Random Firings of Neurons

The rest of your life is going to be spent getting back up after life has knocked you down again. You might as well just get used to it.

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Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Sunday, February 27, 2005

On The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

Okay, time for another book review of a book I haven't finished. But, this time, it's for a different reason.

I haven't finished this book yet, simply because my head would explode if I didn't put a review of it up here, RIGHT NOW! I've been trying to hold off until I was done with the book, for about four or five days now, but, I can't.

This book is just too darn important for me to not reccomend it. If I have to put up a partial review, just to get y'all to run out and buy it, so be it. I'll do it.

It takes a lot for a book to teach me something about history, and especially US military history, that I wasn't already at least passingly familiar with. This book does it, on each and every page. Seriously. There hasn't yet been a page that didn't teach me something new, or burst an incorrect idea that I had about the history of the US. That takes some doing, and some rock-solid research.

The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, written by Thomas E. Woods, Jr, PhD (I hate it when PhDs insist on being called "doctor"...Mr Woods doesn't.), is not an exhaustive study of American history, nor is it a detailed study of American history. Rather, it is a quick skimming of all the misconceptions that most (including moi...sorry for the fwench lingo) Americans have about their history.

F'rinstance, Hebert Hoover actually DID make the Great Depression worse, but, not through inaction. Rather, the only president who meddled with the US economy more than Hoover was his successor...Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Who turned the Great Depression from a disaster to a catastrophe. In addition, World War II did NOT bring the US out of the Depression. FDR's death did. These are not charges that are just flung about by Mr. Woods, but, are researched and laid out to see, for anyone with just a hair more than a passing familiarity with The New Deal and economics.

In addition, it takes a lot for me to have my respect for Woodrow Wilson lowered. I wasn't aware that I could have less respect for that clown than I did. Well, Mr. Woods dropped my respect for Wilson to slightly LOWER than the respect I have for Clintoon. Seriously. After each page dealing with Wilson, all I could say was, "He was a bigger clown that I thought!". And each page made me think he was a bigger clown that the previous page. Incredible.

The section that hurt the most, though, was the section on the US Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln. I have heard some rumblings and grumblings throughout the community of sensible historians that Lincoln wasn't as good of a president that every one thought he was. And Mr. Woods shows us why. I'll just say that Lincoln and the Republicans (pre-, during, and post-war) taught the modern-day Dhimmicrat Party every thing they know about governance. And they weren't lessons that we really wanted them to know.

About the only section that didn't teach me anything new was the section on the Red Scare of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. In a nutshell, Sen Joseph "Tailgunner Joe" McCarthy (R-WI) was wrong about the number of Soviet sympathizers (he didn't say spies...he said sympathizers)...by about a factor. As Mr. Woods says, books on Sen. McCarthy tend to be rather long, and well researched, so, Mr. Woods doesn't devote a whole lot of time or effort to the subject, but, he certainly gets our feet wet. Mr. Woods does reference the Venona Project's declassification in 1996, which showed that, with only a minor fraction of cables decrypted, there were 350 Soviet sympathizers, and spies, in the US Government. And that's with only about 10% or so of the cables declassified...Soviet records of the time push that number up to about 1,000...including a certain advisor to Clintoon, Harold Ickes, Jr. But, I got that name, and the latter number, from Ann Coulter's book, Treason.

Yet another revision of thought of mine that this book caused was my estimation of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Warren did have an awfully corrupt administration, but, he didn't do much else to the US. Calvin Coolidge did even less. Strangely, both presidents saw nearly unprecedented growth of the economy...Neither president meddled in foreign politics, tinkered with the US economy, or left some legacy building social fiasco program. For that alone, we should raise our estimation of their presidencies. The US economy does just fine, thank you very much, when it is LEFT ALONE! Even Ronaldus Magnus didn't do that. Granted, he tinkered less, but, he still tinkered. Coolidge and Harding were probably the only two US presidents who were smart enough to leave the US economy alone, and we should thank them for that. Now, if we can just convince our current (and future) president of that, I'll have a little more hope about the fate of the US.

