Monday, January 31, 2005

They're Doing Great Things In Medicine These Days

Mrs. Tmj has surgery tomorrow, and will be in the hospital overnight. As recently as four years ago the procedure would have been much more invasive and the visit for her issue would have been at least three or four days. I guess I should be grateful that the practice of medicine has advanced so far so quickly.

My dad was taken by a malignant melanoma that metastisized into his lymph system. April to August of 1991, it was like watching a man die in a slow-motion explosion.. One calendar year later, to the day of my father's passing, I was spending a day with a buddy who maintained the Apple computer network at the La Jolla Cancer Research Institute. Shortly after lunch, the scientists and researchers broke their routine to celebrate the FDA acceptance of a chemo drug they had done trials on that significantly reduced the mortality of exactly the same cancer that took my dad.


The issue at hand here is not nearly as serious, and I give thanks for that.

Light blogging for the next week.

That's Not Mud On His Face

Please welcome Dennis The Peasant, long a respected (and rightfully feared, in some quarters) commentor on numerous blogs.

If you ever get passed in Ohio by a droptop Mercedes doing a hundred mph+, wave big. You will be witnessing capitalism in action.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


I am buried here, but there's always a moment for the flowers, right?


(h/t to commentor Bigfire on Roger L. Simon)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Future, Meet History

As I write this post, a caravan of private vehicles containing over ninety Iraqi expats living in northern Utah are convoying south on 1-15, bound for Los Angeles.

They are going to vote.

Our local AM blowtorch broadcast some interviews as the caravanners were mounting up in downtown Salt Lake. The recurring themes:

1. I've never voted in my life (spoken by a fiftyish-sounding man).

2. What's a few hundred miles on the road? Nobody is going to try to kill us at the polling place.

3. Thank you, America. Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for your young men and women. Thank you for your will.

Somebody gets it. The important somebodies, in this case.

I had to pull over for a few minutes.

Pray for our guys and gals, all of them: American, coalition, and free Iraqi. It's going to be ugly in many places for the next slice of history, but not ugly enough to stop what has been started. I think I'm going to see what's available for Spirit of America, and right after that I think it will be time to pitch in here again, too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I Liked This One

... a comment I posted over at Michael J. Totten:

(Edited here for spelling, grammar, and one wee bit of content)

Tom Grey -

"The over-the-top unneeded fire bombing of Dresden, about 100 000 civilian deaths when it was clear the allies were going to win, seems a good standard to me."

Your argument is almost on level with the UseNet Hitler rule.

Just when was it "obvious" the war was won? Stalingrad? Midway? D-Day? Okinawa? And obvious to who? That's the real question here.

A lot of smart people thought the war was won in 1944. That's why Eisenhower placed four green divisions in the Ardennes. Remember how that worked out? That was the bloodiest land battle in Western Europe... fought after the outcome was "obvious" to lots and lots of people.

You didn't mention Tokyo. Or Kobe, or Nagoya, or the others? Oversight? B-29's were built specifically to penetrate heavily depended airspace and destroy point targets from high altitude. By the time they deployed, Japanese air defense was highly degraded. The lack of spirited fighter opposition, combined with the technical limitations of bombing accuracy and engine attrition due to operating above thirty thousand feet, led to the B-29's operating lower and lower. The industrial base of Japan was bombed back into a mom & pop level of production but it wasn't obvious to the Japanese that they were beat, was it?

The assault on Okinawa began on April first, 1945, and ended just weeks before Hiroshima was bombed. [And after Curtis LeMay had instigated low-level mass incendiary night attacks against Japanese cities in February of 1944]. Our cost was around fifty thousand dead, wounded, and missing. Okinawa was the rehearsal for the invasion of the home islands, in exactly the same way that the raid on Dieppe, france, became the primary training tool for D-Day in Normandy.

Read the link; twenty percent of U.S. Navy casualties in WW2 were sustained at or near Okinawa.

After the outcome of the war was "obvious".

Other examples of waste in war? How about our entire Civil War after Gettysburg? Lee didn't have the men (NUMBERS of men - not a damned thing wrong with the quality) or the material to win against the North after Pickett's Charge. He knew it. It was... obvious. But he hoped that by prolonging the fight he could still achieve the political objectives of the South.

It wasn't until Sherman cut the sinews out of the Confederacy that the killing ended. Between Gettysburg and Appamattox Courthouse a dozen or more great battles were fought, and for what?

