Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Michael Crichton on Global Warming

A great quote by the M.D./Author
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Does this quote remind you of someone?

Maybe Al Gore? He's big on claiming scientific "consensus" in defending the man-made religion of global warming.

Here's more of Michael Crichton's quote on the anthropogenic global warming hoax. (anthropogenic = man-made):
I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Just thought I'd share that.

If you want to read the whole speech, just Google: "Aliens Cause Global Warming" A lecture by Michael Crichton

Monday, December 07, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Summit: Gathering of Hypocrites

The headline of the following article pretty much says it all for me:
Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges
Copenhagen is preparing for the climate change summit that will produce as much carbon dioxide as a town the size of Middlesbrough.

These self-important jerks don't even realize how pathetic they seem to the average person.

They say we must change the way we live and then proceed to live in such an extravagant way as to make us look like the greenest of the green in the way we live.

Scumbags and fakes on the make for more power and money.

These people don't care for the planet, they cynically live the high-life and expect us normal folk to follow what they say.

I remember when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in the early 1990's.

The reports, describing the immensity of the eruption, said that this one eruption alone injected more greenhouse gasses into the earth's atmosphere than man had in totality since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

And that was just one of many volcanoes that have blasted in my lifetime of 47 years.

Then the Al Gore's of the world expect me to believe that man is causing global warming?

I went to Louisiana public schools, but even I'm not THAT stupid.

Al Gore and the man-caused global warming believers and promoters are simply liars out to make money and increase their power in this world.

The many massive volcanic eruptions, and the sun itself have done enough to make man's efforts look tiny in comparison.

Don't get me wrong, the wanton dumping of chemicals in rivers and other harmful pollution shouldn't happen, but that man is causing any global warming?


If these men and women at this conference really and truly believed their own lies, they'd live much different lives than the ridiculous extravagance of carbon production that they actually live in.

Liars and hypocrites, all.

Something's definitely rotten in Denmark.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

How Engineer's Think

Someone at work has a sign on his office door:

Dear Santa,

Define good.

Pretty much sums up the mentality of engineers.

We always want more data.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

I know it has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted, but I wanted to today.

To all American veterans, those who have served and those still serving, THANK YOU!

I think America is in real trouble right now, huge deficits and an administration bent on borrowing more and more money from China, putting us even deeper in the hole.

But our women and men in the various armed forces are out there doing what they can for this country, and I love them for it.

Plus, lovely wife reminded me that we were in Hawaii a long time ago on this day. Veterans Day also reminds she and I of that all-too-brief time on Oahu. The beauty of Hawaii still looms large in my memory.

This has always been my favorite photo from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Punchbowl Crater above Honolulu on that Hawaii trip.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thomas Sowell, Amazing Random Thoughts

I read this editorial by Thomas Sowell and was blown away.

He's my kind of guy, plain-spoken and to-the-point.

Here's a quote from the editorial:
Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, Moammar Qaddafi, and Vladimir Putin have all praised Barack Obama. When enemies of freedom and democracy praise your president, what are you to think? When you add to this Barack Obama’s many previous years of associations and alliances with people who hate America — Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, and so on — at what point do you stop denying the obvious and start to connect the dots?

The whole editorial is well worth your time.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Former Confederate Soldier's Grave

This gentleman survived the Civil War, and is buried in Powder Springs, Georgia where we lived for a few years. (We LOVED it there.)

I've always kind-of liked this shot, but decided to see how it would look in B&W.

I like it, and since I haven't written or posted in over a week, I thought I'd share it with y'all.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lilly, one of our poodles. She's afraid of thunder and has several favorite closed-in places she likes to get. This one is under our bed.

I was photographing the Indian River Lagoon that ended up as the black and white shots from a few posts back, and looked across to another part of this vacant lot and saw little blurry spots of intense red-orange. (I wasn't wearing my glasses, hence the blurry spots of color.)

So, I moseyed on over there, it being WAY too hot a day for anything more strenuous than a mosey. When I got these on my computer, I actually dialed down the color saturation in this photo because the original colors were so intense that it looked fake.

These are the kinds of colors seen around here with all the rain we've had this year.

Our piano. It serves now only as a picture holder. I liked the light in there, but the room is small and I had to zoom out to a wide angle to get even this cropped view, hence the distorted (bent) picture frame and the bottom edge of the piano. My new version of Photoshop Elements has a feature where I can correct some of that type of lens distortion, but haven't gotten around to playing with it yet. I liked the warmth of this one anyway.

One of Lovely Wife's flower pots out back beside the pool. I looked out our back door the other day and the late evening sun made this pot glow, so I grabbed my camera.

Have a great Sunday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Up To Speed (Bought Some New Stuff)

We've had Roadrunner broadband internet service in our home for years now, with an older 802.11 -B wireless system.

We've always avoided watching most videos on our computers, the link was too slow and the stopping and jerking of the videos drove me crazy.

But over time, Roadrunner has gotten faster and we upgraded to their fastest home service.

But our older wireless system wasn't capable of using all of that new speed.

So this past week we've bought a few new electronic gadgets for our computers.

I bought a new Linksys wireless router that is 802.11 -N, which is the latest, fastest system available.

Lovely Wife's laptop already had a -N wireless adapter in it, so as soon as I hooked up the new router to the cable modem, she was instantly super fast. She could watch streaming movies from Netflix and so forth on her computer for the first time without all the skipping and jumping.

I bought a -N wireless adapter for the desktop computer I use, and it's now super fast with internet videos now as well.

This just totally changes the whole internet experience, we're finally fast enough for all kinds of videos now and pages load almost instantly; no more waiting for images on pages to slowly trickle in.

We also bought a blu-ray DVD player (LG brand, BD390 model) that has built-in wireless capability and since were subscribers to Netflix, our new wireless router sends us streaming movies across the house to our DVD player.

In other words, our DVD player plays hi-definition DVDs as well as connecting to Netflix so that we can watch movies via it's wireless connection to the internet.

It's all a neat setup and it was super easy to get it all hooked up and working.

I can therefore highly recommend the following gadgets:

- Linksys by Cisco WRT400N Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
- LG BD 390 Network Blu-ray Disc Player
- Linksys WUSB600N Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter

I also bought the latest version of Adobe Photoshop Elements, version 7.0. I have used version 4.0 for three years and needed to upgrade to have the ability to work with Nikon RAW files from my D90 digital camera.

