Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I’ve got ten (metaphorical) bucks that sez the average EIP reader won’t make it to the end of this video…

Unabashedly stolen from Lex, who remarks “The creepiness factor is non-trivial.” And that, Gentle Reader, is today’s massive understatement. “Creepy” just doesn’t begin to describe it…

So… in the same vein, sorta… news arrives today that SN3 had a great good time at “Eco-Week” camp, a three day affair in the Colorado Rockies. About which I replied (in part):

Eco-Week? OMG... I'm sure you realize, given my political bent, that this very term is an eye-roller in my circles. I'm hoping against hope that Eco-Week wasn't an indoctrination event, but I strongly suspect it might could be. I don't have a single solitary thing against respecting our environment, conserving it, and living responsibly within it... and I live in that manner. I DO have issues with the secular religion that "environmentalism" has become, as manifested by the Green Party and others... specifically the Algore wing of the Democrat Party. I certainly hope Bobby's Eco-Week wasn't THAT sort of event.

The reply was somewhat reassuring:

Eco week was not political; however, Coloradoans are very aware of the environment and pro good stewardship of the land. Eco-week had classes about the environment, team building exercises, scary stories at the camp fire etc.

As I said: somewhat. And then I went to Lex’s place…

Monday, September 29, 2008


So… the rescue/bail-out bill failed in the House, 205-228.  From Forbes magazine:


In a suspenseful vote of 205-228, the House of Representatives squashed a bill granting the Treasury $700 billion to shore up the U.S. financial system. Clearing the House was seen as the bill's biggest hurdle, and now the proposed bailout is thrown into disarray.

The bill had majority support from House Democrats, at around 140-95. It was killed by staunch opposition from House Republicans, 65-133. The voting was left open for several minutes, while congressional leaders tried to get members to change nay votes, and the tallies shifted slightly but not enough to pass.

On Wall Street, market response was swift and terrible. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been trending down throughout the morning, plunged almost 7% in minutes before recovering somewhat. Prices for Treasury bonds soared into the stratosphere, pushing the yields down. The three-month Treasury yield sank to 0.68%, while the London interbank offer rate rose to 3.88%.

Just for the record:  the Dow lost 777.68 (closing at 10,365.45), the NASDAQ 199.61 (1983.73 at the close) and the S&P Index -106.85 (1106.42).  Tomorrow will most certainly be an interesting day in the markets, indeed.

Developing, as Drudge sez.  

Words Have Meaning...

... and NEVER more so than in this case. Here, in this 8:37 video, are excerpts from a House hearing... in 2004... on regulating Fannie and Freddie.

Draw your own conclusions, as you see fit. But (and this is a shocker) I agree with what Bubba said at the very end of this video. Senator McCain, and every other Republican running for office in this election, needs to beat the livin' dogpoop out of the Democrats over this. Big Time.


An Economic Idiot Discusses Economics

… and that economic idiot would be me, Gentle Reader. But I’ve come across a few articles that seem to be written in layman’s terms, all of which make sense to me. “Sorta,” he said… contradicting himself. YMMV, of course… but… read on.


We’ve been subjected to a lot of negative reporting and Gloom ‘N’ Doom missives on the state of our economy over the past week or so, but there IS one person who has a kind word for the American economy: Irwin Kellner, writing in MarketWatch (“Don't call it a bailout. Or a depression.Commentary: The nattering nabobs of negativism have it wrong. Here's why…”) Excerpt:

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (MarketWatch) -- We are nowhere near a depression, so let's stop talking ourselves into one.

Spiro Agnew's words of the Nixon era ring true today. The politicians, pundits and, yes, the press, are nattering nabobs of negativism.


Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying things aren't serious out there, but another Great Depression? I don't think so.

· If you look at the data, you will see more differences than similarities between the 1930s and today:

· In the crash of 1929 the Dow Jones industrials plunged 40% in two months; this time around it has taken a year to fall 22%.

· The jobless rate jumped to 25% by 1933; it is little more than 6% today.

