Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells
Batman Smells
Robin laid an egg
Batmobile got a flat 
and Joker got away, hey!


Sorry for the low blog output

But I was kidnapped by aliens.  Amazon women from the moon.  I am being completely honest.

In any case, I finally published a blog entry on the Great Gallbladder Incident of '08 (see post entitled Fun With Gallstones).

Best new term I have seen lately:  Deja Moo, the strange sensation that you have heard all this bullshit before.

Best description of the Mumbai attack from John Oliver on the Daily Show on 01DEC2008: "the work of some unbelievable motherfuckers working in tandem with giant assholes"  See it all here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=210920&title=mumbai-tragedy

Nothing much else going on right now.  Will come up with something to write about soon.


Happy Armistice Day

Part of my blog tradition-a military poem.  This one is by Kipling.  Not the world's greatest poet, in my opinion, and yet when he writes about military subjects, it always strikes a chord with me.  Interesting how problems seen in 1890 are similar to problems seen decades later in another land.

by Rudyard Kipling, 1890

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
    But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
    The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
    O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
    But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!


Best Wall Street picture I have seen lately

Sorry for the disturbing lack of posts.  A bunch of stuff has happened lately (more on that in other posts).  I got this from my kind spirited and always forgiving mother.  Her sympathy for those troubled CEO's on Wall Street knows no limits.


Fun with gallstones

... or how not to enjoy a business trip.

One morning, about two weeks ago, I woke up in a hotel room with incredible abdominal pain (or at least more than I had ever experienced).  No, I didn't wake up in a tub of ice missing a kidney.  It was about 0230 and I thought my appendix had burst.  I called the front desk to see if they had a doctor or paramedic in the hotel, but of course, that only exists in movies or on TV.  I was told the nearest hospital was more than 20 minutes of driving.  I did not think I could make that drive in my condition, so I opted for the ambulance ride.

The ambulance drivers showed up a while later (seemed like eternity, but my subjective clock was not running correctly at the time).  They were volunteers (their only identification was a t-shirt and a gurney).  They seemed to be capable of putting me on the stretcher and into the ambulance (without dropping me), but that seemed to be where their training stopped.  They had difficulty taking my blood pressure and apparently were not allowed to dispense medications.  Regardless, after a period of time that was less than the infinity but still seemed long, we arrived at the hospital.

The ER folks proceeded to ask me questions.  Silly ones, like "What's your name?"  To which I answered "AaaarrrgggghhhFuckFuckFuckGiveMeDrugsssssss!!!!!"  Eventually, they determined that my abdomen hurt, that it had never hurt like this before, that there was no blood in my stool (don't ask about how they got the sample), and that if they jammed their fingers up under my rib cage on the right side, they could make it hurt more.  They then told me I needed an ultrasound, but that I would have to wait until 0700 (eons in the future).  So they gave me morphine so I would stop scaring the other patients.  Morphine sucks, I can't see how people get addicted to it.  It did, however, knock me out, which meant I wasn't around for the pain.

After 0700, they made me take off my pants (this is part of hospital culture-there is no reason for it most times, I think they just like making people feel uncomfortable) and then wheeled me to the ultrasound tech.  Said technician took lot's of pictures of my belly, but refused to discuss what was observed (apparently I was not cleared to know about my insides-only a strange doctor that I had yet to meet could know what she found).

Eventually, a doctor appeared and told me I had acute cholecystitis (i.e. gallbladder inflamed due to gallstones).  He wanted to get a surgeon and operate that day.  I declined the offer, as I was no longer in pain and wanted to get this done at home.  He seemed convinced that I would die on the way, but gave me some percocet (percocet does not suck) and let me go, with the caution that I should not eat anything until I had surgery.  This proved impossible, so I avoided anything with lots of fat and all greasy foods.  Instead of dying, I drove 50 miles, got on an airplane and flew back home.  Percocet is really good for sleeping on an airplane.  Really good.

Fast forward 2 days:  I met with my personal Doc.  He agreed that this gallbladder was no longer worth the price of keeping it and recommended surgery.  I agreed to meet with a surgeon.  The Doc said stay away from fatty foods, greasy foods, and alcohol.  I told him I was not familiar with that diet and did not realize it would support human life.  I tried it anyway.

Fast forward a week:  I met with the surgeon and he agreed (surprise!) that surgery was the correct solution.  The next available date was about two weeks in the future.  

