Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunday at the Home Place

We opened all the windows and gave the house a good airing out, and then my daughter and I drove to the store with the car windows down, and the sun roof open.

If this is the result of global warming, all I can say is "Bring it on!"

In fact, just to make sure that we keep this weather around a bit longer, I started up my SUV and let it idle for 2 hours. And to multiply the effect of the CO2 exhaust, I plan on generating some methane by making chili for dinner tomorrow night.

No need to thank me; I'm just trying to do my part to help out.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hamas is now the Majority party for the Palestinians

About 3 years or so ago, I got into a discussion on this blog about whether or not there was a silent majority of moderate Palestinians cowed into silence by the violence of the more radical fringe groups. I said no, there wasn't.

I guess I was right.

Tragically, it appears that the presence of the Israeli Army was the only thing that allowed even a semblence of security in the Palestinian areas. One they withdrew, factional violence escalated, and now a majority of Palestinians (75% of those eligible to vote did so) have voted for a group who openly endorse the violent destruction of Israel.

This is not a good thing.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, January 26, 2006

While I’m being Irritating…

Here's a question that's been bugging me for quite a while.

How is it that women can say "It's my body; my choice" when we talk about abortion then turn around and say "You can't take your clothes off for money" when we talk about strip clubs?

Something just does not track with me on this one. It's okay to kill a fetus, but it's not okay to bare a boob for a dollar?

C'mon, that just doesn't make sense!

And don't give me the whole "exploitation" thing, because the only one getting exploited in this game is the chump with a pocket full of singles.

I started thinking about this when I heard on the news that there was a couple of shootings at Raymond's, a pool bar out on Clinton Highway. It used to be a strip club until Knox County regulated them out of business because 'adult oriented businesses' create crime.

You know, I was in Raymond's a time or two when it was an 'adult oriented establishment', and as I recall, while the women were stripping, nobody got shot at. In fact, the only crime I'm aware of was the fact that they charged $3.00 for a Coke.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Obligatory Brokeback Mountain Post

!!!WARNING!!!


The following post may be deemed offensive by people sensitive to the needs of people living with alternate sexualities, those who in fact have alternate sexualities, those with no discernable sexuality at all, liberals, and sheep. For these people, and the rest of the humor impaired, I suggest you do not hit the "more" link, and instead spend the next 5 minutes or so in meditative contemplation on the wonders of our world. For the rest of us, onward, but certainly not upward...


Posted by Rich
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Didn’t Somebody say that about Blogging?

I just read John Hawkin's dismissal of the current state of podcasting. It sounded remarkably familiar, and I realized his argument was almost identical to that used by the MSM to put down blogging.
  • Too small
  • Inept
  • No way to make money out of it.
  • Passing fad.

And I think we all know how that turned out.

To give John credit, he does realize that podcasting may have potential, but his advice to take a wait and see approach bugs me just a little bit. The early adopters are the innovators who will shape the medium. Why discourage them? Of course, the early adopters are the kind of people who will blithely ignore any naysayers and do what they want anyway.

As a side note, comparing podcasting to talk radio isn't a very good comparison because talk radio is an interactive medium, while podcasting isn't. A better analog for talk radio would be a moderated chat room, while podcasting would be better compared to community programming on cable.

For a podcast to succeed, it will need one of two things, preferably both: unique, entertaining content and/or high production values. You either have to have something to say that people will want to hear, or enough flash to mask the fact that your show is totally inane.

Posted by Rich
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No Big Surprise: Joel Stein

I'm not sure why so many folks on the right are getting so exercised about Stein's admission that he doesn't support the troops, and his statement that by volunteering to serve, they "willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism."

We've heard worse before.

It's a fairly common, but by no means universal feeling among the left that supporting the troops lends at the very least a tacit level of support for their mission. Stein just has the guts to come out and admit it.

Not only that, but he's echoing many on the right, who've said from the beginning that you cannot support the troops if you do not support their mission.

So why all the fuss? When the spectrum of progressive thought runs from Joe Lieberman clear to the venemous hatred of Ted Rall and Michael Moore, Stein clearly isn't worth more than a quick and quiet dismissal.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Not a Big Surprise

From the Grouchy Old Cripple, I found this quiz. Here's how I scored:
You scored as Mathematics. You should be a Math major! Like Pythagoras, you are analytical, rational, and when are always ready to tackle the problem head-on!

Philosophy

100%

Mathematics

100%

Journalism

100%

Engineering

92%

English

92%

Psychology

75%

Theater

75%

Linguistics

67%

Biology

58%

Dance

50%

Sociology

42%

Chemistry

42%

Art

42%

Anthropology

33%

What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com


Mathematician, philosopher and journalist? Me?

Posted by Rich
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Monday, January 23, 2006

My Last Post

Folks, it's been 4 years and just over 2300 posts since I started this thing. I've talked about everything under the sun, shared large portions of my life with you, wrote jokes told stories, and even offered up an entertaining science lesson or two. I've spent countless hours working to come up with enjoyable posts, written with a certain style and flair. I've done research, looking up facts in government databases, always an exciting time, let me tell you. I've had encounters both real and virtual with the famous, the near famous, the almost famous, and the infamous. I've met some really nice people and gone shooting with them. I've caused a well known columnist to throw a conniption fit in front of the entire blogosphere. I've been the recipient of many Instalanches. I've outlasted millions of other bloggers. I've seen my traffic grow from a dozen hits a day to a couple of hundred, some of which represent actual people and not comment spambots.

And what do I have to show for all this work?

A couple million words on a server in Florida and $1.63 in the tip jar!

I mean, I got into this whole blogging thing like everybody else, to meet women, and it just hasn't happened. I don't know what the problem is but I haven't gotten a single date from this thing and I've got calluses on my butt from sitting in this chair so long.

You know, when Carrot Top gets more groupies than you do, it's a sign that it's time to make a change.

And so I'm done.

No, I won't be back. And I won't hang around and comment on other people's sites.

I'm done.

I've got nothing else to say, and even if I did, I don't want to say it here.

I'm done. Not another word.

I'm going to find a social life, dammit, one with women in it, and not relatives but real women I can kiss and not feel funny afterward. (Sharing too much again, aren't I?)

I'm done. I'm gone.

Out the door, putting a lock on the keyboard, erasing my bookmarks and moving off into the real world. Forget the blogosphere, I'm venturing out into the...ummm...realosphere.

I mean it this time. I really do. Not another word. There's really nothing left to say. Except that post I'm working on about my aquarium. And the posts I've come up with about remodeling the house. Oh yeah, and some new stuff about the kids, including an announcement about one of them.

But that's it. There isn't anything more I have to say. I'm done.

Except that I've had a really good time doing this, and really enjoyed meeting all of you that I've met whether virtually or really. (really? Yeah, I guess it works.)

I'm outta here. I'm Caspar.

Thanks to Instapundit, for getting me started, Uncle for getting me shooting, Les for letting me pick his brains about ecommerce, Michael for linking so often, and of course my loyal readers, both of whom have made all the blood and sweat I poured into this page worthwhile.

But all good things must end, and the same goes for this blog. So here they are; we've come to it at last: the final words of the final post of this blog.

I've thought about them for awhile, considering what to say if this day ever came to pass. What can I say that I haven't already said? What explanation can I give that doesn't sound hopelessly corny, or obscenely egotistical? I debated endlessly, wrote hundreds of "Final Statements" that summed up everything that I've been trying to say for the last 4 years. And I realized that it was an impossible task, so I decided to try and just hit the highlights. Since there really were no highlights, that idea failed as well. So finally, after much deliberation and careful thought, I came up with the following 7 words:


Just kidding folks. I'll see you tomorrow!

Posted by Rich
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Illegal Immigrant or Guest Worker?

R. Neal posts about a survey on illegal immigrants and their labor conditions here in the US. I responded in his comments, and since I'm short on time today (remodeling projects tend to expand and eat up all available time once you start) I'll just send you over there to read it.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, January 21, 2006

It’s Alive!

R. Neal has cobbled together the best parts of the old SKB site, along with pieces from K2K, Metro blab, and assorted other ventures, filed off the appropriate serial numbers, given the thing a shiny new coat of paint, and called it Knoxviews.

I've never seen a group blog site that is as integrated as this one is. It's clear that R. Neal put a lot of effort into getting this thing rolling, and I hope it goes well. Given the spirited nature of the debates seen in the past, it certainly will not get boring!

I've signed up under the pen name Rich Hailey.

Ain't I creative?

Posted by Rich
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Fatherhood:It Never Ends

Michael Silence, Say Uncle, and Les Jones all have beautiful little baby girls, roughly the same age. And when I say roughly, that means they could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years apart. I've been past the baby thing for quite some time, and while I did it 6 times, for some reason, possibly massive and prolonged sleep deprivation, they all tend to blur together now, so my estimate of their ages may be off a bit.

But they are all beautiful, that's for certain; just ask the proud poppas.

And now Uncle and Les each have another little one on the way. (Michael, you're falling behind!) Or more accurately, Melissa and Mrs. Uncle have another one on the way. All these babies make me think about raising my small herd and the days I spent changing diapers and wiping butts. To be fair, I did spend a lot of time away from home during those years since I was in the Navy, and even when we were in port, I had to stay on the ship at least one night in four. But when I was home, I did as much as I could. In fact, the first time my future ex left me (I'm a slow learner sometimes) I cared for my middle daughter, a newborn at the time, singlehandedly for several months, until her mother and I got back together. It was frightening and exhilerating at the same time, not to mention exhausting, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I got to be closer to my daughter than most dads ever get the chance to be, and it was a wonderful thing.

Little babies are awesome. Yeah, there was work involved, and mess, but watching a little person begin to discover the world for the first time brought back some of the wonder of discovery to my life as well. To a baby, everything is new, and good, and because we parents go to great lengths to shield them from the traumas and tragedies of life, for the most part discovery is glorious. I can remember one summer afternoon in Bremerton, sitting out on the lawn with my oldest, who was 4 at the time, watching a worm bury itself in the dirt. My son was fascinated by the process, and because he was, I was as well. We sat there watching for about 10 minutes until the worm was all gone, then went on with our day, and I never felt like that time was wasted.

But now my youngest is 14, and the discoveries aren't quite so wondrous anymore. They discover rejection, failure, heartbreak, cruelty, violence, and hatred. As they grow older, we can't shield them from everything anymore, and wouldn't even if we could, because in order to function in this world, you have to become familiar with all of it, good or bad. As I watch my kids fight their way through puberty and adolescence, I wish I could either bring them back to the innocence of their earlier days, or inject all the lessons I've learned directly into their cerebral cortex, to save them from making the same mistakes I made.

But it doesn't work that way, and all I can do is guide them, give them my advice, and watch them ignore it because I'm an old fart, and there's no way I could know what it's like to be a kid today. They have to learn from their own mistakes, and all I can do is to be there to pick them up when things go wrong, give them a hug (if they'll let me; hugging isn't always cool) and set them back on their feet to try again.

Following my kids' journey through adolascence has me looking back on the days of 2AM feedings, dirty diapers, and baby puke stains on every collar of every shirt in my closet with fondness and nostalgia for the good old days. You can't fix a broken heart with a kiss and a band aid.

My children are all making the difficult transition from child to adult, and it seems like just when I think they need my help the most, they are the least willing to accept it. I'm hoping it's because I've raised strong kids who want to be self reliant and make their own decisions, but sometimes I wonder if I'm just fooling myself. I watch them during their triumphs and defeats, and just hope that they remember a few of the things that I tried to teach them.

But lord, some of the decisions they're making right now! One has gone from wanting to be an astrophysicist to being a waiter on Key West. Another is dating someone 10 years their senior. Another wants to move to Mexico instead of going back to school. It's enough to give a guy gray hairs! (Which explains my new, clean-shaven look, by the way.)

In the movie Parenthood, Jason Robards has a line that really resonates for me right now. He was talking about raising kids and said:
It's like your Aunt Edna's ass. It goes on forever and it's just as frightening.

It's frightening because you're never really sure you're doing it right, and you have no way of knowing until it's too late to do anything about it. All you can do is love them, guide them, teach them, and encourage them, and then hope it's enough as they begin their own lives.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Randy Nichols and the THP; An Illustration of Ethics

Randy Nichols has created the "J. Wellington Wimpy" defense in his letter to Gov Bredesen concerning the THP fixing tickets for employees of Lays Packing Company. It seems that the company made it a practice to give hams to the THP as gifts. According to Mr. Nichols, "This may well have created an atmosphere where Lay Packing Company employees felt comfortable in asking for ‘favors’; however, that would not be in and of itself a criminal offense."

Or as Wimpy would say, "I'll gladly give you a ham today to fix a ticket next Tuesday."

As long as there is some separation between the gift and the favor, everything's cool with Randy.

Sorta makes you want to see what kind of gifts he's been getting, doesn't it?

Posted by Rich
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Osama Offers a Truce

I now offer you the Reader's Digest Condensed version ofhis radio address:
People of the United States: We are winning in Afghanistan and Iraq. So please stop killing us!


Osama may not be dead, but his brain surely is.

Donald Sensing says it even better.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Wrong Answer for the Right Reason?

This one is tough.

The headlines read that "Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Suicide Law"

Seemingly great news for fans of voluntary euthanasia, AKA assisted suicide, but on reading the article, that's not exactly what happened. Now I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the argument was not about whether Oregon physicians have the right to kill their patients,but whether the Federal government has the power under the Controlled Substances Act to punish them for it. Obviously, that is a much narrower argument, and although I think that a doctor's job is to preserve life, and not hasten death, (you know, the whole First, do no harm thing) in this light, I agree with the Supreme Court's decision.

I'm a big fan of limited government and State's Rights. It is clear that the Constitution says nothing about a right to die, which means that the decision is left to the States and the people. The people of Oregon decided that they wanted their doctors to be allowed to kill them; more power to 'em. Just don't expect me to be moving to Oregon any time soon. The Federal government does not have "controlling legal authority" as Al Gore would say.

So, I agree with the decision, even though I think physician assisted suicide is the wrong road.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Good Reason to Vote Third Party

I know, I know.

"If you don't vote [insert party of your choice here], then you're voting for [insert other party here], and that's just wrong!"

"They're all crackpots and loons, with no realistic platform."

"You're wasting your vote when you vote for a candidate that's certain to lose."


Yeah, yeah, heard it all before.

But considering the choices I'm hearing for 2008, and the past performance of the last few "real" candidates, both winners and losers, I'm pretty much convinced that a vote for any candidate is a wasted one.

What does it say about our electoral process that after months of searching, campaigning, and politicking, the best two people we can come up with to lead our nation are George Bush and John Kerry?

Nothing good, that's for certain.

Pardon my cynicism, but the leaders of our two major parties have been behaving like two spoiled children stuck in the back of a car on a 12 hour drive going home after Christmas, and I'd dearly love to pull the car over, get in the back seat, and blister the bottoms of both spoiled brats.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Posted by Rich
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