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Feb. 6th, 2011

The Autochthon

In the past few weeks the net has been buzzing about an uncontacted people living in the Amazon basin. In actuality the story broke in May of 2008, so it isn’t really new (and in fact experts had known of them for a long time). The images were published to raise public awareness of these people and the danger they face form the illegal and (IMOP) immoral (but also IMOP totally understandable. That doesn’t mean I condone it, exactly the opposite – I simply understand that people would do this in order to feed their families) deforestation occurring in the region. The local governments (particularly, it seems, Peru) ignore the issue, denying these people even exist (Government – almost never the answer to any damn thing!). The experts who released the images want to protect the indigene and the environs they live in. I agree with them, to that point anyway.

Now for the fun, the parts I disagree with. They want these people to remain isolated and uncontacted and they are not interested in learning about their origins (specifically Jose Carlos dos Reis Meirelles [head of the Brazilian government's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) unit that released the imaged in 2008] stated he didn't care to know their ethnic group).

Bullshit! If that is the sort of inquisitive mind we have to deal with, well it’s no wonder the world is in a mess!

I can understand some of where he is coming from, what with the history we have of colonialization, exploitation, and extermination/assimilation indigenous peoples - it’s a fair concern. BUT (and there is always a butt, isn’t there! Shockingly, it is quite often ME at the arse-end of an idea) while they are valid concerns they are not reasons to avoid contact. In fact, we have many good reasons to contact these people – which I will enumerate (list. Yes, I fell into a thesaurus):

1 – I am sick to tears of people and groups who want to speak for others! These paternalistic, arrogant asshats should let people speak for themselves (shocking concept, I know – for the people in question might not make the same decisions their beneficent spokes-weasels might. And GOD knows we cannot let people made their own decisions). And yes, this goes for groups who want to speak “For the Children” as well. We already have people to speak for children, they are called parents (and yes, I know some children don’t have parents or have crap/monsters for parents – and yes these children need protection. They don’t need are advocacy groups, they need people who will love and protect them and BE their parents! That would do a lot more good.)

2 – What we could learn! Primitive isn’t stupid, and they might know of plants for healing, interesting places – who knows what. And knowing their ethic extraction and linguistic family would add to our understanding of ourselves.

3 – The Stories! I want to know their mythology, cosmology, and their fairytales. I want to know what they tell their children when they put them down to sleep at night; what monsters they think hide in the dark places; and what they think of us.

4 – Despite the desire to keep them isolated, they already know something is out here and has seen them. They saw the damn airplane! So do we want some to wonder out of the jungles in a few decades looking for the Gods of their Cargo Cults? Do we want them to be so scared of the monsters we might be that they offer human sacrifices to keep us at bay?

So those are my arguments for contact. Now I am not suggesting full-bore contact, but careful contact by one or two people going in and trying to talk with them. They should know there are people out here, if nothing else. They should be made aware many are evil and would do them harm, and that if they come out to us they would most probably cease to exist as a people like they are now. They should also know that some of us want to simply know them and leave them alone. They should have a voice in what happens to them. We should not show off our technological magic, but they should know we have them.

And to end, I leave you with this thought. The one real evolutionary advantage our species has (other than our remarkable ability to jog for great distances) is our mind and the reasoning abilities it gives us. As that is the case, intentionally keeping a people ignorant is tantamount to a death sentence.

Be well my fiends! Your comments, critiques, and threats are welcome (though I have no problem sicking the authorities on anyone who makes a credible threat. I am a loud-mouth, not stupid… well, not far stupid anyway)

 

PS: I was going to title this post “The Indigene”, being that I like the sound of that word. But when I was double-checking the spelling (without spell checker my post would look like the deranged ramblings of a psychotic sociopath – and I want to keep that a secret ;) and as Indigene was not in the basic dictionary on Word I was using dictionary.com and I saw the listed synonyms and there was - Autochthon! How could I resist? It’s archaic, sounds positively erudite, and might fool people into thinking “Wow – this guy is smart! I want to have sex with him RIGHT NOW!”

Mahahaha(cough)! I know I have a rich fantasy world. Well at least they know me there, wished they liked me. They keep trying to get me to go to someone else’s fantasy world; thus I read a lot. It gives my fantasy people a break.


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Jan. 10th, 2011

Paralyzer

Okay all my friends who live in colder climates – we in Georgia are paralyzed by the snow and ice. Go ahead, laugh your arses off – I know you want too.

At my house we have 5” (12.7 Cm) of snow with an icy crust.

The only one a-stirring are my oldest, who is 22 (and thus thinks he is immortal and has a large F150 4X4) and a friend of ours passing through the area driving a big rig from Phoenix, AX to Augusta, GA (He had stopped in the area last night to visit his daughter who is temporarily staying with her mother while my wife’s friends significant other is recovering from a pretty nasty auto accident). My son is pulling people out of the ditches and getting them back on drivable road (he is only being a little mercenary, charging $20 bucks for most [save those in medical emergencies, which he hasn’t had any of; and the police officer who ditched his cruiser]. The Tow Trucks are charging $70+ just to hook people up).