Fast forward two weeks:  After eating stuff I don't like and not eating stuff I do like, I finally had surgery.  I think I may have lost more than ten pounds, between the change in diet and the gallbladder that was removed.  I am now free to return to killing myself with food and beer.  

After about five days, I was back at work and not really in any pain.  After another couple of weeks, I was cleared to attempt to kill myself with exercise and give myself a hernia by picking up kids again.

Conclusion:  Don't get gallstones, but if your liver and gallbladder will not cooperate, get the surgery and go back to fun food.


Seven years later

It is amazing to me that 7 years have gone by since the towers fell, the Pentagon was hit, and Flight 93 fell to glory.  I have gotten married, had kids, changed jobs, moved out of the first house we owned and I still haven't had the privilege of kicking Usama Bin Laden hard in the nuts.

What is the obvious thing to write about?  Why answering the first question anyone asks, where were you on Der Tag?

It was a Tuesday morning.  I was at work in a meeting dealing with a technical issue that seemed incredibly important at the time.  No one came and told us anything, but when we walked out of the meeting, there were TVs everywhere (little personal black and white portables).  And people were staring at them in shock.  I remember sitting at my desk and trying to get to CNN's web page, but the network was dead slow.  I don't think we got much work done that day.  After staring in disbelief at the developing story, I eventually got hungry, so I went out to grab some lunch and pick up the engagement ring for my then girlfriend, soon to be fiance (and now the mother of my immortality).  When I got back to work, I couldn't get in my normal gate-there was a cop blocking access.  I finally found a gate where they were letting people in, but we had to show our badge (never had to before) and there were cops there too.  [explanation: I work for a company that builds numerous aviation/defense products, so they decided they were high on the target list and screamed for help-silly businessmen].  I think I called the woman at her desk, then called back to the house, where both my future mother-in-law and my friend Metron were hanging out (he surfs the internet so I don't have to).  I called my commanding officer, who told me to sit tight.  I called my parents.  Couldn't figure out what else to do at work (although we were immediately bullshitting ideas for invading Afghanistan or maybe just nuking the planet), so I went home (past our new armed guards).

Did I mention that I had just signed up for flight lessons?  My timing, as always, was perfect.

None of us could figure out what to do at home (I think I watched the towers fall about 50 times that day), so we trekked out to a local brewpub for dinner and that most important food, beer.  Lots of other folks seemed to have the same idea.  Must be some sort of defense mechanism (when attacked, fall back, circle the wagons, and drink).  We watched the President's speech that night at the pub.  Went home, went to bed (after staring at the pictures from that day again on my computer-ain't the internet wonderful?).

Woke up the next morning, found the flag, figured out how to approximate half mast, and flew it every day that way for 30 days (day and night).

Still seems unreal even after all this time.

My biggest regret is that I did not stop to see the World Trade Center when I was in New York City in August of 2001.

Here a links to web pages celebrating the anniversary:

Don't You F'ing Forget (from Wired's Danger Room Blog)

And from This Day in Naval History:

"2001 - One hundred twenty-five Pentagon employees, including 42 Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians, are killed along with 59 airline passengers when terrorists fly a highjacked airliner into the Pentagon."


What should I write about today?

I am sorry to my readers for not posting in a while.  No doubt you have all deleted this page from your bookmarks and I am now just writing for the pleasure of the vast almost intelligent internet.

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head?  Not even something someone was singing, not something from the radio, just a song that started playing inside your brain and wouldn't stop?  I had this experience a while back.  Remember Michigan J. Frog?  He was the singing/dancing frog in Warner Brothers cartoons.  He was a one hit wonder-his only hit was an old song called "Hello, Ma Baby".  Here is the chorus:

Hello! ma baby, Hello! Ma honey, Hello! ma ragtime gal.
Send me a kiss by wire, baby my heart's on fire!
If you refuse me, Honey, you'll lose me, then you'll be left alone;
Oh baby, telephone and tell me I'm your own.
Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello there.
By the way, the best way to get rid of a song in your head is to give it to someone else.  Sorry.

Here are some links:
One of my sillier posts, to be sure, but I have been meaning to post this one for a while.


Who's next?

A friend of mine known as Equalitist in this strange electronic realm has started a blog.  I knew this stuff was contagious.  Which one of you is next?  I linked to it in the title of this post, so check it out.


