Monday, February 24, 2014

Ignorance As A Point of View - Climate Change

Where a non scientist asks a few questions about climate change.

Consider the planet Venus. Very similar is size, mass and orbital distance from the sun to the earth. Cloaked in “greenhouse gas”, specifically carbon dioxide.  Venus has far more volcanoes than any other planet. However, best guess is they haven’t been active for a 1,000 years.

Per this article, very few of these volcanoes are of the eruptive type, such as Mt Merapi, the current Indonesia bad boy.

Because of the dense atmosphere on Venus, there is very little wind (again, per this article).


(Reuters) - Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday.

So, what happens to all this “stuff” these volcanoes eject into the atmosphere? Doesn’t it get mixed with the rest of the atmosphere by way of wind action? There must be many chemical reactions taking place, perhaps with carbon dioxide and other “green house” gasses, changing them into something else.

I know volcanic ash can stay in the high atmosphere for decades, but doesn’t gravity eventually bring it to Earth? Perhaps this causes a “scrubbing” action in our atmosphere that was weak on Venus as little ash was ejected into the atmosphere. Venus got hot, the Earth stayed habitable.

So, here my lack of scientific knowledge is exposed. My hope is folks who do know and understand this stuff might comment.

Swiped the above picture off Google Images. Given the atmospheric pressure, and relative lack of wind, would these be the type of clouds you would expect?

Sunday, February 23, 2014


 Weaponsman Blog often has a post up about the Special Forces. That makes sense, being ex Special Forces (if there is such a thing as ex Special Forces).

This brought to mind an encounter with the Special Forces and our motley collection of PFC Roosevelt McSurly’s in the Combat Engineers.

Circa the winter of 1966, we were doing our annual clusterfuck goat roping, officially know as the Annual Combat Proficiency Test. This was a three day affair which, if you didn’t pass, you repeated. Without going into gruesome detail, believe me when I say it was not designed to be a fun time.

We were bivouacked in a forested area. The German civilians were always working in these areas even as we played soldier. God help you if you damaged a tree! A four silver acorn tabbed Forest Miester could make the meanest 1st Sergeant look like a recruit.

Our problems were increased by having 105 vehicles with roster strength of 120-130 personnel of all ranks and specialties. Everyone was a truck driver first. Our vehicles were large, not real maneuverable, and needed to be scattered to make an “air attack” harder. 

Up to our roadblock came an agriculture tractor pulling a trailer with five very fit young men riding on it. All were dressed as forest workers,  but seemed a little off. They were clean, and the tractor new and shiny. We were suspicious.

 1st Lieutenant Fuckup IV came up and took charge. He ordered us to allow the tractor to proceed. We tried to voice our suspicions but were firmly told he didn’t need our input, just to comply with his orders, in a rude and arrogant manner.

About an hour later the umpires failed us. Chalk marks were on our water trailer, commo trailer, operations van, etc., courtesy of the “foresters”, indicating sabotage. We didn’t get to pack up. Instead, we finished the exercise knowing we would soon be repeating it.

Those Special Forces guys were too cute. With the way we dispersed our vehicles to prevent losing all of them to an air or artillery strike, any concept of a guarded perimeter was a joke. Guess they didn’t want to walk in.

They must have had a hard time suppressing smirks as they watched the Lt make an ass out of himself. He strutted around like a bantam rooster. Worst officer I ever had. I wouldn’t have trusted him to procure a pet license.

It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall during that after action debriefing.

On a few occasions, we provided safety boats (27’ Bridge Erection Boats) at night while people paddled around in various inflated craft. We weren’t told, nor did we ask, who/what these units were. We had a fair idea, as only one part of the Army, at that point in time, wore berets or non standard head gear like forage caps.  Our only contact was when some of them would come over and mooch our hot coffee. 

Side bar, two engines per craft means two exhaust manifolds that will heat up cans of water quickly. We engineers made our comfort a priority.

