sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Setting Priorities

People have asked what's wrong with me. I can't say. Sometimes the mood is a bit strange and there is nothing to attribute it to. It may be a combination of over work and the comprehension of my own mortality.

When I have difficulty writing (working on various literary projects), I know that the vessel is empty and needs to be recharged or it will wind down like an old clock  that has nothing left to chime.

Party's over.

We humans possesses reflexive consciousness wherein we not only can perceive what we experince but we also have the ability to experience that we are experiencing something. It means that in a sense, we can sense ourselves from outside of ourselves. (to simplify it, we can take a "selfie")

We are able to sense other people's intentions or expectations and act accordingly. It makes the world go around, but I'm not sure that sort of reflexive consciousness is always a gift.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls...
Or maybe I'm just being a bit morbid? There is always that.

No kidding

Time for a...

Road trip

Planning it now.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Obama Policy in the Middle East

From what I hear, there is a policy. Nobody that I know including senior members of the military and intelligence communities is precisely sure what it is, because it changes all the time.

This is the current idiot's guide to the Middle East as the area engages in religious and ethnic conflicts -- that the Obama Administration could have headed off, but didn't.

The Egyptian Army (supported by the Saudi Arabian Air Force) seized the Bab-el-Mandeb last Thursday and Friday from Yemen. With the Iranian machine marching forward, they are concerned that if Iran takes that chokepoint in the Red Sea, they can cut off Saudi oil and the much of the Saudi lines of supply. That is presumably why Iran sank so much treasure into seizing Yemen in the first place. That and to threaten Saudi Arabia's southern flank.

No, they didn't tell the US before they did it because they didn't want us to betray them to Iran. That is what passes for trust for Barack Obama.

You see, despite their enduring hatred for the USA (Great Satan) and Israel (Little Satan), the Iranians want to seize Mecca and Medina more than anything else on the planet. They have a plan to do that and they are executing it. The Saudis feel that the US is on the side of Iran and we may well be -- I mean, who knows what the President (also referred to as the Manchurian Candidate) is really up to?

In  years past, the US was an ally to Israel. The Obama Administration clearly is not. Have they jumped out of bed with Israel only to jump into bed with Iran? Some observers wonder.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (she of the deleted e-mail and Bitch of Benghazi), co-architect of the Obama Doctrine, is anxious to become president so that she can continue his legacy. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Please - No

I am not going to go on the attack against a potential Republican contender for the presidency, but I want to ask why we need to scrape the bottom so hard in this instance. Yes, I know that he and his family can raise a zillion dollars -- just like the Clintons can. Yes, he'd be a legacy president -- just like Hillary would be. 

Quite simply it makes me not want to vote. I will, but a Jeb Bush option is Clinton lite. 

A friend of mine moved to Costa Rica and is putting some mild pressure on me to do likewise. Pull chalks and move. His reasoning, "No more US taxes to worry about, and let the liberals have the place lock, stock and barrel."

The problem I have with the 2016 race that is shaping up is that I'm not overly enthused with any of the likely candidates - but of Republican hopefuls, Jeb Bush happens to be at the bottom of my list, right below the other closeted liberal, Chris Christie. 

The Value of Going Home

CW's blog, the Daily Timewaster carried this piece yesterday: La Légion étrangère Arabian. To cut to the chase, the New York Times reported that Eric Prince, founder of Blackwater, is organizing an 800 member mercenary force for the UAE. There have been a number of mercenary armies stretching back in antiquity to the Middle Ages, the Roman Legions, Ancient Persia, etc. It's a proven formula for small rich nations with citizens who are too few or who lack motivation to fight for their national interests. The UAE and the oil nations of the Middle East all fit that category. 