As for my wife’s friend, he says he is going to hit the rode but so far he is still at the hotel. We called GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation) and the lady I talked with says we should tie him up to keep him off the road (her exact words).

Anyway I have a few pictures and some sideways videos of the stuff at Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/drcarstairs - just scroll down a bit. I also uploaded some pictures from our recent road trip of the Saturn Ib at the Alabama Rest stop on I65S from Tennessee).

So enjoy the fact that we cannot drive on ice down here, and be safe yourself. I may add some more pictures as the day goes.

DrC.


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Jan. 8th, 2011

The Road Trip and The Boobie Bungalow

Salacious title, and I will get to it; but this is a story about a road trip.

After X-Mass we had planned to go see my wife’s father (He lives in south-Central Tennessee, about 250 miles from us if you go by expressway) the day after Christmas, but with the snow and ice on the roads neither he nor we felt it would be safe – so we delayed it by a week.

For the first time I was able to rent a car for the trip (usually I don’t have enough money – this time luck was on my side and I had a little extra). So for the weekend we rented a 2009 Kia Rondo with full insurance. It’s a nice, comfortable car with seats that sit up like you are in a truck, excellent visibility, and a pretty good bit of zoom for a 4-cylinder. It made for a pleasant trip. My wife, my youngest, and myself would follow my oldest, my brother-in-law, and my eldest’s fiancée in her car. Here I have to state that, despite the apparent testicular requirements that the man be the driver I was not. As it happens (and please don’t report this to the ‘I’ve Got Huge Balls’ consortium as I think they might take offense against the MAN CODE) my wife is a better driver than I am (while I am a better navigator than she it). 

The plan was to hit the road by 8AM, drive the slightly over 4 hours to his house, eat lunch and spend some time, then drive back that afternoon. This is pretty much what we did, save our travelling companions took about an hour after they left home to eat some breakfast, fuel up, and actually hit the expressway.

I love to see the places and names of places when on a trip; I especially love to see them in the Southeast as you never know what to expect. We have cities and places with Amer-Indian, English, and Spanish names aplenty; plus you get a smattering of strange ones. The Tallapoosa, Coosa, and Tennessee Rivers (plus such notables as the Lower Duck River Watershed), towns like Warrior, Pulaski (which I found out later is the home of the KKK, though the town really hates that association – cannot blame them at all), Frankewing, and all of the villes, bergs, and dales along the way.

And the names of the businesses and parks, OMG I love them. I often hate the homogenization of the nation, the fact that there is a McDonalds at every damn exit; but I understand them to a point. I wouldn’t do away with those icons of standardized Americana, but I wish there were fewer of them. I know that the local mom & pop shops were often of dubious quality, but I think I would brave a few of them (others, no way).

Anyway the trip was fun, we had a good time. We ate a nice lunch with my wife’s father, let the kids play on their Wii (my youngest and my wife’s father’s wife got into a bowling dual – she had to keep playing until she could beat him a few times. She’s pretty good once she hit her stride, but I think maybe my youngest missed a few on purpose). The ride home was nice, we stopped by the Saturn IB at the rest stop juts inside Alabama on I65 south (we have been to it before, but it’s great to see one of the smallest Saturn’s up close. Have I ever mentioned I am a GEEK?)

So about the Salacious title – well just north of Huntsville and right across the Tennessee state line we saw some signs for “Show Girls”, which I figured must be nude dancers. I do not know if Alabama has changed their laws (Someone could chime in and let me know – frankly I am interested but not enough to look into it myself), but when I worked their in the early 1990’s there was no nude dancing in the state; the best they had were GoGo dancing clubs (I kid you not!). Now I have never understood why anyone would want to go to a strip club, not really. Intellectually I know males are extremely visual and that we/they like to see naked females; I also know that by serving alcohol the clubs lower their inhibitions and get them to spend more money. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to get all hot and bothered and be able to do nothing about it? If you touch one of the girls (at least officially, I am quite sure a lot of prostitution and sex goes on off the books and unofficially) you will quickly be escorted by Mongo into the parking lot where he will show you the new dents all over your car made when he slams your face into it (or rather when you repeatedly slip and fall quite forcefully onto the finder, hood, trunk, roof, doors, and side mirrors – you clumsy oaf).

Anyway as we finally passed the correct exit we saw two signs – one for “Show Girls” and the other for “The Boobie Bungalow”. I do not know if there were two clubs, or if The Boobie Bungalow had Show Girls (Don’t know, don’t really care). My youngest said he would have thought they would have come up with a classier name, to which I said class wants what they were aiming for. I then had a thought, and as with most meme’s that invade my mind I had to spread it. So I will end my blog this week by infecting you all with this horrible thought:

The girls who dance nude do so for money, and they get more money in larger cities. Thus the prettier girls will be in the larger cities while in places like this, where the nearest city of size is Huntsville, Alabama and that is over 20 miles distant, will be less attractive in general. So in “The Boobie Bungalow” it would not surprise me to know the following phase has been uttered quite a bit: “I cannot wait to seem some hot… Grandma, what the hell are you doing? Put your clothes back on!”

