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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Monday, January 30, 2006

i know of a better group

Vandals put new trains to test

Teenage hooligans are being invited by Dutch transport chiefs to put their new underground trains to the test.

The youths will be given free reign to tear up seats and pull apart fittings in the new trains to see which parts are vulnerable to violence and need improving.

Amsterdam city councillor Mark van der Horst said: "We want to make sure our new trains for the city's underground are completely idiot-proof, and will see if the prototype can withstand vandalism before producing more of them.

"Nowhere in the world is as bad as here for vandals."

this is from an article at Ananova.

anyone that has spent time with nuke submarine sailors knows there is NOTHING nuke proof. you want a real test of the survivability of equipment on a train? put two bored 20 to 24 year old nuke qualified submariners on board, and leave them alone for 5 minutes. it has been my experience (28 years on the boats between being stationed on one and working on many as a test engineer) that given two bored sailors and a 248 pound chunk of cast iron, they will figure a way to dissassemble the solid mass of metal. without tools. in under 5 minutes. just to see what is inside.

someone should tell the dutch.

as an aside, but related. i used to keep a 3 way main steam stop bypass valve on my desk at work. i could always tell who was truly a nuke or not within seconds. if you came to my desk, saw the valve, and DIDN'T pick it up, take it apart, and put it back together while standing there talking to me, you probably weren't a nuke.
there just seems to be a natural curiosity in the breed. most of them would ignore the wooden puzzle box, but were unable to leave the valve alone

Sunday, January 29, 2006

more on the decline of education

LONDON -- Pupils in an East London school have been banned from raising their hands to answer questions in class because their teachers fear it leads to feelings of victimization.
"No hands up" notices have been posted in every room at the Jo Richardson comprehensive school in Dagenham, as a reminder that the teachers will decide who should answer.
The principal, Andrew Buck, said it is always the same children who wave their arms in the air, while the rest of the class sits back. When teachers try to involve less-adventurous pupils by choosing them instead, that leads to feelings of victimization.
Mr. Buck believes that it can also cause panic in children who are picked but do not know the answer while others around them are straining to give it. To spare the embarrassment of those who do not know the answer, the school uses a "phone a friend" system, allowing one child to nominate another to take the question instead.

the above snippit is from a Washington Times article

Friday, January 27, 2006

rob's right, i had to clean coffee off the monitor

need a laugh? check out the picture of a new warfare insignia. scroll down to the second picture.

hat tip to rob over at slightly rough

my last 20 visitors.

i should get up and check my blog this early all the time. a quick check shows that i am international at this time of morning.

France.....................Le Vigan, Midi-Pyrenees
France.....................Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
France.....................Paris, Ile-de-France
United States.........Warner Robins, Georgia
Slovenia..................Ljubljana, Beltinci
United Kingdom....Brentford, Slough
Belgium..................Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest
France...................Paris, Ile-de-France
Italy....................Torino, Piemonte
United States............Fpo, Armed Forces Pacific
Finland..................Helsinki, Southern Finland
Slovenia.................Ljubljana, Beltinci
France...................Bivres, Ile-de-France
France...................Rennes, Bretagne
United States............Tallahassee, Florida
Hong Kong
Finland..................Jyvskyl, Western Finland

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

hmmmm. wonder why these kids are having trouble

there is an article in today's Sacramento Bee about the state's adherence to the exit exam requirements. the exit exam has been required for a while, because i remember my kids having to take them 9 or 10 years ago.
the problem? the schools have been moving kids through the system without requiring grade level performance, and now it's all coming to roost.

one quote from a senior affected by the exams. this is a senior, who just found out that he hadn't passed the english section.
"That ain't my goal, to go to no night school and not walk the stage," said Kevin Muhammad, 17. "Everyone wants to see me walk the stage and get my diploma."

am i the only one that sees a problem here?
the article goes on to try to justify the 115 seniors at ONE HIGH SCHOOL that failed one or both of the sections of the exam.

our schools are failing our children. too much interference, too many "feel good" programs, not enough basics. hell, when my kids graduated, neither one of them had any concept of syntax or spelling. i was told by the teachers as they were progressing through the grades that it wasn't the mechanics of the language that was important. it was the idea that was important. it wasn't until my kids were in college that i was finally able to get them to acknowledge they needed to polish their language skills. neither felt it was that important, because their teachers told them so. what the hell does dad know, anyway? both had great ideas, but after sitting down and reviewing their papers, i was often dismayed at the lack of the 'riting' part of the education they missed. it took a couple of years with one, and an ongoing battle with the other to get their written skills even close to the level that would do justice to their ideas.

