Monday, July 30, 2007

Women And Dogs

It wasn't that long ago when Kobe Bryant,upon first being accused of rape, was met with a swarm of support from his fan base. He was treated quite well from the onset, and even better as details came out, and after his accuser was dragged through the mud by Team Kobe.
'Accused' doesn't mean 'Guilty', we here in Southern California were reminded. Repeatedly.
(Personally, I don't care half a wit 'bout basketball or those who play it. But I was certainly damned tired of hearing about it.)
One thing was for sure: No level of cool was sacrificed by being seen walking 'round L.A. wearing an overpriced, NBA licensed 'Bryant' Lakers jersey.

Of late, we have Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, accused of animal cruelty in a dog fighting scandal.
Unfortunately for Vick: It's over. No more NFL merch bearing the mark of Vick will be sold. He won't be playing football this year. He was protested outside the courthouse. No support, forgiveness,or understanding for charges that are yet to be proven. 'Accused' and 'Guilty' are the same.

To be sure, it takes a special breed of sadistic asshole to breed, train, and fight dogs,a process requiring a level of heartless cruelty delivered to a pup from birth, and an insane measure of brutality toward 'bait' animals involved in fight training, to get a dog ready for the ring.
In short, those involved in this business are human scum.

But let's not forget: It's only dogs. Yeah, I know, we love our dogs.(Some of us do, anyway)
But a dog is still a dog.
Disgusting creatures.
We call them 'dogs' for a reason,right?

Anyway, back to my point...

I just find it rather unamusing that...
before many of the facts are out,
before a defense can be rendered,
before anybody really knows anything beyond the headlines,
a popular sports star accused of being mean to dogs is treated far worse in the court of public opinion than if he had been accused of rape.

Or am I missing something?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Wives May Soon Be Obsolete

First it was the Robotic Beer Launching Refrigerator

Now, technology brings us the hand signal remote control thingy.

Now days, a guy has to snap his fingers or wave his hand, and then wait patiently for the woman to bring him a beer, or hand him the remote.

This stuff will eliminate the,ah... middle-man, so to speak.

The future just keeps looking brighter.

You Kiddin Me?

"They want to shut me up"

Why would we want to,Bella John?
You're the funniest,most entertaining, self-obsessed, silk pony in the race.
And the fun is just getting started.
Shut you up?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Striking Back

There was American boy who grew up into a man. Along the way, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, stayed active in his faith, graduated high school with honors, and went on to earned an Associate of Arts degree before joining the United States Army, training as a light vehicle mechanic.

Near the end of his enlistment,after war had already broken out, he reenlisted in the Army, knowing full well he would be sent to Iraq with his comrades. On April 4th, 2004, he volunteered to join a reaction force to rescue fellow soldiers who were pinned down in battle. He was killed in action, and posthumously awarded for valor.

By all accounts, Casey Sheehan was good man. The type of man that makes his nation, his family, and his community proud. The type of American that makes his part of America better for all.

Unfortunately, Casey's story is all too familiar. Lot's of good men have ended up the same way in this war, and in other wars.

Also unfortunately, Casey Sheehan would be an anonymous-to-most-of-us name on the roll of honored war dead were it not for his mother, Cindy. For all her moonbattery, which has been on vivid display, almost daily, for three l-o-n-g years now, Cindy Sheehan is a decent individual, who nurtured a baby boy into a man better than most men. It is moms and dads like these, the kind that Casey had growing up, that do most of the heavy lifting in building our society by delivering into it the lion's share of better adults.

Needless to say, politicians are the ones who take credit for what this nation has accomplished. But we are a nation built by individuals, and individual achievements, through meeting individual responsibilities.
It was men like Casey who defeated the King, freed the slaves, stormed the beaches, battled the commies, conquered the dictators, and smote the evildoers. Men, and women, who were bred, raised, and taught right, by moms like Sheehan.

For all of her faults, public and private, she has done more for this nation's people than George Bush, Nancy Pelosi or (insert national politician of your choice here), and has more in common, on a personal level, with anybody who is reading this than any of the aforementioned national 'leaders'.

Next act in the Cindy Sheehan reality show: Cindy is going to challenge Nancy Pelosi for her congressional seat.

I'll be rooting for her.
It'll be a great day if she wins.

You see, in a scene so typical of the political establishment, who view the commoners as props while claiming to be working for them, Cindy was led into the media vortex and the national spotlight as long as she was useful, and then unceremoniously jettisoned into the emptyness of space like a used fuel tank from the space shuttle.

Her 'friends' never gave a shit about her. They pimped her out, and dropped her body in the dumpster when she got inconvenient.
And both sides do it.
But refering to 'both sides' of the political aisle is actually not accurate. For sure, there really are two sides in politics, alright. There is Them. And Us, who serve Them.

Now, maybe... and I know it's a long shot... Cindy just may get some revenge. And when she does, she'll be getting of piece of 'them' for all of us.

And isn't it about time we had had somebody in Congress who knows the true meaning of the Gold Star Banner, instead of just posing for photo-ops with those who would rather not have them?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In The Name Of Honor

This story has caught the attention of several bloggers.

Much has been made, across the 'sphere, of how moderate Muslims are obliged to condemn this practice, how this practice is another sign of the evil of Islamic faith, and more of...
and then some...

I want to toss this idea in the dung bin where it belongs.

Honor Killing is not, and never has been, a practice of the Islamic faith. If anything, the Islamic holy writings speak against it.

First, let's define the issue.
Honor Killing is the act of murder, usually of a woman, by usually male members of her family or close knit clan, who is believed to have brought dishonor upon her family, usually through sexual promiscuity, but not always.

Though perpetrated in regions where Islam is the prevailing faith, the practice actually pre-dates Islam, is considered a private matter, and in modern times is basically limited to rural tribal areas, or uneducated urban dwellers. It is not, as some may think, endemic to the Muslim world. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, and Malaysia, have no instances of it.

In patriarchal tribalistic cultures that practice honor killing, women and girls are seen as property of the family. And the family honor is it's primary asset. A family that allows dishonor is looked down upon, making it hard for members of the family to conduct business, find jobs, or even to find a suitable spouse. Honor is everything, because usually these families have little else to trade on. Generally, the more educated the family, the less likely honor killing becomes a necessity.
And this is how it is viewed. As a necessity.
And it is illegal in every Muslim nation.

This is a purely cultural practice, predating Islam, and transcending all civil law.
Islam cannot stop it. Civil authorities are near powerless to punish it.

There is no shortage of asshattery committed in the name of Islam. This is not one of them.

And to my neo-con readership: What makes you think we can bring democracy through a gun barrel to a region where 1400 years of Islam and fear of Almighty God have failed to stop honor killing?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Lighter Stuff Rises To The Surface

I can't get over the level of inexperience in the top front runners for the democratic party nomination.
The same party that couldn't get over Bush's supposed lack of 'gravitas', has itself a bucket load lot of nongravitas to answer for.

Barrack Obama: Seven years in the Illinois statehouse, and only two in the US Senate?

John 'Pretty Boy' Edwards: Six years in the US Senate, and four of them spent running for the Presidency. Never has faced re-election.

Hillary Clinton: Six years in the US Senate. Hillary's supporters will claim she has beau coup experience as First Lady to Bill Clinton. First in Arkansas, where much was made of the corruption in his administration, and then in the White House. In both cases, she was intricately involved in the business of the office, and in both cases, corruption was widespread.
Either Hillary is exceptionally unqualified to be President, or she is exceptionally too dirty with past corruption to be seriously considered. In policy matters, wherever her hand was, fiasco or sordidness took place. (the Clinton health care plan, the attorney general search, the cover ups, the pardons.)

