Wednesday, July 30, 2008

John Brown's body lies a mouldering in the grave. . .

but the House of Representatives apologizes for slavery:

House formally apologizes for slavery and Jim Crow

In part the House resolution:
. . . says that Africans forced into slavery "were brutalized, humiliated, dehumanized and subjected to the indignity of being stripped of their names and heritage" and that black Americans today continue to suffer from the consequences of slavery and Jim Crow laws that fostered discrimination and segregation.

The House "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow."
Well, I'd thought that my ancestors had addressed this:

Great-great grandfather James Luke Johnson - 53rd Indiana Volunteers, K Company

Great-great grandfather Hiram Husted - 9th Michigan Infantry, D Company

Great-grandfather Charles Hicks - 50th New York Engineers, C Company

So following the House's line of thinking, where's my f*#king letter of thanks?

And some reparations would be nice.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Canoeists find 3-foot alligator in White River

Buggy Dogs

Pumpkin and Pie have discovered the crunchy goodness of June bugs and now prefer to stay out on the deck after dark. At least I don't have to feed them as much anymore. . .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back From the July Indy Blogmeet

Just returned from the July Indy Blogmeet. Others can give more detail but I can say that there were around ten of us and Mrs. Shomes and I again had a splendid time. Tam and Roberta X led us to the Hoghead's Barbecue where the food was good and the conversation was better. And if the June Indy Blogmeet could be the "Scotch Eggs" Blogmeet, this one would be the "Sweet Corn" Blogmeet thanks to Frank James and a pickup truck load of sweet corn that he was giving away. This was the first time I'd met Mr. James and found him to be a gentleman of much wisdom.

Let's hope we have an August Blogmeet!

Scarin' the Straights, Pt. II

I continue to think about defending one's rights as recognized in the Second Amendment and, as the Indiana State Constitution says:
The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.
Sebastian has taken a moderate tone in his exploration of "How Far is Too Far?" over at Snowflakes in Hell. He says among other things, "I think gun owners can get a lot of mileage out of moving to states that repsect [sic] their rights." Somehow I flash on the image of a group of Jews, their wordly goods in carts and on their backs, abandoning their shtetl to get away from the deprivations of the Cossacks.

For me gun ownership and the possession of a license to carry a handgun is a political statement that epitomizes my view that I am ultimately responsible for my own and my family's protection and well-being and that the government is not my close and bosom friend looking out for my good, much less my mother whose teat I can suck whenever I'm hungry. A well-armed public is a free public and wherever an organization or the government says you cannot arm yourself per your constitutionally recognized rights you are not free. And here's the crux of the argument of how far is too far:

Would some gun owners, who hold dearly their right to use a firearm to defend themselves and their family against a thug wearing a ski mask who has kicked down their door and intent on harming them, give away that right and lay down their arms if that thug who has kicked down their door and is intent on harming them was wearing a uniform?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scarin' the Straights?

Over at The War on Guns David Codrea has written a very thoughtful essay on Mike Vanderboegh's letter to the editor and the reaction to it. It's worth reading the comments, too.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thrashin' Vivaldi

Found this over at the Anchoress. h/t to her and her eldest!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Racism and Voting

Last Thursday Gateway Pundit posted "It Has Begun... NAACP Speaker Insists-- If You Do Not Vote For Obama You Are a Racist" covering the statements made by NY Governor David Paterson in which he implies that not voting for Obama is an indication that you have not been able to leave behind America's racist past. I'm positive that he is not the only person that believes this. I'm saddened that we're being threatened in this way. I predict that if Obama is not elected President we will have a cacophony of voices screaming that his loss was inevitable in 'Racist Amerikkka.'

Update: It appears Robb Allen was thinking about this issue as well. And I have to agree that voting for Obama solely because he's black is as racist as not voting for him solely because he's black.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Case of the Filched Fin

Ol' Shermlock is on the case and has figured out where the $20.00 went. From today's Activity Report:
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
1232 W Michigan Street
Indianapolis IN 46202

July 22, 2008

07/21/08, 2042 – 2245
08000704 Investigation-Alcohol Consumption
Ronald McDonald House-Parking Lot

An officer responded to a report of several individuals drinking alcohol in the Ronald McDonald parking lot. The officer observed six or seven individuals standing in the parking lot and also observed four cans of malt liquor sitting on the ground. Further investigation revealed that only one person had been drinking and he was evicted from the Ronald McDonald House. The malt liquor was confiscated and placed in the IUPD Property room.

07/21/08, 2356 - 07/22/08, 0100
08000705 Larceny from Building
Ronald McDonald House

A visitor left her purse on a couch on the second floor and when she went back for the purse, she discovered $20 missing; investigation continues.

