Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I guess it doesn't occur to some cops that we'd like to go home at the end of their shift, too?"

-David Codrea

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

A Christmas Story

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted so bad that year for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. So after supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight."

I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up the big sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.

When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me."

The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

When we had exchanged the sideboards Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" "

You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked.

The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "why?"

"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.

We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked.

"Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us. It shouldn't have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"

"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said, then he turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring enough in to last for awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."

I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and, much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks and so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy filled my soul that I'd never known before. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord himself has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two older brothers and two older sisters were all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will."

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. So, Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Just then the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nothing happening today

Family day.

Lots of cooking.

Enjoy the holiday.

Inappropriate Sentencing

Why can't pedophiles be charged with conspiracy to rape children or something similar?

They are certainly acting in furtherance of the crime. Without their business, the porn dealers wouldn't be selling it.

Arrgh! String 'em all up by their balls.

Monday, December 22, 2008


The longer I am a father, the more easily certain stories tear me up.
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — All Jeanna Grcich wanted for Christmas was for her daddy to come home. On Wednesday, the 8-year-old got her wish when Sgt. Chris Grcich appeared in her classroom at Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary School after serving nine months in Iraq.

After standing in shock for a second, Jeanna dropped the Christmas card she and her sister, Caitlyn, 9, had been making for him and they both ran into his arms.

“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” Chris Grcich told Jeanna, whose birthday was on Tuesday and who wished for him to come home when she blew out the candles.

Merry Christmas, kids.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Citi, Part II

As I mentioned here, I am through with CitiBank. Apparently, so are a lot of other people.

Hey Citi, when you screw everyone, while at the same time you are screwing your loyal customers harder, you create hard feelings. No pun intended. You screw me, I tell you to go to hell. Fair is fair. Hopefull, enough other people will do the same that you are forced to sell all of your holdings to a bank capable of customer servie, while also making sound financial decisions. You know, a bank run like a business instead of a mugger/freelance dom.

You lost me, a loyal, regular customer of 10 years. I have never so much as made a single late payment to you. Then, you double my interest while stealing my tax money.

Screw you.

Unorganized Militia: Propaganda Corps

I suppose I'm not actually a "gun blogger". Reading my history, I'm much closer to being a "crime blogger" or a "political blogger" or a "meaningless drivel blogger".

Oh well. I am a staunch and unapologetic believer in personal rights, personal liberty and personal responsibility.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Headline of the Blisteringly Obvious

Sheriff on train wreck: I believe one train did not yield

Humor in Google

I ran across a beautifully false Google ad today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reason to own a gun, #35465432169

Brittany Zimmerman, a 21-year-old college student who wanted to be a doctor, called 911 as she was being attacked by a stranger, police say.

Brittany Zimmerman's screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape.

But the police did not come for 48 minutes. By that time, Zimmerman was dead. Her fiance found her body.


Zimmerman managed to call 911 at 12:20 p.m. The call was taken by the Dane County 911 center and an internal investigation revealed the dispatcher did not hear any sounds that would signal an emergency.

Because of that, police were not sent to the apartment until 48 minutes after Zimmerman made the call. Her fiance was already there.

Just to be clear, this:
The call was taken by the Dane County 911 center and an internal investigation revealed the dispatcher did not hear any sounds that would signal an emergency.
apparently does not conflict with this:
Brittany Zimmerman's screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape.
48 minutes is a LOOOONG time.

I'm a day late...

...but so what? Buy the book anyway.

As you know, the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2008 landmark District of Columbia v. Heller ruling finally affirmed that the Founders fully intended the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to own and bear arms. The renowned Second Amendment scholar and lawyer Dr. Stephen P. Halbrook, Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, was key to the Heller victory—as well as to three previous gun-rights victories in cases before the Supreme Court. And his definitive defense of the Second Amendment is now available in The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms the first in-depth, book-length account of the origins of the Second Amendment and the most readable, comprehensive, and compelling work ever assembled arguing that the right to own a gun is as fundamental under the U.S. Constitution as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Yet, even before the ink was dry on the Heller decision, efforts were underway in Washington, D.C., to resume the assault against gun rights. Further, and despite the rhetoric, both President-elect Barack Obama and his choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, have repeatedly opposed Second Amendment rights, and any new federal judge appointments will likely be similarly biased.

Thus, preserving our constitutional rights will hinge on our ability to educate the American people on the imperative of Second Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s Heller decision has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to do this.

And now we have the tool to do so. Fascinating, seminal, and inspiring, The Founders’ Second Amendment is the perfect way both to educate ourselves and to reach friends and family who don’t yet understand Second Amendment rights. Our goal is to reach one million Americans with Steve Halbrook’s book during the Holiday Season and throughout the New Year ahead. Will you help?

Let’s make the Second Amendment Book Bomb a publishing phenomenon so great that even the mainstream media will have to take notice. Let’s spread The Founders’ Second Amendment so far and wide that Americans across the political spectrum, and all walks of life, will be discussing the Second Amendment in every possible venue.

With your help, we can make Stephen Halbrook’s book #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. To make this happen, please pledge to buy at least one copy of the book before or on the December 15th Second Amendment Book Bomb date (or even afterward, if this is your only option), and then spread the word to others. Let’s make this the most amazing and explosive event ever on the right to bear arms, and declare in no uncertain terms that the Second Amendment will be around for a very long time to come.

Because Choice is Bad

New law equalizes mental health insurance coverage

The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act used the $700 billion economic rescue package to gain enough votes. Along with financial rescue came federally mandated insurance equality for people with mental illness.

"Finally it's being recognized," said Pat Schwartzhoff of Rochester, who has experienced depression and talks at school assemblies about mental illness. The bill passed in October and was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush.

The mental-health equality portion of the bill is just as significant for many people as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which in 1990 banned discrimination against people with disabilities.

Mental illness insurance coverage must now equal coverage for physical illness.

So tell me, do you think this will make health insurance cheaper, or more expensive? This is government regulation raising costs for everybody, to benefit a small percentage of the population.

This is also inappropriate for an inclusion in a mortgage bailout.

I love it when politicians make economic policy by consulting a Ouija board instead of an economist or historian.


