Friday, August 29, 2008

MSNBC got it wrong

The choice has been made, Alaska Governer Sarah Palin is McCain's running mate. When I was watching MSNBC just before 9 this morning, MSNBC "confirmed" that Sarah Palin was in Alaska. Now everyone is reporting that she was on a private plane that landed in Dayton this morning. There is really no way to get to Ohio from Alaska in two hours.

McCain Lieberman?

As I write this, I don’t know who John McCain has chosen to run with him for vice president. I’m sitting in a cafeteria waiting for my customer to show up to let me in. There is a TV here tuned to MSNBC, which reports that Romney and Pawlenty will not be McCain’s running mate. I sort of like Romney, he really appeals to the right side of my center right political views, but I’m not sure he is best for the country, or for John McCain’s chances to be elected.

Joe Lieberman is still on the short list. What do I like about Joe Lieberman? Well, he is the center left to McCain’s center right. I don’t agree with all of Lieberman’s politics, just as I don’t agree with all of McCain’s policies. I think that a McCain/Lieberman administration could deliver. It will be the first time that I can remember, and certainly since I could vote that there would be a true bipartisan ticket on the ballot. The only big question is, would Lieberman keep the right wing republican voters at home in numbers that independent and centrist voters couldn’t overcome.

I think for most American’s when wither wing, left or right is happy, the country is heading in the wrong direction. I think that a McCain Romney ticket would make the right wing too happy, just as the Obama Biden ticket has the left wing grinning.

The media seems to think that Sarah Palin, the current governor of Alaska will be McCain’s choice. I’m not sure if this move is good or bad, I don’t know much about her politics. It would be a good move for those who would like to see a woman on the ticket. Many Hillary supporters might take another look at McCain if that happens. For me, it doesn’t matter what race or gender is running, it is the delivery, can they make things happen? I’m not sure than a relatively unknown Alaskan governor will be able to complement McCain in that area.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

All pictures

I haven't linked the entire photo album yet. Of course, we've taken more pictures than I've posted on the blog.

From Ocean City '08

Some times we don't remember to take pictures for some reason. There is really no excuse with digital cameras! But we'll always have the memories, and guess that is why we call them memories, because we remember them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Anniversary Dinner at Ruth's Chris

No pictures, please! Amy and I left the kids with Robin and went to Ruth's Chris Steak House just outside of Ocean City in Berlin, Maryland for our anniversary dinner. It had been a long time since I had been there and it was Amy's first time. We both ordered the fillet, with Amy's being a petite, adding shrimp, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. For dessert we had the caramelized banana cream pie. The steak there is always good, and is just a little better when ordered with extra butter. I think I ordered Amy a dink she liked, but I have no idea what it is called, some kind of martini. My drink was pink, but it was good.

After dinner I really didn't have anything planned, so we walked the boardwalk and talked. Walking the boardwalk on a full stomach, especially with a great tasting meal like we had just eaten is a different experience. Normally I'll smell something good and I want it, but not this night. It was getting late so we took the tram back to the hotel. The tram took a while, it seemed to take forever for some folks to get on and off.

When we got back to the hotel, Robin was pretty much ready to go, and shortly after, Amy and I were ready for bed.

Another Day at the Beach

Robin was also in Ocean City and we were at the beach together. I spent most of the time under the umbrella with my shirt on. I did get into the water once. I really like to body surf the waves, but I couldn't do much of that due to my sunburn. The kids had a blast though. Aidan and Zoe did what Aidan and Zoe do, they played in the sand. Aidan has decided that he really doesn't like the ocean water, so he didn't go near it. Zoe isn't so afraid, but it takes her a bit to warm up.

The best part about Robin being there is that Amy and I could get our picture taken together!

Only Zoe!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Ok, I don't think there was a fire. But the fire alarm went off and the building was evacuated. We waited outside for a while and soon we heard the fire engine sirens. It is never a good sign when the fire department is dispatched. The good news is that we were not out for long, maybe about 20 minutes or so.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Monday was sunburn day. I put on sun screen but it must have come off in the ocean, and by the time Amy helped me reapply it, it was to late. I'm so burned my movement is restricted. Dispite the burn, it was a great day on the beach. Alex was riding waves on his little kick board, Aidan & Zoe didn't spend much time in the water, but they really had a great time in the sand. They were non stop.

