MilBlog X

The WeatherPixie
Weather Conditions, Wish we were there...

Odd things and such things, as I feel appropriate, possibly relating to the war.
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Look below for links to good sites, ebooks and such.

Jerry Lawson, Proprietor

Comments by: YACCS

Saturday, November 29
You may have noticed there's not been much new put up here - the action's over on Milblog.Org now. Come on over and visit!

Wednesday, November 19
Okay - we're getting things set up over on the new site ( - so I'll be moving things in for a bit. Come on over, take a look!

Tuesday, November 18
JTA NEWS: "Ford announces new funding guidelines
as it admits to aiding anti-Israel groups

By Edwin Black

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (JTA) — In a stunning reversal, the Ford Foundation has admitted it erred in funding anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and has vowed to establish tough new guidelines to stop its funds from being used for anti-Semitic activities anywhere in the world.
The group said it was 'disgusted' by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation action taken at the 2001 U.N. Conference Against Racism at Durban, South Africa, which the foundation helped finance.
'We now recognize that we did not have a clear picture of the activities, organizations and people involved,' conceded Ford president Susan Berresford in a Nov. 17 letter to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).
In addition to establishing new funding guidelines, the foundation´s letter said the group promises to cease financing of pivotal anti-Israel groups and even recover funds where the grant´s intent was violated."
Damn. What's happened, has the clue-truck dropped off a fresh load or something?


Well, the file's there, but I can't import it without it looking...


So, I'll fiddle with things a bit, see if I can get things in.


Again - let's see on the export.....

Hah. Sure. Let's try that again. Sorry if you're catching this while it's messed up...

Well, that was relatively painless.... Let me go back to massaging things, and we'll see what we get.

Here we go - I'm exporting the blog now...

US will use nukes in Korea if needed
"We understand that weakness can be provocative, that weakness can invite people into doing things that they otherwise might not even consider," Mr. Rumsfeld told a joint news conference with South Korean Defense Minister Cho Young-kil.
Better not tell the idiots over on Indymedia. They're firmly convinced that the only way to avoid any sort of conflict in the world is to be completely defenseless.

Which is fine, until someone picks up a rock.

North Korea's in kind of a bad place right now. Kim's screwed, he knows it, but he has to maintain a fiction of strength even as his people starve. To admit he's fallible, indeed, to bend at all in his stances, would lead to an uprising.

As it is - his people starve while he threatens South Korea. Such are the glories and triumphs of communism.


The Rich ARE different from the rest of us.

Their stupidity is MUCH more visible.

LOS ANGELES — Paris Hilton says she never thought the sex video she made with her ex-boyfriend ever would become public.

"I feel embarrassed and humiliated, especially because my parents and the people who love me have been hurt," the socialite and reality TV actress said Monday in a statement to The Associated Press.
Yeah, but I'll bet you'll never have to worry about getting a date again. Just make sure the next guy keeps the cameras out of the bedroom, hmmm? Use what's between your ears as something more than filler to keep your skull from collapsing.

Maybe this'll be a wakeup call to you - not everyone who praises you is a friend, and not everyone you date will have your interests in mind. You may be rich, but that doesn't preclude you having to think before you act. And being drunk or high makes it a LOT harder to think.


Still trying to get MT up and running on the new site, over at Got it running once, then like an idiot I deleted the admin user account I logged in on, and am trying to reinstall.

Well, it beats staring at the TV. At least I feel like I'm getting SOMETHING accomplished. I'm learning something new, anyway!

By the way, I've got a question for you. And it's going to require just a bit of thinking outside the box, because it's one that's going to be VERY important in the next few year.

The premise is this....

1. In the United States, we have a government which is supposed to be tolerant of all religions.

2. If a minority religion is established, it's beliefs are tolerated by the government.

3. If the minority religion is fundamentally non-tolerant of other religions, up to and including condoning actively hostile acts against members and facilities of other religions -

the question is -

Does the US have any right to interfere with the proponents of the minority religion who are practicing their faith in the manner they think they must?


Sunday, November 16
USS Clueless:
"If Falwell and Robertson are fundamentalist zealots, our enemies are much worse. Prayers and sermons delivered in the great mosques all over the middle east routinely include pleas to God to destroy the Jews and Americans. (They're published, and MEMRI has translated many of them into English.) Followers of some Islamic sects believe that they are quite literally soldiers of God, engaged in a Crusade on His behalf. And so they too face that same problem: if they're God's chosen, God's soldiers trying to spread His word, why have they been losing? Why do the Godless sinners in the west, particularly in America, seem to win?

