Countdown to the Presidential Election

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Going to San Juan


18° 31.28’N

065° 55.52’ W

Welcome to Puerto Rico! I will say this since if you should visit this island you will not hear it from the locals. My few hours in PR were OK (generally.) As I mentioned before the locals don’t seem to care that a shipload of fat Yanqui tourists pulled to shore with a pirate’s booty of credit cards and greenbacks in hand. Mary and I walked up to the old fort to check it out. Mary could have cared less, but I thought it was very cool. On the way back we stopped in Café Berlin, a nice and tidy Internet café and restaurant. The waiter was very nice (the only nice local we met BTW) even though we only wanted bottled water and a coke in a can he was happy to oblige. We left the café and walked the narrow streets going from shop to shop looking at the wares. We were never greeted nor we felt welcome anywhere we went. We purchased the obligatory plastic touristy crap i.e. magnets, small picture frames and other doodads. We made our way back to the ship and both agreed we won’t be going back.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Conversation with the Palms Casino

I wanted to go to a rather hip and cool place in Las Vegas called the Ghost Bar. Here is my email conversation with the reservation desk for the bar.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris C. []
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:31 PM
To: Ghostbar Reservations
Subject: Reservations

I will be visiting LV from 2-22 thru 3-1.

I would like to request a reservation for 2-24 or 2-25.

Thank you,

Chris C.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ghostbar Reservations []
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 1:48 PM
To: Chris C.
Subject: RE: Reservations

How many people would be in the party?

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris C. []
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006 6:44 PM
To: Ghostbar Reservations
Subject: RE: Reservations


-----Original Message-----
From: Ghostbar Reservations Sent: Saturday, February 11, 2006 12:28 PM
To: Chris C.
Subject: RE: Reservations

The only way to get on the guest list and bypass the line at the Ghostbar is to reserve a table. The following information is only prices. It does not guarantee a table. If you are interested in reserving a table after going over the prices, then we may check for availability at that time. A table for 2 requires a 2 bottle minimum, and our bottles start at $325. This reservation would take care of the cover charge as well as access to the front of the line for your party. Thank you!

Christmas Lights Cause Problems

March, 24 2007

Pucky Huddle, Missouri

Community Holiday Lights Cause Problems

Area residents have become concerned about the city's holiday decorations, not that the display violates the fundamentals of church and state, rather that it is now May and the display has not been taken down yet.

Fred Buckner, Mayor of this small hamlet gave a simple reason for maintaining the display far past the holidays. "So many area residents still have their lights up, we felt that to save money we put the lights up and leave them there." Mayor Buckner is correct. A short drive away is the largest mobile home park in town and several of the prefab homes have large multi colored lights up and several faded Santas can be seen in the yards.

The Mayor continued to say that the cost of taking down the lights would cost about $17.74 in labor costs and storing the lights in a reused paper box takes up valuable space in the stately town hall building.

However, the display could have a greater detrimental affect other than aesthetic. According to resident and avid bird watcher Floyd Bailey sees the situation another way. "This town is smack dab in the middle of the migration route for the Greater Northwestern Speckler and having these lights up during the migration season could cause the birds to fly off course ." Mr. Bailey has complained to the Mayor and City Council, but with no action from Town Hall Floyd has taken his complaints to the State EPA. "If they [EPA] don't do anything I'll go all the way to the White House!"

It may take some time to resolve this impasse and there are only 2 weeks until the migration season begins for the Speckler.


This story is set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe think of it as D&D in space. If you are very familiar with any details that I may have omitted, please let me know.

The sky, covered with the dull gray clouds which hung low upon the tortured land. Rising from the scorched landscape were pillars of noxious black smoke which emanated from the shattered hulks of tanks and other vehicles of war. For miles around, all which were once living were now dead, only one edifice was still standing, the last fortress of the Imperium and it's time was quickly running out. The empire had chosen this planet as a foothold to begin a campaign to wipe out the marauding Orcs in this sector, however the empire had failed to gain any type of ground here facing unanticipated tactics and overwhelming Orcish forces and now was the time for the survivors to flee and relinquish this planet to the Orc hoards.

