Tuesday, August 16, 2011

comments on Rick Perry to my inlaws

I was married back in February [an absolutely wonderful girl] and I have not yet really had the chance to meet my new inlaws. They are coming down in a month or so for our formal wedding celebration and reception but we've not met face-to-face.

Last week my beloved forwarded me an email from her folks, wondering what we thought about Texas Governor Rick Perry as a candidate for President. Here's what I wrote:
Hi there,

[Lovely Bride] passed this on to me and asked what I thought. Ok, here goes -
The informed rumors are that Perry announces his run for the Presidency this Saturday. [He did.]

Other than his hair, which is always too perfect (always!), I like the guy. He's not perfect but he's good, and he (so far) tends to say what he thinks without beating around the bush.

He truly believes in the 10th Amendment and that the Feds have overstepped their Const bounds far too long. He's been an able manager, has been reelected more times as Gov. than any other in Texas history, and has overseen a healthy Texas economy - job growth, balanced state budgets, no state income tax etc while the economy collapses in the rest of the country. He understands that successful businesses, not government, are the key to prosperity and happiness.

No, he's not perfect - he's a politician at his core (in Texas politics, cronyism is a reality). But he's our guy, a graduate of Texas A&M, a solid small govt conservative with good libertarian instincts, and he's probably more electable than any of the other Republican candidates.

He took a lot of flack from conservatives a few weeks ago when he said he was ok with New York legalizing gay marriage. This is his 10th Amendment leanings coming to the surface - He didn't say he personally supported gay marriage, he said New Yorkers could decide to do that and he was fine with it. His handlers later back-pedaled a bit on this but I think he was being honest in his views.

We could (and have) done a LOT worse than someone like Perry. I just don't believe Romney has the strong gut instincts to do what is going to be necessary (seems too concerned with which way the wind blows), Pawlenty just doesn't seem to have any momentum and Bachman is too polarizing (she is playing an important role however).

My biggest fear is that we lose him as governor and then we're going to have to find someone else to lead us into secession (half joking).

So there you have it in a nutshell - Perry good, despite his flaws.
And then I remembered something else and sent them a follow-up email:
Oh, and one more thing. One morning last year, while on an outing in the hills of Austin (newspapers said it was a jog), Perry personally shot and killed a rabid coyote which was threatening him and his daughter's dog. The pistol was a small Ruger LCP .380 auto. In honor of this event, Ruger sold a limited number of specially engraved "Coyote Specials" with a howling coyote and the Texas lone star laser-engraved on the slide. I have one. What's not to like?
They wrote back and said thanks for the info and her mom even said she wanted to see the pistol ["Really???", asked my Bride]. It was then I thought to ask if her parents were Democrats. Probably should've known that going in I suppose.

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We try to remain optimistic but...

John Derbyshire, a naturalized American from Britain, writes for National Review and posts frequently on The Corner there. He is NOT an optimist. I have a T-shirt with his photo and the caption "Pop Culture is Filth." And he's right about that. It truly is.

To get an idea of where he's coming from I highly recommend his book We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism. It does not make for "Happy Reading." Unfortunately, I don't think his pessimism is unwarranted. He notes today for example that
"[Ron] Paul could never get elected President because the number of Americans who desire liberty is now smaller, much smaller, than the number who desire a dole."
Now, I don't care what you think about Dr. Paul - Derbyshire is absolutely correct here. Ron Paul won't be elected. But the fact that most Americans think that Paul is some kind of crank is downright sobering (and trust me - I KNOW sobering).  "Well, yes" they might say. "Liberty is important and all those protections listed in the Bill of Rights are foundational to our democracy, our shared birthright, and what separates us from the those socialist euroweenies..." and in the same breath it'll end with "but they'd better not mess with my Social Security or Medicare." And there you are.

And here we are: Doomed as truly free citizens.

But hey, how 'bout them Texans.


I've been thinking the past couple of days that I should start a blog. Then I realized "Hey! you already have a blog. Remember Above Ground Pool?" Why yes I do, I do have a blog already. So I think it's time to fire this thing up again. So friends, I give you:

The return of Above Ground Pool!!!
Yes, I'm putting the band back together and This Time Things Are Going To Be Different!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The sociopath

From Lileks today:

There is nothing to learn from listening to the killer. From looking at him or reading his writings or poking through his background or sticking mikes in the face of anyone who saw him across a cafeteria. Maybe it’s just me, but when I first heard of the case I thought: sociopath. A modern word for the man without a soul, the man who either had it stolen by deed or smothered in the womb. I think you can make a sociopath, if you hurt them early enough in a way they can never get their hands around. Others are simply bad seeds from the womb on up, I suspect. No matter what you do, you get a vacant Narcissus with an infinite supply of masks, a clever manniken who cannot apprehend the humanity of others. He could only feel empathy for the object in the mirror, and it’s hardly surprising this example spent his last hours posing for the camera. It was the only thing that understood him, and accepted him for the glorious, tragic creature he knew he was.

