Monday, December 10, 2018

When 10-Year Batteries Aren't

The battery on the First Alert smoke detector advertises itself as having a 10-year life from date of activation.

This is handy as you can install it and not have to bother changing the batteries every time change twice a year as you do with your other smoke alarms and primary defensive weapon lights (you do do that, don't you?).

Well advertised 10 year lithium battery life didn't quite match real-life experience.

With the alarm having a manufacturing date of 2014 Sep 17 and it was installed in January 2015, it began to chirp with a low battery warning this month, for an in use life of almost four years. The chirp was pretty darn annoying, rather hard to track down as it was intermittent, and was puzzling as again, not 10 years.

On the plus side, First Alert stepped up and is replacing it for free with no shipping cost so they do stand by their product and offer great customer service. We'll see how long the replacement lasts.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

State Psych Hospital In Northville Is Finally Demolished

Shut down in 2003, it has finally met its end with a demolition that has been years in the making and come in millions over budget.

The Detroit Free Press: Former state psychiatric hospital in Northville Township reduced to dust

Murph may perhaps one day tell some stories about his hypothetically and allegedly exploring it sometime.

Unfortunately, there was no replacement for the hospital and Michigan has a sever shortage of treatment and institutionalization facilities for the mentally ill.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Michigan Democrats Bemoan Lack of Diversity . . . Caused By Michigan Democrats

The latest bit of hand-wringing comes from the realization that with the defeat of Justice Kris Wilder (Republican) and his replacement with a white female Democrat, the Democrats have managed to create a State Supreme Court with no Black people on it for the first time in 33 years.

The Detroit News: Michigan Supreme Court won't have black justice for first time in 33 years

This leads to a call for diversity, meaning more Black people on the court from certain Democrat constituents.

The lack of diversity on the Michigan Supreme Court has the local African-American legal community worried. The issue is of "great concern" to the Rev. Wendell Anthony, head of the Detroit branch of the NAACP.

Given the Democrat slate was very much blindingly White and mostly female this year from the Governor on down, with a single token Black pro-Hamas lieutenant-governor thrown in from Detroit to prevent it from being completely White, this is difficult to achieve.

In short, this lack of Blacks on the court this year is the Democrat's fault and the Democrat's fault alone. Then again, one would have hoped the Democrats would had moved from color of skin to content of character by now, but apparently they have not.

Of course, when Anthony of the NAACP and other Dems want Black folks on the court, they want the Black folk to be the right sort.

But voters should elect and the governor should appoint people of color as judges because they provide "a diversity of value," Anthony said.

But he makes exceptions for some judicial conservatives such as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who has not sided with minority groups on rulings such as affirmative action in university admissions and other issues affecting women or minorities.

"The black skin does not make you a kin to the real issues impacting minorities and women in this nation," Anthony said. "We need people who are professional but who are also sensitive and who are learned and who look at the totality of the impacts of issues on our community.

In other words Anthony's idea of diversity of value is only skin deep.

The right value added proposition according to him means appointing people who think like him to the court. Diversity of thought or even worse, a Black Justice leaving the Democrat plantation is simply not to be permitted.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah 2018 kicked off nicely last night.

Commemorating the recapturing of Jerusalem, the re-dedication of the Temple, and the overthrow and removal of the Graeco-Syrian invaders from Israel, it's a very happy holiday.

We had a party at our house with a bunch of family friends.

This, of course, meant preparing by making lots of latkas.

Following the recipe we indeed did make lots and lots of latkas, almost 100 in fact.

Many a potato was peeled yesterday. They were a big hit and one of the guest families brought homemade apple sauce which was excellent and went really well with the latkas. The latkas were consumed in job lots by the guests and everyone liked them. Lots of other food and libations were also served and everyone had a great time.

We lit the candles for the first night and then the gifts for the kids began.

We did it as a Chinese fire drill technique - the kids randomly drew a number and #1 went first and unwrapped a gift. #2 could take #1's gift or open another one.

Interestingly, the kids were hesitant to take each other's gifts and kept going back to the pile. Lots of fun in any case.

After the families had left, our kids got their first night gifts from us and enjoyed them as well.

So a very Happy Hanukkah to all my readers.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Well, He Sure Won't Be Doing That Again

Home Invader meets armed female in Detroit.

Results: 55-Year-Old Armed female 1, Scumbag 0.

The Detroit News: Police: Intruder slain during west side home invasion

It's a good thing no one ever told her not to arm herself as the bad guy would just take it away from her, now isn't it?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Just A Bit Too Fast There, Fella

Slowing down is sometimes the best way to speed up. - Mike Vance

One teen driver here in Michigan has certainly never heard that quote.

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan teen stopped for doing 138 mph on I-75

138 mph is a tad bit much, now isn't it?

When they say 8 you skate they don't mean 138!

