Tankfest!

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Michelle and I took the boys to Tankfest at the Flying Heritage Collection museum in Everett today. The FHC is a collection of World War II aircraft collected by Paul Allen (who has way more fun with his money than BillG does, IMHO). I love these old warbirds, and the fact that many of them are flyable is even more exciting.

Anyway, to celebrate Memorial Day, they were hosting Tankfest where local collectors brought their armor and other weapons in. They had three tanks - A Russian T-34/85, a German Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer, and a more modern British FV101 Scorpion - plus big artillery (including a few German 88s) and jeeps, half-tracks, and other cool WWII era stuff. They were driving the vehicles around and did a little shooting (blanks, of course) as well.

The Jagdpanzer and T-34
A camo German Jagdpanzer and a white Russian T-34

.30 cal machine gun on a half-track
.30 caliber machine gun with US flag behind

Taking aim on a 20mm anti-aircraft gun
Looking through the gunsight of a 20mm AA gun

Andrew (13) manhandling a bazooka
Andrew (13) holding a bazooka that is too heavy for him

WWII era radio set in the back of a Jeep
Close-up view of a WWII radio set

 

As I mentioned I love old warbirds, so it was exciting to see the planes too.

P-40 Tomahawk in Flying Tigers livery
Nose of a P-40 Tomahawk with the Flying Tigers shark face

Warning by the cockpit of a Hawker Hurricane
Warning on a Hawker Hurricane asking "Is your oxygen cylinder turned on"

 

I'm looking forward to going back on their flight days to see some of the planes in the air. They have "Mustang Day" coming on up June 4 and especially exciting is the debut of their FW-190 on June 18. This is the only flying FW-190 with the original engine left in the world. You can find their Free Fly Days schedule here.

The Ultimate Bacon Lovers Gift Guide

I think my friends know I like bacon. After my previous post about The Bacon Enthusiast Gift Guide, my hometown friend Steve sent me this link to The Ultimate Bacon Lovers Gift Guide. It's another winner full of great gift ideas for the bacon lover in your life (so, pretty much everyone, because who doesn't love bacon?!)

I'm hoping there's a My First Bacon under the tree this year. Just sayin'.

bacongifts_myfirstbacon

The Ultimate Bacon Lovers Gift Guide from The Bachelor Guy

The Test of True Gentleman

During college, I had the privilege of joining Kappa Alpha Order, a national fraternity founded on the principle of upholding the virtues of being a gentleman. The spiritual founder of the Order is Robert E. Lee, among the most amazing Americans in history.

We learned one quote that always stuck with me; I thought I'd share it here since it's just as relevant today as it was over a hundred years ago.

The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman. 

The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly, the forbearing or inoffensive use of all of this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light. 

The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled when he cannot help humbling others.

I hope to live up to this standard every day.

NPR Hosts Read the Declaration of Independence

The US Declaration of Independence This year, I celebrated the Fourth of July alone in Beijing. Many people who know me will know that I'm a huge fan of the founding charters of freedom of the United States: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, and The Bill of Rights (click for the full text of the documents). While this has always been true, I value the true foresight and values encoded in these amazing documents by The Founding Fathers even more living outside the US, particularly in a country that is founded on a different set of values.

If you haven't read these documents recently, I urge you to do so. They are as meaningful and powerful 234 years later and perhaps even more applicable as peoples and governments around the world struggle with the definitions of nationhood and the balance the rights of individuals with broader needs. I also hope our elected officials remind themselves of a few things, that the role of government is to secure our unalienable Rights and that the government derives "their just powers from the consent of the governed." Finally, I hope we all really take a moment to appreciate and deeply value what we as Americans have in the form of these documents. Even today, billions of people have nothing like them in principle or in practice.

In addition to the links to the full texts of the documents above, I've included a special link to the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence performed by the hosts, reporters, newscasters, and commentators of NPR. I found it even more moving than just reading the text.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone, and Happy Birthday, America!

The Declaration of Independence, Read Aloud by NPR Staff

My Kind of EULA

I've reviewed a lot of EULAs, TOUs, T&Cs*, etc. in my time at Microsoft and can almost understand them even though I'm not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV.) While I mentally summarize each section, I wish I had thought of just spelling it out in the document. I love the simplicity and clarity (and cheek) of the MOG.com TOU.

Here's a little example:

image

A few other summary lines I liked:

MOG is about personal use, not your making a buck

...

MOG needs money to survive

...

MOG is not your parent

...

MOG is you

...

MOG is all-powerful

...

MOG is powerless

...

Incidentally, MOG looks pretty cool.

 

* EULA == End User License Agreement, TOU == Terms of Use, T&C == Terms and Conditions

Another Chor Boy!

I'm very pleased to welcome my new nephew, Simon Chengjie Chor, to the world and our family! He was born November 30 in Minnesota to my sister-in-law, Aimee, and brother, Ives. He's healthy and home now, ready to deny sleep to Aimee and Ives and charm everyone who comes by.

Andrew (12) and Michael (9) are ready to teach him all manner of bad things as soon as he's ready. I think my mom is crazy now because there are no daughters on our side of the family, but I'm sure she'll be fine (especially if Aimee and Ives have a girl next...).

For me, I can't wait to meet him. I love little, little babies! Anyway, congrats to Aimee and Ives!

Simon Chor

"Unfriend" is the Word of the Year

A little over ten years ago, I worked on Microsoft Bookshelf, an CD-ROM reference product that had a dictionary, thesaurus, book of quotations, concise encyclopedia, chronology, atlas, and almanac. (Later on we added other stuff like an internet directory and ZIP code directory.)

One of the fun projects each year was to select the new words to add to the dictionary; at the time, it was stuff like assault rifle and ebola. Unfortunately, we stopped making that product after Internet pretty much made in unnecessary. (It was still a cool product -- the first CD-ROM title from Microsoft.)

However, dictionaries still need add new words each year to reflect changes in the language. This year, the people at the New Oxford American Dictionary announced that unfriend was the word of 2009.

unfriend: To remove someone as a 'friend' on a social networking site such as Facebook.

Other terms they're adding to the dictionary next year include netbook, hashtag, death panel, funemployed, tramp stamp, and teabagger. There were also a slew of new Obama related terms such as Obamanomics.

I think the new words are a very interesting view of our times.

For more, check out the Oxford University Press blog post.