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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

December 2003 Archives

Why I Am a Democrat from Iowahawk. This is a reprint of an essay he wrote back in 2000.

I sometimes hear the question, "Why are you a Democrat?" and frankly, I have to laugh. Laugh and laugh, because perhaps this person may tire of my laughing, and he will eventually wander off. Sometimes I ponder seriously when I hear this question, because I'll look around and around and there's nobody there asking the question. Why am I a Democrat?

I am a Democrat because I believe everyone deserves a chance. And if necessary, a second chance. And if, by the eighth or ninth chance, this guy needs another chance, I mean, come on. This guy is due.

I am a Democrat because I hold sacred freedom of the press, as well as freedom of the TV and freedom of the movie. Where I draw the line is freedom of the talk radio, and don't even get me started about that damn Internet business.

I am a Democrat because I recognize that education is important. Very, very, extremely very important. We must increase spending on education and enact important education reforms, such as eliminating standardized tests. Because we can never hope to measure this beautiful, elusive, important thing we call education.

I am a Democrat because I believe in the separation of church and state. We must stop the religious extremists who want school-sanctioned prayers. Now, you tell me - with all that chanting and praying and incense-burning going on, how can our kids concentrate on the big condom-and-banana midterm?

I am a Democrat because I believe in women's right to choose. I mean, not a church school or a tax shelter, or something like that, obviously. Let's be reasonable.

I am a Democrat because I believe in a strong military. Strong, yes, but caring and thoughtful too, and ready to face new challenges. A military that enjoys long strolls on the beach, cuddling in front of a warm fire, unafraid to show its vulnerable side. Must be NS/DDF.

I am a Democrat because I believe there is too much violence in society, especially in our schools. To avoid another Columbine tragedy, we should have mellow "rap" sessions with at-risk teens, such as the Goths. The violence will only end after the teen Goths see that we adults really care, and are "hip" to their groovy teen Goth scene.

I am a Democrat because I believe in the environment and conservation. For instance, we must raise the price of gasoline, like they do in Europe, to increase conservation. If we don't, there will soon be a big gas shortage, and this will mean higher gasoline prices for you and me.

I am a Democrat because I detest greed. Especially the sickening greed of those who struck it rich in the 1980s, and greedily refuse to give me any of their stuff.

I am a Democrat because I... hey look! A new episode of Survivor! Geez, I hope they don't vote off Jenna, she's my favorite.

There's more so go pick out a favorite paragraph or two of your own.
Nate 5:39 PM - [Link] Say something...
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Well, what I should be doing today is installing a new clutch cable in the Tracker. Its just over two years old and has really tightened up badly. Since I don't drive it often and Noah only notices a problem when the smoke escapes, I didn't realize there was a problem until just last week.

But its cold outside and another four or six inches of snow have fallen and the base is closed due to the conditions- A SNOW DAY! Guess maybe I'll get that boy out of bed and go skiing.

That also of course means that there may be no more posting here until evening. So sneak on over and check out those folks that are at work but blogging.
Nate 9:16 AM - [Link] Say something...
Monday, December 29, 2003
So, Christmas. Unlike when children are young, at 19 they are pretty content to sleep in late whenever possible and just because its Christmas Day and there are presents under the tree is no reason to get in a hurry about getting out of bed. So I got up after a pleseant sleep-in, enjoyed my coffee and some blog surfing for a long while before the rest of the clan crawled out of their covers. But then suddenly, every one else was dressed and ready and gathered around the beautifully decorated tree amidst the bounty of pretty packages. I must note that son Noah's girlfriend Lili was staying at our house for all of last week and so she was was also included in the of the festivities.

I must have been a much better little boy than even I guessed for all the wonderful presents I received! Boy oh boy did I get the wonderous pile of presents. And just like Terry mentioned that he wanted a Sting Ray for Christmas and received one, I asked Santa in a previous post for a Ferrari Formula One car and I got one of my own! Its a classic Ferrari F1 car, not a late model one too. Of course, since nobody can own just one Ferrari, I got the entire gift pack! It will be a fine addition to my car shelves as well as my new Mach Five race car! This one is 1/18 scale and arrived as a kit so I was entertained for two nights putting it together.

I was very surprised to find a huge box under the tree for me that contained a home theater system! The box contained not only the DVD player that I had hoped for but also the 5 speakers and a sub-woofer, 500 watt surround sound system. Whoopee! Except- that after I unboxed every thing, hung the speakers on the walls, strung the wires and found a home for the subwoofer I discovered that the receiver portion WOULD NOT FIT into the assigned space in our tv table! Maxwell Smart would have said, "Missed it by that much." One half inch, that's how much too big the receiver was and I couldn't fold it, tip it and the BSU refused to allow me to fix the problem with my Sawzall. She's funny that way about furniture... So it had to go back and now I'm shopping for a new system with a tape measure in my pocket.

I received lots of nice new clothes for work, some of which also need to be exchanged and all the pants will need shortened as usual. But I'll look good when everything's ready in the next few days. There's a new Dilbert calendar to move into my cubicle after the new year and a floor jack for my shop use. So Santa Claus was very very good to me this year.

I bought some polypro long handle underwear for the BSU, she was looking at me mighty strangely after opening that prettily decorated package. But her countenance brightened significantly after she discovered these pictures in an envelope at the bottom of the box. I've reserved a weekend for us next month to stay at the Grey Wolf Inn and go snowmobiling into Yellowstone Park. We will be staying in a plush room, eating out, seeing the IMAX movie and touring the park, with a guide and traveling on one of the fancy, non-polluting Polaris snow machines. She asked for a weekend away for just the two of us and several folks had recommended the winter trip to Yellowstone as being beautiful and fun. So that's what we're gonna do.

