'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

30 August 2010

Trooper Nov. 30, 1995 to Aug. 30, 2010 RIP

Doc came by the house and we talked. He checked Trooper out but we all already knew the answer.

We went out to the back yard. Doc gave him a relaxant and at about 2:45 the final shot and Trooper passed away. I break out in spasms of new tears as I write that. Lu can't stop crying. I cannot believe my friend is gone.

I can write no more today. I'm taking a week or so to cope and grieve. I'll be back soon.

I am a bag of broken glass.



Trooper had a really bad weekend. We have an appointment with Doc at 1530. It's looking bad but Trooper has surprised me many times. I'm going to hold back the tears and not borrow pain until I get a chance to talk with him. I'll update this post afterward either way.

29 August 2010

Sunday Kipling

After the MHI post I just couldn't resist.

The Vampire

A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the years we waste and the tears we waste
And the work of our head and hand,
Belong to the woman who did not know
(And now we know that she never could know)
And did not understand.

A fool there was and his goods he spent
(Even as you and I!)
Honor and faith and a sure intent
But a fool must follow his natural bent
(And it wasn't the least what the lady meant),
(Even as you and I!)

Oh the toil we lost and the spoil we lost
And the excellent things we planned,
Belong to the woman who didn't know why
(And now we know she never knew why)
And did not understand.

The fool we stripped to his foolish hide
(Even as you and I!)
Which she might have seen when she threw him aside --
(But it isn't on record the lady tried)
So some of him lived but the most of him died --
(Even as you and I!)

And it isn't the shame and it isn't the blame
That stings like a white hot brand.
It's coming to know that she never knew why
(Seeing at last she could never know why)
And never could understand.

28 August 2010

Monster Hunter International

I love books and am always looking for new authors, new characters and new stories I can read and love and wait impatiently for more of. I'm also a real fan of escapist entertainment. Books to read just for the fun of it and that is the key word here. Fun.

I bring you Larry Corriea and Monster Hunter International.

I'm a huge fan of B Monster movies. Not slasher pics but real monster movies. Everything from Army of darkness to Forbidden Planet. Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Godzilla, Hitler's Brain and everything that creeps, lurches, grasps, bites, slithers and oozes. All bring joy to my heart and a smile to my face. In my cinematic world, Bruce Campbell is giant among men.

Imagine then, that the survivors of those monster attacks decide to band together in a wildly crazy group of cross sectional America and join a company that hunts and kills those things that bring our nightmares to life and our screens to movie nirvana. They even have a cool logo.

Meet the Hunters of Monster Hunter International (MHI). Led by the heirs of the founding Shackleford family, they take the fight to the baddies of mythology and manage to get paid along the way. You'll find them all here; Werewolves, Vampires, all manner of the Undead, Orcs, Elves, and monsters straight from the fevered dreams of Lovecraft himself. This is a book just filled with monster movie goodness.

Correia has a true gift for characters and I mean that in every iteration of the word. The bad guys are very bad and the good guys run the gamut from heroic to abnormal to just plain human. He manages to avoid cliche and triteness and has enough zingers and twists thrown in to keep you happy and interested. You'll find characters you'll love, some you'll hate but none that you'll find boring. It's virtually non stop from the opening paragraphs to the climactic final scene.

Monster Hunter International is only the first. Monster Hunter Vendetta is next and Correia promises to write them forever (I fervently hope). I'll be picking up Vendetta just as soon as I can get my sweaty paws on a copy. I'll also be perusing his other offerings. His writing style agrees with me and I'm of the opinion I'm going to be a Larry Correia fan, not just MHI.

Larry, you've made another fan. Of course that means I'll be sniveling at you with requests, demands and sarcastic remarks for more. Some monsters you just can't kill, you must placate them with offerings.


FCC. Don't you people have anything better to do? I mean the economy burned to the ground, the enemy is still out there looking for ways to cripple and kill America and Howard Stern is still on the air. Do we really have to do this? Really? Ok. I have received no remuneration or other recompense for this book review. I'd gladly and without a second thought take some but no one appears to be offering the semi-literate author of a tiny blog vast wads of cash to review books or otherwise hock wares on these barely read pages.
Seriously, find a new line of work.


Kanani has a great post up here about mental health and the difficulties of getting and keeping good medical care, especially for our troops. Kanani is a long time health care professional who is married to an active duty Army surgeon so she knows what she's talking about. She's also intelligent, caring and concerned. Go read.

Our family has up close and personal experience with the issues surrounding PTSD and it's long term effects. PTSD is very real and very serious. I can't say what the specific issues were that led to this veteran ultimately losing his life in a shootout with Salt Lake City police but it is all to easy and common for people with serious mental health issues to be overlooked by an overburdened system. Brandon S. Barrett, the SLC officer who was forced to take his life and indeed all veterans everywhere deserve better.

As a police officer of more than 24 years experience I dealt with literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of mentally and emotionally disturbed persons, both veteran and civilian. They have a depressing tendency to fall between the societal cracks. In most every case there was literally nothing we could do. There is no system in place to compel those on the fringe to seek professional help sans concrete proof of violence, suicide or an inability to provide for their own very basic needs. Very limited private sector assets and minimal public agency intervention are available. The 72 hour hold law (5150 W&I) is a joke. Most of the patients I placed on hold were out before I got the paperwork finished. I have seen these people die by the handful.

