Saturday, September 24, 2005

B-25... Bingo!

My oldest Brother lives on the lake down in South Carolina. When I was a kid, we used to visit, and go out on the boat. They used to take me to Bomber Island in the middle of Lake Murray. Bomber Island was used as a practice target Durring WWII, and even back in the '70's you could find shrapnel and cool stuff (to a 9 year old anyway). I was told that some of the planes had crashed in the lake back in the '40's.

Well, last week, my brother sat out on a boat, drinking beer and watching them pull one of them up. A B-25 bomber over 60 years in the dark cold South Carolina waters brought into the light of day.

The B-25 was used in Doolittle's Raid, the bombing attack on Tokyo in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.

This one is gonna be disassembled and sent to Birmingham, Alabama to the air museum there.

Thanks for the pictures Big Bro.

Recovery Links here and here and here.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bumper Snickers

I drive the highways and byways around here quite a bit, (Not odd since I live here) and I have been taking notes.
Bumper stickers abound. I don't have one on the Jeep, I never liked sticking stuff all over my car.
All over the place I see "Keep Austin Weird", "Longhorns #1" and so on.
Due to some things I'd heard and read I started noting political stickers in particular. Austin is a hotbed of political activism. I've noticed that cars with "W" stickers on them usually only have the one sticker. Sometimes maybe a church or radio station sticker, but usually just the one.
Same with the "Texas Democrat" sticker. Just the one. (of course some of these people are Dems just because their parents were, and that just because Lincoln was a Republican) They usually have them on the bumper or the window where they can be removed easily.
However the ones that have a circle-slash "W" are different. They tend to abound with insults and slogans. "No Blood for Oil", "I could have been a Republican, but my parents were married", "Not My President" and on and on and on. Lots of it is hate filled rhetoric aimed at people like me in the vehicle behind them. They paste them all over their cars like some force field to protect them from evil, straight, white, conservative males. All over the paint, the bumper, the window.
This seems to be the case with "John Kerry" or "Kerry/Edwards" stickers. I even saw one with a campain poster taped in the back window... this week. Lots of anti Bush stickers, anti war sentiments etc. Some even have old "Al Gore" stickers still on them. I'm now looking for the Trifecta... an old Volvo with a Gore sticker, a Kerry sticker, and a Hillery '08 sticker... I'm a little disapointed that I haven't seen one yet.
This isn't a commentary, just an observation. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hand Out for a Handout

It's not my fault. I refuse to accept responsibility for my circumstances.

First of all I blame my parents. Good, hardworking people who pushed me to better myself and do the right things. I tried hard to ignore their advice, but I was conditioned to eventually be an upstanding person. I mean, my God, they talked to my teachers about my performance in school (which wasn't always all that great), they gave me curfews and boundaries... They even made me get a job! And that on top of having to occasionally having to work around the house and in the garden. They let me drive one of their old cars when I got a license, but eventually they made me buy my own car. They taught me that credit was for big purchases and emergencies only and that you pay your bills... Even at the expense of doing something fun. They bailed me out a couple of times, but not without handwringing and lectures. Yes, no doubt the pattern starts there.

Then there were my siblings. Dammo, man, I was always held up to their standards. "You know, your brother built a nuclear reactor out of toothpicks, a spool, six rubberbands and a piece of tin when he was your age... And it powered the henhouse for a month." Not to mention the advice and support they gave me. My youngest sister giving me books to expand my mind. My youngest brother giving me art supplies and teaching me history. My oldest brother teasing and testing me, showing me tricks and giving me brain teasers. My oldest sister always giving me morality checks. That's only a taste of what I had to go through. All that, even though we didn't always get along all that well.

After that it was my employers. I'd go to work and everything I learned at home would kick in. I'd work hard, do extra stuff and try to learn how to do everything. What did I get for all that? Small pay raises and promotions. Unbelievable! From the age of 14 to 21 I worked my way through the whole grocery hierarchy. From bagboy to manager in 7 years. Was that enough? No way! I managed a handfull of different types of stores... Almost always more responsibilities... More money. I managed to delay this a few times, but I just couldn't stop myself.

So, where am I now? No welfare checks, no government assistance for me. Apparently I don't deserve it. I have to pay my own way. I never even got any unemployment checks. Never. No government housing for me. I have to pay a lot of money for the apartment I live in. I didn't get any grants to go to college. I had to get loans... LOANS... Then I had to PAY THEM BACK! The nerve. The unmitigated gall. On top of all this my government makes me pay taxes. I have to PAY. I never had to pay when I was a bagboy. Now all of a sudden I've become some kind of second class citizen and have to pay to live in this country. Here in this, the land of opportunity, I must have squandered mine.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Oils Well That Ends Well

I got this from my youngest brother who lives in Northern Virginia. It is his response to the "Don't buy gas day" e-mail that has been circulating. My oldest brother liked it so much he sent me a second copy.
Now, this is my blog, and I may quote others from time to time, but rarely will I ever post sombody else's ranting. If you don't like it- get your own blog... however, I quite like this and I'm posting it with no changes other than omission of the greeting at the top.