All in all, if you want just the bare-bones treatment of the REAL American history, buy this book. If you want a more in-depth analysis of real American history, buy this book, and use it as a checklist. If you would like your myths dispelled, and cherished beliefs crushed, buy this book. If you would like to crush cherished beliefs, and dispell beliefs, buy this book. If you just want to be more knowledgeable than you were before, buy this book. If you just want an entertaining read, buy this book. In short, buy this book. And then, read it. You will NOT be disappointed. Unless you are a MoonBat, or Progressive Liberal. Y'all aren't too keen on the truth, anyway. This much fact and knowledge could cause you to actually think, which leads to conservatism. And we know how much you want that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

On Shut Up And Sing

Okay, time for another book review.

Shut Up And Sing, by Laura Ingraham, is a fine book. It is well-written, and rather extensively lays out how out of touch the Elites are in the United States. BUT, (there's always a "but...") I won't be finishing the book. It's not the book's fault. Not in the least.

I won't be finishing the book because Laura doesn't say a darn thing I haven't heard before, from someone else. This is mostly my fault, because I read quite a bit, and have devoured many books of social and political studies of current America. Laura isn't as nasty as Ann Coulter, isn't as strident as Larry Elder, and doesn't have the inside scoop that Bernard Goldberg or Tammy Bruce does. All in all, Laura is just too darn polite to do the book justice. With the words "Shut Up" in the title, I was expecting a touch more venom and vitriol than was actually present.

All in all, it's a fine book, and Laura does skewer both Liberal and Conservative Elites with the same relish. Obviously, she skewers more Liberals than Conservatives... I would have finished this book, if I hadn't read so many other books dealing with the same, or similar, topic, or, if she had a new way of looking at the situation.

Frankly, I'm too sick and tired of the Liberal nonsense to put up with politeness.

Laura is hotter than Ann Coulter, though. So, it's not a total waste.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

On cat-blogging

I bored, and don't really want to blog about anything right now, so, I'll do some shameless cat-blogging. These two are my little pride and joy...if they don't drive me to an early grave. They are very lucky they are cute. Otherwise, I'd kill them.


Cutest cat...ever. Posted by Hello


A rare moment of peace... Posted by Hello


Another peaceful nap rudely interrupted... Posted by Hello

On playing with cameras

Okay, here are a few pictures of me with my nephews during Christmas. All three of them are there...but, not in the same picture. In any event, I think my leg is bigger than all three of them, combined...


Something is gonna break here... Posted by Hello


Gotta show these boys what teams to cheer for... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On good songs

Okay, I listen to Christian music all day long. Since I can't get the AM radio in my truck to work, I decided that I'll listen to music that won't pollute my mind. But, due to the nature of my work, I don't get to listen to many songs all the way through. Well, today, on my trip back to the yard, I got to listen to a song that always got my feet tapping all the way through. The words to the song are...astounding. It's a good reminder of what we are supposed to do as Christians. And Jews, I might add for my Jewish reader(s?). So, here's the lyrics to the song.

I Am by Ginny Owens

No Lord, he said, you've got the wrong guy
Simple conversation gets me tongue-tied
And you're telling me to speak with a maniac king
Or could it be I've lost my mind

Besides, I am weak, don't you want someone strong
To lead them out of Egypt when they've been there so long
And anyway, they won’t believe You ever spoke to me
It's not your problem, God replied
And the rest is history

’Cause there's a bigger picture you can't see
You don't have to change the world, just trust in Me
'Cause I am your creator, I am working out my plan
And through you I will show them, I am

Now Lord, are you sure? He's just a shepherd boy
Too small for battle gear with a giant to destroy
What on earth can he do with five stones and a sling
It's not your problem, God replied
'Cause I can do anything

