Friday, November 28, 2008
When I first flew into the Stalag, so many years ago, it was complements of Uncle Sam, sending me on a scenic cruise around a pretty big chunk of the western hemisphere. The first stop was the Recruit Training Center on Point Loma, a part of the seaside town of San Diego. Thence to the Training Center in Waukegan, Illinois to learn to maintain and repair diesel engines, and then to Mayport, outside of Jacksonville, Florida to spend the remainder of my enlistment aboard the USS Saratoga, which was not powered by diesel engines, but steam turbines.
The ship did have a number of diesel powered utility boats though, so I guess it was all right.
While billeted aboard that ship, I had no small number of adventures, some of which might have been the death of many a lesser man. I've decided that as the mood strikes me, I'll relate some of these tales for the amusement of friends and relatives. In fact, a few of these tales already find themselves languishing in the archives.
Several of we who graduated high school in the Central Class of 1961 opted to join the Navy within weeks or months of graduation. Every one of them, but myself, ended our training with orders to such places as Japan and the Philippines. I went to a ship on the east coast. Months later one friend, Gareth Johnson from East Grand Forks, suddenly appeared aboard Saratoga. We had been acquainted in Grand Forks; we became fast friends in that foreign setting.
Soon, we were off to the Mediterranean Sea for a cruise of several flight exercises and many foreign ports. Somewhere off the coast of Spain, we had a ship-to-ship with the other carrier in the fleet, the USS FD Roosevelt, as I recall. There was about a twenty-foot swell as we anchored, and we of the utility boat crew were to run some supplies and foodstuffs between the ships.
Handling a fifty-foot utility boat in a twenty-foot swell can be an adventure in itself when you're 20-years old. My job was the bow line. The trick was to secure the line to a vertical line tied high and low on the ship's hull, so that as the boat rises and falls with the swell, the lines slide up and down with it. Half a dozen fenders keeps the boat's wooden gunwales from getting chewed up by the steel ship's hull.
You wait for the top of the swell, then grab the jacob's ladder and scramble up as fast as you can, before the boat can come up on the next swell and hit you.
The funnest part of the day was the moment when I was standing 'pon the bow, bow line in hand, ready to tie off. Suddenly, the swell dropped away with the boat, leaving me ten feet in the air, holding onto the bow line for dear life. Luckily, the boat rose to meet me coming down, and I landed hard on the deck. Multiple bruises and a slightly sprained wrist.
Not far from this rendezvous was the island of Mallorca, where we anchored for a couple of days. This liberty turned out to be more of a plain old fashioned good time than what you'd call an adventure, and I wouldn't have missed it.
Gary and I were in the process of trying out local beers when we stumbled into a group of revelers from Britain. There were about eight or ten of them, visiting on holiday, and celebrating their last night before their return flight home.
The group, both boys and girls around my own age, turned out to be an excursion group, none of whom had known each other, before this holiday. There were no boy-girl friends in the group, as was evidenced by the fact that two of the girls quickly fastened onto to Gary and I, and there were no fights.
Mary Collins was her name, and she was from Cardiff. She was (and still is, one hopes) a very pretty and fun-loving girl. She told me I looked like Paul McCartney. I asked her who was Paul McCartney? In all fairness, it was 1963, and I'd been kind of out of circulation aboard the ship for a while. The Beatles weren't very widely known in the States, at that time.
I probably wouldn't recall her name (although there are things about her that I'll not forget), except that we kept in touch for a while, and as it happens, I still have one of her letters.
She reminds me of some of the things we did. There are other things of which she doesn't need to remind me. Seems we did some more beer drinking, and at one point, ran off from a sidewalk cafe without paying. Now, I don't remember doing that. It's something I'd never do, although I did drink a lot more in those days than since.
We ended up in a secluded corner of a park, each with a bottle of beer in hand. Alas, the night was too short. She had to catch her plane and I had to muster aboard the ship. I had to call in a favor to get my pals on the utility boats to smuggle me back to the ship, five hours late.
An indisputable fact: it was worth it!
Never stop having adventures.
Fight For What You Want
For many years, extended out of WWII, through Korea and VietNam, flying in the face of the Thirteenth Amendment, the United States forced Americans into involuntary servitude by requiring them to enter military service. For several years, particularly during the VietNam war (the very definition of a war of choice; a war that had nothing to do with the security of the United States), young people protested, not only the war itself, but the conscription the war required.
The majority of the protesters were non- and anti-intellectuals who had an agenda other than the simple end of conscription or even the end of politicians' military adventures. There were, however, a number of smaller groups of more rational, better spoken and better focused individuals were able to frame the argument and place it in the laps of legislators.