I will add my voice to Kanani's. I wholeheartedly support persons and organizations who seek to reverse this sad state of affairs and construct a system of support for veterans and civilians alike who desperately need intervention and treatment.


26 August 2010

Guns And Coffee

I've been reading Fred at Guns and Coffee for a couple of weeks now and he's got a great blog. I've linked him on the Warrior Roll. He's also an extremely knowledgeable shooter and instructor. Fred gives some great advice on introducing new shooters to the sport that is a must read. Lagniappe's Guy has the same advice and he's put it in practice several times, most especially with his nephew. If more shooters followed their advice we'd see more newbies become hard core proponents of the shooting sports.

We've all seen the 'instructors' who act like drill sergeants. They lecture ad nauseum and yell when the introductee does the smallest thing wrong. Or the dad/husband/boyfriend who thinks it's perfectly fine to have his child/wife/girlfriend pulling the trigger on his 870 with slugs when they've never so much as fired a gun before. Seems to me to be more about stroking their own egos than honestly trying to convert a non-shooter.

Fred and Lagniappe's guy are dead on. I'm seriously considering taking one of my 10-22's and stenciling "Have Fun" on the stock just to remind me.


MG Paul Vallely

This is part II of the BG Cash post.

Great Generals and Warrior Leaders
Change the Tide of War and Battle

Paul E. Vallely

Those that have studied military history fully realize that great battlefield leaders have been able to change the “Tide of War” or the ‘Tide of the Battle” to achieve VICTORY. What this means to the layman is that when the battle is going against you, you must change the strategy and tactics of the battle and reverse the tide against the enemy. I have some questions for our civilian and military leadership today regarding a war that is appearing more and more like an empty act that seems to be losing its character and “raison d’etre”. First the pretense that this war must continue under the current strategy and that we are achieving results when the facts appear each day to refute that. We see more casualties each day and the leadership standbys a self-destructive and self-defeating strategy of "counter-insurgency" (COIN) doctrine and nation-building. Please define for me since January 2002 what the victories are for America in Afghanistan? In the Fall of 2001, 100 Special Operations Forces and CIA operative using proxies and a solid and well-executed air support campaign defeated the Taliban and Al Qaeda in thirty-four (34) days. Then our leaders went the conventional war path and then to Counter-insurgency and here we are today some nine years later.

The COIN principle is not based on winning; it is based on political whims and is not a true tenet of warfare. Warfare is, and always should be, about WINNING or do not go to War. Winning this specific war against forces impelled by Islamic ideology, the global caliphate and Sharia calls for unconventional measures and not the conventional actions followed by lengthy occupations such as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such an unconventional war doctrine heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America". Why do US military/political leaders and strategists still languish in a thought process that thinks you can Nation-Build before you defeat the enemy?

Fact: Jihadists with small arms and IEDS in faraway places cannot harm the United States so there is no reason to order massive armies that require large and extensive bases and massive logistical support to fight them on their home turf. But that is the essence of failed “counterinsurgency” (COIN) strategies that have bewitched US military political leaders. We all want to support our senior military leaders but at some point they have to face the realities of this enemy and protect and secure our American troops. General Petreaus must have the courage and wisdom to change the tide of the war! It is time!

Iran supported jihadis using Iranian improvised explosive devices (IEDS) continue to kill our soldiers, nation-building civilians, CIA operatives and Afghans at unacceptable rates. And we accept this and do nothing about Iran’s involvement .June was the deadliest month for international troops since the war began: 60 Americans were among 102 international troops slain, according to a count of military figures. This month, more than 70 international troops have died. That total includes more than 50 U.S. service members.

Yes, we have made great and innovative technological advances in weapons systems in the air, sea, and ground, in communications, in advanced intelligence systems and command and control systems. Yes, we have operational war planners at all levels of command, senior policy and politicos in the White House and Department of Defense, a National Security Team and a multitude of military commands positioned around the globe to guide and lead us in national security. But where are the common sense and rational senior General and Admiral Strategists that we have trained and schooled to be innovative, aggressive and win our nation’s wars quickly and decisively?

I rarely hear any of them talking about the valued Principles of War that successful combat leaders in the past have used to achieve success and victory. They cannot even talk in terms of victory, winning and bringing the troops home. Unfortunately, American leaders are increasingly trying to transform this force into one optimized for counterinsurgency missions (when, in fact, we are not, in my opinion, fighting insurgencies but rather, Islamic Jihadis and a fomenting global Caliphate) and conventional war followed on by long-term military occupations. Track back if you will to Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq, and Afghanistan.

It is true that not all political goals are achievable through the use of military power. However, “victory” in war appears lost in the world of political correctness and appeasement. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – often seen as proving the necessity for COIN-capable forces as well as a commitment to nation-building -- demonstrate in reality that the vast majority of goals can be accomplished through quick, decisive joint strike military operations from selected “Lily Pad” friendly bases. Not all political goals are achievable this way, but most are, and those that cannot be achieved through conventional operations likely cannot be achieved by the application of even the most sophisticated counterinsurgency doctrine either. And, as well, to realize and understand in a profound way that you cannot Nation Build in an area of conflict until the enemy is defeated.

I am hard pressed to list any diplomatic and military victories for America in Iraq or Afghanistan since the Fall of 2001.. I predict that Iraq will be in worse shape a year from now and that Iran, Syria and the Iraqi Shiites will exert sufficient influence to control the future of Iraq.

