Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just Another Black Flag Day at TQ

I had put my thermometer outside last night to see how hot it was after I'd finished running. I never did go back to check it, and left it outside all night. There it was when I got home at 4:30 this afternoon.

Just another lovely Black Flag day at TQ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

File Under: With Friends Like These

The Clintons are the ultimate in political 'good cop, bad cop'. While she is out giving a lukewarm endorsement of Obama (wrapped in a speech about her favorite subject - herself!), Bill is there questioning a putative President Obama's effectiveness.

The latest big news in Democratic presidential politics is that Bill Clinton won't attend Obama's coron - I mean, acceptance speech tomorrow night. And in a not so subtle swipe at Obama, Clinton questioned 'Candidate X's' effectiveness even though voters might agree with his policies. Purely hypothetical, don't you know.

I know it's wrong to wish people dead, but, come on, wouldn't we as a country be better off without them? Haven't we had enough of their tawdry, power-grubbing orgy of the self? I know I have. And then some.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just How Hot is it?

The military uses a flag system to alert personnel to the risk of heat injuries. Green flag means no restrictions on physical activity. The index goes from green to yellow to red to black. Today was a black flag day.

Today when I got home from work, power was out in the trailers. Since it was dark and getting very still in the trailer, I put my camp chair outside and started reading my book. On a whim, I stuck my little thermometer on the outside of my trailer.

That picture was taken at 4:30 pm.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Comment from Anonymous

It's Sunday morning in Iraq and today is my one day off. I slept in late and woke up and checked email like I normally do. I saw that someone had posted an anonymous comment on my blog. Here it is:
SAW WHAT YOU WROTE ABOUT HEATH LEDGER. GO F*CK YOURSELF, HOMOPHOBE!!!!! [The rest of the comment is a statement from Heath's family about what a perfect specimen of homo sapiens he was, so I axed it.]
Let's take this apart quickly as I need to shower and go get lunch.

I vaguely recalled having written something about how the media would begin to canonize Ledger after he died so young. In fact, this is true since there is now a lot of talk about Ledger being nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 'The Dark Knight'. It took me about a half-hour to find what I wrote about Heath Ledger. Here it is in its entirety:
"I say it here... comes out there." That's one of Albert Brooks' line from "Broadcast News" and I use it pretty often to refer to my predictive powers.

A few nights ago I wrote in an email to a friend, "[S]o begins the canonization of Saint Heath."

Am I right or what? If you've even skimmed some of the articles about Ledger in the last couple of days maybe you noticed this trend towards hyperbole in the quotes from friends and coworkers. However, I think this quote from director Todd Haynes (I know, I know, consider the source) takes the cake:

Heath was a true artist, a deeply sensitive man, an explorer, gifted and wise beyond his years. There was no finer person on this earth. (emphasis added)

Really, Todd? There was NO finer person on Earth? Not one? Well, in that case, the rest of us should just kill ourselves since obviously human-ness has been done to perfection.

Pardon me while I wretch.
So, that is the sum total of what I wrote about Heath Ledger. What puzzles me is why this cretin that left the comment refers to me as a 'homopohobe'?

A phobia is an irrational fear of something. I don't have an irrational fear of homosexuals, I just find their conduct distasteful and don't want to have to be made to approve of it. This is something the left does quite well in the culture war. They mischaracterize the right. For example, if you are against affirmative action, you are a racist, against gay marriage a homophobe, etc.

Also, if you go back and read that post nowhere do I mention sexuality. And for a very good reason - Heath Ledger wasn't gay!

So, 'Anonymous', next time try having a coherent point. And if you are so sure of the veracity of what you are trying to say, try putting your name next to it, like I do, coward! Something tells me he won't be back. He knows he doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Oh, one more thing, I try to keep this blog PG, so no profanity, please.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Pendulum is Starting to Swing Away from Obama

MSNBC has this item about John McCain now holding a five point lead over Barack Obama. About three weeks ago I wrote a long-ish post on Obama-mania. At the time, I thought that the American electorate would start to get fed up with the hubris of the Obama campaign and the overly adulatory coverage of the junior Senator from Illinois.