I have loved Elements, it's a really great program, and the upgrade from version 4 to 7 is a big difference and the program has many new features when compared to my older version. Well worth the upgrade for me.

So I can highly recommend Photoshop Elements 7 and The Photoshop Elements 7 Book for Digital Photographers book by Scott Kelby.

If you have fooled with image processing programs a little, like Elements, Photoshop, or GIMP, then this book by Scott Kelby is the perfect companion to Elements 7. The book assumes some basic experience with imaging programs, but he explains each topic step-by-step, and is simply the best Elements book you could buy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday, September 13, 2009

A look at Florida in Black and White.

I took these photos on Friday afternoon. It was such a beautiful day, and I knew that the light and the clouds would end up making photos that were more interesting in black and white as opposed to color.

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Expensive Hobbies

My Brother in Law has a real dry sense of humor.

When Big Sis comes home from shopping, he looks at her and asks "How much money did you save us?"

The net effect of shopping for ANYTHING is that money leaves your bank account, never to be seen again.

For me, both photography and guitars tends to be pretty expensive hobbies, but, I must say, the guitars I have are nice but really inexpensive as guitars go.

At a guitar show in Tampa a few years ago a representative for Paul Reed Smith guitars tried to hand me a Carlos Santana model electric guitar to try out. (I got to meet guitar designer/builder Paul Smith himself and talk with him, which was really cool, but another story.)

It truly scared me and I quickly backed away. Too timid for that kind of outrageously expensive guitar.

I was still very much a beginner at guitar at the time and was not prepared to try out guitars in public, a very crowded guitar show, and on an amp. But what scared the heck out of me was the price tag on the Santana guitar.

The list price of a PRS guitar made exactly like the ones Carlos Santana plays was $10,000 at the time. Even if the "street price" was a mere $8,000, I backed away from the man while holding up my hands in denial. I couldn't even get myself to hold the guitar, much less try to play it.

Really, really expensive things has that effect on me.

In the world of photography, today, Leica, the super-expensive but absolutely fantastically built/made German camera maker, released a new digital rangefinder camera called the M9.

The street price of the M9 is estimated to be around $8,000 to $10,000.

That's for the camera body only. No lens included.

Add one of the equally precious new Leica lenses to the M9 and you'll be paying out around $13,000 to $15,000.

One camera body with one lens or pay cash for a new car?

Rich people have such tough choices. Though I realize that if one can easily afford a $15,000 camera/lens, then they won't be driving a $15k car, but you get my meaning.

A couple of months ago, I bought a new Nikon camera body, and once I was satisfied that it worked well in all respects, I sold my older camera body on ebay.

Total price for the new camera body after subtracting what I got for the sale of the old one, about $450.

I still feel guilty about that too.

Then Leica comes along and releases a new $8,000 camera body.

And I suddenly don't feel so bad about spending the $450-$500 on my own new camera.

Thanks Leica!

Like when we were kids. If one of us said, "My arm hurts." one of the other kids might stomp your foot and say, "There, that takes your mind off of your hurting arm doesn't it?"

Same principle.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Texting and Driving

I NEVER text while driving.

Not because I'm all that safety conscious, it's mainly because even sitting in a quiet room with no distractions it takes me about 15 minutes to poke in a basic text message and send it on my cell phone.

For me, texting while driving is pretty much an impossibility.

I am, however, guilty of photographing while driving.

But at least I don't put the camera to my eye. I just hold it out over the dash and shoot through the windshield.

Not real dangerous, unless the leaning photos make you dizzy or something.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Amazing Miracle Flying Earthworms!

We might be getting some unwanted visitors later this week. (Tropical storms Ana and Bill, though they're still way out there.)

So on Saturday I got my dual-titanium-rod-reinforced and fused spine out there on a ladder, assisted by Lovely Wife, and cleaned out our home's gutters.

Well, precisely because of the dual-titanium-rod-reinforced, fused spine, I haven't cleaned the gutters in a LONG time.

How long, you ask?

Long enough that the bottom layer of leaves in the gutters had turned to something almost like soil, and these layers were home to an impressive population of EARTHWORMS.

Not kidding here, big, fat, juicy, perfect-for-fishing earthworms. Living 8 feet off the ground in our home's rain gutters.

How long has it been since you cleaned YOUR gutters?

Y'all might have some critters living up there like us and not even know it.

It was quite a job, and by the time we were almost through, I finally got weak from the work and climbing up and down the ladder 400 times. Plus my back was screaming at me by then, so Lovely Wife took over the dirty duty.

Much to our delight, the last section we were to clean, the gutter above our screened front porch, was devoid of leaves (and worms) and we joyfully washed the ladder and put everything away.

Then I had a nice shower and a couple of Lortab, the screwed-up back's best friend.

But really, how in the heck did earthworms get up in our gutters? Fly? Gotta be a miracle, right?

Since it's Sunday and I used to faithfully post photos on Sunday's here's a couple to hold you. (But I just couldn't wait with the miracle earthworms story.)

Some of y'all might want to take off your shoes and wiggle the warm white beach sand between your toes...

Or maybe take a stroll by Crane Creek and, on the way, admire one of the local city beautification projects. (I actually like this one.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lester Polfus (1915-2009)

You may know him as Les Paul.

Even if you don't know about the man Les Paul, chances are you would know one of the most immediately recognizable guitar shapes in the world, the Gibson Les Paul solid-body guitar.

Les gained some fame as a radio performer with his guitar while still in his teens at the tail end of the 1920s. His stage name then was Rhubarb Red according to an interview in a book on electric guitars that I have.

All throughout his life he tried to perfect a good sounding solid body electric guitar.

He loved Gibson guitars, and went to the company head in the 1940s with a 4x4 inch plank of wood that formed the neck and center of the body of a self-made solid body electric guitar, but was turned away. The Gibson executive called his guitar a "broomstick." (That's a picture of "the Log" there, along with some sides he made to make the log look more like a real guitar.)

