Friday, August 15, 2008
Dang have things ever changed in my lifetime in Poland.
Never actually been there myself, but if I ever make it to Europe I intend to stop by Warsaw as I skip over London and Paris on my way through Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Turkey if I can get a good enough Kurdish disguise (did I mention Casablanca on a side trip to northern Africa?)
From the days when a blue collar guy named Lech Walesa led strikes in the shipyards under the iron fisted rule of the former Soviet Empire and rose up to later become president of the newly freed country, to yesterday's announcement of Poland agreeing to accept multiple layers of American missile defenses and the stationing of troops inside their borders to defend Eastern Europe from the Iranians or Moscow or whichever group of morons decides to start lobbing explosive filled steel tubes through the air in the future, all I can do is sit on the sidelines and cheer--but I'm happy with the progress none the less.
Of course the Russians and our domestic booger eating pantie waisted liberal pacifist citizens are already declaring doom and gloom and blaming us for an "escalation" of military hostilities in the region.
You want "escalation" of "hostilities", try bombing a few airports and malls in Georgia (in the United States) and see what the UN would have to say about matters. I seem to recall our own government doing exactly that in July of 1864 and look at where we all are today as a result of that effort.
Instead of living in the sovereign country of Tenalabamkentuckigeorge (or something like that), I live in a place that has ended up almost exactly where President Davis and General Lee were afraid we were going.
The states have virtually no rights, the citizens almost have even fewer, and yet the Federal By-God Government of the United States of 'Merica continues to exist in spite of, not because of, the actions of pompous asshole Senators and Representatives we elect and send to Washington DC every two or four years.
And now we're gonna have a base and a bunch of anti-missile missile's in Poland. Based on the German's attitude and negative public statements toward us over the last couple dozen years, I say we pull the entire crowd of military personnel and equipment out of Germany and move them all over the land of Kielbasa and Cabbage.
And yet the Russians complain. And people in Washington and San Francisco wag their fingers in dismay...
Let me remind everybody that the missile "defense shield," as the name implies, is a DEFENSIVE measure, not OFFENSIVE.
The targeting systems and payloads are designed to destroy little packages of fast moving metal with wings attached, not entire neighborhoods or cities.
Let the Russians whimper and cry if they feel like it, I say it's just like giving the People living daily in the sights of the slumbering cold war aficionados and wild eyed islamofascists a bullet proof vest, and until of the wimpy booger eating limp wristed politicians and voters can get a spine and talk the Iranians out the reactor business, we aught to install phase two of the system in Tel Aviv.
That will be all...for now...
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I wrote this back on April 26, 2005, and I found it because someone googled the topic this evening...so here it is in it's entirety:
My head is spinning around…again.
This time it’s over the the Political Correct Police’s efforts to eliminate the terms B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini) from textbooks and other reference books…
“ALBANY, N.Y. -- In certain precincts of a world encouraged to embrace differences, Christ is out.
The terms "B.C." and "A.D." increasingly are shunned by certain scholars. Educators and historians say schools from North America to Australia have been changing the terms "Before Christ," or B.C., to "Before Common Era," or B.C.E., and "anno Domini" (Latin for "in the year of the Lord") to "Common Era." In short, they're referred to as B.C.E. and C.E.”
There are clearly a number of people out there that have way to little to do with their time.
The modern calendar works quite well, in my opinion, and just like the government’s force feeding Americans the metric measurement system in the 1970’s, I think that this effort will be doomed to failure. (Being an engineer, I am quite comfortable with the metric system, by the way.)
But there is more…
“The terms B.C. and A.D. have clear Catholic roots. Dionysius Exiguus, an abbot in Rome, devised them as a way to determine the date for Easter for Pope St. John I. The terms were continued under the Gregorian Calendar, created in 1582 under Pope Gregory XIII.
