Monthly Archives: August 2006

Bristol, NASCAR and America

Went to the races at Bristol Motor Speedway this past weekend. It was my first time at Bristol and the night racing was an excellent change from the mid-day scorching heat that typically accompanies races at Texas Motor Speedway and Talladega in the spring and summer.

A few things struck me at the races on Friday and Saturday night which I had noticed before, but never really considered.

First is the way NASCAR presents itself to the general public in relation to other “major league” sports. No other sport really encompasses and really SELLS the very “American-ness” of its roots, its fans and its support the way NASCAR does. Love it or hate it, this is truly an American sport in every sense of the phrase. Name another sporting event at which an invocation is given always in the name of Jesus Christ as a truly Christian prayer? Name another sporting event at which everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, stands with their hat over their heart during the entire National Anthem, singing along as if they were in the shower at home?

Yes, NASCAR, for all the stereotypes and prejudices people try to heap upon it, is about as American (in the traditional sense that is) as you can get in a sport these days. And while it has become en vogue for more mainstream sports fans to disconnect their athletic passion from the spirit of FREEDOM that was so closely tied to their roots in this country, NASCAR fans only seem to increase the connection with theirs.

Never in my life have I seen so fiercely patriotic a group of 160,000 people in one place. And this is the fastest growing sport in all of these great United States of America.

Baseball and basketball are experiencing a depression of sorts, and I fear were it not such a violent sport, football wouldn’t be far behind. The reason people are flocking as fans to sports like racing is because the former have athletes who have no concern but their paychecks. NASCAR fans on the other hand have true ambassadors such as Richard Petty, a man who literally has signed every single autograph for every single fan that he’s encountered that has requested one. No figure in any sport can match his unending love for his sport, nor the fans to which he is beholden.

You see, fans want heroes in sport because it gives them a feeling of greatness that they may be lacking in their own lives. And yet fans also want to be respected for their freely given admiration and support. They do not want to feel abused, used and financially raped to make a few spoiled thugs richer than they ought to be.

Going into the track on friday night for the Busch Series race, I was struck by just how easy it was to get into the track. Sure, there was security and a checkpoint….but it had nothing to do with Homeland Security or terrorism. It was to make sure you didn’t bring glass bottles into the track. Aluminum cans are fine. Yes, at most tracks in the NASCAR circuit, fans can bring in food, drink, hell you can bring in a picnic if it suits your tastes.

In this age of security threats and terrorism warnings, a gathering of 160,000 people crammed into such a small space would normally garner the most excruciatingly painful of rules and regulations that would make even the most hardened bureaucrat sore. And yet after thinking about exactly why that was…I looked around me. An Islamic terrorist wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot, much less into the stadium. To the elite Left in this country (and abroad), such a fact would bring the strictest ire and contempt, labelled nothing shy of racist. But in NASCAR circles “political correctness” flies about as well as pig shit on a rainy day.

And that’s just the way we like it.

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Filed under Bristol, NASCAR, Politics, Terrorism

2,996

D.C. Roe is getting extremely close to having 2,996 bloggers sign up to each honor one victim of 9/11. I think this is quite a noble effort to honor each and every person’s life lost that day rather than continue to focus on the terrorists, as has been done ad-nauseam for 5 years now.

I have signed up and will be honoring Kevin Patrick York on 9/11/2006. Please take the time to read as many of the tributes as you can on that day.

Time is running out (last count was only 992 to go and 23 days left) however I encourage you all to help with this effort as well.

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Wallace and Ahmadinejad….Sittin In a Tree….

What a thoroughly disappointing fact to have to face: even when a worthless decrepit POS like Mike Wallace “retires” you still can’t get rid of him.

Please do not drink anything hot while reading the article. You may find yourself wanting to throw up in your own mouth as your eyes feast on a few of the gems of “knowledge” that Wallace spews.  First we find out that…

“Wallace has spent a lot of time in Iran over the past four decades…”

Hmmmmm…that might explain the burka coming out of his ass. That and the eye opening reality that Wallace lays down for us common folk in which we find out that our bass-ackward understanding of the bloodthirsty terrorist Ahmadinejad is all wrong.

Wallace dismissed the common perceptions of Ahmadinejad.  “He’s actually, in a strange way, he’s a rather attractive man, very smart, savvy, self-assured, good looking in a strange way,” Wallace said. “He’s very, very short but he’s comfortable in his own skin.”

