Tuesday, December 30, 2008

RIP Rip


I lost a very good friend today.

When I was living in an apartment, walking my way to the rental office to drop off my payment, I saw this cute little cat - she was grey striped, and very small - she followed me all the way from my apartment to the rental office and back. I kept stopping to see if I could pet her or see if she had a collar/ID on, but she would never let me get close.

I just remember her looking so cute with all her four paws moving so fast just to catch up to me again after I started walking again.

I then went on a week-long vacation, only to come back and see her outside my apartment door - waiting for me - looking more starving than ever. Against my better judgement (one of my biggest allergies has always been to pet dander), I let her in and fed her all that was left in my freezer, having cleaned it out before leaving on vacation - 2 hotdogs, microwaved until just starting to twist, just before exploding. She barely took the time to chew as she inhaled both of them - begging me with her beautiful green eyes for more.

I took her in, letting her stay until I made a decision about her. As I got her more and more food, she began eating 3 cans of cat food a day and growing visibly. In fact, after a few more weeks, she became noticeably chubby. Soon, little lumps began moving around in her tummy. I took her to the vet and he said she was about to pop - 3 kittens. Took her home that night and she wouldn't stop meowing at my bedroom door - I still wouldn't let her sleep with me as I knew my allergies would kill me. She meowed desperately at the door until after midnight, and sure enough, in the morning 3 tiny kittens were born on some socks she had found her way to sneak underneath the couch.

Anyway, she was a very good momma kitty. I tried putting her kittens in a box so she wouldn't have so much trouble corralling them as they began crawling around, gaining independence. Of course, she rescued them immediately by jumping into the 2.5' high box and jumping back out with a kitten hanging from her mouth by the scruff of the neck.

Her only male kitten - Buster - died just as he made it to big ball of fluff size. The vet thinks of an intestinal blockage - probably a rubber band he ate. Life and death can be so random and flip at times.

Her second kitten had pretty black and white stripes. She was adopted by a friend of a friend. The third was Bullett, the runt of the litter, and passed away last year. At least Ripley didn't have to see that. They got along so well when Bullett was a kitten (probably only a year younger than she was). Ripley used to bathe her as often as she could - or at least as often as Bullett allowed her to. I remember Ripley keeping her still with her paw or a quick bite to the scruff, long enough to keep her smelling kitty clean.

Ripley was a very good companion. She knew when to sit on my lap and relax when I needed a friend. She knew when to play - when she wanted to, she simply jumped in the white plastic clothes basket. I then had to get the rubber band attached to the plastic twisty tie and shoot it across the room. She would jump out of the basket and dart across the room, grab it in her mouth and sprint back and into the clothes basket, dropping it at her feet. Once I finally realized she didn't actually bother my allergies as she should have, she loved sleeping on top of me, or stretched out along my side.

I will miss my friend and longtime companion very much. Now Duke will look after Ripley and Bullett, and hopefully they will all be together at my parent's house in heaven. Some day I will meet them there and be at home again.

Good bye, Ripper kitty - take care of yourself.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wordle

Very cool idea - here's my Wordle.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Arizona's Santa Problem

Here's some Santa Pirates that make an old dog's spine shiver with glee!

Yarrrrr!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

XDM Goodness


So when I bought my USP Tactical several years ago (used), I had the intention of getting a suppressor for it as well. Time went by, and living in the suburbs of DC left me few opportunities to shoot outdoors where I could enjoy not using hearing protection or the ability to shoot in my backyard. It seemed to me that a .45 was an ideal caliber to be suppressed given that the standard 230 grain loads are usually subsonic as it is, so you're just suppressing the escaping gasses and not slowing down a supersonic bullet.

So now that I do live out in the boonies, I don't have the money for a suppressor, and given that firearms are usually pretty good investments, I can get about as much for it as I bought it for and buy something new that I'll shoot more often (I'll still have my USP 45 which I enjoy shooting!).

Something in the 9mm range seemed like a good idea - I have a carbine in 9mm and Tapestry has an XD9 that I also enjoy shooting. Now Springfield-Armory has made improvements to their already popular pistol. Adding a match-grade barrel, a short-reset trigger, and improved grip (backstraps for different sized hands) are all nice additions to an outstanding pistol (an extra 3 rounds in the magazine doesn't hurt either).

