The Generation Gap

. . . or, what happened to you, America?

From Col. Cooper’s Commentaries in 1999:

Television commentator Tom Brokaw has recently offered a curious analysis of what may be called “generation diversity.” In one instance, an elderly gentleman was complaining to a social scientist about the mindless vandalism of young people who take it upon themselves to smash property just for laughs. The latter was inclined to minimize the perniciousness involved as simply the normal exuberance of youth. The plaintiff was asked, “Well, what were you doing when you were 17?” The answer, “I was fighting on Guadalcanal.”

Yes, Virginia, there is a generation gap.

An Example of Engineering That Made Me Happy.

Efficiency for the end user is something that often receives little or no attention these days, so this was a pleasant surprise. It also appeals to my machismo and mechanical tinkerer aspects. If you are a man, I can almost guarantee you will have at least a faint smile on your face after this post.

Just now at work, I had to take a 200lbs. pump out of its crate for photography, and then I was going to have to put the crate back together. I was not looking forward to the job. The crate in question is made with nails about every two inches, and the wood is too heavy to break without application of a large amount of force.

Then I noticed the bolts.

The bottom of the crate walls have a few bolts on each side. I looked inside, and the bolts were run into T-nuts in some “2x” lumber on the platform/bottom of the box. Nothing else was holding the crate’s top to its bottom. I undid the bolts and the top lifted off with no effort. When I was done, I put the top on backwards and the bolt holes still lined up. No hammers, pry bars, or splinters involved. I had the pump photographed and re-crated in the time it would have taken to knock the crate down if it had been constructed like most of the crates we get through here. Oh, and the bottom of the crate is exactly wide enough to fit a pallet jack.



Israel: 48hour Truce? Not so Much.

They kept the bombs coming. Good for them.

The reporting I’ve heard on all but the most conservative press outlets is heavily pro-Hamas/anti-Israel. Boo. What you don’t hear much of at all, is that over half the dead are uniformed Hamas fighters. How many more “civilians” are unconventional warriors in the Jihad? It is a number you are guaranteed never to know.

There are also “civilian” casualties. That’s what happens in a war. How many casualties would there be if the place was carpet-bombed like we did to Germany to win WWII? More? Yes? Then be quiet. Hamas shoots at civilians on purpose. Israel is trying to hit military targets; the civilians living next to military targets shouldn’t be surprised to catch a case of dead. We live <30 miles from a military installation and it wouldn't surprise me to see a mushroom cloud before I got disintegrated; that's life in a time of standing armies.

FINALLY, Olmert is speaking truth to the world: “If conditions ripen to the point that we assess they promise a safer existence in southern Israel, we will consider it. We’re not they’re yet” That is, we will continue until our enemy is done for.

I was listening to NPR this morning and they had a guest who was #2 (loser #1) in the Palestinian presidential elections. There were a few not-so-softball questions but it sounded about like a Palestinian-national advertisement piece instead of reportage. Oh well, what else do you expect from NPR? They rolled sound from a guy whose daughter was injured in an Israeli air raid. She was knocked unconscious while already in-hospital for a stomach pain, when Israel struck a mosque next door. Sounds terrible right? Except that the mosques are command and control centers for Hamas, in addition to houses of prayer to a false god.

The reporters are trying to stick with “if it bleeds, it leads” reporting, but this presents a problem for objectivity: the Palestinians are finally getting squished, so we get to see the Palestinian casualties almost exclusively. Don’t be mistaken: Israel is in the right in this action. Note also that, including what will be allowed in today, 6,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid are going to Gaza, and some of the critically ill are being allowed into Israel for treatment.

I just hope the current fighting doesn’t lead to WWIII directly. I suppose we shall see.

Vermin, Beware!

Success again! The local rodent population has been reduced by one. You will please excuse my irrational exuberance over such a trivial matter, but we had a furry little friend leaving tracks, pee, and poo, all over my work area. It foiled my mousetrap twice, because it was an as-issued trap. I gave it a trigger job yesterday, polishing the sear, and made it so easy to trip I could barely set the trap. Then I taped some yummy goodies on the trigger. This morning: scratch one more mouse.

