Thursday, July 31, 2008

Happy First Blogoversary! our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings! To celebrate this momentous occasion, Google has decided to tag them as a spam blog.

Not much of a birthday present, don't you think? You can make up for Google's churlish behavior with a visit and a comment.

I Apologize

Having read Barack Obama's latest pronouncements - that the country needs to apologize for it's dark and hideous past, I'd like to apologize right now.

I'm sorry I drank the last of the milk and didn't replace it for a couple of days.

There, how's that?

Just how does all this self-flagellation work, anyway? He talks about what a sack of garbage we've been to everyone and then says we need to get back to what made this country great. Huh? Does that mean we're going to say we're sorry to the Chinese railroad workers from the 1800s and then import a whole bunch more and put them to work in the desert again? How can you confess guilt for having been a villain in the past and then yearn to get back to that time?

The guy needs to get a serious grip. The US is #1 in just about every measure imaginable. We're the 1927 Yankees. Barack Obama, less accomplished than most people his age, is walking around talking about how lousy we are. It's like some utility infielder telling Ruth and Gherig that the team sucks.

(Barack Obama thinking to himself): Man, do these guys need my message of hope and change or what?

Will This Nightmare Never End?

The worst economy since the Great Depression continues to slide off the rails into a pit of despair and destruction that only hope and change can, er, change.
The U.S. economy doubled its speed in the spring, driven by higher exports, falling imports, and rising spending by consumers given tax rebates meant to neutralize the housing slump...Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 1.9% annual rate April through June...Businesses drew down inventories sharply, putting a big drag on GDP -- yet suggesting smaller cuts in production down the road.
That does it for me. I'm heading to Canada where the Dream Lives On. With inventories drawn down, it can only mean one thing - higher levels of production and higher levels of employment will be required in the future.

We're screwed, people. Get out while you can.

Update: An accelerating economy will allow the Fed to raise interest rates, thereby significantly boosting the dollar. That can't be good, can it?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cat Burglar

On the theme of getting an automatic cat feeder to try and get our Maximum Leader to let me sleep in a little bit, here's a kitty who outwits the thing to get a few more crunchies than he's supposed to!

I Need an Automatic Cat Feeder

...because I have an automatic cat.

Furryfeeder has some products that might apply.

Update: Of course, our Maximum Leader may be able to outwit the thing...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank Goodness China's Hosting the Olympics

...because it looks like it's forcing them to take the first steps towards cleaning up their environment. That's good for all of us.

It's easy to be cynical about this and note that most of these measures are temporary, but it indicates a growing awareness about the intrinsic value of cleaner industry.

Save the Earth - Just Like the Europeans!

I just noticed this particularly striking irony.

Barack Obama (in his speech in Berlin): This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations -- including my own -- will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere.

German crowd: YAY!

Reality: What is happening all over Europe? They have plans to build a lot of coal fired power plants. Yep. Coal fired power plants. That would be plants that use (for practical purposes) 100% carbon. Not oil. Not natural gas. Both of which are a lot more expensive than coal. So they are buying based on price not catastrophe.

Hypothetical memo from Barack Obama to staff: Please check facts a little better next time.

Wells Fargo is Doing it Right least that's the way it looks to me.

Sitting on some cash after selling my home, I've been watching the stock market. It's a good time to have cash, too. Every time the market goes down, the value of my cash goes up. I've been looking at the banking and home improvement sector the closest. No matter how toxic the situation is for the banks, everyone needs one. As they fall in value, the buying looks better and better. After watching and reading the Wall Street Journal for a while, I discarded a bunch of bank stocks as losers (Citibank, Bank of America and a few others) and have started looking most closely at Wells Fargo. I just went through their report to investors and was cheered by what I found.

Wells Fargo has avoided most of the problems in their industry. Unlike some of the other big banks, WF has been making a profit all along. As I read their investor's information presentation, I could see why. Here's what they've been doing with debt consolidation loans:
  • No interest-only, option ARMs or negative amortizing loans in portfolio

  • Brokers, correspondents, or national advertising campaigns not used

  • Full documentation and require income verification
In other words, they behaved like bankers, not loan sharks. The end result is that while their competitors are having to restructure bad debt and make excuses to investors, Wells Fargo is cruising along, making money and growing.

It looks like Wells Fargo is the one best situated to take advantage of the problems and losses all across their industry. Eventually the bad investments and foreclosures will work their way out of the system and banking will regain its footing. When that dust settles, I would think that Wells Fargo will be in a much stronger position that it was when this whole mess started.

Update: I did a little searching around the blogosphere and came up with more positive reviews of WF. The White Oaks Blog mentions how WF has really improved their home mortgage process.

Over at Customer Experience Matters, a survey of banks' behaviors puts WF at the top of some lists and the bottom of none.

Over at Investment Moats, drizzt had this to say about WF:
The bank is now reaping the rewards of keeping its powder dry. The company did add $1.5 billion in the second quarter to its provisions against bad loans, but net charge-offs climbed to just an annualized 1.55% for the quarter.

The relatively modest losses have let Wells Fargo increase its lending just as its capital-constrained competitors have pulled back.
That was my thought exactly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ubuntu Report Card - 1 Week

To be perfectly honest, I haven't spent much time playing with the thing. Having said that, I find the system relatively easy to use. I've installed Samba which allows you to use the computer as a Windows share drive and Apache which allows it to be a web server. Both were very quick and easy installs, once you figured out the whole Ubuntu layout. The permissions thing is just kicking my tail right now, though.

I am the only user on the system. I am the sysadmin. I still can't edit files. Every time I try to do anything, it either asks me for my password again or it refuses to let me do it. Argh!

I've got to work that one out before I go any farther.

The Future Looks Terrible, the Present Looks Good

...which is a direct result of the MSM being a conveyer of doom and gloom.

Carpe Diem has a post today that shows this graph.

It's the Intrade betting line on second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). 110 days ago, the dominant bet was that it would be shrinking. Now the dominant bet is that it will be growing. When all you get is bad news, the distant future almost always looks worse than it really turns out to be. Economist, author, actor, bon vivant and all around good guy Ben Stein provided a nice summary of the situation. Here's a tidbit.
But how bad is it, really? The economy isn’t at its best. Oil prices are painfully high, foreclosures are really hurtfully high, job growth in many areas is sluggish or worse, and a sector of the credit markets is extremely weak. But over all, it’s not all that bad.

According to the June 2008 economic indicators from the White House Council of Economic Advisers, here is where we stood at the end of June:

There has not been one down year for the G.D.P. in this decade. There has not been one down quarter, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 2001.
It's worth reading the whole thing. A brief syunopsis: the economy is so huge that the numbers bruted about by the MSM may seem big, but in terms of the overall economy, they're not. It's an issue of scale. Here's the numbers:

The size of the overall US economy:

If we suffered defaults on 2% of all mortgages, we would lose:

Removing some of the zeros so it makes some sense to an individual, it's like losing $1200 when you earn $140,000. I wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis, but it's not that bad of a loss.

