28 March 2008
That is all for now.
27 March 2008
Thank you to all who clicked on my wifes MiniCity and increased her population.
Now we clickys to the provided link will increase industry so that the simulated populace can have simulated jobs.
Check by once a day and watch the cityscape change. It's pretty interesting.
26 March 2008
Sure I signed up because it was a way to pay for college without getting loans or sponging off my parents who already had one son in college. I do not regret my decision, I found out I liked the Army life so much that I decided to make it a career.
There aren't a lot of corporations out there that will give a young high school graduate with no marketable skills a job, pay him while he trains to do that job, 100% health care coverage from day one, free tuition assistance, and 30 days of paid vacation every year from year one.
Sure we sign up for the benefits, but we stay because of job satisfaction.
25 March 2008
23 March 2008
So they contacted Heckler and Koch and a little collaboration later the H&K 416 was born, issued to those spec ops types, and pretty much universally loved by all who wielded it.
Then Senator Tom Coburn heard wind of how the Army was squashing the replacement of the m4/m16 family of rifles even though lighter and more reliable rifles are currently on the market.
He demanded a performance test be done. The test was done and the m4 experienced more stoppages than all other carbines combined.
So next thing you know the Asymmetric Warfare Group is told to turn in their 416's. Obviously we can't have the boys who get a choice to choose something other than the official Army rifle. Politics.
The boys who had a choice are getting it taken from them because the m4 isn't as good as what they had.
Contact your congresscritters.
It is a flipping hilarious blog.
I sit in my Ikea "poang" chair, surrounded by other pieces of furniture that required an Alan key to assemble. I fit the profile.
I own "high performance T shirts" (underarmor and 5.11), think Asian chicks are hot, eat "ethnic" foods. With the exception that all White people are "progressive liberals" as depicted by the tone of the blog it is spot on.
Many apologies to any readers who drive a Saturn/Subaru/Volkswagon, compute on an Apple, and wear North Face fleece.
22 March 2008
I don't like malls.
Malls are where people get shot. As we walked I kept an eye out for suspicious activity, and kept analyzing the terrain for nooks and crannies where I could stash the wife.
I feel much safer at gunshows and rifle ranges.
21 March 2008
they were put there by a man,
in a factory downtown.
And if I had my merry way
I'd eat peaches everyday,
and forget about you, woman.
Presidents of the United States "Peaches".
Canning was invented to be a solution for Napoleon. An Army moves on it's stomach is a very true statement, especially when you consider the "stomach" as the logistical needs of the fighting force.
Light forces have a lower logistical footprint than mechanized forces, but they have a much slower movement rate and have less combat power. If you want to roll from Kuwait to Baghdad and not get bogged down, you need a mechanized force. And a mechanized force is going to have a larger need for parts, fuel, and support personnel, which in turn means more food, water, and medical services.
From a cost standpoint, light forces are more economical, from a performance standpoint mechanized forces are more economical.
But this has very little to do with canned peaches.
Canned peaches became the treat of choice for GI's across several generations because of C Rations. The "C" stood for "canned".
From WWII through Vietnam canned peaches would be a coveted treat for grunts in the field.
When the Army transitioned from C Rats to MRE's the canned peaches became a little piece of history. Often only a fond memory from a combat vet.
The freeze dried fruit in the original MRE's just wasn't the same, so in the latest generation of MRE's a packet of peaches in light syrup has given us the same taste and texture.
When I was at SFAS in 2001 (made it through selection, didn't get selected for the Q course)
a lot of retired long tabbers helped out as range cadre. They would go out into the woods, set up there tents and be the fixed points for land navigation. One old guy quizzed us just before we were to start, and gave the guy who answered right a can of peaches.
It's one of those times in life where you are in the company of guys who have been there and done that, and shared a very human moment. Makes me wonder what comfort food other services have in their rations.
20 March 2008
And I fail to see how it is legal.