It can't be that their beliefs are wrong. It isn't possible that they're deceived. Those answers are not acceptable. To even consider them is heresy.

If God is not fighting on their side, it can only be because the Muslims have not been devout enough. It's because they don't follow the most strict interpretations of the Qur'an. It's because they let their women run around with bare faces, and don't pray when they're supposed to, and smoke and drink alcohol and gamble and charge interest on loans and in so many other ways don't actually follow God's dictums. It's because they've been seduced by the evil ways of the West. It's because they've become spiritually corrupted. They do not live as God said they should, and thus God refuses to aid them. They're not worthy of God's aid; God is displeased with them and shows it through inaction. And from this only one conclusion is possible."
Read the whole thing. It's long, but worthwhile (As Mr. DenBeste's items are.)

J. - Top Stories - Intelligence Report Links Saddam, Usama:
"Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (search) gave terror lord Usama bin Laden's thugs financial and logistical support, offering Al Qaeda (search) money, training and haven for more than a decade, it was reported yesterday.

Their deadly collaboration — which may have included the bombing of the USS Cole (search) and the 9/11 attacks — is revealed in a 16-page memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee (search) that cites reports from a variety of domestic and foreign spy agencies compiled by multiple sources, The Weekly Standard (search) reports. "
Think this'll make any different to the folks screaming we should have left Saddam alone to kill his own people?

Me neither.


Saturday, November 15
The home-to-be of Milblog

Okay, let's see if I can figure out how to mangle things...


Wow again.

The e-mail with the login info came about ten minutes later. I've logged on, ordered a domain name (, of course) and set up an e-mail account under that domain, and am downloading the suite of tools they provide.

So far, I'm impressed. (It did cost me $6 for the domain name. But heck, that's less than the price of a paperback these days.)

We'll see what the tools are like. I'm wondering - how am I going to transfer this over there? Can I? Should I?

Decisions, decisions. BTW, the downloads are FAST from this place....



You note that little reference to web hosting a post or two back? Well, I just activated. It's a 4 step process, you've got to indicate your interest, they'll send you an e-mail with a link to a page where you put in your phone number (and they allow one setup per phone number) then an automated system calls you with your pin number, and you put that in on another page - then they e-mail you your login info.

I put in my home phone, and hit enter. I clicked over to check another web page, and before the page finished loading, the phone rang. We're talking maybe 5 seconds here.

Impressive. I'll keep you posted on this.


"To have the opportunity to hear from those who witness what is going on inside Iraq

'Difference between certainty and doubtness is four fingers.....
that is the distance between eyes and ears .' , Ali BinAbeeTalib- Muslim khalif, 600 AD."
Another Iraqi blog, in English and Arabic. Welcome to the world, friends! Tell your stories loud and long - because for far too long you've had others telling lies for you.


Campfire Song Book : The coming of the frogs : words and midi file:
"Mine eyes have seen the horror of the coming of the frogs,
They are sneaking through the swamps and they are lurking under logs
You can hear their mournful croaking through the early morning fogs,
The frogs keep hopping on. "
Heh. Enjoy!


Friday, November 14
Free Web hosting for three years? | Metafilter
"United Internet is launching its public hosting service with a special promotion: a full 500 meg hosting account free for three years. Includes email hosting, FTP and shell access, 5 gigs of transfers, Perl, Python, PHP and MySQL... plus $25 worth of Google AdWords. Sounds fishy to me, but they never asked for my credit card when I signed up."
They're a European company, and their site's at Free web hosting. I may check it out - 5 GB/month transfer... hmmm.

Free. I LIKE free!



"But this is an ordinary mother, a citizen, and she is actually talking about her sons. She doesn’t have to say what she says. She is a free American lady and does not have to say anything she doesn’t sincerely believe and feel. I don’t know if you have kids. But we fathers and mothers can understand. Kissing this hand is no act servility. The hand that raised, fed, changed nappies, sweated and toiled for years. The mother that watched her babies grow from infants to toddlers to little lovely boys stammering with their first words, and then they grew and went to school and were teenagers and finally men tall and handsome. Do you know what it means for a mother to see her children in mortal danger? Do you? And yet and despite of the danger of the ultimate sacrifice she does not want to walk away and leave our country in chaos . This is not some general abstract and theoretical or ideological position, this is a mother with her son actually on the ground thousands of miles away. She is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of a people far away that most likely she has never known or seen. Believe me this is a position even superior to that of ours. I mean we are in this boat and we have to fight for our freedom and life. But Doreen is living out there in prosperity and safety and she can just shrug her shoulders and stand by preferring the safety of her children, and no one can blame her for that. How big is this heart that feels for others just as it feels for one’s own offspring !