The MSM tells you we're doomed and when you look far enough into the future, you think you see a trainwreck. The politicians react to this and rush about suggesting this stimulus package or that bailout, all of it using borrowed money. When the future is close enough to reliably predict it, things don't look so bad.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wii Review - First Weekend

Short version: I love our Wii.

Random thoughts:

  • Playing the Wii can be very tiring. My Wii came with a CD of sports games. My daughter tried them out and loved them. She did so much boxing that she worked up a sweat and ended up with sore shoulders. This is from a girl who is on a club soccer team where they practice two hours a day, three days a week. She's in excellent shape.

  • The Wii has beautiful games. They may not be as photorealistic as the ones on the XBox 360, but there is a gentle beauty to them. My son and his friends play Call of Duty 4 on the 360 and while that looks pretty close to the real thing, it's a savage, jarring and unpleasant experience.

  • Hooking the Wii up to the Internet was easy and free. It has built-in WiFi and connected to my router almost immediately. Wii online content is free. We haven't found friends yet, but that will come in time.

  • Once you are online, the Wii has splash-page selections for weather and news. The weather feature looks a lot like Google Earth and allows you to not only pick locations by name, but scan the planet for weather. In keeping with the Wii theme, it's a pleasant and beautiful experience.

  • Endless Ocean is a blast. I wish it was in hi-def and had a little better graphics, but it's still an excellent game. The lack of a time limit, a scoreboard or a real goal doesn't detract from it at all. In fact, it makes the game more fun. You simply explore the ocean. If you want, you can play a more goal-oriented game and take other divers (controlled by the game) on guided dives and show them whatever species of fish they ask for, but you can also just explore the water. After the kids have gone to bed, I turn off the lights and play the game. It's a great way to end the day.
Here's a video of game play. In the game, you can feed the fish. That's the orange cloud you see in the video. After you do that, you get some freeloaders that follow you around, hoping for more food. When I snorkel in real life, I like to bring frozen peas for the fish. The game captures the excited swarming that you get when you release the food into the water.

Cat Attack!

So yesterday I was in my bedroom, sifting through yet more of my things and piling up stuff for donation when I suffered a debilitating cat attack. Oh sure, things seemed peaceful enough in my room when I went in to work. There was no sign of our Maximum Leader anywhere and I had assumed she was peacefully snoozing away somewhere.

The peace was soon broken by sharp cries of pain from me.

Ow! Something just clawed my bare feet! What could it be?

Good Lord! It's worse than we'd feared! It's a Cat Attack!

It's a miracle I survived.

Some Things I Didn't Know About Mussolini

...primarily that he got his start as a reporter and used the press to create and strengthen his dictatorship.
In November 1914 he founded a new paper, Il Popolo d'Italia, and the prowar group Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria. He evidently hoped the war might lead to a collapse of society that would bring him to power. Called up for military service, he was wounded in grenade practice in 1917 and returned to edit his paper...

At first he was supported by the Liberals in parliament. With their help he introduced strict censorship and altered the methods of election so that in 1925-1926 he was able to assume dictatorial powers and dissolve all other political parties. Skillfully using his absolute control over the press, he gradually built up the legend of the "Duce, a man who was always right and could solve all the problems of politics and economics. Italy was soon a police state. With those who tried to resist him, for example the Socialist Giacomo Matteotti, he showed himself utterly ruthless. But Mussolini's skill in propaganda was such that he had surprisingly little opposition...

Under the dictatorship the parliamentary system was virtually abolished. The law codes were rewritten. All teachers in schools and universities had to swear an oath to defend the Fascist regime. Newspaper editors were all personally chosen by Mussolini himself, and no one could practice journalism who did not possess a certificate of approval from the Fascist party.
Benito Mussolini.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Are the Chinese Better for the Environment?

Think about this: What's the end effect of denying offshore drilling to American companies? Cuba, with help from the China, is drilling for oil in the Caribbean, right off the coast of Florida. We don't do it because we want to protect the environment. That oil is going to be extracted by someone. What the environmentalists are saying, in essence, is that it's better to have the Chinese do it than us.

How does that make any sense at all? Would you want the people whose country looks like this:

to operate this?

It's Getting Boring analyze Obama's speeches and the media's orgasmic reactions to it. Outside of Katie Couric's shock and dismay that Obama couldn't articulate any coherent discussion of the surge, watching the media follow Barack around has been the equivalent of a reality show about some rock star's groupies. If you doubt it, here are some hard facts about political contributions from the press.
The contributions add up to $315,533 to Democrats and $22,656 to Republicans — most of that to Ron Paul, who was supported by many liberals as a stalking horse to John McCain, a la Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos with Hillary and Obama.

What is truly remarkable about the list is that, discounting contributions to Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who was a favorite son for many folks in the media, the totals look like this: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans (four individuals who donated to McCain).

Let me repeat: $315,533 to Democrats, $3,150 to Republicans — a ratio of 100-to-1. No bias there.
The MSM is simply the propaganda wing of the Obama campaign. That Obama's speeches are soaring rhetoric that has as much to do with Narnia as it does with Earth hardly matters. For example, the Berlin airlift was not the people of Earth or even Europe coming together, it was American military muscle unilaterally shoving it right down the commies' throats. Obama's entire world view is constructed upon fairy tales, but it doesn't matter at all to the adoring media.

This campaign is starting to lose my interest. It's not based on anything substantive because it's entirely about Obama and he's a total marshmallow of a man. It's Entertainment Tonight masquerading as policy.

The thing I'm starting to wonder about is this. Will there be a bailout for the MSM? The government has stepped in and bailed out banks, auto makers and a variety of other industries. When major media giants like the NY Times begin to go under, will Congress pass bailout packages for them?

Massive shifts in advertising revenue spell doom for the MSM.
Click on the image to make sense of it.

What happens if the MSM, already a tool of one political party, becomes a government protectorate?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

What a Very Odd Speech

Obama's speech yesterday seemed like classic Obama, but it also seemed very strange. First, it was classic Obama because it was airy and nebulous and filled with talk about bringing walls down and bringing people together and, for all I know, feeding rainbows to unicorns. Their are lots of people who are fixated on Obama claiming he was "a citizen of the world," but I think this is not the strangest part of the speech. The strange part was the constant call for people to come together.

In a nutshell, Obama told us that if the people of the world came together, there was nothing they couldn't do.


What does that mean, people of the world coming together? When has that ever happened? The only thing I could think of when I heard that was some kind of Roger Corman alien invasion movie. The people of the Earth come together when they need to fend off the Martians. Other than that, they really don't come together to do much of anything.

Dude, this is the moment for the people of the Earth to come together.

The other odd part was how "this was the moment" to do something or other. I doubt that he thinks that "this being the moment" and his candidacy are a coincidence. It's pretty easy to see that he thinks that "this is the moment" because he's around to tell us all what to do.

Two years ago, it was most certainly not the moment. Now it is. I'm sure you know why.

What a weird speech.

A Wii

...we has one.

We also got Endless Ocean to play. My daughter's first take on the game: "This is awesome."

More news as events warrant.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

Saving for a Rainy Day completely out of fashion. Today's Wall Street Journal has a page one article that discusses how many states are facing serious budget shortfalls because the business cycle is turning down after many years of expansion. The result? Big cuts in programs.
Health services, among states' fastest growing costs, are being cut across the country. Ohio is closing two mental-health facilities as state agencies look to shed $733 million. The state is also cutting a program that provides free nicotine patches to smokers.

Virginia's funding for hospitals and nursing homes to care for the poor and elderly was reduced by $76 million over the next two fiscal years, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis in Richmond, Va. Maine is cutting money for foster care, mental-health services and "flexible funding," which social workers can spend on specific needs for clients.

"Our concern is the fact that the government has assumed responsibility for these things, and now they're basically saying, 'We can't do it anymore,'" says Richard Farnsworth, executive director of Portland, Maine-based Woodford Family Services. "Now the question is, 'Who's going to do it?'"
To be fair, the article does say that some states actually had savings set aside for economic downturns. I'd love to know which ones. (Hint: it's not California. We spend like drunken sailors.)

The profligacy in the government is matched at home, unfortunately.
The sun has shone steadily on the US economy for well over a decade – long enough that many forgot about rainy days. And with the memory lapse, saving for a rainy day became a long-lost practice. But the rain has begun to fall, and a prolonged wet spell is forecast. With savings rates perilously low, US consumers may suddenly get frugal. The consequences would be grim.

US consumers’ savings rates are among the lowest in the OECD. They always have been, but the wedge has widened in recent years. Back in the early 1990s, US consumers saved about 7% of their disposable income. By the latter 1990s that was down to the 4% level, and in the new millennium the rate sank to 2%. This dropped further – close to zero – as booming growth continued. Americans spent nearly all that they earned in the 2005-07 period.
You know what would be cool? Remember when the anti-smoking campaigns first started out a long time ago - how the government sponsored (and still does) ads against smoking? Wouldn't it be great if they started doing the same thing with financial responsiblity?

I'd love to see a national campaign to educate the populace about this. Here's my plan. Step 1 - expose everyone to Dave Ramsey's radio show. Step 2 - watch the foreclosures melt away and the predatory lenders go out of business. Step 3 - sit back and let the good times roll! When trouble hits, everyone, people and governments alike, will have money saved away to deal with them.

Well, I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Welcome Back Our Knight-Protector!

He just returned from Iraq a few days ago. Stop by his blog and say hi!

Like This Is News

You Should Spend Your Summer at the Beach

You're a free spirit who is always thinking of new ways to have fun.

And you don't just love summer... you live for it.

So, you really should blow off your responsibilities and head to the beach!

Thanks to our Official Artist for turning us on to another fun quiz. Try it yourself!

Fantastic Photos

...from our Missionary to the Frozen, Northern Wastelands. Check them out. You'll be glad you did.

An Unrecognized act of Heroism

...needs to be recognized.

Obama Still Opposes the Surge

...and gets an earful from the experts over at ThreatsWatch for his reasons. Here's a tidbit.
Presidential Candidate Obama’s statements in and about Iraq in the past 24 hours have been nothing less than shameless and disgraceful. While we strive to avoid political discussion at ThreatsWatch, criticism of his words transcends rank political partisanship if for no other reason than his claims are simply and flatly untrue, made in a war zone, during a time of war and while running to become the Commander in Chief of US Military Forces. This simply cannot stand unchallenged.

Not only does Senator Obama apparently think the Anbar Awakening and the Shi’a militia stand-downs that have occurred are somehow separate developments from the surge, which is a remarkable feat of logic in and of itself, but he is implying that they are part and parcel indigenous to what his ‘plan’ for ‘political progress’ would have afforded.
There's lots more at ThreatsWatch.

I watched the video of his interview with Katie Couric and was stunned. I think even die hard Obamazombie Katie was stunned. She kept asking him over and over to clarify his position and I think the best he came up with was, "I was NOT wrong, you dodo-head!"

My favorite part of this whole news cycle has been Obama's assertion that General Patreus is not thinking strategically the way he is. You know General Patreus. He's the new head of CENTCOM. Nope, nothing strategic there.


Update: The Puppy Blender points us to this little bit of good news from Basra (with lots more at the link):
There is an interesting piece of graffiti on a bridge near Basra. A fleeing militiaman has scrawled “We'll be back”; underneath an Iraqi soldier has scribbled in reply “And we'll be waiting for you”.
Update 2: The Washington Post is mystified by Obama's position.
Yet Mr. Obama's account of his strategic vision remains eccentric. He insists that Afghanistan is "the central front" for the United States, along with the border areas of Pakistan. But there are no known al-Qaeda bases in Afghanistan, and any additional U.S. forces sent there would not be able to operate in the Pakistani territories where Osama bin Laden is headquartered. While the United States has an interest in preventing the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban, the country's strategic importance pales beside that of Iraq, which lies at the geopolitical center of the Middle East and contains some of the world's largest oil reserves. If Mr. Obama's antiwar stance has blinded him to those realities, that could prove far more debilitating to him as president than any particular timetable.

Papa John's Is Better Than Dominos

Yesterday was a practice day for my daughter's soccer team. Since her practice ends at 6:30, we always get some kind of take out food on the way home for dinner. Tired of El Pollo Loco and unwilling to eat any of the really unhealthy things like McDonald's or Taco Bell, we decided on pizza. Now that we've moved, we've got a Papa John's pizza place right nearby so we decided to give it a try.

It's tons better than our old standby, Dominos. Better crust, more pepperoni, better deals, I liked everything about it more than Dominos. Moving closer to a better pizza place is easy to take.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I've Got This Song Stuck In My Head might as well have it stuck in yours, too.

I saw AC/DC live on this tour. It was a great concert. They had massive canons that telescoped out of the stage when they did For Those About to Rock. When the canons went off, the shock wave in the indoor arena pressed my jeans against my legs like it was a high wind. Luckily I was wearing earplugs.

AutoCAD, Visio and Adobe Illustrator

I just tried to import an AutoCAD .dwg file into Microsoft Visio. Epic fail. It told me it could do it and then ended up with a blank drawing. I did the same thing with Adobe Illustrator and ended up with an editable drawing.

Adobe 1, Microsoft 0.

A Godzilla Question

What do you suppose property and casualty insurance rates were like in Tokyo during the days when Godzilla used to attack?

Why the Election Doesn't Matter as Much as you Might Think

David Brooks has a very good thought piece that I don't think I can improve on.

Meanwhile, our Precentor of Measurements has a similar post with an anecdote that reinforces David Brooks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Covering for the New York Times

Here at the expansive and luxurious editorial offices of The Scratching Post, we feel for our poorer cousins over at the New York Times. Recently, they've suffered enormous financial losses and are looking towards layoffs across the board. No doubt they've also had to cut back on lunches and snacks. It is the low blood sugar levels resulting from these austerity programs that we believe is to blame for their recent decision to reject John McCain's editorial response to Barack Obama's editorial of last week.

Some have claimed that this is just another example of the MSM swooning over Obama like drunk sorority girls in the presence of the football team, but we know better. We know that their journalistic professionalism would never let them prostrate themselves before Obama as if he were some kind of New Age Messiah.

To help them in this dark time while they find something to eat and restore their senses, we're linking to the DrudgeReport page that has Senator McCain's editorial printed in its entirety, an editorial we feel certain that the NewYork Times would have run had they had sufficient food to eat.

Or if Senator McCain had been a Democrat.

Whatever the cause of their omission, here's an excerpt.
Senator Obama is also misleading on the Iraqi military's readiness. The Iraqi Army will be equipped and trained by the middle of next year, but this does not, as Senator Obama suggests, mean that they will then be ready to secure their country without a good deal of help. The Iraqi Air Force, for one, still lags behind, and no modern army can operate without air cover. The Iraqis are also still learning how to conduct planning, logistics, command and control, communications, and other complicated functions needed to support frontline troops.

No one favors a permanent U.S. presence, as Senator Obama charges. A partial withdrawal has already occurred with the departure of five “surge” brigades, and more withdrawals can take place as the security situation improves. As we draw down in Iraq, we can beef up our presence on other battlefields, such as Afghanistan, without fear of leaving a failed state behind. I have said that I expect to welcome home most of our troops from Iraq by the end of my first term in office, in 2013.

But I have also said that any draw-downs must be based on a realistic assessment of conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timetable crafted for domestic political reasons. This is the crux of my disagreement with Senator Obama.
Read the whole thing.

I Just Bought a Wii

I finally broke down and paid an $80 or so premium and bought a Wii off of Amazon. Here's what convinced me I wanted one for our family.

With all the superior graphics on the XBox 360 and the PS3, there is no beauty to their games at all. That's why I'm getting a Wii.

It's a Lazy Day

I'm not creating any new content today, I'm just posting videos and images. I feel lazy. We had another hectic, yet fun weekend and I'm just out of psychic energy.

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

ADM Mullen on Iraq and the Surge

Watch it to the very end.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Expect the Retraction on Page A36

...on Wednesday.

Today's San Diego Union print edition has a huge banner headline screaming that "Iraqi Prime Minister Endorses Obama's Withdrawal Plan" or something like that. Of course, Prime Minister Maliki has come out and said that he's been completely misquoted and said nothing of the sort, but the headline is out there on every newsstand.

Obama was totally wrong about the surge, the surge has worked better than we had hoped, the war is won despite Obama's complete misunderstanding of the situation, we can now remove victorious troops ahead of schedule and what is the conclusion by the MSM?

Obama was right all along.

The MSM is simply the propaganda wing of the Obama campaign.

The Apaches are Attacking! Send out for Fruit Smoothies!

Yesterday, my fiancee and I spent some time clearing brush at a Catholic retreat where they were installing a beautiful new statue of Mary. Being the rugged sort (my biceps bulging from all the clicking I do with a mouse), I brought my beaten up old 1984 Nissan pickup. The thing has rust holes all over the bed. It used to be red, but years ago I had it painted white by Earl Scheib where they did not remove the original color. Consequently, the white is chipping away all over the place making the thing a hideous beast of a truck.

It's also great for hauling things because you can't possibly scratch or dent it in any way that will make it look worse. Everyone else in the work party showed up in their SUVs and sedans. I had the only truck capable of hauling the brush, wood and rocks we had cleared away. Of course, my trusty pickup and I leaped into action while the others were all doing something else. (I think it was texting each other about which yoga classes they were going to attend or which macrobiotic yogurts were the best.*)

All I could think of at the time was what a difference 130 years makes. Way back then, out in the Old West, you needed to fend off the Apaches and tame the wilderness. I had the kind of mount you'd want when you needed to ride off to Fort Bridger for reinforcements.

This kind of truck would bring back Winchester rifles and redeye whiskey. The SUVs would have brought back Multicultural Sensitivity Trainers and iced mochas.

* - Actually everyone worked very hard. The end result was an absolutely beautiful status lovingly placed in a professionally landscaped setting. Everyone donated their time cheerfully. We even had one of the 11-year-old girls from my soccer team there clearing brush.

Dan Eggen and Michael Abramowitz

I can't think of anything else to title this post. I'm truly at a loss for words to describe their latest article on winning the war and withdrawing our victorious troops. I guess it's because they don't report that.

WASHINGTON – President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a “time horizon” for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as part of a long-term security accord they are trying to negotiate by the end of the month, White House officials said yesterday.

The decision, reached during a videoconference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks the culmination of a gradual but significant shift for the president, who has adamantly fought – and even ridiculed – efforts by congressional Democrats to impose what he described as artificial timetables for withdrawing U.S. forces.
I give up. I simply give up. I wish I could say that these two are the dimmest of the dim bulbs in the MSM, but I can't. You know I can't. Almost to a man, the MSM must be the home of the lowest watt bulbs in the country.

Perhaps they will read this. Perhaps we can still reach whatever lies at the top of their spinal cords and occupies their skulls. In order to do this, I suspect we will have to speak loudly and in small words.


I think the complicated part for Danny and Mike is that the troops come home in both cases. It's like one of those really difficult puzzles in Highlights magazine where they show you two very similar pictures and ask you to find the difference. You know, the ones that show a barnyard where there's a pony and a cow and a kitty cat, but in one picture there's a puppy as well and you have to circle the puppy?

I found a great practice quiz for Mike and Danny. If you guys read this (and get this far, there are some pretty big words in this post), try watching this as a practice for your next article.

If you think this is insulting, try showing Danny and Mike's article to some of the Marines coming home from Iraq and asking them what they think the difference is between leaving 6 months from now and leaving 12 months ago like the Democrats wanted. I wonder if they could tell the difference?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Softball Joke

I got this from a friend and thought I'd share.

Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb, had been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.

One day Barb said, "Rose, we both loved playing women's softball all our lives, and we played in all through High School. Please do me one favor: When you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there's women's softball there."

Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed, "Barb, you've been my best friend for many years. If it's at all possible, I'll do this favor for you."

Shortly after that, Rose passed on.

At midnight a couple of nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, "Barb, Barb."

"Who is it?" asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"

"Barb -- it's me, Rose."

"You're not Rose. Rose just died."

"I'm telling you, it's me, Rose," insisted the voice.

"Rose! Where are you?"

"In Heaven," replied Rose. "I have some really good news and a little bad news."

"Tell me the good news first," said Barb.

"The good news," Rose said, "is that there's Softball in Heaven. Better yet, all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we're all young again. Better still, it's always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired."