Anyway, just figured I'd share my thoughts before I went ahead and sold my .45, and I hope everyone enjoys a shooting sport this week!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Try this for size


From My beloved tapestry's blog, I thought I'd play along - would love to hear what everyone else is reading too - or at least, what is closest.

First, here are the directions for the meme:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 56.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next seven sentences in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.

And now, what happened when I did it:

Marine Sniper by Charles Henderson

"You've got to settle down," he commanded himself sternly. "You have to concentrate on your next shot. It could be the difference between another handshake and victory."

He looked at the mirage rolling and then again at the range flags fluttering in the strong wind. "Looks like it's picking up," he told himself. "Hathcock, watch the flags and don't forget the time." He looked at the secondhand sweeping around his watchface and thought, "Three trips around the dial, that's all. Three sweeps of that hand. Watch it. Watch the wind."

(technically 10 sentences, but I put in extra 'cause they were small)

I've heard of Carlos Hathcock for years - he was probably one the most famous US Marine Snipers from Vietnam. Springfield Armory has an M1a (really an M21) special edition rifle named the "M25 White Feather," from his nickname in Vietnam, " Lông Trắng (White Feather)."

In 1967 Hathcock set the record for the 20th century's longest combat kill with a Browning M2 .50 BMG machine gun mounting a telescopic sight. The distance was 2,286 meters or 1.42 miles.

Anyway, I am glad I can take the time to read about this amazing man and of the deeds he rose to when he was asked.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Apple Spoof

Anyone see the latest Simpson's?

Well, if you didn't, here's a very clever Apple Spoof - Mapple - from the Simpson's.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ever have a crappy day?


I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis .

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.

In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water.

(For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.)

Then you have to drink the whole jug.

This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but:

Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side,and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.

'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

(from Dave Barry)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late Lament

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day's useless energy spent.

Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?





(Moody Blues lyrics, from Nights in White Satin)


Friday, October 3, 2008

Cameras





So help me pick out my next camera. I'm actually thinking seriously about getting into the D-SLR market, but not until financial matters have settled down a bit. So in the mean time, I'm hoping to spend less than $200 and get 1 or 2 lightly used point and shoot cameras - like a Casio Z-1080 or Canon SD850is then a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 or Canon G9 for a little more manual control.

Anyway, all thoughts and opinions are welcome - in the mean time, I'll be thinking about what I'll be shooting - both indoor and outdoor. Suggestions are welcome for that as well!

Monday, September 15, 2008

SNL

Unfortunately, we missed the last SNL, but here's the opener - Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Into the Wild



I'm not sure why it touched me so deeply - perhaps since it's made to, it doesn't matter. Anyway, after watching Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" tonight, I think back to times when my parents would argue about trivial (to me) things and wonder how much different my life would've been if I'd been so self-centered as to slough off the trials and responsibilities of life and go find a path of my own.

It's not that my path hasn't been my own by choice, but no one can argue that they are continually shaped by those around them. We are everyday challanged, molded, influenced, and ultimately changed - for better or worse - by the people and things around us. Everyday events - if only from our own perspective - become turning points in each of our lives.

Perhaps it's just as a rotary switch on an old TV, but this time for my memory or consciousness, that tunes these thoughts in. Or perhaps it's just reflections of a short day and a long movie.

Anyway, I hope you watch the movie and enjoy it for what it is - a celebration and dedication to the journal and life of Christopher J. McCandlish.

If you're interested in the author's original article that paved the way to the movie, go here - from Outside Magazine.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Typing For Fun


Ok, maybe not everyone enjoys typing, but I do. So if you actually like to type for fun, here's a place to practice and compete.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Silent Dad


Ok, although I do mean to make this blog a pro-gun outlet for me. I also feel it's an important outlet (both the blog and my shooting) for me. However, I don't want this to become the only reason for the blog.

I recently went through a few medical problems, and I'm still going through another - all related to stress. So if anyone knows of an IT position for a 13 year professional with experience in managing web, database, and infrastructure projects, primarily in a Windows environment, please do let me know.

I've found over the past few years that I have difficulty cultivating new friends. Some of my new friends I've met through yahoo or on here might disagree, but when my support net is needed - much as it is now - I don't feel confident of the steps I'm taking.