It's not obvious who will win in this war against Islamofascism. It is beyond our power to declare victory until the enemy lays down the fight.

The people that equate conflict with defeat fail to realize that the aftermath of losing this war will impact their lives in ways far, far greater than absorbing a few million refugees or maybe watching video of strange people in distant places being marched into the desert or jungle. This war isn't a choice; we aren't voluntary participants. There will be a losing side and a winning side, and the decision will change the course of history. Western Democracy spreading and equalizing the living standards of all men, or a world split into battlefields of a twilight war between indolent navel gazers and the barbarians that exist only to kill?

We can always lose, though. That's obvious.

History teaches us that winners and losers are never sure things until after the decision has been reached. Winning may be tough. Losing is out of the question.

Wednesday Administrative Note

I've established a Shore Establishment roster of links for group or organization blogs. Spirit of America and Friends of Democracy lead the way.

Listen Up

Ever feel like you could use a compendium source of Iraqi election developments? Something a little more connected than al Reuters, CNN, or the New York Times? Dispatches written by, say, participants in the actual process?

The free marketplace of ideas has responded. Jim Hake of Spirit of America has been coordinating grass roots support from American citizens to aid in the development of democracies in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now he's created Friends of Democracy, a blog whose mission statement is "Ground- level election news from the people of Iraq".

Michael J. Totten, that firebrand doctrinaire neocon (JUST KIDDING, Michael!) from Portland, is editing the project for the next two weeks. Mr. Totten is a daily stop on my blog safari. He is truly a liberal in every noble sense of the word and a fine writer to boot. We disagree on a lot of things, but we share common goals. He's an excellent host and always has a great debate chugging along on his blog.

Please add Friends to your blogroll and spread the word.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Monday's Post

I think I've spent a lot of my political interest elsewhere over the last few days. Scratch that - I know it to be the case.

There's a lot happening everywhere you look these days. George Bush enraged liberals around the world by aligning America with the expansion of democracy. I'm sure we've enraged the terrorists by capturing Zarqawi's bomb maker and rolling up the odd al Q personnel in Germany, Madrid, and elsewhere (that we'll never know about). I caught a transcript of Ms. Boxer of the Great State of California explaining how Condoleeza Rice used debating skills after Ms.Boxer called her a liar during Rice's testimony before the Senate committee.

If Ms. Boxer is truly representative of California people, maybe there is an arsenic problem with our water supply after all. Or maybe it's just all that medicinal pot. What an embarrassment...

Unfortunately we've got a full plate right here at the home of the Team. No, I didn't head up to Park City today, and blogging will be extremely light until at least the first of February. Mrs. Tmj is heading in for a little bit of work and I'll be doing some double duty. All is expected to be well, but there will be a single day in the grip of the medical infrastructure and then a few weeks of recovery at home.

Your kind thoughts or prayers are always appreciated.

Coming soon: Beauchamp & Finnley, Ltd. Short fiction with satire. Funny, too, I hope.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I've changed comment settings to allow comments from anyone, not just folks registered with blogspot.

I'd appreciate a sound off or two to see if that was the problem, or if I have haloscan issues.

And a hearty thanks to Zhombre for letting me know there might be a problem.

I may run up to Park City tomorrow. The People In Black have returned.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The Great Guns

... have been sorely in need of a practiced hand. I believe the press gang has succeeded beyond my wildest hopes.

Please welcome 1Lt Neil Prakash, U.S. Army, tank platoon commander currently serving in Iraq, to the Purser's List. If you do nothing else, please check out Baqubah. Honor him for his duty.

You won't stop there. Trust me on this. Who would of thought a track guy could write like that?

He's the real deal, folks, and he's at the center of the fight. Please go check him out. And don't forget to say thanks to him and his band of magnificent tracked bastards, too.

UPDATE: He publishes Armor Geddon.

Carnival of Democrat Constructive Criticism


Training Notes For Terrorists

Attack the heart on bad weather days.

We have friends. We must make contacts; it has worked for others before.

Time is not on our side.

Worthwhile Reading

Callimachus has some thoughts on Iran.

Via Michael J. Totten.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What Happened to the Democrats?

The following is a comment I wrote on the Michael J. Totten thread linked from yesterday:

UPDATE: My mistake - the actual thread my comment appeared on was published today - The Totalitarian Impulse. One thing I really like about Mr. Totten is that he's an equal- opportunity source of information.