If Police truly need to increase their protection level then surrounding a house with police cruisers and the SWAT team is a good place to start. When someone gets on the bullhorn in my yard saying, "This is the Police, we have you surrounded, come out with your hands up!" this is a mixed blessing for me.
Bad because I'd probably be going wear some steel bracelets for a while, good because NO ONE WOULD DIE. The police would then search my house, realize that the clerk had misprinted the address, and we'd all have a good laugh at the neighbors expense.
Cops are not soldiers at war trying to capture/kill terrorists. Simply by living in the US you are guaranteed some rights. Citizens are innocent until proven guilty, NO MATTER HOW SUSPICIOUS THEY APPEAR.
Write your Congresscritter and demand that legislation be written to stop "no knock" tactics.
The second range was the Combat Pistol Qualification course. This is a course of fire that has been the same for years. Even though the M9 pistol can hold 15 rounds in the magazine the maximum number of rounds loaded for any portion of the course is 7 rounds. This is a holdover from the 1911.
I waited for all the enlisted guys to have a turn or two before I ran through two iterations. Out of 30 rounds I scored a 24 and a 20, both qualifying scores. Not bad for my first time shooting an M9. The hardest part was reloads. None of my kit is set up for M9 mags so there was a lot of digging in pockets (which is a bad thing for reload times).
But it was good fun training. Right now we get good trigger time on our M4's, all my boys kick ass anywhere from 0 to 300 meters. I didn't get to send all of them through the 500 meter range, but it will happen.
He lost. He lost to a liar. Nixon had a pull out of Vietnam campaign and it won him the election.
Nixon didn't pull out, he told commanders to "do more with less".
History tells us that promises to withdraw are only promises, and campaign promises at that.
18 March 2008
17 March 2008
Zombies wear a bandana around an arm. Ninjas wear a bandana around their face.
Zombies get to grab the bandana from a ninja making them a zombie.
Ninjas get Nerf weapons which cause a zombie to take a time out and have to go to a "respawn" point.
If you happen to be an agent of the BATFE and you see a college student with a bandana around their face, what would you do?
Of course you would throw the "suspect" to the ground, handcuff his hands behind his back and kneel on his neck. http://waronguns.blogspot.com/2006/04/not-right-from-federal-standpoint.html
This is what happens when the police take things too far. Innocent until proven guilty. Those two agents need to be put in prison.
Since former Governor Spitzer got caught diddling a 22 year old woman who was not his wife the press has gone into the normal feeding frenzy of ripping out every juicy little detail.
The more serious and long lasting effect will be the dialog over the legalization of prostitution.
The pro legalization arguments is.
1. It happens anyways, might as well tax and regulate it.
That pretty much sums up the basis for the legalization of marijuana too.
The anti legalization arguments have a slightly longer list.
1. It is wrong by any moral standard.
2. It is harmful to the participants and society as a whole.
Kim du Toit wrote a very articulate argument against legalized prostitution and did a very good job explaining why he doesn't want the US to turn into Amsterdam where marijuana and prostitution are legal. http://www.theothersideofkim.com/index.php/tos/single/18256/
Now I disagree with some of Kim's conclusions. First I do not think that bondage or sadomasochism are deviant forms of sexual intercourse. Some people get off being in control, some people get off being controlled. It isn't unhealthy. Having a partner that you trust to tie you up, leaving you helpless, and not harm you is a sign of a deep relationship not sexual depravity.
And the link between pain and an endorphin rush is real. As is the more dangerous link between oxygen deprivation and increased pleasure from orgasm.
Sure these things aren't "traditional" but they are quite normal.
Now as far as the legalization of prostitution, I am of a mixed mind. I don't want it in my neighborhood, but I can find no reason why people who do want it in their neighborhood shouldn't have that option. In the many states that make up the great US of A we have "dry" counties and "wet" counties and counties that are "dry" on Sundays. Right now we have the same system in that the Mustang Ranch exists, but there is only one of them for the whole US.
