Thursday, December 30, 2004

Amazon vs France

Almost 24 to 1. 4.2 Million and climbing by the minute.


Wishful thinking by a few people here and here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

"Stingy Americans"

Several years ago at a Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Day event (Thing1 lives with CF) the wife and I attended a seminar about raising kids with "issues". The main point of the seminar was to pick your battles when dealing with your kids - espicially if that kid has a genetic disease. That day changed my life. Since then not too many things in life really bother me as I've learned to accept that a unusually large number of people are just clueless. Not stupid - just completely clueless.

On December 26th, 2004 a large earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated parts of several countries in South East Aisa. Numerous countries, the U.S. included, have pledged aid and money. As usual the U.S. has led the way (35 Million in cash, two naval groups, numerous private groups, etc).  Australia is right up there as well. And what does the U.N. do? Critisize us for being stingy! I know that Egeland has recanted his accusation but the elitist attitude at the U.N. just gets to me as this person is clearly in the hopelessly clueless category.

Americans are a generous people. Since the beginning of this wonderful country we have given our time, talents, treasures, and lives to help the world.

How can you help? Prayer is a good place to start. Next open your wallet. There are so many places that are doing relief work that you can pick and choose which one. If you're a shopper (and who isn't?) they are hosting a fund drive to benefit the American Red Cross relief effort. As of this writing the amount collected as $1,196,482.75. This is significant as it is almost 10 times the amount that has been pledged by the country of France. 

Tsunami Satellite Photos

At Digital Globe

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and a Marine

were walking through the desert one day...

Some companies you should know

In the spirit of Blackfives 'People you should know' here are some companies you should know about if you want to support America's heros.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Something that won't make the papers

But it should. It's a story about two Iraqi soldiers and how they reacted after the terrorist attack on the dining hall in Mosul on December 21, 2004.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The ref blew it!

Thanks to the incredibly bad call by the ref near the end of the Detroit - Chicago game the Bears lose. The receiver has the ball under control, two steps in the end zone, the ball comes loose as his elbow hits the ground and the ref calls it incomplete. Ater a review the call stands.

Earlier in the game the Detroit running back loses the ball at the end of a run when the ground knocked it loose. After a replay review Detroit got the ball back.

One has to wonder if the game was fixed?

The Day after Christmas

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. One of the nice things about older kids (Thing1 is 19 and Thing2 is 13) is that they don't wake you up at the crack of dawn to open presents.

They still enjoyed their haul. We've been scaling back over the past few years - trying to get back to the reason of Christmas rather than the excess of Christmas as the retail industry would have.

Since the wife and I exchanged presents a few weeks ago we just got to watch the kids. It was just as much fun as when they were little and had squeaky voices. The DVDs, CDs, toys (Thing1 got a RX-8 Transformer), and even some clothes.

After breakfast we got the feast going. Simple compared to previous years but cooking for 19 isn't easy no matter what. Christmas music on the Wave playing, potatoes a peeling, and all sorts of little things getting done.

After noon the guests started arriving. And more presents. Lots of little things. We got a awesome wooden cross from my sister-in-laws. Beautiful piece of work.

My sister-in-laws husband and I disappeared for a few minutes. He wanted to see my Christmas present (Glock 17) and I wanted to see hi (Ruger MarkII Target model with scope). Ahhh - big boys toys!

During dinner Buffy the Attack Cocker Spaniel had a seizure. The whole thing: loss of motor function, coordination, everything. 15 minutes later it was like nothing happened.

Then the best part of dinner: desert! From my wifes awesome fudge to cookies made by Thing1 and Thing2 and others to popcorn cake and homemade cheesecake. Yummmmm.

The rest of the day was uneventful. Guests started leaving as soon as cleanup started. :-( Since the wife is still no where near 100% I spent an hour cleaning up the kitchen. Done in time to watch Denver and Tennessee. And see Tennessee lose. Maybe the Bears will fare better?

Friday, December 24, 2004

"Reverend" Jackson?

I admit that I do not know the Bible as well as I should. I've been working on correcting that with a Bible study course called Crossways that my church is giving.

That said I couldn't help but laugh when I read a story at NewsMAX about Reverend Jesse Jackson saying that if Jesus were to be born today he would be born under policies " that left Jesus and Mary and Joseph, in a sense, homeless ". Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem to take part in a census? There weren't living there. They were in a manger because the inn was full.

I find it scary that people support Jackson in any manner. He does nothing but stir up trouble where none exists in order to keep himself in the news.

What a country

From Instapundit:

" A Jewish blogger uses a Japanese camera (made in Thailand, I think) to bring us pictures of a Mexican Christmas. Now that's America! "

He is so right. This mismash is what makes America great. If we'd just all get along.

FedEX - A company worth supporting

Why? Because they are helping out Chief Wiggles and Operation Give. Winning the hearts and minds of the kids affected by war.

Remembering the Fallen

Major Dad has the right words

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Only 15 days left

Till Syndey comes back! Combined with Lost there will finally be a night of TV worth watching!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Outta Control Christmas

On HGTV right now they are showing people who have gotten a little carried away with decorations. Stuff looks good but I have one question?

Where do they store this stuff from January till November?

Christmas with the Kranks

Yes - Critics have panned the movie. In my experience this means that the movie will probably be quite enjoyable.

All four of us went to see it yesterday. The combination of Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis was perfect. We laughed throughout the movie. It has become a Christmas classic for our family.

Jamie Lee deserves an award for bravery. While she doesn't have the same shape she showed off in True Lies she has aged well. She shows off her less than perfect shape in a couple of scenes.

