Saturday, September 30, 2023

Dem Rep Can’t Tell Fire Alarm From A Doorknob

So Democrat Rep Jamal Brown disrupts a vote to prevent the government shutdown to try and cause trouble for Republicans by pulling a fire alarm.

The Daily Mail: Democrat accused of pulling FIRE ALARM to disrupt vote to avoid a shutdown slams claims as 'complete BS' and says he 'was just trying to open a door' - as McCarthy tells critics threatening to oust him to 'bring it'

His defense in this act of obstruction of Congress is that he’s too stupid to know the difference between a fire alarm and a door knob.

From the camera footage of his doing it, it’s rather clear he pulled a fire alarm, and one would assume a representative even a Democrat would know the difference. But then again, the soft bigotry of low expectations may excuse him.

After all one would think disrupting Congress in session like that might just be called not just obstruction but even an insurrection, neh?

Non-Democrats would be charged and likely  go to jail for this.

Be interesting to see who steps up to defend him

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Of Course, Most People Get Their Bread At Apple Stores, Lululemon, And At The Liquor Store

Progressives will do back-flips to excuse crimes committed by their constituencies.

The claim made by progressives that peole loot because they are hungry is contrary to evidence of actual looting committed by their supporters and ignores reality.

The Daily Mail: Clip of AOC defending shoplifters as 'hungry' people seeking BREAD goes viral after Philly looting that saw mob target iPhones, sneakers and liquor stores - with at least 30 people charged so far

Reading the article, the looters were not, to the surprise of anyone not a progressive, looting stores for bread, but were instead busy stealing iPhones, Lululemon gear and expensive liquors. 

It's not just that Progressives are soft on crime, they've upped the ante to outright excusing if not permitting crime.

Progressives then act all confused when stores do not reopen after being looted, new shops do not open and places become "Food Desserts".

Instead of blaming their policies, advocacy, and lack of prosecutions that cause crime that makes it uneconomical for stores to function, they instead claim racism is to blame.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Fly Day - Meeting Mr. B

Today was yet another fantastic day for flying.  Winds out of 070 at 8 knots or less, so it was a takeoff from 9L.

I had arranged yesterday with Mr. B. to meet at Jackson to have a brunch at the airport's restaurant.

It was a beautiful flight, couldn't ask for better weather.  Flew out there at 6,500 feet.

On the way up, I needed to divert a bit due to some glider activity.  Thanks for Detroit Approach with flight following for the heads up about that.

I landed just a few minutes before Mr.B. on Jackson's Runway 7, hearing him check in on the radio.

We were the first two planes on the ramp, but quite a number more came in for the brunch. I shut the plane down and saw him taxi in.

We then had a most excellent brunch and caught up on stuff.

Then we headed back to our planes but didn't immediately head out.  A family was there with some young kids at the fence between the restaurant and the planes, so we asked if they wanted to see the planes. So we showed the kids around the planes, let them sit in the pilot's seat and handle the controls. The kids really enjoyed it, so always good to get a chance to do a good deed for the day.

Then we started up our planes.  I taxi'd first and headed to the run up area and did the run up and started for the runway as Mr. B came along to do his run up.

I got clearance to takeoff and it was a good takeoff, but as I left the runway and was climbing I encountered a flock of rather good-sized birds which was rather alarming.

Birds flew by on both sides of, and above and below the plane. At that moment I thought I was going to have a bird strike. That will wake you up if you weren't awake before. I let the tower know and I headed on my way.

Mr. B. was having issues with his GPS, and I was having what was a minor issues with something as well, but it did not interfere with the flight. See if you can spot the issue:

I then got flight following and had an uneventful return to Pontiac, first being told to land on 9R but then switched over to 9L as they often will do.  Did a great landing and taxi'd back to the hangar and put the plane away, after washing off yet another ton of bugs.

That's 1.5 and two very nice landings and even more importantly, a couple good hours hanging out and catching up with Mr. B.


Saturday, September 23, 2023

A Pleasant Flight To Mt. Pleasant

The weather was favorable for a flight today, so I did a weather brief, headed to the airport and got the plane ready to go.