So I'm pretty happy with the status quo. Illegal prostitution isn't such a problem that it requires legalization, regulation, and taxation to fix it. At least not yet. Maybe in fifteen months or fifteen years we as a society will have abandoned our loose ties to the moral compass of our founding fathers and need to legalize prostitution to provide a thin veneer of protection for the women being bought and sold.
Long story short cancer cells consume more sugar than regular cells. A key enzyme in sugar metabolism is pyruvate kinase (pyruvate is a 2 carbon molecule that is an intermediate for proteins, fats, and sugars).
The researchers found that a form of the pyruvate kinase enzyme which is turned off in adult tissue is turned on in every form of cancer that they have checked. By suppressing the production of the highly active enzyme it forced the cancer cells to rely on the normal form of the enzyme, which slowed their metabolic rate and curbed tumor growth.
This means that a "broad spectrum" class of anti-cancer drugs could potentially be available based on this mechanism. One possible mechanism for suppressing the enzyme is direct genetic interference, placing a molecule that has high affinity for the protein encoding region of the enzyme which would block transcription (turning the information in DNA into RNA for translating into protein).
Another possible therapy would be to introduce a non-functioning enzymatic cofactor that has a higher binding affinity than the normal cofactor. This can be a double edged sword because it may turn off the normal form of pyruvate kinase in healthy cells, but it is something to consider.
16 March 2008
The selection of household goods at an IKEA store is downright amazing. The wife and I routinely go to Ikea after we move into a new place. This allows us to pick up what we need to settle into a place, things that we just didn't have.
Like a dining room table. When we were in Georgia we just used TV trays. Now we have a dining room table, and two chairs that match it well enough.
I love IKEA because it is the only brick and mortar store source for lingonberry preserves. Lingonberries and whipped cream are the perfect waffle topping.
Now IKEA has moderate prices, they also have premium prices. I was disappointed to find out that "Made in China" now appears on some of the goods at IKEA. If I wanted Chinese goods I'd do what everyone else does and go to WalMart.
But trust me about the lingonberries.
14 March 2008
Collecting valuable milsurp rifles is a tad bit harder because you need to know what particular rifles are worth. This means you need to do your homework and get familiar enough with a bunch of rifles to recognize when something "unusual" comes along.
Unusual = rare and rare = valuable.
Once upon a time 1908 Brazilian Mausers were cheap and plentiful. They were (and are) a quality base for a sporting rifle. Often it was cheaper for someone to "sport" a milsurp than to buy a new rifle.
Now it isn't in the case, unless you do all the work yourself. So some people do the work themselves, and they end up doing a functional if not aesthetically pleasing job. It looks like crap but shoots minute of deer. Good enough for Bubba.
This does a few things, it makes once plentiful varieties of milsurp rifle "rarer" and puts a bunch of "sporterized" milsurps on the used gun racks at stores and gun shows everywhere. This is a good thing for collectors and for hobby gunsmiths. The gunsmiths always has plenty of "bubba'd" material to work with, and collectors watch their collection grow in worth as unaltered specimens become increasingly rare.
So if you want to bubba your milsurp, go ahead. You'll probably be happy enough with your own work and get enough use out of it to make some good memories. If you can resist the temptation and throw a "rare" rifle or two into a closet for 40 or 50 years you will probably see a return on your investment. Either way you win.
11 March 2008
When I take my wife shooting I don't train her for combat. I'm happy if she leaves the range with a smile and seems eager to shoot again.
Civilians who carry concealed don't need the same skill set as an infantryman.
At most they need to be able to draw their pistol and fire at an attacker at close range. Kim Du Toit wrote about this today. His "imaginary wife" (I love the snarkiness of that title) wrote a piece about a year ago on the difference between "prepared, paranoid, and delusional".
They are both excellent reading,
10 March 2008
I've never been an out of shape athlete mainly because I've never been an in shape athlete. I write this only to assuage my conscience that just because part of my job description contains athletic standards Nike isn't contacting my non-existant agent to sign me for a shoe deal. Then again most athletes don't get a shoe deal, so I do feel a little guilty when I am not in peak shape.