Sorry about that. I am evil after all.     

DrC.
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Jan. 1st, 2011

X-Mass Avarice

Trying to get back into the habit of blogging, so what better way to restart than by taking a page from those heroes of humanity the Gansta Rappers and bragging about my swag?

I like getting gifts, but if I had gotten none that would have been fine too. Things are nice, but it’s the people that are really important. So I will actually start with what I gave, which is more important to me because it means so much to those who received the gifts.

Mi wife – got her some jewelry from Victoria Trading Company (Specifically the Cream of Roses Collection necklace and bracelet) and a Bobbin Lace Making Kit (which may be a problem. You have to have the bobbins dangling while you work – I don’t think our cats will be able to resist assisting her when she works on it. Oh well, she still loves it). I also got her some movies (Same Time Next Year, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya sisterhood, And Dangerous Beauty) and a hard-cover The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook (she really wanted this one. The first book she bought as a child at the bookmobile was this, and she lost her old paperback copy years ago). I also put together a stocking for her, though I wasn’t able to put it out in time (Had to hide it, and my youngest woke us both up before I could sneak it out – so I just had to give it to her. She said she hasn’t had a stocking since she was a child). It just had chocolates, pralines, and a can of blue silly string (there should always be some whimsy).

Since I helped buy it I will mention what my youngest got my wife – 2 charms for her charm bracelet (A crystal-covered turtle and a blue horseshoe). After he bought it, but before X-Mass, I snuck her charm bracelet out and had it cleaned. After X-Mass she took the bracelet in to have a new clasp put on (the one on it is good, just hard to connect a lobster claw one handed. We are having a bar & ring clasp put on. They recommended a magnetic, but both my wife and I thought that could go bad – if you snag the bracelet and don’t notice the magnetic clasp can easily pop and there goes your bracelet). We should have the bracelet back around January 6.

My youngest (who is a 17 year old male) did pretty good. Santa (Yes, as long as he doesn’t say he doesn’t believe Santa will bring gifts. If you stop believing in Santa, or move away, he stops bringing gifts) got he a Lego set (Frank Lloyd Writes Falling Water House), a game (Dangerous Book for Boys Board Game), the soundtrack for Sweeny Todd, and a sausage & cheese gift set – all in a nice red velvety bag. He also filled his stocking with some strange-looking lollypops (spirals and such), a little chocolate, some sour candy canes and a pomegranate (Always has to be fruit. I forgot to put fruit in my wife’s stocking, but I am not a pro like Santa is). From us he got the Blokus Game (he has wanted this one for a while. It’s the classic version), Invisimals for the PSP, a pocket watch and a coachman’s hat (He LOVES Steampunk), and ThinkFuns Knot So Fast Game.

My oldest, being older, got less I fear. We got he a Gas gift card, a large stovetop percolator (I LOVE mine, and he loves a good, strong, hot cup of java as much as I do), a old lighter (I love my son, but the dumbass took up smoking [and I tell him he is a dumbass for doing it]. Being the person he is he smokes Lucky Strikes, so when I found this old Lucky Strikes lighter I KNEW it was for him), and a book on classic cars. We also had a gift my mother-in-law had purchased for him before she died – seasons 1 & 2 of Hogan’s Hero’s.

My eldest’s girlfriend/fiancée got a lace choker, some floral clips for the choker or her hair, and a nice shirt. Not much I know, but we will do better next year.

Now, for me. They spent way to damn much on me. One item, a very cool Visio Blu-ray player with internet applications (Netflicks, Pandora, Flickr) is ostensibly for me, but really it’s for everyone’s use (I do love it, but being the geek lord that I am my first thought is where can I find a hack that allows me to access more internet sites than just the pre-packaged ones. I don’t have a Netflicks account, but I do use Youtube and Hulu! (Both have free versions. Good GOD I wonder why I use them? We may never know;). I also got season 4 of Dexter on blu-ray (my wife thought that might give away the player, which I opened last. It didn’t, I am kind of oblivious sometimes), the complete Monty Pythons Flying Circus, and a 500 GB external USB hard drive. The last one is a GODSEND – I have needed (I am a uber-geek lord, I have physically NEEDED) this one for a long time. I can now carry all of my files with me, including thousands of songs and all of my art! Its wonderful.

Of course my kids got some stuff from my parents and my brother and his wife, cloths and gift carts to book stores for the most part. I also got a new pair of Rockport shoes and some cash from my parents (Well, the cash was for both me and my wife).

Well, that’s my list of avarice for this X-Mass.

Be well my fiends!


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Sep. 12th, 2010

Funeral Service

It’s been a while since I posted. I was going to write some about my mother in laws passing, but it is still to new for my love to have me write about it. It may never be the appropriate time frankly, and that’s okay.

I can talk about the funeral however, that’s an appropriate topic. The funeral home we used was the same one we used for my father in law – and frankly they made several huge mistakes that upset us with his service. This time, however, they more than did good – they were fantastic. The service was in the first part of July so it was hot as Hades (deep shout, if I remember correctly it was a 95oF/35oC+ day)

The memorial service was pretty boilerplate, but the director told us he had a surprise for the gravesite. It was something he had never done before. We arrived and the pallbearers mover her from the hearse to a stand in front of the mausoleum (she would have loved the pallbearers – a mixed lot. My oldest boy is in the Army Reserves and he had several of his friends come and server, adding to the civilians we had. Oddly one of his friends serving in the US Army Reserves is British [think he has dual-citizenship or something]).

The director then talked about my mother in law, and concentrated on her favorite story about my wife and her brother. When they were very young (3 and 4 or so. My wife is exactly 1 year and 7 days older than my brother-in-law) they got a hold of a jumbo container of baby powder and decided to make is snow in the house… all over the black Naugahyde sofa… an early 70’s style Naugahyde sofa. Yes GODS it had to be a huge mess. So to honor that story he had brought a cooler filled with Snow Cream Ice Cream Pops and dozens of little blue felt bags (really nice ones with the funeral homes logo embroidered on them and drawstrings at the top) containing a small bottle of baby powder.

Much to the cringe of a few of my mother in laws more anal relatives (and the later joy of many a dry cleaner) baby powder flew everywhere. The coffin and the people were caked. One of the pallbearers, a friend of my oldest and a really nice guy with just about the darkest skin available oh a human (somewhere between deep deep brown and mahogany) had a smear of white across his face like a reverse camouflage patter. The Army boys were talking about getting in trouble if an officer saw them in their current state BUT before they went to our house and cleaned up they had to go to a restaurant and show off to their friends.

My mother in law, who once worked at a funeral home whose slogan was ‘Putting the Fun in Funeral’, would have loved it. The funeral home more than made up for their mistakes at my father in laws service, and they made a pretty miserable day both humorous and bearable.

Be well.
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Jun. 23rd, 2010

Chaos²

Time for another thrilling episode of how chaos infects my life!

Honestly I cannot complain too much – I figure as long as my life is a mess I must be entertaining the Creator (or I hope I am) and while I am entertaining I am not as likely to be cancelled!

Okay, we begin on Friday – our Birthday.

My oldest one and I share a birthday, I turned 45 and he 22. My day was pretty good, we lazed around and I got a present (“Dr. Horrible” DVD), but my oldest did not have a wonderful time. We had switched vehicles a few days earlier (he likes to get the convertible some in the summer) and while he had it the clutch went out. He had just put a new one in last year so it was still under warranty, so he had the parts and was going to put the new one in Sunday (he actually did it on Monday after work). To get to work Friday he got his old truck (a 60-something ford rust bucket he bought for $500 a few years back). What he didn’t know, and didn’t find out till he was at work, was that some paper wasps had built a nest in the door. While on a smoke break one came out and stung him on the web between his thumb and fingers on his right hand.

At this point you should know three things:

1-     He is allergic to stings, just like I am (proof genetics inst the only important thing as he is not my biological child). He doesn’t go into shock, but he cannot get the poison out and his entire arm was swollen.

2-     He has no health insurance. He aged out of my plan and even though they have changed the law I haven’t had the opportunity to get him back under my coverage (my fault). As an Army Reservist he can only get treatment while on duty.

3-     His truck is a manual with "Three on the Tree”

So he got stung and it had swollen and hurt, but he didn’t want to go to the doctor. We told him to take some Benadryl (it helps me), so he did.

Saturday morning his arm still hurt and was swollen so he agreed to go see a doctor. We called around for the immediate care facilities but they were all pretty expensive ($120, $190, and $62). With those figures in mind we opted to go to the Emergency Room (they will bill him later), so off we went.

All of the hospitals in our area are owned by the same corporation, as is one of the Immediate Care facilities (the $120 one); but the hospital in our town has an abysmal ER (last time my mother-in-law needed to go she had to wait 5 hours before they finally looked at her, and that was after my wife pitched a fit. To put it in perspective while my wife and Mother-in-law were waiting a young man with chest pains was brought in by ambulance and left in the waiting room for 2 hours! His family finally gave up and took him to another hospital – and that’s when my wife let them have it! She got a round of applause from everyone else in the waiting room. We decided at that point to avoid that ER if possible) so we drove to the next town. He was back in moments, but he stayed back for nearly an hour (apparently it took some time to print off the prescriptions – Ibuprofen and some oral steroids). They also gave him a jumbo shot of steroids and told him to keep taking the Benadryl.

So we left and got some break… lunch actually. I bought his medicines (cost me $6). Next time some jackass complains about the uninsured not having access to health-care in America remember it’s a damnable lie! He will get a bill, and it will be a doozie I have no doubt, but he got treatment and he can make payments. The cost that day was for the gas and the prescriptions – six dollars!

Okay Friday and Saturday down, chaos at slightly elevated (but well within performance norm) levels. Enter Sunday and the Excrement flies through the atmospheric recirculation device.

My dad called early Sunday – my mother was in the hospital. We do not know why yet, but she flipped out and clawed my father, hit him several times with a ceramic nick-knack, ran into the street yelling about fire, and then sat crying in the grass. When my dad got her into the car she tried to stomp the gas from the passenger seat (fortunately the car was in park at the time). He got her to the hospital where she fought with the orderlies (didn’t want to get into the elevator – she thought the devil was underneath it and would try and drag them all down to hell.

As soon as we got the call my brother and I were on our way. I had to take care of a few things before I left, so even though my brother lives further away he got there before I could. Shortly after I arrived they transferred her from the ER to a room. We made sure she was settled (my mother was pretty sedated) and stayed with her while my dad ran home to take a shower and get his medicine. Once he was settled we left.

I came back Monday and stayed with my mom so dad could again run home and get something to eat. Mom seemed pretty coherent and understood where she was but she would slip into paranoia (she knew someone had bugged their house and was planning on killing us all – she had heard them talking through the walls and still believed she had BUT she wasn’t hearing them now). All of the tests had come back good (no tumors, no brain scaring/lesions, her blood work cam back within normal levels. The Neurologist, Cardiologist, and Internist all gave her a clear bill – but we had yet to hear or see the Psychologist (the Neurologists suspects its some sort of age-related psychosis, he has seen similar cases before and they are usually successfully treaded with medication BUT it is not his area of expertise).

I have to go to work on Tuesday nights so I had not planned to go Tuesday but my wife encouraged me to go so I decided to get up early and just drop by. Good thing I did as my mother had apparently went off again early in the morning. She had gotten up and managed to throw my fathers medication around the room. They tried to sedate her, but she didn’t go back to sleep (it did calm her though). When I got there he was a mess. I stayed while he went home and got a shower and some more medicine.

The entire time he was gone my mother was mumbling, trying to get out of bed and leave/walk the halls, talking about being on Army maneuvers, talked about her mother who she had just seen a few days ago (I am 45, my grandmother died when I was about 10). I tried to get her to sleep but she would open her eyes after a few moments and ask what that was outside the window. She would ask me to go look for something, to get her purse (it’s at her home – no secure place to put stuff like that), to get some money and give the nurse so she would let us leave.

My dad was back in a few hours and I had to go. My bother is going to come by Wednesday after he has his hernia surgery. He is going to stay at his house in the city (he lives in the north Georgia Mountains but he also has a historic [but small] home in an older part of Atlanta) and come by Thursday and Friday to give my dad time to go home for a bit and to get some food. I have to work AND I have people coming out to build me a new porch.

After I left the psychiatrists finally came by. They want to run a few more tests at the hospital before they transfer her to the psychiatric facility (it is less than a mile from the hospital. Once they move her they will not let my day stay the night (that may be for the best, this is killing him. But I know him, being away from her will kill him too).

So I got home and got into an argument with my wife. She didn’t mean too, but she hurt my feeling and upset me. Top that with two power outages and I didn’t get much sleep. So I set here, sleep-deprived writing my blog and waiting to get home when…

The supplies for my new porch are due to be delivered.

Not all chaos is bad, and the porch is one of the good bits. A local Methodist Church had noted my son and I digging out trench to replace our water line AND the noticed my porch was in poor shape so they offered to come by and replace it for me free of charge! They are also going to finish filling in my trench and do a few other light jobs outside of the house. It’s all part of a youth program they run during the summer to help people out. They have some teens doing the work and they are supervised by several adults. All I have to do is provide an electric outlet for their power tools

Its one of the lessons I have had the hardest time getting – take help when it’s offered. I told them I would love the help but if they decided others needed it more than I that would be okay BUT I did want the help.

I will let you know how it goes. How everything goes.

Be well my friends.
 


Jun. 12th, 2010

Wont miss don’t ask don’t tell

As a Libertarian I have always been against discrimination in all forms. It isn’t my concern who someone has sex with, as long as the people involved are all consenting adults (anything involving children, non-human animals, and force/coercion is vile). So on a basic, ethical level I found don’t ask don’t tell wrong, but despite the hue and cry of “Progressives” it was actually a step in the right direction.

It replaced the previous total ban on homosexuals in the military. Prior to DADT any accusation of homosexuality (say by a disgruntled subordinate) could trigger an investigation; if it was concluded the person was a non-active homosexual they would be given an undesirable discharge, if they were actively engaging in homosexual activities they would be dishonorably discharged.