Moving on, there are problems with this for US Citizens. Sure, you may lose your citizenship for fighting with a foreign army. That's problem number one. Problem number two is how America views "civil rights abuses". Middle Eastern sheikdoms have no problems with torturing or executing prisoners summarily. They stone women on the accusation of adultery. Americans who are even involved remotely with that (officers at a distant location) can be tried and convicted in the United States for the conduct of foreign soldiers under their command.  So while it may sound appealing to some of us, with more balls than brains, you simply can't ever go home once you do this sort of thing. For many people, there's not much of a home to go back to and you find your new home in the company of men who "live by chance, love by choice and kill by profession".

I'm not saying that it's an intrinsically bad life, though there is an expiration date -- it's a young man's game. The pay is exceptional, you work out, shoot and train most of the day and there are vacations. You just may not be able to take them back home in the USA.

I saw The Gunman, a French movie staring Sean Penn, now in theaters. Yesterday began the weekend. Since I have no life, I had time on my hands and went there to pass the time. The theme of the film, as with all French movies is that "life is shit". I don't recommend it. Wait for it to come out on cable in two months or something. However, Penn's character is somewhat emblematic of what you can get yourself into. The film over dramatized it by about 8,000%. But if you see the movie, you'll take my point.

My personal sensibilities don't include voluntarily being a pawn of an Arab state or hireling of a sheik, though various presidents have made Americans into that beginning (in my experience) with George H. Bush and Gulf War One. USGOV indentured me and mine as servants of the Al Sabah government in Kuwait, on loan from the American government. We did our duty. But I understood what the situation was from the outset -- not unlike the Hessians being sold by the King or Prussia to King George III to go and fight in America. The difference was that as a serving American officer, I could go home when it was over.

After having been gone for some time, things at home had gone to hell in a hand basket in my personal life, but there is still value to going home. The consolation prize was one more gong (medal) to stack with a series of baubles of the same style in my drawer, in a box, now collecting dust.

There are a lot of issues with oil, gold, the Middle East and there are wheels within wheels within wheels...large cogs and small ones. And it's easy to be ground to dust by the gears of war. Would be mercenaries need to keep all of those things in mind.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More from the Archive

CNFK (Commander (US) Naval Forces Korea), military
liaison to ROK Squadron 56 (ROK SEALs), Chinhae, ROK
Yes, I know that there is no rank, etc. on my uniform, but it does
say, "US Navy".

The lieutenant commander to my left in the photo was commander
ROK SEAL Team Five. He's moved up since. That's the nice thing
about being older. You know a lot of people who you knew when
they were on the way up too. They ask you for favors, you ask
them for favors. The Chinese call it guanxi.

$500,000.00 in the trunk of a car along with a newspaper - evidence of
the ability to pay coupled with a specific date... all in a day's work.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Japanese Motorcycle Gangs

How terrified are you of Japanese motorcycle gangs?

Motorcycle Gangs in Japan
They have bikes, they just prefer to stand around instead of riding them.
The first Japanese motorcycle gangster that I ever saw wore an authentic looking black leather jacket covered with emblematic dragons. But he lost me when I notice his embroidered name tag (in English) that said, "Hi, my name is Yoshi". Then I saw more of them. All had the "Hi, my name is" name tags on their jackets. The hair was exotic, the outfits out of Hollywood - Central Casting, but they lacked the fundamental menace necessary for any bike gang to maintain credibility.

I'm not saying that three dozen of the little kung fu gangsters couldn't rat pack you and stab you. But looking at them and the bikes, I'd likely be laughing myself into a fit of hysterical helplessness and it would make their job all the easier.

As is clearly illustrated below, they also pride themselves on their abilities as break dancers in addition to riding (or not riding but standing next to) garish scooters.

It is fundamentally wrong that Japanese bikers paint their scooters neon pink and they are impossibly proud of having done so.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NY Blogging

I stepped out to take a few photos from my penthouse balcony before I left the hotel for the airport, and to comment on New York City. It's been a cold and rainy week in the Big Apple, but I'm here on business, not to indulge my vacation fantasies. 

This is Hillary Clinton's city. Mayor DiBlasio was one of principle campaign managers when she ran for president last time and failed.  Clinton (and Obama) are clearly the darlings of big business, and of New  York City.