Although most calendars are based on an epoch or person, B.C. and A.D. have always presented a particular problem for historians: There is no year zero; there's a 33-year gap, reflecting the life of Christ, dividing the epochs. Critics say that's additional reason to replace the Christian-based terms.
"When Jews or Muslims have to put Christ in the middle of our calendar ... that's difficult for us," said Steven M. Brown, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
The new terms were introduced by academics in the 1990s in public elementary and high school classrooms.”
So they want to replace “Christian based terms in our calendars” and “academics” have already introduced the terms into public elementary schools and high school classrooms?
What I want to know is…
WHO THE HELL APPROVED THIS BRAINSTORM?
DID YOU KNOW ABOUT IT?
What are they teaching your kids in our government schools? I don’t have any kids myself, but this really pisses me off.
Why don’t we just throw out the calendar all together. Let’s toss out the alarm clock while we’re at it.
Let’s just re-number everything as before Clinton (BC) and after Clinton (AC.)
Or how about using the terms before gay marriage (BGM) and after gay marriage (AGM)?
Let’s have a calendar that completely skips the birthdays of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln and eliminates Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. There would just be a blank square on the page with no number and no title—just a big smiley face or a picture of a condom.
I know...lets design a clock that runs backwards and only chimes on Martin Luther Kings’ birthday, Earth Day, and Gay Pride Day?
Let’s eliminate the minimum wage and pay everyone $20 an hour to stay home and smoke dope and watch Public Television.
Ah...Ahhhh..AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (New text added for emphasis)
I’ll see y’all, I’m moving to Costa Rica.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I have to jump on a few hundred tons of steel and wrestle the details onto paper this week, and I'm thinking about trying to get 40 hours in between now and Friday afternoon, so you'll have to excuse me if the blogging is light as a result.
Then again, something may get my attention or piss me off and in that case there will be words here letting you in on my opinion.
Until then...Y'all have a nice week (what's left of it.)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Well, It's time to get ourselves back on the road again later this morning, moving from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean back to the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River. The good news is that we've accomplished all that we hoped for on this journey
In my mind the only negative thing is that we have to leave the coast yet again.
As a rule I generally refrain from publishing photos of myself and Pat here on the blog, but suffice it to say that you can understand our condition and experiences by looking at these shots of our little Missy the Turbo Pup.
For instance, how can your face not look like this:
Anyone care to guess who?
Monday, August 11, 2008
In ending this year's blogging birthday celebration, I though that it was more than just a little appropriate that my final re-run blog posting was on the topic of Hurricanes.
You see, I feel like I know a thing or two about Hurricanes.
More than the average weather man/woman or other otherwise media terrified citizen knows about the mature remnants of "tropical storms."
Having lived as a teen through Hurricane Elloise in the 1970's in LA (Lower Alabama) and witnessing my parent's dismay with Opal in the 1990's and having my mother go it solo through yet another storm since 2000 (sorry Mom, I forget the name), I feel that I AM AN AUTHORITY on the topic of Hurricanes and can provide you with insight that cannot be gained anywhere else than here on this blog.
Just in case you haven't noticed, this year' s "Hurricane Season" was predicted to be a "doosie", yet thus far we've only featured one storm that spent a month cruising around the middle of the Atlantic ocean and a couple of storms that blasted Mexico and south Texas (where they need the rain more than they fear the winds.)
Now the idiot rocket scientists over at the NOAA Hurricane Prediction Center --instead of admitting that they're wrong--have come back out and are insisting that in spite of the relative quite in the worlds waters that this year the the ocean is MOST DEFINITELY GOING TO JUMP UP AND WILL FLOOD each and every home in it's path and blow the roof off of what is left on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US.
The only thing that they haven't done is state that only poor people, minorities, and women need to worry about the storm's wrath.
I'm sorry, but I think that the Hurricane researchers are drinking their own toilet water and have become media addicts of the worst kind. They just can't stand being out of the news and in the absence of storms all they can do is resort to issuing threatening press releases.
