Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why is it impossible . . .

. . . for a woman to wrap up an extension cord?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Insensitive idiot . . .

. . . rhymes with Obama.

Well, actually it doesn't, but there's a point to be made. Despite the adulation of the media, who have anointed him as the second coming, the more I hear from him, the more I just want to barf. During his Euorpean tour, this:
Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his spokesman said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.

Barack, (and I won't dignify this with a "sir" or a "Senator") when is it inappropriate for a U. S. Senator to visit wounded troops? If you were worried that it would have been taken as a media event, leave the cameras, the network anchors, and the rest of the adorati on the bus, and just tell them you care.

Stop wetting your finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, you putz.
And now . . .

. . . a guest blogger.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Random Lisa Photos . . .

. . . on her birthday.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Would you buy cookies . . .

. . . from her?

She looks trustworthy - and a wee bit familiar to me. She and TLK are coming to visit in two weeks. Maybe there will be cookies.

Me Mum . . .

. . . would have been 90 today.

This photo was taken at our home town's centennial celebration in the 1950s - hence the late 1800s look. Was she movie-star gorgeous, or what?

I like to remember her this way.

#&$*#(! Blogspot . . .

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Old Photographs . . .

. . . are a legacy of a long line of packrats.

And, I thank all those packrats for the interesting family history they have left me.

This Carte d'Visite is of one of my two maternal great-great-grandmothers. Joeann Ellen Browning, nee Trimble, was born in Greene County, Illinois on 14 May 1847. In this photo she is 25 years old.

This photo is one of my two paternal great-great-grandfathers. He was born on 19 July 1843 in Macoupin County, Illinois. The photo was taken in 1860 or 1861. He enlisted in the 7th Illinois Volunteer infantry at age 17. He survived Andersonville.

Jargon . . .

. . . the Department of Defense revels in it.

For example, I sent this email earlier today:

Need to boot this to AQ NLT Tues next. Will comment on the SOW by COB Mon. Awaiting info from ESG WRT milestones. Also waiting for info from FEAD WRT proper ACQ course. It appears it needs to go through IPT ACQ vice FEAD and link with NAVFAC WASH KO.

What's scary is that both she and I understand it perfectly.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My favorite blogger . . .

. . . often writes about the tornadoes out on the prairie where she lives in her little sod hut next to Charles, Caroline, Mary, Carrie and Laura Ingalls.

But, she's not alone. In addition to the occasional hurricane - such as Isabel - we also encounter the odd tornado or two.

This one blew across the place of my employment on 28 April. It only did about $250,000 damage on the base, but the folks in Chesapeake were less fortunate.

I didn't see it. Mrs. B and I were off on vacation in sunny Mississippi.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Political correctness . . .

. . . run amok.

Credit to SciGuy (Eric Berger) for this one.

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pot . . .

. . . and kettle.

I received new instructions on our pay-for-performance employee evaluation system today.

One point of emphasis: "Ensure spelling and grammars are correct."

Further comment not required.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Two hundred thirty-two years ago . . .

. . . a document was published that began thus:
"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

This action was the official beginning of unpleasantness between us and our (now) friends in the British Empire - an unpleasantness that lasted (again, officially) until 1815. During that time, we had the unfortunate need to declare war on Britain not once, but twice.

Feelings between us have moderated a bit since then, and I shall be eternally grateful that they have remained so.

Our Navy still flies a jack based on one from that era. Whatever the opinion of the U. S. in the world today, the flag still contains some good advice.

Barack Obama's . . .

. . . official photo.

Apparently, there is no position he isn't willing to change for political expediency.

Of course, one may say that of most politicians, but BHO has raised it to an art form not seen since John Kerrey.
WARNING: If you don't know what memento mori photography is, look it up before you read this post.

I am a professional engineer by trade, but also a genealogist and historian by avocation. A part of genealogy is the study not only of people, but of the customs and mores of the time.

During the Victorian period, and for sometime after, during the infancy of photography, it was common to take photos of loved ones after they died. Most people today find that practice to be morbid, but the study of genealogy requires a look at those pieces of our past that are not so pleasant.

The photo below is of Lela Maberry, my 2nd cousin, twice removed. She died in 1899 at age eleven. I found her memento mori in a box of photographs handed down by my g.g.grandmother

The kid with the largest head . . .

. . . ever recorded - would most likely be me.