The excuse given? He needed to be home before his curfew time.

He was almost certainly late for curfew after that traffic stop. Happily for him he didn't lose control and wreck himself.

Now on top of busting his curfew he'll likely have a much more involved explanation for the speeding ticket to give his parents now. The ticket for 138 in a 70 zone is going to cost him rather nicely. The trooper didn't hit him with a reckless driving ticket, which was rather nice of him.

Going double the speed limit on a highway in traffic is a tad excessive.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Not An Excuse, But As A Parent You Shoulda Anticipated This Situation

Parents do strange things with their kids sometimes.

Often it starts early with naming the poor tyke.

abc13.com: Southwest gate agent mocks 5-year-old girl's name, posts boarding pass on social media

Now, the gate attendant was wrong for doing this, but with a name like that, it was readily foreseeable.

The name in question?

Abcde

Yes, really.

It may be rather memorable and as easy as abcde to spell, but seriously.

Don't pick cutsie-dumb names for your kids that will follow them forever and open them to ridicule. Kids will have it tough enough without you setting them up for it from day 1.

The Dog Knows What He Likes

Jett does make his preferences known:


Not even a dog likes veggie burgers.

Well, If An Appliance Has To Break

An appliance choosing to break on CyberMonday when sales are on for its replacement is at least a considerate thing for it to do.

The clothes washer decided to spin its last spin on Monday.

Being 8 years old and having been used on a near constant basis, it's bearings and shaft and drum had decided to give up the ghost. It had been sounding like a jet engine on overdrive ripping itself apart.

Repairman said it would cost more to repair than to replace, so replace it we did.

A decent sale on appliances was found, delivery and removal of the dead machine arranged, and I removed the shipping bolts and installed it. Easy and not a leak to be found when I ran it for the first time.

The upside is it is whisper-quiet by comparison, and the spin cycle actually gets a lot more water out of the clothes than the previous machine. Perhaps 8 years worth of improvements to washing machine technology actually improved the product, or we were so used to a dying machine that the difference is noticeable for that reason alone.

Hopefully this one lasts at least another 8 years, and it would be nice if it lasted longer than that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Really, Just Puck That Idea

Michigan's Oakland University has just out a crackerjack idea into action for protecting students in the event of a school mass shooting.

An idea so cunning, it can only come from the ivory towers of academia.

The idea: Arm the faculty with . . . hockey pucks.

The Detroit News: Oakland University to fight shooters with hockey pucks

Yes, faculty and "some" students will be armed with hockey pucks to throw at an active shooter. The American Association of University Professors, the professor's union, chipped in to buy a couple thousand pucks, all adorned with the Union's logo for the bargain price of .49 cents each.

Now OU's mantra is run, hide, throw hockey pucks.

You really can't make this up. At least include some hockey sticks for crying out loud.

Arming them with appropriate defensive weaponry in the case of a mass shooter, like say -- a handgun -- is of course, out of the question. We're talking the hallowed halls of academia here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Weather And Flying: It's Beginning To Sound A Lot Like No-Go

Today I was supposed to get airborne and finish my checkout on the Dakota. Just a quick cross-country from Pontiac to Lansing and back.

The weather in October frankly sucked - any time the instructor was available and I booked the flight it was below VFR conditions.

Today looked do-able, VFR conditions were forecast at both Pontiac and Lansing with good visibility but with broken cloud layers above 4,000. Kinda windy with crosswinds that would be very brisk but inside both the airplane and my own crosswind capabilities.

While the weather looks good the weather briefer had information that changed that outlook.

A weather system is moving in quickly from the north bringing lower overcast layers so VFR flying could be in question and we'd have to be below 3,500 to be out of the clouds. The freezing level was all the way to the ground, and Lansing had a potential forecast for precipitation which would mean icing, and the whole area has an Airmet ZULU for icing.

The weather briefer isn't allowed to tell you to go or not to go. They can however be rather crafty in making hints. I've never before heard such definitive hinting language from a briefer that going would be all sorts of a bad idea.

I can take a hint.

Not happy-making, but choosing to fly into known icing conditions in a non-known-icing capable aircraft is not a smart decision. Ice on aircraft makes for all kinds of bad things.

Talking it over with the instructor I said on that basis I wouldn't fly in that weather by myself, and after he checked the weather over he agreed as well with cancelling it. So a weather-scratch it was.

Ah well, the checkout will have to wait a bit longer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What We Knew About Parkland Was Bad, Now We Know It Was Even Worse

I did a summary awhile ago of all the myriad failures that led to, and occurred during, the Parkland shooting.

The incredible sordid failure of the school system to deal with him can be read in the school's own censored report. Well, their own report had 50% of the content censored and blacked out. But not to worry, in yet another demonstration of the spectacular failure of the school system in dealing with the situation from start to finish, the censorship can and was easily removed in Adobe and can be read at the Sun Sentinel's site for it.