"That's fantastic," said Barb.. "It's beyond my wildest dreams! So what's the bad news?"

"You're pitching Tuesday."

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

Fighting Against Ourselves

Some people are on the side of civilization.

Some people are not.

Update: I found the perfect music video for this post. It's by a pack of fat, drug-addled toads who helped push the whole idea that's killing these communities. I saw these creeps in concert. It was easily the single worst concert I have ever been to. They had less stage presence than a damp mop. They were actually angry with the audience because we weren't buy enough of their CDs. Enjoy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

More Than 600,000 Wii's Sold in June

...and I can't find even one out there to buy. It's also the most popular gaming system in the country now.

Because it's Friday

We Won

These posts are getting easier and easier to write. Confederate Yankee notes that the tenth province has been handed over to the Iraqis and the former center of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq is about to go over soon as well.

How well do you think we'd be doing if we had followed Mr. Hope n' Change's marvelous judgment and run away a year ago?

Of course, had we done that, we could have saved about $100B and spent it on the hopelessly bloated public education industry or maybe thrown more of it at ethanol subsidies for the massive corporate farms in the Midwest. Do you think that would have been a better use of our time and money than turning one of the world's oil superpowers into a friendly democracy and removing a murderous tyrant?

Don't worry, I'm sure we'll find out. As soon as the money from Iraqi Freedom is made available following our successful withdrawal, you can be sure it will find it's way into the departments of Education and Agriculture. It always does.

God bless the USA.

Adventures with Ubuntu

So I've decided to install Ubuntu Linux on one of my machines. At work, I was given a newer PC which was about ten times faster than my old one. I brought my old one home and am trying to turn it into a Lunux server so I can test out all the things I bloviate about at work.

On the advice of some friends, I decided to try Ubuntu. Going to their site, I downloaded both the server and the desktop versions. My connection turned out to be very fast, over 1MB per second on the download. From there, I followed the instructions and burned an installation CD for each.

Neither worked.

The server CD won't boot and the desktop CD has an error in one of the files. I'm blogging right now from the desktop version - it will boot off the CD, but it won't install onto the hard drive. All I've managed to do so far is wipe out everything that used to be on the hard drive. I'm guessing (read: hoping) that the problem was a write error when I burned the CD, so I'm doing it all over again, using my laptop to download and burn the new CD.

On the plus side, Ubuntu screens feature a cheerful orange color.

More later as events warrant.

Update: Making a new CD with the laptop worked. I've now got Ubuntu desktop installed. As I play with it, I'll post what I learn. I like the price in particular. It's free.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Won

The Heavily Armed Tourist has an outstanding post on victory in Iraq. Here's a tidbit.
Yesterday I found inspiration in the tears of joy on hundreds of faces at the graduation for the Iraqi Military Academy at Rustimiyah as 252 young men graduated from the one year course of instruction and were commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the Iraqi Army and Air Force...

The stands were overflowing with their families and friends frantically waving as they spotted their sons, brothers and friends in the formation...

the ceremony kicked off with a bang as the entire corps of cadets sang the Iraqi national anthem, which on its own is a powerful song, but when sung by almost a thousand young soldiers at the tops of their lungs with joy and pride you can’t help but feel a chill along the back of your neck without needing to understanding a single word.

As soon as the formation marched forward to the graduation line the candy started raining down. It is an Arabic tradition to give sweets at joyous occasions and at the military academy graduations this has taken the form of handfuls of candy being flung from the stands by women at the cadets and all of us gathered on the floor. I have never seen such huge smiles on Iraqi faces in my five years here. One wonderful older woman had a huge purse which she emptied at all of us on the floor before giving me a wink and transitioning to a basket at her side with another barrage.
A new graduate and his father.

God bless the USA.

We Won

Michael Yon, the most capable and competent journalist in Iraq had this to say a few days ago.
14 July 2008

The war continues to abate in Iraq. Violence is still present, but, of course, Iraq was a relatively violent place long before Coalition forces moved in. I would go so far as to say that barring any major and unexpected developments (like an Israeli air strike on Iran and the retaliations that would follow), a fair-minded person could say with reasonable certainty that the war has ended. A new and better nation is growing legs. What's left is messy politics that likely will be punctuated by low-level violence and the occasional spectacular attack. Yet, the will of the Iraqi people has changed, and the Iraqi military has dramatically improved, so those spectacular attacks are diminishing along with the regular violence. Now it's time to rebuild the country, and create a pluralistic, stable and peaceful Iraq. That will be long, hard work. But by my estimation, the Iraq War is over. We won. Which means the Iraqi people won.
Thanks to the outstanding professionalism of our armed fources, the courage and tenacity of President Bush and the leadership and vision of people like John McCain, we've won.

Fishing off the San Clemente Pier

Here's a picture of an old salt I took this weekend while on our beach mini-vacation. Click on it for a better version.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

McBain for President!

John McCain's staff made sure to add this to their list of videos on the McCain dot com YouTube channel. You can't say he doesn't have a sense of humor!

Never Mind What I Said Yesterday

Our Missionary to the Frozen, Northern Wastelands was right. The Democrats are stupid enough to keep borrowing in the face of insanely huge mountains of debt.
House Democrats want to inject at least $50 billion into the economy through another economic-stimulus bill, which is likely to include a second round of checks for middle-income people.
So let's review, shall we? We're paying farmers to grow corn so we can burn it, we're paying the public education industry to, well, do something or other, we just sent rubber checks out to taxpayers who don't pay the taxes, we're promising to back the preposterous loan portfolios of the two largest mortgage holders in the country and now we're back to mailing cash to everyone.

OK, then, any questions?

Hooray for Nancy Pelosi! I'm joining this fellow and going to get a loaf of bread, too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Free Will, Atheism and Pharyngula

Our Precentor of Measurements linked to a post over at Pharyngula where the loud and proud (alleged) atheist P Z Myers asked one of his readers to get a consecrated Eucharist so he could defile it. His post was a response to the reactions of a congregation when someone tried to walk out of a church with one.

I don't understand his point at all and suspect that he is not an atheist, but instead uses the cause of atheism to puff himself up and mock others.

P Z Myers is a scientist by training. He blogs a lot about evolution and clearly understands quite a bit about physics and biology. He also has a good command of logical reasoning. As an atheist and a scientist, he must understand cause and effect, particularly as it applies to the chemicals and chemical reactions that make up our existence. If he really was an atheist, he would believe that we have no souls that drive our decisions and that our decisions are simply the result of chemical reactions and the absorption and release of energy.

In short, P Z Myers' reactions lack the peace of mind that comes with true atheism, the realization that nothing has meaning, that things happen because that's what they do. The religious people he mocks and the objects he longs to desecrate, are not the villains he wants them to be. Just like him, they are simply the current form of those packets of energy and those subatomic particles. The Catholics who became enraged at the desecration of the host did so because that's what those subatomic particles' existences led them to do. His entire objection to religion and those who practice it, his desire to desecrate the body of Christ has no meaning at all.

