "The question is at what price."

Sounds pretty theatening to me. Sell your property on your own or we will take it away from you, then pay you what we think it is worth and tell you that you sold it.

I personnally don't know what the big deal over this piece of property is. I think the property on California St. where the City Council, the Police Department, and the City Offices are located would be a great place for a new Rite-aid. Maybe we should get the Council to excercise a little eminent domain and sell that property to a drug store, or better yet a new Super Walmart.

One last time:

I disagree with this action and I promise that I will never set foot in any businees that acquires it's land through eminent domain. Additionally I will use my blog and my voice to convince as many others to also boycott said business. I will also not vote for any member of the city council who supports this action. I will also use my blog, my voice, and my wallet to champaign against said council members.

Car Raffle

My dear wife, daughter Chaos and I all attended the annual car raffle that Saint Ann School holds as a fundraiser each year.

The car raffle is held on the last Saturday before Ash Wednesday. The festivities trend towards a mardi gras theme and include dinner, open bar, a DJ for musical entertainment, the main raffle, and several impromtu showstoppers.

The car raffle is a reverse raffle and they only sell 200 tickets. The last ticket left in the barrel wins the car, or $13,000. There is a $1000 prize for the 199th ticket drawn. The 196th through 198th tickets win $500 each. There are 19 other $100 prizes. Several businesses donate products or services that are awarded during the drawing.

This was our fourth year attending this event. This evening was the most fun we have had. My daughter and two of her friends were the "Vanna's" for the evening. They take turns drawing the numbers and moving numbered signs from one tally board to the other to keep track of the winners.

Dinner was catered by Victoria's - a local restaurant. The food was good. Tri-tip, chicken, fried rice, mixed vegatables, etc. The food was very good and there was plenty of it.

The last few years we didn't make plans to attend the event with other couples. Many folks do, they have a regular group that they sit with. We spent the first three years just picking an unoccupied corner table and seeing who showed up to sit with us. This year we did the same thing. However the first people to approach our table were the other two "Vanna's". Eventually three more of my daughter's classmates wandered by to visit. By the time dinner was served they had all gotten their parent's permission to sit with us. So we shared dinner with 6 middle school kids. This gave my dear wife the chance to experience one of the things I like best about spending time with these kids. The two of us just sat there quietly and ate and let the kids visit among themselves. It was very entertaining. We learned more about what goes on during a normal school day during that 45 minute meal than we hear in a week from our own kids.

The gossip was hilarious. Fortunately all the news was just amusing middleschool kid kind of stuff - who talks in class, who irritates who, which teacher gives the hard tests, who is grounded this week and what they did to deserve it, etc.

The down side of having these dinner guests was once the drawing started our "Vanna's" had to go to work and the rest of the kids wandered off to visit other friends. We were all alone. As the drawing progressed and people left, another couple who's table guests had left once their numbers had been drawn moved over to our table and spent the rest of the evening with us.

We had a lot of fun. We didn't win any of the big prizes. But then we never do. We go for the dinner and entertainment. My dear wife always explains why we never win drawings and such by saying we are lucky in love. I think she's right.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Selling our Ports to Terrorists?

I have to admit that at first glance the administrations determination to allow a United Arab Emirates company to manage six major U.S. ports seemed like a bad idea to me. After all, on 9/11 we were attacked by radical Islamists, two of which were United Arab Emirates citizens. We are currently at war against radical Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I decided to take a deep breath and try to examine both sides of the issue. This turned out to be more difficult than I imagined because most of the opinions flying around are all negative. Finally I found a calm rational sounding article on the Wall Street Journal Online that was able to answer all my questions.

I couldn't understand why President Bush would be so anxious to turn over our ports to people who attacked us.
Yes, some of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE citizens. But then the London subway bombings last year were perpetrated by citizens of Britain, home to the company (P&O) that currently manages the ports that Dubai Ports World would take over.
so I guess one could argue that our ports are already being run by a company from a terrorist nation. Not that I would ever characterize Great Britain as a terrorist nation. But the London Bombings were carried out by British citizens. So denying a UAE company the rights to contract because two of the 9/11 highjackers were thier citizens would be like saying that no United States company could bid on this contract because Timothy McVeigh was a US citizen. You can't condemn an entire nation because of the behaviour of two of its citizens.

But what about security. Wouldn't turning security of our ports over to a company that is more likely to employ terrorists than a western company be dangerous.
Dubai Ports World would be managing the commercial activities of these U.S. ports, not securing them. There's a difference. Port security falls to Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials. "Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said yesterday. "The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation."

In a telephone interview yesterday, Kristie Clemens of U.S. Customs and Border Protection elaborated that "Customs and Border Protection has the sole responsibility for the cargo processing and cargo security, incoming and outgoing. The port authority sets the guidelines for the entire port, and port operators have to follow those guidelines." Again, nothing in the pending deal would affect that arrangement.
Personally I trust Coast Guard to defend our ports. At least I do as long as guys like George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are in charge.

But now I have to come to grips with the fact that Jimmy Carter and I agree on this topic. Ow! That makes my brain hurt.

More Ricky Williams

From Jay Leno on the tonight show:

Miami Dolphin's running back Ricky Williams may be suspended for an entire year after he tested positive for marijuana again! Ricky has always marched to a different drummer -- apparently, now it's a reggae drummer.

Q - What do Ricky Williams and the Winter Olympics have in common?

A - They both do the half-pipe.

Miami Dolphins Running Back Ricky Williams may be suspended for an entire year after he failed a drug test - again. This is part of the NFL's strict 300 strikes and you are out clause.


Yeah, I know that yesterday I said that I wasn't going to say anything about Ricky Williams until his protest of his failed drug test was complete. But what the heck, he's a pot-headed quitter that I have no respect for anyway.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


According to this site the number one song on the Billboard Pop Charts the day I was born was "Tequila" by The Champs.

My dear wife's song is "Blue Velvet" by Bobby Vinton.

Chaos was totally unimpressed to find out that her song was "End of the Road" by Boyz II Men.

Noise and Destruction's response to "Un-Break My Heart" by Toni Braxton was "Who?"

Monday, February 20, 2006

Ricky Williams

According to ESPN's Hank Goldberg Miami Dolphin's Running Back Ricky Williams has failed another NFL drug test, his fourth.

I have written here and here before about my opinion of Ricky (Quiter) Williams. I'm not going to say much now because Ricky is protesting the results of the test. But I do have one comment. If this results of this test are upheld it will result in at least a one year suspension for Ricky. If that happens at least I will be able to cheer on my Dolphins next year without feeling guilty.

Olympics Medals Ceremony

One of my favorite part of the both the summer and winter Olympics is the medals ceremony. I like seeing the athletes receive their medals and watch their reactions as their national anthem plays and they see their flag rise into the air.

I like the SBC commercial that has been playing during the Olympics where a medal ceremony from the games is being shown to people around the world who are gathered in bars and other places listening to our National Anthem play. It's too bad for us viewers and for SBC that we aren't getting to see that happen for real in these olympic games. For many of us this commercial is the only time we have seen or heard the National Anthem of the United States.

I accept the fact that NBC does a truely horrible job of broadcasting the olympics. They refuse to show anything live. They are also fantastic at taking all the surprise out of the events. You can bet that at the start of an event, any athlete who the broadcast focuses on, talks about, or shows on the screen more than twice will play a prominate role in the results of the event - good or bad. If NBC is talking about them at the start of the event, they will either come from behind to win, set a record, have an accident or do something else to lose their shot at a medal.

What I can't understand is why NBC is not showing any of the medal ceremonies. My family and I have watched a lot of the Olympics this last week. We will probably watch a lot next week. It is all that has been on our TV every night this week till almost midnight. In all that time I have only seen one medal ceremony and that was at 1 AM this morning.