But a couple of years later, Leo Fender, another imaginative tinkerer and maker of amplifiers and lap steel guitars for the 1940s hawaiian guitar craze, set the music instrument making world on its ear with his solid body "Broadcaster" and "Esquire" guitars. Fender was sued because the Broadcaster name was too close to the "Broadkaster" set of drums that Gretsch was making at the time. Fender changed the Broadcaster name to Telecaster, and made a killing.

Gibson got the message that people were willing to buy solid body electric guitars and they went looking for "that kid with the broomstick," Les Paul.

Les Paul claimed he was involved in every detail of the design of the guitar that has born his name on and off since 1952, while Gibson people from that time said they basically designed it and would let him nit pick the design in a few details, but the end result was a guitar every bit as iconic as the Fender Telecaster and the Fender Stratocaster which appeared in 1954.

In 1957, Gibson put a new invention by one of their electrical engineers, Seth Lover, into the Les Pauls. This new invention was the "humbucker" pickup that contains twin coils of wire that resisted electrical noise from entering the guitar signal that plagued (and still plagues) Teles, Strats, and Les Pauls with "single coil" pickups.

It then took Eric Clapton and the British-made Marshall amplifiers in the 1960s to generate the classic rock guitar tone that has sold many thousands of Les Paul guitars and Marshall amplifiers.

The sound of a Les Paul guitar with humbucker pickups played through a Marshall amplifier with closed-back cabinets is my favorite musical sound.

I love the sound of guitars of all types, but the Les Paul/Marshall sound is by far my favorite.

Les Paul and his then wife, Mary Ford, another wonderful guitar player herself, topped the music charts with their lush guitar songs in the 1940s and 1950s.

Les Paul is responsible for creating multi-tracking still used in every music studio in the world, even home studios, to allow a guitar player, or singer, or drummer, to play track after track on top of themselves to create complex musical arrangements.

He was one of the first, if not THE first to use flanging, echo, and other effects to give extra dimensions to his guitar sounds. To this day, a HUGE market in the guitar world is in guitar effects electronics, most of which replicate Les Paul's early basic guitar effects.

As a young man, Les Paul had a arm crushed in a car accident, and he had the doctors set his arm bent in such a way as to allow him to play guitar when the cast came off. That arm never worked quite as well afterward, but since it was set for comfortable guitar playing, he was able to play guitar the rest of his life.

94 years is a good long life, and Les Paul was a very outgoing person who loved life.

Thanks Les, for some killer guitar tunes and for helping release the Gibson Les Paul into the world; my favorite guitar.

If you care to, you can learn a little more about Les Paul at Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Phew! I'm Relieved That Those Headlines Were Wrong

I had read that the new Dallas Cowboy's stadium was going to sell single-topping pizzas for $90 each (20 inch pizza).

And I thought, "$90! For a pizza!"

As you can tell I was some-kinda upset.

Then I read a correction today.

The pizzas aren't $90 each.

They're only $60 each.

I am SO relieved to know that.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Peeing in the Shower Helps the Environment

Boy, oh Boy. Ya gotta love this headline:

Brazilian environmentalists: If you've got to go, go green - by going in the shower

Um, maybe I just can't deal with the idea of stepping around in my own urine. To me, the shower is my best shot each day of GETTING CLEAN.

No thanks, I'll just keep using my toilet for that and "waste" that 1.5 gallons.

If a cat can use the toilet, so can I.

Which reminds me, I wonder how Cheryl Crow's "one-square-of-toiler-paper-per-number-two" idea is working out for her.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Thousand Words...

Sgt. James Crowley has consistently out-classed the rest of the players in this ridiculous affair.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And Now, Something Completely Different

Need a laugh after all the dirtiness of Washington, D.C.?

I've got two great links for you, both at Cute Overload:

Check out Look-a-Like: Kitten Crowe.

And after that, check out this hilarious set of wet cat photos. Perfectly titled Drama In The Tub.

I know.

I'm a wimp.

But I love that site.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Very Basic Problem In Washington D.C.

Want to know just how horribly our representative republic is being represented?

The Obama administration and the Democrats are trying to jam government-run healthcare down our throats.

Obama's campain promise to put all bills online for American's to read and to allow 5 days for everyone to read and understand each bill has already become yet another Obama lie, though it's hardly surpising that this is the case.

The onerous "healthcare reform" that our government is quickly trying ot foist on the American people is still largely an unknown quantity to us, because again, Obama lied when he said we could read the bills online for us to know what's being done in our name.

But one would hope that our representatives in Washington at least, would read the healthcare reform bill from end to end.

Alas, what a fool am I, this is aparently way too much to expect from the current crop of corruptocrats we have as our "leaders."

Check out this quote from long-time Michigan representative John Conyers when he was simply asked if he had read the healthcare reform bill:
“I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’” said Conyers.
“What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Isn't that rich?

This quote reveals many problems.

First, why should a bunch of lawyers need lawyers to read and understand ANY bill?

Two days to read a thousand pages, well, that's your job you moron! It shouldn't be a hardship on you to DO YOUR JOB! To just read the darn thing.

As an engineer, I might have to read a thousand pages of the manual for a new programmable integrated circuit chip, because it's part of my job. If I'm going to use this chip in a circuit design, then I pretty much HAVE to read every detail about it, and believe me, it's thousand page manual is much more complex and difficult to read than a government bill.

Yet I and other engineers do it, because we need to to do our job. It's that simple.

Mr. Conyers proves what a lazy, good-for-nothing, worthless waste of skin he is if he won't even try to read one of the most important and potentially damaging pieces of legislation to come down the pike in my lifetime.

I am sometimes in despair about America, how great it once was, and how the current administration and his hacks in Congress and Senate are determined to crush the life out of our economy, and by extension, our way of life.

Our country is being run by a bunch of fools.

I need to go find me a "Don't Blame Me, I Voted McCain/Palin" bumper sticker.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just In Time! (They Were Almost Out of Missiles)

Our illustrious Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced that we (the American taxpayers) are sending $200 Million to the Palestinians.
RAMALLAH, West Bank – The United States has transferred $200 million to the Palestinian government to help ease a growing budget deficit, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday.

Of course, the Palestinians voted for, and are now governed by, Hamas, a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of the nation of Israel and to the death of all Jews.

