Aha, all that hard work

More than a Vacation a Month for Obamas in 2013

In the first three months of the year, members of the first family have been on three vacations, averaging a vacation a month. And now it’s being reported that the first daughters are on a spring break vacation in the Bahamas…

…Of course, there’s no reason to begrudge the first family for enjoying a good vacation. But at a time when the White House is closed to the public, it all might seem a little odd.

Actually, with this Presidential family it’s not odd at all.  Remember those in Washington are special, they work harder then any of the rest of us.  Just look at all the great results. 


Reminder who pushed the story

Iraq – Agony, Ordeal, and Recovery

Do not believe in prewar political consensus. As soon as things become difficult, those who most loudly called for war (of both parties) will most loudly call it quits, and soon deny that they really had ever been for the war. Any U.S. intervention that incurs over a hundred casualties has a shelf life of about three months; after that, “you did it, not me” is the cultural norm. – Victor Davis Hanson

Painting for a Birthday

As you get older birthdays are much tougher.  It’s not because they are actually harder or sad or anything like that.  When you get older you just don’t have any real birthday wishes.  Oh, yeah you might want something real nice and expensive but who’s going to buy it?  Well this year my wife asked for something pretty good.  She wanted my son and I to paint her a picture.  She really wanted something kind of abstract but I have no idea how to do that and make it look like something.  Wait does abstract art ever look like something.  Well instead we did a nice painting of some mountains and a little church. 


Hey it isn’t a Rembrandt but for a 10 year old and me, it was pretty nice.  More importantly it was fun to do.  So did she like it?  Did she scream with joy?  Nope, first thing she asked was, “where are the people”.  Ya, just can’t please women. 

Actually it went over very well..  Smile

Another book down–Stakeout

Stakeout: A Stanley Hastings Mystery

Stakeout by Parnell Hallthumbs up

The new crime thriller in the ever-funny and charming Stanley Hastings mystery series, featuring the only detective in New York City who doesn’t carry a gun

Stanley Hastings finally felt like a real PI, staking out a New Jersey motel to get evidence on a woman’s cheating husband. It should have been a piece of cake. Only the husband wasn’t cheating, someone killed him, and the cops are trying to pin the murder on the man apprehended at the scene,
who just happens to be Stanley.

This was a fun and fast read.  The pace is non-stop and funny.  I read this in about two days.  It’s much like a old Chandler novel but with an only semi-competent PI. But it’s ok because he knows he’s not very good at his job.  Or at least thinks he’s not.  I hadn’t heard of Parnell Hall before but apparently there are eighteen other Stanley Hasting books out there.  I’ll have to check them out. 

Security and Biometrics

There is no one answer to security.  It is always dependent on the threat, location and desire.  Biometrics has been seen by some as the answer but as you’ll see in the link below it’s not.  It is a part of the answer but only a part.  The example below is not just security but a method of accountability. 

Fake fingers to fool the boss at Brazil hospital

AFP – Five doctors at a Brazilian hospital have been suspended after they were accused of covering for absentee colleagues by using fake silicone fingers with their prints to fool biometric machines.

Globo television showed footage of a doctor touching her finger to the device, then using two fake digits to do the same for colleagues, and taking delivery of slips of paper indicating they had in fact clocked in to work.

Book Review catch-up

Ok a while back I listed my reading for that week.  I said I’d get back with a review.  Remember my reviews are just whether I liked the book or not.  If you want in-depth analysis check out a longer review from Amazon or some other book review site.

New bookthumbs up

The Forgotten

The Forgotten – David Baldacci

Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case—but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.A picture-perfect town on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt’s death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller’s father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.

This book was a fun read.  It’s not terribly complex but interesting and a good beach read.  It’s not great literature and military enthusiast will find flaws but all in all I recommend it. 

Previous books from Januarythumbs up


Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?

I liked Blink but it wasn’t any great leap for me.  Malcolm really just described what I’d always suspected about the sub-conscious mind and intuition. I’d recommend this book from the library but wouldn’t buy it.thumbs down


Father Night – Eric Van Lustbader

As, I stated a few weeks ago, Eric’s books lately just haven’t been it for me.  I made it about a third of the way through this book then set it aside never to return.  It was just too chaotic.  There were too many subplots and it lacked something.  I don’t recommend.


thumbs down


Drug war Mexico – Peter Watt and Roberto Zepeda

This book started off a bit politically slanted then drove straight off the cliff.  If you believe all of Mexico’s drug war problems are caused only by the mean US then this book will work for you.  I kind of knew this starting out but hoped facts would still be useful. It wasn’t.  I don’t recommend.

Ender’s Game

My son and I started listening to the audio recordings of Ender’s Game.  For those that don’t know Ender’s Game it’s a story set in the future where earth is preparing for the second war with aliens called Buggers.  The government has been monitoring children for the signs of the next great military leader to fight that next battle with the Buggers.  Ender is a six year old recruited into Battle school as that possible leader.  Ender has an interesting take on things.  He is no hero and excels mainly due to a healthy fear of other taking advantage of him. 

I first read Ender’s Game while attending the US Army Airborne School.  No, they don’t make you read it.  That was on my little bit of downtime.  Reading is often a great time killer while working your way through the various military schools.

I loved it then and still enjoy the story.  I’ve read in a couple of times now.  So, when I saw the audio book at our library I picked it up for my son.  We often either read or listen to Audio books at night before bed. 

So, far my son seems to be enjoying the story, but then what’s not to like, science fiction, spacemen, battle school, I mean come on. 

It’s a book I recommend and we’ll see how the audio book stands up to the paper version. 

A new movie version is soon to be released but I worry about any movie adaptation as it’s very tough to get into the character’s minds in a movie.  We’ll see.

For more info on Ender’s Game: