Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day

To all of those who have gone before us;
to those who have given their lives in battle;
and to those who have fought and lived and then passed silently;
Semper Fidelis

Thursday, May 24, 2007


My current rental car, a Ford F-150, made me think of that enviro-media campaign that had folks asking, "What would Jesus drive?"

To which I answer, "Probably something big enough to carry thirteen people and could go off road."

I Suppose It Could Have Been a Lot Worse

I travel often for business. As a result of this I am sometimes upgraded on flights. I have to request it and if there is room and no one requested it before me I get it.

I flew this last Sunday night and I did not get upgraded. Instead of a first class seat, I managed an exit row seat across from the folding lounge seat for the stewardesses. Instead of a mixed drink, I had a coke. Instead of a meal, I had some pasta on the way to the airport.

With the exception of takeoff and landing, I had more leg room than anyone else on the flight save the gentleman to my right who had the same. My shoulders were literally over both arm rests. The gentleman to my right and I were shoulder to shoulder the whole flight. But that leg room was nice.

- TMI Alert -

What was not so nice - and it was my own fault for it - was the coke. I do not drink a lot of them. When I have one on an airplane, it is usually mixed with Jack Daniel's. Cokes are not really the best thing to have on an airplane because at the higher altitudes the gas expands more. Unfortunately for me, for that gas to escape, it had to get past something a bit more solid.

- End TMI Alert -

The exit by me, and not the one at the very front of the plane, was used when we landed. I was the first person off of the plane and the first person at the baggage claim. I could have taken care of business then but decided to wait until I arrived at the hotel. That was a mistake.

When the bags started to come up the conveyor, there was the faint smell of alcohol in the air. As they were going around, one man pulled a cardboard box out of the luggage that turned out to be a case - a very wet case - of Smirnoff vodka. He turned to his wife and said, "It's wet." About this time, I notice that not only is his case of vodka wet, but all of the bags that had been around it were wet.

They had been marinating in vodka during the flight.

This included mine.

That was not so much a problem since my case is lined and only my sweater was in the outer pocket. It was cold and raining but I was not planning on being outside so I was not going to wear my sweater anyway.

I collected my smelly bag, my other non-smelly bag, and made my way to the car rentals.

I reserved a sensible little car for my stay in town. I always reserve the same sensible little car. I never get a sensible little car but that is what I reserve. At the counter, the rental agent asks me if I want a minivan or a Ford F-150. I ask him if he is serious. (I do not really ask him that. I am really not that rude. I also realize that not everyone is from Texas and there might be some parallel universe full of weirdos or people travelling with kids that may prefer a minivan.)

I load my bags into the back seat of the F-150. All of the F-150's are crew cabs. It is also cold and raining and I did not want my bags to get wet - or wetter in the case of my smelly bag.

The new Ford F-150 is larger than your average sensible little car. It is larger than a minivan. It is larger than most cars that I ever get when I am travelling. It takes a few minutes to become familiar with it.

The airport is under a lot of construction. What was a shoulder a few weeks ago is now the road. What was the road is now rubble in the middle of what is going to be another road. There are not very many street lines. I manage to cover just about all of them though with the larger than average F-150. I do not think much of this since it is 1:00 A.M. and I am one of the only people on the road along with the police officer right behind me.

The strobe lights start flashing and I pull to the side of the road. Since I am still somewhat of a nice person, I pull under an overpass so the office will not get wet. I also figure that if I have any chance of getting out of a ticket it will be because the officer realized that I was a nice person and would it not be nice not to give me a ticket too?

Either I am getting older or the police departments are now recruiting out of junior high.

A twelve year old boy walks up to my car and asks to see my license and proof of insurance or something like that. (OK, he may have been in his early 20's.) It was raining and windy and the overpass was acting like a wind tunnel. I just hand him my license and the rental car contract which I already had beside me because I had to show it to the rental car rent-a-cop when I left the airport.

I had been hoping to make my 20 minute trip to the hotel in 15 minutes.

He asks if I know why he pulled me over. Even if I had not been to SERE school, I had been around enough counterintelligence Marines to know that you must admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations.

I muster my sincerety. "No officer, I don't."

He replies, "You were failing to maintain a lane." Wow. He said nothing of my speeding.

I start to explain that it is a rental and that I am not used to driving an F-150 and that it was the Washington State Department of Transportation that was failing to maintain a lane when he asks, "Have you been drinking?"

That stops me mid-sentence. At this point I figure I am going to jail for at least the night. If I had been in first class, I would have had a drink but now that does not matter. I then explain that it is my smelly bag and not my breath that has alcohol on it. I tell him a case broke open during the flight and is now on my bag. He can smell my breath and then my bag. I will keep my hands in plain view.

He looks at me like I have penis growing out of my forehead.

He then opens the rear passenger door, verifies that my bag smells like a distillery, and shuts the door closed. He was about to say something more to me but, seeing him getting soaked, I offer him the passenger seat in the truck. "It warmer and really a lot more comfortable."

For a moment, he looks nonplussed. Then, instead of giving me a lecture or anything else, he tells me to take it easy and I may be on my way.

I would normally not speed so soon after being stopped by a police officer. However, things have reached critical mass. If I did not get to a restroom soon, not only would my bag be smelly, I would have a very embarrassing time checking in to the hotel.

Finally at the hotel, I rush inside and get my card. I run back to the truck - I left it in the fire lane in front of the hotel - and park it in the garage. As quickly - and by this time I am having to move as carefully - as I can, I get my bags and go to my room.

The card did not work.

This was now sounding like a bad joke. Unable to postpone the inevitable, I go to the lobby, find the closest restroom, and sequester myself for a while.

I return to the front desk and explain to the clerk that the card did not work. There is a look on his face wondering, "This guy just spent half-an-hour trying to get this card to open the door?"

The next card did not work either but the room already had someone in it so that was probably a good thing.

Eventually, I made it to my room, unoccupied and clean (both the room and me). Given what might have happened that night, it really could have been a whole lot worse.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hey Lindsay!

From a link from a link from a link I found this. It sounds like the Senator is saying anyone who thinks the current amnesty bill is bad is a bigot. Is there any other way to interpret this?

If I want illegal aliens deported does that make me a bigot?

I know that the bill provides for some border fencing. If I think that fencing needs to be completed before Z-visas are distributed, does that make me a bigot?

The problem with calling someone a bigot in the face of this is that it lessens the meaning of the word. Websters defines a bigot as "a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance."

While I can and often am opinionated, I hardly think that it can apply to me. I have no problem asking difficult questions nor do I have a problem speaking my mind on race relations and the like. However, I understand that my opinions are based on my life experiences and I may lack the empathy to identify with others. I try to think of that when forming my opinions as well.

Does the fact that I am cynical toward the provisions of this bill and how it will be enforced make me a bigot?

I am reminded of junior high when I was called a racist for not giving my lunch money to the less fortunate black students who either did not have their own lunch money or already spent theirs on Addidas high tops. I was called a racist whenever I disagreed with blacks -regardless of what the topic was. I was called a racist for being white. (Although I might have enough American indian blood in me to qualify for something Not White, I do not bother...)

One problem that arises when calling people bigots who are not is that some of them will adopt the persona. The cliche "in for a penny, in for a pound" may apply.

Another problem is that the speaker loses credibility. In the future, Senator Graham may be telling Wonderful and Enlightening Truths. Those who he called a bigot will either ignore it or argue against it out of spite.

I now hold him and his opinions, much like I do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, with the same regard as I do toilet paper. Perhaps less since toilet paper does have some personal use for me.

Here's a question: If I started an organization whose purpose was to be an advocacy for whites, to lobby government entities to earmark tax-funds for the advancement of whites, and to support groups that are trying to get Mexico back under U.S. control, would I be a bigot?

In reference to people with white skin, I could even call this organization "The Race."

Sen. Graham, you disgust me. SHUT UP!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Don't Vote for Him Then

I get really upset about people afraid to say things that are true about politicians for fear that they will go to jail or be ridiculed or have their browsers crash on them or or or...

I meant to post this before my local election but Blogger seems to have a problem with Netscape. Perhaps they just do not want anything negative said about homosexuals. In any case, if you have a problem with a homosexual in office, do not vote for him.

