Sunday, November 22, 2015

Spartans Win! Spartans Win!

I should know by now. I really should. It doesn't matter what the spread is, it doesn't matter how good the opponent is. None of that stuff matters at all. Mark Dantonio and his team will find a way to pull it out in the end. (That Nebraska game notwithstanding). What a great win by a great team. 

Some really petulant comments by OSU players after the game, especially Ezekiel Elliot, who basically called his coaches idiots and then said he was turning pro. 

If I were Urban Meyer I would tell this crybaby kid he was going to be the backup water boy next week, and he wouldn't see the field even if there were only ten guys healthy. 

Seriously, if the kid plays next week it tells me a lot about Meyer and his program. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Road Funding Impasse in Michigan Continues

The road funding battle continues in Michigan.  A group of conservative Senators is digging in their heels against the tide of tax and fee hikes already passed by the House, and which the Governor has signaled his willingness to sign.  Nolan Finley, in today's edition of The Detroit News is calling for the Governor to "break some legs" among the group resisting the bill.

I'm not writing to rip Nolan Finley this morning, as disappointing as its weak logic is.  Apparently "clinging to the pretense that a billion dollars can be found in the General Fund without wrecking Michigan. If there’s that much fat in the budget, why haven’t these lawmakers trimmed it by now?", or more succinctly "If nobody's found it yet, it must not be there".  I guess Christopher Columbus should have just given up.  Or Jonas Saulk.  Alexander Graham Belll.  Edison.  Einstein.  Fill in your own insightful person who discovered something no one thought existed.  According to Nolan Finley they should have just given up and quit.  Nolan - that's pretty weak.  And in the face of an 80-20 rejection of a similar ballot initiative last spring, it's pretty tone deaf.  Might I suggest, Nolan, that if they haven't found it in there, it's because they aren't looking?  And if they aren't looking, it's likely because they don't want to find anything, because they would then have to make some really hard choices? 

No, today I'm writing to once again to rail against the political mindset that is completely insulated from the realities of the world around them which the rest of us little people have to live in.  That reality is that we citizens are taxed and fee-ed to the breaking point.  Every new "problem" requires the extraction of more money from the citizenry.  Every new project needs "funding" from the government and it's never-ending bounty.  And if we don't fund all these things, including 1.2 BILLION NEW DOLLARS to fix the roads, then according to Nolan Finley and a lot of other political class groupthinkers, we will "wreck Michigan".

I'm here writing once again to say something no one besides these stubborn, intransigent, conservative dreamers seems to be willing to say:  NO!

It's easy to raise taxes and fees - just ask the House.  Or the Governor.  Or the President for that matter.  It's the politician's default answer to every issue.  What's hard is to look at your constituents and say "sorry we couldn't fund your dog park - we had to use that money to fix the roads".

So, no we should not fund bike paths and hiking trails before we fund our roads.  We should not fund parks, malls, housing developments, windmills, or any other fluff the State funds until the road repairs are paid for.  And not just now, but five, ten, and fifty years from now.

So, no you politicians should not just add on more taxes every time someone finds a new "crisis".  You should not hike fees to fund your little pet projects.  And don't say that isn't what this is about, because that monstrosity of a proposal the voters of this state rejected emphatically and overwhelmingly last spring was full of that *ahem* crap. And what will we find in this new bill of yours?

Instead, you should learn to do what the people of this State have to do every time you politico's dream up some new project and get your buddies to vote to increase the budget to fund it: TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS!  Go over your budgets and get rid of expenditures that aren't necessary to continue to function.  (Sorry honey, we just can't take that vacation to Cancun this year.  The roof is leaking and we need to replace it.)  Reduce expenses you can't get rid of (If we start using our wood stove more and turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees, we can save a ton on our gas bill this winter.  Then we can afford to register our cars and get our license plates this year).

Those are the things that people out here in the real world do when there are really important things to do that need to be funded.  Because we can't just go and force our employer to increase our wages 40% to cover that new roof, or give us a 20% hourly increase to pay our heat bill this winter.  We have to make do with what we already have.

So I say Bravo to you stubbornly resistant conservative Senators!  You are doing the right thing for the right reasons, and you are listening to the 80% majority of voters in this State who said NO NEW TAXES so emphatically last spring.  We certainly did understand what the politicos wanted, and we rejected it soundly.  As you should continue to do.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

For Murphy's Law: Low Passes

There is at least one of your favorites here.  Personally I like the B25.
Apparently, the Zero is a real one, not one of the modified T6 Texans.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Is it too much to ask that professional writers and editors actually use proper English grammar?

Seen in The Detroit News sports section today:  "Spartans bit by injury bug". 


I see a lot more of this lately, and not just at DetNews. 

If you're going to claim to be a professional writer or editor, please take some pride in your profession and learn your grammar!

Thank You. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Late Breaking News: Melissa Gilbert to run for Congress in Michigan

The Detroit News is reporting this afternoon that actress Melissa Gilbert has announced she is running for the Democratic nomination for Congress, against Freshman Congressman Mike Bishop  in Michigan's 8th District. This is the seat previously held by Mike Rogers, and is considered a pretty safe Republican district.

Gilbert, and her husband, actor Tim Busfield, live in Howell.

I promise, no "an actor - really?" comments, as Ronald Reagan was certainly an actor, and he was successful both as Governor of California and President.  But of course, Gilbert is no Ronald Reagan.

Predictably, she says she is for "families", a "new economy", and "helping people who have fallen through the cracks."  Or in other words, the same old Democrat Socialist Redistributionist hogwash we have been hearing for the last 70 years.

If Bishop has any political chutzpah he should be able to deal with Gilbert and her tired rhetoric easily.  Her name recognition will help her, certainly.  I've never heard her speak as herself, so I have no idea how she carries and presents herself.  We shall see. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Wow! Big changes for the Tigers

If you've read my blog much you know I'm a big Detroit Tigers fan, and I do occasional commentary on them. And there is a lot to comment on this week!

To say that this season has been disappointing would be an understatement. But not necessarily unexpected, as a lot of stars would have to have aligned in order for them to have any success. Key injuries (Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera), a chronically bad bullpen, and other players who have not lived up to their billing, and you have a recipe for a flop. Which led to a selloff of their top talent to aquire prospects. 

Really, this needed to happen. This team was not the juggernaut they have been in the past, and they weren't going to win anything as currently constructed. All reports indicate the prospects they got were top-notch. 

The unexpected move was yesterday's firing of team President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski. 

Many fans have called for him to be fired over the last couple of years because for all the money spent on star players the team has not won a World Series.  Still, this was a bit of a surprise at this point in the season. Some had even thought that the deals he made in the selloff meant that ownership was going to let him continue the makeover. 

So now Al Avila, longtime assistant GM takes over, and apparently not as an interim. He has long been speculated as Dombrowski's replacement, especially last year when there was talk of him wanting the Commissioners job when Bud Selig retired. 

I expect there are more changes to come, especially in the offseason. Manager Brad Ausmus is on shaky ground, and probably some or all of his coaching staff. 

Whatever happens, they have to fix the bullpen. They score a lot of runs, but they give up a lot of late runs and cough up late leads at an astounding rate. That needs to be fixed first. After that, they need a solid starter to shore up the rotation, as Simon and Green are not getting it done. Green still has potential but Simon does not. After that they probably need some outfield help, unless Tyler Collins really impresses through the remainder of this season.  

We'll see. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

First Perry Update

First update, from the US Army Marksmanship Unit Small Arms Firing School, day one, Lauren reports she shot 92, 1X on rapid-fire prone.  I'm assuming 200yds and 10 shots, so that is a lot of 9's and 10's.

The Army supplies the real M16's and ammo for this 3-day school.  No Select-fire allowed though - bummer!

Pete Rose

I want to save the commissioner a little trouble as he is trying to decide whether to re-instate Pete Rose from his lifetime ban from Major League Basebell for gambling.  I know you are going to call me for some input, Mr. Commissioner, so here it is.

H--- NO!  He knew what would happen if he gambled and he did it anyway.  He needs to be kept out forever.  There is no forseeable reason why he should be re-instated.  You shouldn't have even let him near the All-Star game yesterday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When Cervid meets Steel at 75 mph

For those of you not up on your animal nomenclature, a Cervid is a deer. Or in this case, an ex deer. The deer lost but so did I, as my van is now consigned to the scrapyard. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Camp Perry here she comes!

The ammo is all loaded (550 rounds).  The shooting chair/cart is built.  All the gear is purchased or borrowed (except a mount for the spotting scope - I still can't find what is needed.  Perhaps one can be found at Perry).  Range lunch items have been purchased.  Money for gas and food has been set aside. Clothes have been washed and packing will commence tomorrow. Sometime in the afternoon/early evening she will be dropped off for the trip to Camp Perry.

I wish I could be there for it all!  Dad and I are going down for a day to watch her this week, but other commitments are keeping me here at home.

Shoot Straight, Lauren!!!

It's the All-Star Break, and the Tigers are stinking up the Central Division

There is a big debate going on right now as the Tigers stagger into the All-Star break with a .500 record, and sitting 8 games behind the division-leading Royals.  And 3-1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

After watching this team bumble and stumble and give away games all season long (witness the wasting of a 7-1 lead late against the Twins this week as the latest example) I'm firmly in the camp of those who want to sell off assets to gain some payroll flexibility for next year, as well as some good, young talent.  The other side says "go out and get a quality starter and a quality reliever and things will be all right".  I don't think so.  There is more wrong with this team than a couple of pitchers.

Untouchables in this sell-off:  Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, JD Martinez, James McCann, Jose Iglesias.  Everyone else is fair game, even Justin Verlander.  Never thought I would say that about Verlander.

What should they get back?  Pitching first and foremost.  Good, strike-throwing, consistent pitching, not older than 25.  Left-handed if possible.  A closer candidate if possible.  Also a speedy corner outfielder with some pop that can hit .280 or so.  They have that last one with Cespedes, but he is a free agent, and there isn't much there on the farm to give the job to. 

They also need to start thinking about replacing V-Mart and Cabrera, as they are both at the point where their bodies are starting to fail them.  Cabrera can move to DH eventually, but that 4-year contract Victor got is going to be a problem in years 3 and 4, probably, when his knees finally give out completely.  It will be sad to watch a scintillating hitter fall apart physically like that.

When the year is over (or maybe before if they really go in the tank) they need to find a new manager.  Mr. Calm has not instilled the toughness in these guys that it takes to win it all.  I have no doubt he's a smart guy, and he may eventually be a terrific manager, but right now he seems more concerned with helping everyone feel good than he is getting after them for screwing up so much and giving so many games away.  It was good they sent Joba Chamberlain packing, it sent the message that if you can't get guys out, you're going to be gone.  Now maybe guys like Rondon and Soria will get the message.

The Tigers are soft mentally, and they can't pitch very well.  That's why they won't win anything this year.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Headlight lens restoration

OK, I admit it.  This is a little outside my normal realm of comment, but this really worked well for me so I thought I would share.

I have a beater minivan, a 2000 Grand Caravan.  It looks like crap, but it starts up and runs every time, so we keep driving it.  But its headlight lenses were really bad, to the point of having visible pitting.  And of course, lots of yellowing also.  To the point where it was making my wife nervous to drive it at night.  I have to admit, I was squinting a lot more to see at night too, so I decided to do this.

I already had much of what was needed, but the sandpaper I picked up at Walmart for about $3.50 a package for each of the 3 grits, and it took one sheet of each total to do both headlights.  I think the clear paint was about $3.50 also, at the local "big box".  Walmart didn't have what was recommended, or I would have gotten it there along with the sandpaper.

After completing the process as described in the video, my headlights are clear and bright, and they are back to being useful at night for seeing things in front of you, instead of just being seen by others.  I highly recommend it if you have this problem on your vehicle.

Now this guy's voice is kind of annoying, but he paces well and gets through the whole thing pretty quickly and thoroughly, so just hang in there:

Supreme Court Gay "Marriage" responses: "Ignore the Ruling"

While I am as disappointed with the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges about gay "marriage" as anyone else, I am also leery of those (including one congresscritter) who are planning to ignore the law or advising others to do so.

This would seem an unwise course.  Consider the Heller and MacDonald decisions from this court over the last few years, which found that the 2nd Amendment is indeed an individual right, and therefore individuals have the right to own firearms.  Those who say "ignore the law" are creating precedent that would allow governments at any level to ignore these two decisions simply because they didn't like them or thought they were immoral.

Do you think the politicos in Chicago wouldn't love to find some way to ignore those cases?  D.C.?  N.Y.?  You bet they would. And this would hand it to them.

This is just one of many possible issues this could apply to.  So let's not shoot ourselves in the foot over this one, OK?  Let's think this all the way through.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Sopwith Camel Restoration

I thought this was pretty interesting. From The Detroit News

"It was the space shuttle of its time," Kozura says.

Together, these authentic parts are being assembled in a suburban garage and basement in west Michigan into what Kozura says will be the finest airworthy Sopwith Camel reproduction in the United States.
And no, it doesn't look like this:
Image result for snoopy sopwith camel


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

It was a 600 yard day

Much scurrying around trying to get preparations complete to send Lauren to the National Matches this month.  I learned from my friend Aaron over at The Shekel that the Washtenaw Sportsmans Club in Ypsilanti was having a 300/600yd. practice session today which was open to the public, so we made the drive.

First, let me give a big THANK YOU to the Club and the members I met there today for taking us in, waiving the 600-yard qualifier (Lauren has shot several shorter matches, and knows the ropes) and letting her shoot for free.  This kind of support for Junior shooters is very much appreciated, and really helps to keep the shooting sports from fading away in the late, great U.S.A.  One of the guys even let Lauren borrow his cart so she didn't have to carry all her gear back to the firing line.  Everyone there was just as nice as could be, and glad to see a Junior there and doing well.

Second, if you are in the area and looking for a club for shooting sports, give them some consideration.  The facility looks to be first rate for many different shooting disciplines as well as archery.

Third, Lauren was kicking some serious backside today.  We got there too late to shoot at 300, so all we could do was 600, which was just fine with me, as there are so few 600 yard ranges available. Winds were fairly light with some gusts, moving left to right, the temperatures were comfortable in the mid 70's, and the sky was mostly cloudy so there wasn't a lot of glare to deal with either.  The range has military-style pits, so the targets were being spotted and scored there so we could see them back at the line (this wasn't a match so scores weren't being kept, but your hits were scored on the target for you to record if you liked).  She got lots of help from an experienced shooter, and he seemed pretty impressed with her shooting.  Her windage was really good, and once she got her come-ups figured out (the main reason for going today) she was knocking out 9's and 10's and a couple of X's with great regularity.

A shift in the pits capped our time there, and once again everyone was as nice as could be.  So thanks and a big thumbs up for Washtenaw Sportsmans Club!  We enjoyed our time there today!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Camp Perry Prep

My daughter is going to shoot at the National Matches at Camp Perry this year, on the Michigan Junior Team.  So we are loading ammo for her to take.  She has been away at camps the last two weeks, so I have been working on the cases she had begun prepping before she left.  I've primed 500 or so cases over the last few days, and now I've started loading them.  Here's what I did today:
That's 100 rounds.  Here's what I loaded them with:
I'm used to loading pistol rounds on my turret press and cranking out a couple hundred in an hour, but these we do single-stage and very exactingly.  It takes me a minute or so per round to throw the powder charge, carefully trickling the last tenth of a grain or so.  Seating the bullet is much faster than throwing the charge!  Those 100 rounds represent about 3 hours of work for me today, and that doesn't include clearning, sorting, depriming, resizing, trimming, and priming the cases.  And swaging the crimp out of the primer pockets of the military brass (that is a pain in the posterior!)  I'm glad Lauren helped with the prep work!

I can also say that Varget powder is Un-Obtainium right now.  None of the local shops has any, nor do any of the on-line retailers.  I even checked Jay's up in Clare (a couple of hours drive from here) and they didn't have any either.  I had a pound to start with and I'm down to about a third of a pound, and I'm shaking the trees for more to finish out her ammo loadout for Perry.  I'm hoping there will be some available at the vendor booths at the matches so we can get ready for next year!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Post Proposal 1 vote - What if it's voted down?

With most polls showing a 2-1 or 3-1 defeat for Proposal 1 in Michigan, I've been thinking about what would happen if the Proposal is actually voted down.  For those not familiar, Proposal 1 is a tax hike (sales and fuel) which ostensibly will be used to fix roads in Michigan (State roads anyway.  City, county, and Interstates not included).  All this at a cost of 2 billion dollars, not all of which will go to road repairs.  And what does go to road repairs will initially be quite small.  Plus a bunch of special-interest pork included to get Democrat votes in the legislature.

We can look to history for a clue as to what the Honorable Rick Snyder will do - specifically the Bridge to Canada project from a couple of years ago which the Governor lobbied hard for, but which the Senate rejected.  Rather than accept the fact that there were major questions about the cost estimates for this bridge and working with the legislators who voted down the bill in committee, our PO'ed Governor went around the legislature and got the Canadians to foot the bill for the construction, for which he didn't need any legislative approvals.

So, what does the Governor have up his sleeve this time to get around the rejection of his plans (if that happens)?  What new plans does he have to extract more money from the overtaxed populace of Michigan?

Governor - nobody disagrees with you that the roads are bad and getting worse.  We all know things need to be fixed.  But surely you understand that people are tired of tax hikes, fee hikes, and the ever-growing size and scope of government.  You really need to get your own house in order in State government before you come looking for more money from the already highly taxed populace of Michigan.

If you do that then we will all know you are serious about dealing with the problems in this state, rather than creating new burdens that only enhance your (already soiled) legacy.  You know, sort of like what you did with Detroit when you made them get their financial house in order.  You should apply the same firmness and critical eye to State Government.  If you look hard enough you will find the money you need to get the job done without raising anyone's taxes.