Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year’s Resolution for Bloggers

Will, acting as substitute for Chad, who is taking a well deserved break, asks us Virginia bloggers to commit to a New Years Resolution . I'm not sure what constitutes a "Shakespearean hipster or a cynical Emily Dickinson" but I do hereby resolve to always be a "Southern Gentleman".

Perspective Means Everything....

And Steve at Blue Dog puts the Iraq military death toll in perspective. And no, it's not another comparison to WWII.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Growing Exponentially

The ODBA (Old Dominion Blog Alliance) is growing like a deer's antlers. To those of you who are not familiar with that analogy, it means fast!

Let's welcome our newest member Brown Hound. I tried to find a link to the hound's profile, but was unsuccessful. If you know who this is, (information need not be too specific, just a location and gender would suffice) or if the hound himself (herself?) reads this and would care to provide a little more information, I would be appreciative. (An E-mail link can be found in the sidebar.)

OK, it was late (at least in my world 9:00pm is late) last night when I posted this. Upon revisiting this blog I see that the hound is "John" and he is a father. That answers the gender question. I also learned that he is a duck hunter, and that is a good thing. Hunters here in SWVA don't get a lot of shots at ducks so I'm going to assume he is located somewhat further east.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Addendum To Earlier Post

After reading Jerry's reaction, and re-reading this post, I feel that some clarification is in order.

When I was traveling like Jerry does now I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 days a year in a hotel room. I typically chose the best accomidations available, but after some time even the best hotel room is still a somewhat restrictive cell. You learn early that all the people are downstairs in "the bar". Since everyone else in "the bar" is drinking, you feel obligated to join them. Consequently, during that time in my life I drank way too much. I remember (vaguely) several occasions when I would wake up in the local Denny's, finish my breakfast, and go to the jobsite for a new day's work.

Today, I leave here (Collinsville) at 5:30am, get gas, coffee, and The Roanoke Times at the Valero station here, and drive to Patrick Springs and Kaye's Kitchen. After a breakfast of eggs and grits (sometimes 'taters instead), (and views of that semi-famous butt) I arrive at at work sometime before 7:00am. I leave there around 5:30pm, stop again at Kaye's Kitchen (and an entirely different, but equally delightful, butt) before arriving back at home around 7:00pm. I now limit myself to one, sometimes two, short glasses of the aforementioned Bushmills before an early bedtime.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Simple Pondering

In one of his posts today Jerry was left wondering about Virginia’s odd method of dispensing alchoholic libations to a paying public.

Someone needs to fill me in on the bizarre state liquor store system (ABC) here in Virginia. It's as if I fell asleep and woke up to find the Soviets had finally invaded and took over the local packaged hootch business.
Jerry, you travel quite a bit, as I once did. I learned quite quickly that there are no “normal” liquor laws. In Pennsylvania, if you want a six pack of beer to take back to the hotel room, you can’t buy it from the local Quick Stop. Beer is sold in case quantities only from “Beer Distributors”. Six packs “to go” may be purchased only from the local tavern. The “Hard Stuff” is only available from a State operated store similar to Virginia.

Maryland has a completely different set of laws for each county... Consequently, no one knows what’s legal there and what’s not.

In Utah, where the company I used to work for was based, you can buy 3.2 beer in supermarkets and convenience stores 7 days a week. Anything stronger has to come from a State owned store similar to Virginia and Pennsylvania. Even in the heart of Mormon Territory most restaraunts do serve mixed drinks and cocktails, but you must ask for them. The law prohibits your waiter or waitress from telling you that they are available. This makes for a twentyfirst century speakeasy type of atmosphere.

Several states, Oklahoma comes to mind, have a bizzare “Private Club” provision whereby a bar can proclaim itself a private club, charge a minimal “initiation fee”, (known elsewhere as a "cover charge") and operate much as any bar or tavern anywhere else.

Finally, there are the more “civilized ?” places like California, France, and New Jersey where most any grocery store can sell you a bottle of Bushmills along with your apples and cheddar cheese. (A nice McIntosh and a very sharp Cheddar along with a short glass of Bushmills being my favorite after dinner before bedtime snack.)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas To All..

I'll be back on Monday Tuesday. Here's wishes for a joyous time with your families today and tomorrow.

"I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." ~ Luke 2:10-11

Friday, December 23, 2005

I'm Not Emeril Discovers A Good One.

I like this guy. He is now on my daily read list.

Football In ANWR

Recently efforts to extract known oil reserves in Alaska's Arctic coastal plain were defeated once again. The coastal plain area of ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) is shown in green on the drawing to the right. If you open the image to full size you will see in red the area the Senate wants to open to drilling. The entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge covers 19.5 million acres. The drawing shows it to be roughly the size of the State of South Carolina. The Coastal Plain (green) covers 1.5 million acres. The barely discernible red square represents the 2,000 acres proposed for drilling. I would like to credit the source of this image, but frankly, I've had it on my hard drive for some time and do not remember were I obtained it.

I've been trying to get this representation of size down to something more conceivable. Luckily, I have AutoCAD and I ain't afraid to use it. AutoCAD is a software application designed for drawing to exact scale. The greatest attribute of the program is that it allows you to draw in full scale, then when you are ready to print your drawing, you specify the size of the sheet being used and the finished drawing is correctly scaled to fit the sheet. In other words, if the device I am designing is to be 20 feet long, I can draw a line 20 feet long on the screen and then zoom in or out to see the entire line.

For example, in this screen capture I drew a football field. In AutoCAD (and in the real world) the distance from endzone to endzone is 300 feet. The dimensions are all perfectly scaled when the drawing will be printed, regardless of the size of the paper I decide to use.

I drew this football field in order to bring the ratios discussed in the first paragraph into a context more relevant to those of us who do not use acres as a daily measurement, not to mention acres in the millions. I assume nearly all of my readers have seen a football field and can conceptualize it's size.

The hashmarks between the full yardlines are each 24" long and 2" wide. Roughly two whole Subway sandwiches laid end to end. Consider the entire field, including both endzones represents Alaska's Coastal Plain that lies within the ANWR (the green part above). All four of the hashmarks between the 45 yard line and the 50 yard line would then represent an area equal to the area of the ANWR coastal plain that is set asiede for drilling. Eight Subway sandwiches lying on a football field represents the small area of the coastal plain proposed for drilling.

Next, I wanted to show the proposed drilling area in relation to the entire 19.5 million acres of ANWR. If you were to download this image you would see a small dot within the zero of the numeral 30 on the opposing team's side of the field. That "dot" does not represent the correct ratio of ANWR to drilling site, assuming the entire field represents all of ANWR. No, that "dot" was something I had to draw there in order for you to see that something was in fact drawn inside the opposing team's 6 foot high "30".

I drew the United States Quarter coin, again in exact scale, that the referee dropped after using it for the game opening coin toss. That Tic Tac just above George Washington's head represents the size of the drilling area in relation to all of ANWR.

If the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were the size of a football field, the area being proposed for drilling would be much smaller than a Tic Tac breath mint. Estimates of the oil reserves that can be extracted from this Tic Tac range between 10 and 20 years at current consumption.

With the power of AutoCAD at my disposal, I could continue and extrapolate a drawing that represents the drilling area in relation to the entire State of Alaska and even to the area of all 50 states combined. But if I did this experiment with just the State of Alaska the resultant drawing would end up being so small as to have no relevance to the real world in the opposite direction.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Little Mental Exercise

OK, I know you're intelligent. If you're a returning visitor to this site, you simply must be. I'm going to challenge your intellegence in this post, but not in any mentally superior way. I would never deign to be mentally superior to you, my dear reader.

I want you to imagine nothing
. That's right, consider a complete vacuum. You do not exist. Your neighbors do not exist. Even the Earth and all it's animate inhabitants do not exist. No stars, no moon, no sun.

This exercise is getting difficult, is it not? I contend it is impossible for the human mind to imagine a complete "nothingness". Yet that is the question we are faced with regardless of whether we choose to believe in "Darwinism" or "Intelligent Design".

