Monday, December 31, 2007
It seems that tech support for your electric stapler is not the only thing that has been outsourced to India in the last few years.
Every now and then we get treated to the most bizarre reminders that we're living in the future.
Previously, my favorite piece of Security Theater had been the Removing Of The Shoes ritual before boarding anything bigger or more dangerous than a Piper Cub, but it has finally been replaced with something even funnier. While driving on I-75 southbound through Kentucky the other day, I came to a bridge that had no nearby exits which could be used for easy detours. Just before the bridge were large signs warning something along the lines of "Achtung! No stopping on bridge! Bridge is monitored!" because, you know, Achmed would have to actually stop his ANFO-packed eighteen wheeler on the bridge to shut down I-75. Or something. Maybe if they took the money they'd spent on the farcical signs and cameras and spent it on something else, it could have actually prevented a bridge collapse. But that wouldn't have been theatrical at all...
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Perhaps not coincidentally, this is the time of year when I'm also most likely to be found huddled in a glassy-eyed ball under my desk, nursing writer's block with chocolate and alcohol while the bullet-riddled remains of my keyboard smoke gently on the particle board slab above me.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Washington wasted no time in
"Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey.Off the record, he added:
"Oh, crap, things will be completely off the chain now."
Now Holy Huckabee has, in the breathless words of CNN, gone hunting and actually "brought back three pheasants", demonstrating an unGorelike familiarity with at which end the bang occurs and startling the media. Their surprise at a GOP pol actually shooting something while hunting is a little puzzling; after all, didn't the Veep bag a lawyer last season? Huckabee's threat to dust with birdshot those who didn't vote for him was a new campaign tactic, however.
One wonders if Hillary is going to shoot anything while on the campaign trail (and please keep the Vince Foster cracks to yourself.)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I think some professional prognosticators may have a bit of egg on their face after the NH primaries. That state is cranky libertarian country, and the folks most likely to vote for Paul are also the ones most likely to answer a phone call that begins "Hi! I'm from XYZ Service, and we're taking a poll on..." with a click and a dial tone.
An interesting real estate venture, to say the least. This is obviously the free market's way of finding something to do with the excess cash of folks who have accidentally wound up with far more money than common sense.
...I swear, for you non-Knoxwegians, that I am not making this up...
...giving the current score of the UT football game going on at the stadium across the road.
You know you're in Knoxville, the city where the area code spells V-O-L on your touch-tone phone, when the ballet EmCee keeps you abreast of the college football score.
The situation was resolved predictably:
The symbolism, which is too ham-handed for the pulpiest of fiction, was apparently lost on the audience.
The world don't work that way. As Mr. Smith attempted to point out, not even the most despicable characters in this planet's history thought of themselves as Evil. Nero never said "MWA-HA-HA!" when barbecueing dangerous subversives from Near-East mystery cults. Hitler never woke up and rubbed his hands together and thought "I think I'll be Eeeevil today!" The most heinous crimes perpetrated throughout the millenia have been perpetrated by people with clear consciences because they were doing what they were doing For The Common Good.
Watch out for that. When evil comes, it won't be easily identifiable, with a hunched back and a crazed glint in its eye; it will be nicely dressed, sound reasonable, and have a great team of policy wonks and spin doctors to explain exactly why you need to climb into the cattle car, please.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
I have to admit that I unfairly maligned these Falken FK-452's based on price tag alone. While they're not as good as the Pilot Sports that were on the car when I got it, they seem to perform as well (thus far, at least) as the Pilot Sport A/S's that I liked so much, at least in the dry. We'll see how they do rain when I get a chance to drive in some. They have it in the acceleration department all over the Conti Sports they replaced; with the new tires it takes serious effort to get so much as a flicker from the traction control light, while the Contis had it flickering like a strobe under even moderately heavy acceleration. Departure characteristics are much more benign as well. The Conti Sports were greasily queasy at the limits of adhesion on a cloverleaf, while the new tires almost politely tap you on the shoulder and say "This is all there is, kid, are you sure you want to be doing this?" The compound is soft, yes, but should provide more life than the Pilot Sports. (There's no such thing as a free lunch in the dry traction department; it always surprises me when folks buy tires that wear like Rug-Rite carpet and then bitch because the family bus goes into lurid, howling slides cornering at three MPH in the Kroger parking lot.) Incidentally, the salesguy was talking through his hat about them being run-flats. While they are indeed stiffer of sidewall than most tires I've used, they're no more run-flat than the Goodyear Blimp.
This does, however, have another blog tie-in.
Some interesting commentary was triggered by my initial whine-fest about NTB. For starters, there was a lot of well-meaning advice about speed ratings and cheap tires and so forth. It wasn't needed, really, but the posters couldn't have known that, since I've never sat around and nattered about tires here before. Oddly, a couple of the same posters also took umbrage at my description of being condescended to because of my gender, one regular poster going so far as to label it misandry. You can't have it both ways. Think about it: If a guy had a blog where he constantly went on about his sports cars and motorcycles, would you try and explain the difference between H, V, and Z speed ratings to him, or would you assume that he already possessed that information?
