Monday, 9 August 2010

Just Observations

I sat and watched a History Channel show yesterday. In the midst of this....is this clip on the Pisco Valley in Peru.

As you look at the top of this mountain, you start to see this poc-marks. They run about a mile down the mountainside. 6,900 holes. Six to seven feet deep.

The locals have no idea why they exist. And no, it's not a natural thing.

So far, the scientists have suggested that they were used to store grain...but they haven't found anything to back up that idea. No, there's no bones or leftover materials there except dirt and rocks.

I looked at the close-up shot and it's funny how close they are all matched up. It's pretty much what you'd expect from a mechanical device geared to take soil samples. The only issue is that local folks can remember the holes there for well over a hundred years....and some folks think they've been there well over 1,000 years.

So you are left with some odd impressions. Maybe someone arrived in Peru a couple of thousand years ago and simply took some samples. The question is....who?

Why is this only noticed in the past decade? Well....it was only after Google Earth became a tool for folks to browse, and they started to notice some funny things

So the question is....for you pondering folks...what made it?

The New Pentagon Goal

There was a speech today by Secretary of Defense Gates.

A Pentagon goal has been put forth for 2011...to reduce all contractors within the Pentagon by ten percent next year.

This is supposed to reduce waste and duplication...at least it's spoken in such a way to make folks think that.

What happens now? Well...everyone will be given a magic list of contractors on their staff...and then they will examine the list. Eventually...they will select ten percent of this group...to transform into GS employees. So as the magic curtain closes to this huge group of contractors...another curtain will open to bring those guys over as GS employees.

The issues? There's going to be this salary difference. Contractors were folks with the right security clearances and special background typically in systems engineering and IT. They won't accept a $74k salary for a GS-12 slot or a $89k salary for a GS-13 slot.

My guess is that half of these guys cut...will simply move onto places where they can be used. At some point by 2012...as we move into phase two with the next ten percent cut...minor problems pop up with the new IT folks hired. They aren't quiet as good as the old folks. Some bosses want an explanation...but you can't really explain it in a nice way.

As we start to reach into phase three...with another ten percent, I think that's when some folks invent contractor support which rests outside of the actual Pentagon and we start to edge back to the old system.

Just a humble observation.

Romance Novels?


I sat and read over a USA Today story today, Romance in Amish Country.

Basically (unbelievable to me), there's this fast growing genre of reading material now in America....with romance and Amish folks mixed.

Some titles: The Bridge of Peace, Autumn's Promise, The Thorn.

The emphasis of this? A book written without lusty or hot talk. Clean wholesome value. Family settings. No big emotional toil on the reader to endure.

I grew up in northern Bama...near the Tennessee line, and the Mennonite communities. My dad got big into various business deals with these guys. He'd go out and get a hundred Mason jars through the flea market business and then sell them up with the Mennonites.

For all practical purposes...a Mennonite is the same thing as Amish....although they will deny it. Everyone clings to good clean living of the 1800s, with no cars, no electricity, and no modern conveniences.

From my various trips with my dad....I have a good belief in Mennonites and their lifestyle. Romance though? I just don't have that same vision of romance around these guys.

These women who get up up and into this romantic Amish book stuff? I'm trying to envision the next trend where Claude who lives in Red Bay and has a double-wide trailer...is a very sensitive guy and repairs wicker chairs. There would be this redneck romantic novel that I could write over Claude, and tell of the heartfelt wishes of Ms Dorine who runs the Catfish Grill and serves Claude a fancy dish of Catfish and Hush-puppies nightly.

Claude had dressed appropriately for this evening meal. He wore his best overalls and had shined his boots with fresh bought mink oil. He had washed both hands with generic Dove soap and even put on fresh underwear. As he arrived at the Fish Grill, Ms Dorine was humbly dressed and grinning like a JC Pennys sales lady around Christmas. Claude was prepared for the XXL meal and wanted extra hush puppies and as much crushed ice in his cup as possible. His hands were folded across his chin as he almost whispered his order to Ms Dorine.

Maybe this kind of trash would sell. I should just quit this Pentagon stuff and write hot Bama romantic trashy novels and make millions off this garbage.

As Stupid As It Goes

There's this little story that you won't hear much about today. Over in Finland...they decided to hold a sauna contest. Actually, it was the Sauna World Championship.

The contest involves guys having to sit in 230 degree temperatures...while water is tossed on a heating device in the room.

So there was this Russian guy who felt he could last out in such a contest.

The guy? Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy. Vlad was pronounced dead on Saturday.

In the end...there were Vlad and this Finn guy left in the Sauna. Rescue workers ended up pulling both out of the sauna....as they were bleeding already. Adding to the misery...both were in uncontrollable shakes and had extremely bad burns.

The Finn is alive but in serious condition at the local hospital.

The guys who run the contest have said now that this is probably the last of these sauna contests that they will run.

You have to stand back and really question a contest of this sort. It's one thing to run a sauna around 120 degrees....but this was a serious health risk.

For those who aren't aware of Finn's interests....sitting in a sauna is about as high up as golf or tennis in the US.