Tuesday, May 28, 2013

THIS Hasn't Happened Recently

Looking back through the archives, it was November of last year the last time someone decided to click the follower button on the right. Not that life revolves around people clicking the ego button, but it IS nice once in a while. So, it was a nice surprise to see that Kellie of Delightfully Ludicrous decided to hang around my little corner of the 'net for a bit.

Welcome, Kellie. Feel free to poke around, say "hi" once in a while...have a cookie. Kellie appears to be from Australia, and she is a self described geek. I have not had a chance to spend much time perusing her site yet, but she appears to be a snarky generalist.

Now, back to your irregularly scheduled programming.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Some More Advice for M&M

1. Never trust a politician who actively runs for office.

2. If you choose to participate in the political process (through voting, holding office or jury duty), think very carefully before advocating for the spending of other people's money. It has to come from taxes somewhere.

3. Please allow me to dispel you of the illusion that any political party has your best interests at heart. They are only interested in one thing: power.

4. No one gets elected anymore without help. Look past the politician and find out who is pulling the strings or has their hand out.

5. "Trust, but verify." - Ronald Reagan (I think). This applies to Russians, politicians, statisticians, preachers, professors, reporters and pretty much everyone. In other words, don't take someone else's word for something without a little fact checking.

6. TANSTAAFL - "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." - Usually attributed to Robert Heinlein but actually predates his work. Nothing is free. Someone, somewhere, somewhen paid a price in money, energy, effort, time or some other commodity to produce or use an item.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Just For Kymber...

How far will the airplane fly without engines?

All the way to the crash site.

Friday, May 17, 2013


If you've been watching the news or lived in the Dallas Fort Worth area, you already know that we had a major storm blow through here on Wednesday which spawned at least sixteen tornados according to the latest news reports. Since you are reading this, it's a pretty safe bet we weathered the storm without incident. I've lived in this area all my life with the exception of a brief interlude in Houston which I try to forget. I'm used to being in the unlit, dead end of "Tornado Alley".

That's not to say we were without concern.

We go through this every year here from about March until September or so. May is particularly active. If you live here long enough, you've either been IN a tornado or know someone who has. I was driving home from work once and watched as a funnel cloud formed right above my head along I-20 in Arlington. I think I've written about the time The Queen and I were having an argument in my truck which was promptly ended when the back end of the truck came off the ground...lifted by high winds which were part of a tornado's storm cell. That'll get your attention.

While Wednesday's storms dodged me and my family, there were some close calls. My inlaws live in Granbury, Texas less then 5 miles from where the EF-4 touched down killing six and destroying everything else in its way. The EF-3 that hit Cleburne, TX continued trucking south towards my mother's place before turning away. The Queen and I were holed up with Maddy at a doc-in-the-box when the sirens went off. We were in almost constant contact with my mother and inlaws the whole time. Not that we could DO anything, but it is reassuring to know that those close to you are safe at times like that.

If you don't live here, it's hard to understand the caprisiousness, arbitrariness, unpredictability and sheer violence of a tornado. Allow me to give you an example from my family's experience.

May 27, 1997 an EF-5 (the so called "finger of God") tornado hit a sleepy little town in central Texas by the name of Jarrell. My great aunt lived there and was extremely fortunate to have been away from home at the time of the storm. She was on her way home though, saw the storm and hid out under a highway overpass. When the storm passed and she was able to head towards home, it was no longer there. Literally. Gone. The slab was the only thing left. Her neighbors, a family of five, were not so fortunate. They lost their lives along with 22 others. Across the street, the houses were intact.

I have some print photos of the aftermath which don't even begin to give a sense of the level of devastation involved. Most people look at a road and think it's pretty solid, stable, unforgiving. The tornado actually scoured the asphalt off the road. Interior electrical wire was found impaling trees. Cattle were found impaled with wheat stalks and other debris.

My great aunt lost almost everything physical in her possession that day. However, a book of her mother's poetry (my great grandmother was a gifted artist and poet) was found in a field open to a page which the volunteers who were searching for survivors and victims found to be very moving. They read the poem from that page at a town meeting with the survivors, and my great aunt immediately recognized it. If I recall correctly, some small things such as cancelled checks or bank deposit slips were found as far away as Florida...presumably carried on the winds. Somethings were never found though.

I know other areas have blizzards or hurricanes which can be no less serious in terms of potential for damage and loss of life. They cannot hold a candle to tornados though. Hurricanes give plenty of warning to get out of town or prepare to hunker down. Blizzards too. You can plan for them and actually be somewhat ready for them (unless you live in New Orleans). Tornados are the hit and run drivers of the storm world. They appear suddenly and disappear just as quickly. There is very little, if any, warning. We are lucky if we get an hours notice of a storm with potential for tornados. Also, when was the last time you heard of a blizzard shredding everything in its path?

Now pardon me while I go back to work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kinda Cool...Things You Don't See Everyday

The building where my office is located is undergoing renovation (just in time for our company to move offices in September). For the last week or two, they have been working on the roof which has required the use of a crane to lift materials (it's a 19 story building). It's been fascinating to watch (at least to me). So, I thought I would share some pictures.

A view from the parking garage. This is identical to the crane used in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

I had no idea that the boom on these things extended that far up...

.... No. THAT far up.

A view from the 16TH floor. Ignore the reflections of the Hershey's chocolates. They are but ghosts of things that no longer exist.

That boom was swaying in the breeze. Watching it move from this perspective is dizzying. It looks like it's going to topple over any minute.

This was the best shot I could get of the top of the boom going over the edge of the roof. I think it's safe to say it was near the limit of it's reach.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Cutest Baby In The World

Yes, I know I am biased as her father, but is it really bias if it's true?

Dozens of stuffed animals to choose from, and she decides to snuggle with the baby powder.

The eggs were just a little TOO boring for her to put off her nap.
God, I love this little girl. Thank you so much Lord for giving us such a wonderful blessing.

Some Random Thoughts This Morning

Good morning. Much has transpired since last we spoke. I am nursing a mild/moderate sunburn after the weekend's activities. The Queen had her first official Mother's Day. Her initial request was for a weekend of camping and fishing. Efforts to make that happen were thwarted by a quagmire of complications. We were successful in getting out on a lake for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon using a Hobie Mirage Series Oasis kayak, and The Queen caught the one fish for the day.

Red head in a red boat
He was a cute fish. Small, but feisty. We tossed him back.

The kayak was a hoot to fish from. I may just have to write a review of it for The Toy Box. The Queen wants one. Daddy Hawk wants one too. Maybe two. They are that cool. They are also that expensive.

It's been a while since I have dabbled in the world of politics here. I've seen a lot of stuff on Facebook and blog ready calling for the impeachment of President Obama. I understand the sentiment. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening. While the Republican majority in the House could presumably bring articles of impeachment to the floor for debate and even potentially pass them on to the Senate for trial, the likelihood of the Democrat controlled Senate reaching a 2/3 majority to convict the first black president of "high crimes and misdemeanors" approaches "nuthin' divided by nuthin' carrying the nuthin' is still nuthin'".

Kermit Gosnell (I will no longer apply the honorarium of Doctor to him) has been convicted of murdering his patients while committing unspeakable acts of evil. While he is, in theory, facing the death penalty for his crimes, I am not optimistic that such a verdict will be entered in this case. Even if they did, he would die of old age before his appeals were exhausted. I am glad that he was convicted. That restores some small amount of faith in the legal system that has been chipped away from me in my cynicism borne of experience. I do feel that it is a shame that our system does not allow the convicted to be executed in the same manner in which their crimes were committed. Cruel and unusual is in the eye of the beholder. Kermit obviously thought there was nothing cruel and unusual about what he did to those babies. So, I fail to see the problem with doing the same to him.

I do echo the sentiment that, if Benghazi was no big deal "that was a long time ago" and "what difference does it make?", then let's ship Hillary's daughter Chelsea over there as ambassador and see just how big a deal it really is. How about it Hillary? Any takers? Yeah...I didn't think so either.

Oh...and Hillary...you can forget about 2016 because we won't.

Let's see here...what else do we have to discuss? The IRS scandal? I'm not going near that one. I've had my run in with them, and I'm not anxious for another.

Wiretapping the Associated Press...now THAT's rich. Talking about biting the hand that carries your water. Good job, Mr. President. I thought there was nothing that you could do to piss off the liberal media, but you sir are an over achiever.

That's it for now. I must go do something productive for the good of the cause.