T-Shirt For Sara...


Bill of Rights Day...

Happy Bill of Rights Day.
Today is Bill of Rights Day and I think everyone should celebrate by doing something in private that the government would object to but can't find out about without a warrant (at least hypothetically).

If you can't remember what they are, here they are: Bill of Rights.

Fried Gnocchi...

The Banksy Movie is on Netflix! ! ! !


Filmmaker Thierry Guetta had been casually documenting the underground world of street art for years, but when he encounters Banksy, an elusive British stencil artist, his project takes a fascinating twist. Unimpressed with Guetta's footage, Banksy takes over filmmaking duties and Guetta reinvents himself as a street artist named Mr. Brainwash -- and, much to Banksy's surprise, immediately becomes a darling of the Los Angeles art scene.

Fantastic

The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.

It’s an armored booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person.

Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of a long and expensive trial.

You’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement: “Attention standby passengers — we now have a seat available on flight 6709.

Economics...

It is a slow day in a damp little Irish town. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit. On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the town, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night. The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the Farmers’ Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the pub. The pub owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him “services” on credit. The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note. The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money and leaves town.

No one produced anything.

No one earned anything.

However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that friends, is how the bailout package works!

Life is Stranger Than Fiction...

In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.

The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.

But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they've all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department's acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a “game changer.”

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was “like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield,” says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first “weaponized” computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran’s nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

When it ultimately found its target, it would have to secretly manipulate it until it was so compromised it ceased normal functions.

And finally, after the job was done, the worm would have to destroy itself without leaving a trace.

That is what we are learning happened at Iran's nuclear facilities -- both at Natanz, which houses the centrifuge arrays used for processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and, to a lesser extent, at Bushehr, Iran's nuclear power plant.

At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.

At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes, which Langner called “digital warheads,” targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine.

Here's how it worked, according to experts who have examined the worm:

--The nuclear facility in Iran runs an “air gap” security system, meaning it has no connections to the Web, making it secure from outside penetration. Stuxnet was designed and sent into the area around Iran's Natanz nuclear power plant -- just how may never be known -- to infect a number of computers on the assumption that someone working in the plant would take work home on a flash drive, acquire the worm and then bring it back to the plant.

--Once the worm was inside the plant, the next step was to get the computer system there to trust it and allow it into the system. That was accomplished because the worm contained a “digital certificate” stolen from JMicron, a large company in an industrial park in Taiwan. (When the worm was later discovered it quickly replaced the original digital certificate with another certificate, also stolen from another company, Realtek, a few doors down in the same industrial park in Taiwan.)

--Once allowed entry, the worm contained four “Zero Day” elements in its first target, the Windows 7 operating system that controlled the overall operation of the plant. Zero Day elements are rare and extremely valuable vulnerabilities in a computer system that can be exploited only once. Two of the vulnerabilities were known, but the other two had never been discovered. Experts say no hacker would waste Zero Days in that manner.

--After penetrating the Windows operating system, the code then targeted the siemens operating system that controlled the plant. Once that was in its grip it then took over the “frequency converters” that ran the centrifuges. To do that it used specifications from the manufacturers of the converters. One was Vacon, a Finnish Company, and the other Fararo Paya, an Iranian company. What surprises experts at this step is that the Iranian company was so secret that not even the IAEA knew about it.

--The worm also knew that the complex control system that ran the centrifuges was built by Siemens, the German manufacturer, and -- remarkably -- how that system worked as well and how to mask its activities from it.

--Masking itself from the plant's security and other systems, the worm then ordered the centrifuges to rotate extremely fast, and then to slow down precipitously. This damaged the converter, the centrifuges and the bearings, and it corrupted the uranium in the tubes. It also left Iranian nuclear engineers wondering what was wrong, as computer checks showed no malfunctions in the operating system.

Estimates are that this went on for more than a year, leaving the Iranian program in chaos. And as it did, the worm grew and adapted throughout the system. As new worms entered the system, they would meet and adapt and become increasingly sophisticated.

