Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Changed address to /blog.htm. Just want to test it and see if it works.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Ramblings' Journal: "Let Freedom Reign!" has a series of photos you really owe it to yourself to take a look at. I think the pictures capture a sense of why GW was right about the actions he has taken on Iraq.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

My dear wife bought me an OCC shirt. I like it a lot. It is red with the big dagger graphic on the back.

The weather looks to be taking a turn for summer in Northern Minnesota this week. So far it has been anything but. We have suffered through one of the coldest spring/early summer seasons I can remember, and the facts back this feeling up. We have had numerous days below average and in fact just last Wednesday the low was 29 degrees. Frost in late June, woo-hoo.

Things are quiet on the international front in this time leading up to the transfer of power in Iraq. There is a good chance this is simply the calm before the storm. If I were an Iranian, I think this would be a good time to be loading up on non-perishable food and toilet paper if they use that stuff over there. A feeling in my gut tells me that there is a fair likelihood that things may get a bit hairy in IRAN in the near future.

Algore has been up to his screwball antics again with his "Digital Brown Shirt" comments pertaining to the bloggers who have taken it upon themselves to point out the inaccuracies and spin employed by the mainstream, liberal leaning press. Here is what Al has to say about these Americans, who supposedly are expressing their free-speech rights:
The administration works closely with a network of "rapid response" digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for "undermining support for our troops."

Now I just don't think that is the right thing for a former Vice President to be saying. Al, you need to grow a beard and go back to teaching school.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Christopher Hitchens often ticks me off. I don't agree with most of what he authors. However. Today he has hit the nail on the head with this critique of Michael Moore's new film. Way to go, Christopher.
I have become engrossed in the craziness that is American Chopper. It has come to the point that I did, indeed, spend nearly 10 hours of Father's Day laughing at the machinations of the Teutel clan and the employees of OCC. I have seen the show described as a "soap opera for men" on a message board. (Apologies to whomever coined this phrase as I forgot to note who you were)

One thing about the show that has caught my attention is, of course, the dynamic between the chief characters, namely Paul Sr., Paul Jr., and Mikey. You could also include Vinnie and that doughhead Keith. I like to compare the goings on at the OCC shop with what has gone on at my various workplaces and often find that characters can be directly translated to people I know and have worked with.

It's not that I am ever going to buy a chopper or that I am a "badass" like Mikey is, but the show is just plain funny. And there is nothing wrong with plain old laughs sometimes.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

My kid is blogging. Tell him what you think.

Friday, June 11, 2004

BLACKFIVE: Joint Service Honor Guard is an interesting and touching look at a couple of the servicemen were part of the honor guard serving at Ronald Reagan's funeral.

The dedication to honoring veterans can't help but give you a good feeling about the young people who have chosen to serve our country in the military. I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to all of them.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Over the last few weeks I have been taking this blog a bit more seriously. When I take the time to read what others are blogging about, I find the wealth of knowledge, insight, and writing skill to be truly humbling. I sometimes wonder whether I have anything worthwhile to offer.

Contemplating this topic, taking the time to turn it over and over in my head, to work at it like one would work at freeing a tightly knotted shoelace, has led me to the conclusion that I need to write about what I feel and what I know. This post will hopefully provide me with a touchstone when I find myself adrift in the blogosphere. Expect to see me touch on the following topics over time: conservatism, railroads, homeland security, appliance repair, snowmobiling, and computers. No doubt others will pop up from time to time. I am just trying to establish a baseline for my own reference as much as for any potential readers I may one day be fortunate enough to entertain.

While I have long entertained the belief that I, like so many others, have the "Great American Novel" (or at least short story) trapped in my head, held hostage by a lack of time and committment, my efforts to express myself coherently here in cyberspace have caused doubt about this point to rear its ugly head. When I see the work that others can produce, on a day to day basis, while holding down a job that provides them with sustenance and bandwidth, I am truly humbled. I now waver between competing positions, one stating that I am a no-account drifter in the wordsmithing department, and the other that prose production is a learned skill and I haven't learned it. Only time will tell. Of one thing I have become certain: this writin' stuff is tougher than it looks from the glowing side of the screen.

