The next Vice-President of the United States…

…is a better fisherman than you.

Meet Sarah Palin, first-term Republican Governor of Alaska.  44 years old, former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, Miss Alaska runner-up, state champion point guard in high school, lifelong outdoorswoman.

She and her husband have five kids, the fifth of which was born last year with Down’s Syndrome.  She’s staunchly pro-life (she never even considered aborting her last child even though she knew well in advance he would be born with Down’s), a life NRA member, and won the governorship of Alaska running on a reformist platform over the objections of her own state Republican party and their preferred primary candidate.  She’s pro-drilling in ANWR (as are the vast majority of Alaskans), pro-small-government, and all in all, a truly exciting pick for the conservative base of the Republican Party.  Oh yeah, and she’s naughty-librarian hot.

And to those who say she’s inexperienced?  She’s got more executive experience than Barack Obama.

Come to the light, PUMAs.  Come to the light.  We have cookies.

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Here’s one way to bypass security at the airport…

Thousands Standing Around, for your safety!

This is last week’s news, but I just now got around to blogging about it.

Everybody’s favorite government bureaucracy, the Transportation Safety Administration, stepped in it last week when it was announced that one of their agents may have damaged at least nine American Eagle commuter aircraft at O’hare International Airport by attempting to gain entry from the outside using sensitive probes as handholds to pull himself up.

The TSA agent, as part of spot inspection of aircraft security, climbed onto the parked aircraft using control sensors mounted on the fuselage as handholds, according to a TSA official in Chicago, Elio Montenegro.

“Our inspector was following routine procedure for securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac,” Montenegro told ABCNews.com.

One small problem.  The agent climbed up grabbing on to something called the total air temperature probe, or TAT probe.  The TAT probe is part of the sensor system that feeds into the aircraft’s computers; it measures outside temperature, used in the computation of airspeed and determination of whether the plane is in icing conditions or not (at least, that’s how I understand it).  TAT probes are marked “NO STEP”–meaning, durrr, grabbing onto them is a Really Bad Idea that might damage the probe.  (They are also electrically heated to shed ice, which could be interesting if TSA Drone tried that on a plane with the probe heat turned on.  “Say, Harry, is somebody screaming outside on the tarmac?  And what’s that smell?”)

Well, leave it to the TSA.  Their response to totally screwing up AE’s schedules out of ORD for a day?  Accuse American Eagle of security violations!

TSA, however, strongly defended its inspector’s actions, noting in a statement that he was able to gain interior access to seven of the nine aircraft he inspected, which was an “apparent violation of the airline’s security program.” TSA said it encourages its inspectors to look for such vulnerabilities and after reviewing the inspection results, the agency “could take action against the airline, up to and including levying civil penalties.”

Insult, meet injury.

Wooly bully

So during my strenuous work avoidance regimen this morning, I came across this article on CNN.com about bullying and its effects on children:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 30 percent of all children in grades six through 10 have been bullied or have bullied other children during a school year.

Clinical psychologist Mark Crawford of Roswell, Georgia, called the statistics unacceptable. “Bullying is not a rite of passage,” he said. “It always has a bad outcome.”

I notice there was no positive mention in there of the single most effective anti-bullying medicine:  A good stiff right to their nose.

But be judicious, she urged. Some parents can inflame the situation. “You will encounter situations where parents will tell their kids, ‘If you are hit, I want you to hit back.’ ”

Experts point out it is important for parents to keep emotions in check and to not encourage a child to hit back or retaliate.

Instead, (parenting expert Stacy) DeBroff suggested parents become strategic advisers to their child and help them avoid bullying situations.

I was bullied extensively all through school.  I was an easy mark–promoted two grades in elementary school, I was 11 when I started junior high, 13 in high school.  I was pudgy, soft, squishy, shy, uncoordinated, and worst of all, known all through our small town as “that smart kid.”  In short, I was perfect bully bait.  So I got flung headfirst into the girls’ bathroom in eighth grade, shoved into a trash can in 11th grade, shoulder-checked into the walls in the hallway, cheap-shotted on the football field in elementary school…the usual litany.  And never once did I hit back.

I should have.

My parents tried to enroll me in a karate class when I was 9, as bully preventative.  Trouble was, I didn’t want to do it.  Well, that, and the school they picked was an inner-city school in Lynchburg full of tough older kids that proceeded to–wait for it–bully me!  And to top it off, the school moved to another location after a few months…without telling many of its clients, us included.  (The sensei later got busted for drug possession, and later on got shot when he “tried to break up” a drug buy.  Uh-huh.)

