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Saturday, January 18, 2003
 

Smash War! (or Fighting for Peace!)



I tried taking a few pictures of the anti-racist, anti-fascist (and anti-hate-speech?) rally, but they all looked something like this:



Mmmm... protest falafels. Nothin's better than that. Anyway the rest of the photographs were snapped by an ally.

One of the striking features of a modern peaceweenie confab is the amount of commerce on the periphery. Want an Arafat head-shawl? Ten bucks. Does a hard day of shouting leave your sophisticated, nuanced palate hankering for Krispy-Kremes? You're covered.



Now that you've lightened your wallet for the Dictator-Preservation Society (DPS), you can attend the protest. But where is it? Over here?



By the Capitol?



I thought there was supposed to be a big turnout. But the Mall is full of soccer players.



If you want to find the protest, just listen for the sound of The Internationale and follow the red flags.



Oh. There's the protest.



But it's not really a funny protest unless it has ridiculous signs...





...and stilt walkers. You can't convey a carefully thought-out anti-war message unless someone is willing to climb the poles.



But it's not just about the signs and stilts. Any decent protest should bring a full spectrum threat, and should cry havoc and let slip the big fighting Dobermans of peace!



And kids too. Cuz when war is at stake you have permission to politicize your children. It says so in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.



Oh and by the way, there were actually two protests today: the peaceweenies and the Falun Gong. Sure the latter has a kind of Richard Simmons weirdness to them, but if they threaten the Red commies they're OK in my book.



The FG actually rally on the Mall every weekend. So the peaceweenies were kind of butting in on their turf. It's not as if anyone ever ascribed manners to peace protestors. Their consciences are pure so they have permission to be rude.

Oh here's an under-appreciated aspect of the dictator-preservation society: they're evil grubby capitalist souvenir-mongers at heart. Who knew?



My camera has a built-in microphone, but all the recordings were garbled. Just look at the pictures and imagine these ugly Americans chanting:

Who do we love?
Saddam!
Who do we love even more?
Osama!


Even though bunnies can't vomit, I was feeling the urge to hurl something. So I ducked into the Air and Space Museum for a belligerence recharge.



Check it out! A Tomahawk and a Minuteman. Awesome!

All in all, it was thoughtful of the DPS to hold their protest next to a shrine of the flying Arsenal of Democracy. It made the day less total of a waste.

UPDATE:



I almost forgot about this guy. He's a hoss!

FURTHER UPDATE:

I actually tried to take a picture of a "Support Our Troops" sign. There weren't any. Figures.

Friday, January 17, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Meet Patch:


(Massachusetts HBS)

Friendly and spunky, little Patch is a 5 pound bundle of joy. We think he's about 3 ½ years old, but he's mum on the subject. He enjoys getting petted and likes to explore the house.
(Massachusetts HBS)


Who doesn't love to explore the house? And look: his thoughtful foster family has provided him with his own toy house!
[Ed note: it's not as if you don't have enough toys...]

All bunnies like toys. So does Patch. Who wants to spoil him?
 

Arsenal of Democracy



This section of the web log has been getting a little too WMD-heavy, no? Let's get back to basics: with a robot named MUMS.


(iRobot)

iRobot's Micro Unattended Mobility System (MUMS) project aims to add a mobile component to unattended sensor systems. Existing unattended sensor strategies involve air-dropping sensor packages into a target terrain for remote observation and intelligence gathering. The drawbacks of these systems, however, is that they have no control over their location once they have been dropped and are subject to enemy detection.
(iRobot)


Robot eyes for the AoD: let's roll! And wait there's more:

The MUMS II program is to embed mobile sensors in 40mm diameter casings, that can be deployed with a grenade launcher. The mobility capability of the radio-controlled device will enable precise positioning of the sensor while simultaneously relaxing the targeting accuracy requirements. The device must survive an impact that will generate loads 10,000 times the load due to gravity, reposition a sensor up to 2 meters from the impact location, and then transmit the acquired data to an operator that could be as far away as 250 meters.
(iRobot)


Neither MUMS robot strikes me as an all terrain vehicle. But I bet our SOF shooters are going to love these little robots when it comes to MOUT!