Mike -

There is no evolution in progress in the Democrat party. It's a meltdown.

The legacy of fifty years of managing victims for political power and spending other peoples' money to do so has run up against the upward curve of living standards, the almost total absence of institutional racism in America outside of government, academic institutions, and the civil rights industry, and the current challenge to Western civilization posed by fundamentalist Islam.

Beginning in 1980 the electorate rejected income redistribution as a viable solution, and the concomitant punitive tax scheme necessary to support it. Instead of acknowledging a policy failure (remember the malaise index?) and engaging in constructive effort toward finding a sustainable, EFFECTIVE way to accomplish a putative social justice agenda they instead retrenched. Efforts to reform or restrain failed programs were framed as based on malicious intent and that knee-jerk reaction is even stronger today than when it was first rolled out. The electoral trend of the last thirty years' worth of elections since that have diminished Democrat presence on the national stage is explained away by conspiracy theories or disparagement of the electorate.

The Democrat party has spent the bulk of their public rhetoric and media megaphone damning every aspect of Republican politics or conservative thought as at base a malevolent conspiracy and in execution a direct attack on individual freedom supported by ignorant/racist/jingoistic/quaintly superstitious religious rubes.

They resisted the definition of Soviet communism as an evil, to be resisted at every front, and eventually defeated.

They have consistently declined to support strong defense, opting instead for appeasement of enemies and casting our volunteer military as a luxury peopled by otherwise unemployable malcontents.

The intellectual chains that accompany the secular religions of multiculturalism, moral relativism, and socialism contradict the core of the underlying strengths of American freedom: recognition that the individual is ultimately responsible his actions, a rule of law based on commonly recognized individual rights, and that the role of government is by constitutional definition limited to preserving the delineated individual rights of the citizens from threats both foreign and domestic, and to conduct the actions of diplomacy or administration beyond the ability of the individual to execute - not to take responsibility for the happiness or any one individual.

There may well be Democrats who love America just as it exists, warts and all. The objective record of America begins with an astoundingly liberal document that defined the state entity in a relationship never seen before. In a first century begun against a backdrop of world colonialism, slavery, and class/caste chauvinism we survived our bloodiest war to decide if we are a nation of free men under one law and arrived at 1900 rejecting colonialism as a state objective. The economic and social challenges of the industrial revolution brought forth laws that protected the worker while sustaining free markets, enabling the efforts of individuals to invent new technologies and our economy to thrive. Through three world wars we allied our strength and paid in blood and treasure to preserve the existence of individual liberty in the face of totalitarian wars of aggression.

Those wars were won based on leadership by men who were unabashedly and unashamedly willing to reject the existence and ambitions of the threat they faced, and who stood behind the necessity to act in order to fulfill the duties of the state as defined in our constitution.

Those leaders, and those governments, did not temporise or excuse or ignore the acts of Nazis, fascists, or communists (or contemporary Islamofascists) through some moral relativist lens. The unavoidable failure of our liberal democracy to conform with the theoretical utopic perfection so feverishly published as the objective of self-declared progressives is a fraudulent basis to decline to participate in the defense of the nation.

In my opinion, based on the electoral results since I've been paying attention to politics, he majority of the nation just wants things to work. That doesn't mean we'll settle for just getting by - far, far from it. We pursue our hopes and dreams, and majorities have stepped forward election after election to impose restraint on the efforts of some to inject government further into our private lives than it should be.

The majority understands that perfection is impossible yet continues to embrace the prospect of real progress with every sunrise. There is no evil in my heart when I decline to support subsidizing generations of welfare recipients. The evidence of California's welfare reform, and later that at the federal level, shows that public money can be better spent than merely cutting checks to keep people in slums.

The quality so totally absent from the remnant of the Democrat party and its dwindling gaggle of tick birds is optimism. After thirty years of damning out of hand the motives, persons, and philosophies they have been beaten by in the electoral process they are just about beyond consideration for any place in serious debate.


Four years ago I watched George W. Bush sworn in, then stepped out into my front yard and slipped the black shroud off the furled national colors in my front yard.

The practice of covering or denying standards as a public censure dates back to at least Roman times. I reckoned a country that had demonstrated a gross unwillingness to police itself rated some form of protest, and covering the proud red, white, and blue seemed appropriate enough. I was not surprised by the outcome of the impeachment process - far from it. The monolithic party support for Clinton hastened the recession of Democrat party; there are always silver linings.