During this time the worms reported back to two mysterious servers that had to be run by intelligence agencies, one in Denmark and one in Malaysia. The servers monitored the worms as they infiltrated Natanz. Efforts to find those servers since then have yielded no results.

This went on until June of last year, when a Belarusan company working on the Iranian power plant in Beshehr discovered it in one of its machines. It quickly put out a notice on a Web network monitored by computer security experts around the world. Ordinarily these experts would immediately begin tracing the worm and dissecting it, looking for clues about its origin and other details.

But that didn’t happen, because within minutes all the alert sites came under attack and were inoperative for 24 hours.

“I had to use e-mail to send notices but I couldn’t reach everyone. Whoever made the worm had a full day to eliminate all traces of the worm that might lead us them,” Eric Byres, a computer security expert who has examined the Stuxnet. “No hacker could have done that.”

Experts, including inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA,) say that, despite Iran's claims to the contrary, the worm was successful in its goal: causing confusion among Iran’s nuclear engineers and disabling their nuclear program.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program, no one can be certain of the full extent of the damage. But sources inside Iran and elsewhere say that the Iranian centrifuge program has been operating far below its capacity and that the uranium enrichment program had “stagnated” during the time the worm penetrated the underground facility. Only 4,000 of the 9,000 centrifuges Iran was known to have were put into use. Some suspect that is because of the critical need to replace ones that were damaged.

And the limited number of those in use dwindled to an estimated 3,700 as problems engulfed their operation. IAEA inspectors say the sabotage better explains the slowness of the program, which they had earlier attributed to poor equipment manufacturing and management problems. As Iranians struggled with the setbacks, they began searching for signs of sabotage. From inside Iran there have been unconfirmed reports that the head of the plant was fired shortly after the worm wended its way into the system and began creating technical problems, and that some scientists who were suspected of espionage disappeared or were executed. And counter intelligence agents began monitoring all communications between scientists at the site, creating a climate of fear and paranoia.

Iran has adamantly stated that its nuclear program has not been hit by the bug. But in doing so it has backhandedly confirmed that its nuclear facilities were compromised. When Hamid Alipour, head of the nation’s Information Technology Company, announced in September that 30,000 Iranian computers had been hit by the worm but the nuclear facilities were safe, he added that among those hit were the personal computers of the scientists at the nuclear facilities. Experts say that Natanz and Bushehr could not have escaped the worm if it was in their engineers’ computers.

“We brought it into our lab to study it and even with precautions it spread everywhere at incredible speed,” Byres said.

“The worm was designed not to destroy the plants but to make them ineffective. By changing the rotation speeds, the bearings quickly wear out and the equipment has to be replaced and repaired. The speed changes also impact the quality of the uranium processed in the centrifuges creating technical problems that make the plant ineffective,” he explained.

In other words the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.

One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Studies, is that “the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant” to battle the breach. Ironically, even after its discovery, the worm has succeeded in slowing down Iran's reputed effort to build an atomic weapon. And Langer says that the efforts by the Iranians to cleanse Stuxnet from their system “will probably take another year to complete,” and during that time the plant will not be able to function anywhere normally.

But as the extent of the worm’s capabilities is being understood, its genius and complexity has created another perplexing question: Who did it?

Speculation on the worm’s origin initially focused on hackers or even companies trying to disrupt competitors. But as engineers tore apart the virus they learned not only the depth of the code, its complex targeting mechanism, (despite infecting more than 100,000 computers it has only done damage at Natanz,) the enormous amount of work that went into it—Microsoft estimated that it consumed 10,000 man days of labor-- and about what the worm knew, the clues narrowed the number of players that have the capabilities to create it to a handful.

“This is what nation-states build, if their only other option would be to go to war,” Joseph Wouk, an Israeli security expert wrote.

Byres is more certain. “It is a military weapon,” he said.

And much of what the worm “knew” could only have come from a consortium of Western intelligence agencies, experts who have examined the code now believe.

Originally, all eyes turned toward Israel’s intelligence agencies. Engineers examining the worm found “clues” that hinted at Israel’s involvement. In one case they found the word “Myrtus” embedded in the code and argued that it was a reference to Esther, the biblical figure who saved the ancient Jewish state from the Persians. But computer experts say "Myrtus" is more likely a common reference to “My RTUS,” or remote terminal units.

