Saturday, November 20, 2004

What language in a country?

Clayton Cramer has a link to an article about the European Union calling for all immigrants to learn the local language and customs, and go by them. Which is reasonable. In fact, should be required.

If you came to the U.S. from another country, and with family & friends want to speak the old language, go ahead. You run a business and a lot of customers also know, and want to speak, that language, no problem. You're with friends in a restaurant and speak to each other in that language, doesn't bother me.

BUT, when you are doing any kind of official business- city/county/state paperwork, licenses, that should be done in English. You don't like that? Tough shit.

If I moved to Mexico, I'd be expected to learn Spanish. To Germany, German, and so forth. That so many come to the U.S. and expect all documents, business, etc., to be done in their language so they don't have to learn English, is disgusting. You should not get to take a drivers license test in any other language, and for damn sure a voting ballot should be in only one language.

If you want to live and work in this country, learn the damn language.

Or leave.

One more reason to like Condoleeza Rice

She has a firsthand understanding of one of the reasons for the Second Amendment. Smart, tough-minded, capable...

If not for Prez in 2008, then soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The 'lifestyle' dodge

My daughter was telling me about a woman who runs a site with pictures of women currently suffering from or recovering from (my way of putting it) anorexia and bulemia. Apparently the lady said she had decided that these two things were not a 'lifestyle', they were an actual problem. Well, duh.

I've noticed that that word is used to excuse a lot of things. Someone doesn't have a problem, they're not doing something wrong, it's their lifestyle. Or even better, an alternative lifestyle. There, now you aren't allowed to criticize it, who are you to speak of my Lifestyle?

Got news for you. Repeatedly doing something stupid does not mean you have an alternative lifestyle; it just might mean you're stupid. As the man said, "Here's your sign".

'Day of Destruction' part II

I taped the second half since I'd be out of the house when it was on, and I've rarely been so happy at being able to fast-forward through the crap. Which shortened the 2-hours to about 35-40 minutes. Yes, they were breaking for commercials about every ten minutes, and I could get through that, too.

As I said before, I like monster/critter/disaster movies, but I do require a fair amount of realism. One spot in particular; assistant says the highest recorded windspeed for a F5 tornado was 243mph. This is a new movie; you'd think they'd at least check for the information before writing something like this. Due to being at home wondering if the beast was going to turn right or come over my house, I kept close track on the May 3rd tornado outbreak in 1999, especially the F5 that came through town(note: there was more than one F5 that day, this is the one they got the readings from and that individually did the most damage). That was the first time the National Weather Service got doppler radar readings for windspeed-among other things- on an F5, and it read 319mph. Yeah, I'm something of a weather geek; however, I think a lot of people probably caught that, and it was one more inaccuracy added to the list.

Oh yeah, the Air Force pilot landing, picking up passengers and taking off IN THE EYE of the 'hurricane' that formed in the space of a day over the Great Lakes was another good one.

As Dax Montana says, "Just damn!"

Note: the doppler windspeed readings have a 7mph error factor. Therefore, the big one may have only been a lousy 312mph, or may have been a really nasty 326. Real difference there, y'know.

Prince Charles gets it right

For the most part, I have little good to say about the future King of England, but in this he hits it.

Key quote: "People think they can all be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary work or having natural ability. This is the result of social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially engineered to contradict the lessons of history."

When I first saw something in a headline about 'keeping to your station' I thought what has this idiot said now? But in the context of what he actually said, he's right.

If you want to be a fine guitarist, singer, writer, if you want to be a judge or whatever, you will have to work for it. And with all the work in the world, there's no guarantee you'll get where you want to be.

Talent is something you're born with, an innate ability to do something well. Skill is how you develop your ability to do something. I've known people with amazing talent, who never developed the skills to use that talent. And I've known people with no real talent for something, but they worked hard to develop the skills involved, and were pretty damn good. Talented people who aren't that good at whatever are fairly common; so are people who have no real talent, but work so damn hard that they're pretty damn good at it.

To reach the highest levels of most any field requires some degree of innate talent for it. And schools do not do kids any favors by telling them they can do anything as long as they wish it hard enough. They need to be taught that anything worth doing is going to require work- usually lots of it. The fact that they so often don't teach them that is one reason for a lot of the problems we have now.

How NOT to wake up all the way

Wake up(somewhat), stumble to kitchen, start water for tea. Decide you're conscious enough to feed the cat, and SMASH! The window in the laundry room smashes in. No cracks here, I mean glass all over the room.

