Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy As A Clam at High Altitude . . .

I have two helicopters. A Syma S109G and an S108G. They are -by far- the most-fun thing I can imagine at this price point. What is more, they absorb ridiculous amounts of crashing without apparent damage. But they will take damage and wear down eventually. The S109G was not able to lift itself, even after I straightened out the shafts and cleaned and lubricated the gearing. I thought the battery might be going downhill. The S108G was flying okay, but it wanted to turn left more than it used to do, and it sounded like it had a little gas motor inside, after it hit the refrigerator. Today I had some slack time* and decided to take a peek inside both planes.

The S109G was flying again, maybe a minute per charge. A kind soul at work donated a full set of replacement blades from his dog-eaten helicopter. The first set of blades was thoroughly chewed-up from repeated crashes. The lower main rotors lost lots of chunks (about 1/4 total length x 2mm) and it would still fly, but the upper rotors losing chunks was the end of the fun. New blades let it fly again, which was not entirely unexpected. But it wasn't flying amazingly well, or for long. I opened it up and measured the power going to the motors. These aircraft have two little motors and two little transistor switching circuits to drive the motors. I thought in all my tinkering I might have killed one of the FET switches. 4.2V DC at the motor terminals looked about right. But one motor wasn't turning strongly, if it turned at all which it did about 1/3 the time when I hit the collective. Dead motor. Boo. I left it in pieces and moved on to the S108G.

The S108G had lost a tooth on the gears when the rotors suddenly stopped under the fridge. That was the noise. I went to swap in a gear from the S109G and found the gears in the S108G are captive, held on by a pressed-in pin. Bummer. But the motors are the same, and it looks like each bird has the same two motors, a black top and a white top. They have the same motor output gears, spaced the same on the same-colored motors. I pulled the defunct white top motor from the S109G and traded it into the S108G. This involved fine-wire soldering and a delicate touch but it was done.

Sharky rides again!** I had forgotten how high-performing the S109G is. That fresh motor made it a whole new airplane, thank God. And now that I'm a better pilot I think this set of blades should last a bit longer. Now I just need to scratch together a couple of dollars for a set of gears, rob a motor from that other dog-eaten helo, and I should be back in the fun times-two!

Thanks God for making me clever enough to figure this stuff out.

********

*nap time for the babies. #4 ended up n0t-sleeping and I had #1 and #2 entertain him. This worked only marginally well but at least no 3mm long screws ended up in the carpet.

**The S109G has shark teeth on the front, and the children dubbed it "Sharky" as it chased them around the living room. The S108G Laser Mouth, with a very bright white LED under the nose.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Geeks Stay Up Later

This camera I'm thinking of buying seems to have a back focus problem. I ran one google search, and came up with a half-dozen links that add up to a small book. It's a good thing I read fast because this is a lot of stuff to absorb.

Like what?

Like this. This is pretty deep into the weeds for non-camera people, so don't feel like you're missing something if you get bored immediately.

********

I adjusted the focus on this camera body and committed to the purchase. Now I just have to come up with another couple hundred bucks to get a fast prime lens . . .

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nothing. I Got Nothing.

I haven't been to bed before the next day at any time this week, I think, but my memory is fuzzy due to fatigue. Last night I went to bed just before two and #3 woke up 3 times between then and three thirty. I don't know what his problem was, but it might have involved Christmas lights in front of the window shining in through the double curtains and making the room bright as the dawn.

So once again nothing is as interesting as my own navel . . . I'm off to Mish's Global Economic Analysis blog and then Instapundit to check the news. Join me or not, I'm so tired I don't really mind either way . . . .

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Flesh Indeed Is Willing . . .

. . . but the budget is weak!

I have a chance to get a screaming deal on a camera outfit, something I have been wanting for quite a while. This is a decent used kit, for sale around 1/2 the street value. I took a couple of photos for my Darling Wife, and it was "camera ho-hum" time, but then I broke out a special filter that makes crossed highlights on all spots of brightness. I took one photo of our ceiling fan and she was sold right there.

Now I need to get off my duff and finally sell all the junk sitting around not being useful. Sometimes I wonder why I hold off on doing some things . . . not-selling this stuff is one of those things. It's money sitting there gathering dust in the garage, why not . . . oooooh I was waiting for this camera deal to come along. Alrighty then. The seller is a guy who "knows where I work" and he trusts me with a camera worth more than this on an occasional basis. I'm trying this one out. Oops!

I just realized I have broken a cardinal rule: never test-drive a nicer car than you can afford! Oh well. We'll make room in the budget for this one, I think. Score!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You Are What You Do.

It does not matter what you think you are.
It does not matter what other persons think you are.
It does not matter what you say.
What matters is what happens. You are not what you say you are, what you think you are, or what others think of you.

You are what you do.

A random rich person with $8500 worth of camera and lens who cannot make a decent exposure is a novice. Ansel Adams with a 110 film disposable is a photographer.

A he/she hermaphrodite genetic freak of nature that goes to work in an accounting firm all day long and stays home at night, is an accountant. A standard-equipment male who crawls around the street fair in San Francisco with a whip handle stuck where the sun don't shine, sucking penii of random strangers without prophylaxis, is a queer.

A woman who pops out a child and then abuses/abandons it, is a Bad Person. A woman who takes said child in to her home without the obligation to do it, then feeds, shelters, nurses, and generally cares for it, is a Mother.