I know much of this is the way my mind processes stress and anxiety, and I've seen it manifest itself in other people that I respect, but my intellectual skills don't always help me in these situations without the formal training others have had. Luckily I'm talking with someone who does, whom I think can help me.

So there's hope yet - and that's all that's important right?

Peace to everyone and a promise of new updates.

Oh, and if you're really interested about my current medical problems, check out Kevin Smith's blog entries from here and here.

Friday, August 15, 2008

1st Ever Afghan 3-Gun Match

Who says you can't have fun in Afghanistan? Soldiers from the US, UK, and Australia (among others) compete for fun in the desert heat.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Historic Victory for American Gun Owners


Today, June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in D.C. v. Heller. The High Court struck down the District of Columbia’s law banning all handguns, even in the home. In reaching this result, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment secures to all Americans (not just those serving in a militia), a right to “keep and bear arms”. This applies both to hunting and self-defense. This is an historic decision that springs from the very foundation of our Republic. The scope of the decision was broader than expected by some legal experts. We do expect some other gun laws to be challenged in the wake of D.C. v. Heller. On the other hand, the High Court did acknowledge that some firearms regulations are both necessary and legitimate, so don’t expect a wholesale dismantling of gun laws nationwide.

From Shooting News

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dragonflies


For some Native American tribes they represent swiftness and activity, and for the Navajo they symbolize pure water. Dragonflies are a common motif in Zuni pottery; stylized as a double-barred cross, they appear in Hopi rock art and on Pueblo necklaces.[6] It is said in some Native American beliefs that dragonflies are a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship.

In Japan dragonflies are symbols of courage, strength, and happiness, and they often appear in art and literature, especially haiku. In ancient mythology, Japan was known as Akitsushima, which means "Land of the Dragonflies". The love for dragonflies is reflected by the fact that there are traditional names for almost all of the 200 species of dragonflies found in and around Japan.[7] Japanese children catch large dragonflies as a game, using a hair with a small pebble tied to each end, which they throw into the air. The dragonfly mistakes the pebbles for prey, gets tangled in the hair, and is dragged to the ground by the weight.[8]

Also, in Japan, amongst the Three Great Spears of Japan is one which is called the Tonbo-giri, which when translated is called 'The Dragon Fly Cutter'. The spear is an important part of Japans imperial regalia- the spear itself was once wielded by the legendary Samurai, Honda Tadakatsu. It's name is derived from the story that the blade is so sharp, a dragon fly once landed on it and was instantly cut in half.

They also have traditional uses as medicine in Japan and China. In some parts of the world they are a food source, eaten either as adults or larvae; in Indonesia, for example, they are caught on poles made sticky with birdlime, then fried in oil as a delicacy.[3]

Vietnamese people have a traditional way to forecast rain by seeing dragonflies: "Chuồn chuồn bay thấp thì mưa, bay cao thì nắng, bay vừa thì râm" (Dragonflies fly at low level, it is rainy; dragonflies fly at high level, it is sunny; dragonflies fly at medium level, it is shadowy).

In the United States dragonflies and dameselflies are sought out as a hobby similar to birding and butterflying, known as oding. Oding, from the dragonfly's Latin species name, odonata. Oding is especially popular in Texas, where 225 out of a total of 457 known species of odonates in the world have been observed. With care, dragonflies can be handled and released by Oders, unlike butterflies.[9]

(from Wikipedia, but with reputable sourcing)

Beginner's Guide
To find the species in MD

Thursday, May 15, 2008

NY news anchor f***s up on live TV

Just goes to show you, it happens all over the place...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ron White

And now to make up for my Bill O'Reilly video, here's one of my favorite routines from Ron White.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Some People Are Asses All the Time


An interesting cut from Bil O'Reilly's days at Inside Edition...


See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Time for MD To Pass Common Sense Gun Bills


You may or may not be aware, but recently in the General Assembly this session HB1060 was unanimously passed, the so-called castle doctrine bill. We had a UNANIMOUS vote on a self-defense bill that would have allowed you to have protection in the event that you injured or killed an intruder in your home.

Currently, you have no guarantee of protection from civil suit. Imagine that....a crack addict busts down your door one night and you shoot him in self-defense. You won't be criminally prosecuted, but you are wide open to a law suit from his family.

"He was a good boy, just mixed up"
"He was trying to kick drugs"
"He never beat on his kids like some people"
"This gun nut was looking for someone to kill"

You've seen the stories in the last few weeks.