And posting will resume after I get to the ranch as we were just cut loose due to the heavy snowfall! Whoohoo, a snow day!
Nate 12:23 PM - [Link] Say something...
Well what a holiday it has been! Apologies for the lack of posting but somehow my muse snuck away on vacation without me being aware and so I was left to flounder on my own. And you see what happened- the posts died for a few days. Sorry 'bout that. But it has been an excellent break from work and holiday and we have all survived the very large snowstorm that has been dumping down since Christmas day and continues even as I'm composing this post. Last time I measured the snow depth in our backyard it was 16" deep! My animals are complaining about going outside to pee because the snow is more than belly deep on them and they don't seem to enjoy breaking trail through the snow just to go potty. My cat Uintah seems to enjoy pretending that he is a snow leopard. Yesterday I watched him bounding down the hill towards the back door, the only parts that showed above the snow level were his ears and tail! I finally knocked the snow off the reachable tree branches as some of them were almost touching the ground and I hoped to avoid any limb breakage.

Its snowing a real storm outside right now, high winds are blowing the snow sideways and this storm is supposed to last through tomorrow. There's already talk of early release from work today due to the weather. We'll see. Parking was a mess today since the roads and parking areas had just barely been hit by the base clearing crews. This area of the base is last to get cleaned up and the snow is so deep it will require front end loaders and dump truck to haul the snow away, so it must be done when there's no people at work and no cars blocking the way. But its a mess right now...
Nate 10:50 AM - [Link] Say something...
Thursday, December 25, 2003
In case after all the packages are open this morning and you find that you did NOT receive that gift you most desired, a
Leg Lamp just like the one in Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story", here's where you can buy one for yourself. Complete with Major Award certificate!

I've not opened presents here yet so maybe mine is still under the tree!
Nate 10:28 AM - [Link] Say something...
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
Grammar Lesson posted by bussorah, who apparently learned grammer at the same schul where i learned it at.

Nate 7:36 PM - [Link] Say something...
Times Are Tough All Over from Whizbang and this week's Carnival of the Vanities being hosted this week by Winds of Change dot net.

Claus Enterprises Announces Downsizing

North Pole, December 26, 2003: Corporate CEO, S. Claus of Claus Enterprises announced today a downsizing and new productivity enhancement plan for the entire range of its corporate divisions. In keeping with this dramatic reorganization of the world's oldest Yuletide enterprise, both Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package which immediately raised concern as to whether or not they would be replaced and what other restructuring is contemplated by management.

In addition, CEO Claus announced immediate restructuring of Claus Enterprises' wholly owned subsidiary, THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. First, Mr. Claus reassured all that the partridge will be retained, but the pear tree - which never turned out to be the cash crop it was originally forecasted to be - will be replaced by a plastic replica providing considerable savings in maintenance and less adverse environment impact.

There's more. Read it all for a chuckle.
Nate 7:24 PM - [Link] Say something...
Queen 'devastated' by corgi death from

This will make for an uncomfortable Christmas dinner- don't ya guess?

Nate 3:43 PM - [Link] Say something...
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Apologies to everyone that might have stopped by this week for the lack of posting. Can't say why exactly 'cause I'm not really being as productive as I wish to be most of the time. Just jangled brainwaves I suppose that refuse to coalesce into rational thought long enough to get written down here.

Still seems like lots to do before Christmas but really I'm done shopping and wrapping so I don't know what the problem is. There are a number of folks that I need to contact just to wish happy holidays to and I've even been slacking at doing that. Maybe I can get on track this afternoon.

So keep checking back. But while you're waiting for something new and interesting here, go check out some of the great stuff from my friends over there on the bloglist.
Nate 1:16 PM - [Link] Say something...
Monday, December 22, 2003
Found on a post over at the KTOG forums. Too good not to share.

'Twas the Night of the Capture!

'Twas 13th December, when deep in Iraq, the 4th I.D. had a big enemy to track. Saddam's stockings were smelly from months on the lam, in hopes that Dean or Kerry would soon take command.

Our soldiers were nestled in their desert HumVees; they'd been told they were hunting Iraqi VIPs. And Saddam with head lice infesting his cap had just settled down for an Iraqi-type nap.

When out on the farm there arose such a clatter, He sprang from his shack to see what was the matter. Away to his hideout he flew in a snit, tore open his pants leaping into the pit.

The searchlight on the dictator now caught in our snare, Gave the luster of mid-day to his nasty wild hair. When, what to our soldiers' wide eyes should appear, but a bedraggled old dictator cowering in fear!

Beneath the dirty old beard and the lice in his mane, they were amazed to discover that it was Saddam Hussein. More rapid than eagles they called up old Rummy, and he whistled, and shouted, and said, "This is yummy!"

"Now, Condi! Now, Sanchez! Now, Cheney and Bush! On, TV! On Radio! And Free Republic! Let's Rush! To the top of the news! Get this video on! Call FNC first! Then Dan Rather and Tom!

As a gloved doctor examined the smelly old goat, he shoved a big wooden stick down Saddam's nasty throat. Around the world in a flash the footage it flew, As the French and Russians gulped, wondering what we now knew.

And then, in a twinkling, we heard from our leader as he confirmed the capture of the despotic bottom feeder. As he concluded his announcement, they replayed the scene, (We've heard nothing from Clark and nothing from Dean).

Saddam was covered in filth, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all greasy, with ashes and soot. A bundle of money he had flung on his back, and he looked like a peddler who'd sold out to Chirac.

His eyes-how they sagged! His dimples, now pits! His forehead was covered with curious zits! His head was examined for vermin and lice, shaved his face of the beard that was his disguise.

A large piece of wood was probed in his mouth, (And we don't even know if the gloved hand went South). He still had a fat face but had lost his round belly; His clothes were a shambles and his feet downright smelly.

He was skinny and drawn, the lying old coward, And I laughed when I thought of the speech made by Howard; but the spin of the media and a liberal talking head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

Dean spoke not a word; Kerry went straight to work, and tried to get airtime (sounds just like the jerk). Bush kept it short, not given to prose, and giving a nod, up the polls he rose. He sprang back to work, to his team gave a whistle, and to D.C. they flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, as he went on his way, "Happy Christmas to all... and God bless the USA

Nate 11:13 PM - [Link] Say something...
Sunday, December 21, 2003
"I'll beat the s--- out of them,"
Yeah, that's who I want for president next year...
Nate 8:59 AM - [Link] Say something...
Friday, December 19, 2003
The Terrible Twos Terry, the much adored and adorned purveyor of Possumblog and my beloved Blog Father is celebrating the two year anniversary of his highly acclaimed blog. So stop by over there if you're not already a regular reader and wish him well. He's earned it.
Nate 2:18 PM - [Link] Say something...
Tales from the PETAfiles: They've outdone themselves this time from A Small Victory and lots of other places.

This is so infuriating and dumbass that it just defies all logic in my humble opinion. That PETA thinks that trying to terrorize children is a justifiable method of spreading their word proves just how addlebrained they are. I do not know how any person, no matter how liberal or left wing could believe that this is a responsible, adult, convincing method of making a point.

They're dumbasses and they deserve all the bad press the world can heap upon them!

Nate 9:36 AM - [Link] Say something...
Thursday, December 18, 2003
The Twelve Days of Christmas, DoD style... Argghhh!!! The Home of one of Jonah's Military Guys?:
Subject: DoD's Twelve Days of Christmas

The President has authorized the Department of Defense to assist Santa with the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Status of acquisitions follows:

Day 1- Partridge in a pear tree: The Army and Air Force are in the process of deciding whose area of responsibility Day 1 falls under. Since the partridge is a bird, the Air Force believes it should have the lead. The Army, however, feels trees are part of the land component command's area of responsibility. After three months of discussion and repeated OpsDepsTank sessions, a $1M study has been commissioned to decide who should lead this joint program.

Day 2 - Two turtle doves: Since doves are birds, the Air Force claims responsibility. However, turtles are amphibious, so the Navy-Marine Corps team feels it should take the lead. Initial studies have shown that turtles and doves may have interoperability problems. Terms of reference are being coordinated for a four-year, $10M DARPA study.

Day 3 - Three French Hens: At State Department instigation, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has blocked offshore purchase of hens, from the French or anyone else. A $6M program is being developed to find an acceptable domestic alternative.

Day 4 - Four Calling Birds: Source selection has been completed, with the contract awarded to AT&T. However, the award is being challenged by a small disadvantaged business.

Day 5 - Five Golden Rings: No available rings meet MILSPEC for gold plating. A three-year, $5M accelerated development program has been initiated.

Day 6 - Six Geese a-Laying: The six geese have been acquired. However, the shells of their eggs seem to be very fragile. It might have been a mistake to build the production facility on a nuclear waste dump at former Air Force base that was closed under BRAC.

Day 7 - Seven Swans a-Swimming: Fourteen swans have been killed trying to get through the Navy SEAL training program. The program has been put on hold while the training procedures are reviewed to determine why the washout rate is so high.

Day 8 - Eight Maids a-Milking: The entire class of maids a milking training program at Aberdeen is involved in a sexual harassment suit against the Army. The program has been put on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit.

Day 9 - Nine Ladies Dancing: Recruitment of the ladies dancing has been halted by a lawsuit from the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Association." Members claim they have a right to dance and wear women's clothing as long as they're off duty.

Day 10 - Ten Lords a-Leaping: The ten lords have been abducted by terrorists. Congress has approved $2M in funding to conduct a rescue operation. Army Special Forces and a USMC MEU(SOC) are conducting a "NEO-off" competition for the right to rescue.

Day 11 - Eleven Pipers Piping: The pipe contractor delivered the pipes on time. However, he thought DoD wanted smoking pipes. DoD lost the claim due to defective specifications. A $22M dollar retrofit program is in process to bring the pipes into spec.

Day 12 - Twelve Drummers Drumming: Due to cutbacks only six billets are available for drumming drummers. DoD is in the process of coordinating an RFP to obtain the six additional drummers by outsourcing; however, funds will not be available until FY 05.

As a result of the above-mentioned programmatic delays, and due to a High OPTEMPO that requires diversion of modernization funds to support current readiness, Christmas is hereby postponed until further notice.
Or, Situation Normal for my line of work.
Nate 6:28 PM - [Link] Say something...
Snowmobilers sent into a spin by ruling from The Salt Lake Tribune --

The National Park Service and business owners had planned for the season under rules approved this year that they expected to go into effect Wednesday morning. The rules called for limiting the number and types of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the John D. Rockefeller Parkway connecting them. The plan was aimed largely at curbing air and noise pollution, and park officials considered it a balance between virtually unfettered snowmobile access and a ban.

But late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C., ordered the Park Service to revert to a Clinton-era plan that called for a gradual phase-out of snowmobiles in favor of mass-transit snow coaches.

Sullivan ruled the Bush administration had made an abrupt turnaround from the earlier plan, which intended to protect the park from pollution, without sound reasons.

His decision means the number of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone every day will be far fewer than what park officials were expecting and what businessmen like Roberson were banking on. The machines now are limited to 493 per day, rather than 950.

Now, don't anybody tell but I booked a trip to West Yellowstone and a guided trip into the park as the BSU's Christmas present... Just last Saturday. So, while I need to call and verify, I think our visit by snowmobile into the park should still be assured. At least I hope it will be.

She asked for a weekend away for just the two of us and she hinted at staying in Park City which is a really nice resort and ski town here in Utah. There's lots of shopping and skiing to do there and its close by. But we've never been to Yellowstone in the winter, (I've never been there at all), and this trip came highly recommended.

And it appears that right now is the time to get in as this change in the policy is really going to hurt future trips.
Nate 8:10 AM - [Link] Say something...
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
All I want for Christmas... is a only used one year used car!

It has to be the supreme object of Formula 1 memorabilia- your very own Grand Prix Ferrari, one careful owner, definitely raced. And it doesn't stop there. Ferrari will remold the car to fit your shape, teach you to drive it, service and maintain it, and replace anything you knock off it while getting the hang of it. In fact, there is a department at Ferrari that exists purely to look after the Grand Prix cars of its customers.
Hey Santa! I've been a good boy this year!
Nate 11:20 AM - [Link] Say something...
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Left work an hour early to make use of the sunshine so I could replace the water pump gasket in the Tracker. It blew yesterday, puked its coolant and Noah drove it on home... Said it had steam coming out the tailpipe... (Actually I forgot that part until I had today's job almost finished). So, replaced the gasket, got to use my air tools which was a bonus and the car is running again. Though it might still require the radiator to be topped up after we let it cool.