Believe me, kissing this noble hand is no act of servility or debasement. It is a heartfelt greeting from one free man to a great Free Mother. This kneeling is not the gesture of a slave, but the salute of the free to the great nobility of the human spirit.


I will likely never meet this man, but my respect for him grows daily. He handles trolls much better than I would in the same situation. But his words reminded me of a day Aaron and I went out to the base, and mixed in with what I've seen on the anti-war sites and places like IndyMedia - and I came up with this...

Some proclaim they know the way
that all of us should live.
'Think not of others who might need
the hand that they could give.'

When they see slaves they first think
it does not concern them,
yet they see not that in their hearts
their turn as slaves begins.

Far better to die that others may be
stricken free of their chains,
than live and turn your head away
and bind your heart and brain.

The slavemaster loves the chains,
though he would wear them not,
and rejoices when he sees some then
put chains on in their thoughts.

The chains on thoughts get bound
so tightly to the thought
that when freedom is seen by the slave
that freedom is often fought.

And so the happy slavemaster
gets the slaves he wants
they cost him nothing at all to keep
for they're kept by their own thoughts.

So when you see somebody say
the slave is happier not free
A slave and master reside within
thoughts twisted in dark glee.

My son is young, he is but 5,
but one day he said to me
when he grows up and is a man
a Marine he wants to be.

I asked him why and his reply
just rocked me to my core
"There's bad guys out there, Daddy,
and if I don't stop them, there'll be more."

I could not speak, but thought a bit,
what really could I say?
I'd done my part, with all my heart,
over 24 years and several days...

I enlisted when it looked so like
that we and the USSR would war
But though we bluffed and blustered,
the missiles never roared.

Is this how my own parents felt,
when I decided it was time?
When I enlisted so long ago,
making that decision which was mine?

Sometimes it takes a child's eyes,
and a child's enormous heart
to show you just what the right thing is
though it could tear you just apart.

Look at the very young child's heros,
who are they and what do they do?
They are the protectors, the helpers,
what they'd like to be and do.

So I looked at my little boy,
at his face shining up at me -
"I'll be proud of you, my little Boo,
if that's what you decide to be."


Thursday, November 13

So now it is the turn of the gentle Italians.

This particular contingent is one of the most loved and kindest on the ground. They treat the people so kindly. They are doing a lot to help the local people. Everybody in Nassiryah will tell you this. And this town has been so peaceful. And it is this that drives the Misguided Demented mad. Targeting this particular target is not just another operation. It is premeditated and pregnant with meaning. They are infiltrating to the South to try to beak the tranquility and peace there. Every single attack or sabotage south of Baghdad is infiltration from other areas. The kind gentle folks of the south would never ever perpetrate such atrocity. Nor do I think any Iraqi, had any part in this. Suicide attacks are the hallmark of foreigners infiltrating into the country, to do Jihad at the expense of our blood, future, and the safety of our children and ordinary folk.

So now noble Roman blood is being shed on the ancient plains of Mesopotamia, as it had been more than two millenniums ago, near Ur, near Akad, near ancient Sumeria, near the birthplace of the great prophet Abraham ( PBU ), near the birthplace of western civilization.

And again what can we say to the Italian people, these gentle, cultured, cosmopolitan, kind people whom I have known and visited several times; Only the banal words of condolence to families, friends and entire nation.
Iraqis: Noble blood of the best of humanity is being shed in your cause, and one day, one day when the new enlightened civilization of Mesopotamia is reborn again, you will erect statues of Gold in you hearts and your boulevards for those now fallen.

We weep again.


Thank you. To the Italians, to the brave souls blogging from Iraq, to all who are helping that country shake off the diseases and sicknesses of the past.

But to those who would encourage the madness, may you die alone and unmourned, wishing desperately for water in the desert.

J. Special Report - Alabama chief justice removed from office:
"MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office Thursday for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.
The Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously imposed the harhest penalty possible after a one-day trial in which Moore said his refusal was a moral and lawful acknowledgment of God. Prosecutors said Moore's defiance, left unchecked, would harm the judicial system. "
I've been kind of curious to see how this would play out. I'm not sure that this is the correct decision. I'm no religious zealot, and I guess I'm not liberal enough, but I can't see how having the 10 Commandments displayed is establishing one religion over another. If it was a necessity to profess adherence to a particular religion before one could be defended in our legal system, I could see where the separation of church and state would be a good thing. But this?

The First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
I don't see this as being a justification for the total elimination of everything resembling religion from any government office. Is it a case where if ANYONE is offended by 'something', then all instances of that 'something' must be banned?

Then what we end up with is a tyranny of the minority. I'm not sure I like that idea at all. It could well open up a whole new can of worms. But the question arises - if a Muslim complained that, for example, he WANTED a copy of the Koran on display, would it be okay to set aside the rights of the Christian majority and put it up?


Wednesday, November 12 - Operation Iron Hammer:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq — U.S. forces in Iraq on Wednesday launched a planned and coordinated operation codenamed Iron Hammer that targeted pro-Saddam loyalists, a senior military source told Fox News.
Based on intelligence collected on the ground, U.S. infantry set a number of traps all over Baghdad (search). Several of those traps — monitored from the air and known as NAIs or Named Areas of Interest — were activated almost simultaneously Wednesday night."
Way to go, Army! Thanks, guys, and keep it up!

And on the Saudi Arabia front - there's signs that the Islamic militants are getting meaner. And they don't care who they target.

Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage:
"Paper says militants rigged Koran with explosives
Wed 12 November, 2003 08:06

RIYADH (Reuters) - Muslim militants planning attacks in Saudi Arabia's holiest city, Mecca, booby-trapped copies of Islam's holy book, the Koran, to kill and maim pilgrims, a leading Saudi-owned newspaper has reported.
The London-based daily Asharq al-Awsat on Wednesday quoted Saudi security sources as saying that this novel weapon was discovered in the arms caches police found after raiding militant hideouts in Mecca and the capital Riyadh in recent weeks."
You know, I'm really beginning to have doubts about this whole 'religion of peace' thing. There's just too many indications that things within that religion are nowhere near as peaceful as they seem.


Tuesday, November 11
Sorry for the lack of posting the last few days. Bronchitis, a sinus infection, and conjuntivitis have left me feeling rather puny. That, and a Myriad deadline coming up doesn't help my writing here.


So much to do, so little time - but sleep's gonna have to win out until I'm better. (Oh, BTW, I think I've got a worm, too. Got something that keeps interrogating out on port 13, apparently running through IP addresses at random. I'm trying to find it with a firewall. Wish me luck.)


Sunday, November 9
Iraq at a glance:
"On September 2, both the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs started giving their endorsed certifications and documents to the students who have graduated.
During ex-regime , the process was impossible!! We should pay millions of Dinars to get it !!especially doctors,dentists,engineers and others ,Saddam was keeping them (imprisoned them )inside the country ,of course if Saddam gave them their certificates; all Iraqis would go abroad leaving him alone in Iraq.

So that was a good proof for the situation of the victims of injustice during the ex-regime."
It's really great to see how the Iraqi people are taking to their new freedoms. Keep on talking, guys! You've waited WAY too long for your freedoms.

J. - Top Stories - Deadly Explosions Rock Saudi Capital:
"RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — At least 17 people are dead and 122 wounded after blasts ripped through a residential compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (search), in what the desert kingdom's government called a homicide car bombing carried out by Al Qaeda.

The Saudis declared it proof of the terror network's willingness to shed Muslim blood in its zeal to bring down the U.S.-linked Saudi monarchy. "
You feed them, you clothe them, you put them through (terrorist) school, and then they turn on you, the ungrateful bastards.

Congratulations. Your metaphorical children are all grown up now, and they don't need you any more. Only they're not just going to move to another city to get away from your control - they've decided they need to kill you.

You guys have earned it. When you want some help, let us know. It'll be a blow to your Islamic egos, but you've spent a lot of time creating these guys to take on the West, and what they learned for export can be used as well to unseat you. You just might want to consider reforming your society - but it may be too late for that. You've been feeding the tiger, and prodding it to a snarling fury.

Now he's loose. And he doesn't care WHO he shreds.


New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: An underground success:
"Q: And what is Clark's reaction to former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's pandering comment that that he, Dean, wants the votes of Southerners, i.e. 'guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks'?
A: 'Well, he shouldn't have said those things. I think all Americans - and this is a joke! - all Americans, even if they're from the South and 'stupid,' should be represented.'"
Ya know, we dumbasses here in the south know one thing more than Clark do.

We know when you dig a hole for yourself (or your Party does) sometimes ya gotta shut up to keep from diggin' it deeper.

