Sunday, August 31, 2014

Another Species

After the Ferguson riots, some stores aren't rebuilding. Gateway Pundit reports that one of the local gas station / convenience stores is leaving the area. In that post, there's this CBS interview of three young men from Ferguson complaining about the lack of opportunities.

The payoff quote, at about 0:50, is, "We tired of being looked at like we another species. It ain't even like we human," spoken to a CBS crew who clearly see them as another species.

The trio are able-bodied, covered in tattoos and one fondles a smartphone. They can barely speak English. Their choices in life have limited possible careers, but there are still plenty of jobs open to them. If they were able to find the disposable income for tattoos and smartphones, they've got the cash for bus tickets to get to where the jobs are.

Had the reporter seen these three as members of his own species, his own family, he'd have asked very different questions indeed. His reaction to their complaints would not have been to nod his head and implicitly endorse their statements.

What would you say to them if they were your own children?

In the Bakken oil fields there are plenty of jobs for guys like these. Here's one ad.
Eaton Construction LLC now hiring laborers for pipeline crews and taking applications for others listed. Pay DOE but ranging from $16-$28/hr. PIPELINE APPLICANTS must live in Eaton housing and no Per Diem will be considered for pipelining positions. Experience in oil & gas pipelining preferred but not necessary.
Yes, these three have lots of tats and judging from their speech, they probably read at the fourth grade level, but there are opportunities available to them, ones that pay a decent wage. Watching the video, you want to hear it discussed, but it never comes.

In the eyes of God, these young men are no different from anyone else. It's too bad the CBS crew didn't treat them like that.

Friday, August 29, 2014

If A Tree Falls In The Forest

... and a white person isn't there to see it, does it make a sound?

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and subsequent spasm of media coverage was something to behold. During the weeks that passed as reporters were interviewing everyone and the rioting and looting were happening, young, black men were being shot elsewhere in significant numbers. I don't have the exact stats in front of me, but I seem to recall something like a dozen or so killed in Chicago alone in a 2-week period.

Those dead dudes in Chicago weren't profiled because no whites were involved. How racist is that? It's like black people have no meaning other than as fashion accessories for whites. No point interviewing the mothers of the dead black guys in Philadelphia / Newark / Detroit or wherever, no whites were part of the event.

Is there racism in America? Yes. Tons of it. Progressives' mania for finding evidence of racism is the source of the racism. Michael Brown's only role in life, or role in death, really, was to provide a stick to beat their political opponents. Without a white guy involved, with no way to turn this into proof of American racism, Michael Brown is just one more dead, black dude.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Open Mindedness And The Problem Of Evil

Time for blogging is at a premium, so my posts have been and will continue to be short for the time being. Here's another quicky.

Sand in the Gears has a blog post on the Rotherham poltroonery. If you're unsure of what that is, here's the synopsis.
News accounts from England reveal that over 1,400 children in the borough of Rotherham were systematically brutalized over the past decade. The authors of this damning report indicate that the actual number is likely much higher. The report also details gang rapes of 11 year-olds. Children doused in gasoline and threatened with matches. A “grooming” process that entails addicting children to drugs. Children murdered, others missing...

(T)he unavoidable reality is that on many occasions, Rotherham police came upon children being sexually exploited—in some cases, in the very instance of being raped—and arrested no one. The perpetrators are Pakistani; they might call us racists.
So the authorities knew it was happening, but did nothing. For years. Because they had been immersed in a culture of open-mindedness.

The whole concept of acceptance of different cultures and lifestyles presumes the absence of evil. When being judgmental becomes the worst thing possible, cultural safety barriers are removed, which assumes society doesn't need objective standards of morality. And so the barriers fell, one after another until children were drugged, raped and murdered by the hundreds in England. England.

When you're not willing to create hard and fast rules because someone might be offended, you allow the behaviors of the very worst members of society to determine what is right and wrong. Guess what? Nothing will be "wrong."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Van Halen II

... seems pretty underrated to me. I just picked it up off Google Play this weekend, the last of the David Lee Roth Van Halen albums that I didn't own. I remember back in the day how my friends all panned it, but I think it's got plenty of gems like this one, Women in Love. Apologies if this doesn't play on your phone. Some YouTube videos don't and I'm not quite sure why.

