The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Music "Short People" by Randy Newman

I remember when this song hit  in 1977 while I was living in Alabama near Anniston in a place called "Saks", that was the name for the area where my parents had a house.  I was going to Saks Middle school and this song was huge, everyone was singing it.  Granted it would have been called "Offensive" now because people don't have a sense of humor and their skins are too thin.  Back then all us kids knew the lyrics and used them on each other.  Key kids are cruel, it is the way it is.  I heard the song on my "70's" on 7 on my Sirius/XM when I changed the channel from the "80's" on 8 to get away from the David Bowie song, "Lets Dance" that I despise.  Nothing against David Bowie, but that song didn't do it for me.

"Short People" is a song by Randy Newman from his 1977 album, Little Criminals. The verses and chorus are lyrically constructed as a prejudiced attack on short people. In contrast, the bridge states that "short people are just the same as you and I." Newman interprets the song to be about "prejudice" as was widely thought, but added that it was "about a lunatic." As with many of his songs such as "Rednecks", Newman wrote the song from the point of view of a biased narrator. Like Dire Straits' 1985 hit single, "Money for Nothing", which used the same lyrical technique, the song was misunderstood by many listeners who wrongly assumed that it reflected Newman's personal viewpoint.

Newman would later grow to dislike the song and its success, eventually calling it a "bad break", a "novelty record like The Chipmunks", and said it caused him to receive several threats regarding its misinterpreted message. He said, "I had no idea that there was any sensitivity, I mean, that anyone could believe that anyone was as crazy as that character. To have that kind of animus against short people, and then to sing it and put it all in song and have a philosophy on it." However, it ended up being included on almost every one of his greatest hits albums.

Although Newman had never charted a single before, and his previous album, Good Old Boys, had been his third to reach the Billboard 200, "Short People" soon gained attention as a novelty song. The song consequently became a major hit on radio peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks; it was kept from reaching No. 1 by Player's "Baby Come Back" and the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive". It became a Gold record.
The song follows a basic musical formula with bass and drums centering on Newman's catchy pop piano line in the key of A major. A small brass section and an electric guitar occasionally rise into the mix and conga drums (played by Los Angeles-based session musician Milt Holland) also feature prominently in the song.
In 1978, state of Maryland delegate Isaiah Dixon attempted to introduce legislation making it illegal to play "Short People" on the radio. He was advised by Assistant Attorney General Francis B. Burch that such a law would be a violation of the First Amendment.

The song was performed by actor James Coco on a 1978 episode of The Muppet Show. Other television shows to feature the song include Ally McBeal, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Cleveland Show, and The Simpsons.[citation needed]
A MADtv sketch parodying Newman's songwriting abilities also made references to the song.
The Side Street Ramblers performed a version of this song, in reference to the height difference between their lead and bass singers (5' and 6'5" respectively).
In the film Semi-Pro, Will Ferrell sings the song on the bus. It is also featured in the 1994 feature-length adaptation of The Little Rascals.
This song is heard on a Toy Story sing-along cassette tape.
The song is mentioned in a list of Michael Scott's favorite Bruce Springsteen songs in The Office episode "Crime Aid". None of the songs mentioned were actually performed by Springsteen.
In 2009, the song was parodied by conservative political satirist Paul Shanklin as "Old People" with Shanklin doing a voice impersonation of American President Barack Obama on the health care reform debate in the United States.
Andrew Hansen, an Australian satirical comedian, also performed this song on the comedy show Good News Week. Initially in the show he disclaimed the lyrics stating that he didn't hate short people—it was Randy Newman's lyrics (a reference to a skit he earlier participated in that questioned the legitimacy of charities for sick children and caused him, and his group The Chaser, to be temporarily suspended from television). Later in the show he performed the song again with his own lyrics referring to Adolf Hitler, Centrelink and popular television personalities including the show's host Paul McDermott.

