Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Says it All

You have got to go read this.

Score one for Maureen Dowd!

...or maybe not. In today's NYT, where revenues are mysteriously falling, she pens an erudite examination of Sarah Palin entitled Vice in Go-Go Boots? You know Maureen. She's the author of that wildly successful relationship advice book, Are Men Necessary? She's also one of the Democrats' leading essayists and has a prime role at the NYT, the nation's paper of record. Here's a little of what she had to say about Sarah Palin.
Enthusiastic Republicans don’t see the choice of Palin as affirmative action, despite her thin résumé and gaping absence of foreign policy knowledge, because they expect Republicans to put an underqualified “babe,” as Rush Limbaugh calls her, on the ticket. They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the West, like the previous Miss Congeniality types...
Meow! That's gotta sting. What an impressive grasp of the issues Maureen has. What an amazingly sharp mind! Isn't it great that at least one of the two major political parties sees women as something more than just sex objects?

By the way, for a bantamweight cheerleader, Sarah Palin's done quite a bit. And Barack Obama's equivalent accomplishments would be ... what?


...or is it lavender? Or something else? In any case, it's a flower bed I saw at Balboa Park yesterday. Click on the image for a better view.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Today's Q&A

Q: Why didn't Barack Obama do a stint as a governor like Sarah Palin did?

A: Because governors can't vote "present".

What Mark Said

I've had a lot of thoughts about the selection of Sarah Palin as VP in the past 24 hours and the more I think about it, the more I like it. First off, I'd take her over Obama any day of the week. Obama supporters, please feel free to compare their accomplishments side by side. When you do that, Obama comes off as what he is - a pipsqueak meeting moth who kissed the rings of every political power broker he could as he climbed his way to power through all kinds of election chicanery.

Meanwhile, as Mark Steyn points out, Sarah Palin isn't just all-American, she's hyper-American. He's got an outstanding post today that captures my thoughts very well. Here's a tidbit.
(R)eal people don't define "experience" as appearing on unwatched Sunday-morning talk shows every week for 35 years and having been around long enough to have got both the War on Terror and the Cold War wrong ... Sarah Palin and Barack Obama are more or less the same age, but Governor Palin has run a state and a town and a commercial fishing operation, whereas (to reprise a famous line on the Rev Jackson) Senator Obama ain't run nothin' but his mouth. She's done the stuff he's merely a poseur about. Post-partisan? She took on her own party's corrupt political culture directly while Obama was sucking up to Wright and Ayers and being just another get-along Chicago machine pol.
Read the whole thing.

Something you Might not Know About Sarah Palin

...can be found here.

Hmm. It sounds like one of the two of them, either Obama or Palin, is change you can believe in.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Real, Live Citizen as VP?

Just a few years ago, Sarah Palin was a hockey team mom. You know, the kind of person the Democrats talk about when they tell us that ordinary people are sticking their heads in ovens, taking baths with toasters and sitting in the garage with the car running because America is such an awful place. The kind of person the Democrats are there to help.

Now one of the little $@*&$#&*s is actually running for VP! My goodness, doesn't she know her place? How can she, a pathetic little ... housewife ... understand America? It's sickening! Oh, sure, she was the chief executive for a state that is a gazillion times the size of the miniscule state senate district where Barack Obama was gaining crucial foreign policy experience as a community organizer, but be serious for a moment. When they said they were the party of the ordinary Americans, they meant the ordinary Americans that know their place. This one doesn't know the first thing about handing out grants for urine-based performance art or tripling the education budget for no apparent reason. And I doubt she's taken the time to pass legislation to establish National Hispanic Lesbian Awareness Month.

Their response?

Back to your kitchen you pathetic little prole!

Cheezburger of the Day

more animals

Sarah Palin for VP?

...but I wanted a billionaire! I mean Governor Palin's a totally cool pick and she's good on all the issues and has executive experience, but how can we possibly establish the plutocracy the Democrats are constantly warning everyone about if we pick Sarah Palin to be the VP? If we're going to be a plutocracy, don't we need, you know, some actual plutocrats in office?

This is my kind of candidate!

Performance Art

Our Maximum Leader is deep in her artistic phase. Here, she's gracing us with some performance art. For the life of me, however, I can't seem to figure out what this represents. Can you?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Calls McCain a Coward

"John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won't even go to the cave where he lives."

Err, I don't think that was a good idea. When I heard this, I nearly threw my wine glass through the TV screen. I told Obama something most unpleasant. I thought of my SPECOPS friends who might want to have an, err, discussion with Obama about their implied failure to apprehend Osama bin Laden.

All in all, I thought the speech had its moments, but on the whole was pretty vacuous. What was it he closed with? Something about having to move forward, not backwards, looking to the future and not to the sides and having the courage to...oh forget it. I have no idea what the last part was about at all.


Don't Vote for McSame!

...because we certainly don't want any more of this:
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy was much stronger in the spring than first thought because of better exports and less inventory liquidation by businesses, according to a government report that surprised economists.

Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 3.3% annual rate April through June, the Commerce Department said Thursday in a new, revised estimate of second-quarter GDP.
McSame represents 4 more years of this kind of economic devstation.

I Still Want Meg Whitman for VP

I posted a much longer take on this before, but I wanted to add to it. I've read elsewhere that McCain should not pick Romney because he's rich and it wouldn't do to have two rich guys on the ticket when foreclosures are so high. I totally disagree, but only if the VP is an insanely rich woman.

Meg is worth more than one billion dollars. She could buy and sell Romney four or five times. I think McCain ought to go totally over the top on this one and just jam the "hate the rich" nonsense right down their throats. Meg's earned every penny of it, created a wonderful product, eBay, and tens of thousands of jobs, too. Here's my fantasy quote from her on the campaign trail:

"My idea of accomplishment is to create wealth and jobs for Americans. Senator Biden and Obama think accomplishment is to talk about it."

Imagine the ads you could make comparing Meg's accomplishments with theirs. Joe Biden held hearings. Barack Obama hung out with racist and anarchist lunatics while accomplishing nothing. Meg led eBay to what it is today. Hmm. I wonder who's done more.

I Didn't Believe It

Until I saw folks commenting on the post who had seen it, too.


Where do you Find the Time to Blog?

This is a talk given at the Web 2.0 Expo by Clay Shirky that I found very enlightening. He starts out with a very oblique approach to the problem, but the end result really makes you think about the revolution that's going on with regards to blogs and social networking. The talk is 15 minutes long. If you want to jump ahead, go to about 3:00 and start there.

My time comes from TV. I don't watch it at all any more. Where does your blogging time come from?

What I Learned from the DNC Last Night that George Stephanopoulos needs to be fired. Followed immediately by everyone else on all the TV channels. That was the worst coverage I have ever seen, except maybe the last time I watched political coverage about 8 years ago.