Throw her under the bus, you RINO idiot. She's the only reason your campaign didn't die in September. If you would have taken her stances to your platform, you would be picking out the drapes in the White House, instead of Mr. Obama. You were never conservative, and you never had a chance with your supposed base, until you chose her. Don't support the lying RINO, Pawlenty. That won't further your career, because he can't get the conservative base, either.

Speaking to ABC's "This Week," McCain was asked whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could count on his support.

"I can't say something like that. We've got some great other young governors. I think you're going to see the governors assume a greater leadership role in our Republican Party," he said.

He then mentioned governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Happy Bill of Rights Day!

In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the name by which the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known.[1] They were introduced by James Madison to the First United States Congress in 1789 as a series of constitutional amendments, and came into effect on December 15, 1791, when they had been ratified by three-fourths of the States. The Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government of the United States, protecting the rights of all citizens, residents and visitors on United States territory. Thomas Jefferson was the main proponent of the Bill of Rights[2]

Quote of the Day

"I hate to break this to you, but as long as I have a brain and two functioning hands, I have that right and the ability to exercise [the right to bear arms]. The desk lamp next to me, or the pencils in the cup on my desk, all have the capacity to be used as weapons. I can go outside, break a stick off a tree, and sharpen it into a spear–or spend a bit more time and turn it into a projectile-launching weapon–and there’s absolutely no law that can eliminate that ability. Whether you like it or not, people have the desire for personal weapons, and the ability to make them out of stuff we find around us at a moment’s notice. And by the way: it’s not up to you to decide what should be “allowed” to me, thank you very much."


Dilbert on the Big 3 Bailout

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Little Sense

Bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers by 2009.

Excellent. If we're going to socialize the Big 3(again), this needs to be addressed. "We'll help you stay afloat, but only if you let go of the anchor."

Of course, this is just a stalling technique. The GOP holdouts will ignore their principles and their principals in exchange for enough pork, which will inflate this communist bailout from $14 billion to at least $30 billion. JAFP.

As I said here, "I've never owned anything but American cars, but, if the bailout passes, I'll never own another."

Quote of the Day

As antagonistic and occasionally misguided as he is, Billy Beck gets the quote of the day.

Try to imagine poker game.

You and four of your friends decide on a friendly game one evening. Sitting down at the table, you decide on nickel stakes, but nobody has any nickels. Everyone has dollars.

So, upon finding a box of paper-clips, it is agreed that they will serve as tokens in the game. Each paper-clip will represent a nickel.

Everyone buys in for a dollar. Each person receives twenty paper-clips.

The game starts. Round & round it goes. Everyone has had a good time, and it's time to cash out. The paper-clips are gathered, whereupon it is now discovered that someone has sneaked ten paper-clips onto the table during the game. There are now 110 paper-clips representing five dollars.

Question: what has happened to the value of each paper-clip?

That is inflation, ladies and gentlemen.

Very clearly explained.


Man, 50, accused of using squirt gun to spray fox urine on teen pranksters

WILLMAR, Minn. — A 50-year-old rural Willmar man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges stemming from a homecoming week incident that allegedly included spraying toilet-papering teens with a squirt gun filled with fox urine.

Such a shame. And the lesson learned by the kids is...if you get caught, blame the victim? If the brats wouldn't have been vandalizing the man's house, they wouldn't have been sprayed. Quite frankly, they are lucky he assumed they were pranksters and had a squirt gun instead of a shotgun.

Truth in Advertising

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I will be seeing this movie in the theater.


During World War II, four Jewish brothers escape their Nazi-occupied homeland of West Belarus in Poland and join the Soviet partisans to combat the Nazis. The brothers begin the rescue of roughly 1,200 Jews still trapped in the ghettos of Poland. The film tracks their struggle to evade invading German forces while still maintaining their mission to save Jewish lives.

The Coleman/Franken Recount

Senator Coleman,

During the current recount, I'd like you to remember one thing.

By voting for the $700 billion communist bailout, you have abandoned your conservative base. Barkley was a protest vote for many, many conservatives. If you could have maintained conservative standards during the bailout, the protest voting would not have happened and you would have won by a landslide.

If you lose the election during the recount, it will have been because of your actions. Communist policy does not win conservative votes.


Sent this morning.

Tonight, people are going to die.

I own it. I love it. I've been suppressing an urge to see it in the theater again for a few months. It is almost as good the second time around. Definitely worth watching, but I wouldn't recommend watching it with children.

I don't want a job...

...but, I want to look like I want a job.

Lady, this ain't gonna get you hired.

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Kelly Kinney spends her days standing on Los Angeles street corners or in coffee bars hoping to get noticed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Let Them Fail!

If they can't run a business at a profit, let 'em fail. They will file bankruptcy, renegotiate the dead weight and come back stronger. Instead of a Detroit UAW worker getting $74/hour(total package) for pushing a mop, an Alabama man will get $12 for the same work. That's what mop-pushing is worth. The unions are not adding value to the product, so get them out of the equation.

If they can't manage bankruptcy, Toyota and Honda will buy up the piece, I'm sure. They'll move it all to a state that allows businesses to succeed and give us better cars cheaper.

Good News About Congress


Deficit leads to questions about newly approved amendment

Now that Minnesota is facing a $5.2 billion budget deficit, many are questioning a sales tax increase approved last month to fund the arts and outdoors.

No way. Idiots vote for a tax increase in the middle of a recession, then question their own wisdom one month later, when they realize recessions hurt.

Some lovely politicians are already looking for a way to subvert the amendment for their own pet projects.

Some at the State Capitol said with major budget cuts looming taxpayers should be paying for more important things like education or healthcare.

"We're saying that these things have a priority now than basic healthcare for human beings and school teachers and the like," said House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.

Who didn't see that coming? Oh, sorry. The majority of voters didn't see that coming.

Here's an idea: Don't give the government more power! It never works as promised!

Bruce Wayne is John Connor.

Next May, Terminator: Salvation is coming out. I'm assuming the Joker will NOT be putting in an appearance. This is Terminator, the post-apocalyptic thriller, using some of the same characters as The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

It looks decent.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


In addition to communicating with the local air traffic control facility, aircraft are required to give the Iranian Air Defense Radar a ten minute "heads up" that they will be transiting Iranian airspace. This is a common procedure for commercial aircraft and involves giving them your call sign, transponder code, type aircraft, and points of origin and destination. This exchange was overheard on the VHF Guard (emergency) frequency 121.5 MHz while flying from Europe to Dubai.