Had a nice chat with another pilot who was upgrading the avionics on his Cirrus SR-20 and he let me poke around it a bit.  Very nice plane indeed.

Poking around done I did my walk-around and got the trust Piper Archer ready to go.

Winds were out of the east, so I took off from Runway 9L and headed northwest to Mt. Pleasant.

Picked up flight following along the way, and Great Lakes Approach was nice and helpful as usual. Flew at 6,500 feet and it was pretty smooth flying.

On the way to Mt. Pleasant, I overflew the Flint Airport:

Then on to Mt. Pleasant, and a very nice landing on Runway 9, after doing a practice RNAV approach.

There's a VOR located on the field:

 Interestingly enough, even with a VOR right on the field, KMOP only has RNAV GPS approaches and no VOR approaches anymore.

Parked the plane, and then I took a complimentary shuttle to the Soaring Eagle Casino.

I played some craps, had some good rolls, and a lot of fun.  I was up, then down, then up, and finally down enough to lose $100 and then I called it quits. Would have been nice to walk away with some winnings, but it was worth the 3 hours of entertainment.   Fun watching people play with serious money - some were making single roll bets with $500 in chips - losing, and sometimes winning big.

I then caught the shuttle back to the airport.

Winds had picked up quite a bit but were still pretty much down the runway. After takeoff I picked up flight following again.

Clouds had also dropped a bit, so at times I couldn't stay clear of them at 5,500 and had to play dodge cloud as I was VFR.

Still, it was pretty smooth with only a little light chop, and the return flight was a bit quicker. Clouds got higher south of Flint and I could travel unimpeded at 5,500 again.

Got handed off to Detroit Approach and the controller actually seemed surprised that I not only checked in properly ,but had also already picked up the ATIS for Pontiac. He gave me a VFR descent at my discretion when I was 12 miles out from Pontiac so I started a gentle descent from 5,500.

Then got passed on to Pontiac Tower and got sequenced for a 5 mile final approach. Another excellent landing and that was the trip.

Then to clean off the lots and lots of bugs smashed by the plane, For some reason there were a lot of them out there today, so it took longer than usual to get the plane all nice and clean.

I certainly haven't been flying nearly enough, so we'll try and fix that. 

That's a total of 2.4, and 2 rather nice landings.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Stupid Criminals: This Is Not What They Mean By Family Bonding Time

In this case, Family Bonding means each family member got a bond after their arrest.

The Detroit News: Shelby Township mom charged in attack on officers

The article helpfully notes that not just the mom, but the father, and both teenage kids all got arrested for assaulting police officers after it was reported that shots had been fired from a Cadillac Escalade and things Escaladed from there:
A Macomb County woman was arraigned Monday on an assault charge related to an attack on two police officers in Shelby Township, days after her husband and two sons were arrested in the same incident.
The incident was apparently fun for the whole family to participate in to commit felonies and experience the criminal justice system first hand.

Sometimes You Really Just Need To Let Things Go

I daresay most people wouldn't consider leaping into the waste pit of an public outhouse, even if their Apple Watch fell in.

This lady in the story did, and found out yet another reason why you shouldn't jump into one - she got trapped for some time in the pit until other people heard her and sent for rescue.

The Detroit Free Press:  Woman rescued from muck inside Otsego County outhouse after trying to find her Apple Watch

I expect she's going to get some hepatitis shots shortly.  Not to mention she likely will have to throw out the clothes she was wearing when she jumped in.

I don't own an Apple Watch, but even if I did, if it fell into a pit of waste like that, there's no way I would be jumping in after it. 

Really, it's just not worth the sheer amount of actual crap to retrieve it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Seedy Activity

After smacking this state with Covid, China now apparently wants to overrun it with invasive agricultural species.

The Detroit Free Press:  Don't plant unsolicited seed packages, Michigan agriculture department warns

The Michigan agriculture department has a message for people who receive unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail from another country: Don't plant them, and don't throw them away.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, people across the state are once again receiving packages of seeds from China that they didn’t order.