Another Memorial Day...

...has come and almost gone.  I was going to take the family to the town "wall", but plans were overcome by events.  As promised, here is another military poem, this one from 1847.  That was the time of the Mexican-American War, the Great Irish Potato Famine

The Bivouac of the Dead
By Theodore O'Hara, 1847

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo'
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few;
On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread;
But Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.


Location Revealed...

...I am blogging from the Hawaiian Islands.  The first set of pictures were from various places around Oahu.  The second set of pictures were from the Arizona Memorial (grave to some 900 US sailors).

Here are two more pictures from the Arizona.  The next two pictures show the wall of casualties from 07 DECEMBER 1941, a date which shall live in infamy.


Second photographic hints

Steel rusts and crumbles, oil leaks out of tanks, mingling with the water and making rainbows...

First photographic hints

I am close to the sea...

...but at one time an angry Earth made some mountain peaks near by...

...but the best scenes are often found while staring lazily up at the sky and consuming suitably diluted and flavored ethanol...


Complaining to myself...

...and to all of you lurkers out there. Seems a few new people wandered in from Anchorage, Alaska and somewhere in New Zealand.

I am reporting from somewhere in the Pacific (hint, I am on land and not on a boat, that ought to narrow it down to less than a thousand different islands).

I came across this link a while ago, but haven't bothered write about yet. It concerns something near and dear to my heart, namely leaving our cradle (Earth) and conquering the universe, or at least a couple of other rocks in the Solar System. I suppose it should come as no surprise that in this election year, as in most other election years, not a single bloody candidate cares. Check out this link from NPR:


McCain vaguely mentions something on his website about sticking to the Bush plan, which while not bad, is also not tenable since it was never funded. Obama seems to think he can take money away from NASA to educate scientists and engineers (no mention of what they will do with these educated folks, since NASA and it's contractors will be downsizing as a result of funding cuts). Clinton seems to muddle along, vague and noncommittal (no doubt waiting to see which way the political winds are blowing). Clinton's only redeeming quality so far seems to have been hiring Lori Garver, whom I remember from her role in the National Space Society back in the day.

Ugh. I wanted my children to reach the stars. Hell, I wanted to put my bootprints on at least one other world before I died. At the rate things are going, I might live long enough to see the Chinese build their first moon base. Damn reds might beat us after all.

Attention candidates: Prove me wrong, please.

PS: I will try post some pictures tomorrow, just in case anyone wants to guess where I am.


It's been such a long time...

Hopefully the band Boston doesn't sue me for that title. In fact, I fervently hope no one ever sues me for anything. Pistols at dawn, I say. It's the only honorable way to solve minor disagreements.

In any case, it seems I have been slacking off on this whole blogging thing. Shame on me. Hopefully, you have found other means to entertain yourselves.

Here are some oddball items, links, etc, that I meant to write about. Somehow, I never get to sit down and waste time in front of a computer until I am almost too tired to do so. Ah for the good old days of Tetris, Wolfenstein, and Doom. When the internet was young and wild and slooooooooooow. Now, I spend my days working (outrageous, where is the socialist utopia where robots work and we play!!!) and I spend my evenings chasing kids and getting them to bed.

First link:
  • ZIPskinny

  • This link takes you to a site where you can learn various statistics about your zip code (or any other zip code). Oddly, it was missing crime stats. Never fear, intrepid readers, for that brings us to the next link...

    Second link:
  • Family Watch Dog

  • This link takes you to a site where you can search for sex offenders, find their homes and places of work, see their pictures, descriptions, and crimes. Creepy in all kinds of ways. First, you can see just how many sex offenders are living near you. You can see their pictures (most look a bit off, but a couple were disturbingly normal looking). You can see the age of the victim (must control urge to hunt them down). But creepy from another perspective. How long will it take before we are all on a map somewhere, with pictures and other personal information? Assuming, of course, that we are not all plotted on a map somewhere already. And yes, I know, I have a map plotting your general locations posted right on my blog. Hypocrisy is a normal mode of thought for me. Big Brother is watching. "Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death." - George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 2

    Third link:
  • Brothel Field Trip

  • This link takes you to a CNN story about a college field trip. To Vegas. And just outside of Vegas to the Chicken Ranch to see a real brothel and meet the working girls. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over. When I was in college, we took a bus ride on the Skyway to Gary, IN to see a steel mill. Granted, we were engineering students, and the steel mill was cool (well, actually, it was really warm, because molten steel is really hot, oh never mind). But if someone said, come on to Vegas, we are going to see how engineering can effect the operations of casinos and brothels, I would have been all over it like a bad rash. Hmmm, perhaps an unwise simile for the subject matter. It's just not fair, I tell you. Kids these days don't know how good they have it. Etc etc blah blah blah, someone shoot me now, because I sound like an angry old man.

