Friday, April 16, 2021

Dad Joke LX

What animal can jump higher than a house?

All of them.  Houses can't jump.


I need a new lawn mower.  I need one of these:

 Hat tip: The Queen Of The World who finds all the cool stuff.

Thursday, April 15, 2021


Which animal has even more lives than a cat?

A frog.  It croaks every night. 

Damned vaccine side effects

Miguel experienced a really dangerous one.

Get better, buddy! 

Quote of the Day - Warmonger edition

From T-Bolt:

Getting out after 20 years gives Al Qaeda a propaganda victory, Ms. Cheney?

You know what wouldn't have given them a propaganda victory?  Victory victory.  Like 16 years ago.  Too bad you don't know someone that could have helped pull that off, back then.  Prolly shoula been 18+ years ago. 

Prolly your Dad shoulda learned the lessons of Korea and Vietnam.  I don't even mind all the treasure we spent (well, not much) but the lives and blood and PSTD and lost limbs deserve something better than "My political opponents are big fat poopyheads."


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dad Joke LVIII

I was at the thrift store when I saw an antique radio.  The card said "For Sale: $1.  Stuck at max volume."

I thought it was a deal you just can't turn down.

(I bet The Silicon Graybeard could fix it, though)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Dad Joke LVI

What do you call an airplane that flies backwards?

A receding airline.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Great Great Grandfather's bloody day

159 years ago (well, last week) this was the view for my Great Great Grandfather (photo credit: The Queen Of The World.  Click to enbiggen):

It looks peaceful today, but 159 years ago it was a different story.  This is the Hornet's Nest at Shiloh Battlefield, looking west from where the 7th Iowa Infantry waited the charge of the Confederate forces.  My Great Great Grandfather stood there, and today I stood on the same ground.

The 7th  Iowa was at the center of the line.  This is what Great Great Grandfather would have seen looking to his right:

Peaceful today, not so much that day.  This was the view the other way:

Then all hell broke loose.  After 4 brutal hours, the 7th Iowa was forced back, regrouping at Grant's "Final Line" where they held the southern forces.  Barely.  Not all of the Union soldiers in the Hornet's Nest fared so well - 2,500 were surrounded and surrendered. 

It was quite a feeling walking that ground today.  Great Great Grandfather was a Kansas boy back when the war broke out.  Kansas wasn't a state then and so he couldn't sign up, so he and his buddies went north to Iowa where they enlisted in 1861.  He went all the way through the war - Ft. Donaldson, Shiloh, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, Bentonville.  He marched in the parade in Washington D.C. and was mustered out.

On the drive back, The Queen Of The World wondered about all the men who died there.  None of them have Great Great Grandsons to remember them, because the war took from them everything they had and everything they would ever have.  I would quote from Abraham Lincoln's justly famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, but Mr. Lincoln is perhaps uniquely responsible for all those deaths, and that lack of descendents for all those men.

I also wondered on that drive back why I consider Grant to be a sympathetic character.  Long time readers know my opinion of Mr. Sherman, but for some reason I can't shake a somewhat favorable impression of Grant.  I need to do some pondering on this.

But like I said, it was a thrill to walk in Great Great Grandfather's footsteps on that battlefield.

The past isn't dead.  It isn't even past.

- William Faulkner

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Automotive genius

Tam caught sight of a Citroen 2CV in the wild, which is pretty cool.  But it was only one of the very many cool products to come from Andre Citroen's french autoworks, and highlights the importance of culture (both the corporate and national variety).

Let's talk culture.  Andre Citroen was a graduate of L'Ecole Polytechnique, France's foremost technical university.  It's influence there is sort of like what we would see here if MIT, Stanford, and Cal Tech merged.  It's graduates have always been a big deal in France, and Citroen was kind of the poster child for that.  He put his company on the map with the Traction Avant, the first unibody car (introduced in 1935).  It's gorgeous exterior hides just how revolutionary its design was:

The unibody construction is unremarkable today, but this was 85 years ago.  It meant that the car sat lower because there was no chassis platform.  This lower center of gravity made the handling better, and the Traction Avant had a reputation as a getaway car beloved of gangsters of the day.  