Bill Clinton recognized that corporate money was an untapped resource by the Democrats. He came from a State where it really wasn't an option to be a player without cozying up to the State's biggest industries (chicken pluckers, pig farmers and Walmart). 

Yes, I've had my nose broken once too often
but somehow the old grizzled face seems to
fit with the old grizzled city.
Hillary, while a protomarxist, understands the formula. Obama took up where the Clintons left off. Wall Street, the tech giants, the entertainment industry have all benefited greatly from Obama's quid pro quo administration.  He's taken the Chicago model nationwide.

The Obama years have resulted in unrestrained profits for Wall Street. Hillary will promise more of the same because while she protests that she's broke, one hand washes the other. Business is not about absolute morality. It exists to make a profit. I'm clearly not anti-business, but that's what drives the machine.

So when your Democratic Party friends call the Republicans the party of big business, set them straight.

One more photo before I pay the hotel bill and grab a taxi.

Thursday Theory (from The Big Apple)

Blogging from the Road:

Thugs successfully attacked (local word is "mugged") a woman down the street from my hotel in Midtown Manhattan -- last night (cold and rainy). I commented that she should have shot the animals down where they stood. I was reminded by locals that New York is a civilized place (where only the criminals are armed).

I said, "Free people don't need to ask permission to bear arms." The New Yorkers looked as if I just landed from Mars. What sort of civilization trains people to be victims? The answer, of course, is that ours does. It's even more progressive than global warming (weather) is.

Whether conflict or old age strikes, we will leave this Earth. But it's best that you don't leave before you're ready and that when you shuffle off this mortal coil, you do it well. Living life on your own terms is important. Protecting yourself is part of living life on your own terms.

The Vikings did not hold foolish illusions. Their women were not weak. Many of them stood beside their men in the shield wall, and held their weapons in their hands, knowing that if they died valiantly they would go to Valhalla and dine in the corpse hall next to their men. They felt that if they died, it was important to do so bravely.

I feel as they did. Naturally I don't belong in New York...because it's so civilized. It's time to take my Jenny Wren tomahawk (It is legal to carry an axe around with you in NY) and go home to temps in the 90's and sunshine.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

M-60 Evolution

There's definitely a pattern here.



The Navy SEALs have continued to use and upgrade the M60E3, (which came out in the 1980’s), because of its portability and low weight for its caliber. The MK43 Mod 0 is an improved model that was developed for the U.S. Navy SEALs in the 1990’s to replace their existing stock of M60E3 machine guns fitted with shorter “assault barrels”. It has extra rails for mounting accessories, and a quick-change barrel. The M60 machine gun is gradually being phased out in favor of the heavier M240 machine gun, which is more reliable.
M-43 Mod 1
The US Ordnance MK-43 Mod 1 machine gun is fitted with the short (17.5 inch), fluted barrel. It is topped with a Trijicon Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight on the distinctively angular machined feed cover’s rock-steady integral rail and a PEQ-2A laser aiming module on the Mod 1’s new Rail Interface System forearm. The Tango Down vertical grip allows the weapon to be operated without a bi-pod by the shooter. This is likely the last evolutionary move for the M-60 before the SEALs start cutting down the M-240 into something more functional for a single operator (instead of as a crew-served weapon system). The limiting factor for this sort of weapon is the amount of ammunition that can be carried to support its use in the field. Though load-outs of SEAL platoon vary based on Team and platoon preference depending on the mission to be undertaken, the MK-43 is still a regular fixture.

M-14 Evolution

M-14 rifle

M-14 rifle is a selective fire weapon that replaced the M-1 Garand in US Army service. The military  then transitioned to the M-16 rifle in the late 60's and by 1970, the M-16 was the standard rifle of the US military. However, a few M-14's remained.