· The gross domestic product shrank by 25% during the early 1930s; it is up over 3% during the past year.

· Consumer prices fell by about 30% from 1929 to 1933; and the last time I looked they were still rising.

· Home prices dropped more than 30% during the Depression vs. about 16% today.

· Some 40% of all mortgages were delinquent by 1934 compared with 4% today.

· In the 1930s, more than 9,000 banks failed compared with fewer than 20 over the past couple of years.

There is a bit of a flaw in Mr. Kellner’s reasoning from my point of view. He makes an historical leap from the crash of 1929 to quote facts and figures from 1933. Which is sorta like trying to visualize what our GDP, unemployment figures, and foreclosure rates would be in 2012, if one believes the economy is going to tank based upon our sub-prime mortgage-cum-credit crisis. Still and even, I do think Mr. Kellner makes a good point, and that point is we shouldn’t try to talk ourselves into another Great Depression. I agree with Senator McCain: the American economy is fundamentally strong. Our system encourages entrepreneurship, our productivity is high, inflation and unemployment are low (for the moment, anyway), and we still lead the world in areas where it matters… like information technology, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals, just to name three industries.

So: Don’t panic. Let’s just fix it and get back to business.


Further on the subject of “Fixing It”… Here’s Joseph Calhoun, writing at Real Clear Politics (“In Times of Crisis, Trust Capitalism”). Excerpts:

The US government is executing a coup d’etat of capitalism and I fear that we will pay the price for many years to come. Hank Paulson, Ben Bernanke and a host of others tell us the credit market is not working and the only way to get it working again is for the government to intervene. They claim this intervention is urgently needed and if we don’t act, the consequences are dire. Dire, as in New Depression dire. Have these supposed experts on capitalism forgotten how it really works?

Last week Goldman Sachs raised $10 billion in new capital in one day. They sold $5 billion in preferred stock and warrants to Berkshire Hathaway and also completed a secondary offering of common stock that raised another $5 billion. Friday, JP Morgan raised $10 billion in a secondary offering to help pay for the Washington Mutual takeunder. Both of these offerings were oversubscribed, meaning that the companies could have raised more capital if they wanted. There is not a shortage of capital for well run financial companies.

There is, however, a shortage of capital for companies that have acted irresponsibly with investor capital in the recent past. For some reason, our political leaders believe this is a failure of the market, but isn’t this what should be expected from rational investors? Given a choice, why would a rational investor allocate limited capital to the losers rather than the winners? If capital is really as scarce as it seems, isn’t it better for our economy if we make sure that it is allocated wisely?


Paulson has said that the cause of the current problems is the housing deflation, but that ignores the elephant in the living room. The housing bubble, which was concentrated in a relatively small number of states, was caused by the reckless actions of the Greenspan Fed. The consequences of that bubble have been exacerbated by the Bernanke Fed. The market is functioning as it should. It is the Fed that is not functioning correctly. There is no reason we had to go through either the bubble or the aftermath. We got into this mess because we tried to avoid the consequences of the Internet bubble. We will only make things worse by trying to avoid the consequences of the housing bubble.

We are not on the verge of a new depression. The housing bubble collapse in California, Florida and a few other states is not enough to bring down the entire banking system. Investors who made mistakes in these markets should be held responsible and those who navigated the Fed-distorted market should be rewarded for their wisdom and prudence. Enacting the Paulson plan will not allow that to happen and our economy will suffer for it in the long run. The Japanese tried to prop up failed banks in the aftermath of the bursting of their twin bubbles and the result was 15 years of stagnation. Why are we emulating a strategy that is a demonstrable failure? A better alternative would be to allow capitalism to work as it should and stop the interventions of the Fed in the money market. Trust capitalism. It works.

