Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Do you remember a ‘special’ game? Are you nostalgic as I am? 28 Feb 11

Is there a specific game that stands out in your mind? Can you close your eyes and see exactly what took place – at least pretty close to exact? I can.

There are some that we all remember, especially those that have been around long enough to have seen special games. Oh, I don’t mean a game you saw in the comfort of your own (or dad’s and mom’s) home. No, not the Greatest Game Ever Played – Baltimore and New York sudden death OT Championship game played on 28 Feb 58 at Yankee Stadium (Colts 23 – Giants 17 – Alan Ameche 1 yd run). I’ve seen the replays of that over and over, but I bet you it was nothing like being there live. I remember watching my Dallas Cowboys fail to score on the “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field on 31 Dec 67 in the “Ice Bowl.” The game time temperature was −15°F. The loss by the Cowboys allowed the Green Bay Packers to go into history as (once again) the NFL’s participant in what became the Super Bowl. I was bitterly disappointed. No, those don’t count. I saw them on TV – not in person. These are all great games, but not at the top of my list.

I did see the later version of the Ice Bowl where Dallas’ Leon Lett helped Miami score when the game was essentially over and Dallas had won – hold your tickets folks; we have a protest. Yah, it was Dallas once again. But I do have a picture stashed away of OJ wearing those black leather gloves that he had such a hard time trying on come trial time. It in the office stashed away with all those other incriminating photos I have gathered over the years. This game is not even a contender.

I spent the baseball summers of 1979, 80, & 81 in the New York area and have the opportunity to take in many Yankee games. Oh, what times. We bought our share of scalped tickets always trying to get somewhere on the 3rd base side. This gave us the opportunity to watch the goings-on in the dugout – Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin was well worth the price of a ticket. I remember watching Bobby Murcer spark the Yankees on to victory many, many times. You remember Murcer, he’s the guy who replaced Mickey in the line-up. Then there’s Tommy John, Goose Gossage, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry, Dave Righetti, Thurman Munson, Gregg Nettles, Bucky Dent, Willie Randolph, Lou Piniella, Mickey Rivers, Dave Winfield and coaches on the bench like Yogi Berra, Bob Lemon, Elston Howard and Dick Hauser. I even saw the home run hit by George Brett, it landed in the upper deck just to the left of our bleacher seats. Still, none of these games were the best or most memorable.

I saw my first World Series Game just this last year and that game sticks out as very memorable. I had waited a long time to see a World Series Game. I have made mention of that here before. But that game pales in contention.

Today I lamented the passing of “The Duke of Flatbush,” Eldon Donald “Duke” Snider at 84. Duke Snider was also known as the third best center fielder in New York for many of the years he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He had to compete with both #24 (Willie Mays – New York Giants) and #7 (Mickey Mantle – New York Yankees. How ya gonna win with competition like that? Up in that same office I also have a 45 rpm record of that ballpark song marking its 30th anniversary, “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke.” I need to get that out, dust it off and play it a couple hundred times.

(AP Photo)

Well, the game that is special to me, I saw in the summer of 1951. My folks, my brother and I were living in a forty foot trailer house in Taylorville, Illinois. We traveled to two games that summer; St. Louis wasn’t that far away. The second trip we saw the New York Giants and the Cardinals play. The Giants had several notables on their roster that day: Sal Maglie, Wes Westrum, Alvin Dark, Whitey Lockman, Bill Rigney, Eddie Stanky, Monte Irvin, Bobby Thompson (the guy that hit the Shot Heard Round the World), Willie Mays, and manager Leo Durocher.

But it was that first weekend that my family and another family made our way to St. Louis to take in the Dodger game that sticks out in my mind. This game will always be my “special game.”

In the lineup that day for the Cardinals that day were: Stan (The Man) Musial, Enos (Country Boy) Slaughter, Joe Garagiola, Dell Rice, Solly Hemus, Red Schoendienst, Harry Walker, Peanuts Lowrey and manager by Monty Marion.

The Dodger lineup that day held: Ralph Branca (delivered the Shot heard round the World in the magical playoff game larter that summer), Carl Erskine, Clem Lebine, Don Newcombe, Preacher Rowe, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, Andy Pafko, Duke Snider, Dick Williams (manager of numerous major league teams), Rube Walker, Billy Cox (current Atlanta manager) and manager Charlie Dressen.