********

This couples hand-and-glove with the fact that you will do what is important to you. IF you do things which seem irrational, the seeming is false. You might not be acting on the basis of a healthy motivation, but when examined in the twisted illogic of your subconscious mind your actions will make sense.

You want things to be okay so you spend yourself deep into debt. You want to feel better about your body so you eat too much. You want to save energy so you install solar panels that take more energy to produce than they will ever make. The logic may be twisted so it takes a trained mind to follow, but it will have been there when the therapy bills are all paid and you are sane.

********

[deleted] no, I don't go to a therapist! I thought this up all by my lonesome and here it is spilled onto my computer screen so I don't have to burden my Darling Wife with such thoughts at an inconvenient moment. A therapist is not required: I'm a macho. When there is a problem I confront it to the face, deal with it, and leave it behind me. I have been accused of arrogance, rudeness, and a lack of political tact . . . I am also not one to be found stressing over old stuff or letting problems fester.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Good/The Bad/The Ugly

Good: 12lbs chunk of Sirloin for Christmas dinner
Bad: Teeth that sometimes bleed
Good: The meat is so thick you have well-done and still-bleeding, all on one piece in the same oven, when it's done cooking.
Bad: The first bite of beef is bloody and it tastes like teeth that are bleeding
Good: The second bite is well-done and tastes and feels much better
Bad: The slice you grab for dinner looks well done but is just barely brown and not really cooked
Good: It tastes like cooked beef on the way down, and mixes well with the other stuff on the plate
Bad: Feeling like puking because it really wasn't cooked and it was a big ol' slice
Good: Darling Wife drives home and a nap is taken

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Total Pillow Total Victory

The point of advertisement is to get you to want what they have to sell you. Total Pillow just ran a commercial on my idiot box. Near the end of it, my Darling Wife and I were agreeing that it looked like a nice thing to have, and #3 (lying on the floor in front of the TV) said "Can I have one of those?"

It looks like a good product, but my had is off to the people at Total Pillow for making a commercial that had everyone watching in my living room wanting one. I'm WAY to cheap to buy one (well, two for the price of one, plus two hot/cold packs that fit in the pillow, just pay separate shipping/handling fees) but I'll give them a free plug for doing such a good job on the television spot!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Madness at Work

Overheard at the smallish company where I work, at various times:

LB: Hey, where'd Chris go?
VFD: He got fired!
:rimshot:
CB: LOL


NP: Hey at least I didnt get here late, guido
VFD (not part of the conversation): Yeah, guido!
CJ (also not part of the conversation): Yeah, guido!
Guido: Hey, f**k you, f**k you, f**k you
CJ & VFD (at about same time): . . ."not you, you're cool."
(if you missed the reference, you missed a funny movie as well)


TS: (sounding tired at 09:20): Okay (pause) - I want to go home.
VFD: Nobody's keeping you here at gunpoint, buddy!
TS: Oh yeah, sure, gimme your keys and . . .
VFD: You try taking my keys, there might be somebody keeping you here at gunpoint!
Guido, TS, VFD: LOL

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Idiots. We're All Going To Fall Into A Pit

One of the biggest payroll companies in the country said most of the smaller companies will be totally unable to do something to payroll tax withholding that only lasts two months, beginning readysetNOW. It is, literally, impossible - in addition to being the dumb thing to do. Going for a 2-month tax holiday extension instead of holding out for the one-year extension and taking their case to the People shows that the Republican party is in desperate need for a change of leadership. I never was a great fan of Boehner and this just further proves how right I was about that opinion.

So you would be getting two more months without paying "your fair share" into the Social Security system. It is effectively a pay raise, at the expense of your retirement account. Sounds good in soundbytes but is stupid long-term. So of course Obama was for it and the Republicrats let themselves be dragged along for the ride. Public imaging AND logic fail.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nothing to See Here

The world economies swirl around the toilet bowl, the nation is on track to elect any of a series of horrible candidates, and my christmas lights blew a circuit breaker . . . but . . . so what. I've been on antihistamines for days now and my givadamn is broken. Haven't had a good night's sleep since Sunday. Last night the air handler kept sounding like a crying baby, plus lots of crazy full-color dreams thanks to a dose of B12. I'm tired and even huge news sounds dull just now. Hungary's sovereign debt downgraded to junk? Ho-hum! SOPA means the end of the free Internet in America? And?

Geez, I think I'll get some sleep instead of being jaded out in the open where everyone can see it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Boy Hit In Head By Helicoptor Rotor Blades

. . . miraculously survives!

In related news, I was flying a Syma S109G and chasing the Zoo therewith. The thing was running low on battery so the rate of climb was not as high as it should have been. I saw that #4 was too close so I called out a warning and grabbed as much collective as I could, but it was too late. He responded to my warning by toddling his yearanahalfold head straight into the prop arc. Two of the main rotor blade tips caught him on the forehead and the chopper crashed, hard.

I laid the controller aside and checked the baby. He almost had two little pink lines on his head. For a few minutes he was calling the plane "hot!" as it flew around the room. By the end of the flight he was chasing after the thing again.

Good times.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bring on the Rain Drizzle!

Normally, 7" of rain in a couple of weeks would fill The Lake (the wide part of the Colorado River we call Lake Travis) up about 10' higher but that hasn't happened. 7" of rain in a day on bone-dry ground would cause huge flash floods, but that also hasn't happened. We have had something like 6-7" of rain in the last couple of weeks and The Lake is up about a foot. And it has been drizzling pretty much all day most days it was raining. Very, very gentle rains.