There's a live version from 2012 that shows the band can still play and they can still hit the notes when they sing. It's a fan video, so the quality isn't perfect, but it captures the sound well enough.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

One More Reason To Love The Cloud

When we go to Mass, I turn my phone off and leave it in the car. Coming back out, I turned it on and saw the message: "Your data has been corrupted. To reset your phone, everything must be erased."


The phone is a Galaxy S3 that is 1 month from renewal. I pressed the reset button, expecting to have lost all my information. It took a while for it to recover and reload information from the cloud, but in the end, it looks like the only things I lost were all my text messages. That's not too bad for a catastrophic data failure.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Richard Dawkins And Stephen Hawking

Champ atheist and all-around good guy Ricky D has made waves recently pitching hard for the mass slaughter of babies with Down's Syndrome.
The geneticist's latest Twitter row broke out after he responded to another user who said she would be faced with "a real ethical dilemma" if she became pregnant with a baby with Down's syndrome.

Dawkins tweeted: "Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice."
How about people like Stephen Hawking? Is it moral to let them live past a certain point? Their quality of life isn't very good and eventually, they're a net burden on society. The Rickster is a smart fellow and I'm sure he knows all kinds of shrewd dudes. Maybe they could come up with a simple Excel spreadsheet for us yokels to use to determine when to off ourselves, our babies and our relatives. We wouldn't want to be doing anything immoral now.

Say, something just occurred to me. Isn't Rick getting a bit long in the tooth himself? Something to think about, D-man. Eugenics isn't something that applies to everyone else, you know. If you don't do it universally it doesn't do much good.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Concealed Carry

Thinking about yesterday's post where I showed a police training video dealing with an attacker with a knife, I don't think concealed carry is a panacea for self defense. In the video, a cop has to have his hand on his gun and at least 21' of distance between himself and an attacker with a knife to have a good chance to survive. If your gun is concealed on your person, getting it out and using it effectively is going to take even longer.

I'd think that you'd have to be trained in both hand-to-hand combat and carry a concealed weapon to feel reasonably safe going in to bad situations. You'd also have to reflexively choose which to use in the split second things went bad.

Finally, if you want to see something really alarming, dig this.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Taking On Someone With A Gun

When I was taking kung fu, we were instructed that in cases where an assailant had a gun, you had to close the distance fast if you were to have any hope at all of coming out of the situation alive. The video below reverses the problem and gives you the gun. Again, the opponent's goal is to close the distance as fast as possible to render your gun useless. While I did a bit of live fighting and plenty of weapons training, we never tried the gun scenarios at full speed. I find these videos actually frightening to watch. A guy with a knife, some athletic ability and total ruthlessness has the advantage over someone with a gun, provided the distance is not too great. That is really scary.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Ferguson Riots: Kristallnacht Carried Out By Mr. Magoo

How's that for a wacky title?

If you don't know Mr. Magoo, he was a cartoon character whose terrible nearsightedness led to all kinds of funny hijinks.

During Kristallnacht, the Nazis singled out Jewish businesses for looting and vandalism.

In Ferguson, black protesters, angered at racial injustices, have looted and vandalized all businesses, including those owned by other blacks.

Maybe the protesters are all nearsighted, just like Mr. Magoo and they can't tell who owns what.

Or maybe it's not a protest at all. Maybe it's just looting and vandalism.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm Pretty Lucky

I live in a neighborhood where, if a cop shot a kid, I'd be able to shop at my local stores the next day. Others aren't so lucky. Whether they like it or not, their shopping areas get burned out when something like that goes down.

That's got to be pretty exhausting. You come home from work, you need to stop at the store to get something for dinner and you can't because the place has been burned down by some (probably very few) of your neighbors. So off you go to a different place, possibly much farther away to carry out mundane chores.

I doubt that you come home from that shopping trip pumping your fist in the air because someone stuck it to The Man. Nope, someone stuck it to you. That stinks.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lessons Learned From A San Diego Boat Dive

Yesterday, the lads and I went out on the Waterhorse to dive the Point Loma kelp beds. We'd never done a boat dive here in San Diego. In the past, we'd started from La Jolla Cove and had to swim more than half a mile to get out to the kelp. Yours truly is getting a bit old for that sort of thing and while the kelp was interesting, there was always a warranted bit of fear about the swim back in full gear. We figured that hopping off a boat and exploring the kelp from there would be a lot less work and a lot more fun.

