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September 29, 2006

Al Gore Claims Smoking Cigarettes Causes Global Warming

An inconvenient Idiot. http://drudgereport.com/flash6.htm

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 29, 2006 at 3:30 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 28, 2006

Gleaning Taters: Tea lights and Tolstoy

I'm sitting here at the Bistro in Idaho Falls, where the consultants go to die. The Bistro equates loosely to the killing fields for consultants. For your last day on the project, they bring you here. Maybe you know you're on the way out. Maybe it's a surprise to you and they hand it to you under the table once you've finished your meal. But it should be no surprise. But this is where they bring you. They feed you a nice meal...filling you up like a fatted calf, and then they lower the boom. That's how that goes. And everyone knows it.

So, I'm sitting here at the bar and my back hurts, but there's a reason it hurts...I don't wonder why. I know why it hurts. And I'm drinking a line of Nut Brown Ales at the bar all alone...I'm a friend of Bill's after all, and I'm trying to drink enough so that the pain subsides or retreats or goes where ever it is that pain slips off to when It's not shooting pulsing signals to your brain.

My back hurts cause I was climbing a sand dune on a four-wheeler this morning up at St. Anthony's National Sand Dunes...one of those big long steep sand mountains where you hit it wide open and stick the throttle with your thumb (the thumb only knows one speed, doesn't it?) and normally, when I get to the top of the dune, it's a nice rounded top and you could have a picnic if you weren't in such a hurry and you glance around and pick a line to roll down on the other side but not this time...this time I get to the top and suddenly someone took the earth away and I'm flying through the air like the space shuttle and everything slows down and I'm thinking...fuck...this is going to hurt...cause the ground is falling away beneath me.


For the rest of the story, buy my book "Killing Strangers".

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 28, 2006 at 9:51 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

St. Anthony National Sand Dunes

Mark Rydalch was nice enough to take me out for a guided tour of the sand dunes at St. Anthony, Idaho today. If you ever want to go riding, be sure to look him up at www.dunesrus.com, or call him at 208-624-4075. He's as cool as the other side of the pillow.

More photos in the extended entry

Continue reading "St. Anthony National Sand Dunes"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 28, 2006 at 2:39 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 26, 2006

Rare Woodpecker Sends Town Running for Chain Saws

Timber! The tree-huggers are at it again. Telling people what they can do with their own land. Predictably, when they threatened to turn real estate into a protected tree-hugger wilderness for woodpeckers, land owners moved to clear-cut their land post-haste. Duh! The solution is, and has been, to compensate people for providing habitat to endangered species, or to purchase the land at fair market value from the landowners. This is intuitively obvious to the casual observer. But, never underestimate the stupidity of a tangled mass of tree-huggers, and say a prayer for the animals these idiots are trying to protect.

http://www.reason.com/hitandrun/2006/09/rare_woodpecker.shtml

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 26, 2006 at 3:11 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 24, 2006

Tanks Game

http://www.fetchfido.co.uk/games/tanks/tanks.htm

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 24, 2006 at 10:11 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 23, 2006

The Joy of Children

Had two girls in the truck today...Jennifer (8) and her girlfriend (7). They were saying how afraid they were of snakes. I tried to reassure them with statistical probability. Conversation went like this:

Me: How many people are there in the United States?
Girl 1: A gazillion.
Me: That's not a number.
Girl 2: A jillion.
Me: That's not a number either.
Girl 1: A tillion.
Me: There are about three hundred million people in the United States. Out of that three hundred million, guess how many die each year from snake bite?
Girl 1: Six hundred million.
Girl 2: Two hundred million.
Me: Twelve.
Girl 1: Twelve hundred zillion?
Me: Just twelve...twelve people. My point is that you're very unlikely to die of a snake bite. Statistically, it's almost impossible.
Girl 1: What about Markasins?
Me: I used to see moccasins all the time. But I was never bitten by one.
Girl 2: What about lions?
Me: Well,we do have mountain lions, but they hardly ever attack people.
Girl 2: Some people call them cooters.
Me: Yes. Cougars. That's right. Let's get some pizza.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2006 at 4:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Armitron All-Sport Watch Instructions

http://home.earthlink.net/~eldonenew/armitron.htm
The owners of this watch will appreciate the following instructions, because they a re readable, and fix an error in the documentation that comes with the watch. Watch setup instructions for the Armitron Instalite All-Sport :

