Saturday, June 16, 2007

Are You Nuts???

I KNOW That I Am...And Proud Of It

Most "Sane" people bother me.

You know the type--people like cops and judges, many lawyers, and airline pilots--people that never laugh at anything and just stare at you blankly when you tell them your best jokes.

I guess that brain surgeons fit into this category also because the last thing you want to see as the anaesthesiologist puts the mask over your nose and mouth is some guy wielding a scalpel or drill and wearing a lampshade on his head or Groucho Marx glasses with the big nose and bushy eyebrows.

That said, take a look at this story about the Pentagon considering dropping their mental health questions when considering people for a security Clearance.

WASHINGTON - U.S. troops would no longer be asked to reveal previous mental health treatment when applying for security clearances under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon.

The idea stems from the finding that service members avoid needed counseling because they believe that getting it — and acknowledging it — could cost them their clearance as well as do other harm to their careers, The Associated Press has learned.

"This is just one of several items under review by the Department of Defense and the services in an effort to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues," said Air Force Maj. Patrick Ryder.

Stigma associated with mental health issues?

What's up wit' 'dat?

I say that if any given employer, including the government, is handing out jobs and the associated paychecks that they have the right to ask any damn questions that they want.

If they don't like my answers to the questions: "Mr. Rogers, have you ever had sexual fantasies involving a midget, two chickens, and a Weed Eater," "have you ever driven a tractor wearing nothing but crotchless overalls," or "did you once purchase edible underwear that was flavored like biscuits and gravy" that they be allowed to refuse my employment at the local bait shop or boat dealership.

No lawsuits with ACLU backing and sensational appearances on the TV talk shows, I'd just have to look elsewhere for employment else keep my mouth shut in the future.

I've actually had a Secret Security Clearance for a number of years back in the 1970's and early 1980's when I worked at the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Ft. Rucker, Alabama and again when I was in the Navy Reserve at Georgia Tech.

Having a Clearance isn't any big deal really because they don't actually TELL you any secrets, they just use the clearance to find out if you are sane enough to be trusted around sharp objects and while walking up and down stairs and stuff like that.

My dad had a Top Secret clearance for most of his career as a Test Pilot and engineer for the Army and it just meant that he couldn't come home and bitch at the dinner table about the latest "magneto-hydro-dynamic-pulse-doppler-laser-nippleometer" (actually a device of my own design which can in theory determine the ambient air temperature by remotely bouncing a laser beam off of a woman's breast--I'm still doing field trials while working on the patent...) or whatever else he was working on mounting and flying around in a Chinook or Cobra helicopter.

I'm sure that Dad took some pretty interesting stories with him to his grave, but that's OK.

I had a couple of ex-wives that shouldn't have been allowed to have a security clearance because those bitches were Websters definition of CRAZY and neither one of them ever admitted it to me or actually sought any mental health counseling--they just told me everything was my fault and left it at that.

My college buddy up in South Carolina is in the process of getting rid of his own Prozac inhaling she devil soon to be ex-bride and she never admitted any culpability in her contribution to his insanity osmosis.

Regarding the proposed Pentagon policy, I say let them keep asking the same questions, and let them have a quota of crazy people that they let in the Army because we need crazy people and mean people in the military to be in charge of breaking things and killing people.

After all, isn't that what war is all about?

Breaking things and killing people?

Otherwise they'd just call it a Tea Party or a game of Tag or something instead of WAR.

"In international news, a keg party broke out in the Gaza Strip today between Palestinian factions...the last man standing will be considered the winner and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members are considered the favorite at this time..."

While we're on the subject of military admissions standards, what ever happened to letting people join the Army or Marine Corps in lieu of going to the county jail for assault?

It's the same thing the way I see it, since guys that like punching their bartender or their wife fit quite nicely in the "breaking things and killing people" category.

Maybe we could just eliminate the death penalty for murder and start having special platoons of guys, lead by General Charles Manson, that we would send out to Iran or Lybia to take care of business without any inbedded TV reporters around to cry in their milk and cry foul every time a limb is severed or a head is blown off.

They'd save a good deal of effort and money by having a lifetime deployment bouncing around the world dealing with thug dictators and communist agitators.

Seems like a plan to me...what do YOU think?

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Moon

Flood Tide

Boy oh boy did we ever have a big flood tide last evening here in the golden isles. People with fixed boat docks that are ten or twelve feet above the water's surface at a normal low tide found their deckboards almost under water about 8:45 PM.

And this without a big easterly wind, no less. Water was also up on the grass shoulder and concrete bike paths along the Torras Causeway in several places.