The lone keep was now surrounded by the massive Orc army. Thousands of the green-skinned, squat and muscular humanoids had surrounded the keep. Armed with crude yet deadly weapons the Orcs advanced on the fortress. Orcs tactics always use superior numbers to overwhelm and disrupt a more superior force such as the Space Marines and this time proved to be no different. The final assault could not be any fiercer, like a hammer striking an anvil this was the final blow for those humans who remain. Deafening artillery barrages rained down upon the massive stone walls the fort which rendered massive slabs of slate gray rock from the sides and sent them crashing down to the blackened earth.

At the titanic gates of the fortress a mass of the green-skinned soldiers surrounded a massive electric arc generator their orders were to break through the massive 20 inch composite alloy gates. Great arcs of electricity were leaping from arcane siege machine and coursing through the imposing barrier. The gates glowed orange, casting the group of Orcs in a strange and artificial light. Small chunks of white hot molten steel had already fallen from the doors and larger gaps have already begun to appear as the doors started to sag from the weight which they were unable to support any longer. The process to take down the barrier takes time, which the Orcs have. Those few inside, however their time will soon expire.

Inside the fortress, the scene was of desolation, nearly all of the surviving Marines had been evacuated to the safety of outer space by means of the few remaining Thunderhawk gunships. The massive fortress walls echoed the din and chaos emanating from beyond the protection of the keep. Heavy machinery, massive cargo containers and other implements of war were strewn around the grounds, left where they were when the solders were told to cut and retreat.
The rapidly dwindling number remaining Space Marines, clad in their power armor, were quickly crowding into the precious few lifeboats to take them away from the gibbering hoards of Orcs who were almost through the gate.

Alpha platoon was assigned to be the last unit to leave, their job of making sure all those who remained made it into the gunships had been completed. Isaac Tromball, the unit commander, waited uncomfortably at the front of the gunship by the glowing communications panel awaiting for the go ahead to make the final egress. Huddled behind him was the remainder of his unit, worn, weary and dejected they all knew that this battle was lost and they waited quietly to return to the mother-ship to recuperate and to fight another day.

Sergeant Alexander was standing at the open bay door of the gunship. At 6 feet tall in his dark green, heavily pitted suit of power armor he was an imposing sentinel at the rear entry of the escape ship. His closely trimmed black hair showed some hints of gray and for being 35 years of age his face carried a look of a man much older. Sgt Alexander commanded a great deal of respect from his troops and superiors. Slung across his broad shoulders was his trusted bolter. Scanning the yard with his green eyes Alex looked for anyone who may have been missed on the final sweep of the base. Alexander watched as the final two Thunderhawks filled with troopers. As the ships were fully embarked the rear ramps closed and main thrusters began to power up with a roar. With a salute from pilots to Alexander, the two craft lifted off in a cloud of dust and with a deafening howl and began to make a quick, steep ascent into the sky. Within moments they had disappeared into the gray clouds and the rumble of their engines slowly faded away.
The sergeant brought his eyes back down to view the stark and empty marching field, he felt upset at giving this day to the mindless hoards outside the gate, but he knew the battle for now was finished and that he was of no use dead to the Imperium , later he would exact a punishing revenge for today's loss. He brought his gaze around to the gate which lay a scant hundred meters away from the ship. He was taken aback when he saw heavily armed Orcs pouring through gate and spreading out to take positions in the empty keep. Alexander turned and shouted down to Isaac.

"They have broken through the gate Commander! Large numbers of Orcs are approaching our position." Alexander said in a loud sturdy voice.

"Come on…" muttered the Commander under his breath. "Where is that final order?" Isaac turned slightly to see that his unit had all turned their attention to the open bay door to try to get a glimpse of the oncoming wave Orcs.

"Commander Tromball, please come in!" squawked the communications panel.
"Tromball speaking, awaiting orders sir." He muttered calmly. As he wiped sweat from his brow.

"Return to the mother-ship immediately your mission is complete."
Isaac hurriedly walked the few paces to the cockpit and stood behind the two pilots of the gunship.

"Get us the hell out of her pilot! Return to the command-ship."

"Yes sir!" Replied the pilot who immediately began to power up the ship for takeoff. The squat nimble craft began to lift off the large metal landing pad and turned slightly to gain the correct trajectory for the flight out.

Alexander stepped back from the breach and hit the red lever which powered up the hydraulics to close the bay door. A low whirring sound began to emanate from the wall panels of the ship and the two gleaming chrome columns which connected to the rear hatch began to disappear into the sides of the ship. The gunship was now about twenty feet off the deck and Alexander looked out into the expansive courtyard which was quickly filling with the Orc hoards. From the mass of evil a great orange flash erupted and from that light a slender cylindrical missile shot fourth at great speed towards the Thunderhawk.

"Incoming!" shouted Alexander to his troops. The sergeant turned away from the half closed rear door and began to reach for a safe handhold, but before he could grab hold of anything the missile was already upon them. The missile detonated prematurely before hitting the gunship, a direct hit would have surly brought down the craft, but the near miss caused a shockwave which violently shook the ship and caused it to momentarily lose horizontal control. The rear of the Thunderhawk dove down quickly and Alexander was unable to make it to a hand-hold and he slid feet first on his chest towards the rear opening. Alexander's armor made an awful screeching and scraping noise as he slid on the cold metal floor and fell through the half closed bay door and to the landing pad below.

Inside the cockpit the pilot and co-pilot were wrestling with the controls to regain command of the ship. The two finally leveled off the craft and began to throttle up to extricate themselves from the quickly deteriorating situation. From the rear shouts arose from the assault squad as they had just seen their leader fall from the safety of the ship to the horrors which lay below. A marine shouted down towards the cockpit for the commander and pilots to hear.

"Sarge has fallen from the ship turn around to pick him up!"

The two pilots turned to Tromball for orders as the ship was begging to climb rapidly away from the keep.

"Turn back and pick up our man. I won't leave him to die at the hands of those monsters." Tromball said coldly. Immediately the pilot threw the gunship into a bone crushing turn, they were going back into the fray.

Falling from the ship, Alexander could hear the wind rushing by his ears and he saw the ship racing away from him and vanishing into the low gray clouds. Immediately from behind the ground rushed up to meet Alex and he landed hard on his back next to the landing platform his impact causing a thick plume of tan dust rise around him. Alexander rolled over with a groan and got to his hands and knees and brought himself up to his feet. When he was finally standing, in a near daze he realized that he was far, far from alone.

Thirty feet from Alex stood a perimeter of heavily armed Orcs standing tightly shoulder to shoulder and scores deep. Many of the Orcs were beaten and bruised from the final assault on the keep. The majority of the pack had massive wounds that had not been treated and were matted with the sickly green blood and festering with flies. A rancid stench purveyed itself around Alex, the common smell of Orcs mixing with the thick smell of death. The Orcs looked dumbfounded at what had fallen from the sky, like slack jawed children they seemed incapable to understand what just happened right in front of them. Sarge scanned the motionless mob of toothy cretins as he was wondering what he would do next. One of the largest and more ferocious looking of the Orc soldiers stepped forward and slowly drew out a massive gleaming blade and pointed it towards Alexander.

"Tonight wez eats humunz!" the Orc spat out. "Usz ur bladz on him!" Alexander witnessed dozens of blades being drawn out from the crowd of soldiers and one by one the Orc troops began to run towards him and they snarled and howled with an raw animalistic rage. Sarge gritted his teeth and took up his bolter, pulled back the bolt and leveled the gun at the nearest approaching Orc.

"You will work for your dinner tonight you bastards." He let loose automatic fire upon his target and the soldier's head peeled away as dozens of bullets ripped through the skull. In unison, the Orcs let out an even more ferocious roar and all began to charge on Alexander.

Sarge kept up the intense fire sweeping his bolter back and fourth knocking down the approaching hoard. Above the roar of the advancing hoard came the high pitched screech of the Thunderhawk engines. Swooping down upon the mass of tightly packed soldiers the auto cannons of the gunship erupted to life shooting massive bolts of energy into the ranks of Orcs felling dozens of the retched beasts with every salvo. The craft rapidly approached to Sarge's position slowing down and hovering just a few scant meters off the deck. Rotating around the craft's rear platform was down and upon the ramp stood Sarge's platoon bristling with bolters and heavy weapons. Once the rear of the ship faced the Orcs the soldiers opened a blaze of intense fire into the dazed survivors of the first round of blasts and laid waste to the unfortunate souls who had not yet died. From the deck the hand of a soldier reached down towards Alex.

"Grab on Sarge!" came a voice. Alexander locked his hand around the man's wrist and immediately began to be lifted up into the safety of the ship. Once Sarge was half on the rear door many other hands grabbed his armor and pulled him completely upon the floor.

"Lets go!" Shouted the platoon. Tromball relayed the command to the pilots and the ship once again began to ascend from the scene of devastation. Still sitting on the floor, looking out onto the courtyard of the shattered fortress through the closing ramp, exhausted and breathing heavily, Alexander saw a hulking green silhouette appear in the ship's opening. One of the biggest Orcs Sarge had ever seen had jumped up and had grabbed hold of the edge of the ramp and reaching out with its immense clawed hand the massive beast grabbed the ankle of Alexander. The huge Orc roared mightily and began to pull Alexander out toward the opening. Before the other soldiers could react Alex swung his bolter around and placed the muzzle of the firearm against the lower jaw of the menacing Orc. With a loud crack one round was expended shattering the lower jowl of the beast and spraying it's green blood across the crew compartment. Screaming wildly, the Orc released it's iron grasp of Sarge and clutched what remained of it's mutilated visage, slipping off the deck the soldier disappeared over the edge as the beast was wailing in pain.

The rear door finally closed itself and those in the crew are a could feel the acceleration of the ship and steep climb away from the tortured planet. Within minutes they were all in the safety of space heading towards the command ship which will return them to the home base of the Space Marines.

Sgt Alexander sat on the narrow bench at the far end of the gunship by the exit ramp. Worn, weary, but alive he could not help but think that what his commander risked in coming back for him in such an extreme situation. Rising to his feet Sgt walked past the seated Marines, who just before leaving were dejected and in low spirits, were now quietly happy and proud that they had rescued their leader from the mob. Sgt gave his rescuers a grateful nod of his head as he passed his troops. Walking on he continued toward the front of the ship. Passing the communications hub and entering into the cockpit area he saw Tromball, standing with his arms stretched across the two side by side seats of the pilots. The commander was slightly hunched over and looking out the front windscreen at the command ship which was quickly growing larger and large in the field of view.

"Commander." Alexander said and saluted simultaneously. Tromball turned his attention from the ship and turned and walked up to Alexander and saluted in return.

"At ease Sergeant," Tromball said with a easy tone in his voice, "You did well back there in the courtyard."

"I would like to thank you sir," Alex replied, "I know you did not have to return for me and…"

At that point Tromball raised his armored hand to stop Alexander.

"I do not leave any of my men behind. That wretched planet is not worth the life of one more soul if I can help it." Alex paused to think for an adequate response. "Do not feel that you need to thank me, I know you would have done the same for any of your soldiers as well. Return to the crew compartment, we will soon dock and depart for home. You and your men will be debriefed and allow to rest before the next campaign begins."

"Yes sir." Sgt said and saluted again walked out of the cockpit.

Tromball returned to his position between the two pilots. Now the massive light gray command ship loomed large in front of them and the landing dock and navigation lights flashing around it's perimeter were clearly visible in front of them.. Tromball knew that someday the Space Marines will return to this planet better prepared and out to even this score. For now, however he carried with him the satisfaction of not leaving with a loss of a man, but a with a gain of a great future leader.

Ah the Glory of a Communist Factory

The Clinton Admn. Policy on Terrorism

The Clinton Admn. Policy on Terrorism
Credit: Diana Walker