There was so little rain this year, the ground is soaking all this drizzle up like a proverbial sponge.

This is great good news. We are getting exactly the sort of rains we needed to prepare the land for heavier rain. It means the mold spores go crazy making me allergic, but the land will be ready to absorb the heavier rains I hope we will be getting soon. I hope we get some heavy rains soon, because going into a dry year with all the major local reservoirs at 1/3 capacity is . . . not great.

So? So join me in thanking God for the annoying constant dripping and stifling high humidity we've been having - the alternatives, all of them, are worse.

Hey Whydoncha Talkabout . . .

You have noticed that I don't cover the major news of the day. It occurred to me again the reason for this is simple: you can get that anyplace and (if you are like me) you hear it all day. You don't need another blatherer-on about the headlines. If I've got a different take on something, or something to say, then I might talk about the news. Failing something creative, I'll just let you go to Instapundit

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Things To Know About

Don't use a neti pot. They are disgusting. If you do use a neti pot, do yourself a favor and don't use non-sterile water from any source in the southern United States. Specifically don't use tap water - or you could die. Most fresh warm water 'round here has these amoebae in there somewhere. Your water heater makes them happy. Boil, distill, or buy sterile the water you pour in your nose.

Good night, can you imagine holding your child down to rinse them with a neti pot against their will, and then this happens? Wow.

The techology-ignorant want to pass a bill to help out their BFFs in the recording industry, but they would rather you don't notice. Too bad there is the internet now, and news spreads at the speed of bloggers crosslinking each other light. With this series of tubes, we can put out word of bills written when Congress is supposed to be out of session, without the aid of subject matter experts, that make daily online activity (potentially even making a link like this) a crime. Keep praying - our contry is in deep trouble while THESE people are at the helm.

Well, That Was Fast

The doorknob hasn't even hit us on the way out and already we're seeing sectarian shenanigans in Iraq. This totally unexpected turn of events is sure to be met with zero effectual response from the Obama White House.

"Unexpectedly!"

hat tip: Instapundit

The Vicious Cycle

Begin on a day with bad allergies. Take enough medicine to feel okay inside the house. Go walk around looking at christmas lights for two hours to begin the cycle
  • Head hurts.
  • Frown.
  • Hurts worse.
  • Frown more.
  • Get cramps in frown muscles on forehead, hurts worse.
  • Frown more.
  • Hurts worse.
  • Repeat.
Go home and lie down, massage forehead and relax. It will start to be less worse. A tylenol and a sleep later, it will feel better.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Mull

It won't work, but it could get ugly if the Obama "Justice" Department wanted to go farther. If there were really a case against Sheriff Arpaio, there would be charges. What there appears to be is a bunch of aggreived brown people bitching to investigators, but no actual violations, and a Federal attempt to intimidate Joe Arpaio into not trying to see the law gets enforced.

The feds did such a great job taking care of a huge problem of illegal immigrants causing trouble in Phoenix that it isn't the number one city for kidnappings. NO, Phoenix (Maricopa County) Arizona is only the SECOND worst city in the world for kidnappings and the worst for car thefts in the country. So what's the problem? Why do those yokels in Arizona think they have to take the law in their own hands and start enforcing NATIONAL immigration law at the STATE level? Why, they must be a bunch of RAAAAACISTS!

The feds say the good people in Maricopa County no longer have permission to detain people on immigration charges instead of letting the feds to it . . . and no, the feds won't do it, either. Will the people of Phoenix tolerate a sanctuary city created by the dictates of some leftist bureaucrat in the District of Columbia?

The feds won't enforce the border, and they will gin up a bunch of hassle for you if you do. Borders. Language. Culture. The three elements that define a nation are hated by the top levels of the government in the nation. What, then, do we have left?

No, I don't believe the allegations rise to the level you hear trumped up on the news broadcasts. Maybe Sheriff Arpaio is hard on criminals. And?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's The Worst That Could Happen?

It is about to be legal for the Feds to come and get you, impound you, not charge, and interrogate you Guantanamo style. The President, big chiefy man-pants manly man that he is, has totally folded on his veto threat bluff.
"What then shall we do? A predatory regime of both parties has provided the citizenry with another reason to shoot first and ask questions later when a raid party comes to your home. . . . These unprincipled idiots are playing with matches in a powder magazine. And the first match of this new box just got struck." Sipsey Street Irregulars

We'll see. I can't help but think some good solid Federal agents are going to be leaving wives and children with the cold comfort of life insurance payouts because of this. I am reminded of a law that kills people in Houston. On certain highways at certain times of day, your car will be gone within six minutes. Tow trucks patrol the areas to keep the roads clear. Traffic moves. And a few years ago I heard of the first guy who was killed playing Frogger on a busy highway trying to get gasoline for his empty fuel tank, instead of catching a tow bill.

Sure and you're not an innocent man if you don a mask to disappear your fellow Americans . . . but eventually one of those matches is going to find a fuse, mark the words.

The War Is Over Begins?

We are leaving. They are not ready to stand up and defend the Iraq we are leaving. They have powerful political and religious conflicts that have been kept down by our presence. Stand by for any/all of the following:
  • Religious/ethnic cleansing dramatically increases. Being anything but the right kind of muslim is about to become very hazardous for the health of anyone in Iraq
  • International aggression. Iran will have basically no impediment to taking a large swath of Iraq and making it into the "greater persia" Savage tried to warn us about
  • Domestic pressure, rising even to the level of a civil war. The Kurds still are there, you know. The partitioning some of us tried to lobby for may happen without us, after we tried so hard to prevent it.




^ The beginning of something horrible?

And why are we leaving before the local government is ready to defend itself? Duh! It's an election year! There was no defined goal, so there was no victory. In Vietnam at least we had a definite victory before we left the locals to defend themselves twist in the wind.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ron Paul Wins Iowa Caucus?

The caucusgoers in Iowa are settling in, reviewing their choices, and finding them distasteful. Ron Paul benefits by being merely an old crank, vs. a philanderer or a Mormon. The press, of course, can't bring themselves to mention it in a story on the subject until 6 paragraphs in.

********

Of course, it could be that they are also reading Vote For David.

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May God help our republic

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"This is a difficult recommendation, but it’s the right recommendation and it’s time" -Deborah Hersman, NTSB Chairwoman

Agreed.

There is just shy of NOTHING as important as driving when you are driving. To make a call that just can't wait, pull over. To receive a call that just can't wait, use the hands-free and tell them to wait, then pull over. If it can't wait and you can't pull over, that's an emergency and there is an exception for that in the recommendation.

Note: what you are getting from the grocery is not an emergency. Facebook is not an emergency. You suck that it has to come down to the law to get you off the phone while you are driving.

How [deleted] Hard Is It?

We went to the grocery store tonight. I went to the Cart Return area and saw that not one but TWO carts were there beside the return chute. That would be, facing the wrong way in the parking spot beside the chute, three and five steps respectively from being properly inserted into the rest of the carts 100% sure not to roll off and smash somebody else's car.

Then we went to the gas station to fill up Bad Robot. Parked smack in the middle of the driveway, directly in front of what would be a lane of traffic next to two pumps, was a car. Standing, lights on. Female driver texting. Waiting for the special man-friend to come out of the shop-n-rob with his purchases.

Because, as I have said before, you are furniture. You are exactly dog-poo to the people of Austin. F U and DIAF if you get in their way, but consideration for you? Looking out for you? Meh.

********

Yes, I put the two stray carts in the return chute.

Mighty Fine Detective Work, Lou

Thug beats life sentence when his lawyer notices he was locked up when the crime was committed. Alibi: check!

Why's he gotta be a thug?

He's in and out of jail so much, he didn't remember he was in when he was accused of being out committing the crime. Also he's up against five more, unrelated charges currently.

Monday, December 12, 2011

We Depend on These People for Our National Energy Needs

A woman in Saudi Arabia made a living committing fraud. Then she was tried, convicted, and executed for . . .
.
.
.
witchcraft.

I'm Tired. And I Smell Nice

We got our christmas tree tonight. It takes a surprisingly long time to pick needles out of the carpet. The house smells like pine sap again and that includes those of us who were tree-hugging to get the thing upright in its stand.

Good times.

#2 decorated his bedroom with the tree lights, so we need to get more lights. Raise your hand if you decorated your room with christmas lights when you were a child!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

You Will

You will click here.

You will watch.

That is all.

(2 minutes of fun if you think first person shooting videos are fun)

Celtic Thunder Indeed!

The televisor somehow was turned on tonight to a fund raiser for PBS that included a "concert" called

CELTIC THUNDER11!!!!!1

Apparently, Celtic Thunder translates directly to "whiteasricewhiteboys lipsync mid-1950s holiday carols to snappy lounge/easy-listening jazz muzac." So now you know.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trying Their Luck?

The climate conference in Durban has apparently come to a deal. They have agreed to agree to something over the next five years, and in another five years it would go into effect.

They agreed to:
Global taxation/wealth redistribution for poor countries' benefit
Third world countries have to use the same expensive clean technology as everybody else
You have to participate, it will be legally binding

All of this, of course, will be pretty hard to cram down the throats of the people of the civilized world. Look for backing from watermelon/closet socialists, rich people who make money either way making the transactions, manufacturers of "green" technology, and especially the leaders of crooked 3rd world "developing" nations who will be happy to steal whatever money they can that is supposed to go toward making their environment cleaner.

The loser, if the deal can be brought to life?

You.

Copilot Saves Family's Life, Film at 11:00

Driving home from my parents' house, I was tired but thought I was ok to drive. Then I woke up crossing the lane markers and my Darling Wife asked me if I were okay. I asked her right back and she said she was. She sounded like she meant it.

Chinese Fire Drill . . . Go!

I was asleep a minute later and woke up when we got into our part of the world again. I could have made myself stay awake the whole drive home. Maybe. And maybe I'd have put us over the side of an overpass.

There's a joke that is slightly less funny tonight but I'm still smiling:

Friday, December 9, 2011

As Close To Official As It Gets . . . . Before The Man Says So

When the US Government announces a recession, they do it in retrospect. It is usually hard to call the beginning of a recession as the nation falls into one. But there are various indicators one can call on to give an idea of whether or not we are in a recession. Big news: the indicators are pointing to an ongoing recession.

With charts.

Man With Gun at Birthday Party!

Two guns, actually. No goblins showed up, so they were never drawn. Well, almost never. #4 saw Big Brother on my hip before the party and said, "No-no. No-no." I drew it and showed it to him and said "That's right, no-no for baby." Then I pulled off the holster and let him play with that instead until he got bored (10 seconds). THEN nobody even noticed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cynical? Us?