There’s an interesting and fairly lengthy discussion about the whys and wherefores of the current crisis in between the excerpts I’ve quoted, along with a prescription for solving the problem. I believe Mr. Calhoun is articulating (and quite well, at that) the reasons a large block of Republican members of the House oppose the current rescue/bail-out bill that will be voted on today. The passage of that bill is far from a done-deal, if one believes what one is hearing today. I’m beginning to have second thoughts about the wisdom of this “bail-out,” as currently written. But then again, I could stick everything I know about economics in my right eye and it wouldn’t even water…


The Economist
has an alternative POV on this subject, expressed in its op-ed “Unpleasant but essential.” Excerpts:

IT MUST be one of the most unpleasant laws that Congress has found itself writing so close to an election. Devoting $700 billion of taxpayers’ money to rescuing the country’s least popular industry is not a vote winner. That Democratic and Republican congressional leaders held their noses this weekend and came up with the Emergency Economic Stabilisation Act is encouraging evidence that they appreciate the gravity of the financial crisis. “This is something that all of us will swallow hard and go forward with,” John McCain said. Barack Obama added that “What we can't do is do nothing.”


By legislative standards Congress moved at light speed after Mr Paulson and Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, proposed action on September 18th. Yet it may not be fast enough. In the past week the financial crisis has erupted in even more dangerous forms globally. The interbank-funds market has seized up and even the most creditworthy corporate and financial firms are paying punitive rates. Last week Washington Mutual became the largest-ever American bank to fail. In Europe, three countries had to come to the rescue of Fortis, a Belgian banking group, and Britain did the same with a mortgage lender, Bradford & Bingley. And on Monday Citigroup agreed to buy most of the assets of Wachovia, another beleaguered American bank, in a deal brokered by regulators.

So… this isn’t just an American problem, it’s a global problem. And that makes it pretty damned serious, doesn’t it?

Aiiieee. My head hurts. But that’s what one should expect when an economic idiot tries to understand economics, innit?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

He WILL Be Missed

I've been making the rounds today during time-outs and at halftime of the Purdue – Notre Dame game. I’ve noticed more than a few of my daily reads have been paying tribute to Paul Newman, who died yesterday at age 83. I’m no different in this respect.

Mr. Newman’s repertoire is chock-full of Good Things, and there may be something else that you think is better than the scene I posted above, Gentle Reader. But “Cool Hand Luke” made an indelible impression on my young mind when it was released and remains a favorite of mine to this very day. Or… to invoke an old cliché… “They don’t make ‘em like this any longer.”

RIP, Mr. Newman. You’ll be sorely missed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Seen This Yet?

You should watch. But you may need to pause the video several times while it's playing, coz things move QUICK. This is pretty much the best and most accessible thing I've seen to date on the current financial crisis. Great stuff.

(h/t: Lex)

Update 10/01/2008: If you click on the video above, you'll get the standard Google/YouTube message:
"This video is no longer available." And why might THAT be? "Copyright violations," say Google
and Time-Warner. "Bullshit!" sez the right side of the 'net. There is another, updated version of this vid,
and here it is:

You can't keep a good video down, ya know.


My neighbor's cat has taken to sleeping on the camp chairs that grace the verandah of El Casa Móvil De Pennington.  Which kinda-sorta irritates me… coz the cat is white and sheds something fierce.  Cat hair is worse than dog hair, Gentle Reader.  It takes me a LOT of time to clean the hair off the chairs before I put my ol’ ass into one, come Happy Hour.  I wouldn’t mind it so much if he/she/it always slept on this particular chair, which is used primarily as a foot-rest-cum-ottoman.  But I DO mind it when he/she/it decides to occupy MY chair.  A lot.

I don’t think this cat would feel so free about usurping my place if he/she/it knew how I felt about cats, in general.  OTOH, perhaps he/she/it does know… coz he/she/it runs like Hell whenever I open the door or come home after being away.  Smart cat.

Pic taken from my kitchen window… about ten minutes ago.