Why can we not understand that our military is for national security, defending our country, our southern borders, the domestic jihad before they bring more harm to our citizens? Why can we not understand how important our resources are in terms of our trained Armed Forces and assets of our country and not to drain them across the globe in futile nation building operations but to leverage the military to counter threats to our country? To the General and Admirals, reposition our forces for victory and the pride of America.

A fundamental challenge in devising a strategy for the use of future American military power is that the world has literally never seen anything like our capability. The U.S. today has military capabilities at least equal to the rest of the world combined. There is virtually no spot on the globe that could not be targeted by American forces, and at most a small handful of countries that could thwart a determined U.S. effort

As a consequence, the U.S. must adopt a national military strategy that heavily leverages the core capability to break enemy states, target and destroy the enemy’s capability to bring harm to America. Such a strategy could defeat and disrupt most potential threats the U.S. faces.

While America’s adversaries today may prefer to engage the U.S. using proxies and develop radical Islamist organizations and jihadists, there is no rationale in declaring to the people of the United States that we are in a long war and accept that as a reason to not achieve a quick and decisive victory

Let them wail and whimper as we achieve the success that is necessary; wiping out and neutralizing radical Islamism and nation states that support it. Because our capability is so novel, American strategists lack a clear framework to guide the utilization of this force. They have sought to match capabilities to conceptions of the use of force from a different era, one in which the Cold War made regime change unpalatable due to the risk of escalation and that tended to make localized setbacks appear as loses in a perceived zero-sum competition with the Soviets. Like Reagan, it is time to call their bluff. They know we hold the big cards, so why are we so timid? This only fosters eastern thought that placation is a sign of weakness. A weakness they will turn into an asset and a political card to play to the uneducated masses they control. Based on superb intelligence, we can launch required strike operations from any number of secure global sites and bases. True, these radical Islamic forces pose a major terror threat abroad and at home but we can defeat those efforts as well.

Many describe our efforts as helping to recruit more fighters and more ideologues. This is no way to stop all the threat to our homeland. The only true way to stop the threat is to give them what they respect; pure force of arms and will. Otherwise, they sit in their sanctuaries and count up the moral victories they have achieved, and embolden future efforts. However, significant threats to the U.S., ranging from the military capacity of regional powers to weapons of mass destruction development programs to significant terrorist infrastructures, can be targeted and destroyed by conventional and unconventional military capabilities.

Again, we must stop thinking like westerners, and understand the way our enemy thinks. A lily pad is much more preferable because it gives them no moral high ground to propagandize, but at the same time instills sheer terror in their hearts as they guess at what is coming next. Force of will and resolve is required by our leaders that our enemies indeed respect and understand. Only when we understand that one objective of Global Jihad is imposition – by force or by stealth – of Shari’a (Islamic law) and the other is the re-establishment of the Caliphate/Imamate), can we even begin to formulate the enemy threat doctrine and strategic concept to DEFEAT THE ENEMY and WIN the GWOJ (Global War on Jihad).

Paul E. Vallely US Army (Ret) is the Chairman of Stand Up America and Co-Chairman of Veteran Defenders of America

Chairman – Stand Up America
E-Mail: standupamericaceo@gmail.com
Fax: 406 837 0996

25 August 2010

General Cash

We've posted articles and writings from General Cash a few times here. General Cash is a patriot and committed to the restoration of America. The Sarge knows and corresponds with him (General Cash has given The Sarge permission to re-print all of his posts here) and we are always proud to feature his thoughts whenever he chooses to provide them to us.

This will be a two part post. General Cash today and Major General Paul Vallely tomorrow.

The Sarge

After taking time out to evaluate the depth of the out-of-control political situation we find ourselves in today, I have decided it really is time to "Stand-up America"!!! Political Correctness be damned. We are losing our country, and many of us have taken an oath not to let that happen.

Let us start with the Obama pledge to get out of Iraq and win the "RIGHT" war, his war, in Afghanistan. It seems he just can't get into the boring details of this war, so he is just going to let the Generals do it, as long as they are careful not to offend the Throne. Or, just maybe he is looking for someone to blame should it not work out. Well, the Generals are screwing it up also, and the proof of the pudding is more blood and treasure down the drain each day with little or nothing to show for it. Our current strategy is wrong!!! Will it take another 10 years for the American people to understand and demand a winning plan. Nation building will not work until victory is already won. Victory is impossible unless the civilian leaders of the nation decide that they truly want victory, and our leaders have not made that decision yet. Rules-of-Engagement (ROE) as defined in this theater are insane. Prosecution of young soldiers for killing the enemy is insane. Massive buildups as we have seen them in Iraq and Afghanistan are insane. I am literally up to my cheeks with the idea that we must appease the United Nations and the rest of the non-supportive world while Americans carry the bulk of the load in this war against animals. And, yes they are animals. I don't care to hear any more about the poor misunderstood Islamist who only want to either convert or kill the West.

So, what should we do? Read the following article carefully. It is written by my friend Paul Vallely, retired Army Major General, former Senior Military advisor to Fox News, and currently CEO of "Stand-Up America". He is spot on with his analysis of the
Afghanistan debacle, and he presents a new strategy for controlling this mismanaged region. Of course we must throw out many of the far-left imbeciles in the current Congress this November, along with the incompetence in the Whitehouse in 2012 to make a change like this happen. However, this is looking promising.