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Where were y'all when they shrunk your toilet tank ten years ago?
Or when they screwed up your A/C?
Or when they stuffed a platinum-plated potato up your car's tailpipe back in '75?
They have a magic wand, kids, and they mean to use it.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The only two GOP candidates who could beat Hills despite the media bias are (hawk *SPIT!*) Giuliani, because the media doesn't hate him too much, and Fred, because he's got enough stage presence to overcome media bias in a one-on-one general election. The media hated Reagan, too, but that didn't keep him from winning the last landslide election victory this country's seen.
Put all the media driven poll crap out of your mind and picture Rear Adm. Josh Painter in a one on one televised debate against the junior senator from New Yawk... Fred would beat her like a drum.
This won't happen, of course, because the GOP is going to pieces so fast that people are getting hit by the shrapnel. Between Huckabee leaving his Baptist Christmas turkey carving knife in Romney's Mormon ribcage and Pat-fer-gossakes-Robertson endorsing the crossdresser from New Yawk, the GOP seems to be putting in overtime to make sure that Bill Clinton gets to hang his toothbrush back up at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Jennifer Gooch's mission was to create a simple Web site where people could go to find their lost gloves. Even if no happy reunions ever took place, she was just content to spread a little good will.Must be a really slow news day.
But just a month since www.onecoldhand.com went live, the Carnegie Mellon University art student is busier than ever. She's reunited four gloves with their owners,
Friday, December 21, 2007
Of course, no trip to Chattanooga can go completely unmarred for me. This time it was a godawful hammering from the right rear of the Bimmer as I rolled into town. I pulled off at the next exit, sure I had an impending flat, but all four tires were sound. Hmm. Maybe it spit off a wheelweight and the wheel's just out of balance? It just got worse from there, and once I hit 55 or 60 on the interstate, the wheel was vibrating harshly enough that I was getting flickers from the traction control light, indicating that I had actual wheel hop. Not good.
I got to my friend's place, and a brief inspection at the foreign car joint down the road from his house revealed that the right rear Conti had developed a huge blister on the inner sidewall. The mechanic suggested that the local NTB near Northgate Mall (Store #662, 5327 Hwy. 153) would be the nearest tire joint likely to have a 245/40-17 in stock. So we limped the Zed Three over there, I walked up to the counter, inquired as to the availability of said size of tire and immediately got the "Just A Girl" treatment.
"I have Michelin Pilot Sports and these Falken run-flats..."
"Um, that's all you have in stock? I see more than that on your screen... You've got Michelin Pilot Sport A/S's, I liked tho..."
"Ma'am, I can't put those on your car on acount of the speed rating."
"You what? Listen, I..."
I was ready to work myself into a fairly spectacular rage. This thimble-headed gherkin was going to try and feed me some song and dance about how he had some imaginary law or store policy that would force him to sell the little lady the more expensive tire, and if he thought I was going to stand for it...
...then he was right. I was just too damn tired and stressed to argue. I was a hundred miles from home. Cold. Wet. I hadn't eaten yet. I had traffic court in four hours. I just shut the hell up and spent every freakin' penny of Christmas money I had on a couple of tires I didn't want, just because I didn't have the energy to convince this Mouth breathing yahoo that I was pretty smart for a girl.
I hope his manager, Mr. Kenneth E. Johnson II, reads this and fires his ass, though.
Merry Christmas, y'all.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
That one guy who kept going on about how he'll never get married because all of us scheming women were after his Lucky Charms, someone needs to tell him he's not in any danger. I kept expecting him to say "I don't avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence," in a General Jack Ripper voice.
I do have to say this: "Caved1ver's" comment about an ERA ("Equal Responsibilities Amendment") to replace the discredited ERA ("Equal Rights Amendment") has made me a champion of an ESTFUA.
From my experience, I have to say that I agree the phenomenon is almost definitely one that is generated in memory, rather than something that actually occurs during the incident. I've never been in an accident in a four-wheeled vehicle, but I have had two depart from controlled flight underneath me (an old Dodge Dart that swapped ends on a busy five-lane thoroughfare when the secondaries cut in in a tight bend and a Fiero that ground-looped several times through a crowded, rain-slick parking lot) and one near-miss (an oil slick that had the Zed Three fishtailing half the length of a freeway on-ramp while I sawed wildly at the wheel) and all three of those incidents are still available in excruciating technicolor in my mind's eye, despite the earliest one being nearly two decades old.
What makes me convinced that this is a function of memory rather than something that happens in real time during the actual event are my experiences on motorcycles. All the countless near-misses are still there in memory, suitably dilated in time, but the ones without happy endings are shockingly brief; one minute you're riding along and notice something about to be wrong and then *BAM!*, the rough hand of physics smacks you to the asphalt like a broken doll and there's almost no how-I-got-from-there-to-here involved. Like the sticker on my old helmet says: "It went earth, sky, earth, sky, earth, sky, earth, ambulance."