Bad choices in martial arts training notwithstanding, it’s a simple fact:  The most proven way to stop a bully is to stand up to them.  Bullies are cowards.  They pick on the weak and the easy, and don’t have the sack to stand up to somebody who actually might give them a second’s worth of trouble.  Bullies thrive under schools’ modern idiotic “zero-tolerance” policies that remove the opportunity for self-defense, and punish a child for defending themselves just as much or even more as the bully for starting things.

We’re tentatively planning to homeschool Nublet, but should she be sent to a private or public school, my advice to her will be simple.  You never hit first.  You never bully (if you do, it’s Wrath of God time at home).  But if you are bullied, you stand up to them, and if somebody starts a fight with you, you finish it by whatever means necessary, dirty or clean.  And if you were fighting in self-defense, then we will back you up against the school if it comes to that.

Sometimes I think What Might Have Been if I’d actually applied myself in that karate class and stuck with it.  Maybe I wouldn’t be the slug I am now, and maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with as much shit as I did later on.  But then I remember that the dude who slung me into the girls’ bathroom in eighth grade is now doing life in prison for shooting someone after they honked their horn at him at a stoplight, and think maybe things didn’t turn out that bad…

Alone-ness

In which your Gentle Host goes all emo and ruminates on the concept of “alone,” because, verily, it is a really slow day here at work.

– And slow days at work give me too much time to blog.>

argh IV

Got paid this morning.

Checked the Bank of America website and realized that because our sitter deposited our checks yesterday, and the way B of A does withdrawals to maximize overdrafts, and the way the ATM does fees, that $10 I pulled out of the ATM at the local Sheetz yesterday morning is probably gonna end up costing us $119.

Checked the wife’s car on the way out to my truck…there’s steel belts showing through the sidewall on her left rear tire.  So two new tires this weekend for Stubby.  $100+ that we don’t have down the drain.

And the Durham Arts Council still hasn’t refunded the $160 they owe us for the booth fee of a show we didn’t get accepted to, and they’re late on it.  But we don’t get to charge them late fees.

It just never ends.  It just does not ever fucking end.  Forget getting ahead…we can’t even get less behind.  I am totally out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas.  I feel like I’m just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic watching the Atlantic get closer to the rail as the ship tilts.  And I don’t know how to fix it.

Things that annoy me, special WoW edition

In the fine tradition of my good friend Itanya Blade, let me present a one-item “list” of World of Warcraft Things That Annoy the Moose.

Questing on Quel’danas flagged.

Look.  If you’ve got the balls and the roleplaying understanding to wander around on an RP server permaflagged, go for it.  You’re a gutsier person than I am.  Me, I can’t do it.  I turn my flag on when I want to PvP, which is fairly rare, and then I turn it back off and go on about my business with my happy carebear-blue name over my head.  I started WoW on a PvP server three and a half years ago.  I’m not going back.  No thanks.  I don’t know very many people who do it, but those that do (at least on Feathermoon) tend to be outstanding roleplayers in addition to being pretty good at PvP. 

But I know most of you chuckleheads running around flagged on the Isle of Dailies only think “RP” are the two letters around “Q”.  You’re running around flagged trying to trick people into blueflagging you so they can get pwned.  I’ve seen it too many times.  And yesterday I finally had it happen to me on my failhunter Illithanis.  I rode up into the inn to get the bloodberry quest (sweet zombie Uthas, lady, you don’t have enough of the damn things yet?) and right as I right-clicked on the questgiver, a flagged Alliance cut in front of me and caused me to right-click her instead.  At which point, of course, the guards jacked the shit out of me because I attacked her.

I groused about it for a minute, toggled /pvp twice to make sure I had a 5-minute timer on my flag, then decided to play the odds and went out to the demon-infested area while waiting for the flag to drop.  Sure enough, while I was plinking away at a demon, a feral druid jumped me from behind and used me for a chew toy.  (As an aside:  Dude, we’re surrounded by agents of the fucking Burning Legion and you decide to nomnom on an undergeared blood elf hunter instead?  Priorities, nelfboy.  Priorities.)

Later on, after my flag dropped and I was on my merry way, I had another odd incident.  A flagged human priest kept pulling Wretched and then standing right by my hunter’s pet.  Illy has a windserpent, which has no AOE attack fortunately.  But it damn sure looked like the priest was trying to have me accidentally target her instead of the Wretched that were beating on her shielded arse.  Or maybe she just wanted me to kill them and do her work for her.

Cobags.