Mode B / \ C Date
______|  |
Light A \ / D Alarm


Update: Don't look now, but circus pinheads at Armitron have finally gotten around to posting instructions for their watches on the internet. Farking idiots.

Continue reading "Armitron All-Sport Watch Instructions"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2006 at 4:26 PM : Comments (129) | Permalink

Motorcycle Rider

http://www.funnyto.com/?Itemid=29&id=80&option=com_content&task=view

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2006 at 4:07 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Weatherwoman vs. the Cockroach


Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2006 at 3:44 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The Quest for a Nuclear Airplane

As an indirect result of some work I've been doing, it came to my attention that the United States Air Force once attempted to build a Nuclear Airplane. Today, it seems absurd to even consider, but at the height of the Cold War, in those dark days after Sputnik, American politicians were being bombarded with reports that the Russians were ahead in the race to build a nuclear-powered jet airplane.

Accoridng to Herbert F. York:

A number of very difficult problems very soon became evident. It turned out that there were then no materials available which would (1) stand up to the high-intensity nuclear radiation which necessarily existed throughout the interior of the reactor, (2) resist corrosion by the very hot air which passed through the reactor at great speed, and (3) be guaranteed not to leak any of the highly radioactive fission products into the exhaust airstream.

It also soon became painfully clear that there was a very difficult shielding problem. As with other high-power nuclear reactors, it was necessary to surround this one with a heavy shield in order to protect the pilots, and any instruments or other cargo which the airplane might be carrying, from the intense radiation always generated by these devices. The shielding problem is especially difficult in this case because the shield must be light enough to be flown and because it must be pierced in such a way as to allow large masses of air to pass through it at high speed without creating too large a radiation leak.

A third, very basic set of problems was related to potential operating hazards such as would obviously be associated with a crash landing of such an airplane or even with lesser accidents. While most of the intellectual effort devoted to solving these problems was of the usual serious and straightforward kind, occasionally some bizarre proposals arose. One which was discussed quite seriously was that older men (i.e., men beyond the usual age for begetting children) should be used as pilots so that genetic damage from radiation would be held at a minimum and because older people are generally more resistant to radiation than younger ones.

Sometimes, a bad idea just refuses to die. Apparently, even though Kennedy killed the Nuclear Airplane in the '60's, the Air Force is still hell-bent on breathing life into this boondoggle.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 23, 2006 at 8:23 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 22, 2006

White & Nerdy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xEzGIuY7kw

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 22, 2006 at 5:46 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

The path of least resistance

"The path of least resistance is the path of the loser." -- H.G. Wells

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 22, 2006 at 5:33 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 19, 2006

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

Note: This quote is frequently erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech of 1994. However, these words do not appear in his May 9, 1994 inaugural speech or in his May 10, 1994 inaugural speech, or in any of his other speeches, statements or writings. This quote is actually from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992, from Chapter 7, Section 3 (Pg. 190-191).

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 19, 2006 at 2:55 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 18, 2006

Photos from ID, MT, WY

I've been working in Idaho, and managed to get away to Montana and Wyoming this weekend. We went through Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Targhee National Forests. Really spectacular landscape. These photos don't do it justice.

This slideshow is composed of original images I shot over one week in September(2006) in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. All photos were captured using a Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens, and a Canon EF 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens.

This slideshow (3:47) is a 10 Meg self-playing executable named sparks.swf created using Imagematics StillMotion PE+. Soundtrack is Sparks by Coldplay, off of the Parachutes album.

