February 27, 2015


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February 26, 2015

It is STILL Snowing

Tuesday evening it snowed and...iced. In the process of getting out of the car I dropped my keys and foolishly posed the question..."God. What else can go wrong?" Almost instantly my prayers were answered as I suddenly inverted myself and deposited my schoolbooks and cellphone in the briny puddle beneath my car. 

Today I got out of work to find seven inches of snow on my car. I note that it is STILL coming down as I type this.

This winter has been unreal on the east coast, while other parts of the country are not having winter at all. To solve this mystery here is one of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes who will explain to you, gentle readers, why this is all Bill DeBlasio's fault...

"Wait. What!?...No I won't."

Fine. I'll do it...
On Groundhog Day 2014, the New York mayor compelled a defenseless groundhog to appear at some inane photo-op. During the course of this event the mayor dropped the animal, and despite a cover-up it has been revealed that it died of its wounds
This year Punxsutawney Phil came out of his burrow and declared that there would be six additional weeks of winter. As Mr. Phil is a member of the groundhog tribe, and since (according to no less an August source that the Washington Post) he can control the weather, it is obvious that he is exacting revenge on the Northeastern United States by taking all the cold points from the rest of the temperate world and min/maxing the misery in the northeast. 
As to why a rodent that can control the weather would not simply strike Mayor DeBlasio down with a lightning bolt, such uncongenial lines of reasoning can be special pleaded away by pointing out that the malignant critical theorist in question is an elected official (of America's Largest City) and therefore the electorate bears some blame in his eyes. 
The solution to this unhappy situation is clear: Mayor Deblasio must be hog tied and left outside a groundhog warren for the Groundhog Tribe to do with as they please. 
Of course it's possible that this analysis is somehow flawed, but ask yourself....do you want to take the chance that it isn't?.

Besides, even in the unlikely event that this course of action did nothing for the weather, DeBlasio would still be hogtied outside a groundhog warren.  I'm seeing no downside here...

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February 21, 2015

Suddenly: A Roving Pedant Appears

Reading this article on Russian bomber incursions into UK airspace, this bit at the end jumped out at me. 

The warnings came after military chiefs said Britain "could not cope” if Russia attacked because our defence forces have been "decimated”.
Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF, said: "I very much doubt whether the UK could sustain a shooting war against Russia. We are at half the capabilities we had previously.”

To decimate something means to reduce it by a tenth. Yet in the next paragraph it is clearly stated that the UK military is at half their previous capability. What's more, the number of carriers has gone from 3 to zero in recent years and three is greater than one half of three so even that assessment is off by 50%.

Thus the objective truth is is that the UK Military isn't even close to being decimated. 

See? That doesn't sound so bad now, does it?

"That's a relief! Everybody dance!"

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Tales of the Cold

Below the fold; weather related angst.
Above the fold; a picture of Arale, which is probably missing some context and is unrelated to the weather discussion in any way.


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February 18, 2015


...There are stories of even greater import than the fact that it is snowing in parts of North America in February. 

This piece in the Atlantic has been widely linked to and deservedly so. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing. It gives one of the best overviews on the motivations of ISIS. It also explains in layman's terms the rationale behind what to those of us on the outside seems to be bizarre and frankly crazy behavior. They are not crazy. They are completely rational and logical given the premises they operate from. Nor are they ignorant as the group is led mostly by highly literate eschatologists who are, like many of the greatest monsters of all time convinced that they are going to make the world a better place and bring about heaven on earth. This is hard for people to get their heads around because it is simply so alien. They genuinely consider themselves to be virtuous. This is really beyond our modern experience, save possibly for the NAZIs, though even they were sufficiently uncomfortable with their atrocities that they tried to conceal them rather than using them as recruiting tools. The piece defies excerpting and you really should read the whole thing, but if you absolutely must get the Cliff's notes version or simply want to review the piece in bullet point format, Suburban Banshee has got your back. Take particular note of point #1. 

In other news, it seems that ISIS is even more active in North Africa than previously supposed, having secured territory in the festering hell-hole formerly known as  Libya, where they demonstrated their ability to operate with impunity by beheading 30 Egyptian Christians in the open on the beach, in broad daylight. In addition to a display of confidence the location choice is sending another message as well. It would appear that the ISIS "Barqa Province" in Africa consists of two coastal enclaves the smaller of which includes the city of Derna, an austere seaport, with a depth of only 15 feet, but it is a rail hub and has the logistical benefits that ports have. 

Egypt chose to express their displeasure at the bigoted butchering of their citizens with bombs, rockets and cannon fire rather than hashtags. As a result, when they asked for intel assistance from their nominal allies in the US Government, they were, like the Jordanians before them, rebuffed

Perhaps more worrying in some ways is the fact that the ISIS takeover of Derna is not exactly breaking news. It happened in August of last year .  AFD did an in depth post on that unhappy development at the time. It makes for sobering reading. 

 Hifter’s personal army and the Libyan military, as I noted in my earlier post, are being more or less crushed in Benghazi, representing eighty percent of all deaths (military, Islamist, and civilians) in Benghazi from mid-October to mid-November alone.

Hifter/ Haftar is a Libyan general leading an anti-islamist coalition.

This map is from Wikipedia and may be outdated, but it gives some idea of the mess that Libya has become. ISIS controlled areas are black and mainly cities, the grey areas are controlled by Ansar-El-Sharia, which is reportedly allied closely with ISIS (and given the eschatological underpinnings of ISIS, may be only nominally separate).

  Click here for supah-size.

Do note that Derna, in addition to being a railway hub and small port has some disadvantages, should we as a nation, ever rediscover our resolve. Being on the coast it is inherently susceptible to an amphibious assault, and I'm sure that the USMC would not mind to revisit the place

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February 16, 2015

Snowmageddon '15

Having just driven a distance of 5 miles in a bit under an hour and a half, I think that this young lady sums up the opinion of many of my fellow Virginians...


It's been coming down remarkably hard for several hours now. Predictions are for 6-12 inches of snow, which is quite a bit for us. There has been some flickering and intermittent outages, so power may not persist. 

In other news, the plumbing situation deteriorated rapidly Saturday night with the result that both bathrooms were unusable so we sent Mom to my sister's house before finally breaking down and calling a plumber. In a few moments I will get the first shower, I've had in over two days. Yay!
Mom is still in North Carolina suffering the dreadful indignity of having to watch her three year old granddaughter play in the snow. 

UPDATE: I have not as of yet had to eat my own leg...but it has been a rear run thing. 

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February 14, 2015

An Important Valentines Day Reminder

One of the Brickmuppet's Crack team of Science Babes is about to learn an important lesson that you, gentle reader should make note of...

Heartfelt scene by ddochi1

 If you have someone special, then remember that the appropriateness of a gift can be every bit as important as the thought and effort that went into getting it.

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If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.

After many moves, I reside now in the town of my birth. 

And yet...

Today I find myself taking the pledge above; a pledge that in the country of my birth would have been unimaginable due to its redundancy.

"Fundamental transformation" indeed.

The United States of America is one of a few nations that is not defined by an ethnicity. In fact it is not even defined by geography. The U.S.A. is an experiment in facilitating a set of ideals. Take those away and the nation is no more, no matter what the map, or the U.S. code may say. 

Which brings us to this...

In October, then FEC Vice Chairwoman Ann M. Ravel promised that she would renew a push to regulate online political speech following a deadlocked commission vote that would have subjected political videos and blog posts to the reporting and disclosure requirements placed on political advertisers who broadcast on television. On Wednesday, she will begin to make good on that promise.

There are thoughts on this by other far more eloquent and prolific than I here, here, and here,  

No apologies for this being above the fold. 

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Let Us Wish the Danes Good Hunting

Terrorists have shot up a Copenhagen cafe in an apparent attempt to assassinate cartoonist Lars Vilks, who has some blasphemous tendencies. There was another fatal shooting at a synagogue shortly thereafter. 

There is not much to add at this time, but here is something suitably non-Halal: 

May they catch the bastards quickly. 


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And Now We Know....

Source unknown but probably not approved By Casper David Frederich

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In Defense of Friggatriskaidekaphobia

While things have not been quite as bad as the travails of the young lady depicted above, yesterday was a fitting cap to a particularly obnoxious work week.  more...

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February 10, 2015

Final Word On the Matter

The Mustache of Malevolence pretty much sums up the whole sordid mess so we don't have to discuss it any more. 