No leaks but no guarantees the head gasket isn't toast either. The tailpipe steaming did quit after a few minutes running so we might have dodged a bullet. Want to bet?

This Tracker was an auction purchase mutt more than 2 years ago. Its had a nearly 2 inch crack in the water jacket that entire time. the crack seeps a little but it never gets bad. And I know- beyond a shadow of a doubt that someday its just going to burst. So I don't want to fix this motor, I want to replace it. But I can't find a complete motor locally for any price and the one's priced right all seem to be on the east coast.

And you already know I'm a cheap bastard. So I don't want to spend much money and I especially don't want to buy a motor the week before Christmas! And I don't want to spend my holiday bent over the engine compartment of this little beast! Its ski season dammit!

Did I mention its 26 degrees outside? Now I'm hungry and the BSU is upstairs unloading groceries so I'm gonna go get some dinner. Maybe I'll be back later. Or not.
Nate 6:57 PM - [Link] Say something...
... - Former inmate rejailed when picking up belongings - Dec. 16, 2003 Some guys are such slow learners!

Mahner returned to the Seminole County Jail to reclaim his personal property four days after being released. He had served a sentence for drunken driving, auto theft and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license.

But when asked to provide identification, Mahner handed a sheriff's deputy his license, which after routine computer check was found to have been revoked for life.

Ann Mallory, a manager in the Forensic Services Section, called in a computer check of the car's tag and found it had been reported stolen the same day Mahner was released from jail.

Heh! Dumbass. More jail time for you!
Nate 1:01 PM - [Link] Say something...
Now this is some kind of technology! Perhaps something our favorite architect might recommend... Found on Dave Barry's blog.

Technological advances unique to TOTO's new toilet / Washlet combination abound. The NEOREST's lid automatically opens whenever an individual approaches it. If one continues to stand in front of the NEOREST, as would a man, the toilet seat automatically rises also. When the individual leaves, the NEOREST automatically flushes and the lid automatically closes. With this convenient button-based, remote control luxury feature, one need never worry about forgetting to flush or close the lid.

Exclusive, too, is the NEOREST's Power Catalytic Deodorizer function, which automatically engages when a user rises from the seat. This technologically-advanced feature effectively eliminates unpleasant odors from the room, relieving the worry of after-smell -- no matter the quality of the room's ventilation system. The NEOREST's Automatic Power Deodorize may also be manually engaged at any time with the mere flip of a switch.

Nate 12:10 PM - [Link] Say something...
I just received this through email, attributed only to an Army mom. If you know the name of the original source, let me know, I'll update it. In the mean time-

Two Weeks Before Christmas!

T'was two weeks before Christmas, And all through Iraq,
The people still worried that Saddam would be back.
The soldiers went out on their nightly patrol,
Capturing the bad guys was always their goal!

With raids seeming endless in the triangle Sunni,
We hoped that not all of Iraq was so looney!
We gathered the tribe of Saddam, in Tikrit,
And suddenly now they all started to snit!

They told of a farm where Hussein just might be
Odierno then called on our boys- from the great 4th ID!
More rapid than Baathists our soldiers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name

Now Delta, Now Rangers, Now Cavalry too!
On Green Hats, on Pilots, I need all of you!
Go to that farm and secure it right now!
Capture his ass- you guys know how!

Off went our soldiers under cover of night,
So stealthy, so quiet with no trace of light
While we back at home were eating our lunches,
Our boys on the ground were following hunches!

And then it was time for the raid to begin.
The first target came up -empty within!
Could it be our Intel was wrong once again?
No! Somewhere nearby is the wolf in his den!

And then, in a twinkling, camouflage torn away
In a hole in the ground did their quarry lay
Dazed and confused, right at them he looked,
Did the stupid old fool know his goose was now cooked?

He was dressed all in rags from his toes to his head,
And his beard was as matted as 12 day-old bread!
How the mighty had fallen, could this be Hussein?
One look in his eyes was to know he's insane!

Our boys got their man - how proud we all are
The relief in our country is felt near and far
A bath he has had now -yet he'll never be clean
Forever tainted with mass torture and his Fedaheen

To our soldiers we give our undying respect
You always give more than we ever expect
We hope you can have now a night with some fun
Your loved ones back home say- JOB DAMN WELL DONE!

Nate 9:26 AM - [Link] Say something...
Monday, December 15, 2003
Apologies for the late posting tonight but RL continues to rear its ugly head and I'm just finally setting down to relax. But instead I come here to the palatial WE world headquarters and ski gear closet to ramble at this keyboard for a bit.

To get started, here's some Redneck Haiku for you to enjoy. Iowahawk is a regular contributor in the comments over at Little green Footballs and he was just recently persuaded to start his own blog. So there it is and he starts out with some classy poetry for you to enjoy. (If you are from the South and you get it, you probably had somebody else read it to you...)

If you were keeping up with the Wizbang 2003 Weblog Awards and missed the results, LGF was named best overall! There's a reason I keep telling you to read it every day!

If you're wondering what to get this humble scribe as a Christmas gift this year, you need look no further than here. The long sleeved one would be nice, in extra large. And I'll wear it proudly.

No Christmas list for me this year really, though I have tried to make an amusing list to write about. Water heaters and school tuition and now a busted tracker have put a crimp in my wish list. And besides, everything I want I already know that the BSU will not purchase so there's no point in worrying about it. Maybe I'll get two pair of slacks hemmed so I can wear them to work. Maybe. But I can't ask for gun stuff and she doesn't want to hear about the new computer I want to build and the parts I need and parts for the Avenger don't fit in her ok as Christmas presents list either.

I did get signed up for my first class today. The class, Intro to College Math starts in January, 2 nights per week. And I think I'm taking the class along with Karen, my kindred Ogden blogger, so maybe we can help each other along figuring the value of X.