Langer argues that no single Western intelligence agency had the skills to pull this off alone. The most likely answer, he says, is that a consortium of intelligence agencies worked together to build the cyber bomb. And he says the most likely confederates are the United States, because it has the technical skills to make the virus, Germany, because reverse-engineering Siemen’s product would have taken years without it, and Russia, because of its familiarity with both the Iranian nuclear plant and Siemen’s systems.

There is one clue that was left in the code that may tell us all we need to know.

Embedded in different section of the code is another common computer language reference, but this one is misspelled. Instead of saying “DEADFOOT,” a term stolen from pilots meaning a failed engine, this one reads “DEADFOO7.”

Yes, OO7 has returned -- as a computer worm.

Stuxnet. Shaken, not stirred.

For Cris...

Hahahahahahahaa

Amazing...

For Dave!!!

Yes, GM is up over four thousand percent. I told Dave they'd be back and he mocked me.

Hey Dave - NYAAH NYAAH!!!

rawr

Veterans Day...


I was sending out Veteran's Day wishes to my friends and realized how many people I know who have served. I wished them a happy day and thanked them for their service.

I am proud of my friends and family that put themselves in harm's way but most of all I am am happy that they all returned from their deployments and careers safe and sound.

My heart and prayers go out to all Veteran's home and abroad, here and in the hereafter.

Nice

Wowsers...

19 minutes left of my birthday. Best day ever!!! Hung with the family and had the BEST time. I hope everyone else has someone like my sister in their lives to help make wonderful things happen.

Love you Jess.

More for Matt...

The New York Times asks Al Jean, an executive producer from The Simpsons about the making of the Banksy-directed intro:

Q. How did you find Banksy to do this, and now that it’s done, how much trouble are you in?

A. Well, I haven’t been fired yet, so that’s a good sign. I saw the film Banksy directed, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” and I thought, oh, we should see if he would do a main title for the show, a couch gag. So I asked Bonnie Pietila, our casting director, if she could locate him, because she had previously located people like Thomas Pynchon. And she did it through the producers of that film. We didn’t have any agenda. We said, “We’d like to see if you would do a couch gag.” So he sent back boards for pretty much what you saw.


Q. Were you concerned that what he sent you could get the show into hot water?

A. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it for a little bit. Certainly, Fox has been very gracious about us biting the hand that feeds us, but I showed it to Matt Groening, and he said, no, we should go for it and try to do it pretty much as close as we can to his original intention. So we did. Like we always do, every show is submitted to broadcast standards, and they had a couple of [changes] which I agreed with, for taste. But 95 percent of it is just the way he wanted.


Q. One of the things Banksy is known for is disguising his identity. How can you be sure that you were dealing with the real him?

A. The original boards that we got from him were in his style and were certainly by an extremely proficient artist. We were dealing with the person that represented him making the movie. I haven’t met him, I don’t even know what he looks like, except what the Internet suggests. And he’s taken credit for it now so I’m pretty sure it’s him. We went through the people that made the movie so I assume they would know how to get to the real him.

Skillz...

You could have heard a pin drop...

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded:
"Does that include those who are buried here?"
DeGaulle did not respond.
You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?'
Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied,
'Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'
You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained,
''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to."
You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly:
'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'
You could have heard a pin drop.

Thanks Ken

For Matt...



It's hard to believe that Fox approved this Banksy directed opening.

The Art of the Dinner Date...



Eating is instinctual. And like a lot of instinctual things (ahem… the bedroom) men often go on autopilot when there’s food in front of them. Now that’s all fine and good when you’re standing over the sink eating cereal by the handful and straight from the box, but if you’re out with a woman who got all dressed up for this… it’s time to change gears. The meal you’re about to share isn’t a necessary chore for survival. It should be an event. And your attention to a few key details will help make it one.

Mastering the art of the dinner date isn’t hard, and it’s not all about proper etiquette like which fork is for what (start at the outside, work your way in), or when you put your napkin on your lap (just do it when you sit down), although that certainly helps. Remember these simple rules before you head out to that fancy restaurant and she might even be excited to share a dessert with you.