Friday, May 18, 2018

How to Evade in the Wild and AD&D

I pulled this off the "Art of Manliness", I have used stuff from them before and it is a cool website full of what I call "Old School" knowledge or traditional knowledge that isn't taught anymore because it is "traditional" and not "stylish" as Dirty Harry said in one of his movies. 
    The first time I was exposed to this stuff in great detail was when I was playing "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" 2nd edition,in high school thank you very much and I had at the time a Real Jerk for a DM(Dungeon Master, he is the guy that provides the background and encounters for your group), well anyway we were running away from a group of Orc's that were pissed that we raided their village and were real intent on catching us and roasting us over an open fire.  Well the party leader decided to split every one up and we had to make a break for it on our own and meet at a predetermined place in a couple of weeks after the Orc's got over being pissed off.

 The Orc's after my party according to the DM's description
    Well I had to describe in great detail how I evaded the Orc's following me...I am a voracious reader especially of frontier life and Indians(Feather not dot) and how they tracked their prey and how they evaded the hunting parties of the red coats sent to wipe them out.  I had to describe in great detail how my character evaded the Orcs's from the stream crossing, to stepping on rocky ground to climbing trees and moving from tree to tree to avoid leaving any spoors on the ground and my human scent.  From using stepping backwards and planting false trails to throw them off. the brush behind me to mask my foot prints...Well the end results I was one of 4 out of 10 that survived....That DM was a dick, hey what can I say, I was part of the "Society of Creative Anarchism" in school where I got my geek on besides being an JROTC kid and on the Chess Club, the academic bowl and the debate team.

     I got seriously into Gaming when I was in the Service, Most of the people in my unit gamed, and you try to have a gaming session drunk on German beer...Lots of fun.  We also played when we were in the field, and had a bit of time.  I enjoyed it and played a lot until I got out in 1991 and didn't really play after that, was too busy working a job and surviving.   Now I haven't played in many years and I do miss it, but the game has changed so I just don't have the time to get creative like that, I blog now so you poor readers have to put up with me in the blogging world, LOL.
    Reading this article reminded me of that long ago gaming session and what I had to do as a character to escape.

A few years ago we published an article on how to track a human in the wild. But what do you do if the shoe is on the other foot, and you’re the one being hunted?
If for whatever reason you find yourself evading a band of marauding outlaws in some dystopian future, you’ll want to implement counter-tracking measures to evade them.
Even if you never end up being the one pursued (and I hope you never do because that means something has gone terribly wrong in your life), understanding counter-tracking measures will make you a better tracker as you’ll know what to look for in targets trying to evade your pursuit.

You Can Run, But It’s Really Difficult to Hide

The ultimate goal of counter-tracking is to evade your enemy and get to safety.
But understand that a talented tracker knows the counter-tracking measures you might use and will still likely be able to find you.
In real life manhunts through the wilderness, the hunted is almost invariably found. If the fugitive is wily, it might take a few days longer before he’s captured, but he’ll ultimately be nabbed.
Exceptions exist, of course, like the clever hermit who managed to live in the Maine woods, and commit 1,000 burglaries, while avoiding detection and the searches of law enforcement for almost 30 years. In general, though, the old saying is true, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” When you’re dealing with seasoned, dedicated trackers, counter-measures will at best probably only give you a little extra time on the lam.
Of course, you may not be pursued by expert trackers — marauding bands of baby-eating barbarians are often rank amateurs in this department. In which case the following counter-tracking measures may accomplish the goal of helping you make a clean getaway. They can be broken down into three main categories: leaving no trace, staying out of sight, and employing deception.