(AP Photo)

Hall of Famers that played, coached or managed that day are noted above in Bold. Oh, there’s some other Hall of Fame members in the other games mentioned above but they don’t count like the ones I saw that summer of 1951.

(AP Photo)

What a thrill? The passing of the Duke of Flatbush brought it all back. Thanks Mr. Snider. We’ll miss you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Guns on Campus - 22 Feb 11

Usually, I try here to be fairly light-hearted; but this is serious. Has our Texas leadership got their heads in the sand? Are they pandering to those they figure that will put them back in office next time? Where are the cool, calm and collected leadership – those with experience and know this is a BAD idea?

Yesterday’s Austin American-Statesman’s (AAS) publishing of the Associated Press’ Jim Vertuno’s article “Texas poised to pass bill allowing guns on campus (dtd 20 Feb 11)” had as many comments as I might have ever seen on any one published article since I moved here. Of course there were as many on the RIGHT as there were on the LEFT – both doing as much to squash the other side, but primarily making themselves look as bad as the other guy wanted them to look. Most of these guys are kooks or express their opinions as to be strangely one sided. Most didn’t come across as being a card carrying college student or professor.

I haven’t seen one college president come out in favor of this movement. They don’t want the results of what might take place should “guns on campus” become the law of the land – not one. Where on campus would you expect to find a clear field of fire? My guess is there’s gonna be students, faculty and employees everywhere. What local gendarme wants to race into an open melee with guns blazing from all corners and have the responsibility to pick out a GOOD guy from a BAD guy?

There is a solid reason that most of the city police forces have replaced the two petrol cars with single cop cars. They found that even the cop’s partner heightened the adrenal response when trouble erupted. Imagine what takes place with students running everywhere and guns ablazzing?

Here’s a few of those comments from the AAS posting:

  1. “Don't tell me a licensed gun carrier doesn't have a bad day, doesn't get angry, doesn't drink or do drugs, or doesn't get frustrated in a classroom or at a teacher or another student.”
  1. “I find people like the Aggie student quoted in the article hilarious. If he actually ever faced an armed gunman, if we are lucky, he would only shoot himself in the foot.”
  1. “Texans with a CHL commit serious/violent crimes at a rate 1/7th lower than the rest of the state population.”
  1. “There is a difference between mature adults having access to guns and a bunch of immature college age students running around with guns to settle their disputes.”
  1. “Unbelievable. So this is what the Tea Party/Republicans come up with to "save" Texas? How much lower/ stupider/ absurd can we possibly get? Apparently in Rick Perry's 2011 Texas there is to be no limit to the madness. Have lawmakers even considered what happens when college students, alcohol and guns get together? Let's Hope No Student Gets Mad About A Bad Grade.”

6. “California has strict gun laws, see how well that works for them, Dufus!" -------------->.
father richtard has eaten too much of the body of christ. its gone to your brain. gp play with the cute lil boys in the choir and show them your"gun".

  1. “California is 40th in gun deaths/100,000. Texas is 23rd. Mississippi is #1, and Arizona is #2. Loose gun laws = more gun deaths. It's pretty simple.”
  1. “Our country trusts our 18 year old soldiers to fight wars. Our federal, state, county and city law enforcement agencies trust 21 year olds to be law enforcement officers. By your logic, our military and police should not take anyone under 25.”

  1. “What a shame - the great state of Texas - can't fund education but is spending time and energy on legislation allowing guns into schools….The likelihood of responding accurately under duress for the average citizen licensed to carry are near zero.”

  1. “I can't wait to get caught in the crossfire by a bunch of immature frat yokels on campus. After 8 years in the military where highly trained people have accidental shootings and where friendly-fire is real, I might as well kiss my life goodbye.”
  1. “The reason I ask is because I, and many of the 413,000 other Texans licensed to carry, do all these things every day...and you don't even notice. But that's the entire point of concealed carry. Allowing duly-licensed people to protect themselves discreetly and without fanfare.”
  1. “Last month in Chicago a crazy guy walked into a police station and started shooting. Wounded four cops. Last November in Tacoma WA, a crazy walked into a coffee shop and killed four cops who were armed and presumably trained. Is the sophomore business major going to be more formidable than four cops?”
  1. “I think it's crazy, too. I'm an ACC prof and I've been in the classroom for over 10 years. From my experience, many college students are overwrought with stress, emotional problems, and drug / alcohol abuse. I see young people on a daily basis and I believe that in every class of 30 or so students you are going to have at least 1 student who is unstable, often as many as 10. If that student is one of the ones with a gun, god help us.”
  1. “This bill is just plain moronic. I'm glad I don't live in Texas anymore.”