"Take the stink out of your drink!"

I'm cheap. Those who know me, particularly Mrs. Shomes, will testify to that. I also like to imbibe. Those who know me, particularly Mrs. Shomes, will heartily testify to that. So paying $30+ for a 1.75l bottle of Ketel One vodka pains me deeply.

Gray Kangaroo Personal Liquor Filters to the rescue! The product purportedly removes the foul taste and smell from rotgut booze as well as the ancillary hangovers. Mine arrived yesterday and I promptly quintuple filtered a bottle of Kamchatka Vodka that I'd bought for $9. I had my son (who is of drinking age) try the unfiltered Kamchatka, the Ketel One, and the filtered Kamchatka. While he said that the flavor of the Ketel One is preferable, the filtered Kamchatka, while lacking flavor, was better than the unfiltered. Even one shot of the cheap stuff can give me the equivalent of a migraine the next day so the ultimate test will be to mix a few drinks for myself and see if I end up with a hangover.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sword Safety

Just saw this in the IndyStar:

"Woman accidentally stabs herself in cemetery ritual"

In part:
A Boone County woman accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a 36-inch sword used in a Wiccan ceremony in a Lebanon cemetery, police said.

According to a Lebanon Police Department news release, Katherine Gunther, 36, was performing a Wiccan "ceremony of thanks" in Oak Hill Cemetery around 12:15 a.m. Saturday when she ran the blade through her left foot. She said in an interview Monday that she'd had a run of good luck recently and wanted to give thanks with the rite.

Gunther said she was aiming to put a sword in the ground when it accidentally hit her foot.
She wasn't following the four rules:

1. All swords are always sharp
2. Never let the point of a sword point at anything you are not willing to stab
3. Keep your sword in the scabbard until you are ready to slash or stab
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it

Appeals Court Overturns Indecency Fine Against CBS

The FCC's 'wardrobe malfunction' fine against CBS goes tits-up.

I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

July Indy Blogmeet is ON!

Roberta X gives us the news that the next Indy Blogmeet is happening at 3:00 PM this coming Sunday, July 27 starting over at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub. Bloggers and readers are invited.

And Mrs. Shomes and I will be there wearing our real faces. Her's is a lot prettier than mine.

Media Fairness In Presidential Campaign?

Oh gawd, my sides hurt from laughing so much after I typed in that title. The AP asks that question in an article entitled, "Is media playing fair in campaign coverage?" Anyone following Obama's World Tour can easily answer that question. Michelle Malkin's answer is The Obama Word Tour T-shirt Contest. I do like the parody of the Abbey Road album cover from David Lunde entitled Obama Road:

At least he didn't parody the cover to the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Abbey Road EP:

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Goin' Fishin'

Making plans to go fishing my my brother (only and younger) up in Michigan before the summer ends. Should be bringing back some good stories. Maybe as good as the one we see in the video of Dashboard by Modest Mouse.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Before They're Gone

Today was lawn mowing day. I always have a lot of 'thinking' time when I mow the yard and many times my thoughts wander to other yards of mowed such as my grandparent's and of course my parents (the latter sometimes under protest.) Then I start thinking about my parents and grandparents and find that I still have a lot of questions that I never got around to asking them before they died. But then, what questions are the ones that need asking? You never think of them when the folks are around. Wouldn't it be useful if someone has a list of the questions that you should ask? Well, someone has:

Write Your Family History - 50 Questions You Must Ask Parents Or Grandparents Before They Die

Some are no-brainers:
What were your parents and grandparents full names, dates of birth, places of birth.

What were the occupations of your parents?

How many children were in your family? Where were you in the lineup?

Others are ones you might not think of:
Describe your most important friendships.

What was your first boss like? What did you learn from him or her?

What were your family's favorite jokes or pranks?

What are you most grateful for you your life?
Go there, check it out, and ask your folks today!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Ice Caps Are Melting. . .

Gateway Pundit shows us another example of Al Gore's hypocrisy and reminds me of one of my favorite albums. Years ago I had a '65 Ford Falcon. It was a 'beater with a heater' and had an 8-track tape player. One of the tapes I had was Tiny Tim's first album, "God Bless Tiny Tim." Odd, I know, but dang that tape sounded good when in altered states. One of the songs on it could now easily be the Goracle's theme song. Please enjoy (though ignore the turdolicious video) The Other Side:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is that a pistol in your pocket?

. . . then you may be an Indy Gun Criminal! David Codrea over at The War on Guns has an easy job of showing Prosecutor Carl Brizzi where some of the gun criminals are here in Indy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Another Blog Meet!

