Sunday, September 30, 2012

American Hoggers

Today I watched two complete episodes of American Hoggers.

Or, if I was Jerry Campbell: Tuh day ah wortched two complete ep’sodes uv Ah-mer’cn Huggurz.

The A&E Network program has more contrived scenes than Swamp People and a couple others I haven’t watched.

Those people on Hoggers give everybody a bad name – Texans, horseback riders, Jeep owners, pickup truck owners, shooters …

… and real hog hunters.

Now, something people should know – Wild hogs are a big problem in East Texas, and apparently in the Hill Country. More so in East Texas, though, because woods are thicker and there is much more water. Two-thirds of the state’s uncontrolled water is in East Texas, roughly from about Mount Pleasant to the Louisiana border, and from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Wild pigs love East Texas. There are gardens. There are large soybean fields. There are fields of wheat and fields of corn. There are thousands of acres in which grow red oak, white oak, pinoak, water oak, post oak, live oak, willow oak, and other varieties. There are pecan plantations and wild pecan trees. All oak trees produce acorns, and pecans are a high-protein nut, not to mention tasty. So, East Texas has much food for wild hogs.

Pigs tear up plants to get at the roots. A small herd can destroy a large area overnight. The estimated more than 2 million feral hogs are responsible for $400 million damage. Here’s a video of damage by wild hogs near Dallas:

From the crazies, here’s one of a managed hunt in an area where wild pigs are allowed to grow to 400 pounds:

But we were talking about the TV show.

Jerry Campbell’s contrived accent is grating. Contrived dramatic situations are laughable. And why don’t the four hunters shoot the damned pigs? PETA got all bent out of shape after Episode 1, in which one of the women hunters, using what looked like a .45-caliber single-action, took out a feral hog. Everybody who was surprised at PETA’s objection raise your hand.

American Hoggers is not a program I’ll likely watch again.

One thing galls me more than all others: The ragged Texas flag flying. If A&E needs a new, whole Texas flag, I have one.

Did Petraeus put political spin on Benghazi intelligence?

Out-of-control demonstrators fit Obama administration statements.

Three days after the murders of four Americans, CIA Director David Petraeus told members of the House Intelligence Committee “that Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video.”

“Meanwhile, we know from past debate how assiduously David Petraeus pays attention to and, indeed, is guided by what he has called in Senate testimony "Arab anger." We also know that Petraeus as CENTCOM commander was no stranger to politicking, engaging in what was described as an "unprecedented" political push in early 2010 on behalf of Islam's Israel-centered demonology in order to enhance Americas's military standing in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Here is the article on Petraeus’s Arab-centered ideas.

Weird, weird, weird, weird dream

I sat at a table outside a restaurant. A woman I knew hurried to the table when seeing me. She sat and opened a newspaper.

“I just found out the strangest thing,” she said.

I looked at the newspaper. Prominently displayed was a picture of a woman in a blue bikini. A blue bikini bottom, that is, the picture showing the woman from her navel to her upper thighs.

Before I could read the cutline, my friend said, “That’s mine!”

I remembered her telling me weeks before that she had been kidnapped, put under by a chemical. When she woke up, the part of her that was in the newspaper picture was missing.

“And now I’ve found it!” she said, rather proudly. She sat back in the chair. From her tone of voice (and the almost magical understanding that often occurs in dreams), I knew the picture was not with a story on her missing parts, but a contest of attractive stomachs in bikinis. In the contest was the woman who now had my friend’s parts.

My friend said, “I spoke with my plastic surgeon, and he said he can put everything back together as soon as I get my parts back.”

I woke up. I wondered: What did the kidnappers use for replacement of what they took? Stainless steel? Titanium? Sixty years ago, science fiction writers might have said chrome. I’ll never know.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Reinventing everything

From AOL Defense announcement of DC symposium: “What do we mean by the ‘Soldier as a System’ and how can this concept reshape the acquisition of future capabilities? … What can we do to rebalance and reduce the soldier load …?”

Back in the early 1980s the Army fielded a manual on “Managing Soldier Assets.” The manual approached soldiers as another weapons system, which would perform in specific ways under certain circumstances. The only thing I remember from the FM was that the writers stated tobacco and alcohol, when properly managed, would add to soldier capabilities. As for the “soldier load,” the answer is 40 pounds, including weapon and ammunition, as determined by a German army studies following WWI. But, hey, this is a new century, with new and absolutely necessary equipment, and besides, nothing in a German soldier’s equipment required batteries.

As an S4 sergeant said, “I’m ready to return to flintlocks and ox carts.” As long as the other sides don’t have cap and ball rifles and/or railroads …

Ed Eaton

The History Channel had a piece on Ed Eaton, but failed to mention how he and his company commander got away from 30-40 VC in a busted mission. Here is a much better account:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

X-37B sort of looks like a shuttle, but China says it’s a weapon

"Industry analysts said the spacecraft could be a precursor to an orbiting weapon, capable of dropping bombs or disabling enemy satellites as it circles the globe." – Xinhua news agency.

(“could be.” It could be a way to transport monkeys from California back to California, too. It could be … lots of things. Doing PR for the aircraft is an easy job. No, we will not tell you launch date or time. Or place. No, we won’t tell you the return date. No, we won’t tell you what it’s carrying.

(Like the Air Force’s last and absolutely final statement on the non-crash at Roswell. First last answer: Very high altitude balloons listening for Soviet nuclear tests. Not buying that, huh. OK. Absolutely final answer: High altitude balloons dropping dummies wearing parachutes to test re-entry for space program.)

Fark again.