Moving on to the Forest Meisters, after an exercise was over, we would go back in a few days to mitigate “maneuver damage”. One time a particularly inept unit member managed to knock down a scrawny sorry looking excuse for a tree by backing into it. Springing into action, we righted the tree, packed dirt around the roots, glued the bark back on, and left the area. Herr Forest Meister came in the next day to make his inspection. Of course, he parked his VW Beetle by the tree. Of course, the damn tree fell over on his car. Sucked to be the SLJO that day (Shitty Little Jobs Officer – other duties assigned, including Public Affairs Officer, Graves Registration, Supply Officer, Mess Officer, etc.)

Some of us thought those blanket heads borrowed that tractor and trailer from the Forest Meisters. Part of their skill set; making nice with the locals. Just another reason for us to dislike Forest Meisters, since we had an adversarial relationship with them anyway. We enjoyed the mental picture of the tree on the car. In fact, we laughed our asses off. German American friendship wasn’t a high priority with us.

In later years one of my best friends was ex Special Forces.;postID=4237008542382486758;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=1;src=postname

Dirty Al was just a tad bit full of himself when discussing Special Forces, but, if you walked the walk, you are entitled to talk the talk. The amount of motivation, effort, and dedication needed for that job was way beyond the likes of me.

Hope this type of material isn’t boring anyone. A past post, “Fulda Gap”, is still getting six or so views a week.

Rambling down memory lane seems to be part of getting old. Some relatives enjoy hearing old stories, from me and others, as part of the family lore. Lucky world; I’m the only blogger.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Car Lot Story

Another car lot story. Stephen has a post up about pennies.

Stimulates the memory banks. One of the more dangerous critters is a bored car salesman, worse if there is a group.

We would toss pennies all over the lot. The idea was, “Plant pennies, harvest dollars.” Hey, we were entitled to our superstitions.  One day one of the owner’s wealthy investors was visiting. He walked around picking up the pennies. Seemed quite pleased. Maybe that was why he was wealthy. The conversation went something like this.

“Uh, sir, we scatter pennies around so the customers can find a ‘lucky penny’ to put them in a buying mood.”

“Oh, sorry,” he said. He then walked around the lot carefully placing the pennies on the pavement.

When we were really bored, we would super glue quarters to the pavement.  Fun to watch the people bending over trying to pick them up. One guy, maybe Stephen’s cousin, went to his car to retrieve a screw driver and then pried the quarter off the pavement.

Yes, I know, low life humor. What did you expect from a car salesman?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Not Interested, Already Filthy Rich

In the past few days, have been receiving numerous emails related to my blog. Rather than taking the time to respond to each, will post this for all senders.

I am not interested in placing advertising on my blog. Being already filthy rich (yeah, right) the additional income would force me to spend more time with accountants and tax advisors. Don't want to do it.

For those seeking my advice for help with their blogs, please understand I am a Latter Day Luddite technologist. Any advice you might get from me will only mess up your blog.

Hope this helps, bless your hearts.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Out of The Blue; Wham!

Enjoying a peaceful evening, doing some light reading (Gone to Texas, The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales by Forrest Carter), when the cell rings. It is my youngest son letting me know one of my grandsons is in the hospital because of a horrible traffic accident.

Grandson appears to be in good condition but needed to stay overnight for observation.

Dugway is an isolated US Army installation West-southwest of Salt Lake City, and forty seven miles from the nearest town of any size. Nearly all of the five hundred or so residents are active duty Army or their dependents. You might say it is the ultimate in a gated community. Access is highly regulated. Civilian employees live off post with the nearest town thirty miles away. By nature and necessity, it is a very tight interconnected community; the ultimate small town.

Beyond concern for my grandson, his parents, and brothers and sisters, is the concern for the impact this will have on the community. What a ghastly situation. My son and daughter in law are strong people and will deal with whatever life hands them, but this will leave a mark.

Once again, I’m reminded one’s life can be altered in a heartbeat.

Please, I'm not trolling for sympathy. If you feel like it, please offer a prayer for all those hurt.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Small Town Punks II

Some folks like these stories, so here is a continuation, probably the last.

High School partner in trouble one summer acquired some 21,000 cherry bombs and M-80s for an (illegal) fireworks stand. He was able to sell most, but retained a good supply. We spent the next year disposing of them in inappropriate ways.

