Good News...

It is about time...

I finally received a letter of (initial) affirmative decision on my annulment with the Catholic Church. An automatic re-review by the Appellate Court is under way, but I'm half way there.



Death Of A Citizen

Radley Balko and Hit & Run both have pointers to a lovely WaPo article about the police in Fairfax County shooting an unarmed, apparently cooperative suspect in the chest with a .45. Not surprisingly, the suspect died.
There’s a lot of commentary to be had about this issue, and the nice folks at Hit & Run are doing a bang-up job of picking what Mr. Walker and Mr. Balko didn’t cover. A partial list of possible fun topics for discussion:

  • Piss poor gun handling by cops
  • The over-militarization of the police
  • The absurdity of prosecuting a bookie in a state with a lottery
  • The double standards that protect cops

I could probably keep going with a little bit of thought, but why? I am saddened that some guy got a whole blown through his chest. Am I terribly surprised? No. We moved to Fairfax County when I was 9. I lived there until I joined the Army and for a little while after I got out. My father and sister still live there. As a result, I sometimes make the joke that my ethnicity is "white boy from the ‘burbs". I have a pretty good understanding of Fairfax County.

Fairfax County is classic American suburban statism at its ugliest. If it will protect the children or property values, they’re all for it. Justifying the absurd of amount of tax revenue the county sucks up is always pretty high on the list, too. The concept of limited government never occurs to anyone there, and the level of cognitive dissonance going on is staggering. The residents want the government to do everything except inconvenience them.

The really sad thing about the incident is that it won’t change anything. The only people that are going to give a rat’s ass are Mr. Culosi’s family and friends. The rest of the people that live in Fairfax County are fine with the police doing this shit. At least, until the SWAT team shows up at their front door because mommy and daddy’s little darling was dealing weed out of the basement rec room. Me, I’m thinking you shouldn’t get too pissed off about the police coming after you when you kept telling them to go after your neighbors. Sooner or later, you’re somebody’s neighbor.

Unexpected Optimism

David Bernstein thinks the Hamas victory will cause them to move away from terrorism. I’d make sarcastic comments about this, but I haven’t got the energy.

If it didn’t work with the PLO, why the fuck do you think it’s going to work with Hamas? What are you, stupid? All this does is legitimize the tactic of terrorism. After all, if you slaughter enough people, you can be a government! Historically, it’s the best shot at becoming a government. It worked for the Bolsheviks, it worked for the Chicoms, it worked for Yasser and the PLO, it can work for Hamas.

I sincerely appreciate the desire for peace on the part of many people in the Middle East. However, there are diverging definitions of the word. For Hamas, "peace" means the destruction of Israel and lots of dead Jews. If Israel’s definition of "peace" included Palestinian genocide, we’d be through with this whole argument, wouldn’t we? The Israelis have the capability to unleash wholesale slaughter upon the Palestinians on a scale not seen since WWII or earlier. The fact that they haven’t yet done so should provide a clue to the dimmest among us as to which side is worth supporting.

Now Bush is saying the Abu of the month in charge of the PA should not step down. Screw that. The Palestinians have made their choice as to which group of muderous thugs they prefer. Let them live with the decision. I know it's a painful concept for all liberals and many conservatives, but democracy sometimes means the masses make stupid decisions. The Palestinians just did, so let them choke on it.



In a surprising electoral upset, Canadians have been elected to run Canadia. I’m having trouble locating Canadia on my map… oh, never mind. That’s Canada. Okay, I guess that’s not so surprising after all. However, the news of the Conservative party winning is apparently startling to some, and by some I mean two of the six US residents that actually follow Canadian politics. The other four are graduate students writing a thesis or dissertation on Canadian politics and they were out getting drunk to celebrate the possible relevance of their degrees.

Oh, wait. I have just been informed that many US residents are in fact Canadians, and thus, care deeply about what happens in Canada. Not deeply enough to live there and deal with the stultifying mess socialist weenies have made of the economy, but deeply enough to follow it on the news from the security of a US residence. Trust me when I tell you that’s more care than any American born in the US has for Canada. Hell, my company sells things to Canada all the time. We only care insofar as they send us money. If they quit sending us money, we’d quit caring in a heartbeat.

I guess this is probably a good thing for the Canucks since any little bit helps. Still, a "conservative" Canadian is still pretty close to a filthy socialist in this neck of the woods. Besides, no matter how conservative he may be, he’s still a flip-top and not to be trusted.



We got back Saturday from the North American International Auto Show in beautiful Detroit, Michigan. Okay, so Detroit’s not beautiful. However, we did do the auto show thing. I hope to have more cogent comments later as well as a link for some pictures.

In addition to the auto show, we went to the National Shrine of the Little Flower while we were there. We saw a picture on some travel website and then passed it on the way to where we were staying with a friend. He lives pretty close, so we went back. It is an absolutely amazing piece of architecture. We picked up a brochure in the gift shop about the place, but the real interest is the architecture. I have never seen a church quite like it before. If you’re ever in the area, stop by and take a look.

Other than that, Detroit is the model of a failing industrial city. The city is so entwined and attached to the auto industry that the powers-that-be literally cannot conceive of finding a way to diversify. What Detroit needs to do is apparently politically impossible, so the city continues to decay. It hasn’t quite hit the bottom yet, but you can sure as hell see it coming. It’s kind of a shame, because there’s a lot of neat stuff around the city. On the whole, I can’t have much sympathy. The people that run Detroit are still clinging to a model that is functionally obsolete. I have no sympathy for people that will not adapt to change. The world has moved on, but Detroit won’t move with it. They are trying to cling to the days when Detroit was the world center of the auto industry, and that day is long past.

Oh, well. People will either wake up and demand change or they’ll leave. Either way, the fed will pump more money into trying to prop up a failing social environment. Hopefully, someone up there will get smart sooner rather than later.


New Year...

Well this year is off to a grand start. It appears that, unfortunately for me, the real opportunity for career advancement promised to me 2 1/2 years ago just happened to coincide with my boss' old college roommate being unemployed. Bright side is that it can only get better from here.

What's that saying about a door closing and a window opening? I guess I just need to go looking for a window.


Blah Blah Blah

If there’s ever been a more self-aggrandizing group of blowhard nitwits than the United States Senate, I remain blissfully unaware of their existence.

I'm impressed. The fools are making themselves look worse than I thought they would. I had really low expectations for the level of discourse, and the Judiciary Committee managed to undershoot considerably. That takes some truly dedicated and inspired work.


I’m Not Annoying You On Purpose

Has anyone been following the changes made to federal law by Sen. Specter (R-Ignunt) slipping some codicil into an appropriations bill? As I understand this, it is now a crime to use a telecommunications device, not disclose your identity and and intend to “annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person”. While I hear the idea is to extend criminal provisions applying to phone calls to VoIP, the statute appears to be overbroad. I’m not the only one who thinks so.

As I have no desire to go to jail, mainly because it would interfere with my attempts to become the World Champion in Speed Crocheting, I have made an editorial policy change here at YPS. Henceforth, let it be known to all and sundry that we have no intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person, not even Ted Kennedy. We simply intend to provide our readers with commentary and analysis of the events, persons, items, and ideas we find interesting. Our intent is to entertain and edify you, our reader. Any such annoyance, abuse, threats or harassment would be simply a wholly unintended side effect of our primary goal.

So remember: if you’re annoyed by anything you read here, it wasn’t on purpose. Think of it as an accident, and we’ll all get along just fine. Right?



Presented for your edification and amusement: The YPS Taxonomy of Rats.

Rats with Fluffy Tails and Good PR, or Tree Rats (AKA squirrels)
Rats with Wings (AKA pigeons)
Mutant Toxic Waste Rats (AKA possums)

I only bring this up because psychos in England are claiming that two of the rats have crossbred producing a "squirrat". Whatever. Leaving aside the biological improbability, does it really matter? A rat is a rat is a rat, fluffy tail or no.

I wouldn’t find these things without J and Fark.


More Tools

I am killing some spare time today browsing the web for tools. I need a miter saw to build a deck on the back of the house. It’s not a very big deck, so I probably don’t need a very big miter saw. However, I have grand aspirations of doing other things with my tools later. I have, in the past, been bitten by buying a tool adequate for my current needs and realizing later that I needed more capacity because my needs changed. There’s a 14 inch electric chainsaw in the garage that I have come to loathe because of the issue. There’s nothing wrong with the chainsaw. It is just inadequate for my needs. I keep putting off a new chainsaw because I hope to sell my current house and not need a chainsaw. This keeps getting delayed, so I keep using the pathetic little one. Consequently, I keep getting frustrated and annoyed with the chainsaw because it won’t do what I need it to without extra effort. It's entirely not the fault of the chainsaw.