P Z Myers' most notable characteristic is not his atheism. No atheist with the training and the deductive powers that he clearly possesses would bother with such actions. I doubt that he has any real underlying philosophy at all and instead has a particularly strong, childish need for attention. That he chooses atheism as his vehicle seems arbitrary. He is the intellectual equivalent of a flasher.

P Z Myers in a different life.

One of the Best Ways to Conserve Energy to lay down next to your food dish as shown here by our Maximum Leader.

San Diego Sailboats

I took these two photos during lunch yesterday.

These photos are cropped and significantly reduced in size. Even so, click on them for better versions. I really like the way the blue of the ocean came out.

The Subprime Crisis Puts an end to Government Managed Healthcare

I saw this concept in a comment thread on the Wall Street Journal and I thought it worth repeating here.

You'd have to think that with the existing Federal debt of $9.5T and now the apparent need to take over some part of the $4T in debt from the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that plans for government health care will have to be shelved. Add to all of this the underfunded commitments for retirees at both the state and Federal level and you've got a massive financial strain on the government coming up. Planning yet one more huge government program seems too illogical even for the Democrats.

The music may finally be stopping and the piper may have to be paid.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

What if Ford Motor Company was the Mortgage Backstop?

What if you took one of today's Wall Street Journal articles and replaced the terms "U S Government", "Treasury" and "Federal Reserve" with the term "Ford Motor Company"? My changes to the original article are in italics.
Ford Motor Company, capping a weekend of high-stakes maneuvering, attempted to shore up confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by announcing a plan that placed the automaker firmly behind the battered mortgage giants.

In a statement timed to precede the opening of Asian markets Monday, as well as a closely watched auction of debt by Freddie, Ford said it plans to seek approval from its board of directors for a temporary increase in a longstanding Ford line of credit for the two companies.

Ford also said it would seek temporary authority so that it could buy equity in either company "if needed" to ensure they have "sufficient capital to continue to serve their mission" of providing a steady flow of money into home mortgages.
The parallels are interesting.

Ford is losing money - so is the US Government. Ford has massive long term debt - so does the US Government. Ford's economic future is uncertain - no one has a reliable plan for solvency for the US Government.

So what's the difference?

The US Government can print all the money it needs.

Image courtesy of a cool new site I just found this morning:

Free photos for websites -

Tony Snow

I always liked Tony Snow when he filled in for Rush and I think he was one of the greatest Presidential spokesmen of all time. Here's a commencement speech he gave at Catholic University last year that is worth reading. Already knowing that he has terminal cancer, he outlines five crucial elements of life for the graduates, tips that are great for everyone. Here's the last.
Finally, love. How trite is that? But it’s everything. It separates happiness from misery. It separates the full life from the empty life. To love is to acknowledge that life is not about you. I want you to remember that: It’s not about you. It’s a hard lesson. A lot of people go through life and never learn it. It’s to submit willingly, heart and soul, to things that matter. Love is not melodrama. You don’t purchase it, you don’t manufacture it. You build it.

Every time I buy something gaudy for my wife she says, “Oh that’s nice,” and then it goes away someplace. The love letters she keeps; I don’t know where the jewelry is.

Love springs from small deeds, the gestures that say casually and naturally “I care.” That acknowledge what’s special about somebody else. If somebody’s smarter, quicker, better, prettier, wiser than you, tell them. Learn from them. Don’t be jealous. Glory in it.

Now the reason that I talk about love is it pulls together the strands of the other tips I’ve already given you. I’ll give you some examples, another presidential story. I traveled with the president last Wednesday to Greensburg, Kansas. Now 10 days ago, that town was small, pretty and whole. But within minutes on a Friday, a giant tornado reduced Greensburg to splinters. Once-nice homes now lie in matchstick heaps. The trees stretch their barren, barkless limbs toward the sky. It looks like Hiroshima, but with grass all around. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I ran into a guy who hadn’t had a shower in five days because the water is not back on, and he motioned for me to come up. He just wanted to tell me a story.

He’s a plumber. And just the week before, they put a brand new boiler in the local school. Well, the school had been leveled and the boiler was just a hunk of twisted metal. He came and he said, “I got a call from the people who sold it to me. They said they saw what happened and said ‘Don’t worry about the boiler. When the time comes, we’re going to replace it.’ ” Then he stopped and said, “You know what else they did? They said they’re sending me a truck. They said, ‘We saw what happened, we know you lost your truck. The one we’re sending you isn’t new but it works great.’ ” And then he stood there, surrounded by the splintered homes and Halloween trees, and just cried. He’s crying and he reached his arms out and he hugged me. He said, “Thanks.” See, here’s somebody who let somebody else help. He let somebody else into his life. He went off-road in a different kind of way, baring himself, and then he decided to pass on the favor.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


This was from the Laguna Sawdust Art Festival. This booth allowed children to create their own artwork. Click on the image to get a much better version. The expression on this child's face was worth the price of admission.

Vacation Blogging - Looking for a Guest Blogger

This weekend's posts were all written on Friday and scheduled to publish throughout the weekend. My fiancee and I took our combined families off to a beach vacation for the weekend. Hopefully, I'm going to come back from this trip with some great photos to share.

Note to blogspot bloggers: To make this happen, click on the Post Options link at the bottom of the edit window and then change the date and/or time of the post. When you click "Publish" it will schedule the post if you have set the date/time in the future.

In any case, I'll be taking longer vacations in the future where I won't bring along the laptop. Would anyone like to come in and guest blog here?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Scouting in Iraq

...I mean Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Outstanding. Americans should be proud of their country when they see this. For most Iraqis, life is better now than it has ever been in the history of their country, thanks to us.

A Great Idea for a Treat-dispensing Cat Toy

Recently, our Maximum Leader has been growing more and more, well, maximum. She doesn't like to go outside much in our new house and instead hovers around the food dish constantly asking for a few more crunchies or some Pounce. I went on line to see if I could find one of those cat toys what dispenses treats as the cat plays with them, but thanks to Amazon, I was warned away from them as being too easy for the cats to get the food.

In the comments at Amazon was this great idea.
I have a half-Siamese and he got the food out of the balls in record time. If you cat is smart, try plastic soda bottles with a few holes punched in them. These balls are just too easy for MENSA cats.
Plastic soda bottles seem like an inspired toy. Their strange shape will keep them bouncing around in random ways and the food won't simply fall out of them. When I get a chance, I'm going to construct a few of these and test them out on our Maximum Leader.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Oh, what a fickle, bitter deity is Fate! She toys with you and makes promises of wonders and glories only to snatch them away as you rejoice in them!

My heart and dreams are shattered.

Yesterday, I penned a little ballad expressing my delight that the happiest day of the week had arrived, the day when those heroic warriors of waste removal come to take away the trash. What did I find when I came home last night? One of my two cans had not been emptied and in fact, had a note attached telling me that it was broken and must be discarded!

