Saturday, December 31, 2005

5 more miles

I finally ran a 5-miler today...and it feels good (after becoming ravenously hungry). My wife calculated the amount of calories I burn on a 5-mile run: 590. I can see why I was hungry. Anyway, it's good to have my mileage back up.

In related news, I busted out 11 pull-ups last night. Apparently, I just needed a week of not doing them to hit that 11 mark again.

Friday, December 30, 2005

I support marooning

I saw this article up on drudgereport about a pilot who marooned an unruly passenger on a small island:

A drunken holidaymaker has been dumped on a desert island after launching a foul-mouthed tirade at the crew of a passenger jet.

The unwilling Robinson Crusoe will only be able to leave Porto Santo, a tiny patch of land off the North African coast, if he books a two-and-a-half hour ferry trip to Madeira. He will then have to book a flight to his intended destination, Tenerife, or return to Britain.

Monarch Airlines has yet to decide whether to sue him for the cost of the unscheduled diversion, estimated at "many thousands of pounds".

The unnamed passenger's difficulties began on Tuesday evening at 35,000 ft when he began abusing the cabin crew of flight ZB558 from Manchester. He refused to calm down and then turned his attention to the other 210 passengers.

Eventually the pilot decided that he posed a risk to safety and had to be removed.

Rather than continue for a further 45 minutes to Tenerife he diverted his Airbus A321 to Porto Santo. Within moments of the plane touching down the passenger was escorted to the terminal. Last night he remained a castaway on the Portuguese-controlled island. His New Year home is a mere 10 miles long by three miles wide with a population of 4,000. There is little entertainment apart from walking on the sand dunes.

Porto Santo's only cultural claim to fame is to have been the place where Christopher Columbus met his wife, the then governor's daughter.

Jo Robertson, of Monarch, refused to name the drunken passenger. She said that he was asked to sign a form admitting his disruptive behaviour, but had refused.

Despite enduring a four-hour delay, other passengers were "fully supportive" of the decision to dump the man.

Last night it was unclear either how or when he would return to Britain.

"He certainly won't be flying back with us," said Miss Robertson.

One thing I hope will always remain with the pilots (specifically, the captain) is the near free-reign. Through the years, captains (both maritime and aviation) have had the power to dump off those not willing to cooperate. Though some may have abused this privilage (Alexander Selkirk was marooned after arguing with the captain that the plane was not safe), I see this power as a necessity. The responsibility of the captain is his passengers and crew, to that end, if someone poses what he feels is a safety threat, the captain needs the power to eject said person. In the current push for political correctness and in the light of new threats, I pray the traditional power of captains remain untouched.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Quick apology... I haven't posted anything at all for a week. I was out at my father-in-law's and he only has *gasp* dial-up...making blogging an hour-long ordeal. I'll be posting up some new updates shortly...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Feels good

I'm back to my running and am very happy. I only ran 1.6 miles at an easy pace (14:07), but it's a start...and it lets me know that I could pull off a sub-13 run without killing myself. My goal for my initial fitness test is to break hard into the 10s (my best 3-mile half point was a 10:32). We'll see what happens as this week continues, but I'm hoping it will all be good.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

F.B.I. caught doing its job

I noticed this article from the New York Times discussing how the FBI has been monitoring protests...and complaining about it:

Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

F.B.I. officials said Monday that their investigators had no interest in monitoring political or social activities and that any investigations that touched on advocacy groups were driven by evidence of criminal or violent activity at public protests and in other settings.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, John Ashcroft, who was then attorney general, loosened restrictions on the F.B.I.'s investigative powers, giving the bureau greater ability to visit and monitor Web sites, mosques and other public entities in developing terrorism leads. The bureau has used that authority to investigate not only groups with suspected ties to foreign terrorists, but also protest groups suspected of having links to violent or disruptive activities.

But the documents, coming after the Bush administration's confirmation that President Bush had authorized some spying without warrants in fighting terrorism, prompted charges from civil rights advocates that the government had improperly blurred the line between terrorism and acts of civil disobedience and lawful protest.