So please, bear with me as I set out to learn which it will be: exposure as an untalented keyboard jockey, or the beginning of a life long learning process that will, if successful, offer inspiration to all potential bloggers who doubt they have the "Right Stuff" required to create an edible end product using just letters and punctuation.
Parasite Pals Super Fun Site is one of the most revolting and sickening creations I have ever seen on the internet. Not only that, it must be based in some foreign country with phrases like "Here is the girl with small friends of life present for always. Some irritation she finds with them, but much fun and love is to be shared!"

The people who created this will hopefully be detained and thoroughly investigated by crack troops of the United States Border Patrol. If this site is any sign of the direction our civilization is headed, we are in deep trouble.

Note: You need Flash installed to fully enjoy the degredation that is parasitepals.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

This last weekend, actually the Friday leading up to the weekend, there was quite a line at the bridge across the Rainy River into Ontario. This is not uncommon this time of year. Actually the lines have gotten shorter over the last few years as the infrastructure has been improved at Canada Customs, allowing them to process people entering Canada more quickly.

A phone call by an unknown Int'l Falls Police Officer to Canadian Customs to inquire as to the cause of the delay brought a surprising answer. It seems that, although there were probably 200 vehicles lined up on the US side of the bridge, only two were waiting at Canadian Customs. What could the holdup be?

It turns out that Homeland Security was checking each and every vehicle LEAVING the United States. Apparently there is a threat to our country posed by people leaving. I am not privy to the information which would inform us as to what that threat is but I must assume that it is valid, else why would be checking people and vehicles, only to have them drive across a bridge and be checked again by the Customs agents of a friendly country? I search for explanations.

Friday, June 04, 2004

There seems to be an emerging debate about the size and structure of the US Army of the future. I want to look at a couple of issues that might affect how we view the size of the active duty component of the Army.

First, I have to question why there are still 2 Divisions (1st Armored and 1st Infantry) based in Germany. I am curious as to what threat they are defending our faithful European allies from? While there has been talk that they are postitioned to respond to potential crises in that geographic area, this page clarifies that this is a false confidence. Here is the key paragraph:
A third step is to pull most troops out of Germany where they remain over a decade after the Soviet invasion threat disappeared. Germany has the most powerful military in Europe and is backed by NATO; it doesn't need help. The Army pretends its four armored brigades and 60,000 soldiers are in a good position to intervene in the Mediterranean or Middle East. However, it learned during the Balkan adventures that railway tunnels through the Alps are too small for tanks and Bradley's, and bridges too weak. They tried river barges, but that was complex and slow. They tried using rail lines to the East, but that was also complex and required permission from several nations who demanded large "rail fees". Eventually, the Army learned it was faster to move equipment from North Sea ports by ship around Spain, which prove that armored units in Georgia can deploy faster to Southern Europe than those in Germany.

So, there would seem to be no vital national security interest in maintaining those forces in their present locations.

The reason that I initially became interested in this issue was in thinking about the financial impact that our bases have on Germany. This page is quite clear about the financial impact the American bases have on the German economy. This quote really perks up my radar antennae with regard to the real feelings that the Germans have about our continued presence:
While "Yankee Go Home" demonstrations come and go, there is a strong attachment in local communities in Germany to the Americans, if only because of the large inflow of funds to local economies.

Let me say that if the large inflows of funds are so damn important to the local communities, maybe they should shut up when the "Yankee Go Home" demonstrations erupt. Even if they do, however, why should we stay there? We have the capability to do just as much to ensure our national security without lining the pocket of two faced "allies" as we have while subsidizing the German welfare state.

It is time to take the brave step of putting the security of the United States and our own finances above dubious alliances. The Germans and other Continental "Old" Europeans have proven that they have a different agenda than we do. It is past time that our actions as a nation reflect that reality, and relocating our troops to best serve our own interests, even if it causes Germany to take an economic hit, is the first step in realizing that reality.