The MUMS mobile sensor system will have a major impact on the covert surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the military, and may be employed in a number of tactical situations. But the need to travel unnoticed into hostile environments is not unique to the military. Since MUMS robots do not require airdrop, they can also service law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and local police forces, covertly positioning sensors to collect intelligence during standoff situations.
(iRobot)


Geez iRobot, you think of everything! -- or not quite everything. This little R/C car needs a trunk where you could put a loudspeaker or CS. Ten-to-one iRobot has already thought about it.

You know, it's true how the AoD keeps reinventing itself. The sound of freedom used to be a J-79 (follow the link to it's homepage for the full effect). In the future, the sound of freedom will be a whiney electric motor echoing down a hallway to deliver the news to the bad guys.

Remember how in Desert Storm, the hapless Iraqi conscripts surrendered to our flying robots? How embarrassing. This time around, we'll send bunny-sized robots like MUMS. Oh the ignominy!
 

My Kind of Pageant



Alcohol and obstacle courses: together at last:

A Thai woman drank 10 pints of sweet wine and then walked a zig-zag path between two rows of bottles to win the Miss Drunk title in Bangkok.
(Ananova)


I think this idea could catch on in our fame-addled culture. Who wouldn't want to watch Celebrity Sobriety Checkpoint?
 

Final Draft



(An update on an earlier post)

The folks at Subterranean Cinema have finally procured the long-awaited, autographed final draft of the worst movie ever: The Day the Clown Cried!

Thursday, January 16, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Five adoptable bunnies is probably a BBB record. Meet Maya and her kittens (yes, baby bunnies are called kittens):


(Buckeye HBS)

Maya and her four toddlers are too adorable for words. Someone found them in the back of their barn on a cold and snowy day, then brought them to a shelter. Each one is all black, and they all appear to be dwarf-sized.
(Buckeye HBS)


A whole family rescued? What a lucky mommy bunny (on the left). Act now, and you get the pick of the litter!
 

Arsenal of Democracy



So the UN inspectors in Iraq found a bunch of undeclared chemical warheads, but they were empty. Does that let Iraq off the hook?

Come on! We're talking about Iraq: the country that used nerve gas in multiple instances against the Iranian Army and at least once on its own population. After Desert Storm they played hide and seek with the UN for years. They still have the equipment, the know-how and the people (except for the annual handful of defectors who confirm that Hussein is rebuilding the stockpile).

And the UN's response is to send inspectors to determine whether Iraq has chemical weapons? Of course they do -- only something as gullible as the UN would think otherwise.

So the shells were empty. What that tells us is that Iraq has experience in maintaining a stockpile. Chemical munitions are notoriously leaky. No more so than anything else, but in CW leaks are a matter of life or death.

Consider an underground bunker filled with chemical munitions -- it's poorly ventilated. Would you volunteer to conduct an inspection tour? Updated your Will recently? Let's assume Iraq's chemical troops don't have death wishes, and they keep the CW agents stored in more reliable vessels until the balloon goes up.

The press accounts don't mention the type of warhead the inspectors found. I'm guessing it was unitary. That means that a warhead has a single chamber to store the CW agent. After World War II, we built a unitary stockpile including bombs like Weteye (based on Ed Heinemann's ubiquitous Mk-80 family of bombs). And we suffered the inevitable accidents:

In the summer of 1969, a leaky VX munition stored at a US military installation on Okinawa sent 23 servicemen to the hospital. The Japanese government had not even known chemical weapons were being stockpiled on Japanese soil.
(History of CW)


Oops, sorry Japan! After a few hard-learned lessons, we designed an built a new family of binary munitions like Bigeye.

In a binary munition, two slightly less toxic "precursors" are stored in separate chambers. Only after delivery do the contents combine to yield the CW agent. Binary munitions are safer only in the sense that you'd need one munition leaking from chamber A next to a leaky chamber B to create the full hazard. As if that's ever going to happen (you did update your Will, right?).

The only safe way to store a chemical stockpile is to keep the delivery systems separate from the agent (or from the various precursors). Splitting up the parts reduces the risks. So when the inspectors discover one of the parts, we should not delude ourselves: the other parts are simply better hidden.

When we cry havoc, I've no doubt the orders will come down from the Iraqi command to unite and deploy the chemical stockpile. I'm not certain whether the chemical forces will have the time, opportunity or inclination to carry the orders out.