One is a dope, the other finds it

Police chief in Vaughn, N.M., quits after people find out he can’t legally carry a gun. Something about a few tens of thousands of dollars back child support owed in Texas.

Not a problem. Vaughn has another police officer. Except he is not certified. And there is the matter of his guilty plea on a charge of assault and battery.

But the town does have one additional official police officer: Nikka, a dope dog.

How does a town of 737 people afford a dope dog?

Sniffed out at

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Playing the Army game

Maj. Martin, battalion operations officer, called on a Tuesday after a weekend field drill. “Do you have a Corp. Smith and a Corp. Jones in B Company?”

“Yes, Sir,” I said. “They’re both in my platoon.”

“Well,” he said, “they pumped about 100 gallons of MOGAS into an APC and Col. Wisely is really pissed. He said he’ll have to pull the engine and do all kinds of cleaning it out.”

A couple of things were running in my mind as Maj. Martin went on. First, an M113A2 will take 93 gallons of diesel. Second, we had used the APCs for only a short time of driving, and I doubted my two corporals had put more than five gallons of gasoline in the vehicle. Third, there was no way the maintenance people would have to pull the diesel engine and clean it. They could counteract any gasoline with a quart or so of motor oil, if the 88 gallons already in the tank hadn’t already taken care of the five gallons.

I didn’t say any of that, though. I let the major go on. He had been called by a known short-tempered lieutenant colonel, who did not shy away from telling soldiers and officers when they screwed up. Lt. Col. Wisely probably had some terse comments on the intelligence of infantry soldiers who apparently did not know that Army APCs hadn’t run on gasoline for about 10 years. Too, he probably had a few comments on the training those two corporals of mine had not received.

Maj. Martin said, “Here is what you will do. You will get a signed statement from each corporal telling what they did and that they will never do it again. You will give the statements to me, and I will give then to Col. Wisely.”

I said, “Yes, Sir.”

As soon as Maj. Martin was done with me, I called Col. Wisely. I said, “Sir, I understand a couple of my soldiers have caused much difficulty and pulling of hair by not knowing which fuel to put in an APC.”

Col. Wisely laughed. “Aw, hell, it wasn’t any big deal. I just wanted to make a point with battalion headquarters. Truth be known, it was probably their fuel specialist who handed your men the hose.”

That was most likely true. At the Camp Maxey fuel point, an APC commander ground-guided his track onto the concrete pad, where a battalion fuel specialist handed up a hose. My corporals should have noticed the hose was attached to a gasoline pump, but they had not. There were enough mistakes so everybody involved got one.

I mentioned pulling the engine, but Col. Wisely said that was just part of his making a point. “We’ll pour some motor oil in, and everything will be good to go.”

I apologized for my corporals’ mistake.

Then I wrote statements for my corporals to sign. Next drill, I talked to them. Both looked like they felt kind of stupid. Both said they were BS-ing with the fuel specialist and not paying attention. Each signed his statement and both agreed they would never do that again. And they were right.

I gave the statements to Maj. Martin. He read each one. He said, a bit angrily, “They say exactly the same thing! Except for their names, they’re the same!”

I said, “Well, Sir, they both made the same mistake.”

He was not happy, but he did have statements he could give Col. Wisely, and we all would live happily ever after.

It's a great weapon! It's a POS!

“In March, elements of 75th Ranger Regiment refused to take XM25 with them for a raid on a fortified enemy compound in Afghanistan, sources familiar with the incident said.

“After an initial assessment, Ranger units found the XM25 too heavy and cumbersome for the battlefield. They also were concerned that the limited basic load of 25mm rounds was not enough to justify taking an M4A1 carbine out of the mission, sources say.

“Command Sgt. Maj. James Carabello, the CSM for the Maneuver Center of Excellence here at Benning, doesn’t share this opinion.”

Obama gives a speech

The day before:

“President Barack Obama will warn Iran” and “will scold violent demonstrators” -- thusly:

"time is not unlimited" “Make no mistake” “The United States will do what we must”

The day after:

‘Obama Urges Nations to Confront Roots of Muslim Rage’

The embassy attacks were “an attack on America.” “all leaders, in all countries” must “speak out forcefully against violence and extremism." “Make no mistake: A nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. …” “the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace." “this violence and intolerance has no place among our United nations.” U.S. "will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice."

(There are more, similar statements from a man trying to raise his grade in speech class.)

But, Mr. President, what will you do about the attacks?

I just told you. I spoke out. Forcefully. I called on nations to work together. I declared that violence is not the answer. Ya and da and etc.

(The headline is one of the suckiest ever. Islam is the root cause of Muslim rage. Done; finished; roger, out; finis; the end.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wise decision

Parnall Pipit, biplane produced for possible purchase by the Royal Navy: “The first of two prototypes … was flown in 1928, but crashed when a tailplane spar failed as a result of flutter. The second prototype …, with a 520 hp F.XIIS engine and many other changes, was also lost as a result of violent flutter which fractured the sternpost whereupon the vertical tail surfaces were carried away. Further development of the Pipit was then abandoned.” It is a bad day in piloting when your tail falls off. Wikipedia article on the Pipit says the pilot in the first incident went down with his aircraft, and survived. The second crash pilot parachuted away.