My Darling Wife has been hanging out with me too long, perhaps. Every time she sees President Obama speaking on the Televisor, she changes the channel as she says something like "There he goes, lying again."

Ancient joke: how can you tell (insert politician's name here) is lying? Because their lips are moving! But seriously, she may be on to something. Hint to President Obama: your campaign trail lies are supposed to be HARD to spot.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Absolute Victory"

It's okay Japan, you don't have to offer annual apologies for getting us into World War II. We kicked your face in, and we DID see Absolute Victory, just like Roosevelt said we would.

Quote of the Day: "China apparently is preparing for war. What are we preparing for?" -Laura Ingraham, 07 Dec 2011, the day they told their Navy to prepare for combat.

Humility and Honesty: Most Musicians Could Use Some Improvement

I spent a few minutes with a pianiste tonight, recording her playing first her part, then my part. Now this lady is the best piano player I know personally and that is saying something. Not only can she play as-written music, she can play what she thinks you wanted to hear, and she can pick up like nothing happened when a partner or even the Conductor stumbles. She's no slouch at the keyboard. She doesn't like to be recorded because her playing is, as she says, "bad."

Little known fact: a good musician thinks they are not as good as you think they are. You can't tell when they wince and give themselves facepalms during every performance. THEY know what they have got wrong; YOU have no idea. I know this from personal experience. Yes I am talented thanks God. I'm humble also, and also frankly honest. I know I'm good at singing, but I also don't like performing or being recorded, because I know how it ought to sound. I was recently (literally) applauded for a performance when I was not altogether pleased how it came out. The Conductor said afterward that I had done well. I told him I had done well for a first sight-reading, but that I knew he heard the little bits here and there that I also didn't like. With tact, he didn't answer but only smiled. He's good, too.

Photobucket

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Buy Me This

You will buy me a helicopter. My psychic powers force you to donate $25 to the cause. It does not matter how many of you do this, because there is no practical limit to the amount of fun to be had with this item. The more the merrier, literally, as proved by recent experience at my workplace.

Seriously. If you don't have one of these, you should.

No Exceptions

It is a violation of Federal law to have any dealings with foreign drug cartels.

Yet we have sent them money and guns, possibly also grenades.

This is illegal for our government to do, and there are no "we wanted to see where the stuff ended up" investigation exceptions. SOMEBODY better be going to prison for a long time, or America was lost altogether a long time ago.

They used to say "ignorance of the law is no excuse" but these days the ones violating the laws are government agents. Then what?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shopping for a Wookie Suit, Maybe?

Astonishing even to myself, I find myself on the brink of casting a primary vote for . . . Ron Paul. Gingrich is slimy, Romney is crazed, Perry is . . . Perry, and all the rest are irrelevant. So. Does that leave Paul as the least worst or the last, best?

Christians, please pray for our nation as we enter this election year. We need some serious help.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

YGTBFKM

My reaction: "F*cking kidding me." I turned the computer, saying "Brought to you by the same people that brought you the Fast and the Furious/Project Gunwalker," and let my Darling Wife read the story, and she said, "You've GOT to be kidding me."

The story: Under the same super-genius leadership that sent guns to the Mexican drug cartels to see where they would go, now our tax dollars hard at work have sent straight-up CASH to the drug cartels, to see how their money laundering schemes work. Let's send money and guns to the cartels in Mexico, what's the worst could happen?

But, hey, at least we have the consolation that " . . . agents weren’t laundering money for the sake of laundering money." so it's all right then.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cain Quits?

The quitter.

DIY/SOLVED! Mr. Coffee Maker Stops Making Coffee, Only Gives Steam

A few months ago we got a Mr. Coffee coffee maker to replace the old coffee maker that had died of old age. it was attractive enough and cost just over $10 so we picked it up. Right from the start this Mr. Coffee CG12 would spit and hiss more than we liked, and as time went by you would have to hit it on the side to make it spit out hot water instead of steam. Otherwise it would just make an annoying gurgling/hissing noise and take for-e-ver to brew a pot. This sucks, especially when three months later you have to smack the coffeemaker every 5 seconds just so your coffee is done inside of 20 minutes. Yesterday, frustrated at having to babysit the percolator, I determined to send it back to the store for an exchange.

Today, I brewed my coffee in a pot on the stove and broke out the screwdrivers. One #1 Philips and a somewhat esoteric security Torx bit are all that are required to completely disassemble the machine. I took the water inlet hose off and blew/sucked. Sure enough, there is a check valve in there and sure enough it was not sealing against pressure from the boiler side. Squeezing gently on the tube is enough to pop the check valve out. The little ball inside the check valve was covered in what looked like sand. Hard water deposits, very likely. I cleaned it off and noticed that the ball is two hemispheres glued together with a little lip around the edges where it was not glued perfectly-round at the factory. I shaved off the casting flash and polished the rough edges with a knife VERY carefully as any gouges would render it useless. I cleaned the seat inside the valve with a Q-tip.

Then I gave the whole machine a good overall cleaning, put it back together, and was back to making coffee. I ran several pots of water and a half-pot of vinegar to get out the loose chunks of chalk, brewed a pot of coffee, and learned a minor lesson:

Don't let it heat up the water, spitting water back into the reservoir while you add the filter and coffee- this will only speed the otherwise slow death-by-calcium deposits of the check valve.