when we get grad students that can't write a complete paragraph that makes sense, it's obvious the problem isn't localized to one school district.

we are losing our language. not through replacement, but through a lack of passing it on. and yes, i think the language could use some adjustment. when i can use lough in a word and have multiple sounds as a result, it is time. words like slough and plough. but to discard teaching the language altogether? uh-uh. don't think so.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

howdy to a couple more bubbleheads, uh, i mean submariners

howdy to jeffox over at the fox hole.

and a howdy to lc scotty at brisket for chucklehead

i'm laughing so hard i have to be careful to not pee

oh my. there are some damned funny and deranged folks out there. funny. deranged. words that usually go hand in hand, and appropriately so in this case.

check out the videos from red state update. oh man, this is some funny stuff.

and deranged

thanks for the lead over atknowledge is power

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Springfield Armory TRP range report

for those of you that follow my occasional posts about firearms, you already know i bought a Springfield Armory TRP 45acp pistol. i've been working up loads for a 200 grain semi-wadcutter.
last night i went for a little casual target practice at the indoor range (hey macbeau, that's 7.1 miles on the odometer, not in the next county...hehehe).
i took a couple of my 22s, since i can practice both the 1911 and the S&W 686 .357 using 22 versions. a lot more shooting, a lot less expense and wear and tear on the big boys.
but i also took the Springfield, since i had the remains of a box of winchester white box left over from an earlier foray. the winchester ammo is a pretty good deal when purchased at that horrible, terrible, anti-american Wal-Mart (note sarcasm).
here's the target, shot at 25 yards offhand in a relatively poorly lighted indoor range. 40 rounds, 3 in the 9 ring, the rest in the 10 ring. gotta love those shoot-n-see reactive targets! i'm no superb marksman, and would be left in the dust by the real target guys out there shooting target tuned pistols, but this is not bad for a "combat" gun designed to hit "minute of barn". i've put close to 500 rounds downrange with the pistol now, and it's settling in like a champ. i'm thinking it may be time to take it in to the 'smith now for a trigger job. i never tinker with a new pistol until i've put enough ammo through it to let it settle out.
as always, click on picture for a larger version.

you've got to love a pistol that shoots like that when handled by a geezer with failing eyesight.
happy shooting.

oh, and speaking of winchester, i heard on the radio that they are closing down the New Haven Conn. winchester plant and going overseas. perhaps that makes economic sense, but it sure doesn't sit well with me. FN Herstal SA makes good damned guns, and i know the quality won't slide, but they are going to discontinue one of the most famous rifle lines in american history when they quit making the Model 94. here's a link to an article about the closure. what a bummer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

this ought to stir the fundamentalist's pot

"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another one," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.

"But it is not correct from amethodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."

any guesses where this quote came from? it came from the vatican newspaper, as reported by International Times Herald.

i imagine that will chap some hides in the fundie ranks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

surfin' the bubblehead blogosphere

popping around my links, and i found one that i really wanted to comment on when it was posted, but got sidetracked.

1/8/06 was the 1 year anniversary of the SSN-711 collision, and the skipper posted this message. i'm usually hard to get to, but i'm not ashamed to say this post brought a tear or two to my eyes. Kevin, we've never met, but jawed at each other on martini's bbs. i would have been proud to serve with you at any command, but especially at sea. you are a class act.

and the spud bubblehead is trying to pin down an old submarine legend. if you happen to know the answer, let him know. i sailed with two of the nukes that were on that mission, and worked with another after i got out. the seawolf was notoriously loath to leave the pier. we were in the channel, bresting away from land when a major breaker decided it wasn't ready to go to sea. the tugs pushed us back alongside the dock, so we could do the repairs. alby and hubbard looked at each other and laughed, with comments along the lines of "reminds me of the old days". only time i ever heard them say that, and until i read joel's post, i didn't put two and two together.

here's a submarine trivia question regarding the nautilus, and the first polar transit. what was so special about the awards given to the entire crew that made that specific trip?

lubber's line posted a really cool video last week. dayam, looks like fun.

and rob, our liberal shipmate ponders a terrifying whatif. rob, dude, you need to get out more and see the world. i wonder if you would have done sailing on the seawolf. see blind man's bluff for the backstory. i shudder to think what our response would have been to 9/11. you know it would have happened regardless of who was the president. sorry rob, but i don't think you've thought that post all the way through.

interested in what's happening in nuke training these days? hmm, checkout by computer. no more bringing a cup of coffee and a circular carbohydrate confection to the qual P.O. anymore? what's happening to tradition!

still have your hacker card?

