Disney cruise in the Bahamas

We spent most of week of February 17th on the Disney ship Magic in the Bahamas. I had been on Disney’s sister ship Wonder several years ago but this was Barb’s first cruise. As with me Barb had never had much interest in going on a cruise until after having actually been on one. Part way through the cruise Barb was talking about “the next cruise we go on”.


This was the entrance to the ship. Notice the resemblance to Mickey Mouse?

This was the going away party. There was loud music and some of the Disney crew were doing cheerleading. I found it an interesting psychological study.

After observing the party from an upper deck Barb and I found a little quieter spot and watched Port Canaveral fade away in the distance.

The next morning we arrived in Nassau. As we approached the harbor a pilot was brought out to our ship to guide us in.

Arrival of the pilot.

Departure of the pilot’s transportation.

This was the flag near the bow of our ship.

This is the harbor at Nassau as we arrived. Do you think maybe they have a lot of tourists?

The last time I was here a tour guide said the walkway between the buildings was a hotel room for rent—at $20,000/week IIRC.

We did a self guided walking tour through parts of Nassau and “fought” off the aggressive tour guide who really, really wanted to give us a tour in his limo. The most fun thing we did at Nassau was go through the Pirate Museum.

The next day we arrived at Disney’s island Castaway Cay.


The first thing we did was rent bicycles and go for a ride across the island.

This picture was taken from an observation tour on the far end of the island.IMG_9463Adjusted
From the same observation tour.

We also fed the sting rays and went snorkeling with them. Barb thought they were “SO CUTE!” I thought they were a little ominous but it was fun to swim above them as they went “flying” through the water just above the bottom.

Most of the rest of the time we spent on the adult beach. It was very pleasant.IMG_9492Adjusted
Someone had used shells to make an outline of something.
I’m not sure what the name of this bird is but it was pelican like. Taking pictures of it while we were on the beach gave me something to do.




I’m not sure if it was diving for fish or just making very ungraceful landings.


This was how it looked as we left the island.

The next day we spent the entire time cruising around in a circle. Then during the night we returned to port. We were off the ship and back to the airport by 9:00 or 10:00. I didn’t know how long it would take to get there when I made the airplane reservations and we were scheduled for something like a 6:00 PM departure. There were no seats available on an earlier flight so we waited in the airport. We flew to Houston and found out our connecting flight was something like five hours late. We didn’t leave Houston until after midnight. It was something like 2:00 AM Pacific time when we finally made it home and into bed. And, of course, we were fully adjusted to Eastern time. We were really, really tired.

The vacation was totally worth it. Much of the rest of the nation was enduring snow and bitter cold. And best of all I sent some of the bloggers who were discussing the cold an email sympathizing and included this picture from Nassau:


Hoover Dam

While in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago we also visited Hoover Dam. I had driven by a time or two but had never stopped and took pictures and went on a tour. I’ve been on tours of Grand Coulee and Dworshak which are also very impressive but Hoover, for some reason seems to generate more awe for most people. It is an impressive piece of engineering.


We took a tour of the power plant which involved going through some tunnels near the base of the dam.


This was on the ceiling of some of the tunnels to keep the tourists from getting dripped on from some minor leaks.




Zion National Park

Two weekends ago we visited Zion National Park in Utah. We were visiting Las Vegas and since gambling doesn’t hold that much interest for us we drove to Zion National Park and spent most of the day there.

As Barb said, more than once, “When you see it you understand why they made certain areas National Parks.” Zion has a resemblance to Yosemite in that what Barb said about it also applies, “Meh. Maybe I’m getting spoiled but one stunning view looks pretty much like another.”

Yup. That pretty much describes Zion. It’s not surprising the park gets over a million visitors per year.

This was on our drive to Zion Canyon. I think it might have actually been in Arizona. We crossed the Northwest corner of it on our way.

Another picture that probably is in Arizona.

You just expect to see Wiley Coyote and Road Runner zip by you any moment. Is the dust in the picture below from them?

Again, probably in Arizona or outside the park near St. George Utah.

It’s beautiful to visit but Barb and agree there is no way we would want to live there. We like the tree covered mountains, rivers, and lakes too much to spend much time away.

The rest of the pictures are from inside the park and I’ll mostly let them speak for themselves.


Close up of the upper right corner of the picture above it. Notice the size of the trees to get a clue as to the scale.



There were some people climbing the cliffs. A small group of people were pointing at someone on this cliff. I couldn’t really see it so I took a picture with my telephoto lens, then zoomed in on the spot they were point at then asked them if this was what they were looking at:


Yup. Just as I thought. It was just a rock formation.




Quote of the day—Mary Sanchez

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the best membership recruitment tool the NRA could hope for: a walking, talking, Big Gulp-banning embodiment of government overreach. And look what he’s done now, given the NRA yet another gift on the eve of its national convention.

Mary Sanchez
April 18, 2014
Bloomberg’s The Wrong Guy To Lead Gun Safety Push
[She’s anti-gun but she’s not politically stupid.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Shannon Watts

Moms are afraid our children will be taken away and in the end, I think that’s the emotion that will win the debate.

Shannon Watts
Founder of Moms Demand Action and a board member for Everytown for Gun Safety
April 16, 2014
Can $50 Million Buy Michael Bloomberg Gun Control?
[There you have it. In their world view debates can and should be won on emotions.

Of course in her emotion fogged view of the universe she cannot comprehend the emotion of those that feel threatened that the government is going to restrict their ability to defend themselves and their children. So even if we were forced to debate strictly on an emotional battle field we have some powerful weapons and a lot of ammunition.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Clayton Cramer

Cobb describes how the increasing use of federal law against lynchings in the 1950s played a part in restraining the most outrageous forms of anti-black violence, but the relatively relaxed gun control laws of the South and the widespread culture of gun ownership played a part as well. “Nighttime marauders had learned to keep a more respectful distance from their targets because the targets were increasingly prone to shoot back.” The return of so many combat-experienced black soldiers from the two wars meant that terrorizing blacks was no longer a risk-free activity (pp. 123-4). Indeed, it could and sometimes did get Klansmen killed.

Clayton Cramer
April 11, 2014
‘This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed:’ Guns and the Civil Rights Movement
[Cramer is referring to Charles E. Cobb Jr. book This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible (not yet released).

As was reported in Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms (Social Institutions and Social Change) by Wright and Rossi (there is a second edition out too: Armed and Considered Dangerous: New Second Edition) violent criminals are far less concerned with the possibility of being caught, convicted, and sent to prison by the police than they are with a private citizen shooting them. The reason for this is that punishment via the legal system is at some nebulous point in the future, of relatively low probability, and most likely, of non lethal consequence. Whereas the private citizen with a gun, motivated by a violent attack on their person or a family member, is able and willing to deliver a lethal blow in seconds.

I expect the average Klansmen was of similar intelligence to the average violent criminal, of which he was subset, and could do the probabilistic calculations necessary to appropriately conclude there were more healthy life choices available.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Danny Ross

There can be no compromise with the gun haters. They want to ban all firearms and disarm everyone except the servants of the State. First vilification of firearms in the name of “safety”, then registration,then confiscation.

The Constitution is very clear. What part of “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is so hard to understand?

Danny Ross
April 15, 2014
Comment to America needs to find middle ground on gun control issue
[There are some issues for which there is no compromise. Can we compromise on the 13th Amendment (which made slavery illegal)? The Second Amendment is for the restraint of a tyrannical government. Almost any compromise on the Second Amendment is compromise with a tyrant.

The scale of the tyrant can vary from an individual criminal, to a gang, to a corrupt city government, to an entire nation. Anti-gun people are the allies and/or useful idiots of tyrants. You don’t negotiate or compromise with tyrants of any scale. You defeat them.—Joe]

Boomershoot 2014 status

This last weekend Barb and I did some Boomershoot 2014 prep. We installed some new LED lights in the target production facility (Mecca). We cleaned up the benches and Barb swept the floor. We are close to ready for target production in about two and half weeks.

One of the critical chores was an inventory of the target stakes:


This was just a jumbled pile of stakes and we stacked them in a neat pile to aid in counting and distribution for this year.

We also checked on the status of the daffodils we transplanted last June. They seem to be doing okay:



I suspect many of the bulbs didn’t have enough mass to support blooms this year and will build up this spring and bloom next year. But some have already bloomed. Barb and I were encouraged by the results.

The ground was generally dry and even if Boomershoot were to have been last weekend there wouldn’t have been a problem with weather:


We did make a trip across a section of another field that is unrelated to Boomershoot and nearly got stuck. We left some deep ruts, we were bounced around quite a bit and muddied up the sides of my vehicle that remained even after some fairly heavy rain on Saturday evening:WP_20140414_002Web

Obamacare claimed another victim with one of the biggest supporters and promoters of Boomershoot canceling his trip to Idaho after his insurance premiums nearly doubled. He is now unable to afford attending Boomershoot. “Squirrel Hunter” and some of his crew will not be attending this year. This could be a good thing for you because this means there are now some premium positions open.

Quote of the day—“Richard Nixon”

The Usian love of guns. Basically all the immigrants from Europe left because they had small penises and were forced to leave their countries because women would laugh at them. In the New World they could play around with guns and religion to compensate for this and to impress the girlies.

So taking away a gun from a small dicked Usian is tantamouint to emsaculating him and thus the howls of outcry it produces.

Only countries with males who are secure about their dick size tend to ban guns for example the UK.

“Richard Nixon”
July 26, 2001
Comment to The Terrible Truth About Gun Owners
[It's another Markley’s Law Monday!

“Usian” is their code word for people in the United States. “Richard Nixon” is the handle for someone other than President Richard Nixon who died in 1994.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Michael Beard

The pro-gun lobby is predictably using the recent school shootings as an opportunity to ask, “What if the teachers and students had been armed?” That is the wrong question.

The right question is, “What if the perpetrator had NOT been able to obtain those firearms? How many lives would have been saved?” Instead of asking what the U.S. would be like with more guns, shouldn’t we be asking what our country would be like with fewer guns? Guns do not solve problems, they create problems. A handgun is designed for the sole purpose of taking human life.

Michael Beard
April 21, 2008
The Wrong Question
[In answer to the question “What our country would be like with fewer guns?” The answer is that those with evil intent and willingness to break the law will always be able to acquire a firearm. And it will never be more difficult that it is to acquire illegal recreational drugs. Which, in case Mr. Beard doesn’t have the social awareness or intelligence to answer for himself, is so easy that any, and most, high school dropouts can acquire within a few minutes any hour of any day in any city in the country. And therefore if people with evil intent can easy get a gun then those not willing to break the law will be the ones without the skills and the tools to defend themselves from evil.

Gun do solve problems. I like R. A. Lafferty’s response to people who come with things like Beard’s asinine assertion.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Josh Sugarmann

Yesterday’s shooting at a major tourist attraction in the nation’s capital provides stark proof that no one is safe in any public place; not in school, in church, or at the zoo; until we deal with our nation’s gun problem. And the only rational response is a national ban on handguns.

Josh Sugarmann
April 25, 2000
Shooting at National Zoo Latest Proof of Need for Handgun Ban
[Don’t ever let anyone tell you that no one wants to ban guns.—Joe]

Don’t Let ‘Em Take Your Gun

Via Dave Workman:


Ohhh, people why don’t you come
in here and let me talk to you
a while.
That’s right, step right up and
listen to a concerned citizen speak
his piece.

I’ll tell you a little something
that my daddy told to me.
My basic fundamentals if you want to be free.
‘Cause son, there’s something wrong internally.
So, if you want your freedom son.
Don’t want your country to be overrun.
You got to keep America number one.

My daddy told me “Son, don’t
let ‘em take your gun.
That’s what they tryin’ to do.
Son, don’t let ‘em take your gun.
They’re takin’ your Bill of Rights away from you.”
My daddy said “Son, don’t
let ‘em take your gun.
That’s what they tryin’ to do.
Son, don’t let ‘em take your gun.
Don’t let ‘em take your gun away from you.”

Ohhh, this year is our anniversary.
Two hundred years, people we’ve been free.
Won’t be nobody takin’ over our land.
If everybody’s brother’s got a gun in his hand.
I’m tellin’ you we learned to fight for justice.
We’re willing to die for freedom.
Hand in hand.
You got to understand.
We are American men.

Said they want your gun.
Said they want your gun.
Send ‘em on the run.
Send ‘em on the run.
Hip-hurray for fun.
Hip-hurray for fun.
If they do we’re done.
If they do we’re done.


Quote of the day—Brady Campaign

The summit will feature experts, thought leaders, key advocates from across the country, and fellow Americans who have been personally impacted by gun violence. Participants will hone the skills needed to effectively engage friends, neighbors, media and elected officials in our national conversation about gun violence, and learn about what they can do in their community to help reduce gun violence.

The summit will close with a powerful day of citizen lobbying, as we join together to spread our message throughout the halls of Congress!

Brady Campaign
April 2014
2014 Brady National Summit: Bring It Home!
[I find the language used very interesting. “Thought leaders”? “Hone the skills needed to effectively engage…”? “Spreading our message”?

We don’t want people to have their “thoughts led”. We want people think for themselves.

We don’t “hone our skills” to engage people. We arm ourselves with facts.

We don’t “spread messages in congress”. We demand our congress critters obey the law and respect our rights.

They think differently from me. Perhaps more different than I can think.—Joe]

Quote of the day—AmericanHorseman

How sad that the Democratic Communists are now employing children in their war against the United States Constitution. Also, isn’t strange that the Constitution does not make any provisions for automobiles? But it does for firearms. Makes you wonder how they can make a comparison. In any case, using hate speech to violate Americans rights is simply a crime and those responsible should be arrested and jailed just as any other bigot or church burning hater.

April 10, 2014
Comment to 8th graders’ gun control film wins national prize
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Guarded support for Brady Campaign

I just read the Brady Campaign is rolling out something new:

The Campaign this week is rolling out a PSA and social media push, “Speak Up,” coinciding with National Youth Violence Prevention Week, to urge students to report threats and warning signs of violence in schools. “When students speak up, they can save lives,” said Brady Campaign president Dan Gross, adding that the PSA campaign “is about something real that students can do to help make their schools and communities safer.

Basically, they are urging kids to anonymously report other kids that are carrying weapons at school and/or making credible threats of violence in the school. As long as they are talking about “kids” being under 18 and unable to legally carry weapons in school then I’m okay with this.

I do have to wonder how these sort of activities work when they are doing their fundraising activities. What sort of pitch do they give potential donors? I can just imagine, “We used to be able to influence Congress, the Senate, and the President to pass laws banning some of the most popular guns in the country. But now we want you give us money so we can try to get kids to snitch on each other.”

They still have a ways to fall but we are getting closer to my dream coming true. The clock is ticking.

Xenia on display

Daughter Xenia is going to have some of her art on display at the University of Alaska Anchorage this week:

One of this year’s Student Showcase presenters, Xenia Vlieger, has been interested in art, storytelling and theater since elementary school.

“As I got older, I became more anxious doing theater and more interested in storytelling through images,” she said. She graduated last fall with a bachelor’s degree in art, with an emphasis in photography, but was still allowed to participate in Student Showcase for images she made in 2013—including an experimental photography piece entitled, “Thank God I don’t think out loud.”

Xania Vlieger poses for a photo with one of her photographs in the room where she will exhibit her work for the Student Showcase in Rasmuson Hall on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska Friday, April 4, 2014.

She is also giving a presentation and “will discuss self-portraits and why they are important, her process for creating the piece—including how the image was conceptualized, edited and then printed—and also, how the symbolism of the image and materials used to create the piece relate to each other.”

Very cool Xenia!

Quote of the day—Mike Dickinson

@danieljpayne @HustlerMag @NRA that the NRA is a god awful fear mongering group and those who support the NRA are pure trash.

Mike Dickinson
April 5, 2014
DickinsonForCongress (@VoteMike2014)
[This is what some politicians think of you. Don’t wait for them to implement their “take out the trash” programs. Make sure they don’t get elected in the first place.

H/T to Jeff.—Joe]

This is a clue

When people this stupid are elected to national office is it any surprise nearly all government actions are messed up beyond all hope of functionality? Just think about this:

This FBI investigation of Leland Yee reveals how easy it is to import lethal assault weapons that were previously banned,” said Speier in an emailed statement from the Representative’s office to Guns.com.

“This case should be a warning to us all that even the most trusted appearing among us are ready to do real harm,” she said.

Her solution to fix future instances of potential gun running such as in the Yee case? Call on the White House to ban the import of “assault weapons.”

Furthermore, from her congressional website:

Jackie was appointed to serve as a Vice Chair of a new congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force…

Apparently she is one of the best and brightest the anti-gunners have to offer yet says things like:

She is an outspoken advocate for a federal ban on assault weapons, full and complete background checks on all gun sales, including sales at gun shows, and strict limits on high capacity ammunition sales.

“High capacity ammunition sales”? What does that even mean? Is that when I bring a semi-truck to the gun show to haul away my ammo purchases? And that is disregarding all the evidence that restrictions that she is “an outspoken advocate” for do not make people safer and violates the Bill of Rights. She truly has crap for brains.

If someone’s ability to think rationally is so impaired that they are unable to comprehend how stupid the things she says are then it surely extends to every other thing she wants government involved in. If this were someone in management of a private business they would be demoted to a manual labor position, fired, or the business would go broke. As it is people this stupid are still smart enough to get elected, spend your money on stupid stuff, and tell you how to run your life. And it’s not just her. Government is filled with idiots like this and they believe they are your superiors and they “intend to do you good”.

Although Thoreau had an appropriate response when it is an individual with the obvious intent to do you good (run for your life) when it is a government official you don’t have that option available. When they have the power of government behind them they are a threat to society. As Daniel Webster said when talking of those in government with “good intentions”, “They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.”

I’ve said this before but it doesn’t hurt to remind people that good intentions are not a valid defense at a trial. Should, as would be appropriate, Jackie Speier be put on trial we should not let her use good intentions as a defense.