DADT allowed homosexuals who wanted to serve to serve, as long as they kept their sexuality quiet and (preferably) non-active. It was hypocritical at best, but it was a compromise. Wild Bill Clinton made DADT policy in 1993.

I have said it was unethical and coercive (forcing people to lie/obfuscate who they are), but neither of these are the primary reason I opposed DADT. But before I get to my primary objection, lets cover some of the other side of the issue.

The military is a macho organization – like it or not; and in our culture hyper-heterosexuality is considered a sigh of testosterone poisoning… machismo. Homosexual males are viewed as effeminate, and homosexual females… I don’t know. You would think they would be seen as masculine and thus perfect for military service – I guess the penis-in-charge see any woman who wouldn’t suck their cock as a threat. I don’t get it, but then again I am not right (i.e.- I am a little crazy). Anyway the whole gay/effeminate thing is a cultural perception and has no basis in fact (though the homosexual community does its best to perpetuate the stereotype, sorry gays… guys but as a community it’s the image you project. That and an image of deviant promiscuity). The military leadership fears a discipline problem if homosexuals openly serve; they fear straight males would shun serving under gay males and would resent gay females.

They probably also fear they might like serving under a homosexual – nothing quite like a little sexual insecurity to fuel hatred and rage. Lets be honest, the military is more than a little bit homo-erotic. All those sweaty, fit young males (or females) all primed and ready to fire off. It’s a homosexual orgy just waiting to happen and be filmed for the Gay porn channel.

So there is fear in the military, and logical or not fear is real and has to be dealt with or it will cause problems. Not that we don’t have problems now, people have been killed by their fellow solders because they were suspected of being gay. It’s a problem, but not an insurmountable one. There were (and still are) plenty of bigoted and prejudice people serving in the military, and the same kinds of fears were circulated when the military racially integrated in the 50's.

By not allowing gays to openly serve we are also far behind other countries. Israel, man for man (or person for person if you are hyper-PC about crap) the toughest fighters in the world, have allowed gays to serve with pride (and probably those cute little rainbow stickers) since 1993.

Okay, I have rambled about enough. The main reason I oppose DADT and will be glad to see it gone is…

Remember I am not quite right in the head, and I usually come at problems from a different angle.

DADT allows people an easy out.

You sigh up for the benefits and education, but the time comes about where you might have to fight. Normal people would be worried, and some might look for a way to avoid going into danger. DADT is like a magic ‘I cannot fight’ pill! Just say ‘GAY’, whether its true or not, and BAM! – you’re out.

Like any miracle remedy it does have side effects. You loose the benefits of Military service (GI/Education packages, medical, stuff like that) and you are ostracized by those who see less than honorable discharges as bad. But this last one isn’t as bad as one might think. In areas of massive Progressive ideology it could actually be a perk; in very Conservative areas all you have to do is play the ‘Redemption’ Card (I was wrong, manipulated by evil people/Satan into the Homosexual agenda – but since then I have seen the error of my ways thanks to Jesus) – which won't always work but it is more effective than many would think.

Anyway I would love to have your opinions. Let me know where I am wrong; let me know what you think. I might revisit the topic again.

Be Well my Fiends!

DADT is dead! Long live freedom and logic!


Tags: , ,

Writer's Block: Daydream believer

If you could choose to control your dreams, would you? If so, what would you dream about?

I already do control them – sometimes. Lucid Dreaming is pretty fun. I usually let the dream roll as it will and only take control if it becomes disturbing (and you DO NOT want to know what disturbers me! Monsters and mayhem are part and parcel of us all and I don’t find particularly horrific. More often than not they work for me – In my dreams! Not real life! So put down the pitchforks!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dreaming

Be well my fiends, and pleasant Dreams!

DrC.   


May. 27th, 2010

RennTen


On Sunday we went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival, something we all dearly love to do. My oldest wasn’t able to come with us, he was busy driving antique cars around an auction (thus he was in heaven) but he and his fiancée (not sure if I can call her that yet, he hasn’t given her a ring but they are talking about marriage. I like her and she seems to be good for him) are planning on going.

Anyway we went, over the river and through the woods past grandmother’s retirement community we went. We got there before the opening ceremony (we though it was at 10:00, it actually opened at 10:30).

I took lots of pictures, unfortunately I had a kind of crappy camera and I am no photographer. They’re are a hundred + images temporarily up at my flickr account under a folder/set called RennTen:

Now I have a general rule about photographing people – I thinks the actors are fair game, as are crowd scenes but I always ask individuals before I take a picture. It is for that reason that there is a lack in my photographs. As we were parking a couple was getting out of their car, just a few places away from us. They guy was just a guy, nothing spectacular and not in costume but the lady… well she was wearing a corset that had to be custom-made because well… it’s almost indescribable. My wife worked at the Festival several years back selling corsets and she is rather busty and I have to say it was wonderful to see her in costume. But this lady, well busty doesn’t quite capture the magnitude. I don’t think I have ever seen something quite like it, at least not outside a bad pornographic movie. They had to be real, fake breasts would have been… perkier. Anyway I wish I had the nerve to ask her for a picture, but frankly I am chicken-shit. I had hoped to get her in a crowd scene but she was always behind people. Oh well, the corset must have been a really good one (good corsets make you look like you are about to pop out BUT they keep you covered. Poor ones fail at one or both tasks) as we would have heard about it (we know a lot of people who work there, it would have made the rounds if a guests breasts had come out).