1. She goes first. With everything.
And that goes from the moment you pick her up. She’s the first to get in the car because you’re holding the door for her. Same goes for walking into the restaurant. She’s also the first to take her coat off because you’re assisting there too, and the first to sit down at the table. She looks at the wine list first, and orders first (unless you’re sharing a number of agreed upon dishes- then it becomes your job to order for the both of you). She also gets to pick the first piece of bread or whatever appetizer shows up before the entrée. As men, we’re selfish. We’re used to fighting for that slice of pizza or the last beer amongst our equally selfish man friends. Show her that she is your priority. Not the wine, not your steak, not the crème brulee. She is.

2. Pace yourself.
In general, men eat at a faster clip than women. They’re on a stroll. We’re at a solid trot. Slow down. There’s no deadline for you to finish your meal. Plus, if all you’re doing is shoving food in your mouth, how are you going to be able to carry on a conversation? Which leads us to…

3. Listen to her.
A great way to slow your eating down is by listening to what your date has to say. She’s probably pretty interesting (or better yet, very interesting). Of course you don’t want to over do-it and make her feel like she’s delivering a lecture to a hall full of grad students, but pay attention to her, not the other guests in the restaurant, your oddball waiter, or any of the other distractions flying around the room.

4. Look the part. Wear a sports jacket or blazer.
As long as it’s not a total dump, you should be wearing a jacket. And get it tailored. Why? Because when you sit you take a major hit to your shape. Women like guys with shoulders. And when you’re in a chair (or worse yet, some kind of booth), it’s easy to look like you’re collapsing in on yourself. A tailored, natural shoulder jacket will help you maintain that athletic V-shape. It doesn’t have to be wool, and it shouldn’t have rigid shoulder pads. Even Old Navy sells casual cotton blazers for around fifty bucks that when tailored will do the job. Plus, the inside jacket pocket gives you an easily accessible place for a card case or the other supplies in your gentleman’s arsenal. So at the end of the meal, you’ll get to effortlessly remove your chosen form of payment from your jacket instead of from under your rear.

4.5 And when it comes to the payment…
You’re paying. All of it.

5. Two drinks. Max.
Chances are you’ll be having a nice glass of wine. So enjoy it. If you want another? Go right ahead. But having a third drink over dinner almost guarantees that she won’t be up for another cocktail once the check comes. And even if she is, you won’t be at your best by then.

See? Easy stuff. And unlike the specials and the orders the wait staff have to commit to memory, these shouldn’t be too much to remember. Get all of these right and you might even land a second dinner date. Even if you spent half the meal with a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth.

For Penny...




Thieves in France have broken into a vineyard and stolen an entire crop of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, say police. They struck in Villeneuve-les-Beziers on Sunday night, taking advantage of a full moon and using a harvesting machine to seize 30 tonnes of the crop.

Farmer Roland Cavaille said similar crimes had taken place before in the Languedoc-Roussillon, one of France's best-known wine growing regions. He said the theft amounted to a year's work and about 15,000 euro (£12,900). "They used a harvesting machine to gather grapes. This means there was no need to have lots of people, two people would have been enough," Mr Cavaille said.

"The area was quite isolated, it is a a few kilometres from the village and near a river. So the thieves were able to work safely." One witness reported hearing engine noises in the early hours of the morning and police have been examining footprints left at the scene, said the newspaper. But Mr Cavaille said the thieves were clearly professionals who could easily sell on the grapes.

He said there had been a similar grape theft had been reported in the area four years ago and that another complaint had also been filed this year. While his vineyard was insured, it did not cover the loss of the grapes themselves. Mr Cavaille said he had no idea who had taken the grapes but that he was angered and surprised by the theft, as he believed there was a "degree of solidarity" between winemakers.

Video

Husband Store...

A store that sells new husbands has opened in New York City, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 – These men Have Jobs

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 – These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

‘That’s nice,’ she thinks, ‘but I want more.’

So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

‘Wow,’ she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 4 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

‘Oh, mercy me!’ she exclaims, ‘I can hardly stand it!’

