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I’ve Already Picked our Next President

March 5, 2011

I know, I know.  I’ve got a horrible track record at this…

In 2007, I came out for Fred Thompson for president, who was really just in it to eventually throw his support to his good buddy, John McCain.  So, we ran a Washington insider with squishy almost-conservative views and he got his clock cleaned by Mr. Hopey-Changey.

Gosh, the worst thing that we could do is run another Republican candidate like McCain.  Who else have we got?  Mr. Huckabee is a fine fellow, but his very public religious beliefs will be used by the lefties to cut him down – likewise Mr. Romney.  Remember all the whispered controversy during the last premary?  Mormon this and Mormon that, whispered, of course, but still there.  As a former governor that passed a statewide medical system for Massachusetts, he’s not going to be able to argue very well against Obamacare.  Tim Pawlenty is another former governor – an evangelical Christian and a lawyer as well.  I don’t like his positions on energy and also that he’s another professional politician.  So who’s left?

Fred Thompson?  No, he’s too old, and we won’t forgive him for the last time.

Okay, my pick for Republican Presidential candidate and eventual president of the United States is…

 

Yes.  That guy right there.

Herman Cain.

He’s not a lawyer.  He’s not a professional politician.  He has loads of executive experience (something you would expect the chief executive to have) – he’s been a successful manager at some large companies and has even turned a company around and helped the management take it private.  The guy has a job as a radio host right now and has his finger on the pulse of what conservatives are looking for.  The guy has presence.  When he walks up to the podium, he commands attention.  He’s not Reagan, but he’s comfortable in front of the lights and I’ll bet that he won’t use a teleprompter.  He doesn’t sound like a corporate drone – he grew up poor in the south and made it through college only because his dad worked three jobs.

Mr. Cain has much more in common with the American People than the present occupant of the White House.

He’s a long shot – a dark horse, if you will, but a debate between Mr. Cain and Obama would be an awesome thing to watch.  It wouldn’t be pretty.

 

That video’s 30 minutes long, but it’s awesome.

Just my opinion…

 

 

New MacBook, Grandma’s Radio, and stuff….

December 6, 2010

We received the new (to us) computer  in the mail the other day.  No surprises at all.  In fact, it’s a really nice little laptop.  Looks like our temporarily incarcerated Ebay seller was an honest guy after all.  The computer looks new, and the user data left on it indicated that it truly belonged to the seller.  I had to reformat the HD and reload the operating system to remove all traces of the previous owner (there might be an easier way, but I’m not an Apple person).  I’ve been using it for a day or so (I’m posting with it now), and I’ve got to admit that Apple builds a nice machine.  It has a huge trackpad that you control using various finger combinations.  It’s neat.  Is it worth twice the price of a Windows machine?  Perhaps, but not to me right now.  I’ll stick with my old Linux netbook.

It’s cold outside.  Winter has pretty much arrived here in the Mid-Atlantic – just a few weeks early.  Highs in the low 40s this weekend, lows at night in the 20s and a stiff breeze all day.  Yuk.  The thermometer that reads the outside temperature is set in Celsius for my wife, so it is reading negative numbers right now.  Makes it feel even colder.  Bonnie’s around-the-block poop walks have shortened considerably – most of the time, she doesn’t make it out of the yard before she does her business and heads back to the kitchen door. She doesn’t like the cold, either.

Winter isn’t all bad.  Yesterday, we set up the Christmas tree in the living room.  We also were able to carry on one of our family Christmas traditions.  Mygrandmother’s old Philco radio was dragged out of my office to play Christmas carols while we did the decorating.  Took a few minutes to warm up, of course, and I had to re-tune the FM station once or twice, but it still did the job that it has always done, providing Christmas carols while we sorted out ornaments and placed them on the tree.  Wouldn’t be Christmas without that old radio.  It’s funny how that sort of thing can be so important…

I was going to post some stuff about the political circus going on in Congress right now, but I think I’ll just pass on that.  Why ruin a nice evening?

Now, what exactly am I supposed to think about this?

November 30, 2010

I have a stepson attending college in Rio de Janiero.  That’s him on the left.

We’re proud of him – it’s difficult to get into college in Brasil.  He’s studying communications and a MacBook would be an excellent Christmas present – it’s what the other people that are studying communications are using.

I don’t know much about Apple computers, but I did the research and found out that they build a very nice computer that isn’t really state of the art hardware, but the interface and experience are supposed to be awesome.  They also cost about twice as much as a Windows laptop, and any Mac user will tell you that they’re well worth it.