Boy, were we wrong. It could be fun in the future, but this trip was more of a painful education. Here's what we learned.
  1. Rent your gear from the charter boat store if they offer it. We rented from our favorite dive shop. When we picked up the gear, we didn't check it. One of the boys was given a wetsuit a size too small and they forgot to pack a hood for him. He's pretty ripped, so he looked like Batman in his medium wetsuit once he struggled into it. Without the hood, he couldn't stay in the cold water more than 5 minutes. He had to bail out almost immediately.
  2. If you're prone to get cold, use a wetsuit undershirt. We didn't even know these existed until we saw one of the more experienced divers on the boat with one. Our other son has almost no body fat at all. While he had a full wetsuit and hood, he was freezing to death below 25'. There is a warm layer near the surface, but it gets really cold deeper than that. We were in 60-90' of water and he was not able to go anywhere near that deep. With a 5 mil wetsuit undershirt beneath his 7 mil wetsuit, he probably would have been fine.
  3. If you're going to buy gear, buy the wetsuit first. If you do that, you'll always have one that fits and doesn't have severe wear and tear. Our rented wetsuits were in pretty bad shape.
  4. Bring your own mask-clearing liquid. This boat didn't have a bucket of soapy water for your mask to keep it from fogging up. Masks can fog up quickly in cold water.
  5. Don't go on an afternoon boat. The winds here in San Diego pick up in the afternoon as the desert to the east heats up and draws air. Winds mean waves which means difficulty getting on and off the boat and seasickness. We didn't get sick, but one of the women on the boat was leaning over the side, calling out for those two Irishmen, O'Rourke and McDougal soon after the first dive.
  6. Getting ready on shore is a lot easier than getting ready on a boat. A boat is crowded and pitching. If you're still a newbie like we are (we've only done about 20 dives each), it really helps to have space and time to make sure your gear is all properly set up. I improperly threaded the straps holding my tank on and had to have it rethreaded by the captain right at the back of the boat as I was about to jump in the water.
Thankfully, the winds really picked up after the first dive and the captain scrubbed the rest of the trip, skipping the two additional dives that were planned. One dive was enough for us yesterday.

I was able to get one decent video while I was down. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri Crime Stats

If you've not see it before, city-data is a great site for summary statistics by zip code. It's made for the real estate industry, but it's a great resource for bloggers, too.

Lots of people are barking about the "militarization" of the police following the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots. Whatever militarization means and whenever it happened in Ferguson, the results seem to have been pretty good for the people who live there.

Overall, crime has been going down in Ferguson since 2009 and pretty substantially at that. From 2009 to 2012, crime has dropped by about a third. If I lived in Ferguson, I don't know that I'd be complaining about the police. Individual mistakes happen sometimes with tragic results. If the crime rate has dropped by 33% over the last 4 years, the police must be doing something right.

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's A Whole New World!

Over at the New York Times, Tommy Friedman sat down with President Obama for a sycophantic sweat licking session foreign policy interview which yielded this core principle.
Obama made clear that he is only going to involve America more deeply in places like the Middle East to the extent that the different communities there agree to an inclusive politics of no victor/no vanquished. The United States is not going to be the air force of Iraqi Shiites or any other faction.
That's awesome! Just like kindergarten and pee wee soccer, there are no winners and losers, no victors and no vanquished. We're redrawing the map of the world here, kids. In terms of international influence, it's going to look something like this.

Nations and movements who cling to old fashioned notions of survival and surrender are going to have to make a go of it without us.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Won!

It's over! We've accomplished what we needed to accomplish and ISIS has been ... pestered. Or something like that.  With just a few thousand Yazidis left on the top of the mountain dying horribly and only six figures of Iraqi Christians in refugee camps or on the run, we're picking up our toys and going home.

Ignore all of my posts from the last few days discussing air strikes and a war against ISIS. We never intended to do any significant harm to ISIS at all. The mission was to help some people. Consider those some people helped.

Update: It looks like we're doing a bit more to help the Kurds these days. That's a plus.

