Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Best Recipe For Butterbeans

... can be found here. Bacon, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and butterbeans. Fabulous! I made it the other night for some company and they all raved about it.

It went with this recipe for buttermilk biscuits, which never fails to please.

And those two went with the recipe for Mississippi Smothered Chicken from this winner of a cookbook:

The end result was a whole lotta good eatin'!

Friday, May 30, 2014

By All That's Merciful, Let's Eliminate Press Secretary Briefings

This was horrible.

The State Department press secretary went out and prattled off her talking points, none of which had any substance, none of which she could defend and then got grilled to a crisp by reporters who were laying in wait for her. There was mocking, there was laughing, there was humiliation. Why?

Did anyone learn anything? Did anyone expect to learn anything? This is no different from the pointless sessions with the President's press secretary who spouts political talking points and then gets toasted over an open fire when his statements are clearly stupid. When his statements aren't clearly stupid, they still don't seem to have any value. It's just one person standing up in front of a bunch of other people flapping his gums to no effect.

Unless there's some national need to watch young civil servants be destroyed in video clips, we ought to exercise mercy and stop this whole thing.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cheezburger of the Day

At work, we've got an anonymous hater that keeps leaving the same comment complaining about our products and claiming an error that doesn't exist, but they won't contact us directly to solve whatever the problem might be. Moderator Kitteh has had quite enough of that.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Phyllis Schlafly Hits For The Cycle!

Hitting for the cycle is probably the hardest thing to accomplish in baseball, but Phyllis managed to do it.

My daughter's racist, semi-psychotic American History book is larded up with progressive paranoia, but in the chapter on the civil rights movement (not to be confused all the other chapters loaded with racialist roughage), there's this unintentional bit of Nostradamus-like predictions from the reviled Mrs. Schlafly.

If you're following at home, here's how your scorebook should look for Phyllis:
Single: "The end of a husband's responsibility to provide for his family." That was pretty much a gimme, particularly if you knew anything at all about men and how they see sex. Phyllis might have been able to stretch this one into a double if she'd seen the end of husbands, but she played it safe and stayed at first.

Double: "The end of laws protecting homemakers." You might think the center fielder misplayed that line drive into the gap, but really, it was a double all the way as the government has endlessly celebrated and pushed women in the workforce. Those women had to come from somewhere. The home, for example.

Triple: The triple is the hardest thing to hit, but Phyllis laced one down the right field line into the corner. Even though she's not known for her speed, there was no way she wasn't going to steam into third with this one: "The drafting of women." Seriously, I don't think that anyone could have predicted what we've got now, women in the infantry. The infantry.

Home run: "Same-sex marriages." When a judge rules that Oklahoma of all places must recognize gay marriage, you know you've got an upper deck blast. The left fielder never moved at all, he just watched it soar over his head.
My daughter's teacher won't be pointing any of this out, of course, but all of us know the truth. Phyllis was right all along.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Drafting Frauleins Into The Wehrmacht

Dig this from the WSJ (probably behind the paywall):
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday unveiled some concrete steps to promote the role of women in corporate Japan, with the country facing a shrinking workforce and rapidly aging population... 
The prime minister said his government would expand after-school child-care services, which are already providing care for 850,000 elementary school students after school and on weekends for working mothers at low cost... 
“Sustained efforts will be needed to promote women’s work participation,” Mr. Abe said at a symposium in Tokyo that discussed “womenomics.” Last year, Mr. Abe set a goal of filling 30% of leadership positions in the public and private sectors with women by 2020.
Japanese government debt is totally out of control, the birthrate is pitifully small, the population is shrinking and the solution is ... get more women to join the workforce!

All I can think of is the lengths the Nazis went to late in the war to shore up the depleted Wehrmacht. They drafted young boys, old men, war cripples, anyone who could stumble around and hold a rifle.

The Japanese government isn't promoting women in the workforce because they think it's good for women, they're doing it to stave off total collapse. The lives of these women and their children are just game pieces being moved around the board.

