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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Monday, January 29, 2007

Seen any good movies lately?

I just saw "The Departed" on DVD. The official DVD release Date isn't until February 13th, but since I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild (A.K.A. "SAG") I get to vote on the SAG awards...consequently, at this time of year I get a number of free movie passes for "my consideration", and (this year) an early copy of a DVD.

I've written about this before; last year I got a free DVD of the movie "Crash", which did go on to be an award winner, after they sent out 130,000 free copies of the DVD.

I haven't bothered to even attend a casting call since '97, and don't typically go to all that many movies for that matter, so I do not really feel qualified to vote.

The production companies don't know that, however, so they send me the "freebies" too.

Last year when I received a free DVD in the mail, that movie was no longer in the theaters; this time, since the film in question is still in theatres, maybe they're hoping it'll give them an "edge".

I'll have to admit, even though I could've attended a screening of "The Devil Wears Prada" in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago (my choice) last week, I did not.

Nor have I availed myself of any of the other free passes I've gotten this year, so maybe the producers of "The Departed" are onto something.

Now that I have viewed "The Departed", I found it to be a good movie, on a number of levels. It was one of the films currently showing that I had considered seeing, anyway. Lots of "big name" performers are in it, something one might expect with a Scorsese flick, along with the obligatory violence and strong language.

If that stuff doesn't bother you, check it out...

Friday, January 26, 2007

What's all the ruckus about?

Here's where I'll be this weekend.

The Ironmaster Hostel; at about the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail, site of the annual PA Ruck.

What's a "Ruck"?

Well, the actual definition follows:

Ruck: (ruk) n. The undistinguished crowd or ordinary run of persons or things.

In the context of this weekend's event, it's a place for a diverse group of people from all walks of life, with one thing in common - love of the trail - to get together.

Here's a picture from last year:

And HERE are some more...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Support the troops?

I do, of course, but then...I used to be one of them. I suppose that gives me insights that (some) others do not have.

I came across an article that made my blood boil:

Web Site Kicks Sand in Faces of GIs in Iraq Asking for Mats to Ease Hardship of Sleeping on Ground

An American GI assigned to one of the harshest posts in Iraq had a simple request last week for a Wisconsin mattress company: send some floor mats to help ease the hardship of sleeping on the cold, bug-infested ground.

What he got, instead, was a swift kick from the company's Web site, which not only refused the request but added insult to injury with the admonition, "If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq."

Army Sgt. Jason Hess, stationed in Taji, Iraq, with the 1st Cavalry Division, said he emailed his request to Discount-mats.com because he and his fellow soldiers sleep on the cold ground, which contains sand mites, sand flies and other disease carriers.

In his email, dated Jan. 16, 2007, he asked the Web-based company, registered to Faisal Khetani, an American Muslim of Pakistani descent:

"Do you ship to APO (military) addresses? I'm in the 1st Cavalry Division stationed in Iraq and we are trying to order some mats but we are looking for ships to APO first."

On the same day, Hess received this reply:

"SGT Hess,

We do not ship to APO addresses, and even if we did, we would NEVER ship to Iraq. If you were sensible, you and your troops would pull out of Iraq.

Bargain Suppliers

Khetani on Monday told FOX News that the person responsible for the email reply had been fired. The Web site, meanwhile, has been temporarily taken down.

Hess emailed that he has since found two mat suppliers willing to ship to an APO address in Iraq.

Out of curiosity, I went to the website.

Here's what I got:

Discount-Mats.com is Experiencing Technical Difficulties...
If you are inquiring about your order, please contact us via phone or email.
Thank you for your understanding & patience.

The "boys" at Blackfive had this to say:

Won't Ship to Iraq?

I'm hoping Discount-Mats.com will have to stick to selling prayer mats to Muslims from now on...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Climate changes?

Absolutely! Quite often, in fact. I can't think of too many things that change as much.

Recently, we had above average temperatures; now they're below average. Put that together and you wind up with...average.