They have showed several clips of ceremonies. But they have been only brief shots of athletes waving with their medals. The only anthem I have heard played so far was the Italian anthem at the Men's Cross Country Relay this morning.

As of today the United States is tied for the lead in the Gold Medal Count and are tied for third in the total medal count. There have been 7 different American athletes standing on top of a podium while the American Flag rose into the air and our National Anthem played. How many of those special Olympic moments has NBC broadcast for us to see? I haven't seen a single one. If they are showing them at all it is in the wee hours of the morning when no one is watching.

Why is NBC not showing the medal ceremonies? Are they afraid that we might start feeling good about being Americans? Are they afraid to show us an American athlete celebrating reaching the pinnacle of their sport? Or are they just so stupid to think that we might not be interested in seeing all the Olympics instead of just seeing their processed canned replays.

NBC Olympics Coverage - the potted meat of sports broadcasting.


Update: Wow, they showed the Women's Ice Hockey Medal Ceremony this afternoon. The American's won bronze. It was nice seeing a bunch of women, any of whom could beat the crap out of me, wiping tears out of their eyes while their national anthem played.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Lesson for a Lifetime

Today in the first ever Olympics Women's Snowboard Cross gold medal race, American and World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis competed in a tough race against two Canadians and a Swiss rider. Lindsey Jacobellis fought her way through a tight start, and some jostling in the upper half of the track to come flying to the finish with an unprecedented 140 foot lead over the second place rider. That's when things went wrong. On the second to last feature (jump) of the race Lindsey glanced back and noticed that she was essentially alone on the track. As she launched herself off the feature she twisted in the air grabbing the edge of her snowboard in a method (trick) that snowboarder's call a "backside method grab". She landed back on her heels and fell over backwards. By the time she had struggled back onto her board and started back down the course she had been passed by Switzerland's Tanja Frieden. Lindsey Jacobellis had to settle for the silver medal and a lesson of a lifetime.

I feel sorry for Lindsey. It's tough to work the years she has to get to the Olympics then to get through 3 preliminary rounds and to have a commanding lead only to lose it all with one moment of showboating.

That said, as a sports fan who has had my fill of showboating, egocentric, spoiled superstar athletes it was kind of nice to see an athlete pay for their showboating in a very real manner. The media seems to love showing us the showboats, the showoffs, the over-the-top attention grabbers. What we don't see enough of is the hard working athletes who do what it takes to win and then celebrate. I don't get a thrill out of watching some multimillionaire NFL wide receiver dancing in the endzone, or some defensive lineman doing a sack dance. Isn't that what they get paid for? I don't see the need for 360 degree spins or tomahawk slams in basketball when a lay up or simple dunk scores the same two points. I've just had enough of elite athletes concentrating more on image and fluff than on playing the game well.

As a middle school volleyball coach I stress three main things that I want my players to learn. First: to learn to be a good volleyball player. Second: to be a good teammate. Third: to be a good student-athlete.

That third one is the tough one. There is so much involved in trying to turn little girls into good student-athletes. Requiring them to get good grades and backing up their parents when they are kept away from practices or games because they aren't getting their homework done is easy.

Demanding good sportsmanship is also pretty easy. I explain at the beginning that poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated. Trash talking, rude comments, gestures, or behavior will not be tolerated. Players are required to respect and be polite to their opponents, coaches, referees, fans, parents and themselves. They get no other warnings. First violation of these rules earns a player a seat next to me on the bench for the rest of the match. I have never had to issue a tougher penalty as we have never had a repeat offender. Now if I could only get the parents to behave as well as my athletes.

The hard lessons to teach are:

Stay in the moment. Forget the last play, concentrate on the current one. Don't worry about what's for dinner, the mistake your teammates just made, or what you mother is yelling from the stands. Concentrate on making this play the best one in the game.

Stay connected with your teammates. Communicate with each other. Pay attention to each other. Try to learn to act with one brain. Everyone concentrating on the same process at the same time.