Let's suppose for a moment that you choose to believe in the Darwinian theory of evolution. Extremely simple life forms developed over time into more complex life forms that eventually inhabited the planet we call home.

But remember, we started with a vacuum. Nothing. Nada, zip, zero. Where did the "something" that eventually became "something else" come from?

I don't really care which side you decide to begin from, the "rabbit from a hat" magical phenomena has to occur somewhere within the theory.

Pardon My Appearance

Via e-mail I've been informed that this page does not appear as it should in Internet Explorer. I'm told that on occasion the entire left sidebar is gone in IE. I have been aware of some appearance issues with IE for some time now, and that has been one of my many reasons for investigating Wordpress and commercial hosting. That development is coming at some point in the new year.

CR UVa Joins Alliance

Welcome to The ODBA, CR UVa. Your blog "The Red Stater" has been on my blogroll for some time. I'm pleased to move that link up in the list.

The Old Dominion Blog Alliance continues to grow with this quality addition.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The Red Queen Affair: Jesus Has Arrived

Waldo Jaquith Shows In This Post...

the class that merits being included in my daily reads.

No Comment Needed, Just A Link (Or Two)

Just go and read and cry...
SW Virginia law blog

I'm Sorry, Ms. Elenaeous

Somewhere in Roanoke County Ms. Elenaeous is grieving the current situation with the NYTWU.

In a perfect world, the union workers who are conducting this illegal strike would be given a reminder of the Reagan Presidency. Unfortunately, this ain't no perfect world, and Michael Bloomberg certainly ain't no Ronald W. Reagan.

Once Upon A Life In Business Class

Jerry reminds me of life on the road. Fortunately, the type of travel I incurred did not require me sleeping on someone else's sheets for more than 1 or 2 nights. The rest of the time I was there, I knew what went on in that bed the night before. (Don't ask.)

Once upon a time I traveled much as he does now. I worked as a field engineer for a robotics company based in Salt Lake City. I lived here, but I drove to work on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, (depending upon where the current project was), to Piedmont Triad International Airport between Oak Ridge and Greensboro, North Carolina. Typically I would spend almost two weeks on site and fly back to Greensboro on the following Thursday for a long weekend before doing another turn-around. I would keep the room paid for during that long weekend, thus, no heavy packing for the return trip. (And no unknown shenanigans in what had by then become "my bed".) Carry-ons often consisted of just a briefcase.

There were certain advantages to that schedule. The greatest being that I would get to actually spend time in places like Chicago, Toronto, Augusta, or Huntsville (Alabama), as a typical project may take as long as 18 months. The downside would be that I had to actually spend time in places like Los Angeles, Montreal, or Paris (France, not Georgia). My final project for this company was in Taipei, Taiwan. (It beats Montreal hands down.)

While I cannot lay claim to the feat Jerry proudly describes in an archived post, I must admit to once urinating on a CRJ200, which is nearly identical, just smaller.

Recount Recap

Lighthorse Harry at Sic Semper Tyrannis has a couple of updates on the current status of the AG recount

Chad has more at Commonwealth Conservative

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tommy Denton And The Holiday Tree Kerfuffle

I have stayed away from the current kerfuffle over the latest politically correct offense. I, as a Christian, do not take offense when greeted with "Happy Holiday" or "Season's Greetings". The greeting "Happy Holiday" does, in fact, truly represent a sentiment. One that could be considered appropriate for Christian and Jew alike. "Season's Greetings", on the other hand, is simply insipid. It means nothing and as such could never offend me.

I understand that if the gesture is coming from a salesperson, it is probably merely a rote statement. Roughly on par with "Thank you for shopping our K Mart". No offense meant and none taken. (Never mind that almost certainly no true sentiment was meant as well.) On the occasion that I am offered such wishes by a stranger, or someone whose closest connection with me is the mall bench we happen to be sharing, I also attribute it to simple politeness. Merely a December version of "Have a nice day".

Today, Tommy Denton, in his weekly Sunday column brings up the subject.
As Dec. 25 nears, tensions seem to run a bit higher this year among the season's celebrants.

Emotions ranging from angst to full-blown righteous indignation to eye-watering redemptive passion to save imperiled souls have accompanied a stirring debate over how to designate certain seasonable decorations, specifically, evergreen trees adorned with assorted lights, baubles, stars and other glittering items appealing to the eye.

Earliest memories from my own family's celebrations called it the Christmas tree. Most everyone we knew called it the same thing, most likely because we didn't know anyone who wasn't Christian.

I'm sorry Tommy, I don't know of any other way to refer to an evergreen tree adorned with assorted lights, baubles, stars and other glittering items appealing to the eye. It's a Christmas tree. A tree decorated by Christians in a traditional celebration of a day known to them (and even you) as "Christmas". Thus, it is as an accurate, descriptive noun by which non political persons refer to such a tree.

A device that holds seven candles in a planar row is a Menorah. Be honest now Tommy, would you really write such a column defending the phrase "Holiday candlestick"?

You wonder why people would be offended at such referrals. I can't speak for all Christian conservatives, but my best guess is that most feel similar to me. I am offended by idiocy. And this current act by certain local officials (mostly, although I have seen "Holiday trees" advertised at Lowe's) in an absurd effort to not offend other religions, itself bends reality to an extreme.

From the viewpoint of a liberal, Tommy, perhaps you can explain to me how pretending that Christmas does not exist, or pretending that a Christmas tree is not a Christmas tree, or maybe pretending we are not really celebrating Christmas but instead some Winter "Holiday", assuages the feelings of those who adhere to the beliefs of other religions? I'm pretty sure that my Jewish friends know what I'm celebrating. I would bet that Nani, the Lebanese gentleman who owns the convenience store at the intersection of Daniel's Creek Road and King's Mountain Road here in Collinsville knows that his Christian customers are celebrating Christmas. Would you prefer that we do this celebrating in secret?

Idiocy knows no bounds on Campbell Avenue.

Only Tommy could work outrage for a Federal tax cut into a column about "Holiday trees". You gotta admit, the man is a talented writer.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Question Not Asked Is Answered

From the time I first stumbled upon Jerry's blog I've wondered why his posts so often feature the Roanoke Fire Department. He lives in Bland County, but may at any time be posting from any of the lower 48. I considered the idea that maybe the company he works for is based in Roanoke, but couldn't quite settle on that as an explanation.

Finally, today, I discover why this is so. Read this excellent post from October all the way to the last paragraph and you will know why too.

Friday, December 16, 2005

How Would We Hold Up...

In comparison? Today Iraqis voted with an estimated 80% turnout. Cars (with the exception of ambulances and a few others) were banned from the streets and highways in an effort to limit suicide bombings. That's right, 80% of the eligible voters walked to the polls. Walked. Did Not Drive. Do not pass go.

I almost feel ashamed of our 40% or so typical turnout. Yet the MSM still does not see this as a victory for democracy. Howard Dean still believes we have lost. The Democrat Party still criticizes the current administration for having a "wrong headed" policy regarding Iraq. The Democrat Party still says, even though Bush's policy is wrong, we don't have to have an alternate policy.

I Love My Job

I've neglected to post since Wednesday night, but not because of the weather. I have entered another "busy spurt" at work. I got through it, and now I am merely overworked, as opposed to being stretched out like the guy on the right.

But twice a day I turn and face south and repeat "I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job."

The GOP (as currently constituted) In A Nutshell

Found within a post from Norman at One Man's Trash:
The congressional GOP has become a party more in tune with spending habits of Lyndon Johnson than Barry Goldwater. And no amount of 'paranoia' inducement in the base can mask that.
In that brief statement, Norman sums up the most serious problem the GOP needs to address in the time between now and 2006 elections.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Best Christmas Themed Post I've Found To Date

The Red Queen Affair is a PA blog I was introduced to by Kilo. Her recent post about her family tradition of seeking the gift her husband has left for her is my choice for "Best Christmas Themed Post" so far.

On The Uselessness Of The Roanoke Times

Chad has this post referencing Steve Minor's complete deconstruction of a recent Roanoke Times Editorial. (He also credits Sic Semper Tyrannis for leading him to the original.)

