Sticky: Why no comments?

I don’t allow comments on my blog posts. Why? Because between a full-time job, family, and extra-curricular activities, I don’t have the time to play moderator. Trolls and spam also make the job harder.

Plus, this is my website and thus is my place for mouthing off. If you disagree with something I say, too bad. I am under no obligation to listen to your responses here. This is my soapbox; go get your own.

“Won’t people just accuse you of silencing criticism?” Yes, and I don’t care. Again, this is my personal website. I will do what I want because I’m paying the bill. I share my links on three different social networks. Respond to them there.

Solve the Hate or Guns Won’t Matter

  What gives a law power? It is just ink on a piece of paper. If not for a collective respect for what that paper says, there is no power that paper possesses except for the government’s ability to send a man with a gun to your house to enforce it. 
  Why do you think the first thing Hitler enacted was gun control on the Jewish population? It’s easier to force a man to wear a golden star if the man has no way to fight it. Remember that most of the Jews were not killed by guns. Evil finds a way to be evil.
  That is what the Second Amendment is designed to prevent. It gives the people a chance against an overzealous government. It ensures that when a piece of paper with ink is enforced that it is done so with the approval of the people. 
  We have 500+ potential dictators in Washington. We know that because six years ago they passed a piece of paper that required we purchase approved health insurance and if we don’t a man with a gun will eventually come to our house to take our freedom. Imagine what they would pass without the millions of firearms in the public.
  We do have a violence problem in this country. It has nothing to do with guns. As a comedian once said, when Cain killed Abel, at one point 33% of the global population was a murderer. We’ve have been evil ever since we chose to disobey God. 
  That is the root of the problem. We have a society that is nasty and rude to each other and has a complete disregard for the sanctity of life. We laugh at the misfortune of our political opponents and openly mock those that try to live life properly.
  We are also surrounded by massive hypocrisy. We have a Hollywood that preaches sexual equality while abusing the women who work for them. We have a pop culture that constantly advocates gun control while using them in almost every video ever made and showing explicit violence. We have a media that frames those who are pro-life as “anti” freedom despite the date of viability getting closer and closer to conception and more evidence showing pain occurs within weeks of conception. 
  In a day and age where I’m being preached at on social media about gun violence by a guy who plays video games that involve shooting people as a hobby, is it any wonder we would have a nutcase decide it is acceptable to shoot up a school?

Star Trek Discovery Thoughts So Far

We are almost three-quarters of the way through Season 1 of Star Trek Discovery. I’m enjoying the series so far and want to share my thoughts. Warning: the following contains spoilers.

Overview

While Star Trek has always been an ensemble act, Star Trek Discovery is the tale of Michael Burnham. The series starts out with a two-part episode that only features her and one other series regular (not counting the no-name bridge crew). Most of the episodes follow her actions and how everything around her affects her.

Sonequa Martin-Green, who stars as the lead, carries the show magnificently. She has the wonderful ability to lose herself in the role that you can see the pain on her face as she stands in as a Mirror Universe captain ordering crew to their deaths.

What I like so far

I’ll admit, I did not see Ash Tyler being Voq coming. But I love the reveal. It makes for an interesting situation for both Voq and Michael Burnham going forward. Voq was essentially in love with the woman who killed his Messiah, the man who killed Burnham’s long-time friend. There are only four episodes left, but I cannot wait to see how they approach this.

Another thing I like is the fact the series has given us more Cadet Tilley. She may end up being the breakout character of the show and to see her put in a position to have to play captain in the Mirror Universe is great. Mary Wiseman gives the character a wonderful realism and innocence.

 

I also love the fact the Philippa Georgiou is brought back as the Emperor of the Terran Empire. I was disappointed to see her killed in the series prologue. Even if she is only back for a few episodes, she is a great addition to the series. Seeing how Michael Burnham handles her should be great. 

Jason Isaacs needs to avoid politics, but his acting skills are second-to-none. I’ve enjoyed almost everything he stars in even if he’s taken a bit of a back seat so far in the second half of the first season. Having a captain that is a broken man on purpose is great and one of the things I loved about DS9.

