Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
Sledgehammer's Performance and Custom Cycles

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Kentucky looks beatable

Notre Dame lost the game, but Kentucky lost the aura of inevitability.

I must say that I've enjoyed the games lately.

Tom cruise is a whiny little bitch

Point:
Cruise sat with lawyers this year for a deposition in his case against Bauer Publishing for stories two of its publications printed following his divorce from Katie Holmes, articles that stated he had "abandoned" his daughter Suri.

During the deposition, TMZ reported that a lawyer questioned Cruise about remarks his camp had made equating his work and subsequent inability to see his daughter Suri to fighting in Afghanistan.

"That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal," Cruise said in the deposition cited by TMZ
Counter-point:


Bundeswehr soldiers replying from Afghanistan.  Game.  Set.  Match.

Frankie Ballard – Helluva Life

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. 
- Omar Khayyam
My blogging has been off for a while, I know.  I've been distracted.  Yes, there's a girl involved.  She took the picture here, riding behind me on the motorcycle trip to Florida that ended so abruptly.  She's pretty damn good in an emergency.

The last months have been a challenge, as all y'all know from my whining.  But spring is here, and it feels like I've turned the corner on the recovery.  And did I mention there's a girl involved?

It's a good feeling.  Makes me want to sing along, to happy, upbeat songs.

Songs like this.  There's no deep message, not even any particular noteworthy music - just happiness captured to banjo accompaniment.  You can do a lot worse, pretty easily.

Frankie Ballard is a young Country artist from Michigan (who said all Country singers are from the South?) who caught the eye of Kenny Chesney.  This led to an album deal which led to his what was actually his second album, Sunshine and Whiskey which has had two number one singles.  This is one.  It's not Deep Thinking, it doesn't Explain The Universe, it's just happy.

Actually, that might just explain the Universe pretty well.  Oh, yeah - it has a motorcycle.  That may explain the Universe, too, if you're doing the Universe right.  Just get a helmet for her, dude.



Helluva Life (Songwriters: Rodney Clawson, Chris Tomkins, Josh Kear)
Saturday night and a six pack, girl,
Big star shining on a small town world,
It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.

KC lights on a dirt road dance,
You take that kiss just as far as you can,
It's a helluva life, it's a Helluva life.

And pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin on the radio station.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On its a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life.

Well we all have faith, and we all have hope,
But we're all a little lost in the same damn boat.
It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.
Something bout the night girl,
when you got the right girl,
Sittin right beside you,
Lookin at the sky, girl
Thinkin bout why we're here,
And where we're goin,
baby, here we are,
And all I know is...

Pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin and the world starts fadin'.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life.

Something bout the night girl,
when you got the right girl,
Sittin right beside you,
Lookin at the sky, girl
Thinkin bout why we're here,
And where we're goin,
baby, here we are,
And all I know is...

Pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin, it's the perfect combination.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
On a helluva ride.... Yeah, It's a helluva life, it's a helluva life.

Bad times make the good times better.

Aw one helluva life.

Look in her eyes and you're gone forever.

It's a helluva life.

Yeah it's a helluva life.

It's a helluva life.
Springtime is my favorite season.  This one is better than most.  Happiness is a gift, but it's also a choice.  This is life.  It sometimes is a helluva life.
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

- Groucho Marx

So some Liberals post some typical liberal nonsense on the 'Net

Hilarity ensues.

Bootnote: Long time readers know that I'm a supporter of gay marriage. They also know that I'm not a fan of liberal's name calling or pretty much any sort of coercive identity politics. And I hatehatehate the current vogue of using the Government to crush Unapproved opinions. Suck it, Progs.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Are there more leakers than just Snowden?

Hmmm:
For a while, I have believed that there are at least three leakers inside the Five Eyes intelligence community, plus another CIA leaker. What I have called Leaker #2 has previously revealed XKEYSCORE rules. Whether this new disclosure is from Leaker #2 or a new Leaker #5, I have no idea. I hope someone is keeping a list.
This is from Bruce Schneier, a wikkid smaht security guy.  Schneier has been looking at the Intel community for a long time, so this is quite interesting speculation.

Reptile dysfunction in the bedroom


If it lasts longer than four hours, seek professional help.

Rust

There is a new book on the subject, RUST. The author talks of boats, cars, the Statue of Liberty, and aluminum soda cans. One of the fun facts mentioned is that before the modern undercoatings, a car in the northern U.S. that was subjected to road salt lost about 10 pounds of weight a year.

Jay at Marooned has a car pr0n post today that reminded me of the book.


Makes you think about what all that road salt is doing to the highway bridges, doesn't it?

Ouch

Physical Therapy started this week.  Some of these muscles haven't moved in months.  They're moving now, and not happy about it.

I guess it feels like getting back on a motorcycle ...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Teletubbies meet Ingmar Bergman


More Teletubbies here.

Get It Right or Don't Bother

Reading before bed last night. In the story, the woman has a Glock. Eventually there is reason to draw it. In the end she decides not to shoot and then "with shaky hands, she carefully put the safety on".