The Tracker puked its coolant today while Noah was driving, it seems to be coming from a split water pump gasket. There was a nut missing off a stud at the front of the pump and it looks like the gasket needs replaced. Doing so requires the fan to come out, the shroud and the timing belt cover and slacking off the timing belt. The book says you also have to adjust the valves when its all put back together. And its supposed to be about 20 degrees tomorrow... So I can do the job in the cold carport or borrow Jim's dolly and drag the dang thing, either to Jim's barn or to the base auto hobby shop. Either way its a bunch of pain and running around. Its never easy, is it?

Son Noah has an entry date to Job Corp though, we learned that last week. (Did I write about this already?) Anyway, its next month, the 13th. Yeah! He is figuring at least a 14 month time to be in the programs there but its nearby and we will still be seeing him on the weekends. We are all quite excited about this great opportunity.

Last thing tonight, then its time for the Tonight Show Headlines. Somebody is still looking for me. Is it possible I have a stalker? I sure wish they would leave me a note or an email or a smoke signal. A brick through the window maybe or a love note but just speak up!

That's it. I'm done for tonight.
Nate 10:26 PM - [Link] Say something...
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Max Lyon photos of the American southwest

First- a warning. Its only fair to let you know in advance that these photos may mesmerize you and you could loose an hour or more of work time. So get a fresh soda or coffee and get comfy while you take a break. And set a timer or something to get you back on track.

These are stunning, stunning photos. Most of them are for sale and I would decorate every wall in my house with them, except that the BSU doesn't like desert. Or mountains or canyons. She grew up in Oregon and she likes trees. So these photos would be lost on her but maybe not you.

Max uses multiple digital photos stitched together to make these astounding final images. He has even created the first gigapixel photo using 196 photos from a 6 megapixel camera. The technology of what he does is way over my head but I sure love the results.

So if you've never been to the southwest, now is a perfect time to sit back and be amazed. You can easily believe that some of these pictures must have been taken on faraway planets and the beauty is breathtaking.

Wanderlust time now... Go see the pictures.
Nate 10:21 AM - [Link] Say something...
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Wooden Ferrari Somebody has waay to much time on their hands!

Nate 4:15 PM - [Link] Say something...
Funny movie clip from
Nate 4:06 PM - [Link] Say something...
Instructions for Terry and anyone else in meetings
Check it out.
Nate 3:41 PM - [Link] Say something...
Friday, December 12, 2003
They like me! They really like me! I don't know what I did or said over at Acidman's place yesterday but it sure has brought a bunch of new visitors to Wasted Electrons! I even went back over there to see if I had made some asshat comment that Rob took offense to, but I can't find anything with my name on it. Maybe, like email, I should not be blogging until after my firsst 24 ounces of coffee. Anyway, check out my site meter statistics tracker, you'll be as surprised as I was.

And I guess I better email Rob to find out what I said. After my coffee...

To those of you stopping by for the first time, have a look around and enjoy. There's usually less vitriol than at Acidman's but occasionally some grumpiness and curmudgeonly attitude nearby.

Nate 11:49 PM - [Link] Say something...
Its Friday! And that means that I am NOT at work today but instead in the palatial Wasted Electrons World Headquarters and ski gear closet. But not for long as there are beaucoup errands to accomplish, bills to pay, toys to purchase and wrap and an old leaky hot water tank to drag off to the landfill.

That's right. Last's night's hot water tank replacement was a success. Completed in just 3 hours and requiring only 1 trip to Home Depot and with a minimum of cursing and NO leaks, the new clean tank was burbling away nicely in time for me to watch ER with the BSU. And I got the first shower as a reward for my efforts.

I even managed to sweat those copper fittings loose and then back together almost like I knew what I was doing, after I found the second torch head in my shop. The first one I grabbed would not create any real sort of heat, just a piddly little drizzle of flame that would not get things hot enough. Lucky for me I remembered that I actually had a second nozzle and that one worked fine, thank you very much. Lots of fire and then the soldering went together beautifully.

So, later. I'll get back here later. Probably. Tonight is supposed to be "tree decorating" night with enforced familial contact. We will see. And maybe skiing tomorrow, though I still don't think we will be working. There's just not been enough snow to cover all the rocks and stumps yet.

And the parts for my Kel-Tec that I broke last weekend arrived yesterday so that needs reassembled too!
Nate 10:51 AM - [Link] Say something...
Thursday, December 11, 2003
Somebody is looking for me... from my referral logs this morning. I wonder who it is that's looking for me. I haven't received any emails to indicate that whoever was looking was successful.

Nate 12:32 PM - [Link] Say something...
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
What was it I wanted for Christmas? Oh yeah, I remember now. A new hot water tank! That's what I wanted, right? Well that's what I'm getting. Tonight. Dang ol thing is leaking across the laundry room floor, quite steadily.
Nate 7:23 PM - [Link] Say something...
Advil: Little. Yellow. Delinquent.
Tim Greening's column from the Times.

A Parkway High School sophomore has been expelled for an entire year because she had Advil in her purse, which violates the Bossier Parish school system's zero-tolerance policy for medication.

Wow - until now, I thought Ex-Lax was the only medicine that could cause such a harsh expulsion.

Ba-dum bum. Thank you! I'm here all week! Be sure to tip your waitresses!

But seriously, folks. Advil? A whole year? I'll bet that's a harsher penalty than will be given to Rush Limbaugh and Courtney Love combined. (Eeew ... and if Limbaugh and Love were to combine, their child would be one seriously obnoxious kid.)

...Hold up a raw egg. This is Bossier schools' policy. Now smash the egg on top of your head so that egg goop drips down your hair and your face, so you look ridiculous. This is Bossier schools' policy on drugs. Any questions?
Yup. He's right.
Nate 2:30 PM - [Link] Say something...
I just had my phone interview with the reporter from The Shreveport Times.
Her name was Melody. I think she must have been about 25 years old. Anyway, she was just looking for some background on my kid's experience with life in the Bossier Parish school system as it related to medications. I essentially told her that I thought the Zero Tolerance policies of all school systems need to also pass a common sense test. If we license teenagers to drive and entrust them with that degree of responsibility, then I think we also need to be able to entrust them to treat medications both OTC and prescription responsibly and allow them to carry and take their own medications. Expelling someone for carrying an Advil for their personal use does not pass a common sense test!