So, in an amazing feat of mental logic, I see that I'm now helping to fund the Palestinian's (Hamas') future abilites to lob more mortars and shoot off more armed missiles into Israel, our only true friend in the middle east.

Yay, Hillary! You go girl!

That's the way to reverse the evil foreign policy of the great satan George Bush!

Help the Palestinians finish what Hilter started, and kill God's chosen people.

Gotta love that Obama foreign policy, eh?

And now Obama wants us to trust him on the government takeover of the US healthcare system, and is truly mystified at why we don't swallow his plan whole.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health Care Reform

To me, it's pretty simple.

America is under catastrophic debt; we owe China so much money that I literally get a wave of nausea through my body when I think about it.

George Bush had a "stimulus plan" go into effect just before leaving office.

Obama had yet another "stimulus plan" go into effect just after taking office.

Both were done with borrowed money, primarily from China. Neither helped one little bit, and in fact hurt the economy.

What kind of idiots do we have running the country?

If I'm on the verge of bankruptcy in my personal finances, I CANNOT borrow enough money to spend my way out of debt.

Now Obama is pushing hard for a socialist, government run, single payer (working tax payers!) health care system like Canada, the UK and other European countries.

The internet is full of web pages of horror stories of people who die before they can even see a doctor in other countries.

It's all about putting the power of 2.5 TRILLION dollars a year into the hands of Washington bureaucrats. Once they have that power, they'll never let go of it.

President Obama and the pushers of socailized medicine in the US couldn't care less about the health of individual Americans, they care only in their thirst for more power.

Their lamentation is that there are 50 million uninsured Americans and that this isn't fair.

Yet they admit that the health care plan they are pushing will still leave 30 million uninsured. How is this better?

Every country that has socialized medicine is crippled with the debt of trying to prop up such a system.

In Canada and the UK, one of the fastest growing segments of their economies is private health insurance and private medical clinics where people already being taxed into oblivion pay even more to provide for themselves the benefit of health care on demand.

If you want to know what kind of health care you will have under the (non) "universal" health care plan put forth by Obama, and to be run by Washington bureaucrats, simply go online and start investigating the level of health care enjoyed by veterans at veteran's hospitals in America.

It will be a glimpse of your future health care under Obama's plan.

Raising taxes has been proven time and again to depress the economy, not help it, yet that is the proposed way of paying for all these new programs, health care and others.

Obama is on a course to absolutely drive the US economy into the dirt.

I pray that the boondoggle of government run health care fails to even get off the ground.

I'm getting nauseous, so I'll stop here.

And how is your day going?!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday July 19, 2009

Sunday again folks, and I actually have a few photos this time.

I photographed a wedding Saturday evening, and I posted one photo on my photography blog for today if y'all want to go see it.

Sometimes color can be the subject. This is a new medical complex in Melbourne, Florida with highway US1 on one side, and Crane Creek on the other. This was the first time I had been to Manatee Park on Crane Creek since the building was completed. The lovely light of the late evening sun and the dramatic colors of the building and it's reflection, not to mention the incredible greenery from all the rain we've been getting, and I end up with a photo I like. Don't care much about the subject matter, but sometimes color itself is enough to please the eye.

We had gone to the beach twice last week to watch the Space Shuttle lift off, only to have it "scrubbed" each of those two days. But, while at the beach in the gorgeous late afternoon sunlight, might as well take some beach photos, right? This worn foot path to the beach just looked so inviting to me. Plus you can see a glimpse of the beautiful blue-green Atlantic out there teasing you to come on out.

Photographing primarily to get the amazing sky, the proper exposure for the sky left the sea oats too dark to really see. So, I popped up the on-board flash and ended up really liking this shot. It's obviously a flash photo, but all that green detail is very pleasing, at least to my eye.

When the clouds are placed such that the beams of light come out in such a dramatic fashion, I've learned just to point and shoot. By the time I can get to a more esthetically pleasing place (with no power/telephone lines in the photo) the chance is invariably gone. In the past I've tried to photoshop out lines like this, but it is mind-numbingly tedious, even too much so for a patient person like me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shuttle Endeavour Finally Lifts Off (no photos though)

Lovely Wife and I went to the beach a couple of times to watch the latest attempt to launch the Space Shuttle, but it kept being cancelled.

Just a few minutes ago, at 6:03pm EDT, Endeavour finally was able to lift off successfully.

I'm working late, and went on top of one of the buildings and watched it.

Sadly, I cannot bring in a camera of any type where I work, so I just had to eyeball it. My camera is in my car, but I couldn't get off early enough to go to a better location and try to take photos.

I'm about 30-40 miles south of Kennedy Space Center, and it took the rumble (sound) of the boosters over 4 minutes to reach me as I watched. But that gives you an indication of the noise when I can hear it 30 - 40 miles away.

If Congress will fund it to the end, the US Space Shuttle program that is, there are only 7 shuttle missions left planned.

I would be totally surprised if they get to launch all 7 of them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Picture Post, Sunday, July 12, 2009

Still haven't been out as much as I hoped with my new camera, but I have a smattering of photos here that I liked enough to show y'all today.

Here's the obligatory beach photo for you land-locked folks. Pretty generic beach photo, but I liked two things that I saw that day: how calm the Atlantic was, this is pretty unusual for us, and also how you could see the blueish-green of the water that gave it a Caribbean feel, even though it was a bit overcast.

This one is not a great photo, but as I drove through a neighborhood in Floridana Beach, Florida that Lovely Wife and I would love to live in, I got behind this couple out for a slow ride in their golf cart. More than a few folks down here own one and use it like this, for slow afternoon or morning rides to enjoy the weather. I loved the lab sitting there on the cart with them.

This neighborhood is so quiet, that we roll down our windows when we creep through here and all we can hear are bugs and the light hiss of our car tires. It smells great too, a combination of the ocean and the flowers in folk's yards. The photo looks bad because I took it through my windshield as I drove up behind them. I just held up the camera without looking through it and fired off about 6 shots, and in this one, the cart was centered in the frame. I had to crank up the contrast to counteract the glare of the windshield. The dog looked just like Big Sis's lab Baxter riding there.