There are a slew of folks running for the nomination, and with greater legislative experience and political achievements (Richardson, for example) but they register barely a blip on the radar.

What's up with all that?

The More They Change, The More They Don't

The Dickies were as fun, whimsical and crazy as they were a generation ago. Leonard, the front man, is still a goof, and full of punk energy even at 52.
A great show, with some great opening acts to go along.

Some things are still the same. From juvenile goofiness...

To childish stage props...

But, if you even attempt to go over the barrier to jump up on stage, this guy, and about five of his friends, are waiting to kick your ass.

Rumor: The Dickies are planning a farewell show/tour sometime this year. That's too bad. As the longest running punk act out of Southern California,since 1977, I suppose they've earned their retirement rights.

The Son is already talking about seeing them again. Next time, he wants to bring his friends along with us. As for me, I'm looking forward to it as well. But next time, I'm throwing him into the pit early.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Quicker Than Quick, Stronger Than Strong

In the beginning, there was a beat and rhythm.
The Ramones added speed and volume.
And it was good.

So God rested.

While He slept, lazily unawares, The Dickies took the good, increased the speed, added zaniness, conquered my imagination, and amped up the fun.
They were the first punk band I had gotten into, and I was hooked.

It went something exactly like this.
(Good times. Trust me on this)

It's been 24 long years since I last seen The Dickies.
And although some things change, I'm not so sure the Dickies have changed all that much.

Tomorrow night, they arrive at the Galaxy Theater, and although I'm over due, I'm not past my expiration date yet.

Positively, I won't be the only forty-something geezer pressing against the stage.
And equally positive, I won't be the only one bringing his twenty-something kid along for the show.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Some Where, Over The Rainbow

Sometime next month the Democrat presidential contenders will take part in what is being billed as 'The Gay Debate'. Kind of a misnomer, since there won't be any, openly at least, gay people actually doing any of the debating. Well, maybe John Edwards. I almost expect him to 'come out' pander heavily in this one. One thing about ol' John, he never misses an attempt to pander if he thinks it will bring him an extra rise in the polls. Maybe he'll trot out his dead son as gay, or out a member of somebody else's family. Stay tuned. I just might watch this one.

This debate seems to be following a pattern for democrats, set a few cycles ago with the "Black and Brown PanderDebate", a "Latino Debate", and I think I remember feminist debate at one time.

Yeah, whatever...
They should be able to debate anything they want. Have at it. All these special interest debates do lend an extra element of theater to the whole circus, don't you think?
Maybe the GOP can hold it's own special interest debates.
Some ideas...
"How to talk small government while increasing spending."
"Saving marriage."
"The 10 Commandments"
"Israel: the 51st State"
"Borders: Real or Imagined?"

What I would really like to see, and have not heard much about, if at all, is talk about how each candidate would approach the concept of liberty, and what policies or other steps he would take to extend further the reach of freedom into the everyday lives of the people.
We can call it "The Freedom Debate".
I know.
It's a radical concept.
But I can dream, can't I?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Man At Work

Pope Benedict XVI has approved a document released from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, setting off a bit of whining, crying and overall belly aching, from Lutherans and other protestant denominations that have sprung out of the 16th century reformation.
Pope: Other Christian Denominations Not True Churches

First, I want to put this thing into context.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is charged with the duty to "spread sound doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines."

It's an internal congregation, speaking to Catholics, and primarily Catholic theologians, concerning doctrines of Catholicism.

As such, it speaks in the language of Catholicism.
Our definition of 'church' is not the same, doctrinally speaking, as it's usage by reformers.

This is a common occurrence, as I can personally attest to, when attempting to maintain a theological dialogue with those of a different mindset. Many commonly used words,('faith' being another) are not used in the same context, the same meaning, or with the same intent.
Reformist theologians should know this. That is, if they are being honest.

