June 2008 Archives

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June 30, 2008
Above and beyond

In the past I had, from time to time, harbored the hope that I might someday return to the Army, despite the back problem that ended my career. Now, of course, I'm too old and thoroughly broken to get back in.

Here's an amazing story of a soldier who refuses to quit, despite horrific injury: Blind Special Forces soldier: determined to serve.

"I am going to push the limits," the 40-year-old said. "I don't want to go to Fort Bragg and show up and sit in an office. I want to work every day and have a mission."
Which raises once again the question: where do we get such men?

I don't know, but I thank God that we do get them.

Any time in the future that I'm tempted to think, because of my disability, how hard it is to do whatever I'm doing, I hope I'll remember Captain Ivan Castro.

(via Hot Air headlines.)

Posted by Russ at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day

Patrick Henry:

The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.
(Brought to mind by this story.)

Posted by Russ at 12:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 28, 2008
Quote of the Day

In FrankJ's world, Supreme Court Justice Antonin "Tony the Bull" Scalia renders a slightly more forceful opinion in D.C v Heller:

The issue of incorporation was not brought before the Court, but our next step will be to grab our guns, form a posse, and head to Chicago. The citizens are disarmed, so they will be easy pickings and their stereos will become mine. See the barrel of my gun. I shall kill Mayor Daley and place his head upon a pike in the town square as an example to others. Usually the execution of laws falls on the Executive Branch, but I have the summer off and it sounds like fun.

Posted by Russ at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 26, 2008

The big news, on most channels at some point or another today: Supreme Court affirms 2nd Amendment protects an individual right.

Not going to make the news: four US Supreme Court justices are functionally illiterate.

Posted by Russ at 04:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 25, 2008
Wednesday is my Monday

Today is the first day of my work week, and, boy, has it started poorly.

Sometime yesterday evening, my upstairs A/C ceased to blow cold air. I didn't really notice it until I had to go downstairs... the temperaturre differential was immediately apparent. So, I left a message for my HVAC guys requesting service ASAP.

They called me at about 9 this morning. I was, of course, pretty groggy after only a few hours's sleep, but I got the message loud and clear: they are booked solid today and tomorrow.

Outstanding. It's supposed to get up to 95° today.

And I couldn't get back to sleep. Superb.

So, I headed over to SCOTUSblog to see if the Heller 2nd Amendment decision was published today. Nope. They're really drawing out the drama on this one.

Signs seem to indicate that Heller will be a win for those of us who support 2nd Amendment rights. The question, it seems to me, is how far the Court will go in our direction. I'm hoping to hear the words "strict scrutiny" somewhere in the decision.

I'm considering celebrating by acquiring another firearm. Maybe a nice (and inexpensive) Yugoslavian SKS from Classic Arms. Good place to do business with, if they have what you're looking for. Over the past few years, I got my Swiss K.31, Czech VZ.24, as well as some accessories there. Good outfit, yep.

And though it seems unlikely at this point, if the Heller decision goes the wrong way, I'll get two. And a bucketfull of ammo.

Posted by Russ at 12:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 23, 2008
Bounce, 1991-2008

Mom's cat Bounce has been unwell. She stopped eating, using the litterbox, and grooming herself.

Today is her final trip to the vet. Mom is with her there now.

So long, Bounce. Good girl.

Posted by Russ at 06:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Yes, yes, yes

Finally, a Vision for America I can believe in.

Posted by Russ at 05:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit:

When the stormtroopers wear clown shoes instead of jackboots, it's easy to forget that they're still stormtroopers.

Posted by Russ at 02:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 22, 2008
Ravings of a fevered mind

Shortly before going to bed last night (this morning, really) I came down with a fever and aches. Swell. At least it didn't wait until my weekend starts at midnight tonight. I can work through being unwell, but I hate losing my days off to illness. I have too much to do.

I think I need to have my shunt adjusted. When I occasionally cough or sneeze, I feel what might be described as a pressure spike in my head — a momentary pang, like a headache that comes and goes in a split second. I think there's still a bit too much pressure in there.

I keep making progress at physical therapy, and my reward is more weight on my ankles, or newer more difficult exercises.

The birds in my neighborhood are retarded. They start chirping about two hours before sunrise — right outside my bedroom window. The feathered buggers can make it hard to get to sleep.

A thunderstorm in the wee hours of the morning, however shuts them right up... and I have no trouble falling asleep if it's thundering or pouring rain.

The cats get a bit nervous, though. Kismet curls up tightly right against me, and Packet stretches out on the bed as well. Mycah would come up, but she rarely ever voluntarily approaches the lads.

They, on the other hand, continually try to make friendly with her. It's particularly noticeable at feeding time. I call "food!" and the cats know it's time to go downstairs. Packet races down to the bottom of the stairs and flops down. Kismet positions himself on the landing halfway down. Mycah follows behind me as I go down — she gives Packet a brief hiss and heads down past him... and he follows, batting at her tail. She then gets to the bottom of the stairs ahead of me, and has a few words with Packet, who lays there oblivious to her demand that he move out of her way. It's as if he is daring her to approach him... but he eventually gets out of the way.

Food seems to be the great unifier, though. When the hairball treats are being distributed, Mycah has no objection whatever to the lads' immediate presence. Once the treats are gone, though, the hissing starts again... but she's getting better. Eventually she'll tolerate the lads.

Work starts in a couple of minutes. Sundays are usually pretty quiet, but this week so far has been fairly heinous. I can work through the fever and headache... but I'd rather have a nice night where no part of the network breaks. Ya, right. We have 30,000+ routers under management — something will go wrong at some point.

OK, I just logged on and I see that it has been slow so far today. I guess we got most of it out of our system over the past week.

Have a good Sunday, folks.

Update: the Fates laugh at me. I just spent three hours trying to figure out a routing problem on the core backbone, and what to do about it.

Yes, I fixed it. Bloody nuisance.

Posted by Russ at 03:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 19, 2008
Link roundup

A few things that have caught my eye so far today:

Posted by Russ at 02:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 18, 2008
Mycah vs. Mycah

I've always thought Mycah was a pretty cute girl.

Via my referrer logs, I see there's another Mycah out there... with two M's in "Emmerson," as opposed to the just one in use hereabouts.

There must be something about the name "Mycah."

Posted by Russ at 06:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Kvetching about late-night TV ads

I see entirely too much late-night TV. "Too much" not because what I watch is bad — hello? Red Eye, anyone? — but rather due to the commercials. Whether they're actually full-blown insipid, or just have a slight something that annoys, they all get under my skin.

Some of the ones seen this week:

Dr. Frank's — What is it about playing tennis that makes this spray the ne plus ultra of successful pain relief? And then there's the Joint Pain Relief Spray for dogs and cats. Do the dogs and cats play tennis? And is there any point to walking the dog if you have to put it in a stroller?

High Plains Bison — Look, I'm sure this "bison" of which they speak is tasty and all... but is it any better than buffalo?

Free Credit Report dot com — Does anyone believe that guy has a "posse," or that might he ever, even theoretically, be found "lookin' fly" and/or "rollin' phat"? Should he not, in fact, be beaten on sight?

Cancer Treatment Centers of America — Look, I hope they're a good outfit, I really do... but they have been using the same one woman in their ads for at least a year. Her story is compelling, yes, but is she their only success story?

Earthshare — "Help restore balance to the world." Um, I'll concentrate on restoring my own balance thankyouverymuch.

Viagra — Note to the ad execs responsible for this latest campaign: You bastards. There were maybe three Elvis songs that I liked, and you had to go and ruin one of them. For the last 25 years I haven't been able to listen to Pachelbel's Canon in D without thinking of GE soft white light bulbs, and now this. Die, you scum.

These are why I love my DVR's fast-forward button.

Posted by Russ at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 16, 2008
Chore day

I don't know what I was thinking.

Today being the day of the week I set aside for chores and errands, I got started at the crack of noon. Up, shower, dress, feed the cats, and depart to run errands.

I didn't have that many things to do — pick up cat food and litter at the Petsmart, get Mycah's meds and prescription food at the vet's office, and pick up some carpet cleaning supplies.