I may well be wrong, but I don’t think there’s anything more to it than that. Except perhaps the exacerbating effects of some mood-altering medications, which do wonders for many people but drive a few completely off the cliff.

The man is a master.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How do you know it's evil? Look at it.

This, according to The Weekly Standard Blog, is a pic of "the Russian carrier Varyag, which is being refitted in the port of Dalian by the Chinese. When the Chinese bought the ship from the Ukraine, they claimed it would be used in Macau as a floating casino."

Go ahead and read the post there - it's a fairly interesting take that the chicoms are looking to build a Nimitz-sized carrier. As the article says - a "100,000 ton target" in subspeak.

But that's not what really got my interest. No, what really got my interest is the look of the the former Russian carrier pictured above. It's just so evil looking. It just screams deathstar-at-sea. I mean seriously, you'd think that Vader himself could be on the bridge.

Man, that's just evilugly.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ahumado's Motorcycles, Part One - Childhood

I started doing this post about the motorcycles I've owned or significantly ridden over the years but it was getting pretty wordy so I decided to break it into multiple posts. Here's the first.

This history begins sometime in the late 60s.

I had a go-cart and then a minibike when I was in grade school. By the time I was nine or ten, I could routinely pull the heads on the little 1.5HP Briggs&Stratton powering my go-cart, remove and clean the carbs, keep the chain oiled, and all that stuff. I pretty much drove the wheels off that go-cart. I still have a little scar on my arm where I burned myself on the muffler while lifting it one time. My dad and I made it from a kit. It was pretty simple - a sheet of plywood, angle iron sides, axles attached with u-bolts. The plywood was painted blue. With a brush. I think we had a dog house the same color. I haven't been able to find any pics of what that thing looked like. Probably because the liability issues with something like that are pretty fierce. No roll bars, no chain guard, very questionable brakes. Didn't look like anything you can buy today.

Later on, I had a mini-bike for a couple more years after the go-cart was finally beaten to death. It was pretty cool even if it was a bit primitive. It looked kindof like this one:

Mine had a tubular frame, painted red. Tires you actually put air in (no suspension though). And an ungovernored 3.5HP Tecumseh! I don't beleive it had a chain guard either but I might be wrong about that. I had a lot of fun on this thing although I know my parents hated for me to drive it around the neighborhood streets. We didn't use (or think of) helmets in those days. I also had it off-road way more than it was ever designed for. We had it to a welder guy several times to get the frame stuck back together. I don't remember what finally happened to it. I'm pretty sure it had was gone (or in one of the piles of parts in the garage) by the time I got into high school, which would have been in '71.

I've taken informal polls over the years, and it seems like the kids who had go-carts or mini-bikes like these tended to go into technical fields - engineering, electronics, computers, mechanics and the like. There's a world on education involved in having to learn how to keep these things running. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that, especially if you, or someone you knew had one of these at an early age.

Next - The Little Hondas

What's wrong with this picture?

Over on LouMinatti, Lou has a post about a bunch of angry people here in Houston that want the city to quit providing free money and housing benefits to the Katrina people. I can understand their anger. Lou wonders:
Have these "stop the welfare" people considered karmic retribution? I don't believe in superstitious mumbo-jumbo either. But they should keep in mind that should a storm similar to Hurricane Carla hit Houston today, we'd see an equal number of Houston refugees on the road who have no homes to go back to. What would these "stop the welfare" people say when a couple hundred thousand Houston-Clear-Lake-Texas City-Galveston residents are driving around southeast Texas with no homes and no jobs?
I posted the following comment:
If I lost my home and job here in a hurricane and had to move to a different city, I'll pretty much gaurantee[sic] you I won't be asking for free money a year later. Wasn't raised that way. I guess I'm just mean.
The Katrina evacuees in question are all pissed off up in arms that their FEMA aid is about to end and are demanding more. This, I am bothered about and I was going to write an eloquent post on the subject but I found someone else who's already said it way better than I ever could. Here's a quote:
What shocked many of us was not the hurricane itself, nor the response of the federal government--outrage against the Bush administration was cultivated later. What shocked us first was the response of the people of New Orleans themselves: the immediate looting, the collapse of the city government as demoralized local police walked off the job in the middle of an emergency, and the thousands of people wallowing in squalor while demanding that someone else come to help them.
Go on over to RealClearPolitics and read all of what Robert Tracinski has to say on "The Unlearned Lesson of Katrina".