A guy I once knew who played football through his scholastic career described hard tackles the same way. He said that the ones he could see coming seemed to last forever, but when it was a blindside hit he went from standing up to wondering why his helmet was full of grass in the blink of an eye.
Dr. Helen raises some good points. It's getting to where it looks silly to wave the equality flag with one hand while holding the other one out for the payoff. I think it needs to be highly situational, and very short-term at best. Else, why keep the bull when you can divorce it
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
How much of my present life is defined by my friends (and more) on the internet?...and it's true. For all the YouTube flash and Amazon cash, the internet is people. It's Morse's and Bell's and Marconi's dreams of connectedness come true. It's grown from the Cold War-era experimenting of university geeks into maybe the most amazing project humanity has undertaken and every day the line between "cyberspace" and "the real world" blurs more and more.
It was a very long, and mostly sleepless night. Rest would not come, nor peace.
There are folks I speak to that have become very dear to me, and I was cut off.
Some eight years ago, while I was still in Atlanta, I had just started posting on a couple of internet bulletin boards, GlockTalk and TheFiringLine. I had an horrific motorcycle accident, and not only were the printed Get Well wishes from forum members a comfort, but while I was recovering and still wheelchair-bound, a guy from the boards who lived in Knoxville drove down to visit on weekends. He and my Ex and I spent those weekends playing Diablo II and chatting, and when I lost my job in the aftermath, the guy from Knoxville offered me the extra bedroom in his apartment ("Not a problem. My rent is the same whether someone's sleeping in that bedroom or not,") and a hand in looking for work here in K-town, so I loaded up my car and moved north.
One of those boards, TheFiringLine, was run by a guy named Rich, now better known as the publisher of SWAT Magazine. Rich had retired early, thanks to his amazing executive skills. Executive skills, of course, number among them the ability to Pick The Right People, and a lot of the people Rich picked to be staff on his board are probably very familiar now, even to people who have never logged onto a gun BBS in their life: Matt, Lawdog, JShirley, Don Gwinn, JPG, Oleg, the aforementioned guy from Knoxville, Kathy, and others. In the intervening years I have managed to meet many of those fine folks in real life and am proud to number them among my friends.
A few years ago, I discovered blogs and decided to try my hand at this blogging thing. Through the medium I've had the privilege of meeting many of the good people from those circles face to face: Les Jones, Say Uncle, Instapundit and Dr. Helen, Michael Silence, Kirk, Countertop, TD, Cowboy Blob. A bunch more have become friends through email. Most recently I trekked northwards to meet Roberta X and be given a gracious guided tour of Indianapolis, a tour I never would have gotten without the magic of this wonderful series of tubes called the internet.
At this very moment, somewhere some pasty-faced academic is sweating out his dissertation on the de-humanizing impact of the 'web. I think he's barking up the wrong tree. How can it be de-humanizing when it's made of people?
It was late on a recent Saturday night, I was in a poopy mood, and I had just updated my blog and toddled off to bed. As my head hit the pillow, the phone rang. On the other end were traffic noises, the muted drone of a cop radio, and a Texas drawl: "Leonard Cohen, Tam? What's wrong?"
Don't tell me it's de-humanizing.
What a wondrous digital world that has such people in it.
Rosemary Bryant Mariner joined the Naval service after being selected as one of the first eight women to enter military pilot training. Designated a naval Aviator in June 1974, she became the first female military aviator to fly tactical jet aircraft, the A-4E/L Skyhawk, in 1975. The following year Mariner converted to the A-7E Corsair II, again becoming the first woman to fly a front-line light attack aircraft. She was the first military woman to command an operational aviation squadron and was selected for major aviation shore command. During DESERT STORM, she commanded Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron Thirty Four. During her twenty-four years of military service, Capt. Mariner logged over 3500 military flight hours in fifteen different naval aircraft and made seventeen carrier landings. In 1997, Mariner retired as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Professor of Military Studies for the National War College. Several books and publications have profiled her life, including Crossed Currents: Navy Women from WWI to Tailhook, Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, Tailspin, Ground Zero: The Gender Wars in the Military, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.She's guestblogging over at The Volokh Conspiracy.
I may have a new hero.
Start out with Deputy Lawdog, get in the ambulance with Ambulance Driver, and debark at the ER with Babs RN.
I must say that, though they're all fun reads, he really hits his stride stylistically about the time of Night Watch or Thud!.
Oh, and to those of you who let me go sit on the porch with a beer to settle in and read the last seventy-odd pages of Reaper Man next to the fire without warning me to bring a box of Kleenex, you suck. Running across something that deep and poignant in the middle of an otherwise normal Terry Pratchett read is like finding the ending of Old Yeller in the middle of a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Now, okay, that is a little freaky, but then you get to this part:
Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr.In his bedroom? Assuming that it was an adult, consenting bicycle, what was the crime?
I mean, sure, humping your Schwinn is kinda gross, but gross is what your bedroom is for. Well, and your bathroom. And the dining room table. And, well, pretty much anyplace else in your house as long as the doors are locked and the blinds drawn because, hey, that's pretty much what we mean when we yell "Jeeze! Get a room, y'all!" So now this cat is going to be on the government's official Freaky Perv list for minding his own (well, and his bicycle's) business behind closed doors? Unbelievable...
On this day in 1903 in the dunes of Kitty Hawk, NC, the surly bonds of Earth were, if not slipped, then at least significantly loosened when Orville & Wilbur Wright made four flights with their Wright Flyer.
The first of the day was of 12 seconds duration. It is interesting to note that the Flyer, with its 40-foot wingspan, is only prevented by its width from being able to duplicate the 120-foot first flight, which never exceeded ten feet in altitude, in the cargo bay of a C-5B Galaxy, which first flew only 20 years after Orville's death.
The choice did not make Allan Metcalf, executive secretary of the American Dialect Society, say "w00t."
"It's amusing, but it's limited to a small community and unlikely to spread and unlikely to last," said Metcalf, an English professor at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill.
Professor Metcalf is just bitter because he's not 1337.
No matter how big a chunk of lead a .44 tosses or how effective a .357 Magnum is against blocks of Jell-o, you have to wonder if Aether Oscillation and Atomic Vibratulation wouldn't work a little better on Bug-Eyed Monsters. Or zombies.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
"A Muslim-American saved us when our own people were on the train and didn't do anything," Adler said.
Good on ya, Hassan.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Terry Pratchett, beloved by readers around the world, has just been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.
Meanwhile, Fidel Castro still isn't dead.
(And please note this when I say "minor paperwork errors": If you were a licensed dealer in Minneapolis, and every time you bought a gun from a local customer, you abbreviated the city as "Mpls." to fit in the postage stamp-sized blank in which you had to write their address, that's a "violation". Consider that the next time you hear about a nefarious illegal shop with "over two hundred violations".)
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Me: "[Golly gosh whillikers] is that my phone? Hello?"
G: "Hey, Tamara... I didn't wake you, did I?"
Me: "No." (<---This is a lie, by the way.)
G: "J. just called in sick. Um, would you be able to come in and close tonight?"
Me: "Sure, okay... Um, I'll need to go get my laundry from the cleaners and run a couple of errands; is it okay if I come in at 7:00?"
G: "Oh, 7:00 is fine; I'll see you then. This isn't a problem, is it?"
Me: "No, no, it's all cool." (<---This is also a lie, by the way.)
Trying to stir crap by making rude comments about a guy's recently-deceased wife; that's class right there, let me tell you.
In a perfect world, Mike's seconds would have already called on Tubby McMaladroit's and invited him to grass before breakfast.
Nothing personal, Mr. Chuck Adkins, but I hope you freeze in the dark.
This is what it says at the top of the weather.com page:
Notice the hint of sun in the icon and the clever use of the word "mostly"? This would seem to indicate that there is at least part of the sky not obscured by clouds, no?
Meanwhile, here's the radar pic from further down the very same page:
Notice the big squall line blowing through under leaden skies? I can assure you that when I look out my window here at VFTP Command Central, it is not "mostly cloudy". It is not "mostly" anything. It is one-hundred percent no-doubt raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. And my patio furniture's trying to blow away.
Screw weather.com; I'm going back to hanging a weather rock outside my window...
"This is a tragedy. This another woman that has succumbed to domestic violence and we need to look at what kind of services are available to families who are immigrants and who are trying to make it in the Canadian framework," Djukic said.
Amazing. Absolutely amazing. What a pluperfect spokesweasel. A girl gets strangled by her father for not living up to the customs of her parents' homeland and Djukic manages to neatly segue it into a veiled demand for more government services and simultaneously play down the "barbaric custom" angle in only two sentences. How peaceful must be the sleep of those with no consciences to bother them.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
It was at this point that a somewhat gruff senior member explained to him that while his buddy may have converted a Glock 21 to .454 Casull in a computer game, he certainly had not done so in real life. While stories like that may impress the kiddies on a Counterstrike forum, they are unlikely to draw anything but derision from people who actually know how these things work.
Not to name names, but this may be something to keep in mind when you make a comment on someone's blog in which you claim to have used an M2 barrel to convert an H&R shotgun to .50BMG, especially someone's blog who has worked around, collected, and written about firearms most of her adult life. This fib is embarrassingly transparent to anyone with a working mechanical knowledge of guns, and probably shouldn't be made in the presence of people likely to call you on it. Just sayin'...
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
"Hey, Sarge, I can't figure out how to keep this M68 Close Combat Optic from losing zero when it's mounted on this .32 Hand Ejector Model of 1903 -4th Change."
"Google up that chick's blog, the one that writes about Smiths on Sundays, maybe she has something about it."
"[They think we're] sloppy, unladylike, low class,'" she wrote in a recent instant message conversation. "[But] I've noticed when college boys do stupid things when they're drunk, they're just being boys."No, they're being boors. There's a difference. A sloppy drunk is a sloppy drunk, no matter which bathroom they barf in.
Speaking as someone who has yelled at her shoes once or twice in the past, I must say that I'm a little baffled by anyone who would consider that to be a moment worth documenting on teh intarw3bz for all the world to see. (And some under their real names, no less! Do they think their future prospective employers won't know how to use Google? "I'm curious, Ms. Smith; do you think that sitting half naked on a toilet while pouring beer over your head makes you a good fit as an account manager at Smith, Johnson, & Jones?") When did drinking to the point of loss of self-control stop being tacky and start being Girl Power? I must have missed the memo...
Monday, December 10, 2007
Today it's 75 degrees outside and I may have to turn the AC back on for the first time in two months.
By the weekend we'll see lows in the 20s again.
We don't have a climate here, just weather.
The cluebat that vindicated disgraced General Billy Mitchell came when the HMS Repulse and the HMS Prince of Wales, both of them modern warships maneuvering vigorously and shooting back like mad, were sent to the bottom of the South China Sea by Japanese aircraft. It was the first time in history that a capital ship under way and defending itself had been sunk solely by airpower. It would not be the last.
He said the world cannot hope that technology alone will counter the threat, but that people must be prepared to change to way they live.And there you have it, kids. Change your life. Make laws and treaties. Laws and treaties that will require powerful bureaucracies to administer them in order to make sure that you have adequately changed your life. And these bureaucracies will need administrators to run them. Administrators who, due to the stressful nature of their jobs, will be immune to the planet-saving regulations that we little people will be suffering under. While you're driving your depressing little shitbox of an over-regulated, under-powered car from your freezing home to your non-smoking office, your betters will be taking the train...
"I don't think this means we have to go back to living in caves but lifestyle change means you have to be conscious of the impact of your actions," said Pachauri.
Asked by a Norwegian youth newspaper what young people could do, Gore said every effort helps.
"A lot of them you probably know already: Changing a light bulb," said Gore. "All these individual acts are important. They all help, but they won't solve the problem by themselves unless we have changes in the laws and in treaties."
...from their Gulfstream to the smoking lounge of a five star hotel. Given that, who wants a crap job like shoveling out the Augean Stables at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Let that shrill cow have it; he'll be giving her orders from the UN building by 2011, anyway.
Hey, it's to save the planet. What cause could be more noble? Why are you complaining? Are you some kind of traitor to Mother Gaia?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
That was the first time I've ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line since 1994. Obviously the weather gods were aware that those are not actually "all-season" tires and were lying in wait for me. Thank goodness for traction control.
And now it's just about time to go make the donuts. More this afternoon. After I nap.
Friday, December 07, 2007
I assume that late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, while I was zipping North in my car, trying to stay awake by listening to Linkin Park played at 11, the news media was in a hand-wringing frenzy about it.
I also suppose that yesterday morning, while I was reading and dozing peacefully on a friend's sofa, the blogosphere was burning up from both ends of the spectrum, either decrying the "easy availability"[sic] of "assault weapons"[sic] or, on the other wing, blasting the victim disarmament zones that proved so effective (yet again) in providing lambs for the slaughter.
I have a hard time getting worked up about it anymore.
As long as we have guns, people are going to get killed with them. Note that I didn't say "as long as we have private guns"; as long as we have guns period. That's just the way it is, folks, and don't think I'm not sorry to say it.
As long as we have jets, people are going to die in flaming crashes. As long as we have busses, people are going to get run over. As long as we have rocks, people are going to get their brains bashed in. As long as we have hands, folks are gonna get strangled.
And as long as we have guns, people are going to get killed with them. This is fact.
Guns are not going away. This is also fact. Understand that. This genie is not going back in the bottle. And understand when I say "people are going to get killed with them", I don't just mean a handful of folks at a mall every now and again, I also mean a few thousand people kneeling on the edge of a ditch every now and again. Just because a gun is publically held and not privately owned doesn't mean it's never going to be used to murder someone. Or thousands of someones. Understand that.
What do you propose to do about it?
Me? I have no comment.
I, however, am having a grand ol' time. :)
(I am somewhat bitter that I piddled my whole day away yesterday without making even an attempt at a snowman.)
Tonight it's back in the car and drive Southwards macht schnell, because 0430 comes awful early these days.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Seriously, Canada, here's a new tourist slogan for you, gratis: Canada. We'll scare the crap out of you, eh?
2) How To Tell If You're In A Cult: If the guy in the pulpit starts buggering five year-olds and claims he's a prophet, it's probably a cult.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
"Just about six feet."
"Oh, that's only about as tall as me. I didn't notice the raised platform and thought you were six-five or something."
"Bite your tongue! I have a hard enough time buying jeans as it is."
"Tell me about it. I just came to grips a long time ago with the fact that I was going to go through life with everyone knowing what color my socks were."
Heh. I am so stealing that line...
...for his lack of god-bothering street cred. USA Today even reprinted an excerpt from a Pat Robertson email saying "He is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!" (To me, that's an endorsement, but I'm given to understand that some people actually take Rev. Pat seriously.) When badgered by a reporter recently about his religious beliefs, Fred replied:
1) The balance on Ward Cleaver's three most frequently used credit cards is?
2) Does Wally have an Xbox3 hooked to a flatscreen TV in his room, or is he making do with an old Play Station hooked to a hand-me-down 19" Sony?
3) In addition to electricity, water, and the telephone, the Cleaver's largest monthly bill is: a. Cellular Service, b. Cable TV, c. Broadband Internet Access, or d. Late Fees At Blockbuster.
4) The Cleaver's timeshare is in: a.) Destin, or b.) Gatlinburg.
5) June's bread maker was made by: a.) Sunbeam, or b.) Krupps.
6) The amount of money Ward loses annually playing Powerball, Online Slots at home, and Texas Hold 'Em on vacation in Branson, Missouri is: $____ (Round to the nearest dollar.)
Monday, December 03, 2007
And here's a hint just especially for those on the Left: We've all heard your message every day for our whole lives, as long as we can remember. You've gotten your message out, and that is your problem. A lot of people are sick of hearing it because most of it has something to do with how wrong, greedy, stupid, evil, and endangered we are-- the air we breathe is killing us, the food we eat is killing us, oil is killing us, a shortage of oil is killing us, farming is killing us, starvation is killing us, fat is killing us, dieting is killing us, carbs are killing us, disease is killing us, antibiotics, vaccines, and the drug companies are killing us, freedom and prosperity are especially killing us, poverty is killing us, the good economy is killing us but really the economy sucks, terrorists are killing us (but it's our fault) and the war against terrorists is killing us, and everything, absolutely everything, is killing women and children, the elderly and the minorities the hardest-- and how some form of socialism (government-enforced coercion) is the answer to absolutely every problem, real or imagined.
Does that about sum it up? Who needs to tune into a radio show to hear that when we hear it everywhere else every day?
More-of-the-same day in and day out nagging and finger pointing and blaming America and our Liberty for the world's problems isn't something a lot of people are going to pay money to have broadcast in their name. But you don't, and won't, get it anyway.
R, as they say, TWT.
...and with a wave of the wand the .gov tries to tamper with the sanctity of contract.
I am reading through the relevant section of my copy of the U.S. Owner's Manual, and I'll be damned if I can figure out where this is any of FedGov's business.
The new program is being aimed at homeowners who have steady incomes and relatively clean repayment histories who could afford the lower introductory mortgage rates but cannot afford the higher adjusted rate.I find my heart surprisingly un-melted. Buying crap you can't afford used to draw societal disapproval, not sympathy. When did "spendthrift" become synonymous with "victim"?
Of course, there's a lot of stuff about this that I don't understand. I saw, for instance, an interview with a family afraid they weren't going to be able to keep up their house payments and talking about how they were going to need help, and my first thought was to be amazed at the background of the photo: "Ditch the two car payments and that ski boat in the driveway and there's you a few payments right there..."
Or is this already being bandied about and I'm just not trolling the right part of the Pinkonet?
cf. Vlad the Imperiler; maybe Puglsey should have asked him for some campaigning advice.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
I came home and built a fire in the chimenea and had a few of Mendocino's seasonal brew, an Imperial IPA, which was very good. (Although it's no Ruination; but then, what is?) If you're familiar with Dogfish Head's beers, Mendocino's Imperial IPA tastes almost exactly halfway between 60 Minute and 90 Minute Dogfish Head. Gunsmith Bob has been trying to get me to read W.E.B. Griffin for some time, and finally just dropped a copy of The Leftenants in my lap, so I'm reading it. Shakespeare it ain't, but it's an enjoyable way to pass an evening.
Went to bed too late. Got up too early. I needed to go to the grocery store after work, but I blew it off because I was hanging on my chinstrap. Took a nap when I got home and now I have to go run the errands I put off doing earlier.
I think I'll console myself (and get rid of the owie, empty, hurty feeling in my tummy) by going to Kalamata Cafe and dining on a big ol' slab of seared ahi tuna. Back in a bit.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Me: "Okay. On to the Second Amendment. Mr. Giuliani, we already know how you feel about it, so I'm not going to give you a chance to lie. Senator McCain? How do you feel about the Second Amendment?"
McCain: "Well, when I was flying over Vietnam..."
Me: "Can you go thirty seconds without mentioning Vietnam? The question was about the Second Amendment."
McCain: "Well, my government-issue .45 I carried when I was a pilot over Vietnam..."
Me: "Shut up. Mr. Huckabee, how about you? How do you feel about the Second Amendment?"
Huckabee: "God. Family values."
Me: "Yes, but about the Second Amendment?"
Huckabee: "The Bible. No gay marriage."
Me: "Never mind. Hey, you! The blow-dried tool down towards the end who looks like he just hopped out of a tanning bed! How about you? What do you think about the Second Amendment?"
Romney: (Strikes pose and smiles like an underwear model for the camera.)
Me: "You're an idiot. On to the next question: Taxes. How bad do you think they suck?"
Me: "Yeah, the last time I used the 'Razr, Rizr, Cruzr, Pozr, Luzr,' gag I only had about thirty readers a day, so I figured it was safe to trot it out again."
Marko: "I wonder what the Luzr would look like? It'd probably be like those little kid's phones; it would only have two buttons. One marked "Mom" and the other... would be..."
Me: "'Comic Book Store'."
Marko: "What about the Pozr?"
Me: "Oh, that's easy. It'd look just like an iPhone, but the 'screen' is actually just a stick-on label."
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Like anybody trusts anything CNN has to say about politics anymore. Hey, did you know that the reporter was carefully selected beforehand and provided with a script?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
It seems that the poor little Dutch middle class girl went to college and got her head packed with leftist twaddle and her wardrobe packed with Che shirts. Showing that she had more chutzpah than your average whiny Rage Against The Machine fan, she actually decided to run off to the jungles of Columbia to live communally with the guerrillas and be a terrorist against oppressive capitalism. Unfortunately, once she got there she found out that it actually involved living communally in the jungle and being a terrorist. And their vacation plan sucked. Plus they made her cook. It wasn't romantic, and it sure wasn't like a RATM song.
Or maybe it was, if she'd actually listened.
(H/T to The Philosophical Detective.)
And now their kindly teacher is going to suffer sixty lashes for it.
I am beginning to think that there's nothing wrong with large swathes of this planet that 'round the clock carpet bombing wouldn't fix.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Basically, it claims that when the menfolk are properly in charge and religiously motivated, we wimmen get to breedin' lots of children, especially healthy sons. And everybody knows that big families and a positive population growth rate are important in a post-industrial economy, right? Well, they are if you want to prop up that post-industrial economy with payroll-tax-derived welfare programs. This leads to a delicious irony when you think about it: The under-reproducing Bohemians on the Left are going to need the offspring of the God & Grits Anti-Choice segment of the Right in order to keep the workforce at levels large enough to supply the funding needed for the social programs the Left so loves. It'll be interesting to see how they try to ride that tiger.
All the Terrorists in Cell Block D: "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Haider al-Bahadli: "No, guys, really! It was a good plan!"
All the Terrorists in Cell Block D: "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Haider al-Bahadli: "Hey, it wasn't my idea anyway!"
All the Terrorists in Cell Block D: "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Haider al-Bahadli: "Look, stop laughing! I didn't want to wear the wedding dress!"
This guy is going to be eighty years old, running a convenience store in Flint, Michigan, and people will walk by and say "That's old Mr. al-Bahadli. They busted him in Baghdad back in '07 and he was wearing a wedding dress."
It's on its second battery now, and the annoyances are starting to stack up. Even with a relatively fresh battery, talk time is barely over an hour. There's no cover for the buttons, and I can either disable them, which requires me to enter a password procedure so complex that I'm afraid I'll launch a strategic nuclear strike every time I try and make a call, or just let them be pushed by any random object in my purse or pocket with occasional hilarious results:
Me: "Heh. My butt called you."
Cricket requires you to pre-pay for long distance minutes, which used to be no big deal, as 30 minutes of long-distance talk time would last me for months, but I'm placing more calls long-distance now (and with Marko & family moving to NH, that's only going to get worse,) and last week their automated system decided it didn't like either my Visa or my Master Card.
So, I stopped by an actual Cricket store the other day to see if I could iron out the long distance glitch and maybe look into upgrading my phone to one that would correct the defects that were bothering me: Battery life and inadvertent button activation. I explained to the salesdroid that their computer was telling me that there was a problem with my card(s) and to please contact my financial institution, but the human I spoke with at my financial institution said my card was fine and that Cricket was smoking crack, so what could we do about it?
Him: "So you want to...?"
Me: "Uh, buy some long distance minutes? Maybe $10 or $20 worth so I don't have to go through this again for a while?"
Him: "Certainly..." (He sees me start to pull out my Visa.) "But we only accept cash here."
Me: *Sigh.* "Is there an ATM around?"
Him: "Just a couple storefronts down, but they will charge you a dollar."
Me: "You know, never mind, I'll fix that later," I didn't want to jog down and back, as I was on a deadline, "But I have one other issue..."
His tone was condescending and supercilious, and only got worse with my next question.
Me: "I'd like to replace this old Audiovox."
Him: "What features do you want on a phone? We have..."
Me: "Cheap. All I want is covered buttons and more talk time. Your cheapest phone should be fine."
Him: "Well, even our cheapest phone is going to be $109."
Me: "That sign says $69.99 and the phone looks like what I want..."
Him: "That's for new customers."
What I Wanted To Say At This Point: "Look, C3P0; hop off the high horse. Money isn't the issue here. If I wanted a damn Razr, Rizr, Cruzr, Pozr, or Luzr, I'd get one, okay? The reason I don't have an iPhone, xPhone, or qPhone is because I don't have a goddam phone fetish. If I want to take pictures, I'll use my camera. If I want to listen to MP3s, I'll use my iPod. If I want to remember phone numbers and appointments, I'll use the same fricking pencil and paper I've been using for thirty years. I realize I'm standing in front of you with a six year old phone and a gas station nametag, but the reason I've been using your service is because I don't want to screw around with minutes and evenings and weekends and contracts and mailing payment checks and crap like that. I want to punch my credit card number into my phone once a month for the same amount of money every month and not have to worry my pretty little head about how long I talk on the phone. If your cheesy phone service comes with a big side helping of attitude these days, then you can shove it. I'm off to find someplace that will treat me like a paying customer, even if they do make me sign a contract. Oh, and sorry about your hairline."
What I actually said was: "Gotta run. Bye."
So, phone geeks, help me out. I'm looking for a company that will give me a bare-bones phone with a bare-bones service plan, preferably unlimited local calls for ~$50ish per month.
Monday, November 26, 2007
(Ow, my tummy hurts from laughing.)
I, too, don't really see anything to argue against.
Oh, and please note that if you ever see me wearing Crocs, I have been killed and replaced by a pod person and the alien invasion is on, so it's probably safe to shoot me.
(Via Victory Soap 2.0.)
...except maybe the subject of next week's post. Tune in; you'll like it. :)
Each of the tribe's almost 3,400 members receives about $120,000 annually in profits from Seminole enterprises, mostly casinos. However, since 2000, Tribal Council members have spent more than $280 million from discretionary funds they control on travel, lavish homes, luxury vehicles, boxing rings, basketball courts and even cosmetic surgery, the newspaper said.Wrap your head around that one for a moment (I mean, after you get off the phone with the lawyer about suing your parents for not being Seminoles.) These casinos are bringing in enough money to give $120k to every man, woman, and stray dog in the Seminole tribe, reinvest in the business, buy other businesses, and still have the dough left over to embezzle almost $300 million worth of airline tickets and nose jobs. Unglaublich! That, my friends, is a whole lotta Bingo.
Will one of you that enjoys losing money in games of chance explain this? I want in on this racket somehow; there seems to be a lot of money in teaching folks probability and statistics the hard way.
(Yesterday a young man bought something like twenty scratch-off tickets. "With this many, I have to win!" he said. I gently explained to him that if he bought every single scratch-off ticket printed, he would still lose money. "No way!" he replied, "There'd have to be the jackpot ticket in there somewhere!" *Sigh*.)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Heading out the door this morning at 0630. 27F. Had to run back in and get a camera. I was running behind to get to the store, but I had to take a picture. Sorry about the blur, but this is the best of five exposures; I was in a hurry. Hopefully the magic will repeat again Sunday morning.
"Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolvingChurch is where you find it. :)
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth." -M. Python
You mean that Babe Ruth secretly and against the rules of baseball, for his own personal aggrandizement and benefit, kept black players out of the sport in order to better his numbers? Is that what you're saying?
As much as the hysterics at the Brady Center for Dis-empowering Crime Victims, as well as the "Sgt. Combat" types among our own ranks, would have you believe otherwise, most guns are either not weapons or at least not used as such. A Perazzi trap gun is beautifully made for the purpose of blowing clay pigeons out of the sky, but its single-shot action, 34" barrel, and stratospheric price tag make it suited for little else. It could be pressed into service as a weapon, I suppose, but so could a rolling pin or a cast iron skillet. Likewise, a free pistol from Hammerli or Pardini is built for a narrow purpose; putting .22 holes right in the same place every time to win competitions. Their size and shape and the fact that they are single shot .22's make them singularly unsuited for practical use as a weapon.
Likewise are the countless "plinker" .22 rifles sold in the US, not to mention various guns that are heavily mutated from their original form to meet various competition needs; benchrest rifles, Open Class IPSC race guns and the like. These are guns that you will see done in every color of the rainbow; I have seen benchrest rifles with flame jobs painted on their unwieldy slablike stocks, and if I had a dollar for every pink Ruger 10/22 I've seen, I'd use them to go buy one myself. And that is cool, because these are toys.
It's when I see a gun clearly meant for use as a tool, a weapon, done up in some garish color that I feel a little weird. Like seeing a hammer with a rhinestone-studded handle, or a fur-trimmed power drill, it just throws me a bit off kilter. It's a free country and people can do with their stuff what they want, but I'm not sure I'd want a pink revolver with "The Pink Bitch" laser-etched on the barrel entered as Exhibit A in a civil case following a self-defense shooting; I think of the arguments I could build around that and I shudder, and I don't have post-grad training in making someone look like a deranged psycho in front of a jury.
So, are pink guns skanky? I don't think so. Usually they're kinda kewt, although I think that in some cases they may not be good ideas.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Hils, if government was the answer to this, there wouldn't be a problem in the first place; those toys are made in China, and if there's one thing China doesn't have a shortage of, it's government. Hell, they got government coming out their ears and they still can't keep the PCBs out of Tickle-Me Elmo.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
If you'll excuse me now, I have to go kill some Sassenach, whatever those are. I'm not sure why.