In a statement headlined "Lost Chance," Lutheran Bishop Wolfgang Huber argued that "it would also be completely sufficient if it were to be said that the reforming churches are 'not churches in the sense required here' or that they are 'churches of another type' -- but none of these bridges is used in the 'answers."'

Of course not, Wolfgang. He wasn't speaking to you. Some things are just understood by learned men when speaking to each other, in situations where 'bridges' and qualifiers serve only as redundancies, and you aren't among them in this go round.

What I find the most puzzling coming from Wolfgang is his clear discomfort in discovering that a religious office he is theologically opposed to is theologically opposed to his opposition. How dare them!

Personally, I think the Lutheran Bishop would've looked a lot more confident in his Lutheranism if his response to the mitred Roman was a dismissive 'So,what?'
Dare I say: he lacks faith?

Pope Benedict XVI is, after all, the Pope.
And he has a job to do.
And besides, don't you think that if he really thought the rest of you guys were just as good, he would've become one of you by now?
It would certainly be easier.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Something For Your Self-Indulgence

My younger brother is currently serving in Afghanistan, as a member of the 82nd Air Born Division.

Today I received a email from him, an interactive E Greeting that I got kick out of. Kinda goofy, but fun just the same.

Go ahead, click the link and have some harmless fun stickin it to the bad guys.

Voo Doo Bobble Heads, brought to you from the fine soldiers of Operation Enduring Freedom

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Taking Your Kid To The Range

A friend asks about starting his son out with target shooting and what type of gun I suggest to get him started.

Like anything else, everybody is different on what they place their values on, but most will agree that a .22 rimfire is the best, most suitable caliber for breaking in a rookie. I started on one myself, and continued the tradition with my son and daughter the same way.
With firearms I place priorities in this order: Safety, Reliability, Practicality, and Cost. I place cost a very distant last after learning the hard way that compromise is costly. Get the 'right' gun, and you'll never pay the money for something better later.

As for .22 rifles that grab reasonable market share, three rise to the top, but for varying reasons:

The Marlin Model 60. The lowest priced of it's kind on the market, it is reliable, accurate, and comes as a 14 round, tubular fed auto-loader (semi-automatic), with walnut a stock. Walnut is widely desired for gun stocks due to it's durability and aesthetic beauty. This rifle is well made, and the most prolific .22 rifle out there. Not a bad rifle at all. This is what I started out on. MSRP: about $175.

Next is the Ruger Model 10/22. A short stock, short barrel carbine, this is often the second .22 rifle many will buy after experiences with their Marlin. The Marlin is found in lots of homes, but the Ruger is preferred by those who really like their firearms. Clip magazine fed, it lacks the capacity of the Marlin at only 10 rounds, but expanded aftermarket magazines are available up to a 100 round capacity. Basic package includes a hardwood stock, but walnut can be had for a few dollars more. It's easy to handle, especially for kid, and tops in reliability. MSRP: about $250, and it's a deal at that.

Last, but not least, is the Remington Model 552. This a great, tubular fed, top of line .22 rifle. Makes an excellent companion whether in the field or on the range. Most accurate of the three, but to me, once you get to this level of personal proficiency you've moved on to another realm of shooting skills that I don't deal in. MSRP: about $550. Add another $250 for optics (scope), and you have something you'll always be proud of and will last you three lifetimes.

All three rifles come in a variety of options as to stock material, barrel length, and barrel size. The 'bull barrel' is a heavier wieght used for stability in target competitions.

Modern auto-loaders basically come two ways: Tube fed, or clip fed.
Tubular magazines store rounds in a long attached tube below the barrel, and feed them into the action as needed.
Detachable (clip) magazines attach to the bottom of the action, are easily removed with a push of a button, and are interchangeable with a higher capacity magazine.
Tubes offer higher standard capacity,but capacity is fixed, and take longer to reload.

Another drawback of tube magazines: you need to keep them clean to work properly. And after a couple thousand rounds, they need to be broken down and cleaned thoroughly, and then reassembled properly. If left dirty, the rounds won't feed straight, and/or spent shells won't eject properly, jamming the action.