General Vallely suggests changing our operations from incountry costly bases and conventional massive force employment to smaller, actionable, combined force employment from friendly areas based outside the Area of Responsibility (AOR). He calls these smaller based special unit assignments "Lilly Pads". Our Special Operations would be capable of rapid employment from these Lilly Pads whenever the enemy presented a viable threat to the National Security of the United States of America, and not until then. They would meet the enemy with massive lethal force, which our current enemy understands. The slow, daily plodding and attempt at nation building that our soldiers experience today would come to an end. Our every move would be dedicated to a complete and decisive battlefield victory, then back to the pad.

Please read this great article, which was just released by Stand-Up America, and lets put some heat on the Republicans and the Democrats in Congress to force a change that will work.

Jim Cash
B/G, USAF, Ret.

24 August 2010


Last April I wrote this about my beloved dog Trooper. Since then we've been treating Trooper for diabetes, old age and general health breakdown.

We had a growth taken off his neck. We did it because it was causing him discomfort and Doc was sure it could be removed without too many issues. He's developed another one near his anus that bleeds and is obviously painful. Doc won't remove it because there's a nerve that controls the sphincter right there that he's sure would get damaged to the extent that he'd lose control of his bowels.

He's also developed a new lesion on his right front leg. It doesn't seem to bother him so at this stage I'm letting it be. He has allergies so he's on Hydroxizine. The problem is that in his weak condition it makes it hard for him to even get up off a hard surface floor and that's a problem. Since he was a puppy he's loved sleeping on tile, wood, concrete, anything hard and cool. When he's not on the medication his eyes swell and droop and his already very limited eyesight gets even worse. Medicate or not? I try and watch so I can medicate when he needs it but not so much that it causes more problems. He's had a hard time getting outside. It's a rare day when he doesn't have an accident in the house. It bothers him, I can tell. He hates it when he can't make it outside. Don't tell me a dog doesn't understand. Trooper knows.

What can I do? Just as I loved him as a puppy I love him as an old dog. He's earned the right to be an old dog. Earned it and I owe it to him.

But when is the time to say goodbye? How do I judge such a thing? This life is literally in my all too human hands. How do I say that's enough, your life is no longer worth living and it's time for that last ride?

I spend my days with him, every day, as close as I can. I stay up late to help him get outside for his late night visit to the backyard. I tend his conditions, medicate him, feed him and watch him with my heart in my throat and my ears cocked for signs of distress.

I sit with him and touch him whenever I can. It seems to help. He's most relaxed when he's near me, physically touching and being touched. I love him and ask myself the question. Every day. It's all I can do.

I was overjoyed when I was able to keep Trooper alive in April. I was grateful for the chance to spend more time together. But. In the back of my mind there is that place I hate to visit. The place where the voice tells me things I don't want to hear. That our time since then was always going to be limited, difficult and ultimately short. It is the logical part of my mind that is always watching, evaluating and weighing. The emotional part of me is stronger still but the awareness is creeping in again. The knowledge that I can't put it off forever. That our time is drawing to a close. But not now. Not today. We will get through today together.

I will love Trooper with all my heart for as long as I can. I will touch him and whisper to him and tend his honorable wounds and infirmities with care and devotion. And in the end I will let him go. It will crush me but I will do what is necessary.
Because I love my dog.

22 August 2010

Sunday Kipling.

It's sunny, Trooper is resting comfortably, the 49ers play at 5 and Lu and I just finished burgers hot off the grill. I hope you all had a nice Sunday as well.


The 'eathen

The 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an' stone;
'E don't obey no orders unless they is 'is own;
'E keeps 'is side-arms awful: 'e leaves 'em all about,
An' then comes up the Regiment an' pokes the 'eathen out.

All along o' dirtiness, all along o' mess,
All along o' doin' things rather-more-or-less,
All along of abby-nay, kul, an' hazar-ho,
Mind you keep your rifle an' yourself jus' so!

The young recruit is 'aughty -- 'e draf's from Gawd knows where;
They bid 'im show 'is stockin's an' lay 'is mattress square;
'E calls it bloomin' nonsense -- 'e doesn't know, no more --
An' then up comes 'is Company an'kicks'im round the floor!

The young recruit is 'ammered -- 'e takes it very hard;
'E 'angs 'is 'ead an' mutters -- 'e sulks about the yard;
'E talks o' "cruel tyrants" which 'e'll swing for by-an'-by,
An' the others 'ears an' mocks 'im, an' the boy goes orf to cry.

The young recruit is silly -- 'e thinks o' suicide.
'E's lost 'is gutter-devil; 'e 'asn't got 'is pride;
But day by day they kicks 'im, which 'elps 'im on a bit,
Till 'e finds 'isself one mornin' with a full an' proper kit.

Gettin' clear o' dirtiness, gettin' done with mess,
Gettin' shut o' doin' things rather-more-or-less;
Not so fond of abby-nay, kul, nor hazar-ho,
Learns to keep 'is ripe an "isself jus'so!

The young recruit is 'appy -- 'e throws a chest to suit;
You see 'im grow mustaches; you 'ear 'im slap' is boot.
'E learns to drop the "bloodies" from every word 'e slings,
An 'e shows an 'ealthy brisket when 'e strips for bars an' rings.