The year 1999 saw national holidays and observances come and go marked only by a staff topped by a cased flag, tightly bound beneath a case of black silk, posted in our yard. A perjurious, conspiratorial, derelict chief executive shielded by a corrupt party and the act being tolerated by a citizenry supposedly committed to rule of law will always stand as a low point of my life in this republic.

Here's to four more years, and victory. Good luck, America.

Our neighbors in Ukraine will be celebrating their own inaugural thisSunday. Good luck to them, too.

And in just shy of two weeks, the first democratic elections will establish the first representative government in the history of Iraq. Good luck to them - and I pray we as a nation stay the course and see them become a strong free nation and ally.

I'm off to post colors. Uncased, and free to wave in the growing winds of freedom wrought by the vision and sacrifice of the last four years.

Y'all have a fine day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Mr. Totten's Long Strange Trip

Mr. Totten has a great essay posted on his blog.

What has happened to activism in America? Where do liberals go when their party no longer represents them? What is it like for a self- described progressive to find himself labeled the antithesis of what he believes? And that the branding iron is in the hands of those he once marched with?

Make sure to catch his comments section; discourse was remarkably thoughtful and civil, at least as of the time I am posting this.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Required Reading. Again.

This is from Blackfive. He has posted an essay titled "Aiding and Abetting the Enemy: The Media in Iraq", authored by LtCol Tom Ryan, Six of 2/12 Cav, 1st Cav Div.

Media bias isn't aimed at making us lose the war. That's just the price they'd happily pay to bring down the Bush administration, which IS their objective.

Read it all. LtCol Ryan gets it. The comments are entertaining, too, especially the token moonbats who show up to chomsky the issue into end- of- days/Vietnam scenarios.

We lost Vietnam because we never took the enemy's capitol. That is not the case this time around. Two countries down so far, and Syria and Iran know what successful elections in Iraq mean for them. Life is good.

Required Reading

Here's some Saturday optomism for you, via Lucianne's, from the pages of the New York Sun .

There is no magic bullet. There is just freedom, and the will to make it a reality.

Friday, January 14, 2005


The flagship P.C. is back up. We've got a new motherboard, an 80 gig drive, GT6600 video card, and new power supply. Windows XP loaded, mom's games loaded, my games loaded, and the wireless network is loaded but still won't automatically connect.

Anybody out there have a clue why my CD burner keeps looking for a disk?

I loaded Half-Life2 yesterday. Wow. (Late)Last night I spent about three hours trying to stack empty drums (and one exploding drum) against a wall in a water filled room to make a ramp to climb up into a pipe. Somewhere on my hardrive (or maybe at Steam), I'm still there.

So far I've been beaten to death with electric nightsticks several times and fatally shot once. I also found out that if you are moving exploding drums around while carrying a pistol in your hand that bad outcomes are more likely than not.

Speaking of pistols, yesterday I joined the wife and some of her coworkers for a range visit. We both had what I call "clinic" days; the wife made large ragged holes in her targets at all ranges with her beloved Ruger SecuritySix and did almost as well with our P89 in 9mm. The Ruger line of pistols will never be "slick" - excepting the Vaquero line of cowboy pistols - but with a lot of practice their inherent reliability and accuracy almost make up for the lack of elegance you find in Colts or Smiths. I just shot my Springfield Armory milspec (with overtravel-corrected trigger and Hogue grips)M1911A1 in .45 and had a wonderful time. Right hand, left hand... even spent some time out at 25 yards trying to keep up with the wife and her revolver and did better than I have in years. I am left eye dominant and right handed. I never shoot on a busy range without somebody coming up and saying "Just which hand is your "strong" hand"???" It's nice to be good at something.

I coached a little. One of the coworkers put five rounds through one hole with my pistol. He asked where he might find a pistol like mine. Heh. New shooter, too.

Back in '87, one of our first dates was the inaugural visit to the range for the SecuritySix. At the time I was fresh out of some extremely useful USMC coaching classes and had finally had a chance to qualify with the .45 for the first time. Now I only shot marksman that first time, too, but I knew what I'd bollixed and our pistols were, frankly, trash. I was all ready to show my new liberal no-nukes non-shooter friend some tricks of the trade. I gave her a safety/mechanics class at the apartment and then another one at the line. She snapped in a few times with an empty weapon, then I loaded up six .38 specials and cut her loose. I made sure to stress that learning good habits was the goal and not to worry about where the shots went as long as she was safe and consistent. She fell into that classic "lean way back" stance that non shooters holding a heavy pistol seem to favor. I let it go with the intent to correct her after she got a feel for the weapon.