Air Defense Radar: "Unknown aircraft at (location undisclosed), you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself."

Aircraft: "This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace."

Air Defense Radar: "You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!"

Aircraft: "Roger that. This is a United States Navy F-18 fighter jet. Send 'em up!"

Air Defense Radar: ............... (no response ... total silence)

Via Dorian

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Remember: If you know what your plans are when the dead walk the earth in search of human brains, then a hurricane, blizzard, earthquake, or riot is no big deal."


I want the death penalty back

Pedophiles, hang 'em high and let 'em rot.

Parents, don't trust the most valuable thing in your life to strangers on Craigslist. Don't.

Who actually thinks it's a good idea to leave a 2 year old baby girl with a strange man in his twenties? Decision making skill sometimes need to be taken out and polished.

Romance isn't dead...'s deadly.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

"And then there are some things that change without notice. You don’t know when those changes occurred precisely, but one day you find yourself making breakfast for your children, and you’re talking about the snow outside, or the delicious properties of powdered sugar, and you find yourself realizing that at some point in the journey between holding them for the first time and watching them playing peek-a-boo with each other across the kitchen table, covering their eyes with sugar-dusted fingers, something profound has happened. You know without a doubt that you have ceased to consider yourself the most important person in your life.

And you find that you wouldn’t have it any other way."


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Of the People, By the People, For the People

I take these words seriously. The government exists to serve us, not the reverse.

The proper role of our government is clearly defined by the Constitution. The people in charge of interpreting the Constitution should be able to pass a seventh grade English test, and should NOT be allowed to possess a law degree. The Constitution is clear and unambiguous, in all cases. Any debate about the meaning is, quite simply, a willful misinterpretation.

Laws exist to protect property. What else could laws possibly be for? My life and my body are my property.

Government exists to enforce laws.

Therefore, government exists to protect property.

The first sign of a government in decline is when it fails its primary function, which, for those not following along, is to protect property.

A government that exists to protect the government is a government on the road to failure.

Socialism denies property, therefore, socialist governments are governments in decline.

Above all else, what I want out of my government is the same thing the founding father's worked hard to ensure. Leave me the hell alone to sink or swim on my own merits, or lack thereof. I don't need your intervention. I don't need your bailout. The coddling the government provides does nothing but breed dependence. Make people stand on their own two feet and you will find that (surprise, surprise) they can.

Canceled Accounts

I canceled my Citi accounts yesterday. I won't willingly do business with any company taking the Commie Bailout Money(CBM). They didn't sound surprised to hear my reason for leaving.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Security in your Home - Part 2, Lighting

Our next layer is lighting. Lighting is our best “deterrent from a distance”. If a house looks well-lit, with an inconvenient lack of shadows and motion sensor lights by each of the entrances, it is more likely to be considered a poor target for intruders. Lighting comes in three essential stages, two of which do not come into play until the burglar is actually in your house, but we will address all the stages here.

Install motion activated floodlights by every entrance. If possible install the light above easy reach, to prevent an intruder from simply unscrewing the light bulb. If that’s not possible, try to find a light with a locking grate over the bulb opening. This will force an intruder to be visible while he tries to enter your home. It also makes it easier for you to get your keys into the lock when you come home at night. Be sure your exterior lights illuminate the "hidden" entry and/or ambush points, like rear doors and windows, walkways, shrubs and garage entries. Keep your bushes trimmed away from your house, to avoid giving an intruder a place to hide while he works. Don't make his job easy for him!

In addition, put a nightlight in the living room area, away from the safe room. This will effectively disable a burglar’s night vision. It will also silhouette the intruder if you come into the room. It has the added benefit of allowing you to see where you are going if you need to get up in the middle of the night. Emergency nightlights with light sensor and "no power" detection are the best choice. Consider putting some of your lights on timers, or installing a FakeTV, to simulate activity when you are not home. If it looks like you are home, burglars are less likely to attempt entry.

Finally, have a flashlight with batteries available at the bedside of everyone in the house to see in the dark. This will allow everyone the ability to see if there is a problem at night, whether it is an emergency or a simple power outage. A stout flashlight can also double as a self defense tool, if necessary. Check the batteries when you check your smoke alarms. LED or crank-powered flashlights last a long time, with very little maintenance.

Lovely precedent, Mr. President-Elect

From the guy who campaigned as "one of us". Who pretended to understand the "middle class struggle". Who...well, you get the point.

Michelle Obama is to receive this £20,000 thank you from her husband for her support during the election.

The Harmony ring is made of rhodium - the world's most expensive metal --and encrusted with diamonds. It is being hastily made by Italian designer Giovanni Bosco in time for January's inauguration ceremony.

Only about 25 tons of rhodium are mined each year, mostly in South Africa, and as a result its price is typically around £5,000 an ounce.

This is the metal used when gold and platinum are considered too "common". Somebody thinks he's been elected king, I think.

Via Blackfive.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Black Friday Competetive Shopping Pentathalon

Event #1 - The Line Stand. A grueling endurance test. Competitors must stand or sit in the cold for a minimum of 3 hours before the playing field opens for business, while remaining on high alert for the start of event #2.

Event #2 - The Surge. The first full contact event. The moment the doors to the playing field are opened, the competitors must race to enter the store, as the cheap crap prizes will be snatched up by the first entrants. Bonus points for trampling innocent bystanders.

Event #3 - The Dynamic Obstacle Course/Treasure Hunt. An event with no time limit. Competitors must race around the store collecting tacky under-built prizes before any other entrant. This is also a full contact event. Elbows are the traditional weapon of choice, but not the only one, by any means. Points will be deducted for the use of courtesy or manners.

Event #4 - Math Challenge. Contestants must bring their accumulated prizes to the front of the playing field and submit them for examination. The referee will announce a total prize value, which the contestant must attempt to meet or beat with peeling plastic status tokens. Full contact in this event is grounds for dismissal.

Event #5 -The Great Escape. Contestants must rush their prizes through the parking lot, load their cars, pile the children on top of the prizes and hurry to the next stage, a playing field with identical rules, and a different logo by the entrance. Event #1 is almost always skipped for extended stages. Later in the day, event #2 is also generally bypassed.

