Friday, July 29, 2011

Death of the Space Program

Barack bin slama-licka Ali Obama, in his usual two-faced manner, pretty much cut the balls off NASA while touting a trip to Mars. It's a shame that NASA got a bent over, not because we aren't in space as much as we're missing out on some tech spinoffs and potential role models.


A lot of today's tech toys were direct result of needs generated by the space program. Grappling with a problem as complex as leaving earth and navigating space drives great minds to come up with solutions. It may be said that the challenge increased brain power in the US substantially. Now China and Russia will take the lead on space and derive benefit from the exploration, leaving the US far behind and cementing our place in the Third World.


When I was kid, after we got over wanting to be cowboys and right after the Mercury program there wasn't a kid in the neighborhood that didn't want to be an astronaut. Now, unless you are a billionaire and can hitch a ride with the Ruskies, you're shit out of luck. The media offers up hollywood whores, ball monkeys, and thugs on MTV.

Bottom line is we need a space program, not to bring cheese back from the moon, but the invaluable side benefits. I figure some drastic pay cuts for congressmen and high government officials, pulling out of Afcrapistan, Iraq, and Libya, allowing the arabs to fix their own mess, should free up enough money and manpower (there are a lot of brilliant military techs) to keep the space program going for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drippy day

I can hear the rain dripping from the eaves, a slow patter -- rare during Monsoons, where it is usually all or nothing. Very enjoyable, the rain has knocked the dust down so the mountains are clearly visible and also brought the temps down a bit so it is very comfortable outside.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Endangered Animal Alert

Sea Weasel fur

I was shocked to see a local woman's craft store offering fur taken from the endangered North Pacific Sea Weasel. There are only ten of these rare animals left and eight of those are male. This is putting undue pressure on the only two females.

It is important to write your congressman and tell him to stop the illegal poaching of the Sea Weasel!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monsoon mania

Lots of rain in a short period of time...

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

You can't get there from here

Yep, they're pencils. They still make them, though they aren't as good as they used to be. Industry is all for cutting corners to save a couple sheckles. While creating a new generation of crap pencils is problematic for pencil users, it isn't the biggest problem...

The worst part is trying to find a way to sharpen them. Sure, you can buy the small crappy plastic sharpeners that do peel away the wood, but if they actually bring the lead to a decent point without tearing the graphite out of the wood, it's a miracle.

Time was every classroom in America had a sturdy reliable metal hand-cranked sharpener. They brought the pencil to a point sharp enough to readily stick into the ceiling tiles. You couldn't walk into a classroom that didn't have at least one pencil sticking out of the ceiling. But the main point (no pun intended) is That sharpeners worked and pencils penciled properly.

I still use pencils because they have the original delete function built right in -- a pink eraser on the top that could, with care, undo any mistake made with the other end. You just had to use the eraser judiciously to avoid creating a large hole in the paper. Ironically, I use a ball point to do crosswords because I am tough old bastard.

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Friday, July 15, 2011


It's exactly like a Popsicle, 'cept different. The crust is fresh from the freezer and hard as a rock. It's so hard and heavy you could kill someone with it (and then eat the evidence). The trick to eating this is to put the sauce and toppings in your mouth than lick the crust -- or you could allow the crust to thaw, roll it out and proceed with the usual pizza scenario. Your choice.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Still crazy after all these years...

Crazy for living in a desert. One would think that having spent a lot of time in other people's deserts I would have had enough, but no, ol' Phos. At least in this desert I am not trying to kill people or visa-versa. Truth be told I couldn't stand the cold again -- my ice fishing days are far behind me. I miss the fishing part but not sitting on a pickle bucket in the middle of a frozen lake with nothing between the wind and the shore except me. Hard to beat the fish though, they don't get much fresher than the ones frozen right out of the ice fishing hole. Sometimes they'd come back to life in the sink when I went to clean them. Good trout and splake.

Anyhoo, hotter than a $2 pistol today so no chance of ice, unless we get hit with some hail, something not beyond the realm of possibility during the monsoons. Lots of clouds, in fact we're surrounded. Whether we get any rain is another story. Times it looks promising and we get nothing here in the West valley, other times one figures there isn't a chance in hell and we get hit. Go figure.

Still not to hot to fire up the grill for some hot links...

And as always I have my helpers...

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Monday, July 04, 2011

More o' the 4th

Nothing says HOLIDAY like beer can chicken, except for this chicken is on a soda can filled with wine. Kind of the same, except different... Another monsoonal day where little charcoal is needed and it seems more tropical than desert.

This side of town didn't get much if any rain, but the wind was pretty blustery and we got the inevitable dust cloud. Not enough of a problem to keep one from applying mesquite smoke to chicken, especially when there is a very capable helper on hand.

Tonight it's back to the grill for Italian sausage, the type of grilling that requires a beer in one hand and tongs in the other. Hope that if you celebrate the holiday you have a good one, if not take a break and have a beer anyway, what the hell.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


Parades, small cloth flags on wooden sticks, ice cream out of waxed cups eaten with a flat wood spoon band in the band shell followed by earthshaking fireworks that was the Fourth of July at Hart Park back in Wisconsin. There have been many Fourths since but the ones back home as a child remain fresh as if hey were just yesterday.

I can remember sitting on the garage roof watching the fireworks around town when I was older -- we were literally surrounded by the various displays. Later the city of Milwaukee had fireworks on the lake front and we took our kids, keeping the traditions alive.

We can hear fireworks from here in AZ now, but we don't fight the crowds to watch. The temps are at 116 right now and the monsoons are firing up in the Northeastern part of the state. The huskies have found cool spots on the tile under the fans and I am tempted to join them, but I'll settle for sitting quietly and thinking of Fourths gone by.

Friday, July 01, 2011

This ain't hell, but you can see it from here...

Temps are supposed to get up to 120 this weekend making it one hot 4th of July. The extreme heat has to make me wonder about our forefather's, the pioneers. Ambling across the land in covered wagons, hardships, Indian attacks (actually the Indians were doing them a favor trying to warn them off), disease and heartbreak, then they come upon a scene such as the one in the picture above. The fact someone said, "Looks good to me," says a lot about our ancestors lack of intelligence. One could give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they arrived in winter when it is cool, but water is mighty scarce in these parts and the view should indicate to most rational beings that this is not a good place to inhabit in any season.

Maybe it's a little harsh calling the settlers morons, after all I know better and yet here I am. It is just as hot, but unlike Conestoga wagons, my vehicle has air conditioning as does my dwelling, which is not made of sod or mud and sticks (instead the builders used chicken wire and bird-shit). There is water to be had, though we are thieving it from the poor assholes downstream and fighting with California and Nevada over the Colorado river water rights. Arizona is in the midst of a record drought, which in my opinion won't abate anytime soon. Whether one is a Global Warming fan or not, it is readily apparent that there is climatic change afoot and hot and dry is the future forecast for sunny Arizona.

And the imbecilic settlers? Oh, their progeny is still here, and the pioneers legacy can be seen in the vacant slack jawed expression on the faces of all the NASCAR fans at the Phoenix International Race way, or the pickup trucks jacked eight feet off the ground with Clem and Bubba tossing beer cans out the window as they drive along. Intelligence is fleeting, but hillbilly is forever.

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