One could think of these packages from China are part of its "war by other means"  approach with its rivals.  After all, damaging our nations agricultural production and causing costs of having to deal with invasive species is a nice example of 4th generation warfare, not to mention being nice and deniable as well.

Planting unknown seeds from an unsolicited source is never a good idea. 

Given China's and Chinese suppliers track records it is even less of a good idea. Heck, even opening unsolicited packages in general from an unknown sender is really not the brightest idea. 

If some of these packets show up at your door donpt just throw them out and definitely don't plant them. Instead, report them to Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development at (800) 292-3939 or via email at

Monday, September 18, 2023

MDFI's Foundation Handgun Class

This weekend I attended MDFI's Foundation Handgun Class. 

Part of the reason for doing so was as attending it with a bunch of friends - Tosh, Jason, Spencer and two of Tosh's cousins from New York would be attending. So we'd be a pretty good proportion of the class, 6 of the 16 participants, and Spencer and Tosh's cousins had never taken a foundation level or equivalent handgun training class before. I was shooting my Sig P320 for this class.

The other reason for attending a foundation level class, is that attending a foundation level class is always good opportunity to go over and reinforce the fundamentals of defensive handgun shooting.  It's an opportunity to really work the basics, try to pick up some more nuggets of wisdom, and work to improve a bit at a comfortable pace rather than drinking from a fire-hose in a more advanced class. Plus it is a fun way to spend a day with friends.

Pretty eclectic group of attendees.  There was one Michigan State Police trooper, a few nurses, various contractors, engineers, EMTs, and even two lawyers. 

The class started off with a beginning shooting exercise of shooting a 1 inch circle at 10 yards. Jason and I were teamed up as partners on Target 7 on relay 1 and 2 respectively, and we did the best in terms of accuracy on the opening exercise.  This was happy making.

After a few more shooting exercises, the instructors told Jason and I that instead of aiming at the 6 inch circle at the center of the target, all shots we were to from then on only shoot at the box in the head of the target to make it more challenging.  So we did.

The class had a very logical progression and built from that basic accuracy to drawing efficiently from a holster, defensive shooting considerations, and on to malfunction clearing.

Malfunction clearing was fun, and excellent practice. We induced malfunctions by randomly stuffing 10 empty cases in two magazines - the empty case could not be the first nor last round but other than that it could be anywhere inn the mage.  You then shot until you hit a malfunction had to clear the malfunction and continue shooting  while maintaining accuracy with each shot.

I really like MDFI's process for dealing with a malfunction that tends to resolve just about all clear-able malfunctions in a semi-auto:  Tap, Rack, Unload, rack, Reload, Rack and if necessary repeat an additional time. Most malfunctions cleared at the Tap, Rack portion of the process, but some jammed up sufficiently to requiring unloading (removing the magazine), then racking it again, reloading, racking a new round into the chamber and continuing.    

If that didn't clear it you moved on the the 7R clearance drill - Rack, Rip, Rack, Rack, Re-asses, Reload, Rack.

Jason's Glock for some reason, likely a combination of having an aftermarket barrel and insufficient lubrication, gave some of the weirdest malfunctions with the empty cases - flipping them around and then jamming them into place, double feeding, locking the slide up tight, etc.  If a weird malfunction could happen, he got it. Great practice.

Spencer learned that a Shield Plus having malfunctions is kinda hard to clear as the short slide didn't provide a lot of purchase for his hands, and the small slide didn't provide as much leverage for racking either.

Lots of great practice and learning occurred.

The final part of the class was the qualifier.

The qualifier is 14 rounds with 4 sections, each with a 6 second par time. If you fire more than 14 shots its a DQ, firing a shot over time is down 1 on your score.

The Qualifier is as follows:

1. From compressed ready 5 shots at 10 Yards.

2. From holster 4 shots at 10 Yards.

3. From compressed ready 1 shot, speed reload 2 shots at 10 Yards.

4. From compressed ready 1 shot, slide lock reload (have an empty magazine in the gun to start) 1 shot at 10 Yards.

Overall not a bad qualifier.  12/14 hits on the 8.5x11 paper is a pass, 12/14 inside the inner rectangle is an advanced, which is required to take the advanced classes.

