Monday, December 27, 2010

New Grandparent's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

    First of all, if you're old enough to have grandkids, you're also old enough to remember back to when Saturday morning cartoons didn't suck.  Remember the one where the main character was facing a moral dilemma, and was receiving contradictory advice from a little angel and a little devil?  When the little devil on your shoulder says "Make a point of staying off the internet.  Don't post anything to your blog.  Don't comment on your friends' blogs.  Stay off the computer and spend time with friends and family" keep in mind that he is a lying little punk bent on ruining your holidays.  Heed none of his words.  Instead, grab a quart of 'nog and a box of twinkies and hole up in the closet with your computer until after the first of the year.

     When it comes to gift selection, keep things age-appropriate.  No matter how much you spend on the coolest and neatest toys, a small toddler will find the box much more entertaining than the actual toy.  So, have Christmas on the 26th.  Remember, the kid can look right at the blinking 12:00 on the microwave and still not know what time it is, so how is she going to know that Christmas is a day late?  So go over to your neighbor's house in the middle of the night and steal the brightly colored box from their kid's Tickle Me Elmo Flying Trapeze with Extra Sharp Edges out of the recycle bin and let your grandbaby play with that.  The kid will appreciate it more than the toy, and the hippies will thank you for re-purposing the box.

    Once a kid grows up enough to walk and know a few words, he becomes a real hazard.  Especially if Santa gives him a toy guitar which can be used to whack his younger cousin.  So ask him what Santa gives to bad kids.  If he replies "coal" it is time to go off.  It works best if you can get a good rant voice going, like Mel Gibson after a fifth of Southern Comfort.  "NO!  Coal emits CO2 which melts the ice at the North Pole where Santa lives.  Do you think he wants his house melted!? When Santa's heartburn is acting up in the middle of the night and he goes to the bathroom for some Tums, do you think he wants to paddle there in a canoe?  He does NOT GIVE OUT COAL.  He comes down the chimney and stabs bad kids in the eye with his Magic Icicle!  So quit hitting your cousin!!"

    If you're lucky like me, there's a 6 year old boy who isn't really your grandkid, but still refers to you as grandpa.  When that boy comes over and opens his present and gets all indignant to his mom like "Is that all?  I told you we should have gone to the other grandpa's house first!" then I don't have any good advice for you.  In Islamic countries where a strict form of Sharia Law is observed, the child would be beaten with an ax handle.  But that is illegal here.  This is the only example of Sharia being superior to our Constitutional system.  Of course, only use the handle, not the ax head.  Because that would be haraam.  Or maybe it would be cause for celebration.  I can't remember.  The angry moon god is kinda fickle that way.

    When one of the grandkids comes running up with that cutesy-putesy "Grandpa! Grandpa! It's Jeebus' Birfday!"  do not allow this heresy to stand.  Grab the kid by the scruff of the neck and haul him out to the cheesy plastic nativity scene erected in the front yard.  Again, get your rant voice going, like Alec Baldwin leaving his daughter a voicemail: "Listen!  See the little lambs?  They're born in the springtime.  By December they'd be all grown up."  When he gives you that confused head tilt look, plunk him down in front of this (highly recommended, seriously) video.  Unless he is a child science prodigy with understanding of retrograde motion and refraction of light, most of it will go over his head.  But that's not the point.  The point is that you'll have 63 minutes of him quietly watching a video instead of 63 minutes of him trying to mummify the cat in giftwrap paper.

As a gift to grandpa, this is inappropriate on many levels.

    Fartless Chili?  If your new daughter-in-law gives you this, expect a bumpy ride for the rest of the holidays.  For one, it kind of implies some things about the recipient.  It wasn't me.  It was the dog.  Really.  Chance the 110lb canine poot machine makes the vinyl floor in the kitchen curl with some of the ones he rips.  He lets one go and the kitchen floor suddenly looks like a giant faux-ceramic fruit roll-up.  But then again, is fartless chili even chili?  It's like cookies without milk.  Sonny without Cher.  Democrats without budget deficits.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Do not accept such ill-mannered gifts from anyone. 

