Sunday, September 28, 2014

Start at the Beginning

If you want to understand anyone, you must start at the beginning to understand what formed them and what made them who they are today. This is your Sunday Sermonette. 

Make of it what you will. But it explains a great deal.

Friday, September 26, 2014

National Park Filming Fee

Permit Cost: $1,500 to film in a National Park. No, it's not a hoax. The nation pays taxes to maintain the parks. National parks belong to the people, not to those wealthy enough to pay $1,500 to film in them. What are these people thinking?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Family Album

I don't normally post this sort of stuff, but a fellow blogger wanted to see a photo of me with my mother.  I'm not sure why they wanted to see that, except I harbor a suspicion that they think that I didn't have a mother -- maybe thinking that I'm an alien.

I don't have many photos with my mother, but my sister took this photo several years ago. I think that this is the time that I'd just returned from Iraq and flew to Redding to visit her. You'll note that we have the same hair - but mine is shorter.

Double Standard

When it comes to counting other people's caloric intake, Michelle Obama sets the standards for dietary excellence for everyone else. She's progressive, that's how it works in the world that she inhabits. Her dump truck body that she sets out as the standard for the nation's dietary practices could be improved if only she could take the fork out of her mouth.

As Michelle Obama purges school vending machines of sugary snacks, The White House snack machine is selling 590 calorie honey buns. No, honey buns is not a metaphor for the ladies walking up the stairs next to Michelle. We're talking real honey buns in the vending machine.

Michelle Obama’s fight against childhood obesity in America’s schools has reached past the lunchroom into bake sales and even the vending machines. The First Lady’s new standards remove any sugary snacks over 200 calories from the school's machines while leaving the one in the White House stocked with delicious, fattening food. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Monday - Again

The gif speaks volumes... back to the grind.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The City of God

Yes, this is a new feature. I'm posting Sunday Sermonettes on both of my blogs. Both Lone Star Parson and Pretty Jenny suggested that I become more holy and a bit less worldly. That sent me to St. Augustine, who wrote "give me chastity and continence, but do not give it yet." 

To quote Billy Joel, 'I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The Sinners are much more fun.' Which is why I hang out with the people on the blogs... While I do spend my share of time studying the cannon of works, there are few traditional saints who appeal to me. St. Augustine is one of the stand-outs who I find far more interesting (see quote above).  Thus, it's the grist of a Sunday Sermonette, which few will read, but I don't care.

Augustine taught that "peacefulness in the face of a grave wrong that could only be stopped by violence would be a sin." Defense of one's self or others is a necessity, especially when authorized by a legitimate authority. In his work The City of God, he suggests that the pursuit of peace must include the option of fighting to preserve it in the long-term.

That's it. Those are the only words of wisdom I offer today besides the advice on how best to conduct 'walk about' on Virtual Mirage.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Is the US in a Recession?

There is a more than 1:1 ratio of people who work for some government agency (or receive full government benefits) to those in the private sector. And it's killing the country.

46% of US consumers say that the US is in a recession. (The Rasmussen Consumer Index, which measures consumer confidence on a daily basis, lost another point to 94.5 on Friday. Consumer confidence is down three points from a week ago, 10 points from a month ago and eight points from three months ago.) That's interesting as the US heads into the traditional holiday buying season, because it indicates a tepid economy moving into 2015, or more of the same. People don't spend money during a recession because they're waiting for the other shoe to drop. If money doesn't change hands, the economy can't gain any sort of momentum.

Since the Federal Reserve lowered the interest rate that it extends to banks to ZERO, there is really nowhere for it to go. Zero is zero, and it's printing money as fast as it can...even though there is nobody to buy the debt except the Federal Government (as the snake eats its tail). 

While I'm positive that Summer 2015 will be declared to be yet another "Summer of Recovery", I'm not confident that anyone outside the Beltway, where the recession never reached, will see it that way too.

We're ramping up for yet another war (that you're forbidden to call a war) in the endless war cycle of the past three decades. Twenty percent of all American receive food stamps. And ratio of government workers to private workers is only increasing.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bionic Future?

The Raytheon XOS 2 is a second generation exoskeleton design for USArmy use. It allows the wearer to enhance his strength to carry heavy equipment much easier and for much longer. You'll note power cables snaking away from the suit because it's still a beta test unit. 