Ocean City

Aidan & Zoe's first trip to Ocean City is great so far. We haven't been here long but they've already been on the beach and walked a good twenty blocks and back to get french fries. Alex doesn't remember being here before, but he was, before Aidan was born. We are staying at a hotel that is right on the beach/boardwalk.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I sure do like Tacos, especially in a deep fried soft corn tortilla. Eventually, I’ll have them for dinner tonight, but pretty soon, I’ll have to work. A west coast customer has run into a problem with the Exchange system I set up several weeks ago. I’d much rather eat Amy’s great tasting tacos! Hopefully I won’t have to be on the phone to long.

US to Russia: Take Over Georgia, it’s OK

It seems clear now that the United States will do nothing to stop Russia from taking over the small democracy of Georgia. This could have been stopped early, all the US needed to do was show up. Failing to do so sent a clear message to Russia, the US will do nothing to protect its ally, so take it if you want it. The rest of Europe sent the same message, that Russia can invade other sovereign European nations at will, with little real consequence. Sure, the US and EU have come up with some measures to “punish” Russia, but nothing that really matters much to Russia. They weren’t really serious about the WTO, they know that the G8 is an afterthought to the G7, so I doubt they really care if they are excluded. They have what the west wants, oil and gas, and the west will continue to buy it, funding Russia’s military invasions of its neighbors.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Steak and Cheese

Why do so many grill cooks put so much mayonnaise on steak and cheese subs? All that is really needed is a thin layer on each side of the sub roll. What are they trying to cover up? Is the lettuce bad, the tomatoes? I don’t know, but I do get tired of having to be specific with the amount of mayonnaise that I would like on my steak and cheese or Philadelphia style chicken steak and cheese. For my taste, a little mayo goes a long way.

When I was Growing Up

When I was growing up, the Soviet Union was the evil empire. The evil empire went broke, and the Soviet Union was gone, but Russia remained. We didn’t make much of a distinction between the Soviet Union and Russia back in the 80’s, and in general, the Russians would have held it together by force if they could have only afforded it. Now, Russia has two things, an improved economy, and energy leverage over most of Europe. The Europeans are between a rock and a hard place, Russia has invaded its neighbor, but the required response would surely lead Russia to retaliate by cutting off gas and oil. The lack of European response sends Moscow a message that it is OK to retake the caucuses, and why stop there, invade the Ukraine too. These countries cannot defend themselves against a Russian invasion, and the world will look the other way while it happens. It seems likely that my children will grow up seeing Russia as I did, the evil empire.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Leave it to China

Leave it to China to cheat in the Olympics, they know they can because the International Olympic Committee has done nothing but coddle to whatever China wants.

This latest controversy is over the ages of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team. There were some old records that indicated that one of the gymnasts would be a month to young and another ten months to young. To be eligible, the gymnasts would need to be at least 16 years old by the end of the calendar year. The records disappeared quickly and China provided government documents that they say prove their age. But in China, the government controls everything, information, media, and official documents. Combine that with their will to win at all costs, it seems more likely than not that China has cheated. Should they win the gold, in the minds of many, it will be tainted. Maybe some time down the road the truth will come out, but I’m not sure that China will care. Being stripped of the gold metal happens long after the huge media pools and cameras have gone. China has shown time and time again that what is important, is what happens on TV for the world to see, and everything else should be covered up.

“If” Georgia was a NATO Member

Here I go again with the “ifs”. As I mentioned in another post, countries trying to gain favor with the west, and going so far as working toward NATO membership, are unlikely to engage in the sort of atrocities of which Russia is accusing Georgia. The United States has nearly insisted that Georgia become a NATO member, and Georgia has been working doing so. Now if Georgia was already a member of NATO, would Russia have attacked? I doubt it, but if so, how would NATO have responded. The NATO treaty, Article 5 states:

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Would NATO countries then declare war on Russia? Would they have sent troops to the region? While it wouldn’t be likely that NATO ground forces would be rushed to Georgia immediately, I would expect NATO Air Forces would get into the action rather quickly, and help force a cease fire that would be favorable to the Georgians, and then NATO ground forces would be sent to Georgia to help stabilize the peace. The NATO air power wouldn’t necessarily have to engage the Russians, given the superiority of NATO fighters, it is likely that the Russians would leave the skies, and pull back their troops less threatening positions.