Shock, In Varying Degrees

Today’s Shocker:  Oregon State 27, USC 21.  Wow.  Shades of last year, eh?  Just when I thought this year’s college ball season would be rather ho-hum… with the Usual Suspects on cruise-control all the way to this year’s bowl games… along comes O-State and knocks off the nation’s Numero Uno.  And I missed it!  This week’s Sunday polls will be oh-so-interesting.  I’m thinking The Piper will be pleased.


Today’s Non-Shocker:  Depends on the Meaning of 'Close' …Blaming McCain for bailout fallout.”  Excerpt:

So what happened? I'm not sure anyone knows the full story, but here is my take. When John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign, Democrats moved quickly to portray the decision as strictly political. (Senator Chuck Schumer said as much in an interview on CNN.) An important element of their case was convincing reporters that a deal was close and McCain presence was (a) unnecessary, (b) potentially detrimental, or (c) both.

But that's a hard case for them to make for two reasons. First, Harry Reid. On Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had explicitly called for McCain to use his influence as party leader to bring House Republicans along. "We need, now, the Republicans to start producing some votes for us," Reid said. "We need the Republican nominee for president to let us know where he stands and what we should do." Reid explained that McCain was crucial to any deal because his approval of a deal would give congressional Republicans political cover necessary to sign on to a bipartisan agreement. The second reason: House Republicans were never on board. Earlier this week, they gave Vice President Dick Cheney an earful about their opposition to the deal. Yesterday morning, a group of about 50 conservative House Republicans got together and when one speaker asked for a show of hands from those who support the bailout, less than a handful said they were likely to support it. One staffer for a Republican in House leadership said: "Understand one thing. House Republicans were never on board."

The market is reacting in a strange (but semi-good!) sort of way to this news.  The Dow is up nearly 200 points as I write, but the NASDAQ is down by 35.  Apropos of nothing… I’ve been keeping an eye on the market throughout this whole interesting turn of events.  It should come as no surprise that I’d hate to see my nest egg go Poof! at this point in life.  Spending my dotage in poverty ain’t exactly my idea of a good time.


Today’s Shockingly Good Essay on the financial melt-down from Charles Krauthammer, writing at Real Clear Politics:  Catharsis, Then Common Sense.”  Excerpt:

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson went to Capitol Hill seeking $700 billion. He got an earful. Now, $700 billion is a serious sum, and Congress has the fiduciary responsibility to make sure the money it appropriates goes for a good cause. But from the indignant congressional demands for a laundry list of quid pro quos, you would have thought Paulson wanted it for his personal use.

In fact, Paulson is a lame duck. In four months, he is gone. Paulson is asking for the money not for self-aggrandizement but for the same reason Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the markets are asking for it: to prevent the American economy from going over a cliff.


Was there misbehavior on Wall Street? The wheels of justice will grind. But why wait for justice? If a really good catharsis will allow a return of rationality to Capitol Hill -- yielding a clean rescue package that will actually save the economy -- go for it.

Capping executive pay is piffle. What we need are a few exemplary hangings. Public hangings. On television. Pick a few failed investment firms, lead their CEOs in chains through the canyons of Manhattan and give the mob satisfaction. Better still, precede the auto-da-fe -- fire is highly telegenic -- with 24-hour reality-TV coverage of their recantations, lamentations and final visits with the soon-to-be widowed. The ratings would dwarf "American Idol," and the ad revenue alone would make the perfect down payment on the $700 billion.

Whatever it takes to clear our heads.

Dang, but I love the way the man thinks!  There are some folks who don’t see Krauthammer’s suggestion as high sarcasm, but I DO love the way the man pokes fun at stupid-ass moves by the Democrats whose sole purpose with their add-ons to the rescue/bail-out/whatever-ya-wanna-call-it seems to be fanning the flames of class-warfare. 

While we’re on the subject… Victor Davis Hanson speaks for me (“Dr. Frankenstein's Wall Street,” at Real Clear Politics) when he says:

All that remains of this Ponzi scheme is the election-year blame game. Republicans charge that important financial firewalls were dismantled by the Clinton administration while insider liberal senators got shady campaign donations in exchange for aiding Wall Street. Democrats counter that the laissez-faire capitalism espoused by Republicans for two decades encouraged financial piracy while tax policy favored the rich speculator over the middle-class wage earner.