If you're running Windows, and want to be able to skip forward and backwards and pause the slideshow, and if you trust me enough to download an executable file and run it from my site, then click here to download the Windows version of the presentation.

Click here if you need help.

Lyrics in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Photos from ID, MT, WY"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 18, 2006 at 10:33 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

September 16, 2006

Black Sand Basin - Yellowstone

Yesterday, I crossed the contiental divide 5 times. I met up with some friends for dinner at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone. They had the presence of mind to get reservations. It's a pretty slick lodge. Then, I got stopped by Ranger Rick coming out of Yellowstone, about 2 miles from the West Gate last night. He said I was going 59 in a 45 and I was thinking "well it's a good thing you didn't pass me back there when I was going 80."

He let me go with a warning when I assured him that, despite the fact that I was wearing Mossy Oak camoflauge from head to toe, that I was not, in fact, hunting in the park.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 16, 2006 at 8:17 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 13, 2006

St. Anthony Sand Dunes

If you saw the movie Napoleon Dynamite, you might recognize these as the sand dunes that grandma broke her coccyx on while riding her ATV on a date. This 10,000 acre tract of dunes, located about 10 miles west of St. Anthony, are managed under the auspices of the National Park Service. I didn't get to ride on the dunes, as I got there too late to rent an ATV, but it looks way fun.

Napoleon Dynamite: What are you doing here, Uncle Rico?
Uncle Rico: Grandma took a little spill at the sand dunes today. Broke her coccyx.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374900/quotes

http://www3.state.id.us/oasis/2005/HCR029.html

http://www.duneratt.com

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 13, 2006 at 10:53 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 12, 2006

TSA Plants a Lighter

Monday night at the airport is a slow time for departing flights. My flight leaves at 8:50 p.m. I'm the only one on the remote parking shuttle. They've already closed the curbside checkin. They've already shut down the South security checkpoint, so I have to walk across the airport to the other one.

The TSA goons are just loafing around the remaining open metal detectors. I empty my pockets and send everything though the X-ray machine. I walk through the metal detector, and I'm standing there waiting for my belongings to come off the conveyor belt.

“He's got a lighter.? one of the goons comments.

“Which pocket is your lighter in?? one of the other goons asks.

“I don't know.?

“You don't know which pocket your lighter is in??

“No. Do you? You're the one that just looked at the X-ray."

Continue reading "TSA Plants a Lighter"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2006 at 12:31 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

39 minutes with Jennifer

If you dont' have a real job, and you don't have much to do during the day, you can go eat lunch with your daughter. It's a lot more fun than watching the 9/11 tragedy rehashed on tv.

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 12, 2006 at 12:23 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 9, 2006

The Long Road to Breckenridge

Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee is a land of gently rolling fields, idyllic pasture land, and turf farms, designed by the hand of God. Spring fed creeks wend their way down into the Duck River, parsing the land into discrete sections. Pecan groves and limestone walls sequester fading antebellum plantations. Gaited horses plod behind stark white wooden fences that line the pastures.

On the timeless Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, you can almost hear the fading echoes of the last shots of the Civil War. Everywhere, signs decry a war valiantly fought, but grievously lost. Here fought the Army of Tennessee. Here lie the fallen heroes of the Tullahoma Campaign. Here lie the brave men that fought and died at Stone's River with General Breckinridge. As the sun sets on a still summer day, and the wind crawls through the dead fields of corn, you can almost hear the echoes of the last fading call to arms. Almost smell the gunpowder from that last desperate volley against the northern aggressors.

The Civil War is on everyone's lips here, carved into the collective conscience like a slow motion train wreck. Over shots of George Dickel, the locals talk about the campaigns in the Civil War as though they were fought yesterday. As though, through careful study, the outcome might be circumvented. Each campaign is discussed and debated, at length. If only his cavalry had come home to roost sooner. If only he'd guarded his right flank. If only the train had gotten through. And so it went. Wistfully, they spoke of these matters over Tennessee whiskey, beer, and moonshine sipped from clear, unlabeled flasks.