Friday, August 18, 2006

the Inevitable

I swear, if I could write like this, I'd live in Minnesota, or South Dakota, or New Mexico, or someplace cooler than here. And I probably wouldn't be an engineer:

Trust me: every day in the back of my head somewhere every common moment is fixed in amber and compared against the Inevitable, and every day I kick myself for somehow not appreciating it all more. Because the dog will be gone and she’ll be 15, or because I’ll be gone and the dog will be confused and she’ll be 7; you never know. The Lord works in mysterious ways, as do idiots who blow through red lights.

If you're familiar with Lileks, then you understand. If not, and you enjoy prose and writing you should be. Go there, now. Look around and make lots of bookmarks.

Am I famous yet?

I googled "above ground pool" and "fascist" (see below) to see if maybe I'd made the search engines yet. Disturbingly, this was one of the first hits. From one of the comments:

"Who would win in a fight -- a puma or an Orangutan armed with a spiked club?

I'd really like some expert advice before I place my bet." - Ace

Bugs, I tells ya!

I started reading Andrew Sullivan along with a bunch of other bloggers shortly after 9/11. I gave up on him a couple of years ago after it was clear that a) I was tired of hearing about gay shit, and b) that not only had he reverted back to the "left" but that he refused to be honest about it. Since then, I've only peripherally followed his antics via other blogs but I guess he's pretty much gone nuts.


When it comes to common sense and a grasp of the bigger picture, given the choice between a US District Judge and a rigging chief on one of these guys, I'll go with the rigger every time.

Update: A Clinton era prosecutor (and a Bush I Intelligence guy) points out some issues with the Judge's rulings.
"We can sympathize with her motives, and even share some of her gut feelings of uneasiness about the program. But we cannot accept the stunningly amateurish piece of, I hesitate even to call it legal work, by which she purports to make our government go deaf and dumb to those would murder us en masse. Her bosses on the Court of Appeals and/or the United States Supreme Court will not accept it."

Read the whole thing. Hat Tip: KJL at the Corner.

"Fascist" probably ain't right

If you're looking for lightheartedness and fun, don't look here.

National Review Online (NRO) published a symposium yesterday in which a number of folks discussed the President's use of the term "Fascists" as a descriptive reference for our current enemy. I think the term may be somewhat appropriate here although Andrew McCarthy makes the point that wrt Islam itself, the term may actually be redundant. He's probably right (go ahead and read the article, you know you should). But that's not the point here.

What I've always had trouble with is the the way that many (particularly those on the "left") have used the term "fascist" to describe almost anyone who disagreed with them. On almost any subject. They've kindof reduced the word to be something along the lines of "poo-poo head."

Well, here's the deal. In point of fact, actual *real* Fascism, as an implemented philosophy of government, was given to us by that clownlike dictator Benito Mussolini, a dyed-in-the-wool socialist with yet a better idea to put into practice that most odious ideology. Hitler ran with his idea, adding some charming pieces of his own and took the philosophy to a whole 'nother level, giving us Nazis (whoo-boy and that really worked out for everyone). Interestingly though, the Nazis and the Fascists hated the Communists (yet another implementation of socialism). Do you know why? Because they were going about it all wrong. They were impure (and from the Nazi standpoint, there was that race thing as well) and therefore as dangerous to their line of thinking, if not moreso, than the liberal (classical) democratic worldview that came to be their ultimate undoing. Ah, well - water under the bridge and all that.

But the bottom line is this: Nazis, Fascists, and Communists are all just branches of the same damn collectivist bush, and the only differences between them manifest in minor degrees of implementation (and genocidal efficiencies). I know that people (particularly those on the left) use the term "rightwing" to describe Nazis, Fascists, et. al. but I don't think that really works, and never has. It was a convenient categorization for them though. Try fitting Libertarianism into that left-right continuum and see where it leaves you. [editors note - I am not a Libertarian, but the philosophy has its uses]. I use "left" here with the same caviats, but you know what I mean and you know who you are. [ed. See, it is convenient].

Think about this the next time someone calls you a fascist (or Nazi - think bushhitler) when you disagree with them on topics like social security, welfare, border walls, or stupid Dixie Chicks. And consider the source - statist, overreaching, and uber-controlling socialism. God, I hate socialists. So much damage and so little appreciation for it.

Now about the "Islamo-Fascists". Is this terminology correct? Possibly, but understand that the underlying philosophy we're up against here is not constrained to any single state. Perhaps more correctly identified as Islamism, the philosophy is fundamentally fed from an oppressive and doctrinaire religious belief system (NOT a "Religion of Peace" by the way. "Islam" means "Submission" - go look for yourself here, here, or here). This is much, much worse. Maybe "Fascist" is not the appropriate modifier. Maybe there isn't one. We, with our roots in the classical liberal foundations of western civ, may just have a much bigger problem on our hands than we really care to admit. But don't call me a Nazi for pointing this out. That just doesn't work semantically, or as they say 'round here: "That dog won't hunt."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Smoking Pot?

