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Friday, July 29, 2005

My Religion Requires Me To Punch You In The Mouth 

The Chron has an article about a woman whose doctor refused, on religious grounds, to artificially inseminate her becuase she, the patient, is a lesbian. While it's unlikely such a thing will ever happen to me, I think I would totally pop a bolt if someone, be they a doctor, pharmacist, or whatever, refused to do their chosen job because they think I'm too much of a sinner. I don't know if the Church of the Mouse and Disco Ball has any Holy Sacraments, but I nominate Smacking Around Sanctimonious Assholes to be a Sacrament.

Friday Kid Blogging 


YW attended Soccer Camp this week. His age group went for 3 hours each morning all week. Here he is recieving his Certificate of Participation from Dane. This soccer camp's twist is that all the instructors are from the UK, home of actual football. I just hope they haven't taught them too much hooliganism.

YW, putting his vaunted persuasive abilities to work, convinced me to coach his team. It went something like this, "Dad will you be a coach this year?" So I'll get to try herding 8 six and seven year olds for the next few months.

God Hates Boy Scout Leaders 

God got a little collateral damage this week. In his attempts to send a message to the Boy Scout Leadership, he killed a 13 year old camper, while going after yet another Boy Scout Leader. Let us hope that Divine Retribution in the form of electrocuting 5 Leaders in less than a week will open the eyes of the BSA and make them act a bit more Christian than they have been for the last several years. Who knows, maybe they'll even stop discriminating.

Friday Random 10 

  1. In Heaven There Is No Beer Frankie Yankovic
  2. Across The Antheap XTC
  3. Duncan Paul Simon
  4. Maybe Alison Krauss
  5. Don't Gimme No Lip Child Sex Pistols
  6. Love Don't Come Easy The Alarm
  7. Don't Wanna Fall In Love Green Day
  8. Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg: Dance of the Prentices Richard Wagner
  9. Dazed And Confused Led Zeppelin
  10. 1-2-8 The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Monday, July 25, 2005

Because I know you've been wondering 

Living in the midst of one of the larger metropolitan areas in the country can have it's advantages. On Saturday and Sunday I went to 7 different Honda dealerships and managed to locate my current ideal car: a lightly used, bare-bones Civic DX sedan. Even though I didn't want to replace the car I was driving, it is nice to have a four door car. Getting the boys in and out of a 2-door hatchback has been a pain.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Not the weekend I had planned on 

Well the Civic of ultimate delight got totalled. It was a $4000 car that was going to cost $6000 to fix. Here's a helpful tip for you car drivers out there. Don't get into an accident such that the airbags go off. Just dealing with the airbag portion of the estimate was about $3000. Ouch. So I'm shopping for a car this weekend. I didn't want to shop for a car this weekend.

But what does it mean? 

iPodSo I have an iPod. Even though I live in the Bay Area of California, on those days when I have to actually appear at work in Santa Cruz, I lose touch with all radio stations. So my first generation iPod with the it's iTrip FM tuner unit are super fabulous. But with the latest version of iTunes I've noticed a little something in the interface that I can't figure out. If you'll cast your gaze to the picture you'll see that I have 4 playlists stored on the iPod. Three of them are static (iTrip Stations, The Truelove, and The Wine-Dark Sea (yes, I like to listen to books while I'm commuting)) and one is a Smart Playlist (iPod Random). iPod Random is set up to be 4 Gigs of songs selected from the list of all songs that haven't played on iTunes or the iPod in the last three months. The exclamation point in the circle seems to be trying to tell me something, but I can't figure out what that might be. Hovering the mouse over it does nothing. I have been unable to find anything in the help that helps. So I'm asking you, my loyal readers, if you have any idea what it means.

Friday Random 10 

  1. All Messed Up The Donnas
  2. Hair P.J. Harvey
  3. Scarlet Ribbons The Kingston Trio
  4. Crawling King Snake George Thorogood & The Destroyers
  5. Broken The Guess Who
  6. Wild Tyme Jefferson Airplane
  7. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face Gordon Lightfoot
  8. Real People Killing Heidi
  9. Message To Harry Manback Tool
  10. Brand New Car The Rolling Stones

Friday Kid Blogging 


On the evenings when YW has a swimming lesson YA gets to go to the beach (if it's a nice day) to run and run and run.

Movie Quiz: To which movie did I just allude?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Now there's a good idea 

I see that the Transit Police in NYC are set to select people at random for bag searches. That has to be one of the Dumber Ideas® I've heard lately. I think the idea is that your Subway Suicide Bomber will be so intimidated by the thought of being searched before s/he gets to the Designated Detonation Location that s/he will just skip the whole thing.

How about this instead: imagine you're a Subway Suicide Bomber, you pack up your haversack with explosives and nails and whatnot, you head off to your local subway station. You make for the entrance. Then one of two things happen: 1 - you get on the train and after a while you blow it and yourself to pieces or 2 - you are approached by the Transit Police who want to search your haversack, so you pull the string and blow up yourself, the Transit Cops, and everyone else around you. It sounds like a win-win situation for you the Subway Suicide Bomber.

And unless the Authorities are planning on searching a very large fraction of the subway riding public, the chances of option 2 happening are effectively zero.

So instead of Dumbass Publicity Stunts how about doing something effective instead?

Just one of the herd 

Warning! This post mentions Harry Potter I've tried to avoid spoilers, but consider yourself Warned!

So I'm reading Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, just like everybody else on the planet. I'm only about 120 pages in so, there's not a lot of spoiling I can do, even by accident.

In HP #5, the thing that annoyed me to no end was the way Harry got treated at the beginning of the book. The whole, "we know what's best, don't worry your childish little head about anything." Come on JK, he's Harry Fucking Potter, he's saved the world or his own ass from the evilest wizard ever 4 times in 4 years. If he thinks something is up, the people around him would most likely give him at least a listen. I am most pleased that in the part of HP #6 that I've read, he is, at last, (mostly) treated with the respect he deserves.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I did not know that 

So yesterday I screwed up. I was driving along with the boys, looked away from the road for a second and when I looked back up, the car in front of me was at a complete stop. Oops. Bam! I've read that the most common last words on cockpit voice recorders are "Oh Shit!" Those were the last words I said before impact. I did manage to get the car slowed down a bit before we hit, but we did hit hard enough for the airbags to fire. They make a lot of smoke. I did not know that. Luckily, we were all strapped in and nobody got hurt. The person in the car I hit was fine too. Yay!

I've never been 'at fault' in a car accident before. So far it's not been too bad, but I think I'm going to have to fight to keep from having the car totaled. It's a 1994 Civic and while it is drivable, at that age they're probably going to be riding the edge of its actual value to repair it. I don't want to buy another car right now.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Mush" Dean 

I confess, I read a lot of history. Just about anything will do. I just finished a book about the Mutiny on the Bounty. Rather than just rehashing the Bligh was mean, Christian was put-upon story we're all familiar with, it talks about the situation in the context of the time. It was very interesting, but that's not what I'm writing about at the moment. In the years leading up to World War II, the US Navy, recognizing the good use that the Germans got from their U-Boats, had continued to develop their own submarine forces, but it was not a glamorous way to live in the navy. The subs in use before the war were called Pig Boats because they were so very uncomfortable for the crew. The American military between the wars did not get a lot of money. The money the Navy did get went to more exciting things like battleships and aircraft carriers. The submarine forces had to be happy with the scant money they got after the cool stuff was paid for. So, when doing things like practicing torpedo shooting, there was a strong bias toward making sure the practice torpedo could be recovered rather than toward making practice as much like a warshot as possible. This led to the men commanding subs at the outbreak of the war being a group of very careful cautious men.

After Pearl Harbor submarines were just about the only weapon we had to take the fight to the Japanese. So out they went in their new Fleet Boats and their old Pig Boats to sink the Japanese. But now two things conspired to make these efforts less than productive. The first was that American torpedos were terrible; they didn't work very well at all. But that's a topic for later. The other was the sub commanders were trained to be too cautious. They would let ships get away because they couldn't line up a perfect shot. Time after time they would creep up to an enemy ship and then let it get away without shooting. Eventually the powers that be noticed this lack of desire to close with the enemy and began promoting younger officers to command. Officers that were more concerned with winning the war than not wasting torpedos. People like Mush Morton and Richard O'Kane went out and began sinking Japanese ships at a furious pace.

The leadership of the Democratic party act like a bunch of pre-war sub commanders. They are too busy conserving resources and trying to line up for a perfect shot. They need to be promoted out of their jobs and let younger, more aggressive leaders emerge who know that the opposition is out for blood and are willing to give at least as good as they get. I imagine that when the new generation of sub commanders started getting their commands, the old guard muttered to themselves that the new guys were too risky. They were going to get sunk and waste torpedos and that's just no way to win the war. They were wrong, and the Democrats who think that we shouldn't be as boisterous as Howard "Mush" Dean are wrong too. Speaking of which, I'd love for Howard to say something about the Rove situation .

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The other day I bought some peaches. They were on sale and I like peach jam. I guestimated how many I'd need for a couple batches of jam and brought them home. It turns out I am a bad guesser when it comes to peaches. Instead of ending up with a half dozen pints of jam, after running to the store for more sugar, pectin and jars, I had 15. So, including the extra I saved in a spare jar, I made 2 gallons of peach jam between 6:30 and 10 pm last night. Combine that with the 25 pints of Ollalieberry and 8 pints of strawberry that I've already made this summer, and I think I've got enough to last us for a while. But, just in case, I'll probably end up making some plum jam in a week or two.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Kid Blogging 

YA TrampolineYW Trampoline

It was trampoline night again the other night. I've read that it's important with children to have a Going to Bed ritual. This allows the children to realize that the day is winding down and they can get themselves into a mental place that is receptive to the idea of going to sleep. This, at least with my boys, is a load of crap. What works best, if they are showing signs of alertness as bed-time approaches, is to run them ragged right up to the moment before you tuck them into bed. Then after a couple minutes of darkness, they let down their guard, and oops, they fall asleep.

Friday Random 10 

  1. Someday Los Lobos
  2. That Makes One Of Us Alison Krauss
  3. Brother Jim Johnny Dowd
  4. Voice Of God Is Government Bad Religion
  5. Why Baby The Aislers Set
  6. Corazon Espinado Santana
  7. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John
  8. All The Young Dudes World Party
  9. Rock This Town Stray Cats
  10. Song To Woody Bob Dylan

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What do you mean your real name? 

Along time ago, in a galaxy far, far, wait, no, back in the '80s at UCSB, I was geeky engineering student. Do you want to know how geeky I was? <chirp, chirp> Well I'll tell you anyway. I was an Electrical and Computer Engineering major who decided that I just needed more than that major offered me. So I petitioned to become a double-major and added Computer Science.

<Digression> When I went to the Freshman orientation weekend the summer before school started, the Dean of the College of Engineering addressed all the incoming engineering students with following words: "Look to your right. Look to your left. One of you three will not graduate with an engineering degree." Freshman year I lived in the privately owned, off-campus dorm Francisco Torres where fully one half of the 60 people on my floor were some kind of engineering major. The Dean was an optimist. At least half of those hopeful engineers had changed their majors before the end of the year.

But what did you do if you were an engineering student who didn't want to be an engineer? If you were in the classic engineering disciplines (Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, or Nuclear) you might decide to change your major to CompSci. Or if you really didn't want anything to do with the College of Engineering you switched to Business Economics. Yes there were exceptions, but that's the way it usually went. There were also those who paused in CompSci for a while before continuing on to BusiEcon.</Digression>

I added the CompSci major about the time the sophomore weeder classes were getting other engineers to switch to CompSci. So there were a batch of us Sophomores taking the freshman CompSci classes.

One day I was in the computer lab (this was in the days before you got computers as prizes in cereal boxes) doing my homework assignment. So there I am, a mild mannered geek computing prime numbers or making binary trees or writing a program to solve mazes or something. When this stranger says, "Hey Hank." I ignore him because my name is not Hank. The stranger points at me and says, "Hey Hank, I'm talking to you!" I look at him and in my best what-do-you-want voice say, "My name is not Hank." Stranger says, "It is now. What are we supposed to do on the homework assignment?" I resign myself to dealing with the insane and explain the assignment him.

Later, I found out what happened immediately before I was accosted.

Karl -Do you guys know what we're supposed to do on the homework assignment?
Bob, Larry, Cliff - Nope.
Karl - That guy over there is typing like mad, I'll bet he knows what to do.
Bob - We should ask him what to do.
Karl - Does anybody know his name?
Larry, Bob, Cliff - Nope.
Karl -He looks like a Hank.
Larry - I'll be right back.

I ended up hanging out with those guys until we graduated and beyond. Much drinking, intramural sports, ski trips, etc.

So there it is, I am Hank. It gets to the point where all my CompSci-based friends call me Hank. Through them I meet other people who I'm introduced as Hank. These new friends introduce me to people as Hank also. It gets to the point where I have a whole group of friends who don't know anyone who knows my real name.

Once I reached that point, every now and then I'd have a conversation like this:

Hank - ...my real name...
Friend X - What do you mean your real name?
Hank - My mom did not name me Henry.
Friend X -Well what is your real name?
Hank - <real name>
Friend X - I don't believe you.
Hank - <exhibits Driver's license>
Friend X -Well shit. Why didn't you tell me?
Hank - What was I supposed to do say, "Hi, my real name is <real name>?
Friend X - Yes! I can't believe you've lied to me all this time.

I don't go by Hank much out in the world anymore, but it is a great name at restaurants. You can really bellow "Hank! Party of 4! Hank!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

But Why Did He Know? 

Here's a question I haven't seen bandied about in all the Did Rove or did not Rove out Valerie Plame as a CIA agent? hullaballo: If we assume that he did (and it looks pretty compelling that he actually did), why did he have that information in the first place? So, sure he's got a security clearance and can see all kinds of super double secret information, but is the CIA in the habit of telling anyone with a security clearance the identities of their under-cover agents? If you're mad at someone and are thrashing around looking for some way to spank them, how does it come to your attention that said someone's spouse is actually a spy?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

That's Weird 

I was just googling myself to see if this blog shows up when I search for my real name. It doesn't. But I did discover that someone with my name died in the Pentagon on 9/11. Actually, the other me used the off by 1 alternate spelling of my last name. But still, it's kind of spooky.

Now I feel guilty 

At YW's daycare they do fun things over the summer, they go on Field Trips and have theme days (eg, bring something with wheels and spend the day rolling around). They also will shuttle kids from the daycare site to the Municipal Pool for swimming lessons. Yesterday YW had his first daycare swimming lesson. He's had lessons at this pool before so he knows the layout and the format of the lessons. When MLWN picked him up yesterday she was informed that he and two other boys had misbehaved at the pool and if it happened again he couldn't go to the pool anymore. YW got the riot act read to him last night: all fun for the summer, field trips, birthday party, etc, depend on his not screwing up at the pool.

This morning I dropped him off at daycare and had a chat with the woman in charge and combined with what YW said about event here is what I think happened. YW had a fine swimming lesson. He went into the locker room to change back into his street clothes and did so. While doing so, and perhaps on his way into the locker room, he and a couple other boys were laughing and being typical 6 year-old boys. They dawdled in the locker room and the woman who was waiting at the front desk told the man who runs the Rec department (which includes the city-run daycare) who went into the locker room to find out what was taking them so long. He rousted them and told the woman who runs YW's daycare site that they were screwing around too much and that one more screw-up and he was banning them.

That's fine, but here's where my feelings of guilt come in. The three boys were almost certainly horsing around (which was wrong), but they had never before seen the man who rousted them. And, in a situtation where a herd of 6 and 7 year olds were changing in a locker room, they had no adult in the locker room to monitor proper behavior. So YW and his pals were horsing around in the absence of adult supervision and some strange man came in and got upset at them. They probably didn't even notice him until he got angry. None of this is to excuse YW; the rest of the kids managed to get dressed and exit the locker room. But if I had known more about the actual sequence of events I wouldn't have been quite so stern last night. One the bright side, YW will probably be a model child at his swimming lesson today.

Update: YW had a glorious day at the pool today. He listened to the instructor in the pool and changed into his street clothes in a timely manner. After lunch when he went back to the pool for a Free Swim event, he behaved appropriately in the pool and changed into his street clothes in a timely manner. Woo!

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Rapture 

So I have no doubt that you're familiar with The Rapture. You know, the event wherein the righteous are taken bodily up into heaven leaving the rest of us down here to live/die through a long really sucky time with lots lamentations and gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes (frankly, the clothes rending sounds kind of fun, but that's just me). You've probably even seen the competing bumper stickers: Warning: In case of Rapture this car will be driverless vs Come the Rapture can I have your car? When it comes to The Rapture I have an hypothesis: The Rapture has already happened and nobody made the cut. All those stick-up-their-butts Fundies with their "My God is bigger than your God" talk forgot to actually read the Bible to find out what they have to actually do to get through the Pearly Gates and God turned them down.

So, damnit, I don't get a slightly used, driverless car for free.

How Stupid Are They? 

The Chron, in the paper version I found outside the house this morning, and which I can't find in the online version at the moment, had an article about the bombings in Baghdad over the weekend that killed around 50 people. These occurred just days after the latest "Our massive counter-insurgency efforts in Baghdad have seriously degraded the insurgency's ability to conduct operations" announcement by the US military. Just how many times is that going to happen? The US stages a massive effort in some random area of Iraq; the local insurgents bury their guns and bombs in the back yard and blend in with their compatriots; the Pentagon says, "We done whupped 'em this time."; the US operation ends; the insurgents dig up their supplies and start blowing shit up. You'd think after a 4 or 5 repeats of the recipe (and in light of our experience in Vietnam) that it would sink in that when there are lots of soldiers around guerilla fighters hide until the soldiers are gone.

And just to repeat myself from previous posting events, How many Iraqis to do we have to kill before the rest of them are going to be our friends? I honestly can't figure out how extending the occupation by another hour is superior to packing up and leaving. Every minute we're there is another minute of occupation that makes any positive outcome less likely. At this point the best we probably hope for is a Shiite theocracy that stomps on the Sunnis and the Kurds. The bad outcome is some kind of splintered Somalia situation where the warlords are self-financing because they are sitting on top of pools of oil.

Help Skippy 

Skippy needs help getting to 1,000,000 hits by July 13.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Friday Random 10 

  1. Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes They Might Be Giants
  2. Noah's Dove 10,000 Maniacs
  3. Consider Me Gone Sting
  4. Model Simply Red
  5. 19th Nervous Breakdown The Rolling Stones
  6. Let's Say Goodnight [Live] Los Lobos
  7. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag Country Joe McDonald & The Fish
  8. Someone To Watch Over Me Gershwin & Frank Sinatra
  9. The One on the Left is on the Right Johnny Cash
  10. Add It Up Violent Femmes

Friday Kid Blogging 


Here are the boys at Legoland in a picture that didn't make it into the slideshow linked below.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I am the proud recipient of a Genuine Mixmania! The Summer Mix! disc. For your reading pleasure I will duplicate his playlist here:
  1. 38 Special- Back Where You Belong- Flashback
  2. Aerosmith- Livin’ on the Edge- Get A Grip
  3. Foreigner- Urgent- The Very Best and Beyond
  4. Journey- Wheel in the Sky- Greatest Hits
  5. Spin Doctors- Little Miss Can’t be Wrong- Pocket Full of Kryptonite
  6. Talking Heads- Stay Up Late- Sand in the Vasoline
  7. Mustang Sally- The Commitments Soundtrack
  8. Tom Petty- Don’t Do Me Like That- Greatest Hits
  9. Van Halen- Drop Dead Legs- 1984
  10. Santana & Rob Thomas- Smooth- 2000 Grammy Nominee Album
  11. Bryan Adams- Somebody- So Far So Good
  12. Aerosmith- Cryin’- Get A grip
  13. Tom Petty- Mary Jane’s Last Dance- Greatest Hits
  14. Travis Tritt- Put Some Drive In Your Country- Greatest Hits From The Beginning
  15. Van Halen- I’ll Wait- 1984
  16. AC/DC- Thunderstruck- AC/DC Live
As you can see Mr. Genuine and I are both refugees from the '80s. Woo!

The Vacation 

Southern California Trip June/July '05

When I tell people we went to San Diego the first question asked is, "Did you go to Sea World?" MLWN and I went out of our way to not say "Sea World" out loud the entire time we were down there. We were only in San Diego for a couple days and I'd rather go to the Zoo than to Sea World, so the boys don't even know we were near Sea World. We did have a good time at Legoland and the Zoo. We did the bus tour of the Zoo which was almost a waste of money. If we hadn't taken the bus tour we wouldn't have known that walking all the way to the far end of the Zoo to see the hippo would be a highlight of the day. But now we do know, so no more bus tours of the Zoo. As you can see from the picture above, the hippo pool has a glass wall so you can watch it prance about under water. The polar bear area is set up the same way. Legoland is what it is. The boys really liked it but it's one step up from a roadside attraction. The La Brea Tarpits were cool, but then the Hank Family are big fans of bones. I really liked going to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. In addition to having a bunch pygmy mammoth bones (quite the contrast to the Columbian Mammoth skeleton at the Tarpits), they have a big mesh tent set up outside filled with flowers and thousands of butterflies.

Oh, and click on the picture or right here to see a slide show of the trip.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Thanks Jim! 

It figures. I get a super-duper plug of Hank's Place from Jim at Patriside while I'm on vacation so I get (for me) tons of traffic with a site that just doesn't change. Ah well. If you've come back hoping against hope that perhaps Hank has deigned to add more of his patented Wisdom and Fatherly Advice, you can relax. I am back in the saddle, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after my sojurn in Southern California and will be posting again. This time I'm going to figure out how to make Flickr do one of those cool slide shows so I can post a bunch of snaps of the boys enjoying all the touristy delights.

While driving around looking at the back ends of cars with those annoying Support The Troops ribbon magnets, I had a couple of thoughts.

First: they're magnets. What kind of message does that send? "My support of the troops is so ephemeral that I could at any moment change my mind and I want to be able to remove the evidence of my prior support without any undue effort or any offending marks on my car."

Second: they're magnets. That means they can be removed and replaced with almost no effort. Herewith is my call to action: when you can get away without risk of confrontation (I don't want anyone to get hurt), remove the ribbon magnet from the back of its car and replace over the car's gas cap hatch. The proud owner will then have to move the magnet before being able to fill his/her tank and will, perhaps, be induced to have a thought or two about the policies to which they are professing support. I gave it a test run in the parking lot of Legoland in Carlsbad and it gave me a glow of satisfaction that lasted for at least a day. Now I want to do it again and again. But living, as I do, near San Francisco and working in Santa Cruz, I don't see all that many of them in circumstances where the repositioning can take place. So I call on those of you in Redder parts of the country to Move Those Magnets!

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