That was it, book dropped on the floor to be return to the library unfinished.

I will give you faster than light propulsion, vampires, magick, and any other premise you need for a science fiction/fantasy story. But by $DEITY, if you're going to introduce a Glock, do your internet research and get it right.

And no, let's not get me started on movies.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Comments on Common Criteria

I was going to comment on Common Core and how it approaches Math, but it's already been done.



Actually, base 8 is just like binary, but that's not important ...

64?

How did 64 get into it?  I hear you ask ...
I know my commenters, so please - let's not see the same hands ...

How Abraham Lincoln caused the Civil War

I ran across this while researching the series on secession.  First, it sets the stage:
The 15 slave states can be thought of as comprising three tiers from south to north. The first tier to secede was the southernmost, led on December 20, 1860 by South Carolina, home of the ideological spokesmen of the pro-slavery “King Cotton” interests. English mills’ demand for cotton had created vast wealth and self-righteousness in the six Deep South cotton states. Inspired by South Carolina’s Fire-Eater orators, the states of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas soon followed.
But then, secession ground to a halt.

It is unknowable whether a seven-state Confederacy would have survived the next downturn in world cotton prices, or, disheartened, would have asked for readmission to the Union. We can see now that King Cotton proved to be a bubble. With the North declaring a blockade and the South an export embargo in 1861, the British ramped up cotton growing in Egypt and India, leaving the South impoverished after the war.

A rump Confederacy confined to the Deep South might have eventually been bought off by the plan Lincoln floated in the middle of the war for ending slavery voluntarily by compensating slave-owners with the proceeds from the sale of Western lands. At minimum, a seven-state Confederacy would have been easier to defeat on the battlefield than the eleven-state South that fought for four years.

The next tier of states northward—North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas—didn’t secede until May or June, well after the outbreak of fighting at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

Finally, in the northernmost tier of slave states, above 36.5 degrees latitude, four states never seceded—Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri.
So what did Lincoln do to address the greatest crisis in the Republic's history?
But Lincoln took few steps to ready himself for this task. His main response to his election in November 1860 was to hire a second secretary to help answer his increased mail from politicians seeking patronage.

During the interregnum, Lincoln kicked around the notion of maybe adding one Southerner to the Cabinet, what with the secession and all, but nothing came of the idea. After Lincoln finally took the oath of office on March 4, 1861 he devoted much of his first six weeks to conscientiously interviewing the long line of Republican job-seekers that stretched out of the White House and down Pennsylvania Avenue to determine which would make the best local postmasters.
Malice or incompetence?  But not everyone was ignoring the crisis:
While Lincoln waited out the five-month interim in Springfield, Seward, his incoming Secretary of State, had been energetically warning European diplomats to heed the Monroe Doctrine and stay out of the Western Hemisphere during the American troubles. Within the cabinet, the New York statesman advocated abandoning indefensible Fort Sumter because the Union fighting a losing battle might emotionally propel indispensable Virginia into the Confederacy.

On April 1, 1861, Seward sent Lincoln a memo, Some Considerations for the President, advising Lincoln to stop wasting time on jobs-for-the-boys. Instead, the administration should reunite Americans, North and South, by ginning up a foreign-policy crisis over France’s ambitions in Mexico and Spain’s recolonizing of the Dominican Republic:
I would demand explanations from Spain and France, categorically, at once.…And if satisfactory explanations are not received from Spain and France, would convene Congress and declare war against them.
Lincoln smacked him down, aggressively defended Ft. Sumpter, and the shooting began.  Virginia and the rest joined the Confederacy based on the attack, and 750,000 lives were thrown away.  The reaction of historians these days?
Today, historians seem to side wholeheartedly with Lincoln in his waging of office politics against Seward while ignoring the substance of the Secretary of State’s audacious attempt to rescue the nation from civil war. The considered judgment of scholars such as James M. McPherson and Doris Kearns Goodwin upon Lincoln’s response to Seward is, roughly, “Ooooh, diss.”
 The reaction of observers closer to the time?
“The American people, North and South, went into the war as citizens of their respective states, they came out subjects of the United States.”
– H. L. Mencken

“No war ever raging in my time was to me more foolish looking.”
– Thomas Carlyle
Doris Kearns Goodwin is no Thomas Carlyle, or even an H. L. Mencken.

Another reason not to buy a new car

Ford implements anti-speeding nanny software:
Ford has announced a new intelligent speed limiter system which reads traffic signs and reduces fuel flow to keep your vehicle within the speed limit.
I guess that if you're inattentive this Big Brother feature might save you from a ticket.  Right now, it's voluntary.  No word on what will be in the future.

Another reason to buy a '67 rag top Pony if you have a hankering for a Ford ...

Collapse of the Climate Science Paradigm?

