Monday, August 25, 2014

The Problem Is...

Or at least one of our many problems.

We shouldn't be putting troops into Iraq.  Not advisers (and make no mistake, those advisers are fighting), not air strikes, not boots on the ground.  We have no real strategy.  We have rules of engagement that guarantee that our soldiers will die.  And we will be acting as functionaries of Iran, who people seem to forget are well on their way to nuke power.  The bad kind.  The kind they can use to make a big mess in the Middle East.

We should be streaming materials to anyone in the area that wants to fight isis.  And at the same time we should be sealing our borders and doing some man-hunting here in our own country.  And not sending major bad guy leaders back to the field.   

But you know what the Dems need right now?  A war.  All the excitement and rallying.  They aren't looking good going into November.  So, suddenly, isis isn't j.v. league anymore.  In a couple weeks time, the yawning has turned into war drums beating.  Hagel, Kerry, Elizabeth Warren - a ton of people who have have been silent for months as isis slaughtered its way across Iraq.  I realize that their victims were only Christians, but, still.   I realize that the danger is coming across our open border, but still.  Look at those polls.  Something has to be done.  So, war.  And does any one want to take bets on whether or not Obama, once they get him off the golf course, bothers to go to Congress to get authorization?

Isis is a horror that I would like to see turned into a smear on the sand, with no pieces or fragments left.  I'd say they are animals but that would be an insult to animals.  They need to be removed from the face of the earth.  But if we go in there in our current state, under our current "leaders", all we are going to have is a lot of dead Americans and only some of the heads of the Hydra cut off.   Give the people looking into the eyes of the Hydra the means to cut its heads off over there, and concentrate on cutting off the heads that have come here.

h/t Jeff Kuhner, whose reasoning goes against my impulses.  But I have to agree.

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's Wrong With This Picture? (Warning - Graphic)

American citizen James Foley, a non-combatant, butchered by Islamic extremists.

French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, required by law to take the month of August as vacation, visiting Iraqi refugees in Ninevah last Sunday.  

England's Prime Minister David Cameron cuts his vacation in Cornwall short and returns to London.

American president Barak Obama, shortly after commenting on James Foley's murder, right back to the golf course.

We've long known that Obama is a narcissist at the identifiable disorder level.  Is he perhaps full blown mentally ill beyond that?  There seems to be absolutely nothing that breaks his focus on self-indulgence. 

It's a sad and dangerous state of affairs when a rebuke from the French government is legitimate and well deserved.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rest In Peace

So long, Mark.  We had fun working in Louisiana, didn't we?  Worked hard, played hard.  I remember laughing at you the day after you missed the last ferry back across the river and spent most of the night on Bourbon Street.  And you probably laughed at me because I didn't know how much alcohol is in a hurricane and it was hot and I had had no lunch when we stopped for one at Pat O'Brien's that first time we went over to the French Quarter.

There's a reason motorcycles are called "donormobiles".

Really, Norton?

I understand the need for security but blocking web site access from my phone because of ... "alcohol"?  If that's a criterion it eliminates most sites I visit at some point.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


But not in the sense of mad.  Pissed as in tanked, fried, three sheets to the wind, totaled, sh!t-faced.  Catching up on the Texas nonsense and watching the videos of the arrest and booking of should-not-be-D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg (D - Corrupt) for DWI.  Quite outside of the fact that she was pulled because she drove in a bike lane and was going the wrong direction in a lane, the fact that the other officer has to follow her around to keep her from falling down kinda indicates that she's had more than a drink or two.  And I gotta say, that is the most patient cop in the world - I would have spent half the time he did. 

When a bottom-feeder like David Axelrod says this indictment is "sketchy", you know it's bad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Read The Fine Print

You know how a hacking cough sort of convulses everything and makes you flail around grasping for relief?  Well, I got bounced out of bed by it, stumbled to the medicine drawer, grabbed the plastic bag and started sucking with relief on a lozenge. At some point yesterday it occurred to me that they didn't have that characteristic eucalyptus coolness and actually looked at the bag.

Oh, well, they stopped the tickling.  Then I read the fine print on the back.

Oh, good. Glad to know that one's vitamin C levels will remain good while you've got the trots.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This Just Sucks

For the third time in a row I've returned from Detroit sick.  Full blown viral bronchitis now - Sunday morning was spent at urgent care rather than church.  And this morning I'm beginning to think that it might actually be possible to cough a lung up.

And with laryngitis on top of it I can't even piss and moan to anyone about it unless I write.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wheeeeee!!! ... And Silence is Golden

I needed a lift to Detroit, and Murphy's Law was going my way and was kind enough to let me hitch a ride.  A Cessna 172 is a more weather-dependent than a commercial jet, but it definitely has advantages, the greatest of which is that scenery viewed from 3,000 to 5,000 feet elevation is way more interesting than from 36,000 feet.