Just follow these easy steps, and enjoy a much more rewarding holiday season!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

As close to genuine "life or death" as a blog post can get.

Seriously.  Please don't punt on this post w/o reading.

My pastor and his wife have a Down Syndrome daughter.  Pastor's wife (Patti, who comments here once in a while) blogs regularly about the ups and downs of parenting a DS child.  Over the course of her blogging she has encountered many others in the same situation and learned some disturbing things about how DS kids are treated in other parts of the world.

I was kind of surprised to hear these things from her.  I thought that once the Berlin Wall fell and creeps like Ceauşescu got run out of town, that the horrible eastern-bloc "orphanages" were a thing of the past.  Not so.  Especially in Russia.  DS kids there are considered undesirable and VERY OFTEN end up being abandoned to an orphanage.  If the kid is not adopted by the age of 5, they are taken from the orphanage and sent to a mental institution.  OK, this is Russia - what they call a "mental institution," we would call a "[bleeping] inhumane insane asylum like makes Cuckoo's Nest look like [bleeping] Sesame Street."

They take the little girl, shave her head, and throw her in a crib.  Where she remains.  Until she eventually dies of whatever it is that ends up killing her.  Not kidding.

There is a charity called Reece's Rainbow that works to place these kids in a good home.  But the Ruskies don't just hand these kids out like Halloween candy.  It takes a LOT of money to work through their byzantine adoption process. 

There are a couple ways you could help:

1.  Go directly to the Reece's link above and donate.  That's all you have to do.  But you could also go one step further by going to Patti's blog and tell he that you've given.  That'll enter you automatically in a giveaway.  There is a web service she uses that randomly selects a winner, so there is no favoritism.  I think they're giving away an iPad right now in the latest giveaway.  They recently did this for a DS girl named Olga and raised over $12k by offering just an iPod Touch.  They turned a stupid iPod into twelve thousand dollars and a HOME FOR A KID!  So brew your own today instead of getting the double frappé mochaccino with extra carmel and send the $5 to Reece's.  You'll help a kid and maybe get an iPad.

2.  Alternatively, you can also go to a fundraiser hosted by a new company called Zip Deals.  They are kind of like Groupons.  They have agreed to donate $1 for each email address submitted.  Click on "get daily alerts" then select "Eugene" for the city and put in your email address and put in 97401 for the zip code.  You will then receive emails for stuff you probably don't want to buy.  But that is OK because you can UNSUBSCRIBE at any time without affecting the donation.  For the minor inconvenience of clicking the unsubscribe button after only one email, you can help a kid.  Do it.  Or I'll go through my address book and do it for ya!  :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Post Dramatic Stress Disorder

This is a guest post by innominatus' inner Grinch voice that innominatus tries to stifle but sometimes can't quite rein in. For the sake of those lacking imagination, this inner Grinch voice, if he were a physical embodiment, would look kinda like:

Now, onto the guest post:

Drama, drama, everywhere,           
              I cannot hardly think...
Drama, drama, everywhere,          
                  I need to see a shrink!  **

Alright.  The wife has completed her One-Woman Crusade to stimulate the economy.  When you go looking at the news and some vapid infobabe says "Retail spending rose sharply in the waning days of the Christmas buying season" you'll have me to thank.  At least I hope she's done.  Sheesh.  After this spending spree, Moody's has adjusted my bond rating to a new level just below "junk" and just above "California."  And the presents - wow!  You can barely see the tree.  The living room looks like some Mayan pyramid of wrapped objects.
Put a ribbon and a "from" note on each stone and stick a little tree on top, and it'll look just like my living room.

