Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
For part one, I thought I would mention a war that we, The United States of America, were in with Great Britain way back in the nineteenth century. No, not the War of 1812, but a little dust-up called, informally, "The Pig War".
The Pig War, properly called the San Juan Boundary Dispute, was a war that started because of boundary disputes between America and Great Britain over this little set of islands that sits between Vancouver Island and Oregon. You have probably never heard of the San Juan Islands unless you are from the Pacific Northwest, and there really isn't a whole lot to say about them past the fact that they are apparently a mountain bikers paradise.
Anyhoo, basically what happened is that an American shot a pig that happened to be owned by an Irishman who worked for the Hudson Bay Trading Company. The American offered to pay for the pig ($10.00), the Irishman asked for a ridiculous sum ($100.00), threatened to arrest the American and at that point US military forces deployed to protect American interests, which necessitated a reciprocation on the part of Great Britain.
There was a minor force buildup, and eventually the two combatant countries decided that going to war over a pig was stupid, so they just set up camp. For 12 years. For 12 years, two military forces camped out on the island, hung out with each other and got drunk together. Literally. Not a single person was ever killed as a result of this war. Finally, outside mediation in the form of Kaiser Wilhelm I decided in favor of the US and so the Brits left. End of war.
That, friends, is a short account of The Pig War, a war I am certain you have never heard of. Good day.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Anyway, while looking for stuff to write about, I found this page:
Contained therein are some snippets of essays that various students have written. It's pretty funny, except when you stop to think that some of these things were written by college students. Let me give you my top 5 sentences from the list:
1. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy".
2. The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.
3. One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea.
4. When Elizabeth exposed herself be- fore her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
5. the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks
Now, call me silly, but it seems to me that a multiple choice test would have removed the option of the plague causing random boob growth and Elizabeth motivating her troops be-fore battle by flashing them. I am all for the critical thinking involved in essays, and for someone who is supposedly such a staunch multiplist (I just made that up. It's awesome), I make my students write a lot. What I don't do, all the time, is give them a chance to make such stunning claims as "When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.".
Take that, Toby.
PS: In the interest of our testing feud being more interesting, I have assigned you the super-villain name of "The Mandarin". Henceforth, I will be known as "Crom". At all other non-feuding related events, our real names will suffice, unless you really want to call me Crom, which is OK.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
If you can get past the idea that Hitler intentionally exterminated 6 or 7 million people for a second, this video is pretty funny. There are some curse words in the sub-titles, so if thats not your bag, don't watch it. If you don't mind, I think you will agree that this video is hilarious.
Monday, January 14, 2008
These days, anyone with decent cardio and a big pocketful of money can go climb Everest. Last year, something like 250 people went up and down the mountain. People still die, frequently, climbing the beast, but to me the real adventure is gone, as is almost always the case with corporate sponsorship.
I am not going to sit here and pound out a heartfelt obituary to Hillary as much as to simply point out that this was a guy who became such a worldwide celebrity that the New Zealand government decided to put his face on their five dollar bill. Hillary took his fame and used it to open a bunch of schools in Nepal, an effort that continues still. Hillary never took his name out of the phonebook, never moved from his modest little farmhouse, and was generally a swell sort of guy. This is a guy who was a beekeeper, of all things, that was thrust into a spotlight that very few people ever feel, and he handled it like a champ.
The reason it's sad to see him go is that there just aren't people like Hillary to look up to anymore. There are certainly great people alive today, but there isn't anyone who went out and conquered something like Hillary did. Steve Fossett, he of the around the world hot air balloon flight, was maybe the closest "modern" adventurer around, but I can't think of anyone else offhand who is even close. It's also worth noting that Fossett is almost certainly dead now.
I am not real big on "hero" worship, but Hillary was the sort of cat that deserved that sort of attention, and he is dead, which sucks.
Friday, January 11, 2008
This story is awesome on so many levels that I am going to have to make a list, which is also easier than writing creatively.
1. The headline says "dead guy". Not "deceased man", but "dead guy".
2. The two friends pushed the dead guy to the check cashing store in a chair. He was flopping around, but they persisted. Awesome. Bernie flopped around too.
3. The Detective having lunch next door was immediately aware of the deadness of the guy. Like, he wasn't fooled for even a second, whereas Bernie was able to flop around for a whole weekend.
4. The article quotes NYPD spokesman as saying "He was deceased in the apartment when he was removed by these two". That makes it sound like he was removed from the apartment by two lovable scamps, not two 65 year old guys.
The thing that I really like about the story is that I am having an extremely good time envisioning in my head all the different scenarios that played out in that apartment prior to making the decision to wheel the deceased out the door. Was it done in humor? Desperation? A spirit of mischief? How did the guys think that it would play out? Did one of the have to slap the other across the jowls and tell him that he should man up? There are just so many unanswered questions and so many possible scenarios, each one more interesting than the next.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Colorado's own Goose Gossage finally got elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today, much to my great joy. For a look at his stats over his 22 year career in Baseball, click here:
Goose was on the ballot a total of nine times, and came close last year, falling 21 votes short of election. Goose was a dominating closer, and he was pretty blunt about it. Goose knows how to throw a curve and a change-up, but he generally relied on his fastball. In his prime, Goose could run that baby up to the plate at up to 102mph, which is pretty hard to hit, let alone see. Goose also didn't take a lot of crap, and if you were caught crowding the plate, Goose would buzz you off.
It took Goose a while to get elected for a few reasons. First, Goose was always just a closer. Second, Hall of Fame voters are idiots. Dennis Eckersly, who was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2004 actually had significantly worse stats than Goose, but he also had a long career as a starter. Goose was also (rightly) elected after Rollie Fingers and (wrongly) after Bruce Sutter. Really though, that's all sort of sour grapes now. Goose is in, and justice has been served. It's interesting to note that Goose is the only player being inducted in 2008. It would have been nicer to see him go in last year with Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, but this way, the spotlight is on him, so that's kind of nice too.