So....the bill unanimously passes the house and crosses over to the Senate and never sees the light of day.

How is that?

Senator Brian Frosh, the judicial committee chair, took the bill and stuffed it "in the drawer" meaning that he unilaterally decided that the bill would never be heard in committee much less be sent to the full senate for consideration.

This gives Frosh more power to veto than even the governor, because a gubernatorial veto can be over ridden by 2/3 of the general assembly.

YOUR delegate voted in favor of this bill, and most likely your senator would have too. This means that we got a self-defense bill past the delegation from PG, MoCo, HoCo and Baltimore City.

Did I mention that he did the same thing in 2004 and 2006?

How can one man over ride the will of the entire general assembly?

And from the Maryland Shall Issue folks:

The End of Democracy? Asks Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 9, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Henry Heymering, President of Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.:

HB-1060 is a "Castle Doctrine" type bill. It would have provided immunity from civil suits brought by someone who was injured or killed after illegally entering your home and then committing or attempting to commit an additional crime.

Your Maryland Delegates, unanimously (136 - 0), voted for HB-1060.However, Senator Frosh single-handedly blocked the bill by not allowing a vote in committee -- a "desk drawer veto." Is this democracy? If your Delegates are representing your concerns, and it appears they are, then Senator Frosh is not. One has to wonder if this is because Senator Frosh's law firm specializes in personal injury claims, or simply that he chooses to push his personal views on self-defense in direct opposition to the vast majority of Marylanders.

Henry Heymering, President of Maryland Shall Issue, notes this is not the first time Senator Frosh has abused his power as Chair of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to impose his personal interests over the wishes of the representatives of the entire state. In fact this is the third time that Senator Frosh has blocked this very same bill which has now passed the House floor unanimously on three separate occasions -- 2004 (HB-1463), 2005 (HB-646) and now 2008.

What kind of a government is it that puts more veto power in the hands of a committee chair than in the hands of the governor? What kind of a legislator uses this power for his personal interests rather than the people he is supposed to represent?

http://www.marylandshallissue.org/

SOURCE Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.The End of Democracy? Asks Maryland Shall Issue, Inc.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Refreshing Mint?


Found something out a few days ago - having several different banks to deal with is a pain. Ok, really, it didn't take me this long to figure that part out. But it did take me a long time to figure out a good way to monitor it all.

Try www.Mint.com. It doesn't cost you anything, and they don't have access to your money - all they do is display (in a read-only format) the assets and liabilities you have - just debit and credit.

This is from their website:

  1. You register anonymously.

    We do not need any personally identifiable information from you to set up your account. We only ask for a valid email address, password and zip code.

  2. We ask for your online banking user name and passwords, but we do not see or store that information.

    That means no one at Mint, and no potential hackers of Mint.com, can access your banking credentials.

  3. We partner with the leading online banking service provider to connect securely to your bank.

    That company, Yodlee, has provided account aggregation services to the top US financial institutions and to one of the leading desktop personal finance software products for more than 10 years. Yodlee’s security is audited by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Federal Reserve. Your online banking credentials are stored only at Yodlee, enabling Mint to automatically and securely update your transactions and saving you from updating, syncing or uploading financial information manually.

  4. All communication between Mint and Yodlee is encrypted using 128-bit SSL, the financial industry standard for data protection.
  5. Mint provides bank-level data security for the transaction information we store.
    • Mint uses 128-bit SSL encryption to ensure that all communications between your browser and our Web site are secure.
    • We store transaction information in a secure facility, on our own servers, protected by 24/7 security guards and biometric scanners.
    • All Mint employees pass financial and criminal background checks as a condition of employment.
    • Mint.com has received the VeriSign security seal and is tested daily by Hackersafe.
    • Mint’s privacy protection standards are certified by TRUSTe.
    • Mint’s anti-phishing protection is provided by RSA Security, Inc.
  6. Mint does not know your bank account numbers or credit card numbers.

    We never ask you for this information and Mint does not capture or store this information from any other source.

  7. You cannot move money with Mint.

    Mint offers valuable insights and analytic tools to help you better understand your money…but Mint is a "read only" service. Meaning: you can view and organize your money with Mint, but you cannot move money between—or out of—your bank, credit union or credit card accounts.