Stay in the game. There is no such thing as too big a lead. In a game to 25 points you can be up 24-0 and still lose. Don't back off on a weaker team. It is the players job to play their best all the time. If they get into a game against a weaker opponent it is my job to modify the lineup accordingly. It is their job to play full out all the way to the end.

Play the game well. Work on your basics. A free pass to an open spot on the court or an off-speed hit to the corner score the same point as a powerful floor denting spike. I played a lot of volleyball for many years with young men just out of high school or college who put a huge amount of effort into jumping as high as possible and hitting the ball has hard as possible. They just never seemed to learn that a 38 inch vertical leap was useless if you couldn't get your spikes over the net and onto the floor in bounds.

Lindsey hopefully learned a good lesson today. Apparently she hadn't learned it earlier. Lets hope it sticks this time.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eminent Domain in Ridgecrest

The main intersection in downtown Ridgecrest is where Ridgecrest Blvd and China Lake Blvd. cross. Traffic at this intersection is controlled by a stoplight. There are two through lanes and a turn lane in all four directions. This intersection is essentially the center of town.

Three of the corners at this intersection contain shopping centers. The Bank of America in on the fourth corner.

The Northwest corner used to house a Mobile Gas Station, a night club and a couple small shops. A few years ago the small shops were bulldozed and the Mobile Station went out of business. The night club, JDs, was the place to party 20 years ago when I moved here. But it has been closed for several years. This corner has rapidly turned into one of the ugliest corners in town. A run down night club, a boarded up gas station and several cement slabs just aren't most people's ideas of a thriving business center.

There have been several rumors about different businesses developing that corner. For about a year folks were thinking that a Marie Calendar’s was going in there. Then last year it was going to be a Walgren's Drug story. Marie's never happened. Actually it never started. Walgren's bought some property about a mile north and built there instead. Now the latest rumor is that Rite-Aid wants that corner.

Now here is the problem. Rite-Aid wants to buy the property on that corner and put in a store. However the owner of the building that has the old nightclub in it wants a lot of money for his property. This situation is complicated by the fact that they backside of old nightclub contains a Chinese restaurant. This restaurant in one form or another had been in business there for over 20 years.

Since Rite-aid and the property owners have not been able to reach an agreement for sale the City Council has been asked to exercise Eminent Domain and force the existing property owners to sell their property so that the city can sell it to a different business.

Most of the people I have talked to in town all agree on two things. We would really like to see that corner cleaned up. But we all really disagree with the idea of taking away a person’s property so that another private business can have their spot.

This situation is even more ludicrous because we already have a Rite-aid here is town, just a mile up the road in the main city shopping center.

I have seen several letters to the editor of the newspaper claiming that they will not shop in the new Rite-aid if they acquire the property via eminent domain. I will be one of the citizens in town who will not patronize any business that uses Eminent Domain to get their property. Additionally, I will immediately stop supporting any member of the city council that votes for such an anti-American action. I already cast my School Board votes for anyone who doesn’t have the word incumbent next to their name. I can always do the same with the City Council.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hunting with Cheney part 2

OK, I made pretty light of the Vice-Presidents situation regarding his accidental shooting of Harry Whittington. When I wrote my last posting it appeared that Mr. Whittington was recovering from his injuries. Today he had a mild heart attack as a result of his injuries.

So no more jokes until Mr. Wittington recovers. Making jokes about an embarrassing accident is one thing. But if this accident changes from an embarrassing one to a tragic accident it won't be very funny.

So pray for Mr. Wittington's speedy recovery, there are a lot of lawyer hunting jokes out there just waiting to be told.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hunting with Dick Cheney

The antique media is having a field day with this story. Mostly they seem to be harping on why it took the White House 18 hours to say anything about it. They seem to think that this is a major news story. After all, The Drudge Report had it as the banner story for over 36 hours. Right now the Olympics is going on, idiot Muslims are burning embassies over cartoons, we are fighting a war against terrorism, and all the media can talk about is a minor accident between a couple hunting buddies.