Link Of The Day

Retired Major General Scales lays out a reasonable evolution for the air strikes against ISIS. Here's a tidbit, but you really ought to read the whole thing.
Recent history suggests there will be strategic consequences from seeking to blunt the Islamic State advance through airpower alone. First, the effectiveness of pinpoint strikes will diminish quickly; it generally takes only a few weeks for a disciplined force to become inured to the psychological effects of such firepower.

Second, as the enemy becomes harder to kill, a greater investment will be needed to get the same results. Soon “targeted strikes” by only one or two aircraft will become meaningless, and more bombs will be needed. This will require a proper air campaign, which will increase the density of aircraft overhead and the concurrent risk to pilots. We saw this happen in the Balkans in 1999.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


That means "Ouch!" or "It hurts!" in Japanese. And hurt it does. Dig this.
TOKYO—Japan's economy contracted sharply in the second quarter after a sales-tax increase in April sent household spending tumbling, which economists said could pressure the government to take additional stimulus measures.

Real gross domestic product, the total value of all goods and services produced in the economy, shrank 6.8% in the three months through June on an annualized basis from the prior quarter.
Not to worry, though. The Japanese government is considering a stimulus package.

208% debt to GDP ratio? No problem! Spend more! Let's make it 250%!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"I don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks”

... said President Obama.

"Oh yes we will," said ISIS.

Even if we militarily defeat ISIS at some point in the future, the only people left in a 10,000 square mile region of Iraq and Syria will be ISIS civilians. Everyone else will be dead or driven out and all of their property blown up, burned, looted and defiled. Even if there are a few thousand Yazidis and Christians left to return to the area, why would they bother?

This is another brilliant strategic move by ISIS. By moving to exterminate everyone else at top speed, they use one of our weaknesses against us - our inability to take quick action. While we dither and discuss, they kill and destroy. Our superior firepower becomes useless in a generational sense. In the end, they may be "defeated" as B-Daddy asserts, but they will still have won. 20, 40, 60 years from now there will be descendants of the ISIS citizens living in that region. There will be no descendants from the dead Christians and Yazidi.

There is such a thing as too late.
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) -- Iraqi Christians driven from their homes by Islamic State fighters are beginning to die in crowded camps, witnesses claimed.

Sahar Mansour, 40, who lectured in chemistry at the University of Mosul before she fled the city in June, said newborn babies, the sick and the elderly in the Ankawa refugee camp on the outskirts of Irbil are dying from diseases, thirst and malnutrition. Mansour now resides in the camp.
If ISIS can kill the children, their long-term victory is assured.

Odds And Ends

Just a couple of random thoughts.

Everyone in the Death to the Infidels world is watching the success ISIS and slapping their foreheads, exclaiming, "Now why didn't we think of that?" What works gets repeated and it's pretty obvious that going straight to genocide without any warm up activities is the way to win in the long run. Even if the West suddenly discovers traces of a spine, by the time we do away with the obvious parts of ISIS it will be too late. There will be no people to replace them, all others having been killed. The future belongs to those who show up. You can't show up if ISIS beheaded you.

Russia is sending a convoy of 280 trucks with humanitarian aid to Donetsk. More than humanitarian aid, it contains a whole bunch of triggers. That is, if the Ukrainians bungle things and threaten the lives of a bunch of Russian "humanitarians," Putin will have an excuse to go in to rescue them. It won't be an invasion, it will be protecting his citizens. See the difference?

A couple of fighter bombers off an aircraft carrier aren't going to have any more effect on the outcome of the ISIS war than the ME-262 did in 1944-5. However, those couple of F-18s will allow President Obama to say, "I did my best, but the rest of you disappointed me. Again."  See also: Libya, Syria, ObamaCare, Crimea and Green Energy Subsidies, presidential excuses for failures of.

Monday, August 11, 2014

National Narcissism

I've made the mistake of perusing some comment threads on the Huffinton Post and elsewhere on stories about ISIS. They all devolve into American politics, particularly finger pointing at George W. Bush. The underlying assumption is one of the following:
  • If we hadn't intervened in Iraq, the members of ISIS would be peacefully tending their camels and goats. They all went psychotic when we showed up.
  • Without a fascist dictator and his security apparatus to keep them in line, the people of Iraq will inevitably turn into crazed mass murderers.
Either way, we're the primary motivating force in their lives. They have no world view, no goal, no strategic plan other than what they have been forced to create in reaction to America. Everything everywhere and at all times is about us.