Every account I have read of the candidates' performance in front of Pastor Rick Warren's congregation scored the night a victory for John McCain. I expect that Obama will get a bump from his announcement of a running mate and the Democratic convention. I doubt McCain will get the same bump since the coverage for him won't be nearly so flattering. But McCain is slowly building momentum. Now he needs a solid veep pick and I think the election will be his.

Expect the media to launch an 'October Surprise' against McCain like they did with the 'news' of George Bush's drunk driving arrest (circa 1972) in 2000. That one didn't work. I do recall that the Iran-Contra special prosecutor, Lawrence Walsh, also handed down indictments against figures in that scandal (Cap Weinberger and John Poindexter, if memory serves) in October of 1992. But I think that Ross Perot cost Bush 41 the election, not Lawrence Walsh.

I hope that my prediction holds because I sincerely believe that Barack Obama is a dangerous choice for president.

Also, to put things in perspective, here's an item I cribbed from Chuck Muth's News 'n Views:

Number of years of military service:
John McCain: 22
Barack Obama: 0

Time in Congress:
John McCain: 9,490 days
Barack Obama: 143 days

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Buried Treasure at Taqaddum

As I mentioned previously, Al Taqaddum (TQ) used to be an Iraqi Air Force base. Before the start of the war in 2003, Saddam Hussein had most of his most advanced aircraft flown out of the country, mainly to Iran. The remaining aircraft were buried in the sand at various bases. Here are some pictures I took of some of the aircraft that have been unearthed here at TQ.

These first pictures are of Ilyushin-28 Beagle bombers. The Beagle is a jet bomber first introduced into service in 1950. (This Wikipedia page has a picture of these same abandoned Beagles at TQ.)

These next pictures are Sukhoi Su - 25 Frogfoots. The Frogfoot is a close air support/ground attack aircraft. This is apparent by the number of hardpoints under the wings for carrying large amounts of ordnance.

These next pictures are MiG-29 Fulcrums. Fulcrums are among the most advanced fighters in the world. They are 4th generation fighters like the Russian Su-27 Flanker and the American F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Falcon. Why on earth Saddam Hussein would bury them in the desert is beyond me. Waste of damn fine aircraft.

These next two pictures are MiG-21 Fishbeds. The Fishbed first introduced in 1959 is a 1960s era fighter aircraft that was exported to over 55 countries in the 60s and 70s. As you can see, these have not been completely excavated. Also, in all the pictures, you can see that the aircraft have been cordoned off with barbed wire. This is because an American serviceman was killed when he was trying to retrieve the parachute from one of the MiG-21s and accidentally triggered the ejection seat which he assumed was no longer operational.

I have more pictures of these same aircraft but those I will post on my Kodak Gallery, as Blogger's layout tools for posting photos are cumbersome and not very flexible.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prince Charles Is A Real Wanker

Today's Drudge Report had a link to this article on the British newpaper, The Telegraph, in which Britain's Prince Charles goes on a long diatribe about genetically-modified (GM) food.

Ole Chuck has had a bee in his bonnet about the environment and GM foods for awhile. He's also a big global warming nut. But this is his strongest - and least substantiated - temper tantrum yet. In this instance, Mr. Princess Diana is succumbing to the same syndrome that affects many American Hollywood celebrities. Namely, he is using his celebrity to go spouting off on a topic about which he knows next to nothing.

This one is particularly bad since, without offering a single fact beyond anecdotal evidence of having seen the consequences ("I have been to the Punjab where you have seen the disasters that have taken place as result of the over demand on irrigation because of the hybrid seeds and grains that have been produced which demand huge amounts of water...Look at western Australia. Huge salinization problems. I have been there. Seen it. Some of the excessive approaches to modern forms of agriculture") he claims that great calamities have already taken place because of GM food.

Uh, no. Sorry, Charlie. The real calamity is that because of similar paranoia from the EU about GM foods, countries in Africa won't accept food that would save I-don't-know-how-many thousands from starvation.

Stick to what you know, Chuch. Polo, or something.