I think the story, while potentially serious, is mostly just embarrassing, and maybe even a little funny. Back home in South Dakota and Wyoming this type of story is usually shared along with a few cold brews and starts with the storyteller sporting a sly grin and asking: "Did I ever tell you about that time I shot Harry?" This is the kind of story that starts out embarrassing for the Vice President, but eventually evolves into him one day sitting in a rocking chair, surrounded by his grandchildren while they beg him to tell about the time he went lawyer huntin'.

Understand, this is an historic event. Vice-President Cheney is only the second sitting Vice-President to ever shoot a man while in office. The first was in 1804 when Aaron Burr, Vice-President for Thomas Jefferson, shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a dual. At least Dick and Harry weren't dueling, and Harry sounds like he is recovering well.

But it's time for the antique media to lighten up a little. This evening I heard an NBC news anchor refer to the BUCKshot that the man was shot with. Which just points out the cluelessness of the antique media. Powerline has a report that explains:

Cheney was shooting a 28-gauge shotgun. That's closer to a .410 than a 12-gauge; it's a little gun.

Hunting quail--a little bird--they'd be shooting 6 or 8-shot, I suppose. This is not like shooting 20-lb geese. I suspect that the biggest quail on earth weighs a pound. The point of the tiny shot is to do little damage to the meat. References to "buck-shot" and "B-B"s are ridiculous. At 30 yards, buck and B-Bs might be lethal. The risk with light bird loads is the eyes.

A White House Correspondent continually referred to the Vice-President as "the shooter". Like she thought Vice-President Cheney was hunting quail from the window of the Texas Book Depository.

So if you are looking for some fun with this, Expose the Left is selling a bumper sticker that says:

I would rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy

Cox and Forkum have this cartoon:

Hunting with Cheney

Hugh Hewett had this to say:

When I saw the story about Cheney's hunting accident pop up in my e-mail, the first thing I thought was, "when did they start sending Saturday Night Live skits via e-mail?"

Today on his radio show both Hugh and several callers were having a lot of laughs about the whole thing. I don't think it is going to take long for the 'lawyer huntin' stories to start.

Even the White House was making jokes:

President Bush's spokesman quipped Tuesday that the burnt orange school colors of the University of Texas championship football team that was visiting the White House shouldn't be confused for hunter's safety wear.

"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president may be there,"

I'm glad that Harry Whittington is stable and recovering. I'm sorry that this accident happened to him. I'm sorry that Vice-President Cheney has to endure the antique media assault that he is going through. I'm sorry that the White House has to take time out from the important things that it should be paying attention to in order to deal with this minor accident. But I would really like to get a nice framed picture of Vice-President Cheney holding his shotgun and standing next to Harry Whittington for the Vice-President to hang on his trophy wall.

Trying to Learn Something

I was suppossed to be in a training class this week. At least that's what I thought for the last 3 months. When I started my new job several months ago I needed to learn the Microsoft .NET programming Framework. Fortunately for me the training center at work simultaneously announced a class in C++ .NET that was going to be taught this week. I signed up immediately. Since the Training Center offers very few technical training classes they fill up fast. When I completely my online registration the system told me that there were 12 seats in the class and there were still 7 available. So I didn't worry about it. I was in.

This morning I show up for class and find out that I am not on the roster for class. I'm also not on the list of 14 standbys who are hoping that one of the 12 registrants don't show up. So I stopped by the office at the training center to find out why I'm not on the roster. It seems that I used the wrong double secret hidden process while registering. I had stuck my right finger in my nose, my left finger in my ear, crossed my eyes, and jumped up and down while pushing the Enter key with the second toe of my left foot.