Bill Clinton's speech was OK, I guess, but the analysis afterwards was limp and brief. Osama bin Laden's decision to attack us on 9/11 was explicitly predicated on the Clinton Administration's weak responses to his previous probing attacks in Kenya and elsewhere. North Korea's bomb was built with Clinton's misguided help. Anything that man has to say about foreign policy ought to be fact-checked by the media. George and Co. just sat there and gushed about it.

If Clinton's speech was ho-hum, then Biden's was brain dead. When it was over I asked my fiancee, "What was he talking about?" It was filled with total nonsense and outright lies. It wasn't moving nor was it illuminating. His claim that on Iraq and Afghanistan Obama was right and McCain was wrong is clearly counterfactual. The MSM didn't mention anything about this at all.

Next week, we'll see the Republicans talk about the glories of tax cuts, but not be called to task for being profligate spenders. It's all the same.

What I learned last night is that the bloggers are the only ones providing valuable analysis. Everyone else is in collusion. The political speeches can be filled with outright lies and the MSM stands by and applauds.

Fire them all*.

Start with me!

* - this may be unnecessary. They're falling apart financially pretty fast as it is.

Update: I almost forgot. Maybe the worst parts of the speech of all were the economic woes. This has been a very robust economy for the last seven years. Our most recent quarter showed 3.3% growth.

Maybe I've got it all wrong. Maybe the polticians weren't talking about the US at all. Maybe they were talking about France.

Update 2: Who knows, the Republicans may well be fact-checked when it's their turn. That wouldn't surprise me. Dig this.
Here in Denver, there were audible cheers in the press pavilion from multiple directions when Barack Obama walked on stage. It's outside the convention center and no regular delegates are here — only press.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Toga! Toga! Toga!

More on the Greek tragedy about to unfold at Invesco:
So all the buzz today was supposed to be about two big Wednesday speeches -- Bill Clinton’s and Joe Biden.

Why, then, is everyone in Denver talking about stagecraft?

It’s simple: Reporters got their first glimpse of the stage where Barack Obama will deliver his speech tomorrow night at Invesco Field. Reuters described the set as similar to a "Greek temple."

Thus a legend -- not the good kind -- was born.

Said one Democrat: "This is a disaster of mythical proportions." Said another: "It's not enough that he wants to be president -- he wants to be Zeus." Said the first: "Will he send down thunderbolts from the mountain?"
Toga! Toga! Toga!

I. O. U. S. A.

Robert Samuelson mentioned this film today. Here's the trailer.

Here's a bit from Samuelson's editorial.
Last week, I viewed "I.O.U.S.A.," an 87-minute documentary exploring the grim budget outlook. It is unbalanced budgets that, in many ways, define the political deadlock. The persistence of deficits over so many years (42 of the past 47) can have only one basic cause: Politicians of both parties prefer spending to taxing. As everyone knows, the disconnect will worsen, because aging baby boomers will bloat outlays for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs already total nearly two-fifths of the $2.9 trillion federal spending in 2008.
We need to wake up, people! If we don't pass Obama's government-funded health care, huge increases in education spending and universal preschool soon, we'll be in big trouble*.

Meanwhile, Dick Armey, good Republican foot soldier that he is, complains about the Democrats plans to raise your taxes.
By letting the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 expire, Congress will foist a crippling $280 billion tax hike on the American economy. As if that tax hike is not enough, President Obama's 'solution' to the impending bankruptcy of Social Security is simple: raise payroll taxes. This proposed payroll tax hike would cost employers and employees $1 trillion over ten years.
Thanks, Dick. That helped a lot. Let's not pay for what we buy. That works when you go through WalMart, right?


* - At least I think that's what this movie is trying to say. Did I miss something?

I'm a Spammer!

Gadzooks! It looks like my Hannah Montana post was an example of webspamming. I'm so embarassed.

Is Obama Running for Emporer of Atlantis?

...or maybe Emporer of Greece?
DENVER (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's big speech on Thursday night will be delivered from an elaborate columned stage resembling a miniature Greek temple.

The stage, similar to structures used for rock concerts, has been set up at the 50-yard-line, the midpoint of Invesco Field, the stadium where the Denver Broncos' National Football League team plays.

Some 80,000 supporters will see Obama appear from between plywood columns painted off-white, reminiscent of Washington's Capitol building or even the White House, to accept the party's nomination for president.

He will stride out to a raised platform to a podium that can be raised from beneath the floor.
Is this guy completely out of his mind? What can they possibly be thinking? A stage that looks like a miniature Greek temple? This is more over the top than McCain's ads parodying The One. They must have had Rev. Wright help with the choreography.

"...and then Barack can levitate out of the floor with a wreath of olives on his head and mount a chariot that will take him to the stage where he will speak about hope and change. It'll be just like Jesus!"

Here, Barack Obama instructs Democratic volunteers on how to make lawn signs out of papyrus.

Forget Invesco Field becoming Nuremburg for a recreation of Triumph of the Will. We're talking about a recreation of Alexander the Great returning from Persia.

Giant Mutant Insects From Space Are Attacking!

...and we have photographic proof!

We have come to your planet to NOMNOMNOM!

If you want to have any hope at all of saving yourselves, you'd better go read the emergency evacuation bulletin*.

* - it's not really an emergency evacuation bulletin. It's just something totally cool.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quite Possibly the Greatest Comment of the Month

...can be found over at Megan McArdle's blog where she's discussing what it's like to be at the Democratic National Convention (with equal feelings for the upcoming Republican one.
Sadly, I can't avoid watching them; it's my job. But the rest of you--save yourselves! Don't worry about me--I've got a .45 and a bottle of whiskey right here by my side for when it gets to be too much.
Here's the comment to read in all the replies to her post.
If they could replace the delegates with thousands of Chinese acrobats in identical costumes, it could rise to the level of pointless boringness on display during the opening/closing ceremonies.

Even Superman has his Limits

Last night I hit another limit as a single dad. There was something I wanted to do to help my son, but there was no way it could be done. We knew it and instead he had to withdraw from something we both wanted him to do. After he told me what the problem was, I sat there for a moment thinking of ways we could overcome it and then God spoke to me. "You're not Superman and neither is he."

I'm not engaging in hyperbole, either. It was so different from my normal reaction - I hate to surrender on anything and I always feel guilty about backing out of anything we start. This was different. It wasn't my voice, it was God speaking to me. I know. There was a calmness in the decision. There was regret, but the decision was made without anxiety.

(No, I haven't gone off the religious deep end. Calm down. Once in a while I get inspirations. So sue me.)

In any case, about half an hour later, I started thinking about Superman. Even if I was Superman, there would be limits to what I could do. You can't simultaneously save a train from derailment in Texas and stop a car from going over the cliffs of Dover. Someone's going to get hurt and there's nothing you can do about it. Superman is a localized deus ex machina.

After I thought about that, I didn't feel such regret.

Well done, Superman! Unfortunately an airliner in the Congo just crashed, killing all aboard.