Say something along the lines of "What the hell?!?" and check room. There's nobody in the back yard, so look at walls, halfway expecting to see a bullet hole. Nothing. Rock? You look down...

At the bird that flew through the window, and is sitting there with a "Uhhh" look on its face.

Bird of Peace my backside. Bird of pieces of glass all over the floor. Little feathered boob's lucky I didn't let the cat have him for breakfast.

Guess what I'm doing this evening?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

By the way...

Ever noticed how warm a cat in the lap is on a nasty day?

Damn, it's wet out there!

It's been raining off & on for about four days now, with fog added in at night. My yard is so wet, the ground squishes when you step on it. If it weren't for the grass, you'd sink.

Upside, spent the morning scouting an area for deer season next week. Lots of sign, and some good places to set up. So, just maybe...

But it's still bloody wet out there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

That shooting by a Marine in Fallujah

Caught some info about in on the NBC news last night- just happened to be in a place where it was on- and based on the incomplete information they gave, my first thought was, "So what?"

Among the things I don't know;
Were his hands in sight?
If so, were they open & empty, or closed?
Did he react at all to commands?

If his hands are out of sight, you have no idea what he may be holding, gun, grenade or detonator.
If his hands are in sight, but closed, you have to look for anything he may be holding, and/or any wires.
If he can obviously hear you and ignores you, that factors in with the above.

You're in a place where the bad guys are booby-trapping the bodies of their wounded and dead(hey, NBC, that's not a new tactic, it's been around a long time), and the wounded themselves may well use a weapon- gun, grenade or bomb detonator- to try and take a few infidels with them. You do not take chances with them, not if you want to stay alive and whole.

So, based on what I do know, big deal. We're dealing with people who think cutting people's heads off on camera shows what true believers in God they are, and they want to die- preferably while killing one of us. I know a lot of people are going to scream about how horrible we are, etc. Screw 'em. Those marines are alive, and the bad guys are dead. And that is the point of this.

There are, from what I understand, basically three ways to win a war. 1, you outmaneuver the other side so badly they realize they can't win and either surrender or sue for peace. 2, you smash them so badly in battle- maybe several battles- that they give up. 3, if 1 or 2 don't do the job, you kill them until either the survivors surrender, or there are none left to fight. It ain't pretty or nice, but that's the way it works. The Nazis fought until the very end. The Japanese were set up to do the same, hoping to bleed us so badly we'd negotiate a peace leaving that government in power... until Fat Man and Little Boy shocked them enough to end it. The people we're fighting here are just as bad, they'd rather see the whole world blighted than not see their beliefs in control; and since being dhimmi, converted or dead is not something most of us will tolerate, it's on until the end. And stopping people like this, things like this will happen.

Semper Fi, guys.

Monday, November 15, 2004

'Day of Destruction'; it's a turkey

Now, I like good monster and disaster movies, but I've become more critical over the years. Which means I have to dump on this movie.

Massive storm systems forming, ok. Two of them meeting, ok. The rest of this? Crap.

Where to start? The head of the Severe Storms Lab in Norman is blaming global warming. They show a display of the 'polar jet stream', except the video is a mesocyclone that could be anywhere. And a severe storm system doesn't just 'appear', not one of the sizes depicted.
The Evil Power Company Executive is screwing several state's power systems up for profit, AND causing fish-kills by working a nuclear plant above safety levels.
The Dedicated Public Servant is bitching how nobody will listen to her, she's been warning them for years, etc.
The Crusading Reporter can't get her boss to approve her Crusade Against The Evildoers.
And there is the obligatory 'we need alternate power sources, coal and oil are dirty, nuclear is bad for the environment', but nobody mentions what these other sources are.

Steven den Beste has written a number of times on the subject of power sources, and what amounts to magical thinking on the subject. "WE NEED THEM NOW" does not translate to something appearing, no matter how hard you wish it. If you can find a new system of power generation that can, cost-effectively, replace oil/gas/nuclear, more power to you. And you will become very, very rich. Which means that if someone had found it, they'd be very, very rich, and we'd be replacing the old plants.

So what we have is another disaster movie with lots of politically-correct bitching at the usual villains, and the usual portrayal of the PC heroes. And lots of scientific inaccuracies. Hey, I'm not a dedicated weather guy, but I can still spot lots of crap in this, and it really takes away from the movie.