I'm still rummaging through old photos, and I found this one taken at age three. I wonder if the barber charged my haircuts by the acre. For those of you who are younger than, oh, say DIRT, this is an example of portraiture back in the era just post Neanderthal extinction. It's hand colored.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My 5th great-grandfather . . .

. . . Stephen Wood, was a militiaman during the American Revolution. He was a private in the 6th company, Upper Battalion, Montgomery County Maryland Militia. I discovered this from an old pack of papers I received from my great-grandmother. Her father, my great-great-grandfather, developed a family tree in the early 1900's. I still have those old, yellow typewritten pages. With a little detective work, I obtained a copy of his baptism record from the Maryland archives. He's listed at the bottom left corner, along with Ninian Riley, his brother-in-law.

Other pages had records of actions taken by the church. I found a couple of entries very interesting:

"Also was agreed that Brother John Baker should be sensurd (illegible) from information that he has accustomd himself to gaming & so has incurd our displeasure."

"Also was agreed that Brother (illegible) Talbert be sensured for drinking to excess until the Lord shall give him repentance."

Stern folks, eh?

Although I had records of where Stephen was born, where he moved over the years, and concerning his death in Green County, IL in 1835, I learned that his tombstone had disappeared from the family plot. Unfortunately, the family plot is now on a privately owned farm, and has fallen into general disrepair.

Believing that a family member - especially a soldier - should have a proper grave marker, I turned to the U. S. Bureau of Veterans Affairs. According to law, any documented American soldier from any war is entitled to a government headstone (if he has no other), or a medallion to be attached to his private headstone - free of charge.

As with any government bureaucracy, red tape abounds. After filling out all of the required forms and providing the proper proof of service, I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.

Finally, I called Veterans Affairs, and contacted a very nice, but rather . . . ummm . . . dense, I guess lady. The conversation went something like this, after I asked about the status:

Her: We have your application, but we need a little more information.

Me: I will give you anything you need, but I would like to make sure we receive the headstone.

Her: We need his Social Security number.

Me: (a bit taken aback) Pardon me?

Her: You know, a Social Security Number.

Me: Ma'am, Social Security started in 1935. He died 100 years before.

Her: Well then, can you give me his Army serial number?

Me: (Holding back a heavy sigh) Ma'am, he died in 1835. The Army didn't start issuing serial numbers until 1918.

Her: Oh, I didn't know that. I'll send the application on, then.

This is the headstone I received. It's now set in a cemetery in Carrollton, Greene County, Illinois, in a section with other Revolutionary War soldiers.

Requiecet in pace, g.g.g.g.g.grandfather.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Great Speeches by . . .

. . . United States presidents.

A house divided against itself cannot stand
- Abraham Lincoln

We have nothing to fear but fear itself
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Ich bin ein Berliner
- John F. Kennedy

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall
- Ronald W. Reagan

I did not have sex with THAT woman . . .
- William Jefferson Clinton
The Wheels on the bus . . .

. . . go round and round.

I take the bus to work most days. Unfortunately, I have to drive about half the way, then catch the express bus to the Naval Station. Fortunately, that last half is all crowded, unpredictable interstate, and the bus gets to take the HOV lane. HOV is High Occupancy Vehicle, for those of you who happen to have actual drivable highways.

In order to keep my sanity while busing my self from point B to point C, I've taken to reading. Since I took a speed reading course waaaaaaaay back in the second grade, I can read very quickly, and I go through books at a prodigious pace.

Last year, it was military history, including Flags of our Fathers, An Army at Dawn, A Soldier's Story, Flyboys, The Great Raid, Band of Brothers, and a dozen or so others.

This year, I switched to novels. I'm a great fan of James Patterson, Lee Child, Greg Iles, Michael Connelly, John Sandford and Stephen Hunter.

Right now, I'm in the middle of reading my way through a series of books by someone who is generally perceived as an author of "Bodice Rippers" - Nora Roberts. Except, this is her "Death" series written under the nom de plume of J. D. Robb. The novels are about a homicide detective, and are set in the late 2050's. Mild science fiction mixed with procedural mixed with mystery.

As a change of pace, I picked up this book. The name may be familiar to some of you. I haven't had the chance to read past the first page or so, since I'm still romancing Nora Roberts. However, the style seems to be very similar to the blog. Long, multiple sentence paragraphs are definitely in the minority. As to content . . . I'll let you know.