********

Review: this was a decent maker, as long as we kept the check valve clean. About a year after we got it, it has been replaced with a new (different) model. The heater failed (open circuit) and the maker wouldn't heat. Boo.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Problems With Newt Gingrich Are Not His Problems

That is to say, they are his problems, but they are not unique to him. And they are huge, and if you were honest you would consider them disqualifiers for the Presidency of the United States.

He is a lying, cheating, hypocritical philanderer. While Bill Clinton was stuck on Gingrich's pitchfork for cheating with Lewinsky, Gingrich was carrying on an affair of his own. He has twice married women with whom he was having extramarital affairs, less than a year after divorcing his previous wives. Both his wives, by the way, lost him right after they came down with horrible, possibly nasty death-causing diseases. The sequence is: marry Newt, get sick, and be dumped for somebody younger with whom he was already cheating.

He is fat. As has been said previously: "Being fat is a pretty strong indicator that you are lazy, stupid, or morally suspect. It is not definitive, but it's pretty close."

Combine those two, and you have a certainty approaching 100% that Newt Gingrich is morally broken somehow. This started very early in his life. He was schtupping a high school teacher while still in high school. That is not the first sign of a broken moral compass, it is rather a late symptom. This is evidence of a faulty family life from a young age. It is hardly Newt's fault that his father and mother couldn't keep their marriage together. His mother's second marriage was much more durable, but something was bad-wrong in that home. How else do you hope to explain it that the family produced not only this guy but also a half-sister of his that is a thoroughly messed-up-in-the-head "LGBT" queer activist?

With other members of Congress and Common Cause, he brought an ethics charge against a member of Congress who . . . did the same stuff he was doing. Hypocrite. He converted from Protestant to Catholic; if that means anything to you, 'nuff said. He made a public service announcement with Nancy Pelosi to get you to take action to prevent catastrophic climate change . . . which he regrets now that he wants your vote, but would have done it again, before he was a candidate.

I could go on, but you get the point. This guy is NOT who you want to vote for in the PRIMARY. In the Primary vote for the one you want to see nominated from your party. Not who you think can win, but who you want to see running.

Do you really want this guy running?

Quote of the Day 12/02/2011

"The political story of the year is how many directions Republicans are willing to go, to avoid going in Romney's direction" -George Will, today on Laura Ingraham's show

They were talking about how each of the Republican candidates has had a huge runup in the polls until something came along to sink them. Each except Mitt Romney, who is laying low hoping to pick up the nomination by default.

***

Runner-up for QOTD is from Michael Savage, by way of a caller who said it back to him. She said he changed her life a while back by saying that . . .
"The general state is Morose. The rest is just a bonus"

That is to say, if you are not walking around with a stupid grin on your face all day every day, you are normal. Most people are at least a little bit "down" most of the time. You don't need a pill or a head shrinker to fix you, because you are not broke.

***

Then there is the second runner-up and I didn't hear if it was said by Newt or Mitt. If it was from Newt that makes it the winner; from Romney it's just true. They were talking about how "smart" Gingrich is, and somebody says . . .
"What you really want is somebody wise enough to avoid the BIG mistakes"

And I thought, oh really? Big mistakes like THREE failed marriages? Or is that somehow not an indication that you suck at life and fail as a human being?

I looked it up. Apparently he's still only on three marriages. Given his track record, however, it is only a matter of time until he's on four marraiges and three divorces. Just wait until a year after his third wife is diagnosed with some horrible illness, then check again.

VFD!

What? That's his pattern!

Four Monitors Is A Luxury

Did you ever see a house where a family of four lived in 8,500 square feet? Or a car where the person in the back seat can read a full-sized newspaper AND have their laptop open on the seatback tray?

Four monitors is like that. I've had four monitors on my work computer before, and I found it was excessive. They were lined up in a row horizontally, and it was such a long row of displays I had to turn sideways to see them all. I went back down to three 22" monitors. Today I added another. A lowly 20" but it's high resolution. All the stuff I use normally during the day, is now totally uncovered. The stuff I use every once in a while that was only partially covered is now totally uncovered in a fourth monitor OVER the primary monitor in the middle.

That would be my CRT monitor, which is calibrated for color because I do my Photoshop work there. It is a thing of beauty, to those with a proper appreciation of a high quality display.

  • One monitor is required to use a computer. Make it a 22" wide screen and we're talking.
  • Two monitors increases productivity by a THIRD according to the study They did.
  • Three monitors just makes life easier. Everyone I've been able to upgrade to three monitors has loved the extra room to have stuff visible.
  • Four is like eating a gallon of iced cream in one sitting. There is ridiculously much space. Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Madness @ Work

I smell fun!

LB and NP and a couple of other guys are going to have little baby RC helicopters at work tomorrow. IF you have never flown a little baby helicopter around your workplace, you have missed out on some serious fun. Small company, big fun: CompanyOwner1 just laughed and shook his head as I was walking around (on lunch, off the clock) flying a little baby RC helicopter all over the place.

It is unreasonably large amounts of fun to fly little baby RC helicopters, especially when they only cost $20 so it doesn't matter if they are destroyed, but they apparently can't take damage from crashing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Hope The Next Thing Is Good.

It occurs to me that, barring unforeseen involvement by the Good People of the land, America is doomed. It is hypothetically possible that God Himself will intervene, but nations have come and gone before. I hope that it breaks up instead of devolving into one large tyrannical state, because one might be able to find a more-free new country in the remnants of the old Union. Escaping Battlefield America might prove more difficult.

And the alternative to tyranny or breakup, failing true reform, is battle. A civil war in America (a fourth one). Not cool, dudes.

So, uh . . . good luck with that.

********

IF (and that's a mighty big "if") the people with their heads screwed on straight enough to prefer quiet family life to public service decide that public need outweighs familial bliss, they might change things. Get enough reasonable people into high elected office and see how the country could be changed. But who wants to put up with what they are doing to Herman Cain, instead of living peaceably at home while that is still an alternative?

Setting the Stage for Armageddon?

China has an army that could easily march a few million men into Israel. Israel will (if you read it that way) be the location of a battle that will include so many casualties that blood flows as deep as a horse's bridle for 200 miles.

But China has nothing to do with Israel! Why would China figure into the last battle just before the return of Jesus to Earth? They wouldn't, right? It was always some sort of vague "they'll come from the Kings of the North" type of thing. Until now.

China says they'll protect Iran even if it starts World War Three. Iran, of course, is on Israel's short list of "Nations to attack before they wipe us off the map." WWIII here we come.

********
The maths are open for debate(check the comments!). Depending on how you run your made-up numbers, it could be about the right volume of blood to mean everyone left on Earth dying in the same place. That seems . . . perhaps high to me.

Machine Guns vs. Clips

How is a machine gun like a clip-on necktie?

They both make a very specific task much easier! Also some people despise them for their looks. Also I like them. When I wrote this, I was wearing a clip-on tie. Not packing a machine gun just now, unfortunately.

Oh, also (and this is stretching the joke) if you don't have a belt when using either one, your friends will think you look silly (rimshot)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prediction

If Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate for 2012, Obama wins another term in the Oval Office.

The press would highlight the *ahem* unique aspects of mormonism and play soundbytes of his flipflopping on the issues, and Romney the Mormon Flipflopper would be sunk. The members of the LDS cult in America would probably also take a hit on their reputations, but who cares - they're all just white flyover country hicks anyway.

Laura Ingraham said this morning "A conservative alternative has emerged . . . or has it?" No, it hasn't. Newt is damaged goods. I wouldn't LIKE to vote for him, but maybe I could hold my nose and vote for him if it looked like the polls were predicting a Democrat-controlled congress*. Romney - I just couldn't pull the lever for him. I'd have to stay home, and I would be part of the droves of Conservative Christians who can't vote for Romney, even if it means another term for the Dear Reader.

We'll see how it comes out in the end, whether Herman Cain really can snag the nomination or not. Until his official withdrawal from the primary contest, he's still my boy. Feel free to buy me a bumper sticker:



I was a listener when Herman Cain was a talk show host and he was considering running for the Presidency. It was a calculated move, and he saw the BS coming from a ways off. Now he's realizing that the shitstorm has finally landed on him and his family. We'll see how he takes it. He's been laying low for a while now (read: not attracting headlines in the national press outlets which hate him), but it will surprise me if he drops out of the race. If he does, probably everybody left in the race will be trying to get his endorsement.

********
*The nation was designed to have as little unity in government as possible and still function. Gridlock was built in to the system ("checks and balances") and the system works great. It's harder to have 1930s Germany in the USA, because the whole thing is all bolluxed up for forcing big changes through in a hurry. That's the way it's SUPPOSED to be.

********
Update half a year later, after Cain dropped out and Romney got the nomination: I switched! The vice presidential candidate made the difference, and now I am officiall on both sides of this race. No matter who wins, I won! Or something!

What's The Word?

Hey raise your hand if you know what they call it when the military in a country is also the police force of the country. It is a national shame that we are reduced to this, instead of naming the enemy that declared war on us when I was still a little boy. They are at war with us, but we are not at war with them.

At this rate, who wins the War on Terrah?

They said if I voted for the Republicans the government would try to install a police state and target American citizens in the USA for punishment without trial under military authority . . . and they were right :(

Really, Spellcheck? Really?

I was typing something up for work today and noticed an amusing "feature" of the spell check subroutine: it totally fails.

Photobucket

Fortunately I read lots of books when I was growing up, so I can spell AND think, and this poses no problem for me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oooooooh, THAT's Why!

When something does not make sense, a good rule of thumb is to follow the money and see where it leads. When you find out which person in power is making money, you can then be pretty sure you can stop asking "why?"

So many people have been totally unable to get their banks to move on short sales and flat out cash purchase offers of underwater home mortgages, I have repeatedly wondered why it should be this way. Why would they want to lose money and not take a short sale vs. a frank loss?

Follow the money. I didn't have all the information - the banks aren't losing money on foreclosures, they are making money hand over fist. That right there also explains why they were having robo-signers rubber stamp so many loans into foreclosure: profit. The bank loses money, but it's only a paper loss, and only until you consider that the taxpayer (read: your mom) turns the losses into profit.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don't Be a Dummy, Don't Buy an EVIL Camera!

In the beginning, there was film. You either were a hero or you sucked at it and didn't have a camera. Then there was autofocus and automatic exposure and taking photos went from impossible to learn to merely inconvenient. Then there was digital. Taking pictures went straight to "any idiot could do this!" and now your stupid robot phone has a camera. Making photographs is super easy!