For many years, this house in the right part of the photo was a run-down old house just across A1A from the beach. The property was worth way more than the house, but it appears someone finally plunked down the money and bought the place AND refurbished it completely. In fact, they did the same with the home right next to it, out the the picture to the right, and opened the two homes as a bed and breakfast. So whoever stays there is about a 45 second walk from the beach in the first photo above. They did a beautiful job on the homes too. The bed and breakfast is named "Port D'Hiver" however you would pronounce that.

In the distance to the left is actually one big building that had stood empty since the two hurricanes, Frances and Jeanne that nailed us in 2004. This was a popular restaurant/bar, but it looks almost finished and ready to become whatever it will be. Nice colors though.

Friday, July 10, 2009


We've been getting lots and lots of rain for the past couple of months.

We had been in drought conditions up until May, but boy howdy, we've way more than made up for our lack of rain.

It has rained almost every day for two months, at least a little bit, with lots of fast-moving thunderstorms all across Central Florida.

It's hard to believe how much lightning we get here.

Having lived in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia, I've seen some impressive storms, but the lightning here is completely bizarre.

When the weather is on, and they are giving you the moving radar image across this part of Florida, they put a lightning strike counter up in the corner of the TV screen and it rolls up in number as fast as the price of you filling up your car with high octane gasoline.

On Monday evening, a man on vacation with his family was struck by lightning and killed on the beach shown in the photo of my previous post. The lifeguard had told everyone to clear the beach just in case, but this family didn't and the father was killed.

But, on a happier note, everything that was brown, sickly green, and crunchy three months ago is green, lush, and blooming.

Even the grass in the area is almost unreal in it's green intensity.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Beach Yesterday (Sunday) Evening

It's a sad reality that although I live 20 minutes from the beach (on a heavy traffic day) I can sometimes go months without seeing the ocean.

Life tends to intervene, even to someone like me who LOVES the beach.

Yesterday was the first time in several months that I had been to the beach.

It's usually pretty wavy here, but yesterday the Atlantic was more like the Gulf of Mexico.

Smooth and beautiful.

I sat and just listened for a long while, lulled into peace by the gentle lapping of the water.

I love the salty smell too.

As always, I promised myself that I wouldn't go that long ever again without going out there.

It's too beautiful an experience to take for granted. Who knows where I'll be in a year?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday July 5, 2009

I wouldn't really call this a picture post like in the past, because I only have one photo.

I put a guitar next to my recliner so that I am reminded to pick it up and play some every day.

I long ago realized I'll never be Eddie Van Halen, but I do like to play, and practice is the only way to get better.

At a certain time of each morning the light comes through one of our skylights to "my" area.

The new camera body I bought, a Nikon D90, has a CMOS technology image sensor, and they just flat-out handle low light situations with much better ability than the CCD image sensors in 99 percent of digital cameras, including my older Nikon D70s.

This photo was taken at the equivalent of having used a film rated at ISO 1600. Any film made that has that rating would be very grainy.

To get this kind of smooth image quality in a digital camera set at ISO 1600 is miraculous to me.

I'm definitely going to be loving this camera.

Once I digest the humongous user manual for this thing, I'll get out and take some photos and start posting again like I've been wanting to.

God bless you all, and have a great Sunday.

Friday, July 03, 2009

What IS That Sound?

It sounds like, like, like, a choir of ANGELS!

But no, it's just the doorbell ringing.

Who could it be?

Why it's the United Parcel Service man bringing me a box!

Whatever could it be?

Oh my, it looks exactly like a brand-spankin'-new Nikon D90 camera body!

I guess that sound REALLY WAS a choir of Angels singing.

Angels always sing when John gets a new camera.

Angels are cool like that.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Save Me From Myself

You like the music you like.

I like the music I like.

I might hate what you like, and quite likely, you'd hate what I like. But it's all good. Musical taste is such an individual thing. That's why I despise music critics, don't sit there and pontificate on why I shouldn't like what I darn well know that I enjoy hearing.

I've talked about music on this blog from time to time, but not a whole lot, simply because I know that, chances are, you couldn't care less about the music I might rave about.

But every once in a while, something comes along and shocks my socks off, and I feel compelled to write here about it.

I've loved music dearly, all my life.

Some of my earliest memories were from around the time I was 4, and my mother would play Brahm's lullabys on their stereo, and the melodies would make me cry. Strange but true, I remember this clearly.

Music has always had the power to move me deeply.

As a boy, I identified that what especially pleased my ear was to hear guitar. I could listen to my parent's 45rpm record of Mason Williams' guitar performance called "Classical Gas" over and over.

With an older sister who loved the Beatles, if I heard her in her room playing records, and I heard the Beatles' opening vocal harmony at the beginning of the song "Paperback Writer" I would dash out of my room to stand outside her door to hear the niftly little George Harrison guitar riff that he did just after that opening vocal harmony.

Over the years, I've developed a full-blown love of rock 'n roll guitar. It's like a love for pepperoni pizza. You just like it, and that's all there is to it. No real intellectual reason for liking a certain thing so much, it's just there, an integral part of you.

And just as most people remember where they where when they first heard of dramatic world events like the Space Shuttle blowing up in 1986, I can remember where I was when I first heard certain rock songs because the guitar playing made such an impression on me, that it imprinted the whole sensory memory in my brain.

Randy Rhodes' signature guitar lick to the Ozzy Osbourne classic song "Crazy Train" always takes me to a certain stretch of Louisiana highway 165 just north of Monroe, Louisiana, and I'm riding in the blue 1975 Ford F-100 Custom pickup truck that was passed down to me from my father. I was going to Bastrop to visit my paternal grandparents and was listening to a AM radio show that played harder rock songs. (Way before talk radio dominated the AM radio band) They played this "new" song from Ozzy Osbourne, and the guitar work of Randy Rhodes in it just knocked me out. It still does, even after all these years.

The other day, Lovely Wife asked me to write down the names of some music CDs that I wanted, and she was going to look for them as a Father's Day gift to me.

As I looked up the names of the CDs of several bands that I like, that had CDs out that I knew I didn't have, I came across a reference to a musician named Brian Welch's CD.

Brian Welch, who has the nickname of "Head" was one of the founding members on the massively popular rock band named Korn.

I remembered hearing how, two or three years ago, he had quit this multi-platinum selling band because he had had a religious conversion to Christianity.

