Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fastidiousness Pays, You Know

From the spam mailbag, we have this encouraging bit.
Very quickly this site will be famous among all blogging and site-building people, due to it's fastidious articles
We hope so, anonymous commenter. We hope so.

Cheezburger of the Day

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cousin Itt With Wings

... at least that's the first thing I thought of when I saw this photo of a Saddled Prominent over at Tim's excellent blog.


And that, of course, leads me to share my favorite Cousin Itt scene with you. From the Ophelia's Career episode of The Addams Family, here's Cousin Itt giving his professional opinion of Ophelia's chances.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Just About Time To Dust Off Those Eurocrisis Posts

... because the Italians have decided that, while they like eating out, they don't like paying the bill.

Yesterday, the Italians voted against mathematics. Instead, they voted for chaos.
Several candidates opposed to austerity measures were making a strong showing Monday in partial results from Italy's local elections -- the first nationwide test for Premier Mario Monti since he was named to save Italy from its debt crisis.

Analysts were watching for signs of voter anger in two days of balloting over Monti's austerity measures and toward mainstream parties that have supported them since Monti took over from Silvio Berlusconi in November.
Note that the article says they voted against austerity, but that's not really true. Austerity will come no matter what since it's a consequence of borrowing mountains of money. How's the whole voting against math thing going to work out? I think the best answer is this.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Everything Old Is New Again

Dig this.

Because She's Beautiful

Mobility Is Key

I'm convinced that the world is highly unstable right now and will be until there's some kind of fiscal collapse that clears out the financial rubbish. Japan, for example, has debt levels that boggle the mind; their debt-to-gdp ratio is about double our own. I keep pondering how a collapse might occur and how to prepare for it. Then I realize that my own thoughts on the matter have been consistently wrong. I was convinced, for example, that the US would devour all global funding to feed its deficits. I never considered the possibility that the Fed would simply print all the money the government needed.

So the place is unstable and the decisions that will be made in crisis unpredictable. What's a Feline Theocratician to do? How should I advise our kids? My basic thoughts have been to double down on what we teach them already.
  1. Have marketable skills. You are really only worth the value you can contribute. Don't count on endless social spending to support you.
  2. Avoid debt. When the bank gets in trouble, it's going to start calling in loans. If the bank doesn't get in trouble and you lose your job, having debts to repay can drive you to bankruptcy. When things are unstable, you need to anticipate both events.
  3. Get and stay married. You need a partner in life. When times are good, the two of you can serve others better as a pair than as individuals. When times are bad, you need backup. Stay married because divorce smashes everything in your life.
  4. Go to church. The world is important, but it's not everything. When times are good, you need help dealing with your weaknesses. When times are bad, you need to be reminded that there is Someone who loves you and cares about you. Footprints in the sand and all that.
Finally, I would add this: be mobile. Detroit is in ruins. It didn't happen in a day, but it did happen. If you lived in Detroit and didn't have marketable, mobile skills, you were locked into the city's death spiral. If your skills and at least a good portion of your wealth were mobile, you could shed a tear or two and then leave.
You want to be able to get out before things get to this point. Image source.
I'm not a big believer in a dramatic social collapse or an apocalyptic Mad Maxian future for the US. Having said that, I'd further prepare for the instabilities ahead by learning a second language, one chosen to give you global mobility. Looking around the world, I think Brazil could provide a nice landing place should things really get out of hand here.

If I'm going to take my own advice, I'd better start learning Portuguese.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This Is No Way To Train A Dog

... but it's a swell way to train our fellow citizens!

We're good friends with a couple, let's call them the Wilsons, both of whom are active in the Church. They're both as liberal as liberal can be. If you ever wanted to meet the kind of Catholics who would have been marching in the streets of Buenos Aires in support of Juan Peron, this pair is it. They supported the California ban on the death penalty because they want to be pro-life, but also supported Barack "It's OK To Kill As Many Babies As Possible" Obama. They are dyed-in-the-wool progressives.

The Wilson's daughter goes to a demanding Catholic high school. The Wilsons are excellent parents. They have high expectations, are lavish in the support and praise of their daughter, and consistent with their punishments. The young lady's learning cycle has always looked like this.

The Wilsons provide their daughter with a safe training ground for the real world.
Like good progressives, the Wilsons demand Social Justice for everyone outside of their family. Lots and lots of government support. Plenty of tolerance. Lots of mercy. Endless cataracts of government dollars slathered on every conceivable problem. Amnesty for all immigrants. For the American people at large, here's the learning cycle they want.

The Wilsons are big on "compassion".
The great irony of people like the Wilsons is that they completely understand how utterly destructive the rescue cycle would be to their daughter, but they can't bring themselves to see the results of applied Social Justice in society at large. They actively support a national decision cycle they wouldn't use to train a dog. They ignore the results - the wave of murders in Chicago is a marker of societal collapse, not a consequence of guns - and possess an unshakable belief in progressive social policies.