So…..  Being kinda cheap (Who, me?), I went to Ebay and started watching prices.  I found one, a MacBook Pro (better than a MacBook), for a reasonable price.  A couple of mouse clicks and Paypal had sucked the money from my credit card and I was the “winner” of the Ebay auction.  The seller had good feedback and was a reasonably active Ebayer.  Looked like a good transaction at the time.

There was a message a few days later from Paypal that said that the package had shipped and I was given a USPS tracking number.

Two weeks went by (yes, I’m a patient guy).  The tracking number from USPS said that they had billing info but had never received the package.  This has happened to me before.  USPS tracking info is frequently updated so late that the package regularly is delivered before USPS says that they had it.

but two weeks??

I used the Ebay messaging system and sent the seller a message.  He responded in an hour or so….

Hi there greg,
I just want to start by apologizing for
not sending the laptop on time, I understand you want what you paid for but
I was inconcerated for the past two weeks and now trying to catch up with
all my ebay deliveries. The laptop will dropped off to usps first thing in
the morning of 11/29, and for the inconvenience I can refund you the
shipping cost you originally paid for. I’m always on top of my shipping and
making sure my customers are happy….

Ok.

Look, the guy’s honest, right?

Anyway, I checked this morning, and the USPS tracking site says that they have received a package and that it’s on the way.

More to come on this…

 

My dad was pretty handy…

November 30, 2010

I fix a lot of stuff.  Our house, for example, needed a lot of work when we moved in.  It still needs work, of course, just not as much as it did.  If one wishes to get work done, it requires tools – lots of them.  I am not one of those guys that buys tools just to own them.  I don’t have a router, for example – I’ve always been able to make my belt sander do the job.  If I ever really need one, I’ll likely go out and buy it, though.

Yesterday, my wife lost a screw from her eyeglasses, causing the lens to pop out onto the floor.  No damage to the plastic lens, but the glasses needed immediate repair, and as the house fix-it guy, it was my job to make them right.  Fortunately, the parts were at hand.  I used one of those little kits that they sell at drug stores – the one with a tiny screwdriver and some screws in a plastic pack.   I was able to coax the teeny little screw into the hole and replace the lens.  The problem was that the replacement screw was about 2 mm too long, and it poked out of the corner of the frame.  It looked just a little weird.

How do you fix that?

After thinking for a second, I remembered that I had a Dremel tool in the basement.  After retrieving it, I attached the little cut-off wheel and sliced the protruding end of the screw off flush with the frame.  It only took a second.

As I was putting that useful little tool back in its plastic case, I remembered that my dad had given it to me.  He also gave me my reciprocating saw and a few other tools that I use regularly.   Dad liked to build things and he appreciated good tools, so that’s what I often received from him as Christmas and birthday presents.  Dad’s been gone for years now, but he lives on – every time that I open one of those plastic cases and fix something, he’s a little part of it.

I think that’s cool.

 

 

 

Darn, can the government really do that?

November 18, 2010

I fly a lot, or at least I used to, back when my job came with vacation.  I was flying regularly when the TSA was given the job of scaring the public for no reason enforcing airline security.  I saw the gradual tightening of the regulations and the silly way that the TSA quickly responded to the LAST threat.  We had that moron try to set off a shoe bomb, so every air passenger in the US has to remove their shoes.  People that before would never have thought of walking in their bare feet across a floor in such conditions found themselves forced to do so.  Thousands of previous passengers have walked across that same surface – some in bare feet, others in socks since it was last washed.  The flying public simply put up with this mandatory germ exposure – note that the TSA didn’t do a thing about providing sanitary conditions – they just said you had to do that, so we did.  Of course, other countries do not treat their flying public like that.  Next time you are in an airport, look at the passenger next to you – if he boarded in Rio, or Cancun, he may not have been asked to remove his shoes, yet he shares the same terminal as you.  Why does our government permit international fliers into our “sterile areas” without going through the same ordeal that their citizens have to go through?  How safe is that?

This makes me think that the whole business may not exactly be about security.  If so, wouldn’t the TSA require advanced security procedures where international flights are concerned?  That idiot shoe bomber departed from an European airport – they still aren’t required to remove their shoes.  That’s right, Richard Reid (if he wasn’t in jail) could do the very same thing again, and the TSA’s present domestic shoe removal policy wouldn’t have affected his ability to get his stupid tennis shoe bomb on the flight.  Reed was a moron – he volunteered to blow himself up (a clue) and he didn’t have the presence of mind to set his bomb off in the lavatory, where he could fumble with his matches undetected behind a locked lavatory door.  Anyway, you can’t even wear cheap rubber flip flops to try to save your feet from the germs left by the last thousand passengers or so.  What kind of a bomb could you hide in a flip flop?  If you were serious, couldn’t you mold the whole darn thing out of PETN?  Wouldn’t that x-ray as a solid item, just like a flip flop?  Does this make you feel safer?  Not me.