    Final discussion: According to a travel security service my company uses, Ireland invaded Chad back in February. Somehow I missed that.
    Chad February 21, 2008 11:24 GMT
    Irish Troops Arrive in N'djamena
    Approximately 50 Irish rangers arrived as a part of the EU peacekeeping force (EUFOR) on 21 February in the capital, N'djamena. The troops are scheduled to be deployed in the volatile eastern region of Chad, bordering Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). An additional 400 Irish troops are expected to be deployed in May. In a separate development on 20 February, three prominent newspapers in Chad announced a publishing strike until the government lifts the state of emergency. The media blackout was launched in protest against the state of emergency that places restrictions on the media.

    Here are some supporting links:
  • Irish Times Article

  • Boston Globe Article

  • And this is the unit that Ireland sent:
  • Army Ranger Wing

  • Seems like a rough and ready outfit.


    Does this make me a minority officially?

    This was posted on my company's internal web page today (names have been altered to protect the guilty). I think this officially makes me a member of a minority (and not just a minority of one-see I knew what you were going to type in the comments). I want some status now, points when applying for Federal jobs, etc. We have a day and a month, just like the other minorities. We have jokes made about us, derogatory names, and stereotypes. The stereotypes make me so mad sometimes, I want to get drunk and punch somebody. Finally, after decades of work, the National Association for the Advancement of Irish People (NAAIP) has made some progress.

    March 17, 2008 A message from the Office of Workforce Diversity. Celebrating National Irish American Heritage Month This month [deleted company] joins the rest of the country in celebrating Irish American Heritage Month. During Irish American Heritage Month, we celebrate Irish Americans and the significant contributions they have made to our nation.

    During the Great Potato Famine of the 19th century, approximately one million Irish came to the United States. And over the past 150 years, millions more have come. In this country, Irish Americans have ably served in their communities, making great contributions in literature and the arts, in business and industry, in government and in the Armed Forces. Approximately 44 million Americans proudly share their Irish ancestry, especially in celebrating St. Patrick's Day with parades, family gatherings,
    Masses and dances.

    Our commitment to having an inclusive work environment, building a diverse work force, and continuously improving employee engagement make [deleted company] a great place to work. During this month we congratulate [deleted company] Irish American employees.

    [deleted company] believes in having its work force reflect the diversity of our more than 9,000 customers in 190 countries around the world. We appreciate all employees for the work they do each day in support of our company's goal to be #1 in our industry.


    The Dilbert Widget now on my blog!

    Why be creative on my own, when other people are doing such a good job? Scott Adams now has a Dilbert widget for use with web sites. Look to the right. Enjoy.


    Quiz Results

    A friend sent me some links to some fun online quizzes, well fun if something is missing in your moral center anyway.

    Here is how I did:
    Five year olds beware:

    It's clobberin' time! 'Nuff said.

    Lunar survival skills:

    56%? I feel shame in my emotion processing unit. I should change my user name. My only solace is that I disagree with some of the choices.

    My geek percentage:
    74% Geek

    I took the Death Report quiz and found that 131,367 People Died the Day I was Born. Less than I would have thought.

    In addition to my life insurance, apparently my survivors could sell my corpse for:
    $4305.00The Cadaver Calculator - Find out how much your body is worth.

    And finally, since I have written about zombies before, here are my chances for the infamous zombie apocalypse scenario:

    Free California Dating


    "I have a weak back..."

    Found this on http://ocii.com/~cmeek/puns_v1c.htm:

    Joe - I've got a weak back.
    Moe - How long have you had a weak back?
    Joe - Oh, for about a week back.
    Moe - Sounds like you've got a weak back joke.
    Joe - Mayhap a Bad Joke Week?
    Moe - There -- have your weak joke back...
    Joe - Yes, but you gave me my joke back weak!
    Moe - This is a whole bag of weak jokes!
    Joe - You mean you won't back a weak joke? Aw, c'mon.