On the pictures I do have, sorry for the dearth of males. Frankly I didn’t see too many men in costume, and that pesky Y chromosome I have makes females stand out to me. There were plenty of actors in costume, yet I do tend to see the females.

On a slightly embarrassing note, but also an exciting one, I met Ruth Thompson. I was in her shop commenting on how beautiful her work was when a woman said “Thank You.” I was floored, and I gushed (god I am such a fan boy). She is a wonderfully nice lady; we talked for a bit about art and artists. Before we left we went back and bought a few prints (my wife is wonderful, she knows what an art whore I am). Ms. Thompson signed all of the works I purchased, even the crappy $1 black & white copies PLUS she said if I would bring the stuff I got last time when she was in town again she would sigh them too. She is an amazingly nice and extraordinarily talented lady!

My son bought a wooden practice knife that’s pretty cool. It’s made of Padauk and Dark Walnut - it’s gorgeous.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padauk

This is the company that makes the knives, but they don’t have these on their website – which is a pity for them.

As for shows, didn’t catch a lot of them. We saw the first act of the daily jousting show (plenty of pictures there). We saw a few minutes of the Coronation, a bit of the Lipizzan and Andalusian stallions (a great show, we had watched it in years past – but this year we were broiling so we only stayed for a few minutes before we had to go and find something cold and wet), and some of the Sheepdog show (didn’t care for it, the dogs did not look happy. A working dog should enjoy what its doing; these didn’t look like they were). The best was a total accident, we were at the tea house taking our traditional late-day break with some cold ice tea (I love the tea house, my only complaint was I wanted unsweetened tea and all they had was the berry tea blend, which is good and I drank it happily – but I would have rather had just plain tea) when Tartanic came on the stage next to the tea house. Now that was a great show, sweaty shirtless men (and no pot-bellies in the lot, all six-pack abs) for the ladies and great music for everybody (they did a cover of The Whos “Baba O'Riley”.

Well, I had a great time.

Here are a few websites for companies were picked up cards from. It is lacking for many didn’t have websites:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Castle-Creations/106869819345908

http://www.blackswanarmoury.com/Home.aspx

http://www.tarnishedimages.com

http://www.fellowshipfoundry.com/

http://www.renboots.com/

http://www.ravensnestherbals.com/

http://www.metalsculpture.net/

http://www.lindsayarcher.com/

http://www.sabersmith.com/

http://www.maddhatterhats.com/

http://www.dragonlore53.com/

Be Well my Fiends
DrC.


Tags:

May. 1st, 2010

We Are MEN!





Yesterday my youngest and I finished replacing the pipe that connects our house to the County water supply. The old blue Polybutylene pipe was most probably installed sometime after the house was built in 1970 (it did have well water at one point), and even if the old stuff didn’t have a reputation for leaks and failure (to the tune of a $1 Billion US Dollar loss in a lawsuit) after nearly 40 years it would probably need to be replaced.

My problems have been ongoing for a few years. We would get a leak (and the water usage would KILL us, one bill was for over $1900 for two months! My normal usage is about $70 for two months). The first leak we had a plumber fix it and it cost about $200. he told us at that time replacing the pipe would cost between $800 (for PEX) and $2500 (Copper).

The next leak I fixed with the help of my wife’s ex-step-father-in-law (we have a complicate family! We get along better with my wife’s ex-husbands family than he does. I love his mother) came out and helped me patch the pipe.

Leak three I did myself.

Leak four was it. We had the money (but just barely) so we decided to have the pipe replaced. The plumber came out and low and behold the pipe wasn’t leaking, it was the connector under the house (they called it a Cleat, but I haven’t found an on-line reference for that). This cost us $300, but left the pipe to the meter in place. I have to say it looks like a wonderful job – its PVC with a dual-cutoff and a nice pressure regulator.

Leak five I had to fix myself, no money.

The above leaks occurred over a long period, perhaps 3 years from fist to fifth. From now on we are at an accelerated pace. The rest of the narrative takes just over a month.

Leak six was really it, a huge blowout that was caught which a few hours so the water loss was relatively moderate. It happened overnight (between midnight and seven AM) and someone reported it to the county. They came out and turned the meter off but didn’t tell anyone at my house! When my wife awoke to no water and found the meter off she called me and the Water Department (we didn’t know who had turned it off). The asshat who called back was laughing at the leak we had! It wasn’t on their side so he thought this disaster was funny! Anyway my Wife’s ex-husbands stepfather again came out and helped me fix this. At this time we discovered we had a slow leak somewhere else. I went under the house and turned off the water there and confirmed the leak was outside of the house. God I hate government workers, well some of them anyway. Give me a private company – they are far more responsive to customer needs. These asswipes are total jerks! I wish I could get the old well in the back yard fixed, but it hasn’t worked in god-knows-how-long, probably shortly after the house was built. Plus with the ground water lowering (long-term drought) and the contamination from pesticides and such, not sure I would trust it even if I had the cash to get it re-bored, replace the pump, and pipe it to the house.

The old pipe had to go! I figured I would price a Ditch Witch and would replace it this summer when my youngest was out of school and we could devote a few days to the project. A walk-behind rented for $195/Day, but my oldest said he knew how to drive a big one (he worked a construction job one summer with his step-grandfather, the often afore mentioned wife’s ex-husbands step-father) and he would help with the rental (I have to say he is really becoming a great man, but I have to give a lot of credit to his new girlfriend/maybe fiancée – she is wonderful!). I never priced it because…

Leak Seven. We fixed it and decided to just start digging it up with shovels. My youngest and I would work an hour or so every day digging it up, getting between 3 to 6 feet a day depending on the hardness of the soil and impediments (digging in good old Georgia Clay with lots of roots and rocks.

I also bought the PEX pipe and fittings to replace what I had. A 100 foot roll of ½” PEX. Turns out the old white PVC, which was labeled ½”, measured the inside diameter while everything else measures the outside diameter. What I would need was ¾”.

Leak eight was quickly located. The section of pipe where it had occurred had three patches so I deicide to just replace the section with 10’ of PVC.

Leak nine was my fault - I nicked the line while digging. We fixed it in short order.

Leak ten was dramatic but simple, and was caught within a few minutes of occurring. One of the compression connector holding the old Polybutylene from the meter to the new section of PVC slipped off the Polybutylene. The pipe stood straight up and was spraying like a fountain. Fortunately a plumber working next door saw it and by the time I was outside he was coming with a tool to turn the meter off (I have one too, but I am so use to it now I just turn the valve with my hand. I reconnected it and taped it up using a generous supply of Duck Tape.

I had spoken to a lot of people, including plumbers, about what I needed, and needing more advice now I again spoke with a pro. I had been considering using PVC instead of the PEX, but after again speaking with someone who does this for a living I realized the Pros were universally recommending the PEX (well saying it was cheaper, easier, and just as durable unless you are running through a forested area – then the harder PVC is better). The one thing he suggested was to put a pressure regulator at the meter – this would prolong the lifespan of the pipe by keeping pressure spikes out.

We located the slow leak finally. The plastic screw connector that hooks the pipe into the houses Cleat had a pinhole leak – and of course they no longer make the part. We had to but two iron fittings (one ¾”, on 1”) to make the male-male connector we needed. It wasn’t hard but slogging through the mud that was a bitch. Still we got it done.

As of Friday we only had maybe 10 foot left to dig up. I had gotten home that morning (I work the graveyard shift – they pay me extra to do it and I like the quiet) and had the weekend off (my youngest birthday is Sunday – he will be 17). My wife and I fooled around a few times (Yea ME! Happy-happy-joy-joy!). She was up and doing laundry while I was asleep (I know, typical damn male ;) when the pressure went again.

Leak eleven was actually an exact repeat of leak nine. The exact same compression connector slipped, even with all the tape. I killed the water and loaded up the PEX in the car (wrong size, remember). My son got home from school about this time so we were off to the Dome Hepo. Got the right pipe and fittings (both by Sharkbite, and they are pretty damn sweet fittings! Just slide the pipe into them and it will not come out without a special tool, which I also bought because it was only $2 and my life is chaos) and a pressure regulator.

My total cost in parts - just under $100.

Well we finally have a new pipe in now! I have some pictures at Flickr if you are interested. My youngest now knows more than I did and he is way ahead of the game (I am 44, he is 16). My oldest is a different story; he had 2 years as an HVAC apprentice so he knows all this stuff quite well. He is a 91B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in the US Army Reserves so I tell him if he gets deployed overseas to make sure his superiors know he can fix their AC! In the desert that will make him golden!

My life is chaos.

We did decide to do projects all summer. After we take a few days off and re-bury the pipe our next project is to replace the front porch. Then we are going to put up a fence, repair a hole in the ceiling (don’t ask), do some cosmetic work around the house, put up a new door to the crawl space… well you get the picture. For a guy who is all thumbs and has never done the handy-man stuff I am becoming a bit of a handy man.            

http://www.flickr.com/photos/drcarstairs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybutylene

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PEX

http://www.pexsupply.com/SharkBite-Push-Fit-Fittings-588000

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_regulator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ditch_Witch

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duct_tape

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Home_Depot

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HVAC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Army_careers 
 


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