Her first group, at seven yards, was a ragged hole at the center of the bull the size of a quarter and one flyer about two inches above and right of the group. Still in the black.

"Damn. I missed one." says she.

I lifted my jaw back into place and loaded five rounds into the cylinder. Part of the pre-shoot coaching was to STOP on any failure to fire.

Pow. Bull. Pow. Bull. Pow. Cuts the paper between the first two holes. Click. The pistol could have been set in CONCRETE - NO anticipation, no twitch!

"What happened?"

"I left out one round to show you how... some people... tend to anticipate the report and recoil. You don't. Don't worry about it. You have two rounds remaining. Go ahead and finish up."

One ragged freakin' hole for five rounds.

And my first six? Five on the paper, baby, and a sawed-off shotgun would have left a more consistent group. The wife- to- be noted I wasn't a revolver guy.

I love that woman. Still do, eighteen years later.

Be safe. Be accurate. Be fast.

I'm off to do chores, then finish cleaning the pistols.

Then I'll figure out how to get into that pipe.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I Feel Like A Teenager Again

Boundless optomism with no sense of my own mortality? Nope.

Physical vigor? Nah.

Libido charging like a bull at a cape? I wish.

My truck's stereo has more resale value than the truck.

Computer repair update: The boys down at the repair shop called to tell me that they came back from lunch to find my motherboard face down in a pool of bits. It's a warranty item. When I get the beast back it will be a new unit, with the exception of the CD driver/burner and wireless network card. If you are ever in the market to buy a PC in Utah, be sure to check out Totally Awesome Computers. It's not bragging if you can get it done. We've owned two of their units and they've never failed to deliver on warranty or repair issues.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Eliza Didn't Make It Across The Ice

Well, I never expected that Rather would take the hit, did you?

Five years is a long time to work a bogus story, Ms. Mapes.


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Ruts In The Road

A few posts back I mentioned we were going to install some hardware improvements on our family flagship (i.e. Mom's & Dad's) PC. The new RAM SIM dropped in effortlessly. The outfit that sold us the PC confirmed that our existing powersupply should have NO PROBLEM driving the new video card, just as long as its power dongle was not a part of a series driving other devices. No problem there. Well we followed the instructions, pulled this card, installed that one, connected the cables, pulled the cord and let'er rip.

We don't have ANY video drivers now. We don't have ANY recognized network hardware or software. Oh, and we are totally bereft of clues, too.

I'm writing this post with a stylus on a wax tablet on the kids' living room PC. It will only take about two hours to upload to our local analog ISP via drumbeat code. Smoke signal would be quicker, of course, but it's raining right now.

I'm off to polish brass and do leatherwork. Updates on hardware as things unfold.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Out- of- Blog Experience

The confirmation hearings of AG designate Alberto Gonzalez before the Senate Judiciary committee swirled down into a soundbite hunt (as expected) on the part of the minority members of the committee. I participated in a spirited exchange of ideas on the subject of torture and the conduct of the argument on both sides on Michael J. Totten's blog - here and here.

Michael's originating post is well worth reading. The discussion that followed covered a lot of ground.

Warning: I used bowling words near the end of the thread.

Time Capsule

If we're both here a year from now, please feel free to come back and read this article (via Little Green Footballs) a second time.

I used to have a folder in our computer room labeled "Prewar". It was stuffed with hard copies of doom & gloom pieces written by everyone from message board denizens to MSM icons to celebrities and beyond, all published and accumulated prior to our liberation of Afghanistan. I came across it during the sandstorm operational pause during the invasion of Iraq, glanced through it, and sent it off to recycling. Looking back now, I wish I'd kept them for a few more years.

Here's a snippet from today's linked article:

I had done all the usual actions of attempting to speak up and effect change at home-calling and writing Senators/Congresspeople, attending teach-ins, spreading information. After watching the worldwide demonstrations on February 15, 2003 be brushed aside as a "focus group," I knew then that the minds of the American public had been misled by the corporate media who mindlessly supported the objectives of the Bush regime, and reporting the true effects of the invasion/occupation on the Iraqi people and US soldiers was what I needed to do.

Read the article. I've got no comments to add.