I was running appendix carry for the class as that is how I carry, and ran the qualifier from concealment. Only issue was the sun was coming down as we shot the qualifier.  The sun was blasting was right in my eyes the entire time, so much so it was hard to see the target. This added some extra difficulty.

However I'm pleased to report that I not only passed as advanced but I did the  only clean run in the class, with 14/14 shots inside the inner rectangle with time to spare on each section.

That shot at the top just inside the box was the final round of the qualifier where I was practically guessing where the target was as the sun was straight in my eyes at that point.

That result was happy-making, and I earned my first ever MDFI bomb patch for having the top score in the class and the only participant to do a clean run.

MDFI offers some great and professional training. 

If you're in Michigan and all you've ever taken in terms of handgun instruction was your CPL class, then MDFI's Foundation Handgun will be both eye-opening and a very useful opportunity to enhance your training and proficiency with a handgun.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Last Morning In Iceland

The next day we got up and checked out of the hotel and met up with the same taxi driver who had picked us up from the ship and brought us to the hotel.

The ride to the airport was a flat rate and he gave us a discount as we had arranged it ahead of time with him.

He also gave us a bit of a tour on the way to the airport and interesting commentary.

We saw the harbor and some fishery monitoring vessels there. Note the cloud in the background.

After leaving the city, we went past fields of lava, and got closer to that interesting solitary cloud as we did so.

The cloud is a result of hot air rising from an active volcano, cooling as it rises into the air to form a cloud below the dewpoint.

That volcano is active and likely will be discharging more lava into these existing lava fields. The worry, however, is that the lava is projected to likely flow in the direction of the roads that link Reykjavik to Keflavik and the international airport there. That's going to cause a serious problem by cutting the capital off form its international airport.

A very pleasant ride and we got to the airport with time to spare. We then got in line to get our bags checked and 

We then went through security and of course my hip caused the metal detector to beep. So I got pulled aside for a pat down by a smokin' hot Icelandic lady security officer.   Sadly, my hopes were quickly dashed and she was replaced by a guy and the pat down was thus not nearly as fun as I had hoped, and in fact not fun at all.

Moving on we did a little shopping at duty free, and I purchased a bottle of Brennivin and a bottle of Floki single malt Icelandic Whiskey.


We then boarded and headed out.

We had a very pleasant flight, first to Minneapolis, where we had a layover and went through customs, and then boarded another plane to Detroit and that was the end of the trip.

It was a great time. We certainly enjoyed northern Europe and it was a neat and interesting place to visit.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Happy Rosh Hashanah 5784!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts today. This day marks the beginning of the year 5784 of the Hebrew calendar.

The Jewish New Year, while celebrated with joy, is also a time for reflection and repentance for transgressions and regrets for what was done or undone in past years.

Shana Tova Umetukah (A Good and Sweet Year) to all of my readers!

Friday, September 15, 2023

Iceland - Ice Cream in Iceland

After Silfra, we headed back to Reykjavik, dropped off our gear at the hotel, and then did some more walking around and then stopped for lunch.

I had a different Icelandic Beer, a Gull Lite ,that apparently is gluten free if I'm translating the glass correctly, which is strange, but it was a light and refreshing beer all the same.

We ate some lovely salmon and accompaniments.

For dessert we all shared a Skyr Kaka.

Skyr as in Icelandic yogurt, Kaka as in Icelandic cake.

Tasted like an amazing cheesecake. Do not pass up an opportunity to try Skyr Kaka.

Then we returned back to the hotel and had a nap, as one does.

We then spent more time walking around Reyjkavik, and saw quite a few signs that mentioned some of the now urbanized areas had been historic farmsteads.

We also visited a park and people and dog watched.

We then walked around the downtown area again and stopped for ice cream at Valdis, an ice cream shop that was humming with activity.

After all, we were following a good suggestion:

Icelandic ice cream has the standard flavors you'd expect, and then some not so suspecting:

Like Rye Bread flavor, or Salted Black Liquorice flavor,  Dark Chocolate and Black Liquorice, and Danish Liquorice:

The Nordic countries really love black liquorice.

Yes, I had a scoop of salted black liquorice on top of a scoop of chocolate and black liquorice.  For science, of course.

If you like black liquorice, both flavors are really great. If you don't like black liquorice, you really would not have liked the ice cream.

The other family members shied away from black liquorice, and went with fun stuff like a birthday cake flavor, and a raspberry cheesecake flavor - both of which were also great.

Ice cream in Iceland, it turns out they make some really great ice cream there.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Susanna Gibson Really Shouldn't Complain

After all, she published the videos herself on a public website, in exchange for money either from viewers or the site, so the videos being brought to the general public's attention - not leaked - is neither a case of a leaked private video nor of revenge porn or anything else.  She voluntarily published them out there herself.  As such her claims and the media's false reporting that this is a case of revenge porn or illicit publication rings rather hollow.

However, as a Democrat she really should use this as part of her campaign.

After all, she has now convincingly demonstrated, on video no less, that she already has the ability to screw people at the retail level, and now running for office, she can campaign that she is simply stepping up to do it wholesale.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Iceland - The Silfra Rift

We had breakfast at the Hotel and I must say it was the best breakfast buffet at a hotel ever. Were talking a buffet featuring Icelandic skyr, fresh berries and fruit, smoked fish, eggs, sausage and more.  This gave both a tasty and auspicious start to our day.

We then were picked up by our guides for the trip and after picking up more people signed up for the trip departed Reykjavik and headed out into the countryside.

We soon reached Thingvellir National Park .  Home to the site of the first Althing, or democratic parliament of Iceland (since moved to Reykjavi) it is also home to the Silfra rift.

The Silfra rift is a glacier-water filled fissure that is the boundary between two tectonic plates - the North American Tectonic plate and the European Tectonic Plate.  

It offers a unique opportunity for a diver to be able to do something not many people get a chance to do: touch two continents at simultaneously.

The kids and Tash would snorkel, and I would dive the rift.  All of us would be wearing drysuits as the water is a cool 39 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So we all suited up and then split up. All entries into Silfra are required to be guided and  I would be diving with a divemaster, Julia, leading the tour, and a nice Australian fellow. We had a good safety and orientation brief, and were warned to be sure to make the turn at a certain spot with the divemaster, as if you did not and took the wrong turn, the current can pull you out to the lake, which would be problematic, and a rather long swim back to the exit point.

The area is rather crowded with snorklers and divers, so they time entries so you don't get crowded and have the feeling of being on a private tour all alone in the rift.

We were warned not to try and enter the caves along the way, as after all, caves are rather dangerous for divers and no one was equipped for a cave entry, but these ones have the added danger of being tectonically very unstable with a large chance of collapse.  No thanks.

We entered the water and descended down, dropping to 48 feet.

The water was amazingly clear, and was wonderfully fresh and cold, also very thirst-quenching.  Taking a sip at 48 feet revealed nice fresh, clean, and tasty water.

We then got to where the rift narrowed enough for divers to reach out and touch the sides.

Here I am touching two continents at once:

Bucket dive experience achieved.

That was a great dive,  I also earned one of the rarest PADI dive specialties as a result of this dive (and a little study and paperwork, including a written test) - Silfra Tectonic Dive Diver. Kinda neat.

We also got to see an Arctic Char swimming in the rift, which is rare as fish typically don't hang out in the rift as there is nothing for them to eat in there, and this fellow probably came in from the lake side of the rift. 

 Most divers and snorklers never see a fish in the rift, so we got lucky.

Then dive gets a little tight at times, and you end up constantly adjusting your buoyancy as the rift gets shallow, then deep, and then shallow again and on occasion you're crawling over some boulders. At some points depth was all of 3 feet.

Its amazingly beautiful though, throughout.

Here's a video of the dive.


The average depth for the dive was 18 feet and the whole experience lasted 20 minutes.

Kids and Tash had a great time snorkeling the rift, and they saw the same fish as well.

That was a great experience.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Value Of An American Hostage

Just went way up to to $1.2 Billion.