Fortunately, the AoD can fight in a chemical environment. Albeit at reduced speed. We can maneuver around the plumes and use MOPP gear when there is no alternative. And of course we will let slip our fighting foxes (english):

The FOX is a rolling laboratory that takes air, water, and ground samples and immediately analyzes them for signs of weapons of mass destruction. The Fox M93A1 Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance System (NBCRS) is intended to improve the survivability and mobility of the Army ground forces by providing increased situational awareness and information superiority to headquarters and combat maneuver elements. With the ability to provide rapid, accurate chemical and radiological contamination information to these elements, the NBCRS vehicle forms a key portion of the full-dimensional protection concept.
(Global Security)


The first 60 were a gift from Germany during Desert Shield. Thanks Germany, they really helped. When we purchased an equal amount, we also initiated a series of upgrades yielding today's M93A2.

Fox is today's page of the AoD because it's the best-smelling armored vehicle in the world. Who doesn't like a truck that can look down its nose at the enemy?

To conclude on a more somber note: how will we respond to Iraq's use of chemical weapons? For decades, the AoD has publicly maintained that an enemy's use of chem or bio weapons will require a nuclear response. But will we?

If we don't, the credibility of our nuclear deterrent will look a bit more hollow. And other tyrants will take notes and plan accordingly.

Our atomic stockpile is not a bluff to be called. So perhaps it's fortunate that there are so many large empty stretches of Iraq which resemble the Nevada Test Site...
 

Bunny Babe



As long as porcine shepherds can put paying butts in the seats of movie theaters, when is someone going to 'discover' and film the other Harvey?

Harvey was a barroom bunny who led a modest life of bunny food and gin-soaked carrots. Peter McCabe, a local, took pity on him one day, and bought him from the owner of the bar and led him home. He let Harvey out into the yard with his sheep who usually grazed on the lawn and kept the grass short. Harvey was curious, and hopped over to the sheep to meet them when he was immediately charged by an old ewe. Harvey, rather than running or simply taking the enmity, returned in kind.
(Harvey the Herder)


Follow the link to one of the best bunny pictures ever! Mmmmm: gin-soaked carrots sound delicious.
 

F.U.I.



Thousands of drunken birds are smashing into windows at a Swedish university.
(Ananova)


Thousands. Who knew that birds couldn't hold their liquor?

I'd just like to reiterate a point from the previous post: not even inebriation will inhibit the utility of a pet bunny.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Who's a good bunny? Bunny Boo, that's who.



Bunny Boo is approximately 1 year old and weighs 6 pounds. She was found in the backyard of a home and was rescued by the homeowners. She loves to be petted on the top of her head, the sides of her face, around her ears, and down the middle of her back. She enjoys her time out of the pen. She is inquisitive and playful. She likes to run, jump, and tug on clothing. She is litter box trained, but has occasional accidents. She does not like to be picked up or held. She loves her hay, lettuce, carrots and apples.
(Missouri HBS)


Sure, bunnies can have occasional accidents, but I can't think of any other pet as easy to litter train. And look: Bunny Boo is working on cleanup. What a great bunny!

Note that Bunny Boo is comfortable on linoleum. That's the mark of a special bunny. Since bunnies don't have foot pads (only fur and nails), maintaining traction on a slippery surface is an art only a few bunnies can master. That she can hop around and wield a dustpan speaks well of her.

If you're like me, you're a bit put off by her name. Someone who loves her very much bestowed that name, and I won't say a word against him or her. But every self-respecting bunny deserves a distinguished moniker. Personally, I'd hoped to be named Hopper, but my family took a look at my coat and went all Hawthorne on me. Because it's such a distinguished and tragic story, I can live with the appellation.

Nevertheless, you can rename your adopted bunny if you like.

The scientific term for how bunnies communicate is "signaling." Signals don't necessarily have to be presented in a particular order. They can change meaning under different contexts, though, and that certainly is important in bunny communication.
(The Language of Lagomorphs)


Bunnies really try to learn your language. A name is an especially strong signal. With enough repetition, any bunny can learn a new name. This applies to all the bunnies featured on this web log.

If you adopt her, you can call Bunny Boo anything you like. Just don't call her 'late for dinner.' Because she already knows the signals for hay, lettuce, carrots and apples.
 

Arsenal of Democracy



That Charles Krauthammer, he's hardcore:

We should go to the Chinese and tell them plainly that if they do not join us in squeezing North Korea and thus stopping its march to go nuclear, we will endorse any Japanese attempt to create a nuclear deterrent of its own. Even better, we would sympathetically regard any request by Japan to acquire American nuclear missiles as an immediate and interim deterrent. If our nightmare is a nuclear North Korea, China's is a nuclear Japan. It's time to share the nightmares.
(Washington Post)


Now that's belligerence! Of course we could speed things up by giving Japan some A-bombs while they work out the details for their own stockpile. I mean besides the two we already gave them.

What do we have in the AoD that is:
1. Atomic
2. Long Ranged
3. Not too old, and
4. Surplus?

With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has begun to revise its strategic policy and has agreed to eliminate the multiple re-entry vehicle Peacekeeper ICBMs by the year 2003 as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II.
(The Mighty USAF)


Hey, just in time! If joining the nuclear club is the trendy thing to do these days, then we should offer each of our SEATO friends a half-dozen or so LGM-118A Peacekeepers.

You're thinking: but none of our friends have silos.

Not to worry: the Peacekeeper is our most flexible ICBM.

By 1979, the USAF had decided to employ the MPS (Mobile Protective Shelters) plan, in which 200 MX missiles would be shuttled around between 4600 soft shelters. With the placement of dummy missiles in the unused shelters, the Soviet Union wouldn't know where the real missiles would be at any given time, and theoretically would have to attack every shelter to destroy every missile for sure. The alternate "Racetrack" plan, which was to base the missile on railways on huge underground track networks, was dropped. The MPS was approved in September 1979, and full-scale development of the MX began.
(DS.net)


See you can shoot it from railroad cars. Japan (and South Korea) have lots of train tracks. So does Australia. I guess New Zealand couldn't put a Peacekeeper in their narrow-gauge railcars, but NZ is kinda freaky about atomic energy anyway.

I bet a lot of our friends would line up at the AoD goodwill shop if we put our Peacekeepers on display. And nukes in the hands of our friends means tyrants will be deterred from multiple directions.

Plus you know Kim Jong-Il is going to end up annoying one of our allies and then:


(Williamson Labs)

So let's hear it for the blinding power of American sunshine. Peacekeeper, it was fun while it lasted, but now it's time to send you off the DLA for FMS (Foreign Military Sales).

Let's face it: we can't have all the fun in the world. Let's let an ally brighten an evil dictator's day: by the kiloton!

ADDENDUM:
Yes I'm kidding, but Mr. Krauthammer is onto something...
 

Barrage



Via Drudge:

Three young Norwegians who launched a barrage of paper airplanes against the US Embassy in Oslo have a date in court next week. They claim they were merely protesting the US bombing of Afghanistan.
(Aftenposten)


Throwing paper airplanes is a crime in Norway? I guess a lucky shot could put an eye out...or give someone a nasty cut.

"These are peace planes, not bombers," the three men reportedly hollered as they emptied two plastic bags full of carefully folded paper planes.
(Aftenposten)


Hollered? That's putting it delicately. I'd have reported they cried havoc and let slip the paper airplanes of peace. Too funny!

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
 

Ahead of the Curve



This is pure speculation: could we strike enemy airborne aircraft from LEO (low earth orbit)? If not now, when?
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Who can guess how this lovely bunny girl got her name?


(Monterey, CA 'Bunnies 'n More' aka Monterey HBS)

Ginger is a big bunny who has been waiting for a home for several months. She is a lovely, friendly bunny who is great with her litterbox. She is spayed. Ginger was picked up outdoors along with two other bunnies. Won't you think about adopting this wonderful bunny and giving her the loving home she deserves?
(Monterey, CA 'Bunnies 'n More' aka Monterey HBS)


Ginger looks like a cottontail, but she's a European bunny ((Oryctolagus cuniculus) as are all pet bunnies). In the wild, American Cottontails (Sylvilagus sp.) would shun or attack her, so she's lucky to be rescued.

Friendly, litter box trained, spayed, rescued... what more can one ask for?
 