At least for me.

'First' Americans?

Clayton Cramer has a post touching on the question of 'who got here first?'.

Interesting question. And the piece points out the hostility that tends to be directed at those who question the 'accepted wisdom' on scientific issues.
As I recall, Jenner and his vaccinations were mostly stomped on by various eminent scientists and doctors, and the germ theory of disease almost got its discoverer run out of medicine- again, by eminent scientists and doctors who didn't like their beliefs being questioned.

Read a book called "America B.C." some years ago, and it presented evidence of Celtic contact with North America. It struck me then that a lot of the criticism of the idea sounded a lot like "It can't be, I tell you! So shut up!".

Not a good way to reasearch anything.

There has to be skepticism of new ideas, I have no problem with that. When new ideas, new evidence, are dismissed out-of-hand simply because they break with or contrast with what we already 'know', there's a big problem.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


Was looking at a blog run by, surprise surprise, a guy working for tenure in social studies(no, I'm not linking to it). He says that the blue-state types need to ally with red-state types because militant Islam is such a threat that working with the fascist-lite Bushword types is a lesser evil.

This blog annoys me no end. Here's a teacher, planning on tenure(think he'll have anything good to say in class about anyone with a conservative bent?) who says neither Bush-fascism or left-communism can save us, only socialism is the answer.

Sorry, guy. I think teachers like you are part of the reason we have some of the troubles we do, and I think socialism is, at best, communism-lite. I don't want you in control any more than the other nazis/communists/fascists(and don't yell at me about name-calling; all of them are socialist systems).

I have a number of disagreements with President Bush, but saying that he's pushing us into fascism does not come across a believable. I'm a lot more worried about various people in Congress and some judges than I am him.

Just how good do we have it?

Every once in a while I think about how much easier we have it in many ways. I'm not talking about political stuff right now, but simply physically.

How many people do you know who died of tetanus? None for me. My parents knew some, my grandparents more. But in any place where you can get that one shot, it doesn't happen unless someone doesn't bother to get it. And if there's a nastier way to die than tetanus, I don't know what it is; it's right up there with smallpox and plague and ebola.

How often do you have to skip fresh fruits or veggies because they're not available? Not because the price is too high this week, but not there? They're always there, now. And canned or frozen if you're not insisting on fresh.

Fresh meat? Go to the store, it's there. Or you can take some frozen out of the freezer; unless you messed up storing it, it'll be good.

Medical troubles? Appendicitus (I speak from experience) sucks; appendicitus without surgical help/including anaesthesia/ would suck a LOT worse. Same for a variety of other things.
Yes, I know paying for medical help can be a problem. But the treatment is there, and payment can be worked out. Not that long ago, most treatments just weren't there.

You can argue about guns all you want; fact is, if someone breaks into your house and isn't waiting for the cops to show up, a firearm beats hell out of a knife or club, or nothing. Yeah, yeah, martial arts are great; somebody comes into my home and offers threat to me, I want a boomstick. Beats hell out of having to get in arms-reach of the bad guy(what if his reach is longer?)

Books. Lots and lots of books. Not rare, not priced out of reach. New books, used books, BOOKS!

Transportation? My parents, and older relatives, remember a trip to the store being something that took at least a day, from the farm to town and back. My great-uncle can make what used to be a day-there-and-day-back trip in an hour or so each way. Motor vehicles of all types, mass transit, bicycles, and all on good roads.

Not even getting into the internet and such, God, we are so much better off in many ways.

Yes, there are drawbacks, which I'll touch on later. But in so many ways... Go back to the medieval period? Visit yes(with a .45 in my tunic, thank you very much), but to live there? No bleepin' way.

Stuff you should read

And stuff I don't want to forget where is

Smallest Minority has a lot of good stuff; self-defense, 'neckies', movie reviews, etc. Go there & work your way down.

And remember National Ammo Week! I got my first batch yesterday.

Velociman is one sick dude. Don't miss him.

And Cold Fury has a marvelous piece you should get to.

It's not just CBS a lot of people are mad at

And here's one of the reasons why.

When networks do stuff like this, and then insist that they have "no bias in what we report"... And then seem truly unable to understand why people don't believe them.

Found at Tim Blair's place

And by the way, what is CBS going to do about Rather and company? Or are they still hoping it'll go away?

Solve that crime!

If you can't use DNA evidence, then what good is it?