Only a little more successful – the Percival P.6 Mew Gull. Five were built.
c/n E.20A, G-ACND, destroyed by fire July 7, 1945
c/n E.21, G-AEKL, destroyed by bombing June 1940
c/n E.22, ZS-AHM, G-AEXF, still airworthy
c/n E.23, G-AEMO, ZS-AHO, crashed September 31, 1936
c/n E.24, G-AFAA, destroyed by fire July 7, 1945

The best rock song ever

“Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

There are four songs you have to crank up full volume – “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Gimme Gimme Some Lovin’,” “Mississippi Queen,” and “Tannhauser Overture.” The Who … The really good songs, Keith Moon is octopussing the drums; you know he has at least four arms. Nobody could do that with only two. “My Wife” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Moon at his best.

Here’s “Who’s Next.” 1:20:22.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Playing the game/follow the money/kill those who protest

‘Muslim nations hire 10 new PR agencies since last year – PR firms assist in selling terror and brutality’

“Over lunch this week, one of my peers, who like me, owns 1 of the 25 largest US PR Agencies explained why his firm would no longer work with Jewish organizations and Pro-Israel concerns. He explained there is simply too much money working for Arab organizations and interests …”

“Patton Boggs, another large K street lobbying group is also now representing the new Libyan regime. They previously worked with Gadhafi, alongside Cambridge, Massachusetts based Monitor Group held a hefty $250,000-month contract with Tripoli, recruiting prominent American academics to praise the Libyan government.”

--Ronn Torossian

Linked from

Sometimes you have to think what you do doesn’t matter. People who care for money above all things can justify lying for dictators and murderous regimes, and they will continue to do so. The rest of us … Work, buy groceries, pay the mortgage. Our above all things hope is that we have prepared our children to cope and survive and live happy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The most trusted name in TV news tells its side

‘CNN finds, returns journal belonging to late U.S. ambassador’

“(CNN) -- Four days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded.

“CNN notified Stevens' family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family's request provided it to them via a third party.”

And CNN press release:

(Interesting that CNN’s headline focuses on the return of the journal, which really wasn’t a return at all, since the family never had it. A CNN (reporter? camera operator? local stringer?) found the journal four days after the attack on the anenx? Folks going to be jumping all over CNN for a while.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CNN: Ethiks R Us

“A personal journal belonging to U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was obtained by CNN, and The Wall Street Journal is reporting that it ‘broadcast reports based on its contents against the wishes of the Stevens family, according to relatives and State Department officials who were asked to intervene by the family.’"

“The Journal says the State Department disputes CNN's account. It goes on to report that ‘Philippe Reines, a senior adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said it took repeated prodding to get CNN to agree to return the journal.’"

Hey, let’s be like China, Part 2

“The couple have seven grown-up children. But like other young people in the area, they have left home to look for work. Niu Yubiao has no idea where they are.”

No health care, no old age care, no pensions …


Hope you kept your Republic money

‘cause Texas has riz.

Country’s best barbecue joints are in Lockhart, Austin, Lexington, Garland (all in Texas) and … Inglewood, California? NYC and DC???

As Meatloaf almost said, 4 out of 7 ain’t bad.

Fark 2

Standing silent while others make political points

“We should all be very glad that we have a Democratic president right now; otherwise the news would be terrible. We would be seeing a rash of horrible and depressing stories in the newspapers about strategic failure, with unremitting second guessing and belittling of a president who agonized for months before the surge and then saw his plan fail. We’d be hearing non-stop reports in the media about the incompetent and klutzy leader who torpedoed his own policy by announcing a withdrawal date; the man who tried to please everybody and do everything—and failed at all he tried.”

At maggiesfarm.

(But we all know Bush started it when he invaded Afghanistan in 2001. If he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have had Obama’s surge. Nixon’s Vietnamization was Johnson’s fault.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

I am a minority

White male, older than 60, Army veteran. What I am not is a victim. Of anything. I have not allowed anyone to victimize me, to place me, an individual, into a labeled box.

Not being a victim is my choice. I could have allowed intellectuals of reading and experts of classification to set me in a cubicle in the victims’ box, but I chose not to. I am stronger than that.

Something to think about: “Cal State Northridge … has ‘25 full-time and 35 part-time professors’ in Chicano Studies and ‘160-170 class sessions per semester,’ in support of a major, a double-major, a minor, and a master's degree program. This contrasts … to the 12 full-time professors in the Physics and Astronomy Department, the 17 full-time professors in Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the 20 in History.”

‘The Wacky World of Victim Studies,”

“The power of the victims' studies departments lies not in what they say but in their ability to prevent inquiry that runs against their preferred narratives. They need not go to a lot of trouble to make this happen. They are more often like rocks in the stream. The regular flow of academic life simply goes around them. Few faculty members or administrators want the hassle of getting in their way.”

Isn’t that cool? A group creating dubious academic provability is nothing more than a (powerful) littering of rocks.

As Capt. Edmund Blackadder said after hearing blathers from his general and from his own Lieutenant George, “Ah, the university education.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

If these are such great places to retire …

… where are the retired people? I saw two people of retirement age in the viedeo.

Why did the police do this?

“After shooting Ray, police were tipped off …”

If the police shot Ray, was a tip to find the shooter necessary?

Oh. The AP reporter never learned about placement of modifying phrases.

(By the time you read this, AP might have made a change.)

Dogging the Nazis

My wife was at the computer when I started 'Inglourious Basterds.' When the movie had run about 20 minutes, she came into the living room and sat on a couch.

“I don’t know who was talking at the beginning, but he was really loud,” she said. “Charley (red, and our smaller standard poodle) was on the couch (in the office). He looked up and then he got off the couch and he stepped toward the door, and the look on his face was ‘Bad man. I need to bite him.’”

“It was Hitler,” I said.

“I had never seen him that way before,” she said. “He looked like he really intended to bite whoever was talking.”

Another incident of Charley and Germans happened several weeks later, when I watched part of 'Anzio' at lunch. In the scene, Robert Mitchum ran past a bombed-out farm house and into the grass on a hillside. A white dog appeared and followed Mitchum. When the dog “Woof”ed, Mitchum threw a rook in the direction of away. The dog went after the rock. A German soldier appeared and began talking to the dog.

Charley was asleep in the hall. He got up and walked to the TV and stood there the entire time the German soldier was talking. Then an American soldier shot the German. The German fell down. He stopped talking. Charley returned to the hallway and went back to sleep.

A thing to remember: Don’t talk loud German when Charley is around.

Another space conspiracy?

Coincidence? Richard Castle says, “There’s no such thing as a coincidence.” He meant in police investigations. This has to do with inhabitable planets and space travel. Are we to believe astronomers found another Earth at the same time NASA scientists announce work on warp drive?

Somewhere in Area 51, a studio waits for another landing.


Warp drive:

(And, no, I do not believe the Moon landing was faked. I know it was real because I saw it on TV.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Four more beers! Four more beers!

So this tavern in Silver Spring, Md., gets in too much beer. What’s an owner to do? Why, have specials until the beer is gone. It’s a long drive to Maryland. I’ll just stick to Fat Tire and stuff brewed in Arkansas.

Drawn at

They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

Dummies, that is.

Most of those pictured will be too busy (studying … uh, maybe doing something else) on election day. Well, you know, I was like going to vote and stuff, but, uh, something happened, and, uh, like the voting place, whatever you call it, was closed when I got up. So, you know, let’s get rid of student loans. Paying them back, I mean.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Death and the Civil War

PBS right now is showing a program on death and the Civil War, with the premise that the unexpected several hundred thousand war dead forced citizens and governments into the realization that no longer were families alone responsible for burial and remembrance, that all hold the responsibility for remembering.

One historian, commenting on Lincoln’s dedicatory speech at the national burial ground at Gettysburg, said Lincoln’s focus was on the new republic under creation by the war. The old republic, Lincoln said, was dead, and we must begin building the new republic.

That is a surprising statement, the old republic declared dead. Many disagreed with Lincoln then, and many would disagree with the statement now. In truth, though, the old republic did die from the Civil War, and it was Lincoln’s people who killed it.

She’s so fine, there’s no telling where the money went

Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner, replying to query as to why her office sold bonds before maturity, costing the state several hundred thousands of dollars: “I don't know that answer, I'll have to research it, I honestly don't."

(Lessons from Jon Corzine, who, when asked where billions of investor dollars went at MF Global, replied: “I don’t know.”)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Badgering Bob Dylan

“You say things sometimes, you don't know what the hell you mean....”

Bob Dylan, responding to Rolling Stone’s badgering reporter, who wanted Dylan to say "I just luv Obama."

“What makes Dylan worth our continuing attention is not that he has clearly influenced other major artists, or that he "invented" folk rock, was the voice of his generation, ended the Vietnam War, moved to Woodstock, sang with Joan Baez, turned the Beatles onto pot, merged the Beats with a beat, or made the world safe for Loudon Wainwright III (and every other would-be ‘new Dylan’). What makes Dylan worth thinking about is that he has been -- and remains-- unprecedentedly great at what he does: writing songs and performing them.”

(As Dylan reportedly said of the early 1960s folk music, “I snuck in while nobody was looking.” And, too, reading what published writers have to say about Dylan – Boring.)

Arkansas police not equipped for the job

“PARAGOULD — Police in Paragould have killed a small bull that was found wandering near the Paragould Country Club.

“Jonesboro television station KAIT reported that police received multiple calls Sunday from residents who spotted the bull.

“Police said officers tried to capture the animal and move it into an open field, but the bull continued to walk down U.S. 49.

“Authorities said that the animal was cornered in a parking lot near the intersection of U.S. 49 and U.S. 412.

“Authorities said they had no choice but to kill the bull because of safety concerns.”

(Years ago a former Ohio police officer told me about his first night on the job in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Mark said he got an after-midnight call about loose cattle. “I thought, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” he said. Nope. His patrol car had a push-bumper, so when he got to the loose cattle, another officer rode the bumper and roped the cattle, using the bumper as a tie-down point. Animal control was also involved. Most towns in Texas, police get loose cattle or horse calls at least once a month.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Canada might bring back the best fighter of its age

Avro Arrow shot down 55 years ago by (a) Russian spies in Canadian aviation industry and government; (b) no more spending West Canadian conservatives; or, (c) US aviation companies.

Arrow reportedly “could fly 20,000 feet higher than the F-35, soar twice as fast and would cost less."

Flaps at

Applies to movie reviews, book reviews & etc.

“Insert hollow statement about the temporary nature of life and a vague and hopefully profound sentiment about purity, beauty and greatness here to receive affirmation from your peers through the medium of a virtual thumbs up.”

Comment at You Tube “Tristan und Isolde.”

We can go back to "Where Soldiers Come From" for a moment. Almost every comment about the documentary said the same things, with words arranged in different order. All about a telling film of soldiers and their families back home in this long war, etc., etc. A NY Times short said the documenatry followed four soldiers through basic training and deployment in Afghanistan. Another example of why people who don't know Army should stick to writing something else. The documentary had no scenes of basic training.

And the soldiers ... Look, you put cameras in front of soldiers long enough, you'll get what you're looking for. One soldier: If strange people came into my town I'd probably do what the Afghans are doing. (Not a quotel just a gist statement.) My comment: So? Does that mean the Afghans who set IEDs are right? Another soldier: I hate Afghanistan. I hate the way it looks; I hate the way it smells; I hate Afghans. Before I joined the Army, I didn't hate anybody. My comment: What the documentary producer got was 'Join the Army and learn to hate people.' The soldier who found several pounds worth of explosives in metal containers in a farmer's field said when Afghan police were cuffing and blindfolding the farmer: I have affected that man's life. Not only his life, but his family and his village. I have taken an IED out of commission, and that IED won't kill any American soldiers, but does that balance what I've done to that man? My comment: The Afghan made a choice when he buried the IED, or when he allowed somebody to bury it. He made a choice. He got caught.

And while we're at it ... A few months back I downloaded and read (third time to read) "The Forever War." The download had more than 30 pages of "This is the best science fiction military novel ever written." No, it isn't. The 30-page forward mostly was how a publisher showed courage and insight in printing the book during the Vietnam war, because everybody knows how nasty and dirty and inhumane and other adjectives that war was, more so than any war before or since, and we intelligent people knew so, but still we published this book and doesn't that show how open minded we are.

So, for editors and publishers: “Insert hollow statement about the temporary nature of life and a vague and hopefully profound sentiment about purity, beauty and greatness here to receive affirmation from your peers through the medium of a virtual thumbs up.”

Sgt. Bob

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Any time a doctor opens your skull ...

In 1986 a neurosurgeon incised part of my scalp and part of my right temple. He peeled back the skin and with a sort-of doorknob drill drilled through my skull. He took out the circle of bone and then began moving aside parts of my brain in order to reach a vein that had burst almost two weeks before. Reaching the vein, he attached a stainless steel spring-loaded clip, sealing the cavity. After withdrawing instruments from inside my brain, the doctor waterproofed the edges of the plug of bone and slid it back into place. The operation was successful. I did not die; I was not paralyzed; I still had vision and speech. But, as an attending neurologist said, every time you touch the brain, you cause damage.

The linked article is much worth reading.

“I woke early on the morning of the operation and lay in bed thinking about the young mother I had operated on the previous week. I had operated on a tumour deep in the right side of her brain and somehow – I do not know how since the operation had seemed to proceed uneventfully – I had caused a major stroke, so that she awoke from the operation paralysed down the left side of her body. I had probably tried to take too much of the tumour out. I had probably strayed too deeply into her brain. I must have been too self-confident.

“Each brain tumour is different – some are as hard as rock, some as soft as jelly. Some are completely dry, some pour with blood – sometimes to such an extent that the patient can bleed to death during the operation. Some shell out like peas from a pod, some are hopelessly stuck to the brain and its blood vessels. You can never know for certain from a brain scan exactly how a tumour will behave until you start to remove it. This man’s tumour was, as surgeons say, co-operative, and with a good surgical plane – in other words, it was not stuck to the brain. I slowly cored it out, collapsing the tumour in on itself away from the surrounding brain. After three hours it looked as though I had got most of it out.”

Linked from maggiesfarm.

It'll eat your eyes out!

“Contact lens wearers are at the mercy of a bug that is found in tap water and gnaws through the eyeballs causing blindness, scientists have warned.

“With the Acanthamoeba parasite also found in dust, in the sea and in showers and swimming pools, millions of people are at risk worldwide ..."

It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere!

Eyeballed at

(I'll stick with WalMart reading glasses.)

Hey, let’s be like China!

We won’t make our iPad production quota! What will we do?

I know! Let’s get some local colleges to suspend classes and send their students here and call it “required internship.”

Cool! We’ll have to get government approval.

Not a problem.

“An official, who refused to be named, said it was a common practice to send students to renowned companies and factories, something that served the enterprises and expanded students' horizons, he said.

"’It's hard for students to find jobs which are precisely related to their majors. Therefore, they are encouraged to go to factories to learn more about society,’ he said.”

Chopsticked at

Friday, September 7, 2012

I got this far in writing about Where Soldiers Come From

and then decided whatever I say makes no difference anyway, and if I keep writing about the documentary I'll just get madder about civilians who decide they know what the Army is for and about. Here's what I wrote:

Overall, the documentary film "Where Soldiers Come From" sucks.

The soldiers are soldiers, dedicated to each other and going about their daily, sometimes deadly, job of finding and eliminating improvised explosive devices, IEDs. In Vietnam the things were called command detonated devices, which meant local Viet Cong buried a box or metal container in a road or along a trail and then connected wires and ran the wires to a place of concealment. A VC then sat and waited for American vehicles to come along, and he would touch two wires to batteries and blow up a truck or personnel carrier or jeep, wounding or killing Americans inside.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, IEDs are the jihadists’ or terrorists’ or insurgents’ cheap way of wounding or killing Americans. And, the things are hard to find.

A kidnapping and a recommendation

The caller said, “I want to know why there wasn’t anything in the paper today about that kidnapping last night.”

I woke up my computer and hit Control N. I had done the police report that morning for the afternoon newspaper and was more than interested in a kidnapping story.

“Which kidnapping was that?” I said as the blank document appeared on the screen.

The woman said, “My sister’s ex-husband …”

Well, great. Now I am about to listen to a domestic problem.

As the TV ads say: But wait. There’s more.

“… kidnapped my sister last night and threatened to kill himself with a knife when the police surrounded his pickup.”

Police officers often show more restrain than I would in some situations. You have a man who has committed a felony and he’s sitting in his pickup with a knife at his throat, saying he’s going to kill himself if you don’t go away, and as a professional law officer you have to talk him into surrendering. I think I would sit on the hood of my police car, fold my arms and say, “Whatever you want to do, Bubba. I’ve got all night.”

To the caller I said, “There wasn’t a report on a kidnapping.”

“Well, he sure did it,” she said. She sighed. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. He’s broken into my house several times, threatened my sister and me.”

I said, “Shoot him.”

There was a pause and then a sort of confused, “Pardon?”

“Next time he breaks into your house, threatens you and your sister, shoot him.”

“Oh. Well … There are kids in the house.”

“Okay,” I said. “Next time he breaks in and threatens you and your sister, have your sister take the kids out of the house, and then you shoot him.”

“Oh. Well … Thanks for listening.”


A woman in the newsroom laughed when I hung up. “Bob,” she said, “I can’t believe you just told a woman to shoot a man.”

“She said she didn’t know what to do.”

“What are you going to do when the police come here and say a woman shot a man because you told her to?”

I said, “I’ll tell them I thought the SOB ought to be shot.”

And I did. And I do.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oh, and he had sex with animals, too**

Unnamed sources. Gotta love ‘em.

“… said the employee, who asked that his name be withheld because he feared retribution.”

In the lead, though, the claimer is a “former MF Global employee.”

The claim. OK.

“A former MF Global employee accused former president William J. Clinton of collecting $50,000 per month through his Teneo advisory firm in the months before the brokerage careened towards its Halloween filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

You remember MF Global. It was headed by that New Jersey guy … his name sounds like an anti-depressant … Corazine, Corazon, Cruzine … something like that. And then Global went down the tubes, a real MF of a descent, and Corazine told a congressional committee “I don’t know” where the money went. Maybe that was the plaque on his door – John Corazine/I don’t know.

Here’s a real good one: “Clinton is the chairman of the company’s (Teneo’s) advisory board. His duties and compensation have not been released. The other member of the board is former British prime minister Tony Blair.” (Same source as above.)

“Teneo is an independent trusted advisor and global partner to private and publicly traded corporations, governments, philanthropic organizations, institutions and the individuals who lead them.”

“The Honorable Douglas J. Band currently serves as Counselor to President William J. Clinton and is the President of Teneo.”

Wow. Talk about your skulls and crossbones.

** A story from LBJ’s 1948 Senate race says he told his advisors to let the word out that his opponent had sex with farm animals. One advisor, shocked, said, “You can’t accuse him of f****** chickens!” LBJ slapped his shoulder and said, “We’ll make him deny it.”

Bring it, Bro! Show me what …


Just what the doctors of politics ordered

“WASHINGTON (AP) - A new report says the U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion … a year - roughly US30 cents of every medical dollar.”

We Republicans have a plan to fix the problem.

We Democrats have a better plan.

The Democratic plan sucks.

The Republican plan sucks big time.

The Democratic plan will give government complete control over all health care.

The Republican plan will keep health care away from the poor and middle class and union members and minorities and immigrants. Only the wealthy 1 percent will be able to afford health care.

The Democrats are waging class war.


LBJ Great Society socialist!

*$&%)#% 69!

&$*@)&^^@ Pound sign this!

She hit him with an alligator head

and it’s not even in Florida.

“LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The former girlfriend of state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson was charged Wednesday with third-degree domestic battery after allegedly hitting the Republican with a preserved alligator head during a dispute.”

This is so messed up in so many ways other than the alligator head. If she had called him “alligator head …”

“You are nothing but an alligator head!!” and then hit him with one that just happened to be handy …

Domestic battery from an ex-girlfriend? How in the wide wide world of Arkansas law does an ex-girlfriend fit in the domestic category of assault?

She said he threw her onto a couch, “but investigators discounted that assertion. The report says McGee had ‘a swollen lip, scratches to her wrists and redness to her left arm,’ but notes ‘that the injuries to McGee were inconsistent with her statements and they did not appear to be contemporaneous with the current incident.’"

“contemporaneous with the current incident.” Is this really from a po-leece report? Some days I can’t even spell contemp … contim … “didn’t happen the way she said.”

The first comment is good. Alligator head control.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Intercepted phone call

The caller said, “Mr. Merriman, you don’t know me, but I’ve got some information you might be interested in.”

I didn’t like to get calls like that. You never do at a newspaper, because, even though the information truly might be interesting, you know the caller will not disclose his name, and you will have to verify whatever he says while working blind.

I didn’t say any of that, though. As I said, the information might really be interesting. “Go on,” I said.

“Is there a man named **** who works at the newspaper?” I said there was. He named the publisher’s son. He asked, “And is there a woman named ****?” Again, yes.

The caller said he had monitored one side of a mobile phone call a couple of nights before. He and his son were watching Monday Night Football, and he had his police scanner nearby. (The man) had called (The woman), but the caller got only the man’s side of the conversation. It was 1992, and mobile phones were big clunky things that plugged into a car cigarette lighter. A mobile phone was a transmitter and sometimes conversations bled into scanner frequencies.

“(The man) told (The woman) he and his daughter were looking at Christmas lights,” the caller said. “His wife was at home.”

The man also told the woman when they were at work “she should pretend like nothing had happened” between them.

“Then he started talking about you,” the caller said. “He said they’re going to fire you after the first of the year.”

I said, “I sort of had that figured out, but it’s nice to have it verified.”

He said, “You’re a Vietnam veteran, aren’t you?”

“I am.”

“(The man) said you’ve got a steel plate in your head?”

“Something like that.” It’s a stainless steel, spring-loaded aneurysm clip, but if people want to believe a steel plate, that’s fine with me. It lends seriousness to those times when I take on dufuses.

The caller said, “I asked around, and people said you are one of the good guys.”

