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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

i'm off to denver

i'll see ya later. i'll be back late friday.

ohohoh.....pumpkins start this coming weekend. i'm so excited. if you want to know why, checkout my entries from october and november last year. it's a blast.

i got this from a self professed "life long democrat"

and it does my heart good to realize that at least some of them are getting it.

I am really disappointed in President Bush.

First and foremost he failed to stop the hurricane Katrina before it hit the Gulf Coast. Even worse, he should have stopped it before it first hit Southern Florida. Since he failed to take this first action, one would have expected that he should have, as a second thought, moved the entire states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to central Texas before Katrina came ashore.

Next, he failed to keep the levees in New Orleans from breaking. You would think that our Commander in Chief would have sent Rumsfeld or at least someone in authority to put his or her finger in the dike. Here again, President Bush should have known that the levees wouldn't hold. Remember, he has the best intelligence organization in the world and they are never wrong.

If that wasn't bad enough, he failed to assemble the national Guard on a minute's notice. Aren't they, after all, the present day "Minutemen?"

I know that it took God 6 days to do His work but the leader of the free world should have been able to beat His time. (Actually it took 6 days after the hurricane to get things stabilized so maybe that's par for the course.)

Remember, he had experience when he responded to the tsunami victims. Didn't it take several weeks of continuing rescue operations to stabilize that area. With that training, he should have had everyone sitting in planes with their engines running at the end of the runways before the hurricane struck.

As a matter of fact he should keep them all at that level all the time because you can never tell when there might be an emergency. Never mind the cost of aviation fuel. What is more important, money or lives?

Bush also showed his careless disregard for property damage by concentrating efforts in the flooded areas where people were trapped. By all rights he should have been primarily concerned about getting power back on to the casinos along the Gulf Coast. Again, what is more important, a few peoples' lives or preserving the governments income from gambling sources.

What blows my mind is how President Bush could have reasonably expected people to take any responsibility for themselves. After all, with only a few days' notice how could you expect that anyone would take the time to fill up a few jugs of water and stash a few cans of food just because a category 5 hurricane was headed their way? Besides, FEMA's suggestion of having 4 days of water and food is just a suggestion. It isn't mandatory.

Bush also failed by expecting local officials to take on any responsibility. After all, isn't it the present Federal Government's responsibility to provide everyone with everything that our ancestors used to do for themselves?

Based on all of the above it is clear that President Bush and his administration are the only possible ones to blame. This calls for a full investigation by all of those totally blameless so that they may reap as much political gain from this tragedy as is possible.

If we had any brains we would have had Teddy Kennedy in the White House, in the first place. He's already proved that he knows how to get out of hot water......I mean, high water..... anyway.......

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

heading to denver monday

i really screwed the pooch last week with my trip to D.C. i missed the chance to get the hookup with an old friend and shipmate. but here's an advanced warning, and i WILL be checking my email up until the time i get ready to leave for the airport...
i'll be in denver from monday night until friday afternoon next week. the days will be full, with meetings until at least 1700, but then i'm on my own. anyone like to meet up? let me know.

way to go

i just watched a jet blue airbus with the forward nosegear rotated 90 degrees make a picture perfect landing on the tube. 149 hearty sighs of relief from inside that airplane. training and skill, with a healthy dose of luck, brought that plane down to a beautiful landing. well, beautiful as opposed to crashing and flaming on the runway.

and a final aside as i go back to getting my bookshelves squared away: hurricane Rita: houston, we have a problem.

Monday, September 19, 2005

this is too cool for words

i invite you to visit the national geographic wildcam. i've spent too damned long tonight just sitting here watching the goings on of a plethora of african critters around a waterhole, real time. i am amazed to my core. i found the site in an article by john carroll of the sf chronicle. the url he posts transfers you to the one i have linked above.
read the article, watch the web cam. be amazed.
hint, carroll states the best time to watch is at night here on the west coast. it's a little after 2200, and it's broad daylight on the plain in botswana. the world is getting smaller and smaller. i hope there's room for my not so small physique in a couple of years.

the world's shortest fairy tale

stolen from a post on Martini's Submarine BBS

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl "Will you marry me?"

The girl said, "NO!" And the guy lived happily ever after and went fishing, hunting and played golf a lot and drank beer and farted whenever he wanted.


good thing my wife has a sense of humor. i'd be toast by now if she didn't.

pictures? i've got your pictures right here, buddy

ok, that was rude, but then, what did you expect from me? here are a couple of pictures of the 200 or so i took while in D.C. most of the pix are from the two smithsonian air and space museums, both the one downtown, and the "annex" out at Dulles International Airport, which is where i spent most of my time, if i wasn't at the conference.

all pictures are links to a larger version. just click on the picture.