Discretion is the Better Part of Valor

I've got a prolonged and thoroughly nasty snark written in my head reviewing Michelle Obama's speech from last night. I have to admit I didn't hear the thing, but then again, I wouldn't have listened to a speech by Varina Davis, either. I'm sure a close reading of the speech would reveal unicorns and rainbows replacing the rage-filled, racist lunacy of Michelle's past.

Hmm. This seems to be getting pretty snarky itself. I think I'll stop here. I'm trying to cut back on my snarks.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Now this is a powerful ad.

More Ska

My son prefers The Specials to the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. Here's a song he recommends.

I still like the Japanese band better. How about you?

Cliff the Mailman Talks his way onto the Ticket

Today's Wall Street Journal details how Sen. Biden (aka Cliff the Mailman) yapped his way into the VP slot for the Democrats.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's selection of Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate reached a pivotal point in a secret meeting on the night of Aug. 6. Sen. Biden was whisked into a Minneapolis hotel room through a back entrance before Sen. Obama left for his Hawaii vacation. They talked one-on-one for 90 minutes. "It was spirited and pragmatic," says one adviser who was briefed.
Spirited and pragmatic? I'll bet it was. I'll bet each put forth their concerns in a candid and thoughtful way. Simultaneously. Here's my take on how it went, Barack in italics, Cliff the Mailman in normal font.

Discussion: Well, it's great to be here! This was one of the tasks On the steps of the Old State House in the land of Lincoln. we set forth at the beginning of this campaign President Lincoln once instructed us to be sure to put - to continue the long march your feet in the right place, then of those who came before us stand firm. Today, Springfield, a march for a more just, more equal I know my feet are in the right place. And more free, more caring and more prosperous I am proud to stand firm for the next president of the United States of I chose to run for the presidency America, Barack Obama. Folks, Barack and I come from very different places, at this moment in history because I believe but we share a common story. An deeply that we cannot solve the challenges American story. He was the son of a single mom, a single of our time unless we solve them together mom who had to struggle to support her son and her kids but we hold common hopes.

And then the room began to float away from all the hot air being expelled.

Barack and Biden in unison: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah!

Update: The Unearable Lightness of Being Obama has a take as well.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

So there I was, bopping around the Internets Tubes, checking out some videos from a great, local high school ska band, Bucket of Fish (I really need to get those boys some better video recording equipment), when I came across this video.

I love it. More ska, please.

Update: I swapped in a new video from Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra for the original one. No, I don't know what they're saying, either. :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Rose

My daughter took this photo of one of my mom's roses just a few hours ago. My daughter, my mom and this rose - they're beautiful, all three of them.

Charity Without Morality

...leads to what?

The Bible is full of strict rules for behavior (how horrid!). It's also full of admonitions to forgive and act kindly to one another (yay!). Can you separate the two? What happens if you donate money without moral guidance to people who immerse themselves in this:

Don't you end up with more of this:
Intellectuals propounded the idea that man should be freed from the shackles of social convention and self-control, and the government, without any demand from below, enacted laws that promoted unrestrained behavior and created a welfare system that protected people from some of its economic consequences. When the barriers to evil are brought down, it flourishes...

A single case can be illuminating, especially when it is statistically banal—in other words, not at all exceptional. Yesterday, for example, a 21-year-old woman consulted me, claiming to be depressed. She had swallowed an overdose of her antidepressants and then called an ambulance...

My patient already had had three children by three different men, by no means unusual among my patients, or indeed in the country as a whole. The father of her first child had been violent, and she had left him; the second died in an accident while driving a stolen car; the third, with whom she had been living, had demanded that she should leave his apartment because, a week after their child was born, he decided that he no longer wished to live with her. (The discovery of incompatibility a week after the birth of a child is now so common as to be statistically normal.) She had nowhere to go, no one to fall back on, and the hospital was a temporary sanctuary from her woes.
It goes on and on with descriptions of her life, her mother's life, her kids' lives...

Is charity without morality truly charitable?

Picking Biden

Doesn't it seem like a defensive choice to you? I can't think of a state or voting bloc he puts into play. All I can think is that he was a choice to stop the hemorrhaging of voters due to Barack's lack of achievements and his inexperience.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The First Effect of Obama Picking Biden as his Running Mate

...will be long, pointless windbaggery from Biden that will defuse Obama's endless gaffes. Every time Obama says something paralyzingly stupid, reporters will rush to Biden and ask him what the little creampuff meant. Biden will respond with enough verbiage to provide the entire narrative arc of the Ottoman Empire. The reporters will slowly wander off, shaking their empty little heads, completely distracted from the original question.

Picking Biden might well have been a master stroke!*

Reporter: Senator Biden, just what did Barack mean when he said that US companies want to move to China because of their superior infrastructure? Doesn't he know about the dirt roads, the massive pollution and the horrific building codes that led to tens of thousands killed the recent earthquake?

Slow Joe Biden: Well, I think that when you look at the sum total of the facts about a country the size of China, the first thing you need to realize is the kind of growth they've seen there is what we might want to look at from an infrastructure investment point of view for future funding increments which would give us the kind of world-class transportation capabilities that the American workers who have suffered so much under the current administration where the emphasis has been on diverting resources into oil companies' pockets and then using some of that funding to send Blackwater mercenaries into countries like Iraq where congressional testimony has revealed that our appropriations bills have been used for...

Reporter: Um, I'm just going to go over here now, Senator. You keep talking. I'll leave my recorder. It has 40 GB of storage, so I think it will last through most of your answer. Thanks...I think...

Obama was right! Superior Chinese infrastructure leads to more jobs. Like construction jobs to rebuild schools!

* No, it wasn't.


Check this out.

Second Funniest Political Ad of the Year?

You decide. Whatever your decisions, you really ought to see it. It's over at our Precentor of Measurements' blog.

Biden vs. Eisenhower, A Comparison

Well, Barack Obama went and picked Slow Joe Biden as his running mate. This has "catastrophe" written all over it. I'll bet that airhead Obama didn't even consider our suggestion, Dwight Eisenhower. Let's compare the two, shall we?

Management experience: Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander and was in charge of whole armies. Biden's never managed anything larger than his checkbook. Advantage, Ike.

Military experience: Eisenhower was a 5-star general. (For those of you on the left, that's a rank, not a movie rating.) Biden might know which end of a gun the stingy things come out of. (This is a great improvement over Obama.) Advantage, Ike.

Legislative experience: Eisenhower was too busy saving all of Western Civilization from the Nazis to do much here. Biden's been a bloviating windbag in the Senate for 36 or so years. Advantage, Biden.

Foreign policy experience: Eisenhower directly managed military units from several nations. Biden has been a gasbag in the Senate on all kinds of foreign policy committees for decades. Advantage, Ike.

Political clout: Eisenhower is a national hero. Biden is a hot air balloon from Delaware that makes people reach for the mute button. Advantage, Ike.