BUT, the concept of the BUDS instructor asking you to flutter-kick for an hour (politely) would be a thing of the past if you were wearing the exoskeleton. I suspect that you'd have a pre-set and the suit could do it for you... I don't know much flotation you'd need to offset the weight of the metal/carbon fiber suit if you were a frogman. But it would be an interesting exercise. There is also the problem of getting tangled in kelp or nets and the concern that it would set off any sea mines in the area. -- but they're getting closer to true bionic every day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Is it better to be hated or loved?

Americans have always had an overwhelming desire to be loved. We are the most generous nation, both publicly and privately, that has ever existed. We care about the plight of other nations. We try to make decisions morally, rather than based simply on what is in the best interests of the nation.

Yet, we are often criticized, ridiculed, and even hated.

And unfortunate as that is, we can sit comfortably in the fact that we are also feared. For as much as we give, as much as we hope for the best for everyone, and seek prosperity for all, we are the absolute worst enemy on the planet.

We are the strongest. We are the best trained. We never quit. Cross us, and we will never stop coming for you.

So, if they must, Let Them Hate, So Long As They Fear.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fourteen Years Ago Today

100,000 hits of ecstasy.

It's sort of like landing a large trout. You are compelled to take a glory shot standing next to it. I'm not sure why that is. It just is.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Just a Few Notions

That's right. I'm not mainstream. I never claimed to be.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer of Recovery - And the Golden State

Another Summer of Recovery...

Despite 0% interest rates, $7 trillion in added debt, more than $1.5 trillion in stimulus, and the Fed creating more than $4.5 trillion in new money out of thin air, the US economy just stumbles along. Hope and change turned out to be national malaise as Americans come to faintly grasp the reality that bigger government is never the answer - to anything.

The California model is instructive. Every state has one set of people contributing to the coffer—namely, private sector workers—and another drawing from it—namely, government workers and welfare recipients. In healthy states, the contributors outnumber the users. In unhealthy states the reverse is true.

California is in trouble. For every 100 people employed in the private sector it has 113 people drawing benefits. A person working at Disney or Intel or a fast food franchise is carrying his own weight plus that of one other person. Many factors contribute to California’s budget crisis. The state has a big university system, an influx of needy immigrants and an expansive notion of how involved the government should be in people’s lives.

The California response is to double-down and spend more as businesses leave in record numbers. Of the fifty US States, California taxes more while being one of the the most unfriendly to business. In California, the State tax rate runs at roughly 10% for earners making over $47,000 per year. In neighboring Nevada, it's 0%. The State corporate tax rate in California is almost 9%. In neighboring Nevada, it's 0%. California seems to be following the path first trod by New York state, which dominated the nation's economy through the early part of the 20th century, only to see massive outmigration of jobs and people, and subpar employment growth as its taxes and regulations rose.

(NewsMax) [By the first quarter of 2014], Texas added 30,000 new jobs, while in February California lost 31,000 jobs. And that’s not all. Frank points out individual taxes are so much higher in California that when people move to Texas “most get a 10 percent pay raise — due to the lack of an income tax. The companies get a 10 percent rise in profits, due to lack of state corporate tax. It is win-win in Texas and lose-lose in California.”

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thoughts for the Day

Because we all have thoughts.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Isle of Man Ferry

I was in the Navy and you'll note the lax haircut and torn up boonie shirt. That's how it was in those  halcyon days. TDY to 62 Commando, on the ferry from Douglas, Isle of Man to Belfast with a girlfriend whose name has been lost to antiquity. Money in my pocket, more ego than a young man ever need have, lean, mean, baby faced shooter.

I lived in a secure 'mansion' in the Finaghy district of Belfast. Played in a flat off Antrim Road not far from Belfast Castle. Tagged a safe house, it was anything but.

I'm posting this to prove that there was a time 
when my hair was black as a raven's wing.

Time is a cruel enemy.

Old harmless lion in winter with blunted fangs and cracked claws.

sic transit gloria mundi

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It Feels like Monday

I know that it's not. It's Tuesday.

But there is that "Monday" feel to the day, as if anything can happen.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin