Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This is Serious Tim speaking...

I know I joke a lot. I like to mess around and have a good time. I am well aware that I’ve made that name for myself and I’m willing to live with it.

I’m asking you, the reader, to set that aside for a minute and accept that I might have a serious side and would like for you to read the following and reply with your thoughts because I’m at an impasse. At the end of this post I’m going to have a list of questions. There are no “right or wrong” answers… this is not a test. You can post your answers in a comment to this post (encouraged method as I’d like to incite discussion on the matter), or you can email them to me if you’d like to keep it private. BUT I WOULD LIKE YOUR INPUT!

On Monday I begin school again. I’m going back to college for a degree in International Relations with a concentration in Comparative Politics. I chose that simply because it’s an area I’m interested in and if you’ve read half of my posts, you’ll know that to be true. Any-who, my first class is on American Foreign Policy and a question I’d like for that class to answer is this: “If we are a country established as a Constitutional Republic, why do we help establish and encourage the establishment of Democracies (a political system our founders spoke vehemently against) in other countries?”

Well, I’ve been thinking more and more about it (the question) and wondered if we are indeed still a Constitutional Republic. Here’s my rationale:

The first hit our Constitution took was with the ratification of the 17th Amendment. Before the 17th came along, Senators were appointed by the governments of their respective states and were in place to be a voice for that State.. NOT the people *of* the state, but of the State itself. The people had their own house of congress called the House of Representatives. This was fine because it was the House, not the Senate, who held (and continue to hold) the purse strings of our Federal Government. When the 17th Amendment was ratified it stripped the States of their representation in Congress and gave the people both houses. On a side note, this left the only State control in the hands of the Presidential election with the presence of the Electoral College… more on that later.

The second item on my list actually lies, historically, before that (the 17th Amendment) and I’m a little miffed at the founders for not doing anything about this in the Constitution’s original script. The whole system of Checks and Balances. The President can veto. The Congress can overrule a veto. The Supreme Court can overrule either. The President appoints Supreme Court Justices but they must go through Congressional approval. Yadda yadda yadda… Where is the Check or Balance for the Supreme Court after the Justices are confirmed?!? These people are in their seats for LIFE. L-I-F-E!!!! So we’re to think that a Presidential appointment and a couple of months of scrutiny (if that) are enough insight into a potential Justice to have him (her) sit in that chair for life?!? I recommend having an Amendment whereby Congress can, with a super majority and approval of the States (similar to the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment), remove a sitting Justice from their seat should we find their actions censure-worthy.

So I started thinking more and more…

I am a member of the United States Armed Forces. I have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution against ALL enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC. Is our Constitution under attack? Here’s some substantiating reasoning behind this question…

Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 and the 12th Amendment to the Constitution established and refined the procedures of the Electoral College. We now have Massachusetts and a hand full of other states (Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington.. read more @ who have decided to allocate their Electors according to whichever candidate wins the national popular vote. Now a State has the right to vote for whomever they choose with these Electors. These new laws can me challenged and/or repealed. The problem is with the desire to establish them in the first place. This goes DIRECTLY against the construct of the Constitution and the methodology for electing our President. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: If we go off the popular vote, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina… the 10 most populous States in the union, could carry the election. The other 40 States could (read: would) be ignored. Why care about them? You’d only need these ten to carry over half the US population! James Bovard said it best when he said, “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

The Fifth Amendment reads (in part) “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Eminent Domain laws have been stretched to the limits in our country to include “taken for public use” to mean that if a State can garner a higher tax income from a business than from your property, then they can take your land/home, and “just compensation” does not mean “fair market value”. If WalMart convinces a local government of their tax importance (in combined business, sales and income taxes) and agree to move into the town at a particular location, guess who’s looking for a new home.

The Second Amendment secures the right of individual citizens to bear arms. During the Katrina debacle National Guard units went door to door confiscating weapons. (

The Tenth Amendment states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This has been all but destroyed and forgotten. A single recent example includes the national mandate for individual citizens to enter into a contractual agreement with another party to pay for services not necessarily desired by the paying party. There are many, many, many, MANY more examples coming from both sides of the aisle… this is not meant to be partisan.

In addition to these direct assaults on the Constitution, we’ve got indirect attacks with the branches giving themselves powers not delegated by the Constitution. Executive Orders are not a power of the President. Passing law through judicial precedent is not a power of the judiciary.

Okay… it’s late and I want to get this out before I go to bed so I’ll stop the rant portion of my post here and move on to the questions…

  1. Are we still a Constitutional Republic?
  2. Why do we push Democracies on other countries if we do not practice the same?
  3. As I am sworn to protect (in a military manner) the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, at what point am I failing in my duties by allowing these assaults to continue?
  4. (With the same premise) at what point am I expected to retaliate?
  5. (With the same premise) how would I retaliate?
  6. (With the same premise) At what point do I quit, accepting the fact that I am unable to fulfill my sworn obligations?
  7. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

Please let me know what you think. Ask questions back. Rant alongside or against me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Um... How about No, Scott?

Is the new law unconstitutional?


The recipe might be theirs, but the picture is mine. (grin)

Happy Japanniversary!!!

Two years in Japan... see how they grow!

...and here's the un-typed-upon version...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Emperor's New Shoes

So there's this new trend going around.  It's only been around for the last... hmmm... few thousand years people have been on this planet.  This new trend is called "barefoot running".

Here's the skinny:  You've got these two joints to help your leg/body absorb the shock you get when you run.  These joints are your ankle and your knee.  In conventional running shoes, heel striking is promoted through the massive cushioning they provide.  When you heel strike, you eliminate 50% of the joints designed to absorb the impact of the foot striking the ground.  Everything is sent to the knees and what they can't handle is sent to your hips and upwards.  When you run barefooted, you run on the balls of your feet.  This impact creates flexing in your ankle and your knee and the impact is more economically absorbed by your legs.  This reduces stress and injuries related to what we know as conventional running.

We're talking here about the potential relief of shin splints, Achilles pain,  back pain, pronation, fallen arches...  Putting the fun back into running without all that pain stuff associated with it?!?  Count me in!

So taking this... I ran today "sans shoes".

Reluctant to tear my feet up on the first day, I kept the distance to about 1.3 miles (I was also pressed for time just a little.)  I tried to do what is called "POSE RUNNING" (or chck it out on youtube) which is supposed to work best with this whole naked foot thing, but that's going to take some practice.

At first it was weird.  I kept looking for rocks.  I kept thinking, "well this just looks goofy".  Then I just ran.

It felt great.

It still feels pretty good tonight though there's one little spot that's sore, but I'm chalking it up to having lazy feet for so long.  I'll keep it to one run a week and increase the regularity as my feet adjust... or just quit altogether if it doesn't appear to be working/or if it is too painful.

If you're only half interested, there are some shoes out there which simply cover your foot and simulate barefooted running.  Shoes like this can be found here:

If you're interested, I'm including a couple of links here at the end, and feel free to comment with your thoughts, or if you decide to give it a go, let me know how it works for you.
The Men Who Live Forever

Oh, and I made Greek Mac'n'Cheese for dinner.  It tasted very Greek (but in a good way).  And there wasn't much left so the family either liked it, or was very hungry.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

420 Characters? AARGH AGAIN!!!

"The Tim" is grumpy... I just got a grade back today on a paper I wrote for this course I'm attending.  I had one... ONE formatting error...  ONE! ...  and I got a 87.  The reason?  He couldn't understand it.  He couldn't understand my paper and couldn't grade it properly.  I'm no English major, but I make an effort to learn and apply grammar in both speech and written work.  I think the problem stems mostly from the fact that society as a whole, (or more directly, the Marine Corps,) has devolved so much that when someone reads a properly constructed sentence, his alarms go off telling him that something is not right.  I argued it to the wide-eyed Gunnery Sergeant who told me he would have to research and verify what I said as true, and that he would get back to me.  I hate that I have to consider "dumbing down" in order to get a decent grade on an assignment.  AARGH!!!!!!

To top it all off on this, my night of aggravation... I'm advised by Facebook that that last rant was too long for them to post... it needs to be 420 characters or less.  Maybe if I dumbed it down as well with the colloquialisms of our net-induced culture, full of all the gr8 [sic] condensed verbiage we've come to recognize as commonplace, then it too would allow me to pass without question.  At least I can post it here on my blog and it will automatically re-post to my Facebook page without restriction.  I'm not any less frustrated with the situation though.

I don't like where our language is going.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

There are people in my TV... and other musings

Okay... so today I stopped by the claims office on Kadena to check out if they'd come to their senses and accepted reason and rationale instead of whatever else they were trying to use when they first came up with a sum for my claim with them... I submitted a rebuttal and a request for reconsideration in December and it came back... approved. Yay!

Reason - 1
Kadena Claims Office - 0

In about 10 days the money should be in my account and I will consider myself satisfactorily compensated for their smashing a bus into the front of my car.

In other news... we got a new TV. It was almost given to us. The guy tried to give it to me, but I insisted I pay him something. (Long story short... He bought it. It broke. He bought a bigger one while waiting for Hitachi warranty to fix it. He decided he didn't need two huge TVs.)

So here's what we've now got...

The Hitachi 42" Full HD 1080P LCD TV

There are people in this TV. I mean REAL people. The clarity is absurd. We're not watching TV or a movie, we're watching people and props. It brings a whole new dynamic that I hadn't seen before.

I know... I'm a bit behind on this new discovery of HD... but I like it... I really, really like it.

Besides, he flies out tomorrow and it's too late to give it back to him. (insert smiley emoticon here)

One more thing before I go... I was reading today that Obama and the senate are thinking of nationalizing the College Loan Industry.

So in one year we've got
  1. nationalizing troubling car companies
  2. nationalizing banks
  3. an attempt to nationalize healthcare
  4. and now an attempt to nationalize college loans.
When everything is nationalized, in what country will we live? Not the America we learned about in textbooks, that's for sure.

And so long as I'm on the political side of things, let me throw out these two little thoughts:

  1. I heard a pol on NPR today say that it is going to be a lot harder to push through Obama's agenda without a super majority. Push through? And if you need a super majority to pass legislation, is it legislation worth passing? Why must everything be so polarizing in DC?

  2. Senate Democrats on Wednesday proposed allowing the federal government to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion to pay its bills, a record increase that would permit the national debt to reach $14.3 trillion.
    "We have gone to the restaurant. We have eaten the meal. Now the only question is whether we will pay the check," said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. "We simply must do so."
    How about you stop eating out? How about going on a budget like the rest of America? What unmitigated gall? You guys went to the restaurant and you want America to pick up the tab, you Dweeb.

I don't know what the hell is going on with my country, but I don't like it. I don't like it one bit. I do like my new TV though. (smile again)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hungarian Goulash?!?

I've never had a hankering for Hungarian goulash but I ran this recipe completely as a test of my favorite recipe site, Okay, I'm sure you guys are getting pretty tired of hearing about it, and NO... I do NOT get any kickbacks when I mention them on my blog.

Okay so I went in with the goal of testing the recipes... I know I like french onion soup... I liked their french onion soup... I know I like beef stroganoff... I liked their beef stroganoff... What would happen if I chose a recipe blindly and simply on the faith of the site? I guess I tried that with the Miso Salmon already, but tonight was one where I didn't know what the outcome would taste like. I don't think I've ever used marjoram or caraway seeds and I've only used paprika in this quantity on ribs... okay... here goes.

Copied from --HERE--
(with my own pictures)

4 tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 1⁄2 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed
and cut into 1⁄2" cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to taste
1⁄4 cup sweet paprika
2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, cut into 1⁄2" cubes
2 medium parsnips, cut into 1⁄2" cubes
1 1⁄2 lbs. medium new potatoes, peeled
and cut into 1⁄2" cubes
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 Italian frying pepper, chopped

1. Heat oil in a 5-qt. dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring only once or twice, until the meat is lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in paprika, marjoram, caraway, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, parsnips, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, until the beef is nearly tender, about 40 minutes.

2. Add potatoes and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and peppers; cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with rye bread, if you like.

SERVES 4 – 6

Yeah... it was good. I'm sorry for questioning you, Saveur.
I won't do it again.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Oh Yeah...

I promised you guys an update on the Miso Marinated Salmon... It was delicious! If any of you want to make it and have any trouble finding the ingredients, drop me a line... I can mail you what you need and it'll keep until it gets to you.

Here's my pic... not a lot to look at, but it went well with the cheesy-spinach and some rice.

Next up... Hungarian Goulash. Side note for those attempting to make this in Japan... The commissary is a HORRIBLE source for specific ingredients. They've got one type of potato. ONE TYPE OF POTATO! Parsnips? Forget about it. Not there. Gouda? Parmesian-Reggiano? Find yourself a good source out in town. Find a restaurant you like and ask where they buy... chances are it's local. The locals here actually DO local. It's great.

Okay.. have a nice day, everyone.

New Twist on Old Classic

Okay, so it's not a revolutionary new way to do breakfast. There are no new flavors in this. This was simply a new way to prepare and present the classic Toast/Egg/Bacon combo we've grown to love with our morning OJ and Coffee.

I took pics throughout. The oven is preheated to 400F (about 200-210C for us metric users). I found that if you roll out the bread before putting them in the cups then they form better and break less. It also helps to make them less porous so they don't get soggy later.

Again, there's no real revolution here, but it made a classic into a very presentable treat. Here's a link to the recipe... found through

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Not Your Mother's Stroganoff

I had a hankering for some beef stroganoff the other day and decided to make it tonight. I turned to my favorite source for recipes... I'm a huge fan (bordering on stalker) of this magazine and subscribe to the paper edition as well. I have never, NEVER made anything from their collection where I said, "Eh, it was alright."

I particularly like when they cover classic dishes. The dishes made when times were tough and people had to use a bare minimum of ingredients to create a marvelous taste they wouldn't necessarily mind eating day after day. Dinners which have been passed from generation to generation to generation and have long since reached their perfect state and are now being passed off in their "cheap and easy" form in other magazines. Recipes like french onion soup, latkes (potato pancakes) and now beef stroganoff. (links to all three are embedded... click at your leisure)

First off, I always thought stroganoff was German. Lo and behold, it is actually a classic dish from Russia which became popular in the States during the 1950's brought back by servicemen returning home from Europe after WWII. Who'da known? Anyway, my take on it is on the left there... I know, not quite as appealing as the lead photo (the one from saveur's website), but there was hardly a bite left on the five plates.

Pair this with a good WWII movie (The Pianist with Adrien Brody, or Enemy at the Gates with Jude Law) for sentimentality.

(P.S. The fact that it had "french fries" on top helped keep the kids from even noticing it had onions in there. Oh, and I was surprised at the lack of mushrooms. It was still an amazing dinner. Some people commenting said it would do well on top of mashed potatoes as well... we still decided to go with the "fries".)

Tomorrow night, I'm making Miso-Marinated Salmon with Green Sauce. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jedadiah is gone...

Jedadiah, the cat formerly known as Snips (Jedadiah name comes from the movie Night at the Museum where a small feisty figurine played by Owen Wilson has the line "I don't like to be MAN HANDLED!")...

Anyway, Jedadiah is gone. We found a home that can handle feral cats and "scratchers" in particular. He's gone to a good home and will no longer attack our children to the point of blood.

We went down to the kennel today to look for an alternate solution. Our ground rules before going in there is that we would not do the whole "instant emotional attachment" thing. We were going to be pragmatic about it. Our rules were vague, but HAD to be met before another cat could come in our home. The cat had to:
  1. Desire human contact (i.e. not try to instantly run and hide when held by a member of our family)
  2. Purr while we're there
  3. Be social
  4. Not draw blood.
We found one, the breed is called "blue chinchilla":
who is still hiding underneath our bed at the moment. She is named Cleo(patra) and met all the criteria. Now, let's see if she can keep up the rep.

After Jason (the-eat-everything-to-include-kids cat) and Snips (aka "The Shredder"), we're really looking forward to a cat in our family who will, at a minimum, not kill our children.

The Wubba

Got a Kong Wubba for Nigel tonight... about 15 minutes ago, actually.

The product description says:
"Kong Wubba is a fun, interactive toss and tug toy. Durable re-enforced nylon fabric covers two balls - a tennis ball on top and a squeaker ball beneath. The long tails make it easy to pick up and throw. Dogs love to squeak the Wubba and shake the flapping tails back and forth."

"Love to squeak it and shake it", huh? How about destroy it the second they get it in their mouths?

Didn't take him long...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How bad can your life possibly be?

How bad can your life possibly be if you are willing to stab yourself to avoid going to work?!? AT BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO?!?

"MAN, I can't handle these late fees!!!... wait, we don't charge those anymore..."

But wait... what is this Mr. Siebers has tucked there, tattooed under the collar of his orange jumpsuit?

A geocaching travel bug?!?

Aah.. he was looking to get the day off of work to go geocaching... okay, now I understand.

One more thing...

Drudge and the Politico are posting about Gore making profits off of Global Warming...

So what?

Isn't that what we're aiming for? Financial freedom to profit from your beliefs and convictions? The guy, though I disagree with his platform, has invested in what he feels should be the future. He has turned a profit from it. If you disagree, disagree by investing counter to his initiatives... promote your own... do what he's doing, but in your vision.

And while I'm at it, a tip of the hat to Ford. Ford, instead of taking the government bail out, negotiated with its unions and made tough decisions through the tough financial times and is now showing profits from it while they're saying it is unlikely the US taxpayer will recoup their "investment" into GM and the others.

Good for you Ford.

Al, I don't agree with you. I don't agree with using taxpayer dollars to do it, but I like that you've invested yourself into your beliefs and are coming out on top from it.

Of course, it could just be the jet-lag talking.