Today I found out that this process has been changed. Now you are supposed to do all your registration online. The process has 21 steps. Unfortunately the online software only walks you through the first 20 steps. Steps 1 though 20 are covered in the online regustration process. However it makes no mention of the most important last step:

21. Inform the supervisor that there is a workflow item in their business workplace.

This is where the entire process breaks down. I assumed that since the system asked for for my supervisor information so it could get his approval. That they system would contact or notify the supervisor that an approval was needed. So when system didn't prompt me for any more information I assumed I was registered and quit.

The nice lady at the training center did tell me that she was very frustrated with the registration system that we were stuck using. My case is apparently not an exception. It seems that class registrations not getting processed properly is more the rule than the exception. She was so disillusioned that she claimed she would rather do away with the whole system and have people just call her to register. That way they would at least get signed up.

I will probably do that next time. But I don't expect that system to last. The moment our management finds out that she is circumventing the system in order to help her coworkers they will make her stop. After all, our new management phliosophy is "The process is more important than the results."

I would like to think that this is a Navy plot to keep registration for classes low so they have data to support not offering many technical classes. But I am a firm believer the the axiom: "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetance."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Olympics Opening Ceremony

The whole family watched the opening ceremony of the Torino Olympics last night. It had its unusualy moments but for the most part we enjoyed it.

Mostly we enjoyed all the 70s music that they played during the Parade of Nations. We did think it was a little unusual for an Italian Olympics to focus so much on old American music.

We were very pleased to see the warm reception that the United States athletes received from the crowd. Even better was the music playing in the background. Aretha Franklin's song Think, with its chorus of Freedom, Freedom, Freedom...

I plan on watching a lot of the Olympics over the next two weeks. But don't count on me reporting much here.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


On 23 January 2002 the Congress of the United States passed Joint Resolution 114 also known as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002' .

This resolution in part says:
Whereas Congress has taken steps to pursue vigorously the war on terrorism through the provision of authorities and funding requested by the President to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President and Congress are determined to continue to take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such persons or organizations;

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in the joint resolution on Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40);

I have one question. If congress truly meant for the President to “take all appropriate actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations” did they really mean that he should take "all appropriate actions" except for listening in on their phone calls while they plot the deaths of American Citizens?

Because if that is what they meant then they are even stupider than they act on television.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Congratulations to the Pittsburg Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks.

But the Steelers get to go home the winners and the Seahawks get to complain about the officiating.

Best memory of the suoerbowl? Watching Jerome Bettis stand there with the trophy in his hands and tell his fans that the bus made it's last stop in his home town of Detroit. Can it get any better than to have a career like Bettis had, play your last game in you home town, and have that win be for the superbowl. Thanks for all the years Jerome. You were a fun one to watch.

Class act of the night - Bill Cowher handing the trophy to team owner Dan Rooney and saying "This belongs to you Sir." Cowher has had some rough years with the Steelers and the Rooney family has stuck by him. The Rooney family has a reputation for loyalty and that feeling seems to be eched by their employees. That's a lesson that several other owner in the NFL should be paying attention to. Do you think anyone named Bidwell, Davis, Jones, Modell, or Irsay is listening?

Best play of the superbowl - Willie Parker's 75 yeard touchdown run just 22 seconds into the second half. I got to see Marcus Allen make his 74 yard run in superbowl 18 against the Redskins this one was almost as pretty. Willie Parker is no Marcus Allen, but for about 10 seconds today he was better.

Best Commercial. I liked the Fed-ex Caveman commercial. I think I used to work for that boss, and we've all had days like the caveman had.

We all loved the streaking lamb in the budweiser spot, and the dead fly in the hospital was hilarious. My sister in law who travels a lot said she could relate to the lady try to get out her airline seat past the two sleeping travelers. But she wouldn't go into anymore detail.

Our party was really low key. Not many folks showed up. Over the years our regular crowd has moved away or found better things to do. We're either going to have to find some more football fans to join us, or start teaching our kid's friends to like football.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Noise and Destruction Turn Nine

Noise and Destruction turned nine today.

