Our Cards Face Up

Today we have the National Military Medical Center on lock down after an as yet unconfirmed report of a shot fired.  The media are everywhere reporting on the location of response forces, the routes of entry and departure that are now blocked and the places where people are caught in long line traffic jams.  If you were looking for the sweet spots in this target we have highlighted them in glowing neon.

Just last week we had an eerily similar event at the Navy Yard.  Report of a shot fired.  The Yard was locked down.  The media showed us everything – who responded, great visuals that lets us identify the responders (facial recognition is easy these days) and detailed views of their equipment (read weaponry).  So now anyone watching this knows what agencies will respond, what police and fire and rescue will respond, where they will locate, where the press will be allowed to go and how big the response force will be.  And in the clamor for any news, we who are looking on learn quite a bit about how the various agencies and organizations interact.

playing cards

If someone wanted to significantly damage security forces in our Nation’s capital they have found us playing with all our cards face up.  One phone call will trigger a massive response – closing a facility and completely gridlocking the area around it.  Remember the shooting of CIA employees waiting in traffic back in 1993.  I’ll bet the bad guys do.  Or just as significantly, many of the response forces are pulled from other areas.  Those areas are now lightly covered or not covered at all.  So that simple phone call (no act of violence) has formed a very attractive target rich environment.  Heaven forbid that an evil person or group planned ahead and planted IEDs in that area, or remotely controlled weapons.

I am all for security and safety.  But a key part of operational security is to not tell your opponent everything you are doing and what you are going to do next.  I’d like to see the live coverage toned way down and have those of us not involved leave the operation to the operators.

Two very similar events in less than a week cause me concern.  If this is reconnaissance they’ve probed a military facility and a military medical facility.  If Joint Base Andrews suffers an unconfirmed shot fired incident, I am turning my cards face down and raising.

Spring Cleaning – Table Saw

It is spring.  It is finally warm enough to work in the garage.  That means it is time to clear out all the things that were set in the garage over the winter and it is time to tune up all the tools.

Few things can match the satisfaction of sawing through a piece of wood – sawing smoothly, with sharp blades, running true, fences aligned and locked.  It doesn’t take a lot of time to tune up a saw especially if you had it in good shape before.

Frank Howarth made a video called Self-Assembling Table Saw.  It is fascinating to watch and is actually a pretty good prompt to use in tuning your own saws.

Frank’s YouTube channel has lots of great videos.  I encourage you to visit it as Frank shares many projects as well as shop tips.

Was nun?

Having crossed my fingers while taking a vow to be absolutely serious always and seeing the end of the absolutely abysmal winter It is time to break out the toys and have some fun.  I have started on the motorcycle and have the chain saw warmed up.  I am shopping seriously for a welder and have a backlog of projects to apply it to.  It is time for something new – even Alles Neu.  So, was nun?  Alles.

Seid bereit.  Jederzeit.

Deal Or No Deal

The news is full of the talking heads nattering about reaching a deal to avoid the terrible effects of the automatic spending cuts (sequestration) that were established by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  Turns out this “cliff” they keep talking about isn’t a cliff at all.  Yes, some jobs will cease to exist when we don’t spend $120 billion dollars this year.  But these jobs would have been funded with borrowed money.  Even after the automatic cuts we will still go $900 billion dollars deeper into debt this year.  Stop the cuts and we are back over a trillion dollars in the hole.

So we the people have to suffer all this high drama about $120 billion dollars.  If the cuts stand each and every American only goes $3000 deeper into debt.  If the funds to these programs are restored we’ll each go $3400 deeper.  My crystal ball says Congress will punt and we’ll end up owing more.  It is more than amazing that $120 billion dollars in cuts will cause the end of the world on a total budget of $3.8 Trillion – that is $3800 billion.  The cuts are only 3% of our budget.  Surely the economy of the United States of America is stronger than that.


It’s Friday.  TGIF.  We survived Sandy.  We’ve cleaned up all the junk that was blow into the yard.  So now it’s time for a break.  Pull that tap and keep the wings coming.

Infinte Tap

Infinite Tap

The brewers art is much like that of the rock tumbler.  The process is pretty simple to describe.  The materials aren’t usually exotic.  In both cases though, you must pay extraordinary attention to detail, keep your equipment clean and your supplies pure, and be engaged in what is happening enough to adjust for “this” batch as each and every one is unique.  If you could do this hands-off we’d have machines that cranked out polished rocks or brews.  You can find products generated in this way but they are hardly special.  A fine ale is special just like that silky smooth agate.

If you are going to drink, drink responsibly.  If you are going to rock, rock loudly!

Friday Flashback

Some Fridays we flashback to one of those stirring moments of yesteryear.  Today we are flashing on Serebro’s hit “Dirty Kiss”.  I know, I know.  This is from 2008 which some might argue isn’t very far back.  Be still oh neandrethal meathead.  This is the 21st century and in cyberspace four years is many generations of anything meaningful.  Besides, how can you not enjoy the energy and spunk of these ladies.

Dirty Kiss

Skip the first minute of this video.  Crank the volume up to about 11 and rock.  There is a lot of good music out there but for today we are rocking with Serebro.

На восток

На восток


I learned a new word this week – derecho.  Along the east coast we are still walking around asking what the heck happened last Friday night.  We’ve still got lots of trees down and the power is out for many, many homes and businesses.  The thing that got us was a “derecho”.

A derecho is a widespread and long-lived, straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe  thunderstorms. [Wikipedia]  Derechos are a warm-weather phenomenon.  They occur mostly in summer within areas of moderately strong atmospheric instability and moderately strong vertical wind shear.

Storm Damage

Derechos travel quickly in the direction of movement of their associated storm systems. The wind blows without interruption and increases in strength behind the storm front, generally exceeding hurricane-force.

CNN’s Karen Maginnis Explains the June 29th Derecho


Happy Father’s Day

Here is wishing all the fathers out there the very best of days.  Being a father is one of the most special treasures in life.  I used to wonder how my father knew how to do all those things when we were working on the house or fiddling with the car.  Now I know he was just winging it because that is what I do as I work on things around the house or the car.  You see, life is really pretty simple.  You master a few basic skills.  You give each day and each task your best and things generally work out just fine.

My Dad passed away earlier this year.  The docs said his body just wore out.  Now that is the way to go.  It took 87 years and he did an amazing amount of work.

Ralph O. Byers
Ralph O. Byers

Stupid Ads

Have you noticed how there are more and more and more ads popping up on the internet.  It’s not just that there are a lot of them, they are so intrusive as to be obnoxious.  There are ads sprinkled everwhere, on every page.  There are popups embedded in almost every paragraph.  Then there are the rollovers that are parked where you normally move your mouse while browsing.  Roll over one of these and your screen is consumed by a giant add.  And now the perpetrators hide the close button so you can’t just poke the top, right corner.  Like this makes me want to by their junk.

Or there are those full-screen opaque banner drop downs that make it impossible for you to see what was the whole reason you came to the page.  Or how about those newsy sites (they are not real news) who make you click through to a new page to read an article and then present you with a 30 second ad before you can read it.  I can click away in much less than 30 seconds and find my article elswhere.

Especially stupid are the automatically placed ads like the ones shown below.  Is there an editor on this planet that would have parked these ads in this arrangement in a magazine?  It is really funny to see the ancient man trimming his belly fat while enjoying an e-cigarette.  Is this on message – probably not.  One can only guess that the advertisers know that we don’t look at this crap anyway.

Stupid Ads