Obviously this guy never went out with Bertha Lou and was asked the question "Do I look fatter in my jeans or in that red dress you got me?"

Silence IS your friend, Ex-General Clark. Remember that.


Saturday, November 8
Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | 300,000 Iraqis May Be in Mass Graves:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - As many as 300,000 Iraqis killed during Saddam Hussein's 23-year dictatorship are believed to be buried in more than 250 mass graves found so far around the country, the top human rights official in the U.S.-led civilian administration said Saturday.

Sandy Hodgkinson spoke at workshop to train dozens of Iraqis to find and protect mass grave sites that many fear could be destroyed by desperate relatives trying to dig for evidence of their missing loved ones. "
Okay... now contrast that with this...
Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Survivors of Bosnia Massacre to Sue:
"SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - Families of those killed in the worst massacre in Europe since World War II will sue the United Nations and the Dutch government for failing to protect the victims, a lawyer said Saturday.
The families assert that the United Nations and Dutch peacekeepers didn't do enough to protect civilians in Srebrenica in July 1995, when Bosnian Serb troops overran the area and killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys. "
... and tell me just how (and especially, WHY) the UN was supposed to have control in Iraq.

I don't even want to think what would have happened if that had been the case.

One thing about acting in a unilateral fashion, you can take action without having to have a quorum agree that you SHOULD take action. Or get them to sign off on every aspect of the job.

Yes, we did the right thing not waiting for the UN to align with us.


Friday, November 7
President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East:
"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo. "
President Bush has a lot of detractors in the political arena - he's got a lot of people who'd be against him even if it was in their best interests to be for him, simply because they hate him. But here, he's at his best. Speaking eloquently, simply, he lays out a case for what we're doing in Iraq. And, by extension, the rest of the region, because a free Iraq is going to be intolerable to the rest of the dictatorships in the region.

Which is why you see jihadis streaming into Iraq to do what damage they can. They don't care about Iraq being thrown into a civil war if we leave, they don't care about anarchy, they don't care about anything but making sure that IRAQ is NOT able to determine it's future freely. There's too many power groups that don't want that at all.


"We the Iraqis, find ourselves in the midst of a great turning point in human history. This is no dramatisation, no exaggeration. But if you make even a cursory perusal of the 6000 years or so history of Messopotamia, you will find that this, strangely, is the fate of this particular spot on the earth. Let us not get bogged in the confusing and painful details at this particular time and look at the essence of the matter.

Jolted and shocked by the events of September 11, the United States of America, the greatest and most powerful politico-economic power that humanity has ever known has realised that the advanced and rich western world can no longer ignore the plight of the poorer and underdeveloped world. Those "nation states", who have totally failed the test of self determination and self goverment, and degenerated into obscurantism, sectarianism, tribalism, and all the other isms of hell, pose a mortal danger, both to the people unfortunate to live there and to the Western civilisation itself. More so since the technical complexity of the advanced world render it particularly vulnerable. The danger is real, oh so real! Anybody doubting this is living in a fools paradise. "
Read the whole thing. Another eloquent voice from the darkness.

To those who think we should pack up and leave - consider what hell you'd be consigning Iraq to. Have you thought things through? Do you REALLY understand what would happen? You'd be looking at a civil war, at the very least, as the remnants of Saddam's regime and every freedom-hating jihadi from the surrounding countries would flock to try to re-establish control over the people. And the people, having been freed, would be VERY resistant to that.

But then - body count over there doesn't matter, as long as it's not AMERICAN bodies, right? Who cares if they kill themselves? Slap a "It's not OUR problem" sticker on it, and go on ignoring the actuality while you use our 'failures' there for political posturing. Because it's not really about Iraq, is it? It's about Bush. It's about getting control of the White House, Congress, and the Senate. That has precedence over EVERYTHING else, right?


Bush is doing the right thing in Iraq. We have ONE chance to really nip terrorism in the bud, and we're in the middle of the process. If we FAIL in this - you can expect more terrorism worldwide, and more attempts for a score like 9/11, and that the terrorist groups will CONTINE to try. Oh, it'll be hard for them to come up with a big score, but they'll keep trying. You don't like our body count in Iraq? It's nothing compared to what the body count could be in the US if we pull out.

If it hasn't become clear yet, I'll restate the obvious. For the last 60+ years, we've been appeasing dictatorships that showed the least sign of going along with what we wanted geopolitically. A lot of that was good money thrown after bad - and we rarely got the results we wanted. But money was cheaper than lives - so we spent freely the one and reluctantly the other.