See you in a year.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Early Christmas

The Democrats have just protested the Electoral College results from Ohio during the joint session of Congress held to enter the results of the vote into the Federal record.

No links yet.

Some poor sons of bitches never get the word. Sad to see that a great party is reduced to this, but we do live in a free country.

An Israeli general was once asked how it was Israel always won its wars. He replied "We fight Arabs".

Karl Rove knows exactly how the general felt.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


"liberal Iraqi" is in fact Ali, late of "Iraq the Model". His blog is now titled "Free Iraqi" and the Purser's List has been edited to reflect this.

Home Alone

School's back in session. The OTL is at work. I have a cold.

Either that or I just don't remember being savagely beaten with a gunny sack full of golf balls.

I'm off to take down the Christmas lights and then the tree. I have three leatherwork projects in mind but need to get chores done first.

Y'all have a fine one.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Talk to me, Scotty!

We tried to install a new video card today. Of course the provided drivers were out of date. No, we didn't reset the video to VGA safe. Yes, that's line one of the instructions. It's even printed in boldface on its own page.

We will make another run at it tomorrow, but if the downloaded drivers and cabling tweaks don't do the job it looks like a new and slightly larger power supply.

More power. Mmmmmmmmm.

And another 256K of RAM. More memory. Mmmmmmmmmm.

It could have been worse. My wife was playing Scotty to my Kirk. I don't have to know how to fix it, I just need it to work when the Romulans show up. When I stopped into our computer store to ASK DIRECTIONS of the counter tech I ran into my neighbor. My neighbor didn't get Scotty. He got Bones:

"It's dead, Jim."

Scotty... the wife, that is... decided to reinstall the original card before the kids returned from school so the oldest goddess could do a final edit- and- burn on her PowerPoint presentation.

I didn't pay much attention to politics today. I only had about fifteen minutes on the computer this morning and spent the time running down this story on the liberal elites' visit to Kofi Anan. The final days of Nixon came to mind.

When Nixon's people figured out he was a crook they told him it was time to go. Kofi got consiglieres.

No surprises.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Good News Out The Gate For 2005.

Powerline has put up a laundry list of things that are going right in Iraq.

The U.S. is working hard with Australia, Japan, and India to get relief into the earthquake/tsunami disaster area.

UPDATE: And here.
(h/t Instapundit)

Closer to home other things are going well, too:

I was able to help out a friend with a plumbing emergency last night. WalMart was open and had a replacement in stock for a failed drain pipe.

My ninth grade goddess has completed her PowerPoint presentation that will give her extra credit in CompSci and Choir. Youngest goddess has begun her "Objective" poster for art class and will be done with all of her homework when it's finished.

We achieved critical purr mass this morning with all four cats and both kittens splashed across our bed when we woke up. Must be the snow outside.

TSA has forwarded a cash voucher to my brother- in- law so he can replace the LED flashlight they took from his checked luggage. I've never heard of anything like that happening before.

Before Christmas I purchased an extra beefy leather belt blank so I could craft a better concealment system for my full- size .45. In the aftermath of the ladies' Christmas cooking blitzkrieg I find myself capable of concealing both of the Guns of Navarone plus a stylish leather carrying case for the required seventy goose-stepping cannoneers around my waist. The belt blank won't need to be trimmed after all.

I mentioned to the wife that I had missed getting my traditional novelty boxer briefs for Christmas. She looked me in the eye and asked what I thought that was covering my Suburban parked out front.

We're going to pack away the lights, ornaments, and tree tomorrow. Life is good.

Now Comes an End and a Beginning

It's about seven minutes to midnight here in Utah. I'd have to say the past year was definitely one for the books, and amen that it's almost done with.

I haven't worked for wage or salary since December last. I now know more about politics than I ever wanted to know...but I also know my girls better than I think most other dads - of - adolescents do.

I haven't had a drink in four and a half years. Yes, I'm grateful for that. Somewhere, someone (better make that several someones - no sense in wishing ill on the anonymous) is picking up the slack for me and more power to them. They can handle it. I can't.

I don't do resolutions as a rule. I could pick from a broad range this time around - smoking, weight (more on that later), education, and much, much more.

I am grateful for the family I have and for the generous amounts of love that smooth out what rough edges there are. I hope your world is as right as it can be, too.

What of 2005? I'll write more. And submit what I write. We'll see what happens.

RABBIT RABBIT! I got it right this year! Happy New Year, y'all.