Monday, February 28, 2005


Well, I spent a nice leisurely weekend doing absolutely nothing. That's not exactly true, but I managed to stay away from the office for the whole weekend. And amazingly enough... the world didn't come to an end. In fact, I don't believe that anyone noticed that I was gone. Now that says something that should be tickling my ego. My crap-o-meter, if you will. Baird.... you're full of crap most of the time and a whole lot less important that you think that you are. Yeah... that's it.

First of all, my friend Tom and I went shopping for a Troy Built tiller for his new rural adventures. No luck. Then we went to shop for garden stuff. No luck. Then we went and ate a three hour lunch that involved a great deal of fermented beverages and lengthy explanations of why those high school girls were fools for not letting us have our way with them back in 1964. That was an analysis of why there was no luck in our dim past. Then we drove back to his casa and did the cooking for our combined broods of children and women who have permitted at least limited foolishness in the past. I must confess that Mr. Leete is a very good outdoor chef as well as an indoor foodstuff manager. The problem on Saturday evening was that it was raining to beat the band, but we had consumed sufficient grape for it not to matter. I spent twenty minutes finding a umberella then we went out to the grill and threw the thing on the patio because we needed the extra hand to hold on to the steak platters. Hey... we are drunks with priorities! I can't remember what we ate or when, but I have a distinct recollection of enjoying the meal.

What a life.


Thursday, February 24, 2005


I think that this job is beating me down. There's a mountain of unfinished business sitting on my desk, but I've been told to take 4 hours off so that they don't have to pay me overtime. Never mind that I haven't asked to be paid for overtime or even expected any overtime. In fact, I've gone out of my way to try to just get the job done... take junk home with me, move things around so that I can multitask, try to parallel process things so that I can cover a number of jobs at a time. All the usual things that people do when they have 20 pounds of you know what to fit into a 10 pound sack.

Doesn't matter.

And my boss gave me a parable the other day to tie my despair to: she had a group of her staff come to her at her previous assignment as supervisor, and complain about not having cell phones. This is a job that really requires one of those things and the administration staff all have those miserable Nextel things that you always see in restaurants being wielded by thoughtless boors who want everyone in the place to know that they are middle class and have cell phones. Anyhow, the message came back from on high that our big bosses would not consider getting cell phones for the troops because... "they're willing to use their own so why should we go to the expense? They already are willing to use their own."

In the Machiavellian work environment that I'm in that makes perfect sense. My unit is supposed to be staffed at 10 trained, certified, competent (well.. maybe), people. We've limped along with 4 people doing the work of 10 for the last 6 months. They have gotten a few replacements... but these are all children (I swear to God, one of those girls looks 12 years old to these wizened eyes) who have to get through the academy (only 25% pass), then get back in place here at the underbelly to begin carrying a case load. Call it 6 more months... minimum. And we processed 35,000 cases last year. Sigh. I can say this... the four of us have killed ourselves, gotten the job done, and haven't missed a single critical assignment. Unfortunately, the toads up the ladder have seen that so they're taking their sweet time sending any help our way. More and more I feel like Yossarian sitting up there in his tree. I suppose that's exactly what I'm doing here, writing this and sitting in a Joseph Heller tree while Rome burns around me.

In the meanwhile, I'm being told to not work any overtime or try to practice any survival strategies... or else. What else? There's an old joke in the Department that if they want to punish you they will make you go work at the JAC. Woooo -- oooo. We're there now.

I'm sorry. I promised myself that I wouldn't talk about work on this blog... and now I find myself doing precisely that. I feel like a bit player in a remake of Catch-22. Let's see... if I refuse to fly the extra missions then I must be sane so I can't quit. But if I agree to fly the extra missions then I'm gonna get killed whether I'm crazy or not. Wasn't that it?

Yup.... that's the feeling I've got. No wonder Hunter cashed it out. Poor bastard.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I spent all day yesterday sitting in court playing court liaison. I guess that it's punishment, because we (us Intake goons of Unit 214) managed to steal the previous court liaison person, Nakia, from them and got her moved over to Intake. So... as punishment for our sins we have to cover the slot until they can fill it. Well, I suppose that it's worth it cause Nakia is a jewel. But... there I was sitting in court all day.

It was interesting. The first thing that came home to me was that those great men in the black robes don't have a clue just like the rest of us mere mortals. The judge was well intentioned but he didn't really grok the fact that the juvenile division really isn't in the punishment business alone, but has parallel missions to develop competencies. Bla bla bla. I know... more psychobabble. But what we really want kids to do is just quit it. Come one pinhead... quit it! Otherwise, you're gonna get a felony record and never become a hairdresser like you dream to be someday when you grow up. Or a nuclear physicist, or what ever it is that they keep putting on the blotter.

It just amazes me that kids will put so much at risk and not even come near to having a clue that they are putting more than themselves on the chopping block, but their whole family too. Aaargh! Grimace! Hateful face! Idiot!

