Saturday, February 28, 2009

1192 - Year of the Black Rat

In that day, in that place, the Mongols became the most potent and effective colonizing force the world had known up to then. Temudjin became the catalyst through which the Mongol Empire conquered China, Eastern Europe, Byzantium, and much of the Middle East. 

My son-in-law advised that it was a good DVD and I wasn't disappointed.

Never scorn the cub for he may become a terrible tiger


If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store, two loaves alone to the are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
-Moslih Eddin Saadi (from The Garden of Roses)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

It's not surprising that President Obama has reversed himself on his promise to pull out of Iraq. Now we're leaving four divisions (roughly 50,000 troops) there.

This is what's going on, for those of you who care. Saudi Arabia is more than a little concerned about a resurgent Iran. Iran has a grand set of plans which call for removing the Saudi monarchy and replacing it with Shiites so they can control Mecca and Medina. The Iranian influence in Lebanon and Gaza is considerable and there have been Shiite riots in Saudi Arabia recently. 

The Saudis played their Oil Card with President Obama - actually Prince Bandar did when he visited this week. There will be a draw down of troops but now we're leaving roughly a corps present in Iran to respond to "regional crisis situations". Essentially that means that the Saudis want some sense that the now Shiite Iraq won't spill south into Kuwait and onto their northern border.  Now B. Hussein Obama is towing the line he criticized the Bush administration for following. 

Transforming America?

Our goof-ball president (left) in his role as Messiah/Mahdi, and his gang of misfits, are working hard to enact legislation to ban firearms. All it succeeds in doing is disarming the honest. Criminals are criminals and keep what they have, making it much easier for them to prey on the disarmed public. I understand that not all countries are like the US - but in the US, statistics show that only 2/100th's of 1% of all firearms in America are ever used to commit a crime. The number is completely insignificant. Yet the liberal agenda calls for their elimination in the hands of the law abiding.

I need one of these

Let's face it, none of us will live forever. The Japanese Oboe has become the solution to eternal remembrance. (sort of a creepy Japanese thing)

Oboe sits on the shelf next to the elderly, absorbing their knowledge and experiences and will provide you everything that reminds you of your loved one after they have shuffled off this mortal coil. So now you can have a form of immortality in robot form. It sounds somewhat like a Japanese Sci-Fi movie -- robots who remember being human.

Don't swat that bug!

The mesiocopter (above) is about the size of a US Quarter Dollar and they do fly. This is not a toy, it's an actual working model of a tiny surveillance device designed at Stanford University under a DARPA grant. Applications include atmospheric sensing on mars and the inevitable surveillance a bit closer to home. Simply looking over your shoulder when you're taking a shower is not proof positive of privacy...

This surveillance aircraft is six inches long but it can use solar or wind power to operate it. The aircraft can detect sounds, smells and provide visual data of the target and transmit it back on video links. It's being built at the University of Michigan's College of Engineering, Center for Objective Microelectronics and Biometric Advanced Technology (COMBAT). The vehicle can operate at night using radar navigation, just like a bat...

837 A.D.

On this date, 837 AD, Halley's Comet reached it's 15th perihelion (recorded) in its ongoing journey between the inner and outer solar system. The first recorded visit of Halley's Comet to the inner solar system took place at 240 BC. The most recent visit took place in 1986. The next will take place in 2061 and I won't be alive to see it. The comet returns every 75 to 76 years.

The 837 passage was very close to earth (about 3 million miles) and the tail may have stretched half-way across the night sky. Astronomers in China, Germany, Japan and the Middle East recoded the event. It created panic in Christendom portending the end of the world.
Several hundred years later in 1066, it passed close as well. The Bayeaux Tapestry recorded it as a fiery star that dominated the night sky. It was held as a bad omen, confirmed later in the year when Harold Godwinson lost England to Norman invaders at the Battle of Hastings. (It was a good omen for William the Conquerer, who won)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Movie Review: Eastern Promises

The movie is not for the faint of heart, but it's well done and the acting is first rate. It also accurately depicts a Russian Mafia Family operation in Great Britain.

theories and facts

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. --Doyle (Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia)

WoFat Speaks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Griffin at 1 Month

He's saying, "Get that monkey away from me, but a tarantula would be a great pet!"

Poor Joe

Joe (Slow Joe) Biden seems to put his foot in his mouth every time they hand the poor, senile fool a microphone. Now he went an insulted the President's homosexual voting block. Yesterday the president showed how little he thought of the economic recovery (stimulus package that isn't) program by placing Slow Joe in charge of it. This guy is a heartbeat away from the presidency.  