Anyhow, I’m shopping for a miter saw and I don’t want to make the same mistake. I’m leaning towards a 12 inch, because sooner or later I’m going to want to do something that a 10 inch just won’t do, like cut 4x4s in one pass. Ideally, I’d have the money to get a sliding 12 inch. Honestly, that’s probably overkill for anything I’m ever going to do. Plus, a sliding 12 inch saw immediately doubles the price. It’s one thing to debate the merits of 10 versus 12 when your price differential is in the $50-$75 range. It’s quite another to look at the price doubling for feature I may never need. I’m going to need to cut a 4x4 at some point in my existence. I’m not yet going to ditch my fascinating job in the field of oil industry project management to make furniture or frame houses. I don’t think I’m ever going to need the capability of a 12 inch sliding saw. If I do, I’ll have a miter saw, a circular saw, and a table saw. I can probably get where I’m going with the three saws I’ll soon have. I am leaning towards a Craftsman 12 inch miter saw. I can get a little more bang for the buck in terms of features than I can with the DeWalt that is my first choice. I’ll have to mull it over and see. Sears is having a sale until the end of the week. Hopefully I can make a decision by then.


I spend some time on gun websites. The amazing proliferation of tactical gear is an amusing thing to me. I can’t help but think that most of the stuff getting sold will never be used for anything remotely challenging. Some middle-aged guy will haul it out to the range for three gun matches and it’ll go back in the closet until next match. There are people out there that will use it, but it’s a small percentage of the purchasers, I’m sure. However, it is a free-market economy in a free country. If you want it, buy it. The armchair warriors and range commandos help keep the cost down for the guys that actually need it for their jobs.

I just find it all faintly ridiculous. Even given that I like guns and want several battle rifles, I’m not going to go out and buy a tactical assault vest. I don’t see a need for one. Even if the world does fall apart and such an item becomes useful, I think I can get by for a while without one. I don’t need all the tactical whiz-bang stuff. Been there, done that, don’t see the point now. If it comes to the point where I need any of that equipment again, I can guarantee there’s a long list of other things I need to be worrying about first.

It’s the marketing aspect of it all that really gets me sometimes. I’m looking on one website at “tactical pants”. Tactical? They’re pants. Let’s not get carried away here, people. You put them on, you wear them. They are not tactical, they’re just pants. I’m making a random and wild guess, but somewhere out there, someone is advertising tactical underwear and socks. I’m going to go off and snicker at the absurdity of it all now.



That would be the rank of the National Champion Texas Longhorns. USC can go back to Cali and all the supporters can have a nice hot cup of STFU. Now that the season is over, I can say that USC has been hyped up as some wonder team all year long. I never saw it. Now it's irrelevant. They lost. Buwahahahaha!

You'll pardon me while I gloat. I'll be back once I've made my (non-UT) coworkers sufficiently annoyed.


YPS Manor: Recap of 2005

So yeah I know it has been many many months since I've posted. I checked, it was the 4th of July actually. And no, I didn't declare independence from YPS. I do actually have good reasons, besides having little to say. 2005 got surprisingly hectic for me, so here's the recap.

I filed for a Catholic annulment of my first marriage. I may or may have mentioned it, but I had a practice marriage (PM) before my real marriage (to T). The PM lasted 6 months and there are no children. The ex has a child by his current wife and isn't Catholic, and yet he petitioned the Church that the annulment shouldn't be granted. Go figure. But, when the respondent disagrees, it takes time. I hope to have an initial decision soon.

All the while, I dealt with illness, surgery, and recuperation. Yes I am better. Whether I am fully recovered will be discovered in the next month or so. We'll see...

Shortly after recovering from surgery, Hurricane Katrina hit. I have family friends in St. Bernard Parish, and anyone who knows the area knows it was one of the hardest hit. We gave all the aid and comfort we could to our friends, who lost absolutely everything. The good news is that they've all returned to the area to rebuild their homes and lives. That is the story no one hears.

After Katrina, Hurricane Rita left her trail of destruction along the Eastern Texas/Western Louisiana border. We chose to not evacuate as most of our friends did, and to our benefit. Unfortunately, I saw the devastation first hand as my very elderly Grandparents were right in her path. There was no power in the area so we sheltered them until the power was repaired. It took a while, but they're fine, as is possible.

Then came the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were fine, and here we are in 2006.

I resolve to post more, but let's face it, I'm just not as interesting as T.


So, like all good obsessive bloggers, I check my referral logs. Since I'm too lazy to implement trackback or any other spiffy features, it's pretty much the only way I find out who links to me. I suppose I could check Technorati once in a while...

Anyhow, I've been getting lots of hits lately from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. My only response to this, much like many other things in life, is: huh? What on earth in our lovely internet home could possibly be of interest to Norwegian college students? If Norwegian college students are like American ones, the primary interests are drinking and sex. We don't cover much of either here.

Shit, it's not like I blog about work, which is the only connection I have with Norway and/or Norwegians. I didn't have anything to do with the last Statoil project and it's been years since I dealt with Norsk Hydro. All things considered, I can't possibly imagine why Norwegians would read YPS. I hope y'all aren't coming here for insight into how Americans think, because damn few think like we do.

All I really know about Norway is that it's cold and Scando. I don't study up on the cold places much, because I hate cold. It's a balmy 79 degrees here today, and that's just how I like it. ( That's 26 degrees for you Celsius types.) Compare that to the current 32 degrees in Stavanger and Trondheim. (0 in Celsius) Screw that noise. That's cold. Y'all should move someplace warm, unless you actually like the cold. In which case, you're insane. Thanks for stopping by anyway.

Range Report: SA Mil-Spec

We took the birthday present out to the range on Saturday. We went over to Marksman Indoor Range in South Houston and put just under 200 rounds of through the pistol. I'm not going to venture any opinions as to the accuracy of the pistol yet. Given how out of practice I am at this point, it's capable of more accuracy than I am. It seems like it's shooting a little low compared to point of aim. I am given to understand this is not uncommon with Springfield pistols. However, the rounds are also going a little to the right, which is definitely an issue on my part. I'm reluctant to blame the pistol for anything without more practice. The problems were more noticeable on the bullseye targets. When I switched over to using silhouettes the problems were noticeably less. I can dump a full mag into either the head or the center of the chest with no problems. This reinforces my conclusion that the problem is me, not the pistol. I'm way more used to using silhouettes than bullseyes.

J probably shot about 50 of the 200 rounds. This was more in the nature of familiarization fire for her than anything else. She had never fired a pistol before, so it was a fun learning experience. She enjoyed herself, which is key to getting her to go back. She didn't find the recoil of the .45 unmanageable. What was more of an issue was the simple weight of the gun. A 1911 is a big chunk of steel and holding it out at arm's length is not something J is used to doing. Her shoulders are a little tight and sore still. Given how long it's been since I taught pistol marksmanship to anyone, I think enrolling her and me in NRA basic pistol might be an good option. She'll definitely get some use out of it, and I'm never averse to instruction. There's always more to learn, right?

Anyhow, out of 192 rounds of Winchester White Box, we had no failures to fire or extract. I had two feed failures at the end of the session, one out of the factory mag and one out of an old stainless mag I have left over from my last .45, 13 years ago. I think that's again due to me. By that time, it had dawned on me that the combination of no breakfast or lunch and too much coffee is not a recipe for success at the range. No problems at all with the Chip McCormick mags, and just the two feed failures out of the other ones. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the performance. Now all I need to do is get back out there and practice more so I'm not a complete loser. I'd report group sizes, but I'm way too embarrassed. My groups sucked ass, so I'll hold off on reporting numbers until I get some more practice in and get them down to less than the paper size.


We went to see what is hopefully the first installment of the Chronicles of Narnia yesterday. Overall, a pretty good effort. The special effects were lacking in some spots, but overall worked out pretty well. I also have to admit I was surprised right before the Witch sacrifices Aslan on the Stone Table. I didn't expect to see a shaved pussy in a PG rated movie. Okay, horrible innuendo aside, I was impressed and I hope they make enough money to continue. I think the series may prove problematic, simply because there isn't any central character that runs through all the books. The lack of a continuous story arc may baffle the movie-going public at some point. The movie is good clean family fun, notwithstanding the aforementioned cat. I recommend it if you've read the books. They didn't do a hack job anywhere and were pretty faithful to the source. I don't have any idea how it works if you haven't read the books.