But no one dares to ask what really drove the wheeler-dealer portfolio managers. Who re-elected these shady politicians of both parties? Who fostered the cash-in culture in which both Wall Street profit mongering and Washington lobbying are nourished and thrive? We citizens did -- red-state conservatives and blue-state liberals, Republicans and Democrats, alike. We may be victims of Wall Street greed -- but not quite innocent victims.


We created the cultural climate for this shared madness. Television shows advised how to "flip" a house after putting in cosmetic improvements. Real-estate seminars and popular videos convinced us that homes were not places to live in and raise a family but rather no different from piles of chips on a Vegas table.

We created the phony populist creed that everyone deserved to own a house. So lawmakers got the message to relax lending standards in service to "fairness." But Americans forgot that historically nearly four in 10 of us aren't ever ready, or able, to sacrifice for a down payment, monthly mortgage bills, home maintenance and yearly taxes -- and so should stick to renting.

It should go without saying:  Read the whole thing.  And scroll down for that famous Walt Kelly cartoon about meeting the enemy.  Or click the link.  You choose. 

In any event, we ALL bear a certain amount of responsibility for what’s happened to our financial system.  You might look at people who knowingly took on mortgage obligations they knew they couldn’t afford as “victims,” but I sure as Hell don’t.  It’s that ol’ “personal responsibility” thang, Gentle Reader.  OTOH, I have nothing but contempt for the people who wrote those sub-prime mortgages, knowing full well that the home buyer didn’t have the proverbial snow ball’s chance of repaying the loan.  Krauthammer might sarcastically call for public hangings on Wall Street, but I’d like to bring back public flogging for the people who approved mortgages that had NO business being considered, to begin with.  The difference between Krauthammer and myself?

I’m serious.


Today’s Pics:  Once again… into the archives.  A brief photo essay on how to keep a 15-month old baby boy entertained.  And his parents, as well.

Perinton, NY. May, 1998.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's Back!

My sidebar.

And I didn't do a damned thing.  To lose it OR get it back.

There may be greater mysteries than Blogger in the universe as we know it, but not many.

A Lil Bit O' Dylan

She said "Where ya been ?" I said "No place special?"
She said "You look different" I said "Well I guess"
She said "You been gone" I said "That's only natural"
She said "You gonna stay ?" I said "If you want me to, Yeah!"

Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.
Ya hadda be there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weirdness Abounds

I put up today's post and... my sidebar has gone missing. Totally. Completely. Well, as viewed in both Chrome and Internet Exploder. The sidebar is there if I view EIP using Firefox.

Which leaves me scratching my head and going "WTF?"

Blogger continues to exasperate me. In SO many ways...

Do you see my sidebar, Gentle Reader?


Jimmy T, in comments to yesterday’s post, talked about the neat things one can see on a daily basis at Pax River Naval Air Station.  And then, coincidentally… this lil item hit my in-box this morning.  From the AFA’s Daily Report:

RQ-4 Flies Atlantic:  An Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle flew for the first time across the Atlantic to Southwest Asia, making the 19-hour flight from NAS Patuxent River in Maryland. The milestone flight came on Sept. 20 and USAF expected to have the high-altitude RQ-4 fly a 24-hour war on terror mission within hours of arrival in theater. Airmen from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., joined forces with sailors and Navy contractors, who work with the Navy's maritime version of the Global Hawk, to cut time and save resources. A1C Matthew Miles, an avionics specialist, said, "The Navy has all the supplies that we have, plus contracted support." And, according to Col. George Zaniewski, Air Combat Command's intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance division chief, crossing the Atlantic "allows us to cut a lot of different stops in a lot of different areas." He expects cooperation to increase between the Air Force and Navy with the Global Hawk. ACC's chief of current operations, Maj. Alan Rabb, believes the impact from this joint effort will "be really huge" and has opened the door to a "different aspect of joint ops." (ACC report by MSgt. Steven Goetsch)

Does this amaze you as much as it amazes me, Gentle Reader?
  The Global Hawk has flown extreme distances… non-stop… before, but to fly it across the Atlantic and through heavily trafficked air space is pretty amazing stuff, in my book… not to mention the five-hour turn around from arrival to first mission in the AOR.  MOST impressive!