The APFT (Army Phsysical Fitness Test) is three events. Pushups, situps, and a two mile run. Each event is worth 100 points, so a perfect score would be 300 points. I've never scored a 300. I've come close but I've never been able to max the run, I'd need 13 minutes flat to do that.
Anyways in "Rocky" Sylvester Stallone gets to jog in the early morning wearing grey sweats while encouraging trumpets belt out an anthem in the background. I get Army issue stuff and as long as I'm running on my own time I can break the regulations wear my Sansa mp3 player.
Since we run for distance and time training for a 2 mile run has a couple different training philosophies. A few years back I ran 5 miles for time. Now I run at a moderate pace hoping that I don't keel over dead. Maybe it's not exactly that bad, but as a young soldier I didn't have any problems with two a day workouts, one as part of scheduled training and one after work for my own benefit.
Other training methods focus around intervals, or maximizine 3 mile run time. Right now my training goals are simply to get back into the shape where either the 3 mile or interval method don't cause me to walk with a limp for days following.
Funny story about limping for days.
After Ranger school I attended Airborne school. I had lost so much muscle mass that even tho I made the run time to get in the school I was sore for the first full week (that's 7 days). Because I was in so much pain my lovely wife offered to rub my legs.
So there I am laying face down while small hands kneed the large muscle groups of my legs. Now is the part not to read in front of small children unless you really want to have that talk about what a "scrotum" is, because so far I have neglected to tell you that my wife was not just rubbing my muscles, but was rubbing a generic version of "Icy Hot" onto my skin.
Icy Hot. Scrotum. Inadvertently.
It started off as a gentle warming sensation, progressed to fiery embers, and then I was treated to firsthand knowledge of what a blowtorch to the nuts feels like. Seriously this should be used as a "non-marking harsh interrogation technique" to get badguys to talk.
The words that escaped my mouth when the pain became unbearable were "IT BURNS!!", followed by my escape to the shower which did absolutely nothing to cool the nuclear fuel rods torturing my wedding tackle since Icy Hot is a petrolatum based product. Petrolatum being non-polar and "like disolves like"...never mind.
Anyways since I was naked, scrotum being tortured by the invisible flames of a welding rig I figured that a handy dandy emulsifier might solve my problem. So I grabbed a bar of soap and furiously lathered my nether region like a spider monkey on crack.
I hope you found the above story funny, because it still amuses my wife. The other night she burst out in giggles. I turned, innocently enough to her and asked, "What's so funny?"
Laughing out loud, tears streaming from both eyes she looks sweetly at me and says, "IT BURNS!!"
These are the stories of the comeback trail that end up laying on the editing room floor.
09 March 2008
The problem with any program that has such a radical goal is that it generally takes time and money. And the OICW did. Then came the War On Terror.
The War On Terror made folks all up and down the food chain realize that the Army we had didn't have the best equipment to fight guerrillas in Afghanistan and Iraq. So a 4 star decided that a new rifle was in order, along with new uniforms and Stryker vehicles.
So someone figured out that we already have a good new rifle, the 5.56 half of the OICW. We can call the rifle the OICW phase 1 (the XM8), and when the grenade launcher is ready we'll call that phase two, and when we can finally combine them phase 3. Makes sense right?
It makes sense until you get into the pots of money bureaucratic politics. We couldn't get what we wanted under a Rapid Fielding Initiative because it didn't follow the traditional method of procurement.
Say What you say? Yup, DoD said it would cost too much. As opposed to the uniform changes which cost a bundle, going to a Black Beret that cost a bundle, buying a metric ass ton of Strykers which cost a bundle, as opposed to all the other crap that costs a mint.
Doesn't make sense to me either. Oh well. Such is life.
Simply put because the bulk of violent crime is NOT conducted by women.
Women are *generally* smaller and weaker than men. According to the Violence Policy Center and The Brady Campaign women wouldn't need guns if somehow we could take guns away from everyone.