1. Leave No (or as Little) Trace as Possible

In our article about tracking a human, we highlighted several indicators that trackers use to find their target. When you’re the one being pursued, you have to reverse-engineer them, so to speak; you have to know what not to leave behind to avoid tipping off the tracker to your trail.
Don’t leave detritus behind. If you’re escaping and evading, be extremely conscious of not leaving behind any discarded objects. Food wrappers, clothing, and gum are just a few of the things a tracker will be looking for. Be especially cognizant of unintentionally discarded items — sometimes when you pull your hands out of your pockets, stuff comes out with them.
Don’t leave your biological waste behind. Trackers will also be looking for biological evidence of your presence, specifically blood, feces, and urine. If you’re bleeding, make sure you’re bandaged, so you don’t leave a trail. When you take a wiz or a dump, make sure to cover it up when you’re done. Of course, covering up your waste creates evidence of a ground disturbance (more on that in a bit), which a seasoned tracker will be looking for, too. Do your best to make your cat hole look as natural as possible.
Avoid “honeypots.” Expert tracker John Hurth calls soft, impressionable areas of ground that readily capture tracks “honeypots” because they leave so much information behind. Mud, sand, soft dirt, and snow are examples of honeypots. Long grass can also be a honeypot because the tracker will be able to see the trampled, bent grass that you walked through. Avoid honeypots and do your best to stick to hard, rocky surfaces.
If you’re escaping and evading in snow or in a sandy desert, avoiding honeypots will be difficult, but it is possible to minimize the trace you leave behind. If you’re evading on snow-covered ground, try to move only when new snow is actually falling from the sky. The falling snow plus the wind will erase your tracks. Same thing for sandy environments. Try to travel when the wind is blowing so that your tracks are blown away.
Avoid disturbing the environment. Besides looking for footprints, a tracker will also be looking for disturbances in the environment. If you’re walking in a wooded area with lots of leaves or pine needles on the ground, you won’t leave much in terms of footprints, but if you’re not careful, you’ll still leave behind evidence in the form of snapped twigs and overturned leaves.
Besides disturbances on the ground, trackers will be looking for aerial disturbances like broken cobwebs and broken tree branches. If there’s a cobweb between trees, go under it or around it. As you pass by low-hanging tree limbs, try not to bend or break them. Make sure clothing or other items don’t get hung up in tree branches. Also avoid scuffing trees.
Keep a low auditory profile. Trackers will not only be looking for visual indicators, but listening for auditory ones. So be as quiet as possible. Move like a ninja.
Don’t be smelly. A tracker will use all of his senses, including his nose, to find you. The smell of smoke can lead trackers to you, so avoid making fires if possible. Lotions, soaps, food, and body odor also give off scents that can reveal your presence.

2. Stay Out of Sight

Besides being aware of the traces you leave behind, to successfully evade a pursuer you quite naturally don’t want them to see you!
But here’s the rub: moving objects are easier to spot than stationary ones.
So how do you keep moving without being seen?
Here are a few tips drawn from Army field manual FM 21-76: Survival, Evasion, and Recovery.
Camouflage yourself. Unless you’re wearing camo, you’ll need to use your surroundings as a natural disguise. Survival expert Creek Stewart gave a pretty detailed tutorial on how to do this a few years ago — you essentially plaster yourself with mud and leaves. Keep in mind that when you collect materials for your camouflage, you don’t want to get them all from the same location. That will just create a big disturbance in the environment, clearly indicating your trail.
Camouflaging is a bit trickier in snow and desert environments. You don’t have that much flora and fauna to use to conceal yourself. Do your best with what you’ve got.
Move when visibility is lowest. If you don’t want your pursuers to see you, only move when visibility is low: nighttime, stormy weather, dust storms, snow storms, etc.

Avoid silhouetting. Silhouetting occurs when you move in front of the skyline at night. There’s just enough light to create a silhouette of your profile, making you stick out like a sore thumb. To avoid silhouetting, stay off of ridges and the tops of hills. When you move, stay low to the ground, making sure there’s something in your background (like trees) besides the sky.
Use natural cover. As you move, stay close to natural cover like trees, shrubs, and bushes. This may require low crawling. As you stay close to natural cover, be cognizant of not disturbing things too much. First rule of evasion: don’t leave a trace!