The AP: US moves to advance prisoner swap deal with Iran and release $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds

Biden just paid $6 Billion  and five Iranians we held (identities and what they did that we're holding them is not disclosed but likely  espionage and teorrism) for 5 Iranian-Americans who were jailed while visiting/living in Iran.  

Whoever on the American side that was negotiating this deal needs to, at the very least, resign in absolute shame.  This was not a negotiation but an abject surrender.

It is, however, a great return on investment for the mullahs, who have already indicated they will spend the money on whatever they want, contrary to Biden's assurance that the money would be only used for "humanitarian" needs - which ignores that money is fungible.

In short, Biden just gave in to a terrorist state and criminal actor, and has funded a heckuva whole lot more terrorism.  - and the Biden Administration  announced the deal formally on 9/11 no less. Great job displaying abject surrender there folks.

Talk about perverse incentives and encouragement for the Iranians and everyone else to take Americans hostage in the future.  

We certainly should, at the very least,  ban American citizens going to Iran in the first place to at a minimum quit making it so easy for Iran to get a payday.

More Revolving Door Justice Leading To Murder

Progressives hate the idea of the criminal accused (and most especially the minority criminal accused)  having to post a bond and prefer them walking free. They have the wonderfully naive belief that said criminals will then not commit crimes while they're released on their own promise to be good and will then happily show up to their hearings.

Reality begs to differ with their quaint utopian dreams.

In the latest example on August 11th, a MSU student, a junior, at 20 years old is murdered by the 22-year-old estranged baby daddy of his lover at the lover's home.

The Detroit News:  22-year-old man charged in fatal shooting of MSU student

Unreported in the Detroit News article is that the 22 year old had been previously arrested on May 5 for 4 counts of domestic violence. He was released on a personal bond, meaning he didn't need to pay anything to be released.

Oh, and he was next apparently arrested (the story reporting this is rather badly written and it is hard to tell what happened exactly) again on August 1 on yet another charge of domestic violence and a felony home invasion and apparently let go yet again.

Said criminal clearly takes this really, really, seriously, as he then fails to even show up to his hearing on August 3.  The counts don;t take the failure to appear all that seriously and just a bench warrant gets issued for him then, after 5 domestic violence counts and a felony home invasion.

Then, on August 11 he finally kills someone, when as he's out on his bond for all these previously committed crimes and is not allowed to possess a weapon. Because after all, of course he'll follow the restrictions of his release, right?

You know, if someone got arrested for 5 counts of domestic violence and a home invasion - or even just arrested for 4 counts of domestic violence -  instead of giving them a personal recognizance bond, maybe requiring them to put up some serious coin or even better have the bond set high enough that they sit in jail and can't commit further crimes just might be useful.

It might just dissuade, or if kept in jail, completely prevent the criminal from going out and doing more domestic violence rather than the progressive approach of "Cheerio, off you go? ". 

Just a suggestion.

Iceland Food Tour - That's Smoked Over What, Exactly?

Our next and final stop on the tour was a brewpub and restaurant.

Their signature beer is called the Flying Kock, which is really hard to order and keep a straight face, which seems to be the point.

Yes, the entendres were far more than doubled.

So along with the beer, came some smoked lamb on toasted Icelandic bread to the table to try as our next dish.

This is traditional smoked lamb, smoked in the traditional fashion.  Traditional means smoked over lamb dung.

Yes, dung. Iceland didn't have a lot of good smoking woods available, especially after they heavily deforested the island during settlement. So dung had to do, and it did.

Upside, I can report it had no dung in the flavor, just lamb, but it did have a very, very, heavy and strong smoke flavor to it.  Can't say as I'd recommend switching to dung as a smoking medium. I'll stick to wood, thank you very much. Most ppople on the tour who tried it stated it was not a hit.

That certainly was an experience, the beer was quite tasty though.

That was the end of the food tour, and it was fun, interesting, and educational and I'd highly recommend doing it if you ever visit Iceland.

We then walked back to our hotel to get ready for our next adventure the following day - The day I got to cross off an item on my bucket list.