Roberta X reminds us that another Indy Blog Meet is on the way! Mrs. Shomes may accompany me again, but I still hope that Breda can attend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Puppy Love

I note that Breda has posted pictures of her pets so I feel it necessary to post a picture of the two 1/2 dog, 1/2 monkey, and 1/2 devil critters we have. On the right is Pumpkin and on the left her brother Pie.

'cause everybody loves Pumpkin Pie!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Such a lovely place. . .

I've spoken of the IUPUI Affirmative Action office's actions in addressing an employee's "racial harrasment" by reading "Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan" during his break. The harm done to IUPUI's image should have resulted in some karmic retribution, right? The head of Affirmative Action, Lillian Charleston, retired early. And Marguerite Watkins, who said, "The Klan still rules Indiana. . ."? I just checked. She received a 3.5% raise instead of the recommended 4.5%, bringing her salary to $70,770. You'd think our KKK Overlords would have prevented even that, eh?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How Does The ICLU Count To Ten?

David Hardy over at Of Arms and the Law
has been covering the defection of Nevada ACLU from the ranks of the ACLU in the Nevada's organization supporting the individual right to keep and bear arms based on the Heller decision. Today he has more and notes that the Texas ACLU may join Nevada's. I dug around the Indiana ACLU web site and could not find any mention of firearms, Heller, or the Second Amendment. I'm thinking about contacting them and asking what their position on Heller and the Second Amendment is but I see from their contact page I might not receive a quick answer. Now if I wanted to join things appear to happen a bit quicker.

Friday, July 11, 2008

News from Antarctica - Penguins in danger!

I ran across this bit of news yesterday:

Antarctic ice shelf 'hanging by thread': European scientists

Next to it was this little picture advertising another article. See anything wrong? Sheesh.

They fixed it between then and now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We're Having A Heat Wave. . .

What fun. No cooling at IUPUI:

Citizens Thermal Energy has announced that chilled water service for air conditioning will be shutdown to major portions of the IUPUI Campus today due to an accident yesterday afternoon at the construction site of the new Marriott Hotel on Washington Street in downtown Indianapolis.

A construction crew building the foundation for the new hotel struck a 42-inch pipeline that transports chilled water to the IUPUI campus. The chilled water is used to cool buildings throughout the campus. Citizens Thermal Energy is currently working to repair the pipe and may resume chilled water service later today.

Update at 2:30 PM:

Dear Key CFS Customer,

I regret that we have no update on the length of the CTE chilled water outage that has caused loss of cooling in IUPUI buildings. CTE is excavating the site of the line break and promises to advise immediately when more is known. Depending upon the nature of repair, the length of time the campus will be down will vary. Please continue to monitor the CFS website for more info. We will use this distribution to let you know when we know more. CFS staff are making every effort to work with all of you to identify critical research areas. Please call 8-1900 if you have a critical need that CFS building staff have not yet identified.

Thanks for your patience.

Emily C. Wren
Associate Vice Chancellor, Facilities

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Trespass Warning

Breda might appreciate this one:

07/08/08, 0900 – 1000 Hours
08000662 Trespass Warning
University Library

Officers responded to a report of a suspect violating a trespass warning. The suspect told officers that he did not remember receiving a trespass warning since he was intoxicated at the time. The suspect who was very cooperative was issued another trespass warning.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

But they just can’t kill the beast. . .

A colleague sent me a link to a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, "American Politics Aren't 'Post-Racial'" written by Dorothy Rabinowitz. In part she addresses an incident that took place last fall here at IUPUI.The incident? One of our janitorial staff who was taking classes would read during his breaks. At the time he was reading, "Notre Dame Vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan." One of the other members of the janitorial staff took offense at this title. As Ms. Rabinowitz relates:
Mr. Sampson was in short order visited by his union representative, who informed him he must not bring this book to the break room, and that he could be fired. Taking the book to the campus, Mr. Sampson says he was told, was "like bringing pornography to work." That it was a history of the battle students waged against the Klan in the 1920s in no way impressed the union rep.

The assistant affirmative action officer who next summoned the student was similarly unimpressed. Indeed she was, Mr. Sampson says, irate at his explanation that he was, after all, reading a scholarly book. "The Klan still rules Indiana," Marguerite Watkins told him – didn't he know that? Mr. Sampson, by now dazed, pointed out that this book was carried in the university library. Yes, she retorted, you can get Klan propaganda in the library.

Mr. Sampson stood accused of "openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black co-workers." The statement, signed by chief affirmative action officer Lillian Charleston, asserted that her office had completed its investigation of the charges brought by Ms. Nakea William, his co-worker – that Mr. Sampson had continued, despite complaints, to read a book on this "inflammatory topic." "We conclude," the letter informed him, "that your conduct constitutes racial harassment. . . ." A very serious matter, with serious consequences, it went on to point out.

