Sunday, August 30, 2009

Attention Wisconsin State Fair

This is how you do it, people:

Hi kids!

New York State Fair wasn't bad; I'd give it an 7 on a scale where the Iowa State Fair is a ten. Particularly enjoyed the agricultural history museum. The Mohawk Valley used to supply 80% of the nation's hops...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

41st IBCT Update

Two Oregon National Guard soldiers in a convoy were killed Friday by a bomb blast in eastern Baghdad. A third was wounded severely enough to be taken to Germany for treatment.

My brother is fine; he was back at base during this convoy. Names have not been released, but please keep the families in your thoughts/prayers.

UPDATE: They are Sgt. Earl D. Werner, 38, of Mondovi, WI and Pvt. Taylor D. Marks, 19, of Monmouth, OR. Mondovi is SW of Eau Claire.

Here's the fury-inducing part:
Whether or not it fits in this story, I thought I'd pass along something that the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Fred Rees, told me about the blast that severed the leg of SPC Jeremy Pierce earlier this month. He said the Guard had heard that the blast was from what's called an explosively formed penetrator, a more sophisticated type of roadside bomb that poses dangers even to mine-resistant vehicles. Such EFPs are widely believed to have come into Iraq from Iran.

I assume that's the same controlled-by-mullahs Iran the Clown-in-Chief wants to invite to D.C for milk and cookies, no matter how many of their citizens or ours they kill.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

I've figured out why I'm always confused here.


We may actually have been going west.

Altogether now: "I can't WAIT for these people to decide which medical treatment I can and should have!"

Friday, August 7, 2009


Selling us stuff we don't need, forcing it upon us when we don't want it, then handing us a bill: Grobama, totally tone deaf, doesn't care if you don't have ears--you're going to buy his earmuffs. Because he's selling earmuffs, and only earmuffs, don't bother distracting him with alternatives (elbowmuffs!), hold still and shut up and that'll be seven dollars.

Worth noting that this is Classic Sesame Street; these days Kermit would play along so as not to hurt Grover's precious self-esteem.

(What? No, I've been watching the German-language Sesamstrasse as an intellectual exercise. I know nahe and fern now. Heh heh.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Boldt Castle

So last weekend I went to Canada, and Saturday's adventure was returning to the U.S. *heh* to see Boldt Castle. (I had to show my passport and explain where I met the foreign national...not sure why in 2009 it's hard to believe an Iowa-based corporation could have a Munich branch office...)

It's marketed as a "love story"--hotel magnate George Boldt started building a replica Rhineland castle for his wife, then abandoned construction when she died--but the more interesting story is that George Boldt(pdf) got to be a multimillionaire in the first place.

He started out as a 13-year-old immigrant dishwasher in New York. He learned English. He saved his wages, bought some land in Texas, failed at chicken farming, and returned to upstate NY to wash more dishes at a small hotel. He worked his way up to steward, met a guy who needed a steward at a businessman's club in Philadelphia, moved to the better job, impressed some patrons who invested in a hotel of his own, made it successful, caught the attention of William Waldolf Astor, became a manager of the Waldorf in NYC, revolutionized the hospitality industry, started investing his compensation in real estate, and took off from there.

Much more interesting than "rich guy loses wife, gives up."

It's a classic American story--hard work, a little luck meeting the right people, the willingness to take risks on better opportunity--and except for "investing in real estate" it seems really anachronistic now. Learning English? Moving to a new city to take advantage of an opportunity? (some degreed professionals still do this, but lesser-skilled workers collect government checks to stay put and unemployed...) Going back to washing dishes instead of expecting the government to bail out your failed venture and support your lifestyle?

Not to mention anyone who does these things in the 21st century is going to get kneecapped right around "became a manager of the Waldorf" as local, state, and federal governments combine to confiscate over half his compensation.

So much for feeling inspired.

I got a kick out of the unrestored rooms as much as anything. I love to see how stuff is put together.

Unrelated, spent the weekend drinking Steamwhistle, which is not available in the U.S. Claiming that their use of hops, malt, and yeast "save(s) the planet" strikes me as a ridiculous marketing conceit, but it was tasty.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

In which I can't separate baseball and politics

Yesterday I was reading rumors about "WH Counsel Craig" and saw "WH Craig Counsell" and couldn't figure out what the W stands for.

Today I'm wondering how much Corey Hart's appendectomy cost relative to the "surtax" his salary would be subjected to by Obamacare...and if he would have gotten the surgery early enough--or if he (or his employer) would have had to pay for treatment in Bermuda--under the plan the Democrats are going to institute in September regardless of the will of the people. And probably without even knowing what the fuck the actual plan SAYS.

(I'm guessing normal people don't have these concerns. They just post on Facebook about how they're bored of hearing people talk about Obama/Congress. I'm starting to look forward to the gulag, just to get away from people who couldn't care less about living in a fascist dictatorship as long as there's something on TV and cute dresses at the mall.)

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


To quote Bob Uecker, I've been "longhand blogging"--keeping a paper journal--which kind of removes my need to bitch in length online when I have time/access. Sometimes I write "blog this!" at the top of the page, but hours or days later, I've lost interest.

I might also be a little depressed, between the fascism and the 800 miles from home and cat. And the tedium--the job is much less interesting than advertised. I've lost interest in food and fabric...I'm still trying to see as much new stuff as possible on weekends, but I'm tired of feeling like a cultural anthropologist every time I leave my apartment.

I'm still taking pictures, at least, even if I'm not uploading and annotating them like I used to.

Speaking of cultural anthropology, I'm not entirely sure what this sign from along the 1000 Islands Parkway in Ontario means--shape and color indicate warning, but it sure looks like an invitation to me... :)

Flat turtle

Monday, August 3, 2009

41st IBCT Update

Apparently war has stopped being "boring."

My brother's unit is protecting supply convoys, and he was in one of two trucks hit by an IED last week. No injuries--they're using "new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles" and apparently they work. Quick, nobody tell that clown who quadrupled government spending and now claims we have to cut defense programs...

Sunday, August 2, 2009


My second-favorite designated driver (meine bayerische Fruend) dropped by New York this weekend to take me to the 1000 Islands region and Ontario. Was quite lovely until we got back to the U.S., where the Border Patrol flagged us for a vehicle search. I had been joking all weekend about being on the DHS "right-wing terrorist" list (I DID attend a Sarah Palin rally last fall...), and there we were. Perhaps when they asked if we bought anything to bring back with us, I shouldn't have said "stuffed animals for my niece and nephews*"--but they're trained to recognize the signs that people are lying, right?

While we were sitting on too-small hard plastic chairs in a holding pen with no bathrooms, surrounded by smugglers and terrorists (who knows, right?), watching the agents drilling people between breaks, all I could think was, "I can't WAIT until this government controls and portions out all our healthcare."** I'm going to smack single-payer** advocates double-hard from now on.

Eventually we were released, and proceded directly back to Syracuse and the Dinosaur BBQ, where a bartender at least 10 years younger than I am carded me when I ordered a beer. I showed him my passport and thanked him for cheering me back up. :)

* Mooses dressed like Mounties. Very cute.
** And wow, did I feel like a nerd when I realized normal people don't have thoughts like that.
*** Unless the "single payer" they advocate is the person receiving the care or their legal guardian. I don't mind that sort of system at all.