Reading it and you can see all the myriad of behaviors exhibited, all the indicators that the schmuck was likely to commit the act and the complete and utter failure to appropriately respond by the school system. Add to that a complete failure of security at the school, including a failure to follow up on recommendations a security expert hired by the flipping school board had made prior to the shooting. None of the recommendations were implemented and most were pretty darn common-sensical.

But wait, it gets worse.

The latest article by the Sun Sentinel on the work of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows the law enforcement response was even worse than we had known then.

The Sun Sentinel: Who made key mistakes in Parkland school shooting? Nine months later, no one held accountable

Some highlights of the new information:

We knew that Deputy and Coward Scott Perterson, now getting a pension of over $8,000 per month, did not even try to engage the shooter, enter the building or rescue anyone. But did you know the first supervisor to arrive similarly not only did not enter the building but stayed far away from it? He did not get on the radio and supervise and in fact did nothing for 10 minutes?

The senior sheriff's officer eventually on site Captain Jan Jordan was apparently frozen and completely ineffective on scene, and called for a perimeter to be setup rather than a rapid entrance to engage the killer and save people?

Capt. Jan Jordan, the sheriff’s Parkland district commander, was “overwhelmed,” a Coconut Creek Deputy Chief Greg Lees told commission investigators. “I could see it,” he said. “I tried to help her.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Stephen O’Neill described Jordan’s manner of speech during the crisis as “dream-like” and called the command structure “ineffective” and “not engaged with the problem.”

Oh, and if you ever wondered, in a mass shooting event if someone is coming to save you, you don;t need to wonder any more you are really on your own:

Eight deputies arrived in time to hear shots but didn’t go in after the shooter,

Let that one sink in. Eight deputies on scene failed to enter while the shooting was going on. Not just one, eight.

The worst part is the commission isn't near done yet and I expect even more failures to be brought to light.

Blaming the NRA was an easy distraction from this massive ball of suck and fail.

The School turned a blind eye, Law Enforcement dropped every possible ball, the sheriff lied, and a whole lot of people died. Their deaths, or at the very least many of their deaths, could have been avoided had people just done the jobs they signed up for and were getting paid, and paid damn well, to do.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Snowflakes Down Under

Even though the seasons should be reversed on the other side of the equator, Winter has apparently come early down under and the snowflakes are not happy.

The Caldron Pool: Several Australian universities BAN sarcasm because it’s a “form of violence.”

Well, that sounds like a great idea.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Singapore: The Durian Adventure

One fun memory of Singapore is the adventure of the Durian Experience.

The Durian fruit is rather large fruit, green with a thorny spiked exterior.

Even uncut it has a rather pungent smell. Above you can see Terrance in purple deciding on which Durian in the stand behind him that we were going to try. Terrance is rather an expert when it comes to fidning the finest Durians. I use the term finest rather loosely, as we shall explain as we go on with the tale.

The Durian is so smelly that carrying a Durian fruit is banned on public transportation in Singapore:

Our Singaporean friends Terrance and Johnathan (an expat I knew from my High School and university days) after a dinner took us by a fruit stand that sold durians as we had to experience it during our visit to the Far East.

The Durian is sliced open, revealing the yellow fruit inside.

Verily the smell got worse. Yes, just like a Tauntaun, you only thought they smelt bad on the outside.

Eating durian is done while wearing disposable plastic gloves, or the stench will linger on your fingers for a long time.

Eating it was an experience.

Leah, the first of us to eat it was rather doubtful as she was poised to take a bite. Some native Singaporean strangers seted behind us enjoying their Durians watched rather intently.

Her expression upon tasting a Durian for the first time did not disappoint, and they had a good kindhearted chuckle at her reaction, as did we all.

She quickly spat it out. Abby and Tash tried it with much trepidation and found it yucky but less so than Leah had, but neither finished their serving of Durian.

I then gave it a go.

The best description I could give it is that of enjoying a smooth creamy custard while sitting in and tasting a sewer.

Can't say I'd recommend it, but I did finish my piece.

My Singaporean friend Terrance considered it a great delicacy and happily ate the parts we passed on, while my friend the expat Johnathan sadly shook his head that Terrance could like such a smelly yucky fruit.

We then ate some mangosteens which washed away the taste of the Durians.

The Mangosteens and were sweet and really, really good.

Such was the great Durian Adventure, not an experience that will soon be forgotten.

Interesting Vehicles On The Road

A nice Roush edition Mustang:

Pity the driver didn't know how to find a speed limit with it.

An SUV parked and about to be driven by a dog. Keys in ignition, motor running, window wide open, not a person in sight in or around the vehicle, just the pup.

