Friday, 19 June 2009

Septic Tank Leaks and North Korea

For several years….a puny country with no real GNP, no real culture, no real technology development, no real movie stars, no real political corruption, no real banking sector corruption, no real French wine, no real humor, no real Newsweek or Time to tell you old news a week late, and no real news network….has been a thorn in the side of the US, Japan, South Korea, and even Canada (they won’t admit it but they pretty are affected too).

For a guy from Bama, this is kinda like an ever-so-slow septic tank leak. You sit there and can barely smell it, but you know it’s there.

The problem with this entire scenario is that no one takes North Korea serious anymore at anything. You can’t even hold a negotiation with a group of these guys because they can’t sign nothing because the beloved leader is not there and he or his number two players could cancel anything that sounds agreeable.

So this is where things are going. We will proceed up to the 4th of July weekend, when a missile will likely be launched toward Hawaii but intentionally fall well short of it. In fact, we are likely going to treat this missile as a target and ‘zap’ it before it gets even half-way.

North Korea will accuse us of war-crimes and likely attempt another launch immediately after that….with the same result.

Then to show some kind of result, another missile or two will likely be aimed at anyone (other than China or Russia), just to show they are to be treated as reliable threats.

So this will play back and forth, with another missile eventually fired at Hawaii within a month or two of that first one. It’s kinda like being pulled over for doing 53 in a 55-mph zone in the midst of some speed-trap area in Bama….and being lectured that you were fairly close to 55 and need to be careful.

For the US, this means countless millions spent on defending against a real non-existent threat. You have GI’s on watch….ton’s of technology being wasted on non-threats….and then you get stuck with Wolf Blitzer and the CNN I’m-a-expert analyst explaining why this missile did this and why that missile did that. Eventually, you hit the mute button and imagine yourself in Gulfport sipping beer on a hot afternoon.

This could almost be a weekly 1-hour series done each week where a bunch of guys pretend it’s a reality show and show off each other’s missiles.

Bloody Yes, Finally

According to the latest and greatest UK Climate Impacts Report…..British summers will appear like those nations in the Mediterranean….like Spain. And the winters….warm in nature and severe rain.

In the midst of this….the office in charge of this type of thing kinda admitted that they run 400 different computer models. Then they kinda admitted that they run three types of scenarios….low, medium and high….and all having something to do with carbon emissions.

Environmentalists are shrieking over this announcement, and the media is basically weeping over themselves.

The funny thing….is that most Brits are sitting there and smiling from ear to ear. As miserable as it gets in the UK….with constant misty rain in the spring and fall…..and cool summers….they hate the current weather situation. If you came up and offered a Brit any scenario where 90 degree summers might be the norm….they would hug and kiss you.

So my advice to the environmentalists and the national climate impact folks….you might want to avoid advertising this scenario, because if they have any say over the matter…it’d be bloody fine to be in such a hot place.

Why I Dislike My Job

Yesterday, there was the reminder of why I have come to dislike my job so much. The “boys” who have a special conference room upstairs, complete with a state-of-the-art video-teleconferencing system….went out on their own about eighteen months ago and bought a fancy world clock.

You’ve likely seen this type….it’s four foot long and has four clocks built into the huge mechanism….all running on four strategic areas of the world…..digitally. When you walk in the room and sit down in the audience area or the VIP-table area, you can’t miss seeing this giant clock assembly.

So interestingly enough….the general has come to grasp that the clock (all four) are two minutes behind his watch….which he claims is absolutely correct. The general is unhappy, and wants the wall clock “fixed”….mostly meaning to add two minutes. The boys, who bought the apparatus and happily smile through all these events….suddenly realized that it had to be fixed and the little IR-gadget controller remote….isn’t anywhere in the room. No one remembers anything about this remote control or where it might have been placed.

Naturally, they whined to our boss (we are a different organization but we are the system’s guru’s)….and they need help.

We looked at the mess and voiced the idea that we didn’t buy this….we didn’t install this….and we aren’t responsible for this. That worked initially, then someone poked our leadership again….and we went back into a reactionary phase, but then eventually said “no” again.

Meanwhile, I pulled up the company and model, then found the online manual….146 damn pages of information on this masterpiece of a clock. Basically, if you have the remote…it’s a one minute episode to add two minutes. Without the remote….it could take three hours to read enough of the 146 pages and then determine how we might trick the clock into advancing. Naturally, there was likely a146-page manual with the clock when it arrived, has since been thrown away (my guess).

This is the ongoing saga of the Air Force today. No one maintains continuity and no one cares. They spend tons of money on gadgets and then toss manuals, remotes, special keys, and various support devices into storage rooms where they eventually get tossed into a dumpster. I would bet that this occurs almost every two weeks within my work-group. Sometimes we save the day, and sometimes we just stand back to watch a mess develop.

The final piece to this story? I had the VTC folks standing there watching clock tick yesterday….while online and “chatting” with me. I hit the world clock site with the US Naval Observatory….and then checked the precise time. The funny thing….was that time was time was two minutes ahead of the clock on my Microsoft machine, which is pre-set (I have no ability to control my Air Force computer in terms of time….it’s set to a mandatory pattern).

So I’m sitting there wondering….atomic time is “X”, my CPU time is “Y”, my general’s watch is “Z”, and this damn $1000 fancy clock on the wall is “Q”. And I’m thinking….does any of this mean that the world is out of sync? Are we in a Lost-episode? Are we suffering from some type of time warp? Did I miss something? Do you understand now why I’m having issues enjoying my work?

Universal Transmission Insurance

I have paused and pondered over this entire discussion on universal health care insurance, and have come to a vastly creative idea....universal transmission insurance. I realize some of you are puzzled, but allow me to explain.

Frankly, a bunch of us have gone against the trend and bought automatics in our life...instead of stick-shifts (the clutch mentality). It's ok as long as the car runs, but when transmissions finally fail....it requires a rebuild...often up to $2k. Some of us can afford this....but frankly, it's very difficult.

So my suggestion....is a nationally funded mandatory transmission insurance. We would put a 2-cent tax on top of the current fuel tax, and allow this to fall into a special pot. Then when we have issues....we'd take the car to a government transmission shop, and have the transmission reworked.

All transmission specialists would be government employees and highly paid, of course.

The entire service would be "free" and permanently guaranteed, compliments of the US government.

Of course, I would limit this to US citizens, and probably put a limit on car age of twenty years, but I think this is a swell idea.

Naturally, I am against Universal Clutch Repair Insurance, and think those guys should pay for their own issues.

I also have this idea about universal wart removal insurance. Oh, then I was thinking about universal septic tank insurance, universal chainsaw insurance, universal divorce insurance, universal dead dog under the porch insurance, and universal sunk-boat-on-the-river insurance.

The Underwear Town

Ok, so I'll start off with saying....this ain't in Bama...it's in Florida. So many of you accuse Bama of having stupid laws....but we have a neighbor who outdid us this time.

Down in Brooksville, the city council met and then a revised dress code for employees. Why, was never explained. So this revision says that if you work for Brooksville....and you are an employee....then you must have "strict personal hygiene."

This involves six things which are written out completely: (1) the use of deodorant, (2) "the observable lack of undergarments and exposed undergarments" as "unacceptable attire," (3) no clothing with foul language, (4) no "sexually provocative" garments, (5) no halter tops and (6) no piercings anywhere except the ears.

So at the bottom of this....is a description of what happens if you get warned and you repeat the problem....repeat offenders can be fired.

This all got passed by the city council 4-1. Mayor Joe Bernadini couldn't vote for this deal....saying "the underwear edict takes away freedom of choice."

I sat there for several minutes thinking about this. I'm a underwear guy, and won't be convinced to go to the dark side. I spent over thirty years associated with the Air Force....who never said a word ever about underwear (lot of other stuff, but not underwear). If you have to go this far in making a city rule....something is wrong...real wrong.

Naturally, this "sexually provocative" garments thing interests me. I was wondering what I could wear to fall into this place....and thinking leather pants might be enough to get me into trouble. I got the feeling that folks in this town really don't want any hot lusty stuff. Must be a pretty boring place.