Meanwhile, there's this outstanding interview with Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Here's a tidbit, but you really ought to read the whole thing.
JK: You also said recently that terrorist leaders like Osama bin Laden represent the leadership of al-Qaeda, but that “core al-Qaeda” is its ideology of perpetual jihad.

Flynn: Yes, and unfortunately the core ideology and belief system is spreading, not shrinking. Look at the unbelievably violent videos [of beheadings, executions and the destruction of religious places] coming out of Iraq just in recent days. I’ve physically interrogated some of these guys, and I’ve had the opportunity to hear them talking about their organizations and beliefs. These are people who have a very deeply-rooted belief system that is just difficult for Americans to comprehend.
A deeply-rooted belief system that doesn't live and breathe American politics? Who knew such a thing could exist?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Mystery Of ISIS

What could these people want? What could be the start of negotiations with them? Here's a missive from one of their leaders that might shed some light on the subject.
"You should know, you defender of the cross, that getting others to fight on your behalf will not do for you in Syria as it will not do for you in Iraq," the (ISIS) leader, known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, reportedly wrote. "And soon enough, you will be in direct confrontation — forced to do so, God willing. And the sons of Islam have prepared themselves for this day. So wait, and we will be waiting, too."
I don't know about you, but that's completely confusing to me. Looking at my handy-dandy strategic peacebuilding chart, I can't seem to find where "We're going to kill all of you" fits in.

I'm guessing that our best entry point would be Non-Violent Social Change. It seems to fit the situation pretty well.
Nonviolent Social Change 
  • Active nonviolence
  • Community organizing, mobilization or social action/movements
  • Issue-based educational campaigns
  • Media/journalism/writing 
  • Minority and marginalized empowerment and civil rights advocacy 
I liked the community organizing in particular. Luckily, we have a president to understands how empowerment and dialog solves problems. "The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities," he said.

If anyone can get ISIS to see the value of non-violence, it will be Nobel Prize winning President Obama. Oh, sure, yesterday wasn't such a good day, but today will offer new opportunities to promote cultural understanding.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

ISIS Is Cancer

... and you need to get it all, ruthlessly.

B-Daddy and President Obama are both missing the point here. B-Daddy argues in favor of a partition of Iraq along ethnic lines and suggests that ISIS is sowing the seeds of its own destruction by making enemies and being unable to govern its lands. Like they care.

The Obama Administration, in typically delusional fashion, wants to do a couple of little airstrikes and then support a peace negotiation process. That is utterly naive and doomed to failure.

ISIS has told us, in no uncertain terms what it wants. A culturally monochromatic Caliphate. It has shown us, clearly, what it wants. A culturally monochromatic Caliphate. Within their territory, they're crucifying people who don't convert. They are beheading babies. They are driving people by the thousands into the desert to die. To suggest that there will be negotiations or coexistence with such creatures is the ultimate in hallucinations. To think that such people worry about maintaining a society above the 7th Century level is optimistic at best.

If you don't join them, they will kill you. THEY WANT TO KILL YOU. They told you they would do it. They are doing it. Without mercy, without exception. That's incomprehensible in the Ivy League Ethnic Studies faculty lounge, but a lot of reality is. There is no negotiation possible. Limited airstrikes just mean ISIS gets to go on killing infidels in those places where there are no airstrikes. That's a lot of places.

Pick out Arbil on this map. Now pick out everywhere else. A few, small airstrikes are going on in Arbil. Everywhere else is an ISIS slaughterhouse.

There are rational, informed reasons to stay out of the whole mess. There are rational, informed reasons to commit to eradicating them with overwhelming force. To suggest there is some kind of middle ground or political solution is not rational.

ISIS has made targeting problems much simpler. In the areas they control, everything is ISIS so everything is a target. Everything. That plays right into America's greatest strength - overwhelming, unstoppable firepower.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Using Air Power To Cover A Retreat

... might require more than two jets.

The entire US strike force yesterday.
ISIS is committed to a war of extermination. The Yazidis are just the most recent group in their cross-hairs. Those who weren't executed on the spot by invading ISIS forces have been driven into the wilderness where they are threatened with death by starvation and dehydration.