Between the voices of these individuals and the thundrous noise of the other protestors--as well as the slothful desire of the politicians to make it all go away before the next election, the protesters were successful. Conscription was ended. The pro-slavery types of politicians have since reinstated registration for the as-yet nonexistent draft, showing that we have to be far more careful whom we entrust with the care and feeding of our way of life.
There's a lesson here.
This lesson should be entitled, "Fight For What You Want."
I know and know of many individuals who recognize the failures of the government children's prison system. Actually, I suspect that just about everyone, including the people involved in the system, are aware of these failures.
Some say that the system needs more money to be improved, though the system gets more and more money with every election, and improvement never comes. The children's prison system currently spends, depending on the particular district, two to five times more than the requirements of various parochial schools and private schools. These latter generally offer a much better education than do the children's prisons.
Almost all schools spend far too much time on propagandizing--whether pro-government indoctrination, religious indoctrination, agenda promotion or a combination thereof--than they should. Schools are to teach academic subjects and to prepare the student for higher education, and life. Not for pushing political or philosophical agendas.
I could say more, but you get the point.
Many people I know want to be responsible for the direction of their children's education. You see protests against many of the instances of incompetence of school administrations, from the kinds of non-academic indoctrination to the actual ability of teachers to teach.
Since parents have to pay for the children's prisons anyway, through taxation, many are trapped. They can't afford two tuitions for one child. They send their kids to the children's prisons, then protest the many failures therein. They shouldn't have to do that--they should simply be able to remove their kids from the failing children's prison or private school and enroll them in a better one.
You have to fight for what you want.
Rather than attending parent-teacher meetings, which are never fruitful for the student, parents should say," I want my money back so I can use it to see to my children's education."
Government should not be allowed to collect tuition and other costs from parents of children who do not attend government children's prisons. Nor should they be allowed to collect tuition from individuals who have no children.
This is where the fight is: whether government has the right to force the individual to pay for substandard services he neither desires nor needs. Take it a step farther: government shouldn't be allowed to involve itself in areas not mandated by its charter.
There's no point in arguing over whether your child should be required to suffer through sessions of sex education presented by often-troubled adults they don't know. There's no point in arguing over whether he should be required to suffer through sessions of indoctrination toward such nonsense as recycling, global warming, the evils of smoking, the wonders of government action, the need to subject oneself to government whim, etc.
Teach him logic and critical evaluation and he'll be able to make those choices for himself. Parents should teach interpersonal relations themselves, both by instruction and by example. The same goes for philosophy and ethics.
Who worse to teach philosophy than a neurotic union schlub whose very existence depends 'pon the whims of government, and whose only ambition is to retire as soon as possible.
Fight for what you want.
- Fight to control the education of your children.
- Fight to control your life and the products thereof.
- Fight to control the pastimes you prefer to pursue.
- Fight to control your freedom of association and dissociation.
- Fight against having to get permission.
People shouldn't be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.
Monday, November 24, 2008
For the third year running, I once again made the honest attempt to watch the AMA Award Show last night. I just couldn't. I think I lasted up to whoever followed Pink. I'd never paid attention to her before, except I read somewhere that she made a big public deal about having her nipples pierced. Why anyone would care is well beyond my ken. Last night, though, I noticed, without really looking up from my computer, that it seemed as though she actually can sing. Unlike the few others I heard before I finally gave up.
I'm no pop music expert, and I don't know all the currently popular artists or their songs. I'm often finding new artists that I like, and often trying to remember those whom I'd rather never hear again. I like to listen to new music radio stations to discover the newer talent.
But, man, do they (most of them) look hideous on tv. They (most of them) dress in the most atrocious, mismatched and unkempt clothing imaginable. Their hair is atrocious--too long, too short, dirty looking, over styled, under styled, bizarrely colored or just....shaved off (partly or totally). Makeup? That's another whole story. Anything goes, from full clownface to the natural smallpox look.
I like the Black Eyed Peas, for example, and think Fergie's kinda hot, but Will I Am? Has all the fashion sense of a child running amok in a film studio wardrobe warehouse.
Women generally look better than men (showing my personal preference), and country artists usually look better than rockers (who look better than hiphop and rappers).
Very few of them know how to conduct themselves in a formal setting--they seem to be a little like a cattle stampede through a town of the old west. They speak very poorly and seem to be unable to put ten words together to make a rational thought.
Yet, on a cd, or on the radio, most of them sound delightful. I can't handle the hate and stupidity of rap and I have a big problem with the (mostly) pop singers who can't seem to hold a note for a tenth of a second, but who seem to wander all over the scale with nearly every indistinguishable word.