Monday, September 11, 2023

9/11 - 22 Years On

Children have been born and become adults since 9/11, never knowing the World Trade Center as it stood before that day, nor indeed of the world how it was before then.

I remember visiting the World Trade Center back in 1991 on a trip to NYC and being amazed at its size and the impressive lobby, not to mention getting to go see the New York skyline from the observation deck which was rather fun.

I also remember exactly where I was when it happened, at home chatting online with some friends while doing some work, when one of them said the World Trade Center just blew up. We all figured he was clowning around.  He then said no, seriously, a plane just hit it, turn on the television. That was quite a stunning moment. Certainly, it became one of the defining moment for people alive at the time.  Everyone can recall where they were when they first heard the news.

Time has passed, and heck, 22 years ago, the Onion was still funny and hit this one right out of the park, and now Presidents don't even bother going to one of the sites or addressing the nation from the White House to commemorate the tragedy.

So, take a moment out of your busy day and remember and honor those 2,977 people who were murdered that day, when the world changed.

Thursday, September 07, 2023

Amazing New Archaeological Find In Israel

It's not everyday that a bunch of Roman swords in good shape get discovered after being hidden away for 2,000 years.

i24news:  Rare cache of Roman weapons discovered in Judean Desert cave 

A fascinating discovery in the Judean Desert: archaeologists unearthed a cache of well-preserved Roman weapons, including four swords and a shafted pilum weapon, believed to be around 1,900-years-old. 

The ancient artifacts were hidden in a crevice inside a cave located in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.

Interestingly, the weapons were only found by a happy bit of serendipity: An archaeologist was visiting the cave to examine another new and important, but chronologically earlier and distinct find,  in the same cave - a much earlier inscription from the First Temple Period - and happened to see the weapons cache as he examined the inscription.

The weapons likely date back to the Bar Kochba Revolt, and were hidden sometime between 132 and 135 CE. 

Impressively, three of the four swords include their sheaths and are in rather good condition for their age as can be seen in this picture of the artifacts on display from StandWithUs:

The cave system itself has tons of artifacts in it and evidence of habitation going back 6,000 years, and new finds keep being discovered. The dry Judean desert air has preserved lots and lots of historical artifacts that continue to be discovered as archaeologists probe the cave’s history and secrets.

Iceland - The Food Tour - Hot Dog!

Next stop, Icelandic Hot Dogs!

We went to the world famous Icelandic Hot Dog Stand. Note our awesome tour guide at the window placing our orders.

Even an American President, namely Bill Clinton, has eaten at this hot dog stand. 

The traditional Icelandic hotdog has lamb as part of the filling of the dog.  

Traditional toppings of a "one with everything" include ketchup, raw and carmelized onions (both placed under the dog not on top) two kinds of mustard - one of which is cut with mayo with additional spices as a remoulade.

In short, the result is hot dog nirvana.

I mean, that was truly a great hot dog.

Interestingly enough, President Clinton did not do the full Icelandic when he ordered his - he just had a dog with plain mustard. From that day forth if you want a hot dog only with mustard at the stand, you order a Clinton. You will be missing out on the full experience if you do.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

What Did He Think Would Happen Exactly?

In general, once you put hands on someone, and especially if that someone is a cop, things are likley not going to go how you want them.

The Detroit Free Press: DPD officer suspended for striking man in his 70s, investigation ongoing

Yes, the headline has the officer in trouble for hitting a 70-year-old, which, after all, sounds bad.

The 70-year-old was however acting the fool, not listening to officer commands to quit making a disturbance in public, and most importantly, hit the officer on his head first before the officer got physical with him.

The drunken 70-year-old thought he could take a cop, and he thought wrong. 

No description of the idiot beyond his age is given, for some reason.

So sure, the officer could potentially have chosen a lower force option than laying the drunk idiot out with one hit.  Then again, one could argue his action was a rather proportional response of a strike for a strike, and hard to call it unreasonable as it stopped the attack right there.  Had he tackled him or did other restraints it likely would have been the same use of force complaint and may have caused more damage.  Hard to see what further de-escalation the officer should have been done once idiot had his hands start flying like that - again all at the idiot's instigation. Indeed from the sequence of events reported, it seems the cop did act in a restrained manner with repeated requests for the idiot to stop his disturbance and leave the area, right up until the idiot decided to lay hands and hit him on the head.