The cruel-tyrant-sergeants they watch 'im 'arf a year;
They watch 'im with 'is comrades, they watch 'im with 'is beer;
They watch 'im with the women at the regimental dance,
And the cruel-tyrant-sergeants send 'is name along for "Lance."

An' now 'e's 'arf o' nothin', an' all a private yet,
'Is room they up an' rags 'im to see what they will get.
They rags 'im low an' cunnin', each dirty trick they can,
But 'e learns to sweat 'is temper an 'e learns to sweat 'is man.

An', last, a Colour-Sergeant, as such to be obeyed,
'E schools 'is men at cricket, 'e tells 'em on parade,
They sees 'im quick an 'andy, uncommon set an' smart,
An' so 'e talks to orficers which 'ave the Core at 'eart.

'E learns to do 'is watchin' without it showin' plain;
'E learns to save a dummy, an' shove 'im straight again;
'E learns to check a ranker that's buyin' leave to shirk;
An 'e learns to make men like 'im so they'll learn to like their work.

An' when it comes to marchin' he'll see their socks are right,
An' when it comes: to action 'e shows 'em how to sight.
'E knows their ways of thinkin' and just what's in their mind;
'E knows when they are takin' on an' when they've fell be'ind.

'E knows each talkin' corp'ral that leads a squad astray;
'E feels 'is innards 'eavin', 'is bowels givin' way;
'E sees the blue-white faces all tryin 'ard to grin,
An 'e stands an' waits an' suffers till it's time to cap'em in.

An' now the hugly bullets come peckin' through the dust,
An' no one wants to face 'em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons, which isn't glad to go,
They moves 'em off by companies uncommon stiff an' slow.

Of all 'is five years' schoolin' they don't remember much
Excep' the not retreatin', the step an' keepin' touch.
It looks like teachin' wasted when they duck an' spread an 'op --
But if 'e 'adn't learned 'em they'd be all about the shop.

An' now it's "'Oo goes backward?" an' now it's "'Oo comes on?"
And now it's "Get the doolies," an' now the Captain's gone;
An' now it's bloody murder, but all the while they 'ear
'Is voice, the same as barrick-drill, a-shepherdin' the rear.

'E's just as sick as they are, 'is 'eart is like to split,
But 'e works 'em, works 'em, works 'em till he feels them take the bit;
The rest is 'oldin' steady till the watchful bugles play,
An 'e lifts 'em, lifts 'em, lifts 'em through the charge that wins the day!

The 'eathen in 'is blindness bows down to wood an' stone --
'E don't obey no orders unless they is 'is own.
The 'eathen in 'is blindness must end where 'e began
But the backbone of the Army is the Non-commissioned Man!

Keep away from dirtiness -- keep away from mess,
Don't get into doin' things rather-more-or-less!
Let's ha' done with abby-nay, kul, and hazar-ho;
Mind you keep your rifle an' yourself jus' so!

21 August 2010

Right Network

Debuts on September 8th. I hope DirecTV carries it.



Julian Asshat is wanted by the Swedish cops for suspicion of rape and molestation. I haven't found any source that talks about specifics yet but the authorities are apparently motivated to bring him in for questioning.

Let's see. A far left Western Nation hating contemptible piece of horse crap, who takes pride in releasing stolen documents that put people at risk of horrendous deaths, is accused of sex crimes by the very country where he mostly resides in order to take advantage of their legal protections for his outrageous behavior. Sounds like typical liberal hypocrisy to me and a nice case of schadenfreude.

Maybe he can get Polanski for a cell mate. They can indulge themselves on each other. Sounds like a match made just a little south of Heaven to me.


Never mind. According to Ace the prosecution has dropped the warrant as unfounded. Ed totally called this one in comments.

19 August 2010

Job Well Done

As the last combat brigade leaves Iraq I'd like to take a moment to say Thank You to all the men and women who served there. I'm proud of you and grateful for your service and sacrifices. The War may have been controversial to some but the defeatists have been silenced by your courage and valor. You have won and shown that American fidelity is still precious to us all. I salute you. I am humbled by your devotion, skill and compassion to a people in need. You represent the best of America and I am glad you're coming home. You have put the Iraqi people on the path to freedom and success. May our enemies, foreign and domestic, take note and despair.

We will never forget those who fell. As a member of a family who lost one of our beloved to The War I know the heartache that comes from laying your lives on the alter of freedom. That sacrifice was not in vain. Iraq has been won and it is your victory. Take your place in the pantheon of American heroes. Rest secure in the knowledge that we honor your life and will keep your memory in our hearts forever.

Though combat operations have been over for a while, and the last combat formations are gone or leaving, some soldiers will remain until the end of 2011. We'll be keeping you in our thoughts until you come home as well.

It is a good day to be an American.


17 August 2010

Hello. I'm Here About The Bathroom?

Ok. As promised pics of the new bathroom. Prepare to be underwhelmed. Like most of my projects I left quite a bit of my precious blood behind during the build. Really, I shouldn't be allowed anywhere near power tools.

This is what we started with. You can't quite see it but that tub surround is pale blue fiberglass backer, poorly installed and quite crappy, thanks very much. If you look closely at that second picture you can see the mold and mildew at the bottom. Icky.
Tub surround off and more creepy nastiness was found and the people did not rejoice. That is just so wrong.

Drywall is off and the studs and plumbing are exposed. Heh, heh. Exposed.