I'm not going to get into the vapid, silly, stupid and terminally terminally unintelligible lyrics in a majority of today's (and yesterday's) popular music because of the wide range that runs from wonderful to super cool to who knows what (s)he's saying? to suicidally depressing.
But, I love much of it. It's rock 'n' roll.
I just think back to Fats Domino at the piano in a suit with a tie, singing about Blueberry Hill. Buddy Holly in a sport coat, with or without a tie, with white socks, raving on. Elvis Presley in a light jacket over an open-collar shirt with tan slacks, singing about his Blue Suede Shoes. The early Beatles with their "Nehru" jackets and tight slacks, wanting to Hold Your Hand. They all had neat hair (short or long) and looked good on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Guess I'll have to remove music award shows from my tv watching repertoire and to find other ways to keep up with the newest music trends. I don't think I want to actually see those people any more.
When your mommy tells you how to dress, LISTEN!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I stumbled onto this prognostication by Iowahawk as to the cars that'll go into production by model year 2012, after the government bailout, the enactment of the conditions therein contained, the mergers and the final nationalization and takeover by the federal government.
Fortunately, there's nothing dramatic or unexpected in this forecast: the auto industry has been headed in this direction for a couple of decades now.
We can only thank the environazis and the algorians for the more simplified lives, with the accompanying lessening of our ability to understand overly complicated and unfathomable technology, that make life so difficult for those of us who find ourselves lost in the maze of working, making plenty of money to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves comfortably for eighty or ninety interminable years.
The Pelosi. What a wonderful testimony to the individual whose planning promises to remove us from all that tedious complexity and stress.
Tip of the battered old fedora to Michelle Malkin for the link.
Trust your government; it was elected by the most mediocre among us.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Telegraph.co.uk doesn't call the evil Dr James Hanson a complete bloody idiot (with an anti-life agenda), but it might as well have done so. According to a story written by Christopher Booker of that newspaper, after the algorian Dr Hanson declared this past October "the hottest October on record," and in spite of reports from the real world.
This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.
If this doesn't completely discredit the "global warming" hoax for all time, it'll be because algorian government officials simply will refuse to let their socialist agandae be altered by...uh...facts.
NASA, the federal agency whose main mission seems to be to make sure no one gets into space, monitors the world's weather through its subagency, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). GISS' initial reports showed readings across a vast part of Russia up to 10 degrees higher than normal. Warmiong skeptics, analyzing the data, discovered that the Russia figures weren't from October at all, but from September(!).
GISS did a fast shuffle and stammered a lame excuse about not having adequate resources, and has since revised its figures.
Read the whole story, folks. It's a testament to the incompetence of the unaccountable government agency--just one of hundreds. Who can say the destructive laws and regulations that would have evolved from the socialist governments of the world in the next few years (and still might!), had no one been watching these bumbling idiots.
They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!
Friday, November 14, 2008
I drive an old 1957 Chevy. It's a hot rod, but it's reaching a need for some reconstructive work, and it can be made to get much better gas mileage with a few updates.
The plan was to buy a new car, put the ol' Chevy in the back yard and start wrenchin'. I'm not quite as enthusiastic about diving under the car as I used to be, but with the ability to take my time and do it right, it might be fun!
The Chevy needs transmission work, so my plan is to replace the three speed with a newer four speed overdrive transmission. The differential is wearing out, plus it has station wagon gears (similar to pickup gearing) and I can replace it with a newer one with sedan gearing. More gas mileage savings! New rear springs and new shocks.
I'll need to redo the windshield wipers and fix a few minor things in the dash. The power steering needs work. I could go on, but that's most of it.
So, I've been researching new and late model used cars that I can afford and that can carry my work tools. I'd settled on a Chevy HHR, with a second choice of a Dodge Magnum, if I can find a nice used one. Well, maybe the Dodge is my first choice. They're pretty cool.
Well, thanks to the whims of government parasites and the clutching hands of the non-productive of Stalag California, America's network of carmakers and dealerships will have to do without my money.
The non-productive of the Stalag have voted to saddle the productive with an additional 1/2% sales tax. Herr Schwarzengroper, Guber of the Stalag, seriously threatens to add yet another 1%, as well. That puts us on the high side of 10% sales tax on top of a 11% (more or less) state income tax.
The buck stops here. I can't quite angle my way to move out of the Stalag right now--though it's not for want of desire, but I can refuse to pay an extra $80 to to $240 for sales tax on it to pay for Sacramento's insane excesses.
I'd rather spend those thousands of dollars on the above-listed repairs to the ol' hot rod. I'll still have to pay sales tax on the parts--unless I buy them on the I-net, but labor and service work isn't subject to sales tax--yet.