There's a bigger picture you can't see
You don't have to change the world, just trust in me
'Cause I am your creator, I am working out my plan
And through you, I will show them

I am the first, I am the last
I am the present and the past
I am tomorrow and today
I am the only way

Great Lord, she said, I'm just a simple girl
You say that I will bring your son into the world
How can I understand this thing You're gonna do
It's not your problem, God replied

'Cause, there's a bigger picture
And you don't have to change the world (oh no)
I'm your creator, I am working out my plan
And through you, I will show them
There's a bigger picture, you can't see
You don't have to change the world, just trust in me
’Cause I am your creator, I am working out my plan
And through you, I will show them, I am
I am

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

On small joys, Part the Second.

Okay, Day 2 of sleeping on a better bed was pretty much the same as Day 1...with one little problem.

Now, since I am moving so much faster, I am getting sore and tired again. Oh, well. The price I pay for progress.

Monday, February 14, 2005

On small joys

I have a new bed. I am happy. I haven't felt this good in almost 10 years. For the first time in quite some time, my back isn't killing me.

A beneficial side effect of the new bed is that it took me an hour less to do my route today...and that included being an hour behind due to snow and a LOOOOOOONG line at the scale to unload today. It normally takes a half an hour to unload from my first half of my route. Today, it took an hour. But, I was feeling good, so, I didn't care.

If this keeps up, I'll be a Master GarbageMan in no time! And then, maybe they'll let me in on the secret of Reading Customer's Minds...because a lot of my customers think I can, already.

Friday, February 11, 2005

On rigged quizes.

Okay, time for another quizie-poo.

I'm not so sure I am comforatable with my result. I'm happy with it, but, I'm not so sure I merit the result. But, hey, it's a scientific quiz, so it can't be wrong. Right?

Take the quiz: "WHAT RELIGION BESTS SUITS YOU?"

True Christian
You are humble, gracious, kind and extremely Christ-like. You believe in the bible as your law, but read it in its original language. Perhaps you're not a scholar, but you're not an armature either. You normally don't feel church is acceptable for your form of worship, and if anyone believes different from you, you might try to learn something from them.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

on Random Stuff 2.0

Okay, sorry about the long absence. I kinda took the weekend off, just because, and then, work became a major pain in my posterior. It has taken me until today (Wednesday) to recover from Monday. Monday was that bad. I mean, honestly, truly, had-to-talk-myself-out-of-quitting bad. I have had only about five days of work, IN MY LIFE, that were as bad as Monday was. I had to put in a 14 hour day (stupid DOT rules...) just to be able to get to the point where I could finish my route...on Tuesday morning, right before I started my 12 hour route in another town, almost 50 miles away.

