Friday, May 30, 2008


It's about the best way I can describe the feeling.

About 3:30 pm today I received word that one of my people had died in a motorcycle accident.

Five and a half hours later, after gathering info, writing reports and, more importantly, making sure the young man's grieving family have what information and meager support you can give them, all that's left is numbness.

What a great person this young man was; conscientious in his work and a very safe rider who always used his equipment. How unbelievably tragic.

Asshat of the week - Sharon Stone

I prefer fucktard, but I am trying to limit my usage of the first syllable of that word to people who truly, truly deserve it. So asshat will have to do, and it's more applicable to today's winner. I wanted to post this yesterday, but I ended up too busy after work. So, since I've skipped out early today, I'll make up for it.

I love it when celebrities do stupid shit. It's fueled by my very, very narrow tolerance (okay, more like thinly-veiled hatred) of the so-called "elite" in America. So watching them screw up is, well ... fun. It's my only vice...I mean it, honest...

So you can imagine how giddy I was when I found out Sharon Stone has got herself into this...

From Guardian UK:

Sharon Stone is facing a ban on the showing of her films in China after suggesting the recent earthquake that killed up to 67,000 people may have been the result of "bad karma" over the country's occupation of Tibet.

Oh really? Do tell, please...

"I've been concerned about how should we deal with the Olympics, because they are not being nice to the Dalai Lama, who is a good friend of mine," she said.

He's against boycotting the Olympics. He's said so. Maybe I'm more of a friend of his than you. Or are you more of a "Carl Spangler" kind of friend? So you got that going for you...which is nice.

"And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and I thought, is that karma - when you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"


Sharon Stone is living proof that a 0.4-second glimpse of your girly bits will catapult you much farther than you ever deserve to go. I know, I know, it was trickery by the director, but you know, this underwear stuff, it's got something going for it! But anyway, that's old (ass)hat.

No Sharon, it's not karma. It's plate tectonics. Ask your girly bits. They may know what it is.

Just goes to show you that ultra-reactionary religious zealots aren't the only people who think like that. (And yeah, this guy is scary...been there, driven through Topeka, seen his minions on the street with their signs...scary.) Maybe Sharon's not at the center of the circle of people who think that way, but I couldn't help but draw the line. Sharon's just an asshat. This guy is ... well ... decency really prevents me from posting my assessment.

Oh. And if you didn't click the link in the article, watch the video. It pulls it together nicely. Actually, I think Carl Spangler is more articulate than she.

You go further than you ever deserve to, and sooner or later you're going to look like an asshat. Congratulations, Sharon, you are Cthulhu's Family Restaurant's first ever Asshat of the Week!

Of course, nobody gets this award without beating some stiff competition. So, I give you the runners up:

Michele Malkin for her ever so poignant and pertinent piece on what is the true threat to America...Rachel Ray's scarf. But since Dr. Momentum and Derek beat me to the issue and handled it better than I ever could, I had to find something new and fresh. Besides, they're talking about fucktards. I'm working in asshats here.

Mark Madden for his absolutely idiotic and tasteless comments about Senator Kennedy's brain tumor. Dude, you don't even rate me making fun of you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Military Monday - Memorial Day Reflection

Some time ago I accepted an invitation to be the principal speaker at a Memorial Day service at a township in the greater Boston area. I thought I'd share my words...

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this important commemoration on this most important day. To our veterans, of wars past and present, who are here today; those of us on active duty today are humbled to be in your presence, and we are proud to carry on your legacy and the tradition of your service. To the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, indeed all friends and loved ones of America's fallen who are here today; we stand in awe of their selflessness, of their sacrifice, and of the strength you have shown in all the days and hours since their untimely passing. This is the day we remember with you, and share with you some of that burden. To our friends and guests, especially the children, who are with us today, thank you for coming. It is your recognition, understanding and support that will keep the spirit and sanctity of Memorial Day alive as the decades bring the living memories of past, present and future struggles to an end. Truly, we all have important parts to play in each and every Memorial Day.

What does Memorial Day mean? I know it sounds a bit like a grade school essay question, but I'm not sure the answer is so simple. A quarter century ago, on 31 May 1982, President Ronald Reagan said,
I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country. Words are even more feeble on this Memorial Day, for the sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them.
Like President Reagan, I also had trouble finding words for today that justly serve those whom we memorialize today. But unlike President Reagan, I do not have a speech writer. And so I pressed on, and hope I have found the words.

Today is about each and every one of the more than one million American warriors since 1775 who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their ideals, for their nation, and for their comrades.

And American warriors they were. Americans. First and foremost. American men and women who, by their very character, valued their own inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And whether through a sense of obligation, necessity, or opportunity, each chose to defend those rights and ideals that are the fabric of our republic. Though two centuries have changed the technology, tools, doctrine, places and very nature of war, the American men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terrorism in places like Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, and the mountains of Afghanistan are indeed cut from the same cloth as those who fell in the Mekong Delta, at Inchon, Normandy, Midway, at Belleau Wood, and Gettysburg.

Soon, a list of war dead from your township will be read – your fallen American warriors from years past. A similar American, from today's war, was Petty Officer Second Class Michael A. Monsoor, of Garden Grove, California. A United States Navy SEAL, Petty Officer Monsoor joined the Navy just months before September 11th 2001 and would have turned 27 last month. Instead, President Bush presented his parents with his Congressional Medal of Honor for selflessly diving on a hand grenade to save his teammates during a firefight in Ramadi on 29 September 2006. During the afternoon when his unit had been attacked twice already and were expecting more action, Petty Officer Monsoor was in his position awaiting the enemy when a grenade hurled by an unseen insurgent bounced off him and landed on the floor of his sniper hide-sight. Though he was closest to the exit and could have escaped harm, he instead warned his teammates and immediately dove on the grenade, saving their lives and sacrificing his own in the process.

Now most people, myself included, do not know Petty Officer Monsoor, nor any others among the 4600 American warriors, these heroes, who have made the ultimate sacrifice since 9-11. But we need to understand them today, like we need to understand all who have made the same sacrifice before them. They are not 4600 in the Global War on Terrorism, 380 in Desert Storm, 57,000 in Vietnam, 36,000 in Korea, 405,000 in World War II and so forth back through history. Each is, in himself or herself, a singular loss of unfathomable magnitude, and each is reason to take pause.

But at the same time, each is a singular testament to America's greatest strength – our citizens – who believe in the ideals of liberty and equality – for all and above all. We must never forget or lose sight of the strength that they represent. The strength that has carried our nation through its darkest times and will carry us through this and future struggles. That strength is us.

I would like to conclude by reading from General Order Number Eleven of the Grand Army of the Republic, the proclamation that established Decoration Day, the day that eventually became Memorial Day, 140 years ago.

We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold inthe solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland
the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.

Thank you, and best wishes for a blessed and reflective Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Book of Perverbs

So yesterday my wife and I are talking and she uses the word "proverbial". I forget the discussion and the comparison, but I always take notice of this "trouble" word. Too damned many lazy and/or ignorant people use "per" instead of "pro".

I know it's a tired complaint, but maybe there's a way around this. Maybe we make a new word. I propose:

perverbial (adj) - of or relating to or resembling or expressed in perverb.

What's a perverb? Well, it's from the book of Perverbs. That's the book in The Bible that tells you to marry seven underage girls and that it's okay to molest your parishioners.

Out of an inexplicable need to conserve the "per- / pro-" word balance, I searched for a "per" word that I could convert and define. I came up with the following:

prochance (adj.) - in favor of gambling or leaving important matters largely to chance. e.g. "This administration takes a decidedly prochance approach to economic and foreign policy."

But now, and I mean just now, everything is screwed up and my new found balance is upset! As my wife peruses a board she frequents, there was a comment about a "proformance" on American Idol this evening.

Ugh. People are so f@$#ing stupid...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Daddy's Little GRRRRLS!!!

We picked up a second controller for Guitar Hero III today. Once I assembled it I decided to let my two daughters, "F" and "L", rock out a bit. They did so by demonstrating their superior head-banging skills.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cthulhu's Tentactles - Serious and Silly Lovecraft

A day late, but never short. I can't take credit for finding these, as all these links and many more were found PMOGing my way through some of the excellent Cthulhu and Lovecraft missions there.

1. The H.P. Lovecraft Archive, mentioned in my last post. It's kept fairly up to date, and a good broad resource on Lovecraft, his life, his place in pop culture, etc. It brings the serious and some of the silly sides together well.

2. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS) Cell phone ring tones, prop downloads (Insanity Certificates, Lovecraft Stamps), Sanity Tests, and "live radio" adaptations of Lovecraft's stories. Cool, pop-culture.

3. Arkham House Publishing founded by August Derleth and another of Lovecraft's freinds after his death. Intended to keep Lovecraft's legacy alive, it has ended up being as much or more Derleth's.

4. The Misadventures of Hello Cthulhu is an attempted merger of "Hello Kitty" and the Cthulhu Mythos. It's decidedly silly, but not good parody, in my opinion.

5. H. P. Lovecraft on Scriptorium. A fairly lengthy study of Lovecraft by his "Leading biographer and critic". This guy shows me just how silly I was trying to do my humanities "Sufficiency Project" on Lovecraft at WPI. I was too busy thinking about monsters.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shoggoths Don't Surf!

Or maybe they do. It seems that most bands that try to work Cthulhu and the "mythos" into their music also use "D-e" words. There are, of course, exceptions. Which is good because death metal sucks.

The H.P. Lovecraft Archive describes The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets as:

A Vancouver “punky surf” band whose lyrics don’t just make passing mention to Lovecraft—their entire existence seems to revolve around him. Their name is taken from a sentence near the beginning of Lovecraft’s “The Tomb”: “I will tell only of the lone tomb in the darkest of the hillside thickets...”

I describe this song, "Yig Snake Daddy", as rockin!

The Darkest of the Hillside ThicketsYig Snake Daddy

Am I mistaken, or does this almost have a little bit of a Dread Zeppelin feel to it?

Another song for the little flip-style jukebox in your booth...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

To Arlen Specter

Even though I'm in the Navy and occasionally post about military things that I think are important, I never wanted to be a Mil-Blogger.

As much as I love sports, particularly baseball and football, I ****NEVER**** wanted to be a Sports-Blogger. However, given the recent statements of a certain prominent and senior Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, I feel I must take a step in that direction, at least for a moment.

Dear Senator Specter,

I know you just can't let go of the fact that the NFL has cleaned its own house, and consider it important to the integrity of the game and the well-being of the American people. Maybe you just can't get over the fact that Donovan McNabb and his overrated Eagles were not the better team in Superbowl XXXIX.

Whatever your reason, please leave the NFL alone. We have more pressing matters at hand.

If you would like to investigate and verify the integrity of large and powerful enterprises and organizations, I respectfully suggest you form a commission to look into the following:

1. Oil Companies
2. Defense Contractors
3. The Federal Reserve System
4. Real Estate Brokers
5. "Big Religion"
6. Congress

Otherwise, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Stepping back now...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Cthulhu's Tentacles

He has many of them, and they reach far. Here are just a few. Maybe one of them will grab you...

1. Dread Cthulhu devours intruders to the kitchen. Cthulhu Apron at Cafe Press. The only one used at this restaraunt!

2. Fuzzy-wuzzy cushie Dread Crocheted Cthulhu at Instructables.

3. I CAN HAZ CREEPY. Cthulhu Kitty Animation found at deviantART.

4. Brake for nobody, or this could be you! Cthulhu road sign by myconfinedspace.

5. Happy Wednesday - "Eclectic, humorous nerd-rock and electronic madness". Watch them perform "His Tentacled Glory" at No Brand Con 2008. Only thing I could catch was something about not getting eaten last. Destined for obscurity, like this place, and rightfully so. Hey, that's fine...I'm sure that were I 20 years younger I'd have thought they were awesome like the kids in the video. I'm so glad musical tastes mature.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How are you in bed?

First I was 87% Brazilian in bed.

Then I was 56% Swedish in bed.

Clicky Here

Integrating Fitness

I went on my treadmill today for the first time since last weekend, after doing my "usual run". It was a rough one, primarily due to the fact that I hadn't run since last weekend, and last night involved one rum drink (literally - Mount Gay on ice), two beers and a huge steakburger, with little hydration between then and the run.

Which is a by-product of using my increasingly hectic spring/summer public schedule as an excuse to skip workouts. And when I don't workout, I feel less inclined to eat the way I should. If I could stop staying up and watching the Sox game, post game, and all the ensuing BS it would be easier for me to commit to waking up at 5 am to work out.

It's been difficult lately to integrate the kind of fitness program I am used to into my life. In the past, getting into and maintaining shape had always been a major endeavor. I mean serious weight training and cardio, planned and recorded workouts, six meals a day, really rigid stuff. Which works well when you are single, or at most married with one child, or on easy shore duty, or anything but "in charge at at work and a large family of small children at home".

Not that it doesn't work with the super-full life; it just requires a lot more internal commitment and external deconfliction, which I need to work on.

My "usual run" is a 32 minute affair with three phases.

1. 20 minutes of interval training (1 min intervals) in the 50-100% exertion range. Level of exertion is determined by "feel". At 50% is basically a warm up, and 100% (next to final minute of the phase) is definitely in the anaerobic zone, as I am breathing hard (without gasping for air) and definitely unable to do anything but keep the legs moving and listen to the iPod.

2. 10 minutes of slow jogging, focused on getting my heartrate down into the low aerobic zone, and burning some extra calories.

3. 2 minutes of cool down with the intent of getting my heart rate below 120 bpm.

When my "100% level" becomes just a shade too easy, I bump my intervals up by about 0.1 mph. Across a 20 minute run, that can be a huge leap.

Not incredibly scientific, but I find it keeps my heart rates about "equal" across each phase. I finish phase 1 at about 155 - 165, phase 2 in the mid-130's and by the end of my cool-down I'm around 110.

I love this run - because I HATE running. I've always been better at strength training. Even outside, I hate the monotony of running. So having interval targets ramping up and down by minute, pushing to a new level, it keeps it interesting. I'm usually half way through the run before I know it. Which is's like half-off suckitude.

With my condition coming into today, my phase one heart rate was slightly elevated - around 171 at completion. I was right about where I should have been for the remainder.

I'm not completely happy with the heart monitor on my treadmill, so I'll probably get a personal one. Not that I don't trust the "by feel" method (it's certainly a lot easier than trying to figure out your Max VO2). I just want to get a more accurate idea of where my heart rate is at. And I want a new toy.

So what I really need to do is sit down, think about how I really need to tailor my "usual program" to meet my life, set aside what is not important, and move ahead.

Like, tomorrow.

By the way, I find this to be a very good fitness page.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Military Monday: I'd rather not have an ethos...

I read about this in a professional forum I peruse. It seems the Navy has posted a draft "ethos" online and has a survey that active duty personnel can fill out. Since I can't reach the website where this drivel is posted from my home computer, I have to wait until I get into work tomorrow and waste YOUR TAX DOLLARS to let the Navy know what I think. But I'm going to let you know what I think now.

Let me start by saying I value diversity and recognize the need to implement it in order to succeed, and I know that good leadership involves getting everyone on the same page and setting some part of themselves aside for the advancement of the organization.

But the Navy is a WAR-FIGHTING organization. It is manned by WARRIORS. And WARRIORS need a WARRIOR ETHOS.

And a warrior ethos, this is not:

We are the men and women of the United States Navy -- guardians of American sea power and maritime security.

We are Active Duty, Reserve, and Civilian professionals -- a diverse, elite and agile force who aspire to the highest standards of service to our Nation, at home and abroad, at sea and ashore.

We are a disciplined and well-prepared team, committed to mission accomplishment on sea, land, air, and space. We are unwavering in our dedication and accountability to our fellow Sailors and Civilians.

We are patriots, forged by the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Our proud heritage, tradition and deep resolve serve as our battle anthem.

Integrity is the foundation of our conduct; respect for others is fundamental to our character; bold leadership is crucial to our success.

We will prevail in the face of adversity with strength, determination, and dignity.

We are the United States Navy!

These speak to a warrior ethos:

The Navy's words are the battle cry of an organization with no sense of self, that has attempted to take mankind's most destructive and wasteful endeavor - war - and prepare for it and conduct it using "enterprise models" and "business efficiencies" and "human capital strategies". It is an organization that is risk-averse to the point of being ineffective, that would rather appear "competitive in today's job market" than "ready to visit death and destruction on the enemy".

And I am about fucking fed up with it.

Really..."We are the guardians of American sea power and maritime security????" This is so freaking stupid, I want the name of the jackass who thought this up! We are sea power. We provide maritime security. For 210 years we have been sailing the world's oceans, protecting our nation, it's citizens and it's ships. WE WON THE RIGHT TO SAIL THE WORLD'S OCEANS FROM THE BRITISH, WE PRESERVED THE UNION FROM CATASTROPHIC FRACTURE, WE SAILED HEADLONG INTO BATTLE AGAINST THE BLOODIEST AGGRESSORS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY AND DEFEATED THEM. IN 210 YEARS NO ENEMY HAS EVER BESTED US IN WAR ON THE SEA. NO ENEMY EVER WILL.

Oh, wait...war at sea? I'm sorry, does the Navy do that? I dunno...let's read some more.

Hmmmm, we have the highest standards, we all love each other no matter what our backgrounds or means of employment, we do these mission-thingies on land, sea, air, and space (! I saw Star Trek once!) hmmmm, nope, no mention of...

OH WAIT! We have a battle anthem! Battle against whom? I'm sorry, is there an enemy that needs defeating? I can't find one in there. Maybe we'll prevail against people who don't like government civilians. Which means I should shoot myself now.

Oh, and about that battle anthem...heritage, tradition and deep resolve? Puh-LEEEEZE!!!! Again, think about that statement. What the feh-heh-heh-HUCK does that mean? "Tessie is the Royal Rooters' rally cry" would fit least I uderstand what it's getting at!

I mean, the whole goddam thing reads like an award citation for someone who doesn't deserve an award in the first place. Long on nebulous, bombastic, feel-good words with little or no action to emphasize.

Preble, Decatur, Hull, Bainbridge, Stewart, Perry, Farragut, Dewey, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, Sprague, Burke, Momsen, and yes, John Paul Jones, too ... they are turning in their graves.

So, as I said, tomorrow I am going to take some of my time, and a small portion of the government's discretionary spending, to do my part to make sure this piece of shit never makes it out into the fleet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Adams' Hierarchy

We don't have a cable box in our bedroom, so when we're in bed, it's kind of fun to surf through the higher COMCAST channels and see what pops up. If we're lucky, someone else on our block is watching an on-demand movie and we pick up the feed. We saw "Knocked Up" for free this way, and we've even stumbled across some ... ahem ... well, you know. It'd be wierd if it were the nice older couple two doors down ordering that stuff and fast forwarding through the boring parts.

Last night, it was "John Adams". We had considered getting HBO just to watch this series, but I'd since dug into McCullough's book, and every time we decide to get premium channels, they seem to stop showing anything even remotely interesting.

I have no idea what number the episode was, but Adams was on his mission to France with Ben Franklin, uncomfortably dealing with the loathsome French aristocracy trying to get a commitment of naval power to the Revolution, when he says:
"I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

Never mind that this was actually written in a letter to Abigail Adams, instead of spoken to a drunk, lecherous, powdered and perfumed Frenchman.

I find so much in these words. They are at the same time a source of inspiration and clarity as well as fear and disappointment.

There is no clearer nor more elegant way to outline in principle what the intellectual makeup and pursuits of the republic and it's citizens should be. But I don't think I'm being overly pessimistic when I say we are failing to achieve it.

Our incoherent foreign policy, complete lack of grand strategy and our precarious economy are a given, but they are not what I am referring to; they can, and I believe will, be at least turned in the right direction in a matter of years. The impending failure from within, through inadequate education and lack of engagement in the political process, is what concerns me the most. Unless we correct it, we all but guarantee that the most elementary parts of Adams' Hierarchy - government, security, and the generation and sustainment of wealth - will fail.

And all our "painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain" will be hollow symbols indeed.