Does that mean we are “misunderestimating” his potential as an upcoming cover for GQ? Or does that just mean that Wallace didn’t have his head sawed off like Nick Berg and so he feels the need to paint the donkey-boy as a real charmer?

Despite the presence of only one translator for a period during the love-fest….

Wallace said Ahmadinejad was patient. “He couldn’t have been more accommodating. He had a good time doing the interview.”

Well shit-yeah he was patient. He has been having wet dreams about the 12th Imam coming on August 23rd for years now, heralding the Muslim hoards swallowing the tasty blood of the Jews as they drive their corpses into the sea once and for all. What’s another 90 minutes of pandering to a retarded geriatric gonna hurt?

And of course he’s going to accommodate a dolt like ol’ Mike, he believes that in just 13 days Wallace and the rest of us infidels will be wearing dirty night shirts, kneeling on a goat rug and shouting “Awl-uh Ack-bar” (southern style).

“I don’t know if you remember this or not but you and I had a talk over breakfast at the United Nations,” Ahmadinejad told Wallace. “Do you remember that you asked me at the time if I would sit down with you … and I said by all means, let’s do it.” Wallace said he was surprised that Ahmadinejad had remembered.

Well slap me and call me Susan. One would think that these two men were college buddies talking about the good ol’ days at the U.N. snickering about between polo matches. Or then again, maybe Wallace has ‘a thing’ for short.skinny.ugly.as.sin leaders of fascist militant Islamic states whose very public mission statement includes the destruction of the very freedom that allowed an idiot like Wallace to collect a paycheck for the last 60 years.

The piece ends with Wallace commenting to donkey-boy about his quasi-retirement….

“When you love what you do, it’s not work,” Wallace said.

I bet Ahmadinejad was thinking exactly the same thing about Jew killing.

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Filed under Idiots, LHD, MSM Bias, Politics, Terrorism

Just War and Victory

For the past few weeks or so I’ve been grappling in my mind with the implications of Just War theory and the current Middle East fighting. Not only with respect to Israel’s current battle with Hambollah, but within the greater context of what appears to be a showdown coming between the West as a whole and Islam.

One side of me thinks that just war theory should be followed to the T, with those of us held to the “higher standard” (i.e. Geneva Conventions) going out of our way to limit civilian casualties in the short term, even if our actions (or inactions) may lead to higher civilian and/or military deaths in the long term.

The other side of me thinks that while we should certainly not target civilians, we cannot allow terrorist and their state sponsors to hide behind human shields unpunished (as we are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Israel is in Lebanon). One cannot win a war in which enemies are allowed to attack under pretenses in which their targets cannot respond out of a sense of moral obligation to innocents.

I was watching a Discovery Channel program last night on the use of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. Surely we will never know how many men would have died as a result of an Allied invasion of Japan. However we can get a good estimate from the battles in the pacific which were fought, island by gruelling island. And by those estimates I dare say it was a JUST thing to end the war by targeting tens of thousands of civilians directly, and hundreds of thousands more indirectly by using the atomic bomb. When you’re talking millions of deaths, tens or hundreds of thousands don’t seem bad by comparison….unless you happen to be one of them.

[Editor's Note]: This sentiment indicates I approve of the direct targeting of civilians. I certainly do not, as this contradicts Catholic moral teaching and is unacceptable (bad means do not justify good ends). I stand corrected.

When two sides have stances which are diametrically opposed, there is no such thing as a diplomatic solution, and further there is no such thing as a casualty free war. That is why war is so despicable, so reviled and should always be considered very last option: because it is a fact that many people will die.

The fact of the matter remains that while everyone pretends that war is not what is wanted, wars continually start despite that apparent “universal sentiment”. Meaning it ain’t that universal.

And insofar as wars must sometimes be fought, I am coming to the conclusion that we, as the side held to the morally higher standard, must come to grips with what David Warren posits as potentially a horrible truth: that targeting enemy combatants regardless of civilian presence may be the only way to win.

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Filed under Catholicism, Politics, Terrorism, War

Custom FindControl Implementation (C#) — Part II

Part I of this topic dealt with overriding the basic FindControl method found native to objects inheriting from the System.Web.UI.Control object, which most people find severely lacking for uses other than simple pages/applications.