My Monday from Hell was a series of chain reactions that started last week, in Illinois. You see, our Cockford Rockford branch had a truck fire that destroyed four of their residential trucks. Well, a normal branch keeps two or three residential trucks around as spares, just in case a truck or two (or three...) breaks down. Well, Rockford only had two spares...and lost four trucks. So, we sent two of OUR spares down to Rockford, to give them the absolute minimum number of trucks that they needed to do their routes. In addition, we have a truck that is down with a trashed engine, so, we don't have any spares, either. When we were told this, during our weekly safety meeting on Friday, it was explicitly explained to us that we had no spare trucks left, and that there would be a lot of helping out of other drivers when a residential truck broke down on a route. (please note, I said WHEN, not IF...) Well, my truck has been breaking down recently with a rather alarming frequency. Garbage trucks actually aren't designed to handle the abuse actually picking up garbage can heap upon a truck. In fact, most tanks aren't designed for the abuse picking up garbage heaps upon a vehicle. Driving a residential garbage route is tough on both the driver and the truck, and no amount of engineering can solve either problem. Well, my truck is nine years old, or so, and just about everything that can wear out on my truck has decided to do so...right now. (Okay, not really. But, it sure seems that way. There are about 100,000 or so moving parts in my truck, and only about 50 of them have crapped out on me) Anyway, my fuel filter on my truck decided to take a vacation on Monday, which caused my truck to act like it had run out of fuel. It hadn't, because I had plenty of fuel. So, there I am, 30 miles away from the shop, and my truck won't start because there isn't any fuel getting to the engine. (I didn't know that is what was happening at the time...). A technician makes a run down to the town I am working in, and, with a lot of cussing, fiddling, and ether, gets my truck started. Now, this took two hours to accomplish. "No problem", I tell myself. I'll just aks Antonio to come on over and help me out, and I'll be caught up in no time. (calling for Antonio's help is rather like calling for the cavalry: when it looks bleak, and you have no hope, along comes Antonio to save the day. He is FAST!) So, I drive on back to the shop, (I had shut my truck down to prep for my trip back to the yard to empty my truck...), empty my truck, and head on back to my route. Well, I started working the second half of my route, and my truck just up and quits...exactly like it was out of fuel. Again. So, another call for a technician, another 45 minute wait, and I'm getting my truck worked on again. Well, I know that Antonio and Jason have been doing the second half of my second half of my route, so, I know that I have some time to play with. Plus, there is another driver working the route right next to mine that I haven't yet asked for help. But, hey, I figure, "I've only got two hours of my route to do, and it will only take half an hour to get my truck running (I thought I had run out of fuel at this point...), so, I won't bother Brian." I should have bothered Brian. Because of DOT regulations, I CAN NOT work longer than 14 hours in a day. Well, I had started my day at 6AM, took 15 minutes to get my truck ready for the day, and then had a 1/2 hour drive to start my route. I worked my route for 4 1/2 hours, broke down for 2, drove back to the yard (1/2 hour), unloaded my truck (1/2 hour), and then drove back (1/2 hour). I then worked my route for 1/4 hour, and broke down for 2 1/2 hours. Keeping up so far? Good. As I said before, I had two hours left of my route, and then a 1/2 hour trip back to the yard, and 1/4 hour to shut my truck down. For a grand total of 14 1/4 hours. If nothing else went wrong, or no other delays were encountered. Now, I didn't find this out until every other driver in the town had already gone home. So, there was no one to help me out. In short, I was screwed. So, Tuesday morning, I had to clock in at 6AM again, (stupid DOT regulations mandate that I cannot clock in until 10 hours have elapsed from my last shift, so, I couldn't even start early) unload my truck from the previous day (it takes an hour to unload in the morning, but 1/2 hour later in the day, due to pre-tripping and paper work), head on back to finish up Monday's route, and then drive 1 hour to start my Tuesday route 2 hours late. Fortunately, Antonio-to-the-rescue happened again, so, I didn't have to repeat the exercise today. But, having to work for two days, behind the entire time, with only about 4 hours of sleep between the two days, meant that I was tuckered out. REALLY tuckered out.

But, today, I'm feeling, not exactly rested, but not dead tired. Which is a definite improvement. So, I thought I would correct my lack of posting with an explanation of why. My weekend excuse isn't so good, but, my weekday excuse is first-rate.

Oh, the cause of my problems? My fuel filter is faulty. The fix? A bypassed fuel filter. Not exactly good for the truck, but, it got my truck running, and it has been running for two days now. Which is almost a record. But, tommorrow is Thursday, and my truck has broken down every Thursday for 2 1/2 months now. And Thursday is the one day that still kicks my butt. I can't finish my Thursday route in less than 12 hours right now, so, I don't really have the time to spare. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get through this Thursday without a breakdown, because of my Monday breakdown. I'm not holding my breath, though.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On prayer requests

I will be the first to admit that I am no fan of the Pope in general, and Pope John Paul II in particular. But, that does not mean I wish him ill. So, I am asking that you pray for Pope John Paul II during his illness, and, if he does not recover (I'm being realistic here), pray that God is more forgiving of his errors than I am. I do not think that Pope John Paul II is WILLFULLY ignoring the Bible, but, rather, he is merely perpetuating a lie that he is ignorant of. So, I pray that God will see his heart, rather than his actions and speech, and forgive him. I trust that God will, but, I'm not going to take any chances. Something tells me Pope John Paul II would do the same for me.