Its not a perfect movie. If you like Christmas Vacation or Home Alone you'll like this movie.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Home for the holidays

Went to pick up Thing1 at school today as Christmas break started for him at 3:05pm. Traffic was much better than the last time. Since the roads were nice we got to talk like we used to. What a great time.

The house will be back to normal for a few weeks. The wife, Thing2, and Buffy the attack Cocker Spaniel will be happy.


A reason to send toys to Iraq

 They help save the lives of Marines.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Tis better to have a knife

and not need it then need one at not have it. Of course you don't expect it to happen at church.

The wife and I made it back to Bible study last night and when we got there nothing was set up. The other couples there said the door was jammed. Took a look and the knob wasn't moving the bolt more than 1/4 of an inch - just where the bevel starts for a normal door lock. Took out my handy SOG Blink, slipped it in the bevel and the door was open.

The wife sees me bringing out a table and asks how? I just smile and show her the (closed) knife.

Forget the AMEX card. Don't leave home without a(t least one) knife.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

American Soldier

Matt at Blackfive had an entry about a soldier who as killed in Iraq and had a special last request. He wanted 'American Soldier' by Toby Keith played at the funeral. The video to that song never fails to bring tears to my eyes. That may be due to the end - the soldiers going on to the transport. Just like the end of Hair.

Matt posted an update today. Apparently there was an effort to get Toby to come play the song at the funeral. For personal reasons he can't but is sending a dedication on CD along with the song. Class act Toby!

Matt has an excellent blog - check it out.

To Specialist Mahlenbrock's family - I never met your son. From everything I've read about him, well, he was a better man than most of us, including myself, will ever be. He died bringing freedom to millions. May your God continue to comfort you in your time of need.

Monday, December 13, 2004

DareDevils better half

For those you have seen DareDevil and thought Elektra was more watchable - I have something for you

Another computer in the family

Well - at least one more to support. My father in law likes computers. Every time I build or buy one he has to get something a little better. A while back I came across a Toshiba Satellite 1115 for $499 at Best Buy. Ever since then the father in law has wanted one. I've always tried to get him to buy a Mac. Much harder for him to mess up. Less work for me to do <grin>

Well - he never wanted to spend the money. Last week Dell had one of their Inspiron 1000s for 599 after rebate. Spent some time looking at options and walked him through ordering one. And getting a wireless router that was on sale at Best Buy. Now I get to spend an hour Saturday getting him online.

I see more tech support in my future...

Technique is everything

The Smallest Minority has a great story about the proper way to play video games. Thing1 would likely agree...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I love it

When there is 10 people on each line at the grocery store and the do-it-yourself checkouts are empty. Full cart and I'm out of there in a couple of minutes. Same at Home Depot. I only had one item and I was out of there in 2 minutes. Not sure why people are afraid of these things.

Same with iPass. Here is Illinois we have tollways. Never used them much till Thing1 went to college. Now I'm on them every month. iPass puts a transponder on your car that gets activated by a radio transmitter as you approach the toll booth. Stay at a reasonable speed and just keep going. Probably saves 5 to 10 minutes per trip. And people still get in line to throw coins in the basket. I suppose there are privacy issues but with the number of cameras on the tollway that is gone anyways.

Something for you to do

A) First, recommend to me:

1. a movie.
2. a book.
3. a musical artist, song, or album.

B) Ask me three questions—no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.

C) Go to your blog (if you have one), copy and paste this, and allow everyone to ask you anything.

(idea - JimK at Right-Thoughts)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Red Hawk Down

There are a few of us that walk every day. A little of 2 miles. So much better than staring at the screen.

While out for our daily walk we were nearing the end, getting ready to cross the street and head back to the building we work in one of my co-workers said 'look out!'. A red tailed hawk had landed 3 feet from where I was walking. We watched him for a few minutes as it looked like he was searching for lunch. He didn't seem worried about us at all. After a couple of minutes he flew off to a tree across the street. So cool!

I need a lightweight digicam to keep with me all the time.

W Rocks

And Blackfive has the details

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Christmas comes early

At least my present did!

The wife bought me a Glock 17. Well I had to buy it as the pit of a state we live in requires a Firearm Owners Identification Card and hers hasn't shown up yet.

After waiting three days I stopped by the store to pick it up. Since I had some time I decided to put a few rounds through it. 200 rounds later I was done. The Glock pistol is an interesting design: lightweight due to a plastic frame (with metal inserts for frame rails), no 'safety' in the usual sense, and an unusual trigger (where the safety is). It points well, suffered no jams in 200 rounds of 115gr FMJ, and was just plain fun to shoot. The stress of the day was gone. :-)

Field stripped it at home while listening to NYPD Blue. Took all of 15 seconds. About the same to put it back together.

Thing1 wants to go shooting after finals are over and he comes home. That may be an expensive trip...

A bit of shopping

I love Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus. Getting to spend some time with family and friends. The crowds at the mall. Oh wait - that one kinda s**ks.

Most of our shopping was done online again this year. Amazon is my favorite place to go but Musicans Friend was necessary this year as well. Both had what we wanted in stock for reasonable prices and there is no hassle at the mall.

The wife kept her promise of a new gun for me. Guess I was really good this year. We went to the local firearms emporium and looked at a few. I had, in my mind, settled on a Glock pistol. I just wasn't sure if it would be a 17 or a 19. Settled on this.

The salesman was great. The wife had this notion of buying a gun and this experience changed it all. Nice place to do business. Now I just have to wait three days pick it up...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A Woman and a Gun

It's a beautiful thing. Watching CSI NY and Detective Stella Bonasera (the beautiful Melina Kanakeredes is assembling a AR-15. After she finishes she takes it into her bosses office with that look that gets to you. Jeans, tank top, and a AR-15 - wow!