3. Deception Practices

No matter how much you work to hide your tracks, you’re still going to leave them. To evade your pursuers, you’ll need to implement some deception tactics to throw them off your trail.
Again, expert trackers know these deception techniques and will consequently be on the lookout for signs of them. While, at best, they’ll simply slow an expert pursuer down, they could throw an amateur entirely off your trail.
Walk backwards. A common deception tactic is to walk backwards. When you do so, the prints of your feet point in one direction, but you’re moving in the opposite direction. If it works, your pursuers will follow the route your toes point towards.
The problem with this deception technique is that a good tracker can detect it by looking at your footprints: a shortened stride and a more pronounced and deeper imprint on the heel give the ruse away.
They’ll also be looking for which direction gravel and dirt are being dragged in relation to the print. If you’re walking backwards, the dirt will be dragged in the direction you’re actually walking, not the direction you’re trying to make them think you’re walking.

Brush away your tracks. If you’re walking on ground that leaves footprints, you can brush them away as you walk to hide your trail. This could be done by rigging a piece of carpet or a leaf-covered branch around your waist, so it drags behind you, sweeping away your footprints as you walk.
Of course, this tactic can be noticed by a well-trained tracker. For example, they’ll likely notice the outline of the edges of the carpet that you’re dragging along.
Walking in a stream. Running water will allow you to walk without leaving footprints, as the moving water will erase whatever prints you may leave in the stream or river bed.
Be aware that honeypots exist near stream beds. The mud that you’ll encounter as you enter and exit a stream will readily capture your tracks.

Doubling back. Doubling back is when you walk and leave a trail in a general direction, but then walk backward over your track to a jump-off point. If all goes according to plan, your trackers will follow your initial line of tracks and bypass your jump-off point.
Unseasoned trackers will eventually realize you’ve doubled back when they reach the point where your prints suddenly stop. Seasoned trackers will likely figure it out earlier by seeing the dirt that’s being pushed backward on your forward-facing prints, indicating that you’re walking backward on your tracks. The other issue with doubling back is that if you don’t walk perfectly backward over your footprints, you’ll just leave another set of prints behind. But the technique, done well, can buy you some extra time.
As you can see above, evading a tracker is hard. Damn hard. But with a bit of cleverness and a lot of luck, you just might be able to successfully escape and evade those who hunt the most dangerous game.
Combat Tracking Guide by John Hurth
Tracking Humans by David Diaz

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Some Musings..

I have finished my killer schedule where I work 4 days straight 12 hour day, did my Boy scout stuff and survived.  I normally try to have stuff in the scheduler thingie but wasn't able to pull it off this time.  I decided to post about a couple of things...First off I saw where President Trump pulled us out of the Iran Nuclear deal.....Funny how that Pen and Phone thing bites you in the butt...
I guess when you decide to circumvent the constitutional process and figured that Felonia Von Pantsuit* would replace you and ensure your legacy does have some drawbacks....
                                                                                                                                    *Hillary Clinton
 The Europeans are aghast that the Cowboy Americans are acting without the guidance that the Europeans were used to with the Obama administration.    In my mind President Trump did the right thing, The Iranians are duplicitous and from what I heard what was the final straw for President Trump was that John Kerry was meeting with Iranian officials trying to circumvent the authority of the President in foreign matters, I keep hearing the word "Logan Act" so I will wonder if "Flipper" will be held to the same standards as us "dirt people" or he will skate like Hillary has because the rules don't apply to the political class.
    Speaking of the Middle East, President Trump keeping another campaign promise opened the U.S embassy in Jerusalem, something the last 3 prior presidents said that they would do but didn't for fear of pissing off the perpetually outraged "Palestinians". 
Well the Perpetually outraged Palestinians did as we figured they would, they went nuts, trying to crash through the border from Gaza to Israel and getting a bunch of them shot for their effort.  People were trying to break through so they can kill Israeli citizens.  And people wonder why the the IDI defended their border?

