Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Friday, December 30, 2005

Auld Lang Syne

Be sure to check out this classic in a bunch of re-incarnations here.

And take a cup of kindness.

Sounds Like A Great Idea, No?

Those crafty Japanese.

Nissan doesn't want their drivers to get bored at stop lights, so they are installing an X-Box 360 in the Nissan Urge. When the driver shifts into park, the X-Box will come on line to let you practice your racing skills with the real steering wheel, gas pedal and shifter. Project Gotham Racing-3 will be the game, on a LCD screen which will fold down from the visor.

Now really, this is innocent, right? I mean, what could go wrong?

Hey, Who's Gonna Know?


When three ten-year-old boys broke into a school the first day of Christmas break, they planned to play football. But they stayed for five hours of vandalism. They even ran naked up and down the halls - in front of the surveillance cameras. Things get boring in Oklahoma...

Year End Clearance

At $100,000 it's a steal. And, the Growler fits in the Marine Corps' V-22 Osprey to boot.

Four years ago, the Dominican Republic paid $33,000 for a version of the Growler.

A commercial version of the jeep costs just $7,500.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alabama - Haven for ENGLISH?!

The story is that Alabama may soon be required by a judge to give driver's exams only in English, instead of the 12 other languages it has used since 1998.

The big deal here is that Alabama will have to find enough English speaking Alabamans to grade the tests. Not a given, I think.

"California Gets Slammed!"

The headlines are sensational:

Winter Storm Drenches Northern California
Rivers Swell, Prompting Some Residents to Evacuate

I will admit, it has been wet. The gravel where I parked Big Easy is a little mushier than it was when I left. And Lacy and I have made our morning and afternoon walks a little more purposeful.

But this is not New Orleans II. The wave pictured above is small by Cape Hatteras's normal standards, let alone storm conditions. It all boils down to "it's relative to what one is used to".

The rivers are their highest in seven years, one motorist was killed in a mudslide, and some folks had to evacuate. Remember, this is the state where people build million dollar stilt homes on the side of cliffs, perched above the ocean.

There are a couple of other storms off the coast, headed California's way. I watched WGN News in Chicago on satellite TV last night, and they tracked their current foggy, swampy cold and wet weather directly to California's last storm.

I will let you know if we really get a STORM out here! Meanwhile, the coast watchers at Half Moon Bay, about 75 miles from me (pictured above), continue to say, "Way cool, dude! Far OUT!"

Poifect Tugedda


New Jersey, my last home for 18 years, is looking for a new slogan to attract tourists. See if you can find mine in the following list:

“New Joisey: Youse and we; poifect tuggeda”

"New Jersey: We've Got Three Really, Really Big Roads"

"New Jersey: What's That Smell?"

"New Jersey: You Got a Problem With That?"

“New Jersey: The Best Kept Secret"

"New Jersey: Expect the Unexpected"

"New Jersey: Love at First Sight"

"New Jersey: The Real Deal"

“New Jersey: What Exit?”

"New Jersey: Come See for Yourself"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mother Theresa

I like Mother Theresa, and I liked her quote today about smiles. Here's another one:

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

It seemed to me that most of her pictures showed a serious mien, so I did a little searching. I was wrong.

Look what I found. (Click to make it bigger.)

She is surely a saint.

Here's another one:

"Just stay out of French automobiles."

It Doesn't Rain In California

Yeah, right!

This picture was taken at Alpine Meadows, Lake Tahoe, CA, today, December 27th. That's 147 miles from me in Vacaville. It's cold and rainy here now.

When I showed this picture to Lacy, she grabbed it and buried it outside.

I have a southern doggie...

Back to Vacaville

(Not really my rig, but close.)

Well, we got back to Vacaville at 9:00 pm last night. I backed Big Easy into her spot, plugged in the power, and went to bed! This morning, Lacy supervised as I unhooked the truck so I could go to work.

Sometimes, a new radio or a new outfit is great for the first couple of uses, and then the glow wears off. This fifth wheel and truck combination just gets better and better!

Back at work now...

How was your Christmas?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in a RV Campground


It was a great, great Christmas day!

I went to Mass in the church which was our parish when last we lived in California, in 1978. Saint Rose of Lima, in Chula Vista. Not a rich parish, about 50% Hispanic, and still very vibrant. Only about half full at the 7:00 am - everyone was opening presents, I'm sure. It was really nice to spend some time thinking of how it all began with a poor, young family in Bethlehem. And thanking God for it!

Actually found a gas station which was both open and selling diesel, so I sated Big Ride's incredible thirst. $79.

I had mixed the cleaner a couple of days ago, so I scrubbed the remaining 75% of Big Easy's exterior this morning. It is remarkably white again!

I broke down the seven pounds of ground beef, the 1-1/2 pounds of cooked shrimp, the four pounds of tri-tip beef roast into meal-sized vacuum sealed Food Saver bags, and froze them. I put some fresh marinade in with the beef. Then, I roasted some of the tri-tip on a hot charcoal grill, while I roasted a seven pound turkey roast in the electric oven. I made sweet potatoes (the new electric frying pan was great for that), a baked potato, fresh green beans almondine, and some giant Pop-n-Bake biscuits. Dinner was just sampling from each; we have lots and lots of leftovers, which was the whole purpose after all.

I spoke with all four of my children, and my brother and my sister, several cousins and my aunt all over the country throughout the day. Most of us speak fairly frequently anyway, but this is a special day.

I even had a "fireplace" fire tonight, in one of the fire pits outside the trailer. Lacy is a true wolf; she is very shy around flames.

Tomorrow, I must pack all of this up, and drive back to Vacaville. Work starts again Tuesday. Ah, well; this was a wonderful, wonderful vacation!

What did you do?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Rummy Sez Fewer Iraq Troops


Donald Rumsfeld says they will reduce the troops in Iraq.

Someone in the White House turned the calendar to a new month, and noticed that mid-term congressional elections aren't that far away. Don't worry: after the elections, it will be easy to spin that insurgency has increased, so we'll need to send MORE troops.

Would you buy a thimble from these guys?

Church Closed on Christmas


They are closing a lot of megachurches on Christmas Day.

Can't make enough profit. I say fine; and revoke their religious tax exemption, too. I'm sure the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago will also lock its doors, so poor travelers will have to seek shelter in a garage.

Bush Pardons


The President has pardoned 11 more felons.

Including three moonshiners, a bank robber and a lawyer. That gives him five more candidates, if the Senate gets tough on Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Quote of the Day

I put the Quote of the Day on the right panel because they are usually thoughtful, and sometimes amusing. Of course, I don't generate them; some computer does.

The one today is especially telling: Martin Luther King, "We are not makers of history. We are made by history." In one phrase, if he was quoted correctly, he summed up the welfare state mentality's answer to industriousness, American can-do and our historical work ethic: "Sit back and let it happen".

I'm disgusted, and so should be everyone who puts in a full day's work. If We the People are not makers of history, then no one is. Rosa Parks, I think, made history. And what she did propelled King himself to prominence. A lot of others "made" history, too.

If anyone thinks King's thoughts on this are accurate, then please explain how the civil rights movement every succeeded.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Women are from (a), Men are from (b)



What was the title of that book?

David Sobel has a new book out (check him out at NPR.org), in which he says "Venus is the planet most like Hell, while Mars holds the most promise as a second Earth."

The Planets, by former New York Times science reporter Dava Sobel, explores the myths -- and science -- behind the celestial bodies in our solar system.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

John Spencer, 58

John Spencer, who played Leo McGary on TV's The West Wing, has died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 58.

I first saw him in War Games, as an Air Force officer who declined to commit missiles against an opponent in a war test. That paved the way for the WOPPER computer to link up with Matthew Broderick's early computer and play Global Thermo Nuclear War - a game I'd actually like to buy.

John's character suffered a heart attack on the show, and Leo left the Chief of Staff job. I stopped watching in 2005 when the press secretary was improbably promoted to Chief of Staff. Oh, I believe that the screwed up fictional White House would do that; but a real one would not. That's a direct result of the show's firing Aaron Sorkin, the creator, last year.

We will miss John. Let's see: 58, recovering alcoholic in real life, quit smoking in the 1990's, lived a long time in New Jersey....

WHOA! That's the same as MY bio!

I'd better not start any long conversations...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Roadside Test

A County Deputy pulled a car over. When the Deputy asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver answered that he was a magician and a juggler and he was on his way to do a show that night and didn't want to be late.

The deputy told the driver he was fascinated by juggling, and if the driver would do a little juggling for him that he wouldn't give him a ticket.

The driver told the deputy that he had sent all of his equipment on ahead and didn't have anything to juggle.

The deputy told him that he had some flares in the trunk of his squad car and asked if he could juggle them. The juggler said that he could, so the deputy got three flares, lit them and handed them to the juggler.

While the man was doing his juggling act, a car pulled in behind the squad car, a drunk got out and watched the performance briefly. He then went over to the squad car, opened the rear door and got in.

The deputy watched him doing this and went over to his squad car, opened the door and asked the drunk what he thought he was doing.

The drunk replied, "Might as well take me to jail. There's no way in hell I can pass that test."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Famous People I Know

Marsha Evans

Brenda Love / Katherine Hepburn

Wordnerd / Myrna Loy

Some classy ladies. Marsha is an old friend from Navy days: White House Fellow, Admiral, Superintendent of the Naval PG School, Chief of Staff Naval Academy, Head of the Girls Scouts of America and leaving this month as President of the American Red Cross. Time for a break, Marsha!

Brenda took the quiz below, and her quirky independence shone through! Kate is one swell dame!

Wordnerd similarly came out as one of the heart throbs of the early 20th century. Just look at those eyes!

Who are YOU?

Monday, December 12, 2005

What Kind of a Leading Man Am I?

John Wayne
You scored 33% Tough, 19% Roguish, 19% Friendly, and 28% Charming!
You, my friend, are a man's man, the original true grit, one tough talking, swaggering son of a bitch. You're not a bad guy, on the contrary, you're the ultimate good guy, but you're one tough character, rough and tumble, ready for anything. You call the shots and go your own way, and if some screwy dame is willing to accept your terms, that's just fine by you. Otherwise, you'll just hit the open trail and stay true to yourself. You stand up for what you believe and can handle any situation, usually by rushing into the thick of the action. You're not polished and you're not overly warm, but you're a straight shooter and a real stand up guy. Co-stars include Lauren Bacall and Maureen O'Hara, tough broads who can take care of themselves.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online dating
You scored higher than 66% on Tough
free online dating
You scored higher than 58% on Roguish
free online dating
You scored higher than 20% on Friendly
free online dating
You scored higher than 70% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Glacier National Park

This is the webcam picture from Lake Many Glacier, in Glacier National Park, 1-1/2 hours ago. It is cold and clear in northwest Montana!

Wish I were there.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Google Gets It Right

Try this:

1. Go to www.google.com.

2. Type in "french military victories" without the quotes.

3. Instead of hitting "Search", click on "I'm feeling lucky".

4. Tell your friends before Google fixes the response.

Thanks to Steve!

Friday, December 09, 2005

NTSB - Not Too Swift, Buddy

The Southwest Airliner which ran off the snowy runway in Chicago was almost laughable, until we found out about the death of a six year old boy in a passing car. Now, it is truly tragic.

And your National Transit Safety Board (NTSB) says, less than 24 hours later, it will take a year to investigate it.


Who are these guys, FEMA?!

There is no excuse for that kind of estimate. I hope it came from an uninformed underling. If it proves true, it parallels the failure of the administration to fix the most glaring 9/11 failures, like radios for emergency forces.