Here's a guitar I built a few years ago. . With a couple of SD hot P-90 pups, controlled with phase and serial/parallel switches it's a hot mama. Just one thing to keep in mind: When using a ganged switch/pot - use the tone, and not the volume controls. Because if you use the volume control, when you engage/disengage the switch you momentarily short the pot. Guess what happens if that pot happens to be the volume pot? And no, the pot doesn't smoke. What kind of voltages do you think we're dealing with here?

Nuclear water and dino juice

Eric, the Chron SciGuy has a post today asking which will be dearer in 2050 - Water or Oil? I'll say water because I think the oil problem will continue to take care of itself. It may turn out in fact that we're (the royal, global we for sure) still making oil, but I don't have a handy link to back that up. That said, water is going to be a big problem and about the only way to solve it is going to involve lots and lots of nukes. No not the bomb kind, dufii, the power generating kind. See, when we have to build all those nuke power plants to handle the energy shortages (caused by the Chinese) we might as well bolt massive de-sal plants onto the sides of em. That's where all that water's going to have to come from. Unless global warming leads to more rain, the greening of the deserts, the liquification of greenland and all that. But that's a different topic.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hot enough for you?

There was a time I would've worried about this stuff but I'll just keep on churning here. Over at Lou Minatti, Lou complains about the kids starting back to school so early. What it being the middle of August and hotternhell here. Well here's the good news. According to the chart I printed out from weather.com, 8/19 is the turning point here. The average daily temp *drops* on that date from 94 to 93. I'm willing to go out on a limb here and bet that thursday, at 98, will be the hottest day of 2006 as measured at IAH.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Above Ground Pool

Above Ground Pool Is this thing on?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Do they really know so little?

I wrote this a while ago but left it in "draft." It's not a perfect post but I guess I'll throw it out here anyway:

I know lots of ya'll have been reading up on that news guy (I'd Rather he'd a left awhile ago) but what gets me is this: Why does it seem like most news people ("most" as in many that I've heard or seen when they aren't actually "reading" the news) really don't seem to know too much? About real things in real life, I mean.

These folks, most of 'em anyway, went to college right? (Dan Rather, Sam Houston State U. alum - go tigers!, er bears, er lions, or is it skinks? Wait a minute, here it is - it's a Bearkat.) Any way they did go to college, a lot of them did anyway. Yet when you see them outside of their own environment, they don't really seem to know anything REAL!

Look at the "assault weapons" debate over the past 12 years or so. If you know anything about guns, you know these people don't. And if they do, they're not letting on 'cause it sounds like they think we don't. I've given up yelling at the tube or my radio when one of their over the top stories about Uzi's or AK-47's or whatever. That reminds me, I've been meaning to pick up one of the Hungarian AK's recently imported. Nice pieces. And now that magazines are reasonable again.....

Anyway, back to the reporters. Again, they just seem so clueless outside the control of their producers. Hellson, Dan got his start standing in the Gulf during Carla. How smart is that?

UpdateAnd this doesn't even begin to address the Reuters Lebanon faux photo incidents. Sometimes I don't know if it *is* cluelessness, or something much, much worse.

Pay no attention

I changed the clock so it doesn't look like I'm posting from that nihilistic bastion of "look-at-me" liberalism that's doomed one day to join Hawaii as an island destination (and Las Vegas will be a coastal resort). Anyhoo, gotta check the post order. Later, ya'll.

Well, let's get started here.

What's all this blog stuff, anyway. Who is this InstaPundit fellow and why are these people wearing pajamas? I guess I'd better get my 2 cents in and get in on the ground floor here before this thing really takes off.

What's the deal with the pool name thing?

For those of you that have them, you probably don't realize this, but an above ground pool is considered to be kind of "lowbrow" by many, many folks. Mostly these folks live in neighborhoods with deed restrictions or covenants that forbid such things. These neighborhoods are referenced in a very famous song.

On the other hand, those of you who live in trailer parks know that one of these pools can be used to hold that "prefab," "manufactured," "mobile" home to the ground in case of a "twister."

If you live here in southeast Texas like I do, you know that above ground pools, trailer parks, and snooty neighborhoods are all a part of our common culture. As lowbrow as it all might be, that's just the way it is. And if you've ever taken a swim in the sparkling cool waters of an Above Ground Pool in the heat of a southeast Texas August, you know that it's not too bad. Not bad at all.

And that's what this blog is about. Commentary, questions, and rants on current events, southeast Texas goings-on, lowbrow culture, and snooty neighborhoods as I use a pool as a metaphor for my point of view.

Later ya'll, I think I'm going for a swim.