I don't get it at all. We tried to help Obama, we really did. We reached across the aisle with a friendly hand and Obama slapped it away, ignoring our advice which was clearly superior to anything he was getting from his handlers and trainers and feeders.

Well, that tears it. It looks like we'll just have to go put McCain logos on our blog. We didn't want to, but I don't see any choice at all now.

He picked Biden? Are you kidding me?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Web 2.0 Technology Interview

...with a variety of interesting folks. This is kind of an insiders post for the work I do for a living, but I wanted to put it up here so I had a record of it.

The Funniest Political Ad of the Season far. I'm still laughing at this one.

Nietzsche was Wrong

...but only partially so. There's a great description of Nihilism at this site. Here are some tidbits.
Among philosophers, Friedrich Nietzsche is most often associated with nihilism. For Nietzsche, there is no objective order or structure in the world except what we give it. Penetrating the façades buttressing convictions, the nihilist discovers that all values are baseless and that reason is impotent. "Every belief, every considering something-true," Nietzsche writes, "is necessarily false because there is simply no true world" (Will to Power [notes from 1883-1888]). For him, nihilism requires a radical repudiation of all imposed values and meaning: "Nihilism is . . . not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one's shoulder to the plough; one destroys" (Will to Power).

The caustic strength of nihilism is absolute, Nietzsche argues, and under its withering scrutiny "the highest values devalue themselves. The aim is lacking, and 'Why' finds no answer" (Will to Power). Inevitably, nihilism will expose all cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths as symptoms of a defective Western mythos. This collapse of meaning, relevance, and purpose will be the most destructive force in history, constituting a total assault on reality and nothing less than the greatest crisis of humanity...
I'm pressed for time this morning, so I won't go as far into this as I'd like, but here's my argument. Modern secularism has indeed swept much of the Western world and is the embodiment of nihilism in the form of moral relativism where there is no truth and no concrete morality. "Deciding if babies born alive during an abortion should be saved is above my pay grade." While moral relativism may have replaced the absolute morality of the past in some places, it has not led to utter destruction. Instead, we now worship at the altar of self-indulgence. Our appetites must not be obstructed.

Anarchy won't work for us. You can't download all your Internet porn if you don't have an Internet. You can't drink your liquor if you don't have liquor stores. You can't spend money on a whim without credit cards and the financial infrastructure behind them. Nihilism leads to chaos and destruction only if the population is made up entirely of philosophers who follow the logic of nihilism down to it's final conclusions. We are not a world of philosophers. At our core, in the absence of a higher moral purpose, we are animals.

We are party animals, to be precise.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our Maximum Leader Goes to the Vet

Our Maximum Leader had her regular annual check up recently. At the check up, they tried to take her temperature with a rectal thermometer. After about three seconds, the doctor removed the thermometer and checked her life insurance policy. It looked something like this.

more animals

Our Maximum Leader came out of the check up with a clean bill of health. The vet was recently released from the ICU.

My Suggestion for Obama's VP Pick Dwight Eisenhower.

The perfect couterweight for Obama.

The idea came to me after reading this excellent post over at the Secular Apostate. The Apostate suggests that Obama needs "(p)olitical heft and experience. To balance Obama’s apparently unbearable lightness of being." I started thinking about the magnitude of the need. Just who would have sufficient heft and experience to counterbalance someone made of whipped cream?

Then the answer came to me. Dwight Eisenhower. He's got everything Obama needs. Military credentials to beat the band. A serious demeanor. Concrete achievements. He's positively flooded with management experience. A string of successes against serious obstacles in his past. He's everything Obama isn't. Specifically, Eisenhower has actually done something. And when you consider just how little Obama has done, he clearly needs someone who has done HUGE things in his life.

Oh, I know some of you will find nits to pick with this idea, but in the end, after you think about it for a while, you'll see that I'm right.

Eisenhower for VP!

Olympic BMX Racing the most ridiculous sport there. I was watching the NBC coverage last night as they breathlessly talked about how the riders risked it all in a sport that took guts, determination and skill.

Then they showed highlights of grown people riding children's bikes in the dirt.

If your Olympic team shops for their gear at Toys R' Us, is it really a sport worthy of the Games?

It looked positively ridiculous. The riders, with their knees practically hitting their chins because the bikes were several sizes too small for them, looked like nothing so much as college students late for a crucial calculus test who siezed the nearest transportation device to race to class only to find out it was their little brother's bicycle.

If that's an Olympic sport, then I've got another one to recommend. Big Wheel racing. Here's a taste of what it could look like.

As an aisde, I was told that the Olympic Committee has decided that softball shouldn't be an Olympic sport any more. You knew this was going to happen when the softball teams forgot the most important piece of equipment of all.

A keg of beer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

OK, I Give Up

Several of my regular commenters (you know who you are!) have taken me to task for my defense of Barack Obama's claim that determining when life begins is above his pay grade. Here's some more information I just found from a nurse named Jill Stanek.
"(The hospital where she worked) - and we now know other hospitals and clinics around the country - are involved in an abortion procedure called 'induced labor abortion,'" says Stanek in the video, entitled "Kill and Destroy". In this type of abortion, she says, the abortionist inserts a medication into the birth canal of the mother and induces premature labor.

"My experience was that they [the babies] survive as short as a few minutes, to once, almost as long as an eight hour shift.

"To be clear these were living babies who were left out to die. And they were issued both birth and death certificates according to Illinois state law."

Stanek relates the story of how one night she saw a nurse bringing a baby to the soiled utility room to die, because the parents of the child did not want to hold it. The other nurse also did not have the time to hold the child. "When she told me what she was doing I couldn't bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone," says Stanek. "And so I cradled and rocked him for the forty-five minutes that he lived."

Stanek recounts how, besides testifying before the federal House, she also testified before an Illinois State Senate Committee, a Committee on which Barack Obama sat.

"Barack Obama," she says, "was unmoved, and actually opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act."

"This one guy, Barack Obama," she says, "thought that infanticide was acceptable and voted to protect it. Some people said that Barack Obama was uninformed or may not have fully understood the implications of this bill. But he voted against it three times. That's calculated."
If he really believed that such decisions were above his pay grade, then he is clearly a creature of utter moral relativism. I still don't discount that possibility, but the implications of this story on just how far he goes in the direction of nihilism are stunning.

Deterministic Nihilism

I was going to write a post discussing this term, but I found a great definition of it on the web that I will post here.
Determinism is the belief that everything in the universe is made up of matter which follows fixed universal laws. This means that literally every thing that occurs is a link in a universal causal chain which cannot be changed. Every event was "determined" by what happened before it...Free will is not only lacking in humans, but it is impossible.

Nihilism is a belief that there are no values. Nihilists do not say that there is no truth, but rather that it is impossible to comprehend what is true. Nihilists do not contend that there is no meaning, but that such constructs as human life, morality, and purpose do not have meaning.