What a freaking waste. There is no deal so good that I am willing to subject myself to the Competitive Shopping Pentathalon. I went out for lunch and a haircut on Friday. Spent the rest of the day playing with the Wally-Spawn.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Romantic

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Socialized Health Care, the preview

Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

Uh-oh. We'd better socialize the industry to encourage the best and brightest to stay. Oh wait....

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they'd consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there's too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

Hmm. The doctors want to leave because government intervention and regulation makes their lives difficult. Does anyone think socializing the industry will make this better? It will add to the red tape and decrease doctor salaries. That'll convince 'em to stay, for sure.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Found via AnarchAngel.

Friday, November 14, 2008

3rd Annual Second Deadly Sin Barbeque of Doom

I know it's early, but I think, for next summer's barbecue, I'm going to have honey-glazed ostrich kabobs, instead of a turducken, just to shake things up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Media Bias Here
NEW YORK -- MSNBC was the victim of a hoax when it reported that an adviser to John McCain had identified himself as the source of an embarrassing story about former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, the network said Wednesday.

David Shuster, an anchor for the cable news network, said on air Monday that Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, had come forth and identified himself as the source of a FOX News Channel story saying Palin had mistakenly believed Africa was a country instead of a continent.

Eisenstadt identifies himself on a blog as a senior fellow at the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy. Yet neither he nor the institute exist; each is part of a hoax dreamed up by a filmmaker named Eitan Gorlin and his partner, Dan Mirvish, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Imaginary people reporting imaginary things. Lovely.

The best part:
Gaines told the Times that someone in the network's newsroom had presumed the information solid because it was passed along in an e-mail from a colleague.

Email forwards are news stories now? I wonder if the budget for MSNBC includes the email tracking paycheck from the AOL/Microsoft collusion of 1996? Are they reporting on the lethality of Diet Coke?

Gun Auction for Project ValourIT ... =29&t=2254 ... e-for.html ... -valour-it

For those who don't know about this charity:
Valour IT buys laptop computers, and accessibility accessories for wounded soldiers. Be they wounded in combat or training, if they need a laptop, and Valor IT has the money, they're getting a laptop and everything they need to make it work.

...If they have the money.

So far, Valour IT has raised enough to give over 1500 laptops to our wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines; but there are more wounded men and women that could use our help.

So, just to keep this in the military spirit (and to use our rivalry to best effect), they have an annual interservice fundraising drive; with teams from and supporting each of the services competing to raise the most cash for the cause.

One should note, all the money ends up being used for ALL service members; the money raised by the Air Force team doesn't go only to Airmen. It's just a way of having a little fun while raising money for a good cause.

This is a standard, tax deductible charitable donation, and I can't imagine a better cause. All my charitable giving for the last two years, and for the foreseeable future (excepting that going to my parish), is going to Valour IT; and I ask you to please help in any way you can.

The details of the auction:
Last year, In order to add a little extra incentive to the Project Valour-IT fundraising challenge; and I had a reverse auction for a pistol.

Last year we auctioned an FEG PA-63, which is a perfectly decent little pistol; but not exactly a world beater.

We managed to raise about $5,000 through our little part of the challenge; and this year we need even more money, in less time, so I decided to up the ante a bit.

This year, we're auctioning off a SIG P6.

So, this is how it works. Anyone who donates to ANY of the teams during the fundraiser, send me a copy of your PayPal donation receipt for at least $150 (which I will verify with the folks at Soldiers Angels); and the person who donates the most, will win one of these, along with 2 magazines, a holster, and a set of custom wood grips:

I was going to refinish it, and put a set of night sights on it, but there was such vehement disagreement as to what finish to use, and what sights to put on it, that I decided to just leave it up to the winner.

The pistol the winner receives will be a former west german police issue pistol. It is in arsenal rebuilt condition, and was purchase from J&G sales, with a two magazines, a box, original paperwork, and a West German Motor Officers holster.

Obviously, due to the wonderful ATF, unless you are in Arizona, this pistol will need to be transferred from my FFL to yours; but I will cover the shipping. If you happen to live in Arizona I will handle this as a private transfer. Unfortunately for you crufflers out there, these pistols are not C&R eligible.

I hate to limit the pool of potential winners, but I'm not sure if this would be legal to transfer to someone in California and Massachusetts (because they have "approved" lists), or any of the states that require a special permit for every pistol you purchase (New Jersey and Hawaii for example); but it doesn't have any of the nasty "assault weapon" features that would get it banned in some states . If it is legal, hey great; ask your FFL to make sure.

Also note, this pistol would not be received from, transferred from, or won from Valour IT or soldiers angels; it would be coming from me, Chris Byrne.

This is my PERSONAL incentive to anyone who supports a charity I also support.

No-one at Valour IT or Soldiers Angels is in any way involved in this little giveaway. So, if some anti-gun lunatic wants to get all pissy, they can come talk to me about it, not Valour IT.

To be clear, I am not involved, just supportive.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

Found here.

The Finishing Sauce I use is as follows:

1 Cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Course Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Warm the Vinegar up enough so that it disolves the Sugar well. Then add the remaining ingredients.

I use it in one of those clear Ketchup bottles you can get from Wally World for about $0.99. Snip a little bit larger hole out of the spout with a pair of scissors. Once all your ingredients are mixed together, put your finger over the top, and shake vigorously.

Randomly squirt this over warm freshly pulled Pork, then kind of mix it up with gloved hands. This adds very little heat (despite the Red Pepper) and mellows out the stronger, gamier parts of the Shoulder. The Vinegar also helps break it down even more for some REAL juiicy pork.

Personally, I eat it just like that, but your guests can add whatever "Q sauce they prefer once it's on their plates or bun!

If you've never done Pulled Pork with a "Finishing Sauce" before, you're in for a real treat!!!! It's the secret ingredient that alot of Quer's don't know about, and part of the reason people at my 'Q Parties say "they've never had Pulled Pork that tasted this good, before!".


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Death of Discretion

Why do I have to know every detail about the sex lives of my coworkers? Why do I have to know about the domestic issues of the various people around me? What happened to being discrete about personal matters?

Veteran's Day II

A veteran -- whether on active duty, discharged, retired or in the reserve -- is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of up to, and including, his life.

That is honor. There are way too many people in this country today who no longer understand that fact.

By Roland Ashmore Newnan

Veteran's Day

You Can't Tell a Vet Just By Looking

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carrier didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth whose behavior is outweighed in the cosmic scales by four hours of unparalleled bravery near the 38th Parallel in Korea.