The local town speed limit was 25 mph with a two mile long main drag. We found that a cherry bomb lit by a cigarette lighter would explode when we were two blocks away if we adhered to the speed limit. This made for many interesting scenarios, usually with the town police behind us and a group of teens on the sidewalk. Often, we would offer up a surprise for cars following us.

There was a custom in the town of young couples parking outside the girl’s house for long periods. Guess that kept the parents at least somewhat mollified. Using wrist rockets, we would lob a cherry bomb under their car.

When things got too hot in our hometown, we would move our act to one of the adjacent towns for a few evenings.

It didn’t take too long for the local officers to refine their suspicions, but they never caught us. We seldom had more than three of four cherry bombs in our immediate possession. We didn’t have others riding with us. Most important, we kept our mouths shut. No boasting, always denying, not trying to make a name for ourselves. We let the gossipers do our work for us. We always let the police check our cars as there was nothing in them (again, three or four cherry bombs at a time).

Careful target selection helped. We restricted our targets to our own age group, at least in our town. Since nearly every adult was armed with a least a rifle, we felt bothering the adults was too dangerous. Also, the hue and cry might intensify to the point the authorities would “do something”. Along that line of reasoning, we restricted our activities to one or two nights a week.  In fact, we enjoyed the planning almost as much as the execution. Of course, we didn’t restrict our troublemaking to just this one activity. Every watch a skier trying to remove tar from their skis? I’ve written before about our garbage can campaign and how that caused a flood during spring runoff. Do you know when the temperature is in the -20 degree range, water poured around car tires freezes rapidly? The ice stuck on the tires makes a startling sound when the vehicle drives off (if the vehicle will move at all). Since few people bothered to lock their cars, we didn’t bother spraying water into door locks.

What we did was mild compared to a couple of cousins in Wyoming. They created scenarios with a mannequin, usually some form of a traffic accident, and macabre “rescues”. We couldn’t find a mannequin.

We didn’t always elude the authorities. One night my partner forded a stream in his Jeep. We had failed to engage the Warn hubs and bogged down mid stream. As we lay on the hood reaching into the freezing water to lock the hubs, the kindly officers on each bank shined their spotlights on the front wheels to assist us.

Three girls in our class were far worse offenders than us. Very clever, and with spotless reputations, they would pull stunts in ways blame would fall on  the town boys. After all, the class valedictorian, a teacher’s daughter, and Miss Nicest Girl would never do anything like that. Ha!

My sister, several years younger, often needed to point out, “I am NOT my brother”, in later years.

Our most serious prank involved tying the fuses of several cherry bombs to a slow burning fuse, then putting them in the school duct work. The thirty minute fuse turned out to be a twenty minute fuse, and we were as startled as any of the other students. Many years accumulation of dust was stirred up and came pouring out the various heat registers. The school officials were “suspicious” but we were only two out of about ten students “interviewed”.

Occasionally we were the target of pranks. I carried extra coil wires and rotors in a box in my trunk along with my hubcaps. Useless to have hubcaps as weekly someone would put rocks in them. Finding discrete parking places for makeout sessions required extremely careful consideration. Among our peers, ambushing couples necking was quite popular. For inquiring minds, only once, and it was very embarrassing.

In later years, my sister’s first car was a BMW Isetta. For those not familiar with one, it is a basic box with four wheels and a motorcycle engine. The entire front of the car swings open for entry. Light enough for high school boys to pick up and set on top of a snow bank, which they did.

The one thing we never did, and never would do, was damage anything with a firearm. We had, and still have, nothing but contempt for yahoos who drive around shooting road signs.

We weren't the first small town punks in that town, and most certainly not 
the last, to include several members of winter Olympic teams. I do believe 
we set a fairly high bar. No doubt folks in that town were happy to see the backs of us after graduation.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I Want To Be Wrong

It has been awhile since I’ve put up a ding bat political post. In the spirit of the infamous Washington State Owl Party, out with logic and on with lunacy, here it goes.