Yesterday, American forces dropped a few 500 lb bombs on ISIS artillery positions and air-dropped supplies to the refugees. With the end goal being ... what?

Being as generous as I can, the best plan would be to use air power to give the Kurds a chance to counter-attack. The Yazidis would get supplies to form make shift refugee camps awaiting their return to liberated homes.

Being realistic, a pair of F-18s isn't going to strike fear into anyone. They blew up a couple of positions and then flew away. The danger was gone and ISIS could go back to business. ISIS has lost artillery pieces before and they'll lose them again. This is a war and war brings casualties. Unless the casualties are big enough to cause you to change your plans, it doesn't have much effect.

When Obama removed all US forces from Iraq and announced the removal of forces from Afghanistan, he let ISIS know he didn't have any stomach for a real fight. This isn't just a real fight, it's a genocidal campaign operating at top speed. During that F-18 strike, ISIS units were slaughtering, burning and moving on. It's a good bet that most of them didn't even know the strike had happened.

Just another day at the office for ISIS.

Update 1: Over at, they're saying it was one artillery piece. 1. Awesome.  "The Pentagon revealed that two F/A-18 aircraft dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil."

Update 2: Ann Althouse quotes the President's pathetically confused speech last night. "(T)here’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities." It's a war of extermination and he's talking about reconciliation. That's just sad.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Genius Of ISIS

ISIS is running a brilliant campaign. They are waging a war of extermination which is causing all kinds of problems for everyone else. Here are a few.
  • The West is psychologically unequipped to deal with this. You can hear the total confusion in the Obama Administration's response: "We urge all parties to the conflict to allow safe access to the United Nations and its partners so they can deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance."
  • They are capturing territory, but not people. By killing or driving out all opposition, they make a guerrilla campaign almost impossible. There's no opposition left for us to arm.
  • Refugees make troop movements difficult. Roads are clogged, cities overwhelmed, transportation assets oversubscribed, etc. If you want to move a mechanized brigade from Point A to Point B and the roads are full of desperate refugees, good luck with that.
  • Refugees tax you, not them. ISIS is left with resources made for a much larger population once they finish killing a bunch and driving out the rest. Supply problems for ISIS? I don't think so.
  • ISIS is looting every place they capture and using that to fund the next offensive.
  • Without uniforms, ISIS has neutralized air power. Just what are you going to bomb? Since there are no opponents left alive behind their lines, you have no hope of recruiting spotters to guide your air strikes.
  • ISIS is quite simply more fearlessly brutal than everyone else and their opponents can't deal with it.
Dig this video from the fall of France in 1940. Fast forward to 5:30 to see troops mingling with refugees. Add a couple of car bombs and snipers in your imagination to get some real excitement.

At the same time, ISIS has made the solution trivially simple. Since there are no friendlies left in ISIS-held territories, everything is now a target. No rules of engagement needed, simply obliterate everything and kill everyone in ISIS territory.

Anyone want to take some bets on whether or not the West has the stomach for that kind of war?

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Videos You Watch When No One Is Watching You

It's early in the morning and I'm awake, downstairs with my coffee and my laptop. No one can see what I'm doing. I'm clever with a computer, so I can hide my Internet tracks fairly well.

I'm watching videos. Oh, baby, you better believe I'm watching some videos.

In all seriousness, the smaller Catican Guard woke me way early with her zany antics (she'll be given extra field exercises as punishment), so I started my morning routine around 0430. Blech. I quickly got tired of the political and economics sites - they hold less and less interest for me all the time - and I need to rebuild the suspension on the FredMobile, so I checked out YouTube.

1A Auto Parts is fantastic. I've never ordered from them, but from now on, they're going to be my go-to place for parts. I don't care about shopping for prices, either. Anyone who goes to this much trouble to make outstanding how-to videos has earned my business. They've shown me how easy it's going to be to do a couple of repairs I was dreading.

First, I need to replace my struts and I can't find a pair of quick-struts to save my life. Quick-struts have the spring already mounted. With a normal strut, you need to use a spring compressor to pull the strut assembly apart. My repair book makes it sounds like the spring will leap out and kill you if you look at it wrong, but watching the 1A Auto Parts video showed me it was actually pretty easy.

