Category Archives: Personal

Poll of the day

We buried my father-in-law the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He was a WW2 veteran, 15th Army Air Force. The local chapter of the VFW did a great job as honor guard. Minutes before the service at the cemetery, the funeral director asked, “Who’s the oldest?” And so it was that the flag was presented to my sister-in-law.

At my maternal grandfather’s funeral, the flag was presented to the second-oldest aunt, and there was a great deal of squawking about it. Consensus seemed to be that the oldest uncle (also a veteran) should have received it.

At my oldest brother’s funeral, the one who received the flag was not the oldest, but the son currently serving in the Army. Everyone was fine with this.

So my question is this:

Just to keep the record straight, I think it’s fine that my sister-in-law received the flag. She had the lion’s share of caring for my father-in-law. I plan on giving her a display case for the flag. I just wondered if there’s a dominant tradition out there.


Filed under Air Force, army, marines, navy, Personal, veterans

This is What’s Infuriating About Professional Sports

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is a very poor shooter.  From the free throw line, he has gone from mediocre to downright abysmal.   Rather than taking Rondo to task for his performance, an article by Celtics beat writer A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE on the subject is all but an excuse-making session for a professional basketball player, a ball-handling guard, no less, being such a poor free throw shooter.   Rondo’s coach, Brad Stevens, talks as if there is simply some fine tuning and a confidence issue.

“The only way that it’s going to be brought up is by everybody else on the outside,” Stevens said. “So all we’re going to do is encourage and try to help in the small ways we can. But it’s about feeling good about yourself, about going in and knocking the next one in. That’s a lot easier said than done. That’s something that, I want him on the line again in a tie game with a minute to go. He’ll make those.”

Really?  Seems Rondo has been a terrible free throw shooter his entire career, making a dismal 61.5% (the league average is over 78%) over nine seasons.  He has two years in which he failed to make 60%, and so far this season he has been historically bad.  Rondo is just 9 for 28 from the free throw line, 32.1% thus far in 2014-15.  And he is the guy that is the Celtics’ ball handler, the one who needs to be automatic from the line, because he is the one you want with the ball and a lead in the closing seconds of a tight game.  Except he stinks from the free throw line.  And for years, the Celtics have inserted other players in those situations specifically because their “star” point guard is so bad in the clutch.  You want him on the line in a tie game, coach?  Funny, so does the other team.  Methinks you are full of it.

But don’t worry, Rondo promises to get into the gym and “fix” his problem.

“I’m gonna work on it,” Rondo said. “I don’t have the answer on it now. When I figure it out, I start making nine-for-10 I’ll let you know what I did to tweak it.”

Gee, thanks for the effort.  For a salary of $12.9 million, or $35,000 A DAY, one is glad to know that you are willing to put in the work.  After how many years of piss-poor performance?  How many games has it cost your team in the regular season and playoffs?  After nine professional seasons, NOW you are going to “work on it”?   And then this bit of new-age athletic advice from Coach Stevens:

“So I think that, you go in, put your work in. It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of hours. It doesn’t have to be hundreds and hundreds of free throws every session. Just get it right, and move on. And believe in yourself to make the next one because the people around you support you.”

Sorry, Brad, it IS thousands of hours.  Confidence comes with practice.  Thousands and tens of thousands of shots, practicing proper form and fundamentals.  Drills for the fingertips, against a wall.  Time in an empty gym.  A lot of time.  Dedication, and hard work.  Something fewer and fewer professional athletes are willing to put in to turn their talents into skills.  It has nothing to do with “support”.  Good gravy.  Such excuse-making is a source of increasing frustration for me and many others who have been watchers of professional sports.  I routinely turn off games in which I see the mediocrity on display that denotes a lack of hard work, and a lack of mastery of fundamentals.  Empty my wallet to buy a ticket to watch it live?  Not a chance.  I don’t want to hear how much you burn to win on game day, when you cannot be bothered to put in the sweat on practice day.  An hour a day in the gym (positing an 8 hour day, Rondo makes $4,500 an hour) shooting free throws is pretty good work if you can get it.

Despite Rondo’s assurances, I doubt he will get any better, except for fleeting stretches here and there.  He hasn’t in nine professional seasons.  And he has been unwilling to put in the work to improve.  Short of some sort of physical disorder, if he’d have worked, he would be better.  Rondo remains what he has been for his entire career, an awful free throw shooter and poor jump shooter whose shortcomings continue to hurt his team.

If you want to be the star of the team and you stink, don’t be surprised if your team stinks.  And if you are the star and are unwilling to work, don’t be surprised if your teammates aren’t willing to work.  And don’t be surprised if I, and many like me, change the channel.

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Filed under Around the web, Personal



Every autumn, just around Veterans’ Day (which in Vermont means after two or three “killing” frosts), the scrawny little rose bush along the fence produces one last, perfect, butter-yellow bud.   Despite being the smallest of the rose bushes, and latest to bloom (often not until July 4th), I can’t bring myself to replace it with a seemingly heartier variety.   Perhaps it is because that last little bud strikes me every year as a sign of hope, while all around is falling dead and dormant; that this little rose defiantly reminds us that the winter to come, no matter how harsh, will not prevent the inevitable miracle of the following spring.

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Filed under Personal, veterans

“…In This, I Think, Is Glory.”

Still my favorite.

Happy Birthday, Marines!  Semper Fidelis!


Filed under Defense, guns, history, marines, Personal, recruiting, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

‘Thanks Joni': Hardee’s CEO congratulates Senator-elect Ernst with newspaper ad [photo] | Twitchy

During her acceptance speech, Iowa Senator-elect Joni Ernst joked that “It’s a long way from Red Oak to Washington, from the biscuit line at Hardee’s to the United States Senate.” Ernst hadn’t forgotten her days working at the fast food chain, and her shout-out to her former employer didn’t go unappreciated. Hardee’s took out a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register to congratulate Ernst and thank her for reminding us that “your job and your life are what you make of them.”

via ‘Thanks Joni': Hardee’s CEO congratulates Senator-elect Ernst with newspaper ad [photo] | Twitchy.


My cousin saw this as a good response to the “living wage” minimum wage hike. Hardees taught Senator-elect Ernst to show up on time, do a good job, get along with co-workers, etc. That is what minimum wage jobs are supposed to do. They are meant to be the beginning, not the be-all and end-all of a career. My cousin pointed out that theaters used to have ushers, gas stations had attendants, and all of the grocery stores had bagboys. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there was 60.5% labor participation for 16 to 24 years old this part July, compared to 77.5 percent in 1989. Another hike in the minimum wage, and that will drop even further as companies automate and cut back on service.

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Filed under history, Personal, Politics

Justice Department Looking for “Race-Based Discrimination” at Polls

WAPO tells us that Eric Holder’s Justice Department is out looking for “race-based discrimination” in today’s mid-term voting.  In a statement earlier regarding the monitoring, Holder said:

“I want the American people to know that the Justice Department will stand vigilant — working in a fair and nonpartisan manner to ensure that every voter can cast his or her ballot free of intimidation, discrimination or obstruction,”

No comment about whether or not that includes New Black Panther thugs standing menacingly outside polling places with cudgels.  I think, based on precedent, you can be fairly certain it does not.   The despicable and repugnant race-baiting charlatan masquerading as the Attorney General set aside the Fourteenth Amendment a long time ago.  And has proceeded to violate the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments routinely.   When we wonder where our Constitutional liberties went, look no farther than Obama and Holder and their cabal of totalitarian, statist race mongers to find out who took them.

The individual carrying the night stick in the above video at the Pennsylvania polling station, the incident which Eric Holder REFUSED to investigate because it reflected poorly on “his people”, is named Maruse Heath, aka King Samir Shabazz.  And he was arrested in New York last year for wearing body armor and carrying a loaded and unlicensed handgun.   One has to wonder where ol’ Samir Shabazz is now, and whether or not Holder intervened to get him out of jail.   After all, I am sure he was only arrested because the cops be racissssss……


Seems perhaps Eric Holder could have used fewer racism-sniffing election monitors, and a few more people to help carry more than 64,000 documents regarding Fast and Furious over to the House Committee.  I am sure the dump of tens of thousands of pages of possibly incriminating evidence after the point at which such revelations could have affected the voters’ perception of the Democrats in a mid-term election is simply an astounding coincidence.  But Committee Chair Darryl Issa isn’t letting go until he gets everything Holder was ordered to hand over.  Bad for Holder.  Good for civil liberties.  Funny how that works inversely, innit?

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Filed under armor, guns, history, obama, Personal, Politics, terrorism, Uncategorized, weapons

When you don’t feel like being a team player

It’s fall break week here. Mr. RFH burned a great deal of leave when he was sick earlier in the year, so we are staying home. This means that I have had more than the usual amount of time in the lab because other people are taking the holiday, and thankfully, there are fewer meetings.

One of the people in my management chain, whenever she sees me alone in the lab, goes and gets one of the other engineers for me to train. I understand this. I know I am the lone expert operator on too many pieces of equipment, but I’m not a very good mentor or patient with slow learners. I am annoyed with being told to train someone older than me because that seems backwards. I should be training someone to eventually take my place, not someone literally counting down to retirement. I am annoyed with people who don’t know that a lab environment means safety shoes, not cute little strappy sandals, and that fake claws fingernails are not compatible with clean room gloves. Yes, you have to wear clean room gloves in the clean room. No, I will not make an exception for you. I’m mean that way. I am annoyed with people who have watched me operate the equipment over and over, carefully written down each step, and still manage to screw things up.

So this week I’ve been left to my own devices, and it’s been:
my day
So do I get the attagirl for getting lots of real work done, or do I get the sad trombone for not doing my job as a mentor?

How do you handle that kind of situation in the military, or do you just never develop pockets of expertise lorded over by one cranky engineer?


Filed under Personal