    So last week, as I was sitting on the floor trying to calm down a screaming child at 0-dark-30, a small bomb exploded in my back. Or at least that is what it felt like. I couldn't stand (pain was too great). I couldn't sit. All I could do was lay on the floor and whimper. I finally summoned enough courage to crawl all the way back to bed (still whimpering), where I stayed for most of the day. Got a doctor's appointment and was rewarded with many different kinds of drugs. A shot of some kind of anti-inflammatory drug, some steroids, some muscle relaxer and some hydrocodone. I am now practicing better living through chemistry. I was a little disappointed with the steroids, however. I have not bulked out like a weightlifter. Oh well. After a week, the pain was manageable, but it was still there. My next stop was a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. After reviewing the images, the doc determined I have a bulging disc. I guess I will now get to see yet another doc next week.

    I hope I haven't left you in spine-tingling suspense as you await the results. That would no doubt strike a nerve with some folks. I must now get off my tailbone and lumbar off to bed.


    Surveillance results to date

    Okay, as you may remember, I started spying on you, just to see who was reading this nonsense I write. Apparently, you folks are from all over the place. Here is a short list, in case you didn't check out the map:

    Cupertino, CA (1)
    Denver, CO (1)
    Avoca, IA (1)
    Highland Park, IL (2)
    Denham Springs, LA (1)
    North Hartland, VT (1)
    Quincy, MA (3)
    Mount Holly, NJ (1)
    Rockville, MD (1)
    Raleigh, NC (21)
    Tampa, FL (1)
    USA (9)
    Clacton-on-sea, Essex, UK (1)
    UK (2)
    Antony, Ile-de-France, France (1)
    Cluj, Romania (1)
    Australia (1)

    So, who are all you folks? I don't think I know anybody living in or near most of these places. Let's see what Google says about your home towns (or at least the place where the server sits):

    Cupertino, CA--do you work for Apple Inc? I do believe I have mentioned Apple or iPhones or something once or twice on the blog.
    Denver, CO--don't think this gets you into the mile high club that easily.
    Avoca, IA--either this place is really boring and people are leaving, or you are all dying off, because your population is decreasing (1534 two years ago, down from 1610 in 2000).
    Highland Park, IL--since I know people in Chicago, I assume this is where your ISP plugs into the Internet.
    Denham Springs, LA--I have actually never been to Louisiana, but I see you are near Baton Rouge.
    North Hartland, VT--I think I passed through your town on the way to Killington for a ski trip.
    Quincy, MA--I have been to Boston a number of times and recognize the name from maps and road signs
    Mount Holly, NJ--Predates the American Revolution by 69 years. Impressive.
    Rockville, MD--I have been to Maryland, so maybe this was me logging into the blog.
    Raleigh, NC--been to the airport while switching planes. Can't imagine who logged in 21 times from there.
    Tampa, FL--I hid from a hurricane once in Tampa, but it didn't hit the place I was living, so it was a wasted trip.
    Clacton-on-sea, Essex, UK--Apparently the home to a volunteer life saving station (Royal National Lifeboat Institution, http://www.rnli.org.uk/) similar to the USCG Auxiliary (http://www.cgaux.org/).
    Antony, Ile-de-France, France--Looks like a Parisian suburb.
    Cluj, Romania--Dates back to the Roman Empire and it's in Transylvania-vampires are now on the web.
    Australia--Anyone that will give AC/DC a home is alright by me.


    Swear a mighty oath

    A friend is about to turn in their green card, take the oath and become a citizen. I knew there was an oath involved, but I really had no idea what it entailed. I have provided a link above, but here is the text of the Oath of Allegiance for Naturalized Citizens:

    "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

    Wow. Maybe this whole illegal immigration phenomenon is grounded in this oath. You have got to have some stones to stand up and take this one (assuming you are honorable enough to mean what you say). The pledge of allegiance is down right wimpy and sad compared to the oath above. Just for comparison, this is an oath I am more familiar with, the Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment:

    "I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.''

    Still pretty scary stuff (it doesn't seem all that bad when you read it, but when you are repeating after the officer giving you the oath, with your right hand in the air, the whole weight of it just comes crashing down on your shoulders).

    But going back to that oath of allegiance, a question for my fellow native born citizens: Would you be willing to take that oath of allegiance if you had to? If the answer is no, do you sleep easy at night?