February 2006 Archives

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February 26, 2006
Quote of the Day
The icons of my youth keep going downstream, and as they pass, they are eroding the bank upon which I stand. Sooner or later, I'm going in too.
Fark.com commenter GoSpelunking, on the death of Don Knotts.

[AngryWhitey has begun a link roundup.]

Posted by Russ at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
February 24, 2006
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

Here's a great story.

Senior Jason McElwain had been the manager of the varsity basketball team of Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y.

McElwain, who's autistic, was added to the roster by coach Jim Johnson so he could be given a jersey and get to sit on the bench in the team's last game of the year....

Go read the whole story, and be sure to watch the video.

I hope selling the film rights will set the kid up for life.

Posted by Russ at 10:40 AM | Comments (3)
February 21, 2006
Conversation with the Cat

Mycah, the Chief Furball in Residence here, has been interviewed for the Houston Chronicle's Catcall blog.

I had a word or two there, myself.

Posted by Russ at 12:16 PM | Comments (2)
Objects at Rest

"Long after we are gone ... our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains." — G'Kar

Actor Andreas Katsulas passed away February 13th. For Babylon 5 fans, his unforgettable voice lingers.

Posted by Russ at 11:38 AM
OK, I'll Watch

I found a reason to watch some of the 2006 Winter Olympics coverage — the Swedish Women's Curling Team:

Homina homina hawah...

Posted by Russ at 10:52 AM | Comments (3)
February 20, 2006
Quote of the Day - Washington's Birthday Edition

Thomas Jefferson, writing about George Washington after his death:

His mind was great and powerful ... as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion.... Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw doubt, but, when once decided, going through his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was the most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known.... He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man ... On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect ... it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great....

"Presidents' Day," my eye. We don't celebrate Polk, Hayes, or Cleveland. Today we remember George Washington.

Posted by Russ at 05:04 PM | Comments (2)
February 17, 2006

At work today, after I solved in a matter of minutes a fairly sticky technical problem that had occupied two of my colleagues for the better part of the afternoon, one of them IMed me:

You are the 10th degree black belt of ISDN - Grand Master!!

I can live with that.

It's better, I think, to be the Chuck Norris of a dinosaur technology than the PeeWee Herman of the latest-and-greatest.

Not that one couldn't be both, of course.

(Sorry, Chuck.)

Posted by Russ at 05:26 PM
February 16, 2006
First Shot

Mycah just had her first me-administered insulin injection.

When I got home from work 25 minutes ago I fed her, and prepped the injection. When she was done eating I called her over, "posed" her so I could aim properly, and stuck her just the way the vet taught me. Mycah didn't even flinch. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

Having had that initial success, I feel much better about the future.

Mycah was very good, and got a treat and a good chin-skritch out of the deal.


Posted by Russ at 11:25 PM | Comments (2)
Sugar Cat

Mycah is as polite and sweet-natured a cat as I've ever known (as long as other cats aren't around.) She doesn't like to be held, and she doesn't park her cat butt in human laps, but she is nonetheless a very very sweet furball.

So sweet, in fact, that after the initial disappointment had worn off, the diagnosis of diabetes she received yesterday seemed — in a funny/strange way — rather apropos.

My little sweety... sick. I'm pretty "down" about that. Not heartbroken, though — diabetes doesn't have to be a death sentence. Ask a human diabetic.

There's a ton of information on the web about feline diabetes, so much that I've barely skimmed the surface of it. But one thing seems consistent in what I've read thus far: with proper care, the cat can have a long and happy life.

Proper care is, for the time being, going to consist of twice-daily insulin injections, though we're going to make an effort to control the diabetes with diet, as well.

By "we" I mean me and the veterinarian. Though it's early in the treatment, it's plain to see that when one has a diabetic pet, working closely with the vet is not optional. For instance, less than 24 hours after the diagnosis had been made, I'd had a one-on-one training session with the vet, during which I learned a bit about the disease, learned how to inject insulin, was equipped with the necessary implements (meaning, insulin and syringes) and developed an action plan for the next two months.