What I don’t like

Paul Stamets has not grown on me at all. I’m glad he’s spent the last couple episodes in a coma. He is not personable. He reminds me of Nick Burns, You Company’s Computer Guy without the warmth Jimmy Fallon brings to the character. The less we see of him, the better. You can accuse me of homophobia all you want. A poorly written character is poorly written. He doesn’t get a pass.

I’m not sure why we aren’t getting more of Saru. He’s a great character.

Grotesque nudity is grotesque. In the current environment, having a female employee climb atop a male employee while half nude as part of her job is bound to be a tad insensitive. And don’t give me the “she approved” argument. Outside of Hollywood, her approval would be moot. The nudity was not required to get the point across. Granted, it was only 20 frames out of 12 episodes, but it still was not required.

I’m still rolling my eyes on the Elon Musk line.

Summary

Star trek Discovery is doing great. I love the serial nature of the series and I like the direction the story is heading. I also like the fact it has turned conventional Trek on its head and focusing on mainly one character instead on a half dozen characters. It could almost be called Star Trek Burnham given the focus of the series. On top of that, the exterior of the Discovery isn’t even shown in roughly 25% of the episodes so far.

The show is off to a promising start.

From Angela: Time flies?!

My goodness gracious! I just realized that my latest post of my blog was from January! Wow! I really need to catch up….So, here goes….

Feb.- nothing much happened but keeping updated on my niece Caroline’s check ups….still NO cancer! Also I am keeping myself busy as a “stay-at-home” mom/wife and its my most favorite month of the year! Why? Well…it’s Valentine’s Day, my Mom’s birthday, and my birthday of coarse! 

Mar.-nothing much happened except going on a field trip with Rebekah and her class to the McWane Center…it was lots of fun but we were so tired by the time we got home later in the evening. The family and I took our Spring Break vacation up to Huntsville to visit with families and  Jonathan gets his left ear tube taken out by surgery. The procedure went well as expected and was told not to swim underwater till the hole closes and the patch falls off.

Apr.- I went on a Women’s Beach Retreat with my mom and some of the other ladies from her church…. If we didn’t have to hear a bunch of “making fun of others in front of them” kinda thing I would’ve had a blast. But I’m glad I got to go with my mom and enjoy my morning walks with her on the beach and take pictures of the waves and the birds running along the shore.

When I got back home from the beach, it was time to celebrate my Rebekah turning 9 years old! My firstborn is not so little anymore. She has been acting like a teenager already…I need her to slow down!!

May- Took Jonathan to see his ear doctor and said that he can go swimming underwater! Yay! Just in time for Summer! Both kiddos celebrated as they graduated from 3rd and 1st grade. They started their summer by helping their grandparents move out of their house into their RV which was stationed at the lake near us.

While we were helping my parents get settled into their lot next door to my grandfather’s lake house… we got an unpleasant phone call from my brother saying that Caroline’s cancer came back and that this time she will only have 3 to 6 months left to be with us. It was the most devastated afternoon I have ever had that month. As the end of the month approaches, the Jones/Berard family decided to go Disney World one last time with Caroline while she was relatively happy and looks healthy. 

June- Bob, the kids and I went to Gurley/Huntsville for a quick weekend trip to celebrate Grandma Sentell’s Birthday and reunited with Caroline, her parents and the grandparents for lunch at little Rosie’s.

Then it was time to pack for our Disney World trip with the family! Got up way too early the next morning to drive 8 hours…at first, I don’t think it was worth it but I did enjoyed being with my family. During our vacation down there, it was well worth the time to spend with Caroline just for one last time instead of Bob and I go on the Disney Cruise (without the kids with us) so we can celebrate our 10 years of marriage/graduating from collage. Of coarse it rained while we were there but that didn’t stop us from having fun riding the roller coasters, eating meals, meet with Disney Characters and watch fireworks. This vacation will remain in our special memories of Caroline. And we look forward to coming back and remember Caroline as we ride those roller coasters again, watch fireworks, meet and get our pictures made with Disney Characters! 

July- The kids had a blast during Vacation Bible School at church, we all celebrated Bob’s birthday, Rebekah and I went with my parents to the annual Jones’ family reunion and then later met with Robert, Randie, Caroline, Jonathan and Bob at the Galleria mall, I spent 5 days with Rebekah and some of her friends from church at Centrikid in Norman Park, GA. Power went out for the most part of the first full day we were there but the staff knows how to keep these kids busy and going! I was impressed and in awe about how smooth they plan it out at the spur of moment like that. While I was there, I got a text or a phone call from my dad saying that we were losing Caroline little too fast than i thought we would…I told the Minister of Children to keep in mind that Rebekah and I could leave early and she understood, but that didn’t happen. Soon after the Centrikid was over with we traveled back home and repacked our bags for another quick trip to Huntsville to visit with Caroline just little bit more before school starts in the next two weeks. Once we started our visit with her, she was in too much pain from the cancer growing inside her face and very sensitive when we look at her so we had to work very hard not to look at her but socialize with her family around her.  She likes to hear Rebekah and Jonathan play with her “not favorite” toys while she lays in her mother’s arms, resting.

Aug.- the kids had their meet and greet with their Teacher at their school and started school the following week. Soon after our first full week of school, we got phone calls from my dad saying that we will be losing Caroline soon. As soon as I got the kids home from school that Wednesday afternoon on August 16th, Caroline went skipping and jumping into Jesus’ arms. The kids and I did not take it very well so we skipped our Wednesday evening routine at the church and stayed home to prepare our bags for the Celebration of Caroline’s Life (funeral).

That morning of the Celebration of Caroline’s Life, the Jones/Berard family help tie Caroline’s favorite snack onto to her favorite color balloons and set up multiple pictures of Caroline when she was a newborn to toddler years.  As our friends and families started to arrive it was time to start the service, during the we sang songs, some of the family members gave a short speeches and then pastor took his turn to preach, as soon after the service was over the whole congregation took a balloon outside in the front lawn of the church, and all at the same time we let go of the balloon into the sky and say what Caroline would say “WEEEEEEE!!” The service was very well presented and lunch was well served by several ladies of the church. 

As we left to go back home, for the kids and I… it was still hard to keep strong but we know she is with Jesus, in no pain and with the ancestors of both side of her family. 

Sept.- Nothing much happened but just keep busy, take the kids to and from school, celebrated Caroline’s birthday by releasing a balloon with a sweet message on it to the sky. And I think we will do that as tradition as we celebrate her birthday.

Oct.- Nothing much happened but took Jonathan on a field trip to the pumpkin patch and then the following weekend Fall break started as we so excitingly packed and hooked up the popup camper and drove down to the beach we have never been before for the week, spent the first few peaceful and beautiful days on the beach, rode on the jet skis, found lots of big (I mean HUGE!!) seashells, celebrated Jonathan turning 8 years with seafood and cake by the fire. Then it was time to go back home so we can get back to our normal routine. Then we celebrated the beginning of Fall with a festival at the church.

Nov.- Rebekah and I started the month with a field trip to Fort Toulouse and then the temperature started to drop like fall is really here. Started my Christmas shopping early with my mom visiting us in town while Bob gets his sleep study at a local hospital. Then we had our Christmas tree up and started decorating for Christmas the weekend before we started celebrating our Thanksgiving with both side of the families. 

Dec.- While the boys went to Camp butter and egg with the Cub Scout for the weekend, Rebekah and I made Crock-pot Candy for a cookie swap party, it was so much fun! About a week later then the cold weather really started to come in.  We were suppose to have a Christmas party with our Sunday School class but the snow snuck upon us so we all reschedule it till next weekend and the Board of Educations ended schools early, so the kids and I wanted to start our weekend to play outside in the snow, make snow angels, had a snowball fight, made funny faces to Bob’s car and made a small snowman!

After spending the weekend with the fun in the snow, I helped with the schools’ Christmas shop and decorate their t-shirt with hand prints like the face of a reindeer. Then I took the kids to see Santa at Bass Pro Shop, had a Christmas party with the adult Sunday school class. As soon the weekend started Rebekah went down with flu and missed her chance to her class Christmas party. I thought she would break down into tears but she didn’t, she was just sad not being able to go…As soon as the schools let out for Christmas break, Jonathan went down with 24hr bug. In meantime of all the sickness from both kiddos, Bob and I cleaned and sanitized as much as we could. Thank goodness both Bob and I had not gotten any of that! (knock on real wood!!). I was glad that we were able to spend our Christmases with our families as scheduled. 

 

In the conclusion of all this… It was rough…..Rough for me and of coarse to my family… Caroline’s multiple trip to the hospital for numerous treatments and battling with cancer to the end of her life but we all know that she is no longer in major pain and she is having fun swinging, jumping in the puddles in heaven with Jesus. I love my niece as I would love my own children, I am proud to be called her Aunt LaLa and will be forever her Aunt LaLa.  I will miss hearing her voice calling me, her sweet and gentle hugs terribly.

 I know I have accomplished parts of my 2017 resolution, Spend more time with my family and friends, and stay healthy…but I never got on that Disney cruise with my hubby. So for my 2018 resolution, I’m gonna make it simple this time…. find a house to move into, maybe find a part time job, but most importantly stay healthy. 

The Lost Jedi

I think I figured out what bugged me about the Last Jedi. It felt more like Star Trek than Star Wars. It had technobabble, moral superiority, and slow-paced action. The tracker plot was nonsensical in that an easier solution would be for the three ships to split up. The whole casino series could have been removed. And the low-speed chase was dull.  

 That’s not an indictment of Star Trek as much as it is a step out of what we expect from Star Wars. Star Trek is the wonder of exploring the universe whereas Star Wars is the reality that the universe may be a dangerous place. Each have their roles and I don’t think Star Wars needed to borrow from Star Trek.

 It also had seemingly pointless deaths. Snoke was on screen less time than those bird things and he was supposedly an evil Sith mastermind capable of turning Kylo Ren from under Luke’s nose. I say “because” we don’t know. At least the emperor in the original trilogy had some backstory to him.

 Phasma’s death was also a little too emotionless. I wasn’t that emotionally invested in that character or into why she would be so set on hunting down Finn. We needed to see more of her obsessing over Finn’s betrayal to the point where she would disobey orders from the Supreme Leader in an attempt to capture him. Instead, we get a short battle where she dies after a couple one-liners.

 Luke’s death was also a little too unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, I think killing Luke is great. I just didn’t like the manner in which he died. Obi Wan dies in a battle with Vader. Vader dies while saving Luke from the emperor. Han dies trying to save his son’s soul. Luke dies of exhaustion after a long-distance Skype chat.

 Vice Admiral Holdo’s sacrifice was one of the highlights of the movie. While I know AMC warns viewers that the sound will stop in the film, I knew immediately that it was an intended effect. It was absolutely brilliant and would easily be my favorite scene from the franchise if not for the fact I did not care about Holdo.

 Holdo’s plan only worked because the First Order never thought over jumping in front of the ship at lightspeed. Her sacrifice was too little too late and we just had a ton of iconic characters get wiped out on the bridge. Why not have one of them make that sacrifice instead.

 We had Admiral Ackbar in the film. Have him make the sacrifice but rather than desperation, have it be intentional. Once he turns the ship around for the jump to light speed, have General Hux utter under his breath in stunned realization, “it’s a trap.” That emotionally ties the audience to the character making the sacrifice while also adding a bit of emotional whiplash. The audience barely gets a chance to chuckle at the joke when the audio dies.

 I’m not going to say it was a bad film. Only that it could have been better. I can see now why Disney is bringing back JJ Abrams for Episode IX.  

In Memorial: Bread

Update: And three days later, he was raised again when the blood work showed bread was not the problem!

Original Post Below:

Bread was born 30,000 BC and passed away on October 23, 2017.

During its long time on Earth, Bread was accomplished in the making of cookies, pizza, donuts, pretzels, and biscuits. Bread traveled the world with each culture making claim to different variations of Bread. Whether Bread was sitting on a basket surrounded by Garlic or hanging out with his friends Hotdog and Hamburger, Bread hardly met a stranger.