Talk about faith-based initiatives.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

If Some Is Good, More Isn't Always Better

... and that's a lesson I refuse to learn, despite getting hit with the consequences over and over and over.

Yesterday, I revved up the Oklahoma Joe smoker and made a mess of pulled pork for one of my Cursillo groupies whose son* just got out of the hospital after a 31-day stay. The young man lost 17 pounds from an already slender frame while there and needs to be fattened up. His parents put their lives on hold and lived in their son's hospital room to the extent the hospital and the father's job would allow. Now that the ordeal is over, they all need some down-home culinary lovin'. They requested my pulled pork, so I cranked up old Okie Joe, grabbed a pair of pork shoulders and turned on the Google TV so I could watch Europa League games while I cooked.

The end result was beautiful.


The end result was also way undercooked. After 7 1/2 hours in the smoker, the internal temperature of the pork was 130 instead of the prescribed 190. The recipe calls for 7-8 hours in the smoker and I wanted to be on the short side of that, so I had loaded more coals than usual into the firebox. Instead of running hotter, the smoker ran colder. All day it ran cold, so I kept adding excess charcoal. I didn't figure it out until it was too late.

Fire needs oxygen. A bigger fire needs more oxygen. The smoker works by restricting air flow. Adding more coals increases the heat up to the point where the intake can't support them all.

If you add more coals than the intake can feed, you smother your own fire.
And thus, I managed to spend a whole day watching soccer.

Err, that's not it.

I spent the whole day watching soccer and then had to put the pork in the oven for an hour and a half to finish it off. The end result was still delicious, but had this been a dinner party, it would have been quite embarrassing.

So, like drinking beer, eating jambalaya and buying Newcastle United shirts, jerseys, hats and sweatshirts, there comes a point of not just diminishing returns, but actual regret**.

* - The lad is a miracle in so many ways - he survived terminal brain stem cancer in second grade, went on to become salutatorian at our Catholic all-boys high school and then graduated from Georgetown with a degree in International Finance. From there, he got a job at a bank and has been a model of fortitude in the face of troubles as he has suffered severe health problems all his life, stemming from the brain cancer.

** - I've not reached this point with the Newcastle gear. Just sayin'.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Are The Crimes Really Victimless?

Fellow SLOB Left Coast Rebel blogged recently about victimless crimes such as gambling, something that came up in her business law class.
The course work this week delves into usury laws, so-called payday loans and statewide statutes involving gambling. We've been given the option to argue either side of each issue and conclude if we think usury laws and the "disproportionate" state legislation regarding gambling loans (rather, taking out loans to gamble) should be targeted by the feral government.

Unfortunately most of my classmates travel the road of government essentially doing everything it can to protect people from themselves (which I, of course couldn't disagree with more)...
Italics in the original. Is the crime really victimless? Dig this.


 Finally, we have this.
Learn more about us debt.

To a great extent, the debt comes from entitlement spending. Entitlement spending goes to the poor. If you become poor, you get entitlement benefits like the EBT in the song. The money for that EBT comes from me and my kids. The more entitlements we hand out, the less anyone learns from their stupid decisions. Nothing good happens at all. In the end, the US goes bankrupt, my kids and I learn Portuguese and we move to Brazil because too many people were behaving stupidly and demanding our money to make up for their bad decisions. You either move somewhere else or you stay here and pay, pay, pay.

Is that a crime or not?

Maybe it isn't such a crime after all. Brazil is nice.

I Love The Cloud

I've got a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. It's fantastic. It's not just the 20GB of storage that's available anywhere, it's the fact that I can download and activate Creative Suite apps anywhere just by going online and signing in with my username and password. I recently discovered that when I bought Norton 360 earlier this year in a vain attempt to cure my sick laptop, it works the same way. I need to download and install it on another machine and all I have to do is go to Norton, sign in and I'm good to go.

Awesomeness squared.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cheezburger of the Day

A Little More On Gay Marriage

An anonymous commenter on this post had lots to say, but I wanted to address this tidbit in particular.
Marriage, parenthood, and household income are complex social phenomena.
That sounds reasonable. Don't judge how others live their lives because you don't understand their situation. It makes sense as far as it goes, but it fails to go all the way. The gay marriage and moral relativism folks are actually implying the following.
Marriage, parenthood, and household income are complex social phenomena. However, each instance can be safely isolated from the rest of society so let's all feel comfortable in letting everyone do their own thing.
This, of course, is nonsense. Complex phenomena become more complex when they integrate with other complex phenomena, not less.

A gear is geometrically complicated, but a watch much more so. Image source. 
As things become more complicated, causation becomes more difficult to determine and the best you can do is look at broader trends. In this case, broader trends tell us in no uncertain terms that moral relativism is a ginormous fail.