Contribute to the Virginia Literacy Foundation.

Waldo reminds me that the joy of reading is one I tend to take for granted. I remember my mother getting me a subscription to the Roanoke Times when I was in the second grade. Even at that early age I had come to love reading, and she, in her infinate wisdom, knew that a daily source of fresh reading material would be good for me. I must admit it was, and am happy to confirm that 40+ years of The Roanoke Times have not yet converted me to liberalism.

On a more serious note, and the real reason for this post, in his recent post Waldo suggests some very good reasons to contribute to the Virginia Literacy Foundation. He convinced me, go there and see if he can convince you.

I have decided to go the "NPR" route and challenge my fellow conservative bloggers (Virginia and otherwise) to match my $100.00 donation.

To those who, for whatever reason, are uneasy making an online donation, the address is;

The Virginia Literacy Foundation
413 Stuart Circle, Executive Suite 130
Richmond, Virginia 23220

Sic Semper Tyrannis Is One Year Old

One of my daily reads and fellow ODBA members Sic Semper Tyrannis has reached the one year milestone. Happy Birthday guys, and here's hoping you will prosper for many more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jackie Stump Resigns

Third District Delegate Jackie Stump has resigned.

Apparently he informed Governor Warner on Thursday, and will formally announce his intentions in Buchanan County later today.

My understanding is this decision was made because of his health. I haven't spoken with Jackie in well over a year now, so I have no idea what health concerns he may be facing. Whatever they may be, I wish him well.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Arnold Makes The Right Decision, But Will Pay For It

I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to hear this news tonight as I drove home from Patrick County. I fully expected Governor Schwarzenegger to grant clemency. Not in an attempt to placate the left wing. Not because it was morally correct. Instead as a means of avoiding the riots that will almost certainly spring up in certain areas of California within the next 48 hours.

There are numerous folks in various areas of L.A. and elsewhere in California that will use this as an excuse to riot, loot, and perform general mayhem.

Hey, all future rappers and NBA stars have a burning need for plasma TVs, BFRs, and flashy bling-bling. Tookie's "murder" provides the perfect justification for taking those items from their neighbors. It will somehow provide "justice". (No Justice, No Peace...)

I remember the Watts riots in the mid 60's. When asked on national TV why she was taking television sets from a local store, a young mother's response was "'Cause my babies needs milk..." That response has stuck hard in my memory. I was only in fifth grade or so then and saw the complete idiocy of her response. Tomorrow's responses, should they be forthcoming, will be no more enlightening.

Arnold's decision was most certainly the right one, but one he will pay heavily for as the previously mentioned riots take form and he begins to be the "One Responsible For It All". We do still remember how G.H.W.Bush was somehow responsible for the riots that occurred after the Rodney King affair, don't we?

It appears I have inadvertently offended some. I have a tendency to write, and speak, in a "descriptive" manner. Upon reflection I can see where I did not make clear the meaning of my use of the phrase "future rappers and NBA stars". My reference above was intended as an indictment of a culture, NOT a race. My apologies to anyone who inferred differently.

Also, it appears I missed in my prediction of unrest in California. For this I am very thankful.

Kilo has this
And Squeeky thinks along these lines...

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I can now proudly proclaim my acceptance into the ODBA (Old Dominion Blog Alliance). On my left sidebar where I once linked my "daily dose" of Virginia blogs you will now find the ODBA blogroll. Just below that lives the links from the previous list that are not in the alliance. These should not be considered "leftovers". They are still on my daily reading list, even though most are left of center. I do still wholeheartedly reccomend these "left handed friends".

Dick Gephardt, You've Been Plagiarized

I've grown accustomed to The Roanoke Times' Editorial staff's glowing approval of "progressive" income tax rates. A progressive tax scheme is one in which those who pay the most taxes are taxed at a progressively higher rate, so I guess "progressive" is properly descriptive.

Today's editorial entitled Stealth tax cuts strike next year was just more of the same. Except...
The undercutting of a progressive tax structure -- one in which those who have benefited proportionately more from society assume the civic and moral responsibility to pay proportionately more to keep it running -- is rolling right along.
(emphasis added)

Whoa, whoa, whoa...

Tommy, Wendy, and crew. Do you really believe that those who have achieved some level of success have done so on the back of society? You have chosen a rather literary way of paraphrasing Dick Gephardt, who famously called those same achievers "winners in life's lottery".

Yeah, right. We all know that it's not possible in America to achieve the status of "wealthy" by hard work, innovation, and commercial risk taking. It can only be achieved by the luck of the draw or by exploiting disproportionately society at large. In the America I live in, (just an hour south and slightly west of the one you guys inhabit on Campbell Ave) the only people that fit your description are a handful of NBA and NFL stars, and some outsized egos in Hollywood. And maybe some certain highly paid newspaper personnel in Southwest Virginia with apparently guilty consciences?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Good...Sad, But Very, Very Good

A very funny, yet seasonally topical cartoon at From On High: Tis The Season ... Go see this.

Another Of Those Brief Thoughts

From The Roanoke Times

Briefly put...
With a rash of bribery convictions, and indictments and investigations for a range of other ethical transgressions, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has recommended a crash course in ethical instruction for members of Congress.

"The speaker wants members on both sides of the aisle to understand the nuances of House rules," Ron Bonjean, a spokesman for Hastert, said about the plan.

Since when did lying, cheating and stealing become "nuances" requiring merely remedial instruction?
Oh...I'd say right along about January,1993...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Day Of Infamy...Well Remembered

Today being December 7 there are probably hundreds of blogs that document the events of that fateful day. I dare say though that none do it quite so well as this one.

The Old Dominion Blog Alliance

I've been meaning for quite some time now to ask Chad or someone about the Old Dominion Blog Alliance and how one would go about joining. I mention Chad here simply because he is the "de facto" leader of Virginia blogs, and if anyone would know the particulars of this subject it would be he. It just never occurred to me at any time while actually posting. Tonight I find this post at Kilo's Spark It Up!!! blog.

I currently link to most, if not all, members. I must admit though, Brandon Myers is not on my "daily reads" list, (that would be the Virginia Blogs list on the left sidebar, among others) so I missed his recent passing from the scene.

Although I am not a member of the ODBA, but would like to be, I concur with Carl. An alliance is just that, an alliance. As such each should adhere to the ideals of the whole. Not carbon copies of course, but at least not be so far afield as to become a smut peddlar such as criesinthenight has suddenly become. Again, criesinthenight not being amongst my daily reads, I missed this turn which apparently occurred sometime this month.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Heard Today, But Unverified

I'm not one to "monger" rumors, but Narroflex, a textile company in Stuart is instituting a layoff of an undetermined number of workers. This I have from a reliable source, I just don't have any firm numbers to go with the information. An update will be forthcoming.
(Note: This source is just as reliable as the one that allowed me to "scoop" the Roanoke Times by a month on the Webb Furniture closing in Galax.)
Apparently today was the last day for nearly 50 workers at Narroflex. These layoffs are considered permanent by the company.

Two Virginia Honors In One Week.

Apparently I need to get busy and post less often more often. Or should that be...

Never mind, it made sense when I first thought it. Let me clarify. My regular readers know that I have been somewhat "less prolific" lately, and they know why. Now, in this almost dormant phase, I suddenly find myself listed on Ben and Company's NLS site as a Virginia "Silver Blog". I really appreciate the honor guys.

Also, today I find that I also appear on Blue's "Daily Dozen". All I can say is I appreciate the appreciation. I now know how Chad must feel, since I've only been at this since September 11, 2005. This recognition by established Virginia bloggers is quite an honor.

That and the fact that, at least on Blue Dog, I outrank Michelle Malkin! Whoo, Hoo!!! (But I assure you, I ain't got the legs she's got.)

One Step Closer...

A few days ago Kilo turned me on the fact that there is now an alternative to blogger for cheapskates like me.

Last evening I finally had a little free time to compose a piece that I'm sure would have provided you, dear reader (or readers, as I suppose there may be more than one), with an evening of literary delight. But. I pressed the orange "Publish Post" button and nothing happened. Well, that's not entirely correct. The annoying little page popped up that said "Files Published... 0%". Over and over, it kept refreshing itself, as it tends to do as each percentage is added to the total. Except it never added any percentage. After watching it sit there at 0% for quite some time, I decided to press the back button and try again.


I lost that literary gem, and then to add insult on top of the frustration, I was unable to even access my own blog. I kept getting a "Sorry, you do not have permission to access..." Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

Back to my original thought. I'll be looking seriously into Wordpress, and will even investigate commercial hosting. I realize I may have to pry open my wallet, but for you, gentle readers, I will make that sacrifice.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Advance From Advance

I just got home from the annual Christmas get-together with my mother's family. Settled in to do some blog reading and of course, I had to check my daily statistics. Apparently only a couple of dozen or so of us did not make it to The Advance. One who did, Too Conservative, returned early and gives us this "advance" review.

One thought this young man has, that frankly had not occured to me, was this...
Kilgore for Congress against Boucher?
Now that's a thought that warms my heart on this cold rainy December evening.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wordpress + Free Blog Space = Why Not

It looks like I'm not the only one influenced by Kilo's reference to Wordpress' offer of late. Norm has a test ride going.

I have looked at it, and am considering the options. But as Norm says there will be the consequences of transferring links and maybe even archives. Not to mention the "tens and tens" of readers. If I do make the switch it will have to come after things settle down some at work.

Help Me Jog My Memory

I admit it. Time (and a somewhat misspent youth) has diminished my memory. But does anyone remember the ACLU or another liberal organization suing a school board because of a requirement of parental notification before administering aspirin?

Maybe they sued The Piercing Hut or some such shop because they require parental permission before piercing the ears of a minor. No?

Then maybe they joined another group in support of such a suit. No again, you say?

OK, then how can this case be about constitutionally guaranteed rights if the previous examples are not? And if instead it is, then why has not some liberal group brought such a suit?

The answer, when looked at in this logical manner is pretty obvious. Keeping abortion law out of the State Legislatures and maintaining a "Constitutional right" to such a procedure is more important to the ACLU than their often stated "health and well-being" and "concerns for privacy" of the female in question. Their stated concerns for upholding the Constitution also go right out the window when their actions are viewed in this light.

Valleydale Foods in Salem will cease operations

The cartoon pigs will stop marching in Salem beginning in January. Duncan Adams tells of yet another major plant closing in southwest Virginia.

Add 344 Southwest Virginians to the total that are looking for alternate employment. Subtract $135,000 from Salem's tax base.

But, hey! We have a new Governor who will fix all this, right?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Remember Those Words From High School?

"That will go on your 'PERMANENT RECORD', young man!"

According to this article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there may be something to that phrase after all...

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Civil Wrongs Of The Roanoke Times, Redux

I have decided that this morning's post concerning The Roanoke Times' disturbing tendency to omit pertinent information in their editorials deserves revisiting.

By blatantly omitting pertinent facts in the writings appearing on the editorial page, whether penned by you Tommy or not, as Editor you are condoning this practice. Wendy, if, as Publisher you condone this practice on your editorial pages, how can we be certain you do not condone it in the news sections? Can we be certain that what we read in the rest of the paper contains all the information available to the reporter?

WARNING: The following will be construed by some to be extremely politically incorrect. Bear with me and read it all and you will see that there is no intention to disparage anyone other than the two subjects of this note.

Consider these two terms;
Stupid; adj.
1. Slow to learn or understand; obtuse
2.Marked by a lack of intelligence or care

Ignorant; adj.
1. Lacking education or knowledge.
2. Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
3. Unaware or uninformed.

There is a marked difference in these two conditions. One is understandable, excusable, even worthy of concern and community help where possible. The other is almost always inexcusable for it can be easily cured by education and or seeking to learn. The only thing less excusable than ignorance is the deliberate attempt to foster it.

Wendy Zomparelli and Tommy Denton, I have said on several occasions that you are doing your readers a grave disservice in refusing even to admit, not to mention attenuate, your extreme leftward bias and obvious hatred for George W. Bush. After considering today's editorial I have concluded the two of you are guilty of much worse. You are contributing to the ignorance of those in your community. The primary purpose of a newspaper is to educate the readers in it's community. By deliberately omitting and obscuring facts you are attempting to create an ignorant readership. And it seems you are doing this for the basest of reasons, pure hatred. Yes, that emotion you are so quick to attribute to conservatives, it seems you harbor more than your share yourselves.

Where does this hatred come from? Tommy, could it be left over from the time you spent in the employ of Lloyd Bentsen? Did that time period leave you with such a volatile bile for the Bush Family? As to Wendy, I have no idea, unless it is just hatred of anyone and anything that purports to be as compassionate and caring and enlightened as she. So, how about it Wendy, don't we all deserve to be enlightened? Or would that ruin your self esteem, to know that others in Southwest Virginia are as enlightened and compassionate as you? Or are you so insecure in that enlightenment that you can't bear to share all the facts with your readers?

It's Not What You Say, It's What You Don't Say.

Another Bush Administration smear by Tommy Denton in The Roanoke Times;
Georgia's shameful attempt to effectively reinstate a poll tax should have been blocked by the U.S. Justice Department under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Career lawyers in the department's Civil Rights Division found that Georgia's requirement that voters without drivers' licenses or other photo ID's buy them from the state would disproportionately burden the poor and reduce the access of blacks to the polls. But they were overruled by high-ranking political appointees, who precleared the program.
What this piece goes to great pains to avoid telling the reader is that Georgia's law contained a provision that would have provided the ID at no cost to anyone who simply claimed they could not afford it.

This is Tommy Denton's favorite tactic. It's easy for him to make his enemy George Bush appear quite evil, if he leaves out vital information that any ethical debate requires.

And this comes from the same man who is constantly harping something about "Bush lied" because "some information" regarding Iraq was "witheld" from the Democrats in the House and Senate. If withholding information is lying, Tommy, you would be in the professional ranks.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Virginia Blogger Carnival XIII

The weekly Virginia Blogger Carnival will be posted some time Monday. I probably will not have time to post a link to it tomorrow, so I'll do so now. Also, I missed the submission deadline this week. My regular readers know that I am completely absorbed in the final start-up at the plant in Stuart.

Even though I am not represented, (or maybe because I'm not) I suggest a trip over to Brandon Myers' blog for the thirteenth episode of our continuing Virginia saga.

From Shaun Kenny

Shaun Kenney makes a very astute, but obvious observation today:
"On the flip side of the coin, while the Republicans could afford to elect so-called moderates while Democrats held the majority, this is no longer the case today. Conservatives are the majority, and the fact that Democrats have to pander and dilute their ideology to the conservative mainstream speaks volumes. Republicans who do not eschew the principles of conservativism are viewed skeptically."
Go read the rest, that was just a tease...

Ewert To Announce Candidacy (Officially) Dec. 3

The Roanoke Times has this story from Todd Jackson. Former Roanoke City Manager Bern Ewert will officially announce his intention to challenge Virgil Goode for his 5th District House seat.
Ewert, who is in Europe on a vacation with his wife, [BTW, great way to connect with your average 5th District consituent, Bern. abf] plans to formally announced his candidacy Dec. 3 in Bedford, said his daughter, Elizabeth, a lawyer in Washington. Ewert served as Roanoke's city manager from 1978-85 and established himself as a bold and brazen governmental leader during his tenure. If Ewert gets the Democratic nomination, he likely would have more name recognition than any opponent Goode has faced.

This upcoming announcement from Ewert is not news, it has been rumored for some time now. Mr. Ewert will also have to overcome another challenge within the Democrat Party in order to obtain the nomination. Goode's previous challenger, Al Weed, from Charlottesville has also announced his intention to try once more to take Goode's seat in the House of Representatives.
Times reporter Jackson also points out the "scandal" Virgil Goode has found himself involved in with his ties to Defense contractor MZM. I doubt that story will have the legs to last until the campaign, but it will be Ewert/Weed's only weapon against Mr. Goode.
Jackson's story also contains this paragraph;
Goode, once the youngest member of the Virginia Senate, has had a long and successful political career in which he became disenchanted with national Democratic politics, left the party to become an independent, and then later joined the Republican ranks. His decision to become a Republican landed him the influential spot on the House Appropriations Committee.

I have seen Goode's departure from the Democrat Party described this way on numerous occasions lately. My memory is somewhat different. Virgil Goode, as one of only 2 (I think) Democrats to maintain a backbone during the Impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, was shouldered out of the Democrat Party. He lost any standing he had within the party and was forced to leave. Mr. Jackson, it would be appreciated if you would research this before repeating the misleading version quoted above.

My somewhat leftist friend, Waldo Jaquith, has more information, although mostly it concerns Goode's final switch from Independent to Republican. Very good research, Waldo. However, I stand behind my memory as it pertains to the actual rift that drove Virgil to finally make the move to Independent status. I have neither the time, nor the resources (I live in C'ville, but not that C'ville) currently to research the topic properly.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A Good Productive Day...

Now, sit back, listen to some Mickey Newbury...
A nice short glass of Bushmills...
Or two...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Another Milestone

Today I managed to get all systems to work in unison and fire up the dryer burner on wood fuel. Up until now I had been running on LP exclusively. Propane does not provide enough BTUs on it's own to dry the wood fibers in preparation for making fiberboard. We will start the dryer burner on propane, get everything all warmed up, and introduce wood dust as the main fuel. At that point the propane will be turned off and the wood dust will provide the BTUs necessary. The timing of this changeover must be precisely controlled, if the burner chamber is not sufficiently preheated the wood will not ignite when it enters the chamber, if too much time has elapsed LP gas is merely wasted. I don't have this system completely fine tuned yet, that should occur sometime tomorrow, but merely getting the wood fuel introduced to the burner was a major milestone accomplished.

I am tired. I am happy. Wow, this is fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

More Patrick County Development?

This could be a good thing...

With Thanks...

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms."

-- Psalms 95

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wednesday Evening

I've been silent here since Sunday's Carnival post.

I "hit the ground running" on Monday morning and finally have some time to just sit back and relax. I'll be off tomorrow for Thanksgiving of course, but then it's back to it on Friday and Saturday. Since Monday morning I have actually sat at my desk for a total of 20 minutes. Maybe.

The good news is we have all machinery and equipment up and running at the fiberboard plant. The bad news is it does not all work in unison. Yet. Small steps get us further along each day. I love it when a small "tweak" to my code gets two machines working as a unit instead of mechanically clashing like giant steel NWA wrestlers.

We recieved our first load of wood shavings last week and I plan to begin processing that load Friday morning. By Monday morning we should be able to move that product to the pressline and actually produce our first board sometime Monday.

We have new employees showing up every day. Some training is beginning, along with OSHA safety training. The place is beginning to look less like a construction site and more like a manufacturing plant.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Volume 1, Issue 12 Virginia Blog Carnival

It is my extreme pleasure and honor to be allowed to host the 12th issue of the first year's edition of the Virginia Blogger Carnival. May it continue in the years to come as a valuable resource to future Virginians. Many thanks to Chad Dotson for coordinating our feeble efforts.

J.R and Squeeky at "Hampton Roads' Number One Source For Conservative Stuff" gets us started with what will become a regular feature on their newly redesigned blog. It's a great look and with this development in just a short time they may outrank NPR on the Hampton Roads Arbitron Ratings.

Next, the still recuperating Kilo is also on a sound subject with this post. I certainly intend to follow his advice as soon as possible. Be sure to check out the link contained in his post, it's awesome.

Norm, at One Man's Trash has discovered shorter (not to mention quicker) is not always better.

Continuing on somewhat the same theme, (my previous post even fits, though not intentionally, maybe there is something to this subliminal consciousness stuff after all...), Waldo revisits every audiophiles greatest quest and simultaneous nightmare. How can anyone winnow a subjective art like music down to a top ten list? Maybe it's the age difference, but his list looks nothing like mine. I'm 50; he's younger than my daughter. We do share a couple of artists though. That alone is enough to justify those artists place on anyones list, I guess. How about it Waldo, I'll trade you a Newbury Mp3 for one from the artist of your choice.

Brian Patton breaks us out of the audio theme with a post about some friends from Kentucky that dropped in on him Saturday-before-last. (That's a SWVA'ism, y'all). He also has one of the best blog pics I've seen in some time. Those of you who visit here regularly know how deep my roots run into his area of the state. (I've ridden motorcycles with Phillip Puckett, bet you and Chad can't claim that Brian...) This picture was a very welcome memory jog. Thanks Brian.

Next I want to present Adam Gurri, at Sophistpundit. He has an insightful take on the Hatfield, McCoy oops, Hucheson-Rodokankis feud. Of course this piece goes deeper than the feud. I have been tempted to post on this, but after reading Adam's post, I'm glad I didn't try to rise to his level of quality thought and prose.

Xyba at Once More Into The Breach offers his thoughts on the future of politics, in both Parties.

The Blue Dog and Steve oops again, The Blue Dog and Steve are lusting for a Mark Warner Presidential run, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think. (Get that other thought out of your head. The Horizontally striped shirt Steve is not capable of lust, but this one in the Valley most certainly is.)

From Burke, we have Bwana at Renaissance Ruminations explaining why nominating conventions are not utopia as they have recently been described by those with either a selective memory or none at all.

Come back with me now to my beloved Southwest where we find Jerry reminiscing about his college days. Well, not really, but those days do figure into the subject at hand.

As Host of this week's Carnival, I have reserved to myself the right to add one or two "Host's Picks" from among the Virginia Blogosphere.

For my first pick, I noticed there had been no submission from Black and White; upon checking I suspect this is the reason. So, I'll pick this one.

Hans sometimes does and sometimes don't. So I've picked this one.

Earlier this week a couple of our newer Virginia blogs were profiled on a few blogs, here I present one from Mason Conservative ,(BTW, thanks Chris for getting rid of the white on black text, older eyes don't handle that well) , one from SouthArlington and finally one from Adam Tolbert in the saltbox of the Confederacy at Smyth County Conservative.

Finally, my neighbor to the west in Meadows of Dan, Barnie Day, and I are polar opposites politically, but the man is a good writer. I have to include this from him.

I want to thank all our contributors this week for allowing me to host links to your excellent writing. After reading the submissions this week, I only hope that through some perverse type of osmosis I have absorbed some of your talent and will present better blogging from here in the future.

Next week, Brandon Myer, the author of this election analysis will get to enjoy this experience.

While Compiling VBC

Listening to the late Mickey Newbury while writing up this week's Carnival...
Bio... Interview
Keep a candle burnin' ever low
Don't be moved by every wind that blows
Save your cryin' for the picture show
Give your love to one you truly know

Let it go let it flow unchained
You know time will wash away the pain
All you're feelin' is a cleansing rain
Shake that rusty chain and let it go

It's alright if you need to cry
It always hurts to say goodbye
Wash away the memory from your eyes
Shake that rusty chain and let it fall

You can make it day to day
You are broken only if you break
Save the good and throw the rest away
Give your love to one you truly know

Let it go let it flow unchained
All you're feelin' is a cleansing rain
mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm
Shake that rusty chain and let it go
(Don't worry, I'm not going to start cat blogging next)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wow! What power! I ask for it, I get it.

Was I precient, or was it inevitable after all the demogoguery?

FYI, Congressman Murtha voted against immediate troop removal, after he quoted for it.
Tommy and Company at the Roanoke Times would just as soon you forget this quote from last Saturday's editorial regarding the wisdom of John McCaine;
But to withdraw now courts disaster by leaving Iraq to fall into a fully engaged civil war, vulnerable to its terrorist-sponsoring neighbors, Syria and Iran...
To cut and run is to invite a "jihad wave."
Instead you should now refer to this quote from today's (Saturday) editorial;
Before Thursday, Murtha's name and influence weren't well known outside Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C., where it is legendary. He might not carry the name recognition of Sen. John McCain, but he is McCain's peer when it comes to military service and knowledge of national defense.
The RT continues with;
Murtha's dramatic assessment coincides with the Senate resolution demanding that Bush develop an exit strategy.