While the true story of the Oklahoma City bombing may never be known, most will agree it was brought about by the participant’s perceived outrage of government overreach and arrogance.

What I remember most about the aftermath, lasting several years, was a marked change in the attitudes of government employees towards the populace. This was at all levels. City Hall, the local post office, county, state and federal agencies all seemed to display a helpful attitude. There was an undertone of fear and wariness on their part. At least, this was my experience and perception.

How soon memories fade, and old, bad attitudes come back. Does any of these people not recognize the anger and discontent bubbling within the populace? That next eruption of outrage may eclipse the OKC bombing a hundredfold? Nah, they are smug in their insular worlds.

Today, it isn’t monthly mimeograph pamphlets in the mail; it is instant transmitting of views and information via the internet. Even a person like me with little financial resources can get his opinions out to the world (rather effectively per Sitemeter). Talented folks with real wordsmith skills and understanding can have a huge impact. Look no further than the works of Vanderboegh and Correia in exposing “Fast and Furious”.

Damn, I don’t want to see this country explode. With the Lightbringer’s promise to use, “his pen and phone”, along with the complicity of Progressive politicians and the cheerleading of the 4th Estate, I think it is inevitable.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Low Humor Cause I Got Nothing

Shamelessly taken from emails from friends. Some old, some new. No, not the friends, the jokes.
 Lexophile is not a disease.

 "Lexophile" is a word used to describe those that  have a love for words, such as "you can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish", or "to write with a broken pencil is pointless." A competition to see who can come up with the best lexophiles is held every year in an  undisclosed location. This year's winning submission is posted at the very end.
.. When fish are in schools, they sometimes take  debate.
.. A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.
.. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles  U.C.L.A.
.. The batteries were given out free of  charge.
 .. A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and  nail.
.. A will is a dead giveaway.
.. With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
.. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
.. When you've seen one shopping Center you've seen  a mall.
.. Police were called to a day care Center where a  three-year-old was resisting a rest.
.. Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left  side was cut off? He's all right now.

.. A bicycle can't stand alone;  it is two tired.
.. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
.. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine is now fully recovered.
.. He had a photographic memory which was never  developed.

.. When she saw her first strands of grey hair she thought she'd dye.
.. Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.
   And the cream of the wretched  crop:
.. Those who get too big for their pants will be exposed in the end.


1. Law of Mechanical Repair -After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity -Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability- The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

4. Supermarket Law - As soon as you get in the smallest line, the cashier will have to call for help.

6. Variation Law -If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now.

7. Law of the Bath - When the body is fully telephone rings.

8. Law of Close Encounters - The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

9. Law of the Result -When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

10. Law of Biomechanics -The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

11. Law of the Theater & Hockey Arena- At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.

12. The Coffee Law- As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

13. Murphy's Law of Lockers- If there are only 2 people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

14. Law of Physical Surfaces -The chances of an open-faced jam sandwich landing face down on a floor, are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.

15. Law of Logical Argument-Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

16. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance -If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

17. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking-A closed mouth gathers no feet.

18.Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy -As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

19. Doctors' Law- If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor; by the time you get there you'll feel better... But don't make an appointment, and you'll stay sick. This has been proven over and over with taking children to the pediatrician.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Small Town Punks

Another blog for readers who like these kinds of stories.

My high school partner for trouble and I might fairly have been called small town punks. We would never steal anything for personal gain. We weren’t bullies, nor would we associate with bullies. We would go out of our way to pay back perceived slights. General troublemaking was also within our skill set.

The local railroad station master became one of our targets. He had suffered some vandalism and accused my partner and I of the deed to both the authorities, and our parents. For proof he offered, “It is something they would do”.  The vandalism occurred on a Friday night. My partner and I were on the wrestling team and participating in a match some forty miles away.

We were grievously insulted, mainly that we would be accused of such trifling vandalism. Our standards were much higher. Egging someone’s house! That was junior high level. We were high school seniors.

He drove a very nice newer Buick which he parked, nose in, at the train station. The back pointed towards a wide road with a large snow bank on the other side.  One night we arrived with a hydraulic floor jack and a supply of wood shims. Carefully lifting each wheel, we shimmed each side of the axle up just enough for the tires to be off the ground.