Quelle Damme!

My Darling Wife’s drivers license expired on her birthday and we didn’t notice until we went to the bank to conduct some business. After finding it out, she refused on general principle to drive without a current license. Today we finally got around to the DPS drivers license facility in Austin (much nicer, now it’s not drivers licensing and everything else in one building BTW) and got her license renewal done.

She asked if, now that she has her license again, she could drive. It was a bit of a silly question, as I consider a drivers license an annoying formality bordering on infringement of rights AND we were using her car anyhow. Sure you can drive if you want to.

I went around to the back and helped #2 get his seat belt straightened out and got in the passenger seat. When I got there, my Darling Wife says ‘now that I’ve got my license again, I want you to drive.’ sigh. Let it never be said that a woman is not changeable, but still

vive la difference!

I Took Drugs But I Didn’t Get High At All.

. . . I’m feeling pretty low, actually. Yes children, it’s that time of year again: Mountain Cedar Pollination Season! You only get a couple of months a year to enjoy it, but boy is it fun! Austin is about the worst place in the world to move to by one criterion: allergens. Observe the following image from a local TV station:

You will note that, at no time in the year in Central Texas* is the air free of airborne pollens. Add mold on top of that every time it rains, and you may begin to see why more people have to get prescription allergy medicine here than anywhere else.

But the worst for me so far is the when the mountain cedar pollenates. By taking doses of various drugs that have alarmingly high numbers of “0”s in the dose measurements, I am restored to close-enough-to-normal-to-be-productive. It would help if I kept track of what helped, and if it continues to get worse (which is likely, because I did move here) I will have to start a journal of medication. Right now I have a headache, my sinuses are dry on one side and runny on the other, and my eyes itch. That is better than feeling like I’m drowning in fluid in my lungs, with lethargy to beat the band and a nose like a faucet.

That would be Cedar Fever. If you move here, you will spend a few years wondering what all the fuss is about, then your sensitivities will gradually increase with exposure over time. And you become a connoseur of over-the-counter allergy medicines. Then you get to tell everyone what your allergist gave you to restore you to normal life again. Other than that, it’s generally a great place to live.

*Central Texas is what the people who live near Austin call the area, because being in Austin proper sucks for a thousand reasons, mostly due to liberals running the city and not having single-member districts on the city council

Ban Ki-Moon Demands Cease-Fire.

Israel respects cease-fire agreements, and the terrorist islamists do not. Period.

For the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Call for a cease-fire in the face of this truth is the height of foolish arrogance. Israel needs to crush her enemies or she will die a politically correct death by a thousand cuts.

Which would have at least half the member-nations in the United Nations tickled pink.

Gary Emineth Needs To Be Fired.

In selecting of RNC chair, he says, it doesn’t matter what the “grass roots” of the Republican party think, it only matters what the committee members think. I suppose he particularly does NOT care what the people who vote at the Choose Your Republican Party Chairman website think.

I think it is time for the good People of North Dakota to kick this bum out.

The Phonetic Alphabet: Do You Speak It?

It is a source of unending frustration, having to deal with persons on the telephone who never served in the military.

Wait, what?

How do you know if someone has never served in the military?

Because when you go to spell something out to them phonetically, they [deleted] it all up the first fifteen times, and at that point you sound like you are talking to a mentally-challenged first-grader, trying to spell a word to another adult!

If you do not know what I am talking about, give everyone you will ever talk to on the phone or radio a break and at least try to memorize the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

Then when someone says they work for CDN Systems, and you ask them to spell it, and they say Charlie Delta November, you have it first time, every time.

OK? Thanks.

Finally I’m Jumping On A Bandwagon*

Uncle and Les Jones both recommend it so I’ll give a go. Look to the bottom of my posts to see a button titled Share This, which is supposed to make it easier for you to send word of what’s been posted to your contacts without all that pesky email business.

*if someone mentions a movie as being worth seeing, and then someone from another sphere of influence also recommends it, I start thinking about seeing that movie. Similar thinking here, except this is free and no trouble so it’s done.