Monday, May 27, 2013

For Memorial Day...

Via my mom:
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Joe has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Veteran died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Veteran
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Veteran,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Veteran
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Veteran,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Veteran,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Veteran's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

Wyoming Cowboy...

Via reader Jim M.:
An 80-year-old rancher from Wyoming goes to the Mayo clinic in Rochester for a check-up.

The doctor is amazed at what good shape the guy is in and asks, 'How do you stay in such great physical condition?'

'I'm from Wyoming and in my spare time I like to hunt and fish' says the old guy, 'and that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before daylight riding herd and mending fences and when I'm not doing that, I'm out hunting or fishing. In the evening, I have a beer, a shot of whiskey and all is well.'

'Well' says the doctor, 'I'm sure that helps, but there's got to be more to it. How old was your father when he died?'

'Who said my Father's dead?'

The doctor is amazed. 'You mean you're 80 years old and your father's still alive? How old is he?'

'He's 100 years old,' says the old cowboy. 'In fact he worked and hunted with me this morning, and then we went to the topless bar for a while and had a little beer and that's why he's still alive. He's a Wyoming rancher and he hunts and fishes too!'

'Well,' the doctor says, 'that's great, but I'm sure there's more to it than that. How about your father's father? How old was he when he died?'

'Who said my Grandpa's dead?'

Stunned, the doctor asks, 'you mean you're 80 years old and your grandfather's still alive?'

'He's 118 years old,' says the man.

The doctor is getting frustrated at this point, 'So, I guess he went hunting with you this morning too?'

'No, Grandpa couldn't go this morning because he's getting married today.'

At this point the doctor is close to losing it. 'Getting Married??? Why would a 118 year-old guy want to get married?'

'Who said he wanted to?'

The Path of the Warrior...

Reagan on the 40th Anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy...

Carbon-Free Sugar?

Domino is advertising a new kind of sugar: their “certified carbon-free sugar”, with which you can “go green” (for a hefty price premium, no doubt).  But what on earth does it mean for sugar to be “carbon-free”?

First I went to Wikipedia to make sure that sugar really was a carbohydrate, as I believed.  First sentences:
Sugar is the generalised name for a class of chemically-related sweet-flavored substances, most of which are used as food. They are carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Hard to get any more direct than that.  Sugar contains carbon, period, end of story. So what the heck is Domino talking about?  I found the explanation in their FAQ.  First, the sugar isn't really “carbon-free”:
CarbonFree® is the registered trademark of, a non-profit organization that certifies products as CarbonFree® following an extensive life cycle assessment to determine the product's carbon footprint and greenhouse gas reductions that in turn render the footprint neutral. Please note we use the trademark CarbonFree® not the phrase "carbon free". To learn more about the CarbonFree® certification, please visit their site at or visit us at
It's plain old sugar.  Nothing different about it at all!  So how did it come to be certified as CarbonFree?
In order to earn's CarbonFree® certification, Domino® Sugar products were put through a comprehensive, six-month certification process. Each product's life cycle assessment, from the primary inputs of farming, milling, refining and packaging the sugar, all the way to the product's final delivery to store shelves, was evaluated by The Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management, a noted expert on carbon management, policy issues and project development. After determining the product's footprint, Domino® Sugar's method of greenhouse gas reduction to render emissions net zero was through our production and supply of renewable energy. More than a decade ago, our agricultural operation in Florida that produces Domino® Sugar's CarbonFree® products built its own renewable energy facility, which is the largest of its kind in North America. The renewable energy facility is integral to our sugar process. We use our leftover sugar cane fiber and recycled urban wood waste to power our sugar operations as well as supply clean, renewable electricity for tens of thousands of homes.
I've actually read about this power plant (there used to be one on Hawai'i, too, before the unions killed the sugar cane business there).

This is wickedly good marketing on Domino's part.  The sugar they produce in Florida costs Domino less than their competitors cost, because Domino doesn't have to pay for fuel and electricity.  Then they certify it through this program, and charge more for it!  Brilliant!

Of course, all of this ignores one fact that most Americans are ignorant of: we pay more than other countries for our sugar because of an elaborate system that financially “protects” our domestic sugar farmers.  It protects them, but we all pay in the form of substantially higher sugar prices.  If it weren't for this system of protection, our sugar farmers (including Domino's Floridian operations) would either have to figure out how to reduce their costs to the global level, or those farmers would have to switch to more lucrative crops.  Bye, bye green sugar...


A tetrachromat is a person who has four kinds of cones in their retinas, instead of the three that the rest of us have.  Such a person would be able to see millions more colors than we could.  Scientists have long speculated that such people existed, but they've never actually found one.  Until now!

A Song for the Season...

Mark Steyn on the history of The Battle Hymn of the Republic...


Spain used the very best of the modern, computer-aided design systems to design it's new S-80 class of ultra-quiet diesel-electric submarine.  But something went wrong, and the weight of the completed submarine is 80 to 100 tons more than expected.  That means that the S-80 class boats, as designed, won't float.  They'd go straight to the bottom and stay there.


They're figuring out how to fix this...

Armeria welwitschii...

From BPOD, of course:

Quote of the Day...

From Dave Carter, writing at Ricochet:
We who remain have an obligation to honor the memory and sacrifice of our fallen, though I would respectfully submit that our obligation extends beyond a moment of silence before a barbecue, or even a solemn remembrance at a cemetery. Our obligation is no less than the continuation of their mission, to ensure that a nation conceived in liberty not only survives, but that it prevails. Brave men and women did not spill their blood and pour out every drop of fidelity to this country so that the IRS could badger and torment American citizens whose political beliefs are antithetical to a government whose prevailing ethos is antithetical to America's founding. The 2,000 men who died at Valley Forge (two thirds of whom died from disease alone), and those who died at Lexington, Bunker Hill, Trenton, Saratoga, and Brandywine, didn't give their lives so that their regretful progeny could stand on that holy ground today in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania and surrender their sovereignty to a government that demands to know the content of their prayers! They didn't fight for centralized authority, but rather against it. And they sure as hell didn't scoff at the vigilance required to remain free from tyranny.
Read the whole thing.  I recommend having a Kleenex box handy...

Take a Moment Today...

Take a moment from today's burgers, friends, and family to think about, remember, and honor our fallen warriors...

A Memorial Day Story...

This is too short to excerpt, so I stole the whole thing.  I don't think the folks at Ace of Spades HQ will mind:
In 1983 I was sitting in the Airport in Atlanta Ga. waiting for my transfer plane to arrive. There were a lot of military people in uniform striding through the airport and I would read their ribbons as they passed.

A Red Headed Army Major in his dress greens came up to the seats where I was and I looked at his chest. I saw immediately that he had both Combat Infantry and Airborne Ranger badges and more than the usual one row of medals that all Vietnam vets had.

I saw an Army commendation medal with V for Valor device, a Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters - which meant that he had been wounded three times, and a Legion of Merit medal. I was very surprised to see that; mostly it is Generals who are awarded a legion of merit.

Then I saw that he had a seventh medal on a row all by itself, it was crepe blue with five little stars on it. My eyes got very big - I had never seen one before.

I walked over to where he was sitting and I said "Excuse me Major." to him. He stood up and I shook his hand and said "Thank you, Sir". He looked very confused and said with a puzzled look on his face "Thank me - what did I do?" I answered him "Sir I understand your confusion - its just that I know what that is" nodding toward that seventh ribbon "Thank you sir".

He started crying - no one had ever thanked him before. Here was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient who couldn't imagine why anyone would be thanking him for anything.