Deterministic Nihilists are of the belief that determinism is true (as defined above) and because determinism is true, it follows from that that nihilism is the correct philosophy. There is no meaning to human life or value in the universe, because Life, the Universe, and Everything are all simply links in the material, causal chain.
If that is the case, then why not satisfy every appetite as whim strikes you? Going back to a quote from Theodore Dalrymple in a previous post:
Let me speculate briefly on the implications of these startling facts. They mean that children never learn, from a sense of social obligation, to eat when not hungry, or not to eat when they are. Appetite is all they need consult in deciding whether to eat—a purely egotistical outlook. Hence anything that interferes with the satisfaction of appetite will seem oppressive.
Hypothesis: You don't need an explicit embrace of deterministic nihilism to get its effects. Secular humanism and moral relativism will do just fine. In the end, we derive our basic moral foundations from first principles. That is, if we believe in hell and a concrete set of rules, we are more likely to avoid what we consider to be sinful. If we believe that everything is relative and morality is determined by the individual, we end up with a watered-down version of nihilism because in the end, almost every moral decision can be rationalized.

No, I Haven't Gone off the Deep End

That last post was an experiment to see how many hits I'll get from Google image and text searches on the term "Hannah Montana" (HM).

The idea came to me while walking through WalMart yesterday. My daughter had just finished a two-a-day soccer workout and we were going to get Mario Kart for the Wii. It was part reward and part promise kept. That's another story. In any case, we passed racks and bins and aisles filled with HM things. There were HM towels, HM clothes, HM cups and plates and for all I know, a complete line of HM beekeeper suits.

My daughter loathed them. She's very much the little bohemian.

In any case, I began to wonder what kind of hits I would get if I larded up a post with the phrase HM, included a standard image of her and titled it HM. We'll see what happens. My old post on Meg Whitman for VP has gotten about 60 hits in the last few days following John McCain's mention of her at the Saddleback Forum.

Aside: Now there's something you won't see every day. A blog post mentioning both HM and Meg Whitman. I've got all the bases covered!

A Google Trends chart showing the relative use of the search terms "HM" and "Meg Whitman". HM, in blue, wins by a mile.

Hannah Montana

Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Hannah Montana.

Hannah Montana

Hannah Montana?

Hannah Montana!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Know It's Time to go Shopping When...'re down to one beer and no Diet Cokes.

Update: Make that no beers and no Diet Cokes. The situation is grave indeed.

In Defense of Barack Obama

I'd like to offer a sincere defense of Barack Obama's response to the abortion in the Saddleback debate. Here's the transcript:
WARREN: Now, let’s deal with abortion; 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. As a pastor, I have to deal with this all of the time, all of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

WARREN: Have you –

OBAMA: But let me just speak more generally about the issue of abortion, because this is something obviously the country wrestles with. One thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue. And so I think anybody who tries to deny the moral difficulties and gravity of the abortion issue, I think, is not paying attention. So that would be point number one.
Everyone I've read in the blogosphere has trashed Obama for this response, particularly the "above my pay grade" part. They see this as a pusillanimous equivocation designed to allow his audience to project their beliefs onto him. I completely disagree with this assessment. I believe that Obama was speaking from his heart and was being totally honest.

Evan Sayet turned me on to this notion when I watched his video describing his analysis of modern leftism following 9/11. The concept at work here is that judgment itself is evil. Being non-judgmental is the highest form of truth and beauty. Who are you to say what is right and what is wrong? After all, we used to see blacks as non-people. We used to see women as less than men. We used to see gays as aberrant creatures. The common thread in all of that is the use of concrete standards of judgment. Just look at what that led to.

Consequently, for Obama, it is the use of concrete standards that is wrong. That is the source of Obama's response. Abortion can only be condemned if you adhere to some fixed standards of behavior. If everything is relative then that assessment is indeed above Obama's pay grade. I would venture to extend this to the worship of nuanced answers as well. It is intellectually simplistic to give answers like "we must defeat evil." We used to think that about the American Indians, too. Look where that led. (Fewer massacres of settlers, but then again the settlers had a much larger carbon footprint than the Indians, so that was OK.)

I think the attacks on Obama's abortion response are dead wrong and betray a lack of understanding of his world view. Within his frame of reference, his response was honest, complete and accurate. The underlying debate that we're not having is over the use of concrete standards of behavior. Do we need them? Are they important? If one group believes that the word of God defines sin in concrete terms, is it OK for another group to legislate rights to those sins? Do the believers have to financially support those "sins?"

Obama was speaking from his heart and many of us chose not to hear him.

Extreme Ironing

This is going to be the next big thing on ESPN, I can just tell!

I want to see them ironing while rollerblading. How about you?

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the Importance of the Pope

In doing some more research on Theodore Dalrymple I came across this interview of him over at the excellent blog, The Brussels Journal. In that wide-ranging discussion, lay this nugget:
TD: In prison I saw black people converting to islam. These were not immigrants of course, but native British-born people. Conversion to religion can lead to an improvement in day to day behaviour, if people do not become extremists, because religion can give a transcendent purpose. The question, however, is whether Islam is inherently unstable and will always tend to extremism. That is the question that has to be answered.

PB: What is your view? Is Islam inherently unstable?

TD: I personally think it probably is, because it does not have anybody to define the doctrine. There is no hierarchy in Islam.

PB: There is no Pope?

TD: There is no Pope, there is nothing to be laid down. A moderate person can always be outflanked by someone who claims to be more Islamic than he is. That is a very serious problem.
I hadn't thought of that before, the concept of the Pope as a bulwark against extremism, placing a limit on just how far Catholics can go in the name of their faith. It's hard to be a militant Catholic if the Pope is a peacemaker. Without the Pope, I could see Catholic sects vying to see which one was the most militant, the most devoted or propagated the fastest. It would be a very different world indeed.

It's hard to be more Catholic than this fellow.

I would also suggest (without evidence or much thought on my part) that Catholicism acts as a stabilizer for Christianity in general. The size and power of the Church within Christianity must have some indirect effect on the decisions of the other denominations, wouldn't you think?

Eating Dinner With Your Kids

...may be more important than I thought. Theodore Dalrymple has a long article on the state of British families, complete with several very depressing anecdotes. This secton in particular leaped out at me.
More than four out of ten British children are born out of wedlock; the unions of which they are the issue are notoriously unstable. Even marriage has lost much of its meaning. In a post-religious society, it is no longer a sacrament. The government has ensured that marriage brings no fiscal advantages and, indeed, for those at the lower end of the social scale, that it has only disadvantages. Easy divorce means that a quarter of all marriages break up within a decade.

The results of this social dysfunction are grim for children. Eighty percent of British children have televisions in their bedrooms, more than have their biological fathers at home. Fifty-eight percent of British children eat their evening meal in front of the television (a British child spends more than five hours per day watching a screen); 36 percent never eat any meals together with other family members; and 34 percent of households do not even own dining tables. In the prison where I once worked, I discovered that many inmates had never eaten at a table together with someone else.