  8. Mint alerts can increase your financial security.

    Once you’ve set up Mint’s text message or email alerts, you’ll be automatically notified whenever what you define as unusual spending occurs in any of the bank and credit card accounts that you’ve added to Mint. That means you’ll know about suspicious transactions and can act quickly to protect your identity, money and privacy.

    And a quick response is critical to limiting your potential harm from identity theft. Given that most of us have multiple accounts at multiple financial institutions, it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect that you will log on and check transactions in every account, every day to protect yourself against identity theft. Mint can do this for you, and only Mint offers this proactive, alerts service across the 5,000 US banks, credit unions, credit card and investment companies that we support.


Anyway, I hope other people find it as useful as I have so far. Let me know!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yarrrrr!

My pirate name is:
Iron Davy Flint





A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Free Stuff - No, Really!


Ok, so I'm sure you've heard the commercials for getting free stuff from just trying out different offers. Now it's my turn to see if they're really true - and if they are, you get to benefit from it too!

So here goes - just go to this link, signup, and try an offer. Please note that it's one signup per person, per household address, and they do check IP addresses.

It's really very simple - advertisers are relying less and less on TV ads since they've become so expensive, and blogging, web advertising, word of mouth, etc. is so much cheaper. So basically, if you become an advertiser for a service, say - stamps.com (the USPS software where you can print off your own postage from your home PC) - they'll send you an Xbox 360 or cash through Paypal.

For Stamps.com, you don't even have to pay anything when you try it out - just use it for 3 weeks and cancel and you won't have to pay a dime. You even get $5 worth of free postage to use during that time period. I installed my Stamps.com software today and put an event on my calendar for 22 days from now to call them up and cancel my account before it costs me anything.

Anyway, please do try this, use Stamps.com, or Blockbusteronline, or Gamefly (if you're into video games), and get a couple friends to try one and we'll see if it really comes through. If it does - I'll help you with your's! Just go there from this link, register with your email address, and follow one of the offer links (go to the most popular offers link) to a level A service (like I did) or 50 pts worth of level B services (smaller offers). Thanks!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh Maryland

Maryland My Maryland


Written by James Ryder Randall
To the tune of Oh Christmas Tree


The despot's heel is on thy shore,
Maryland, My Maryland!
His torch is at thy temple door,
Maryland, My Maryland!


Avenge the patriotic gore That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore, Maryland! My Maryland!

Hark to an exiled son's appeal, Maryland, My Maryland!
My Mother State! to thee I kneel, Maryland, My Maryland!
For life and death, for woe and weal, Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird they beauteous limbs with steel, Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland, My Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland, My Maryland!
Remember Carroll's sacred trust, Remember Howard's warlike thrust,
-And all they slumberers with the just, Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! 'tis the red dawn of the day, Maryland, My Maryland!
Come with thy panoplied array, Maryland, My Maryland!
With Ringgold's spirit for the fray, With Watson's blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May, Maryland! My Maryland!


Come! for thy shield is bright and strong, Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong, Maryland, My Maryland!
Come! to thine own heroic throng, Stalking with Liberty along,
And give a new Key to thy song, Maryland! My Maryland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain, Maryland, My Maryland!
Virginia should not call in vain! Maryland, My Maryland!
She meets her sisters on the plain- "Sic semper!" 'tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain, Maryland! My Maryland!

I see the blush upon thy cheek, Maryland, My Maryland!
For thou wast ever bravely meek, Maryland, My Maryland!
But lo! There surges forth a shriek From hill to hill, from creek to creek
-Potomac calls to Chesapeake, Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not yield the vandal toll, Maryland, My Maryland!
Thou wilt not crook to his control, Maryland, My Maryland!
Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul, Maryland! My Maryland!

I hear the distant thunder-hum, Maryland, My Maryland!
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum, Maryland, My Maryland!
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb -Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she'll come! she'll come! Maryland! My Maryland!

The song was adopted during the 1986 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

When I played with the Mighty Sound of Maryland (your University of Maryland Marching Band), we also found a much funnier version of the song which, for the life of me, I have been unable to uncover again. Some of the words were, "I had a dog his name was Jack, I threw a stick he brought it back," "From Baltimore to Hagerstown, take your car and drive around," and "I'm sorry if you think it's bad, but it's the only song we had."

