- Name: Lonnie Bruner
- Location: Washington, DC, United States
I live in DC, sail the Chesapeake Bay, have a lovely wife who's a web designer, a young son, an unruly hound dog, and am interested in most everything in the world. Oh yea, and I love the smell of burning trash in the Third World. That just gets me going.
- Got Towed, Drank, Danced a Little ...
- Hello? Anyone Up For a China Rant?
- Cat Shit Coffee
- My Secret Apartment
- Ok, I'll Play Some Guitar for You
- I'm pretty sure I just went to the best sushi rest...
- The Pinnacle of Sport Fishing: Catching a Blue Mar...
- Bars in India: Like 100 Years Ago in the USA
- Atlantic Rockfishing
- They Hauled My Next-Door Neighbor Away in an Ambul...
- July 2004
- November 2004
- December 2004
- January 2005
- February 2005
- March 2005
- April 2005
- May 2005
- June 2005
- July 2005
- August 2005
- September 2005
- October 2005
- November 2005
- December 2005
- January 2006
- February 2006
- March 2006
- April 2006
- May 2006
- June 2006
- July 2006
- August 2006
- September 2006
- October 2006
- November 2006
- December 2006
- January 2007
- February 2007
- March 2007
- April 2007
- May 2007
- June 2007
- July 2007
- August 2007
- September 2007
- October 2007
- November 2007
- December 2007
- January 2008
- February 2008
- March 2008
- April 2008
- May 2008
- June 2008
- July 2008
- August 2008
- September 2008
- October 2008
- November 2008
- December 2008
- January 2009
- February 2009
- March 2009
- April 2009
- May 2009
- June 2009
- July 2009
- August 2009
- September 2009
- October 2009
- November 2009
- December 2009
- January 2010
- February 2010
- March 2010
- April 2010
- June 2010
- July 2010
- September 2010
- October 2010
- November 2010
- December 2010
- January 2011
- February 2011
- March 2011
- June 2011
- July 2011
- August 2011
- September 2011
- November 2011
- July 2012
- October 2012
Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I Don't Care About Birthdays
Women seem to make a bigger deal out of birthdays than men do. Actually, thinking of a handful of my closest friends, I can only tell you off the top of my head when one of them (Colin) was born, and that's because he was born the day before Halloween. And I've never called him on that day that I can remember. I don't think that makes me a bad friend and I'm pretty sure he doesn't either.
I only care about this subject enough to give it seven sentences.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
New Business Idea for my Home Bar?
Welcome to Club Thunderbolt, the strangest place in the city to get a lap dance. It's located in the back room of an old house in an east side neighborhood of working class bungalows.And this part of the article pretty much sums up my life philosophy:
"Everybody in the neighborhood knows what I do," says Jay Thunderbolt, the 45-year-old club owner, homeowner, house mom and house DJ. "In the summertime you got all these girls leaving wearing four ounces of clothing, so they kind of get what's going on."
Thunderbolt doesn't need a cabaret license like other Detroit strip clubs must have. The city ordinance regulating other places doesn't apply, because it's not a bar serving liquor or food, but rather a private arrangement in a private home. To him it's like having a strip-o-gram sent to your own house.
"I tell everybody, 'This is what I'm gonna do. Don't be freakin' out.'"Holy crap, next time I visit the in-laws in suburban Detroit, I hope we can hit up Thunderbolt's home strip club. Check out his harpoon on the wall in that picture. Man, I gotta get one of those for my place. I'm slippin'.
What do you think, can you picture bouncing tits and grinding asses amongst my cow skull, nautical paraphernalia, and bitters collection? I guess that could be a fall-back if my export business goes by the wayside. I'm sure Katie won't care, and Elliot loves bare boobs, so I'm sure it would be cool with him too.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Shit I've Fixed on the Sailboat in 2010 (Non-sailors need not read this).
I love reading the sailing blogs' lists of Spring fix-it tasks, but I'm always disappointed that they just make a short bullet-pointed list without good descriptions of what it took to do this or that. I always find that the smallest job on a sailboat takes MUCH longer than anticipated, so here we go, as I see that it should be written:
- Replaced seat drain flanges and hose mechanism. This was nearly the most uncomfortable task to complete because it required taking all the junk out of my cockpit locker and crawling around in tight spaces with my bare skin rubbing against 38-year-old fiberglass. On my boat, there's a drain mounted onto the port seat which drains the rainwater that would otherwise stand in a 5-foot wide spot on my cockpit seat. The hose that I removed was 38 years old and was the cause of a lot of rainwater entering my boat. The thru-hulls were so deteriorated that the boat was taking a gallon of water with each rain. I went to Bacon's and met an old salt who recommended that I buy Home Depot parts to replace it instead of spending big bucks at Fawsett's. I followed his advice, but nothing fit where the old rig had been so it took me many hours of hack-sawing, razor-blading and caulking hoses and metal to get it to fit. This is the classic jimmie-rig for me on the boat.