Enough of this falderal.

I have no idea what that guy quoting the California mumble-jumble (#6) is trying to get across to us – no idea whatsoever.

They always trot out this statistic (point #3 above) – it has no merit. It is a fact out of context. There has never been a tracking of the kooks that were denied a CHL as far as I know. This fact only proves that the background check works – at least up to this point in time. We would only hope those doing the background check are getting it right.

Then there’s the guy that makes the point (#11) that he is safe because he carries a concealed handgun when he goes out to eat. If it is concealed; how does it protect you? Weren’t you safe without the concealed gun; if not we would have heard your rant about that? I would propose that there was no need for the firearm in the first place.

"It's strictly a matter of self-defense," said state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio. "I don't ever want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks.” (AAS article referenced above)

Some of my acquaintances also come across as a little off their rocker – of course, this came as no little surprise to me: (I corrected their spelling – didn’t want to embarrass my constituents.)

1. I think it's a mistake. Enabling a 18-20 year old to carry is asking for trouble. Of course I can also say I've seen plenty of the same age group act more mature than 30 yo's

2. A bunch of untrained individuals started the AMERICAN REVOLUTION , opened up the west, and have assumed personal responsibility for the safety of their community, loved ones and themselves. We have become too dependant on others.

3. Let everyone carry self protection, stop all of this walking around in a fog worrying if you are going to be a victim. still have a gun in my vehicle 45 years after hi school. DON't TREAD ON ME or suffer the consequences. God Bless America.

4. If everyone on campus is allowed to carry the police will not be able to identify the right target. So then it turns into shoot first and ask questions later. Not the best answer.

As I sit here, I can just imagine a three hundred seat lecture hall making the Gunfight at the OK Coral looking like kids play in the backyard. Anyone not seeing it my way; I’m gonna remove from my will. I don’t think I will vote (or support) for any of these guys ever again – no matter who is running against them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It’s been that kind of day (Slow News) - 17 Feb 11

The world has not held up its end of the bargain.

I have combed the newspapers, watched the morning shows and generally tried all I know but the world just hasn’t done its job today. The news isn’t up to its normal weird enough caliber to make it worthy of being discussed.

Oh yah, those guys over in North Korea appointed a 29 year old to be their number two guy. According to a New York Times article that I read early this morning (after the paper finally arrived – getting worse every day around here), this kid has been given the rank of four-star general and a host of political jobs (wonder if he really has to accomplish anything?) as he has dad looking over his shoulder.

Ya gotta be kidding me! This is the best they can do for leadership – a pipsqueak of a 29 year-old? Giving a 29 year-old these duties and responsibilities is somewhat akin to Justin Beaver being placed on the Joint Chiefs or taking over in Afghanistan for Gen. Petraeus; like Bernie Madoff taking control of the New York Stock Exchange; like Kinky Friedman taking over Ford Motor Company or general Motors; or like my brother (computer guru that he is) taking over Microsoft or Google. What will these guys do next? Ya just gotta be kidding me!


Maummar al-Gaddafi is now in the sights of the revolution spreading through the Middle East and Northern Africa. Kadafi-Gaddafi (whichever it is) has been in power since 1972; that’s a long time. Even the Bahrain regime is now under fire. Until we see more of a trend from the Iran group of non-contents, the entire region remains ripe for it still all to turn south and we’ll be right back in the same fix we have always been. They have to do it; we can’t do it for them. You are right; we have tried; but you must finally realize that we are really not very good at it. Is this guy in need of a good barber?


What is the world coming to? Even Ken Jennings and that upstart Brad Rutter got beat by Watson, IBM’s supercomputer. I think somebody was slipping him the answers – probably Vanna White. It’s just not right!

(AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions, Inc., Carol Kaelson)

(AP Photo/Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

Did ya know that King Tut’s dad was missing – actually it was a statue of Tut’s famous dad that had gone missing from the Cairo Museum during the last couple of weeks. I didn’t know Tut’s dad was missing until I ran across this tit-bit. My first guess was that it was a home invasion; but it looks like the thieves either didn’t know what they had, didn’t like it or just got scared and got rid of it. Seems as though that a sixteen year-old found the statue next to a garbage bin and he and his family returned it to the museum.