Mr. Stationmaster got off work. After starting the Buick, and letting it warm up, he put it in reverse. It didn’t move. Possible frustrated, he revved up the engine in neutral then shifted into reverse. . One studded snow tire got traction, and he flew across the road burying the Buick in the snow bank. Of course, we were parked where we could see the action without being noticed. Of course, we drove off without offering to help.

This guy had enough people in town who didn’t like him that he was unable to accuse anyone. The town chief of police did pull us over a couple of nights later. He asked us about the incident, did we know anything about it, or had heard any talk. Response? “Huh!” Then he moved on to the subject of cherry bombs.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Stubborn Citizen Wins

For a reader who likes these kinds of posts.

In the area where I went to high school, there was a ranch family well known for their stubbornness. Maybe, not just stubborn, but bat shit crazy stubborn.

The sons were good athletes, wrestlers, who won state championships. The eldest placed 2nd in the AAU Nationals as a high school senior. This was before Title IX, so who knows what the daughters could have accomplished. Poor girls, it took a very brave teenager to date them. One fall, the two oldest boys bet each other who would be the first to put on a shirt when it got cold. Neither would give in. As soon as they got home, coats and shirts came off. Finally, about December, their mother put an end to their contest.

The oldest, some years after graduating from high school, got a speeding ticket from the town jackass (who later went to prison for theft). Angry, he hired a lawyer to fight a $10 ticket.

The lawyer did some research, and found the town was never legally incorporated although operating as a town for 70+ years, and, for legal purposes, didn’t exist. Ticket dismissed. The uproar from that was hilarious, as the town fathers and city lawyer scrambled to gain legal status. Folks started demanding their taxes be paid back. Many traffic offenses were appealed. Sure made for an interesting winter.

The traffic scofflaw wasn’t too popular with a lot of people. His response was the Hawaiian love salute.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sloppy, FOX Sports, Very Sloppy

Sloppy reporting by FOX during the Super Bowl. They reported Seattle’s only professional championship was won by the Seattle Supersonics. 

The ladies are pissed. The Seattle Storm WNBA has won their sport’s championship twice.
Then there were the 1917 Stanley Cup winners.

I don’t understand the world of professional soccer in the USA, but the Seattle Sounders have won three US Cups.

With all the time they had to prepare, you would think the FOX crew could do their due diligence. Inquiring minds wonder if they assumed the Broncos would win and didn’t think it would matter?

Actually, I don’t really care; just like to stir the pot.

During the 70’s, the Supersonics practiced in a gym at the vacant Nation Guard complex in the Magnolia area. Several social services agencies had offices there where my then wife was a volunteer.

One evening she had the following to say.

“Every time I’m at the Northwest Center, there are men playing basketball in the gym. You can’t believe how big they are, but all they do is play basketball. Don’t any of them have jobs?”

Woman has a MENSA level I.Q. and the common sense of a potato. Since I married her, what does that say about my smarts?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Too Many Generals, No Leaders


"Now we learn, nearly 100 launch officers at Malstrom AFB Montana have been decertified and taken off watch duty. That's nearly 20% of the entire force."

This is leadership failure at the highest level. Old saying, "The fish starts stinking from the head down".

The late Col. David Hackworth often wrote about "perfumed princes", political flag rank officers more concerned about their careers than their service. This mess shows again the absolute danger these asshats put this country, they are sworn to defend, in.

With all the draw downs and cuts that weaken our military posture, the one thing that gives our enemies terror are missiles that can hit a soccer field in Moscow, Peking, or Qom from our secure land bases and submarines. Now this is becoming a hollow shell; not that B.O. has the stones to use them, push come to shove.

There are many military jobs that don't get the glamour and public acclaim. Not everyone can be a SEAL or fighter pilot.  They are still vital. It is leadership that keeps the men and women filling these roles both able and proud. They aren't getting that. Heads should roll but won't until we get a new administration, if then.

P.S. I know the difference between Peking and Beijing. Screw the Maoists.

But enough, time for some humor.