Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Whither went your Barbara Walters interviews, Moammar?
I remember when I saw Barbara Walters doing interview with Mu'ammar Qaddafi* back in 1989. I was disgusted with it in a general sort of way. Barbara seemed so sympathetic about the tribulations that Col. Gadafi had gone through when his mansion was bombed by F-111F's back in 1986.
I was disgusted because Gadafi, a terrorist underwriter, had survived the retaliation for a bombing of our troops. I was disgusted that Walters was being so amiable and deferential to this terrorist, who was responsible for the Berlin bombing, the downing of an airliner over Lockerbie, and at least one fatal hijacking. Plus, had anyone actually seen this guy in the same room with Gene Simmons? I had my suspicions.**
Mu'ammar Al-Qadhafi eventually accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, and made reparations. He was beginning to be accepted back into the international community.
And then came the uprisings in Tunisia, and Egypt. Suddenly, North Africa became a zone of people charged with the idea of liberation. After Egypt's coup, the people in Libya began to look at a ruler of 42 years as not being precisely "democratic."
Remember how some of us were a little ambivalent about Egypt's revolt?
Well, compared to Libya, Egypt looked like Canada. In Egypt, the troops refused to fire on the protestors. In fact, the government was turned over to the military there. In Libya, the troops have been mowing down protestors. Bad idea. We're getting reports of pro-Gadhafi forces gassing the protestors with poison gas. Bad idea.
So it was that yesterday, Libya's deputy ambassador to the U.N. stepped down and declared Muammar Khaddafi to be a "mad man." That's pretty bad.
But then later in the day, during open session on the floor of the U.N., amidst the dry verbage of international negotiation, Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham, Gadhafi's head Ambassador to the U.N. slammed Gadhafi's regime. He threw diplomacy to the wind, and said of his own government:
"They are asking for their rights. They did not throw a single stone and they were
killed. I tell my brother Gaddhafi: Leave the Libyans alone."
Pack your bags, Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. It's time to split.
* You will notice that I'll be using a variety of spellings for this guy. Why not? Everyone else does.
** Which really isn't fair to the KISS frontman. He's turned out to be a huge supporter of U.S. troops.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Got any pocket change?
I've got five... no, six! dollars, and 37 cents.
Let's all kick in and buy a Type 42 destroyer.
Sure, the engines and the guns are removed, but think of the fun we could have. I'm thinking that, once we've got some Mercury outboards mounted, we go make a run up and down the coast of Somalia.
I know whom I'm asking to captain her.
What, me?!? Are you kidding? Give up a gunport on the rails for a spot on the conn? You're out of your mind.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I've gotten asked this quite a bit the last few shifts by my citizens.
No, actually-- it's not. And I feel kind of ambivalent about that.
See, if I'm not busy with calls for service, then apparently, people aren't perceiving crimes to call in. When I don't have calls for service, I drive around looking for crime. And frankly, I've not been seeing much in my nice little town, the past couple of weeks.*
So basically, I'm bored, but that's a good thing. Because being bored means that everything's all right.
My last audiobook just ended, and night time radio sucks rocks right off the ground.
I feel kind of like a goalie on a really good team, who feels kind of bad about wishing that the other team could take a shot on his goal once in awhile.
*Note, too, that in numbers-driven evaluation, my P.D. can thus actually be seen as failing, when reviewed by our city council. See, the numbers of calls for service, tickets, and case reports are down, so we must be doing less work, right?
Or, we're actually doing our job on patrol, and the calls for service have dropped because we've actually prevented some crime.
Friday, February 11, 2011
It ain't haute cuisine, but....
When I was at Blogorado, I had a really simple appetizer that the Farm Fam prepared, that I loved. They took a large summer sausage, slit it to the center (that is to say, they made a single longitudinal sagital cut that went halfway through the width of the sausage), and stuffed the slit with canned pickled jalapeño slices. They then smoked it. What could be easier? Sliced transversely, and put on a cracker, it was Fan. Tas. Tic. A very flavorful way to feed a lot of visitors.
I mentioned this to a rather, um, heavyset friend of mine. He remarked that he likes to buy a cheap Armour summer sausage from Wal*Mart, cut it up into cubes, and put them into the left-over vinegar brine that he has when he finishes off his pickle jars of jalapeños*.
"That's it?" I asked. "You just dice the sausage into the brine?"
"That's it," assured my rotund friend. "Leave it overnight, if you can. I hurt myself, I eat so much."
I gave it a shot.
Mental note: listen to the fat man.**
*A word of explanation here: it is a common tradition, in Texas, to save your mayonnaise and pickle jars when you are done with them, to be cleaned and stored until the next time you bring home a gallon can of pickled jalapeños. The jalapeños almost always come packed in an escabeche, which is a vinegar brine, with vegetables-- usually carrots and onions, but occasionally also with bay, oregano, and even cauliflower. The contents of the gallon can are then distributed to the various quart and pint jars, which are then sealed and stored. The empty can is then used for target practice.
**Make sure the meat is covered with the brine if you're going to leave it out. I put mine in the refrigerator, but it needs heating before eating, because cold fat doesn't feel right in the mouth. Lightly pan-fried, it's quite good.
Monday, February 07, 2011
Pardon me while I get a little defensive for our state.
You know who we see moving here in Texas? Californians. They marvel at the low (read: realistic) cost of housing. They like the lack of state income taxes. They buy a house here, enroll their kid into our schools, and then get busy complaining.
Not enough services. Our schools are rated too low. Texas is made up of a bunch of hicks. (That last one's pretty general, and, to a great extent, true. But we hear the complaint a lot.)
Funny thing, though. You Californians and other immigrants to our state seem to be complaining about our state at the end of a conversation that started with "Where's the nearest U-Haul dealership? I need to turn in my moving van."
I can't blame you for fleeing Cali. If it weren't for Miami, you guys would have "top five crappiest towns in the U.S." locked up.
As for schools, I have often wondered how anyone could miss that 1254 miles of our 2000 mile border with Mexico is the Rio Grande River. In my personal experience, the Rio Grande averages about a foot or two deep, most places. So we get a few international immigrants, too. It is estimated that we have 70,000 undocumented aliens in the Texas school system. In the college system, most of the 12,000 aliens in Texas receiving in-state tuition are illegal.
We educate about 700,000 ESL kids a year, at an average cost of around $7500 per kid per year. Count the zeros. That's a good five billion bucks. Which we come a lot closer to paying than the folks in California do.
Hey, your revenue is welcome. And if you'll give it a shot, you might just find that you like our redneck ways. But if you're running down your new home as soon as you get here, that's just foolish.
You incoming folks have already run up the number of digits on our license plates to seven, just like you had it back home. Maybe that'll feel more homey to you.