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 – These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 6 – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

PLEASE NOTE:

To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a New Wives store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex.

The second floor has wives that love sex and have money and like beer.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited.

Thanks B&P

Racism?



Who is the last person you'd think would be openly racist?

A female latina demoratic candidate?

Think again!

Entertainers...



And we have to make due with Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber.
What has happened to the world?!?!

Happy Birthday To My Newest Crush...


Allison Scagliotti from Warehouse 13.

Nice

Uh, damn!!!

For Penny...



Keg wine and wine vending machines just got supersized: 500 and one-thousand liter kegs have landed in French supermarkets.

Bring your own resealable bottles, Poland Spring containers, jerrycans, whatever. Or you can get one at the store. Select your grade (red, white, or rosé). Pump. Print receipt.

Astrid Terzian introduced this concept that hearkens back to a bygone era when wine would arrive in Paris shops in tonneaux and consumers would bring their own flagons to fill. But today, Terzian says, she started this scheme in fall 2008 to fill a niche, tapping into two key themes, environmental awareness and the economy. (She actually wanted to buy a wine property and run a B&B but it was too expensive. So she turned to what she says she knew how to do: sales.) The elimination of packaging mass means that the wine can be shipped much more efficiently from a cost and carbon perspective.

The cost-savings are passed on to the consumer in the form of low prices of 1.45 euros/liter (about $2/liter). She installed her first machine in June 2009 at the Cora supermarket in Dunkirk and now has them installed in eight supermarkets in France. The wines vary; one is a 2009 from the Rhone, technically a vin de pays méditerranée.

As to customer reaction, Terzian says customers are taken aback at first, but then warm up to the idea, especially after a taste. They come back often, she says.

Asked via email which is her favorite container to bring to fill, she says she uses a five-liter jug since it is “neither too big nor too small–and it’s typically French.”

My only question about the pump wine (aka Chateau La Pompe) is if it comes to New Jersey and Oregon, will they require full serve as they do for gas?!

Brian Coombs asked a great question - will this fit in the back of a truck?

Bradley Made Chief ! ! ! ! !


We're all proud and excited! He's a great guy and deserves the hell out of this promotion!!



Chief Petty Officer is the seventh enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Petty Officer First Class and below Senior Chief Petty Officer, and is a senior non-commissioned officer. The Grade of Chief Petty Officer was established on April 1, 1893 for the Navy. Congress first authorized the Coast Guard to use the promotion to Chief Petty Officer on 18 May 1920.

Unlike Petty Officer First Class and lower ranks, advancement to Chief Petty Officer not only carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and specialty examinations, but also carries an added requirement of peer review. A Chief Petty Officer can only advance after review by a selection board of serving Senior and Master Chief Petty Officers, in effect "choosing their own" and conversely not choosing others.

Advancement into the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted naval ranks. At the rank of Chief, the Sailor takes on more administrative duties. In the Navy, their uniform changes to reflect this change of duty, becoming identical to that of an officer's uniform except with different insignia. Sailors in the three Chief Petty Officer ranks also have conspicuous privileges such as separate dining and living areas. Any naval vessel of sufficient size has a room or rooms that are off-limits to anyone not a Chief (including officers) except by specific invitation (if one is invited to eat in the Chief's Mess, it is customary to eat everything on the plate no matter what condiments are added by members of the Chief's Mess to enhance one's dining experience). In Navy jargon, this room is called the Chief's Mess, or tongue in cheek, the "goat locker." In addition, a Chief Petty Officer, no matter how much he was on "first name" basis with other petty officers before promotion, is always addressed as "Chief" by subordinates and superiors.

Chief Petty Officers serve a dual role as both technical experts and as leaders, with the emphasis being more on leadership as they progress through the CPO ranks. A recognized, collateral duty for all Chiefs is the training of Junior Officers. Like Petty Officers, every Chief has both a rate (rank) and rating (job, similar to an MOS in other branches). A Chief's full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a Chief Petty Officer, who has the rating of Gunner's Mate would properly be called a Chief Gunner's Mate.

Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as QM for Quartermaster, BM for Boatswain's Mate, or FC for Fire Controlman. When combined with the petty officer level, this gives the short-hand for the chief's rank, such as BMC for Chief Boatswain's Mate. It is not uncommon practice to refer to the chief by this short hand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). Mostly, though, they are simply called "Chief," regardless of rating.

The chief petty officer's insignia is a perched eagle with spread wings (often, affectionately, referred to as a "crow") above three chevrons topped by a rocker. These are red, but if a Navy chief has at least 12 years of good conduct service in the armed forces, the chevrons and rocker may be worn in gold. A Coast Guard chief petty officer's sleeve insignia is always gold regardless of the conduct of service. In either case, the chief's particular rating emblem is displayed below the crow, within the area bordered by the rocker and the uppermost chevron.


U.S. Navy arm insignia for a chief yeomanOn the dress blue uniform (and variants such as mess whites), the insignia is worn on the left arm of the uniform blouse (or "suit coat" in civilian terminology). On all other uniforms, the insignia used is worn on the collar and has become universally accepted as the symbol of the chief petty officer, which is a fouled (entwined in the anchor chain) gold anchor superimposed with the letters "USN" in silver in the Navy, or a silver shield in the Coast Guard.

In the U.S. Navy, officers and Chiefs are often colloquially referred to as "khakis." This is a reference to the color of their most common shipboard working uniforms, and is a direct contrast to those in paygrades E-6 and below (deckplate sailors, or blueshirts). However, the Navy has a new working uniform for paygrades below E-7 which consists of a khaki shirt and black trousers. This has caused some dissent within the upper enlisted and officer ranks. In the Coast Guard, petty officers, chief petty officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officer all wear similar uniforms.

Induction
Previously, once selected for advancement to chief, the selectee was made to endure a period of instruction and screening by his or her cognizant Chief's Quarters. The selectee was assigned a sponsor who supervises the selectee's indoctrination. A "charge book", decorated in the manner dictated by the Sponsor, was presented for signature to every Chief, Senior Chief, and Master Chief in the local area. These chiefs would provide written tasks, ask questions, or provide guidance to the selectee. The chiefs would also assess fines and levee "criminal charges" written in the selectee's charge book in the case of the selectee's performance being subpar. The charge book would be taken into evidence at the end of this indoctrination period. The indoctrination period would culminate with the initiation ceremony.

Initiation typically would begin midnight of the day of frocking and would last through the night and until midday. Schedules vary depending on command policy and mission availability. Selectees were ordered to muster in their dungaree uniforms with the "Dixie Cup" Sailor's hat. Initiation rites are similar to the old U.S. Navy tradition of Shellback initiation but tailored for the chief's community. At some point during the initiation, the selectee's Dixie Cup is laid to rest and usually eulogized by the selectee. This represents the transition into the Chief's community.

Initiations were attended only by previously initiated active duty and retired chiefs. During initiation the Selectee would stand before "The Kangaroo Court" and be judged of his crimes as read from his charge book. The sentences varied by the severity of the crimes. "Punishment" was carried out as part of the initiation. A selectee may, at any time after selection results are posted, elect to forgo the initiation process. Participation in the initiation ceremony is purely voluntary.

After initiation, the selectees were then recognized by their peers as fellow Chief Petty Officers and welcomed into the "Chief's Mess" (goat locker). The selectees were then allowed to bathe and don their new Khaki uniforms, sans collar devices and Combination Covers.

"Initiation" has changed over the years in order to adapt to current Navy policy, regulations, and guidelines. The most current term for the weeks of training, mentoring, and the final night of Chief selectee training is "Induction." MCPON Campa dubbed the term, and ordered its use beginning with the FY07 Induction season. Older, or retired, Chiefs often misinterpret the new Chiefs Induction season as a watered-down version of the often brutal hazing sessions they experienced during their initiations. The new version still adheres to the time-old tradition and spirit of "initiation"; many would argue that the current training actually brings back many traditions that have been lost through years of abusive tactics used during initiations of the past.