Middle Tennessee is a sprawling country with Kudzu choked roadsides. Crystal clear creeks. Old town squares. From this land, the people extract a meager existence. In the spring, envisioning symmetrical, uniform living carpets of hay and corn, they molded the fields into preternatural, linear rows.

But then, the summer came and the clouds disappeared and the sun descended and pinched the people to the land. For weeks, there was no measurable rain. And on Sundays, the preachers and the farmers held hands and bowed their heads before the Lord, and prayed for the rains to come. To save the farms and the farmers. The crops and the livestock.

For, this is God's country. This is the buckle in the Bible Belt. Where people leave WWJD calling cards on your windshield. Daily prayer books in the bathrooms. 10 Commandments posted prominently in their front yards. You could starve to death on Sunday looking for an open restaurant. “Closed for a reason? the signs all say.

But, in this gentle land that God sculpted from the billet of the earth, the rains refused to come, and the wind carried a light dust from the fields of death and tinted the sunset a little redder than it might have been.

At the end of July, the heat broke, but still the rains refused to come. The fields withered and the farmers went into the stubbled fields and rubbed their chins in silence. They'd only put up one cutting for the winter, and it would not last. The corn would die soon, as well, if the rains did not come.

In August, the sun came down from the sky to touch the earth, and simmered the people and the land in a limestone skillet. In this insufferable August heat, the Crepe Myrtles bloomed, exploding like roman candles across the lawns. Mockingbirds cried from the shadows of the woods.

Even a fool could divine the plight of the farmer. Their misfortune was written in brittle crops of the fields. Carved into the lands. But they were not alone. They didn't plead their case to the congregation, as it was not in their nature to do so. They spoke little of their own calamitous misfortune, but their story traveled before them, like dust before a thunderstorm, and their misfortune became the reciprocal misfortune of the congregation. Their stories reverberated through the ancient walls of the churches of the pioneers and the Sunday sermons were heavily weighted in their favor.

And when the crops had died in the fields, and when the farmers and the preachers were sure that the crops had failed, that they'd only harvest a single cutting of hay, that the corn would not tassel, still the Sundays pulled the farmers from the fields, as surely as the moon draws the oceans upon the beaches. Still the Sundays found the farmers, offering their tithes to the churches, for their faith in God was unassailable.

In the end, it was their religion that gave them strength. And, after a ruinous season, often all that remained. The only thing that couldn't be repossessed and offered for auction. Their faith defined them, and they clung to it, like a cocklebur on a colt's tail. And, in the Fall, they plowed their ruined fields under. They oiled their tractors and honed the teeth of their plows, and they pinned their hopes on God and Spring, and trod across a ruined land to instill into their neighbors an esoteric point of the War of Northern Aggression over a bottle of Muscadine wine.

Continue reading "The Long Road to Breckenridge"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 9, 2006 at 9:24 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Crying Amy

The two-lane black-roads bifurcated and meandered through the country, parsing it among those who would live there. Sparsely inhabited though it was, the roads permeated the country, following the lines of drift, and dissecting it along natural boundaries. In the evenings, the fog moved silently into the hollows between the ridges, thick as raw cream, and silent as the lightning bugs.

There are few people in the country, and still fewer cars, and after a while, it grows on you so that, when you get to a major road and two or four cars go by at sixty miles an hour, you think “What's the hurry, buddy? Where's the fire?? The country can do that to you. It can draw you in like the Labrea Tar Pits.

The financially encumbered people of Lickskillet were trapped, like bugs in amber. Unequivocal losers in the free market crucible, the citizens of Jefferson Davis county were hopelessly staked to the Cumberland Plateau.

Many would live and die without ever seeing the ocean. Without ever seeing the inside of an airplane. A coalition of economic slaves, surviving on mater sammiches, breeding with unseemly fury in sweltering trailers, squandering their existence for a few dollars an hour and a share of the tip jar at the end of the shift.