Not to worry. These things won't continue on indefinitely. The government cannot replace the family forever. When the bonds can no longer be sold or the dollar no longer has value or we come to our senses, we'll have to return to what works sustainably.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let's Not Have Any More Sawhills, Whatever We Do

Isabel Sawhill is a thoroughly postmodern woman. She sees the fertility problem in the US and thinks to herself, this isn't a problem, it's an opportunity! Ms. Sawhill shows the advantages of progressive, one-worldy, diversitopian thinking. We can all relax, go back to our hipster lifestyles and skip the kids. We'll just import people from other countries! Which countries? Who cares? So long as we can drive our Mazda Miatas and climb the corporate ladder, they can come from Mars if they want.

The future belongs to those who show up, but since Ms. Sawhill probably won't be around 50 years hence, what difference does it really make? Sawhills, schmawhills. Who needs 'em?

There's no room for a car seat and no need for one, either!

Teachers Build The Future!

Termites are difficult to debate. All they want to do is eat wood and produce more little termites. You can't reason with termites. You can't say to them, "Look, termites, this chewing on my house frame is all well and good, but where will it get you in the end? Either I'll have to tent the house and kill you all or you'll chew until the house collapses and the rubble is hauled away and destroyed. There's no future in all this chewing!"

Well, you can say it, but it won't do you any good. Termites don't care about the future. All they want to do is chew on wood and make little termites. Sort of like these folks.
In early 2008, residents of Placentia and Yorba Linda approved a $200 million school construction bond after reading those fliers and being assured repeatedly that "their money will be spent wisely." ...

After the election, the board allowed the bank to sell some of the costliest bonds ever issued by a California public agency. Just one $22 million borrowing from 2011 will cost taxpayers nearly 13 times that amount – $280 million – to repay.

Those bonds, known to Wall Street traders as capital appreciation bonds, are like a loan for which no principal or interest payments are made for 35 years. Interest is charged on a growing pile of unpaid interest, causing the balance to balloon.
What can you say to things like this? With whom can you reason? The district issued the capital appreciation bonds because it wanted to continue building and the termites continued eating because they wanted to gnaw on wood. That's actually an unfair comparison to the termites because they need to gnaw on wood to survive. The education parasites behind this larceny did it because .... hmm ... well, that's just what they do.

Maybe the comparison works after all.

So the children of the children in school right now will get kicked in the groin to the tune of $200M to pay for buildings that will need to be torn down about the time the bill comes due. At least that's the way it's supposed to play out. What will actually happen is that the people who can pay the bill will leave and the only ones left will be the "less fortunate" who will have to declare bankruptcy. Then the place will fall into ruin since there won't be any money for basic maintenance.

Forward!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cheezburger of the Day

I Keep Weapons Within Reach When I Sleep

... because if I don't, I can't get any sleep at all.

Now I don't want you to think our Maximum Leader is spoiled. She is most certainly not spoiled. She is a loving and devoted little lady and behaves with the utmost decorum at all tim...

Oh, who am I kidding? She's spoiled rotten. She likes to wake me up at night and demand a snack. Since way back, I've given in. I discovered that she was extremely persistent and could make noises in all kinds of ways. In my old apartment, she used to push against the closet's sliding door, making it go, "thump thump thump" until I got up. Now she lightly paws the bedroom door, plucks the bed or gently pokes my arm with her claws until I get up, which I do.

The rule is one snack per night. There are times when she feels that is unsatisfactory and demands more. For those times, I have an arsenal of throw pillows next to my bed.

Throw pillows. Aptly named.
It typically only takes one of these, accompanied by me snapping my fingers loudly. I'm trying to associate snapping fingers with the concept, "cut it out!" and have had modest success. There are times when simply snapping my fingers will cause her to duck and cover, but most of the time, she needs a salvo of pillows to get the hint and settle down.

And if you think that's bad, you should be around when the smaller of the Catican Guards has a licking spasm in the middle of the night.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's Not About The Gays

Dig this.
I stopped celebrating Black History Month many years ago.

What is there to celebrate? I am writing about this issue because of the misguided emphasis too many African-Americans are placing on the murder of Hadiya Pendleton. She was the 15-year-old sophomore shot to death a week after performing with her school band at the president's inaugural. She was allegedly killed by an 18-year-old black gang member in a public park not far from President Barack Obama's South Side Chicago home.

Black people, politicians in particular, avoid discussing the problems at the heart of Hadiya Pendleton's death, the heavy toll of black-on-black violence and the moral decay that keeps us trapped.
Read the whole thing.