i don't know if the surface navy had them, but submariners used to brag about getting their hackers card punched. what's a hacker card? if you sat through a butt stupid, or just plain horrible movie, you got a hacker card punch. i know that the newer boats (hell probably all of the boats, what am i saying?) now have digital media movies,either DVDs or VHS tapes. and they watch movies on a television in crews mess. as the old geezers used to say, "back in my day" we watched 35mm films shown on a projector against a pull down screen. that meant the safety tank was full of big assed boxes of movies needed to make it through the run. going to the motion picture exchange was fraught with hazard. if you brought back gaggers, you were going to catch crap for 3 months, non-stop. if you didn't plan your run to the MPX well, and got there behind the enterprise or some of the other skimmers that loaded out for west-pacs, you were relegated to bringing back the worst of the worst. these were what earned hacker card punches. there were several movies that were so bad that we actually abandoned the movie before the end of the third reel. i actually only left 2 movies during my time on the seawolf.
i thought about this post because harry the hop emailed me after my 10 guy flix post. here's the text:
To: bothenook@yahoo.com
Subject: Movies
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 18:20:34 -0500


click on the above link. wasn't this the worst movie ever shown on the Seawolf. I know we had it for the '76 run. I was the night messcook and it was the only time that the person showing the movie was the last one in the crew's mess and they shut it down and hit the rack.


harry, there were two more from that time that we all left, and the projector operator pulled the reel and rewound it without watching:

dirty little billy with Micheal J. Pollard, and the last movie, a horrible piece of art trash dennis hopper scammed a studio to pay for.

there were more, but these two were burned into my brain. i've sat through some of the absolute worst examples of junk ever put to celluloid, but these two stand out.

one movie we had on board (remember, i was on submarines from 74 to 81, so i got (?) to see some really bad flix) was so horrible that you couldn't leave. anyone remember the movie 100 Rifles ? that was an oater with raquel welch, jim brown, and burt reynolds. we would watch it just to try to establish a body count. by the third time we saw that movie, we were counting out loud each time someone was killed. as a gun enthusiast, i've spent the last 30 years scouring the earth for a colt like brown carried. i know he had to have at least a 100 shot revolver, because he shot almost an entire army without a single reload.

so, how about you guys? any memorably horrible hacker card flicks in your past?

the hypocrisy is delicious

did you watch the Alito hearings? ol' teddy was slamming the judge for joining a club during his senior year at Princeton. the club was formed to fight the move to forbid the ROTC from the campus. a club which alito paid his dues, graduated, and moved on.

now, what the hell does the following statement mean to YOU?
Asked by Hiller whether he is still a member, Kennedy said, "“I'’m not a member; I continue to pay about $100".

this is regarding kennedy's membership in a harvard alumni club that prohibits membership by women. he's been a member for 52 years, and is only now bailing out after being called on it by the conservatives. damn pesky internet searches anyway.

read the article, make up your own mind.
top o' the tam to drudge

where were your last 20 visitors from?

checking sitemeter, it looks like the french have discovered my blog. actually, it's still that picture of the horrible, horrible accident that's bringing visitors from afar.

United States Wakefield, Rhode Island
United States Peoria, Illinois
France Paris, Ile-de-France
Canada Fredericton, New Brunswick
France Nantes, Pays de la Loire
France Lyon, Rhone-Alpes
United States Humble, Texas
Germany Korb, Baden-Wurttemberg
Netherlands Pernis, Zuid-Holland
United States
United States Morgantown, West Virginia
France Le Pr-Saint-Gervais, Ile-de-France
France Amiens, Picardie
United States Beachwood, Ohio
United States Pensacola, Florida
France Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes
France Algrange, Lorraine
France Brunoy, Ile-de-France
United States Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States Wakefield, Rhode Island

Monday, January 16, 2006

back to asking the same question.

a while ago, i wondered why we didn't just level the north korean weapons labs where they were separating fissile materials for bombs. seems kinda like a no brainer to me.

well, i'd like to be one of the first on the block to point a few things out to the pinheads running the country of Iran.

hope this picture stays available for a while from the bbc.

now, if i were running a country that was giving the west the finger, i'd seriously reconsider just what the ramifications were of bumping up against a country that not only has incredibly accurate long range tactical weapons, it also has the coordinates locked in. so locked in that the most secret sites are so well known that the BBC published the sat photos for the whole world to see.

your move, mister unpronounceable persian named leader of what may very well become an extinct country.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

my very own meme. 10 guy flicks

there are movies out there that can only be classified as "GUY FLIX". no socially redeeming touchy feely crap to get in the way of the excitement of the movie. guy flix. that means my favorite movie of all time, "the african queen" with bogie and hepburn can't, and shouldn't make the list.
this is my list, off the cuff, no looking stuff up, just culling through the many flix i've seen in my life.
my guy flix list in no specific order, except the #1.