Indeed, had Mr. idiot kept his hands to himself, the responsive strike would not have happened.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you go out and start stuff and strike a cop -- or indeed any member of the public -- and you're not acting in self-defense, you get what you get in return and shouldn't get to complain when you get hit back.

Iceland - The Food Tour - Hákarl!

Next stop on the food tour we stopped at Icelandic Street Food for the ultimate tourist-in-Iceland challenge.

We started off with a light codfish and potato salad and more Icelandic bread.

Very tasty.

Icelandic food is typically very heavy on fish as the volcanic soil tends to not be very fertile, and for years starvation was a very real possibility which led to a constant search for protein.

Enter the Greenland shark.

The Greenland shark is native to the waters around Iceland, it's an interesting shark that is an apex predator in the north. Full of protein it sounds like an excellent food source for protein-hungry Icelanders.

There's a problem though.

The flesh of the Greenland shark is toxic, packed with Trimethylamine N-oxide.

The Icelanders, needing the protein to survive, figured out that the shark carcass can be fermented. Historically this was done with the carcass being buried underground and then after fermenting it can be safely eaten and that protein accessed. 

Now they do a different technique to get the toxins out rather than burying it but the result is much the same, and the poisonous Trimethylamine N-oxide gets turned into trimethylamine.

The result of the fermentation looks like this and is called Hákarl:

And it smells like concentrated ammonia.  Lots of ammonia. As in sniffing an open bottle of ammonia.

The challenge for tourists is to eat it and keep it down.

Hot tip:  Don't inhale as you bring it to your mouth.

Overall impression:

First bite, not bad, kinda firm, relatively chewy and kinda like a fish jerky, rather pleasant.

Second chew:  Well, the ammonia is certainly coming through.

Third chew: My, that's a lot of ammonia.

Fourth chew: Oh, that's a heckuva lot of ammonia.

Everyone kept it down, although one tourist at the table was turning a tad green.

Most of us of legal age then followed it up with a chilled shot of Brennivín, Iceland's native aquavit. 

That helped with the ammonia aftertaste immeasurably. 

Brennivín is mighty tasty stuff and was a welcome chaser to the Hákarl.


So we all survived the Hákarl challenge, and I daresay it was tastier and far more pleasant than eating durian

Having our mettle suitably tested, the guide took us on to our next stop that offered a far more pleasant and tasty bit of sustenance.

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Iceland - The Food Tour

After the nap, we got up and wandered around Reykjavik some more, making our way to a square downtown to meet the tour guide for a walking food tour.

We got there a bit early and got to watch what appeared to be some grooming going on:

Older couple of Muslim guys with a bunch of chav girls.  Very interesitng to observe the goings on, including the girls being given a bottle of vodka, lots of swearing, mainly the f word back and forth and carrying on. Interesting to observe.

Our guide showed up soon after and we joined with 6 other people on the tour.

The guide was both friendly and informative.

We walked by Iceland's parliament building:


He gave a quick overview of Iceland's parliamentary history and stated that Iceland's government is one of the least effective around in terms of actually doing things.

He noted, as we walked, that Iceland lacked war memorials to unknown soldiers as it lacks an army Iceland has instead memorialized the unknown bureaucrat:

We then made it to our first stop, IDNO, for a nice start to the tour.

We sampled some Icelandic bread and lamb:

As we sampled the dish, which was great,  we got some more history of Iceland.

Iceland, per the guide, really started prospering during and after World War 2 when the US arrived. He note it has a natural carrying capacity of 40,000-50,000 people, and now with about 400,000 residents is very much dependent on trade and modern technology to grow the food that is needed to sustain people there, including a large number of greenhouses. Iceland also gets 1.7 million tourists visiting per year, and tourism has become its biggest industry, with fishing coming in second.

Then we departed IDNO and headed to a restaurant which offered the greatest food challenge that is posed to a visitor to Iceland.