- Replaced cabin lights with fancy brass reading lights; added hard-wired v-berth light. I LOVE to burn my two oil lanterns in the cabin, but I need the backup of real electric lights. My port cabin light had voltage issues so with 30 minutes of investigative work with my voltmeter, I figured out that there was a bad connection where the wire had been pulled taut under the bulkhead. Easy repair. I've now got classic-looking brass lights over the galley and the port settee berth. I removed the old plastic incandescent light that I had in the port main salon into the v-berth so now whoever sleeps there can read without their headlight. Speaking of headlamps, I love them on the boat, but part of the beauty of having hard-wired lighting onboard is when you're sleeping and then wake up and can't find your headlamp in the dark, you've got your hard-wired lighting to guide your way.
- Installed Sony marine stereo system and new speaker. This will be the third stereo in three years -- averaging one a year. My first stereo I tried to go cheap; I bought a bona fide marine stereo, but spent very little money. The brand name was Pyle and I highly do NOT recommend it. That fucker broke in one season. Then, for 2009, I bought an inexpensive Sony car stereo because some old salt told me that you don't need that bullshit "marine stereo" shit unless you enjoy spending extra money. The stereo did fine through the '09 season, but the winter killed it when the melting snow found a deck leak and dripped all over the bitch for several months. Luckily, Christmas of 2009 brought me two $100 West Marine gift cards so I broke down and bought a quality marine stereo system with iPod input and the works, including remote control that I can operate from the cockpit. I also scored a $25 Poly Planar speaker (used) which I man-handled into the cockpit, with the help of Mr. Hacksaw and Mr. Metal File. There's really not much point to a boat stereo system that doesn't have a speaker wired into the cockpit. Now I'm looking for a cheap subwoofer that I can rig up inside the bilge, so if anyone can hook me up, let me know. This would do wonders for the 1812 Overture at sunset -- a long-held tradition of the guys' trip.
- Taped and sewed up the whomper. Yea, I know it's annoying that every sailor since the movie Wind refers to his biggest sail as a "whomper" but it's just so apt; the fucking thing is basically a 200% genoa and gives power like no other. During my March 8th sail, the damn thing caught on the spreader and gave me an 8-foot rip about 3/4 of the way to the top of the mast. My neighbor, and sailing buddy, Todd, helped me with the canvaswork and we sewed it up right. During my sail today, it held great. Actually, I think sewing a large rip in an old sail can be stronger than some of the original stitching because the new stitches are with UV-resistant thread that hasn't been exposed to sunlight like the factory-installed stuff.
- Organized all my bolts and shackles and shit. One of favorite things to do is organize my toolboxes and fishing tackle boxes on the boat. And damn, I have enough of them -- probably six, if you count the tool drawer and storage boxes of spares. I just love a boat with proper back-up that doesn't just increase the clutter level. I had a bunch of old caulk-coated bolts sitting in an old chicken livers container; I'm not kidding, the container still says "chicken livers" on the side. I put these into an old tackle box -- coincidentally, one with sentimental value, a tackle box that I've had since I was a young teenager; it still has Polaroids of old guys holding up fish taped to the inside that I took from a shoebox in a long-closed fishing shop back in the 80s; the fucking box barely closes with all those photos taped in there.
- Replaced my fishfinder/depthfinder trasducer mount; added ladder bracket. The ice flows blew hard into my marina and broke off my transducer which was mounted on a 1X1 piece of wood bolted to my transom. The shit was just dangling in the water when I first noticed it this season. I had bolted the old mount into the original ladder bracket, which I thought was the right thing to do, since I didn't want to drill new holes in the back of my transom. In hindsight, this was the wrong way. I fucking HATE the ladder that we've been using for three years. The legs would always fold up on people trying to climb back on the boat, and you could never properly stow that son-ofa-bitch because it was so goofy and big. Good riddance. I've now moved the transducer mount and bolted it through the transom after getting the balls to sit precariously in my dinghy and drill through it with the non-battery-powered Makita. Now I have a nice bracket which will hold the ladder, and the transducer mount is securely bolted next to it. This ladder is stowable in the cockpit locker and will be much easier for swimmers to climb back onto the boat with.
- Screwed in small wooden compass/windmeter/pencil holder. I have a great new sailing buddy who lives down the street and has an AWESOME wooden boat from the early 1960s. He built me a small compass/windmeter/pencil holder which is mounted to my starboard aft bulkhead so when I need to find a quick bearing or wind reading, I can reach down and grab the needed tools without letting go of the tiller. This may sound small, but it's the small things that make my sailing world happy.
- Added sailing collage for 8-year guys' trip anniversary. I posted this previously on this blog, but I now got it printed and laminated at Kinko's and stuck it to the starboard aft bulkhead.