Anyone with half a brain will realize that women aren't packing heat in order to knock over a liquor store or rob people. Women are carrying weapons to protect themselves and others. These are precisely the reasons that men carry, but somehow we see men as "aggressive" and women as "non-aggressive". As a matter of fact ANYONE with a concealed carry permit has to be a model citizen.
Hopefully some woman somewhere will see the CNN piece, or read some blog, or talk to another female shooter and realize that guns are not scary pieces of evilness that turn mild mannered people into raving lunatics bent on slaughter. Guns are tools, and like any tool, the power comes from the user.
07 March 2008
This "quagmire" in Iraq is nothing like Vietnam from a military viewpoint. This isn't a proxy war, no super power is training and funding the terrorists (call them "insurgents" or "militants" if you like, that's what CNN does).
The protests are like Vietnam, but without the numbers. Instead of the mass protests we get fringe minorities like moveon.org or Code Pink, or some person bombing a recruiting station.
There won't be another wade in of the reflecting pool, "summer of love", or age of Aquarius. What we have are tired old hippies who can't let go and young violent radicals willing to do violence.
SGT B* (name changed for his protection) is an immigrant. And like most immigrants who come here legally truly loves his adopted country. When you look at a Russian, Romanian, or Polish immigrant you are looking at someone who truly understands the policies of statism and socialism.
Our Constitution was not meant to set up a socialist state, but it does not prevent us from enslaving ourselves.
Over pizza and soda SGT B and I caught up, shared what had happened to us over the many months since we had last talked face to face. One subject that we talked about a lot in the past we completely ignored except to agree that whoever is elected POTUS, he and I are losers. None of the candidates care about the issues we care about. We exist on the margin.
04 March 2008
Whether that is a true statement or not is up for debate, but it is a statement that is validated by history. Bread and circuses anyone?
Unfortunately the day of reckoning is imminent. Sometime in the next President's first term, Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will go cash-flow-negative, and it's all downhill from there. Medicare provides a wide range of services and subsidies to more than 40 million old and disabled Americans. As the country ages, Medicare and Medicaid (for those of any age with low incomes) will devour growing chunks of U.S. economic output. So will Social Security, but its cut of GDP should stop increasing around 2030. The federal budget has averaged about 18% of GDP over the past several decades. If that average holds and if the rules of our social insurance programs don't change, then by 2070, when today's kids are retiring, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will consume the entire federal budget, with Medicare taking by far the largest share. No Army, no Navy, no Education Department - just those three programs.
It isn't exactly "bread and circuses" but it is spending that keeps the public happy, and the public is demanding more. Hence the success of the Democratic platform making "Universal Healthcare" an election issue.
The issue is that universal isn't economically viable. Sure you can point to Canada or the UK. Want to start counting the number of Canadians and Britons who go abroad for medical care every year?
I bring this up because when I PCSed to my new post in January of this year my inprocessing included a dental checkup. The dentist checked my mouth, complimented me on my oral hygene and told me that I had unfortunately developed a cavity and that I was overdue for a cleaning. I was assigned to a dental clinic on post and given a number to call and schedule an appointment.
I called the number. No appointment times were available, call back in a week or two. February came and went. Finally on March 2nd I got to make my appointment for a cavity fill and cleaning, for April 3rd.
Americans also point to the VA and military healthcare systems as examples that government managed healthcare can be successful. If you don't mind the wait times, just like in Canada or the UK, then I guess it's all right.
But the wife and I are planning on having private insurance when I retire. When healthcare is "free" you get what you pay for.
02 March 2008
Why is that?
Well we've bent over backwards to help girls and totally forgot to help boys.
"Here's a fascinating fact," she said. "There is no literacy gap in home-schooled boys and girls."
"Why? In school, teachers emphasize reading literature and talking about character and feelings," she said. "This way of teaching reading does not turn boys on. Boys prefer reading nonfiction, such as history and adventure books. When they are taught at home, parents are more likely to let them follow their interests."From http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,204181,00.html?sPage=fnc.national/education
Meanwhile Gloria Steinem continues in her shrill ranting that women are the downtrodden ones.
“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], ‘What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?’” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience.
McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five-and-a-half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”
Steinem’s broader argument was that the media and the political world are too admiring of militarism in all its guises.
“I am so grateful that she [Clinton] hasn’t been trained to kill anybody. And she probably didn’t even play war games as a kid. It’s a great relief from Bush in his jump suit and from Kerry saluting.”
To the Observer, Steinem insisted that “from George Washington to Jack Kennedy and PT-109 we have behaved as if killing people is a qualification for ruling people.”
Other Clinton proxies, notably Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson and a New Hampshire campaign chair, Billy Shaheen, have generated controversies with their criticisms of Obama. By contrast, Steinem told me the Illinois senator was “an intelligent, well-intentioned person.” She added: “I would like very much to see him be president for eight years after Hillary has been president for eight years.”
But she also opined that “a majority of Americans want redemption for racism, for our terrible destructive racist past and so see a vote for Obama as redemptive.” Then, using a term for the mass killing of women, she added, “I don’t think as many want redemption for the gynocide.”
“They acknowledge racism—not enough, but somewhat,” Steinem continued. “They would probably be less likely to acknowledge that the most likely way a pregnant woman is to die is murder from her male partner. There are six million female lives lost in the world every year simply because they are female.”http://www.observer.com/2008/stumping-clinton-steinem-says-mccains-p-o-w-cred-overrated
Yup, girls read better than boys if they get a public education because women are SO downtrodden. In 1971 there weren't enough women at Harvard to have even a 4:1 men to women ratio. Not so much anymore now is it?Bollocks on public schools, bollocks on the feminazi's. I support any womans hard work to make herself successful in any field that she wants, but I do the same for a man. Elevating women doesn't mean femdom.
Femdom is kinda cool though.
The title says it all, but the pants wetting journalists seem to shaking their heads that their press status doesn't mean a whole helluva lot to a Texan.
Just because you are on a cell phone, wandering aimlessly, doesn't mean that you aren't trespassing. If you trespass onto someone's property, in Texas they have rights to remove you from their property.
I don't have a problem with that, nor does the state of Texas. Hopefully journalists of all nationalities will be just a tad more polite to the locals from here on out.
Friday saw our household goods delivered and the cable guy hook up my digital crack pipeline.
It's not a huge palace by any stretch of the imagination, but it was in our price range with close proximity to work and in a pretty decent neighborhood. Friday also saw the wife reach her limit in dealing with the refrigerator that came with the house. A new refrigerator was purchased post haste and set to be delivered Sunday.
By Saturday evening we had created a list of everything that needs to be done to the house, and everything that we want to do to the house. The needs list is about 3 things long, but the want list fills up the rest of an 8.5 x 11 inch notebook page.
Today is Sunday and we are still unpacking and organizing "stuff", the new refrigerator should be here in a few hours. The old fridge gave up the ghost sometime last night. I'm not sure if it is a conspiracy to prove my wife right or just coincidence.
Slowly but surely the house is transforming into a home.
01 March 2008
The "tattoo" is powered by the pumping action of blood, and it can monitor a large number of physiologic metrics through blood chemistry. I'm hoping that this technology starts a generational improvement cycle so that it becomes "consumer friendly" enough to be commonplace.
Imagine going down to your local shopping mall and right next to the ear piercing pagoda is the Electronic Tattoo Tower where you can have one inserted in under 15 minutes. The real beauty of this technology will come from wireless communication. Imagine a cell phone that has no numbers, no display, only the circuitry needed to communicate with cell towers and data storage, by using a bluetooth headset and wireless connection to the tattoo on your arm. Battery life is expanded by at least 50% if not more since all the interface requirements are met by the tattoo.
The possibilities are pretty cool to ponder.