It's not the kind of thing you hear about every day, so the story intrigued me back then, but I hadn't known that he had, over the past few years, written a book about his becoming a Christian and leaving the drugs and alcohol of his old life behind.

He also had put together a band and put out a new CD in the fall of 2008.

I went to his MySpace page to listen to audio clips to see if maybe this was a CD I might like to add to my Father's Day list.


Heavy guitars, great melodies.

To those who dislike hard rock or heavy metal, the thought of catchy melodies in this music might sound funny, but much of the music in heavy metal and hard rock has great melodies.

After listening to the title song from the CD, "Save Me From Myself" by Head (Brian Welch), on MySpace, I added it to my list.

Now, after listening to the CD now from end to end, I love every song on it.

If you like heavy rock, especially fans of his ex-band Korn, you'll love this CD.

The lyrics to the CD basically cover the past few years of his life, from the despair and depression of a multi-millionaire who has everything but is a miserable drug addict, to getting clean and becoming a Christian and trying to be a good father to his daughter.

He doesn't preach in the lyrics, he basically just tells his story, so even non-Christians could easily like this CD because he's not telling you what to do, only telling you what he chose to do.

I still don't know about the details of this man's life, I just know that the most profound kind of turnaround that a person could possibly make has been made by Mr. Welch.

As a Christian, the lyrics move me deeply, much like the beautiful Brahm's melodies of my childhood moved me, only I now understand why this particular music affects me. They lyrics are sometimes raw, not pretty, but then the truth is often disturbing and more like a punch in the gut than a feather landing on your shoulder.

Even someone who has been a Christian a long time can understand hitting bottom and looking for some anchor their life, and hearing Head sing about (and he does his own singing as well as guitar) his bottoming out and being given a new lease on life is monumentally moving to me. The lyrics of his despair and then his redemption bring to the forefront of my mind my own conversion and it's dramatic changes.

As a Christian who loves hard rock and heavy metal, I walk a tightrope; a thin line where there are few musical CDs for me to buy and totally devour. Either the music is awesome and the lyrics too dark and depressing, with a total lack of hope, or the other end of the spectrum, what the Christian music industry puts out that seems as hollow as an Easter chocolate bunny, full of the "right" lyrics but completely devoid of any real feeling or heart, contrived.

So now and then I find a band, like my favorite, Disciple, who are incredible musicians who are also committed Christians, and who put out hard and heavy rock with a heart-felt lyrics that are both honest and human, and that honor their faith in God.

Finding a new source of music that I like is always a pleasing thing.

To find one that is as well-played, and well-produced as Head's CD "Save Me From Myself" is a huge treat that is altogether too rare in my life. This is a great production, made by top notch musicians.

My prayers go out to Mr. Brian "Head" Welch on his new life, and I wish him great success. Both in his personal and professional life.

If Head's successful in his new musical endeavours, then I get the benefit of more great heavy music in the years to come.

I really racked up on CDs this Father's Day, and all of them are excellent:
Disciple - Southern Hospitality
Stryper - Reborn (Yes, the old 80s Metal band Stryper. They put out a new CD a year or two ago and it's really good. I finally got around to obtaining it.)
Red - Innocence and Instinct
Head - Save Me From Myself
All That Remains - Overcome

Friday, June 19, 2009

'Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed' inventor dies at 92

MIAMI – The inventor of the "Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed," which brought weary travelers 15 minutes of "tingling relaxation and ease" for a quarter in hotel rooms across America during its heyday as a pop culture icon in the 1960s and '70s, has died. He was 92. John Joseph Houghtaling died Wednesday at his home in Fort Pierce...

Seeing this headline reminded me of something Big Brother once did to me.

I was in my late teens (so this would have been around 1979 or 1980), still living with my parents in Monroe, La., and Big Brother had been living in Lafayette, La., about a four hour drive into south Louisiana from Monroe.

He had moved back to Monroe, but still had some items in Lafayette that he needed to get, and bring to Monroe.

So he conned me into going with him on this boring trip, there was no easy, direct way to Lafayette, it was mostly two lane country Louisiana roads. For those who have never driven in rural Louisiana, the phrase "two lane country Louisiana roads" means mind-numbing boring scenery and horribly bad road conditions.

For some reason, much of that trip there and back is a blank to me, I'm usually great at remembering nauseating amounts of detail about the most innocuous things that have happened in my life, but for this trip, two things stood out, and still stand out in my mind.

One was the god-awful smell from a Godchaux sugar refinery (pronounced GOD-shaw) we passed, and to this day I cannot fathom how something so tasty as sugar can be produced from such a foul-smelling place. I grew up around paper mills, and this sugar refinery smell made the paper mills of north Louisiana smell like Chanel No. 5 in comparison. At least to my admittedly untrained nose.

Anyway, I don't remember one detail of the apartment we took his final possessions from, but I just remember looking like the Clampetts on their way to Beverly Hills, only we were in a 1970 Buick Electra 225, also known as "A Deuce and a quarter." But we had that puppy packed to the gills, with just enough room for Big Brother and I to fit our large frames in there too, for the drive back.

By the time we had loaded the car and were ready to go, it was late at night, so we got a cheap hotel room in Lafayette to sleep a few hours before getting up and hitting the road back to Monroe the next morning.

We walk into the hotel room, it had two double beds, and Big Brother called the bed by the door. (It was the closest one to the air conditioner, which we immediately set to full-blast.)

We were so tired, that we just pulled off our shoes and flopped on the two beds.

I noticed that next to the head of my bed, there was some contraption with a slot in it for feeding quarters.

I sat up and read the front of this metal box and learned for the first time about Magic Fingers Vibrating Beds.

I do remember thinking it was a pretty goofy idea, and lay back down and was getting drowsy within seconds.

Then I heard the tell-tale clunking sound of coins being fed into a machine's coin slot, and looked over to see Big Brother cramming quarters in the machine as fast as he could, and when he saw me notice him, just let out an evil laugh.

I rolled over to stop him, but before I could, the bed started vibrating.

Big Brother laughed himself to sleep while I laid there for an hour and 15 minutes until the bed stopped vibrating.

I guess he had gotten five quarters in the vibrator on my bed before I could react.