#1 Jeremiah Johnson. no question about it. this has to be one of the the truly great guy movies if for no other reason the the bear in the cabin scene. i may have to go out and buy this flick. it's been a long time since i've seen it.

#2 Das Boot, director's cut, in german with english subtitles. if it weren't for Jeremiah Johnson, this would be number 1. this WWII submarine flick is about as close to a perfect representation of the genre as there is.

#3 no real guy flick list can leave off anything by steve mcqueen, like bullit, the great escape, etc. too many good steve mcqueen flicks to chose from, and most of them are guy flicks.

#4 Enter the Dragon, the bruce lee martial arts flick that introduce the hong kong action movie to western audiences.

#5 Any Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" movie. they are all great examples of "guy flicks" and it would be unfair to list them individually.

#6 Tora Tora Tora. enough said.

#7 The Seven Samuri, and it's american version, the Magnificent Seven. same flick, different languages and culture. both excellent, but similar enough to get the same vote.

#8 Good Fellas. beats the godfather trilogy hands down. Joe Pesci was superb.

#9 Mel Gibson's Mad Max. the first was better than the second, simply because they were trying too hard to top the first, and failed. Even Tina Turner couldn't make the second one better, but she did make a kick ass villian!

#10 Any of the Three Stooges movies. Men love them, women just don't get them. no Guy Flick List (note the Capitalization!) would be complete without the originators of The Dizzy Doctors . such a list would be an incomplete one, in my own humble opinion.

so there you go. my top 10 guy flix. i know, i had to cheat a little, by doubling up some of the movies like the Dirty Harry series, but it's my list. so there. remember, these flicks generally have very little chick flick appeal. it's not that women won't and haven't enjoyed them, but i wouldn't recommend one of these selections as a first date video over popcorn.

how about you?

Monday, January 09, 2006

for the true science geeks

i don't know how long i'll keep this posted. it's a real memory hog at around .550 gig. but this is a streaming video we shot not too long ago.
what you will see is the reactor at 50 watts, and then pulsed to about 350 megawatts for around 200 milliseconds. the full width half max time is about 30 milliseconds.
basically what you will see is a reusable nuclear detonation, since the neutron levels during the pulse are nearly those of a sustained supercritical event.
this is just one of the experimental tools i get to play with. any wonder why i love my job?

streaming video
note this is a HUGE file, and it takes a while to buffer. i wouldn't recommend this be tried on a dial up line. just to buffer the stream takes 15 megs, or about 3 1/2 minutes on a t-1 line, since it's uploading from a personal server

let me know what you think.
p.s. that's me laughing at the end of the shot. the person i took in to watch the pulse about crapped his pants when we fired, and i had to razz him.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

snapshot's excellent observation

If I were the coach of a number 1 team and I brought someone up from the minors, I wouldn't do things his way out of sensitivity. I would say, do it my way and you too can be part of a number 1 team.
smart guy, intellegent observations
guess i shouldn't be surprised, since he was a boat sailor

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

gotta love deb saunders

debra saunders is one of my favorite writers in the san francisco chronicle. this paper is a deplorable partisan rag, but it does have a few redeeming factors. one of them is saunders. and i'm not sure what the hell is going on, but lately i've noticed a few other conservative, or at least right of left wing whackjob, articles and authors showing up. today, she wrote a great article about that abhorrent Preparation H, uh... Proposition H, which requires LEGAL owners possessing LEGALLY obtained, and LEGALLY kept handguns to turn them in by 1 April, without compensation.
i will quote one section, but i suggest you visit the above link to read the whole article for yourself. this is just another example of of the mindset so prevalent in places like san francisco, where it's ok to think, or act, or behave, or live, but only if it's the way I want you to.
Here's an interesting statistic, compiled by the SFPD and reported in The Chronicle last month: Of the 94 homicides recorded in the city through Dec. 12, no arrests had been made in 74 of those murders. Only eight cases have resulted in prosecutions.

Sorry, but if gang members think they can kill without getting caught, I don't think a handgun ban is going to crimp their style.

Police say that witnesses to homicides often are reluctant to testify. This suggests it would make more sense to put the resources used to defend Prop. H -- which by the mayor's own admission is a very expensive public-opinion poll -- into witness protection and investigative programs.