There are so many presents I can't get to the water reservoir in the tree base.  Yes, the tree is now going to dry out, burst into flames, and kill everybody.  Ho Ho Ho.  Why a real tree?  Well, it ticks off the hippies more than a fake tree.  Plus, it has "that smell"  which my wife insists on.  I say to the wife "hey, wife!  ya know I can go to Knecht's Auto Parts and get a little tree air freshener for $.89?  Or about 25 of 'em for what we paid for that tree?" at which point I have to dodge a flying frying pan.  So now the tree is about a week old and already lost all its smell, and is still going to kill us in a fire...

But that's not the all of it...  There are all those decorative doohickies that gotta be hung from it.  If we were single and petless, maybe I could be convinced.  BUT WE AREN'T.  We have dogs.  And when the ever-wagging yellow dog's tail connects with one of them ornaments, it's like ARod doing business with a hanging curve.  And I'm not talkin' modern-day skinny ARod.  I mean the ARod from about 5 years ago before the drug testers took away his juicebox.  Christmas Ornaments + Wagging Tail = Weapon of XMass Destruction.  That ornament is going... going... going... GONE over the left field sofa cushion.

Not only have we pets, we also have GRANDKIDS.  So on Christmas morning we're expecting at least four toddlers.  Do you know that they ALL want?  D'ohra the Explorer stuff.  And they got it.  And almost all of it lights up and/or makes noises and/or says things in Spanish.  Like the Diego Trike that has a working horn and yells izquierda when you hit the turn signal.  Yay.  They're all gonna be here at the same time, probably fighting over stuff 'cuz they're too young to figure out what belongs to who, but too old not to be selfish brats. 

"Hey!  What are you... NO! You can't give chocolate to the dogs [aw crap!] what was that crashing sound?  Whaddya mean you jumped your remote-control monster truck into the mirror?  What gets blood out of carpet?  We don't HAVE a chimney, so Santa comes in through the dryer vent.  I don't know why!  Do you really have to ask so many questions?  Probably 'cuz it is warm like a chimney!  Now please, quit pulling your cousin's hair!  Your mom doesn't spank you much, does she?  GAAAAAAH!!!!! I can't stand it!"

Blazers vs. Suns 12-7-2010

Finally borrowed a card reader to extract the pics out of the dead camera...  The pics are kinda big, so go eat some Christmas-themed baked goods and come back in a few minutes after the page is done loading...

Yeah, those seats were pretty good!

The seat right in front of us...

Our view of the replay screen
RIP, Big Mo'
Me 'n the wife.  Photo credit: Some dude in the adjacent seat.
In some places it rains cats and dogs.  In Oregon we don't screw around - it rains cars here.

Color Guard did a nice job
Wesley Matthews and Marcus Camby
Brandon Roy, gettin' the shootin' hand warmed up for action
Grant Hill, all alone on the playground 'cuz nobody likes him
Good action shots were kinda hard to come by - the bright floor w/ dark above made the camera not know what to meter on, and the fast action meant the autofocus was always just a little behind.
Doncha go tickin' off Coach McMillen!  You won't like what happens!
Oh yeah, time for some Rudy. 
Dang, I guess the Nikon CoolPix is not shock resistant when dropped on the Rose Garden floor.

So, I leave you with...

Merry Christmas from Chance and Sunshine

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Barry satisfying meal

[Robin Roberts] "Good Morning America!  We're here in the White House kitchen with the First Lady and celebrity chef Curtis Stone."

[MichelleO] "Oh, Curtis!  I'm such a fan!  Lemme give you a kiss!"

[Curtis] "Uh..." [tries to step back]

[MichelleO] "Too slow!  Gotcha!" [sloppy kiss on cheek] [Curtis steps off-camera and wipes face with moist towelette]

[Robin] "Anyway, we're here to see what new things Curtis has come up with to feed our kids, so they don't grow up to be fat wide-ass slobs.  Just as Nancy Reagan said 'Say No to Drugs' we're here to say 'Say No to Food that Tastes Decent.' "

[MichelleO] "That's correct.  It is a vital national security issue.  Imagine if all our Marines and Green Berets and stuff were too fat to rappel out of a helicopter?  We would be in dire danger.  Something must be done.  Even Republicans feel this is an urgent security crisis.  The Republicans proposed that we stack all the fat kids like lego blocks, on the border with Mexico.  They claim this would improve security by hindering illegal crossings and also act as a warning that they, too, could end up fat if they sneak in here.  But I don't believe in violating peoples' rights like that, so I think we should dictate their food choices instead."

[Robin] "So, Curtis, what do you have for us this morning?"

[Curtis] "Working with the parameters that the First Lady has imposed, I've..."

[President Obama, whistling "Hakuna Matata", enters] "What the?????  I come down here for an apple and I find some bloody wanker and a camera crew in my kitchen?  Explain!"

[Curtis] "Sir, everything is OK.  I'm an Aussie.  Not a Brit."

[Obama] "You come into my kitchen with your hair all going like that and try to tell me you ain't a Brit?  I don't like Brits, and that's about the Brittiest hairdo I've ever seen!"

[Curtis] "No, really, I'm from Down Under.  Kangaroos.  Wombats.  Oppressed aboriginal people.  Not the UK."

[MichelleO] "It's true, dear."

[Obama] "OK then."

[Curtis, continuing] "Within the strict price and calorie restrictions of this program, I've come up with a form of gruel.  It is a homogeneous mixture that can be served hot or cold."

[Obama, stifling laughter]

[Curtis] "Something funny, Mr. President?"

[Obama] " Heh.  'Homo Genius' was my college nickname.  I  haven't heard that in years.  Brought back some funny memories, that's all."

[MichelleO, shocked] "What??"

[Obama] "Yeah, that was a different phase of my life.  But trust me, babe.  I haven't put any faghetti sauce on my noodle for a looooonnng time."

[Robin, off camera] "Tell the guys in the truck to edit that part, K?"

[MichelleO] "Yes.  This gruel is made of barley flour, algae, and some pulverized vitamins.  It has everything a young body needs to grow.  It also tastes like crap, so they won't overeat.  Win/Win.  And we can put it in all the schools for only about $4.5 billion a year.  A bargain!"

[Robin] "Stay tuned, America!  After this commercial break, Chef Curtis will show us how to prepare $300/lb Wagyu Beef on a bed of Arugula, just the way the Obamas like it!"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling better now catch-up time miscellaneous blogpost of doom

My condition has been upgraded from "feels like s***" to "feels like crap" and I think I can blog and comment now.  Which is more than I've been able to say for a coupla days.

Sometimes a blog comment is more than just a blog comment, and deserves more exposure.  I think this one that Andy dropped in the "Obama Ramen" post deserves  some space on the front page.
Inno, I think I'm about a decade your senior...maybe not quite that much.

I actually drank "Billy Beer." At Carruthers dorm at Louisiana Tech, the guys that lived next door in the late 70s built a pyramid with empty Billy Beer cans.

I think National Geographic probably did a piece on it. Not sure.

When I think of those days I remember Mrs. Lillian being interviewed by 60 Minutes (or some magazine, maybe...but I think it was 60 Minutes). They asked her, "Do you think Billy should run for President when Jimmy's term is up?"

Mrs. Lillian replied, "Goodness, no! If Billy gets elected, Jimmy doesn't have sense enough to run the gas station."

True story.
I derive much amusement from reading that.


The scariest phrase in the English language is
I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.

The second scariest is
We're out of TP!

So, we hads us an F2 tornado about 40 miles away yesterday.

I know, I know. You midwesterners go out and fly kites in an F2 and don't even bother to chain down the trailerhouse 'til you get up to an F4. But we aren't built for that kind of action. Once every couple years we get an F0 that knocks over a really rickety old barn. This is only the second F2 I've heard of around here. I'll cite Biden and say that to us in the valley, this is a Big F'n Deal.

Ordinarily THIS would be the big weather news of the day.  Over on the coast at Lincoln City, about 6k sqft of roof was blown off the roof of a hotel.  One 500 sqft piece flew up and over a 45' power line and came down a couple blocks away.  But a blown hotel roof just ain't gonna get any respect when there are tornadoes going on.


Regarding the misplaced gun from a couple posts ago: I fully expect that it'll either be claimed by its owner or destroyed.  I don't expect to end up with it.  But.... 

There was a STUPID turn of events back in 1999 that I covered in a post last year.  Part of the judgment against me was to forfeit the gun.  At the time I didn't much care, as I had a walk-in closet full of 'em and it didn't seem worth fighting.  Some months later I get letter saying "claim your evidence or it will be destroyed."  I figured maybe they'd found some stereo gear that had been jacked from my car some time back.  Nope!  It was the gun I was supposed to forfeit.  Thanks for keeping it clean and dry!

So there is a slight, slight chance that this gun has gone through a few private sales and messed up the ownership papertrail...  Maybe the owner is too embarrassed (and/or not legally qualified to own it) to go claim it...  Maybe my name will be the only name the authorities can therefore associate with this gun, and they'll goof up (again) and give it to me. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yikes! I think this is real!

Saw an ad for this on OrbusMax.  Looks like you can actually buy the stuff.  Can't imagine what it tastes like.  Chase it with a can of Billy Beer, though, and you'll be all set!

It is actually encouraging to know that dEar Leader is looking out for us.  No matter how bad the economy gets and how broke we all are, there will always be Obama Ramen to dine on.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Barry disheartening news cycle.

I'm still scratching my head over this "Obama walkin' away from the podium" thing.  It was downright shocking to me.  And it leaves me really disheartened.  I mean, really, how do I parody that?  It really takes me out of my game.  Many times I've scripted barry as his own bumbling self.  At various times I've also scripted him as things as an American Idol host, a puppet of Soros, a Starship Captain, an evil Tolkien wizard, a kind of sith-like dude, a rock star, or even a god of Greek myth.

But such a total collapse is beyond parody.  I overheard the drug dealers the other day: "Man, that last bag of dope you sold me sucked."  "Yeah, sorry, I was running low. So I cut it with 50% kitty litter.  But this stuff I have now is really good.  Purer than the pure unadulterated megafail that is President Obama."  "Dude!  Sell me some of that!"

And it's not just me.  It is the whole world.  Can you imagine what the NorKs will say next time we tell them to knock it off?  "Ooh, so scared!  What you do now, Obama?  Sic Bill Crinton on me?  Hahaha!"  We are totally scroomed as long as this guy is in office.  I don't think I can ever come up with a new theme that is as pathetic and ridiculous as the real Obama.  So I give up.  From now on I will only blog about hamster wheels and midget wrestling.  Carry on...

Santa almost came early!

So here I am at my early morning gruntwork job this morning...  I'm going about my duties when a clamor arises at the front counter... I hear many voices simultaneously calling out my name with a twinge of panic in their tone...  I get to the counter and they tell me "there's a gun in the men's room!"

And I'm like "And???"

One of the regular customers says "Yeah, I just saw it in there and thought you ought to know."  My early-20s aged coworkers were fully freaked.  Like there was a rabid hyena in there or something.  Holy craparoni, people!  It's just a gun.  Without an accompanying bad-intentioned psycho to go with it, a whole lot of nothing is going to happen!

So the customer and I and a couple curious coworkers head to the men's room, where I find a .45 Ruger P-90 sitting atop the toilet paper dispenser.  Let's not freak out, people.  See all the guys getting breakfast, wearing their camo's?  It is still hunting season (for those goobers who haven't filled their tags yet, at least) and I betcha one of them came in and took a dump.  Not wanting his sidearm to plop in the toilet he set it here and absentmindedly left me a gift walked away without it.  Now normally I would have some choice words for anybody that careless with his guns, but I think the humiliation of having to walk up to the counter and say "you aren't going to believe this, but I think I left my like-new .45 in the bathroom.  Has anybody put one in the lost-n-found today?" would be punishment enough. 