All of that said, here's what I wrote on the subject of Hurricanes back in August 2004:
Two hurricanes in one week (well, actually one hurricane and one tropical storm) certainly is a good formula to take your mind off of a number of life's frivolous distractions--particularly if you live on or near the coast of the Southeastern US during the summer months.
Don't you just love the gleam a good 145 MPH wind puts in the eyes of the local TV weather nerds and the gloating staff of "The Weather Channel?" I personally prefer a good weather news story a great deal more than I like following the sexual antics and mis-behaviors of some overpaid athlete and their remorseful female conquest or the endless saga of some poor, photogenic wife whom has paid the ultimate price as the victim of her bad life partner choice.
The present movement of Hurricane Charley is of particular interest to me and my neighbors as it slides across the Florida pennesula this evening toward our homes on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Current local forecasts are for winds only in the fifty to seventy MPH range. The minor storm surge is probably our biggest concern here as most of the island is two feet below the government's so called flood plain and there is only one low lying road connecting the island to the mainland.
Having been a coastal resident since only this past March, I find myself in the early stages of learning the habits and behaviors that will allow me to successfully negotiate the intricacies of storm preparation and, God forbid, evacuation in advance of an approaching storm. I've found that many other longer time residents are in the same boat (excuse the pun.)
You see, the Georgia coast enjoys the distinction of rarely bearing the brunt of tropical weather of the type and severity that Florida and North Carolina does each year. We are, however, tittillatted every three or four years with the possibility of the strike of a bona-fide doosie of a storm. It seems that I have arrived back home from a vacation in Chicago today just in time for such an event.
The thing that is most striking to me thus far is the reality that many if not most people absolutely loose their blankin' minds upon even the hint of the approach of a major storm. For instance, I made a trip to the grocery store this afternoon to pick up a few last minute items--having spent several weeks out of town and arriving with the storm possibly only a half-day away.
The first sign of trouble was that the grocery lot was virtually full of autos and SUV's upon my arrival. The next obvious clue was the availablilty of only three shopping carts inside the front door of the store. The place was an absolute madhouse filled with wildeyed senior citizens and soccer moms who were careening wildly up and down the isles, their carts each filled with bales of toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water, and on most occasions--TWO OR THREE LOAVES of bread. The biggest personal blow was that the Peter Pan peanut butter was sold out entirely (I had to buy Jiff.)
Now I ask you, what makes normally rational people believe that they are actually going to go through two or three jars of peanut butter and three loaves of bread in the one or two days that a storm this size and path could cut us off from civilization? If they do eat all of that peanut butter, they will be so stopped up they could never possibly use an entire case of toilet paper, could they?
In an effort to document my current experiences and assist any future coastal residents in the art of Hurricane preparedness, I would like to offer my own list of Do's and Don'ts:
Do listen to local weather broadcasts every few hours in order to stay up to date on the storm's location, forecast storm track, and any evacuation orders that may be issued.
Don't go to the local bar hours before the storm roars into your neighborhood and get shitfaced drinking kamikaze shots or a half dozen long island ice teas before heading home to tackle hanging that truck load of plywood you just bought at Home Depot over your windows and doors.
Do put together a basic hurricane supply kit including drinking water, prescription medicines, first aid kit, canned foods, flashlight and spare batteries, battery powered radio, etc.
Don't think that you're prepared when your hurricane kit simply includes a twelve-pack of warm beer, a fifth of tequila, a couple of half burned candles from the last storm warning , an old Bic lighter, and an inflatable raft with one broken oar.
Do gas up the car or SUV and move it to high ground prior to the local roads being closed.
Don't venture out during the storm onto flooded roads in high winds at break neck speeds in an attempt to recreate Lt. Dan's hurricane scene in the movie "Forrest Gump."
Do move your boat onto it's trailer and secure it in a safe storage area. Relocate larger boats away from docks, pilings, and other boats and double/triple anchor them in place.