In recent years, however, bread started to make trouble. As a result of these troubles, Bread found itself the subject of multiple investigations. Unfortunately, those troubles eventually caught up with Bread when it was found to be causing medical issues within the Sentell family. 

Bread was executed in Montgomery, AL on October 23, 2017 at 10:03 AM local time. 

Bread is survived by ex-spouses Peanut and Butter, as well as children Tortilla and Roti. In lieu of Flours, the family asks you donate to the Gluten Free Foods fund at your local supermarket.

Eight Years Old

The last time I sat on a beach in Florida was three years ago. I was working second shift as a janitor and was finishing up my bachelors degree. Today, I have a masters degree and work first shift as an unofficial hybrid business analyst.

Funny enough, that isn’t what’s on my mind tonight. Today, my son celebrated his eighth birthday and I cannot help but think where I was when I turned eight. I wasn’t on a beach in Florida but at a house in Dover, Delaware. 

My dad had just married my stepmom for what would be the beginning of a 27 year and counting marriage. My brother and I spent the summer with my grandmother while my sister was in Florida with my aunt.

It was a very difficult time in my life, one that I’m thankful my kids do not have to bare. Angela and I have a healthy marriage and our kids spend maybe too much time together.

My son may never fully understand how lucky he is. But that won’t stop me from enjoying his cake. 

A Beautiful Stillness 

I cannot adequately describe how peaceful tonight was. After a morning on the beach and an afternoon on the jet ski, we enjoyed a nice seafood boil with snow crab and shrimp.

After dinner, the kids decided to stay with their grandparents. As a result, Angela and I were able to walk down to the beach alone. This secluded beach is even more so at night. Without the lights of a tourist town, the sky was beautiful. 

After a few minutes, Angela and I laid down in the sand to look at the crystal clear sky and the milky-way. As we laid there, we saw two shooting stars. 

This has been a rough year. Wrapping up graduate school, taking over a new subsystem at work, and the death of my niece really took an emotional and spiritual toll. Being able to lay in the sand with my wife on my arm with nothing between us and God was a greatly needed blessing. 

The shooting stars meant to us that God was telling us things would be alright. 

******

But I have no pic of the night sky, so here’s the beach we staked out this morning: 

We arrive! 

We arrived at our vacation destination, looking forward to a relaxing week. But first, some football. Alabama currently leads by 24 as I write this.

I made a quick trip to the beach before the sun set: 

The Death of the Girl Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America accepting females into their ranks created both praise and scorn. I can see both sides. But I think the Boy Scouts allowing female units come down to filling the vacuum created by the Girl Scouts itself. They can complain and whine all they want, but everyone I’ve spoken to who have personal experience with the Girl Scouts universally despise it. My wife and I didn’t even consider it for my daughter based on my wife’s experience with it two decades ago…and it has gotten worse.

Girl Scout achievements are barely that, the focus is almost completely around selling cookies, and the Girl Scouts have divested themselves of almost all of their camps. Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts created new advancement programs, their fundraiser is a minor focus of the program (you aren’t buying $30 popcorn; you are supporting the scouts and getting popcorn thrown in as a thank you), and the BSA owns their own national camp while the local councils continue to create new camps. 

Don’t get me wrong. If I’m the Girl Scouts, I’m absolutely criticizing this move. But no matter what wrapper the Girl Scouts want to put on it, their entire motivation is self-preservation. Families and girls have been begging for a scout program similar to what the Boy Scouts offer and the Girl Scouts failed to deliver despite the Boy Scouts long threatening to do this before now. The coed Venture Crew and Sea Scouts were warning shots across the bow of the Girl Scouts that went ignored.

But how is this going to work. The BSA has said that at the den and patrol level the genders will remain separate. Whether the units themselves are separate or coed will be largely up to the charter organizations. While the Boy Scouts created an avenue for bringing in girls into existing units, I think the Boy Scouts are counting on local Girl Scout units jumping over. If I’m running the local BSA council, that’s exactly what I start working on.

The local council needs to immediately start reaching out to their own units and encourage them to become co-units with Girl Scout units. Most of the girls likely have brothers already in the BSA units. Rather than having male dens and female dens within the same unit, create two co-existing, independent units. Co-existing in that their the meetings are always held at the same time. Independent in that they each have their own budgets and plans. One overarching committee can oversee them both with two smaller committees to oversee the activities of each unit. Do this until the female unit is able to stand on its own.