We lifted off on a beautiful Thursday morning, and quickly crossed ridge after ridge of the Appalachians.

Line after line of wind turbines perch on the ridges north of Cumberland, MD.  I don't know what it is about those things, but they give me the willies.  Like high tension lines, I don't want to live near them.

The geologist in me wishes I could plot our track live on a geology map.  I can generally see whether it's limestone or sandstone that's being quarried, but I'd like to see the big picture and know the names and eras of deposit of what we're flying over.

Since we tend to live near centers of population, we forget how much farm and woodland we still have. Miles and miles and miles of green.

Murphy's Law can probably identify this - I've already forgotten.  

And then a pit stop and refueling.

Back up into some clouds.

Past Sandusky Bay as we skirt Lake Erie.

The flying dinosaur accompnied us the whole way.  He must have approved, since he never complained.

And then, after a long 6 months, Grandma arrived.  And No 1 Granddaughter (well, ok, only granddaughter) was mine for a week.

We wanted to go to the air show and Aaron's bday dinner, but the cons just seemed to out way the pros with an 18 month old.  So, since the family maintains a membership at Detroit's excellent zoo (meaning a melt-down requiring us to go home wouldn't cost us a small fortune and was much closer if we had to bail), we opted for that instead.  Baby Girl loves butterflies and and so do I and the zoo has a butterfly aviary that delights both of us.

There are also a lot of animals, of course.

And the first carousel ride was a success.

We went to the park nearly every day while Mommy and Daddy were at work.

And the view I had each morning as I had my coffee was not bad at all.

She's utterly charming and utterly exhausting - non-stop movement and noise. A week made me wonder how grandparents raise their grandchildren.  It takes an amazing amount of energy just to get through one day.

You may have heard that there was a little rain in Detroit.  Yeah.  Just a little.  My daughter couldn't get to work on Tuesday - the roads were all blocked.  And a friend of hers got caught in the flooding on the way home from the gym on Monday.  She said that it took just 10 minutes for the water to rise from the floorboards to the steering wheel.  At which point the wiring was fried and she couldn't roll down the windows and wasn't strong enough to force the door open against the water.  Fortunately, the friend with her is an ex-Marine and he was able to force his door open and get them out.  At which point they had to walk 7 miles.  She recognized the top of her vehicle on the news the next day - all that was exposed was the roof.

I can't get the video link to work, but Son-in-law filmed himself kayaking down their street and posted it to the town Facebook site with a comment about having told them weeks before that the drains were blocked. At the time, the town blew him off.  Funny thing - by the end of the week the town had cleaned out the drains.
The week went too fast, though, and before I knew it we were back in the air on a day that made the nice weather we had  arrived in look like a piker.  Cue "I can see for miles and miles and miles..." 

The burnt out and deserted problem of Detroit is clearly visible from the air.

Down the Detroit River:

Past the city itself.

Plenty of boats on the river.

Some mighty fine houses - the Hamptons on the Detroit.  There is definitely still money in that town.

On our way to Lake Erie.

And although you can't see it in this photo, you could see clear to the other side of the lake.

A flight path that crossed the Bass Islands keeps you out of Canada and provides a possible dry landing site in case of an emergency.

Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument stands at Put-In-Bay.

And more quarries.  Dang I wish I had a geology map with me.  All smoothed out by mile-thick glaciers I know, but what were the glaciers sitting on?

A pit stop on a grass field.  The landing was as smooth as any I've experienced on paved runways.   The taxiway was a bit...undetermined...though.

While we were there some folks did their first parachute jumps.  Not a sport I completely understand.  Can't see jumping out of a perfectly good airplane that's still flying just fine. If the plane's not broken I'm staying in it, thanks.

The take-off was considerably bumpier.  And I was hoping as I filmed that ML was aware of how fast the road and trees were coming up.  Kept waiting for the feel of the wheels leaving the ground.  Was relieved when they did and the nose went up.

We had a tail wind that kept us moving at +100 mph most of the time, so cities and towns like Pittsburgh quickly fell behind us.

The sun set behind us, but we were on the ground before full dark - 4 hours including a stop. 

Flying in a small plane is definitely a "Wheeeee!", and it was pretty amazing to be able to see the lights of Winchester, VA, Charles Town and Martinsburg, WV, and Hagerstown, MD all at once as we came across the last ridges.

And the "Silence is Golden"?  Well, I woke up the second day in Detroit with a sore throat that added a Niagara Falls of drainage and a cough within a day.  It got better for a bit after the rain - I assumed that I was allergic to something and the rain cleared the air for a bit.  But by yesterday my voice was going, and now I've got full-blown laryngitis.  A quick Google check doesn't show me much to do about it except rest the voice box and give it time.  So I guess I have to be quiet for a few days.  No snide comments, please.