Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fun with photography

So the wifey and I had a range trip scheduled today, not particularly note worthy, but we had to cancel due to the Irate Wifey not feeling too hot. By the point this was determined, however, I had already assembled the pistols we were planning on taking (today was to by a pistolcraft day), unloaded them and all their attendant, ready magazines. I sat looking at the assemblage on the table, with all the various rounds arranged in neat rows and columns (I am, alas, struck with the same minor OCD so ubiquotous at the genius level;) and the magazines and firearms arranged around their ammo. It made me smile, so I made a few adjustments (cleared some clutter) and snapped a few pics I thought were cool. Here you go.

Yeah, that's my dining room table after clearing away some of the clutter. While I was originally stripping out the mags, there was three more books and an entire deck of Uno cards. Oh well.

I'm the worst blogger ever!

Title pretty much says it all.

I can't believe I, of all people, didn't write a post for Memorial Day. Granted, many others did a far better job than I would of, but I feel a little guilty about it, none the less.

Of course, I never managed to be on the computer for more than five minutes that day, still.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's in a name?

First of all, someone who is often chagrined at his habit of not posting anything for extended periods of time probably should not decide to not talk politics for awhile.

Hard not to since I get my news via the intrawebs, which is largely about politics, and then when I go to write a blog post, well, you get the idea.

The upshot is I've averaged about two thousand words a day for just over a week. Maybe I'll be published before the end of the year.

One certainly hopes.

(See what I did there? First paragraph was in third person, middle two in first with a bit of second person, and the last back in third. I've been playing such games for days. I'm such a dork)

Anyway, South Texian today had a post about Joe Klein, of Time Magazine:
"He became ground zero among the neo-cons, but he's vastly smarter than most of them," said Time's Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer's "writing skills and polemical skills" as "so far above almost anybody writing columns today."

"There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing about."

In context, he essentially is saying Krauthammer doesn't know what he's talking about when it involves something physically demanding. In the literary world, to say someone lacks nuance on a particular topic is essentially the same as saying they may know a little about what they're talking about, but lack depth, experience, or some such on the topic.

Well, the only thing physically demanding Krauthammer really talks about is the military and what it does, can do, should do, etc. In a very round about way, he's calling Krauthammer a chickenhawk.

A chickenhawk*, in the parlance of the Other Side, being someone who espouses the use of military force for any reason whatsoever, or just has an opinion of any sort regarding the military, who was never in the military. Amusingly, when Obama called for the bombing of Pakistan (which would have been stupid**) no one called him a chickenhawk. Heck, whenever a liberal of any variety lowers himself to talking about military matters, including strategy, no one calls them chickenhawks.

Funny that. Of course, it's not that liberals don't think those who were never in the military should have an opinion on how it operates, after all, many of them have a whole plethora of rules and policies they want implemented to make the military 'kinder and gentler.' It's really about the nature of the discourse.

This is hardly limited to the instances of people being called chickenhawks. Every time you hear some useful idiot calling conservatives fascists, it's the same thing. I'm sure with some thought I could list a few dozen cliche names liberals will call those who are opposed to their point of view.

See, an argument that stays rooted solidly in reality, ie. logic and facts, is one that liberals have a poor chance of winning. However, call someone a fascist and suddenly he's defending himself and his point of view against a word which has had its meaning redefined specifically to include them. The debate moves into the gutter of arguing from emotion and feeling, facts and history be damned, and this is a fight we conservatives are not good at, but which liberals excel at.

I must admit, I used to allow myself to be roped into such ploys all the time.

The worst part of it, the average man/woman-on-the-street liberal doesn't think they are doing this. They developed their point of view, or had it introduced to them, from the viewpoint of emotion and feeling. That being what the position is based on, it is what they use to defend it.

One must remember that nearly every liberal really does have the best intentions, just like what the road to Hell is paved with.