The thing about our only road connecting St. Simons Island with the mainland which I find rediculous is that the rocket scientists down at the the Georgia Department of Transportation have rebuilt the roadway twice in the past twenty years and there are still two sections of asphalt that hover only a couple of feet above high tide.

The most recent "reconstruction" that has just been completed this summer did nothing about the roadway elevation in the process of widening the median and shoulders of the paved areas.

I see trouble coming for us as a result the first time a real hurricane blows our way. We've been told that if you're inclined to wait too long after the voluntary evacuation order is issued, that by the time the manditory evacuation notification comes along you can't leave unless you own an airplane or helicopter because the causeway is closed and under water.

How stupid is that?

I've slowly been adding to my hurricane stockpile over the past few years, with this year's addition including a spanking new 2300 watt generator that is still sitting in the unopened box in our carport storage closet waiting to see it's first sip of gasoline.

I also spend much of my time tripping over gallon jugs of water and extra cases of bottled water found lurking in the bottom of the clothes closets here in the condo. I should own stock in Eveready Battery to take advantage of the boost in annual profits produced from me acquiring my inventory of D cell batteries for the radio and flashlights.

This Spring, in a moment of weakness I almost bought a 40' x 90' fabric tarp from Lowes, but then I had second thoughts about having to store something in a box the size of a small refrigerator.

The other day I noticed that our local Home Depot doesn't even carry tarps that size, nor do they have things like hurricane shutters or very many generators on display. I mention this fact because I was in a Home Depot down in St. Cloud, Florida last weekend and noticed that they had tarps and shutter components stacked up to the ceiling, along with a giant generator display with six or seven models to choose from.

I suppose that Home Depot's inventory is influenced by the fact that people here in the Golden Isles are either too smug or too stupid to realize that we're lucky because of the geography of the Georgia coast relative to the Gulf Stream and that we're DUE TO TAKE A DIRECT HIT any time now since the last storm hit here in the early 1960's and washed TWO ENTIRE RESIDENTIAL BLOCKS OF HOUSES (streets and all) off of the south end of the island.

If you look at a tax map of Glynn county you will see nearly fifty residential lots that are currently offshore in the Sound adjacent to the shipping channel. I suppose if you are a scuba diver you could get a good deal on the property.

If things get that bad here again so as to start significantly rearranging the real estate map I'll be sitting in the Waycross Georgia Holiday Inn sipping a beer and watching the proceedings on The Weather Channel.

Once the water subsides and the wind quits blowing, if we have anything left I can fire up my generator and wait the obligatory ten days for Georgia Power to get the lights turned back on.

Of course that assumes that the "government officials", police, and National Guard troops don't have the whole island cordoned off and refuse to let me return to my pile of rubble home.

Speaking of damage, we also purchased renters' contents insurance and FEMA flood insurance for the first time last week. I figure that we've tempted fate for three Hurricane seasons without incurring any real storm damage other than losing the roof to our carport a couple of years ago while we were out of town during a storm, so it was time to get serious about protecting our stuff--at least financially.

I'm brave, but not stupid like most of the idiots that suffered Katrina's wrath and saved two or three hundred bucks a year by not buying flood insurance on their houses when they lived ten feet below sea level (we're four feet ABOVE here.)

We tried unsuccessfully several times in the past to get someone to give us a quote and couldn't find a insurance company interested in our business. Matters are complicated by the fact that you can't buy windstorm insurance if there is anything tropical on the weather map in the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico.

FEMA makes you wait for thirty days for the flood insurance to take effect to prevent people from seeing water coming when they look out their window, and placing a phone call to order their product.

As a result of this "30 day rule", our policy doesn't take effect until July 5th.

Keep your fingers crossed, if you will...


Houston...We Have A Problem...

Space Babies?

Take a look at this story about a woman near Chicago who's baby monitor is picking up NASA TV transmissions from orbit.

PALATINE, Ill. - An elementary school science teacher in this Chicago suburb doesn't have to turn on the news for an update on NASA's space mission. She just turns on her video baby monitor.

Since Sunday, one of the two channels on Natalie Meilinger's baby monitor has been picking up black-and-white video from inside the space shuttle Atlantis. The other still lets her keep an eye on her baby.

"Whoever has a baby monitor knows what you'll usually see," Meilinger said. "No one would ever expect this."

Live video of the mission is available on NASA's Web site, so it's possible the monitor is picking up a signal from somewhere.

"It's not coming straight from the shuttle," NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean said. "People here think this is very interesting and you don't hear of it often — if at all."