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Oh My

China is expressing an interest in supporting the Hawaiian independence movement. Given that Oahu and Midway are arguably the most strategic points in the Pacific, I bet they are. Of course, there is also this...

 Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon consultant and author of the recent book 100 Year Marathon, said Chinese military hawks, known as "ying pai,” told him they are ready to provide arms to Hawaiian independence activists in retaliation for U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.
What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Regards the particular little bit of cheer in that quote, I'm a little skeptical of this sentiment being a real thing, at least with regard to the politburo members who would have to approve such a risky move. However, given the outright seizure of Philippine atolls, and moving the border with India unilaterally, it bears scrutiny. In any event, it certainly continues China's policy of trolling us. Far less asinine brinkmanship can easily lead to epic miscalculations

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February 09, 2015

Handy Dandy Online Schedule

One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes takes time from her twin hobbies of astrography and gunzelling to give us a handy dandy calculator for getting the most out of an interplanetary line-bash. 

The Cosmic Train Schedule has launch windows and trip times for Hohmann transfer orbits between Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter (Sorry Ceres) out to about the year 2326. 

WHY one might have need for this? I'm sure that I have no idea. But it is certainly a neat resource and if one ever stumbles across enough unused Delta V laying about and decides not to listen to one's mom... 

...it will make a useful addition one's blaster and freezer gun. 

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If You Ever See This

Get underground fast!

Multiple Russian ICBM warheads heading towards their targets on the Kura test range.

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February 08, 2015

It Has Come to This

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I Dunno...This Show Just Looks SO Whacked

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If You've Played the Games

...this may amuse you. 


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Via Instapundit, this article is rather hard to read without putting down the keyboard and crawling under the bed. 

It seems that ISIS has made some progress in governing their state. They have established a comprehensive and rapidly expanding a program of universal and compulsory education. 
Specifically, after killing all the teachers, they are sending the kids to religious and military indoctrination camps. Kids to young or not yet ready to fight are transported with assault forces and serve in rear echelon as blood donors. 

There is more here, and bit of that is touched on in this video from Vice, which, while not really graphic is nevertheless high octane nightmare fuel.

On the other hand, I was not aware that Turkey had turned off the Euphrates.

Note that Boko Haram, which has had some cooperation with ISIS despite the two groups distance has been doing more of this as well of late. Previously, they had been killing boys and abducting girls but that seems to have changed in recent months

In the 1300s the Muslims created the Jannissaries; children abducted from non moselem families on raids who were trained using Spartan methods to be shock troops that would not only have great combat prowess, but give their enemies pause due to the fear that they might be fighting their own relatives. These are no such elite force but they are a dreadful problem that is likely to linger rather unpleasantly, and will be both worse and more persistent the longer we allow these vile groups to fester . 

This began as the 21st century. In some ways it is looking more like the 12th. 

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Secret Files and Origins BRICKMUPPET

The new blog-game that all the cool kids are playing right now is this homage to the inventor of the blog* Brian Williams.

Sound Like a Badass Without Committing Yourself to a Lie

My Walter Mitty lifestyle is somewhat non-conducive to this challenge but sacred honor says I have to give it a go. 
So, what to write about? 
The barracudas? No. anyone who dives regularly knows that barracudas aren't that big a deal. 
Changing the bilge punp hanging upside down in the bilge of a fishing boat taking on water during the storm off Hatteras while seasick? No. No one wants to read about me aspirating my own vomit. 
Stepping on the Alligator? No That's not badassery, that's clumsiness. 
The bear under the trailer? No. Does not qualify. The bear and I achieved a nonviolent resolution to the situation.
The other bear, when the bear cub was behind me? No. See above.
That time in junior high when we built the raft and left the paddles on the island and the cops got called and the missing persons report was filed but we had come ashore in a completely different city? Nope not badassery...but might qualify as a failed Darwin award.
That time, at the babysitters with the bees, the baby and the wild pigs?Nope. No one would believe that.
How I became Tidewaters only LIVING comic book supervillain? That's not badass...that's just pathetic.

So I'll go with the origin of my nom de plume.... 

Everything in this story is true, though some descriptive phrase choices might be debatable.

It was a dark and stormy night. We get those in Virginia sometimes.

Several weeks or months after the storm, this happened.....

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