Floor's out as well as the toilet. I stored the toilet in the backyard instead of the front because hey, this is a classy joint. Makes a nice water feature. Princess Chrisi does not apear to be amused though. No, we are not amused at all.

I thought deconstruction was done but.... The tub had a remote stopper that had frozen into the drain pipe. I tried to unscrew it but the house was built in 1969 and it was the original fitting. Yeah, I broke the drain pipe so the tub had to come out. If you've never done this particular task I discommend it. It's a massive pain in the ass. After installing the new drain fittings I had to install the tub 3 times to get the pipe to match up with the drain in the foundation. At this point I tried really, really hard to convince Lu we didn't need a bathtub. She didn't buy it.The old faucet was the 3 pipe type. That is it had 3 small copper pipes, one each for hot, cold and output to the tub/shower. Lu bought a modern unit for the re-model and it required a pretty thorough re-plumb. I hate plumbing.
Ok, time for construction. The concrete backer board goes up and the tiling begins. Lu and I have a system worked out. I do the measuring and cutting while she lays the tile. What a deal. She's a treasure that one. 18 x 18 ceramic tiles with an 8 inch center bordered by 2 rows of subway. Not complex but a pain in the ass to cut and lay. Oh, and the pieced in backer board? Don't ask.

Let the painting begin. Look closely, you'll never see this again. I hate painting even more than plumbing. Luckily Lu likes to paint and has the touch. We chose Sage Green with a Sage tint to the primer. One primer coat and 2 finish.

For the floor we chose a wood finish vinyl. That's Trafficmaster. It comes in 3 foot by 6 inch strips. It fits together with offsetting adhesive strips. It looks and feels like wood but is incredibly tough. We have it in 2 other rooms and the dogs haven't even scratched it after a couple of years. It's free floating and the easiest floor I've ever laid. Screw you FCC, I paid for my floor.
We decided against a regular sized sink and cabinet. This one is half the depth and the sink is only 24 inches wide. The bathroom is pretty small, 5x8, and we wanted to maximize the room we had and increase the feel of space. Oh yeah, I put the toilet back in and now my house no longer smells like an open sewer. Chrisi and Trooper hate it but they'll get over the disappointment.
We installed a new light fixture. You know the Law of Unintended Consequences? When I was installing this fixture I committed a Buffoonery, First Class. The original electricians used this box as a junction. There were 3 primary's joined here. When I screwed this fixture mounting bracket in I stupidly put the screw into one of the wires. It was the hot for 2 of the outlets in my master bedroom. The screw was grounded by the box. When I had Lu throw the breaker a blue spark shot about 3 feet out and things got real dark real fast. Luckily no permanent harm was done except to my BVD's which were bitten into small pieces by my pulsating sphincter.
And there it is. Lu figures we got in under $900.00. Not too bad considering. It feels much larger than it did before and has a warmer look. At least Lu's pleased and you know what they say about keeping Mama happy. 3 weeks from start to finish. No more crappy tub surround. No more heavy cabinets. No more spore monsters hiding in the drywall.

The only problem with finishing a project is that it clears the way for others to take it's place.

Lu's got a list.



I know I've been absent lately but I have an excellent excuse. Lu and I gutted and remodeled a bathroom. I've got skills but I'm no Big Dick so it took us a couple of weeks. We're both happy with the results (though I did manage to fry the romex to two outlets in the master bedroom through sheer idiocy) but the effort wore me plumb out.
I'll post pictures tomorrow. For now it's a sleep aid and off to bed for some tired old guy sleep.


11 August 2010

The wisdom of those that actually make a PROFIT

The Sarge passed on a link that is well worth your time to view. The subject is national finance and the man talking is Steve Wynn. Now, if you don't know who Steve Wynn is, I will sum up.

Steve Wynn inherited a small business from his father and turned himself into a billionaire. Yeah, billionaire. This is a man that made his money investing in lavish resorts in Las Vegas, paying thousands of employees, dealing with State and Federal bureaucracies, and has set a standard in Vegas. He built the Mirage, Treasure Island, the Bellagio, and finally the Wynn Las Vegas. Each hotel has built on his previous accomplishments and has been continually refined. In a city like Vegas, to continue to build and run successful hotels is a major accomplishment.

And I will repeat: through his hotels across the US he has had to deal with unions, workers, health care issues, State governments, the Federal government. So he may know a thing or two about the system. Now, here is an interview with him from May 2010 where he talks about the direction the nation is going.

For some reason it's setting the video way down on the page and I can't fix it... Just keep going, it's there!

h/t to the Sarge
-The DO

08 August 2010

Predicting The Future

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is an interesting guy. I watched his special tonight on Discovery and it got me to thinking (Lu is already complaining about the smell of burning hair). He's being called by some the New Nostradamus.

I don't take Nostradamus too seriously. His quatrains are general and obscure enough to be interpreted about any way you want. He's interesting to read but I'm not basing decisions on his prophecy's.

De Mesquita is a little different. Instead of prophecy he relies on mathematics, specifically game theory.

Reportedly he has a good track record but I'm skeptical. In listening to him talk I was bothered when he mentioned how national foreign policy wasn't any different from domestic. All leaders operated basically from a selfish standpoint and made decisions based on their own education, experience and prejudices. I think he right but what struck me was he failed to ascribe these same criteria to the values he inputs into his algorithms where he produces his predictions. Reminded me a little of the AGW models but I may be wrong (BP can explain that better than I can). Everyone is a product of their environment to a greater or lesser extent

There's also the Measurement Problem
"The measurement problem asks how a definite event can arise out of a theory that only predicts a continuous probability for events."