Chris Moss is a homosexual. He will not say it but he is. I will not vote for him because he will not separate his culture from his politics. While this is common with openly homosexual politicians, this is not a blanket statement about them.

If you have a problem with homosexuals in public office, do not vote for them and do not vote for Chris Moss.

UPDATE: Chris Moss has entered a runoff election with David Prince. I take this opportunity to reiterate: Do not vote for Chris Moss. He is a homosexual who will likely use his office to promote his culture.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

He Is Right about That

I really have a problem with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Like myself, he is a Republican. Often unlike myself, he is not a republican. And often, not a conservative. But he did get this one right.

Of course, the DMN had to end it with a self-proclaimed gun rights advocate saying that he is wrong. When it comes to guns, I generally do not have a problem with most Texas Democrats. I would have to know more about the DMN champion before yelling about him.

My view is that private property rights trump all. If a business, church, or even bar allows for its employees, members, or patrons to carry in whatever manner they see fit, it is no business of the State of Texas. Likewise, if they wish to disallow it, offenders may be prosecuted in a civil court - but not criminal. I extend this to shopping malls and private schools among other places.

Other governement run facilities or semi-run facilities, such as prisons, secure areas of airports outsite of federally secured areas, and public schools should allow CHL holders to carry there.

I am in general not a proponent of concealed carry licenses period. I think that they are as un-Constitutional as a blogging licenses and religion taxes. I firmly believe that anyone not on probation or permanently barred from possessing a firearm should be able to carry openly or concealed. Even in such a scenario, I think would still be a need for licenses for places within Texas - prisons, courthouses, etc. - as well as for reciprocity with other states that do not have "free carry."

That could also be the ground for a rights vs law debate.

I realize that it is a long way off but something that I hope to see in my lifetime.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

They Are Nincompoops

First the standard (for me) disclaimer:

I am not a Scientologist. L. Ron Hubbard was a fruitcake. Scientologists are modern day fruitcakes. I am not a Mormon. I do not much care for Mitt Romney. In the buffet of presidential candidates, he is about as exciting as the piece of plain white toast that fell off the plate and landed in between the cheeses and the fruitcakes.

Now for the post:

Michael Medved and Ann Althouse are both denigrating Mitt Romney for saying that his favorite novel is Battlefield Earth.

Michael asks how Mitt Romney could say something like that. He then goes on to say what a terrible movie it was; that it was one of the worst ever*. "Couldn't he have said Huck Finn (sic) or something like that?"

Ann wonders if it really was his favorite and if a serious candidate would do something like that. She then reads the summary and wonders if Mitt had some sort of ulterior motive for saying it - although she cannot imagine what it might be.

Ann does seem to realize the difference between a novel - a subset of books - and book - i.e. everything ever written and bound. Michael kept referring to it as "book" as if that was Mitt Romney's favorite writings ever for everything.

I am not even going to ask if they read the book. I know that they did not. LRH took his science fiction seriously. You can look at any Scientologist and see that. That in no way lessens the work. I have the impression that neither Mr. Medved or Miss (Mrs.?) Althouse will ever get further than the summary.

Battlefield Earth was a very entertaining book. It was not "deep". The plot is very straight forward in both books. It is divided into Book I - the basis for the movie - and Book II - fortunately never made into a movie because the first was so bad. It has all of the necessary elements of a saga: action, intrigue, romance, politics, etc. It has all the makings of a favorite book.

I am going to do a bit of stereotyping here (my stereo goes to "eleven" at times). Michael and Ann are the type of people who watched the 2004 presidential debates and thought, "Did you see their eye contact? John Kerry looked away first." They probably studied the body language and came to the conclusion that John Kerry "won that handshake."

For them, the intimate details of politicians lives are just as interesting as People magazine is to whomever reads it. (I guess that someone is reading since it is always by the checkout at the grocery.) It is a form of entertainment for some. They take it to "the next level."

They are going to wonder and debate if Mitt really meant it and what the implications are if he did. They are going to make a point of it and introduce it in polite conversation as if it were dreadfully important.

Is it not possible that Mitt Romney actually liked the book and gave an honest answer?

Maybe it was a slow news day but these people can be real nincompoops sometimes.

* It really was a terrible movie. When I think of it, if I had seen the movie first, I do not know if I would have ever read the book.