Let me speculate briefly on the implications of these startling facts. They mean that children never learn, from a sense of social obligation, to eat when not hungry, or not to eat when they are. Appetite is all they need consult in deciding whether to eat—a purely egotistical outlook. Hence anything that interferes with the satisfaction of appetite will seem oppressive. They do not learn such elementary social practices as sharing or letting others go first. Since mealtimes are usually when families get to converse, the children do not learn the art of conversation, either; listening to what others say becomes a challenge. There is a time and place for everything: if I feel like it, the time is now, and the place is here.
Emphasis mine. We always eat dinner together and never with the TV turned on. I place great importance on the conversation at the dinner table and the standard courtesies of the event. I hadn't thought of the implications of the converse - the long-term effects of the children never eating dinner with anyone else or always eating it in front of the TV.

Mr. Dalrymple is the author of several books, including Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, a book he researched through extensive interviews in prisons and slums. When he talks about the common features of the poor and the failed, he has to be taken seriously.

Olympic Cheezburger

more cat pictures

Sunday, August 17, 2008

So Maybe This Whole Georgia Thing Isn't Going As Planned

Germany is now supportive of Georgia becoming a member of NATO.

The Ukraine is going to be a part of the ballistic missile defense of Europe.

Way to go, Putin! A few more "victories" like this and you'll be sleeping in a cardboard box in Arbat Square.

"I used to be a big deal. Then I went and invaded Georgia."

Mystified by YouTube

OK, I officially don't get it. A while back, I put up some sunset videos using music clips by Swing Out Sister, an excerpt or two of Gene Kelly from An American in Paris and one or two other such things and I was asked to take them down. In the last week, I've found whole episodes of Get Smart and the entire Marx Brothers movie, Coconuts on YouTube.

What are the rules here?

Cheezburger of the Day

Scottish Folds frequently have that forlorn look that makes it seems that they're about to break down crying if they don't get some petting immediately.

more cat pictures

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Boy Scouts and High School Graduation

The other day, I followed a Puppy Blender link over to a post on the blog Why Boys Fail. It's written by Richard Whitmire who is a journalist specializing in education. The blog has all kinds of statistics and anecdotes about how boys are falling behind in this category or that. It's quite interesting. Or at least it was until I came across this post, which completely dismissed Kathleen Parker's new book, Save the Males. Here's an excerpt.
(Kathleen's conclusion summarized): As long as men feel marginalized by the women whose favors and approval they seek, as long as they are alienated from their children and treated as criminals by family courts, as long as they are disrespected by a culture that no longer values masculinity tied to honor, and as long as boys are bereft of strong fathers and our young men and women wage sexual war, then we risk cultural suicide.”

(His reaction): Wow, cultural suicide. Never realized I was living so close to the Kool Aid abyss. I need to stock up on canned tuna and rice.
Ha ha! What a witty response! Let's all mock Kathleen Parker. I'll bet we could get intellectual giants like Keith Olbermann to join in. After all, it's all very chic and open-minded.

Until you get to the scoreboard.

The current national high school graduation rate for boys is 65%. For boys who participate in Boy Scouts it's 91%. The score is 91 to 65. At my son's Catholic, all-boys high school, the graduation rate is closer to 98% of which all go on to a college of some kind, 80%+ going to 4 year colleges.

Scoreboard, Rich.

Still don't think it's cultural? What do you say about a nation that allows the gays to persecute the Boy Scouts, chasing them out of one public location after another? Think that's OK? What does that say to you about our culture? Try this post on for size and follow the zombietime link if you dare. That's the kind of people we're supporting in their relentless attacks on the Boy Scouts.

That score again, 91-65.

The truth of the matter is that those of us who cling to God and Guns are doing just fine, thank you very much. It's not our boys who are failing, it's the ones whose parents have followed the Pied Piper of secular humanism and moral relativism.

91-65. In the Olympics, the USA men's basketball team beat Russia by a score of 90-68. That's a smaller margin than the graduation rate. Anyone want to say that the US and Russia are essentially the same at basketball?

Some highlights comparing the Boy Scouts to the general population.

As for cultural suicide, take a look at these quotes from our secular humanist role models, the Euros, on the recent Russian rape of Georgia.
"The Russians have been in breach of international law. There will be consequences of some sort," said Bildt.

But any such moves will trigger resistance in a divided EU. Brussels' attempts to play the key mediating role also limit its scope for taking sides.

"We don't have time now to get into long discussions on blame," said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister.

"We shouldn't make any moral judgments on this war. Stopping the war, that's what we're interested in," said Kouchner. "Don't ask us who's good and who's bad here."
Think that's not cultural suicide? Want some facts and figures instead? Try this.

No worries, Rich. There will still be boys going to college and taking leadership positions. There will still be high-grade husband material for the ladies. That's got to be good news for you. It will give your boys someone to work for while they save their money to buy more Internet porn.

Cipro is not Conducive to Blogging

After last weekend's dreadful plague-blogging, this week hasn't been too much better. My doctor put me on a dosage of the antibiotic Cipro that seems to be strong enough for cattle. The result has been the obliteration of all bacterial infections in a 30 yard radius of my body, but it's also sucked all the life out of me. I've got some interesting posts percolating inside my head, but they may have to wait for tomorrow for release.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson Calms Down a bit About Georgia

Check it out here. Here's a tidbit.
We are a little more than a week into the crisis, and already Russia has already gotten itself more than just fights with Georgia—but also issued creepy threats to Poland over missiles, and to the Ukraine over naval bases. Putin has galvanized into panic most of Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, prompted a radical change of policy in the United States, and embarrassed its once sure support from the appeasement bloc of the European Union. What will next week bring? A Georgian insurgency, replete with stingers, anti-tank guns, and ieds? Increased arms sales to the former republics?

Tongue Twister

In figuring out what to have for dinner tonight, I came up with this tongue twister. Enjoy.

Finicky felines finishing fishsticks.
Try saying it three times fast.

World of Good, Some Other Place Style

Our Official Artist did some volunteer work. Check out his story.


You've got to go see this.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Worth Reading

Our Monastery of Miscellaneous Musings notes something I hadn't seen before. Check it out.

Greenspan on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Bailouts

Alan Greenspan weighed in on the massive government bailout:
His quarrel is with the approach the Bush administration sold to Congress. "They should have wiped out the shareholders, nationalized the institutions with legislation that they are to be reconstituted -- with necessary taxpayer support to make them financially viable -- as five or 10 individual privately held units," which the government would eventually auction off to private investors, he said.

Instead, Congress granted Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson temporary authority to use an unlimited amount of taxpayer money to lend to or invest in the companies.
In this case, there's not much difference between the parties. It's all about retaining the power to manipulate the credit markets for political gain. So long as the FMs remain at least quasi-government, the politicians can use them to dole out goodies in some fashion. Just look at the former Clinton and Bush officials who have high-ranking positions at both.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Bad Move for Russia?