What's amazing to me is that everybody is running around in circles flapping their arms about this--calling NASA and the news people--instead of looking around the neighborhood for someone with an unsecured wireless network and also happens to like watching the NASA TV website.

It's got to be either coming from a nearby 900 MHZ wireless nextork, else the woman's husband is playing a joke on her and just hasn't had the guts to admit it yet.

You have my permission to stop yapping about silly stuff like this and get back to what you're supposed to be doing today.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

Just Keeping My Head Above Water

All I want to know is” “Who’s Idea was this anyway?”

One minute I’m sitting around here on our little island with a nice suntan, being useless by doing virtually nothing all day, and the next minute I’m running around like the proverbial headless chicken.

Dang it…

Later this morning I have to make yet another trip to Home Depot in anticipation to placing a multi-thousand dollar order for things like doors and windows, and then drag a bunch of lumber out the door to support my construction efforts through the weekend.

By about noon yesterday I looked like Al Jolsen in “whiteface”--covered in concrete dust as a result of staring at my diamond bladed skill saw that I used to cut through my cinderblock walls making new door openings.

Today’s task involves making an eight foot high by twelve foot wide hole in a concrete block wall without having the whole thing crash down on my knotty head in the process. I’m confident that I can complete the process in a couple of hours, but the massive quantities of dust that is produced in the process and hauling the left over blocks out the front door is a real pain in the rear end.

On the art scene, I have my photo editing process almost completed for this years ”Welcome to my world” photo exhibit sponsored by the Glynn Arts Association. I’m entering two images, and I’ll try to stick a the proofs up here on the blog tomorrow night when I’m finished doodling with them.

I also have a meeting tonight with the Board of Directors of the Brunswick High School Marching Band regarding doing the design for their season’s half-time show called “The Pyramids of Egypt.” Obviously there will be a Sphinx and some big triangular structures involved, but the hard part will be making the whole thing windproof/weatherproof , transportable, and at the same time prevent some pimple faced sixteen year old from pinching his head or fingers off carrying the pieces around and putting them together on Friday night.

And finally there is the festering problem of my finishing the design of something called a "Tuned Mass Damper" for my California smokestack project. Can you say "bumbling with Excell spreadsheets?"

If anyone can help doing calculations on dampening coefficients and designing helical spring elements, I'd consider splitting my consulting fee.

Let me know...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Recipe Tip Of The Day

Here, Try This...

Got some Potatoes to bake?

Why don't you try what I do most of the time instead of fooling around with aluminum foil and stuff?

All you need is:

1 Cast Iron Skillet (sized based on the number of potatoes)

1+ boxes of kosher salt

Potatoes (as many as you feel like serving or eating...)

Put the potatoes in the skillet. Dump the salt on top to cover everything up.

Bake in the oven at 450 degrees for about an hour (longer if you have big potatoes)

Take the skillet out, fish around in the salt to find the potatoes, and EAT.

How simple is that?

Now get back to whatever you're supposed to be doing instead of reading my rantings...

Take A Look At This Crap

More Stuff That Makes My Head Hurt…

It seems that a group called Fight Crime: Invest In Kids Pennsylvania has recently come out with a few brainstorm ideas regarding how to keep 3 and 4 year old kids out of jail.

Click on the link if you want to read the entire article, but I’ll give you a little sample here to help me push my point across this morning:

“Thousands of 3- and 4-year-olds in Pittsburgh are at greater risk of eventually becoming criminals because not enough money is being spent on pre-kindergarten programs, according to a report released Thursday by a group urging the Legislature to fund such programs.

Nearly half of the 4,200 preschoolers from low-income families in Pittsburgh do not have access to quality pre-kindergarten programming, according to Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization of law enforcement officials.

Gov. Ed Rendell is proposing to spend $75 million on the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts initiative for at-risk children and their families.”

OK…Taking a big breath…

I have this to say about THAT…

You’re damn straight that 3 and 4 year olds are at greater risk of becoming criminals if they are left at home, by their little selves, or otherwise ignored by the so called “parents” which prefer to spend their time smoking dope, drinking beer, and acting like whores and whore mongers.

If you raise a child in a 24 hour environment of crime and on a steady diet of Rap/Hip-Hop/Black Entertainment Television/VH1 then what else would you expect the outcome to be other than a trash mouth talking Thug, Thug wanna-bes, or “ho’s” after thirteen or fourteen years?

And what about the cost?

“The proposed funding would assist 11,000 preschool-aged children in the state, and about 391 in Pittsburgh.”

Let’s do a little math here: $75,000,000.00 divided by 11,000 little bastards rug rats darlins’equals…wait a minute…where’s my calculator…

$6,818.18 per child




Junior college at least, for that much money.

