Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another tour . . .

. . . of my neighborhood.

I've done this before, but it was a fairly nice day - if you can discount the 40 F winds blowing out of the north at a constant 30 - 40 MPH. This is not gusting, it's a constant wind.

This is me, looking very Tom Clancy-ish near the entrance to our subdivision. The area is covered with very dense forest - which the builders see fit to clear-cut before building.

Since I had no one to take my photo, I set the camera on the curb. I then proceeded to take a half-dozen photos of my retreating backside before It occurred to me to set the time delay from two seconds to ten seconds.

The entrance.

The entire subdivision is laced with a golf course, with all the attendant water hazards. All these ponds are used for irrigation of the public areas and parkways. We're very green, dontchaknow?

The water is also a great attraction for all types of waterfowl. We have geese, ducks, and some more exotic birds like cranes and egrets.

And a few deer wandering through. OK, I couldn't get a photo of an actual deer. This is all I could find - although deer are everywhere. At least those that stay out of the way of traffic.

With the housing slump, we have quite a few houses in the area that are not selling. There are even many that were started, then halted short of completion. These three foundations have been sitting for more than two years.

At least, the pansies are doing well.

And my grass is still green in December.
Is there anyone . . .

. . . more freakin' obnoxious and irritating than this woman?

She seems to have the amazing ability to find a cloud behind every silver lining. Of course, The View can't seem to exist without at least one touch of the bitch factor.

Why do I know about the view, you ask? If I don't like it, why do I watch, you further ask? The answer to both questions is that Mrs. B. likes to watch it, and I have to occasionally let her have the remote control.

The sound of her voice alone curdled the cream on my oatmeal this morning.
WTF . . .

. . . Is Kelly Ripa thinking?

I've had almost two weeks off during the holidays, so I occasionaly veg out and watch a bit o' daytime TV. I think this trend towards having to be a size zero has gotten out of hand. Can she actually believe that now is more attractive than then?

The Buchenwald look seems to have become epidemic lately. Victoria Beckham, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Renee Zellweiger, Holly Hunter, Jennifer Connelly, and the list goes on. I know these women don't see themselves as others see them, but one would hope that a loved one or friend would speak out.

. . . . . . . .. . . .Then . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . Now . . . . . . .

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm just the messenger . . .

. . . . I did not write these.

However, I have occasionally - just occasionally - noticed a smidgen of truth to some of them.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

2. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

3. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

4. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 days.

5. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.

6. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.

7. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

8. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing," we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

9. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.

Punctuation . . .

. . . conquers the Midwest.

At least that's what my inside intelligence agencies tell me.

Obviously, my network is not on par with MI-5, but my people know people, and I have it on good authority that he has charmed the easternmost coast of Kansas. Well, if not the whole coast, at least Lisa's youngest brother (C), sister-in-law and niece and nephew.

C tells me that he and Punctuation are able to communicate fluently in Monty Pythonese. C also confirms that Lisa's pancakes are as good as earlier publicity from England has claimed.

Mrs. B and I are waiting for more photos . . . and Punctuation's review of Kansas City Barbecue (which most folks in the US understand is the best in the world.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sod off . . .

. . . Scrooge!

[begin rant]

I am so sick of so-called scientists relating every freakin' thing we do to global warming. Perhaps they should do some reading about solar cycles.

The Algore disciples have decided that global warming is settled science, and that no further research is necessary. And this is enforced to the point that legitimate scientists are denied grants and being vilified for voicing - or even studying - an alternate opinion.

I was reading a very interesting James Patterson book this week. At least, it was interesting until he devoted the whole last chapter to a lecture about global warming. Fine. Fix the environment, but don't sell it to me under the guise of the fourth book in an extremely interesting series.

The global warming zealots need to realize that they may NOT know everything about earth's climatology. We need to keep an open mind an evaluate ALL of the info out there. The Pope is thinking about exonerating Galileo from his heresy conviction. Galileo had the temerity to opine that our earth was a part of a heliocentric system, and was imprisoned for it. Maybe Patterson, and the "scientist" in the article below need to keep their minds open before claiming another type of "heresy."

Open discussion is good. Algore et. al. would prefer to deny that.

SCIENTISTS have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs. CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere. He said: "Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights."

He said the nation's electricity came from "centralised carbon intensive, coal-based power stations" which were responsible for emitting over one third of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Dr Platt added: "For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers."
Things we used to do . . .

. . . at the mall.

Yep, we did. Just ask Lisa.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A random thought . . .

. . . from a casual observer.

Caroline Kennedy wants to take Hillary Clinton's place in the U.S. Senate. I hope she realizes what she's getting into. Mrs. Clinton leaves a pretty big seat to fill. (Come on . . . you know I had to. Really.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

An old photo . . .

. . . of my brother and me

It was taken approximately 3E years ago. The computer wonks and mathematicians among you will understand.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In a past life . . .

. . . I was a pipeline engineer.

I did the design work, price estimating, contract bidding, material procurement and construction management.

The first two pictures are of a 24" pipeline replacement project on the southside of Kansas City, MO. The pictures look pretty wide open, but half of the project was through peoples' back yards.