A view outside "La Casa de Camo" now:

Glibness aside, there has been about a 1º rise (Farenheit, no less) in the Global Mean Temperature over the past 100 years. Also, in the last decade temperatures have been growing steadily warmer. Of course, prior to that, there was a cooling trend, which was preceded by another warming trend, that followed yet another cooling trend...etc., etc., ad infinitum.

I am sick unto Death of all the politically-driven alarmism about this anthropogenic "Global Warming" hysteria that we as a society have been bombarded with in recent years.

Not only that, but if you dare to be skeptical about the questionable scientific method employed to reach the conclusions that you are expected to accept on faith, then you are branded a heretic by the "Church of Climatology"*. It's that serious.

Now the Weather Channel has jumped on the "bandwagon", and I took it upon myself to do some research of my own.

Consequently, I present more [than you probably wanted to know] about this business of global cooling/warming...climate change.

First, some commentary on the Weather Channel's official position by a broadcast meteorologist (and blogger) by the name of James Spann:

Some "climate expert" on "The Weather Channel" wants to take away AMS certification from those of us who believe the recent "global warming" is a natural process. So much for "tolerance", huh?
I have been in operational meteorology since 1978, and I know dozens and dozens of broadcast meteorologists all over the country. Our big job: look at a large volume of raw data and come up with a public weather forecast for the next seven days. I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype.

"Aliens Cause Global Warming"
by Michael Crichton
(The man is brilliant. He can write, too!)

Water Vapor Rules the Greenhouse System

Climate of Fear
Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence.

Global Warming: A Chilling Perspective

Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years
by Dennis T. Avery, S. Fred Singer

Past Climate Change

Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Livestock’s long shadow
Environmental issues and options

Common Misconceptions About Global Warming

Question & Answer
To help elucidate the mysteries of climate change, Kenneth Green answers fourteen questions and separates hard fact from speculation.

Man, this stuff wears me out...

*Yeah, I made that institution up.

Friday, January 19, 2007

'Round "da blogosphere"...

I was just looking in on who's looking in on me.

I still find it fascinating that people from such diverse locations as Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Germany, Romania, The Netherlands, and The U.K. are perusing my blog...in addition to we good people in the U.S. of A.

I'll be working through the weekend at the Military-Industrial Complex, so as to "sock away" more ill-gotten gains for my upcoming vacation, so that's it for now...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bare bones...

The Confederate Motor Company, located in Birmingham, (Alabama, that is) has some interesting motorcycles.

I was reading about the "Renovatio", which is as the title above suggests, a "bare bones" machine.

From the company's website:
"The machine is minimal; using the fewest pieces, moving parts and systems..."

I'll say; there's no actual frame...everything is attached directly to the engine.

I'd like to take one for a ride sometime...

Monday, January 15, 2007

"I have a dream..."

...that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Friday, January 12, 2007

Flight of fancy...too?

(Official poster for upcoming IMAX film)

Coming soon to IMAX theatres.
(Near you?)

According to Boeing's website, the first flight of the 787 "Dreamliner" is expected this year, with certification, delivery and entry into service occurring in 2008.

I posted previously about the Airbus A380, so I guess it's only fair to give Boeing equal time...especially since they've paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.
(Which I earned, of course)

Lots of background and specifications on the 787 "Dreamliner" are at the Wikipedia site, and there's an excellent article at the Aerospace Technology website, too.

One more article HERE...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The brightest comet in decades is unexpectedly now visible. The most optimistic predictions have Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) shortly becoming one of the brightest comets of the past century. For the next few days, its short tail and bright coma can be spotted with the unaided eye close to the Sun and near the horizon in both evening and morning skies.

This dramatic picture of the comet shining through cloudy skies was taken near sunset on January 7 from Bad Mergentheim, Germany:

R. H. McNaught (Siding Spring Observatory, Australia) discovered the comet on August 7, 2006.

Michael Jäger and Gerald Rhemann obtained this image of Comet McNaught on January 5, 2007:

I'm hoping to see it for myself, soon...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Are you ready for some (playoff) football?!

