From Michael Z. Williamson:
When confronted with immediate, major violence, shooting the attacker is certainly AN answer, though beating him to death with a club might also be one, but it takes a lot more energy and lacks style.

I May Have To Lay Of The Politics Before Bed

Woke up from a dream where I was at the Republican convention. The Libertarians were there for some reason (mostly ignored in a small side room, of course), and wanted to nominate Wendell the Manatee. When objections were raised because he was from another dimension, they instead nominated Irving the Moray Eel, who actually turned out to be a cuddly cobra wearing a snorkel.

Rand Paul and most of the libertarian-leaning Republican attendees threw their support behind Irving. When I asked why, Paul told me, "Of course we're supporting the eel.  He's honest, principled, and doesn't have a chance at winning.  If that isn't a libertarian, I don't know what is."


From a /. article on the latest git release:
I'd rather remove my testicles with a rusty hacksaw than ever use CVS again.
Not quite sure I'm at quite that level of loathing for CVS, but I do see where he's coming from.

You. Don't. Know.

Making the rounds on FB today is the "How I Feel Picking the Next President" image that shows different bags of disgusting-flavored Lays potato chips.

I am simultaneously amused and disturbed by how many friends have shared this image, since it seems to resonate with folks no matter what their political affiliation.

The Democrats aren't happy with their candidates.

Lord knows the Republicans aren't happy with their candidates, either.

Independents get to be doubly disgusted.

The only folks escaping complete disappointment would seem to be the libertarians (both big and little L), who by now are pretty much inured to the idea of seeing the American political process circle faster and faster as it heads down the drain.

We've seen better days, here in America. We're got some problems these days, and some serious disagreement on how to address them. Fortunately, I don't think any of those problems are insurmountable...

... unless we elect leaders that profit from exploiting those disagreements and divisions.

Understand this, though: they can only do that if you let them.

My wife's a registered Republican, and she genuinely cares for the future of our country. It makes me furious when I see Democrat cheerleaders talking about how all Republicans are racist, misogynist, stupid, and vile. (Hint: if you're going to explain to me that you can accuse the Republican party of being all that, but not imply anything about my wife, then you're part of the problem, bucko.)

I've got friends who are Democrats, and they genuinely care for the future of our country. It torques me off to no end when I see Republican cheerleaders talking about how all Democrats are ignorant, deceitful, delusional, and vile. (Hint: see above hint.)

Not to mention the Libertarians, who are disdained by both the Democrats and the Republicans, because we don't know where roads come from, or something. But, hey, news flash - we care about the future of the country, too.

If you're one of those folks that think that Fox News, or the Huffington Post, or the Washington Post, or the New York Times or CNN or Breitbart or Mother Jones or Red State or... whoever is the font of all evil, then man (or lady, or whatever pronoun you prefer).... you are part of the problem.

You're trying to make excuses in your head, now. "But, but, but..." Trust me, I know. I've been there.


I know, you're a little scared. The advice is the same.


Don't give in to the fear.

Here's the truth: the guy that you know at work, at church, at your social club? The one that you don't agree with on politics at all? That makes you see red every time he talks about how it's all the fault of those racists, those freeloaders, those "other people"?

He's a little scared, too.

You're not all that different, really. You're both worried. You're both concerned. Not just about yourself, but about your fellow citizen as well. You both want the best for each other, really.

You'd both rather, just, you know, get on with life than have to worry about who's going to be Chief Doofus of the Free World next year.

Just... you know, keep that in mind.

This time next year, you'll either be part of The Establishment, or you'll be a part of the Loyal Opposition. Right now, you don't really know which group you'll end up in. Might be one; might be the other.


What you DO know is that a year from now, you and your neighbor will still get along, because... well, neighbors. You'll still get together for a beer after you're done mowing the yard, or your kids win (or lose) the local baseball championship.

What you DO know is that a year from now, you and your coworker will still be working together. You'll still feel bad for them when they tell you about their latest problems and worries. You'll still get together and curse about the devil-spawned end-user, and how you wish people would just think before they did something, right?

What you DO know is that a year from now, you'll still be in church with that fellow who had some ideas about how the country should be run that seemed odd to you. He'll still come to you and ask you to pray for his brother, because cancer sucks. And you'll say yeah, and when you get home, you'll break down and cry, because your mom fought that black beast and lost, and who the hell cares what his politics are when he's going through that particular patch of misery.

All of which is to say: your brother is not your enemy, dude.

Your sister is not your enemy, girl.

We are all in this together, we are all searching for solutions together, and if you hear anybody - anybody, on any side - telling you that your brother or sister doesn't deserve to be listened to because THEY ARE THE PROBLEM...

... then you should back away slowly, and understand where the REAL problem is.

Two Shades of Gray

A comment on a friend's FB post, where she was asking for advice on which particular shade of gray was appropriate for a certain part of her home:
Dear sweet merciful heavens, I am aware - reluctantly! - of two grays: "Haze", and "That Kind Of Faded Driftwood Gray, You Know What I Mean, Right?" 
The first is only appropriate when applied to the hulls of warships, and the second is preferred for any application in the home that calls for something akin to the color "gray". I, along with pretty much every other male in the world, have absolutely NO desire to determine the providence of any other shade, warmth, saturation, or other adjective of gray. 
Which is to say, you should listen to those non-male friends of your, and ignore us color-illiterates who look at periwinkle and say "That's, like, blue. Ish. Sorta."
Guys, feel free to point to this post whenever your spouse, significant other, girlfriend, or acquaintance asks for your opinion regarding anything that isn't clearly a primary color.

[Edit: having read the above, I am convinced that I was unconsciously channeling Charles G. Hill.  Which is not a bad thing, I don't think.  But it was certainly unintentional.]

I'm Pulling For Pepperoni Dogfart

A Glimpse Into Madness

Well, my phone's browser history, at least.  Which may or may not be comparable.


I may have mentioned that my brother appeared on Shark Tank last week.

Post-show, they got a nice little write up in Forbes:
At his day job, attorney Michael Robb seeks reparations for those wounded by asbestos exposure. At all other times, the president and CEO of Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Cold Can Innovations rectifies the injustice of drinking warm beer. His Beer Blizzard invention cools warm beer via a dome-shaped plastic disk that fits perfectly underneath a can. 
Robb and his partner Tom “Ozzy” Osborne — the company’s “chief redneck in charge” — dived into the Shark Tank Friday night (Season 7, Episode 25) seeking $100,00 for 20% of their company.
Let's cut the to chase, shall we?
Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban offered them $100,000 for 25% for the business while  QVC Queen Lori Greiner offered them exactly what they were asking for. Robb and Osborne took Cuban’s offer because of Robb’s “serious man crush on Cuban” because they’re both from Pittsburgh, Penn.
I suspect that there was more to it than a "man crush".  If you read the article and the Q&A they did with Mike, you can see that he and Ozzy really did their homework while preparing for the show.  I expect that they based their offer more on particular Shark's personalities, management styles, and contacts than anything else.

It's A 'burgh Thing

Kennywood is bringing back the whale and the pink squishy tongue!  The tongue is back!  Woohoo!

What are you looking at me like that for?

Sigh... OK, yeah, I suppose that might sound a bit weird.  You really need some context if you didn't grow up in Pittsburgh before the 90's:
Not to bore you with the complete history, but a long long time ago, a guy named Noah built an ark.
Fast forward to 1936, when Noah’s Ark was erected in Kennywood. The ride was completed a bit late because on St. Patrick’s Day in 1936, Pittsburgh flooded up to its brim. 
A flood … delayed … the completion … of Noah’s Ark. 
Fast forward to the late 1960s, when Kennywood renovated the attraction to keep things fresh — which called for “a structure resembling the head … of a huge whale.” A blue whale became the entrance to the ark, swallowing yinzer Jonahs whole. And the whale’s tongue became your favorite thing about it... 
So Kennywood said, “People sure love that whale and its squishy tongue. TOO BAD!” They took out the whale and cut out his squishy tongue and replaced it with an elevator.
See, yinz guys have got to understand. Some of our most recognizable non-sport celebrities in the past decades have been (and still are) the city coroner, a woman who appeared in local grocery store commercials, a late-night horror movie host, PBS children's show actors, a personal injury lawyer, and a local weatherman.

Min your, I'm not talking about folks who would say "Oh, look, hon, it's so-and-so!" if they saw these people walking down the street.  I'm talking "people stopping them for an autographed body part" level of fandom.  Heck, I met the freaking SHOP N' SAVE LADY once!  The lovely Mrs. Robb and I went out of our way to attend an event where we would get to meet her!


The squishy tongue thing is, to us, totally important.

Later this year, there will be freaking incipient brawls over HillBern vs. DonCruz, or whatever happens politically speaking.  Wise 'burghers will break it up by saying, "Hey, did yinz two hear about the Noah's Ark bein' fixed n'at? They put the tongue back!" At which point two men willing to defenestrate each other over political differences will fall into each other's arms, weeping in open joy and reminiscing about summer days spent at Kennywood park.

Of course, then they'll get into a knock-down, drag-out fight that makes the evening news because one jagoff insists that the Racer is the best roller coaster at Kennywood, when yinz guys all know that it's the Jackrabbit, right?

Like I said - we're weird :-)

Watch "Shark Tank" Tomorrow

Seriously - even if you normally don't watch the show, tune in tomorrow at 9pm.  You'll have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the network debut of my brother Mike and his partner Ozzy as they pitch their product to the Sharks!

Tom “Ozzy” Ozbourne (left) and Mike Robb got into character in this scene from their “Shark Tank” pitch for their “Beer Blizzard” product.” They got the inspiration for it at an annual gathering at Osborne’s property in Hamsher County, W.Va., called “the Redneck Reunion.”
The above picture is from the Charleston Gazette-Mail, where they got a nice little write up:
There were more than a few “A-ha!” moments that Robb and Osborne had on the way to creating their “Beer Blizzard.” They were moments that involved guns, frozen boots, drywall compound and one wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. 
They trace the product’s origin to an annual hunting, fishing and beer-drinking gathering at Osborne’s cabin near Moorefield, alongside the south branch of the Potomac River. 
The event has a rather more colorful name than that, said Osborne. 
“All my childhood friends and I still go to the Shenandoah Valley every Memorial Day for what we call ‘the Redneck Reunion.’ It was there at the Redneck Reunion where we came up with the idea and concept for our product,” said Osborne, who — while a full partner with Robb — self-styles himself as the company’s “CRIC.”
Because the acronym is not normally found in institutional flow charts, a translation is in order: “Chief Redneck in Charge.”
Yeah, they have a little bit of a schtick going on there :-) I can vouch for the parts of the story involving guns and drywall compound, though the frozen boots are new to me.  Our family has been watching Mike and Ozzy as this whole thing has unfolded, and we're all really excited to finally see them in the Tank!

A Natural Consequence

I was half-watching Downton Abbey with my wife last night, while catching up on the current political news in my feed. Which is most likely why I woke up this morning from a wonderful dream. I don't recall all the details, but the ending...

I was kneeling on a table at the Abbey during a formal dinner, holding Bernie Sanders by the lapels of his suit, repeatedly head-butting him while shouting, "That's because you're an economic illiterate, you slack-jawed imbecile!"  Lord Grantham was mildly annoyed, and testily commented that the entertainment was supposed to come after dessert.

Happy Dance

Decision Desk calls Kansas for Cruz... with a majority, not just a plurality.

In Maine, they are reporting Cruz with a 9-point lead, with 18% of precincts reporting.

Results from Kentucky and Louisiana still pending, but... I have trouble thinking that Cruz will do worse in those states than he appears to be doing in Maine.

As Moe Lane put it, "A lot of people will be acting that it doesn’t matter that Trump lost Kansas. Which is what he did. Trump lost it. In the way that losers of things can lose things."  Like debates, even when they break the rules to try and gain an advantage; and the military, when they open their food hole and allow stupid noises to come out.

For the record: while I like Cruz, I would be just as happy to see Trump loosing to Rubio, or Kasich, or...  well, to a syphilitic dead skunk, to be honest.  Though you that I'll grant the differences in that last case might be a tad hard to discern.

That's a negative, Mogul

BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists’ families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.
So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?
TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.
BAIER: But they’re illegal.
I used to be in the Navy.  I can, should I desire to do so, quite literally swear like a sailor.  I endeavor to avoid strong language, though.  Partly because a civilized man should be able to express strong emotion without the use of vulgarity; but primarily because, as I a preacher of the Word of God, I feel that my using such language casually reflects poorly on me, my testimony, and my savior.

So feel free to add any additional adjectives you feel might be needed to properly emphasize the statement that follows:
If this... person... somehow manages to end up in the White House; and if he does, indeed, give our military orders to kill non-combatant women and children; then I pray to God Almighty that the mean and women of the US armed forces, from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, will have both the extensive vocabulary and will to employ it that they will be able to tell him just how thoroughly and completely they will be ignoring those orders.
If they do not?  I will take it as an indication that it is time to do some gardening
Oh, and you Trump supporters?  Do not even try to tell me that I'm misunderstanding.  Go read the transcript for yourself.  He is pretty stinking clear on his point.  If you believe the garbage he is spewing, then you're supporting a candidate who has publicly stated that if he is elected, he will be willing to use our military to murder women and children.

Does that sound familiar?  Because it should.

Honestly, the only way out from under this particular statement is for you to claim that he didn't really mean what he said.  Well, then, genius, tell me: what else has he said that he doesn't really mean?  Is it not just possible, but likely, that whenever his food hole is making noise, he is lying to you?

Come on, tell me.  Which Trump are you voting for: the murderous lunatic, or the pathological liar?

Trump.  Don't Just Say No - Say [insert adjective of your choice] No!