This is a comprehensive introduction to some of the problems in the current man-made global warming theory:
What is the current paradigm?
  • Human activities, primarily carbon dioxide emissions, have been the primary cause of the observed global warming over the past 50 to 150 years.
  • The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration had stabilized between 270 and 280 ppmv early in the Holocene and had remained in that range prior to the mid-19th century when fossil fuels became the primary energy source of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are causing the atmospheric concentration to rise at a dangerously rapid pace to levels not seen in 100’s of thousands to millions of years.
  • The climate sensitivity to a doubling of pre-industrial carbon dioxide concentration “is likely to be in the range of 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C,” possibly even much higher than 4.5°C.
  • Immediate, deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary in order to stave off catastrophic climate change.
  • The scientific consensus regarding this paradigm is overwhelming (~97%).
Why is the paradigm collapsing?
  • There has been no increase in the Earth’s average surface temperature since the late 20th century.
  • Every measure of pre-industrial carbon dioxide, not derived from Antarctic ice cores, indicates a higher and more variable atmospheric concentration.
  • The total lack of predictive skill in AGW climate models.
  • An ever-growing body of observation-based studies indicating that the climate sensitivity is in the range of 0.5 to 2.5°C with a best estimate of 1.5 to 2°C, and is very unlikely to be more than 2°C.
  • Clear evidence that the dogmatic insistence of scientific unanimity is at best highly contrived and at worst fraudulent.
The paradigm is collapsing primarily due to the fact that the climate appears to be far less sensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than the so-called scientific consensus had assumed.
What is perhaps most interesting is which scientists are skeptical, and why:
Petroleum geologists tend to be sedimentary geologists and sedimentary geology is essentially a combination of paleogeography and paleoclimatology. Depositional environments are defined by physical geography and climate. We literally do practice in a different world, the past. Geologists intuitively see Earth processes as cyclical and also tend to look at things from the perspective of “deep time.” For those of us working the Gulf of Mexico, we “go to work” in a world defined by glacioeustatic and halokinetic processes and, quite frankly, most of us don’t see anything anomalous in recent climate changes.

So, it should come as little surprise that geoscientists have consistently been far more likely to think that modern climate changes have been driven by overwhelmingly natural processes.
Left unstated is that climate scientists depend on grant funding (or careers) that is in almost all cases tied to finding climate change due to man-made processes; Petroleum geologists do not.

Very, very interesting article.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Complacency

All you can say is they all got lucky. If you ever work as an R.O. on a range for any event, here's the anti-complacency video of the year.

Damn

Sunny and in the 70s.  Instead of doing this, I go to Physical Therapy tomorrow.  Oh, foo.



Next time, I shall endeavour to keep the rubber side down ...

Unelectable

Ted Cruz has declared his intention to run for President. One of the talk radio hosts , Todd Schnitt, listed him as "Unelectable". He may be right, Mr. Cruz may be too conservative to win the general election. Mr. Schnitt listed some other possible candidates as well and discussed their electability.

I think Mr. Schnitt missed something in his assessments. That would be the question of a GOP candidate too liberal to be elected. Mitt Romney fell into that category. A nominally Republican governor of a very liberal state, in favor of big government solutions, gun control, and government managed health care, he could not get the Republican base out to vote for him.

I held my nose and voted for McCain. I could not do it for Romney, even with Ryan as his running mate. I certainly am not the only one. The Republican candidate needs to be acceptable enough to conservatives or he will lose.

As Mr. Schnitt pointed out, the Republican candidate needs to be acceptable enough to some Democrats or he will lose.

Whether a Republican Presidential candidate with any sort could be elected is increasingly the question. The ever shifting voter demographics for the general election might suggest that the answer is no.

Been busy

Things are pretty busy, and I've been distracted.  I think I'm getting a little dug out, so things should be back to normal here soon.

Monday, March 23, 2015

After The Battle

R.K. offered a link in the comments to an article about an Army outfit that got sent to Iwo Jima. He knew about it because his uncle was there.

Late in the battle, on March 25th, when it seemed things were mostly stabilized, a group of approximately 300 of the Japanese attacked the Army Air Corps camp at the airfield. An ad-hoc group of Army, Navy, Marines, and See-Bees* Seabees fought back. It was the last organized attack, resulting in 130 dead or wounded Americans.

The Marines had gone around the island as they took control and rather than enter the caves, had just blasted the entrances shut. They didn't know exactly how many Japanese. were still alive, but at the end of active hostilities, there were over 3,000 Japanese troops still alive on the island. Some certainly committed suicide, but over the months and years following, 867 more Japanese surrendered and 1,602 were killed. The last 2 known Japanese survivors surrendered in 1951.

*UPDATED to reflect the correct organizational title of the Seabees, from a comment by KurtP who blogs at A Trainwreck in Maxwell

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Return to Iwo Jima

70 years ago, this week, the main fighting ended on Iwo Jima. For a month Marines had been in combat. Finally it was over. The airfield was being repaired and improved. The Division cemeteries were built and being filled. The number of graves was so great that Seabees with earth moving equipment were used dig trenches in rows.



Yesterday, March 21st, 2015, Marine veterans from Iwo Jima and current active duty Marines visited the island. For many of the battle veterans, it will be the last time. They are elderly. The island is far away and it is now back in the hands of the Japanese who do not allow casual visitors. Here's what Stars and Stripes wrote about yesterday's observances.