Of course his bed didn't have a Magic Fingers, so I was powerless to return the favor.

I remember laying there so sleepy, but this stupid bed vibrated too much to allow me to go to sleep until it stopped.

Of course this was one of the things we recalled and laughed about for years.

Rest in peace, Mr. Houghtaling, your invention cost me some sleep when I sorely needed it, but then again, was a great memory to laugh about in the years that came after.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Letting Your Guard Down

Oh my gosh, I just saw this photo for the first time on a news site.

I keep looking at it and just laughing.

Note to self, if I ever get famous, remember to take care about what my face is telling the world.

Mrs. Obama's facial expression just speaks VOLUMES here.

I needed a good laugh.

(Photo credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Green Day Are Idiots

At the company I work for, if I were to cuss all the time, peppering each sentence with expletives, I would get warned, then fired.

End of story.

There are certain standards that places of business have, that, like it or not, they stick by.

It's easy for me not to cuss at work, because I don't cuss anyway. Not to say that I haven't, but it's not part of my vocabulary any more. My choice.

But this week, Green Day, a band I must say I don't like in the first place, are bad-mouthing Walmart for refusing to sell their cuss-word laden newest CD, 21st Century Breakdown.

Turns out that Walmart is the country's largest music seller, and Green Day refused to offer an edited version of their latest CD, something that's been done by other artists for decades now.

I think it is fine, even good that Green Day refuses to offer an edited version. Nobody can make them, but what galls me is that they turn around and state that Walmart should be made to carry "their art."

Uh, uh, there Bill Joe and Mike, you little pencil-necked, pip-squeaks, can't have that both ways.

If you can't be bothered to offer a cuss-word free version of your CD, then certainly Walmart doesn't have to bother to sell your original version if it falls below their standards.

When you guys play concerts, can you shoot off huge columns of fire in small venues? Nope.

Can you perform sex acts in your concerts in any American venue and not expect to be arrested? Nope.

Likewise, Walmart has, for decades, had a standard of musical content that they sell. Simply cussing on your CD is over the mark, as far as Walmart is concerned.

You knew that when you made the recording, and now you're whining about it.

Boo, hoo, hoo. Go home and cry in your piles of money.

You know, and I know, that your real fans will buy it at Best Buy or on Amazon, so your complaining about Walmart sounds pretty darn pathetic.

I don't get upset when I hear folks cuss, but gee whiz, to expect a company to sell my product when it goes against their long-standing practice?

Please, this is America.

If Walmart won't sell it, you know others will.
"Wal-Mart's become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won't carry our record because they wanted us to censor it," frontman Billie Joe Armstrong griped to the press. "They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there. We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something."

Billie Joe continued: "If you think about bands that are struggling or smaller than Green think that to get your record out in places like that, but they won't carry it because of the content and you have to censor yourself. I mean, what does that say to a young kid who's trying to speak his mind making a record for the first time? It's like a game that you have to play. You have to refuse to play it." Added bassist Mike Dirnt, more succinctly but just as effectively: "As the biggest record store in the America, [Wal-Mart] should probably have an obligation to sell people the correct art."

Walmart HAS NO obligation to sell anything they don't want to.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Confessions of an Ebay Junkie

WARNING: Another Boring Ramble on an Unimportant Subject.

(Everybody's good at something, right? I have elevated boring rambles on unimportant things to an art form.)

I'll get to the Ebay part of the story in a minute. First some background.

I play some seriously mediocre guitar, and truly cannot justify paying top dollar for name brand guitars and parts. Now, I could buy top dollar, name brand guitars if I wanted, but with me it's kind of like what folks used to say when you got a new haircut, "That's a $20 haircut on a $2 head!" Buying a $3000 Gibson Les Paul at my level of playing ability is pretty much the same idea. Heck, even Fender guitars made in their Mexico factory can cost up to $900 (Like this sweet Robert Cray Strat I'd be proud to own), and their American made guitars start at about that much, so I find it hard to justify spending that kind of money on basically no talent.

I have found that I much prefer playing guitar on fat, chunky guitar necks, while most folks like the slim ones on most guitars.

Buying a specific Fender guitar neck to put on one of my cheap Fender-like imitation guitars is too expensive for me too. A real Fender neck with the fatter, hand-filling feel can cost $300 - $500 just for the neck!

There is a brand of guitars, SX, that are manufactured in China, but are of unbelievable quality for the price. Like a friend of mine says when he buys another inexpensive tool from Harbor Freight that was made in China, "John, Chinese prisoners work cheap!" (I know, that's mean, but it is funny.)

The fact is, that the largest guitar maker in the world is in Korea. Many famous guitar brands that you might have heard of are actually made in the Samick factory in Korea, and they put Epiphone, and whoever else's label on them and ship them out.

These Pacific Rim factories have been making guitars for decades now, and they truly make guitars equal to, and sometimes superior to American made ones.

Back to the Chinese made SX guitars.

The only importer of SX guitars and basses that I know of is Rondo Music in Connecticut. They are made of good quality woods, usually three pieces of alder or ash (same wood types as Fender uses on their US made guitars) and the hardware and electronics are of decent, but inexpensive manufacture.

These guitars are perfect for folks like me who like to eventually upgrade the electronics and otherwise modify their guitars to make them exactly like they want them to sound and look.

And that's one thing that's really fun for me, is to take a decent, basic guitar, and over time, upgrade the hardware, and electronics to where you have a first class guitar, exactly like you want it. Just buy the basic guitar in the color you like, then you can replace everthing from the neck to all the hardware and pickups.

Buying a cheap guitar that has decent quality wood as a base, you can slowly turn your guitar into an exact, custom tone monster just like you want it to be.

This is where Ebay comes in.

If I own a $110 guitar, then someone who has taken apart a similar guitar and sells the parts on Ebay, will necessarily only be able to get prices for the parts totaling maybe just a little more than the guitar as a whole.

That, believe it or not, is a HUGE way people operate on Ebay.

Take a $1200 American-made Fender Telecaster, take it completely apart, and then sell the individual parts for a little less than you would normally have to pay for the parts, and the Ebay guru might end up getting $1500 for all the parts to a $1200 guitar. Do that many, many times and you are making some nice money on the side.

