30 January 2010

And It Continues

The snow is back.

I just cleaned that car off not five hours ago, and if you look at the post below you can see where the driveway clearing was in progress.

The dog has decided that he does not like that funny white stuff, it sticks to his feet and makes them cold. I had to shovel a path for him (that or find "presents" in the house).

He's as spoiled as his owner, I think.

My plans for tonight have not otherwise changed.


The snow started before Boy went to bed, and he was excited. Dad, not so much. The snowfall continued through the night and into the early morning hours when, as expected, it turned into sleet and freezing rain. That's the part that Dad was particularly looking forward to, you bet.

The snow accumulated three inches where there was pavement and six inches where there was not. This picture was taken 12 hours after the snow had stopped, so I don't know if it had melted any during the day. What I do know is that I have not had to shovel snow in a long time.

But that's why I have fine young sons!

I called my parents who still live in Iowa and told them about our massive snowstorm. My mother gleefully informed me that the storm had gone south of them into Missouri so they didn't get any snow out of it. My dad reminisced about a snowstorm so bad that they didn't even bother plowing both sides of the road, so there was only a single lane highway for the last 20 miles of the trip (we had gone to Grandmother's house that weekend and gotten 24 inches).

The power is on, no one has to work tonight, so I have no reason to be out and about (I am the designated chauffeur whenever the winter weather hits). My plans for tonight include the following items:

Have a great night everyone!

Where's The Global Warming?

I've been working like an idiot the past few days, my counterpart on the other night shift had to take some vacation days or lose them so I filled in for him while he was gone. The first night I have off we get The Big One, Jan 2010 Edition.

Oh well, I have beer, firewood and cheese dip. Let it snow!

22 January 2010


I have never really been from anywhere.

I was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but that's not my home. I was raised in Clarinda, Iowa with a short nine month side trip to Houston, Texas. Neither of them are home either.

In my Navy service I lived in Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida. I visited dozens of places around the globe, both in the US and not, and none of those places were home, either.

I currently reside in North Carolina, but that's not home. It will do for now, because that's where she is, and wherever she is home is there also. But that has not always been the case.

I can't really explain my feelings on the subject, but it has always seemed to me that life was transitory, and that wherever I was at the moment I was sure to be somewhere else later on.

Maybe some day I will find that mystical place, but until then I am an American, and wherever the flag flies that will be home.


Tonight my ten year old and I broke the Christmas turkey wishbone. I've heard both ways, that the wish is granted for the long side or for the short side. I told him that means we both get our wishes.

I told him that he couldn't say what he wished for because it might not come true. He said he didn't think it would anyway.

Mine won't either. I think we wished for the same thing.

He told me he was worried about Mom. I told him that I was, too.

We spend a lot of time not talking about what's happening, but it's never very far from the surface. Tonight as we were talking about something different all together the subject of our eldest daughter moving up from Florida came up. She wants Eldest Daughter here so that she can spend time with her, because she doesn't feel as if she got enough time with her own mother. She misses her mother terribly.

"I don't want to die" she blurted out. "I don't want you to, either" I said, and then we cried into each other's arms for a while. That breaks one of my cardinal rules, not to let her see how it's affecting me. She knows anyway.

About that time the eldest son walked in to talk about something else. He has great timing. We then went back to our usual not talking about it.

But it's still there.

You Don't Professionalize

Until You Nationalize!

I'm sure we all feel much safer now.

20 January 2010

Hell Freezes Over

Leftists, Democrats hardest hit. Go and read. Here's a teaser.

"President Bush deserves our respect, not our betrayal." Now go read the rest.

While you are at it, look upon this and wonder. It's sometimes incredible how much difference a year can make. Now consider that the linked article above was written by, and the linked site is owned by, a guy that was part of John F'n Kerry's legal team in 2004.

And congratulations to Senator Scott Brown, (R) MA. Further proof of snowballs in Hades.

Senator Scott Brown, (R)MA. Just because I don't think seeing that is ever going to get old, or less amazing.

HT: Ace of Spades HQ

16 January 2010

Fair Winds

Captain Pliny G. Holt, Naval Aviation pioneer and oldest living Naval Aviator, passed on January 4, 2010. His father and grandfather were the founders of the Caterpillar Company, having invented the treaded track. He was also a model railroader and model ship builder.

Fair winds and following seas, Captain.

15 January 2010


I finally saw it today.

Yes, it's Dances with Wolves set on another planet, with the exception that the hero stays afterwards.

Yes, it's the "evil greedy corporation" and their paid mercenaries against the indigenous peoples.

I didn't really find it overly preachy, it's just put out there as a statement of fact. They have what we want, we have nothing they want to trade for it, so now we fight for it. We try to take it away from them, they try to keep it.

I would have liked to see a bit more development into why this "unobtanium" is such a valued mineral, that might have explained why the humans were so dead set on "obtanium-ing" it. I would also have liked to see an explanation of why we couldn't have mined the ore without destroying their planet's surface, with the technology displayed in the film I'm sure that there could have been a way. It can be done with coal and oil (although strip mining for coal is more efficient, which is why it's done that way) so I see no reason why it couldn't have been done with this as well. It would have made for a rather short story, though.

Other than that, it was a classic "you have what I want, we can trade or fight" and since we have nothing to trade that you want, Fight's On! If it had been a human world vs space aliens there probably wouldn't have been as much furor over it. After all, who felt sorry for the aliens in "Independence Day" when they got blown up? Same story, different point of view is all.

The story was fast moving, the visuals were stunning, all in all it was an enjoyable experience.

12 January 2010

CPR Class

And now I am CPR qualified again for the first time since my instructor's card ran out in 2006. Class A only, which is adult CPR, and only at the provider level, but that's fine with me.

About the only thing different from when I used to teach the class is now there are 30 compressions per 2 breaths instead of 15 and 2.

Twenty five years ago when I got my first provider qual it was 5 and 1, then it was 15/2 for a single rescuer and 5/1 for two. Later on it was 15/2 for both single and double rescuers, then it was single only and if there were two rescuers they swapped out when one got tired.

Finding hand positions went from finding the notch and going two fingers up to finding the center of the chest at the nipple line. It's easier to find your position that way, which was the point of the change.

Automatic External Defibrillators are also something that is new in the last 10 years. The availability of AED's have saved lives, having one is much better than CPR alone and can make the difference between recovery and not. They used to be found just on ambulances and in hospitals, but now they can be found almost everywhere. Look around, I'll bet you have one in the building where you work.

Under the old guidelines rescuers looked for a pulse, but just before I retired they changed it. They found out that most non-medical people could not locate a pulse when there was one, and sometimes found their own pulse when there wasn't one. So to make it easy, no breathing equals no pulse.

Now they have discovered that chest compressions alone will provide enough air flow through the lungs that breathing may not be needed. The new guidelines roll-out is expected to eliminate rescue breathing at all. I guess I will find out next year.

Staring Into The Abyss

She goes in for another MRI in the morning, just to keep track of the monster.

We spend a lot of time together not talking about it, but today she told me that she knew that the average was 5-8 years from diagnosis. That gives her 3-6 years, depending on how stubborn she is. She wants to see Chris graduate, he's ten, so she wants to beat the average by at least two years.

Even, she says, if she has to do it from her bed.

I told her I wanted her to stick around for as long as she could, but that I didn't want her to be in pain.

After that we talked about something else.

09 January 2010

08 January 2010

Working For A Living

I got this video from The Smallest Majority. It is a TED.com presentation of Mike Rowe, who stars in a show called "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel. Be warned, it starts off with a graphic description of castrating lambs.

The one thing that Mike Rowe says in this speech that really stuck out in my mind is where he said that the people who do these dirty jobs are the happiest, most well adjusted people he has ever met.

I work with my hands. The toughest jobs, the ones that take the most time and energy, the machine that everyone else has beat their heads against, the ones that you look at and say "You aren't going to beat me, people made you so I can fix you" are the ones that, at the end, you look back at and realize were the most satisfying.

As a contrast, take a look at the post below where David Brooks pontificates on the "educated class" and think about how many of them are so deeply unhappy that they press their unhappiness on everyone around them. Think about that for a moment, would you rather have beers with Todd Palin or martinis with John Kerry? Why? Who do you think is happier, way down deep in his gut?

I am a believer in education as a means to further yourself, but education without experience is nothing. I don't care where you got your education, but where you got your experience means a great deal to me. One of the biggest idiots I have ever met held a PhD from MIT in electronics, and one of the smartest people I know never finished high school and only got his GED to qualify for a better position in the job he held.

I am reminded of a passage in the Sherlock Holmes story "A Study In Scarlet", where Doctor Watson is astounded that Holmes had no concept of the Copernican theory of the composition of solar systems. From the book:

That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

“You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.”

Sherlock Holmes was perfectly content in not knowing about things that could not further his own efforts, likening the human brain to an attic that was stuffed with knowledge. "It is a mistake, " he explains, "to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

I am also reminded of a piece in S.M. Stirling's book "Dies the Fire" where one of the main characters remarks that the fact that civilization had advanced to the place where people had the free time to dedicate to learning things like blacksmithing and swordsmanship merely as hobbies was going to be essential to living in a world where people would need to know these things in order to simply survive.

Mike gives you some fancy Greek words for discovery (anagnorisis) and realization (peripeteia). Real life gives you examples of it every day. Work gives you the means to discover those realizations.

Now get back to work, slackers.

07 January 2010

01 January 2010

Happy New Year

I hope it's happy and prosperous.

And in other news, The Other McCain is now at his new site. Go check it out.