Anyway, I drop the magazine and make the gun safe.  I take it back to the office where the manager chickypoo says "put it in a bag so I don't have to look at it!" which I do, with the obligatory eyeroll.  She then calls the local PD.  Seems hasty to me, but probably the smart thing to do, actually.  I think to myself "I should lock the slide open so the arriving officer can see that it is empty."  The click of me engaging the slide stop sends her into a conniption.  "You just scared the @#*(&$^* outta me!"


So local PD officer arrives.  I told him where I found it and that I was the one who made it safe and brought it back to the office.  He took my name and contact info and asked for a copy of the surveillance footage but nobody present knew how to do that.  I imagine he'll be back later for that.  I didn't want to just leave the gun there, nor did I want to make a big production out of keeping everybody out of the bathroom 'til the police arrived.  I think I handled the situation properly...  But... Right about now I'm really starting to hope that this gun wasn't used in a crime and now has my prints all over it. 

POSTSCRIPT:  It saddens me to see young people so freaked out by the mere presence of an unattended gun.  This is Oregon.  Redneck gun land, or so I'd thought.  Looks like we have some serious educating to do if we want our guns rights to be cherished and preserved by the next generation.

POST-POSTSCRIPT:  If the blog goes silent for 25-to-life, then I'll see ya at the parole hearing!  :)

POST-POST-POSTSCRIPT:  Maybe nobody will claim it and they'll give it to me!  Wooo!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Barry & Bill

So Barry abdicated the podium for Bill today.  Barry offered up a respectful bow before leaving in a bit of a hurry.  Mustn't keep his First Lady in waiting when it is time to party.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Tuesday night was the Blazer game.  We won!  Well played game and we led most of the way.  The seats we had were every bit as awesome as we thought they'd be.  Great view and cool people sitting all around us.  I'm pretty sure we made it on TV when the refs came over to review a questionable call.  At least we made it on the jumbotron - by geeky pencilneck on display for all to enjoy as I looked up at myself on the big screen.  Looked back down and tried to find the camera but didn't see it in time to wave or make a face or anything. 

My wife had an awesome time, too.  While we've been married 8.5 years, the 10th anniversary of our first date was just a couple days ago, so we used this event as a cool commemoration.  I plan on putting up another post with lots of pics.  We have a lot.  Not as many as we'd figured, though, because our camera had a "moment of intimacy" with the concrete floor some time in the 2nd quarter.  Camera appears to be muy muerto.  Gotta either get another camera or a card-reader for my PC to get at the pics...  Very fun evening from top to bottom.  Hopefully the next post w/ pics will capture the coolness of it all.

One part that was "interesting" was our early arrival...  We got there about 5, but tip-off wasn't 'til 7.  We figured we'd wander around the t-shirt and concession booths to kill the time, but the Guys in the Red Vests wouldn't let us wander until 6.  So we had an hour to kill and about the only place we could get into was Schonely's Place.

They should have this sign posted outside.

Our waitress was like the "Bearded Spock" evil anti-version of Flo from the insurance commercials.  She started off by asking what we'd like from the bar, and I told her "We don't drink.  How about a Coke?"  And she said (with a little of "that tone" in her voice) "Yeah, I guess we could do that."  Since we weren't really hungry and were mainly there to kill some time, my wife and I decided to just split a tray of nachos.  Which were actually just chips in a fancy bowl with some salso on the side.  My wife asked if we could somehow get some cheese to put on them and the waitress actually said "Let me check... But just so you know, if we were really busy I wouldn't be able to do all this for you."  Oh, then, SoRrRrRyyyy!