They're talking about quantum physics of course but you get the idea. Measuring something, or in this case predicting something, alters the conditions that were used in the algorithm to make the prediction in the first place. In the short term it may be fairly accurate but it seems to me that the further down a particular line of thought he goes the further from reality he'll get because of the inherent errors that must be present and that will magnify over time.

Isaac Asimov envisioned something similar in his Foundation series with Hari Seldon, the mathematics of Psychohistory and The Mule except that even Asimov recognized the futility of predictions on a small scale. Psychohistory was concerned with masses of people. Micro versus macro. To my mind trying to predict the actions of even countries, much less individuals within those countries no matter how powerful, is dicey at best.

Do predictions affect actions and shape reality? Causality is complicated but it is manifest in our world of imperfect and essentially unpredictable humans. If there is a cause it follows that there will be some effect. A prediction about what a given person or group will do could be construed as a cause but a nation's (or even a ruler's) actions that result (effect) are subject to all the vagaries of human nature. Even contrariness.

The problem is how to know? If a prediction is right Mesquita can point to his math and say "See, I told you so". If he's wrong he can point to his accurate predictions and say "Hey, the math was good. The result was because of bad data I didn't have access to". There's no way to know (bar a confession from one of the principles) if the prediction itself had anything to do with the outcome.

It just seems like snake oil to me. I'm much more inclined to follow the lead of an expert in a given field where his predictions ans suppositions are based on long study and exceptional experience and knowledge. Predictions based on mathematical models sounds a little too much like astrology for my comfort, no matter how smart the proponent.

Or am I wrong?


Sunday Kipling

Arithmetic on the Frontier

A great and glorious thing it is
To learn, for seven years or so,
The Lord knows what of that and this,
Ere reckoned fit to face the foe --
The flying bullet down the Pass,
That whistles clear: "All flesh is grass."

Three hundred pounds per annum spent
On making brain and body meeter
For all the murderous intent
Comprised in "villanous saltpetre!"
And after -- ask the Yusufzaies
What comes of all our 'ologies.

A scrimmage in a Border Station --
A canter down some dark defile --
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail --
The Crammer's boast, the Squadron's pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

No proposition Euclid wrote,
No formulae the text-books know,
Will turn the bullet from your coat,
Or ward the tulwar's downward blow
Strike hard who cares -- shoot straight who can --
The odds are on the cheaper man.

One sword-knot stolen from the camp
Will pay for all the school expenses
Of any Kurrum Valley scamp
Who knows no word of moods and tenses,
But, being blessed with perfect sight,
Picks off our messmates left and right.

With home-bred hordes the hillsides teem,
The troopships bring us one by one,
At vast expense of time and steam,
To slay Afridis where they run.
The "captives of our bow and spear"
Are cheap, alas! as we are dear.

04 August 2010

Let's Get It On

I've said before how much I appreciate smart people. There are a few sites I visit every day because I know I'll learn something and because they have a knack for explaining things in a common sense way that even I can understand. Ed Rasimus and Borepatch stand out so I'm going to pick on them. There are more of course (and I hope all of you will forgive me for singling these two out) but I can't get through my day without reading these two men.

From Borepatch we have Ozymandias.

From Raz we have the Constitution.

And just to throw in some crass nepotism. From my own daughter (The DO who is smarter than I will ever be and how can I resist touting her?) more on The Constitution.

Take a minute and read them all. They're just full of smart and common sense as are their respective authors.

They're talking about essentially the same thing of course. An overreaching and increasingly imperious and non-responsive government taking unto itself powers reserved to The People and spending us into servitude.

The answer seems to be re-asserting our control over the politicians and destroying the Political Class once and for all.

Many are of the opinion that it's too late to settle things at the ballot box and they have a point. I may very well be completely out to lunch but I remain optimistic about our chances to avoid wide scale violence. Maybe it's because I've seen enough violence in my lifetime to be afraid of that road. Maybe I'm just getting in touch with my 'feminine side'. Whatever the case I remain unwilling to start lining bureaucrats up against the wall just yet. I think there's a tide of real 'hope and change' sweeping across America. One need look no further than the Tea Party, Governor Christie and Sarah Palin to be able to taste the flavor of the new politics of America.

Time and the November elections will tell. One thing is for certain, there are very few fence sitters left in our Republic. Health Care, Illegal Immigration, Unemployment, loss of Essential Liberties, the tone of the Royal Court in DC, etc. have galvanized (dare I say balkanized?) America to a level not seen since the turbulent 1960's and maybe the 1860's. The electorate has an opinion on every issue (informed or otherwise) and those opinions seem to increasingly be in favor of limited government and restoration of personal freedoms. The Throw Them All Out movement that seeks to put in office men and women who understand their role of supporting the Constitution and safeguarding the rights of all citizens, even in the face of the stupidity and short sightedness of the left and their supporters and mouthpieces.

I like the idea of a no holds barred, winner takes all slobber knocker between the left and the right. I remain confident that the left cannot compete, as Rush likes to say, in the Arena of Ideas. If they could they wouldn't have to dissemble and distort both their own and our positions and pander to the victim culture.