I'll have the hot rod shop do the work--it'll cost more but get done much more quickly, and I'll still pay less than $100 a year for tags.
Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be politicians!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Back in the 1960's, I recall #1 all time Hall O' Fame Science Fiction Writer Robert A Heinlein saying that as the United States drifts toward socialism, and as USSR is gradually forced to accept degrees of capitalism, USSR would surpass the US in the degree of freedom by, I think it was, approximately 1980. While part of sci-fi writers jobs is to suggest possible futures, this area is fraught with danger. While Heinlein came very close to being right, after President Reagan drove them broke trying to keep up with us in the arms race Russian President Vladimir Putin (Modern Russia's near-equivalent to Germany's Adolf Hitler), is now saying "we'll have no more of this freedom crap" or words of similar meaning.
Putin appears to be restarting the Cold War. That's a big danger now, because recent weak-kneed US Administrations have no will, nor do they really have enough extorted cash, to engage in such a battle. President-elect Obama gives indications that he'd rather switch than fight. Or, the masochist's version: he'd rather be switched than fight.
Meanwhile, the wheels of the bus go round and round, and the bus has long since turned left. We can thank every Administration since Reagan's for that. By the end of Obama's term, the argument may not be about who will win, but how the spoils will be divided, and whether it'll be Putin or Obama who'll be selected World Dictator for Life. These, of course, are merely pessimistic musings on my part. I hope I'm wrong.
The world's productive individuals, those of them who are not scrambling over each other's backs for government bailout cash, are wondering where they stand.
There's been a lot of banter on the net and probably in other venues about "going John Galt." Since entrepreneurs who earn $250k and over have been declared the enemy by Obama, it's no surprise that small business owners in that category, or are working toward that category, are concerned.
Some, according to this entry on the Instapundit blogsite, are planning to "relax." That is, simply lay off employees and work only hard enough to stay below that threshold.
Others speak of liquidating their assets and leaving the country. There are many parts of the world, while perhaps even more socialistic than the US, offer pleasant country areas in which an individual or family can live in peace, tinkering, painting or writing with out much interference from that government.
Well, it's going to be tougher to outsmart the Reich than it used to be. According to a New York Post story, Americans who want to leave America and to retire to Italy (for example) will have to pay a hefty tax.
Thanks can be given to a bill that passed Congress recently and was quietly signed by President Bush two weeks ago.
Called the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act of 2008 (the HEART bill, for short), the main part of the new law deservedly gives benefits to soldiers. But the last part of the bill, under "revenue provisions," sticks it to anyone who no longer wants to live the American dream.
Now, one has to be very crafty about getting his assets liquidated and removed from the country. Even British rock stars and Canadian actors will have to pay the tax to return to their own countries.
This, of course, is patterned directly after the taxes that needed to be paid by citizens of the USSR who wanted to expatriate during the Cold War. Which brings me back to Heinlein's prediction. Pay attention to science fiction writers. Sometimes they're right.
Tip of the old gray fedora to Noodle Food and Instapundit for
People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I'm watching the tv news coverage of an estimated 1200 demonstrators protesting against the referendum to change the impossibly complex California state Constitution to require that marriage be only between one man and one woman. While I don't think government has any role to play in this area, other than possibly as an arbiter regarding the contractual issues involved in a marriage, I see the traditionalists' point. I also wonder what possible difference it could make to me who or how many get married. I just don't think it's a government issue. I voted against the measure.
But, taking it a step or two from there, don't most of us accept the notion that the majority rules?
Well, I certainly don't, but nearly everyone else seems to......at least until they lose.
One wonders why, as vehemently as most folks stand in favor of pure democracy against all reason, can't accept the verdict of the statewide vote.
For bond initiatives and other tax increases, and referenda that have predictable costs, I have a suggestion: Stalag California is the home of many thousands of software wizards, among whom there should be some that can do this. That is, develop software that tells our beloved franchise tax board who votes yes on these costly referenda. They should bill them and only them. Seems like it would be a relatively simple thing.
That way, the bullet train from Campo to Crescent City, to be paid for by a 1/2% addition to the sales tax, should be paid only by those who vote yes on the measure.
It's only fair.
It would make democracy an even more beautiful thing.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
"Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot. We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot!"
Today is the fifth of November, and today we have a new king. For decades now, our four year- and eight year kings have been progressively leading us in the direction of less and less liberty, and King Barry will be no exception.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
This is election day, and it's too early in the day to know who is the new boss (same as the old boss), so I thought I'd ignore the vote count for a while. A story was just brought to my attention that will be, but ought not be ignored. This sort of thing happens very often in the uncivilized parts of the world, and even occasionally in what we like to call civilization.