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this is one of the most powerful places i've visited in my entire life. to have seen this memorial literally thousands of times in magazines, tv shows, movies, hell, even the back of the penny, does not prepare you for the reality. if you look at the big image, you'll see the shadow of the statue, and in the lower right hand corner, you'll see a woman wiping her eyes as she leaves. i know how she feels.

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the korean war memorial is something else. the reflecting wall looks like it has been sprayed with some sort of graffiti, and then scrubbed when looking at it from the far side of the statues. the squad of men, sloughing through the snowdrifts (ok, you have to use your imagination) is reflected in the wall. it's not until you get up close that you realize the wall is etched with many images from the korean war. these images are predominantly faces or people, and it gives the whole memorial something of a ghostly feel. i really liked the effect. you can see the weariness and determination of the soldiers in the sculptures. great art as well as a great memorial.

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the obligatory "standing in front of the white house" picture. one of about 50 million taken this summer alone, no doubt.

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and no sailor can pass up a chance to stand next to that young man, waiting on the pier for his ship.

hmmm, really, these aren't ego pix. it's just the only pix i have were with me in them. really. honest. (sure, sure)

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what techno-geek doesn't get chills running up and down his/her back looking at this picture? the sr-71, with the shuttle behind it? come on, is there really anything else that can top that? the curator of the "Annex" did an incredible job of placement with these two crafts. i WAS IMPRESSED.

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ok, am i the only one that sees kermit the frog here? this is of course the sr-71 nose, flanked by the white shuttle engines in the background. this cracked me up. if this was an engineering inspired Rorschach test, what does my response say about me? frightening to think they give me the keys to anything associated with the word nuclear.

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talk about chills. to actually be this close to the airplane that helped end WWII, and save countless allied lives is too powerful for my paltry language skills to describe. sad to say, the staff had to erect a plexiglass barrier along the walkway to protect the aircraft from pinheads and vandals. i talked to one of the security guards there, and he said that they almost didn't display the airship because of worries about violence accompanying protesters. how sad is that?

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and to prove that danger can also be absurd, here is a picture of a german WWII air to air missile. this really looks like a prop from a Buck Rogers in the 25th Century serial from the late 30's, early 40's. you know the ones. things like putting a sparkler in the tail of a model rocket, tying a string to the nose, and filming it as you swing the rocket to show it flying? this could have been one of those rockets! what is amazing is that it really was a weapon, and it was used. i guess the designers were as taken with the serials as the rest of the world. i guess this is just another example of life imitating art.

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i don't know why i didn't know this, but the mars rover is dinky. tiny, small, almost of insignificant size. until you realize just what it is you are looking at. the technology and science that went behind the design, launch, landing, and subsequent use of this rover, which is basically the size of a desktop computer case with wheel is staggering. i don't care what anyone else in the world says. we still make neat stuff that works.

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and finally, proof that even in the hardest, geekiest engineer's heart, there is a bit of artist. this satellite kept drawing my eye, until i just had to take a picture of it. the gold foil, the silicon panels, the antenna array, all come together to form an almost unforgettable sculpture.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

just an observation

1: it's muggier than hell in D.C. i was NOT comfortable, even though the temperature was at least 10 degrees cooler there than at home.

2: i am totally taken with the D.C. METRO system. it's a shame the bozos that run BART can't get their act together. they could learn a lot by riding the system in our nation's capital.

made it back in one piece

i was gone this week. i attended a conference in gaithersburg, MD. man, was that an eye opening experience. the things the "damned furriners" are doing in our field, especially the french, is enough to make a die hard science geek cry. while they are busy building facilities and expanding the edge of scientific knowledge further and further, we are busy closing facilities at an alarming rate. even the aussies have spent a huge sum of money lately building a brand new, state of the art facility to help expand man's knowledge, and to better serve it's population with a reliable and functional source of medicinal radioisotopes. their commitment to excellence in the world of science is to be commended, and i wish it were emulated here in this country.
there will be a series of "exposes" (how the f*** do you get an accent mark above the e?) coming from abc news in the coming weeks that will do nothing to further our cause. i've seen how a very innocent event can be spun to indicate the apocalypse is in the offing, and i see no reason for this to be any different. i don't know how much to say about it, other than it will not be pretty, and based on some of the comments heard from colleagues, it may very well prove to be extremely damaging to the academic facilities whose sole purposes are to teach and provide a place for research. you probably won't hear about us in this report, because we still have the old school military base mentality when it comes to regulating visitors and intruders. even so, i can't see anything good for the academic facilities coming out of this.
on the other hand, it was heartening to see and hear from our foreign counterparts, since this was a joint conference. the french are doing some incredible research, and some of the things they are working on will improve our lot in life. same with the aussies. i wonder if the aussie facility needs an american on their staff as an operator? i'd like to be involved in cutting edge research without constantly looking over my shoulder to see if the chancellor is going to kill our program.
we live and die at the whim of public opinion, and college administration perceptions of cost and utility. that's as it should be, but we have 50 years of anti-nuke sentiment to overcome. when a completely non-scientific type can determine our worth, our future hangs by a thread. and most of the truly vocal opposition to our existance comes from the un-informed and un-educated in the sciences. if we go away, i hope you or someone you love doesn't contract prostate cancer. we are one of two facilities in north america (the other is in canada), that has the capability to make the isotopes required to save your life.