San Francisco is supposed to stand for choice. This is supposed to be a town where tolerant individuals don't pass laws that, in essence, say: If I don't do it, you shouldn't either; if you do, you go to jail. Yet the gun ban ends choice -- for the law-abiding, at least.

and along the lines of handgun ownership, i went to the range the other day. i took a couple of 22's and my new SA TRP (dayam, i love that gun). I'd loaded some 200 grain lead semi-wad cutters with bullseye powder, from 3.5 grains to 5.5 grains, 20 bullets at each increment for a total of 100. i went to test out my new loads, and see if i could find an accurate one using semi-wad cutters. i think the optimum load using bullseye is between 3.7 and 4.3 grains. i'll load 20 at each 1/10 grain increment and check them out. the 4.0 grain load did the best, with a number of fliers (my fault i'm sure), and 12 bullets into a 2 1/2 in hole at 15 yards off hand. we'll see. i'll do the same with several other powders, to see if i can tailor a round for me and the way i shoot that specific gun. damn, i love this gun-geek stuff.
anyway, i was making a lot of noise firing off the .45 (it's an indoor range). the next station over was occupied by a dad and his 15-16 year old son. they had just gotten back from some basketball tournament, and stopped off for a little light shooting. they were shooting i think a sig mosquito in 22. the snippets of conversation i heard over my booms was that they were having fun, but were really unhappy with the accuracy.
so i dug out my Ruger Mark II Government model .22, and loaned it to them to shoot.
click to see larger image
i've done a full target trigger job, with overtravel stop and a hand radiused sear and trigger, so that it pops at somewhere around 28 ounces, crisp as an apple. it's wearing hogue rubber contour grips, and a 3 minute ultradot red dot sighting system, that only shines a red spot where you are shooting inside the optic, without actually projecting the dot, with no magnification to get in the way of actually having to figure out where to put the dot. it WILL hit what you target out to at least 50 yards, which is where i like to play. it's easily capable of shooting 1 inch groups off hand at 25 yards. they shot off something like 300 rounds of CCI minimags they brought, which is what i sighted in with. all i heard was whoops and yahoos for the next 30 minutes.
i was glad to help make their day at the range memorable.
an observation: i really hate teenage boys with firearms. not that i think they shouldn't shoot. i just think they shouldn't shoot when i'm around. it's really embarrassing to have some punk 15 year old with great eyes and no handshakes from caffeine overload and age crow about the one hole groups he can shoot with MY OWN DAMNED GUN. i may just have to limit my gun loans to geezers like me. it sure would be easier on my ego.

all i wanted for christmas was my two gold teeth

i'm slowly but surely getting over my acute disappointment. santa was nice and all, but he didn't get me what i really wanted. and it was cheap too! rotten old elf

stole this from http://content.leenks.com/pics/random29/1532_rapper.jpg , and would have left it linked except it doesn't load in my browser.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

dodged the flood bullet once again!

i live in a beautiful spot of the universe. i have a big yard, beautiful trees, and a creek for a backyard barrier.
but this week has been some kind of crazy. this area typically gets between 19 and 22 inches of rain a year. this area got 7 1/2 inches in under 18 hours. good thing the creek has high banks.
i felt sorry for the folks heading west on I-80 yesterday. it was closed due to flooding early in the morning, and by 9 o'clock last night was just barely moving. i was bummed big time, because di and i were supposed to be partying in napa last night. of course, a big chunk of napa was underwater too, so what the hell. no way i was getting on the freeway to go anywhere.
so here's a picture of my back yard an hour after the creek started to go down, around 7 in the morning.
click pix for larger image

there are no points of reference if you haven't seen the yard yourself, and the darned camera doesn't show much depth of field so here are a couple of explanatory comments on the picture. the water is a little less than a foot from breaking out of the ivy you see at the bottom of the frame. that is my back yard. the poor dude across the creek to the left is 10 feet lower than i am, and was flooded out. the water is about 35 feet across at this point, and moving DAMNED fast. i saw a beach ball go past that travelled the 300 feet or so i can see in under 2 minutes. it's a lot faster now that the level has dropped.

here's a pic taken today, about 24 hours later

reference points are: the flat section just above the bottom of the picture that's all covered in silt is about 12 feet down, and the creek surface is about another 7 or 8 feet below the flat, and about 8 feet across.

we were lucky. really lucky. there were a lot of road and street closures in town due to flooding, but we escaped any and all of the bad things that happened to others.
know why? the first question i asked before buying this place is: has it ever had water in the back yard from the creek, since being built in 1969? and the answer is NO, even during the really ugly flooding in 86 and 97.
my dad taught us to never live anywhere that was below the high water mark.