Now it's time to clean up the messes that have developed over the last 60 years. Either grab a mop, grab a broom, grab a shovel, or get out of the damn way. It's gonna be messy to clean up, because we didn't realize how big a mess we were making. And don't add to the mess - it's big enough already.


Thursday, November 6
Flying Saucer Innards - Part 4

Okay - we've gone through the construction of the saucer (if unobtainium isn't available, use Handi-Foam and foamboard) and the lighting and electrification thereof (I swear, next one I get I'm gonna rig up a couple of bus wires instead of having wires clipped all over the place) and the moving parts thereof (tinkertoys are great for mocking stuff up, but they'll mock you when it goes into production) so all that remains is...


Let's face it - a flying saucer has to make noise. And not a "whinnnnneee-clunk" sound either. You need a good thrumming sound, preferably with alien voices. Fortunately, you can find a WHOLE lot of audio on the Internet.

But how are you going to mangle, I mean MANAGE it?

Well, I don't know how you'd do it in the Apple world, but under Windows\Accessories\Entertainment you've got something called 'Sound Recorder". In the XP version, you can take a sound sample, (a good single thrummm, perhaps) and cut and paste it until you've got about 5 minutes of good background sound. Then you can mix in radar pings, missile firings, alien voices, odd sound effects - whatever you like. Remember when you're working with it to save early and save often - because it's really easy to 'insert' a file instead of 'mix' in the file, which will cause a break in the background thrumm.

As far as outputting the sound goes -

Laptop to powered speakers with subwoofer. Set it to play back in a loop, and there ya go.

This concludes the "Flying Saucer Innards" series. We hope you've enjoyed the programs as much as we've enjoyed bringing them to you.

FCC Orders Anti-Piracy Tech for TVs:
“Without it, high quality programming will migrate off of free television,” said Edward O. Fritts, president of the National Association of Broadcasters.

But consumer groups said the electronic marker is not the solution to prevent illegal copying of TV programs."
Seems to me like the high-quality programming is already migrating. Or are they referring to the current and proposed crop of reality shows?

Somehow, I just don't think that 20 years from now they're going to be selling DVD sets (or whatever video media is current) of "Survivor - Australia" at B&N - but I could be wrong.


Wednesday, November 5
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saudis 'fear sand shortage':
"Saudi Arabia has reportedly imposed strict border checks to enforce a ban on the export of sand. "
Who'd have thunk it?

You'd almost think they had a shortage already. Wonder what this will do to the sand markets worldwide? Will they be able to charge a premium for washed Saudi sand?

The mind boggles.


Healing Iraq:
"You see a handful of teenagers dancing in front of the camera celebrating dead Americans, and you judge an entire people, you start whining about pulling the troops out of Iraq and giving the Iraqis what they deserve. Are you people really so close-minded? It is the fault of your news agencies that show you what they want, its certainly not ours. If you want us to go out and cry for your dead soldiers and wave American flags, then don't count on it either. We are losing way too many innocent Iraqis daily to be grieving over dead soldiers who have actually made a decision to come here. What about the thousands of dead Iraqis who were not as lucky to have a choice? Did you cry for them?

According to a poll by an Iraqi agency, only 3% of Iraqis want Saddam back and less than 40% want the Americans to leave immediately. Did you even hear about these results?

If you think that Iraqis aren't doing enough, then you're being mislead by your media. Thousands of people are applying to be members of IP, FPS, and the civil defense force. They are begging for the security to be in their hands. We know how to handle those scum. The Americans are more interested in being nice and all about human rights and free speech and stuff. We have our own Law and court systems which we can use but the CPA won't allow us to. They are being too lenient and forgiving on our expence. If you think that is what is required to build a successful democracy then you're too deluded. You don't know the first thing about the Iraqi society. "
A VERY interesting blog - and one to read if you're the sort who think Iraq was a paradise before we kicked Saddam out.


Flying Saucer Innards, Part 3

As far as lighting your saucer goes - you need something... different.

Back in '72 or so, I applied at a Texas Instruments office in a local office park for a part-time job. I remember being impressed by a display of red calculator LEDs - they were so SMALL! No bulbs, no heat... I will admit to a great fascination when it comes to high-tech lighting. Halogens? Eh. Halogen bulbs for flashlight? That's a bit better, but still, eh. Give me an LED flashlight, however... and that's NEAT! Yeah, I'm a sucker for things like that.