One F.B.I. document indicates that agents in Indianapolis planned to conduct surveillance as part of a "Vegan Community Project." Another document talks of the Catholic Workers group's "semi-communistic ideology." A third indicates the bureau's interest in determining the location of a protest over llama fur planned by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Now, normally, I'd wonder at the motives...however, after seeing some details of some of these protests, I can understand. You see, when protesters start screaming for the destruction of the elected government, assasination of the President and his appointees...well, it obviously would catch the attention of the various law enforcement agencies. To see what I mean, look at These people are crazy...that said, I can totally understand why the FBI was monitoring protests.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I've been cleared to begin running by my physical therapist. Of course, I'm supposed to ease back into my routine, but I'm super happy I'll be running again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Old friends

I've been out in Kansas City this past week visting friends (while on my wife's business trip). It's so fun meeting up with my old friends from college. It's funny seeing what has changed and what has not. All in all, I'm enjoying it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

A quick lesson on "Supporting the troops"

I ran across a broadcast on CNN this morning where they talked to four individuals about the Iraqi War. The two people of note were a Captain in the Army and an anti-war person from San Antonio. The Captain was urging people to let them finish the job and to make all that work and those lives lost mean something.

The anti-war activist followed it up by saying those in the military were brainwashed and indoctrinated...after saying she supported the troops.

Wow. Something is wrong here. How can you support the troops, and then claim they are brainwashed in the same sentence? Now, the military does *NOT* brainwash. Anyone who has spent a large amount of time with these guys will tell you.

Just thought I'd say that...because it irritates me.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Movie Review

I watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last night with my wife.

The basic premise: During WW2, four children are relocated during the Blitz of London. They take up residence at a large, antique-filled residence of "The Professor" (no relation to Gilligan's Island). During a game of hide and seek, they find a wardrobe that leads to another place...where they are part of a prophecy.

Effects: Pretty good. At various times, they meet fairly convincing talking animals and mythological beings (griffins, centars, minotaurs, and others). Aslan (an impressive lion) is particularly well rendered with good expressions.

Violence & crap: Good battle scenes. Gorephillies (I'm not one)will be disappointed, as there is very little blood. Weapon impacts are given more as impressions (mostly due to quickness of shots and cut-aways) than being seen. This makes it good for kids.

Storyline: I haven't read the book (I'm planning on it, but haven't gotten around to it), but I'm aware of the basic story. The story is compelling enough to keep your interest. Yes, it is an allegory to Christ. To any Christian it is others who are less aware, you won't sit there and feel like you are being preached at.

My analysis: It was a good movie. I'm always wary of child actors because they generally suck (Episode 1 anyone?). These kids were reasonably decent. If you felt the Lord of the Rings movies were too gory (like my wife), this is an excellent option. The only annoying thing for me was the dumb kid that continually ran up and down the stairs during the movie. If you goto a later showing, you should be able to avoid this stuff.

My rating: 9/10 (a couple parts felt a little long, while a couple others seemed almost too clipped)

UPDATE: Ace of Spades weighs in:
Weirdest moment: When Santa Claus shows up and starts passing out medieval weapons of war to the children. Ho, ho, ho, now go stick this sword through your enemy's heart. A jolly old elf who kicks ass and takes names. (Note they avoid calling him Santa or "Father Christmas," as I understand he was called in the book, but that's clearly who he is.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

They make me laugh

The anti-war group Code Pink has a program to "Say No to War Toys." I find a couple of parts amusing...particularly this:

Ask your child’s teachers to talk about the negative impact of war toys and start a campaign to ban war toys on the school playground. Suggest a toy exchange for the school, where children turn in their war toys and get some cool, peaceful toy like a hot pink Frisbee. Make it a class project and involve the children in setting it up.

Hey, I know well how violent a game of frisbee can be. Usually, it involved heavy bruising on my forehead.

I found this funny, too:

Talk to your child about violent toys and why they are harmful; then ask them to help you select a gift that promotes peaceful play to donate a gift to a program that provides holiday presents for children from families with limited resources.