For areas without heavy Girl Scout influence, the BSA units should create female dens and patrols within existing units with the end goal of spinning them off into their own units. Again, they can meet at the same time and place, but the end goal is to have female units be as strong as the male units. That will take some coordination at the beginning since many BSA units have the benefit of legacy gear the girls won’t have.

Make no mistake, the Girl Scouts will see this as the Boy Scouts of America declaring war. Many political pundits will also try to spin the move as more politically correct nonsense on the part of the BSA. I see this as nothing more than the Boy Scouts of America taking advantage of a potential customer base largely abandoned by the organization founded to serve them.

Instead of blaming the Boy Scouts for bending to political correctness, blame the Girl Scouts for being incompetent enough to lose their sole selling point.

Why The NRA Dislikes Bump Stocks

Why would the National Rifle Association (NRA) favor regulating bump stocks? Well, rifles are not toys slapped together. They are highly engineered tools. Every part of the rifle is designed within a certain tolerance to provide the best performance. Anything that interferes with that design could lead to dangerous situations for the operator.

If you do not know how rifles work, I’ll explain. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states “when one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite on the first body.” What this means is when a bullet is fired, the force used to push the bullet out the chamber is also used to push back on the rifle bolt. This push back is used by semiautomatic rifles to eject the spent round. A spring is then used to push the bolt back to chamber another round.

If the spring is the wrong size, then the entire system breaks down. A spring that is too strong can cause the bolt to not come back far enough and could result in the spent round not completely ejecting. This would jam the rifle. Even if the spent round is ejected, there is a chance the bolt does not come back far enough to grab a new round, which needs a bit of force to get out of the magazine, thus defeating the semiautomatic nature of the firearm.

If the spring is too weak, the more of the explosive force of the bullet is wasted on the pushback. This has the effect of reducing the effective range of the rifle since the more force you can apply to the projectile, the farther it can go. 

With all of these designs, manufacturers use a series of controls. One is the bullet size. Just like the spring, a bullet with the wrong amount of gunpowder could cause the system to breakdown. Too little gunpowder and the bolt cannot fight the spring. Too much and you risk a violent explosion.

In this case, the control rifle manufacturers count on is the human shoulder. They have figured out how much force is exerted on the average human shoulder by the stock of the rifle when a round is fired. This ends up being pretty low in most cases due to the dampening effects of the spring combined with the fact the load is spread out over the entire stock. This has the practical effect of the rifle not moving while firing, allowing the bolt to do all of the moving.

The rifle relies on the fact it is not moving to allow the bolt to work. This is where the bump stock comes into play. The bump stock allows the shooter to hold his or her trigger finger still and the rifle moves back and forth onto the finger. This allow the shooter to achieve a faster raster rate of fire than the human finger is generally capable of. This is what the Vegas shooter was said to have had on his rifles.

The problem with bump stocks is they are notorious for jamming the rifle. Remember, jamming happens when the bolt is not able to complete its full back and forth motion. On US Military M-16s, the rifles are so prone to jamming they have a “bump” to allow the shooter to quickly push the bolt back into place. The civilian AR-15 is a very similar rifle and many of them suffer from the same proneness to jams.

Bump stocks allowing the rifle to move back and forth means that energy from the round is not being spent completely on the bolt.  The bolt cannot go back all of the way and thus the rifle is more prone to jam. Even if the bolt is able to come back all of the way, some of the spring force is pushing against the now movable stock, resulting in a situation where the bolt cannot exert enough force on the rounds in the magazine to get it out.

Since the NRA promotes responsible gun ownership, they have no love for bump stocks. Manufacturers have also opposed bump stocks since they did not design their firearms to use them. Bump stocks are not as useful as their manufacturers would lead you to believe and modifying your rifle in an unapproved way has always been frowned upon by the NRA.

Note: The author of this piece is a Life Member of the NRA but in no way is endorsed or funded by the NRA. This is a 100-0 financial relationship.