A soon to be released model of truck that's all wrapped in modern dazzle camouflage wrap.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review: Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain

As Remembrance Day / Veterans Day passes us by this year, and the veterans that fought in the wars sadly do pass on as well, its good to read some books to remind us of why and what they fought for and their experiences.

Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain is one such book that is well worth reading, full of first-person accounts of Britain's finest hour.

Well written and full of first person accounts of those who fought in and experienced the Battle of Britain, this book is a wonderful source of the narratives of those who were there at the time - men, women and children, pilots, soldiers, sailors, politicians, newspapermen and more.

Lots of interesting historical detail of the Fall of France and the lead up to the Battle of Britain. There's a very high-level account of the relationship between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Mackenzie-King and the politics and changes in the Atlantic relationship that the Battle caused.

While it gives a good strategic overview, it is not a book to comprehensively learn all about the Battle of Britain. Instead, it is a nice deep look at the experiences and stories of a few who are intimately or peripherally involved in the battle on land, sea, and in the air.

A very worthy addition to any library about World War 2.

A Sinking Feeling - Fun With Faucets

Tash had commented that the faucets in the bathroom were looking kinda past their prime.

Indeed they were, the plating had rubbed off and they didn't look particularly good, not to mention the handles were rather loose and the stoppers in the sink were less than shiny.

Her wish being my command it was time to venture into yet more home repair adventures and vocabulary enhancement.

I purchased two Moen Hamden Faucets as they looked nice and offered a neat push button stopper for the sink and got to work.

Of course space was at a premium under the sinks. Adventures began under Tash's sink.

Lying on my back I was soon cursing the prior people who had installed the sinks. Those plastic nuts securing the water lines were not just tight, it took a ridiculous amount of torque and a set of vise gripes and much verbal abuse to get them to move. The larger plastic nuts keeping the sink itself in place came off relatively easily, which would not be the case with Sink #2.

Then I was able to remove the faucet and on to the drain pipe and the fun really began.

Taking the trap apart led to a rather terrible stench and the trap was literally so full of hair you could have made a shoulder length braid with it. Yep, that's the sink the kids style their hair by. That explained the slow drain problem with that sink all right. Stench aside, the trap removal wasn't bad. But getting the drain pipe off, not so much. It did not want to leave. Sadly I couldn't find my large adjustable wrench and no wrench I had was large enough to fit that shinny large nut holding the pipe in place that you see in the picture to the right side.

Off to Lowe's, and now I own a pipe wrench and a nice large set of vise grips.

With those tools in hand and torque and magic words applied, the drain pipe came loose. Then the fun of getting the top of the drain separated from the drain pipe so it could be removed was also a battle of wits and torque.

Then I installed the new drain pipe, reattached the trap, connected the water lines and mirabile dictu, all worked on the first try. Only one trip to Lowe's was required and it was a success.

Then on to Sink #2. Since I had just installed a sink it should be easy right?

The install wasn't the problem, it was the uninstall that caused lots of issues.

Yes, the water supply nuts were on tighter than hell. But they came off with proper technique learned on Sink #1.

One of the two large plastic nuts securing the faucet came off easily. The other one not so much. It stuck, hard. Nothing would move it, Vise grips just ripped the plastic tabs off, grabbing it full on and it still wouldn't turn. It had been cross-threaded on the install and did not want to move. At all. Curses followed.

I thought of sawing it off as both it and the threads it was attached to were plastic, but there was no room to get a saw under the sink and the threads on top of the sink that were visible were metal so no go there.

Unwilling to declare defeat, and with much vocabulary, I gave it yet another mighty twist with the vise grips and while the large nut stayed firmly attached to the plastic, the plastic threaded pipe came loose from the metal threaded pipe it was attached to above, and the faucet was free at last. That took some effort to say the least.

After that the rest of it worked pretty well and the drain pipe was removed easily and the install was completed without any problems. The Moen installation instructions were actually quite decent and the simple tool they included for tightening the mounting screw for the faucet is worth its weight in gold.

They look a lot nicer now, both sinks drain easily, and the push button drains work like a charm.

About three hours spent in total including the trip to Lowe's and all was done.

Well, If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

100 Years After The End Of The First World War

Today is the centennial of the end of a cataclysm that changed Europe and the world forever.

The First World War was both avoidable and an unimaginable tragedy for all the participants, and its effects are still being felt today.

The war took 19 million lives and caused 23 million casualties, and its ending set the stage for the Second World War, and for the Cold War after it.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

It’s Only A Model

Abby as part of her first year of High School has joined quite a few clubs.

Today was her first Model UN caucus, held at Brighton High School. Quite a number of high schools we’re participating and a bout 500 students from around southeastern Michigan took part.

She got a rising star award for her first time out and rising to participate in the 30 member group caucus she was in while representing Thailand.

She had fun, met lots of nice people and had a long if tiring day by the end of it and learned a lot about parliamentary procedure.