Neon. Neon's cool too, but a bit cumbersome. However, as described in part 2, I had 4 neon lights (two rings and two rods) and a controller that would power EITHER two rings, or two rods - but not a rod and a ring. Oh, well. I was going to use the light rods as guns on the flying saucer (And thank you, Karen T. for your donation!) and I ended up getting a short neon rod for use inside the saucer, as an internal light.

But looking at things in the dark, it was pretty clear that something needed to be done as far as the OUTLINE of the saucer went. And I thought of electroluminescent wire which (oddly enough) could also be bought at Wal-Mart.

(Along with some 6 volt batteries. I think I've got one of the few flying saucers in the state that run on 12VDC.) Use two 4 ft. kits and some hot glue - and we've got a saucer that glows in the dark.

But what about sound? Oh, that was the EASIEST part of all. And I'll detail THAT in the next installment.

The Sect of Homokaasu - The Gematriculator:

"This site is certified 61% GOOD by the Gematriculator"

Hmmm. Isn't that interesting? Wait till you see the criteria involved...


Monday, November 3 Where Things Stand -- Nov. 10, 2003:
"Hillal and Rath are aware of the violence in Baghdad but insist there are no such crises in Kut. The main problem locally, they say, is the huge postwar increase in weddings, which has led to a rise in accidental shootings caused by celebratory gunfire. A third man, Hashem Ali, a former security official, joins them, and suddenly an argument breaks out. 'Iraqis should be proud of the attacks in Fallujah,' says the newcomer, adding that security was much better under Saddam. 'Yes, in the mass graves security was perfect,' says Hillal, to which Ali has no answer."
Interesting look at what's going RIGHT in Iraq. Perhaps it isn't a country devolving into a 'Road Warrior' anarchism model after all - which must be horribly disappointing to some in the Left.

For all the insistence by the left that the US military is completely unsuited to nation-building, that the military is too stupid to be able to salvage Iraq... it looks like they're wrong.
Some 70 miles to the southwest, Nasiriyah General Hospital strains to keep up with demand. The city's other hospital—used as a base by Iraqi militiamen during the fighting—is in ruins. Still, Hassan Mahmoud, father of a 9-year-old boy who suffered head injuries from a fall from a second-floor window, is grateful for one thing. In the past, he says, one had to bribe doctors, nurses and administrators to get hospital care. "Now you don't need money to get a doctor. Now the doctors are honest," he says.
Imagine a hospital in the US where you'd have to bribe someone to get care in an emergency room. People get care - even if they can't pay. Now, you don't need to bribe anyone to get care in Iraq.

Guess we're doing a piss-poor job of reconstruction, eh?

But the thing is, they might have been correct - at one time. In the late '70s, it would have been pretty tough to do what we've done in Iraq. We were pretty concentrated on a "USSR/NATO" scenario, with massive setpiece tank battles in the Fulda Gap. We really didn't think we had the equipment to do much more than slow down a Soviet advance while the diplomats tried to avoid a nuclear exchange, which would have been pretty darn likely if some Kremlin hothead had decided to take the chance of expanding the Motherland. Then the USSR swung down into Afghanistan, and that mistake started them on the road to dissolution. Could we have done a Gulf War 1 then? Maybe - but we'd have had a whole heck of a lot more casualties than we saw with GW1, much less GW2.

In the 80s we rearmed, and we needed it badly. But with that rearming, you can be sure that the military examined a LOT of what they had planned, and did a lot of research to see if things WOULD have gone as planned. When it didn't look like it would have - they changed their plans. And they were VERY honest about it. Fiction aside, you've got to understand that there's pretty much NO nepotism in the military, and just because someone high-up thinks up a stupid plan doesn't mean that plan will be enshrined forever in the 'playbooks' of military tactics if it doesn't work. There's a lot of study of military history in our military today - and they LEARN from the mistakes of others.

Which is why essentially the first folks on the ground in GW1 were the logistics squadrons and batallions - but that's another topic.

The point is - the leftist thinking of the military as being a bunch of uneducated thugs is intellectually dishonest, and in the futur will prove to be a great embarassment to them. The military KNOWS it can't afford to reinvent the wheel in either strategy or tactics, and as far as logistics goes - Napoleon was right. An army marches on it's stomach - you don't have beans and bullets and blankets, you're not going to have an army for long.



Wow. That's... different.



Flying Saucer Innards, Part 2

What motivates YOUR Alien? What moves him, what grooves him, what makes him dance the fandango on a Friday night?