For any person carrying or distributing illegal drugs then expulsion is appropriate. I'm even willing to include cigarettes for underage users in this category. Even sharing of prescription medications needs stern, immediate attention and corrective action commensurate with the infraction by the school. But expelling someone for carrying, for personal use, a legal, OTC medication is dumbass policy and needs to be corrected. I find it distressing that we can provide condoms in schools and expect teens to be responsible for their sexual behavior and safety and even promote allowing teen girls to obtain abortions without parental consent but deny them the medications that would allow them to remain in school rather than be at home with a treatable headache or menstrual cramps. (editor's note: that is a really ugly sentence but it works so I guess it can stay.)

Melody did tell me that there might be changes afoot in the Bossier case due to the firestorm of dissent that has rained down on the school board due to this case.

We never even got around to discussing the teachers who spoke and wrote using Ebonics instead of English and who were incapable of writing simple sentences in notes that came home. Or the complete disregard for the signed "Do Not Spank" directives that we provided to the schools.

So I don't know what might come from my pleasant chat with Melody. Maybe nothing. But she made sure she had my name spelled right so maybe she will get a story printed in the paper. Good friend Renee lives there, I'll ask her to be watching out.
Nate 2:23 PM - [Link] Say something...
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
In a very bad mood tonight. Crabby. Ill-tempered. Christmas spirit shot to hell. PO'd @ BSU. Maybe attitude will improve tomorrow.

But I received an email today from a reporter at the Shreveport Times newspaper. She wants to interview me about a comment I left here. So Melody, you have my number. Give me a call and we'll talk.
Nate 10:39 PM - [Link] Say something...
Pictures of the DHL aircraft shot at in Baghdad from Argghhh!!! The Home of one of Jonah's Military Guys?

Remember last week's story about the attack on the cargo plane carrying supplies to our troops in Bagdhad? You might remember that just a few days before the President flew in to celebrate Thanksgiving with the troops, French journalists observed and photographed Iraqi insurgents shooting at, and hitting a cargo plane with hand held surface to air missiles.

Here's a first hand report from the guys sent in to recover and confirm the status of the aircraft. With lots of pictures. Check it out.

And remember, the crew flying this airplane are contractors to the US government. Sound like anyone else you know? Remember all the noise being made last month about how much money was needed to pay the contractorssupporting the rebuilding of Iraq? I think these guys earned a bonus!
Nate 10:51 AM - [Link] Say something...
Shamelessly stolen from a commenter over at Sgt Stryker's Daily Briefing. Too funny not to share.

Hot off the wires:
At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a setsquare, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a morning press conference, Attorney general John Ashcroft said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult,", Ashcroft said. "They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like "x" and "y" and refer to themselves as "unknowns", but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

"As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every triangle," Ashcroft declared.

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes.

"I am gratified that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. Murky statisticians love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence," the President said, adding: "Under the circumferences, we must differentiate their root, make our point, and draw the line."

President Bush warned, "These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scalene never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex."

Attorney General Ashcroft said, "As our Great Leader would say, read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of: though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered as the hypotenuse tightens around their necks."

Nate 8:38 AM - [Link] Say something...
Monday, December 08, 2003
Bonus Points! Its snowing heavily right now as I discovered after putting up that last post and heading of of the cubicle for fresh coffee and a trip to drop of last hour's coffee. That means that it is tree shopping tonight!

There are some things that are traditional and just can't be missed. For my family its a trip out to pick the perfect tree, ("Dad, did you bring a saw?") It must be the entire family, it must be after dark, there must be snow falling- the heavier the better and I must open my wallet much farther than anticipated. We don't actually cut out own tree, we go to the fenced in corner of the Stop & Shop parkiing lot, or to the Boy Scouts lot if we're not too late. The tree cutting quote was from NLCV. Expect more quotes throughout this month.

So tonight's events are set and the ceremony will be properly celebrated with hot chocolate after we return home.
Nate 1:20 PM - [Link] Say something...
Ok, I have finally kicked off the very heavy eyelids and urge to drool into my keyboard while acquiring funny little square shapes pressed into my cheeks. It was a very long morning... I did not sleep well last night. First it was the thunder and lightning bringing in the late delayed snow, then the BSU and Son had to stay up all night and left most of the lights on. And I can't latch the bedroom door because the multiple pets won't settle and insist on being allowed to come in and out, letting the light and sound into the inner sanctum sleeping quarters.

We were on target to go Christmas tree shopping yesterday but that fell through because the temperature refused to drop into snowing weather and stayed, instead, in the steady drizzle rainfall level. Its gotta be snowing if we're going tree shopping or its just not right.

I'm thinking about my own Santa wish list, does anybody care? I'm pretty certain nobody inside my house is too concerned about it. I have gotten started on my own shopping, for family and the Toys For Tots bin but I'm far from finished. The list isn't too big so one more afternoon should cover it. Then I can wrap presents, decorate the tree and enjoy the television specials.

BSU did refuse to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation last night so I may have to catch it again by myself or rent it. I love it but it doesn't suit her funny bone.

And I loaded up my cubie mate's 'puter with some NLCV quotes to replace his regular Windows sounds this morning while he had his back turned! Heh!

Paying work demands my attention for a bit though. Back later...

Nate 1:06 PM - [Link] Say something...
Support Our Troops slideshow Turn up your speakers and be hanky ready. Thanks, Percy for sharing.
Nate 12:17 PM - [Link] Say something...
Sunday, December 07, 2003
Snail labyrinth This made me laugh! Somebody has too much time on their hands!

Nate 5:35 PM - [Link] Say something...
A truly fun time-waster!

I still haven't mastered it!

Nate 5:06 PM - [Link] Say something...
Avion Art Online... Maybe I should ask Santa for one of these for Christmas...

Nate 4:52 PM - [Link] Say something...
The Yuckiest Little Miniature Golf Course in the West

Sure its tacky. But isn't that what makes America a great place?