Elements of the US Navy bitterly held on to their M-14's -- Navy Underwater Demolitions Teams became SEAL Teams and they felt that the M-14 was a better choice for many applications. They had better range and more hitting power than the lighter M-16's. There was pressure for them to get turn in their M-14's. At one point, they claimed that they'd all been turned in... (hahaha). Then again, in that timeframe, the Navy still had M-1 (1918) Thompson Submachine Guns in inventory. What can I say? It has issues with letting go of what it loves.
The SEALs were also told to turn in their handguns that fired .45 ACP and take the service issued 9mm handguns instead. That didn't work out either. When the weapon that you carry is a matter of life and death, you tend to go with something that actually works rather than the bureaucrat's choice for you. At least that was how the Navy saw it.
One legitimate complaint about the M-14 was its weight. They weighed roughly double what an M-16 weighs, the ammunition is heavier and more bulky. But while the US Military wasn't thinking one-shot kills, the Navy was. 
M-14 EBR
Over time, the SEALs M-14's evolved into the M-14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (EBR) which is still in service today

When you are talking M-14 these days, it's only sort of your daddy's M-14.
The M-14 EBR takes the standard M14 action and replaces the standard 22.0" barrel with an 18.0" barrel. The barreled action is then bolted into a telescoping chassis stock system, with a pistol grip, a different front sight, Harris bipod. The forestock is replaced by a Picatinny rail system and the "Navy flash hider" replaces the standard, lugged US military flash suppressor. A vertical foregrip makes the weapon easier to aim and shoot. Various sighting options are available. The Wind Talker silencer/suppressor is occasionally used in place of the the DC Vortex flash hider. 
I personally prefer the M-14 to the M-16. The M-16 CAR has its uses, and I have carried it at times, but it doesn't stand up to the M-14 as a combat weapon in my experience.

Fully "kitted out" M-14 EBR

Ammunition comparisons (cycled through the Smith Enterprises Wind Talker):

This would be perfect for suppressing the feral hawg population in Central Texas in my opinion. I wish that a church group (hint-hint) would contribute to eliminating the feral hawg plague in Texas so that farmers could produce crops to feed a hungry world more easily. Buying these rifles for qualified shooters would go a long way toward solving this problem. (plug for LSP) If the Anglican Church buys me a rifle, I will bring my own ammo and will hunt the hawgs to extinction. Evenings will be spent BBQing steaks and roasting corn. How's that for a deal?

On another note:

In the coming week, I will be working to get more funding for my company from New York bankers.  None of the bankers that I've met are Muslims...  Most of them are getting ready for Passover...

Let's talk about race...
There may be some on-the-road blogging as I trudge, hat in hand, through the Big Apple,  begging for rich men's table scraps, occasionally throwing my hands in the air, screaming "I can't breathe". That's what people do in NY/NY these days, right?

I'm not going to put tape over my mouth because that would keep me from eating pizza and alternatively screaming, "I can't breathe". Hopefully nobody throws a Heimlich maneuver chest lock on me while I'm trying to blend in with the rest of the liberals in the Big Apple.

Therefore, I'm announcing here on this blog that my political correctness can only go so far - it has limits. My hypocrisy, however, would seemingly be limitless -- in New York, anyway.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Weiner: Where is he Now?

Anthony Weiner, failed mayoral hopeful
You all remember Anthony Weiner, member of the US Congress from NY 9th District who was shamed from office because he sent pictures of his penis to women under the pseudonym "Carlos Danger" almost continually -- including when he was sitting in Congressional hearings and should have been paying attention. You may recall that following his 2011 resignation from Congress that he ran for Mayor of New York City, losing out in the primary on September 10, 2013 with a bit over 4% of the vote.

Anthony Weiner is married to Huma Abedin Weiner, a longtime personal aide, and some opine, lover  of US Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton. The happy couple married in July 2010 in an interfaith ceremony with former President Bill Clinton officiating. In December 2011, not long after Weiner resigned from Congress, Huma gave birth to the couple's first child, Jordan Zain Weiner. 