Well, it's been an interesting season so far, but that's just "the nature of the beast".

Now that the first round of playoffs is over, the winners go on to the following matchups:

The Indianapolis Colts will play the Ravens next Saturday in Baltimore.

The Philadelphia Eagles will play the Saints next Saturday in New Orleans.

The New England Patriots will play the Chargers next Sunday in San Diego.

The Seattle Seahawks will play the Bears next Sunday in Chicago.

I'm hoping to be able to get to a television next weekend, but it may not happen, because I'll be at a hiker get-together.

Anyway, the teams remaining after next weekend advance to their respective conference championship games...and whoever wins their conference goes to the Superbowl.

It doesn't actually count for anything, but I might just get to the Pro Bowl this year.

I'll be in the right State...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

South of the border...

...between North and South Carolina, that is.

Since the early 1950's, "South of the Border" has been a popular stopping place on the way to Florida, a veritable monument to the concept of tacky.

There are billboards advertising it for hundreds of miles, in both directions.

I went right past it recently, in both directions...but as it just so happens, I did stop for gas on the Southbound leg of my journey at the same exit.

That's not to say that I've never stopped; being a mere mortal, I am as morbidly curious about unique phenomena as the next person. Probably more so, in fact, but I was intent on covering ground this time.

One thing they sell a lot of there is fireworks, although what with some States becoming a bit less restrictive about such things, I'm sure that aspect of their business has declined somewhat.

Also, as a halfway point between the Northeast and Florida, I'm certain that a lot of people avail themselves of the campground and motel there.

The last time I remember stopping was for breakfast at one of the restaurants they have there.

You can read more about it here...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How I spent my (Christmas) vacation...

...was riding my Harley to Florida.

I have off between Christmas and New Year (with pay) from the Military-Industrial Complex, in lieu of several "minor" holidays throughout the year.

For the past few years, I've been going to Hawaii during that timeframe, and using vacation time thereafter in order to stay for awhile longer.

This year, however, I didn't go to Hawaii for Christmas week; I did leave town, though.

To preclude being stranded by any weather conditions on my return trip, I loaded my motorcycle into the "Camobile" (my van) and drove to North Carolina.
(I figured that'd be far enough)

The good folks at Collier Harley-Davidson of Roanoke Rapids, NC were kind enough to allow me to leave my truck in their lot, for which I am extremely grateful.
(Much better than some rest area)

So...on Christmas Day, after my visiting (and a football game) was concluded, I took a nap until midnight, at which time I got up and departed.
(I'd already loaded the van)

As a third shifter, the hours were fine, and got me past the infamous D.C. Beltway when it was relatively quiescent.

When I arrived in NC, I napped for a few hours, then got up and unloaded the bike.

Cheryl of Collier Harley-Davidson was just arriving for the day, and we spoke briefly.
(She'd given me permission to park)

Once underway, I encountered a lot of Southbound traffic, such that I got off of I-95 and took US 1 a few times. According to the truckers on my CB radio, it was all the "snowbirds" migrating South for the Winter. I got to my destination about 10:15 PM on 12-26-06.

On the return trip, (departing at 9:15 AM on 12-30-06) I bypassed more traffic on I-95, and rode approximately 845 miles back to Collier Harley-Davidson (arriving at 10:15 PM).

I immediately loaded the Harley into the "Camobile", and headed North, not stopping for a nap until 2:30 AM at the first rest area in Maryland.

I woke up at 9 AM, and was home by 11 AM.
(In plenty of time for a New Year's party)

The only rain was North of Jacksonville, into Georgia.
(I've gotta love my rainsuit!!!)

Patronizing Collier Harley-Davidson is strongly encouraged.

They definitely have my thanks...

Monday, January 01, 2007

HAPPY (birthday to me) NEW YEAR!!!

New year, new start...and (for me) a new birthday.

So now I'm seven squared.
(You do the arithmetic)

Hopefully it's a good year for everyone.

I'll drink to that!!!

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