She is the nurse who fought against futility in Da Nang and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years.

He is the POW who left one person and came back another.

He is the drill instructor who has never been in combat, but has saved countless lives by turning no-accounts into Marines.

He is the parade-riding legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the white-haired guy bagging groceries at the supermarket, aggravatingly slow, who helped liberate a Nazi death camp.

A vet is an ordinary and extraordinary human being — someone who offered his life's vital years in the service of his country.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe.

—Author Unknown—

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The American people have officially fallen for the biggest bait and switch scam in history. May the gods have mercy on our souls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day, 2008

I was the 222 voter in my relatively small precinct, 15 minutes after the polls opened. When I got out an hour later, there were at least 200 more in line.

I held my nose a voted at least once in a way that was kind of painful. I decided I wanted to keep Franken out of office more than I wanted to punish Coleman. I voted no on all of the tax-raising referendums.

My predictions for the day:

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Munchkin Wrangler has started a new meme.

You have the opportunity to make a visit to the past. You get to pick one calendar year in the history of the United States, starting with its first full year of existence after declaring independence, 1777, and ending with the last full calendar year, 2007.

Your visit will start a minute after midnight on the 1st of January of that year, and end a minute before midnight on December 31st.

The ground rules are as follows:

  • This is a trip for education and/or entertainment. You may not interfere with history in any way. No assassinations, no “prescient” warning letters with details about the future mailed to world leaders, no procreation. You will be temporarily sterile for the duration of the trip, so you won’t be able to do silly stuff like being your own grandparent. Assume that any intentional attempt to influence history will cause the instant termination of your stay in the past. (No refunds.)
  • You may not set your future self up for financial gain in any way. No mass purchase of IBM or GE stock during Black Friday of 1929, no Microsoft or Apple stock in the 1980s. No setting up of savings accounts or any other interest-bearing mechanism.
  • You may not bring anything in, nor take anything out. You will enter the year with a set of period-appropriate clothing on your body, and another in a suitcase. You will also carry enough period currency with you to live comfortably and travel around at will for a year.
  • You may not leave the continental United States for the duration of your visit, nor contact any of your ancestors. No trips to meet the great-grandparents before their kids emigrated to the New World, and no warnings or advice. Tough rule, I know…but we can’t have you telling your great-grandpa about the coming Depression or WWII, even if it wouldn’t influence history overall.
With these rules in mind, which year do you pick for your visit, and why?
Interesting. This will take some thought.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

Anytime someone talks about the government taking wealth from one group and redistributing said takings among another group who didn’t work for it, that person is a socialist.

-Kim duToit

Ten Cannots

by William J. H. Boetcker (1873-1962)
  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

via Bayou Renaissance Man

Gran Torino

I'll be watching this movie.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Citizens' Police Academy, Part 2

This week, the focus was on the patrol units, a department tour and Emergency Response Units, aka SWAT.

That patrol section was interesting, but only in the details. Nothing was surprising there.

The surprising part was finding out that St Louis Park only uses their SWAT team 4-5 times per year. It is generally only used for high risk warrants. The really surprising part is that they have a concrete scoring system to define "high risk". If the warrant doesn't score high enough, they don't use SWAT.

Listening to the whispers and questions during the range tour and SWAT section was interesting. There were definitely a few people who hadn't thought through the concept of "police" when it comes to the delegation of force.

I was disappointed at the end. The presenter was one of the instructors and range officers. He brought in a few of the SWAT weapons. He did check to see they were clear, and had the other officer in the room double check. He proceeded to sweep the room a few time after that. The 4 rules exist for redundant safety, not for convenience. I didn't call him on it at the time, but I should have.

I left when show and tell started. If the range officer can't control his own muzzle, I wasn't about to sit around while he watched a dozen other people not control theirs. I know I passed up a teaching moment, but it was too chaotic to be comfortable.
  1. All guns are always loaded!
  2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!
  4. Always be sure of your target!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another year...

...another blood sacrifice.

For those who are interested, if you are building a cemetery fence using $2 Target skulls as finials, and you need to drill a hole in the bottom of the skull....use a vise. Don't hold the top of the skull while drilling the bottom. If you DO hold the skull, make sure your off hand isn't in line with the drill bit, in case the drill bit pops through the bottom of the skull with enough force to ALSO pop through the top of the skull.

Overheard at my house:
"Wow, honey, there's a chunk of skin missing here, and a chunk of skin missing here."
"It's not missing, it's dangling over here."

The Obama-Slide, a Foregone Conclusion

So many conservatives and Republicans have completely given up on this election.

Barack Obama is NOT a foregone conclusion and he is certainly not going to win by a landslide.

The Battleground States
Pelosi and Reid pretend the election is settled. The mainstream media pretends the election is settled. The pessimistic right actually believes it is settled. It's not. The best evidence of this is the battleground states. The media is making a big deal about McCain being forced to work for the traditional red states, but they are ignoring the fact that Obama is fighting just as hard in the traditional blue states. Minnesota has been solidly blue in every Presidential campaign in decades. We went for Mondale. According to CNN, we are now leaning towards Obama. Every minor jump in the polls for Obama is front page news. In a settled state. We aren't the only settled state, from either settlement, that has turned into a battleground. Obama currently has 192 "settled" electoral votes, and he can probably count on 150 of those after the Bradley Effect.

The Bradley Effect
Details here. The short version: Some people being polled are so worried about the perceptions of others that they lie about their choice of candidate to avoid the appearance of racism. This skews the polling numbers. Barack Obama is openly planning on implementing unconstitutional socialist* policies. That is enough reason to vote against him, regardless of his skin tone.

Media Bias
The mainstream media is so thoroughly in the bag for Mr. Obama. They are trying to demoralize the politically right. It's working. The left-wing commie propagandists are good at their jobs. Unfortunately(for them), they rest of the country isn't nearly as extreme. Most people float around the center, politically.

Have you looked at the poll results? An 8 point lead with a 3 percent margin for error is nothing. The margin for error means that the 50-to-42 point lead could just as easily be 47-to-45. That's without knowing the polling sample, methodology or confidence level. Factor in the Bradley Effect, and Media Bias, and McCain could conceivably have a 10 to 15 point lead.

I am not saying McCain is going to win, though I hope he does. I am saying that this race is too close to call, and anybody who says otherwise is either A) a propagandist, b) too hopeful, or C) completely taken by the media hype.