We have to rely on rumor control, and that suggests the following: Anthony Weiner is keeping a low profile, working for his wife's best friend, Hillary Clinton, giving advice and support in her yet un-announced run for the US Presidency.

Some cynics (yes you know who you are, Libertarian Advocate) suggest that Weiner has not been embraced by the Clintons since he sent photos of his penis to many hundreds of women and it (the penis) made the talk show circuit. To say that would be to suggest that the reptilian, post-menopausal Hillary Clinton doesn't have a warm, charitable and forgiving nature. Any questions in that regard should be forwarded to Vince Foster, Clinton attorney and long time friend of Hillary.

Huma Weiner is caught up in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal because when she worked for the State Department under then SECSTATE Clinton (also known as the Bitch of Benghazi), she used the e-mail server in the Clinton's private residence rather than the official US State Department e-mail the way that the proles are required to. But what of Anthony? Was he using the server for his current sexting activities? We will need to wait for the Congressional review before we will know for sure.


Hillary Clinton and Huma Weiner
It would seem that his future in politics pivots on Hillary Clinton's level of success politically. If she wins the election, there is always the possibility that Anthony Weiner would be appointed to be ambassador to Sweden or Norway while Huma remains close to Hillary's hip.

In the city that reared Weiner, he can't get more than 4% of the popular vote in the mayoral primary. His prospects for elected office seem distant...but an appointed post is quite another thing. And at the same time, President Hillary Clinton will want him kept as far as possible from Huma.

Huma Weiner's close family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood are exhaustively documented, but does she have the stroke to find her Jewish husband a job with ISIS (keep in mind that Barack Obama has stressed that ISIS is beheading people for lack of employment - would sending Weiner there help the matter)? I don't know the answer, I'm only asking the question.


I think that it may be Weiner, himself, out there on the stump, that will help voters understand Hillary Clinton's platform and programs better than possibly any other staffer.

Is the public ready for Fifty Shades of Weiner?
Yes, he's argumentative and, yes, he has a checkered past, but America loves a reformed pervert every bit as much as France or Italy does. With the success of the feature film, "Fifty Shades of Grey", there may be a place for Anthony Weiner on the road with Hillary 2016 that wouldn't have otherwise been available to him.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Understanding Our Proto-planetary Accretion Disk

I don't think that many of you will care, but I am a science geek at heart, so I think this is interesting.

The elements that later went on to constitute the major ingredients in life on Earth -- such as carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen, originated as volatile gases in the protoplanetary disk when the solar system was less than 10 million years old. If you want to understand how those elements contributed to the creation of Earth as we know it, you need to understand where they occurred during the time that the Solar System formed.

The rocky planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars formed at roughly the same time and in roughly the same way. Meteorites called chondrites, which are thought to be the most primitive leftovers from the birth and infancy of the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. They derive their name from their main component -- chondrules, which formed as molten droplets floating in space, melted by massive shock waves that blasted through the early solar system. We can tell that happened based on magnetic residue in the chondrules that tells the story like rings on a tree.

Enter the latest information:

Led by Kelly Miller, a doctoral student in the lab of Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator of NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission, the team has found evidence of minerals within meteorites that formed in an environment that was enhanced in oxygen and sulfur and date from a time before the particles stuck together, or "accreted," to form larger bodies such as asteroids and planets. Specifically, Miller and her co-workers studied sections about half as thin as a human hair that were cut from R chondrites, a rare type of meteorite so named after the location where the type specimen fell: Rumuruti in Kenya. R chondrites are thought to have formed somewhere between Earth and Jupiter. In one specimen, found in Antarctica, they discovered a new type of building block called sulfide chondrules. The samples were obtained from the U.S. collection of Antarctic meteorites -- a cooperative effort among NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Smithsonian Institution.

"Generally, chondrules are made up of minerals rich in silicon, but the chondrules we found in this meteorite are completely different in that they are composed of sulfide minerals," she explained. "This suggests that they formed in a region that was rich in sulfur, and provides evidence for a previously unknown type of environment in the early solar system."