Congress is finally doing what it failed to do three years ago before foolishly ceding the power to declare war. Members, finally, are questioning the validity and prosecution of a mismanaged military campaign that has unnecessarily put troops in harm's way.
Jerry has taken a slightly different tack on this Roanoke Time internal conflict.

Dogbert, Look In Stuart!

For the answer to this,

Begin your search here...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Virginia Blog Carnival Vol.1 Issue 12

J.R. at Bearing Drift did a great job with the Carnival last week. (Check out the new look over at Bearing Drift, very nice, guys.) Now it's my turn. Hopefully I can rise to the standard set by all our previous hosts. I'll be looking for your submissions soon.

Please submit your entries to imnotemeril(AT) with the subject heading "VBC" not later than 5 p.m. EST Sunday Nov. 20. Or you can use this online submission form.

In the text of your email, please include a permalink to your entry and a link to your profile, should you have one, and/or your preferred public email address.

Typically we keep VBC light on the politics, so to our political bloggers (and you know who you are...) show us something a little different.

Thanks, again!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Once Again, Sparse Posting...

We are getting down to "crunch time" at the new plant in Stuart. I will strive to place at least one post per day here, but even that will take some major effort on my part.

I am in that part of the project that requires me to be in every part of the plant at all times. A physical impossibility, but still it must be done.

I justify it all with two statements.

One; This has always been my favorite part of a major project. I love a challenge and this part of a project is the ultimate challenge. To bring together the efforts of all my electrical guys and make their contributions work in union with the results of the work of their mechanical counterparts.

Two; I know that when I have completed my contribution to this overall effort, I will have contributed in some small way to the employment of at least 50 of my fellow Southwest Virginians, with more employment opportunities to come in the following weeks and months.

PS: Hey Kilo, come on over to the morning side of the mountains and apply to run the QC lab here. Hey, it could work, no?

OK, Congressman Murtha...

Put your money (credibility) where your mouth is.
I expect a resolution will be introduced within the next few weeks stating your position that America should pull it's military presence from Iraq.

Or maybe a resolution removing monetary support from the effort in Iraq.

You have many options, Mr. Murtha, exersize one of them.

Two New NOVA Blogs

As Chad points out, Chris at The Mason Conservative is somewhat new on the Virginia blogscene.

Adding a touch of leftward balance is Mark T. Blair doing business as SouthArlingtonVA.

UPDATE: I almost forgot this one I found at about 4:30 this morning in the comments at Brian Patton's.

Adam Tolbert's blog is not "real new" at apparently 5 months old, but this morning was my first encounter with Smyth County Conservative. It has everything I look for to add to my "favorites" list, It's Conservative, the subject is primarily Virgina Politics, and it is SWVA based. Go by and check out this UVA at Wise student from Saltville.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tommy Adds New Lines To Same Tired Editorial

Tommy Denton is still beating his dead "Bush Lied" horse. Only now it's our fault for intimidating the Democrats in the House and Senate when it was time for them to vote on the resolution authorizing war in Iraq.
The prewar buildup of impending doom took place during the midterm elections when members of Congress could not risk appearing soft on potential terrorism while the nation was still gripped in the shadow of Sept. 11.

Many Democrats, cowed by the fear they would be perceived as less than patriotic, didn't probe too deeply, trusted the president's word and acquiesced to his hurried demands for war powers.

OK, Tommy, if that's your main argument, tell us who "cowed" these foreign leaders. Were they also scared of the voters like you suggest your Democrat compadres were?
French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin:
Right now, our attention has to be focused as a priority on the biological and chemical domains. It is there that our presumptions about Iraq are the most significant. Regarding the chemical domain, we have evidence of its capacity to produce VX And Yperite. In the biological domain, the evidence suggests the possible possession of significant stocks of anthrax and botulism toxin, and possibly a production capability." (United Nations Security Council, 4701st Meeting, New York, 2/5/03)

And this guy,
German Ambassador To The United States Wolfgang Ischinger:
I think all of our Governments believe that Iraq has produced weapons of mass destruction and that we have to assume that they still have that they continue to have weapons of mass destruction. we have not yet seen evidence produced by the inspectors.
(NBC's "Today," 2/26/03)

Tommy, you can argue that your Democrat heroes should have investigated further, or you can complain that their staffs did not search the records deeply enough. But you have only them to blame for not seeing then what you claim to see so clearly today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stand Up For Yourself

UPDATE: This Press Release. I have bumped this to the top.

Most conservatives have been wanting only for President Bush to stand up and defend himself and his administration from the rediculous "Bush Lied" accusation.

Well, now he has.

In a response to this in WaPo the White House has released this Press Release "Setting The Record Straight"
Just a sample from the White House Press Release;
The Washington Post Implies That There Have Been No Findings On The Use Of Intelligence. "But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: 'Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.'" (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)

But Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Reported No Distortion Of Intelligence

* The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Report "Did Not Find Any Evidence" Of Attempts To Influence Analysts To Change Intelligence. "Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Conclusion 84. The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments." ("Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq," U.S. Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 7/7/04, Pg. 284-285)

But, since this is a press release, just how much of the press will actually release it? My guess is, not much.

New Blood From NOVA?

GOPHokie points me to a new Blog, The Mason Conservative. It's new, but good, unlike mine which is 2 months old and mediocre.

Chris has in mind a Republican "dream candidate" that has proven electability in NOVA. Some "New Blood" for the leadership of the Party.

Chris makes some excellent points. Especially as they apply to past Gubernatorial elections, won by both sides.

But a candidate that has proven electability in NOVA would also have to bring much more to the dance.

SWVA and southside are both filled with conservative Democrats. They tend to vote Republican in Presidential elections, but would never consider leaving the Party that Dad and Granddad were affiliated with. At some point in my lifetime the Republican Party, at least on the national level, gained some favor in their sight. This was due primarily to the extreme swerve to the left taken by the Democrat Party on the national level. Local Democrats throughout SWVA kept their heads and remained conservative (see Virgil Goode) or at least worked very hard to appear conservative (see Rick Boucher). This strategy allowed the voters to continue with "tradition" (not a small thing here in SWVA) and continue to vote for "Dad's Party", while feeling justified for voting against that same Party on the national level.

A "proven Republican winner" in Fairfax would have to be able to assure the conservative Democrats in SWVA that he shares their values and that he understands the culture and traditions. This was in some small way even a problem for locally born Jerry Kilgore. Us lifetime Republicans believed that Jerry had not lost his roots, but he wasn't able to convince those conservative Democrats that his time spent in Richmond hadn't somehow changed him. Democrats such as Mark Warner and Rick Boucher face no similar problem. Both are (or were) able to convince these conservative Democrats that they not only represent their ancestral party, but also share their values. Not too hard to do if you're going in somewhat "disguised" to begin with by your familiar Party affiliation.

Your NOVA "dream candidate" may have that ability, I don't know. What I do know is that any Republican campaigning for a regional or statewide office here in SWVA must have that ability.

Good News...

From Chad I see another mention of the possibility of a challenge to Rick Boucher. I keep hearing this, from various sources.

This is good and welcome news to those of us in northwestern Henry County.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This Is Good

Found in this week's edition of the Magnolia Blog Carnival. A mother's daily journal while her son Wayne is in Iraq.

Magnolia Bloggers Carnival

Alabama Improper is this week's hostess for the Magnolia Bloggers Carnival. The Southern Blog Federation, a group of exclusively southern blogs presents this carnival each week on Monday.

Last week's Carnival was filled with some very intersting writing here, and this was also representative of the quality last week. This week it should be just as good.

Martinsville First Virginia City To 'Adopt' Military Unit In Iraq Through ASA-USA

The third story in the Martinsville Bulletin Online Edition is about this organization.

To those of you who have influence in your City, County, or Town Governments, let's try to get more blue stars in Virginia on this map.

Add One More To Jerry's List

Yesterday morning quite early, as he is prone to do, Jerry posted a response to a snippy e-mail he had recieved. Somewhat deep into his response he listed the following SWVA busineses that had either closed or severely cut back operations.
Smyth County alone has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs since 1988. Chilhowie has lost damn near more jobs than it has people.

Add to the losses in Smyth County the losses in Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke, Washington, Carroll, Tazewell, Wythe, Wise, Grayson, Buchanan, Lee, Dickenson, Russell, Pulaski, and Floyd County - add the losses sustained at Spring Ford Industries' knitting mill and Tultex and Buster Brown and Natalie Knitting Mills (all cited in the article) to those at Mack Truck and Ethan Allen and Renfro and Celanese and Johnson & Johnson and Lear and Dan River and American of Martinsville and Virginia Glove and Virginia House Furniture and Lea Industries and ArvinMeritor and Alcoa Wheels and VF Knitwear and Burlington Industries and Hooker Furniture and Stanley Furniture and Thomasville and Bassett Furniture Industries and Pulaski Furniture, and a picture of the devastation emerges.

Well, Jerrry, now we add a large furniture manufacturer in Galax to your list. I learned this afternoon that Webb Furniture will no longer operate 60 days from now.

From This Weeks Enterprise

Bull Mountain Arts To Open Downtown Gallery
Bull Mountain Arts is pleased to announce the opening of an art gallery at the former Depot Emporium on Patrick Avenue in downtown Stuart.
The gallery will be open every Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. When the Historic Star Theatre (located next door) is open, the gallery will remain open until 8 p.m. The gallery will also be open on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. when there are theatre productions, and may be open at other times during the week.
A variety of media and styles of art works will be available at the new Bull Mountain Arts Gallery.
Bull Mountain Arts is responsible for organizing the annual J.E.B. Stuart Art Show, which showcases the area's talented artists.
The members of Bull Mountain Arts invite everyone to stop by the gallery during business hours.
Traffic Shifts Onto New Route 58 at Meadows of Dan
Weather permitting, on Friday, Nov. 11 around daybreak, eastbound and westbound Route 58 traffic is expected to be switched from the existing two-lane road onto one lane of the newly constructed section around Meadows of Dan in Patrick County.
In the event of inclement weather on Friday, the switch-over will take place on Monday, Nov. 14.
Route 58 drivers in both directions should expect five to 10-minute delays on the new roadway, as flaggers will be stopping traffic. Motorists should use caution, pay attention and be aware of the change in traffic patterns.
Due to construction on the connection from the existing two-lane road to the new four-lane road, traffic must be switched onto the new roadway and stopped for a short period of time.
Highway workers plan to work on the tie-in all day Friday and continue until work is completed, possibly into the early evening hours.
Once the tie-in is completed on Friday, all four lanes of the Route 58 bypass around Meadows of Dan will be opened to traffic.
On Monday, Nov. 14, additional work to widen a curve will begin on Route 58 just west of Cockram's Mill. Flaggers will stop traffic on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Route 58 drivers should expect short delays. The curve widening is expected to be completed in late November.

Virginia Blog Carnival XI

Bearing Drift is hosting Volume 1, Chapter 11 of the Virginia Blog Carnival. Go on over and check out all the rides.

And a note of thanks to Chad Dotson, our very capable organizer.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bureaucracy Lives!

While cleaning up some files I found this. I have no idea where I got it from originally.

History or Bureaucracy?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches, an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England and English immigrants built the US railroads.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that is the gauge they used.

Why did they use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used the same wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they all had the same wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. The Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear-ends of two war-horses.

Cut to the present...

The Space Shuttle, sitting on its launch pad, has two booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.

Thiokol makes the SRBs at its factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs wanted to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel-which is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So... A major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system (space shuttle) was determined two thousand years ago by a horse's ass.

Which is pretty much how most government decisions are made.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Work, Work, Work. We Got Work. Get Your Work Here!

Many of you know by now that I have been working to bring a new industry on line in Stuart. Many of you also know that we have been behind schedule.

Well, we will make our first board sometime this week. We recieve our first load of wood on Wednesday. We now have a (almost) completed fiberboard plant. I have a (almost) completed software program to run it. I look for a board to come off the line sometime Thursday, maybe. Watch for pictures. Also, don't expect much activity here, as I expect long days and late nights for the next week as we work the bugs out of my software and hardware.

Anyone in the Patrick, Henry, Floyd, Carroll County area of Virginia and the Surrey County area of North Carolina in need of employment, with a good locally (Hickory, NC) based company, come on by and fill out an application. We are in need of not only production personnel, but also good maintenance people. Mechanics, electricians, electronics technicians are all needed.

Because we "inherited" a lot of existing equipment that came with the physical plant we have been engineering on the fly. We are using much of the stuff that International Paper abandoned when they abandoned Stuart. This has resulted in some major cost savings, but the opposite side of that coin means that we could not spend the up-front time engineering the final configuration of the new plant. Each section of the new facility has been built using as much of the existing parts as possible, requiring us to "trial fit" many segments. We re-used probably 90% of the existing conveyors, and roughly 80% of the existing electrical motor control centers. But in nowhere near their original locations or configuration.

Just because we are finally going into production, my life will not get easier. In fact, the reverse may be true. I am not only the electrical engineer, I am also the only one here qualified as an AutoCAD operator. I have hundreds of mechanical drawings that will need to be consolidated into final drawings. The same applies to my electrical drawings, only more so. Most of the electrical has been done using quick sketches I made on legal pads. Other circuits were verbally described, and exist only in my head.

If you are a qualified AutoCAD operator, I especially invite you to come on down.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Little Blue Island

Both Chad Dotson and Kilo at Spark it Up!!! point to this graphic being shown at

Kilo has some interesting insight, but no matter how he tries to frame it, I still have to go home and sleep each night in that little blue island you see just south of the big blue Roanoke island.

I will work to find and support good local opposition for our three "representatives". I want to see Roanoke as the only blue stain on our end of the map next time.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Sparse Posting Today...

was not due to sullen pouting.

Although I do feel like having a grand old pity party, it won't happen. Most local contests went my way. I was never too keen on some of Mr. Kilgore's campaign tactics, and I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that it seems to have backfired on him, but I am still in shock regarding the Collinsville Board of Supervisors race.

I am very busy at work. I leave here (Collinsville) at 5:30am, and arrive back somewhere around 7:00pm. Most days I am able to squeeze out a post or two at work and another one or two from here at home in the evening.

I am however, for what it's worth, working on an analysis of yesterday's election results. Look for it before the weekend.

Next week I will work to discover who the Republican Party representatives are in Henry and or Patrick County. Now that I have moved back here it is time to seriously work to remove our three malignant growths that have "represented" us for the better part of two decades.

Excellent Analysis

Hans Mast at The (not so) Daily Me gives us an excellent briefing on the results.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My Thoughts On Tonights Results

OK, I'm happy with some, disappointed with others.
Lt. Governor___Happy
Attorney General____Happy, I think.
Governor____I'll abide by Waldo's guidelines.

Henry County local;
School Board____happy
City Commonwealth Attorney___I can live with it.
Collinsville Board of Supervisors ____Amazed.
10th District, House____I've lived 14 years with that idiot, another two won't kill me.
Blackberry School Board___happy.

All in all, an acceptable outcome. I would have preferred Kilgore had ran a better campaign. He hurt himself I believe with the emphasis on the death penalty. Other than that, I feel he ran a good campaign. No, I do not believe that last night's visit with Bush made an iota of difference.

I get up each morning at 4:00am. I will update all results at that time. Good night all.

Election Results Will Be Updated Live, Beginning At 7:30

% Precincts Reporting100%
AP has projected Tim Kaine winner with 74% reporting.

% Precincts Reporting100%

Atty General
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Election Results, Henry County And House Races

I will be using information provided by WYAT TV 40 in Martinsville, along with other media sources. As always, the comment section is open.

10th District, House
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9th District, House
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oops, in the process of updating, I lost all my Henry County stuff. Sorry.

Election Coverage

I'll be posting live, real-time coverage here tonight. My primary focus will be on the local races involving Henry and Patrick Counties, but there will be updated information on other contests throughout the state as I recieve it.

I'm not sure how well this will work, but I'm going to attempt it anyway.

Hollywood Republicans. Oxymoron?

Check out this from Jerminator, good read.
Fedora-pundit: Hollywood Republicans.....could it be?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Birds Do It, Bees Do It, Even Educated Bloggers Do It

Make election predictions, that is.
It seems everyone is making their predictions on tomorrows outcome.

Oh...OK, Everyone is Chad and Steve, but let me dramatize just a little, OK?
UPDATE: Add Shaun Kenney to the list of prognosticators

Now, you get to sit back and savor my enlightened thoughts on this subject...

Due to rounding, all results may not equal 100%

Kilgore 49%
Kaine 48%
Potts 3%

Lt. Governor;
Bolling 55
Byrne 44

Attorney General;
McDonnell 53%
Deeds 46%

10th District;
Armstrong 49%
Young 50%

My Two Final Endorsements

As those of you who have been following this series know I have been having some fun with the Roanoke Times and putting out some serious endorsements of my own.

My Governor endorsement can be found here.
Lt. Governor and Atty. General here.
And probably the most serious to date, at least for my Henry and Patrick County readers,
My 10th District choice here.

Now, at this late time, (sorry, but I am busy during the day), my choices for the local races where I actually live.

Collinsville seat on the Henry County Board of Supervisors;

My choice and recommendation has to be David Davis. Mr. Davis has experience not only on the Board of Supervisors, but also in the "real world" of business management. He has served well during his tenure, and I see no reason not to continue our community's relationship with him. (Note to Wendy and Tommy. I assume Mr. Davis is a Democrat, he has campaign literature picturing him with Mark Warner. Ain't you guys on Campbell Ave. proud of me?)

His opponent, Jim McMillian, on the other hand has consistently refused to state an opinion on any issue likely to face the County. He instead prefers to hide behind the statement that he would vote as the Collinsville District voters as a majority prefered.

This sounds good to those that give it no further consideration, but. And that is one big but.

How does one know what the majority of the Collinsville District actually prefers? Would Mr. MacMillian actually canvass the town before each meeting, with an agenda in hand? Or would he rather have us all come in to each meeting and individually whisper into his ear before each vote. You can see that this campaign position is not only deceitful, it borders on (if not surpassing) stupidity. I urge you all to vote for David Davis instead of this charlatan.

Next, Henry County School Board, Collinsville District.

I know John Anders. Or rather I knew John Anders. But that was two wives ago. (My wives, not John's. As far as I know he is still married to the lovely and gracious Barbara.) The John Anders I remember was an intelligent, dedicated teacher of Spanish, with a great sense of humor. John, if you happen to read this, I finally learned some Spanish. Dos cervezas mas , por favor!

John would make a fine School Board Member, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't endorsed him yet.

I do not know his two opponents, Juanita May and Kathy Rogers.

Both Anders and May have made the basis of their platform improved pay for teachers. That ex-wife I alluded to in an earlier paragraph was a teacher. I know first-hand just how much hard work, especially after hours and weekend work, goes into being an educator. However, that coupled with smaller class sizes seems to be the extent of each candidates ideas.

Ms. Rogers, however, has presented some interesting ideas regarding the follow-up on the recent consolidation of County Schools. Regardless of how one felt concerning consolidation, it's been done. Now we have to make it work. There are still several elementary schools in the County that need to be either replaced or renovated. Ms. Rogers, unlike her counterparts in the Blackberry district, has not jumped to any politically expedient conclusions in this regard.

My choice for Collinsville District School Board seat is....

A toss-up. Because I know John, and am certain that he stands for more than just teacher salaries, I feel he would be a good choice. Again, the John I knew would not be extremely comfortable with a Bulletin reporter and may not have expressed his full thoughts on the office. Vote for either John Anders or Kathy Rogers. I would be comfortable with either one taking over from the extremely dedicated Katherine Wickline.

Carnival of The Magnolias

The second Carnival of the Magnolias is running now at Southern Blog Federation.

This is a group of exclusively southern blogs, and there is some good writing to be found there.

Youths in Rural U.S. Are Drawn To Military

An AP article in the Washington Post features a young man from Martinsville and his choices that led him to enlist.

The article, which goes along quite well with Jerry's post here. Jerry's piece is expanded somewhat here by me.

Fianlly, we have this from Don Surber to tie up all the loose ends.

Local Turnout Predicted At 35-60 Percent

If the local Registrars are correct in their predictions, the 10th District will be even closer than I had originally predicted. With the possible result of sending David Young over the top.

Henry County Registrar Elizabeth Stone is looking for a average turnout at 49% while Ercell Cowan, Martinsville City Registrar foresees only a 35% participation.

The big news is that Patrick County Registrar Dianna Vipperman, citing a contested Board of Supervisors race in the Dan River District predicts a 60% turnout.

Ward Armstrong is highly unlikely to carry Patrick County or Carroll County. With the City turnout being negligible Ward will have to look to Henry County to pick up the slack. If Kilgore does as well in Henry County as I expect, Ward will be a full time litigator in 2006.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bill Wyatt Gets Kilgore On Monday Morning

Found at Martinsville Daily

I wish I could recieve that station in my office in Stuart.

Roanoke Native

Wayne LaPierre does a great ad. One was just shown during the race broadcast.

I don't know how effective they are, but they are powerful.

Sunday Hunting, Maybe?

Great anectdote!

Virginia Bloggers Carnival VIII

The deadline is looming...

Let's keep Hans up late reading lots and lots of entries.

Rules and guidelines can be found here

Let's Go To The Numbers, From RTD

Mark Holmberg has put together a system for numerically predicting the outcome of this Tuesday's Gubernatorial election. It's humorous and fun and even raises another question...

So, tell me, just where should Virginia be divided if it were like the other north-south states?


I've been busy writing for the past hour or so. I just noticed I'm experiencing a Chadalanche.

Thanks for the link, Chad!

Now For A Serious Endorsement.

10th District House of Delegates;
David Young

Ward Armstrong has represented Henry County for 14 years. Fourteen Years.

I’ll begin by listing his accomplishments and successes in improving the economic climate of Henry, Patrick, and Carroll Counties.

Sure, he’s passed a lot of resolutions. But if you go back and check, most were like this one. His lack of concrete accomplishments may be why his ad campaign consists of attacks on Mr. Young.

Ward, who voted for the Warner, Kaine “Budget Reform” (AKA the largest tax increase in the history of Virginia), even goes so far as to claim that Young will raise taxes. He bases this on the fact that Young did support a meals tax in Patrick County. But to be fair, a meals tax typically hits non-residents in a rural area such as Patrick much harder than it does residents.

He is well known outside of this area as a sophomoric cut-up while he should be doing our serious business. The Martinsville Bulletin rarely prints a story that is not flattering, so most of his constituents may not be aware of his “joke” at the expense of Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis. On the House floor Armstrong, using a voice characterization reminiscent of Bill Clinton, made a reference to a legislative basketball game. In the reference he said that Ms. Davis would be his team’s center and was coming over to his house later to “review the playbook”. Ok, that was bad, but later that evening he reffered to her again saying “she’s no Monica Lewinsky, but she can be taught”.

Mr. Young has served Patrick County soberly and seriously for more than 30 years. First as a teacher in the Patrick County Public School system, and currently sits on the Board of Supervisors for the County.

This will be a close race, maybe the best "edge of the chair" contest on Tuesday night. Ward has only been opposed once in this newly reconfigured district, and he won with 53%. That looks good until you look closer. In 2001 he was opposed by a relatively weak opponent and had strong backing in the Patrick and Carroll County areas from Barnie Day, yet he lost big in Patrick County and even more so in Carroll. Back then he handily carried Henry County, but times have changed. Ward has little to show for his time in Richmond and people here in Henry County are grumbling about him.

Voters in the 10th District have a unique opportunity. With one pull of the lever they can send Ward back into full time law practice and send a message to Roscoe Reynolds as well.