Why is it that after we're forced to become a colorblind society, and forced to ignore a culture of people that insist on walking around with their penises hanging out of their pants and/or spending their time with their legs spread for anyone and everyone, that when the inevitable outcome is unwanted and uncared for children that the taxpayer is then forced to pay ever increasing amounts for their education and care.

I have my own solution, and it involves something as simple as foot wear.

I'd agree to spend my tax dollars on a few thousand pairs of big black combat boots, and then I'd recruit a team of my fellow disgruntled taxpayers to lace those boots on and walk around the community KICKING A FEW WELL CHOSEN ASSES.

At $75 per pair, that $75 million would buy a million boots, and by kicking at least one ass per day, in less than a year I'd be able to orchestrate having 365 million meetings of leather and glutious maximus.

Now THAT'S my idea of a good example of government in action.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm A Filthy Guy

And Loving Every Minute Of It...

Thankfully I survived yet another day sweating in and on my construction project yesterday--this time doing a few tasks which I had seen done before but never actually participated in myself.

The most daunting effort involved removing an exterior door and the associated metal door frame which turned out to be quite firmly attached to the surrounding concrete blocks. If you had asked me two years ago upon my exit from the hospital I would have doubted that I would ever again survive another day working like I did yesterday. I had dirt and concrete dust covering me from head to toe.

In the process, I got to use some of my new tools like my hammer drill and my portable sawsall to cut the frame and then beat the heck out of it with my sledge hammer until it finally gave in, bounced off my knee, dropped to the ground, and allowed me to haul the pieces out to an ever growing pile of debris building up in the front yard.

Then I built a wooden 2x8 box frame out of pressure treated lumber and hoisted it into the gaping opening, covering it with a temporary piece of plywood until I can get around to installing the new external siding later this month on the front of the building.

I also spent some time cleaning the well aged funk out of one of the bathrooms so that when and if I can convince Pat to actually spend more than 5 seconds inside the structure helping me with my efforts she won't be afraid to use the "facilities" when nature calls.

Next up is yet another trip to Home Depot for more lumber, then a few days of building some temporary walls to support the roof while I knock giant holes in the existing load bearing partitions to convert the duplex floor plan into a single family home.

If you don't hear from me for a couple of days, would someone please call 911 and have them search for my bloated carcass lying under a pile of rubble?

Thanks for your concern...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Battery Blogging

I Was Adapter-Less...

Well, I managed to leave my computer's AC adapter laying in the corner of the living room floor at home on Thursday, so as a result I had to socialize and act like a normal person all weekend rather than spending most of my time staring at a laptop monitor.

We made it back from sunny central Florida in record time yesterday--about three & one-half hours--just in time to make up a batch of Pizza dough and head out to the swimming pool to swelter in the 90 degree heat while the dough was rising.

The outside temperature display on our car read 104 degrees F on sections of I-95, but the AC on our new Chrysler 300 hung right in there and kept us nice and cool as we blasted along in the light north bound traffic. (southbound was another story as there was a wreck between Daytona and Jacksonville that had the interstate CLOSED southbound and had produced a ten mile backup.)

I managed to skip posting anything at all yesterday and only handed out a photo of Friday evening's Space Shuttle launch on Saturday, but in an effort to get ahead of things this week, and in spite of the fact that I'm preoccupied with planning my construction efforts, let's see what I can come up with to comment on this morning.

...I know, did you realize that our Chrysler doesn't have a key lock on the trunk?

How wierd is that?

The car has power door locks and you can open the trunk lid by pressing a button on the key, but there is nowhere to stick the key in and turn it to pop the trunk open like everybody used to do in the old days.

Since the battery is mounted in the trunk instead of under the hood with the engine, and since I keep my jumper cables in a plastic box in the trunk along with the rest of my maintenance and emergency gear, I have to ask:

"How the heck do I get into the trunk when I have a dead battery and the power trunk latch doesn't work as a result?"

More precisely, "how do I get to the battery and jumper cables if the trunk is locked and the battery is dead?"

Doesn't this seem like a potential problem to you?

In reading the owners manual, it would appear that the designers never considered this problem. I find that pretty hard to believe, however.

Since the backs of the rear seat fold down, I guess that I could fold one down and crawl on my stomach through the opening to pull the emergency release on the inside trunk lid.

I'm not looking forward to doing that, however.

Seems like a lot of trouble to me--I'm going to do some more research to see if we're missing anything here.

Next my the list...Paris Hilton.

Never mind...who in their right mind could possibly care anyway.


Blaaa, Blaaa, Blaaaaaaaaaaa...

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