She brought out a TINY little cup of grated cheese.  The kind of cup you'd put your ketchup in for your fries at a burger joint.  Then the waitress brought our bill.  She started to hand us one and then yanked it back "Oh, you don't want this one.  It's for the $180 order at the next table.  Here's yours, for $16."  Yeah, lady, we get it...  We aren't spending enough money so you want us to run along...  It was getting kind of fun to annoy her, so my wife asked "what else is there to do around here until 6?"  The waitress says "Well, there is another restaurant on the other side.  I'm not saying it is too expensive for you, but it is, like, where Paul Allen eats.  Besides, you have to have courtside tickets to even get in over there."  I flash my courtside tickets and tell her that "I know important people" and that I regret not going to the other restaurant...

INSTANTANEOUS personality change in our waitress!  Lots more cheese on a real plate, drink refills, more drink refills.  Ha!  Sorry, toots!  You showed us your true colors so enjoy your lousy tip!

Anyway, the whole evening was a ton of fun so I do hereby offer up another THANK YOU to the anonymous ticket giver!

Tearjerking Inboxy Goodness

This one was forwarded to me by aA.  Before you say to yourself "too long, doesn't look very funny, let's skip it" I'll ask you to instead read all the way to the end.

Giving Thanks for Our Warriors

From the Scrapbook

December 6, 2010, Vol. 16, No. 12

What follows are excerpts from remarks by Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis on November 13. Kelly’s son, Marine 1st Lt. Robert Michael Kelly, 29, had been killed in action four days earlier in Sangin, in southern Afghanistan, while leading his platoon on a combat patrol:

"Those with less of a sense of service to the nation never understand it when men and women of character step forward to look danger and adversity straight in the eye, refusing to blink, or give ground, even to their own deaths. No, they are not victims but are warriors, your warriors, and warriors are never victims regardless of how and where they fall. Death, or fear of death, has no power over them. Their paths are paved by sacrifice, sacrifices they gladly make ...for you...

“Two years ago when I was the commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 ‘The Walking Dead,’ and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi... Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines... Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle-class white kid from Long Island. They were from two completely different worlds... But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

“The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: ‘Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass. You clear?’ I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: ‘Yes, Sergeant,’ with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, ‘No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.’ They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

“A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms...

“What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as [Iraqi policemen on the scene] had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated...

“You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: ‘Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.’ The two Marines had about five seconds left to live...

“It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was halfway through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live...

“For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing nonstop... the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore into the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe... because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder-width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live...

“The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty... into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.”

Monday, December 6, 2010


OK, everybody stop hasslin' me for a while.  I just goofed up the engraving on a Cavalry saber.  *@#HUHEFD*GH@!#$*&&^TGYPDSV: !!!!!!

This Beaver is Torn

This Beaver is torn.  We lost the Civil War to the hated Ducks, who now go on the the BCS Championship Game against Auburn.  Can't stand the Ducks.  They make me want to break things and say bad words.  On the other hand, I have a number of loud-mouthed exuberant blog buddies who adore SEC football and are convinced in their own little pointy heads that all other conferences are grossly inferior. 

So, what do I do?  Shall I root for the Ducks, who are representing the Pac-10?  Ewww.  That's kinda like rooting for Satan.  Shall I root for Auburn and hope they put the Ducks in a stewpot?  Then I'd never hear the end of it from certain people who shall remain nameless.  (But their initials are A.N.D.Y., P.A.U.L., and maybe even B.A.S.I.L.  I think M.O.O.G.I.E. is too polite to rub my face in it)

I'm really stuck here.  Hoping that a giant asteroid smashes the championship game and flattens everybody on both teams isn't much of a strategy but it is all I can think of right now...

Beavers fail.  No bowl game this year.  Too much disappointment.  Can't cope.  Woe, despair and agony on me.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Civil War CXIV - ESPN College Gameday

Civil War 2010 - the 114th meeting of my Beavs and the (ack gag spit) Ducks.  Would be the 115th, but back around 1911 they decided to cancel the game because things had gotten too rowdy and violent the year before.  Not much has changed in the last century.  This if gonna be a brawl.  ESPN realizes this, so Gameday is making its first stop here in Cowvallis.  There is a lot on the line:
  • The Beavs haven't missed a bowl in a long time, but this has been a tough year.  We need this win to become bowl-eligible.
  • The Ducks are still kinda/sorta #1 and there is nothing more fun beating a #1
  • Aw-burn is still wondering who they will eventually lose to in the Championship game.  The Civil War will clear all that up.
  • It is the Civil War.  Nothing else really need be said
By yesterday afternoon the ESPN Gameday crew was already setting up in the MU Quad.  Since it is a 12:30 PST kickoff, the Gamedazers  start broadcasting at 6:00AM PST!!  Cuh-razy!  My wife is the #2 at the Carl's Jr. restaurant inside the MU so she has to get there WAY early.  Thankfully she doesn't have to work inside. Instead, she be out working the crowd with my future daughter-in-law who also works there.  Future DiL will be dressed in a big foam Carl's Jr. Star mascot/scare the kiddies suit while my wife helps her navigate.  Nothing but the most prestigious jobs for my family!  So, if when you're watching this amazing spectacle on your telly, look for the big Star wandering around.  My wife will be the cute one nearby.

Speaking of my wife, today is the 10th Anniversary of our first date.  Remind me not to come home empty-handed tonight after work, K?


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mystery of the Burning Mosque and other Compelling News

The Mystery of the Burning Mosque is still the big news item around here.  And the oh-so-diverse crowd that I reside among - as a Stranger in a Strange Moonbat Land - had themselves a happy little vigil to prove to the muzzies that "gosh darn it, you guys are cool by us!"

Photo credit: Scobel Wiggins/Gazette-Times

It was the whole interfaith shebang replete with quotes like "All of you demonstrated your support and your care and your love.  We all stand firm and denounce all forms of extremism ... and terrorism."  Yeah, how nice.  I tried to find an animated .gif of somebody gagging themselves with their finger to illustrate my feelings but couldn't find one.  Use your imagination; it's good for your brain.

Local talker Victoria Taft digs around a little and learns that this mosque was more-or-less founded by the OSU Muslim Student Association about 40 years ago, and this Association is in pretty tight with the Muslim Brotherhood.  All the Muslim Brotherhood wants for Christmas Ramadan is a Global Caliphate, so hey, no worries, right? 

Regarding the fire itself, there is a window into the burnt office through which burning materials were thrown.  This doesn't preclude an "inside job", but makes the "act of an outsider" a little more believable.  The fire was first noticed by local police on routine patrol and promptly extinguished my the local FD.  If it was an inside job, it will be interesting to learn whether the fire was put out "too soon."


On an utterly unrelated note, has your own sense of Manly Invulnerability ever bit ya in the buttocks?  The switch in our safety saw keeps failing.  The little contact points inside get scorched, so I dutifully take it apart and file the funk off the points.  This makes it work for another month or so.  Getting weary of this, I decided to put a different switch in it yesterday.  Couldn't find one that fit the factory hole, so I set about to make a plastic adapter plate to make it all fit neatly. 

Pictured: Safety Saw.  Note inherent irony.

I was holding the piece of plastic on the deck of the drill press.  The little voice in my head said "the drill bit is gonna grab it and yank it out of your hands!" I routinely ignore this little voice.  Some of the other ones I pay attention to, but not this one.  So instead of changing pulleys on the press to be at the correct RPM, finding a clamp, or even getting a glove, I say to myself "Just hold it down REALLY HARD."  The bit grabbed the plastic and spun it like a little helicopter blade of doom.  Since I was leaning into it so hard, it took that much longer to reverse my posture and yank my hand out of Kill Zone.  Two neat parallel slices on my ring finger as well as some missing cuticle around my thumbnail.  Pretty cool. 


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