The US mainstream media of course supported the Palestinians and Trashing President Trump.

    On a different note, A favorite author was dis-invited to a gamercon because the SJW's got stirred up and the Con organizer caved like the French did in 1940 and then doubled down on stupid by running his lame note to the vendors, you can read the updated info  here.   The SJW's did the same thing to John Ringo a month ago.  There is a phrase running around..."Get woke, Go broke".  The people that are caving to the SJW zealots are hoping for the problem to go away, but all this appeasement does is encourage it, ask Chamberlain how the Munich Summit worked out.   A year later Germany started WWII and Chamberlain was disgraced.  These Cons will whither away as the people that want to meet their favorite authors and spend their money at the vendor stalls will no longer make an appearance and the entire community suffers because of the perpetually outraged will have run off the paying customers.  I think only "LibertyCon" is unaffected by all this drama.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Monday Music "Open Sesame" and "Misled" by Kool and the Gang

I decided to roll with Kool and the Gang, I was riding home and on my motorcycle sound system the song came on "Open Sesame" by Kool and the Gang.  Back in 1977/1978 I was one of the producers of our 6 grade play and it was based on historical events, and I used several songs from the sound Track from Saturday Night Fever in the Play and one of the songs I used was "Open Sesame" from Kool and the Gang.  I went with a visual story with music to back it up.  I was told later on I raised the bar on subsequent productions.   I was never told "I couldn't" so I went with my gut and it went well.  I sometimes wonder if my life would be different if I had pursued that avenue instead of the direction that my life has taken.  Naa I am happy with my life that I have now with no regrets.  I went with a 2fer from Kool and the Gang, one song from the 1970's and one song from the 1980's...There is symmetry there, LOL

Open Sesame is the eighth studio album by the funk band Kool & the Gang, released in 1976. The album yielded the hit title track, "Open Sesame", which achieved some success, first as a top ten R&B single, then later as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. "Super Band" also reached the R&B top twenty. The album was the second of two albums released by the band in 1976.

 I couldn't find out any real information on this song except it was in "Saturday Night Fever and it was at the height of the "Disco Movement.".   I do like the sheer pageantry of the video's This was before the advent of "Professional" video's and music video's varied depending if the band was willing to make a video clip.

Emergency is the sixteenth studio album by the American band Kool & the Gang, released in 1984. It ultimately became the group's biggest selling career album, earning Double Platinum status in America, Platinum in Canada, and Silver in the UK.

The album produced four US top 20 hit singles including "Fresh" (US #9); "Misled" (US #10); the title track "Emergency" (US #18); and the album's biggest hit, the million-selling "Cherish" (US #2). "Fresh", "Misled", and "Cherish" also cracked the top 40 in the UK reaching #11, #28, and #4 respectively while "Emergency" only reached #50 in that country.


Saturday, May 12, 2018


I have blogged extensively about Battlecruisers, like I said, this is funny coming from an Army guy, what can I say.  I was fascinated by combat ships since I was a kid.  I will add the most famous battlecruiser in the world, the HMS Hood.  People forget that the Hood was a battlecruiser, and she exemplifies the attributes of a battlecruiser and the weaknesses that ultimately sank her  when she went up against the biggest battleship the Germans had, The SMS Bismark.   I had fun doing research on this post :)

Their capabilities allowed them to fill three roles. They could work with the dreadnoughts in the main battle fleet, adding extra firepower. They could form the heart of smaller squadrons, or they could act independently, their speed and firepower enabling them to contribute to the war without support from other ships.

HMS Shannon, a Minotaur-class armoured cruiser, 1908–09.