* "Redistribution of wealth" is a prime tenet of socialism, for those who were offended by that sentence.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

SLP Citizens' Police Academy, Part 1

I'm participating in the Saint Louis Park Citizens' Police Academy. Last night was the first night.

The first half of the night was introductions and a history of the city as it applies to the Police Department. It was interesting, and I wish it would have covered more, but links were provided to flesh out the details.

Interesting fact: As little as 15 years ago, the SLPPD union was represented by the Teamsters.

The second half of the night was a review of the philosophy of SLPPD policing. They really strive to maintain a culture of cooperation with the community, not "Us vs. Them". It's impressive how much they want to be a service-oriented department. It's a pervasive part of the SLPPD culture. I know the academy is partly a propaganda mission, but the mission statements were on every wall in every hallway. They want this to be their department culture, and they are proud of it. It shows in their real-world dealings with the general public, too. I've had several opportunities to interact with the police here, and I've never had cause for complaint.

Interesting fact #2: SLPPD requires quarterly shoots, instead of the "standard" annual shooting qualification.

We also got into a discussion on the recent history of the "problem" areas in town.

Shiny stuff comes and goes....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I saw a "9/11 was in inside job" bumpersticker this morning. Is anybody so stupid as to actually believe that crap, now?

I understand that the gullible conspiracy nutjobs fell for it, to begin with, but it has been thoroughly debunked, in every conceivable fashion, but experts in every related field. There is not a single reliable source for the insane placement of guilt on American shoulders.

To make matters more confusing, I saw the sticker on a car that was, presumably, driven by someone on his way to work. How do you maintain a job if you can't maintain an objective grip on reality?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thing that sounded like a good idea at the time, number 654655

If you're making bacon cheeseburgers, don't mix the grease from a pound of bacon into the hamburger before you throw it on the grill.

It makes the burgers taste good, but the 4-foot flames creeping onto the drip pan toward the propane tank is scary. The flames started the second the burgers hit the grill.

I turned the gas off halfway through the cook and the flames didn't die until well after the burgers were done.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Toys for Tots

Just in time for the holidays, there is a charity round-up!

A group of Minnesota gun owners are putting together a Toys For Tots drive. Details here. Donations can be made directly using this Paypal link.

A woman was robbed and beaten in St. Paul. She has cancer and a host of other problems. Local gun enthusiasts and instructors are putting together training, holsters, and a firearm to help her avoid this in the future. Details here. Donations can be made via Paypal.

Last, but not least, a national forum is organizing a care package drive for its deployed members. Details here.

Quote of the Day

"Congress’s response to being told that 70% of the electorate were opposed to [the bailout] was to stick a couple of pieces of toilet paper on where the ears and nose should have been, and to tack on another 138 billion. Presidential contest aside, this should be a landslide year for None Of The Above."



I've got some hot neighbors.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

There is evil in the world.

I hope I am never confronted by certain forms of inhumanity, for I will lose control in the face of some evil.

Naiveté and Poor Tactics

If McCain wins, look for a full-fledged race and class war, fueled by a deflated and depressed country, soaring crime, homelessness - and hopelessness!

Plenty of Americans would rather stay in their dream state than to recognize the poverty sweeping across the country, right here, right now.

Obama understands that people are suffering. Every week, prices go up at the supermarket, and people are unable to feed their families. It already is dark and stormy for millions, who can't even afford pencils, book bags and lunch money for their children.

But when Obama wins the White House, we may just see a revolution that can turn the tide and improve this nation for everyone, not just a select few.

And I expect him to keep his word.*

Sweetheart, your race/class war is already lost. It's the right that has the guns and the training.

And NO politician will keep his word unless there is an immediate and obvious benefit to do so. If your holy one wins next month, expect to get thrown under a bus for whatever political aim satisfies his needs at the moment.

Another conversion to the Nation of Rifle(wo)men

It begins like many....
I have been anti-gun all my life. When my sons were little, I wouldn't allow them to ever own a toy gun. But events in the past few years have radically changed my views. It starts with September 11, 2001.

Followed by several years of horrible acts committed by horrible people.

This part about the Beltway sniper got to me:
One day I said to her, “I’m glad you feel safe on the bus and in the school, but what about when you’re walking between the bus and the school?” I will never forget her answer, and neither will you. She replied, “The teachers line up between the bus and the school, and we walk between them.” I just started crying as I typed that. Those defenseless teachers had no way to protect the children other than to put their own bodies between the students and any potential bullets.


The tragedy at Virginia Tech was the final straw. I was not going to be a victim anymore. My children were not going to be victims anymore.

I took my first gun safety class, and I got my first concealed carry permit. Some people may be surprized that I have changed. I am surprized that some of them haven't.

Read the rest. It's worth it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating

Monday, September 29, 2008

Surprise, surprise

China lies.

For some reason, I'm not intimidated by their space program, or the plan to put a man on the moon in the next 10 years.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Biased Survey Skews Stats

In other news, dog bites man.
Nearly a year after Minnesota implemented a statewide smoking ban, the new law is getting high marks from residents. A new survey released today by ClearWay Minnesota, a strong nonprofit advocate of the ban, shows that 77 percent of Minnesotans support it with 41 percent indicating strong support.

In fact, the smoking ban is more popular than the Mall of America (69 percent) and State Fair Pronto Pups (69 percent).

The lobbying group primarily responsible for stealing this particular property right from private property owners says the theft is popular.

And they would never lie.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interesting Response... this article.
Reading the top article... what a way to live. In constant fear of everything. That bloke will be dead of stress and anxiety, but his corpse will be safe inside his little fortress. A bit over the top to say the least.

I'll be dead of stress for suggesting people be aware of their surroundings and lock their doors and windows before going to bed. Interesting.

Al Frankenphiles

When you are having a Frankenphile convention, and you decide to go out en masse, it may be a good idea to be on your best behavior, to put a positive light on the face of your cause.

When 50 of you go to Eddington's, blocking others, filling the aisle, and otherwise being rude, it makes your entire cause look like jerks. Hey, stupid people, you were wearing Al Franken stickers. I know who you were representing.

Real people, adults that is, say "please" and "thank you" and occasionally, even "excuse me".

If "excuse me" doesn't work, for the sole reason that you are a jerkface, I'll have to demonstrate my elite crowd-maneuvering skills, learned in the festival seating sections of the finest death metal concerts.

