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  • Is It Even Worth It?

    The current Presidential Election cycle has proven very… interesting. Any number of similarities to other elections have been made, but none seem to cover all of the variables in play this time.

    Both main political parties are in trouble and are reacting in ugly fashion, in direct contrast with what the public wants. The populace is giving the big F.O. to the political parties preferred candidates, and the parties have reacted by giving the middle finger to the afore-mentioned populace. So each party’s choices have boiled down to two candidates: the party’s choice that the populace is not interested in voting for, and a candidate that the populace likes, that is out of control of the party.

    In the run-up to the national conventions, there’s going to be lots of ugly name-calling and politicking. What’ll be interesting is seeing whether the parties bend to the will of The People, or if they intend to force the issue with the candidates that they like.

    I hate to say this, but this is a major turning point: The parties can decide that they represent The People and choose the popular candidate, or they can rig the rules, and pick the candidate that they want. Choose wrong, and the parties show that this is no longer a Republic of representatives. The people either revolt, or decide that the Republic no longer represents their interests and decide to ignore the rule of law.

    This has been developing for a while now, but I feel that it is coming to a head in the run-up to these elections, and am hugely concerned for our future. I’m almost reluctant to vote, seeing as how there are plans for others to choose who they want, rather than who we want to represent our future.

    What with this and the way the economy/jobs is going, I totally understand why the number of suicides is going up, and life expectancy is going down.

    PS: I totally understand the Electoral College, and have no qualms with that process. I’m greatly concerned over how our choice of candidates is being manipulated by the parties themselves.

  • FotH

    Fool on the Hill, former coworker, friend, one-time poster on this blog, just had emergency triple-bypass surgery done. Best wishes a quick recovery. This was a big concern of his recently and makes this an even bigger surprise.

    Like diseases such as prostate cancer, there’s various tests for heart blockages. Take care of your body, it’s the only one you have.

    FotH, contact me, I’ve lost your info…

  • Going Away Party

    Well, OldNFO is officially retiring. His organization Roasted him last night, and he apparently learned much more about his coworkers than he realized.

    This afternoon was his blog-community going away. Six of us met at an undisclosed location and had a great time swapping stories, solving world problems, and generally basking in OldNFO’s glory. Following lunch (and sightseeing), we followed our regular tradition of community support and retired to the Walmart, where a basket-load of toys were purchased and donated to Toys-for-Tots. Guestimate around $200-250 was spent and donated.

    OldNFO has re-established permanent residence in the Free State of Texas, and while he will still be blogging, I for one will miss getting together in person to share his wisdom, humor, and stories. Then again, there’s still next year’s NRA Annual Meeting to get together.

    Present Arms!


    Ready, Front!

  • Book Review(s): Bloody Mexico, Old Whore, and White Powder

    Well, it took a while, but I finished three books published by Larry Lambert (found here online). My fault for taking so long in completing all three, life intrudes.

    But these are three very intriguing books, especially from a political perspective. According to LL’s website and info in the books, he (the author) has spent a large amount of time on the two locales operating in an out-of-the-ordinary fashion. Working for an Agency or some such…

    The first, White Powder: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos covers the Vietnam-era intrigue brought on by the drug trade, politics, war, and other “things” that may or may not have happened over there. Numerous characters – Chinese, US, Laotian, and others, vying to get, control, and grow their portion of the drug trade. Many different points of view, all fascinating in detail. “Operators”, dealers, agents, double-agents, attractive women, evil men. And intrigue, lots of intrigue. Things that were not taught in History class make sense after reading LL’s book, even though it’s nominally a work of fiction.

    The second book, Bloody Mexico: A Novel of Cartel Wars (The Cartel Wars Book 1) is another masterpiece, this time set in modern era Mexico. Fictionalized, but just barely, Bloody Mexico is less politics than White Powder, but much more Cartel insight and infighting. The characters in this book cover the situation in both the US and Mexico, including locals in the DC area that may be recognizable. Another great range of characters, good, bad, evil, chaotic good, etc. Love gained and lost, payback in spades. Sad, but a great read.