I think I bit off more than I could chew. Kitty litter and food are, of course, all the way at the back of the Petsmart.

Carpet cleaning supplies are all the way at the back of the Home Depot.

And since I was passing by, I stopped at the Target to pick up a cheap-o DIY bookcase, since I have way more books than shelf space.

Furniture is alllll the way at the back of the Target.

Then home... to unload all the crap from the pickup. And then take the trash out and wheel the bin down my treacherously steep driveway to the curb. Dragged myself up same driveway.

Then fed the cats again. Then hauled myself and my acquisitions up the stairs.

Going up stairs ought to be easier for me now than in February, but it isn't; I'm still having strength issues.

I've spent more time on my feet today than I have in a couple of years. I'm absolutely whupped, and I pretty much need to hit the shower again.

And I still haven't done any actual housecleaning. Sigh. I guess that's my day tomorrow.

At least I haven't fallen down.

Posted by Russ at 06:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 14, 2008
Flag Day

Via Ace o' Spades HQ:

Posted by Russ at 05:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 13, 2008
Tim Russert dead

Tim Russert dies of heart attack

That sucks.

On the whole, I'm no fan of journalists, but I liked Tim Russert. He seemed like a really decent and serious guy.

Much more here.

Also sucking: this leaves poltroons like Keith Olbermann as leaders in the (MS)NBC stable.

Posted by Russ at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mycah has been busy fending off the lads' advances. They want to be as friendly and playful with her as they are with each other. Packet's method is to race ahead and flop down on the floor in her path when she's on the move, while Kismet's favored technique is to follow her and attempt to bat at her tail.

She, of course, will have none of it. Not yet, anyway.

Her proximity alarms usually don't go off until the lads are within swatting range, but when she does get unhappy, she gets vocal, hissing and occasionally growling, with the occasional swat. She's never made so much noise before, except when wanting to be fed.

Usually she'll just give a half-second hiss as she walks by one of the lads, or one walks past her, but I'd swear she barked at Packet the other day when he was blocking her path away from the litter box. She actually made a woof sound at him. He took the hint, and moved out of her way.

(See also.)

She's mellowing, though. When she thinks no one is watching, she'll sniff at the lads, and when daily hairball treats are being distributed, she'll tolerate being shoulder to shoulder with them. Food, of course, would be her priority.

A furry fighter's battle ends.

It's Friday, so don't forget to board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at Mind of Mog.

For your daily cat needs, visit the Cat Blogosphere.

Posted by Russ at 02:27 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
Time flies

How did it get to be Friday so soon?

I guess Fridays would be a bigger deal if they signalled the end of my work week. As it is, I still have tomorrow and Sunday to look forward to.

Posted by Russ at 01:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 11, 2008
Oh what a tangled Webb . . .

I could have sworn that the Left was all about supporting the troops, but not their mission.

I guess that doesn't apply if the war has been over for nigh on 140 years, and if the supporter in question is a potential Vice Presidential candidate:

Barack Obama’s vice presidential vetting team will undoubtedly run across some quirky and potentially troublesome issues as it goes about the business of scouring the backgrounds of possible running mates. But it’s unlikely they’ll find one so curious as Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb’s affinity for the cause of the Confederacy.

Webb is no mere student of the Civil War era. He’s an author, too, and he’s left a trail of writings and statements about one of the rawest and most sensitive topics in American history.

He has suggested many times that while the Confederacy is a symbol to many of the racist legacy of slavery and segregation, for others it simply reflects Southern pride. In a June 1990 speech in front of the Confederate Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, posted on his personal website, he lauded the rebels' "gallantry," which he said "is still misunderstood by most Americans."

I'd say that pretty much kills Webb's chances for future advancement in the Democrat party, the privileges afforded ex-Klansman Senator Byrd notwithstanding.

The problem, of course, is slavery. While the root cause for which the South fought was indeed states' rights, the fact that the specific right they were defending was the right to own slaves taints the Confederacy beyond the hope of recovery. Had the casus belli been the right of states to set their own tariffs, we'd be having a different discussion. The Civil War would be a much less "raw and sensitive" topic if the South had acted as suggested by Lt. General James Longstreet in the film Gettysburg: "We should have freed the slaves, then fired on Fort Sumter."

For the sake of argument, can we posit that there is no one (apart from some vanishingly small number of nanocephalic cranks) in this country who believes that chattel slavery is a good idea? That no one, not even Senator Webb, would like to see a restoration of the antebellum South?

Might it then be just possible for the millions of Americans whose ancestors fought for the South to take some degree of pride in the undeniable courage and sacrifice of those ancestors — the overwhelming majority of whom never owned a slave?

My own ancestors were Northerners, or still lived in the Netherlands in the 1860s, so I really don't have a dog in this fight, but as a student of history, I can recognize gallantry for what it is, or was; a great deal of it sprang from the South in the period 1861-1865.

More at Gateway Pundit, Protein Wisdom, Hot Air.

Posted by Russ at 02:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
June 10, 2008
Nice way to start the day

I rarely get fan mail... of course, there's little enough reason for it. But when I do, especially first thing in the morning after a terrible night's sleep, it's a Very Good Thing.

Let's hope the rest of the day goes as well.

Posted by Russ at 12:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
June 08, 2008

Today is my little brother's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Brad. Have a steak or something, will ya?

Posted by Russ at 02:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
June 07, 2008
Quote of the Day

Glenn Reynolds:

I can think of no better reason to vote against Obama than the prospect of an administration where any criticism of the President is treated as racism.

I can think of a few other reasons, myself. But that's a pretty good one.

Posted by Russ at 09:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 06, 2008
Ready... Wrestle!

Packet and Kismet can — and do — go from placid to playful in the blink of an eye.



It's Friday, so don't forget to board the Modulator's Friday Ark.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is at... the Carnival of the Cats!

And every day, you can visit the Cat Blogosphere. Make it a regular stop for all things feline.

Posted by Russ at 02:21 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)
June 03, 2008
He's alive!

Just in case you were wondering where Bill Whittle has been....

And if you don't know who Bill is, take a day off from work and start reading here, then here, and here, and here.

Posted by Russ at 11:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Quick Movie Review

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(Directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Karen Allen, Cate Blanchett)

Quick review: Commies. I hate those guys.

Quick *spoiler* review: E.T., phone Jones. (click and drag to highlight.)

3½ stars

Again I have ventured forth to the theater, and again, I enjoyed getting out. I give this one three and a half out of five stars.

(I'd rate Raiders as a 5, Temple of Doom at 2.5, and Last Crusade as 4, maybe 4.5.)


The premise of the film (the "Crystal Skull" part, not the "nearing-retirement Indy" part) was pretty unusual, but if you're willing to dismiss the silliness and just enjoy it as popcorn fodder, you won't be disappointed with how it goes, though I thought the end and epilogue were a bit weak and/or contrived.

Karen Allen's return serves to remind us that Indy's other romantic interests pale in comparison to Marion Ravenwood.

Shia LaBeouf didn't completely suck. Color me moderately surprised.

20 years from now, Indiana Jones and the Adventure of the Golden Bedpan would probably get me out to the theater.

Posted by Russ at 07:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 02, 2008
Small world, no?

I heard on the news today that Senator Kennedy had gone under the knife for the recently diagnosed tumor. Best of luck to him with that. I don't like his politics at all, but in this I can do naught but wish him well.

Of course, he's not going to need too much luck. He had the best neurosurgeon in the world.

I should know. He was my neurosurgeon, too.

Posted by Russ at 05:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
June 01, 2008
And people wonder why I mutter to myself so much

From Mostly Cajun, we have the latest episode of "The Name Game." It's a regular feature there, and reading it has the same horrid fascination as watching a train wreck; you can't turn away.

A former employee of one of the many medical offices I frequent just had a baby this past week. I heard from one of her co-workers that the child had been named "Jayden" or "Jaden" or something similarly homophonic.

I have no idea if that's supposed to be a boy's or a girl's name.

[Exit, shaking head in dismay.]

Posted by Russ at 01:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)