The cats who live at the clinic serve as training aids for neophyte needlers. They get a kitty treat for their forbearance, e.g., not clawing the arms of the injection trainees like me. Since a cat feels little or nothing when an injection is done properly, the treat isn't so much a reward for being stuck, but rather a reward for being manhandled by a stranger and sitting still for a minute. Not a bad deal, if you're a cat.

I'm not going to say it'll be easy caring for Mycah, but neither am I going to bemoan my fate. I'm not the one who's sick, after all. Sure, the care will cost some, and I'll have to maintain a strict schedule for her injections, but that's all part of the deal when you accept the responsibility of caring for an animal.

I took up this duty of my own free will, and I will see to it that Mycah's life is as happy and healthy as I, my vet, and science will allow. Being a good steward demands no less.

Forget ye not the Friday Ark at The Modulator and the Century Edition of the Carnival of the Cats at Bloggin' Outloud.

Posted by Russ at 07:43 PM | Comments (7)
February 15, 2006
I don't care, I'm still free
You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

(Via Ace, because I like a quiz as much as the next guy — as long as it's not a lame 'My Little Pony' quiz, or something equally fru-fru.)

Posted by Russ at 10:36 AM
February 14, 2006

It's been many many years since I've received a Valentine card from anyone other than a relative. So long, in fact, that the day has long since lost any meaning for me.

So, thanks, Ith. And right back at you.

Posted by Russ at 09:50 PM | Comments (1)
February 13, 2006
Quote of the Day
I'd rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted Kennedy.

Michelle Malkin reader "C.T."

Posted by Russ at 12:45 PM
February 10, 2006
Quote of the Day
The latest Islamic outrage over the Danish cartoons represents an erosion in the very notion of Western tolerance. Years ago, the death sentence handed down to Salman Rushdie was the dead canary in the mine. It should have warned us that the Western idea of free and unbridled expression, so difficultly won, can be so easily lost.

. . .

[O]nce one starts down the road of self-censorship, there is never an end to it.

Victor Davis Hanson

Posted by Russ at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)
February 07, 2006
Stand, Men of the West - II

Michelle Malkin notices certain people who won't stand — stand up for free speech, stand up against intimidation.

Of course, they aren't really Men in any meaningful sense, nor are they really of the West.

Posted by Russ at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)
February 06, 2006

When I was a somewhat younger man — pretty much still a kid, really — I decided on a military career.

There was no single reason for that decision; rather, it was the product of the cumulative influences on my life up to that point.

That my grandfather had been a soldier played no small part in my decision, but other factors encouraged the idea.

I enrolled in JROTC in high school — a move guaranteed to make me unpopular in the years following Vietnam. I went off to college to continue with ROTC, but dropped out due to my extreme dislike of going to school.

After a couple of years of working hum-drum jobs and trying (unsuccessfully) to get re-enthused about the idea of college, I finally did what I ought to have done in the first place: I enlisted in the Army. I did so with the full intent to make a career of it, to stay in uniform as long as Uncle Sam would have me.

Naturally, after basic training I was sent off to school. This, however, was language school, for which I seem to have had some real talent. After a year of Basic Korean (graduating with honors, thankyouverymuch) and nine more months of Military Intelligence training, I finally ended up at my first permanent duty station, the 102nd MI Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division, at Camp Hovey in Korea.

Duty in the 2nd ID was considered a hardship tour; unlike duty in Germany, soldiers couldn't bring their families, or cars, or indeed much of anything. Consequently, assignments were for only one year. I found that I enjoyed the duty there, though, and extended my tour by a year, and then by an additional six months. While in Korea, I reenlisted for an additional six years. I knew my decision to be a "lifer" was the right one. I could imagine no other life. I earned my Sergeant's stripes in Korea, as well.

Eventually, though, I wanted to come back stateside for a bit of a "civilization break" — not that Korea was uncivilized, but it just wasn't America. As I was making my plans to return, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Transfers were frozen... but my timing was good — the freeze began two weeks after I left the 102nd.

Being a Korean linguist in a unit (107th MI Bn, 7th ID) tasked for rapid deployment to Korea meant there was no chance I'd be sent to the Gulf. Indeed, when there was a call for volunteers with security clearances, we "Koreans" were expressly ordered not to volunteer. It's an odd thing, wanting to go to a war, but I think the motivation was the desire to put years of training to use in a real live mission. As it happened, though, only non-linguists (analysts and the like) were allowed to volunteer for Gulf War duty, and perhaps half a dozen of my friends went and returned.

Shortly after the ceasefire in Iraq, in the Spring of '91, our unit had what we referred to as a "Mandatory Fun" day — no motor pool duty, no training, just a day for troops to bring their families onto the post, to have a cookout, and to play a little softball.

I was pitching. I don't remember for sure, but I couldn't have been doing too well in the position. One batter got a big piece of one of my pitches, sending a line drive low and to my right. As I twisted and lunged to try to spear the ball with my gloved left hand, there was a small *-pop-*... and my Army career was over.

I had torn some ligaments and herniated a disk in my lower back, an injury which still plagues me with an occasional week in bed and with more frequent sciatic pain. It took a year and a half to figure it out, but from that day on I was no longer capable of fully functioning as a soldier. In a profession that demands physical fitness, I could no longer keep up. In September of '92, I was a civilian again.

Maybe if something had gone differently, maybe if I'd been held over in Korea for a few more months, maybe if I hadn't volunteered to pitch that day, maybe if I'd been a better pitcher, I'd have remained in the Army for the full 20 years.

Today would have been my retirement day.

I miss being in the Army; I think about it every day. I often wonder where I would be and what I'd be doing if I was still in the service. Some of the finest people I've ever been privileged to know were those with whom I served, and if I have one regret it's that I've kept in touch with so few of them.

Posted by Russ at 12:18 PM | Comments (6)
February 03, 2006
Stand, Men of the West

[Updates below.]

I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.

A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight!

By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you Stand, men of the West!

It is not a small matter to make oneself a potential target of the rage of a death-worshipping ideology bent on conquest. Any rational person might feel fear at the thought of being targeted by such a concentration of evil. We already know how the followers of evil react when their behavior is exposed.

Some people, perhaps many, will surrender to fear and threats. They do not realize we are all already targets.

But many more will not let their courage fail them. They know we are all already targets.

We are in the midst of an ongoing struggle, culture against culture, and there is no guarantee of victory. But fight we must, in big ways and small. Some of us can don a uniform; many of us have done so in the past. Most do other things, making their own individual stands right where they are, not surrendering to the ideologies of fear or tolerance of evil, but by living the lives of free men and women and exercising dearly held freedoms.

Including the freedom of speech.

In this, I don't care how you vote, nor does it matter what church you attend, or not. I don't care whether you're red state or blue, pink or green. If you value your freedom to make choices, to live your life as you see fit, respecting the rights of others, even though you disagree on some or many things... if you will not surrender your fundamental liberties merely to save your own skin, and will not submit to dhimmitude, then stand.

And to those of you who would tolerate the intolerable, who fear to give offense rather than speak the truth, who would strike a bargain with evil to save your miserable skins: begone. We have no use for you.

Updates, 4Jan06

1. Don't miss Jeff Goldstein's post, Identity Politics, Free Speech, and the Future of worldwide Liberalism, 2: a follow-up.

[If, as Lileks once said, Bill Whittle is the Kirk and Steven Den Beste the Spock of the blogosphere, then surely Jeff is the Scotty. His ability to dig into the nuts and bolts of issues, to get to the fundamentals, and then to deliver superbly-written analysis is top notch.]

2. The quote of the day is from Tim Blair, on the Danes vs. Muslims "clash of civilizations":

No; that would require two civilisations.

Update, 5Jan06

Wind Rider points out what is not meant by "stand."

Posted by Russ at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)
February 02, 2006
Quote of the Day

Hey, uh, guys? Would you act like winners a little more often?

It's one thing for Democrats to be in denial about steady Republican election victories since 1994. It's quite another for Republicans to be in denial about them, too.

Ann Coulter, in Alito ... Boo!

Posted by Russ at 09:57 PM