In this part, I will look at a simple extension from the recursive nature of the custom FindControl implementation that will allow us to find controls by another method: by type. Instead of searching for a single control by it’s string ID, we can scour any controls collection recursively for any controls which are of type X.


        public static ArrayList FindControls(Type type, ControlCollection col)
        {
            ArrayList list = new ArrayList();
            foreach(Control c in col)
            {
                if(c.GetType() == type)
                    list.Add(c);
                else
                    FindControlsRecursive(c, type, ref list);
            }
            return list;
        }

        private static void FindControlsRecursive(Control root, Type type, ref ArrayList list)
        {
            if(root.Controls.Count != 0)
            {
                foreach(Control c in root.Controls)
                {
                    if(c.GetType() == type)
                        list.Add(c);
                    else if (c.HasControls())
                        FindControlsRecursive(c, type, ref list);
                }
            }
        }

As you can see, the implementation of the recursive method is slightly different than the previous version for the single control. The only real difference is the presence of a by ref argument which is a data structure (in this case an ArrayList) to keep track of the results found.

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Filed under ASP.NET, C#, Programming

Custom FindControl Implementation (C#)

Anyone who has ever used the native FindControl method built into the System.Web.UI.Page or System.Web.UI.Control classes knows that it pretty much stinks. From my experience using it, the only controls that it can find by name are those that are direct children of the container being searched. This isn’t helpful for most real world ASPX pages which may contain dozens of nested controls and/or third party tools.

So, here’s my own custom version of what FindControl should have been from the beginning.

First, override the FindControl method in your derived control and/or webform base class.


        public override Control FindControl(string id)
        {
            Control bc = null;
            try
            {
                bc = base.FindControl(id);
            }
            catch(HttpException)
            {
                bc = null;
            }
            return (bc != null) ? bc : MyUtility.FindControl(id, this.Controls);
        }

Now write the static utility methods to implement the recursive search if the native FindControl didn’t get what you wanted.


    public class MyUtility
    {
        public static Control FindControl(string id, ControlCollection col)
        {
            foreach (Control c in col)
            {
                Control child = FindControlRecursive(c, id);
                if (child != null)
                    return child;
            }
            return null;
        }

        private static Control FindControlRecursive(Control root, string id)
        {
            if (root.ID != null && root.ID == id)
                return root;

            foreach (Control c in root.Controls)
            {
                Control rc = FindControlRecursive(c, id);
                if (rc != null)
                    return rc;
            }
            return null;
        }
    }

Voila! Now you have the ability to find controls by name that are nested in the hairiest control structure you can come up with.

Check out Part II of this topic to see how to extend this implementation to find multiple controls by Type.

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Filed under ASP.NET, C#, Programming

Poverty Remembered

Piura homeThis week marks two years since I last travelled to Piura, Peru. Having been there several time, and made close friends with many of the staff at Santisimo Sacramento parish, it makes me sad to remember the intense poverty that is rampant in that part of the world.

I am reminded once again when I see pictures being sent back from our friends who are there these next few weeks of what Pope Benedict said concerning charitable giving to such poverty stricken people when he was still a Cardinal in “God and the World”:

You must give more than this. You must come yourselves; you must give of yourselves; and you must help, so that the material gifts you bring are used appropriately, so that they are not just something you pull out of a bag in order to buy your way out of the difficulty we represent, the problem we are for you.

For that is what the poor are to the world, a problem. A problem for us to feed, a problem for us to care for, a problem for us to clothe and to teach, a problem for us to even think about. For doing so would force us out of the luxuries of our daily thinking, which all too often is of mere “things”, rather than people and ultimately God.

There are two things in my life which have drastically altered how I see the world. Piura, Peru was the first. Having children was the second. When you truly value any human life as you value your own child’s…..it makes it easier to empathize with and recognize the intense loss, the intense suffering, the intense shame that comes about in those people who have not the means to help their own children, to care for their own parents, to feed their own families.

We cannot fathom what they wake up to each day, for we have more than they can even imagine. And accordingly we don’t understand how to live on faith, because we have no need of it. But faith does exist. It exists for the elderly man who’s family has all passed and has no way to feed himself….in a city with 70% unemployment among those healthy enough to work, much less those in his position. It exists for the young wife with 3 children whose husband cannot find work, even when travelling dozens upon dozens of miles away from home on foot to seek it. It exists when God sends people like you and I to do the work that they cannot, to be the manna come down from Heaven which truly feeds their children. I’ve seen it….it does exist.

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Filed under Catholicism, General, Peru

Joe’s Wedding

Pete & EdwinMy good friend and colleague Joe A. got married a few weeks ago. My wife Aron and I attended and really had an amazing time.

Josh and Diana (who came down from Minnesota to attend — we miss you guys so much!!), Edwin, Mark & Rebecca and several others were there. It was a great time and we wish Joe & Lydia many blessings in their future together.

Cheers!

Wedding crew at joe and lydia wedding

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Filed under General, Social

1891 Argentinian Mauser

I picked this gun up from a co-worker who was trying to dispose of some older things that he never really used. It’s not like I actually needed a old bolt action gun like this for any useful purpose (hunting persay), but now that I have it I have found that I wouldn’t actually mind hunting with it at all.

It’s a fine weapon and has what many agree as the smoothest and most well functioning action ever created. After having racked the bolt back and forth a few times on a gun like this you would probably agree, as I do. I can see why many a gun enthusiast took the actions from these very well made weapons and “sporterized” them by putting custom stocks, barrels, triggers, etc to turn them into more modern rigs.

All the serial numbers match (barrel, action, & stock) which means that it is most likely a factory original….did I mention from 1891? Amazing really that a gun created back then could still look and function as well as it does.

I took this baby to the range a few weeks after I got it (I had to scrounge up some 7.65 Argentine loads) and had a blast, literally. It kicks like your typical 8mm Mauser, but I was simply amazed at the accuracy of a gun this old with nothing but iron sights. My best group was right at about 2.5″ at 100 yards, using some old surplus I picked up at a local gun show. Considering this gun is 115 years old thereabouts, that is utterly amazing to me.

I think this fall I may actually use this gun for whitetail rifle season. It’ll be a tough decision between using this and the new SOCOM II I recently purchased, but when everyone else is putting up their photos on the braggin boards of their bucks with their shiny new 7mm Mags, .30-30′s, .270′s and such…..it would be oh so nice to put mine up with a gun that was firing rounds when the land I live on was still Indian Terroritory.

mauser_topview-large.jpg mauserbolt-large.jpg mauser_gun_right_side_full_length-large.jpg mauser_sights-large.jpg

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Filed under Firearms, Weapons

Coach Gun — Baikal SxS

I picked this gun up at the world famous Wanenmacher’s Tulsa Arms Show last fall. AFAIK, this bi-annual show (April and October typically) is the largest gun show in North America. The Expo center building used in Tulsa is just over 11 acres inside, accomodating nearly 4,000 tables of almost anything you can imagine in the way of guns (antique, collector and modern), knives, ammunition, and accessories. If you live anywhere near to Tulsa and you haven’t been, I highly recommend you check out the next one.

Anyway, at the October one last year my buddy Kode and I both had an itch to scratch: getting a coach gun. We had been looking at the relatively new Stoeger coach guns, however we ended up finding a matching pair of these Baikals instead. They’re probably a little poorer quality than the Stoegers would have been, but this is the kind of gun we’ll be taking out on the 4 wheelers, camping/fishing trips and just all around kind of use in which we won’t mind getting these guns all sorts of dirty.

They are stamped with the U.S.S.R. markings, indicating that they were most likely made in the mid 1980′s during the Cold War. If you run across any Baikals made after the fall, these are typically poorer quality and I would not recommend you get one of those. Originally these probably had longer barrels but at some point were imported to the US and then cut down to coach size.

One great aspect of these guns is that they don’t have ejectors for spent cartridges. This means that they can be used typically in Cowboy Action competitions (unless it’s the “authentic” class which I believe requires external hammers). I have yet to get into CA, but figure once my kids get a bit older and I have “more time” (yes, laugh I know) I will be able to spend a little time at it.

bottomview-coachlarge.jpg leftside_broken-large.jpg broken_barrelview-large.jpg Coach Top View

Overall the gun shoots great. I haven’t patterned it on a board yet, but just from shooting it at a few squirrels and rabbits, I’ve noticed that it holds a pretty tight group for such a short barrel. On mine, the right barrel seems to shoot just a bit higher than the left but considering I don’t plan to use this gun for anything too serious I am not too concerned with it.

It will shoot 3 inchers which is nice, although shooting 3 inch mags out of it certainly will ring your bell a bit since the buttplate is basically like having solid wood. I shoot mostly 2 3/4 shells out of it, although if you were going to use a gun like this for turkey or anything larger than dove I would recommend using 3′s.

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Filed under Firearms, Weapons