All this talk about “if” Georgia was part of the NATO treaty doesn’t mean much, since they are not. Could it be that Russia’s real goal was to set back the process of Georgia’s acceptance into NATO? There is no doubt that Russia has done some damage to the Georgian military, which will take time to rebuild to NATO standards. Could this move backfire on Russia and draw Georgia into NATO sooner rather than later? It is hard to say right now, while the Russians are agreeing to a cease fire right now, there are still reports of fighting on the ground. Once the current conflict has ended, we’ll see how this shakes out.

McCain and Obama while Russia invades Georgia

We can say one thing for the war between Georgia and Russia; it has knocked the war between John McCain and Barack Obama off of the front page, at least for a little while. The media has tried to sneak in a few bits here and there about what the candidates are saying about the conflict, but it hasn’t really gained much traction yet.

Obama seems to be getting a little flack for going on vacation, and he is likely to get more over having never been to the region. Somehow, the Obama campaign is trying to turn this into an evil lobbyist story, because a McCain campaign staffer has lobbied for Georgia in the past. Somehow I don’t think that most Americans would have a problem with a small, relatively new democracy that was once part of the Soviet Union doing some lobbying.

McCain might benefit from this conflict. While eventually, the McCain and Obama positions became quite similar, Obama started out weak, while McCain’s original statement was just about right, and he stuck to it. No doubt that McCain’s experience with international issues was helpful in getting the right statement out right away, and he’ll use this to his advantage for all it is worth. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about McCain’s firsthand knowledge of Georgia in the next few days and weeks. This is exactly the sort of thing that exposes Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why the Metric System is Bad

It is easy, even though measuring your penis in centimeters would give you a larger number, centimeters are small, and I don’t know about you, but I just couldn’t use centimeters as a unit of measurement of my penis.

A big if, or two

I’m not a military analyst or have any real experience in the field. But if, and that is a big if, the United States exercises a military option to help Georgia, it has to happen pretty soon. I’m not suggesting that the US engage Russia in a ground assault, but with the US air power in the area already the Russians could be driven from the skies. And B2 bombers could do a number on the Russians with precision bombing. I don’t think that talk will stop the Russians this time. They could take the capitol as early as tomorrow, and could occupy the country by the end of the week. By then, the US options are limited. If, and there I go with the big if again, the United States is fine with Russia invading and occupying Georgia, then we can do nothing, but what would that do long term when Russia decides to attack the next country? I don’t have all of the answers here, but there is a lesson we all learned in grade school, if nobody stands up to the bully, the bully is likely to continue bullying.

Russia Invades Georgia as predicted in 2001 by Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon

So, I installed Ghost Recon, a great game from 2001 and played a few rounds last night. What made me dig through the CD case to find and install this 7 year old game? Well, the game is set in the future, starting in April 2008 to be exact. The game begins with Russia supporting the South Ossetia rebels, and then invading Georgia itself. While the story line doesn’t mirror exactly what is happening now, it is very coincidental in its back story.

The game itself is great, at least for its time. I really liked the squad based play. I liked sending the sniper to a nice spot somewhere to give me cover for my assault on a particular area, and having two other squads attack from different angles, which would either split the AI into smaller groups, or drawing them into a good position to be shot by one or the other squads. I really liked multiplayer. I wonder if I could find someone to play with these days. Until battlefield 1942 came out, I’d say that Ghost Recon was my favorite multi player game. I really liked using grenades and claymores for multiplayer games.

The game moves beyond Georgia, with the last level in that campaign being an extraction from the US embassy in Tbilisi, which is a pretty tough mission. If I recall correctly, it ends in red square in Moscow and you have to blow up several tanks. I figure I’ll play the game through again, just for the fun of it.

Back in real life, it is hard to understand this conflict. Georgia wants good relations with the EU and US, so it wouldn’t make much sense for it to target South Ossetian civilians as Russia claims. It seems to me that this is an excuse for Russia to flex its military muscle, but the world doesn’t like this sort of aggression. Look at the way the world looks at the United States in regards to Iraq, and that was a UN sanctioned war!

For now, the US isn’t involved, but Georgia is quite an ally with the 3rd largest number of troops in Iraq, at least until they were flown back to defend their territory. The US involvement in that is interesting. I would like to know more about this. According to the Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Anatoly Nogovitsyn at a briefing in Moscow, eight flights from Iraq, moved 800 Georgian military and eleven tons of cargo. I don’t believe much of what the Russians say, but this seems plausible. It seems that the US was involved in these flights, but I can’t confirm it. If so, what would happen if the Russians fired on or shot down a US plane? This thing could get out of control.