To learn more about the early stages of the solar system including the origin of the building blocks of life and water, the University of Arizona-led OSIRIS-REx mission is getting ready to launch a robotic spacecraft to asteroid Bennu in 2016 and bring a sample of at least 60 grams of pristine material back to Earth for study. The mission will provide ample amounts of sample material and, most importantly, from a known context.

"Unlike with meteorites that came to us serendipitously and we're lacking the context of where the material formed, with OSIRIS-REx we will know exactly where that piece came from, and we will know the travel history of Bennu -- where it has been in the past," Miller said.

Iran - Now Terror-Free?

When you live long enough, you find irony in many more things than you did when you were younger and didn't have that much water under the keel yet. Yes, there are people like (blogger) WoFat who have pissed more salt water than I've sailed over -- but the irony has been kicking in more now than ever before. Thus, I find that it's time for a sermonette, which is a code word for "rant".

The Obama administration bleached Iran and Hezbollah out of its new intelligence report on worldwide terrorist threats. "Domestic threats from suburban soccer moms and their husbands who commute into the city to work, who are not entirely pleased with the Obama Agenda and may run amok," is still high on the US list of concerns...higher, it would seem, that a nuclear armed Iran that is pledged to our destruction.
The 2015 "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community" excludes Iran and its network of terrorist groups, driven by the Shia sect of Islam, from the report's terror section. 
This is a sharp turn from 2014, when Iran featured prominently in the report on national security threats. In fact, Iran and its Hezbollah army in Lebanon got its own subsection then. What happened in the course of 12 months that took Iran from "evil empire" to near American ally status? Let's bounce back to 2014 and that enumeration of the same report:
"Iran and Hezbollah: Outside of the Syrian theater, Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah continue to directly threaten the interests of US allies," last year's U.S. report warned. "Hezbollah has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s."
First lady Michelle Obama hosted a big White House party celebrating the Iranian New Year known as Nowruz. The event featured a Persian dinner and an Iranian dance troupe. Mrs. Obama explained that celebrating the Iranian New Year is part of the "traditions that make us who we are as a country," as if Nowruz ranks with Thanksgiving or Independence Day. Really Michelle? Really? To me Nowruz is at the bottom of the list, right under Kwanzaa.

While we negotiate away economic sanctions in feeble nuke talks, let's not offend the ayatollah with terror assessments, and while we're at it, let's show him how respectful we are of his culture.

Clearly, the executive branch of government has departed from prudence and any sense of rationality or proportionality. And the pretender to the throne, former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton, author of the Arab Spring debacle and Bitch of Benghazi... is poised to take over the nuclear launch codes. Do the American people really want her to step into Obama's shoes? The only person inside the beltway who is smaller and more petty, vicious, nasty and venal than Barack Obama is Hillary Clinton - as if anyone would think it possible that someone could be smaller and worse.

I had lunch with a friend from DARPA today down the street from the UCLA Campus and reminded said person that they voted for Barack. They hung their head in shame. I asked if they'd vote for Hillary Clinton (they are dyed in the wool liberal). The answer was a strident , "NEVER". Maybe there is hope.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's Talk about Race

I don't drink coffee. Yes, I know that it's the life blood of the Navy, but I don't have that addiction. I don't smoke either. I avoid stuff that tends to control me, to the extent possible. I pay taxes because there is a gun pointed at my head if I don't...that's not an addiction but it's control and I pay. 

Coffee is one of those things that I avoid. I've heard that the coffee mixers at Starbucks are supposed to ask customers what they think about race. I didn't experience it until I met a guy there to talk about work-related stuff. So I went in and sat amid laptop-dependent live-at-home twenty and thirty-somethings who spend half the day there swilling $8.00 double latte mocha mud that their parents end up paying for.

The coffee mixer asked, "can we talk about race?" I said, "I think that you're an dot, not feather. Am I right and do I get a free cuppa joe?" I didn't get a free cup, so I ordered ice water while the other guy, an Iranian named Hassan, got a frapachino of some sort. 