It turns out this model UN wasn’t a fully accurate representation of the real thing: today not only was there no corruption, and neither the USA nor Israel were blamed for all the world’s problems.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

The Simple Joys Of Being A White Belt Again

After 10 years doing Shorin-Ryu Karate it was time for a change.

Mainly due to some dojo politics and some highly inflated egos that were making going to the dojo less than enjoyable, I became rather tired of it and it was definitely time to do something else. While struggling while trying to learn a technique is one thing, struggling and being frustrated due to personalities and others' oversized egos is quite another. Since the personalities in question outrank me and were not going to change, and switching to another dojo in the same system would not have removed the personality issue for numerous reasons, especially that one of the personalities sits on the organization's testing board, so it was time to move along. No need to go into the details but when things get to the point that you're actively disliking the idea of going to the dojo due to other people's actions, it is time to move on.

Shorin Ryu is mainly a striking art, along with some rather effective throws and joint locks at higher levels of instruction, and it can be very effective in defending from an attack quickly. But, Shorin Ryu's ground game is mainly an instruction to get up as soon as possible, typically by controlling via a lock or disentangling from an opponent and rolling away and to your feet as quickly as possible. This however can be rather difficult if someone knows what they're doing on the ground.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is rather enlightening in that regard. They know how to handle themselves on the ground, prefer to have the fight go to the ground and then dominate the fight from the ground, and it is rather eye-opening when you're first exposed to it.

The intro lesson began as a one-on-one session with the head instructor as the class did practice from prior lessons. So it started with a brief discussion about Jiu Jitsu and my past experience and then with me on my back and the instructor showing a mount position. I could not shake him off or get out of it, period, as in not a bit, as in all sorts of stuck. This was rather eye opening. He then taught me a rather simple technique and it worked quite nicely to remove him from the mount position. The lesson got even better from there and at the end of the intro lesson I signed up. The wife and kids are also doing the Women Empowered course taught there and are also enjoying it and getting quite good at it, and its been a very positive experience for them as well, and the instructors really know what they're doing.

As an upside, the Gracie Jiu Jitsu center I'm training at is closer to home than the Karate dojos which makes getting there easier.

Even better, everyone there, from the instructors to the practitioners are very nice, as most of the more serious martial arts do tend to select for nice people.

On an even greater upside, the center really is very low ego, the method of instruction is very consistent and follows the curriculum very well, the instructors enjoy teaching not to show how great they are but to help you improve and learn the technique - it is a refreshing difference. The instruction methodology is also relentlessly positive in focus, not negative. Its not "You're doing it wrong." it's "Don't worry about it no one masters this the first time, here's how you can do it better."

Forty hours worth of classes in and I'm still enjoying myself and its nice to be a white belt again. No need to chase after a belt, no egos getting in the way, just enjoying really learning the fundamental techniques and trying to get them down, the belts are not the point, they merely mark your progress as you continue down the path. It's a heckuva good workout as well, and it certainly closes a gap in my martial arts training. I am going to stick with it and see where the journey goes.

If you're doing something and its not working out for you, especially when it is not due to you but due to drag from others, a change to a new environment can do you some good.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Mid-term Election Mood And Mitigation

So Michigan went very blue this midterm. The Democrats had turnout, and to spare, and scooped the Governor, AG's office, and Secretary of State. Somewhat predictable as such shifts tend to occur after a couple terms of the previous party in power.

Part of what drove this turnout was the stoner vote on Proposal 1 to legalize marijuana, which passed. The other part was a heavy anti-Trump outrage drummed up by the Dems and media (but I repeat myself). Combine that with the passing of Proposal 2 which has the Secretary of State create an "independent" committee to redraw voting districts and its gerrymander-for-the-Democrats-and-how time here in Michigan.

Add the passing of Proposal 3 which made checks on election fraud significantly weaker, and creates opportunities for election fraud to be significantly stronger, and the numbers needed to beat the margin of fraud just increased most significantly.

Expect higher taxes in Michigan, which is now a given under Whitmer. Expect no forward momentum on firearms rights and some anti-firearms pressure coming from the governor's office.

Michigan also went very blue at the national level. John James missed defeating Stabenow by a relatively narrow margin, which is a shame as he'd have been a fine Senator versus Stabenow the reliable stalwart Democrat ideologue. Michigan Republican contenders for the House were also trounced. Michigan did get hit with a blue wave after all at the excutive, but the House and Senate at the state level remain in Republican hands, but nationally, not so much.

On the national level Rob over at SlowFacts has a pretty insightful piece as to why the house was lost - the House fialed to act in any way to fire up the base. nO push for the Wall, no repeal of Obamacare, no advancing firearms rights at the Federal level. Nada, zip, zilch. Kinda let the enthusiasm wane amidst the hesitations of the never-Trumpers. While losing seats is almost a given historically for the President's part in mid-term elections, it could have been avoided with the right approach which wasn't done, nor even tried.

Maybe Ryan can clean up his act and pass National reciprocity and the hearing protection act in the lame duck session before the turnover to Pelosi, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

On the upside, the Republican majority in the Senate increased, which is certainly good for judicial confirmations and holding the line on spending and tax increases.

Here's to looking forward to Pelosi clowning it up in the House for the next two years, and the almost certain gridlock in both the State of Michigan and Nationally until 2020.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Civic Duty Done

Went and voted this morning.

Quite a strong turnout, with about a 25 minute wait but overall it went quite smoothly. Since this is a very Democrat-dominated area, make of that what you will.

Be informed, know who and what you're voting for, or who and what you're voting against, and have at it.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

The Case Of The Black, Queer Eye Of The Anti-Semitic Guy

In a rather ironic twist, the perpetrator of vandalism at a New York Synagogue where "Kill Al Jews" and "Die Jew Rats" was written this week, and the setting of fires at seven other Jewish institutions has been identified as a Democratic activist and former New York City Hall intern who worked on anti-hate crime issues.

He may have worked on them, but seems to have used his experience there as a how-to guide.

The Daily Caller: NYC Synagogue Vandalism Suspect Is Former City Hall Anti-Hate Crime Intern

A rather dangerous leftist nutbar rather quite a number of Froot Loops short of a full cereal box. Interestingly, the arrest doesn't seem to be getting nearly as much play in the media compared to his acts of vandalism themselves, especially as it was blamed on the right side of the spectrum to gin up votes on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Shabbat, A Week After Pittsburgh

This Shabbat was a week after the attack in Pittsburgh.

Along with other synagogues around the USA, ours held a special service this Shabbat, appropriately hash tagged in this day of social media as #ShowUpForShabbat, both to show the community will not be intimidated and dissuaded from attending synagogue, but more importantly to together join in honoring and commemorating the eleven victims of the attack:


-Joyce Fienberg, 75;
-Richard Gottfried, 65;
-Rose Mallinger, 97;
-Jerry Rabinowitz, 66;
-Cecil Rosenthal, 59;
-David Rosenthal, 54, (brother of Cecil);
-Bernice Simon, 84;
-Sylvan Simon, 86, (husband of Bernice);
-Daniel Stein, 71;
-Melvin Wax, 88; and
-Irving Younger, 69.

Eleven memorial candles burned on the bima during the service.

We also said a prayer for healing of those injured in the attack and specifically named the brave officers wounded in responding to the attack:

Officers Daniel Mead, Michael Smidga, Anthony Burke and Timothy Matson all of whom were injured by gunfire as they attempted to stop the shooter at the synagogue.
Officer John Persin suffered a hearing injury, and Officer Tyler Pashel injured his knee during the incident.

May they all be swiftly healed.

There was a rather large turnout for a Shabbat morning service, and the sermon was very powerful in addressing that these kinds of attacks can happen as much as we did not believe they would, even here in the USA, as they have happened around the world. The sermon also was focusing on the need for good deeds and outspokenness to balance the evil of this attack and that these sort of attacks will not stop Jews being Jews and continuing to worship as we will.

A very meaningful singing by the congregation of God Bless America followed.

Quite a powerful service.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Ice Cream Becomes Overtly Political

Ben and Jerry's, a rather leftist ice cream company, decided to make their leftism rather overt.

USA Today: Ben & Jerry's launches Donald Trump-inspired ice cream flavor, Pecan Resist

Because nothing sells ice cream like alienating half of your consumer market, natch.

The Internet was rather quick to cleverly mock this new flavor:

Yep, its the wokest ice cream out there.

The irony that at least a quarter of the funds will support the women's march headed by the anti-semitic and pro-sharia Linda Sarsour and other Farrakhan loving fellow travelers apparently escapes them. They've actually stated they don't have a problem with such associations. Rather tone-deaf with no enemies to the left I suppose.

I'll suggest the next flavor Ben and Jerry's can offer in their politically correct line:

They can call it Obamacares and offer a vegan, non-dairy, gluten-free treat with a tagline "If you like your ice cream you can keep your ice cream!"

Inside the container however there will be no ice cream. Instead inside will be a colored block of ice. Oh, and it'll cost double the normal pint.

Democrats will buy it like hot cakes.

Scenes From Court: That Really Needed Some Popcorn

So I was in court yesterday doing some Guardian Ad Litem work.

A case of ahead of mine became rather entertaining.

It was the first hearing in what looks like a very contested case over who gets to be guardian over X.

You have V and W who are represented by an attorney I've gone up against in trial and who is a very disagreeable personality, we'll call him D, short for well, Dumbass, and we'll see why in a moment. He's an older attorney that seems to think he walks on water.

There's also Y who wants to be X's guardian as well, and she's probably wondering why V and W have hired Dumbass. The GAL on that case is another attorney I know well and is a great guy with lots of experience, very professional and cordial, and has an impeccable reputation. We've dealt with each other before in cases and get along well.

The judge happens to have a lot of experience, likes to keep a smooth and efficient docket, and expects the attorneys to be prepared.

So, the judge has the GAL give his report. GAL is pissed at V and W, and I don't think I've ever seen him this disgusted before. V and W actually gave him tapes that showed V and W belittling X, attacking Y and basically beclowning themselves. How the heck they thought the recordings would help them is rather puzzling, though Y apparently doesn't take it lying down in those tapes and does respond, properly so in the mind of the GAL. So the GAL says that he's rather disgusted by V and W's behavior as evidenced by the tapes and recommends Y be the guardian/conservator based on their treatment of X and Y.

Dumbass then objects and states the GAL is misconstruing things on the tape.

The judge is rather bemused as she knows the GAL is a straight-shooter.

Judge: "So you're saying my GAL is not giving an accurate report?"

D: "No, he's not understanding what's on the tapes."

Judge: So did you listen to the tapes yourself then Mr. D?"

D: No.

Judge (a short and rather dangerous pause): Then how is it that you can claim my GAL is mistaken and attack his report when you haven't listened to them yourself, are you really just relying on your clients and not listening to the evidence yourself before the hearing?"

One wishes the deputy was around to hand out popcorn at this stage as this is now getting good. For whatever reason the deputy is not in the courtroom which is a shame as it could really have enhanced what happened next

D: No I didn't listen to them as this is the preliminary hearing and we're not at an evidentiary hearing yet.

Judge: You know I could rule on this right now had you listened to those tapes, but now we have to waste time with an issue that you can't even discuss at first hand.

D raising his voice: Judge this isn't my first rodeo.

Judge: Blink.

Judge: "What?"

D: (acquires shovel and begins to dig in deeper): I don't even need to listen to those tapes yet, this isn't my first rodeo and I know how this works.

Judge: "So you're basically wasting the court's time when we could resolve this right now but you don't even listen to the tapes your own client provided, why the heck not?"

D: Don't tell me how to practice Judge, in any case I was in a trial before and too busy to listen to them and don't need to now anyways.

Judge:"Is there a deputy available?, Why the heck did you take this case then if you were too busy?"

D: Pointing his finger at the judge, "This isn't my first rodeo, I know how this works!"

Judge: You don't ever point a finger at me. You've disparaged my GAL and wasted the court's time. I'm setting this for an evidentiary hearing and I expect you to be ready and there will be no adjournments, is that clear?"

He then gets his order and leaves. As he leaves a deputy shows up and chats with the judge for a sec and heads out of the courtroom following him. Didn't see him get hit with contempt but it would certainly be fitting.

In the case I had with D previously he had the stupidity to yell at the court's attorney, which certainly did not help his case. At that trial, all evidentiary rulings that could have possibly gone either way were solidly in my favor. Not saying his yelling and acting like a jerk was the main cause but it's likely. Clearly he didn't learn form that experience.

Meanwhile, his current clients need to get a new attorney asap, as I can guarantee that the judge will remember this incident and D's name is now mud in front of that court and anything he does from now on in front of that judge will be not very kindly received and his clients who apparently are not the sharpest tools in the shed anyways are hosed.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Flight Of The PBJ-1

What's a PBJ-1 you ask?

It looks familiar, doesn't it?

The PBJ-1 is the World War 2 Navy/Marine Corps nomenclature for the B-25 Bomber. In World War 2 there were more B-25s produced than the Army Air Corps needed, so they sent some to the Navy, who then gave them to the Marines. The Marines used them for anti-ship and close air support missions.

The PBJ-1 instead of the clear nose had machine-guns installed for additional firepower for anti-ship and marine close air support missions.

Devil Dog is a B-25 that was restored and converted to the PBJ-1 variant by the Commemorative Air Force as there are no existing original PBJ-1s. The aircraft is named for the original Devil Dog that was lost in the Pacific with all its crew during a night operation.

Original or not, Devil Dog is still an absolutely stunning aircraft.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Some Lottery Humor For Today's Mega-Jackpot

With the chance of winning today's 1.6 Billion prize being much less than the chance of being struck by lightning or bitten by a shark, may the odds ever be in my favor. Ok, yours too, and if I win the drinks will be on me. After taxes, its around $800 million, and I'm ok with that, just saying.

This reminds me of a prior lottery craze when Moishe was seen at morning prayers a week before the big lottery drawing.

During silent prayer he couldn't help it but burst out: "Please Lord, let me win the lottery!".

The congregation was rather aghast.

This continued every day all week and as the lottery with his plea becoming more and more fevered, much to the consternation, shock, and disapprobation of the congregation.

Finally on the day of the drawing, with the most beseeching and loudest plea yet, Moishe belted out "Please Lord, let me win the Lottery!"

Suddenly there was a rumble of thunder and then a heavenly voice boomed:

"MOISHE, I'M TRYING BUT YOU HAVE TO MEET ME HALFWAY....."

"BUY A TICKET!"

Good luck folks.

Monday, October 22, 2018

New Orleans Airshow - Infantry Assault

Not only were there airplanes and vehicles on display, there were also reenactors that put on a show.

A bunch dressed in Marine period uniforms staged an attack on an enemy hay bale strongpoint.

The highlight of the infantry assault was the flame thrower demo. An Amerikaner Flamen Werfer, it werfed a whole lot of flammen.

It lit up the enemy hay bales nicely and completely. Even from quite a distance away, you could feel the heat it gave off. Very impressive.

After the demo, one of the airport fire trucks came and spent quite a time and a considerable amount of spray putting the fire out.

That was a neat display of World War 2 weaponry.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

New Orleans Airshow - FIFI

A real crowd-pleaser was at the airshow.

Fifi the B29.

Not content to be static, FiFi's engines were turned over and she took to the sky.

Then back for a landing:

Note the very nose-high attitude on landing to protect the front gear, and check out the skid on the rear to protect the tail from a tail strike.

As she landed, you got a nice idea of her size as she rolled by an 8 seat Cessna 421C.

The presence of a flying B-29 is something to behold. She had a glorious sound and impressive size, watching Fifi fly is experiencing living history at its best.

New Orleans: Apres Swamp Kayak Perambulation

After the visit to the swamp on Sunday we headed off to a nice Vietnamese restaurant nearby for some lunch.

Then after a power nap, we loaded up Murph's Kayak and headed to Bayou St John to go kayaking. I rented a kayak form the vendor there and it was a very smooth transaction.

Running through the city, the Bayou offers a very calming and quiet water experience.

We did a limbo under the first bridge as the water level was pretty high, but from then on it was pretty smooth paddling.

The we carried on up the bayou, passing by some very nice waterfront houses, including some still abandoned since Katrina.

We passed under a bridge where some fellows were fishing for crabs by hanging traps and lines from the bridge.

Then as dusk approached we realized we were about an hour out with 45 minutes remaining in the rental, so we picked up the pace a it.

We made it back with time to spare, beating out some other kayakers that had bene in front of us and returnign the kayak on time.

A darn good time was had, and it was a nice change of pace from the bar-hopping and burlesque shows. Of course, we had to head out for some food and celebratory drinks afterwards.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

New Orleans - Sunday Swamp Day

No trip to New Orleans is complete without a journey to its surrounding swamps and bayous.

So we headed off to the Barataria Preserve Sunday, after recovering somewhat from Saturday's rather epic day.

In the preserve, there were gators to see:

One moving through the swamp:

One close to the trail:

The gator stayed there sunning itself without a care or concern for the people walking by along the boardwalk close enough to reach out and pet it, which wisely none did.

Then on the way back along the trail, there was a danger noodle that was danger close:

The water moccasin was right on the trail and would have easily been stepped upon, and did not seem bothered by people walking by and refused to leave.

So Murph, of course, grabbed a stick and chivvied him off

The snake could tell when he wasn't wanted and headed off the trail for the water, flicking its tongue in annoyance.

A very nice walk through the swamp with an opportunity for some good up-close pictures of the native wildlife.

Monday, October 15, 2018

New Orleans Saturday - The Parade For A Cat

After the air show we took a breather and then headed out to a participate in my first Second Line parade ever.

It could have been held by the Crewe of Mew - it was a parade in honor of a cat.

Not just any cat, but an unnamed feline that managed to zap itself and knock out power to 70,000 people on one of the hottest days of the year.

Many in the parade felt the cat was really sticking it to "the man", and the parade was in the cat's honor.

In short, any excuse for a party will do in New Orleans.

So we headed down to where the parade was to start.

The brass band had assembles, and the crowd grew but the parade couldn't start until the police escort arrived.

Some but not all of the police escort arrived, so the starting time of 9:00 pm got pushed back further and further.

There were quite an array of characters ready to go:

The black cat:

People who thought they were cats:

Even dogs were there to honor the Zap Cat.

Then the rest of the escort arrived and the parade got started. The band and the banner led the way.

Quite a crowd paraded to honor the zapped cat.

Much bar-hopping occurred as the parade proceeded in fits and starts over 2 and a half miles.

Lot of fun was hard, my liver was exercised severely once more and thus is growing stronger, and my first second-line parade had taken place.

After such a venture where do you go to get some food to balance out all the alcohol? Why to the Tacocat Food Truck of course!

Those were some tasty, tasty tacos.