In Which My Chickens Come Home To Roost


Posted on : 9/17/2011 10:20:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Those that know me best, and my friends, not necessarily one and the same, but that is how it works some times...erm...

Those that know me best, and my friends, would tell my gentle readers that I possess a modest disposition towards the arcane and obscure.  I suspect that they would actually use the phrase "inane and irrelevant", but I do try to think the best of the people in my life.

My love of esoterica is not as pronounced as others.  Some prime examples of people a little more focused on reconditia would be the main characters portrayed by the cast of "The Big Bang Theory".  The obvious exception being the character "Penny" as portrayed by that vision of loveliness that is Kaley Cuoco.

Since we are on the subject of "The Big Bang Theory", that is one of our favorite shows here in the Todd household.  We find this program immensely amusing.  Many is the evening when we are howling with laughter over some insane premise made plausible by the thespian talents of the ensemble.

I find "The Big Bang Theory" hilarious because I recognize a few modest traits that I have in common with the characters.  I am then deeply, deeply, deeply grateful that I am not the sort of person to ever engage in the sort of techno-geek behaviors presented on this program.  I know for certain that my minor predilections would never lead me into those kinds of socially awkward situations.

I suspect my lovely and vivacious bride does not share that opinion.  I have no idea why.

Some time ago, I noticed that the Executive Producer, Mr. Chuck Lorre, has included a "vanity card" at the end of each episode of "The Big Bang Theory".  I recently learned that he has been offering these vanity cards at the end of all of his programs.

I first noticed the vanity cards at the end of the episode that aired on April 28, 2011.  This episode featured a monkey that appeared to be smoking.  The monkey was being studied by Amy Farrah Fowler, the girl who is also a friend but certainly not a "girlfriend" of Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  In this particular vanity card, Mr. Lorre thoughtfully sought to reassure his viewers that the monkey had in fact not been actually smoking throughout the show.  Although I was taken aback to learn of the heroin addiction problem. 

Having discovered this veritable treasure trove of minutiae, I thought that my beloved bride would be equally enthused to learn of this source of information and occasional humour.

Unfortunately, the combination of our television size and the selected font makes the task of reading these vanity cards quite difficult.  In addition to the "pause" button on the remote, we also have a "zoom" button to aid in the viewing of side boob and cleavage shots small text.

Having rendered the text readable, I elected to engage in a recitation.  I anticipated a warm reception from my beloved bride.  I imagined an enthusiastic response that included clapping.

This particular vanity card is number 206.  You can read the whole thing here, but what is the point of going there when I am presently going to rip off Mr. Lorre's work.

To create an appropriate re-creation of this event, you need to use your best "announcer voice" and read aloud the following passage originally written by the esteemed Mr. Lorre:

I think we can all agree that the cliche, "no pain, no gain," is a fundamental truth. When we experience physical pain in the gym, we gain muscles and stamina. When we endure hardship and sacrifice in order to succeed, we gain a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, not to mention financial rewards. When we truly embrace emotional pain, we gain compassion for the suffering of others, an appreciation for the fleeting nature of things, as well as wisdom and spiritual humility. Every act of birth is an act of pain. Our very lives are sustained by the suffering and death of plants and animals, who in turn are sustained by other organisms having a very bad day. That being said, I think we can also agree that this system sucks and needs to be seriously re-jiggered. Now I'm not saying I have a better approach than this pain/gain thing that's been in place for millions of years -- but that doesn't mean we couldn't start tossing around some ideas. For instance, why couldn't an infrastructure for life be developed around the theme, "no dream, no gain?" Sounds like heaven, right? Or is dreaming too easy? Would life quickly become complacent and cease to gain? But then, is gain really that critical? Or is gain the whole point? Is the fact that life exists at all proof that God or the universe hates complacency? It certainly explains why aboriginal people are constantly being murdered for the sake of "progress." It even explains why HBO went down the toilet.

Having regaled my beloved...and did I mention vivacious?...bride with this virtuoso spoken word performance, I laughed and turned to my beloved bride to inquire as to her thoughts on the occasion.

She was sound asleep in her chair.