Don't think you are going to weather out the storm on board your boat with your warm twelve-pack and fifth of tequila. (You will end up dead or be seen on CNN by all of your friends and family--you'll be the one hanging by a cable underneath a Coast Guard helicopter.)
Got to go outside to check out the weather again Charley's back offshore in the Atlantic and the eye is tightening up again, more later...
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Good gosh but is it ever good to be back home here on our little island, even if it is only for an extended weekend.
Good food...good friends...good weather so far, and I've even managed to make some progress in my never ending real estate investment escapades which might end up yielding me a profit before the end of this calendar year if not sooner.
That said, I promised my readers a peek at my local political commentary, something with which I've managed to make quite a stir a couple of dozen times here over the past few years.
Most recently I've been lamenting the goings on at the highest level of local government, something which we have down here on the Southeastern Georgia coast called a "County Commission."
You might have one where you live...I don't know..but if you don't consider yourself lucky, because our County Commission is IN CHARGE and don't care what we think or want between election years.
County Commissions and more specifically, the individual County Commissioners, are to normal humans like ticks and fleas are to a dog....in as much as their day to day activities make you want to jump around, shake your head, and scratch.
Don't get me wrong, they're not all bad guys, they're not ALL corrupt, and most seem to be relatively normal honest hard working people the day we vote them into office, but then things change when we hand them the keys to the near quarter billion dollar county coffers loaded with tourist dollars here in Georgia's Golden isles.
We have an unfortunate yet obvious class struggle within the borders of our county, with only one incorporated city (Brunswick) in the aforementioned boundaries, and probably 99% of the tax revenue (OK, 75%) is generated on the 11 mile by 4 mile wide island we call St. Simons.
My problem isn't so much with the so-called "commissioners" being outright idiots or thieves, it's with their insistence in weaving and wobbling into areas into which they have little business and even less expertise, and proceeding to write stupid, unenforceable, mineless laws and policies with which they later find being used to bash them in their heads and make Glynn county the laughing stock of the state...something which isn't easy to do if you've spent more than a month living east of the Chattahoochee river and south of the Carolina's and Tennessee.
The latest upheaval which caused me to pound on my computer keyboard and hit the "send" key involved our little island's tourist "Trolley Tour Services", and the plight of a nice lady acquaintance named Bunny Marshal who's earned most of her living owning and operating a reliable tour service here for the past 15 years or so.
The link to the Brunswick News article in PDF form is here...
cliff notes version of the story would tell you that other tour operators have come to town over the past couple of years and had a hard time making a living, so instead of improving their service or understanding that the market is small here they have instead elected to go to the commissioners and complain, causing the commission as a
Avoid the subject at first, then after much consideration proceed to screw things up in entirety.
At first they're afraid of "legal action," so instead of letting the status be "quo" they take a defensive default position in which the original players lose yet the new players don't win what they want--economic success.
Then after two or three more rounds of complaints and concessions, what the public ends up receiving from our commission is not two or three options in the Trolley tour business on the Island....Noooooooo....
WE'LL PROBABLY END UP WITH NO TROLLEY TOURS FOR YOU TO TAKE WHEN YOU COME OVER HERE TO SEE WHAT I'VE BEEN RAVING ABOUT FOR THE PAST GOING ON FIVE YEARS.
That's right, according to Bunny, instead of the continuing quaint simple tour around world fameous poet Sidney Lanier's "Golden Isles" past "Bloody Marsh", Christ Church, and General Oglethorpe's Ft. Frederica, you may have to settle for...
a book from the bookstore and your own car for a self guided tour, else...
government...ya' got to love 'em.
Their latest assault on free enterprise has determined that "trolleys" cannot ring their "bells" while stopped in the village pier area--the place where the "tours" have originated since
"Trolleys" can only ring their "bells" now and legally annoy people as they drive down Frederica road and the outlying areas of the island.
The people standing around in the village tourist area (a place where people might actually WANT know that there is a trolley tour leaving) are officially protected from "bell ringing" according to the county attorney.