Speaking of moral decay, true ally and beer connoisseur DDE tweeted this recently.
DDE and I agree on almost everything, but not this. For me, there is no question that progressivism's Statist slavery is an anathema to Catholicism, no matter what economics essays come out of the Vatican*. In my replies, I decided to twist the question and ditch the whole religion angle. The more I read and the more I learn, the less I think you need to rely on doctrine. The doctrine is good because it works and it's easier to point to success than it is to hit people on the knuckles with rulers.
Still, there's something to be said for rulers. Image source.
For decades now, we've moved away from making moral judgments about relationships. All relationships are equal and you can't say one is better than another. We're now at the point where we're about to legalize gay marriage, cementing in place that particular equivalence.

When can we expect to see dividends from this? So far, it's all been a ghastly failure. See the essay above for just one instance. In every objective sense, there really is a hierarchy of relationships and the traditional married family is the best. It's not debatable. The statistics are incontrovertible and the sample sizes make the conclusions impossible to refute.

Equating traditional marriage with any other relationship has been like letting the scientists at NASA use 3.14 for Pi. It seems like a good and simplifying idea at the time, but in the end, your astronauts are dying in deep space and are nowhere near the alien probe they were sent to investigate.

Hmm. I seem to have digressed. I liked that analogy so much, I just had to use it and now look where I am.

Back to work.

So in all seriousness, if you're a big fan of gay marriage and you want others to support it, answer this: when can we skeptics expect to see the cultural fruit of equating all relationships? What will it look like? When can I expect to stop paying in tax money and degraded cultural environment for the depreciation of traditional marriage?

* - In case you're wondering, economics does not fall under Papal Infallibility.

Hillary Said It All

"What difference does it make?" ought to be the rallying cry of the year.

When pressed about her failures in Libya and how she and the rest of the Administration allowed such a fiasco to happen, did nothing while it was happening and then lied to all of us for weeks afterwards, she got angry and rattled. A woman who is the very model of self-control, lies and spin, said precisely what she was thinking.

"What difference does it make?"

It wasn't that the questioning would do nothing for the dead, it was that getting to the truth had no purpose. Just what would happen if the press discovered the complete timeline of the events before, during and after the Benghazi attack? They don't care, they're not going to tell anyone and you can't do anything about it.

Sort of like this.
Marco Rubio (R) and Robert Menendez (D)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

And Baby Makes Four

Well, that didn't take long.
A Florida judge has ruled that a 22-month-old baby girl shall have three people listed as her parents on her birth certificate -- a married lesbian couple and the gay man that provides one half of her DNA.

Maria Italiano, 43, and Cher Filippazzo, 38, had not successfully conceived a much-desired child, even after several attempts at fertility clinics. Italiano’s hairdresser Massimiliano Gerina offered to provide his sperm for artificial insemination after the women approached him on the subject.
Awesome! If we mix a bunch of sperm and eggs up in a big bowl and take out the resulting embryos, why not N parents where N is the number of contributors?

What could go wrong?

I'm such a prude. I only left enough room for 6 parents.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Can We Avert This Tragedy?

Comedy magazine Cosmo* is in deep trouble.
Another print-based magazine is about to byte the dust. Women’s magazines have their biggest sales at supermarket check-out lines. But these days, women with money have smartphones.

Do they buy a women’s magazine to browse through while they are waiting? Not any more. They check their smartphones.

Cosmopolitan‘s print-based magazine sales fell 18.5% in 2012. That is not just a decline. That is over the falls.

It gets worse. This decline came in the second half of the year. This means that the old browsing habits are being abandoned at a truly revolutionary speed. This is a complete change in reading habits. This is irreversible.
Here in the Catican, we are deeply troubled. Cosmo is one of our favorite reads while in the checkout aisle at the supermarket. With one hilarious cover after another, it has provided us with years of joy and laughter. It would be a sad day indeed if Cosmo was taken off the racks for good.

His best sex ever is male, right? They can't be talking about one of those ghastly sex change operations, can they?
 * - It is a comedy magazine, isn't it? Because if not, it's a rabid animal of a publication and should be taken out behind the barn and shot immediately.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Moral Relativism Loses - Game, Set, Match.

Dude.

Last night, I started thinking about the inverse of my previous posts on cities with the highest percentage of single parent households and how they're all basket cases. I wondered if I could find the list of cities with the highest percentage of married households.

Google. First hit. Bingo.

#1 on the hit parade is Flower Mound, Texas. How does Flower Mound stack up against the nation at large?

Average income: $95,416. That's the 98th percentile right there, kids.

Let's look at the large city with the highest percentage of single parents, Camden, NJ.

Average income: $23,421. That's the 11th percentile.

Game, set, match. If you care about the poor, then you must care about objective morality. You can't have it both ways.

If you're wondering, here's a synopsis of Pope Benedict's (then Cardinal Ratzinger) homily on the dictatorship of moral relativism. Looks like he was on to something.

Freaky. It's almost like he'd been clued in by Someone Else.

I Wonder If Warren Buffet's Hard Working Secretary Is In On This, Too

John Kerry is about to become a much richer man, thanks to that shrewd capitalist Warren Buffet*.
H.J. Heinz Co. said it agreed to be acquired by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and private-equity firm 3G Capital for more than $23 billion.