Continue reading "Crying Amy"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 9, 2006 at 8:20 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 8, 2006

Hovering Over Paradise

I have a rule when I fly. I don't fly without ear plugs. Period. I've had too many flights ruined by screaming fetuses, so now, as a rule, I don't board a flight without ear plugs. On the flight to Hilo, however, I made an exception. The flight from Honolulu to Hilo is a very short flight. It's just up and down basically. It might last 45 minutes, at most. So, I figured...no big deal. I'll chance it and go without the earplugs. Big mistake.

The plane takes off, and we watch the island fall away beneath us. Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Hawaii Kai, Koko Head, and Hanauma Bay. Insidiously, a idea steals into my brain...we've made the flight and we're going to live. All is going to be OK, after all. Then, as if on cue, the kid behind us begins to show his true colors. He's a petulant little brat...age 6, I figured. And, he's sitting back there, wailing like a banshee....MOM!...MOM!....MOM! And, he's squealing like a pine marten in a leg trap, and I'm dreaming of cutting out his vocal cords with a plastic kinfe and handing them to him mom in an airsickness bag. Or opening the emergency exit and tossing him into the Pacific.

And if he's not screaming, he's coughing. Single, open mouth, uncovered coughs, every minute. You could set your watch by it. I swear he had TB or whooping cough or influenza or something, and I'm dreaming of swimming him out across the reef and drowning him in the surf.

Continue reading "Hovering Over Paradise"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2006 at 3:00 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Third Grade Jennifer

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 8, 2006 at 2:48 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

September 5, 2006

The Lesson of the Black Brittle Starfish

Jennifer and I got up and drove down the Kona coast to a beach they'd told me about at the hotel. Said it was good for snorkeling. Crawling with sea turtles. Along the way, we scanned the coast for Malasadas, Lau Lau, Hawaiian Shave Ice, Spam Musubi. All the local delicacies.

We stopped at Jake's BBQ, and a little girl there told us about a place that sold Hawaiian Shave Ice, but it would be about ten minutes past the beach we were going to.

I turned to Jennifer. We had the top down, wearing cheap sunglasses. Sunscreen. She had her right foot sticking out of the car, wiggling her toes in the turbulent sunshine.

“Do you want to go there, sweetie? To the Shave Ice Ranch? It's about ten minutes past the beach.?

“I don't care if it's an hour past the beach. I want some Hawaiian Shave Ice!? she bellowed.

Continue reading "The Lesson of the Black Brittle Starfish"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 5, 2006 at 11:23 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

September 4, 2006

The Great Mountain Goat Safari

I went across Webster Pass today, and up Radical Jeep Hill, where I discovered a small heard of mountain goats grazing peaceably. I stopped my ATV abruptly. They were technically wild, but practically domesticated, as they betrayed no fear of humans. There were a couple of guys with rifles and jeeps and spotting scopes and all things manly and mechanical, so I stopped to talk to them. They were really cool guys, and they offered me a beer, which I accepted.

"Is my ATV ok there?" I asked. I had parked behind one of the jeeps, and these guys were fairly well armed, so it's best to make belt-and-suspenders sure that you're not offending. An armed society is a polite society, is it not?

"Nah. You're fine right there."

Eventually, I they let on that they were technically hunting mountain goats. Or, more accurately, scouting for mountain goats.

"You mean, like these mountain goats here?" I asked, pointing to one that was nibbling on the mudflaps on my ATV.

"Yeah."

Continue reading "The Great Mountain Goat Safari"

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 4, 2006 at 10:43 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

All my luck is on you

I told Jennifer this weekend that something or other would happen "if she was lucky", to which she promptly replied "All my luck is on you, daddy."

And, to a large extent, she's right. At least for now. And that's a lot of responsibility to carry around, huh?

Posted by Peenie Wallie on September 4, 2006 at 2:01 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink