quidni pro quo

Random musings at random intervals. Erudition not guaranteed.

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Location: El Paso area, Texas, United States

I'm a 40-something Christian, conservative, pro-life, Constitutionalist, motorcycle-riding, pick-up truck driving, wife, mother, state employee, ham radio operator and part-time college student, enlisted in the Texas State Guard. Everything else is subject to revision without notice.

Monday, December 31, 2007

How to End the Year With a Bang...

... or, "I didn't know the tattoo was loaded!"

Men shoot themselves in tattoo attempt


CHAPARRAL, N.M. -- Getting a tattoo can be a painful proposition, but usually it's just the needle you have to worry about. Two men trying to trace a loaded .357-caliber Magnum as a pattern for a tattoo accidentally shot themselves, the Otero County Sheriff's Department said Monday.

Robert Glasser and Joey Acosta, both 22, were treated at a hospital in El Paso, Texas, after the shooting Thursday evening in nearby Chaparral.

Authorities said Glasser was struck in the hand when the gun accidentally went off, and Acosta was hit in the left arm. Their injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

How many things wrong can you find with this article?
(1. the gun was loaded, and not holstered. 2. the gun was pointed in an unsafe direction - at themselves. 3. they didn't unload the gun first. 4. guns don't "accidentally go off" - one of them must have been tracing the trigger. 5. they didn't verify the gun was unloaded first. 6. why did it take two of them to make the tracing?)


Happy New Year!

I'm scratching my head over the fact that for many years now, one of the most celebrated icons of the starting New Year is the Dropping of the Ball.

Now, I'm not particularly sports-oriented and never have been, but even I understand what dropping the ball means....

Friday, December 28, 2007

Windows Vista secret

Much of Vista's problem comes from a background program called "Superfetch." This is supposed to monitor your program usage, note which programs you use the most and when, and then keep those programs pre-loaded and ready to start instantly when you call them up. MS boasts that there's "no need" to turn Superfetch on - it's on automatically, all the time. Needless to say, this is a major memory hog - and one of the biggest reasons why Vista needs more RAM to function properly than prior operating systems did. And the actual savings in time to the user when opening a program, is in mere fractions of a second. Not worth it, IMO. Plus, it has no user-configurable interface. In other words, you're stuck with it whether you want it or not.

Actually, no you're not. Click on START, then RUN, and enter the following command:

net stop superfetch

My husband and I are running laptops with Vista, and with a bit of non-techie tweaking here and there (including turning OFF the auto Windows update) we have both laptops running like souped-up XP machines.

Neither of us misses Superfetch at all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tyger, tyger...

It never fails....

A dangerous tiger escapes from its enclosure at a zoo, kills one person and mauls two brothers (after also mauling a zookeeper a year ago), and is shot and killed by officers as it turns on them.

Now, a family is mourning their son, and another family praying for the recovery of theirs, and people are crawling out of the woodwork to blame the officers who killed this "beautiful, endangered" predator who was "just doing what comes naturally."

Oh, gimme a break.

Folks, I will freely admit, and without apology, that I am racist... I am a HUMAN RACE-ist. I believe that the HUMAN RACE is, and should always be, at the top of the food chain. I don't care what ethnicity, color, nationality, religion, gender, political persuasion, et al you are, if you are a member of the HUMAN RACE then I'm more than just a wee bit prejudiced in your favor.

God called us to be good stewards of nature, not to worship it. Yes, it's a tragedy that the tiger had to be killed. It would be preferable if this had never happened in the first place. However, it did happen, and the alternative was to allow a creature that had learned it could kill, to try again. And again, without apology, I say "No."

To the families mourning and praying this evening, you have my prayers as well.

To the officers who stopped the tiger from killing anyone else, good shooting.

To those who are researching and working to ensure this can not happen again, while still being humane and generous to the animals in your charge, you have my wish for clear heads and sufficient resources to make it happen.

And to those who think the tiger was worth more than the lives of their fellow man, I hope you never find yourself on the wrong end of a tiger's claws. Because we'll find out what you really believe, then.


Guns seized after Katrina? NRA wants you

NEW ORLEANS - The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina.

The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them. Some of them could be called to testify during a trial, he added.

"Finding these folks has been a nightmare," Holliday said. "That is really the guts of our case — to establish that there was indeed a pattern of the police going out and taking people's guns without any legal reason to do so."

In April 2006, police made about 700 firearms available for owners to claim if they could present a bill of sale or an affidavit with the weapon's serial number.

An attorney for the city and a police department spokesman didn't return a reporter's telephone calls Wednesday.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation, said the police department has returned only about 100 of the 1,000 seized guns.

"Obviously, we don't expect the city to find everybody. We only wanted to see a good-faith effort, and that's what the city didn't do," Gottlieb added. "It's a bad example to let them get away with it."

In court papers filed Monday, NRA attorneys say finding the gun owners has been difficult because the storm has scattered so many residents.

New Orleans had an estimated 455,000 residents before Katrina, but less than two-thirds of that number live there now.

The NRA is asking for a delay in the trial, set to begin Feb. 19, saying they need more time to find gun owners. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier had not yet ruled on the request Wednesday.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Today's Cartoon by Randy Glasbergen

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And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt

From my family to yours, may you have a blessed and merry CHRISTmas!


Monday, December 24, 2007

NORAD Tracks Santa, 2007

Click on the link above, if you've got young kids (or are one at heart!)

Merry Christmas to all y'all!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

I can't believe it's not (safer than ) real butter!

Please pardon the firmly planted tongue-in-cheek....

Flavoring additive puts professional cooks at risk

Additive found in more than 6,000 products

Occupational health specialists have said that repeated exposure to diacetyl has led to the deaths of at least three workers, destruction of the lungs of scores more and sickened hundreds of others who worked in plants that produce flavorings, microwave popcorn, candy, beverages, oils and other products.

  • Two real butters were analyzed and diacetyl was found in a range of 7 ppm to almost 16 ppm.
  • In all the margarine and shortening products, levels of 7 ppm to almost 180 ppm were present.
  • A butter-flavored cooking spray released more than 164 ppm of diacetyl.
  • Butter-flavored cooking oils used by professional cooks ranged from 23 ppm to 234 ppm.
  • Two brands of oil for popping corn came in at 1,062 ppm and 1,125 ppm.

Interesting... so it seems the fumes from cooking with real butter are actually safer than the "Generally Recognized As Safe" (and also more PC) butter substitutes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

21 illegals arrested in raid on Deming tamale plant

By Louie Gilot / El Paso Times

Immigration agents raided a Deming (NM) tamales plant Monday and arrested 21 undocumented workers in an operation they dubbed Operation Tamale, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The arrests are the result of a five-month investigation of Proper Foods Inc., 1319 E. Pine St., where 300 people prepared, packaged and distributed tamales for wholesale and retail sale. Agents had a criminal search warrant.

"Work-site enforcement operations are part of ICE's efforts to promote national security, protect critical infrastructure, and ensure fair labor standards," said Roberto Medina, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso.

All but one of those arrested Monday were Mexican nationals. They were 10 men; 10 women, including a Honduran; and a 17-year-old boy.

ICE officials said they contacted the Mexican Consulate to reunite the boy with his family. Consulate spokeswoman Socorro Cordova said the boy would stay in the care of the federal government in Juárez until his parents made arrangements for his return.

Consular officials interviewed all of the immigrants arrested, Cordova said.

"We wanted to make sure that they had been paid all the wages they were due, and they reported that all the wages had been covered," she said.

ICE officials said three women were released on their own recognizance and told to appear before an immigration judge at a later date. Two men and four wo men were put in the El Paso immigration detention center to await deportation.

The others were voluntarily returned to Mexico on Monday. The different treatments depend on whether the migrants had been deported before, whether they have criminal records, or whether they ask to see a judge because they have grounds to stay in the United States.

Louie Gilot may be reached at lgilot@elpasotimes.com, 546-6131.

Immigration agents move in on tamales plant

I'm going to be following articles on the Border Patrol, especially what's happening in this general region, a lot more closely than I used to.

My thanks to the men and women who do the job.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

I survived...

... the Lt. Colonel's Christmas party.

This annual occasion is considered a formal social - class A's, or dress blues if you have them, or formal civilian wear if you don't, is requested. For one's guest, as well. And while the party isn't mandatory, it is considered bad form to not show up unless one has a very good reason. After all, the Lt. Col's wife puts a lot of work into putting the evening together.

And it turned out to be a very enjoyable evening.

One of the Sergeants, and the Command Sergeant Major, showed up in full Scottish military regalia complete with sporran, hand-knitted socks, sock daggers, and bare knees - and plenty of stories to go with the outfits.

There was an officer from Switzerland attending with his wife, a lovely lady from Venezuela who is trying to learn English. Very interesting people to speak with; conversation was a mix of English, Spanish, and a touch of German. The wife of the kilted Sergeant and I swapped hunting stories. She had taken her very first elk this year, after several years of trying; I didn't get anything this year but had fun anyway. Another woman who hunts! huzzah!

Very little alcohol, but one of the younger Sergeants took advantage of it anyway - and his demeanor for about a half-hour afterwards caused one of the other Sergeants to declare him "OCS material." He's going to have to deal with the teasing for a while....

The food was excellent, the conversations were inclusive and relaxed, and it was a marvelous time. There was food, more food, desserts, drinks, chocolates, and more food on almost every table in the house.

And the Lt. Colonel has three of the prettiest cats... one of them, Hotai, even consented to join the party and accept admiration from everyone. The other two were nothing more than whiskers and big eyes peering around the corner at the crowd that had invaded their territory.

Even my husband allowed that he enjoyed the social. I think I can probably talk him into going again next year.