Oh cruel Fate! Oh rapture changed to woe! In an instant my life lost all savor and pleasure and I was cast into the pit of despair!

Here in San Diego we use trucks like these to get rid of our trash.

After years of use, one of my cans has finally cracked. It's not leaking, but it is a bit beaten up. Yesterday I came home to find the trash still in it and a note attached telling me to get rid of the can.

How am I supposed to get rid of it? Why didn't they just grab the thing, lift it over the truck bed and then let go and take the can and the trash with them? Now I'm going to have to drive to the dump with this can the only item in my pickup and pay $21 just to kick the thing off the back of the truck and drive away. Meanwhile, the trash that was in the can is turning into pungent compost in the summer heat.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mystery Picture

OK, Feline Theocraticians and most welcome and honored visitors, here's a mystery picture for you to identify. Just what is this?

A blog link and gloating priveleges will be given to the person who guesses it correctly. I will answer yes/no questions about it in the comments.

Update: Our brand new Camerlengo of Cars guessed correctly in the very first comment. Wow!

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

When eBay is Better Than Amazon

I'm trying to find an English translation of Prudentius' Psychomachia. It's the epic poem, written originally in Latin, that first describes the seven virtues and seven deadly sins. I can't find a translation online and I ordered a book on Amazon that turned out to have commentary in English, but kept the poem in Latin. Useless.

Amazon did not let me ask questions about the book, but eBay does. I'm not buying another one of these until the seller comes back and tells me the book has an English translation.

A Song About Trash Day

This is kind of an A. A. Milne-inspired ditty.
Today is the day
a very special day!
The men come to take
to take my trash away!

It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!
It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!

I have a back
a backlog of trash!
It's piling up thick
It's piling up fast!

It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!
It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!

Soon it will be
it will be all gone!
Then I can live
not like a cavemon!

It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!
It's a very, very, very, very, very special day!
Yes, I am a nut. Why do you ask?

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

...particularly when it's filled with catnip!

My daughter bought this little present for our Maximum Leader and it turned out to be a particularly pungent and delightful one. A Nepeta Cataria Robusto, if you will. As always, click on the image for a much better version.

I brought this photo into Photoshop to crop it and auto-level the color and lighting. When I saved it on high quality, I got an image that was 196Kb. When I saved it on low quality, I got an image that was 106Kb. I saved both and then flicked back and forth between them and couldn't tell the difference. Even close up, the little splotch of the barcode on the cigar looks the same in both pictures.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

On Photography

I've really fallen in love with my new camera. However, it's so huge that it changes my role in the scene. When you've got one of those tiny point-and-shoot cameras you can take candid photos and remain part of the scene. The party or event can go on around you while you capture the shots. When your camera looks like a portable artillery piece, you are no longer a part of the scene, you are The Photographer. It's hard to get candid shots while pointing a lens that looks like the muzzle of a 105mm howitzer at your subjects.


Originally uploaded by ktcat51
Here's another sample from my test pictures at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach yesterday. This is shot with the 55-200 lens. The rocks are about 50 yeards away. The image has been reduced in size by about 2/3 so this one is not as clean as the original. This was taken in full auto mode.

Check out the kelp leaf flying around in the spray. Since this post is being written from flickr, you'll need to click around a few times to get to the full-sized picture. I'm doing this as an experiment, trying to see which photo hosting site I like the best. I'm still not in love with flickr even though I see that it has certain advantages.

Monday, July 07, 2008


A photo, cropped and scaled down, taken with my new Nikon D60 using the 55-200 lens.

Here's the bird's face, not scaled down. This is the resolution of the camera in raw photo form. The bird was about 15 yards away. Click on the images for higher resolution versions.

Let the Feline Theocracy Rejoice!

Today is a day of wondrous and rapturous joy in the Feline Theocracy. A dear friend and the namesake of my son is joining the Theocracy.

Our Maximum Leader in full Theocratic regalia.

Today let us welcome Mostly Nothing into the Theocracy, and grant him the title Camerlengo of Cars. He is also the fellow that first introduced me to cats. We lived together (along with occasional anonymous commenter Brian) years and years ago. One day he came home with a particularly noisy grey tabby who made sounds like an airplane passing overhead. She was named Amelia Earhart and quickly became the spoiled and much-loved cat of our house. From that day to this, I have never been without a cat for long.

As is our tradition when we induct new members into the Theocracy, let the tuna flow into the crystal goblets and let water be drunk straight from the tap! It is a day of wondrous rejoicing for all! Welcome, welcome to our Camerlengo of Cars.

Each member of the Feline Theocracy is given permission to post this handsome graphic on their blogs, designed by the Official Artist of the Theocracy, Justin.

Long live the Theocracy!

What Happened to the Constitution?

...between the years 1958 and 2008?

My fiancee and I were invited over to some friends' house for dinner the other night. As we munched on appetizers, we were absent-mindedly flipping through one of their high school yearbooks. The fellow had gone to a public high school in Chicago between 1958 and 1962. In his 1958 year book, there were pictures of the bible study club, a school-sponsored group of about 100 or so students. I don't recall if there was a bible study class that went along with it.

Why was it constitutional 182 years after the signing of the document, but not constitutional 50 years later? How did the people who lived closer to the generation that wrote the document understand it less?

If it was OK to have a bible study group in a public school in 1958, you'd have to think it was OK in 1928, 1858, 1828 and 1778. How did the constitution change to make it unacceptable in our day?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rats! And I Just Unpacked, Too!

It looks like I need to move again.

You Belong in Australia


Sunny, upbeat, and cute

You make the perfect surf bum

Now stop hogging the vegemite!

H/T: Our Official Artist.

Barack Obama Clarifies his Positions

...on, well, everything.

Feline Docking Bay

Our Maximum Leader has pulled into port.

If you haven't been following my tweets, this is a photo with my replacement Nikon D60. I managed to bounce the other one off the street when the strap that I had improperly secured came loose. It didn't take the fall well and from there on out would not snap a photo. Thanks to Costco's no-questions return policy, I came out of it with another D60 and a good deal more wisdom when it comes to affixing straps to cameras.

I have to say that I didn't feel good about myself after returning a product that I had damaged, but it was universally agreed by my friends that this was indeed a valid use of Costco's return policy.

Time Lapse Movie of Flower Opening

Why? Because it's cool!

Your Q&A for Today

Q: What's the happiest day of the week?

A: Trash day!

Can you tell I'm going through my belongings and throwing a lot of them away? Isn't it silly how you move and then you cull your stuff?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

High Seas Trading Company

...has the coolest gear. I found them when I went to the Gator Festival here in San Diego some weeks back. I bought two of their shirts and want more. They have a casual, yet adult style to them that really speaks to me. Here's my favorite. I also picked up a wonderful crawfish button down shirt that I can't seem to find on their site. In any case, click around and see if you like their products.