“I appreciate that.”

“I thought you might be able to use information that (The man) is having an affair with (The woman).”

“Thank you.”

I didn’t ask for his name. And, I was fired five weeks later. I didn’t say anything about the call. It wouldn’t have mattered.

It was nice to know, though, that there are people who know when a wrong is being done.

‘Internal Army Poll: Only 26% of Officers Say Army Headed in Right Direction—“Political Correctness” Cited’

A couple of things:

When seeing the headline part “Officers Say,” I no longer gave any credence to the article’s importance. Ninety-nine percent of Army officers are completely out of the loop when it comes to running things and getting real results. Officers can issue orders, but they are not the do-ers. NCOs and enlisted soldiers do the stuff required for mission accomplishment. Officers complain about political correctness, but NCOs and enlisted soldiers take care of the problem, if one exists. Besides, the by-far-majority of Army officers are not in combat arms, and in combat arms, little things don’t mean nothin’.

Second, look at the officer complaints:

-- 58 percent cited the Army’s inability to “retain quality leaders.”
-- 57 percent cited “a lack of discipline, or the “Army is too soft”
-- 53 percent pointed to “Ineffective leaders at senior levels”
-- 52 percent said “senior leaders focus on the wrong priorities”
-- 46 percent said junior leader promotions/advancements are happening too soon
-- 39 percent said “resources/funding or technology are insufficient”

The Army has always been too soft. Just ask any veteran of a previous war. Junior leaders have always thought their seniors ineffective. Senior leaders have always focused on the wrong priorities. There never has been enough funding for necessary technology. An officer never has enough equipment, ammunition or soldiers.

Move along. Nothing new in the poll.

Link from gatesfofvienna.

Who cleans up after a murder?

It was motion and arraignment day in 62nd District Court, in the criminal cases the usual suspects for DWI, burglary, methamphetamine or marijuana possession or both, sometimes a charge with intent to distribute if the seized white powdery substance or green leafy substance was over a certain weight.

The 20 or so accused sat in a specific area of the courtroom, in pews near the north wall. All were in the bright orange uniform of the day; all wore two shiny steel bracelets, with small chains connecting the bracelets.

The judge got divorce motions out of the way and then went to the alleged criminals. He might recognize some by name, fewer by face, all by charges. Just about every one was a frequent flyer.

About 15 lawyers hung around as the bailiff called individual names. Each call brought an orange-suited man to a spot before the judge on high. For each man, the judge opened a folder and read the charge and asked, “Do you have a lawyer?” Each answer was, “No, Sir.” The judge then looked around and said, “Mr. Jensen is your attorney.” The so named stepped forward and told the judge, “My client wishes to enter a plea of not guilty.” Neither Mr. Jensen nor any other attorney appointed had ever seen his client before that day, unless the accused had racked up a measure of frequent flyer time.

The number of usual suspects dwindled, but no one left the courtroom. People not involved in cases were there to see the star of the day, a man accused of killing his special education school teacher live-in girl friend, specifically by shooting her with a 12-guage shotgun in the kitchen of his and her house.

By the time the judge arraigned the accused before the alleged murderer and was looking at paperwork from the district clerk, every lawyer in the courtroom had made his or her way somewhere else on the other side of the swinging doors. No one wanted appointment to that case. There was no defense. The man had shot the woman in the kitchen. Everybody knew that as a fact.

Everybody also knew the woman had left the man several times, but she always went back. Her friends told her, “One of these days he’s going to kill you.” But the woman loved him, and she knew he loved her and he said he was sorry and he wouldn’t beat her again. He promised.

The judge picked up a folder and called the accused. The murderer stood and, accompanied by two deputy sheriffs, went forward. The judge looked around. He knew the man did not have an attorney. And for a few seconds, he also knew there was not a lawyer in sight.

And then the swinging doors opened and George (last name not important) strolled in. Apparently, or obviously, the attorneys who had scurried away did not see fit to inform George.

The judge asked the murderer if he had an attorney. “No,” the man said, and then remembering courtroom decorum, reluctantly said, “No, Sir.” The judge looked up and saw George walking slowly, taking his time, for the moment without a care in the world. “Mr. (Smith),” the judge said. “Come up here and meet your new client.” George walked faster then. When the judge read the charge of murder, George said, “Not guilty.”

Somebody one day mentioned George had never won a trial. The best way of lawyering, though, is not to go to trial. George made a living with divorce cases and other things that would never go before a jury. In this case, though, it would not have mattered who the judge assigned to defend the murderer. The man was guilty, and he would spend the rest of his life in prison. The state could not ask for death, because the murder had not occurred during the commission of another felony. It was another case of a man killing his girlfriend in a house they shared.

George got a change of venue to Paris, 30 miles away. It didn’t matter. East Texas juries take a dim view of men who kill their girlfriends or women who kill their boyfriends.

In the trial, the prosecution made its case. George asked questions, as a defense attorney should. When the prosecution rested, the judge called on George, who stood and said, “The defense calls no witnesses, your honor.” The jury was out about 20 minutes.

One time after watching a particularly bloody TV drama murder scene, my wife asked, “Who cleans up after a murder?” I said, “The family, I guess. It’s not a police responsibility.”

A deputy sheriff and her constable husband cleaned up the kitchen murder scene. Their daughter was engaged to the murdered woman’s son. “It was awful,” she said.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How not to write

“Chuck Norris loves freedom more than you.”

Does that mean Norris loves freedom more than he loves me, or he loves freedom more than I love freedom?

