Dirtiest Player In The Game — Mike Huckabee

Wooooo!Mike Huckabee has just completed his new stable of Four Horsemen.  He’s now being endorsed by 16 time World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair–WOOOO!

This endorsement by the Nature Boy is enough to complete my heel turn on Huckabee.  Flair has been added to the stable, headed up by Huckabee, which also includes noted jobbers Ted Nugent and Chuck Norris.

It makes sense to go out and recruit a proven winner like Flair to your side, but Nugent and Norris have never won anything…not even a tag team title or Intercontinental Championship.

Huckabee also has a new campaign slogan–If you want to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man.

Write It Down You Selfish Jerk!

After I posted my grandfather’s Thanksgiving thoughts last night, I spent the next few hours re-reading some other things that he wrote. I will definitely be posting more of it in the future. He was a great storyteller, and there are plenty of good stories in his memoirs.

TCH brought up something in the comments of that post that I think was pretty significant. We’ve all but lost the art of good, personal writing–letter writing was what he called it. I’m making a call right now with my small little voice that we do what we can to remedy this. If your parents and/or grandparents are still living, encourage them to chronicle the big events in their lives at a minimum, or to write an entire life story. You’ll be surprised how much entertainment and wisdom you can gain from their experiences, and you’ll probably make their day by just showing interest in their lives.

In the same vein, it’s worthwhile for all us to do the same. Blog software makes that easier than ever before (you don’t have to make the blog publicly available) but a pen and pad work just as well. I actually have everything my grandfather wrote scanned and converted to .pdfs, and it is cool to see it in his handwriting.

Some of the best stuff my grandfather wrote was about what it was like growing up in the 1920s and 1930s. It is really interesting to me because he grew up about 10 miles from where I did; yet his experiences were so different from mine. It is strange to imagine, but the way we grew up would be very foreign to the way kids are growing up today. Your personal description of the Atari 2600 or riding a bike with no helmet may actually interest someone somewhere down the line.

When I think of all the funny stories I have accumulated over the years, it is sad to think that they will all die with me. Maybe I’ll record them all, at least cleaned up versions of them, and no one will care. But maybe someone will. I should at least give them the opportunity to decide if any of it is worth the bother.

This Thanksgiving Post Trumps Them All

Earlier today I started on a post about Thanksgiving, how it is my favorite holiday, a truly American holiday, etc. Then my aunt forwarded this little excerpt about Thanksgiving that my grandfather wrote a few years before he died. Boy did my post look stupid.

I’ll stop writing now. His words are much better than mine.

In 1944 as a soldier in the U.S. Army, we left San Francisco, California in February headed for somewhere in the Pacific Islands to do our bit as Air Borne Engineers to rid the islands of invading Japanese.

It was a sad sight as we stood on deck looking back toward the U.S. to see the Golden Gate Bridge sink slowly out of sight as the Pacific Ocean water raised in the horizon. I think our thoughts were unanimous that we may never see The Golden Gate again.

After 22 months of service in New Guinea and the Philippine Island, we had finally liberated the islands and the Japanese had surrendered and the Army began demobilizing.

On November 5th, I boarded the USS General Collins in Manila Bay to start the long journey home. We took the Northern route which according to the curvature of the earth was the shortest route. Somewhere around the Aleutian Islands, we hit a typhoon. Reports were that waves of 50 foot engulfed the ship and we were hold bound for a long period of time. This was the longest period of scare that I went through. Most scares were short lived. Here I was headed home but can we make it? Thank God, we did. It took us 16 days to get back to the United States.

The last day of our 16 day journey we were in the chow line for our Thanksgiving Day dinner with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, a regular Thanksgiving meal feast. It was Thanksgiving Day, Thursday November 22, 1945. A call came down from the watchman in the crows nest that the Golden Gate was coming into view. The chow line disappeared. Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

I went out on deck after I had lunch and the Golden Gate was slowly rising out of the water. The closer we got to it, the higher it rose from the water. As I watched and my heart beat became faster and I became happier. It dawned on me that the majestic portals under the canopy of heaven which we must pass through was the reward of peace that we had victoriously won as victors of the “War to End all Wars, WWII.”

Dinah Shore was on the deck of the tug boat which met us to help with the docking. She sang and welcomed us back to the state side. We debarked on to a ferry which carried us to Pittsburgh, Ca. There, we were picked up by trucks and carried to Camp Stoneman.

For the dinner that night, we had steak fried to order with all the trimmings and all the fresh milk we could drink and all the ice cream we could eat. Quit a treat after 22 months in the tropics.

Thanksgiving has a lot of special meanings to me. A lot to be thankful for. I love to be with friends and family. I love to eat, hunt, relax and be selfish when I boast that Thanksgiving means more to me than any one else in the world!

This time of year is a very sentimental time for me. November 5th leaving Manila headed home, November 11, Veterans Day, November 22nd, landing in the USA. Every Thanksgiving is November 22nd for me. December 5th, I was discharged from the Army, December 7th reached home. Remember Pearl Harbor.

I really should post more of what he wrote in the future. This one little piece says a lot about him.

Remembering the time involved watching it sink, I knew I had time to eat so I went straight to the serving counter and had my choice fill.

If I’m lucky I’ll one day develop the patience and common sense that he had.

Amazon’s Kindle — I Don’t Get It (Yet)

Amazon launched its new ebook reader this week, and while I can definitely see the value in owning one, I think I have to pass for now.  The big obstacle for me?  The price.

$400 is pretty expensive, even though the gadget is cool.  Amazon is footing the bill for their reader’s connectivity to the Amazon ebookstore, which is nice, but they are still charging for the books.  I would be much more likely to buy one of these if it came with some free downloads, at least 15 or 20.  Seth Godin wanted to give his books away with each reader, but Amazon balked at the idea.  For me, that could have been the justification I was looking for.

I’m still tempted, because something like this is perfect for me.  I’m always reading 4 or 5 different books at the same time, and it would be great to be able to take them all with me on one little device.  This one is billed as being able to hold 200 titles.  Also, it would be great to use when traveling for the holidays.  Nice features like reading blogs through RSS and a built in music player make it a little harder to resist.

I’ll probably end up waiting for the third generation of these things before I commit to buying one.  I’ve already been burned by first generation mp3 players and digital cameras.  The price will drop and the products will get better.  I’d also like to hold one in my hands befre I throw down the money.  Still, a really cool idea, and this is the direction everything is going anyway.

Free Kittens (To a Good Home)

Okay, I already have feedback on my last post about the beggars outside of the supermarket. Some guys I work with read my blog (I write, they read, where’s the “work”?), and one of them brought up another case outside of grocery stores–free kittens.

The “free kittens” sign almost always includes the small print phrase “to a good home.”

What kind of home is good? Is it the kind where you don’t get your cat spayed, allow it to reproduce, then stand out in front of a store and give away the feline offspring to total strangers? Or, as my friend put it, “why do they care? By making the kittens free, they have determined that they have no value on the open market.”

School Fundraising–Producing Beggars for at Least 30 Years

Is anyone else really put off when they are attacked by an army of eight year olds in front of the grocery store trying to sell something for their school?  We were just talking about this yesterday after our weekly trip to the store.  Yesterday’s group of kids wasn’t even selling anything, they were just taking donations.

I despise this practice for so many reasons it actually warrants its own post, or several posts.  I have no doubt in my mind that public schools need more money.  After all, what gov’ment run project doesn’t?  How can our schools maintain their mediocre performance without more money?  Financing sports programs alone is insanely expensive, yet essential to providing an average education, right?

It gets better.  Our doorbell rang at 8:00 last night–a little girl selling overpriced stuff I don’t need for her school.  Well, a little of the money was for her school.  The rest was no doubt going to line the pockets of some guys in an MLM program.  Of course the little girl was super motivated by the plastic paddle game, or sticker book, or whatever it was she would get for being the top beggar salesperson in her class.

Or maybe not.  I told her if she wanted to come back the next day and ask the Missus, she may want to buy something.  No dice.  “This has to be turned in tomorrow.”

I at least admire her procrastination.  It reminds me of my elementary school days when I waited until the last minute to sell some insanely expensive junk to people.

Who Said It?

When the Founders drafted the Constitution, they had a clear understanding of tyranny. They also had a clear idea about how to prevent it from ever taking root in America. Their solution was to separate the government’s powers into three co-equal branches: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Each of these branches plays a vital role in our free society. Each serves as a check on the others. And to preserve our liberty, each must meet its responsibilities — and resist the temptation to encroach on the powers the Constitution accords to others.

Here’s a hint. It wasn’t Ron Paul.

These great and true words were uttered by none other than our fearless leader, George W. Bush, at an event for the Federalist Society.

It’s totally unrelated to this, but what do you guys think about Hugo Chavez? This guy is trying to subvert his country’s constitution and take them down a road of socialistic hell–and he’s honest about it.

Again, drawing no comparisons, just commenting on two completely unrelated events in the news.

Hat tip to Doug Mataconis

Product Recommendation — Creative ZEN Plus

If you are looking for a small mp3 player as a gift, I’d check into the Creative ZEN Stone Plus. I bought one for the Missus a couple of weeks ago, and this thing is great, especially when compared to the iPod Nano. For one thing, you can easily move files to and FROM this player easily–something that has always annoyed me about my iPod. Secondly, you can’t beat the price, which is less than $65, making it affordable enough that you could make a case for just buying a few of them and giving everybody the same thing. No way you can get anything with an Apple stamped on it for close to that. The third thing about this player that stands out when compared to the iPod is that it comes with a built in FM transmitter, which is really handy when you are on the go. Hop into your car and tune in to the right frequency and you are listening to the same thing that was just coming through your headphones without plugging anything else in.

There are some really nice accessories as well, including a wristband–the player is the size of a large watch face, and a keyring. Not to mention all of the skins and protectors you can buy.

There are also 4Gb, 8GB, and 16Gb video versions of this player, which is also much cheaper than their iPod counterparts, but I’m not interested in watching video that small, so I haven’t looked at them very closely. Another consideration when choosing a player that is video enables is that, if you are like me, you’ll drop it 100 times the first day you have it and crack the screen anyway. Just something to think about.

In short, if you are past the hype of the iPod and want a good player for a good price instead of a good player for an outrageous price, I’d recommend this one. I’ve had really good history with Creative’s ZEN players–this is the fourth one I’ve bought, and they’ve all performed really well.

Offending Every Garden Tool

 Australian Santas can’t say “ho ho ho” anymore.

Sydney’s Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say “ha ha ha” instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

This is more than a free speech issue.  It’s borderline thought police.  It someone may think that the word “ho” means “whore”, it can’t be said.  It reminds me of a few years ago when David Howard used the word “niggardly” and subsequently caused an uproar because some fool(s) didn’t know what it actually meant.

Luckily, we’re safe here in the USA.  Christmas may only come once a year, but we celebrate ho’s year-round.

HO

HO

 HO

Via Michael Silence

It’s All About The Process

Ken has a great post on a project his kids are working on.  They’ve researched 4th Amendment Supreme Court cases and are filming re-enactments (he hopes).  Technology has given them the opportunity to learn in a way that they couldn’t before, and even if they never get to finalizing filming and editing, he’s okay with that.  Unfortunately, others may not be as excited.

Because process doesn’t fill the seats and it surely doesn’t wow the eyes of the masses.

But it’s not about what they do with their understanding that creates the ‘wow’ factor; rather, it’s about how they reach that understanding that is the educational equivalent of CGI.

I had a ‘wow’ moment a few years ago that was very similar.  Unfortunately for me, I was 30 before I realized that the  process towards the goal is almost always more rewarding and educational than the goal itself.

Think about it.  Looking back, which did you enjoy more–graduation, or being in college?  Winning a championship in a sport, or the hard work you put into training so that you could win?  Getting the girl, or chasing her?

I’m on a tangent now.  Forget what I said, just read Ken’s entire post.