Ahmed Amin/SCA

Let us all hope that tomorrow is a better news day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Military Industrial Complex misses out on low tech weapons delivery system – 09 Feb 11

I’ve been watching the news for the last week or so and am fully convinced that the military industrial complex is completely missing the boat on jumping into the fray with a labor saving and leap in technology in the weapons systems be used in the current discontent. I know they can improve on (1) multiplicity of weaponry, (2) effectiveness of results and (3)transportation and deliverability. It just seems to me to be a no-brainer.

My wonderment peaked when I saw this picture in my Saturday morning paper. Just how does this protester go about selecting his rocks? From the looks of what he has in front of him; he is fairly mono-rocko. They all look to have come from the same source. What if he encounters a multiplicity of opposition targets? How will he ever be able to apply the right kinda chunk to ward off his nemeses? What is this guy gonna do if he has to deploy across the square at a moments notice?

One of thousands of protesters guards the perimeter of Liberation Square against pro-Mubarak supporters who tried to infiltrate the square, Friday, February 4, 2011, in Cairo, Egypt.

Carolyn Cole - MCT

Wouldn’t he be much better off if he had an assortment of rocks to chunk. After all, doesn’t he encounter different kinds of protestors//anti-protestors? Shouldn’t he//she be carrying a variety of warheads.

I am proposing the development of the Low Tech Rock Delivery and Transport System (LoTeRkD&TS). This shouldn’t be that hard of a task for an industry capable of developing and turning out the range of weaponry they currently unleash on the armies of the world today.

Here’s some options I came up with just walking around my own forty acres (most of the forty belongs to my neighbors and the city).

Smooth Alaskan river rock (with hefty bulk)

Lava rock (capable of multiple scrapes and cuts upon contact)

Flat skipping stone rock (good for glancing blows and striking multiple targets on a single bound)

Oval skipping stone rock (good for glancing blows and striking multiple targets on a single bound)

Any kid in the neighborhood will tell you this style of projectile is good for multiple targets within the same chunk – 5 & maybe 6 hits are not out of the question.

Flint rock (capable of igniting incendiary devices at distance)

Concrete rock (contains multiple warheads – splits apart on impact striking multiple targets within radius of 5 yards)

Multifaceted Rock (delivers a hurt from any angle)

Hard Core Rock (just damn hard!)

I think the addition of a light weight transport device would enhance the chunker’s mobility and delivery opportunities – carrying around all those loose projectiles has got to be a task and just fraught with happenstance.

Compare this transport device to the bulky wooden box pictured.

Tumblers come from various web-sites and generally cost under $100 each – these could sell through the Defense Industry procurement systems easily for $10,000 or more per unit – easily. Just check out the attached site for details. Each of these should be able to become mobile-tumblers and have hand cranked attachments added for under another $5000 in mark-up. To compete with heavy duty fracusses, the large capacity tumblers should be able to go for as much as $20,000 – I mean, here the sky is the limit – literally thousands of these units could see action in a discontent demonstration lasting as long as the current has.

Here are a few of the polishers available on the market (see site above for details):

If the current disagreement goes on much longer and the defense industry doesn’t get involved, I’m just gonna have to get in there myself and see if I can make a little dough on the deal. These Rock Chunkers need help I know we can improve their battlefield situation. You got any ideas – I welcome the competition.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How HOT do you feel now? - 04 Feb 11

Currently outside here in Austin, Texas it is now +38ºF. It feels like +85ºF compared to what we have woke up to the last two or three mornings. I am back into a T shirt and need sun screen.

I remember the feeling well. After you have been down for so long – even in the teens and twenties – when you go back above certain break points; it feels like its down right HOT.

Surviving in the Army in Alaska some time ago, I learned this lesson very well. That +32ºF point is one of those breaks. There are more below that temperature – believe it or not.

Here’s a couple of pix of the kids outside. The initial few are with the temp close to -30ºF and then what they looked like when the temp had climbed to close to 0ºF. Oh yah, I shoveled that sidewalk. You can’t tell very well but the kids are hunting Easter eggs at 0ºF after a week way below that.