I prefer the detachable magazine,myself.
My Ruger, even when dirty, has never failed to feed,fire and eject. And cleaning is a breeze. After untold thousands of rounds, and 20 years, I have yet to break it down and give it a thorough scrubbing. All it needs is few squirts of WD-40 in the interior,followed with running a cloth patch through the barrel, and I'm good to go.

In my totally biased opinion: get your kid the Ruger. He will be glad you did.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Whoring Old Glory

It's all just symbolism.
So several states have passed laws banning the sale of United States flags that were not made in the United States.
Big fucking deal!

I am, generally speaking, a free trade kinda guy. So something like this isn't exactly what I would call prudent policy, but since flag shipments (from China) account for the piddly-ass figure of $5.3 million a year, we are talking small potatoes here. It just ain't no big deal,and I doubt any American job anywhere is going to be saved, or lost, due to cheap plastic trinket flags (just the kind that politicians like these hand out at rallies).

I got a suggestion for these flag whore politicians:
Instead of saving Old Glory from Chinese silk-screeners, how bout working on some ideas that restore the ideals She used to stand for. Lets start with overturning that Kelo decision, and return the right of private property to the people.
Hey!That's a start.
And will go whole lot further toward defending the flag than stupid shit like this.
*Read It*

Monday, July 02, 2007

Eight Rather Stupid Things About Me: The Unabashed Version

Jade's idea.
It's all her fault.

1. When I was 17, I was recruited to play drums for a Scottish pipe band, and stayed on for two years. We had gigs at bars,parades, weddings,etc... and in every crowd there was always some young lady who, usually egged on by friends, would attempt to see what I was wearing under the kilt. After the first couple of times, I started to wear a pair of boxers with a Valentine heart pattern. Another pair had a lipstick kiss pattern. The gals got a kick out that.

2. I smoke. Heavily. For 28 years, with no lack of impact on my health. Although I did succeed in going smoke-free for 5 months a couple years ago. Today, I struggle with the nerve to put them down again, any day now.

3. I was very active in the pro-life movement back in the late 80's and through out the 90's. Not unusual in and of itself. What was unusual: I came to my conviction intellectually, without any religious practice to speak of. I started out as an agnostic/deist. My fellow movers couldn't understand how somebody could not be Christian, or religious at all, and still be as intellectually committed to pro-life principles as I was. And still am. And I still think the pro-life movement is too heavily Jesusafied to be the success it should be.

4. If you see me with a bucket of KFC and a six-pack, leave me alone. I don't wanna be bothered. Both wives will attest to this.

5. I like to bake, and it helps me relax and unwind. I've been doing my own cakes,pies, cookies etc... since I was old enough to stand on a chair to reach the mixer. As it goes, I have a collection of top quality bake ware and gadgets, along with traditional recipes handed down that you cant find anywhere else. Even Betty Crocker would be envious.

6. If I had my choice: I'd rather be stuck in crowd of Muslims than a roomful of Jews. I've had the experiences of both, and on more than one occasion. Muslims are warm, friendly, open-armed people, generous of spirit and quick to befriend. Jews,though nice and decent, are just plain annoying in large numbers.
*On second thought: Everyone else is,too. Maybe that's why I avoid crowds.

7. No secret: I was born in Chicago, and my ancestry is heavily Italian. Calabrese, to be more precise. But this is only my father's side, who immigrated to this country alone when he was 15. Mom's side is predominantly Canadian-French laced with Pottawatomie, rooted entirely in Chicago from the city's founding, and has been traced to this grandfather.
All this, and $1.50, will get a me good cup of coffee, and a place to sit, at any Denny's in the nation.

8. I was here!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

That's It. I'm Pulling Out The Annabella Card

I took this picture myself.
July 2nd,2005

She was singing just for me that day.
I just know she was.