In this case, it was a 12 volt motor with attached gear train, with a wooden dowel attached. I wanted an up-and-down movement, but somehow the idea of sticking a, um... stick up Stitch's backside didn't really appeal. Sure, I could do an up&down using a CD as a cam, rig up a pivot point on it and have a stick shove Stitch up and down - but I wanted Stitch to "Pop" up into the cockpit bowl, not slowly rise up and down. So I came up with a lever & counterweight solution. The motor would push up the lever, which would drop Stitch. When a certain point was reached, the lever would start to drop quickly, popping Stitch back up into the bowl.

There was a minor problem, however. (Naturally.)

CDs are pretty tough - but when you drill into one, you seriously compromise it's integrity. (Much like any politician - you poke a hole in their rhetoric and their whole platform gets shakey.) It needed to be stiffened... so I figured the quickest solution would be to reinforce the disk with whatever was to hand. And, oddly enough, that turned out to be hot glue and a CD that was snapped in two. The two combined with hot glue was able to flex a bit to absorb the strain of meeting the lever, but not so much I'd worry about it snapping. Hot glue - it's GREAT stuff.

So, we've got 1 12 volt motor. Next, we need to come up with lights.

A friend at work told me about some speaker neon light rings for sale at WalMart. $5 - for 2 10" rings and a controller. Talk about a deal - I grabbed that quickly. Another friend told me she had two purple neon under-car rods that she'd taken off her car when the controller burned out, and she was willing to donate them to the cause. Turned out that the $5 controller would power them just fine, thank you! They may not be as bright as they'd have been with their original controller, but that wasn't really a concern (as you'll see later on.)

Next - it's long. It's flexible. It's about 1/16th inch in diameter. AND it lights up. What is it? Stay tuned for our next installment of Flying Saucer Innards!

Sunday, November 2
Flying Saucer Innards, Part 1

When designing a flying saucer, you've got to figure out what you're intending the thing to do. Do you want it to fly? Good luck there - if you've got a handy skyhook or a Dean Drive that works, you're in luck. However, for Halloween purposes, being on the ground was good enough.

At a minimum, the thing needed to light up. This was easy.

It'd be nice to have movement inside it. That... wasn't so easy, but doable, given the resources available at American Science Surplus if you're looking for bits, pieces, motors, gears, lights, this, that, and other stuff... well, I owe them a lot. (Well, I did - fortunately, the credit card bill wasn't high at all..) Got the gear train and motor assembly and a lot of costume parts, as well as a bunch of transformers of various voltages.

And you've got to have some sort of Alien popping up. Ended up choosing one of the least offensive Aliens you could get - Stitch. Okay, if getting a fearsome alien from a Disney Store remainder bin ain't your cup of tea, choose your own. I won't be offended in the slightest.

I rigged up a simple teeter-totter out of Aaron's Tinkertoys to test the concept - but if there's one thing that Tinkertoys lack, it's rigidity. Couldn't get a working lever, and I didn't want to superglue things together, so I sliced out a piece of 1x1 to serve as the lever arm and used the tinkertoy hubs to support an axel. So, we had a lever that was about 20 inches long - I rigged up a counterweight and positioned the motor and got everything balanced so Stitch would pop up in the front window of the flying saucer cockpit.

And to do that, I needed two CDs. Why? I'll tell you in the next installment...

Saturday, November 1
Making the Flying Saucer

To all wondering about this stuff...

For Halloween we had two flying saucers in the front yard. One had 'crashed' with a fog machine behind it and one of those fabric&light firery cauldron - the other one was the one that shot it down with neon tubes, internal neon, and Stitch popping up and down inside it. That was a lot of fun to rig up, with a teeter-totter arrangement to pop him up and down.

It was a lot of work for just a few hours on a Friday night. I started this back around May - and did a lot of trial and error attempting to get a smooth surface on the foam I was trying to use. One problem was that the foam wasn't what I'd call 'dimensionally stable' - it expanded and contracted quite a bit. Ended up trashing the top piece - I just couldn't get it to stay in one shape. Edges would curl, the whole thing warped - I ended up using it for raw materials elsewhere. The bottom, made of more layers, warped some but nowhere near as much.

I ended up doing the top out of different kinds of foamboard. But still there was the problem of getting a smooth surface on the whole thing, because the foam wasn't cutting it.

I ened up slathering the thing over with black construction paper and 3M spray adhesive, type 77. Then, using aluminum foil, I got an interesting textured finish by rubbing it down with a foam block. It took quite a bit of paper and adhesive, and then there was the top to do. And the electricals - but that's something else to write about later.