What happened?

I seem to recall a time when, if a U.S. President traveled overseas, public figures in the U.S. refrained from criticizing him until he returned. That now seems to be observed more in the breech than in fact. What happened?

And, there was also a point of some politeness that ex-Presidents refrained from criticizing the current one, at least in public.

Now we have ex-President Clinton going to a foreign country (Canada - and Montreal to boot, which is REALLY foreign) and castigating President Bush for pooh-poohing the Kyoto global warming accord.

Kyoto was agreed in 1992, and got the necessary signatures in 1997. Clinton was President from 1993 to 2001. We signed the accord, but did nothing to codify U.S. actions - which, it is argued, would put U.S. businesses at a severe disadvantage to those in polluting third world countries.

Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, saying implementing it would gravely damage the US economy. His cohorts called the treaty "fatally flawed", partly because it does not require developing countries to commit to emissions reductions. Like China and India, two of the world's biggest polluters and producers of greenhouse gases. Bush says he backs voluntary emissions reductions and new energy technologies.

I'm not a Bush fan, but there appears to be some dishonesty going on here.


Maybe Clinton didn't lock in to Kyoto because he had too many extra-curricular activities going on. So now, is he just crying over spilt milk?

Threat Levels Get Serious

From Rick V:

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide". The only two higher levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

It's not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "shout loudly and excitedly" to "elaborate military posturing". Two more levels remain, "ineffective combat operations" and "change sides".

The Germans also increased their alert state from "disdainful arrogance" to "dress in uniform and sing marching songs". They also have two higher levels: "invade a neighbor" and "lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual and the only threat they worry about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Justaskjudy: Outer Space Artists at Work

This is a magical, wonderful season.

To see some REAL magic, click on this link and visit JustAskJudy. She has posted some wonderful, out-of-this-world pictures!

To me, one Hubbel space telescope is worth, oh, ten space shuttles.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Noted in Passing

Ruth Siems (pronounced "seems"), age 74, died just before Thanksgiving. She worked at General Foods for more than 30 years.

Ruth was one of the inventors of Stove Top Stuffing. Her stuffing worked because she got the bread crumb particle size right.

We do not know how the family had her body prepared for burial. And we do not want to know.

New Presidential Helicopters

The United States is going to buy 26 new helicopters for the Presidential fleet.

Three for testing.

Twenty-three for ... flying.

Yes, the President can only fly in one at a time. They only cost $110,000,000. Each.

Here's the kicker: they will be built in the U.S. (mostly), by Lockheed, Boeing and General Electric.

They will be designed by AgustaWestland. Who are they, you ask?

A British-Italian helicopter company.

Did I get that right? Yes.



Four Women Died from the RU-486 Abortion Pill

The FDA will convene an investigation into a bacteria which caused the deaths of four women who took the RU-486 abortion pill in California.

That’s good to know. I also note that, even when this drug does what it is designed to do, one other person dies.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Leaning Tower of ... Sioux Falls

The reportedly tallest structure in South Dakota, the Zip Feeds Mill tower, was supposed to be brought down by demolition explosives. We’ve all see videos of buildings exploded so that they fall in on themselves.

But this one just tilted, and wedged into its basement.

The project manager, Eric Schuler, explained why: “It’s not an exact science. We’ll get it down safely.”

Actually, it IS an exact science; and since Eric doesn’t know that, well, THAT’S why it looks like something in Pisa!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Face Transplant Heartbreak

LYON, France (Dec. 2) - A woman who underwent the world's first partial face transplant regained consciousness 24 hours after the groundbreaking operation and her first words were "thank you," one of her doctors said Friday.

The 38-year-old woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, was mauled by a dog in May. She underwent the transplant Sunday at a hospital in Amiens, northern France. The donor was a brain dead woman.


Her first words had to be heartbreaking for her family. Apparently, the donor’s native language was English. The family of the woman who received the transplant surely expected her to say “Merci”.