It didn't work in 1944-5 and it's not going to work now.
Image source.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Commencement Ceremonies Are Too Slow

One of our boys graduated from college yesterday. Yay! Another of our lads and I were sitting in the stands, getting numb in our posteriors, thinking how to speed things up. There were roughly 1000-1200 in the graduating class and the names were called out one - b y - o  n  e as each graduate came up to receive their diploma..

Time stood still. And then it started to go backwards.

This is ridiculous. We need a better way to hand out the diplomas. Here are just a few of the ideas we discussed, while laughing until we cried:
  1. "And now we will hand out the diplomas. If you don't get yours within 10 minutes of being called, your degree will be rescinded. ... Abramson through Edwards! Go, Go, GO!" (Mad rush of graduates ensues.)
  2. "The degrees being conferred have been ordered by average starting salary and will be handed out in that sequence regardless of which classes you've taken. First ones to the stage get the most money! Go, Go, GO!" (Crazed rush ensues.)
  3. The degrees were contained in big boxes on tables on the stage. I had this image of the tables being overturned and the degrees scattering all over the place in a big, jumbled pile. "You have fifteen minutes to find your degree. All unclaimed degrees will be burned immediately! Go, Go, GO!" (Everyone leaps out of their chairs and stampedes the stage.)
There were a few more that I can't recall now. I'm sure everyone around us thought us quite mad. :-)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Don't Be Judgmental, You Might Hurt Someone's Feelings

Off in a comment thread somewhere (I forget where), I briefly engaged some Houston Astros fans* on the topic of traditional families. They took the position that all families are equally valid and I pointed to the scoreboard and let them know their team stank. In this case, I replied with prison population stats.

Their reply was to suggest that Jesus wouldn't say icky things to people and hurt their feelings**. Astros fans don't have many comebacks and this is a favorite. Turning it on its head, what they're saying is that it's better to keep quiet and deny people your hard-won wisdom than it is to be "judgmental" and hurt their feelings. Never mind the human wreckage that surrounds you, all that matters is that in this one moment, you didn't hurt someone's feelings.

Oakland 30 19 .612 -
LA Angels 27 21 .563 2.5
Seattle 24 24 .500 5.5
Texas 24 25 .490 6.0
Houston 18 32 .360 12.5

Don't be judgmental. All teams are equally valid.

* - "Houston Astros Fans" is my new nickname for the "love makes a family" crowd. I like the analogy because it makes creative linkages in my mind, significantly reducing the effort required to make my side of the argument.

** - His statement to the adulteress who He saved from stoning contradicts this. "Go and from now on do not sin any more." That's pretty judgmental right there.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Questioning Evolutionary Psychology

Our Maximum Leader is a product of evolution, at least to some extent. Her behaviors are adapted to her role in the ecosystem. As a small predator, she is a ruthless killer of prey and when confronted with larger threats, she dials up the aggression to 11. The first few times she met with the Catican Guards, she was all teeth and claws with nothing held back. They were curious and tried to be friendly and she clawed their noses until blood came out. That behavior taught the Guards to respect her and she now comfortably rules the house.

And I mean she comfortably rules the house.
Our children, being children, sometimes make poor choices. They play instead of studying, they spend money when they should save it, or they don't set long-term goals and make plans to achieve them. My immediate reaction to these events is almost always anger. My job in these cases is that of a salesman. As children are not video games where I can control them directly, I have to convince them to buy my ideas on proper life choices. Zig Ziglar, master salesman and instructor, tells us over and over and over that you can't convince a prospect who declines to buy your product that he's wrong, you can only bring new information to him that causes him to make a new decision.

If you can't sell by convincing someone they're wrong, you certainly can't sell by getting angry at them. Imagine how quickly a shoe store would go out of business if the sales force spent their time screaming at the customers for picking ugly shoes!

The older I get, the more I become convinced that the Catholic Catechism is as good a rule book for life as any out there. Following the Catholic Catechism demands you embrace love, respect and forgiveness for others. Love, respect and forgiveness are far better sales tools than yelling, but yelling is almost always my first choice. I lean towards similarly un-Catholic, self-destructive behaviors in sloth, gluttony and lust. As far as I can tell, we all do. Yelling at my kids isn't an isolated example of self-destructive behavior, it's one of many and it appears to be universal across the human race.

If human psychology is the product of evolution, how did I manage to end up with all these counter-productive behaviors? Our Maximum Leader doesn't seem to have them. Her behaviors all appear to make perfect sense. If human cognition grew slowly over millions of years, why didn't efficient management of it grow as well?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Being Open To A Life Touched By Racism

I just finished reading the book linked below, My Grandfather's Son, by Clarence Thomas. It opened my mind to things I hadn't fully understood before and helped me see a very different world. The book is autobiographical and as Clarence Thomas grew up in the segregated South and lived during a great racial attitude evolution in America, he describes all kinds of experiences, some good and some bad.

Because Thomas does not approach the subject in an accusatory tone, because he does not make me the implicit villain of the piece and because I knew he would not be wagging his finger at me before I even read the book, I was far more open to trying to put myself in his place and do my best to see the world through his eyes.

I can't recommend it highly enough. Sincerely, I'm a different person because I read it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hudson River Tugboat

Another one where I liked the colors and geometry of the image. I left it fairly large, so it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wasting Your Time With A Photo Of The Hudson River

The Hudson River from Eisenhower Hall at West Point. I liked the geometry and colors of this photo, so I left it quite large. I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jerry Brown, Fascist

While I'm goofing off out here in New York, southern California is en fuego. Wildfires everywhere, houses burning down, chaos and panic in the streets. Not to worry, though, Governor Jerry Brown has all the answers.

And they look like all of his other answers.
GOV. JERRY BROWN: ...I mean there is no scientific question. There's just political denial for various reasons, best known to those people who are in denial.

...(W)e here in California are on the front lines. We've got to deal with it. We've already appropriated $600 million. We have 5,000 firefighters. We're going to need thousands more. And in the years to come, we're going to have to make very expensive investments and adjust. And the people are going to have to be careful of how they live, how they build their homes and what kind of vegetation is allowed to grow around them.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what else can you do right now to prevent the worst?

I know you've signed an executive order creating new regulations and local governments...

BROWN: ...(W)e've got to gear up. We're going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we're just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can.

In California, we're not only adapting, but we're taking steps to reduce our greenhouse gases in a way that I think exceeds any other state in the country. And we'll do more.
No matter what the problem might be, no matter how pointless the proposed act, Jerry Brown is finding new ways to move power out of the private sector and into the government. That's fascist in and of itself - the one-way, permanent flow of power to the government - but his style is very Mussolini.

In Fascism, Mussolini repeatedly emphasized action. The exact nature of the problem was irrelevant, government must take action. That's Jerry Brown all over. If greenhouse gases are indeed the culprit here, California has absolutely no influence on them at all. We're dwarfed by all of the other players. That doesn't matter to Jerry because it's time for action! The science is settled, anyone who disagrees is a denier, the time for talk is over, it's now time for action.

The debate is over. The time for talk has passed. It's now time for ACTION!

Note that effectiveness and outcome are irrelevant. They key points Governor Brown is making is that there is no room for debate and the government must seize more power and control more things. That's Mussolini in a nutshell.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Jersey Shore Sunrise

I shot this about an hour and a half ago near Stone Harbor, NJ. I had given up on the sunrise at the shore due to low-lying clouds over the Atlantic and was driving to a local Starbucks* when I caught this scene as I crossed a bridge. I left the image fairly large so it might be worth a click. I think the sun and the cloud right above it look like the eyeball and monobrow of a cyclops. I hope that didn't ruin the image for you.


* - The Starbucks wasn't open because, you know, there's no reason to open early on a Saturday. I Yelped up another coffee shop with Interweb Tubes, drove there, got a coffee and found out they didn't have the Interweb. Gaaaahhhhhhhhh! I ended up back at the original Starbucks, having blown 50 minutes driving around New Jersey like an idiot.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Oppressive Patriarchy Of Ospreys

I'm out on the East Coast this week just in time for the San Diego fires to threaten all and sundry back home while I can't do anything to help the family. Good times, good times. Ah well, at least I can still do what makes the biggest difference: blog.

Yesterday, I had a chance to get some osprey time as I hung out with a famous birder who's actually got a published book on the subject. It's a real book on paper and everything and not just a self-published Kindle thingy, too. So cool. Anyway, there we were, watching an osprey nest when the whole scene came into focus as clear as the Bush Administration's use of explosive charges to bring down the Twin Towers and fill the pockets of the Koch Brothers with profits squeezed from the 99%.

The oppressive heteronormative patriarchy of ospreys was all around me. Dig the scenes I caught on camera.

Here, the female osprey is deprived of any career opportunities and is forced to sit on the nest. The look of despair and depression is painted all over her face.
Nearby, the male osprey watches her to make sure she isn't reading any subversive books or talking to other female ospreys about their common bond of oppressed osprey sisterhood. He's probably also drunk.
The whole thing just sickened me. All of them were playing out their roles in the reactionary, fascist society that is the world of the osprey. If you listened closely, you could hear the muffled cries of alternative-lifestyle ospreys being relegated to second class status and jammed into a big closet full of psychologically scarred lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered ospreys. Well, I could hear it anyway. My colleagues all told me that was the sound of the semis on the highway nearby, but I knew better. I wanted to smash something for all differently-gendered ospreys everywhere.

Something has got to change out there in the marshlands of New Jersey. I mean, this is the 21st Century! We're so beyond this. The first thing we need is birth control for ospreys so the females aren't controlled by their reproductive systems any more. Once they've achieved their goals as career ospreys, we can work on the LGBT issues.

First things first, though. What we need is a Sandra Fluke of the osprey world.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Wonder If We Could Get Jon Stewart To Give All Commencement Speeches

... because that's probably the only person students and faculty won't tantrum into withdrawal. Christine Lagarde of the IMF just got this treatment from Smiths College, whatever and wherever that is. Here's the excuse:
Why did the students object to the head of the IMF speaking at their graduation? Because, as they wrote in their anti-Lagarde petition, "the IMF has been a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world's poorest countries. This has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide."
Huh? I have no idea how the IMF gets that much blame. They typically show up after the citizenry of the country have screwed things up horribly. If poor old Christine is jamming patriarchal imperialism on someone, it's only because they're helping do it.

Clearly I don't understand. I guess I need to go back to college.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

It's A Small World

Waiting for a flight in the Phoenix airport, I just happened to run into a fellow Cursillista from around here. We compared Cursillo experiences and then he told me a Marian miracle story from his life involving him surviving lung cancer. It had the same message as my Marian miracle story.

That Mary, she sure gets around.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Parrot Drone

A friend at work has one of these. I've not seen it fly yet, but it looks amazing.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rooting For The Houston Astros

At Notre Dame (Notre Dame!), students seeking to organize a campus group to support traditional marriage are being shouted down by the forces of tolerance and inclusiveness. Go ahead and check it out at the link, I'm not going to bother excerpting what is by now a familiar theme of Goebbels-esque gobbledygook. I left a comment there that may well be deleted, so I'll repeat it here.

Watching members of Notre Dame seek to protect their innocent, shell-like ears from the wicked temptations of traditional marriage while places like Oakland are falling to ruin as a result of "inclusiveness" is something else.
Scoreboard, kids. Championing inclusiveness over traditional marriage is like being a fan of the Houston Astros. Go ahead and wear the jersey, but don't try telling the rest of us that your team doesn't stink.
This image works on so many levels.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

UpdateStar Drivers - Most Excellent!

My laptop recently had a hard drive failure. Not a crash, a total failure. It was an SSD, so when it died, it simply vanished without a trace. One minute it was fine and then next minute the laptop was suggesting I might want to find a boot disk somewhere.

After replacing it, I loaded Win7, but didn't have a drivers disk for the machine. I used the drivers Win7 had, plus a handful downloaded from the manufacturer's site, but the laptop kept hanging while using a browser. The pause never lasted long, but it was clear there were driver issues.

I downloaded UpdateStar Drivers and paid $30 for the thing and it went out and found not only all of the missing drivers, but all of the updated ones as well. In short order, everything was up to date and the machine is rock solid now.

Aside: I replaced the SSD with a standard hard drive. The speed difference is amazing. I don't think I'll ever buy a standard hard drive ever again. The machine is about half as fast as it used to be. Yuck.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tolerance Has Jumped The Shark

Really, I'm not sure what else to say about the latest missives from Harvard.
Cambridge, Mass., May 9, 2014 / 12:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Harvard student group organizing a re-enactment of a satanic black mass on campus has dismissed Catholic critics, calling their views arrogant and their objections ignorant and intolerant.

“Satanists have a ritual that they perform for their own affirmative reasons,” the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club told CNA May 8, adding that these reasons “currently have absolutely nothing to do with Catholicism beyond the symbols themselves.”

“Offense is anachronistic and based on intolerance and ignorance about the practice (of) Satanism.”
So, as I read this, objecting to Satanism is intolerant.

Well, that's it, boys and girls. There is nothing, NOTHING that is unacceptable.

Isn't this just a shade intolerant, Michelle? After all, Boko Haram have rituals that they perform for their own affirmative reasons.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Difference Between Children And Adults

Well, a difference anyway.

What do you think of this:
A child's goals: Maximize pleasure and minimize aggravations.

An adult's goals: To be happy, successful and independent.
These are often orthogonal. For example, the best definition of happiness I've heard comes from either Earl Nightingale or Zig Ziglar and it goes something like, "Happiness is the achievement of a worthy goal." Such achievements require regular doses of aggravation suffered with grace as well as the delay of pleasures. Dittos for success. Jerry Rice's workouts are the last word in self-inflicted aggravation and delayed pleasure. Finally, it's far easier to maximize pleasure if you're dependent on someone else. And think of all the aggravations you push off on them!

I've been pondering this lately so I thought I'd share.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

My Thoughtful Spot

Like Pooh, I've got a thinking spot where I go when I need to get away from the hustle and bustle and ponder deep thoughts. It's got views like this.

The video was taken with my phone and uploaded in full HD. As impressive as the little guy is, I'm still a little unhappy with how saturated the whites are. Oh well. Enjoy!

Celebrate Diversity, Harvard

They're going to use a Consecrated Host at a Black Mass at Harvard.

Update 2: No, they're not. Like it matters all that much. Welcome to Harvard. After graduation, you can get an important job in the government.

It's put on by their cultural studies club, don't you know.

At least Condoleezza Rice won't be speaking there. That would be too much to bear.

Update: Reading this made me feel physically ill. When I saw this, I almost took the day off sick. Instead, I put on my headphones, turned up the Jesus Music and got back to work.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Gasoline Is Better Than Bullets

... for dealing with a zombie apocalypse.

At our house, we try to follow the Boy Scouts' motto: Hate And Fear Gays Be Prepared. Part of this preparation is to discuss our plans for a possible zombie apocalypse. Among them is the idea to steal a blimp and ride out the whole mess far above the madding (and devouring) crowd. In the absence of pilferable dirigibles, however, our second best plan is to mount up in Hummers and drive through the hordes of zombies like avenging Angles*.

Everyone else will be running away from the zombies. We'll be running/driving towards them.

Everyone else will be slugging it out at the local gun shop for weapons, we'll be safe and secure in our little, mobile fortresses.

Consider this: What does a gun do? It shoots bullets. Does it have an unlimited supply of bullets? No. Even assuming you've got the David Gregory Special magazine which holds 137 bullets, it eventually runs out and you have to reload. A Hummer, on the other hand, is an effectively limitless killing machine, capable of hours of slaughter before it needs to be reloaded with gasoline. All you need is a safe base camp with a good supply of fuel and in just a week or so, you could have the whole town cleaned up. Fuel up, drive around running over the undead, come back home for some delicious sandwiches and sweet tea, lather, rinse, repeat.

David Gregory showing off his massive, ridiculous, anti-zombie magazine. Just one more piece of evidence of MSM ignorance.
Hummer 2s get about 10 MPG. They hold 32 gallons of gas. Taking San Diego as the location for our family spree, if we used the lovely El Prado Campground as our staging base and made El Cajon our killing zone, we would have an 86 mile round trip, requiring 9 gallons of gas. Leaving 3 gallons in reserve and assuming a leisurely 25 MPH speed cruising the streets of El Cajon, that would give us 4 hours of combat time on station.

There are six of us in the family. Leaving three behind to make sandwiches and defend the camp from the occasional zomboid visitor and assuming 2 sorties per day, that would be 2 x 4 x 3 = 24 hours of Hummer 2 mayhem per day. I would argue that within a week's time, targets would start getting pretty hard to find.

A Hummer 2 vs. street signs. Street signs are made with thick, metal pipes. Zombies are made of rotting flesh. This isn't going to end well for the zombies.

Why run away from the zombies when you can kill them all?

* - Or Jutes or Saxons. You get the idea.

Monday, May 05, 2014

A Little Bit On Toyota Leaving Los Angeles

Toyota has decided to take it's sales headquarters out of Torrance (Los Angeles) and move to Texas. All of the news articles I've seen focus on the loss of jobs.
The two biggest employers in Torrance, which has a population of 147,000 according to city figures, are Toyota and Honda. Both have about 4,000 employees. Losing Toyota will mean an annual loss of $1.2 million in tax revenue, Scotto said, but the emotional toll and wider economic impact will be much bigger, he said.
Pondering it over the last few days, I started to think about what must have gone into that corporate decision. Relocation costs, loss of productivity during the move, environmental clean up costs on the deserted site and, most of all, not knowing which employees would move with them.

Toyota was willing not just to spend money, but disrupt their sales headquarters workforce, assuming a significant number of people quit either through resignations or early retirements.

The business climate in LA must be pretty awful for that to look attractive.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Purple With Baby Spider

I saw this beauty at my folks' house yesterday. Check out the little creature inside.

She's got her father's eyes! Well, five of them, at least. The other three look like mom's.

Friday, May 02, 2014

A Very Postmodern State Department

I saw all the fuss on Twitter and then on some blogs about former State Department spokesperson Tommy Vietor using the word "dude" during an interview with Bret Baier about the Benghazi talking points that led to weeks of outright lies about the attacks. Then I saw the video.

The video is so weird that it took me all morning to put my finger on what was wrong. For Tommy, the attack on the embassy was just another day. Why would anyone remember what happened? It's the same feeling you get from Hillary Clinton's line, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

A traditional interpretation of the events is that enemy irregulars stormed sovereign American soil and killed four American citizens including an ambassador who ought to be treated with the utmost respect. To Tommy and Hillary, it was just some guys in a building in a place far away. It's sad that it happened and all, but so what? Sad things happen every day. Don't get all bent out of shape about it.

I wonder what it would take for Tommy and Hillary to get all bent out of shape.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Classic Hippies

I caught these two guys at the San Diego Earth Day celebrations at Balboa Park on Sunday. They've got everything but the tie-die shirts. Long hair, necklaces and an air of carefree innocence. I'm sure they're full-on eco-fascists trying to take away freedoms left and right, but looking at them, I couldn't feel anything towards them but brotherly love.

Bless you boys and the VW Microbus you rode in on.