Friday, September 09, 2005

i completely forgot to brag about my new roof!

yeah, yeah, so i forgot in the excitement. so, this entry stands as the before image.

and here is the in progress entry.

and now, the final product
click on image for larger view
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as you can see, it's a little breezy, and the sun shade cloth i've got over the front patio is blowing up (the black arch over the front area). i really like this shot, because it shows a couple of the trees in the back, and how big they are. i love the chinese camphor that sits directly in the middle of the back yard. it's a beautiful tree, and it smells like a cough drop. that's a good thing!

holy crap, i just thought of this today

i'm flying to washington d.c. (reagan, which has one runway pointing to the white house, and the other the pentagon) on 9/11. i'm travelling with someone named mohammad. dayam.

the apple revolution rolls on.

check out this link for a hilarious sendup of the apple ipod mini craze. heard on the radio yesterday that apple has announce an even smaller widgit about the size of a pen that holds the same amount as the mini, so this video isn't too far off.

tip of the tam to my amigo allan for the link.

the latest scoop on sandy burglar, i mean berger

one of the news stories from last year that really got my attention was the sandy berger story where he was caught stealing confidential materials. i was livid, as you could probably tell by the two previous links.

it seems the shoe has dropped, and a judge has sentenced berger to a $50,000 fine. way too lenient for my taste. that sombich belongs in jail. but at least he didn't get away with it clean. what is it with folks that have access to the kind of power berger enjoyed as a top level bureaucrat? they seem to find the laws of the land minor inconveniences, and only applicable to the hoi polloi, and not the "upper crust".

i want that bastard to spend time in the slammer. alcatraz or folsom would be fine. money? that's not even punishment. the pool he can tap to cover his expenses won't even change in level taking that paltry sum out. i bet he could have been fined millions, and someone would cover his marker, if for no other reason than to keep him quiet about what he was doing, and for whom.

it's like when i was a young and stupid sailor. if you got into trouble and were fined as a result of captain's mast, it sucked, but you survived. the galley would always provide a meal, and your buds more often than not lived a share and share alike existence, so there would always be beer available.

but take away liberty time by confinement to the boat? THAT was punishment.

Monday, September 05, 2005

whine whine snivel snivel

with all of the catastrophic events happening in the world, it's almost unseemly to snivel, but i am going to any way. i did something to my back, don't know, can't remember, but it kicked me square in the midsection yesterday. i missed a great outing with friends on the water to watch a concert given downtown napa, from my buddy KW's boat. instead, i was at the hospital, getting some shot that put me in snooze land for about 4 hours yesterday afternoon. i don't know what the hell it was they gave me, but it didn't seem to have any affect what so ever for about an hour. i took the muscle relaxer they gave me, and i was sitting in the living room, whining about how much it was bothering me. poor wife. she gets to see me at my worst. anyway, i was alert and sniveling one minute, then figured i might lay down for a while to see if that helped. i don't remember anything after walking down the hallway to the bedroom. like i said, i don't remember what it was, but i like it. a lot. best 4 hour nap i've had in forever.
so today i'm walking around with a definite port list, babying the owie. i'll get better. i just wish it was now and not later.

one thing about being married to a nurse. her friends are all nurses. and we were going out with a couple of them last night before i bailed out. between the three of them i was triaged with everything running the gamut from a simple muscle pull, to kidney stones, to some thing much more dire. i love them, but sometimes they can scare the shit out of me. what the hell do i know? i'm just a nuke. they are nurses. sometimes i wish they didn't diagnose me before i get a chance to see the doc. i don't know anything, and they know too much. the bright side is that they care enough to be concerned, and that is one of the definitions of friend.

Friday, September 02, 2005

went from the pan to the fire

been so busy lately i haven't really had a chance to keep up to speed on the goings on on the blogosphere. and now it looks like i'll be flying to D.C. for a 5 day conference on the 12th. love the lead time. i was told last night as i was going home. for the next 3 weeks i'll be gone for 2 of them. i'm spending most of a week in denver during the last week of the month.
anyone from those areas that would like to meet the face behind the sea stories? here's your chance!
actually, i'm not sure how busy this first conference is. it's something like 15 hour days for 5 days. ya,hoo.