On King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel

Have you ever seen a book on a subject that you were really interested in, by an author whose name you recognized, but, couldn't remember why? I have, which is why I wasted spent money on King David: The Real Life of the Man Who Ruled Israel, by Jonathan Kirsch.

You see, David is my third favorite person from the Bible (behind You-Know-Who, and Saul of Tarsus), so, I was rather interested in reading more about him. And I recognized the name Jonathan Kirsch from somewhere, but, I couldn't place where. And now I know.

You see, it appears that Jonathan Kirsch is a theologian who "feels" that the Bible is just a collection of rules and regulations, created by Man, to keep Man in line. Or, at least that's what I gathered from the 20 or so pages I managed to gut through and read. In the first 20 or so pages of King David, "Reverend" Jesse Jackson is held up as an expert on Biblical theology, Bill Clinton and John Kennedy are held up as better people than David, and much verbiage is spent defending the pecadillos of Bill Clinton and John Kennedy. Not quite what I was expecting in a book on King David. While it is certainly true that King David wasn't the most, um, saintly of men, David was a far better PERSON than either Bill Clinton OR John Kennedy, simply because David at least TRIED to do God's Will, and sometimes, fell short of the mark. Bill and John didn't even make the attempt.

Another theory that Kirsch flings about in his book is that David was gay. He bases this assertion on David telling Jonathan that David loved Jonathan "more than a wife". Now, I haven't done a whole lot of research into Kirsch's life, but, I would venture to guess that he has never served in the military, ours, or anyone else's. Because, if he had, he would have immediately recognized the expression of affection from one warrior to another, both of whom had shared some dangerous times together. Read any personal account of some of the great battles in history, and you will ALWAYS find at least half of the soldiers involved express sentiments that deep, or even deeper, towards their brothers-in-arms. Relying on someone else for your personal safety, EVERY SECOND OF YOUR LIFE, will bring out those feelings. Shakespeare understood that, Julius Ceasar understood that, Alexander the Great understood that, LtGen. George Patton understood that, and LtGen Lewis Puller understood that. But, Kirsch, not being a military type person, doesn't seem to understand that. So, I'm not even going to dignify his theory with anything resembling a rebuttal.

The third theory that Kirsch advances in his book is that the Bible is nothing more than an excuse to celebrate David. Poppycock. David was the first REAL king of Israel, but, he wasn't the first king, and he wasn't even the first ruler. In fact, he wasn't even the most important person to the Israelites. He certainly was important, but, Moses was FAR more important than David. Moses wrote the Pentateuch, yet David only wrote a portion of Psalms. Heck, David's son, Solomon wrote more of the Torah/Bible than David did, and Jews today follow the rules of Moses and Solomon more than the follow the rules of David. In fact, I have talked to Jews recently who didn't even know that the David of "David and Goliath" and King David were the same person! So, I call "shenanigans" on Mr. Kirsch for this one, and I wish he receives the appropriate punishment.

After saying all that, I have to say that I am doing something I rarely ever do with a new book...and I'm not even going to attempt to finish it. I am, right now, considering how to dispose of this book properly. It goes against the very fiber of my being to burn it, yet, I don't want it polluting my bookshelf, and I certainly don't want to give it to anyone, lest they actually believe the crap put forth in this waste of $15, so, I'm at a loss. Putting it in the trash has sprung to my mind, but, that's only slightly easier for me to do than burning the darn thing.

Overall rating: Two middle fingers, extended straight up.

Semper Fidelis: Always Faithful, to God, Corps and Country