    The third book, The Old Whore: A Novel of Cartel Wars (The Cartel Wars Book 2) is the second in the Cartel Wars series, but apparently not the final book. Old Whore takes off where Bloody Mexico stopped, but several years later. Love is regained and this time kept. Payback is finally satisfied, bad guys destroyed by good guys. Some of the same characters from Book 1, with a bunch of new, also superlative, characters introduced. Good back-story on many of the main characters too. And anyone deep in the TLAs will have a blast seeing how things happen behind the scene, off the books.

    Not my normal Sci-Fi reads. But awesome fun. While I could never have lived and done the things that LL alludes to, I find it a fascinating world, and these books are a great perspective on how things “truly” work in the real world.

    Thank you LL for your commitment to writing these books and for your service to your Country.

    (No, I receive no compensation for these reviews, I do them for the pleasure of sharing)

  • Happy Dance

    I’m doing a huge Happy Dance right now. The Zombie Truck is back home and is not making the rumbling noise that sent it back to the shop. The shop (The Gear Box in Leonardtown, MD) tore the transfer case apart and went over it with a fine-tooth comb, finding nothing wrong. Turns out, the lift kit I put on the truck at the same time I replaced the transmission and transfer case put just enough lift to start a binding between the output of the transfer case and the new rear drive shaft. Solution: lower the transmission crossmember an inch or so to relieve the angle. 95% of the noise is gone. I’ve got to do a few tweaks on the front engine mount, it’s now in a bind, and move the transmission and transfer case shifters up some to compensate, but it’s very workable as is.

    Fantastic work, and I cannot thank the folks enough. And no, I’m not getting anything from the shop to write this. Just good service.

  • Certified Dangerous

    Well, I’m now certifiably dangerous. Last week I was out-of-battery, up in the Pocono Mountains taking a course, with a follow-on test. Took my pre-surgery food with me, saved a lot of time and trouble with cooking. Following four long days of studying computer network technology, web security, social engineering, and other stuff, on the fifth day I passed the 125 question exam in about 45 minutes. Scored an 86% too. I can now add Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) to my sig block, to go with CISSP. And have enough knowledge to truly hose someone’s network or web site.

    Just another part of the chain of knowledge.

    Stand by for lots of stuff next week, as I’m out of work post-surgery. Probably lots of book stuff…

  • Stardate 101020152054

    Several thoughts going on:

    Hillary is in deeper trouble. As I described previously, classified data corrupts absolutely, and the FBI is now looking at State Dept. computers trying to find out how classified data made it to Hillary’s email server. More backups are being found. And it turns out that someone outed an undercover agent by name. Seriously classified stuff. How Hillary and her pals stay out of orange pantsuits is beyond me.

    Something funny to think about, though I forgot where I stole it from, sorry…:hillarysurprise2

    There’s a BlogShoot at 340 Defense in a couple of weeks, but I won’t be able to make it. I’m getting bariatric surgery done the day before the shoot. I’m tired of either weighing on the high side of 250+ lbs, or having a terribly restricted diet just to maintain 240 lbs. So I’m getting the Gastric Sleeve performed, where a major portion of my stomach will be lopped-off. No resection of my small intestine like my wife had with her Roux-en-Y operation five years ago. That was a life-saver for her. I’m nowhere near as unhealthy, but want a better, more enjoyable lifestyle. And eliminate the growing problems of diabetes, high blood pressure, constantly changing wardrobe, etc. Will pass more info on that later. So think of me while y’all are out there having a real blast. I’m sorry to miss the event, for sure.

    The Zombie Truck is back together but has a terrible noise. The noise happens when I’m not entirely on the throttle, but not entirely off either. Really annoying – the transmission and transfer case were both professionally rebuilt just a couple of weeks ago. I pulled the rear axle cover off, dumped the fluid, and saw no damage to the rear ring and pinion, so repackaged with new gasket and fluid. If it’s not the transfer case, then I may have a damaged axle shaft. Sigh.

    Finally, I’ll be out of sorts next week. Heading out to get some learnin’ done. Training and testing for Certified Ethical Hacker. Yeah, a real oxymoron if you ever heard one. But a cert that’s sure to help my career in the long run.

    So, if you promise to clean the cat litter box and take the dog out daily, I’ll make sure to stock the freezer with some chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream. And tuna-flavored  ice cream for my few Kzin friends out there.

  • New Blogger Guest Post

    I’ve got a buddy hooked in discussion and almost have him to the point of starting his own blog to dispense his knowledge to the Universe. In the meantime, he asked me to post this, and here it is. Allow me to introduce to you the Fool on the Hill (FotH). Enjoy!

    Hubris’; noun: excessive or exaggerated pride or self-confidence, excessive self-confidence; arrogance, wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excessive pride or from passion.

    Classical Greek hybris ; from Indo-European base ud-, up (from source out) + an unverified form gwerī-, heavy: “to rush at impetuously”, overbearing pride or presumption.

                The word of the day, hell, the word of the times.  Yet so little mentioned but yet apropos for the current state of affairs in our country.  Anywhere you turn, anywhere you look you can see evidence of ‘hubris’ at work.   Police officers on power trips mishandling arrests, various characters flouting the law, ponzi-schemes, thievery on all levels, avoidance or disregard for personal responsibility,  – you name it…

    ‘Wanton insolence or arrogance resulting from excessive pride or passion.’

    It’s the ‘wanton insolence or arrogance’ bit that resonates with me.

                Take one of our current candidates running for president.  Since when does one set of rules apply to the hoi-polloi, yet does not apply to themselves – as in Mrs. Clinton-?  In what universe does a highly ranked ‘politician’ (and I use the term loosely here – with all due respect to politicians, such as they are) deem all message traffic coming into or leaving their office to be ‘private’ and ‘exclusive’ information.  Who, in their right mind, felt it their personal right to maintain and disposition such information at their personal discretion, and not deemed subject to scrutiny by the government – or maintained for historical posterity (as all papers of public officials are maintained), when the very job description is defined as public in nature – where privacy (at work) on that level is held in abeyance for the public good during such term(s) in office -?  Who works for who in this equation-?  You take on the job, this is an expected parameter of such a job description.  Lessor men and women have lost their careers for far lesser infractions – in some cases even imprisoned.

                They call this a ‘controversy’.  This isn’t a ‘controversy’, this is ‘flouting the law’, and a jail able offence.   Call it what you will.

     Either this is a very ignorant individual (‘stupid is as stupid does’), is getting bad advice, or is so utterly arrogant as to satisfy the definition of ‘hubris’.

    ‘Hubris’, as it is said, is a ‘mo-fo’…

    I fall on the side of ‘hubris’, in this case.

    Is this someone we want running our country-?  Where the country simply exists to satisfy this individual’s lust for power and historical relevancy – ?  As in, becoming the quote/unquote ‘first female president in history’-?  History does not lie, examine the trail of this individual – the information, as they say, is ‘hiding in plain sight’ – and is better defined in detail by other respected bloggers in the infosphere.

    Then there’s the unmitigated arrogance bit of an individual that demonstrates, through numerous actions, that she ‘knows better’ than the rest of the country ‘what’s good for them’ – and yet will throw many a good man or woman under the bus for the sake of ‘saving face’ (*ahem*).  Watching said ‘Mrs. Clinton’ attempting to obfuscate or skirt around her various controversies is like – as a wise old hillbilly country boy told me once – ‘watching a cat try to bury a turd on a frozen lake.’  Keeps being slapped around, still hanging around and stinking worse by the minute…

    Where’s the ‘public’ in ‘public servant’ – ?  Or for that matter; the ‘servant’ in ‘public servant’…?  Epic fail on both accounts.  If there were performance reviews for that position, the rating would be ‘fails to meet expectations, termination for just cause’.  Look at it from any angle and tell me what you see.

    ‘Hubris’ – ‘nuff said….

                                                                        – The Fool on the Hill –