In 1909, the Royal Navy was the first to launch battlecruisers. The faith the British placed in the ships was reflected in their names – the HMS Indomitable, Inflexible, and Invincible. They had a displacement of 17,250 tons, similar to the original HMS Dreadnought, but thinner armor to allow for greater speed. Each one carried eight 12-inch guns, just short of the ten 12-inch guns carried by most dreadnoughts.
The first batch of battlecruisers was followed by another set of three carrying similar weapons. Then a process of escalation began, as the designers tried to fit them with ever-greater firepower. The HMS Tiger, a unique battlecruiser laid down in 1912, carried eight 13.5-inch guns. The Renown and Repulse, launched at the height of the war in 1916, had six guns each, but they were powerful 15-inch weapons.
By 1917, the Royal Navy had built 12 battlecruisers, more than any other nation.

HMS Tiger at anchor, 1916–17.

Britain’s first battlecruisers were designed and begun in secret, during the naval arms race. Even when they were launched, not every nation rushed to imitate Fisher’s innovation. By the start of the war, only Britain, Germany, and Japan had battlecruisers in action.
SMS Moltke
The First German battlecruiser was completed in 1910, and several more were produced during the years that followed. While sticking with the broad outline laid out by Fisher, the Germans brought a slightly different approach to battlecruisers. They placed less emphasis on speed and firepower, giving their battlecruisers instead better armor than the British ones. Their first battlecruisers carried 11.1-inch guns although ships built later had the 12-inch guns the British had started with.
The Japanese could not afford to produce as many ships as other powers, so they chose to focus on quality over quantity. Their Kongo-class battlecruisers had their design changed to incorporate 14-inch guns. They also had slightly heavier armor than the British ships. The first Japanese battlecruiser was built in Britain while they were allies; later ships were produced in Japan.

Imperial Japanese Navy battlecruiser Haruna at Yokosuka, Japan.

At first, the battlecruisers were successful. At the Battle of Heligoland Bight in August 1914, they turned the tide of battle in favor of the British by sinking three German light cruisers. While on detached service in the Falklands in late 1914, the HMS Inflexible and Invincible sank two less-powerful German cruisers, confirming their role as destroyers of light ships.
German battlecruisers were sent out on some successful independent expeditions. They bombarded towns on the British east coast, raising concerns among the British public about the Royal Navy’s ability to protect them. The Germans gave a battlecruiser, the SMS Goeben, to the Ottoman Empire. It contributed to bringing the Turks into the war and helped them fight against British and Russian fleets.

Goeben in port, date unknown.

However, the successes concealed problems with the battlecruiser design.
One of the biggest issues was that the captains of the ships regarded them as suitable ships of the line. With their large size, heavy armament, and impressive label, commanders mistakenly tried to use them in straight fights against dreadnoughts and other battlecruisers. Their armor, reduced to increase their speed, was not designed to withstand the sort of guns those ships carried.
In May 1916, the Battle of Jutland laid the truth bare for all to see. Single salvos of shells proved enough to sink three British battlecruisers, the Indefatigable, the Invincible, and the Queen Mary. Each was blown apart and sent into the depths. On the German side, the Lützow was sunk, and other battlecruisers limped home.

 SMS Seydlitz steaming home severely damaged after Jutland
A combination of good seamanship and precautions introduced to contain explosions stopped more from being lost.
Battlecruisers had faced a major battle, and their weakness had been exposed.

British battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable underway in coastal waters just before the Battle of Jutland.

Fortunately, another machine emerged to serve part of the role filled by battlecruisers. The growth of naval aviation created an alternative way of providing reconnaissance for battle fleets.
No more battlecruisers were lost during WWI, as both sides learned the lessons of Jutland and used them appropriately. The Royal Navy used the Royal Navy Air Service with Sopwith Pups and also non Rigid Airships to provide reconnaissance for the Home Fleet during the blockade. 

Following the war, there was still some interest in building battlecruisers, although with a different design. Then the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 brought a halt to the naval arms race, and interest in battlecruisers evaporated. By the time naval power began to grow again, designers had moved on to improved options.
Ultimately, battlecruisers were too vulnerable for ships of their size and firepower.