Saturday, November 27, 2010

Living History

Our Navy neice asked if she could invite a friend to the family dinner and we, of course, agreed. Her friend was a single mother, Naval NCO and had been our neice's recruiter. She had no family in the area - it was just her and her pre-teen daughter. When you have as many people coming for Thanksgiving as we do, two more hardly make a dent.

It turned out that this woman had a unique history. Back in 1975 she was one of the babies flown out of Vietnam in Operation Babylift.

You never know when you will meet someone that was part of history. Take the time to meet new people and listen and you might be surprised.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Words of Wisdom

My college age nephew talks about cats and dogs:

"I like cats more because they just do what they want to do and don't shit on the floor"

Seems like a good philosophy for life as well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Rant

If you believe, like I do, that the TSA has outgrown its charter and is turning into little more than a organized group of thugs who believe that travellers have no rights, or have given up those rights by the simple act of purchasing an airline ticket, then you are excused from reading this. But if you believe the TSA is performing a necessary service, then please read on.

First, I refer you to the Milgram Experiment. The Milgram Experiment was first done in 1961 to test the willingness of subjects to follow instructions from an authority figure. The testimony of Adolf Eichmann provided the basic idea for the experiment. Briefly, test subjects were told to administer an electric shock to another person for every wrong answer they gave during a quiz. The severity of the shocks would escalate with each wrong answer. What they found was that normal people were more than willing to administer the shock, without questioning the morality the action, as long as someone in authority told them to do so.

The Stanford Prison Experiment was carried out in 1971. Test subjects were divided into two groups - prisoners and guards. The guards were given authority over the prisoners and allowed to use psychological methods to control them. The guards became so abusive that the experiment had to be stopped after only 6 of its originally planned 14 day duration.

Go read about these and subsequent experiments of a similar nature. Then think about the recent stories regarding the TSA. Then think about Germany in the 1920s. Then you may understand why some of us resist the TSA.

Some people are advocating a national "opt out" day to force the TSA into pat downs and slow down their system. I have another suggestion: Use TSA's own web site to submit complaints about your treatment or the security system in general. Copy your congress critter, too. If enough people send in complaints, it will overwhelm their system.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Landrieu Party

Clay, having recovered from taking the PE Exam, blogs about how all the major political offices in Louisiana are either held by a Republican or a Landrieu.
And I see Mary is taking yet another trip to the Netherlands - for the third time. Why, you ask? Well, she needs to study how the Dutch build levees and protect their coast.

The answer is easy, Mary. They expropriate large strips of land and build levee systems in depth. That means that the levee is wide and made up of several areas that give redundancy to the protection it provides. You will never be able to build similar structures in Louisiana because people will resist having their land taken from them - and that water front access is oh so valuable.

Stay home, Mary. There is nothing new for you to learn in the Netherlands.

And I note that part of Clay's exam preparation involved a study of the practical application of mid 20th century marine steam propulsion systems.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Rant

Kiddies - This is how it's supposed to work:

You dress up in a costume and ring my door bell. I open the door. You yell, "Trick or Treat". I reach into my basket of goodies and give you a treat. You then say, "Thank You" and go terrorize the next house.

You DO NOT demand that I give you specific things from my basket of treats. I give you whatever random treat I happen to touch. However, if you ask politely for a specific item, I will endeavor to meet your request with a smile. For the rest of your life, you will wonder why doors keep getting shut in your face. It will be because you never learned to be polite as a child and were brought up thinking you were entitled to certain things just because you exist.

Adults - The gathering at my house is a family gathering that includes children of all ages. We do not live on Bourbon Street nor is it an adults only party. We do not appreciate the fact that you arrive, as a guest of the family, dressed as a Hooker Cop. The fact that you had your offspring dressed in prison jumpsuits was just plain weird. Rest assured, you will be a topic of conversation at least until Thanksgiving.

Also, we do not run a baby sitting service. My wife and I have other guests to entertain. Please supervise your own children. See to it that they get some food, something to drink and then enjoy a trick or treat through the neighborhood. If you were going to ignore them, why did you bring them?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Head Count

Two rapists and one murderer were separated from their heads last month in Saudi Arabia. Year to date total is 22. No records will be set this year.