And no, I won't admit to hanging a sign on the wall about Al Franken and gerbils. What he does in the privacy of his own stuffing room is his own business.

And Sarah Palin can kick his ass.

Kids and Bikes

My son is almost 9. Up until a few weeks ago, he didn't know how to ride a bike.

We had tried. Hard. Often. For years, off and on.

We tried training wheels.

We'd go to the park, and I'd hold on to the seat and watch him panic every time the bike leaned over, just a bit.

We'd go until he was crying and I was completely frustrated, then his bike would get parked for a few months, until we both forgot.

The last time-on the way home-he said, "Dad, I'm sorry, but I want to throw my bike away."

After he went to bed, I did some research, to figure out exactly what I was doing wrong. The answer was "everything". The traditional methods of teaching a kid to ride a bike...suck.

I found an ebook, titled, Riding Made Easy. It cost $15, which is a lot for a pdf file.

I wanted my son to learn how to ride a bike. To experience the freedom of exploring the neighborhood with his friends.

I knew that, if he didn't learn, he'd regret it later in life.

I wanted him to have the fun.

I bought the book.

The next morning, I told my son that we would try again that evening, with no stress and no tears. He agreed to one more try.

I followed the instructions in the book. No training wheels or holding the seat.

Two hours later, my son rode his bike home, and has been on his bike every day since.

Riding Made Easy
is quite possibly the best $15 I have ever spent.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Self Defense in the World of Wally

The following is absolutely true.

A few years ago, I had a self defense encounter.

My beautiful wife was having trouble sleeping, shortly after our son was born. She was in the living room, watching TV at 4AM. I was tucked into bed, sound asleep.

Suddenly, the cats went nuts. They started hissing at the door and windows. Their fur stood up. Angry cats. Then my wife saw a shape run past our bay window.

She ran in to get me. I jumped out of bed, grabbing a sword(I didn't own a gun at the time) and the telephone. I handed the phone to my wife and told her to call the police. I checked on my son, then checked the rest of the house. From the windows, I couldn't see a problem in the yard.

My wife, on the phone with the police, looked out our front window, to see the prowler, across the street, going from one house to the next.

Bravely, ignoring the safety of my home, and the tactical advantage of waiting for the police, I ran out of the front door, bearing a sword and wearing only my boxers.

I saw the prowler, lurking in front of my neighbor's front door.

I held the sword aloft and fiercely shouted,"You don't belong here!"

To which the prowler replied, "I'm delivering your paper!"

That was the week we started tipping him heavily.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Obama Campaign

Obama 08: Let's Get This Party Started

Monday, September 22, 2008

US Code

For those curious, or having too much time on their hands, here is some light reading, every Federal law in the U.S.

Couldn't have said it better

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Security in your Home

This is part one of a series.

We’re going to discuss using a layered approach to improving the security of your home. Using a layered approach provides two primary benefits. First, it makes your home too much work for the “casual” burglar. Most burglars will take the path of least resistance. Multiple layers of security remove your home from that path. Second, each layer adds to your reaction time, either by warning you of an intrusion, or slowing down your intruder. This gives you time to get your family to safety and call 911. Every second counts.

Before we get into the options for home security, I want to define layers, in the context of security. A security layer is anything that provides notice of intrusion, or anything that slows or prevents said intrusion. In plain English, if it slows down an intruder, or convinces an intruder to go elsewhere, or alerts you to an intruder's presence, we’ll consider it a security layer. These layers can be anything from the streetlight on the corner eliminating shadows in our yards, to the monitored alarm systems with sensors on every possible entrance to our houses, to the family dog. Our goal is to convince the intruder to seek easier prey, or failing that, to slow them down enough that we can get to safety and wait for the police without fearing for our lives. We’ll be approaching the layers in the same manner as an intruder, from the outside in.

The first layer an intruder will encounter is an intangible that will never be noticed. This is the most important element in any security system. I’m talking about planning and awareness. The best security system in the world will accomplish nothing if you don’t get it installed before there is an incident or if you don’t know what to do when it is activated. The loudest alarm won’t help if you’re not paying attention when is shrieks.

Plan ahead. Get the alarm installed before you need it. Trim your bushes back, reinforce your front door, and most importantly, develop a plan of action for you and your family. Have a plan of action for your family in the case of a home invasion/hot burglary, much like you would for a fire. Conduct “Invasion Drills” as often as you would conduct Fire Drills. Everybody in the family should know what to do and where to go in the event of a home invasion.

Be alert. If your dog barks, investigate the bark. That’s why you have a dog. If your security lights turn on, look out the window and find out what caused it. Lock your doors and windows if you know you’re going to be less aware for a time. That means lock the door when you take a nap or a shower, or when you will be listening to loud music. Many people let down their guard at home, assuming nothing bad can happen there, that nothing bad can happen during the day. This is simply not true. If you are aware of what is going on around you, you are much less likely to be victimized. I’m not suggesting constant hyper-vigilance 24 hours per day. People need downtime to relax. I am, however, strongly suggesting you take basic precautions before you unwind.

Next time, we will discuss lighting.

Cross-posted here and here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm off.... leave the gene pool.

Three kids is enough.

Update: That wasn't so bad. If you're in the market for a urologist in Minnesota, I recommend Jeffrey Twidwell.

My religion

When I was growing up, my mother ran a daycare center out of our house. There was a constant, changing herd of children every weekday.

There was one particular kid, a boy who's father wasn't around, who was a particularly spoiled brat. He always insisted on getting his way. If any of the other kids disagreed, he would threaten them. The threats were never violent; he'd threaten to withhold some favor from them.

The day that stands out in my mind was shortly before his 5th(6th?) birthday. He wanted to play one game, the other boys wanted to play a different game. Boy #1 said, "If you don't do what I want, you can't come to my birthday party.

That was the day I realized I knew God, and he was a five year old brat.

Thus began my departure from Christianity.

I had always been agnostic, from the age of four. I came home from Sunday School one week, crying because nothing made sense. None of the stories added up, and a lot of them contradicted each other. "Mom, how can I know that God is real?" There is no answer to that question that can stand up against the most cursory scrutiny, even if the person doing the scrutinizing is four.

A couple of decades of study and introspection didn't make things more clear.