Nate 4:25 PM - [Link] Say something...
Friday, December 05, 2003
I haven't posted anything about this story because it just didn't have the the attention of the country nearly as much as (former) Judge Moore's 10 commandments stone but this has been an interesting story for those of us here in Zion. I was glad to see the outcome turn out the way it should as the two guys being tried were ever so obviously hung out to dry while the rest of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee left them swinging in the breeze.

Olympic bribery case dismissed; Welch, Johnson elated By Linda Fantin, The Salt Lake Tribune

A federal judge slammed the gavel on the Olympic bribery case Friday morning, acquitting Tom Welch and Dave Johnson on 15 bribery-related felonies and putting an end to the painful and scandalous part of Salt Lake City's Olympic epitaph.

"How I regret that you were deprived of fully enjoying the fruits of your tireless efforts of bringing the Games to Salt Lake City," U.S. District Judge David Sam told Welch and Johnson.

Sam said he could only imagine the heartache and disappointment the defendants and their families had experienced and he lashed out at Justice Department prosecutors Richard Wiedis and John Scott. "Enough is enough," he said, calling their case a complete miscarriage of justice.

Sam bench's ruling was greeted with tearful elation by Johnson, Welch, defense attorneys, family and friends who crowded the courtroom in anticipation of the trial's end.

...Sam granted a defense motion for a bench-ordered acquittal, known as a Rule 29 motion. Rule 29 states that a judge is obligated to acquit a defendant if he determines the government has not provided enough evidence to prove a crime was committed.

The defendants always have insisted that providing IOC members and their relatives with expensive gifts, trips, college aid and cash assistance was common among bid cities, offensive only in hindsight and never illegal.

"The legal process is not for the weak or the faint of heart," Welch told The Salt Lake Tribune. "But the process works. It's painful and costly for those involved, but it works."

Never in his 40 years in the legal profession had he seen a case that so deeply "offends my sense of justice," Sam said.

Surrounded by supporters and a mob of television cameras outside the courthouse, Johnson and Welch praised their defense team and Sam. "Finally, there was somebody brave enough to stand up and say this was wrong," Johnson said. "I appreciate so much Judge Sam's courage."/blockquote>

So 'well done!' Judge Sam. And now its time for Wech and Johnson to get on with their lives.

Nate 12:51 PM - [Link] Say something...
I found this quote today on a firearms forum I belong to. a rookie cop I learned to dress around the gun and teach my Sunday School Class in coat, tie, and 3 handguns... I've met all sorts of dress codes including a short-sleeved shirt and levi's and still carried a .45, .357 snub, and .32 acp.

I should probably defer this to Terry over at Possumblog but just how tough must this guy's Sunday School class be?
Nate 10:44 AM - [Link] Say something...
Thursday, December 04, 2003
You may already have guessed this...
Cat's don't hear underwater!

Nate 5:39 PM - [Link] Say something...
Hero overpowers woman's attacker and since the Standard Examiner still requires you to register, I posted the entire story here for you to enjoy.
By MARK GRAY, Standard-Examiner staff

I loved reading this story. Ray sounds like a standup citizen and it makes feel glad to hear that he lives in my town.

OGDEN -- Ray Anderson believes the world would be a little more pleasant if everyone could lend a hand to those needing help. On Monday night, he helped out by fighting.

So did an off-duty police officer.

The two teamed up around 7:30 p.m. to wrestle a 44-year-old man who assaulted and attempted to rob a woman in front of her two children outside the Taco Taco restaurant, 2931 Washington Blvd.

"I did what anyone else would do," said Anderson, owner of Taco Taco.

According to a police report, the victim, 38, was leaving her business, which neighbors the restaurant, when a masked man attempted to steal her purse. Pulling her hair, the suspect was unable to get the purse, which contained nearly $600, so he began punching her before the restaurateur came to her aid.

Phillip Francis was charged Tuesday with robbery, a second-degree felony, and misdemeanor assault.

Anderson said he was working his regular shift Monday night when the 10-year-old daughter of his business neighbor ran into the restaurant yelling, "My mother, my mother."

Realizing something was wrong, but not knowing what, Anderson ran out the rear entrance of the restaurant and noticed a woman being assaulted.

According to a police report, Anderson pulled Francis off the victim and tried to hold on to him. Francis tried to escape several times, but Anderson kept him at bay by striking him in the head and face.

"I just did what came normal," he said. "I hope anyone that sees a woman getting accosted would help out."

Shortly after, off-duty Ogden police officer Eric Young, who was eating at the restaurant, ran out the rear entrance, helping Anderson keep Francis down until additional police units arrived.

"I mean, how low can you be?" Anderson said, stating his jeans were covered in blood from Francis' bloody nose and cut above his eye. "You're going to assault a woman in front of her children? I'm glad to have that guy out of here. I hate those kind of people."

The four-minute incident would have been over sooner had Anderson simply scared Francis off, but he refused to let go.

"I wanted to make sure he wasn't getting away, that he was going to jail," he said.

"I'm just glad I could help her. She's a neighbor, a friend. That's what a community is about. ... I was really amped up. My adrenaline was going. I worked him over a little bit." (I love this quote!)

While being questioned by police, Francis denied any wrongdoing, claiming he was there to help the woman, but he refused to answer the officer's question: Do you always help people with your hat pulled all the way over your face?

None of the parties involved required medical attention. (too bad...)

Way to go Ray! And good on ya for working him over! I also learned while discussing this story in my building that the off-duty officer is the son-in-law of a woman just two cubicles down. It was his wife that dialed 911 and when she mentioned that an officer was involved, every policeman in the city descended on that alley right NOW!