Now here's the text to what I wrote last Thursday which was published Friday in the print edition and here on The Brunswick News Website
I have a few questions for the so called "authorities" of Glynn County.
If I, as a private citizen, buy myself a nice shiny bronze bell and further, I happen to park myself and my bell adjacent to the trolley stop on St. Simons when I'm visiting the area, can I ring my bell whenever I want to?
Or does the local government require that I have to have license and/or a permit to ring my bell?
If noise is a problem in Village and the balance of the SSI waterfront, I'd like to know what measures are being taken to eliminate or minimize the sounds of construction as the new pool and other renovations are taking place.
Maybe I should offer my services ringing my new bell to cover the noise that the jackhammers and backhoes are making over the next year if you would like to pass another resolution to that effect.
Finally, using the same convoluted logic, one could not help but wonder how long it will be before some atheist tourist or local "activist" gets a commission resolution and a legal decision to make the local churches buy a permit else stop ringing the bells in their steeple towers for the same petty reasons Trolley company owners are dealing with today.
I think that that says what needs to be said on the matter...How about YOU?
If you haven't heard me say it here on the blog, let me let you in on a little secret.
I could pretty much care less about the "Olympics."
I'm not quite sure when it happened, but I guess it was around Carter's 1980 "boycott" of that year's games because of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan that my personal relationship with the Olympics and Olympic TV coverage started its steady down hill movement.
Heck, the world came to my doorstep and brought the Olympics to Atlanta in 1996 and I only manage to watch a little piece of the proceedings on TV.
I was working in an engineering office in downtown Atlanta the day in 1989 when the city was officially awarded the games and I celebrated in Underground Atlanta with my boss at the time and with throngs of my fellow Georgians with delight over the prospect, but by the time I had lived with the politics, infighting, and official ticket scalping which ensued in actually bringing the Olympics to a successful completion I made what I still believe today to be a rational decision.
I actually left town for most of the duration of the 1996 Summer Olympics in order to avoid what was projected to be giant traffic jams and congestion. I was, however, scheduled to be in Centennial Olympic Park the evening when the infamous Richard Jewell explosive backpack went off.
Fortunately, a couple of three too many Margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant caused me to stay home in Smyrna that evening so my own personal brush with that disaster was averted.
Any way, writing about the Olympics has been an annual topic here on my blog, and the following posting was first delivered on August 14th, 2004 (back before I knew how to convert html links into plain text):
As Television became a part of most every family's life in the 1960's, so were the political realities of issues like race relations and international politics brought home to our living rooms each and every evening.
Where in the 1940's and 1950's you had to read the newspaper or go to the local movie house to see news reels before each film or during intermission, the Network evening news and cable/satellite television now brings the gory details of worldwide tragedy's into your personal space in suburbia for your individual enjoyment or horror.
With the opening of the $7.34 billion edition of the modern Olympic Games, the current terror threat level and the multi-billion dollar security (that's Billion with a B) reminds me of some historical lessons that we could all probably learn from:
For instance, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) wins the gold medal in the 1964 Olympics, refuses to be drafted and go to Vietnam, and changes his name to that of a member of that peaceful religion called Islam:
Then Palestinian Arab "Terrorists" (lead by a young, future Nobel Peace Prize winner--Yasser Arafat) slip into the 1972 Munich Olympic Village and hold hostage and massacre Israeli athletes:
Another future Nobel Peace Prize winner--one term President Jimmy (smile when you say that) Carter boycotts the 1980 Olympic games because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan...say what???
Then Richard Jewell took the initial heat for the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta:
So what spine tingling excitement will the current events in Athens (Greece, thank God, not Athens, Georgia...home of UGA) hold for us over the next few weeks???
We're flying back from Chicago to the Georgia coast for the arrival of Hurricane Charley tomorrow--wish us luck.
Keep watching, listening, and learning, Ya'll...