The jumped-up little billionaire who owns the Starbucks brand  lives in a gate-guarded mansion in the Seattle suburbs where there are only white people. Therefore he feels that we should all talk about race.

To satisfy that billionaire and the wimpy coffee mixer, I went around the place identifying the races I thought were present: "I'm a redneck, gun toting cracker, my friend from the Middle East is a sand nigger or a dune coon, depending on your point of view (pointing to Hassan, the coffee drinker). The bull lesbian over there next to you (also a coffee mixer - lot of tats) looks like a mulatto, and the rest of these jerk offs are of indeterminate race (people on their laptops) and all of them seem to be pretending to be doing something so that they're not underfoot in their parent's homes all day. Does that work for you?" 

He nervously said that it did.

The morons sitting around Starbucks in the mid-morning time period were classic progressive liberals and presumably they enjoy the self-indulgent bullshit! But then again, that's what liberals do isn't it? It's Southern California and the fact that damned near every race under the sun from Danes and Asians to Mexicans and Negroes were present in Starbucks drinking one $8.00 coffee after another is proof positive that the "white privilege" that they whine about doesn't exist.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

From the Archive

I was looking at some photos and decided to share a few with the context in which they were taken.

In China
Adjunct Professor at the People's Public Security University (Beijing) on a speaking tour in Changsha, Hunan, PRC

No more food.

And this is how the cow ate the cabbage.

They're a lot older now, but I am a lucky guy to have four of them.

The master spy outs himself

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

I realize that the war for Northern Ireland is over and that the IRA made peace with the Royals. But on St. Patrick's Day (or celebrating King Billy crossing the Boygne), it's always time for war tunes.

Got Milk?

It's St. Patrick's Day, when green beer flows, and I'm blogging about milk. But I like milk.

I started liking milk the day that I was born. I still like it. I just do. I come from European stock, which means that my ancestors drank milk and ate cheese. I am not lactose intolerant. Good things come from milk. gelato and ice cream head the list. 

I don't drink milk that often as an adult because it elevates my blood sugar and throws pounds on, but it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the occasional tall, cold glass of moo-juice with my breakfast. 

When I was a young boy, my grandparents had a Jersey milk cow. I had to milk Bessie the cow every morning, early and again at night. Bessie (are all female cows named "Bessie"?) needed to be milked twice daily, and in the cold of winter, a nasty tail in the face was most unpleasant. That was offset by the 8 inches of cream on top of the one gallon glass jar full of milk.

At the time, I really didn't understand that the "city people" had to drink homogenized blue john. To me, milk included a full dose of cream. Sometimes we'd skim the cream when we needed butter. Home churned, salt added, fresh butter. Cheese was a bit more complicated and we never did make a brick that would rival the creamery in town that made cheese to rival what I later ate in Holland, Denmark and Germany.

Jersey Cow
We only had one cow. I pitied the other boys who grew up on dairy farms (thought they did have automatic milking machines) because their days started at about 4 am and then they caught the bus into school. There were a number of dairy farms in the area.

My children don't drink milk because their mother raised them not to like it because she didn't like milk. I always felt that they were missing out. 

There was a goat ranch near where I lived. Yes, I milked goats too (as a guest milker), drank goat milk, ate goat cheese, etc. I understand that it's better for you, but NOTHING tasted so good as the milk that Jersey cow produced.

Some people say that consuming unpasteurized milk can be deadly. In the US nobody has died from drinking unpasteurized milk in the past 40 years. So all you haters out there can stow the argument.
According to the CDC, during the period from 1990 − 2006, there were 24,000 foodborne illnesses reported each year on average. Of those, 315 per year are from dairy products. This means dairy products account for about 1.3% of foodborne illnesses each year. That’s not exactly an alarming number, considering that more than 75% of the population consumes dairy products regularly.
I live in a city now, far from those wonder years, but I still have a taste for milk.