Way to go, Goose!
By the way, I can't get the link to work for some reason, so just copy and past it into your browser...
Sunday, January 6, 2008
1. Mauser "Broomhandle" pistol. The Mauser pistol was pretty much the first widely accepted semi-automatic introduced, and I still think it is one of the coolest. By today's standards, it has a whole lot of downside but I still really want one because they are just so darned interesting. Also, the Broomhandle was the gun used to mock up Han Solo's blaster, which is rad.
2. M1 Garand. I like the Garand, and I think they are really cool, but my main interest in owning one is simply to get one step closer to completing my post-1885 pre-1965 battle rifle collection. It started out as just a WWII collection, but there are just too many interesting rifles (and, as you will see, handguns) in that general time-frame to ignore. Really, I should just call it a military firearms collection and be done with it.
3. Ruger SR9. I would like to own a 9mm polymer pistol with a light rail, and while the SR9 is an exceedingly new gun, I think that this is the one I want. It's either an SR9 or a Glock 19, and since I am a die-hard Ruger fan, I am going with the SR9.
4. Smith and Wesson OR Colt .45ACP revolver. Both were called M1917 revolvers, and both were adopted by the military because there was a shortage of Browning M1911 during WWI. Really, it's not that these are such great revolvers (although I hasten to add that both are very good revolvers), it again just boils down to a good gun to have for the military collection.
5. Kel-Tec PLR-16. This is a semi-automatic pistol that fired .223. Frankly, I think it just sounds like an incredibly fun gun to shoot! Not particularly practical, but it seems like it would be fun to scope it and then shoot it over a rest at longer than normal pistol ranges. Plus, the .223 just seems like it would make for a very enjoyable pistol caliber. The problem is that .223 ammo has gotten very expensive, and I already have three .223 rifles that I am trying to feed, so I am not sure that it makes sense to add another gun in that caliber.
Not in my top 5, but definitely guns that I am very interested in: Krag-Jorgenson carbine, Nagant Pistol, Finnish Mosin-Nagant rifle, a Tac-Sol upper for my MkII, a Ruger Single-Six, and an older Ruger security-six.
So, there you have it. My gunny wish-list.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I love dogs, and I wish I could have a dog. Specifically, I wish I could have a bulldog, because I would name him Ringo, and he and I could go to the park together, and I could share ice cream cones with him. I would also train him to bare his teeth and growl anytime anyone got within 10 feet of our perimeter, which would be awesome since that means that we could enjoy the park and our delicious ice cream without jerks constantly trying to pet Ringo, or me. Ringo and I just want to be left alone, creeps.
Anyway, the real point of all this is to point out an experiment I found on my favorite website, http://www.neatorama.com/, called "The Lassie Experiment".
You can read it for yourself here:
To make life easier, let me just summarize the story for you. Your dog doesn't care if you live or die. Perhaps some dogs do, but this study indicates that most dogs don't, a finding that I am sure will be refuted by crazy dog-owners everywhere. (Monkeyfoot, I'm looking at you) So, love your dogs, pet them, give them treats and be enjoy spending time with them. Just realize that the feeling is not reciprocated, and if you get stuck under a fallen bookshelf, your dog is probably just going to let you slip into the light.
Also, once your dead, your dog will likely start feasting on your bloated corpse and sleeping on the couch. Then your house will start to reek of the twin curses of death and dog urine, which sucks. It's a mess that could be avoided if your dog was courteous enough to rescue you, but unfortunately, your dog doesn't concern himself with courtesy. Thus, you will eventually be found by neighborhood children nude and partially consumed, and your house will have to be burned to the ground because no one will want to buy it. This means that your only legacy will be that of "that guy that got eaten by his dog", and thats something none of us wants.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
It may come as a surprise to some that I am not throwing my early support behind Ron Paul, but there are some reasons for that. While I agree with a great deal of what Ron Paul has to say, I just don't think he would get any congress, current or future, to go along with his ideas. It's not that he won't win: I have always felt that you should support the candidate that you believe in, not the candidate that stands the best chance of winning, and this is particularly true in the primaries. Certainly, I will be voting Republican regardless when the general election comes around, but the primaries are a great way to vote your conscience, which I think is good. With all that being said, it really just comes down to me thinking Mike Huckabee is the best candidate.
I am endorsing Mike Huckabee because I basically agree with his major platform points, and those that I disagree with just aren't high up on my list of things to worry about. His stance on abortion, for example, is somewhat different than mine, but I have yet to ever vote on a candidate because of his or her views on abortion. As a human, I have my own opinions on the issue, but as a single guy who neither has nor desires kids, it's just not a hot button issue for me. I strongly agree with his second amendment stance (which, as everyone knows, is pretty much issue #1 for me), I agree with his stance on health care (current system is broken, universal health care is not the answer), I agree with his stance on Iraq, and I agree with a few other things he has to say.
Aside from his political platform, I just like the guy. He has a sense of humor, he has a certain amount of down-home charm, he plays bass guitar, and I like that he had the discipline and strength of will to drop over a 100 pounds. Of course, none of this matters politically. His political resume is strong, and he was a very good governor in Arkansas, a point that was recognized by TIME magazine when they named him one of the 5 best governors in 2005.
Anyway, no one really cares who I am going to vote for, but if the Rocky Mountain News can endorse someone, then so can I. If you want to learn more about Mike Huckabee, click the "Huckabee for President" banner I have up to visit his website.
Huckabee in 08!