- Hope to get the god damn ball valve for the head intake installed SOON. My boat is 38 years old. For some damn reason -- likely to save money -- the manufacturer used fucking gate valves for my toilet. Simply put, that old shit broke when ice got in there. There was water sitting where the hose connects to the valve and it just fell off when I put minimal pressure on it last December. As any good sailor knows, I need to replace this old crap with ball valves but it's been a negotiating back-and-forth with the various marinas in the area to get the best price and time. As you may know, my wife and I just had a kid and she's taking in reduced pay, so I'm trying to find the best price for a haul, paint, etc. The best price in the region is my marina, but getting them to do the work is another story entirely. The marina owner is a 300-pound dude who's very slow and seems to always been moving around the marina mixing epoxy or something while his (old school) railway sits empty, and making excuses why he can't pull my boat. But finally, today, I had a good conversation with him and he set a date to haul and paint the boat during the last week of April. I hesitate to mention the price, because it's the lowest in the region, but damn, this made my day today. I might have quality head valves soon! I have already figured out that I'll need a serious metal-saw to get the old valve off, but I think I can handle it. I'm expecting that it could either take 20 minutes or 20 hours to complete.
- Got fishing licence, bigger net, better/bigger rockfish lures. I SCORED at a fishing flea market in Essex Maryland. Damn, it was great. My fishing gear is now complete with a 1960s Penn reel (don't make 'em like they usedtuh), and net that actually fits the size of the fish that I actually catch, and big-ass lures that should nail 'em. I wish I had a photo of the lures I bought because they are as big or bigger than some of the fish I caught last season.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Alexander Stephens: Slavery Was a Major Cause of the Civil War and the "Cornerstone" of the Confederacy
Most people in the south have long ago gotten over this and moved on, but every once in a while, you hear that slavery was -- oh yes -- such a small small, very small part of why they fought.
A nice piece of evidence against this bullshit is the speech given by the Vice President of the Confederate States, Alexander Stephens, on March 21, 1861. This "Cornerstone Speech" is worth reading in full which you can find here.
I've bolded the key parts. I quoted extensively so no one can accuse me of "taking it out of context":
"But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other though last, not least. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the "rock upon which the old Union would split." He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the "storm came and the wind blew."The Confederate constitution was modeled on the US Constitution, except, as Stephens so proudly described, it was the first constitution in history to fully legitimize slavery in the founding documents of that would-be nation.
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well, that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North, who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics. Their conclusions are right if their premises were. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just but their premise being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle, a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of men. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds, we should, ultimately, succeed, and that he and his associates, in this crusade against our institutions, would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as it was in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him that it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.
As I've said before, I love when facts get in the way of a good argument.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Here's the Eight Years, Gentlemen
These photos tell like a hundred stories. A print version of the above collage will be gracing my aft bulkhead.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
A Perspective from My Friend, the Catholic Priest
"I cannot read any more priestly pedophile stories. Now that I have a child, that type of news affects me like never before."
My Catholic priest friend wrote me:
"These stories are hard for anyone to read, I suppose, in your case because you have a child, in mine because I have loved the priesthood and the Church and am horrified by the enormous evil that has been wrought and so inadequately addressed over the years.It is quite unbelievable and sickening what's been going on with the Catholic church. These scandals damage or destroy so many people's lives in different ways, but it's important to remember how it also affects normal, good Catholics, including the priests.
The last few days have been enormously depressing for me, despite my own personal successes in preaching and the beauty of our Easter liturgies, I have found it difficult to be optimistic about where things are headed and difficult even to focus on my own work.
While I meant what I wrote on your post last week that some of this stuff was being distorted and overblown with respect to Benedict, other things that I have read (chiefly through the obsessive and unfair Andrew Sullivan's blog, but not his work itself) have made it difficult to defend the institution even in light of the changing standards of history, etc..
I'm blessed that my own religious community has had good leadership in this regard. In the last 25 years I'm aware of only one case that we've had involving children, and as soon as the complaints surfaced we removed the guy from his work, investigated, and kicked him out of the priesthood. We handed him over to the police, fully cooperated, and refused to pay his defense. Quite right, too--we were convinced of his guilt, after all. He is now in jail. Any cases are too many, but as with family and school, so in the church to a certain degree they cannot be totally avoided--what is essential is to be vigilant about dealing immediately with any hint of threat so as to protect children. (We do have extensive screening for candidates and so forth, but it's not easy to totally predict who will have these tendencies in life).
Anyway, sorry to prattle on, but your status update has been on my mind since I saw it first come up."
I love when facts get in the way of a good argument.
And taxes in the US have been basically the same since about 1950:
And make sure you take a look at 538's post on income distribution in the USA where he make the true point that:
"Dollar for dollar, America offers the most effective and efficient government on the planet, doing so for about 20 cents on the dollar nationally, 28 cents if you include state and local taxes."
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Your Grandparents Will Teach You A Lot -- Even After Life
After Taps, they folded the flag and presented it to the next of kin -- Katie's grandmother, Jean.
There's a confluence of emotions that run through your mind when this is happening -- sadness, patriotism, pride, pain, strength, pain.
I remember when this happened at my grandfather's funeral back in 1997, but I feel like I was maybe too immature to soak its full meaning in.
In the past year, I've felt the happiest I've ever felt about the direction of my country. I've experienced patriotism that is unparalelled in my recent memory. Biking or driving past DC monuments makes my cold godless heart swell with pride.