The game changer seems to be right here, on the Internet, where people like Borepatch, Ed, The DO and all the rest of the Right Intelligentsia (no offense intended) have free reign to speak the truth and put forth the facts that put the lie to everything this president and his supporters are working so hard to convince us to believe. It's folks like them and the new wave of True Conservative Politicians smart enough to see this media for what it is and what it can do who are actively defeating the forces of entropy who are working so hard to destroy us. I'll take them and everyone else over there on my Warrior Roll on my side against anything and anyone the left cares to throw into the ring and to the winner goes the spoils.

The best thing about it is there's little the left can do at this point. The fight is scheduled. The arena chosen. The pre-fight trash talking is ongoing. All that remains is the final scorecard and the post-fight punch stats.

Obama, pelosi, reid and their ilk called this tune and issued the challenge to throw down (Remember when obama said to 'bring it on'? Be careful what you ask for). It'd be rude not to accept but stupid to go in unprepared. Like we did in 2008. This is not 2008 and the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the red corner? His name is The New Media and yeah, he's on our side.

I like our odds.


02 August 2010

Why Socialism Fails; or; The Story of the Big Chocolate Raisin

We have a box of chocolate raisins in the house, courtesy of The Six and Lu (aka Grandma and Papa), and occasionally there is one that is huge. The kids simply love the huge raisins, and to maintain peace in the house, I have to make sure that if one gets a huge raisin, so does the other.

Okay, fine, doesn’t that actually prove socialism? Doesn’t that show the inherent need for “fair”? No, what it shows is that human nature is such that if a person doesn’t get what that person deems to be fair that they will throw a hissy fit and pout cause they didn’t get a big raisin, and they didn’t know they wanted a big raisin till she got a big raising, and now I want a big raisin, damn it! What it shows is that human nature is variable, that fair is inconsistent and that, if given the opportunity, people will totally scam both big raisins for themselves.

Humans aren’t fair. Claiming that a social, economic and political paradigm that depends on fair to work will ever be effective is like saying that pooping candy is a great idea so I think I’ll start doing that from now on.

There is no such thing as fair, and I won't be pooping skittles anytime soon.

You're welcome for that particular mental image.

-The DO

01 August 2010

Sunday Kipling

For all my Navy friends.

The Ballad of the "Clampherdown"

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
Would sweep the Channel clean,
Wherefore she kept her hatches close
When the merry Channel chops arose,
To save the bleached marine.

She had one bow-gun of a hundred ton
And a great stern-gun beside.
They dipped their noses deep in the sea,
They racked their stays and stanchions free
In the wash of the wind-whipped tide.

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
Fell in with a cruiser light
That carried the dainty Hotchkiss gun
And a pair of heels wherewith to run
From the grip of a close-fought fight.

She opened fire at seven miles --
As ye shoot at a bobbing cork --
And once she fired and twice she fired,
Till the bow-gun dropped like a lily tired
That lolls upon the stalk.

"Captain, the bow-gun melts apace,
The deck-beams break below,
'Twere well to rest for an hour or twain,
And botch the shattered plates again."
And he answered, "Make it so."

She opened fire within the mile --
As ye shoot at the flying duck --
And the great stern-gun shot fair and true,
With the heave of the ship, to the stainless blue,
And the great stern-turret stuck.

"Captain, the turret fills with steam,
The feed-pipes burst below --
You can hear the hiss of the helpless ram,
You can hear the twisted runners jam."
And he answered, "Turn and go!"

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
And grimly did she roll;
Swung round to take the cruiser's fire
As the White Whale faces the Thresher's ire
When they war by the frozen Pole.

"Captain, the shells are falling fast,
And faster still fall we;
And it is not meet for English stock
To bide in the heart of an eight-day clock
The death they cannot see."

"Lie down, lie down, my bold A.B.,
We drift upon her beam;
We dare not ram, for she can run;
And dare ye fire another gun,
And die in the peeling steam?"

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
That carried an armour-belt;
But fifty feet at stern and bow
Lay bare as the paunch of the purser's sow,
To the hail of the Nordenfeldt.

"Captain, they hack us through and through;
The chilled steel bolts are swift!
We have emptied our bunkers in open sea,
Their shrapnel bursts where our coal should be."
And he answered, "Let her drift."

It was our war-ship Clampherdown,
Swung round upon the tide,
Her two dumb guns glared south and north,
And the blood and the bubbling steam ran forth,
And she ground the cruiser's side.

"Captain, they cry, the fight is done,
They bid you send your sword."
And he answered, "Grapple her stern and bow.
They have asked for the steel. They shall have it now;
Out cutlasses and board!"

It was our war-ship Clampherdown
Spewed up four hundred men;
And the scalded stokers yelped delight,
As they rolled in the waist and heard the fight,
Stamp o'er their steel-walled pen.

They cleared the cruiser end to end,
From conning-tower to hold.
They fought as they fought in Nelson's fleet;
They were stripped to the waist, they were bare to the feet,
As it was in the days of old.

It was the sinking Clampherdown
Heaved up her battered side --
And carried a million pounds in steel,
To the cod and the corpse-fed conger-eel,
And the scour of the Channel tide.

It was the crew of the Clampherdown
Stood out to sweep the sea,
On a cruiser won from an ancient foe,
As it was in the days of long ago,
And as it still shall be!