The article is a smarmy slap to Mr. Norris and his religious beliefs. Of course, anyone who has religious beliefs is a dufus redneck. The article so leads one to believe.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The house that burned

Momma, Ruby and I stepped outside the café and saw the long pillar of dark smoke off to the northwest.

“Wanda,” Ruby said, “that looks like it’s out by your place.”

“Watch Bob!” Momma said, and she jumped into hers and Daddy’s 1938 Oldsmobile and scattered gravel as she sped from the parking area and onto Highway 67.

It was early September 1952. We lived in an old, metal-roofed, unpainted house off a dirt road three or so miles northwest of Maud. Momma and Daddy had opened the café about a year before. The café was attached to a much bigger wooden building that during the war had been a machine shop.

Daddy bought the building using a VA small business loan. He first got rid of all the machines inside and turned the building into a bowling alley, refurbishing the building’s hardwood floors. The bowling alley didn’t catch on, so Daddy made the place into a honky tonk. Almost all of Texas was dry then, so selling beer and mixed drinks was illegal. Daddy sold Coke in bottles and small buckets of ice and provided glasses, and didn’t check brown paper bags people brought in.

I was at the café that day after a reaction to smallpox vaccine. Ruby was Daddy’s older sister. She was a vocational nurse and sometimes cooked at the café. After Momma left, Ruby and I watched the dark smoke spiral higher and become wider.

“I sure hope that’s not your house,” Ruby said.

It was our house. Daddy was asleep when the fire started. He had worked graveyard shift at Red River Army Depot the night before. Smoke woke him up. The house was just about all on fire when he woke up. He didn’t have a chance to save anything. He pushed out the window screen and got out of the house.

Momma drove the Oldsmobile as fast as it would go, through Maud and then down the dirt road toward the house. “I took a couple of corners on two tires,” she later said.

Carolyn, my older sister, was at school that day. Francis, 3, and Bill, 2, were with Geraldine, Momma’s older sister.

I don’t remember anything about the rest of the day. We all spent the night with Momma’s relatives or Daddy’s, or maybe split up and with both.

Next day, Momma and Daddy took us kids to the burned down house. It was the first burned house I remember seeing.

Everything was burned. There were charred pieces of wood and blackened tin. That was the first house of my memory.

We stayed with relatives two more days, until Momma and Daddy found another rent house. It was bigger than the house that burned.

By then people had given us boxes and sacks of used clothing. What we got was not any more worn than what burned. I didn’t particularly care for any of the charity clothes. But, people did what they could.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

US presidential election and the future of everything

“What is being challenged is nothing less than the most basic premise of the politics of the centre ground: that you can have free market economics and a democratic socialist welfare system at the same time. The magic formula in which the wealth produced by the market economy is redistributed by the state – from those who produce it to those whom the government believes deserve it – has gone bust.”

When government interferes to make things equal, things become more costly

“The reason some people are willing to accept price discrimination when equal outcomes are desired is that they mistakenly assume that a well-meaning and diligent government is capable of managing the efficient production of all goods and services even in the absence of normal market signals, such as competitive prices. But that assumption has never proven to be true. The U.S. college cost dilemma is an example of the fallacy of this assumption.”

“(W)e need to stop giving colleges the information that is essential to sustain the price discrimination.”

(Yes, but more than that, we need to chop the billions of federal dollars shoved at potential students in the form of federal loans and federal grants. I have wondered for some time of the influence the 1944 and 1952 GI Bills had on convincing us that every person deserves a college education. If veterans deserved help, why didn’t all people deserve help? That, of course, led to the idea that if everybody is entitled to a college education, but some cannot afford the costs associated with that education, then the government assuring equality must step in and ensure the costs.)

At maggiesfarm.

One of those religion guys big-time liberals like

‘Tutu: Bush, Blaire should face trial at the Hague’

He doesn’t like Republicans, Israelis, and a lot of other folks.

“The Iraq war ‘has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history,’” Tutu wrote.

He should stick to high-level political preaching and leave to others comments on history.

Sort of in the neighborhood:

"Pour petrol and burn these Christians.”

(The labels somehow got screwed up. My apologies.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

It's a sticky situation

‘We Gave Canada One Job: “Don’t Lose All the Maple Syrup.” And they couldn’t do it’

“Remember like forty years ago when the world was choosing which nations would be responsible for which exports (United States: popstars, Sweden: frustrating-yet-affordable furniture, China: all goods), and it was decided that ‘maple syrup’ seemed like the kind of thing Canada could handle?”


Or, if we were Kim Darby in Better off Dead, that is, en Franch:

Nous avons donné aux Canada un emploi: « Ne perdent pas tous le sirop d'érable. »

Et qu'ils ne pouvaient pas le faire ' « rappelez-vous comme il y a quarante ans, quand le monde a choisir lequel des nations serait responsables pour lesquelles les exportations (États-Unis : popstars, Suède : meubles frustrant-encore-abordable, Chine : toutes les marchandises), et il a été décidé que « sirop d'érable » semblait le genre de chose Canada pourrait gérer? »

If you say these things you are culturally insensitive and a real SOB

Example: "To 'hold down the fort' originally meant to watch and protect against the vicious Native American intruders. In the territories of the West, Army soldiers or settlers saw the 'fort' as their refuge from their perceived 'enemy,' the stereotypical 'savage' Native American tribes."

(I think the dude’s full of stuff from the fort’s stable, but I don’t work for Obama’s state department.)

Fark. (Site found at, not a comment.)

Panoramic view from Curiosity

I'll take the gravel concession when colonization begins.

Here’s a now and then check-back

Tweets. Some really funny; others, That’s so sad.

Fark had it.