While most liberals do not consciously try to move a debate to the emotional level, there are some who do so quite deliberately. Anytime you hear the phrase, "Think of the children," or any of its semantic equivalents, someone is defending something they know will not pass rational examination. It also why certain semi-auto rifles are called 'assault rifles/weapons/etc' (though they are nothing of the sort) by those who favor banning them and their talking heads (now including Jimmah Carter!) talk about how they're only useful for killing people. Of course it's ridiculous, but it makes it hard to argue against them when we're forced to play their game.

*The original meaning of a chickenhawk is one who is terrified of something, but is brave anyway. Makes sense, since without fear, bravery is impossible.

**At the time he made the statement. This may be changing soon, if it has not already.

Poetry Corner-Snipe's Lament

Having spent my share of time standing the watch in the hole, I well remember seeing this on a plaque outside the Chief Engineer's officer. To this day I can't remember without getting a little emotional. Life down in the pit is no easy thing. Eighteen hour days, ambient temperature never below 105 and more often around 120 with the humidity high enough that water condenses on every surface, including skin. And those poor bastards get paid only as much as the admin type who spends six hours a door working in an air conditioned office and stand, maybe, one watch a week.

Yeah, it's no easy life, but they live it.


Now each of us from time to time has gazed upon the sea
and watched the mighty warships pulling out to keep this country free.
And most of us have read a book or heard a lusty tale,
about these men who sail these ships through lightning, wind and hail.
But there's a place within each ship that legend's fail to teach.
It's down below the water-line and it takes a living toll
- - a hot metal living hell, that sailors call the "Hole."
It houses engines run with steam that makes the shafts go round.
A place of fire, noise, and heat that beats your spirits down.
Where boilers like a hellish heart, with blood of angry steam,
are molded gods without remorse, are nightmares in a dream.

Whose threat from the fires roar, is like a living doubt,
that at any moment with such scorn, might escape and crush you out.
Where turbines scream like tortured souls, alone and lost in Hell,
are ordered from above somewhere, they answer every bell.
The men who keep the fires lit and make the engines run,
are strangers to the light and rarely see the sun.
They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear,
their aspect pays no living thing a tribute of a tear.
For there's not much that men can do that these men haven't done,
beneath the decks, deep in the hole, to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day they keep the watch in Hell,
for if the fires ever fail their ship's a useless shell.

When ships converge to have a war upon an angry sea,
the men below just grimly smile at what their fate will be.
They're locked below like men fore-doomed, who hear no battle cry,
it's well assumed that if they're hit men below will die.
For every day's a war down there when gauges all read red,
twelve-hundred pounds of heated steam can kill you mighty dead.

So if you ever write their songs or try to tell their tale,
the very words would make you hear a fired furnace's wail.
And people as a general rule don't hear of these men of steel,
so little heard about this place that sailors call the "Hole."
But I can sing about this place and try to make you see,
the hardened life of the men down there, 'cause one of them is me.
I've seen these sweat-soaked heroes fight in superheated air,
to keep their ship alive and right, though no one knows they're there.

And thus they'll fight for ages on till warships sail no more,
amid the boiler's mighty heat and the turbine's hellish roar.
So when you see a ship pull out to meet a war-like foe,
remember faintly if you can, "The Men Who Sail Below."


Friday, May 1, 2009

Feeling somewhat better now

I seem to have passed the point of wishing for sweet, merciful death. No fever or congestion this morning. Still coughing up some ugly stuff and my throat, nose, entire face, body, etc still hurts, but I seem to be on the mend. Just in time for a fun weekend of yardwork. Yay?

Introducing the fail bell

Got the populace a little upset at you because your plane buzzed N.Y.C. for a friggin' photo op?

'Ask not for whom the fail bell tolls,
It tolls for thee!'

Tell the population to avoid enclosed spaces like subways and airplanes, not considering the implications of such a statement?

'It tolls for thee!'

Publish a DHS report labelling returning veterans as potential right wing extremists, because they are either to stupid or morally bankrupt to resist?

'It tolls for thee!'