It appears I'm not alone in thinking that the invasion of Georgia was a bad move for Russia.
Russia may have smashed its tiny neighbour but victory will come at a heavy price. The war will reduce rather than increase Russia's stature abroad, where the Kremlin faces growing isolation...

For all its big-power bluster, Russia is weak and vulnerable. Russian tanks and aircraft may have smashed the fledgeling Georgian Army with ease, but most of the weaponry was Cold War-era and many of the troops conscripts. Anyone who has seen the Russian Army operating in the Caucasus knows that the military will need a generation to modernise. Meanwhile America, and its main Nato allies, are decades ahead in military technology and combat experience.

Russia is also facing a severe demographic crisis. Its population is shrinking by 700,000 people a year. The UN estimates the population will fall below 100 million by 2050, down from around 146 million today.

As for the economy, it is booming thanks to natural resources that account for 70 per cent of the country's wealth. But the oil price is in a state of flux. Russia has failed to diversify. Should energy prices fall sharply, the economy could collapse, as it did a decade ago.

Obama, Russia and Georgia

Here's a nice juxtaposition of stories, video and images.

After agreeing to a ceasefire brokered by the French, the Russians kept going to Gori and turned left.
GORI, Georgia -- Just hours after Russia agreed to a French-brokered cease-fire, Russian troops followed by irregular Ossetian militias pushed deep into Georgia, seizing the strategic city of Gori and deploying armored vehicles on the nation's main highway that leads to capital city of Tbilisi.
Looks like they might make something of their invasion after all. Where is Obama's international institution of choice, the UN?
The UN Security Council put off until Saturday efforts to agree on a call for an immediate ceasefire in the worsening conflict in Georgia's breakaway enclave of South Ossetia, its president said Friday.

"Some members need more time," Belgium's UN envoy Jan Grauls, who chairs the council this month, told reporters. "Negotiations will be resumed tomorrow."
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya...

Meanwhile, Obama has plans to prepare us to meet threats just like these.

And the results we can expect from an Obama administration that features defense cuts and negotiations?

Your city blown to bits and your neighbors ethnically cleansed? That's change you can believe in!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Maybe all Recycling Isn't a Good Idea

I thought this was an over-the-top, stupid post and then I went and watched the Penn and Teller video on recycling.

Aluminum only for me from now on. Maybe plastic. Definitely not paper.

Was the Russian Invasion of Georgia a Colossal Blunder?

I just get this feeling that Russia's invasion of Georgia was a major screw-up. Apparently, they called a halt to it today, halfway through the job of taking over the place. Now they're stuck with a sort-of conquest and a major international problem. They also left the Georgian army intact.

On the plus side: they intimidated Georgia and gave the US a (temporary) black eye.

On the minus side: they just managed to tick off everyone and now have a border with a heavily armed enemy who is getting training and support from the US. With a declining population, a massive country and a poorly equipped military, I don't think Russia's ready for the kind of guerrilla warfare that could be unleashed on them. If they try to retain the portion of Georgia they captured, I would expect a seriously nasty campaign of bombings and snipings to start.

It looks to me like they expected to defeat the Georgian army in the field and then do what they wanted with the country. When it got away, they were left with chasing it into the mountains and going through a prolonged, deadly conflict while the International community froze assets, cancelled contracts and so forth.

Just what do the Russians have now that they didn't have before this?

Update: Powerline has a map of Georgia showing the route of a crucial oil pipeline. The Russians failed to capture it or destroy it in bombing. It is managed by the British.
The pipeline, in which British Petroleum is the lead partner, can carry up to one million barrels of oil per day. It is of considerable strategic significance, as it is the only means by which countries in the region like Azerbaijan can get their oil into the international market without relying on Russia.
So they didn't get the Georgian army and they didn't get the pipeline. That doesn't look good at all.

Update 2: If the idea was to terrify the other ex-Soviet provinces, does this sound like it worked?
In a show of defiance to the Russian attacks, 100,000 people packed the main Rustaveli avenue of Tbilisi, where a sea of red-and-white Georgian flags waved above the crowds.

President Mikheil Saakashvili told a rally that Georgia would quit the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a grouping of former Soviet states, and urged Ukraine to follow suit.

Georgia has received strong support from other former communist states with the leaders of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states travelling to Tbilisi where they addressed a mass rally.

"You have the right to freedom and independence. We are here to demonstrate our solidarity ... freedom is worth fighting for," shouted Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko in live pictures carried by Georgian television.
Update 3: Apparently, no one got word of the cease fire to the Russian army and they hit Gori and turned left. How far will they go? If they stop before taking the country, then let's review the situation.

  • Did they get the government? No.

  • Did they get the capital? No.

  • Did they get the army? No.

  • Did they get the pipeline? No.
That doesn't look like much of a win to me.

Is it Muskrat Love?

No, it's Obama Love!

I'm selling everything I own and running off to follow the tour! He's so dreamy!

This is Beautiful

I highly recommend that you go read about it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup mmm-mmm SALTY!

I'm feeling better, so I'm trying some chicken soup. Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup, to be exact. Each serving has 70 calories. For a 2500 calorie diet, you would need to eat 35.7 servings. Each serving has 940 mg of sodium. That would work out to 33,571 mg of sodium a day if you ate nothing but Campbell's Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup.

My box of Hain Iodized salt says that each tsp of salt has 2360 mg of sodium. Your daily diet of soup would be the equivalent of eating more than 14 tsp of salt a day.

Yum! That's homestyle, alright.

If your home happens to be the Salton Sea.

This Flu Calls for my Personal Physician

...Dr. Tinycat!

funny pictures
more cat pictures

I wonder, what he will recommend?

A Few More Days of the Flu

...and I'll drop everything I own into this pool of boiling mud and jump in after it, just to kill those pesky germs!

Curse you, microbes!

And Thus, the J Pierpont Morgan of Squirrels was Born

A squirrel invests a single seed and ends up with around 137 a few months later. He sees the return and thinks, "Hey, this investment thing works great! Now all I need to do is market it to other the squirrels..."

The squirrel story here.

The human J Pierpont Morgan's biography here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My Nurse is Laying Down on the Job

This weekend I've been going through the worst flu I can remember. I've never had one that's migrated from one part of my body to another from one day to the next.


In any case, our Maximum Leader has been on hand at all times, lending, err, moral support. At least that's what I think she's lending. Whatever it is she's giving me, it doesn't seem to take much effort.

This reminds me of a joke sequence I read in a Mad magazine decades ago in their satire of The Shootist. It went something like this.

John Wayne (the gunfighter dying of cancer): Tell me, doc, what can I expect?

Jimmy Stewart (his doctor): Well, you'll feel sharp pains across your chest, shortness of breath, pounding headaches, a loss of apetite, terrible cramps in your abdomen and violent tremors across your entire body, but that doesn't concern me.