The other job that was alarming me was the one shown above, the outer tie rod. Since this controls the steering of the car, I was afraid that even a slight mistake on my part would cause the wheels to point at wacky angles when I was done. Like the struts, it's really not that hard.

I enjoy working on cars, but I've avoided working on the FredMobile, intimidated by all the newfangled odds and ends on the thing. I prefer working on simpler, older cars. The FredMobile was approaching its doom because the repair bills have been climbing. Thanks to an early morning video session, the repair bills will be reduced to the cost of the parts. The FredMobile just got a new lease on life.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Like Something Out Of A Jules Verne Story

100 Years Ago Today is a great Twitter feed. I highly recommend it. Here's a tweet from them that must have had everyone at the time thinking of Jules Verne's Master of the World.

Monday, August 04, 2014


I met Howard downtown at Catholic Charities two weeks ago. Howard was a black man, 68 years old, wearing a full suit. He looked like a million bucks. He had come in for food. In our conversation, I learned that Howard was from rural Virginia. He was a pistol, as my wife would say. Both fans of Southern and Soul food, we got along famously.

At 68 years old, Howard was born in 1946. In 1960, he was 14 years old, living south of the Mason Dixon line. Howard can remember when people used the n-word for real, not as a political weapon like the Democrats do or in songs and conversation to make themselves look tough like thugs do. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the Howard came in to see us wearing his best suit to let us know he wasn't one of those ne'er-do-well blacks that his daddy told him to avoid. No, he wanted us to know he was a real gentleman. Howard was well-spoken and polite. Although he came for our free food, he was a man working with another man.

Howard may forget our brief encounter, but I won't. It was lovely. Christ gave me the opportunity to meet Howard. Howard, like all of my other friends at Catholic Charities, was a gift to me. God so loved me that he gave me rules to live - care for the poor - that led me to Howard.

I don't recall his name, but a chap who came before Howard was a Chinese man who was in his late 70s or early 80s. He didn't speak much English at all. He knew he wanted fish and because he didn't know the words for anything else we offered, he was happy to just get some fish. I played show and tell with him with all of the other items on our menu and made sure that he got not only his fish, but a full order of everything else.

Christ died on the cross for my sins and then gave me the Gospels which led me to that Chinese fellow. He was so happy to get more than fish. He hugged me because he was delighted that I took the time to work him through the menu in a language we could share. He had no idea how his memory will warm my heart months and months after our very brief encounter.

I gave him food. The Chinese fellow gave me His love. I hope you can find the same in your life.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

How About That Sharknado Movie?

Boy, that was something, wasn't it? Sharks, chainsaws, tornadoes, it had it all!

I read something the other day about the CIA spying on the Senate, HHS attacking the Catholic Church and the IRS going after political enemies of the president, but it's all too confusing for me.

I don't know nothing about budding fascist regimes using a gigantic, metsatasized, out-of-control bureaucracy to neutralize their enemies, but I loves me some shark movies!

How cool is that?

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Redskins Porn

I know a fellow who is struggling with a porn addiction. He's older than I am and has been married more than 30 years. He and his wife have reached a crossroads in their marriage due to his consumption of porn. He describes his use of it as a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. He doesn't seek it out, but if he comes across it on the premium channels or on the Internet, he watches it.

I'm confident that he and his wife will work this out. Both are committed Christians and they're dedicated to making their marriage work. Others are not nearly so lucky. Dig this from Psychology Today:
As a researcher and clinician who deals with couples whose lives have been turned upside down by pornography, I have had to face these questions head-on so I could better understand and help my clients navigate through them. I don't think porn is "always" the cause of divorce. In fact, I have a hard time imagining that the 500,000 divorces in the United States each year are because of porn. Nevertheless, if even 25% of the 500,000 divorce cases are due to porn, that is 125,000 marriages each and every year that are a direct result of pornography.
Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins are being pressured to change their name because some people find it offensive.

Seriously? This is a problem?
The creation and distribution of porn is defended under free speech grounds. "No censorship!" defenders say. Meanwhile, plenty of people are quite willing to censor the name "Redskins." And everyone censors the n-word.

Using words that might offend some people is horrible. Destroying marriages is fine?

Friday, August 01, 2014