Oopsy - late breaking news - here's the newer version, from here. I believe it came from an old Baltimore Sun article, but I have no clue of the date or the article...enjoy!

We've got some hills, we've got some trees, we sing in four-part harmonies;
There's shopping malls and city halls, and cats and dogs and ponds with frogs;
But none of us has ever meant to overthrow the government.

From Baltimore to Hagerstown, just take your car and drive around.
We're near the nation's capital, but we are not stuck up at all,

So take a stand and shake the hand of every crab in Maryland.

We touch four states and several bays, the highways mostly run both ways,
We hope you come and say hello and maybe stop and spend some dough.
When I was ten my family moved here from Vest Virginia;

I went to school in Annapolis, I studied Greek and calculus,
And now I live in Baltimore and that's what Maryland is for.
Oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland.

I have a dog whose name is Jack, I threw a stick, he brought it back.
My sister had a cat, I think, my mother had a kitchen sink.
My father Was a decent man, and we all lived in Maryland.
Oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland.

Our nights are dark, our days are fair, we're right next door to Delaware.
Our song before was full of gore but we heard the Union won the war.
We're sorry if we made you mad, it was the only song we had.
Oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland, oh Maryland.

(You can listen to the original here)

Monday, March 10, 2008

GSG-9


OK, being low on money is a crappy feeling, but being low on money because your house is been on the market for over a year and having to make 4 mortgage payments is a crappier feeling. But hopefully, help is on the way - the new house is getting a new, nicer 2nd mortgage and some much needed cash out. And the conventional 30 year mortgage limits (i.e. the jumbo limit) has been raised substantially from $417k to over $700k, so many more buyers will be eligible for loans that can cover the price of my old house. Hopefully these 2 things will make more buyers come look at the house and perhaps we could even see a few offers come in.


Anyway, far more importantly, imports of this new rifle, the GSG-9, are now coming in - and I want one! It's essentially a .22 caliber version of the H&K MP5A2, with 22 round magazines and the possibility of a suppressed version directly from Gemtech. So it's considerably cheaper to both own and operate than the real deal - and I'm sure it's fun to shoot, just ask Tapestry about the real thing - she had fun shooting it!


So anyone going to come with me to the big gun show in Harrisburg, PA, next weekend? I'll buy dinner.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Maryland 82, Florida St. 72


The Terps men's basketball team won yesterday, so weekend sports was good. Apparently there was some kind of automobile race today also, but it didn't involve Porsche, Mercedes, or BMW, so I wasn't really interested.

Anyway, everyone's healing, and it was overall a very restful weekend. Even though it did involve playing lots of COD4 (which is relaxing and stressful, but fun). Luckily, I either played enough or am actually getting better, so I made it to my assigned level.

Let me explain. As you may know by now, my son is an avid Xbox 360 player, and having been so for years, he has considerably more COD skilz than I do. So before he left for his sperm donor's residence on Friday, he left me with an assignment to gain 2 levels in COD. I actually made it past the assigned level, so I even get a smile from him. If you knew him better, you'd understand how rare that is.

So I hope your weekend went well, and here's to a new week - the start of something new, like any week, right?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rough Week




So life isn't always easy - it's something I am reminded of constantly - yet fate has the task of throwing it back in my face. No one likes being sick - and Lord knows I have enough experience with that - but there's nothing I hate more than seeing the ones I love sick.



So while I dislike the times I have to deal with my own troubles, I find the biggest challange in knowing what to do with a sick slave. You understand that I do my best to make sure she is well cared for, has plenty to drink and eat, and takes her medicine. But when it comes to a lingering illness I feel the one thing I dread most - lack of control.



I should have recognized this long ago, as I've known for a long time this is why I don't drink to excess or take drugs. So while I think I've noticed this in one area, it certainly carries over to others too.



Well, learning something about yourself is always a good thing, right?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Test


Ok, Tapestry (and apparently Lady Esenem) are both big silly quiz takers, so here's the results of one for me. I hope you both like it. Let me know what other little quizes you have for me ;-).

And now that I'm over whatever I had last night (man, I haven't felt that bad since I had pneumonia), I'm looking to do some low-speed high-drag things until I have energy again.

I doubt that I'm up for more COD4, but I *want* to play...