Under the terms of the deal, which has been unanimously approved by Heinz's board, shareholders will receive $72.50 in cash for each share, a 20% premium to Wednesday's close.
And so it goes in a fascist nation. Big business, big investors and big government all working together to bring about a brighter future.

For them.

Also: Over at Zerohedge, there's this comment: buying a company at a premium to its all time high share price...that is smart investing right there. maybe uncle warren just wanted to bathe in ketchup

Let's check that out.

Yup. The all-time high for HNZ is about $60. A 20% premium was paid to the Heinz-Kerrys.
* - A shrewd capitalist who just happens to be in bed politically with the current Administration.

Update: At the WSJ article linked above, commenter Jack Marse points out that HNZ's Price-to-Earnings Ratio is 19. A stolid company like Heinz ought to have one around 12 or so. That means the stock is overpriced at $60. At $72, it's total madness to buy it. Unless there's something else in it to sweeten the deal. Like the ear of the regulators who influence Warren Buffet's investments ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How Do People In Norway Get Anything Done?

Here in San Diego, it's February. I'm not sure what it is where you live, but in San Diego, it's February. In February, it gets dark early and it's freezing cold in the evening. Last night it was down into the 50s when I got home from work. Later, it got even colder. Where the authorities are stashing the bodies of the frozen dead is beyond me, but I'm sure there's been a wave of cold-related deaths. There has to have been with brutal weather like this!

When I get home from work, I don't feel like doing anything. It's cold and dark and I just want to plop down on the couch and not get up. The Catican Guards go unwalked and are growing fat and lazy*. Yesterday, during our brief period of sunlight and lukewarmth, I began to wonder what life must be like in horrible places like Norway where it's always dark and cold. How do they get anything done? They must spend 24 hours plopped on the couch!
A frozen town in Norway. Note how nothing's moving. I think they're all dead.
This is just one more reason to learn Portuguese and move to Brazil.

* - Actually, they're going mad from lack of exercise.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

There Can't Be A Budget Debate If There's No Budget To Debate

In a clarifying development, members of our family will be directly and negatively affected by the upcoming sequester wherein Federal spending will be cut. We'll survive and we're not complaining about it. If this is what it takes to slow down the looting of the next generation by the progressives, so be it.

What gets me is not the sequester, but the language of the conversation about it. If you read the press, where they try to be very even-handed when the progressives are shafting everyone or acting out of ignorance and incompetence, this is all about a "budget debate" where "both sides refuse to give in."

Huh?

How can you have a budget debate with no budget? There's been no budget submission by the Obama White House as is required by law and the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn't passed a budget in four years. The only budget produced in that time was the one by the Paul Ryan-led House of Representatives. It's not a debate if one side's position is to simply blow off the whole conversation.

Looking at the effects sequestration will have on those affected in our clan, it's not the loss of money that's the problem, it's the uncertainty. How can you plan when you have no idea what the future will hold? The whole point of the budget is not to provide endless cataracts of cash, but to provide a foundation for decisions. I don't see that aspect being discussed anywhere in the media and it's the most important part.

If I were the House Republicans, I would have but one demand: that this creep and his cronies pass a budget. That's it. Nothing else. No debt ceiling increases, no sequestration talks, no immigration reform and no gun control until the Senate produces a budget. Then we can have a genuine debate.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Our Blogiversary!

Today is the 7th blogiversary of The Scratching Post. For 7 years and over 6,200 posts, we've done our bit to produce noisy content for web surfers. I thought about linking to a few of my favorite posts, but have decided to go with a short description of ...

How Blogging Has Changed My Life

First off, I don't miss a day. In 7 years, I think we've skipped one day on purpose and one weekend in support of a dear friend who was going through some rough times. Other than that, we post every day. I don't know why we post every day other than that we just do. It must be done because it has always been done. Here in the Catican, we're definitely traditionalists.

The 'Post is a remorseless information and analysis eating machine. Our commitment to daily blogging has changed the way I see the world. Everything is seen through a blogging filter - how can I turn this event, this book, this movie, this experience, this thought into something I can share. I think I'm more alert than before and I certainly have become more analytical about everything around me in order to feed the blog.

My blogging has been a journey to form a coherent world view. It's a chronicle of my progress from deep ignorance to slightly shallower ignorance. By writing this blog, I feel like I've helped myself evolve intellectually. Had I not been blogging, I could easily find myself retracing the same steps over and over again, stuck forever at a certain stage of development like the illiterate Germanic tribes described in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire.

For someone who has been blogging as long as I have, I've not picked up a big following. After 7 years of daily posts, you'd think I'd be a much bigger player in the blogs. I made sporadic efforts to increase my base of readers, but I quit when I realized I didn't have the one key characteristic of the big bloggers out there, consistency. The Scratching Post is a chronicle of a journey, but it's a chronicle of my journey, my many and sometimes transitory passions. The top bloggers all have a focus area and stick with it. I found I couldn't do that and so I gave up. Instead, this blog is a grab bag of whatever I feel like posting at the moment.