Just thought I'd share. This is not a Pay Per Post ad or anything of the sort. I just like their stuff.

Irena Sendler

Our Pater of Prowling has a post you absolutely have to see.

Ted Kennedy's Cancer

...will get treated in America. Are you surprised he didn't go to a country that has the government-run health care he's trying to force on all of us? Our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings has more. It's well worth a visit. Brother Dean did a great job with the analysis.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July! a very Stan Freberg way.

Stop the ACLU has a list of good 4th of July posts.

My First Picture With My New Nikon D60

...the subject, of course, is our Maximum Leader.

The camera is incredibly fast and the flash was quite nice. No red eye, but instead we picked up a little bit of odd color in one of her eyes.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. The camera's not too bad, either.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cats and Sleds

...don't mix.

As I go through my stuff, throwing a lot of it out, I came across an ad for Microrim's R:Base from 1990 that had this image. I used to have it pinned up on my wall at the office. I'm throwing it away now, but I just thought I'd scan it in and share. Click on the image for a better version.

Inflation in a Global Economy

Concerned about inflation, the European Central Bank raised its interest rates today despite the fact that the German and French economies are showing weakness. What good does that do in a global economy? If inflation is driven by global demands for goods, such as steel, how does it help reduce inflation by raising the interest rates in any one particular country? I don't get it. Here's a little bit more from that article.

Surging food and oil prices are buffeting central banks globally. In recent weeks, U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers have ratcheted up their anti-inflation rhetoric. However, because the economy remains fragile, the Fed is not expected to raise its key rate from its current 2% until later this year unless the inflation outlook deteriorates considerably.
Oil and food prices are globally set, right? Hmmm.

Alternative Energy Craze + Chevy Volt = Socialism

Today's Wall Street Journal has a great article discussing GM's decision to build the all-electric Chevy Volt. The thing is a total white elephant, costing hundreds of millions to design and produce and in the end will sell below cost, dragging down GM's already weak bottom line.
GM's leaders are not nuts, and yet to pour hundreds of millions into a race to launch an electric car, the Chevy Volt, guaranteed to lose money on every unit sold, begins to seem a peculiar strategy for a company in dire liquidity straits.

With each hectic advance in the development process, the expected sticker price to consumers has gone up. Reportedly, off-the-shelf electrical fixtures, such as headlights and taillights, won't suffice because they draw too much power. At last leakage, GM is saying now the Volt may need a sticker price of $45,000.
So just why is this toad being built? Why, to satisfy moron politicians who are driven by the environmental lobby, of course.
GM executives are not nuts. They justify the costs and risks of the Volt as a way of changing GM's image in the minds of consumers and politicians. To commit a pun, the Volt is GM's vehicle for making a bailout of GM politically acceptable.

The company has already started signaling it expects Washington to provide a whopping $7,000 tax credit to Volt purchasers. In Europe and the U.S., under whatever fuel economy and emissions regulations prevail, GM also expects special favoritism for the Volt. The goal is to re-enact the flex-fuel hoax, in which GM receives extra credit for making cars that can burn 85% ethanol, even if they never see a drop of such fuel.

CEO Rick Wagoner last week laid out the case to Barack Obama personally for turning GM into a ward of the state, by way of direct and indirect subsidies to support a transition to "alternative" fuel vehicles.
Can we have massive financial bonfires to support enviro-socialism? Yes we can!

Let's hear it for burning piles of coal and dollar bills at the same time! Hooray!

Photo used without permission from where this excellent comment was left.

Child Abduction Fears are Overblown

My friends who are parents and I often discuss just how far we will let our kids bike or walk and what other limits we put on their freedom because of fears of strangers. I came across this article in a link on another blog and thought I would share. Here's a tidbit.
Anyone travelling in the US is constantly reminded that the nation's children are in peril from vicious predators. Yet the US is not experiencing an epidemic of child abduction. Figures released by the FBI indicate that the number of children kidnapped by strangers has been declining. The number of such abductions averaged 200-300 per year in the 1980s; last year they were down to 93.

Despite this good news, anxieties about "stranger-danger" continue to thrive. It is no wonder: the cumulative effect of the ceaseless exploitation of the issue of child snatching by the US media is poisoning the relationship between adults and children. As far as US culture goes, adults and children need to be kept apart.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

John McCain Supports Free Trade with Columbia

...the no-good varmint! Next thing you know, he'll be against stabbing babies in the backs of their heads with scissors and sucking their brains out. Has he no shame?

Our Monks over at the Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings have the details.

Patriotism Should be off the Table

...because it's not good for the Obamamessiah.

I Want to buy Some Zimbabwe Money

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article about how the German company that has been supplying Zimbabwe with the paper required to print their worthless currency has stopped shipments.
The Munich-based company that has supplied Zimbabwe with the special blank sheets to print its increasingly worthless dollar caved in to pressure on Tuesday from the German government for it to stop doing business with the African ruler.

Mr. Mugabe's regime relies on a steady supply of the paper -- fortified with watermarks and other antiforgery features -- to print the bank notes that allow it to pay the soldiers and other loyalists who enable him to stay in power. With an annual inflation rate estimated at well over 1 million percent, new notes with ever more zeros need to be printed every few weeks because the older ones lose their worth so quickly.
Anti-forgery features? What's the point? Who in Zimbabwe can afford the equipment to forge the notes? Who has the ink required to print the things? And once you do forge the money, what do you do with it? There's nothing in the stores to buy. Amazing.

Here's why I want some Zimbabwe currency. It's a piece of history, like Confederate money or money from the old German Weimar Republic.
Zimbabwe's central bank stopped posting inflation figures in January, when it stood at a relatively modest 100,580%. A loaf of bread costs 30 billion Zimbabwean dollars.
Here's another great bit.
Vending machines, which take coins, fell out of service in Zimbabwe years ago. A single soda would require the deposit of billions of coins. Imported from South Africa and in very short supply, a Coke sells on the black market for around 15 billion Zimbabwean dollars.

This can be yours for only $15,000,000,000Z!

I started watching Zimbabwe a long time ago on the Internet, before Mugabe kicked the white farmers off their land, back when Zimbabwe was a decently performing country. I used to read the newspaper excerpts on Mugabe, for a variety of reasons, decided to punish the people who were successful, scapegoating them for his problems and focusing on them because they were inheritors of the oppressive whites of the past. He took their property and gave it to the "oppressed", really his thuggish supporters. The end result: a can of Coke costs $15B.

Hmmm. Punish the successful white oppressors. Does that sound like anyone's spiritual advisor?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Q: Why do Frito-Lay products satisfy your hunger?

A: Because after eating them, you're too nauseous to eat anything else.

They also make excellent diet aids!

Looks Like These People Need A Community Organizer

Oh, never mind. They already had one. Good thing Barack didn't start a business or anything like that. He might have made big profits and expanded and hired some of these people so they could actually buy their own places. Then where would they be?