This is the order of succession, should something happen to the president: 
(1) Vice President (Slow) Joe Biden
(2) Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi
(3) Senator Robert Byrd (age 92)
(4) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

What does this mean to America? As bad as it sounds, I pray every night for Obama's continued health. The photo of Nancy Pelosi isn't intended to be cruel. She's 66 years old, had plastic surgery, and the surgeon pulled the skin a bit too tight on the left side of her face. Apparently Nancy, who represents San Francisco, personally took Poor old Slow Joe to task for his insensitive remarks about homosexuals too.

The Fall of Ft. Sackville (Vincennes)

On the morning of February 25, 1779, Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark accepted British Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton's unconditional surrender at Vincennes. Hamilton rewarded local Indian tribes for attacking colonists and was indirectly responsible for the murder of many women and children along the frontier. Following this victory, Colonel Clark and his militia marched on and invested the British fort at Detroit.

Happy New Year (again)

Happy New Year (in Tibet)
Year of the Ox

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


30 April commemorates the historic battle between 62 French Foreign Legionnaires and 2,000 Mexican infantry 146 years ago. Could I be forgiven for not eating blood sausage and singing Le Boudin? - if even in the privacy of my home - 

On that morning so long ago, while on route of march, the legionnaires were attacked by 600 Mexican cavalry, who they rebuffed, while retreating to the Hacienda Camaron. 1,200 infantry reinforced the now dismounted cavalry and demanded the surrender of Captain Danjou, commanding the Legion. He swore to fight to the death and at the end of the day there were only five severely wounded legionnaires remaining. They were out of ammunition and mounted a bayonet attack. Two of the five survived.
The Mexican commander commented, "these are not men, they are devils".

On April 30th the wooden (prosthetic) hand of captain Danjou is paraded in a ceremony at the Legion's headquarters at Aubagne, France.

Au Tonkin, la Legion immortelle
A Tuyen-Quang illustra notre drapeau,
Heros de Camerone ed Freres modeles,
Dormez en paix dans vous tombeaux!

At Tonkin, the immortal Legion
At Tuyet-Quang we honored our flag,
The heros of Camarone and model brothers
Sleep in peace in your tombs!


Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras. 

A friend sent me beads from New Orleans. I put them in the living room. Tammy said, "You need to do something with these. They don't belong here."  ---so---  I put them in the den...  
(Mar de Gras means "Fat Tuesday" in French.)

They need love too!

Is it true that women don't like snakes, lizards, toads, frogs, rats, mice and other pets that men tend to like? If true, why?

I'm not saying "all women" or "all men" but the trend seems to hold.

When my daughter, Amanda used to beg for a rat, I bought her a very sweet rat, she named Whiskers. Whiskers liked Amanda a lot better than Amanda liked Whiskers. Why don't women like rats?

When Griffin and Alyssa get older there will be some sort of cool pet for them to play with at my inducement to have them visit. Vote now for what it should be:
(a) Rat
(b) Snake
(c) Lizard
(d) Tarantula

The Green Comet

No, I'm not making this up - it comes from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. The comet's green color comes from ionized cyanogen and carbon gasses emit radiation in the green wavelengths - a green comet. JPL scientists believe this is the first time this comet entered the inner solar system. Tonight will be the best night to view the comet (through binoculars) when it's 38 million miles away. It will be visible in the southeast in late evening below the planet Saturn (see image above). A green comet? Who would have thought?

PS - I don't care what anyone says. Pluto is STILL a planet. -- I just thought I'd slip that in.


Wave Adaptive Modular Vehicle - You have high expectations from my blog. I work not to disappoint you. When you thought you'd seen it all in the world of watercraft... The WAM-V conforms itself to the ocean. It doesn't require the ocean to wrap around a hull. The frame is flexible and based on manufacturer claims, it more or less dances over the waves. For those of you who have problems with sea sickness, I suspect that the radical flexibility won't be enough for you to actually enjoy a day at sea. I can't say that it's "cool", but it's clearly interesting.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Declining Dow Jones Industrials

Rolling the dice with our children's future.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled another 250 points today. It's dropped 1150 points since the Democratic Administration announced the stimulus package that isn't (February 9th). McDonalds Hamburgers are selling like hot cakes as we as a nation revert to eating happy meals as a business lunch. In a surprising development even Campbell's Soup stock dropped today. It's one of the companies one would expect to do well in this environment. 

The DJI is back to 1997 levels with no practical bottom in sight.

It didn't have to be like this. An HONEST stimulus package designed to do what the current one has been purported to do would have had a positive effect. Now the middle class can look forward to being looted further with the Obama Gang's announcement of a 40% capital gains tax rate aimed squarely at the middle class for the purported purpose of "benefiting the poor".

Sunday Dinner

Kelly, 7 months pregnant, holding my grandson, Griffin.

Sunday dinner has taken on a whole new dynamic these days. It's more like having a platoon over with sons-in-law and now grandchildren. All in all it's a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The new indictments have to do with who had the opportunity to hold the baby more with charges, counter-charges and bitter accusations of "hogging the baby". As the a grandparent there is always the issue of seniority that must be resolved in my favor. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nationalize the Banks?

Bank of America and Citigroup shares took a beating last week in the stock market because of fears that the US Government would take over both banks, wiping shareholders out. B of A shares were down 19% Friday to $3.20 and Citigroup's fell 20% to 2.00/share. Both stocks have lost 90% of their value in the last year.

Are the government bailouts, subsidies and stimulus packages propping up industry value or are they hurting? Is all this government money pouring into banking, the auto and housing industries encouraging investors? Or is it scaring them off due to fears of nationaliztion? (the government steps in, owns everything and the private investors are left holding worthless paper)

Government meddling tends to create more problems than it solves. The Obama crowd are weighed down with self-interest and pork barrel projects that cause them to loose perspective.

Ronald Reagan defined the US Taxpayer this way: "Someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination."

My favorite example of government's ability to run private businesses harkens back to the days of the Mustang Ranch, a Reno, NV area bordello. The federal government took over the Mustang Ranch and ran it at a loss. The government couldn't turn a profit running a house of ill repute. Finally the feds brought back the suspected tax cheat and allowed him to run it to keep them from pouring more taxpayer's dollars into the whorehouse to keep its doors open.

I fear for us all if the federal government takes over all the banks.

Got Milk?

San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Bernard Milk and SF Mayor George Moscone were shot to death by fellow city supervisor Dan White on November 27, 1978. It may be cruel to say that Dan White may have saved them a lingering death due to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). I'm not say that Dan White did them favors, but by killing them, he made them martyrs on the altar of gay rights. Milk lived in the Castro District of San Francisco. Tonight Sean Penn won an oscar for portraying Milk.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Miss Those Years

five years ago

fourteen years ago
sixteen years ago
They're not little anymore.
They don't understand that even though they're older now.
This is the way I remember them.
I hope they don't judge me harshly for this.
They'll only understand when they're my age -- looking back.

Mother's Birthday

My mother turned 49 again today (I know it's a miracle, but don't look at these things too closely).

She was a famous ballet dancer before her pregnancy (with me) finished her dance career once and for all.

She danced the lead in many productions with American Ballet Theater during its golden age in the 50's.

Footprints on the Moon

Somebody asked the question the other day - What world event are you most pleased you were alive to see? 

It was July 16, 1969-
"We came in peace...for all mankind."


Bernard Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme, disguised as a successful Wall Street business, stealing a whopping $50 billion dollars from investors. Today he's under house arrest in his luxury villa, only able to go out to dinner in his local neighborhood (in NY's Financial District) and meet friends in lower Manhattan. A hundred fifty years ago, another, less costly solution would have presented itself.

If he was Japanese, he would have had the good grace to step in front of a high speed train or something. However, today, Madoff sits smugly drinking fine wine and eating chateaubriand, thumbing his nose at the world. It's interesting to question whether we're civilized these days or merely stupid.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Only 5 Shopping Days Left!

Tibetan new year, celebrated February 25, is coming soon. It is the year of the Earth Ox. People born this year may have unusual features because of the nature of the year. However, better to have a child born this year than in the year of the rat or snake (personal opinion only).

New York Post

The New York Post published this on February 19th (yesterday). I'd say that in some areas of New York, the love for President Obama is gone... it didn't take the press long to turn on him.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Depression


I recommend the above captioned website for the latest in trends on the economic troubles we are now facing. There is good reference material for all countries on this site and it's an interesting place to check in.

Useful Cat Accessories

I don't own a cat, but there are some useful household cat items you might want to consider as gifts for the cat owner in your life. This CAT PENCIL SHARPENER, for example. Simply stick the pencil where the sun doesn't shine on your kitten and a few grinds later it will be sharp and ready to use again.

THE TABBY TOTE, available on the Internet, provides an alternative to hauling an unwilling cat from point a to point b. No more scratches, gone are the problems of having your cat jump out of your arms into traffic, to its demise. 

And for that inquisitive kitten that needs to have some boundaries put on its adventures, consider the CAT BEER GLASS. The nice thing about this transportation option is that almost any glass that contains your favorite amber liquid can also be used as a special transporter for that naughty kitten.

Decions - Decisions

Decision Matrix

trying to 
make it 
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