The photo was taken from the “ACC report” link, above.
  There are three more hi-res photos at the link, if you’re interested.  And the USAF photo I used to illustrate this piece is but 40% the size of the original pic. 


Another brief reflection on aging…
  Are you familiar with that ol’ saying “My get up and go got up and left,” Gentle Reader?  I’ve been feeling that way of late.  And I sorta understand now, after all these years, the attitude my father had in his old age.  Which, of course, bears some ‘splainin’.  

During the course of my Air Force career I extended invitations to my father to come visit… especially when I was stationed in 
Japan and England.  He always declined… citing this reason, that reason, and the other reason.  It was work, while he was still working.  He ran out of excuses when he retired for good and finally just came right out and said “Thanks, but I’m not interested.  My traveling days are done and I’m quite content to stay where I am, thank you very much.”  This attitude shocked me, especially the last time I invited him to come visit… when The Second Mrs. Pennington and I were stationed in England.  There’s more to that particular story. 

I was stationed at the 2119
th Communications Squadron on RAF Uxbridge, in the London borough of Hillingdon.  The 2119th was co-located with the UK District Headquarters of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI).  To make a long story short, I had the responsibility of handling AFOSI’s communications requirements and, as a result, I spent a bit of time with the district commander, a full colonel who was a crusty old sort, as colonels tend to be.  He loosened up quite a bit, though, when I told him the Ol’ Man was a retired AFOSI agent and I had had quite the childhood, what with being drug around from base to base with my dad.  So… after a meeting one day, this colonel asks me to stay in his office and chat a while.  He pulled out a small pamphlet and asked if Buck Pennington was my dad, to which I answered “yes.”  The pamphlet he showed me was a directory of retired AFOSI guys, and I had no idea such a directory existed.  But… to cut to the chase… the colonel told me the District was holding a reunion of OSI guys who had served in the UK and my dad most definitely qualified to attend and really should come to the event.  I enthusiastically agreed.  So… the colonel wrote a personal invitation to my father, asking him to consider attending the reunion and cc’ed me on the invite.  I was quite pleased.  But… did the invite work?


That was the point I got the “my traveling days are over” routine.
  “Regrets,” and all that.  I was crushed; the colonel was disappointed.  And I didn’t “get it,” at all.

Ah… but I do now.
  I feel the same way, actually.  I’ve mentioned in passing that I let my passport lapse several years ago and have no intention of renewing it.  But… this leaves me wondering.  Why is it that some people retire and travel… a lot… while others become homebodies?  My former in-laws were in the former category, in that they took an international trip each and every summer after they retired, going to Russia (a cool cruise down the Volga), the Far East (China, Japan, Thailand… the list goes on), and a trip to visit TSMP and I while we were in London… every year.  The answer as to “why not travel” isn’t financial in all cases, and certainly wasn’t the case with my father… or me, for that matter.  It seems like our “get up and go” really DID get up and leave.  Perhaps the reason my in-laws traveled a lot in retirement was because they never traveled all that much as young adults, whereas my father and I were truly 20th century migrant workers.  In my case, the longest I’d ever lived in one place before my 4oth birthday was three years… in London, of all places… and then it was off to the next place.  And I covered a lot of ground in the process, both in these United States and overseas. 

Still and even… one would think travel would “get in the blood” and the habit would continue on as you age.
  Such is not the case with me.  I’m perfectly content to sit on my ass here on The High Plains of New Mexico, and I really don’t understand exactly why that is.  But I finally DO understand the way the Ol’ Man felt, though.  One mystery of old age: solved.  Sorta.  I’m thinking I need a rocking chair for the verandah.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just Checkin' the Box That Sez...