We took a walk over to the river just behind our quarters in late January after the temp had us down for a while. This time again it was close to 0ºF after being down around -30ºF for a couple of weeks. That’s the river ice scraped away. Everybody warmed up with the walk and I couldn’t keep their jackets on them.

The kids used our front yard as the neighborhood sled hill. That’s my son in the brown snow suit. It may be hard to tell but that ice you can see in the next pix was actually put on the hill with a garden hose after the kids had prepared it for that event. They could fly for fifty yards or more after the ice application.

Coming back up from the neighborhood of -50ºF, the next break point you hit is around -30ºF. How can -30ºF be warm? That I can’t explain; you just have to take my word for it – it is.

We spent a lot of time at Ft Greely and was fortunate enough to have been visited by a herd of Buffalo just strolling through our bivouac area at -85ºF. About a week later it was close to -50ºF and I had trouble keeping my troops in their field jackets while fueling choppers that didn’t shut down during the task. Have you got any idea how cold it is under a Chinook (CH-47) that doesn’t shut down during refueling? The wind blast is close to 35 – 50 MPH under there.

Below -50ºF and particularly anything below -75ºF to -85ºF; I defy you to be able to tell the difference; at least down to -112ºF, I believe this to be true. I’ve been there and just don’t believe there is a difference.

Outside now the sun is beginning to cover the entire backyard and that +38ºF temp will quickly start heading back down and I won’t be in a T shirt when I take the pups out to play ball in just a little bit – No way!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Democracy in the Middle-East and George W. Bush - 03 Feb 11

With the final outcome very much still in doubt; is democracy actually gaining a strong foothold in the Middle-East? What’s your guess?

Regardless of which side you stand on; how much of this current movement do we (or are we) going to give George W. Bush credit for? Would it have been taking place had GWB not directed the invasion of Iraq back when he did? Maybe you might even add token credit to the senior Bush – you could probably make a case there also.

Without the fall of Saddam, would any of the current movement have taken shape?

I’m sorry. It just seems that today I have more questions than answers. The entire situation could still go almost any direction, particularly in Egypt. Who has the power and power could still be used to put the entire situation down.

Who stands to be the biggest winner in the region? If the extremist don’t manage to gain the upper hand; it will be the people – the ones that deserve it. It would be a shame for the people to have started this all and then have the country fall into the hands of the undeserving suppressors of human rights who manage to use their biased religious outlook to blindside others into directing their hatred at us instead of working for the betterment of their brethren. Let’s hope this does not prove to be the final direction.

It would be a just and fitting outcome for democracy to prevail and the people of the region become valued players on the world stage.

I guess the biggest question still looming out there is: Does the movement stand any chance whatsoever making its way into Iran?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Obama Opportunity Squandered? - 01 Feb 11

A great opportunity (as I see it) is right on our doorstep and it will be, very unfortunately, squandered. I do not see that there is anything we can do whatsoever about making something worthwhile out of the situation that confronts us.

It seems to me from what video I have seen on the world and broadcast channels that the people of the Mid-East feel that they have a friend in Barack Obama. It looks to me very much like the roar that was raised overseas when the Nobel Prize was announced. They feel like there is a kinship there that probably doesn’t actually exist. The race issue may be the link; I do not know but it just seems to me to be the most direct link.

Every broadcast I have seen there has been just as many Pro-Obama signs and there has been Anti-Mubarak signs. It could be they the press is leading me astray but I don’t think so in this case. They haven’t seemed to make the link.

In any event, here we sit – probably on our thumbs. What can we do? All the diplomats that I have seen and heard interviewed have stated that we are diplomatically trapped between the preverbal rock and hard spot. If we support Mabarak and he topples; we have made the wrong choice. If we support the protestors and Mubarak prevails; we have made the wrong choice. Can we just sit it out? Probably not for long.

Wouldn’t it be nice for our leader to be the one with all the right answers for a change – lately this hasn’t been the case. It should make no difference witch party our leader stands with. This is a REAL opportunity for world leadership and in this case Barack Obama is exactly the right leader at the exact right time and the exact right place. Like it or not, not one of any of our recent presidents have had this unique kinship with the populous of that region of the world – not one. Mr. Obama is it – the only it.

I hope there are great minds thinking this through and I hope that those great minds are seriously working the right and appropriate angles. Let’s hope they make the right choices.