Please stop laughing.

On the bright side, she never reads my blog, so she will never know about this little episode.

No...really....please stop laughing.

A Marine Stands Alone


Posted on : 9/17/2011 07:11:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

And honors us all.

Code Of Conduct


Posted on : 9/16/2011 11:08:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Freedom Comes With High Price Indeed


Posted on : 9/16/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

Never forget.  National POW/MIA Recognition Day. 

We are exceedingly fortunate that we have only one MIA in the current War on Terror suspected to still be alive.  We are exceedingly unfortunate to have had our other MIA service-members be killed by their captors.

Some people never hear the words "welcome home".
  • World War II - 74,074 MIA
  • Korean War - 8,177 MIA
  • Vietnam War - 1,713 MIA
  • Cold War - 165 MIA
  • War On Terror - 2 MIA
    • 1 in Iraq, currently presumed dead and not recovered
    • 1 in Afghanistan, presumed alive and in the custody of his captors

No Coincidences Revisited - POW/MIA Day 2011


Posted on : 9/16/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

I posted this on my original "Dain Bramage" blog back on 9 September 2006.  I offer it again in recognition of National POW/MIA Day.

And in honor of Scott D. Ketchie.  A son of Alabama who has yet to return home.  I remain honored to wear a bracelet bearing his name.

The Worst Day Of His Life


Posted on : 9/15/2011 06:44:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Dakota Meyer readily identifies the worst day of his life.  It is the day four of his friend died.  And regardless of what he did, Dakota couldn't stop them from dying.

I am willing to bet that he can identify the second worst day of his life.  The day they hung a medal on him for what he did while those friends were dying.

Hours before receiving the nation's highest award for military valor, a humble Marine from Kentucky wonders, why he's being honored for "the worst day of my life." 23-year old Sergeant Dakota Meyer told CBS Radio News, "it's going to be a hard time" when President Obama presents the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.


"If I was a hero I would have brought them out alive that day. That's a hero. I was just doing my job," he told CBS News.


Asked about a message to future Marines, Meyer said, "You got to do what's right." His voice choking with emotion, he added, "Leave no marine behind."

Reading the coverage (scroll down for the links), Sgt. Meyer sounds like the prototypical U.S. Marine.  Decent, focused, hardworking.  The best friend a person could ever hope to have.

A class act, he agreed to accept the Medal of Honor as a memorial to his friends that died that day.  He asked that members of his unit be present so that they too could be honored.

Watch the presentation ceremony...

Seeing all of the past Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, I hope that they offer him the support and advice he needs the most.  They are the voice of the nearly singular experience that they have in common.

While he would gladly trade that bit of gold and ribbon to have his four friends back with him, he should never forget the thirty-six lives that he did save.  And he should never forget the thirty-seventh life he saved that day; his own.  For Sgt. Dakota Meyer is loved, respected, and honored for being who he is.  He is the quintessential American hero.  And we should be humbled to have him walk among us.

Kudos to President Obama for his presentation speech.

A Status Check On Your Activities...


Posted on : 9/15/2011 08:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Internet.  Have a nice day!

My Most Successful Post?


Posted on : 9/14/2011 04:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

One of the features in the new Blogger interface is a statistics page.  It shows you all sorts of interesting things like how many times people have visited your blog and what entries they viewed.

My number one post?  The one about the National Geographic diving photos.

I expect the number of page views to that entry to bump up a little more now.

This is a little disappointing in a way.  I hope to bring you something mildly interesting to read whenever I create a new post.  Given that I do tend to lean towards politically oriented entries, I had hoped that one of those would create the most interest.

And The Counter Argument Is?


Posted on : 9/13/2011 07:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Simon over at Classical Values is taking a look at response to a recent Sarah Palin speech.

That is all explained rather reasonably by what Palin said,“We have the highest federal corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Did you know our rates are higher than China and Communist Cuba?”

The essence of the plan is to attract businesses to America by making America the best place in the world to do business. It seems like a good idea to me., too!

I would gladly entertain a logical counter-argument for eliminating the corporate income tax.

What Media Bias? - NPR Edition


Posted on : 9/12/2011 12:00:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I expect better from NPR's news reporting staff.

In his most recent speech, Mr. Obama claimed that Abraham Lincoln founded the GOP.  He didn't.  He joined the GOP two years after it the first convention.

Not a huge gaffe in the larger scheme of things.  But similar, inconsequential gaffes have been committed...and sometimes were not committed but where inferred by the contenders within the GOP and resulted in all sorts of tongue clicking, tsking, and other forms of disapproval by the media.

In this case?  NPR simply omits the gaffe from their transcript.

But let's not get sidetracked by issues of media bias.  I am 100% certain that the media has no way of influencing any portion of the electorate.

Sure.  Right.

Shoot The Bastards Instead


Posted on : 9/12/2011 10:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

The NYTimes has this recent report indicating that the government charges of fraud against some of the architects of the 2008 fiscal meltdown.

The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.
I have been contemplating a much larger essay on the causes of the 2008 meltdown.  There were many.

It is now patently clear that the size and scope of the meltdown would have been far less were it not for outright fraud on the part of elements of the banking industry.  I read a piece in Vanity Fair a couple years back that made it clear that Goldman Sachs, innovator of the credit default swap form of securities, had the internal position that those securities were bad risks while simultaneously selling those same securities [to] investors.

Were I of a less temperate nature, I might suggest that stringing Goldman Sachs executives and managers up by the balls and letting the crows feast on their rotting flesh is a fit punishment.  Similarly, I might suggest that distaff Goldman Sachs executives and managers be subjected to forcible sex change operations so that they can be strung up by their balls so that crows might feast on their rotting flesh.

I am too much of a lesbian to ever want to hurt a vagina.

Unfortunately, securities fraud cases are notoriously hard to prove.  The second difficulty is that many of the more obviously instances of potential fraud were committed by companies that no longer exist.  Via Megan McArdle:

Securities cases are hard to prove in the best of circumstances--even Eliot Spitzers' famous crusade against Wall Street consisted of getting fairly minor settlements from most of the big fish he went after . . . and losing every case he took to court.  The first mortgage securities case to go to trial, with two Bear Stearns bankers, likewise returned a "not guilty" verdict.  Many of these same banks got themselves in serious financial trouble by gorging on their own toxic mortgage securities, which dims the fraud angle.  Unfortunately, being arrogant idiots with the risk appetite of a coked-up skydiver is not a crime.

On the issuance side, most of the knowing, obviously provable fraud seems to have been at the mortgage broker level, or in mortgage mills that are now out of business.  Proving that someone ought to have known that they were being scammed is harder--especially since they can argue that if they ought to have known, so should the GSEs.
Shooting them where they stand seems a cleaner solution.  I am open to suggestions involving tar and feathers.

In The Wake Of Chaos


Posted on : 9/12/2011 07:10:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I found the following while digging around on my hard drive.  I believe that this was eventually published by the local paper; the Jackson Citizen Patriot.  The then editorial page editor, Ken Wyatt, was generous with his space whenever I had something to share with his readers.

This was written in the wake of 9/11/2001, when we had so many questions, and so few answers.  Little has changed.  So much has changed.

A Classy Tribute - Video


Posted on : 9/11/2011 07:26:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

Budweiser apparently did not run this commercial for very long.  But I think it was a classy way to acknowledge the tragedy without being overtly commercial about it.

Edit:  I believe this commercial was made explicitly for today's games.  The full ad includes a reference to a 9/11 charity at the end.  The myth running around Facebook is that they made it in 2001 and didn't run it more than a few times to avoid the appearance of trading on the tragedy for corporate gain.

Cynics will say they still are realizing some sort of corporate gain.  Perhaps.  But it is a classy tribute, and they are promoting a valid charity as well.

Ten Years On...


Posted on : 9/11/2011 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , , , ,

I am not usually taken with overly passionate remembrances.  I participate in a few only due to my membership in a veteran's organization; the VFW.  While I have been known to 'wave the bloody shirt' infrequently, I am not terribly fascinated with such activities.

Yet here we are; ten years after.