John Wayne: That doesn't concern you? What would?

Jimmy Stewart: If it was happening to me!

Maybe the Problem was all That Dueling

I've been reading a lot of William Lobdell's blogs. He's the LA Times reporter who has entered the blogosphere. He also worked the religion beat for the LAT and had to cover the sex scandal while trying to go through RCIA and become a Catholic. I've got a much more heartfelt post about his work that I will put up later, but in the meantime, he might want to find a better editor for his book, "Losing my Religion." Either that or his religious discussions led to lots of duels. Here's a book excerpt from his web page.

The web page.

The book excerpt.

This leads me to suggest a lol for Lobdell. (A Lolbdell?)

Me and Louis Prima all the Way!

Thanks to our Official Artist, we've taken another silly quiz.

You Should Play the Trumpet

You are a natural leader. You have a very dominant and strong personality.

Working with others suits you. As long as you're in charge, that is!

You are aggressive and strong in your approach to most things.

You feel like no one is as competent as you are, and you rarely make mistakes.

The limelight is where you feel most comfortable - and you'll take risks to get some extra attention.

You definitely would bring your own flavor to any music you were a part of. Even if it means being a little loud and obnoxious.

Your dominant personality characteristic: you're a showoff

Your secondary personality characteristic: you like to be in charge of other people

Wow. That comes out a little more bossy than I'd hoped!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What Do You See?

I took this photo of a cloud while camping last week. What does it look like to you? Come up with your answer before you leave it in the comments because I'll be posting mine there and I wouldn't want to spoil your thoughts.

Err, Maybe Now Would be a Good Time to Stand as One

OK, so let's try Obama's world view out for size. Here's the situation in Georgia.

Here's some text from Obama's sermon to the Germans.
Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen -- a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.
Does this include being a citizen of Georgia? Russia?
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
Jackpot! Walls are coming down even as we speak. Of course, those walls are coming down because tanks are driving through them, but they're coming down nonetheless.
This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century -- in this city of all cities -- we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.
OK, so now we're getting somewhere. The Europeans must extend a hand abroad. Lucky for them, Georgia isn't so far away. Too bad the Europeans have all the military power of a ground squirrel. Oh well. Maybe if we all unite together in peace and freedom as citizens of the planet* we'll find there's nothing we can't do.

Except stop the Russians.

* - which planet? Maybe he's talking about Neptune and I've got the whole thing muddled.

Obama's Response to Russia's Invasion of Georgia

The year is 2009. President Obama is faced with an international crisis. Nuclear Russia is involved in a full-scale war with nuclear Georgia. President Obama gathers his military advisors around him and asks a penetrating question.

"So which end of your gun do the stingy things come out of?"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Too Bleeargh to Blog

It's the flu! Yuck! I feel like I've got a massive hangover, but without any memories of a wild party.

I've Seen It, But I Still Don't Believe It

My dad asked me to find information about a scuba diving cat. He showed me an article and asked if I could find the video. Well, dad, here you go.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Love This McCain Ad

Why do I get the feeling that McCain's campaign is just getting warmed up?

The Real World Solution to Health Care Costs

...lies in the economics of the situation, not the politics. Peter Drucker described the problem a long time ago and now the outstanding Carpe Diem blog has a description of the solution.


Right about the time this post pops up, I should be reaching 150,000 hits on this blog.

Thanks to all of you for your links, your visits and your comments. I have learned so much about all kinds of things through blogging, but very little of it would have been done without the pleasure of your company along the way.

Neon Tetras in the Wild

Unreal. I love the Internets tubes! All my life I've wanted to snorkel in the wild amidst the colorful, little tetras I used to keep in my aquariums. I just found fishfromvenezuela. Dig this.


The Rodents of the Laguna Mountains

On Tuesday, while camping, we went squirrel hunting and shot a bunch of them. We shot them with our new Nikon D60 with it's 55-200 telephoto lens. The squirrels all ran off when they saw us coming, but we sat still in an empty campground for a while and soon they came back out. Here's a handsome fellow that we must have shot 50 times. I'm sure he thought we were paparazzi.

We also found a gopher pushing dirt out of its nest right at our feet. After sitting quietly for a while, we noticed him peeking out of his hole. Unfortunately, he had his back to us and the scene was quite dark. This photo has been processed to increase the brightness considerably.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Can You Model Neon Tetra Behavior?

I was at the pet store the other day, getting some gear for our Maximum Leader (more on that later) and I decided to walk through their tropical fish area. I've always loved neon tetras and used to have an aquarium with quite a few of them. This is what they look like.

Neons have pretty small brains and not very many behaviors. As I clicked around YouTube I began to wonder if you could come up with a behavioral model for neon tetras. What do they do when they're just hanging out and why do they do it? Is there a leader to their school or do they just meander about following each other? Do they avoid dark spaces, light spaces, enclosed spaces or what?

I think I need a big aquarium and lots of neons to experiment. :-)

Laguna Mountains Sunset

We just got back from a few days camping with my fiancee and her family. A wonderful time was had by all. I must admit that I haven't been camping like this since I was in the Boy Scouts more than 30 years ago. It was great to be going along with an experienced camper.

It was also good to be the kind of man who isn't afraid of taking advice about camping from a woman. :-)

I got some nice photos, though not as nice as our Missionary to the Frozen, Northern Wastelands did on his recent camping trip, and I will share those with you over time. Here's the first, a sunset over the hills.

Click on it for a better version.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cheezburger of the Day

more cat pictures

Alternative Energy Will Destroy the Environment

Our local utility company, SDG&E, is trying to buy more of its power from renewable sources, some of which are located in the desert to the east of us. Out in the desert, it is sunny. (I'm sorry to be getting so technical with you, but it's true.) It also can be very windy. That makes it good for wind-generation of electrical power.

Since SDG&E has refused to invest in research to find faeries and sprites to carry the electrical power from the desert to the city, they are proposing to blight the environment with a power line that carries the stuff from the desert (where we don't live) to the coast (where we do). It's called the Sunrise Powerlink.

All right-thinking environmentalists oppose this, of course. Here's what the environmentalists are warning us about.
Despite its cheerful-sounding name, the Sunrise Powerlink has decidedly gloomy environmental implications. This controversial, 150-mile-long proposed transmission line would run from California’s Imperial Valley desert to the north coastal city of San Diego and would cut across Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Cleveland National Forest, as well as through the heart of many other protected parks, preserves, and communities. The project would ravage habitat, contribute to global warming, and even pose a significant threat to people from wildfire.
Thank goodness for these guys. If it wasn't for them, we'd be getting more power from renewable resources and that's the last thing we want. After all, if we did that, how would their sister organizations be able to scream at the utility companies for killing us all with greenhouse gases?

Thank goodness for the Greens. Everyone knows that these things kill everything in a ten-mile radius. Right before they fall over and burst into flames.