You Should Be a Doctor


You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Call of Duty


Ok, so anyone that knows me knows of my love for military hardware. I do enjoy shooting guns and appreciate the tactics of Sun Tzu and the Art of War. My son also enjoys playing XBox360... a lot! So it was not a surprise to him when I bought a copy of Call of Duty 4 for the 360. The only problem was that in earlier XBox games, I would develop motion sickness while playing any first person shooter games, so I was thinking ahead to motion sickness drugs etc.

Luckily, it turns out that I can mostly get used to it - I still get hot and sweaty, and perhaps a little dazed, but then again - wouldn't you when you're being shot at by a dozen terrorists with AKs and RPGs? Well, so what if those terrorists were actually being played by 8 and 9 year olds with reflexes born of the Millenial generation? Of course, it's doomsday in more than one way.

I have been playing XBox Live, trying to keep up with (ok, trying to climb up towards) my son's skill level. And XBox Live has these headsets that players can talk back and forth with online. Apparently, though, the "serious" players all have a private network that I don't get to hear - all I get to hear is the 10 year olds singing off-key or learning to cuss in new ways!

So although I do have fun learning, sometimes it's frustrating both in trying to re-map my reflexes and in playing against little kids that have never lifted a real M4 or fired a USP45, but can beat the crap out of me most of the time.

Anyway, just like always, I learn to adapt and grow.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Survey

1.) What time is it? 12:25am
2.) What's your name? PirateDaddy
3.) Of what are you most afraid? Being alone
4.) What is the most recent movie that you have seen on bootleg? Something X-Rated
5.) Place of birth? Washington DC
6.) Favorite food? Artichokes
7.) What's your natural hair color? Brown
8.) Are you a Neat Freak? In a few ways, about some things
9.) Ever been skinny dipping? Nope
10.) Ever love someone so much it made you cry? Sure
11.) Been in a car accident? Yes
12.) Croutons or bacon bits? Croutons
13.) Favorite day of the week? Saturday
14.) Favorite restaurant? Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
15.) Favorite Flower? None (not no favorite, but no flower - or maybe silk ;-)
16.) Favorite sport to watch? Redskins football
17.) Favorite drink? Absolut Citron & Seven with Lime
18.) Favorite ice cream? Homemade ice cream, or if I could ever find soy Mint Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
19.) Warner Brothers or Disney? Warner Brothers
20.) Ever been on a ship? Yes
21.) What color is your bedroom carpet? Hardwood Bamboo Flooring
22.) How many times did you fail your driver's test? zero
23.) Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? spam
24.) What do you do when you are bored? Play XBox 360
25.) Bedtime? Should be around 9:30, but usually 10:30
26.) Who will respond to this e-mail the quickest? umm this is not an email, N/A
27.) Who will least likely respond? no one
28.) Who is the person that you are most curious to see their responses? anyone
29.) Favorite TV shows? The Unit
30.) Last person with whom you went to dinner? Tapestry & Our son
31.) Park or Zoo? Park?
32.) What are your favorite colors? Red, black, and tan
33.) How many tattoos do you have? zero
34.) How many pets do you have? 1 Dog & 2 Cats
35.) Which came first, the chicken or the egg? egg
36.) What do you want to do before you die? be happy
37.) Have you ever been to Hawaii? Not Yet
38.) Have you been to countries outside the U. S. A./Canada? Not Yet
39.) To how many people are you sending this e-mail? N/A - whoever reads this blog
40.) Time this survey ended? 12:34am

Friday, February 1, 2008

Navy Testfires Experimental Rail Gun


Just a little example of the kind of high energy weapons the military will be fielding within the next 15 years! It's a very simple premiss - two electromagnet surround a single projectile and propel it as fast as 5360mph (in this case). All in all, it makes for a very large explosion.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Looks like I can't post a pic to my blog since my phone/Sprint doesn't support MMS, but I *can* do txt blog using my phone. Geeky or trendy?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My First New Blog Entry


Ok, since yahoo, in it's infinite wisdom, has decided it doesn't want to support the 360 that we've been testing for 2 years, it's time to change over until we see what they do.

In general, I agree with outsourcing things that you are not an expert in. However, it also seems that if you spend so long testing something, you should develop it - there were plenty of online environments to choose from then and now.

Anyway, Google is a better choice for longevity - this will be here in one form or another and with a better email and more stable calendar software available now.

Hopefully, the interactivity will come as well.

See you all online!