What I Love About Blogging

You. You the readers. I know that seems odd having just said I gave up on creating a readership, but I deeply appreciate the folks who come by and check out what I've got to say. Comments are icing on the cake. I also love the way the blog has enriched my spiritual and intellectual life. For example, I don't think I would ever have read GK Chesterton had it not been for the blog.

What I Don't Like So Much

That I don't reciprocate your affection as much as I'd like. When it comes to the web, creating content for The Scratching Post takes priority over everything else. Many days I don't have time to visit other blogs and enjoy what you've created. It makes me feel guilty that some people leave comments when I post, but I don't always stop by their sites and return the favor. I feel like I'm acting superior to you and I don't see myself that way at all.

Special Thanks

In addition to you, I must thank my wife for have supported this ridiculous enterprise. I wake up early in the morning, get my coffee and go downstairs to read and blog. Up early usually means asleep early and that can mean less time spent together at night, all so I can feed this beast. I'm blessed with a loving and understanding spouse and am deeply grateful for that. It allows me to share important things like this:

Here, the head of the Catican Guards watches over our Maximum Leader.
God bless you all. Thanks for coming along on the journey.

On The Papal Resignation

Wow. Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. That had to be a tough call. The Catholics I follow on Twitter are shocked and some are dismayed. I'm shocked, but not dismayed. The guy is 85 and holds one of the 5 most important jobs in the world. In his resignation statement he said he was physically incapable of doing the job properly. This pope has been nothing if not a traditionalist, so being the first one to resign in centuries wasn't a decision he made lightly and just on that it deserves respect.

I always liked Pope Benedict. I liked that he unreservedly defended traditional Catholic teachings and was an aggressive proponent of the faith. I sat here drinking my coffee this morning and had the horrifying vision of a world where there's a pope who decides to go along with the mores of the moment. It would be as if the world had become unmoored and was completely adrift.

The world needs a steadfast pope and Benedict was all that and more. God bless him.

Your Mass is almost ended. Go in peace, papa.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Call For Collective Action

... that has about as much chance of being truly "collective" as I do of growing wings and flying to Jupiter.

Here's what our thoroughly Peronist President had to say in his second inaugural address.
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people. 
We're going to do these things together? Collectively? Really? Just who is contributing what here? If it's collective and we're all doing it together, then everyone has a role.

And I mean everyone.

Just what are the baby mamas supposed to be contributing? How about the potheads? What about the indolent, the immoral, the wastrels and the slothful? What's the plan there? I'm guessing there isn't one. I'm guessing there's no real plan for truly collective action, merely another call to loot the people who practice self-denial, industry and thrift.

I think we need another word, another phrase, another turn of speech for what he means in this passage. Maybe we need to rewrite it entirely. How about like this?
But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that infidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to self-inflicted challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms is pretty much a thing of the past and now it's time for the majority to loot those who are industrious and competent. Many of the American people can not meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone. We're going to need to harness the efforts of a declining minority to train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip a generation of future tax-mules and build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring jobs for these human pack animals to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must force these people to work for us, because we want it. 
There. That works.

Of course, we could try this. This looks pretty collective.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

YELLOW!

These are tiny flowers on a tree in my parents' back yard. I forgot what type of tree it is, I only know that the flowers are YELLOW.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Does Blue Book Value Matter?

... if all you want is a comfortable ride that gets you from point A to point B?

My current car is the FredMobile*, a 2001 Nissan Altima. It was never my favorite as it was purchased while I was in extremis. My previous car, a quirky**, gold Nissan Maxima we called the Beach Bomber. We loved that car as it was pleasant to ride in and beaten up enough to not worry about sand on our bodies when we got in after a boogie boarding session. The Beach Bomber got hit while it was parked outside my house and totalled. I didn't have enough money for a good car, so I scoured the used car lots until I found the FredMobile.

Not the FredMobile, but the same year and model. Meh.
The FredMobile is a generic sedan. It's the second most gutless car*** I've ever owned. It's not a thrill to drive, certainly not compared to the DeLorean I used to cruise around in. On the other hand, it's been inexpensive to maintain and right now, all I want is to drive here and there cheaply and reliably while listening to Audible and podcasts. The FredMobile filled that need perfectly until this week.

Recently, the FredMobile has been eating my wallet. It just got out of the shop after I ransomed it for over $2,000. Ouch. My BMW-loving wife, who refers to the FredMobile as a "toad" saw the bill and suggested we pitch the thing over a cliff or sell it, whichever was easiest. It has over 165,000 miles and I'm aiming for 250,000, but she makes the point that the repairs are starting to exceed the Blue Book value, which is about $2500.

Who cares? After the repairs, the thing runs and I trust it. I'm not going to realize anything out of the sale, so why does Blue Book matter? To me, the real question is this: Can I get an equal car for the price of the repair? If the repair is, say, $3,000 and it lasts me 40,000 miles, can I replace the car for that? I think not.

Maybe I've just become sentimental about the FredMobile.

* - Named for the Fred Thompson for President bumpersticker still on the back of it. It just says "Fred 2008." I've got some replacements so when it fades to nothingness, I can still keep the faith. :-)

** - Example: You couldn't unlock the doors with the key. You had to use the keyless entry pad on the driver's door. The control of the door lock solenoids was all wonky and it would relock the door the instant you removed the key.

*** - The most gutless one was my first, a 1969 Dodge Dart with a 225 cu in slant six that would actually decelerate when you floored it. On the plus side, it had bench seats in front which was awesome for make out sessions.

Can You Stop Watching In The Middle?

I couldn't. I had to watch it all the way to the end. Hilarious stuff.

Enjoy!



H/T: Dawn.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

What Does "Being Friendly" Mean?

My teenage daughter has been having great days at school recently. While talking about it, I asked her what made the days so great. She said that it was because everyone was "friendly." So what did that mean? It meant that everyone was in a good mood and no one was talking badly about others. Cheerfulness and kindness were her definitions of friendliness. I don't think that's universal.

To me, it's all about shared experiences and shared interests. It doesn't have to be shared passions, but you've got to be able to at least appreciate mine and I have to appreciate yours. For example, my wife will sit and watch EPL soccer with me, she knows what's going on and enjoys the games. She wouldn't be watching it if it weren't for me, but she does it with me. I watch Project Runway with her and have learned a lot about the fashion industry from it. We sit and discuss the designs and challenges as we watch even though I would never watch it without her.

I love it when people can share this with me.

The problem is that if people have different definitions of "friendly," you can end up thinking you're being friendly, but missing the mark by a wide margin. Someone who is cheerful, but can't appreciate my passions is at best indifferent to me. By the same token, if my daughter and I both enjoy watching Jeopardy, but I talk about people behind their backs, I'm not very "friendly" to her.

What's your definition?*

* - Posts that end with questions almost never seem to generate a response on this blog. It's an act of pure optimism to try it yet again. :-)

From The Spam Mailbag

... we get this gem:
Thank you foг the аuѕpicious wгiteup. It in faсt ωas a аmusemеnt account it. Lοoκ aԁvanсed to moгe аdded аgreeable fгοm you! By the way, hoω cοuld we communicate?

How could we communicate? Well, from the looks of your prose, it might help if I was from Mars.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Embarrassed For Jay-Z

One more thing on Beyonce's skankfest during the Super Bowl. It embarrassed me as a man and it particularly shamed Jay-Z in my eyes. If your wife has to dress like that and do those things to turn you on, what does that tell you about Jay-Z? How dead to feminine attractiveness do you have to be to require that? It made me think of Hugh Hefner. I wondered just what Jay-Z had been doing to himself to make Beyonce have to go through all that just to attract his attention.

Pathetic.

Last night, while watching a little Bad TV (Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy) with the fam, we saw a commercial featuring the old Katrina and the Waves song, Walking on Sunshine. Watching the original music video on YouTube, I found that Katrina was about 1000 times sexier than Beyonce. No tight clothes, that silly oversized 80s sweater, no really suggestive lyrics, no pelvic thrusts, no thrusting of tongues into the various bodily orifices of an unidentifiable marsupial*. Instead, it's a cute girl singing about how she's walking on air because she found out that I love her.

Dude, I am here to tell you, that is sexy.


Bonus bit: Let's compare a snippet of lyrics from Walking on Sunshine to a bit from Beyonce's Bootylicious.

Walking on Sunshine: I used to think maybe you loved me, now, baby, I'm sure. And I just can't wait 'til the day when you knock on my door. Now every time I go for the mailbox, gotta hold myself down. 'Cause I just can't wait 'til you write me you're coming around

Beyonce: I don't think you're ready for this jelly, I don't think you're ready for this jelly, I don't think you're ready for this 'cause my body's too bootylicious for ya babe. Move your body up and down, make your booty touch the ground.

Analysis: If I ever devolve into a savage and want to have sex with a generic primate, I'll be sure to call Beyonce. In the meantime, I've got my own little Katrina here at home and I ain't goin' nowhere.

* - I'm not sure this last part actually happened during Beyonce's Super Bowl slut-tacular, but I think it did. To tell you the truth, I spent much of halftime laughing at my Twitter feed where people were just ripping the ho to shreds.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Beyonce And Crackheads

I had planned on a thoroughly nasty polemic about yesterday's Super Bowl halftime show which featured Beyonce and her dancers masturbating while worshiping a giant phallus, inflated from below the stage by emotionally scarred children of obese, illiterate baby mamas from New Orleans' 9th Ward, but I figured I'd keep it cool and just show off this video of people in Detroit who are fighting tooth and nail to preserve the shattered remnants of Western civilization that Beyonce and her loathsome allies in the self-destructive popular culture machine have done their best to obliterate*.

Enjoy.


* - There. That wasn't so bad, was it? Fairly restrained, I'd say.

Update: Rudell Solomon and Dequindre Jenkins, shown in the video above, have an open invitation to dinner at my house any time. They're men.

A Preview Of Coming Attractions

You didn't think I was going to let Beyonce's Super Bowl on-stage-masturbation go unremarked, did you? I'm still working on it, but I'll be generous to her right now and let her be my warm-up act.
"What a proud day for African-American women!" - Beyonce after her strip club act was finished.
You go, girl.

Go far, far away.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Doing Our Part For Civilization

The Catholic Church sees marriage as a Sacrament. We do our best to preserve it and lots of people within the Church work hard to help those who are engaged, those who are remarrying and people who are struggling in their marriages. Recently, my wife and I taught our very first remarriage class.

The remarriage class is required for anyone who has been married before and is considering getting married in the Church. It covers all of the common topics that cause problems in second (or third or fourth!) marriages. We had a blast doing and will be doing it as often as our schedules allow. Today we got together with some of the other people who work in this field in the Church, all of whom were volunteers. There was a lot to it, but I'm in a hurry, so I'll just go with this for now:

It was so beautiful to be a part of this. I felt so blessed. When I met the folks who do all the administrative and organizational work, I felt like a privileged rock star. I get to go on stage and perform during the class and there's this huge network supporting my fun. At the end of the class, all of the couples told us how much they appreciated us, but they never saw all these folks.

Awesomeness squared.

The little dude in the back in the black is the Bishop. He's a real character!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Support This And You'll Cheese Off A Peronist

That's a good enough reason right there, no? Click here to join the effort.

If This Is Racist, Then I Want Some Of That Racism Directed At Me

I could watch this over and over.


What a beautiful and loving celebration of the Jamaicans. Everything is friendly and kind and in the end, because the guy acts like the Hollywood stereotype of a Jamaican, things turn out great.

If some people feel this is racist and want it taken down, I would be happy to volunteer my ethnic heritage and religion for the next VW commercial. I'd watch it every time I got down and it would make me get happy.

H/T: Hot Air.

Update: Over at Hot Air, there's an excerpt from a Jamaican (probably the vast majority) who gets it.
I am a Jamaican who thinks this ad is so funny, just can’t see what the controversy is all about. Funny thing though it’s not Jamaicans who think this add is offensive, but people who propose to think for us.

Soup Kitchens: What's The Point?

My wife and I like to watch what we call Bad TV - Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. It's a bit of idling time for the brain. Over the last few weeks, there's been an Aleve commercial running about some dude who works at a soup kitchen, but has a bad back. Without the Aleve, he's reduced to crawling on all fours and panting like a dog. With Aleve, he can juggle several 4 gallon soup pots full of Soupe aux Chataignes while fending off a ninja attack.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I have the same reaction to that ad that I do whenever I hear the call to support Catholic Charities or a local homeless shelter. Why? Honestly, what's the point? We're blowing nearly $18K per person in government spending every year and I still need to go work at a soup kitchen? How in the world is a couple of hours of my time going to even make a dent in the problem when $18K per person can't solve it?

Per capita government spending by year. Source.
And therein lies the soul-corroding nature of big government. There is no practical reason to donate time or money to charity, once you understand the magnitude of the government. So you gave $100 to feed the poor. Big freaking deal. Spread over the 1500 people at Father Joe's Village, that changes the per capita spending from $17,129 to $17,129.07. Way to go there, champ. Great job!

It's an old saying - something that is everyone's responsibility is no one's responsibility. If I don't contribute to Father Joe's, nothing actually happens since the government has absolved me of my share of the burden through sheer size.

Richard Epstein has a long and thoughtful piece on the Obama Administration's attempt to reduce charitable deductions. It's ammunition for the crowd who thinks the government is trying to kill off rival institutions*. Looking at my own behavior, however, I don't think the attack is necessary to marginalize the Catholic Church and other groups who preach views heretical to the libertine secularists running the Democratic Party. Ennui has done the job for them.

I still give to Catholic Charities, but I do so without any great enthusiasm. Big government has eliminated any illusions I might have had that I'm actually accomplishing anything of significance**.

* - I'm a member of this crowd.

** - Yes, I know this is defeatist and unworthy of the Feline Theocracy. The solution to the ennui is to become more involved, not less and become familiar with the individual people at Father Joe's or wherever. Salvation is personal, not collective. I was just in a whiny mood when I wrote this. So sue me***.

*** - Please don't sue me.