The latest trick from the TSA is the “naked body” scanner.  These machines, many made by Rapidscan, who is a client of The Chertoff Group, a lobbying company run by the former secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff are being installed in many airports.  Congress had an idea that the public wouldn’t like them, so they overwhelmingly passed an amendment back in June of 2009 that prohibited the scanners from being used as a primary method of screening – that’s where the “opt-out” provision comes from.  You have a RIGHT not to have a naked picture of of you (or your children) taken and viewed by a person out of your sight.  The TSA’s answer to that attempt to protect your rights was to make the alternative screening method, a”pat down” much more aggressive.  Was this done to affect your decision to “opt out” of the naked body scanner?  Why, yes it was. – a quote from the TSA agent in the linked article,”Nobody’s going to do it,” he said, “once they find out that we’re going to do.”

The “enhanced pat down” involves contact that would get you arrested for sexual battery if it happened anywhere else.

Can the government really do this?

The flying public is really upset.

Let’s watch and see what happens…

Abby’s safe, and her parents do NOT belong in jail….

June 11, 2010

Abby Sunderland, the sixteen-year old girl who was attempting to sail around the world and was feared lost in the southern Indian Ocean has been located and is safe.  Her communications were cut off when her mast was severed yesterday by a very rough sea.  She triggered her emergency beacon (EPIRB) in response to the ship’s damage.  Her custom-built ship is almost unsinkable and she has the equipment and training to wait safely for assistance, which should be there in a day or so.  She was spotted by a search plane today and has been able to communicate that she’s OK.

Here’s a link to a story in the LA times.

It’s a factual story, but what surprised me was the reaction of the folks who commented to the article.  People want the LA County DA to charge the parents with child abuse!  They’re wondering how much the search effort (paid for by the Aussie Govt) cost.  People think that Abby and/or her parents are doing this for attention – note that her older brother sailed non-stop around the world a few years ago.  I am embarrassed by those comments and I only hope that she never sees them.

Hey, you ninnies!  The girl saw a challenge and decided to tackle it.  Did she make it around the world?  Nope, but she went most of the way – including around the Horn of Africa – at this time of year, that’s an achievement.  She’s sixteen, and has seen and experienced things that those armchair admirals could only dream of.  She’s got guts and her parents are proud of her – heck, I’m proud of her and I’ve never met the young woman.

What has happened to us?  Isn’t this something to be admired?  Have we decided that hanging out at the mall or playing Guitar Hero in your friend’s basement is more desirable behavior than a young woman deciding to test herself against Nature and the elements?  Was it dangerous? Perhaps, but with training and good equipment, the dangers could be minimized.  Satellite communications provided a link to her parents from anywhere in the world (until the mast broke).

Driving can be dangerous, too (traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teens).

Abby will be fine, her experience at sea will enrich her life and the confidence that she gained from her journey will affect everything she does.  Her parents are to be commended, not arrested.

I hope that she inspires more kids to do that sort of thing.

End of post political paragraph..

Our President, Barack Obama was not present at the memorial service for the workers that perished in the fire and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform.  He chose instead to attend a political fund-raiser for Barbara Boxer at that time.

How Presidential…..

I crossed a line today….

June 11, 2010

Although I have plenty of political opinions, I don’t have a history of contributing money to political candidates.  It’s always seemed that the folks that I support are already well-financed – or I’ve always thought so.

What Senator Reid thinks of our opinions....

This morning, I went to Sharron Angle’s web site and got out my credit card.  I made a contribution to the Republican Senate candidate in Nevada.  She’s running against Harry Reid, the Democrat leader of the senate – the guy responsible for the recent jamming of unwanted legislation down our throats.  Obamacare, the really bad financial regulation bill and soon to come, cap and tax.  We’ve seen the payoffs, the buying and bribing of individual senators votes.  It’s ugly, and Senator Reid was the orchestra conductor.  He’s already got $9 million in campaign cash and is expected to raise lots more.

I’d like to see that weasel get his retirement papers this November.

I’m not saying that anyone else that reads this blog should go out and do the same thing,

but just in case you want to, here’s a link.

Off for a few days!!!

June 6, 2010

Off of work for a few days!  WooHoo!!

What’s really weird is that I can’t check my work e-mail.  I’ve always watched my e-mail from home – its one way to keep up with things while one is off for a week at a time.  Our new owners haven’t set up e-mail access yet.  When I get back to work, I’ll set up an Outlook rule that forwards stuff to a webmail account.  Wish that I had thought of that before….