The next two pictures are of a 24" high-pressure pipeline replacement that was directional drilled under the Missouri River on the north side of Kansas City, MO. The original pipeline was on a bridge, which was to be demolished. The state didn't want to have the pipe hanging from the new bridge, so we went under - through limestone, shale, sand, gravel and mud.

This was my last project with the gas company. Our new COO decided we needed a "profit improvement plan." We all know what that means, don't we?

Both projects were immensely successful, but that didn't stop my "participation" in the "profit improvement plan."

Good work seldom goes unpunished, eh?

Oh well. The company had less than stellar retirement and benefits, and without the "profit improvement plan," I probably would still be there instead of having a great job with the U.S. Navy.

The only problem with projects like this is that there is no evidence of their completion. No "footprints" to show that I passed that way.

Pipeliners are similar to the Mafia. All our successful projects are buried.

Gun Control . . .

. . . is hitting where you aim.

Some time ago, I competed in a combat pistol league. It's like fox hunting, except there are no horses, no hounds, no foxes, no English gentlemen with horns, and all that's hunted is paper targets and steel plates.

OK, so it's not like fox hunting at all, but I had to divert the attention of our European friends who believe that pistols are the tools of the devil - or of crazy Americans who know no better.

Relax, folks.

They have shooting in the olympics.

I haven't done much shooting lately, but I decided to take a trip to the range this afternoon and see if I still had the eye. This target is the result after a bit of practice with an officers' model 1911 Colt semi-automatic pistol with 230 grain hardball rounds.

The drill was:

One magazine, rapid fire, center mass, with the last shot to the heart.

One magazine, rapid fire, head shots, with the last shot to the heart.

I'm not too bad with center mass or the head shots . . . but I apparently have no idea of the location of the heart.

Rants about guns in the US will be read, and probably promptly ignored.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All men are created equal . . .

. . . but some are more equal than others, I guess.

From ABC News:

Bernard Madoff, accused of the largest fraud in U.S. history, will be allowed to remain in his $7 million Park Avenue apartment instead of being sent to jail, under terms of an agreement announced today by federal prosecutors.
This really sucks. The guy steals FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS, and until his trial, the feds let him stay in his luxury digs? If that were your or me, we would be sharing a cell with a drooling, mouthbreathing, knuckledragging roommate named Bubba.

What ARE these people thinking?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ruminating . . .

. . . on accents.

Lisa posted about Hugh Laurie a few days ago, and it had me thinking about accents. Laurie effects an accent that is rather mid-western. That's the one that most TV talking heads use because it sounds fairly neutral to most people. At least I think so. How about you?

However, there's really no such thing as AN American accent. We probably have at least 20 different identifiable ones. Upper New England, New York/New Jersey, da Bronx, Mid-Atlantic, Chicago/Detroit, upper Minnesota/Michigan to name a few. Then there are the southern accents. The Carolinas are different from Georgia, which is different from Alabama, which is different from Mississippi.

The same is true with British accents. Although I can't identify the various regions, I can recognize many different versions on the Brit TV shows I watch - usually in reruns, as I don't have access to the BBC right now.

Unfortunately, when American TV or movie actors try to effect a British accent, they usually sound like a bad imitation of a Cockney sweep - or a caricature of Prince Phillip. Brit actors taking American parts often effect some horrible southern sheriff.

There are exceptions, of course. Hugh Laurie as Dr. House. Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones. Michelle Williams in The Bionic Woman. Nicole Kidman in most any movie.

I wonder what our Brit friends consider to be the most neutral British accent. I find some of them very hard to understand. I assume most actors and actresses are trained to minimize their accents somewhat. Richard Burton and Diana Rigg immediately come to mind. Are they typical, or have they moderated somewhat for universal clarity?

As an example, I was an avid Honor Blackman fan in "The Avengers," and later in "Goldfinger." No problems understanding her in those vehicles, but I had great difficulty with this interview.

Nonetheless, she shows a very nice ashi garuma and her trademark tomoe nage . The kesa gatame at the end has the interviewer begging her to "get off." That, I understand. Lisa would understand also . . .

Friday, December 12, 2008

Odds and ends . . .

. . . because that's all I have.

Bettie Page, 50's pinup girl, died in Los Angeles on 11 DEC 08 at age 85. Of course, with my staid Presbyterian upbringing and my tender age in the 50's, I never saw any of her photos. <--->

When are folks going to learn that "clever" viedos/photos shown on Facebook or YouTube will eventually come back and bite them on the arse? These are two of the three mental giants who decided to take a dip in the sink at Kentucky Fried Chicken, where they worked. The potential Harvard graduate bimbo with the Facebook account not only posted the photos, but her name and the location of the restaurant.

In discussing the Blagojevich controversy, one of BHO's less observant advisers stated that he respected Barry because of his ability to recognize people who might be future trouble-causers and distance himself from them.
Dude . . . Wright, Flagler, Ayers, Rezko . . . Perhaps you might want to rephrase that. Seriously.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I know I've been AWOL . . .

. . . from my blog that is.

It's because we're really busy. Here's an aerial view of where I work. See me waving?