Nine years ago I had stayed up late the night of Feb 1st. Really late. Our first child was spending the night with Grandpa and Grandma, our twins were due in 6 weeks and my dear wife was very tired. So she went to bed early and I stayed up late reading and watching old movies. I finally turned in about 2:30 in the morning.

At 4:30 AM after I had only been asleep 2 hours my dear wife shook me awake with a worried "Honey, I think my water just broke."

I groggily rolled over and asked something really brilliant like "Are you sure?"

Then the odor hit me. When our first child was born we had rushed to the hospital after my wife's water broke while she was fixing dinner. Once we got checked into the hospital and my wife was being prepped for her first C-section (Chaos was four weeks early and a Frank's Breach). A nurse handed me a plastic bag with my wife's wet clothes in it. I took it out to the car and tossed it and the towel she had sat on into the trunk. Many hours later with my new daughter and wife well and sleeping comfortably in the hospital I headed for home. I stopped on the way and bought several newspapers, and some supper. Then went home and programmed the VCRs to record the Tonight Show and several late night news broadcasts. Then I called my parents, and finally ate my now, cold tacos. Finally I remembered the dirty laundry that had been aging for the last 8 hours at around 80 degrees in the trunk of the car. I walked into the garage and popped open the trunk. The odor that wafted out of that trunk almost knocked me over. It is a smell I will never forget no matter how tired I am.

So now convinced that my dear wife's water had broken I rolled out of bed and asked if we had time for me to shower before we left. My dear wife assured me that there was no rush as she still hadn't packed her hospital bag yet. So she packed while I showered and dressed. Then we leisurely drove to the hospital, unlike the first time when I was reaching speed nearing 80 mph getting there.

We strolled into the emergency room. Told the nurse that my dear wife's water had broken. They checked us into a examination room and the nurse told us that she needed to do a quick exam. She got my dear wife into the right position and started to check how the babies were. After a few seconds she got a really surprised look on her face and said "Opps! Something just grabbed my finger."

Immediately everything changed. Where everyone had been moving calmly and deliberately they were now running and talking very fast. I heard the nurse in the hallway holler, "Get their Doctor on the phone now!"

They called Doctor Graves at home, waking him up and telling him what was happening. Doctor Graves had been delivering babies in Ridgecrest for many years. He delivered my dear wife's younger brother, and he performed her C-section four year earlier.

10 minutes after calling him, Doctor Graves who always presents a slow, steady and calm demeanor, came running through the door of our room demanding to know why we were not already in surgury like he ordered when they called.

The nurses were frantically trying to get an IV line into my dear wife. The nurse who had just succeeded with the IV, hopped up onto the edge of the bed, and continued her setup while the rest of them bundled up the bed and started wheeling it down the hall towards surgery. I was walking next to the bed holding my dear wife's hand. We were suddenly both very frightened and worried.

As we started down the hall the smallest nurse (petite, slender, maybe 5 foot tall) started to try and pull me away from the gurney. I ignored her and kept walking along side it. She was explaining that I would not be allowed in surgery like the last time because my wife would be under a general anesthetic this time, instead of the spinal she had before. I ignored her and kept talking to my dear wife, trying to calm her down, even though my own heart rate had to be pushing 180 at the time. As we neared the doors to the operating room my dear wife was finally starting to relax. The petite nurse was still pulling on my arm and insisting that I had to stay there.

As the gurney entered the doors to surgery the drugs they were pumping into my dear wife were knocking her out quickly. I released her hand and let them go through the door. As I stood looking thorugh the little window in the door, it suddenly occured to me that the petite nurse was still pulling on my arm and demanding that I move away from the door.

I turned to her and demanded "I want to know what is wrong, and I want to know RIGHT NOW!"

Still pulling on my arm she tried to tell me that nothing was wrong. I refused to move and just stood there. The nurse kept telling me that everything was OK. She tugged on my arm and I demanded to know what was wrong. She pulled I demanded. Finally she told me that I had to go sit down or she would go get help to sit me down. So I moved away from the door.