I suspect that many of the staff employees here at IUPUI would back down in the face of this official pronouncement, however unjust and unfounded the charges might be. Mr. Sampson did not and instead contacted the ACLU. And apparently someone contacted the press. This, at IUPUI, is the equivalent of shining a flashlight in a filthy kitchen; the cockroaches go scurrying. And they did scurry off and Mr. Sampson recevied a new letter:
. . . the new letter to Mr. Sampson by affirmative action officer Charleston brought word that she wished to clarify her previous letter, and to say it was "permissible for him to read scholarly books or other materials on break time." About the essential and only theme of the first letter – the "racially abhorrent" subject of the book – or the warnings that any "future substantiated conduct of a similar nature could mean serious disciplinary action" – there was not a word. She had meant in that first letter, she said, only to address "conduct" that caused concern among his co-workers.

IUPUI has received a huge load of negative publicity from this screw-up on the part of our Affirmative Action office. And the story can't seem to be killed as can be seen by its resurrection in the WSJ editorial. And what's the karmic outcome of all this? While the chief Affirmative Action officer Lillian Charleston announced her retirement soon after these events, we've yet to see what will happen with Marguerite Watkins. An average raise of 4.5% at IUPUI was to go into affect the new fiscal year starting July 1. Let's see how much Ms. Watkins' $68,377 salary increases.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The Obamedia have no shame."
- Michelle Malkin

Cling to what we lose. . .

I've started re-reading Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I think it's right up at the top of what I consider intellectual SF/F*. I'm currently two-thirds of the way through the second in the series, Deadhouse Gates. Each of Erikson's series has multiple (and sometimes continuing) story lines. What I feel is the central plot of Deadhouse gates is a forced march of an occupying army, with refugees, called "The Chain of Dogs" while under attack by a native rebellion. Much of the action is seen through the eyes of Duiker, an old solider and currently Imperial Historian. Just prior to another of a long series of battles, Duiker makes an observation which I find compelling:

His thoughts felt fevered, spinning around an irrational terror of . . . of knowledge. Of the details that remind one of humanity. Names to faces are like twinned serpents threatening the most painful bite of all. I'll never return to the List of the Fallen, because I see now that the unnamed soldier is a gift. The named soldier--dead, melted wax--demands a response among the living . . . a response no one can make. Names are no comfort, they're a call to answer the unanswerable. Why did she die, not him? Why do the survivors remain anonymous--as if cursed--while the dead are revered. Why do we cling to what we lose while we ignore what we still hold?

Why indeed? Perhaps we should be more mindful of celebrating those who are still with us.

*The other author that I hold in this high regard is Cordwainer Smith.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Holidays of the Past

Though new to blogging, I get the sense that a 4th of July post is necessary. I see that many folks take the patriotic route following the holiday's theme. For me, the 4th of July reminds me of holidays with my brother and parents when I was growing up in Alma, Michigan. My maternal grandfather had a cabin near to Higgins Lake, about an hour north but a drive that seemed like forever for a small child.

My memories of our times there are vibrant little flashes of images, smells, and tastes. Waking to the smell of bacon being cooked by my mother. Picking and eating wild blueberries. (I still love blueberry pie!) Walking to the nearby bakery and buying fresh donuts. My father would buy salt rising bread and toast it when we got back generating what at the time I thought to be one of the more stinkiest smells. I remember going out in Grandad's boat with my father and brother to fish for perch. A day trip up to Hartwick Pines State Park. I wonder if that box of photos I inherited from Dad and Mom have any picture of those holidays. . .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

One Toke Bullet Over The Line. . .

I spoke to soon. Our gun-free zone has been pierced by a bullet from across the street!

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
1232 W Michigan Street
Indianapolis IN 46202

July 2, 2008
07/01/08, 1530 - 1610
08000644 Investigation
Lot 92 – 630 W. North Street

A student found a bullet on the ground and thinking it might be involved in a shooting incident being investigated by IMPD, contacted IUPD. The bullet was collected and turned over to an IMPD officer to be processed as evidence in their case.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't Step Over The Line!

More shootings in Indy:
Police arrested four teens in connection with a shooting that injured two Indianapolis men outside the Madame Walker Theatre late Monday while about 900 young people were inside for a talent show.

Shawn Woods, 19, and Thomas Jones, 28, were taken to Wishard Memorial Hospital where they were treated for injuries that did not appear to be life threatening, said Indianapolis metropolitan police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Mount.

It was unclear whether Woods and Jones were injured by bullets or by flying debris, Mount said.

Police said someone opened fire in the parking lots north and west of the theater at 617 Indiana Ave. . . .

and across the street from the IUPUI campus. Thank heavens we were protected from those nasty firearms by that invisible line that makes IUPUI a gun-free zone!