Same holds for a $110 guitar. Take it apart, and instead of getting $500 for the guitar neck by itself as you would for an American Stratocaster neck, you only get, say, $40. A little less than half the price of the guitar originally.

But the beauty of it for people like me is that I can get the fat, chunky guitar necks that I prefer to play on for a totally reasonable price, and these might be dirt cheap compared to a "real" Fender guitar and parts, they are of good quality despite the cheapness.

I have a guitar neck like I wanted that I received from an Ebay seller two weeks ago, that I will soon put on my $50 Guitar. The neck that is on the guitar now is nice, but it's really slim, and the used one I bought is nice and chunky, so I'll swap them out and my $50 guitar will be much more to my liking. I'll flat-out play it more because I don't like the slim neck that came on it.

So I'll end up with a guitar customized for my own preferences for not much moo-lah.

At this moment, I have bids on one other guitar neck, and another guitar part on Ebay too.

Buying one inexpensive piece at a time, I end up with quaility instruments customized by me, for me.

So a couple of times per day, I cruise through Ebay, searching for particular items, and often am the only bidder, and get good stuff for a great price. If you know what you want, what the market says these items are worth, and watch for your items to show up, you can get great deals.

Who knows, maybe one day I'll actually plunk down the money for a real Gibson Les Paul Standard like I dream of, just because I want it. I'll probably get it on Ebay too.

One weirdness that I have seen over an over on Ebay that always makes me question people's sanity, is when people will bid and buy a used item on Ebay for more than they could have bought that item brand new.

The SX guitars that I talk about here, cost anywhere from $100 to $175, but I have seen people pay $175 for a used guitar on Ebay, when they could have contacted Rondo Music and bought that exact guitar, brand new, for $100.

I see this over and over. It's not as if they are rare items, or items no longer made; just a click over to another page and they could be buying the exact guitar, brand new, for $50 or so less than the used one they are buying on Ebay.

I just don't get that. I guess some people just don't think to look to see what the price of a new item is before bidding on an Ebay item. Pretty dumb though.

Anyway, I'm often looking for deals on Ebay for things I want from people who have proved themselves to be reputable sellers. It's a lot of fun, and when a guitar is finally modified to be exactly what I would have wished for in a custom-made guitar, it's even more rewarding.

And, as mid-life crises go, buying cheap guitar parts is way easier on the wallet than buying a Corvette.

What do you find yourself looking for on Ebay? Anything?

Here's a photo of all my SX guitars:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Waterboarding, Torture?

America's most imminent threat for the past 20 years or so has been terrorist attacks.

The New York World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and the attacks of 9/11 come to mind as the most notable attacks on the US.

But there were attacks on the Beiruit US Embassy in 1983, and other US embassies in Africa for example, killing many US citizens working overseas.

Terrorists set up mortars and missle launchers next to schools and family dwellings, shoot their weapons, and wait for the US or whoever they attack to rain bombs on the area, knowing that they have basically targeted US weapons on innocent women and children by doing so. Then they get on the news and talk about how the US is killing innocents, when they themselves drew the target on these areas just for publicity's sake.

Terrorists have been caught dressed as women and clerics trying to hide or infiltrate their target areas.

Terrorists wear no uniform of an entity, they intentionally hide and do their killing, hoping to have local innocents killed in retaliation so they can whine on TV about how evil the US is.

These are the people we are fighting. Cowards who use innocents as their shield and as propaganda pieces. These innocents are killed by the terrorists intentionally having them targeted.

That's who America's main enemy is in the world today.

Now there is a so-called "scandal" happening in America based on heavily redacted documents released by the criminally wimpy Obama administration, saying that America, via the Bush administration, approved the waterboarding of terrorist's caught by the US.

The same Huffington Post-type folks who hated Bush for merely breathing, are now trying to create a non existent torture scandal over the US waterboarding known terrorists to glean information about possible imminent terrorist attacks on the US.

Since when did waterboarding become torture?

The US armed forces have used waterboarding as part of training for OUR military for decades!

Many, many thousands of US service men and women, officers and snake-eaters have been waterboarded as part of their training.

No torture law suits against the US by our service men or women over this supposed "torture" they received as part of their normal training.

Now, all of a sudden, the US approves this same waterboarding procedure that is a normal part of US military training to be done on a hand-full of known terrorists that we had captured, and these idiots are all up in arms about the evil Bush administration approving waterboarding on the poor, defenseless terrorists.

Big Boo Hoo. I just don't get it.

Decades of waterboarding many thousands of US servicemen is no big deal, but now that we do it to half a dozen stone cold killers it's suddenly a torture technique?

Putting a known murdering terrorist in a dark cell and telling him they are loosing caterpillars in the room with him to let his own mind freak him out is torture?

Putting a known murdering terrorist man in a dark cell and telling him they will release stinging bugs in there with him is torture?

Give me a break people.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was waterboarded and revealed a far-eastern based al Kaeda plot to fly planes into buildings in Los Angeles, and this knowledge was used to capture more terrorists and to PREVENT a 9/11 level attack on Los Angeles, and this murderous thug gets sympathy from the morons who all of a sudden consider waterboarding to be torture?

I just don't understand the thinking of millions of my fellow Americans.

If waterboarding our own people was training, not torture, for decades, then waterboarding CANNOT be torture for known enemies we have captured, who refuse to wear a recocgizable uniform according to Geneva Convention dictates, who dress as women, hide behind the innocent, and murder many thousands of US citizens around the world.

I do NOT see our waterboarding a half-dozen terrorists as a dark stain in America's recent past.

I see the waterboarding as something American servicemen and women went through as training, that proved useful with captured terrorists, and was certainly worthwhile in doing because it save untold thousands of lives in Los Angeles alone.

As far as I'm concerned, the waterboarding of captured terrorists by the US was not torture.
CNSNews.comCIA Confirms: Waterboarding 9/11 Mastermind Led to Info that Aborted 9/11-Style Attack on Los Angeles
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

Khalid Sheik Mohammad, a top al Qaeda leader who divulged information -- after being waterboarded -- that allowed the U.S. government to stop a planned terrorist attack on Los Angeles.
( - The Central Intelligence Agency told today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the “Second Wave”-- planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

(this article continues here)