It happens because it's not roundly condemned by all civilization. It happens because the people who claim to be against this kind of savagery sit back 'pon their agendae and say and do nothing.
A story in today's British Daily Mail Online tells us of yet another young girl, this time in Savage Somalia, stoned to death for the crime of having been raped by three men. The thirteen-year-old girl was said to have been crying and begging for her life before being buried to her shoulders in the ground in the middle of a football field and stoned to death before a crowd of 1000.
Amnesty Int'l did some investigations to find that the (kangaroo) court found her guilty of adultery and sentencing her to death by stoning.
It's already well established that the islam religion seems to be every bit as savage today as was the christian religion several centuries ago.
The difference is, we supposedly know more now. We accept the notion that life is precious and we accept the notion of individual rights--in word if not always in deed.
Strange things are happening, though, on the left. The old reverence for tolerance of the views of others espoused by the left thirty-forty years ago seems to have gotten very selective in recent times. The left remains ever so tolerant of the approved and the evil, but no longer is tolerant at all of the responsible and unapproved dissent.
One can't say anything, for example, against any individual or group we'd consider anything like irresponsible, criminal, savage and evil without suffering anger, insult and ostracism (if not physical punishment) from the left. We see it in colleges and Universities in their hate speech rules. Also, in government codes--in spite of the First Amendment to the Constitution!
Thus, I have to call the NO(L)W, and other leftist feminist groups, to task for not vocally and continuously condemning islamic sharia law, if for no other reason, for its violations of the rights of women and girls living and dying under the sway of the utterly untenable rules of sharia law. Members of these groups scream at the top of their very capable lungs if a woman gets paid $10 per hour to a man's $12, and sit silently as young girls are circumcised in these savage parts of the world. The same women whimper at the unfairness of the man enjoying the look of a beautiful woman, yet uncharacteristically say nothing when presented with the likes of this poor girl murdered in a most horrible way by subhumans in Somalia.
Leftist feminists say nothing about islamic men marrying western women, having children, then take the children to hideouts in islamic countries never to be seen by their mothers again. Leftist feminists remain silent about young women wooed by wealthy islamists, taken out of their countries and placed into enslavement in islamic countries.
I can condemn islam for this, because 'tis a rare "moderate muslim" who will condemn these disgusting activities, and I do. Islam is a religion of death. It will remain so until these alleged "moderates" condemn and destroy the savage sects and bring their practitioners to justice.
The silence of the leftist feminists, though tells us of a very high degree of moral corruption, in that their leftist agendae soundly trump any thoughts of justice and moral outrage. Feminists should know better. The conclusion that must be reached is that theirs is also a philosophy of death.
They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!
Monday, November 03, 2008
With the very tardy arrival of candidates of races other than caucasian, the the specter of racism has lifted its ugly, and wholly erroneous, head. Nonetheless, there will be those who vote based 'pon race. It's the theory of myself and many others that there'll be far more who vote for Obama because he's half black than will vote against him for that reason.
In my opinion, Obama should be defeated. If Obama is elected, he'll advance the destruction of what little remains of the free market in America. He'll tax business--those who create jobs--to a higher degree, which will cause layoffs and business closures--high unemployment. He'll spend on social programs and pet projects, more than even GW Bush. He'll cripple what remains of business and manufacturing by means of environmental regulation and other nonsense. He'll socialize medicine, causing the best medical people to drop out of the industry and a general deterioration and ultimate rationing of services.
There will be many other negatives based on Obama's projected meddling in the market, not to mention the increased corruption that always accompanies increases in government power.
Obama will increase the foreign entanglements the Founders warned against, to our detriment.
To be fair, life under the McCain dictatorship probably won't be much better. Where Obama would socialize medicine, McCain would make a compromise with the Democrat Congress to a socialized medicine with copays. McCain would similarly compromise in other areas to like effect.
But, this is about race.
Imagine that Obama is elected. After his term as President, he will leave a legacy of having advanced the destruction of America's free market system (Such as it is after the assaults of every President since Roosevelt--you decide which Roosevelt) more than any previous administration. American liberty will be a memory.
And many will be very angry. There could be attempts to secede, and there could be civil war.
How long do you think it'll be before there'll be another black individual elected President?
I'd vote for a black man (or woman) for any office, in a second--as long as that individual was pro liberty, pro free market and in favor of the right of every individual to self ownership, self determination and self defense.
Individuals of the stature of Walter E Williams and Thomas Sowell come to mind.
Tip of the battered gray fedora to Scott Schneider for the idea leading to this entry.
Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.