New Chief Petty Officer inductees are required to perform skits showing naval heritage and display their knowledge regarding the Sailor's Creed, Navy Hymn, Anchor's Aweigh and other naval songs.

Frocking of the new Chief was, and is, conducted by their Commanding Officer where their "Anchors" are pinned on by someone of their choosing, usually a family member or Chief, and they are presented with their Combination Cap by the Chief's Mess.


Emblem
The Navy Chief Petty Officer emblem is symbolized by a fouled anchor with the letters USN centered on the anchor. Officially the letters stand for United States Navy. According to naval tradition, the letters are symbolic of the following:

Unity - to symbolize comaraderie of the fraternity.
Service - to symbolize service to one's god, fellow man, and the Navy.
Navigation - to symbolize true course before God and man.

The Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer emblem is symbolized by a fouled anchor with a shield superimposed on its shank. The anchor is emblematic of "The Chief" and represents stability and security. It serves to remind the Chief of their responsibility to keep those they serve safe from harm's way. The significance of the shield date to the days of the Revenue Cutter Service when Congress added the shield to the ensign of the Cutter Service to distinguish cutters from other naval vessels. The chain is symbolic of flexibility and strength and serves to remind the Chief that the chain of life is forged day-by-day, link-by-link. The chain also represents the reliance of one Chief Petty Officer on another to get the job done and reminds him not to be the weak link in the chain. The chain fouled around the anchor represents the "the Sailor's disgrace" and serves to remind Chiefs that there may be times when circumstances are beyond their control in the performance of their duty but a Chief must complete the task.

Truth...

All of Us
from Chiron by Rory

Sitting on a plane today next to a very lovely young woman. Looked across the aisle and saw an elderly woman...and they were the same. Sort of. In the elderly woman I could see the bones and carriage of a young lady who had been a knockout.


That's all of us. Born so small, I used to delight in holding my daughter in one hand. So tiny and fragile. Not human, really, except in potential. Precious, but when you make the list of things that define human, (reason and speech and manipulating symbols and objects) newborns don't really fit the criteria. They are a unique animal.


Then, in a few years another discrete stage- exploring the world, stumbling. Occasionally frightened but more often filled with an awe-inspiring curiosity. Toddlers are funny, darling and cute as the dickens.


Then they become children. Real explorers. Full of dreams and possibility. Right here they can be grown into heroes or shamed into robotic, fearful sheep. If you let them run with the age, they will do and be miracles.


Next the angsty teen, pre-teen and post-teen stuff. Trying to figure out who they are and where they fit. With strong kids, this is fascinating. With weak kids or those with a sense of special entitlement I imagine it would be terrible to parent. Gratefully, I've been spared that.


Then the young adult. Full flower. The beauty of the young woman sitting next to me (my wife has much better legs, though. And shoulders. And skin...) The potential and strength in a young man. Little wisdom yet, but often intelligence. Not always, people can be damaged at any stage, but if they aren't too damaged, each stage has a special magic, a special beauty and a power.


The full adult, moving through the world with confidence. Caring for others, making things better. Righting wrongs and holding responsibilities. A force to be reckoned with.


The quiet years where the torch passes to others and you exist in knowledge (I'm not here yet, so this is speculation.) You watch the seeds of what you have done flourish in your community and family.


Then the slipping into darkness that frankly terrifies me. As eyes go and body and possibly mind...maybe it all seems for nothing. Maybe not. Maybe you forget things that should never be forgotten. What would Lawrence of Arabia have been like in a nursing home, suffering from dementia and incontinence?


Then death, pale skin and flesh of cold and clammy meat.


Then the meat rots.


And it is for all of us. The elderly lady has been the same as the lovely young lady, and still is in a way. We are or have been the same as the children we see discovering tadpoles for the first time.

It's kind of beautiful.

Chiron

OMG ! ! ! Great Prank...

Yeah, I know...

A husband in his back yard is trying to fly a kite. He throws the kite up in the air, the wind catches it for a few seconds, then it comes crashing back down to earth. He tries this a few more times with no success.

All the while, his wife is watching from the kitchen window,
muttering to herself how men need to be told how to do everything.

She opens the window and yells to her husband, “You need a piece of tail.”

The man turns with a confused look on his face and says, “Make up your mind. Last night, you told me to go fly a kite…”

Hahahahahahahaa

I Quit Them Bastards and YOU Should Too ! ! ! !

Don't like Chase? You're not alone. If you haven't already dropped the bank but are willing to let them go, you might be on your way to a free steak dinner.

The owner of the Twilight Exit in Seattle has had it with Chase and he hopes to encourage you to leave also. He can't offer free drinks because it's against the law, but apparently free dinners are OK:

...the owner of Central District bar the Twilight Exit, is trying to kill two birds with one stone: drum up some publicity for his business and stick it to the lender that he says has him "by the short hairs." "I want to hurt them," he says of the bank.
He explains that his Kafka-esque experience with the bank finally put him over the edge:

First, he says, Chase secretly lowered his line of credit -- the lifeline of any small business owner. [The bar owner] had just moved the bar, so he was maxed out on his cards. As a result, Chase was able to tell him that his credit rating wasn't good enough to qualify.
"So I said fine; got that fixed. But then they come back and tell me my credit is too good."

[The bar owner] would clear a hurdle, he says, only to find another, even stranger one in his path. Like the forms.

Chase, he says, would send him these pre-filled-out forms. All he had to do was sign.

So sign he did. And just to be safe, sent the forms back by fax, e-mail, snail mail -- any form of communication he could think of.

"And then they say they're not legible. I'm thinking, 'All I did was sign. How can a signature not be legible?'"

"If someone wants a steak dinner," he told Seattle Weekly. "I will feed them."

Twilight Exit

Smoking Hot With Crazy Oral Skills...

Love a Good Ad...

Hahahahahahahaa

I went to the doctor’s the other day and found out my new doctor is a young female; absolutely drop-dead gorgeous!

I was embarrassed but she said, “Don’t worry, I’m a professional – I’ve seen it all before. Just tell me what’s wrong and I’ll help you in any way I can.”

So I said,
“I think my penis may taste funny…”

Hahahahahahahaa

A nun walked into Mother Superior’s office and plunked down into a chair. She let out a sigh heavy with frustration.

‘What troubles you, Sister?’ asked the Mother Superior. ‘I thought this was the day you spent with your family.’

‘It was,’ sighed the Sister. ‘And I went to play golf with my brother. We try to play golf as often as we can. You know I was quite a talented golfer before I devoted my life to Christ.’

‘I seem to recall that,’ the Mother Superior agreed. ‘So I take it your day of recreation was not relaxing?’

‘Far from it,’ snorted the Sister. ‘In fact, I even took the Lord’s name in vain today!’

‘Goodness, Sister!’ gasped the Mother Superior, astonished. ‘You must tell me all about it!’

‘Well, we were on the fifth tee…and this hole is a monster, Mother. A 540 yard Par 5, with a nasty dogleg right and a hidden green…and I hit the drive of my life. I creamed it. The sweetest swing I ever made. And it’s flying straight and true, right along the line I wanted…and it hits a bird in mid-flight !’

‘Oh my!’ commiserated the Mother. ‘How unfortunate! But surely that didn’t make you blaspheme, Sister!

”No, that wasn’t it,’ admitted Sister. ‘While I was still trying to fathom what had happened, this squirrel runs out of the woods, grabs my ball and runs off down the fairway!’

‘Oh, that would have made me blaspheme!’ sympathized the Mother.

‘But I didn’t, Mother!’ sobbed the Sister. ‘And I was so proud of myself! And while I was pondering whether this was a sign from God, this hawk swoops out of the sky and grabs the squirrel and flies off, with my ball still clutched in his paws!’

‘So that’s when you cursed,’ said the Mother with a knowing smile.

‘Nope, that wasn’t it either,’ cried the Sister, anguished, ‘because as the hawk started to fly out of sight, the squirrel started struggling, and the hawk dropped him right there on the green, and the ball popped out of his paws and rolled to about 18 inches from the cup!’

Mother Superior sat back in her chair, folded her arms across her chest, fixed the Sister with a baleful stare and said… ’You missed the fucking putt, didn’t you?’