... "Today's Post?"  Courtesy of Blogger-Bud Doc...  Hip-Hop, translated:

Interesting, no?  I'd comment on the idiom, but I just don't have either the energy or the inclination.  It's been that kinda day.

And what kinda day would that be?  Up at 0430.  Watched all of Washington Journal, enduring the slings and arrows of moonbat ranters who just have to call in and vent... usually of the BushCrime! or Troofer varieties, coupled with their inexplicable support of The One.  Then it was over to MS-NBC (go figure... they were the only ones televising the hearings) for a couple of hours of watching Paulson, Bernanke, and Cox try and persuade the Senate Finance Committee that a $700 billion bailout is a good thing.  Otherwise?  Melt-down.  And we don't want that, do we?  Oh, no, My Precious... we doesn't!

Back to bed for a couple of hours after the coffee pot was emptied.  Out to the base to run weekly errands.  Saw four C-130s on the ramp and one flying around the aerodrome.  And one of those cute U-28s, as well.  An interesting side-note...  The fighter guys flew a whole helluva lot more than the C-130 guys do... at least currently.  It was a rare day when I'd go out to the base and not see jets on the ready-ramp prior to launch or being recovered... and more often than not, roaring off the runway... right over my head.  Like 50 feet above my head.  Beautiful noise, Gentle Reader!  But then again, the Wing had three squadrons of F-16s, and those guys trained a LOT.  The C-130 guys?  Not so much, apparently.  And a C-130 shooting touch 'n' goes just doesn't have the same sort of presence as a flight of F-16s in full military power, either.

I miss those guys.

Monday, September 22, 2008


In honor of the first day of Fall…

 It won’t be long before people in the four-season part of the world will be seeing this sort of tableau.  Alas, such is NOT the case here on The High Plains of New Mexico.  In the northern part of the state, yes.  Here?  Absolutely not.


SN3 got his first USAF ID card this past week and The Second Mrs. Pennington was good enough to send along a scan:

She also included the following information…

He wears a men's size 10-1/2 in tennis shoes and a men's 10 in hiking boots.  I kid you not.  He weighs about 130 and I think must be about 5'2" now.

To which I replied, in part:  “Holy Shit!   Still: amazing.  It's not beyond the pale to think he could kick my ass if he had a mind to do so.”

I don’t think this would be feasible any longer.  Maybe not even possible!

Taken in April of 1997.  I'm just in from work, which explains the get-up.


My friend Lori out in the Bay Area Soviet Socialist Republic sends along the following link:  Match-O-Matic.  It’s a short (13 question) quiz that asks you to match your beliefs with a pair of blind statements made by either McCain or Obama.  I took it and… no surprises.  I agreed with the McCain statements 9 out of 13 times.  I’d publish a graphic of my results but the results show the questions in the order they’re given, ergo: one could cheat, if one had a mind to do so.  Not saying you would, Gentle Reader… only that the possibility exists.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Further to today’s first post, from Ms. Alexandrova’s other blog

So THIS is what the end-stages of BDS look like. I've been told there's no cure, and I'm beginning to believe it.
So, Larisa and Fellow Travelers... One hopes your husbands/wives, parents, friends, or *someone* close to you arranges an intervention before you hurt yourselves. Paranoid schizophrenia just ain't fun to watch, in addition to being dangerous to you and those around you.
Get help.
Which part of a trillion dollar money grab - our money - without any oversight whatsoever is part of this paranoid schizophrenia? Do tell us young Buck what the proper reaction to this situation might be, mkay? Insults without addressing anything of substance simply makes you look foolish - and generally, identifies you as an asshole straight away. Welcome to the party by the way. I will let the other voices in my head know we have a new guest;)

Hey!  I’m young again!  But I suppose me being an asshole kinda-sorta offsets my new-found youth.  Oh, well.  At least I’m not batshit crazy.  I’ll count my blessings.