The nurse then sat down next to me and explained that the first of my twins to be born, the presenting baby, was in the transverse position. Meaning she/he was trying to be born sideways. The first body part to enter the birth canal was an arm. Trouble being two things, first because there were two babies there really wasn't room to turn the baby. Secondly they could not even be sure that the arm belonged to the presenting baby.

So for the moment, everything was OK. But things were not going to stay that way. The birth process was going to continue regardless of what position my babies were in. She told me that very soon many things were going to start happening, most of them bad. So the Doctors were trying to get my babies delivered as quickly as possible, while everything was still OK.

15 minutes later I was the father of healthy, but 6 week premature twins. One hour later I was in the nursery with both of them just crying their lungs out. So I picked up the phone, called my mother-in-law, gave her a few seconds to wake up enough to understand who I was, then I told her that someone here wanted to talk to her. Then I held the phone down so she could hear the stereo crying.

The twins were 4 lbs 11 ozs at birth. They each lost weight those first few hours. Since they were under 5 lbs they had a hard time maintaining their own body temperature. So they had to stay in warmers for several days. I learned from the nurses that calling them ovens was not funny. They kept reminding me that they were babies, not muffins.

My dear wife was released from the hospital after four days. They babies had to wait an additional six days.

It is hard to beleive that I have been the father of twins for nine years. Actually it only feels like about 6 years. The first three years are just an endless blur of crying, pooping and screaming.

We thought we really had our hands full when our first child had colic for 6 months. We weren't too worried about the twins. After all there is only about a 20% chance of a baby having colic and we were 1 for 1. Then we brought home our two new babies and found out that a 20% chance sometimes means going 3 for 3.

It was a rough start but we finally got through it. My dear wife and I kind of divided up the worrying. She concentrated on the immediate worries of figuring out how to hold two babies, feed two babies, rock two babies, change two babies and comfort two babies at the same time. I just did whatever she told me to do to help out. Meanwhile I concentrated on figuring out the long term plans on how we were going to fit one more child than we ever dreamed of having into our lives. I started planning on an extra seat in the car, a larger stroller, an extra crib, an extra bedroom, an extra education, an extra car, etc.

It's been nine years. They have gone by too fast, my babies are growing up too quickly. I never realized how fast they were growing up until lunchtime today at the kid's school when I was playing around on the volleyball court with three little girls from the kindergarten. We were playing throw the ball back and forth over the net. They were so small and so young. Then my 3rd grade twins show up and the differences were amazing.

My little ones aren't so little amymore.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I was watching President Bush's speech at the Grand Old Opry this morning on Fox News. They had a news ticker crawling across the bottom of the screen. One of the news tidbits that scrolled across the screen right at the end of the President's speech was an short blurb about how British Prince Harry who has joined the armed forces in Britian may be sent to Iraq next year.

The 21 year old third in line for the thrown will serve in the ...

Suddenly I don't feel so bad about the spelling errors I make blogging here.

John Kerry's Math

This morning on the NBC Today Show John "I don't fall down" Kerry was talking to Katie Couric when she asked him about the President's plan to train 70,000 new math and science teachers.

John Kerry responded with:

That's terrific. But 53 percent of our children don't graduate from high school...

Well Gee Whiz John, it only took about 2 minutes with a good online search engine to find out that according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

Population 25 years and over: 182,211,639
High school graduate or higher: 146,496,014 = 80.4%

Would expecting you to actually do a little research before shooting your mouth off and to have the moral and intellectual honesty to try and tell the truth be asking too much? If you want to publicly bash the president try doing so with truth and documented facts instead of just lying your face off.

In John Kerry's America 53% = 19.6% which is just one more reason why I'm glad I don't live there.

Sheesh! What a moron. I guess that most of the 49% of voters who wanted Mr. Kerry to be President are among the 53% who didn't graduate from High School in John Kerry's America.


Update: Michelle Malkin has a link to the video here.