I spent some time identifying myself as a pagan, but I was pagan in a way that made other pagans twitch and run for the stake and kerosene. It was a fairly pathetic solipsist pantheistic multi-theism masquerading as religion. "I'm god, you're god, this is god, that's god, all that groks is god." It sounds good to a hippy, but it doesn't come with any answers, just questions and BS.

I'm still most likely to identify myself and an agnostic pagan, just to make people twitch.

Now, I'm hesitant about making the jump into atheism. My religious philosophy can best be summed up as:

I don't know who's cranking, but I hope he doesn't stop.

Whether he's natural laws, Jehovah, midichlorians, or the Great Green ArkleSiezure, I just want him to keep on keepin' on.

Proselytes, stay away. I have no urge to be converted.

Besides, as I told the Mormon kids playing missionary on my doorstep, I'm set.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tax Cuts, explained

Tax Cuts - A Simple Lesson in Economics
Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill, proportional to current tax demographics, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

"Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20."

So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being "paid" to eat their meal.

So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same percentage amount, so he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20, but he got $10." declared the sixth man, now pointing to the tenth man.

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"

"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered a really shocking thing. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes do get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D
Distinguished Professor of Economics
536 Brooks Hall
University of Georgia
Athens, Georgia 30602-6254

Socialism, outright

"We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," Biden said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."

That's income redistribution, without even bothering to sugar coat it. So, Mr. Biden, how did you set up the loopholes for yourself and your friends?

Patriot Guard Theft

Someone is attempting to steal the entire Patriot Guard organization. Give what you can.

My Fellow Patriot Guard Riders,

This email is going to be a little different than any other you have seen. In the past you have encouraged you to attend any mission you could, and been reminded that we do not expect you to do more that what you feel you can. There are some that can make it to missions on a regular basis. There are others that can only make it to one or two a year. There are others that can't make missions at all, but can and do pray for the families of those that are touched by loss. There are still others that post condolences in the mission threads.

It's never easy for me to ask anyone for anything. This time is no different. However, I'm going to ask, because I have been told if you don't ask you don't stand a chance of getting. I am not asking for myself, but for those we serve.

You are on this list because at one point in your life you felt the tug at your heart. You knew you had to make a stand for those families that were suffering. We could not allow the protesters to disturb the families during their most difficult time. Our mission has remained true. We still stand as a shield of love around the families whenever we are asked to do so. We have done so countless times. We also serve the families of those killed in action, wounded soldiers and veterans in need. We have done these things as Patriot Guard Riders through our Help on the Homefront program.

Most of you are probably aware and others may not be of the fact that there are a few individuals that are trying to take our name - Patriot Guard Riders - away from us. Those individuals believe that it is ok for them to profit personally from our mission. They are not content to serve others without personal gain. They want to use our name and logo to start a similar organization that will put money in their pockets. Legal proceedings are already taking place. The proceedings were not started by Patriot Guard Riders. They were started by one individual that challenged our right to use Patriot Guard Riders and the related logo. A few have suggested we let him have it and then start another organization.

It has taken us years to build our reputation within the ranks of military public affairs, casualty assistance officers, law enforcement, funeral directors, politicians, and most of all, our Gold Star families. You earned this reputation. You worked hard, prayed hard and answered the call. There are tremendous consequences if we do not fight this legal fight. Although we are incorporated as a legal entity in Minnesota and have our own board of directors, we are Patriot Guard Riders. This affects us equally. We, too, would have to change our name.

Those who seek personal gain would then be able to profit from our reputation, but they would no longer act out of selfless service, but rather that of personal profit. We seek to remain a 100% volunteer organization across the nation.

The following was taken from the front page of our national website. Please give it your attention.

If each member of the Patriot Guard Riders was to send in just $10.00, we should have more than enough to cover any and all legal expenses. We all know this is not a realistic expectation since many people registered are not active members. Still I would like to ask all members and supporters to consider a donation to the Legal Defense Fund to help save the legal name and logo for PGR. If you can give $10 to $20 that would be great, but any amount is adds to what is needed. If we lose our name and logo it will have a tremendous affect on our ability to continue our mission as we know it, and to generate funds that are used to meet the needs of those we serve.

As an FYI, when you make a purchase at Twister's Store or the PGR-PX, you are in effect making a donation to their legal defense fund and supporting their lawsuit against Patriot Guard Riders, Inc.

I know that you have already given much of yourselves and it troubles me to suggest that you give more, but I strongly believe this is the time for me to ask.


"Dear Fellow Patriots,

As you have probably noticed by now there is a new button on the home page just below the navigation pane on the left hand side. This button will enable you to make a donation to our Legal Defense Fund. It's labeled Defense Fund, as not to confuse it with the "Donate To PGR" button below it. This is a PayPal account and 100% of donations will go to pay our legal costs for the trademark issue. Our leadership was truly hoping it would not come to this, but they need your assistance in keeping the "Patriot Guard Riders" in the possession of its members, not one person. The board has tried at length to negotiate this issue, but their efforts have fallen on deaf ears and are left no other option but to follow all legal avenues available to them.

This is not something the BOD asks lightly. Our members already pay all of their own expenses to honor the fallen, to attend every mission. They pay for the privilege to ride in the rain or in the cold, and the Board of Directors does not wish to further add to their burden. Since the PGR is a 100% volunteer organization, it counts on donations from members and other concerned citizens to help keep us up and running.

If it appears the donations are approaching the amount of the legal costs, the button will go away. We don't want to raise one extra penny this way; our members give so much already.

If there is any amount raised in excess of the legal fees, 100% of the surplus will be given to the HOTH program.


You can find the Legal Defense Fund donate button on the left hand side of the main Patriot Guard site, Checks may be made payable to "Patriot Guard Riders, Inc." and mailed to: Patriot Guard Riders, PO Box 822513, Vancouver, WA 98682. *Please* note on the check if it is for the Legal Defense fund.

I understand that there are some that are not in a position to give, but for those that can I am asking you to support our organization. In no way is this is a requirement and there are no negative consequences if you choose not to - well - except for that fact that we may be under funded for this legal battle.

It is no easier now for me to hit send than it is to ask you to join with me in funding this legal battle. However, I am able to do so because I am convinced that this organization and its mission is worth fighting for.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them of either the board or the missions team: and

With respect and appreciation for all you do...

Monica Mead
MN State Captain
Patriot Guard Riders