You mean like the Toys for Tots program from the United States Marine Corps? I wonder what the Code Pink people would think as they watched GSgt. E. Lee Ermey handing out toys to kids?

I think their heads would explode...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Big decisions

Why is it that big decisions show up in the most sudden of ways. This morning, I recieved a call from my Officer Selection Officer letting me know that I qualified for NFO and Pilot on the ASTB (for those studying the test, I highly recommend ARCO's study book). Not only that, but one of the selectees for OCS 191 (in an NFO slot) had dropped out and next week, the board would meet to select a replacement. The Capt. was offering me a chance at competing for that slot...if I was able to provide a PFT score of 225 or better. It was a big decision to make. I'm shipping January 2nd to boot...if I were to run and mess up my leg, it may cause some problems. I tried a light jog to see if I could pull off a 3-mile run at 23 minutes...and decided it was not yet time.

Decisions like these change lives. I'll never know if I would have been selected...or would have just continued the same course...or if it would have inflamed my iliotibial band again and messed up my ablility to run. I won't know...and I have set upon this course. I have prayed often during my journey, as fog as obscured my path many times...the Lord has led me to this place, and I will continue to follow.

Chaulk another up for home schooling

I find it interesting that the mainstream media has painted homeschoolers as crazy fundementalist Christians who are freaks. My wife was homeschooled, and obviously, she's fine (okay, okay, I might be biased). I went through public schools, myself, so I understand there's two sides to the issue. Despite the media's leanings, homeschooling definately has the statistical advantage when it comes to facts. And here's a new one: California Teen Wins Science Competition

WASHINGTON - A 16-year-old California boy won a premier high school science competition Monday for his innovative approach to an old math problem that could help in the design of airplane wings. Michael Viscardi, a senior from San Diego, won a $100,000 college scholarship, the top individual prize in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Viscardi said he's been homeschooled since fifth grade, although he does take math classes at the University of California at San Diego three days a week. His father is a software engineer and his mother, who stays at home, has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, he said.

"It's unbelievable," Viscardi said of his win. "It's so incredible that I'm in shock right now."

Viscardi tackled a 19th century math problem known as the Dirichlet problem, formulated by the mathematician Lejeune Dirichlet. The theorem Viscardi created to solve it has potential applications in the fields of engineering and physics, including airplane wing design. He said he worked on it for about six months with a professor at UCSD.

"He is a super-duper mathematics student," said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. "It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old," she said.

My short foray into Calculas was a near disaster, so I have an appreciation for the difficulty involved...mostly in that it's way over my head. It's pretty amazing stuff, though.


So, in the United Kingdom, a girl cannot wear a crucifix...but can use the f-word up to five times? What's wrong with this picture?

A school today defended its decision to exclude a pupil after she refused to take off her crucifix necklace.

Sam Morris, 16, was told to remove her cross and chain on Thursday by deputy head teacher Howard Jones at Sinfin Community School in Derby.

When the year-11 student refused she was told not to return until today and without the item of jewellery.

The 1,070-student comprehensive has a strict policy which bans most jewellery being worn.

Items can be worn out of view or if they are part of religious beliefs, such as the Kara, a bracelet worn by Sikh males.

But the policy has been described as "unfair" by Sam's mother, Debra Saunders.

Sinfin Community School deputy head teacher Howard Jones said her daughter's one-day exclusion had been a "last resort" after a 30-minute conversation failed to persuade her to take it off.

He said: "There was a long period of persuasion with her and she was given time. It was only at the end of that that I reluctantly had to exclude her for a day.

"I met with her mother today and readmitted her daughter."

Mr Jones said the strict jewellery policy, which bans large earrings or items worn on the outside of clothing - was to avoid accidents and to remove temptation from thieves.

However, Sikh male pupils are allowed to wear the Kara, one of five physical symbols worn by followers of the faith.

Mr Jones said: "As a Christian I don't have to wear a crucifix but Sikhs don't have that option and we have to be understanding. We live in a multi-faith society."