Now I'm all for oil company bashing, I hate $3 a gallon gasoline. Maybe the government should control them like Medicare and Medicaid. I'm sure the caring individuals in Washington will do a much better job with the resources. You seem to forget a couple of things though. Oil in the U.S. is a publicly traded commodity, now I am no expert on the stock market, but I do think supply and demand has something to do with prices. (How long has the Suburban been the preferred mode of transportation in Texas, I think that goes back to the previous administration?) You also choose to ignore the fact that worldwide consumption of oil is way up (that ugly supply and demand again). Read Chinese oil consumption is way up. The inefficient factories (which would have been exempt under the Kyoto treaty) that produce the throw away products some Americans demand are going strong. Did I mention that there has been no Energy policy Since George H. W. Bush? And speaking of the Chinese weren't they occasional guests to the Lincoln bedroom and a major contributor to the last Democratic president? Most Americans seem to ignorant of the fact that almost every other country in the world has been paying well in excess of $3 a gallon for gas for over 20 years (I don't expect sympathy). To sum it up, I don't think the oil companies are doing everything they can to keep prices down, but maybe they are contributing the impetus for the everenterprising Americans to come up with something better. I know the left has been crying for alternative fuels forever, but the only way it will happen is for capitalism to take the lead. For all the hand wringing and social engineering of the left, it still takes a profit motive to get anything done. In Utopia maybe everyone works to their highest capacity,but in history we have countless examples of societies expecting production for the good of all that fail to live up to the high ideals. Blame human nature, some people are producers and some are parasites.I support producers; I hope we find alternate fuel sources and that hand wringing politicians don't make it impossible to implement them. I don't know how oil company profits are calculated and until I do I won't completely condemn them. I'll just do what every American should do everyday, I will try to conserve energy (supply and demand again).

Not bad big brother. I guess now I know Ma wasn't my only writing influence.


Monday, September 05, 2005

8 Feet High and Risin'

The Big Uneasy

I have mixed emotions about what's going on in New Orleans right now. Actually I have a lot more sympathy for other parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama than I do NO. The people in those other parts lost just as much, but the big easy is more photogenic. Also, the Rat-bastard freaks have created a news story by looting & pillaging there.
Now, before you jump all over me about this, I've been there... on a smaller scale, but there.
I lived in Greenville, NC durring the Floyd flood. The whole city was cut off for several days. Luckily only one person drowned in G-ville, but Tarboro, Princeville and other areas lost plenty. They died in attics, in cars, on roofs and much more.
I lived on the corner of Jarvis and Avery. My house was one of the few to not be lost to the Tar River.
7am Friday morning I was helping a woman (my neighbor across the street) move out of her house because she woke up and found 2 inches of water in her bedroom. It came up through the night. By lunch we were wading through waist deep river water in her front hall and all the houses behind her were already lost.
I knew my house was in the line of fire, but I lived on a small hill, so all my other neighbors came first. Sure my house was spared, but I didn't know that then. After everyone else was taken care of My buddy Sean and I cleared out my house into a truck owned by the furniture store where we worked.
Power was out so all the grocery stores sold their frozen foods for 25-50 cents per item. Kind of the opposite of price gouging. Everyone pulled together to help, almost no-one whined or cried about govenment assistance, only about personal loss... and there was plenty of that.
Every time the flood pictures hit the TV I can still smell that smell. That rotten vegetation/mud and muck/dead fish smell.
I grew up in North Carolina, so hurricanes scare me very little. I've seen Hugo and Andrew. Lived through Fran in the Carribean then watched it smash through Raleigh on TV. (Very surreal since I'd just moved from RDU.) I even heard my mom and dad tell stories about Hazel in (what year? '54?)
Hell, when I was a teenager I surfed for a little while an my pals and I would stap our boards to the roof of a car and head for the coast. (It was the only way to get good waves in Carolina.) I love a good storm.
Then I hear the Mayor of N'orlins crying about government assistance, and see pictures of 200 busses underwater Three miles from the place where everyone was stranded. The Governor of LA decrying federal delays when the National Guard is (formost) under state control. I hear screams and crys of racisim from people running out of a Walmart with a plasma screen TV in a city with no power. Help us, Help us, but stand still too long and find yourself in the crosshairs of a stolen firearm. (don't worry, I've got plenty on this for all you gun-fearing-wusies at a later time)
Some of the looting I get. In the same circumstance food, fuel, and dry clothes are a must, and that includes diapers. If I didn't already own several firearms and I saw the city disentegrating like that, yeah, I'd probably even arm myself.
The footage of the police officers, with a shopping cart, looting Walmart- I don't fucking think so. I hope they send you to jail. I wish they could make you wear a badge on your state issue... I hear prison is a really, really bad place to be if you were a cop.
Sure, maybe the feds and FEMA took a while to get going. This was a big operation, they couldn't be sitting right on you, they didn't know the outcome ahead of time. Your local government however did know you lived in a city below sea level. They did order a mandetory evacuation then took few steps to implement it, not to mention those of you who stayed by choice.
The rest of the country and your rescuers and the unarmed victims are SOOO glad you could make it easy on them by shooting at helecoptors, and engineers... by raping and stealing and all the other violence... by making sure what wasn't destroyed by the storm was defaced in the aftermath. Oh, yeah, and making sure to blame outside third parties for all the suffering.
That just makes all the sympathy I might have had evaporate.