But there were two other innovations: front wheel drive (hence the name: "Traction Avant" means forward traction) and hydro-pneumatic suspension.  This last is an alternative to leaf springs:

Here's where culture comes in.  Hydropneumatic suspension is very clever, and much superior to springs - so much so that Rolls Royce licensed the design for its Silver Shadow, and it is used today on the British Challenger tank.  However, it's complicated, with a lot of parts compared to a spring.  This is both very French and precisely what you would expect from a Polytechnique grad.  That culture (what The Queen Of The World calls "complicating a cornflake") is why the design remained mostly confined to France.

But here's a story from my young days.  A friend's parents had one of Citroen's later models, the DS:

You could drive this on only three wheels - the dealer actually did this and was stopped by a cop who ultimately realized that there was no law against doing this.  The car didn't even come with a jack - if you needed to change a tire you just raised the appropriate wheel off the ground using the hydropneumatic suspension.

It was entirely revolutionary, have superior results, and was overly complicated.  In short, it was very french, and neatly sums up why those people simultaneously charm and irritate us here.

But there's no way to describe the engineers at Andre Citroen's company as anything other than genius.  The 2CV, the Traction Avant, and the DS were revolutionary.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Dad Joke LV

You can't blame anyone else if you fall in your driveway.  That's your own asphalt. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


Blog later.  Maybe after the campfire burns down ...


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Dad Joke LIV - Easter edition

Here is a double helping of Dad Joke in celebration of Easter!  If you're lucky you'll have kids (or grandkids) you can tell these to.

Why was the Easter Bunny so upset?  He was having a bad hare day.

Why shouldn't you tell a funny joke to an easter egg? Because it might crack up!


Free Will is a mixed blessing, to be sure, but it's a thing without which life would not be worth living.  There's a whole blog post category here about freedom, all of which would be meaningless without Free Will.

This is a gift, one that makes us uniquely human:
But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.
- St. Thomas Aquinas
Easter is a very old holy day, one of the oldest still celebrated.  Things don't stick around that long if they don't speak to something deep in the soul.  If they don't speak from an upwelling from some mysterious depth of great wisdom.  The mystery, and the great strength of Christian doctrine is that it captures the human cycle of growth, middle age, and old age in a view of two gifts: Free Will and Grace.

As a child, we have no Free Will that anyone need respect.  Children hold a special place in society and Law precisely because of this.  In a sense, they represent mankind from the days before the Fall, innocence that calls for protection provided by more capable beings.  But you can't stay a child forever.  Free Will must develop, and the child must set sail, setting his or her own course as they will.  Adults are exposed to risks that we would protect children from.

To never have the chance to risk is to never fully be human.  The chance to take these chances is a gift that most don't much think about.  They should.
No Noble Thing can be done without risk.
- Michel de Montaigne
But the other side of the coin is Grace.  As the Child must go into the world to find his own place, so must the Man return from his journeys.  We watch our children grow, and gain independence.  Sometimes that independence causes friction, or worse.  Sometimes the young adult becomes cut off from the old, because of careless words or foolish pride.

For the longest time, I was confused about the Crucifixion.  Sure, I understood what happened, but I simply couldn't understand why it was needed.  Now I think I know: it's a beacon, lighting the way back.

As we go about our days, exercising the gift of Free Will, we have a marker for our return.  And we should remember that as we are given Grace, so must we also give it.  That we are also beacons, marking the safe return for those loved ones who might even now be seeking safe harbor.   That we should shine out of the darkness of hurt feelings and foolish pride, telling them that their safe harbor is here.  With us.
[God’s love] is at God’s initiative and choice; it isn’t given out on the basis of my performance. God’s gospel love is not wages that I earn with a model life; it is a gift. It is a gift that I cannot earn; more than that, it is a gift that I do not even deserve. God loves weak, ungodly, sinful enemies. The gift is the opposite of what I deserve. God ought to kill me on the spot. Instead, He sent His Son to die in my place.
- David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes

Instead, he sent his son as a beacon for us.  As an inspiration for us.


(Image source, Image source) 

Originally posted April 24, 2011.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Hunter Hayes - Flashlight

The Shield was another of the Fear's names. According to Laughter, it means he shields the seed of Abraham the way a man starting a fire shields the flame. When Sarah was about to die childless, the Fear gave her a son. When Abraham was about to slaughter the son, the Fear gave him the ram. He is always shielding us like a guttering wick, Laughter said, because the fire he is trying to start with us is a fire that the whole world will live to warm its hands at. It is a fire in the dark that will light the whole world home.

- Frederick Buechner, The Son of Laughter

Country music has a long list of classic songs for Easter, but the spirit is alive with new songwriters as well.  Hunter Hayes is the youngest male artist to reach #1 on the Billboard Country chart.  This song is from his 2014 album, Storyline.  It fits not just Easter, but the other 364 days of the year too.

Flashlight (Songwriters: Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges, Barry Dean)

I get lost sometimes, like everybody else,
Lose track of my lifelines, lose track of myself
And there's all kinds of reasons to be scared and run away
It's a good time for sad times like heaven couldn't be
Farther from the places, that heaven always finds me,
If nobody cares, tell me how is it I keep getting saved this way

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life,
nobody knows about like flashlights
there's just enough hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight, yeah

I'm glad nobody's counting, and Lord I'm glad you don't keep score
My prayers are all the same, as the ones I prayed before
Thank you, but forgive me, my rough around the edges heart is yours
And the moments where you swear I'm just screaming at the sky,
It's the strangest conversation or a friend just stopping by
and it's funny when I realize all the places that your miracles can hide

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life,
nobody knows about like flashlights
there's just enough hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight, yeah

Like a sunrise from a lonely night
Like a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life, nobody knows about
Like flashlights
and there's just enough hope when it shines, to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight

Oh, who am I?
Dust and water,
Touched by the Divine

Tell me who, who am I?
you keep shining on me, shining on me, yeah
shining on me

It's the moments that save my life nobody knows about
It's like a flashlight
(there's just enough hope when it shines)
And it's just enough hope when it shines,
(to go one scared step at a time) to go one step at a time
(when the world's to dark I find your flashlight)
When the world's too dark I find your flashlight

It's a sunrise from a lonely night
It's a smile in a stranger's eyes
It's the moments that save my life nobody knows about
Like flashlights
It's just enough hope when it shines, to go one scared step at a time
When the world's too dark I find, your flashlight

(Like a sunrise from a lonely night
like a smile in a strangers eyes) who am I
(it's the moments that save my life nobody know about
like flashlights) oh yeah
(it's just enough to hope when it shines,
to go one scared step at a time
when the world too dark I find)
you keep shining your light, you keep shining your light, eh eh

I'm just finding your flashlight
Today the world awaits, expectant.  But there is still a light to mark our way.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Dad Joke LIII

I just saw some red breasted birds sitting in the sun and selling ice cream.  I think they're Baskin Robins. 

(via The Queen Of The World)

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The most Florida April Fool's joke ever


Don't mess with the Polk County Sheriff's Office.  I mean, just don't. 

Dad Joke LII

I just read a book about Japanese warriors.  It was a little long but I can samurais it for you. 

Tab clearing

Did you know that this past February is the coldest in US history since 1894?  This sure is some Global Warming.  Compare and contrast: media coverage of this vs. media coverage of (hypothetical) warmest February in 127 years.

44 climate doomsday predictions that haven't panned out.  Related: NYT said that US east coast beaches would all be under water by 2020.  "Paper of Record" ... (via)

Quite frankly, this sums up Global Warming prognostication quite well:

I've posted before about the record high temperatures that were seen in 1936.  As it turns out, that's only part of the story.  1936 was the year for "Climate Disruption" - and we've had 85 years of more carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere since then but haven't seen such record bad weather.  Hmmmm ...

In non-climate dumbness, here's a list of the top 150 intellectuals.  Color me unimpressed, although the biggest objection is the use of "intellectual" to apply non-perjoritively in this degraded age.  I would have expected Arnold Kling to not put Joe Rogan as high as #1, or Thomas Sowell as low as #71.  Hat tip: Chris Lynch who points out the list is silly.