So hopefully the BG will get a few months in jail to cool off and consider the error of his ways.
Nate 2:40 PM - [Link] Say something...
Real Life and the paying gig continue to intrude. Meetings yesterday and training this morning, then a retirement ceremony and party over lunch for a coworker. So pithy, intriguing commentary on world events will be delayed for a bit longer.
Nate 8:08 AM - [Link] Say something...
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Hey! How 'bout those snowflakes? I added those just to help get everyone into the fun of winter. I especially need it as it was about 50 degrees here this afternoon! That makes for really lousy skiing! So there's snowflakes for a few days. You can share them by going here.
Nate 7:26 PM - [Link] Say something...
I have gotten so many so many visitors since I first mentioned my Kel-Tec P3AT handgun that I finally decided to make this post and a permanent link on my sidebar. For such a small gun there certainly is a lot of interest because I am getting numerous visitors every day from search engine results. Folks seem to be looking for reviews, places to buy one and holsters choices for this little pocket gun.

First- to the links! Then you can read my review if you're inclined. The Kel-Tec website has lots of interesting information on all their gun lines including a downloadable, printable Owner's Manual if you didn't get one with a used gun. There is a complete parts view and list, news and links to most of the other links related to their guns including the Kel-Tec Owner's Group and the KTOG forum. You can also find detailed, photo enhanced instructions for new gun preparation, trigger action smoothing and every other home gun-smithing project you need to know here.

And if you're trying to find a P3AT, try my local gun dealer, Impact Arms. I bought mine right out of the case so I know that they try to keep them in stock.

Now on to my review. To date I have burned about 200 rounds of ammo through this gun. American Eagle FMJ works pretty well but the Winchester Clean-Shoot Flat Nose ammo seems to work just as well. I have hollow point ammo in the gun for carry and I apologize, I've forgotten which brand it is but its the one with a post in the bottom of the hollow section. I have had NO failures to feed from 3 different bullet nose shapes.

I have discovered that the first round off the magazine will sometimes fail to go cleanly up the feed ramp if I am slow with racking the slide. If I just rack it back and release it immediately the bullets feed every time. If I pull back on the slide and delay the release for any reason the bullet may hang up on the ramp. Not always but occasionally and only on the initial loading of the cylinder. Shooting it the bullets never fail to feed into the breach. I have not tried polishing the feed ramp but it is a recommended user/owner modification.

I have had a couple of failures to eject so far. I can't state positively the reason why though it seems that the ejector doesn't grip the case rim securely and that the ejector sometimes slips off leaving the empty shell in the way of the fresh round trying to feed. Maybe it has happened 3 or 4 times in ~200 rounds fired. I have not tried any modifications to correct this minor problem.

My gun does have a minor fault, the assembly pin pops out of the right side of the frame while shooting. One phone call to Kel-Tec got 2 new pins and 2 retainer springs in the mail to me for no cost. The parts arrived yesterday and I will get them installed this week before shooting it again. Hopefully these new parts will correct the problem. If it was my design I would have made the pin a screw and it would thread into the right side of the frame instead of being a push fit but apparently if the pin is the correct size it won't pop loose.

My gun also seems to shoot about 6 inches low when the sights are aligned with the front dot just sitting on top of the rear mark. I have to set the front mark above the rear mark by about 2X the height of the front mark to get it to shoot where I want it to go. The problem might just be operator error though as I still have to fully acclimate to the long double-action trigger pull. So far, this is my biggest complaint but again it might not be the tool's fault but the operator's.

I am carrying my P3AT right now in an Uncle Mike's #1, pocket holster, inside my coat in an inner pocket. This seems to be very satisfactory for carry during cold weather. The holster is easily modified with a seam ripper to make room for a spare magazine and I did that modification as soon as I took it out of the package. I've also discovered that the original Kel-Tec zippered pouch that comes with the gun makes a very fine carry device. It too will carry the gun and a spare magazine and it fits in any number of pockets very discretely. Leaving the top portion of the zipper open makes for quick removal if required. I have modified this pouch, again with my spouse's seam ripper by removing the embroidered logo from the front of the pouch. Like this the pouch looks just like a PDA case or a personal day-planner and it could sit on my desk at work and never draw a moment's suspicion. (But obviously I don't leave my firearm on my work table because that would be illegal and I don't want to be a law breaker now do I?)

Without a doubt I am not done experimenting with holsters and other methods of discrete carry. There are a number of excellent holster makers out there and some of them are regular contributors at the KTOG bulletin board. I expect I will be spending a little money in the coming weeks with one or two of them myself.

There is a fervent ongoing discussion over at the KTOG forum about which of a number of magazine extensions are the best for adding some extra finger control to this very small handful of gun. I chose the Bersa Thundercat extension for mine and I love the extra grip it provides.

So in a nutshell, I am very pleased with my choice of a concealed carry firearm. Its small and light and that means I can have it nearby all the time. Its not perfect but mighty close and getting better while I improve my skills at the same time. There is a vast wealth of knowledge out there concerning every conceivable problem one might encounter with a Kel-Tec firearm. Common problems can be solved by the owner and if not, the company is very responsive to ensuring their customer's satisfaction.

So I'm happy. Do your homework and maybe you will be also.

Nate 3:26 PM - [Link] Say something...
OK OK OK. I'm sorry, real life continues to interrupt blogging. And I never got my Favorite Thanksgiving post completed either, so I guess I lied. I didn't mean to, it just worked out that way. And its not going to get much better today as I have multiple meetings and briefings to attend.

So what has been happening? Sunday was a ski day though the snow is just barely good enough to keep the resort open. The lift where I work remains closed due to the lack of snow and the resulting exposed rocks and stumps. There's no snow forecast this week so conditions do not appear to be improving in the near future.

Son Noah and I did go see the monster truck races over the weekend, we're suckers for loud race motor noises and smells. It was a fun night out for the two of us, something we don't get often enough these days.

I'm continuing to gather my training records and transcripts from different places where my higher education efforts died on the vine in the past. I'm pretty surprised at just how many times and places I have taken classes and received credit for my efforts. I'm trying to get everything gathered up in one place for a comprehensive review and credit hour determination. Classes start in January and I'm going to be there for at least one class. Later I'll see if I can manage the workload of more than one class.

So, I've got to get to work at the paying job. You'll have to go read the blogs NOT hosted on Blog Spot because it seems to be completely down this morning. I'll try to get back later. If I find something interesting to vent about.
Nate 7:48 AM - [Link] Say something...

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