I could understand it if there were any advantage to the typical juvenile screwup, but I'm sitting there watching the Judge deal out penance for felony stealing a lawn mower, then telling the judge that the thing didn't work right so the kid didn't think that he should be charged. Duh! Then the parents get pissed at the Judge when he says probation when he could have put the little jerk in a committment program till his 19th birthday if he wanted to. The father got irate and started yelling at the judge. Big mistake. This is a circuit judge and slapped the loudmouth in the pokey for contempt. Now the mother is weeping and the kid is playing the hangdog and the judge is irate with the Department because we didn't have any alternatives for him. Sigh. And the kid still doesn't understand that HE was the cause of all this. What a mutant!

The Judge did do one cute thing. He had a young businessman before him... sale and delivery of cocaine. You should know that the crack business has been in the toilet for some time now. All those middle class white kids driving their BMWs into the 'hood are looking for H these days. Only poor folks do cocaine... and that means no money. Anyhow, this young street hustler was before the judge and the man in the black robe fined him $5000 and retained jurisdiction so that the kid will have the rest of his life to pay off the fine. Has to pay court costs too. And cost of care for his probation. Ha!

And on that note, the day ended without even the usual whimper. No bang. I spent the rest of the evening listening to the Glenn Gould's take on Bach's Goldberg Variations. Who said there isn't a god?


Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson


What can any of us say?


Saturday, February 12, 2005


Just to add to the fire of Kerry's trip into Cambodia... read this.


Friday, February 11, 2005


I don't think that that many of us realize what a close call we had to a really bad bad thing: President Kerry.

It occurs to me that we... I mean all of us, Republican, Democrat, Mugwumps, Hells Angels... all of us... came dangerously close to having a real honest to god pathological liar in the White House.

A week ago, I was whining about the weirdness... I mean weorthan wyrd on urthr.... that Kerry was coming up with on Russert's talk show. He said that he was with a CIA guy in Cambodia doing some sort of bullshit black-ops mission. Pure bullshit. Anyhow, I asked if anybody else had picked up on that.

It seems that my good friend Guy over at Snugg Harbor noticed the same thing, and even linked someone else who was holding the senator's feet to the fire. Read this.

Look, I'm no political analyst or pundit or anything like that. I'm a retired school teacher who plays kiddie cop in his dotage. But even I get the willies when I think about how close we came to electing this nut job to POTUS.

Holy Mary Mother of God. Thank you thank you thank you. I don't care what President Bush does at this point. He could be the reincarnation of Vlad the Impaler as far as I'm concerned. He's delivered us from the awful possibility of a Kerry presidency.


Thursday, February 10, 2005


Somebody the other day got me thinking about my blogroll. I forget who it was. Velocidude? I'm not sure. Anyhow, I started looking at the list of blogs that I read every day and it got me thinking about how they change... evolve maybe is the better word... and how I go along with that flow.

I tend to start at the top and go down. Rachel, then Rambling Journal. I like him cause he seems to work at it. I mean, he's a pro and seems to be on a timetable. It's as if he is a man with a plan and is working towards something every day. That's good. A man with an agenda. Then the lunacy of Velociworld. What makes that guy humm is the fact that I own a Velocity aircraft. A very, very quick push style canard screaming sky buggy. Just the kind of thing for the ghost of Jacksonville. I know that doesn't make much sense, but then, it doesn't have to. What impresses me about this guy is how he seems to sustain that foolishness while delivering surprisingly good content. That stuff about the grey brick walls of Charleston was very subtle and insightful. Nice attention to detail, that.

Next, an enigma: Smoke of the Water. Does anybody know what happened to Jim? He was taking a break before. Suffering angst or some bullshit like that and then he was back at the first of the year and all was well... and then poof. Gone. I'm left with the feeling that maybe he was burning out on all the red state/ blue state intensity of the campaign and all the anger of dealing with those pesky Democrats who didn't seem to see things like he thought they should. Hell, we must be all headed for hell in a handbasket. Sigh.

At the heart of the morning show is Gutrumbles. That's a guy who gets up and works at being everybody's blogfadda. He's like the picture child of ADHD. You open up your copy of the DSM-IV and you see a thumbnail picture of Rob inside the cover.Under "Oppositional Defiance and You". Or maybe it was one of those stilted descriptions of frottage. I'm not sure.

The Dax Files are a way to decompress from massive doses of Triliptal prescribed by the detox mavens at Lakeside Alternatives brought in to deal with Gutrumbles. What we all grew up into when we decided to give up the prescription drugs and got regular jobs. Sure he's redneck and misanthropic, but that's the nicest hat they sell at the Army Navy Store in Yalaha.

Right about there I usually sign off because the system at work has some sort of porno filter to tell me that it's against policy to look at pictures of naked boobies that might appear on Kim du Toit's blog. Actually, that happens only about once a week when Kim can't think of anything to rant about. I mean, how many times can you get out your NRA membership card and swear fealty to the 2nd Amendment? Yeah, bring on the boobs.

Anyhow, that's the top of the list. When I get back to the boat and I'm warming up the laptop I go through the rest. They consist of three categories: First,the watershed ones... Baldilocks is to reassure me that girls with brains can still look good in uniform, and real uniform folks like Blackfive and Armour Gedden are out there fighting the good fight. Second, the brain trust... Belmont Club, SWG, Volokh, Instapundit, Alice in Texas. Those guys represent homework. They're my replacement for MSM. Brainfood. And third, and perhaps most important... the exit strategy. Something has to put a period on the end of the day's sentence. Key, Snugg Harbor (am I the only one who has trouble getting that damned thing to load? Whazzup man?), Cheese, Curmudgeonry... then Origin of Soul. All that youthful energy. I remember when I chased (and caught) girls like that in my dissipated youth. Ah, the good old days of twisting fatties and mixing up Vodka Bombs in the basement of the KA house on University Row in Gainesville. Go Gators!

Finally, a nightcap of Day by Day. I love that guy. Then Rube for a closer. An ex-pat in the land of Amadeus. Makes very, very nice pictures too. An artist.

Tomorrow, another recursion. How about you? Do I fit into anybody's daily drill? I hope so.



And... what makes you think that that's chicken?


Sunday, February 06, 2005


I find myself constantly going back to Armor Gedden to see what Avenger Red Six is up to. These guys... maybe it's Neil Prakash...he writes so clearly and with a sort of trained precision... I suppose it's the schooling. I don't know. Anyhow, they make the "professional" scribes fade into invisibility.

I mean, who needs the New York Times so long as we have a feed from the actual battlefront bringing us instantly all the power and truth of the actual fight. I mean, who cares what the MSM is up to? Who cares what they think or say? These guys are delivering the stuff that all those Dan Rather wannabees can only dream to get into print. And can't. I mean, they just can't.

Folks, what we are witness to here, aside from the fact that we have a superbly written war journal, is the passing of an old guard. A genuine sea change. You are sailing along minding your own business and then you sail out of the blue green ocean and into the warmer current of the lighter Gulf Stream and everything changes... the temperature of the water, the color of the water, the air itself smells different. A sea change. That is exactly what is happening here. We are seeing the creation of real literature right in front of us. Not washed and sanitized through a mass market full of shibboleths and failures. The voice is there. What Hemingway used to talk about when he said that when he wrote about war he strove to speak only the truth. That can only happen if you're actually there. Actually on the ground. Anything else is a lie and that is why the MSM is dead. And pointless. I mean... get out of the way!

I mean.... what cares what they have to say?

'Scuse me. I gotta get back and see what's happening to our guys on the front. Get out of the way Mr. Rather.


Saturday, February 05, 2005


The hindsight of the child is once again
The signal post of all that’s gone to loss.
“I told you so!” is on my lips, but then
I hold my tongue. My words conceal the cost.
I only want you safe. A happy, free
Defender of your future’s hopes and dreams,
And master of the things you choose to be.
Beware the choice, it often hides what seems.
The fool’s necessity is often cloaked.
The necessary evil of control
Where weakness throws itself on ground that’s soaked
In blood of good intentions, but is cold.
A Weakness masked is always cruel, not kind.
Forgiveness is a hubris that is blind.

jrb 2/5/2005

Thursday, February 03, 2005


I got a copy of the Tim Russert interview on Meet the Press of Kerry from last weekend because I couldn't believe my ears when I thought that I heard Mr. Kerry say he was on some sort of black-op mission into Cambodia with a CIA agent back in the good old days.

So you tell me. Did that guy admit on national TV that he was colluding with the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia back in the day? And this guy wanted to become the President of the United States.

I'm speechless.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I just love these guys over at Armor Gedden. They make an old grunt feel young again. Damn... those guys are having the time of their lives and are still aware of the fact that they are doing a damned good job. I just love 'em.

They were out blowing up IEDs and one of them had gotten out of the track to take a crap when one of the things went off and he crapped himself. Got shit all over himself and his pants and everywhere. Priceless. I remember when we once.... ah, old memories of combat silliness... rigged a bungee cord from the skids of one of our birds and took turns getting down with a .50 and getting skimmed underneath right in the top of the canopy to free hand shoot into the bushes. Ah, in those days we were unkillable.

These beautiful kids. God damn it. I'm gonna tear up. Damn. I envy them.



I'm reading a good book right now with all the details of the South Sea Bubble... "The Secret History of the South Sea Bubble" by Malcolm Balen. Published by Harper Collins.

This was the very first financial scandal on the Enron scale that was perpetrated by a herd of crooks back in the 1700s. Very good reading.

The thing that occurs to me is that nothing ever changes. Nothing. The actors change and the details of the con change, but the fundamental fact of greed following venality following crooked politicians and crooked lawyers and on and on never changes.

You could have dumped the whole Enron debacle down right next to the lizards that pulled off the famous Bubble and you could not tell them apart.

Anyhow, it's a very good read. I recommend it.