As of Tuesday, I am an employee of Delaware City Refining Company, LLC.  I’ve worked for Getty, Texaco. Star Enterprise, Motiva, Premcor. Valero and now DCRC and I’ve been working at the same place all of that time.  The new owners seem serious about getting the place going – the refinery leadership team are a great bunch of guys – all with lots of experience.  Refinery startup is tentatively scheduled for April 2011.  Can’t wait.

Christmas Kate

Kate left today for another 3 month trip to the Pacific, where she will be chasing subs for Uncle Sam.  There’s a lot of insanity right now in that part of the world.  Let’s hope that she can stay safe while she’s out there.

Got the worst of the tile work in the guest bathroom done today.  There’s a window above the tub, and I had to do a lot of tile work around the window.  Although we’ll probably have a curtain or something over the window, it will be completely waterproof even without one.  Don’t you love old houses with the window over the bath tub???

I’ve determined that the Middle East will not see peace in my lifetime.  The main reason is that many of the countries are run by idiots.  Did you see the latest?

These people are supposed to be grownups.  *sigh*

Memorial Day – Run for the Wall

May 30, 2010

Run for the Wall is an annual Memorial Day event in Washington DC, where bikers from all over travel to DC to remember those heroes that gave their lives for freedom.  Today, some friends and I went to observe and participate.  This was my first time at the event.  There’s a lot of information about the event at the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

We rode to DC, about 120 miles from home.  We were a group of about 10 cycles and rode in formation.  We ride two to a lane with one rider just ahead of the other (in case we need to switch to single-file).  Formation riding is pretty neat – you’ve always got the people ahead of you looking out for things.  You also don’t have to worry so much about not being seen (always a worry when riding).  In the photo, our group is in the right lane, being passed by a group on the left.  We tend to ride at moderate speeds – we’re all old and responsible, I suppose.

Once in DC, we had to find a place to park.  We were able to shoehorn our bikes between others parked at the curb.  We saw many varieties of motorcycle – most of them were Harleys, of course.  We did see some fancy and exotic motorcycles, along with a lot of trikes, too.  We parked near a classic chopper.  The word “chopper” derives from the “chopping” off of various accessories that are deemed unnecessary.  These gizmos complicate the motorcycle, increasing maintenance and taking away from that desired pure motorcycle experience.  The bike in the photo is one example.  Note that turn signals as well as those heavy transmission pulley guards have been artfully removed, leading to a much cleaner look.  The standard-issue chromed steel kick stand has been replaced with one made of renewable materials – this biker gets extra points for being green.  Our motorcycles were behind this one – John was securing his motorcycle and looked up for this photo.

We arrived early enough to take a walk around the mall and experience some of the Memorial Day spirit…

The “Wall” – a memorial to our Vietnam war dead is a dark granite wall with the names of each service member that died during the war inscribed into the marble.  There were volunteers there with ladders, using paper and pencil to trace requested names for visitors.  This memorial chokes me up, not just because of its starkness, but if you look at the top of the wall, you realize that the names are all below the level of the ground, as if their names were buried, too.

Many visitors left memorials....

A close-up of the wall.  I was speaking with John and mentioned that I had no close friends whose names ended up inscribed in that dark granite, but if I had been born 5 years earlier, it would have been much more likely.  The war, as well as the draft, ended while I was in high school.

Lincoln, of course

I don’t think that I’ve ever been to DC without a stop at the Lincoln Memorial.  What an awesome leader.

The World War II memorial.  In case you can’t read that inscription, this is what it says, “We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on the one hand and of overwhelming force on the other.” – General George C Marshall.

What an awesome quote.

At about noon, the parade of cycles started.  Many of the bikes flew US and POW/MIA flags.  It was still going at about 1:30, when our group joined the parade for a few blocks – our bikes were stuck behind the parade barricades, and it was the only way out.

To get a better idea, I shot a short (40 sec or so) video of the bikes as they went by.  Turn your speakers way up.

While we were walking, we had considered walking over to Arlington National Cemetery (link to some cool history about Arlington), but were prevented by the barriers set up for the cycle parade.

Perhaps we might catch a glimpse of the President, dropping by to pay his respects.

Oh, that’s right – he’s on vacation again….  (can you tell that I’m really cheesed off about that?)

Tomorrow, while you’re firing up that grill and burning your burgers, take a moment or so and remember those who gave their lives to preserve freedom – not just here, but all over the world.

Enjoy the holiday,

Greg

Hi Barry!

May 29, 2010

My long-time friend Barry, on our little sailboat Saturday.

We were out on the Sassafras River for about 6 hours.

We couldn’t have had nicer weather – even the wind cooperated!!

Hope that everyone has a nice weekend!