Arsenal of Democracy



The January eighth issue of Jane's Defence Weekly features UCAVs as its cover story (sorry, not online). It's worth picking up if only to find out what's happening in the world of flying robots.

The article contains a lot of information about Boeing's X-45 project worth summarizing in this post.

Boeing has built and flown two X-45A aircraft. These are the "Block 0" models and their mission is:

...to take mission management software and prove that the vehicles can be autonomous, which means that the operator doesn't have to intervene from take-off to landing if he doesn't want to.
...
Boeing and DARPA will demonstrate by mid-decade the vehicles' ability to operate as 'multi-ships' and respond to dynamic battlefield conditions.
(JDW, 8 jan 2003, p. 24)


The next batch will be the "Block 10," or X-45B. It'll be about 40% larger with stealthy features. Although the X-45's will be classified as experimental, they'll be combat capable -- presumably able to carry JDAMs or small-diameter bombs. After testing and subsequent refinement, further Block 10 models could be designated as A-45s and committed to "pre-emptive SEAD" (suppression of enemy air defenses).

SEAD is a mission made for the UCAVs. The AoD presently puts F-16CJ's in this role, and it's about time they stopped. The Viper is not particularly stealthy, and asking it to troll and destroy SAM sites sometimes flying within the range of enemy SAM's is asking too much of the pilot and the plane.

Presently, an F-16CJ is exposed to long-range search radars and must try to identify SAM sites before piercing their kill-bubbles. There's always a chance that a crafty SAM commander might keep his own radar silent until it's too late for the Viper to escape.

A stealthy UCAV is perfect for this mission. It turns the tables on the enemy. Because the UCAV has low-observable features, it can sneak around while enemy SAM operators blithely radiate away. The bad guys won't know a wild-weasel robot is in the air until the bombs or missiles are already on the way. For this role alone, we should develop and buy A-45s.

Boeing has even bigger plans for its UCAV:

The Block 20/30 UCAV would further develop the pre-emtive SEAD role, pioneer a 'reactive' SEAD capability, carry out 'full electronic attack' missions - a capability that embraces information warfare (computer and network attack) operations as well as tactical jamming - and the precision/all-weather attack mission. The Block 30 air vehicle will be capable of directed energy attacks, initially by discharging multi-shot, high-power microwave bursts capable of shutting down enemy electronics and vehicle ignition systems. Later, attempts may be made to install the UCAV with a solid-state laser, although the high-power requirements of such a weapon make the F-35 a more logical choice platform.
(JDW, 8 jan 2003, p. 24)


Bombs and Beam weapons: not even science fiction can keep up with this mighty flying robot! We should spend whatever it takes to bring this little buddy into the AoD.
 

Stumped



This afternoon I was reading Jane's Defence Weekly, and came upon a story about Rheinmetall's new 105mm smoothbore gun (sorry, not online; JDW 8 Jan 2003, p. 29). It sure looks boss, and Boeing may be including it on the Future Combat System. And considering our Abrams carry 120mm Rheinmetall guns, it's probably a good purchase.

The article contains a chart describing the 105's terminal ballistics, and I admit it: I'm stumped.



Glossary:
RHA = Rolled Homogenous Armor (~steel plate)
SCDB = Surface Coated Double Base (propellant)
PIP = Product Improvement Plan
L7 = Old M-1 105mm gun (I think)
T-62/T-72 = Russian Tanks

Of course everyone's heard of the T-72, but what is a T-72M1 "Super Dolly Parton?" And what is its MPAA rating?
 

Here, Hold This Coat



U.N. officials in charge of weapons inspections in Iraq said yesterday they would need up to 10 more months to complete their work, as both the United States and Britain downplayed the imminence of an attack and said they had no timetable for the inspections.
(Washington Times)


That UN. Some nerve!

"We think we'll get the time we need since no one has explicitly said that they disagreed with our assessment of the time it would take," IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said in Vienna, Austria.
(Washington Times)


A show of hands please: does anyone feel safer knowing these folks are on the case?

There's got to be a faster, better way. Suggestions, anyone?
 

Fun with Cars



Driver's drunken rampage injures 6 at supermarket
(Mainichi Daily News)


That's alleged drunken rampage. Otherwise he's likely to sue...

A passenger in the car was left in the vehicle after his leg was broken in the incident, but the driver of the vehicle remains on the loose after dumping the car about 1 kilometer away from the carnage he caused in the Kabukicho red-light district.
(Mainichi Daily News)


A supermarket in a red-light district? What do they sell?



--hang on, that wasn't really that funny. Let's see if there's a better one



Man drives car through train station while chasing skirt
(Mainichi Daily News)


Much better!

Police said Saito drove his car up a 20-meter-long flight of stairs, through a passage and then down another flight of stairs before heading away from the station. He turned himself into the Yamagata Police Station late Monday night.
(Mainichi Daily News)


Your honor, in my defense I'd like to say that you'd seen that skirt, you'd understand...

Monday, January 13, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



Who can resist these adorable rescue bunnies:


(Portland, OR AaB)

(Shepperd's Dell bunnies. There are rabbits available from the Shepperd's Dell rescue. All are small and sweet.)

Cookie and Cream are two female rabbits from this rescue who are living together and getting along great with each other. Cookie is dark in color (black with tan tips) and loves to sit on your shoulder (when sitting on the couch) and snuggle to your neck while you talk to other people or watch TV. She loves to run thru the "Subway" tunnel made of cardboard. She's a little skittish, but always comes to her foster mom when she is at the side of the pen. Cream is white with black spots and was very shy at first, but is now less shy than Cookie. She will sit on your lap or shoulder forever. They love to eat hay, veggies, oats, etc. and need to kept indoors. They currently reside in an eight panel pen setup. They both travel well.
(Portland, OR AaB)


Follow the link for a proper high-resolution picture of these beautiful bunnies.

Who wouldn't want a bunny who can travel well or sit on your shoulder? There must be a few pirates reading this web log. Ditch the parrot and bring home a bunny today!
 

Arsenal of Democracy



Let's stick with the carriers for a bit longer. We sort of glossed over the Gator Navy yesterday, and their twelve carriers are worth a closer look. In his non-fiction opus Marine, Tom Clancy travels to the Litton Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi to take a look at the construction of the USS Bataan (LHD-5). If it's good enough for Clancy, it's worth having a look for ourselves.


(US Navy Fact File)

General Characteristics, Wasp Class


Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.
Power Plant: Two boilers, two geared steam turbines, two shafts, 70,000 shaft horsepower
Length: 844 feet (253.2 meters)
Beam: 106 feet (31.8 meters)
Displacement: Approx. 40,500 tons (41,150 metric tons) full load
Speed: 20+ knots (23.5+ miles per hour)
Aircraft:
Assault: 42 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters
Sea Control: 5 AV-8B Harrier attack planes; Six ASW helicopters
(US Navy Fact File)



Forty-two Bullfrogs? I had no idea! If they took off together, they'd carry more than eight hundred Marines over the beach at once. And since the Bataan carries a complement of about 1900 Marines, they'd need only two trips each to bring the balance ashore. The rest could fly to shore on the three fighting hovercraft the Bataan can hold in her well deck.


(US Navy Fact File)

That's a heck of a one- two-punch. Add the Harriers, Cobras and Stallions these ships can also carry -- well, like they say: no beach out of reach.

There are a lot of evil dictators around the world with ocean-front property. I bet they have no end of sleepless nights knowing that there are twelve of these behemoths prowling around, looking for doors to kick down.

It's also worth mentioning that ships like the Bataan have the latest C4I gear, which helps the AoD shoot, move and communicate better than any other amphibious force in the world. And you know that everyone aboard brings along their fighting laptops. I bet the Bataan is a warchalker's dream come true: a regular fighting LAN party at sea!

No single post could do a ship like the Bataan justice. Thoughtfully, the US Navy has provided not one but two homepages. One is even handicapped-accessible. Way to go Navy!

So let's hear it for the second-largest ships in the Navy -- the other dozen carriers. For them I propose a new motto: you give us a day; we'll give you a beach-party!
 

No News



Nothing struck me as particularly funny in this morning's news. So instead I offer a couple of links to funny bunny web sites:

World's Largest Bunny Museum, and
Scotty, the Blue Bunny.

Oh, the latter is probably PG-13. At least. What a Country!

Sunday, January 12, 2003
 

Adopt-a-Bunny



A last-minute rescue: how could anyone resist?


(Alabama HBS)

BunBun is an active and independent boy with lots of personality. He's a dutch mix with one white shoulder and white socks on his front feet. A picture could never do him justice - he is really a charmer! He was rescued literally at the eleventh hour; when his foster mother picked him up at the shelter, he was in the shelter clinic being prepared for euthanasia. Now that he's been neutered, he is a very eligible bachelor looking for the perfect mate.
(Alabama HBS)


Can BunBun be lucky twice? The answer is up to you...
 

Arsenal of Democracy



Every now and then you'll catch some talking head on TV wondering aloud about whether the AoD can get by with only twelve carriers.

My reply would be: what about the other twelve?


(US Navy Image Archive)

The five Tarawa and seven Wasp class carriers together displace almost half million tons of sea power. And by the way, they're commissioning another Wasp next year.

How many potential enemy carriers are there? I checked with the World Aircraft Carriers List and (after eliminating cruisers with large hangers) here is the rest-of-the-world's carrier order of battle:

3 United Kingdom
3 France (being very generous here)
2 Russia
2 Italy
2 India
2 Brazil (these really shouldn't count)
1 Spain
1 Thailand
0.5 China

Sixteen and a half carriers. A good portion of them are WWII era AoD hand-me-downs. So we know where the weak spots are. I think our twenty-five carriers could handle the combined threat.

Not to rub it in or anything, but in the past decade we retired:

CV-66 America
CV-62 Independence
CV-61 Ranger
CV-60 Saratoga
CV-59 Forrestal
CV-41 Midway

LPH-11 New Orleans
LPH-10 Tripoli
LPH-9 Guam
LPH-7 Guadalcanal
LPH-3 Okinawa
LPH-2 Iwo Jima

Not sure whether we've beaten any of them into plowshares yet... Think of them as our other, other dozen carriers.

You could also add quantitative factors, like gross displacement and number of aircraft carried. Or you could consider qualitative factors. But why bother? Nobody comes close.

In the lexicon of yachting slang, there's an accolade you can earn if you win a regatta by such a wide margin that the other competitors can't even see the finish line.

In the race to build aircraft carriers -- the most important and useful type of warship ever -- the AoD has pulled a horizon job on the rest of the world. And that's why the US Navy's carrier fleet is today's featured page of the Arsenal of Democracy.
 

Movies You Can Read



One of the pleasures of a web site like Drew's Script-o-rama is the collection of early drafts of movies you've already seen.

Sure, it takes a while to get the hang of reading scripts, but once you've acquired the knack, it's fun to see how films might have turned out.

For example, even as late as the fourth draft of Back to the Future, the time travel device wasn't a Delorean, but rather a bath tub-sized device powered by an atomic bomb and coca-cola!

And here's an early draft (1975) of Apocalypse Now. If you've seen the Redux version you'll see that it's a good deal more faithful to the early script than the 1979 release. But look at what they left out:

  • a prologue and epilogue set in the present day

  • Kilgore's prized hunting rifle

  • pretty much everything with Major Colby (Scott Glen)

  • Hopper was originally an aboriginal Australian

  • Lance and Willard kill Chef

  • Willard falls under Kurtz' spell

  • Willard and Colby firing on an medevac Huey


This draft explains everything! The film's not cryptic at all, it's just bowdlerized. And considering the direction in which Milius wanted to go, that's probably a good thing. It's hard to imagine how non-warmongers would have stomached this draft on the screen.
 

Supernatural Sunday



Residents in Philai, near Kapurthala [India], are said to be "blessed" with the power to cure dental problems by chanting a mantra.
(Ananova)


A mantra, is that all there is?

The residents then throw seven pebbles over the heads of the patients while reciting the holy mantra themselves.


I think it would be even more effective if they tossed the pebbles into the patient's mouth, don't you? And where is The Amazing Randi when you need him?

Patients then have to leave the village on foot, without looking back and without speaking to anybody en route or taking food from any of the residents.


Especially anything sweet. Sugar is also powerful tooth magic!
 

Let God Sort It Out



Eighteen coconut companies in the region of Cochabamba in Bolivia are appealing to divine will as a last resort to avoid conflict with their workers and the government.
(Ananova)


At least they're not praying to Evita, who finally had to be buried under three layers of steel plate to stop her from her supernatural interventions.

 

 
   
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