Mrs Saunders, of Thackeray Street, Sinfin, told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "Sam has worn this necklace for more than three years and it is of great sentimental value to her.

"No-one has told her to take it off before and she doesn't want to.

"She thinks it is very unfair when other people are allowed to wear religious symbols and it just ends up creating a divide between the pupils when everyone is told they should be living in unity."

Moral relativism is getting out of control.

Monday, December 05, 2005


The closer I get to my ship date, the more excited I get. There's so much I'm looking forward to that I'll be learning. I've put forth enormous effort to get myself into shape for this with the hope of get excellent PFT scores upon completion of boot and MCT. After discussing it with my wife, we feel that it is completely possible for me to hit a 280...though, I'm hoping for a 300.

My recruiter was talking to me and mentioned a common theme I've heard from other NCO's. There's a lot of respect given to "mustang" officers...those who started off enlisted and became officers later. From my point of view, this is attractive because of the additional experiance and understanding it would give me. If I've been there and understand their point of view, I feel I may be better able to lead those under my charge.

In a purely selfish and boastful note, I would get to wear at least twice the number of medals as most of the other newly commisioned 2nd Lts...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Appeasement will not work

Over at the Counterterrorism Blog, there is a post dealing with a member of Al Qaida's leadership who was recently killed. As an interesting side note, Evan posted a transcript of an interview with this individual from 2000. There is one section that specifically caught my eye:

"Q. Some Muslims are hoping for a peaceful solution to this conflict, and to give heed to Western proposals and conditions for a cease-fire. How do you see the solution to this conflict?"
"A. Islamic issues can only be solved by Islamic means, namely through abiding by Sharia (Divine Law) and not Western proposals or United Nations conditions. Any resolution through non-Islamic means places the future of Muslims in the hands of tyrants who will never accept the rise of an Islamic state."

This is why we must take the fight to them and defeat them in Iraq. They fully admit they will accept nothing other than a neo-caliphate. Let us never forget this.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

They're getting slicker by the day

I concider myself to be a pretty advanced computer user (I was just 4 classes short of a computer science major), but the scammers of today are getting good. I recieved this e-mail message today:

Greetings from Amazon Payments.

Your bank has contacted us regarding some attempts of charges from your credit card via the Amazon system. We have reasons to believe that you changed your registration information or that someone else has unauthorized access to your Amazon account Due to recent activity, including possible unauthorized listings placed on your account, we will require a second confirmation of your identity with us in order to allow us to investigate this matter further. Your account is not suspended, but if in 48 hours after you receive this message your account is not confirmed we reserve the right to suspend your Amazon registration. If you received this notice and you are not the authorized account holder, please be aware that it is in violation of Amazon policy to represent oneself as another Amazon user. Such action may also be in violation of local, national, and/or international law. Amazon is committed to assist law enforcement with any inquires related to attempts to misappropriate personal information with the intent to commit fraud or theft. Information will be provided at the request of law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

To confirm your identity with us click here:

After responding to the message, we ask that you allow at least 72 hours for the case to be investigated. Emailing us before that time will result in delays. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you and we would like to thank you for your cooperation as we review this matter.

Thank you for your interest in selling at Customer Service

This message and any files or documents attached may contain classified information. It is intended only for the individual or entity named and others authorized to receive it. If you are not the intended recipient or authorized to receive it, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately then delete it from your system. Please also note that transmission cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free.

Now, my suspicions were peaked already, but the addresses looked right...until you put the cursor over the links:

Specialness. Beware these holidays, as you really don't want some extra surprises in your statements.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

WalMart bad?

I heard about this survey reporting that 56% of Americans believe that WalMart is bad for the US earlier today. I really don't understand why people believe this to be true. WalMart has low prices because they put forth effort to lower those prices. If 56% of these people feel WalMart is bad...then why do they go there. If you think WalMart is immoral...then spend your cash elsewhere. The great thing about capitalism is that the people choose where to spend their's like voting, except with cash.