But then, people who make their living behind a camera pretty much all have these big huge ugly loud noisy heavy big cameras with lenses that can be switched out. Your point-and-shoot is little and tiny and zooms from gnatsass to acrosstheGrandCanyon, weighs nothing, and is quiet. But the professionals obviously fail to think this is Good Enough. If you were to ask a professional photographer why their big DSLR is better than your point and shoot you would come away with a vague impression of complicatedness, but a quick conversation only taught you one thing:

That guy has some badass lenses and I want in! Plus for some reason or other he has to put the camera right up to his face, how stupid is that? Everybody knows how much easier it is to just look at the back of the camera, duh. Don't you wish you could buy a camera with cool interchangeable lenses but it's not all huge and loud and junk? Well good news! They make those now, and you don't even have to smash the stupid camera up to your face to take a picture! They even have a cool name: EVIL cameras. How awesome would that be, right?

********
EVIL sums up the main advantages and disadvantages of this type of thing, all in one swell foop.* Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens. There is no way to make an optical viewfinder on these cameras, because they are not that kind of camera. Your 15 year-old point and shoot might have a button to switch between the viewfinder and the rear-panel LCD, but bulky, loud DSLRs used by professionals barely got this capability in the last couple of years. Why?

Because of magic. They used a mirror to show the photographer exactly what is going on in his shot, plus some measurements that only happen when the mirror is down to measure the exposure adjustments. Then you push the button and the mirror goes CLACK and the shutter goes CLACK and you have an image recorded. The image plays back on the LCD and it looks different from what you saw looking in the viewfinder. This is a mystery. To the uninitiated, it makes no sense. Why, given the option, would you not rather look at an LCD that shows what you are going to get when you take the picture? Who cares if you aren't looking through the optics with your eyeball? If you don't, then an EVIL camera might be for you. But you are missing out. Interchangeable lenses have the capacity for greatness, but they are only half the system. The other half of the EVIL camera is the dumbed-down part. If you like automatic transmissions in your cars, pay with the EZ-pass on your keychain, and like compact fluorescent bulbs - AND you want to be able to change out your camera lenses, then the EVIL is perfect for you. If you want to make pictures that are as good as possible and don't mind a steep-ish learning curve, then do yourself a favor and get an entry level DSLR from Nikon or Canon.**

The fact of the matter is, for most people, image quality is going to be about the same, regardless of what kind of camera they buy. You will snap photos of Johnny opening his presents, look at them on screen and print 0.024% of them on a kiosk at Wal-Mart. For these people, the camera on their phone is approaching, if not already past Good Enough for Everything. Truth.

********
*Piers Anthony does NOT know when a trilogy is supposed to stop.

**as good as possible, and not require the film to be developed. If you want the absolute best no-compromises image quality then digital sucks compared to medium-format film. The learning curve for DSLR cameras is less-steep than it used to be. The first DSLRs were SLR film cameras with digital guts and they would tell you your picture was bad but not help you fix it. New cameras come with magic digital brains and take perfect photos every time, because some of the best engineers in the world lost sleep over how to make it happen for the last two decades.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oh Right, Blame the Children

There would be more t0 read here, lately, but I have been sucked in. My Darling Wife and the older half of the Zoo have got me playing through Zelda the Ocarina of Time for their amusement. The N64 may be long-obsolete but you can NOT argue with the quality of the gampelay on some of the older games (Contra, anyone?).

Anyway, playing the game straight through takes 40 hours or so, and we're at it an hour or two at a time, taking significant breaks for reading the walkthrough book in between steps of the game. This is something like an 80 hour-long movie for my family. It's fun, but it's killing the time I would normally spend keeping up with current events and making snarky comments thereon. So now you know why. The choice is you or them, and they win.

Yes, I guess that means I just called you a loser.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Never Thought I Would Live to See the Day!

There is a scene in one Star Trek movie* where one guy says to another that he never thought he would see the day when a murder was committed on earth(!). That version of Earth may have been modeled after this place.

Coll, a Scottish island (population: 200) has had the first official Crime in - well, since anyone can remember. A public bathroom** was slightly damaged. They had to call the next island over to send a policeman, because they don't have one on Coll. To someone who grew up in urban and suburban Metropolis, this is . . . different. I guess it's nice to know places like this still exist, anyway.

********

In related news, if you want to have a bit of a robbing spree I know this place where there are no cops. You have to bring your own getaway boat though, because the ferry to Coll doesn't run every day.

********

*not being a Trekkie (Trekker?) I couldn't tell you which movie, or who the people were supposed to be

**in a city of 200 people they need a public bathroom?

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

In Egypt, the people protested that their country's head was a tyrant. He resigned and a new Prime Minister is in power. He has been given more power than previous officeholders by the military forces of Egypt. He is also old enough to have one foot in the grave just on account of his age.

The protesters in the streets of Egypt don't like him. They say he is the new boss, same as the old boss.

No, there's nothing bad could come from this, nothing at all!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody

For a change, a made-up holiday I can get behind. I hope you spend it with people you love. Have a good 'un.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quote of the Day 11/24/2011

"You're going to take away my Christmas and you're going to poison my water?"

The other day on the local radio show "Let's Get Healthy" they were talking about a baby step just successfully made by Fluoride Free Austin - an annual disclosure by the city that city water is poisonous. Then they mentioned on the show that the city is spending $1M/year to fluoridate the water supply. This, when the local tradition "Trail of Lights" 'holiday' lighting display is off the budget because they can't afford $330k to fund the display.

Austin is stupid.

Pi is . . .

Newt Gingrich Kills Self, Film at 11

Dear Newt,

It was nice having you show up for yet another bid at the Presidential nomination. Too bad you forgot that we melted the switchboard when McCain tried to get your idea passed in Congress a few years back. We are very glad you showed your pro-amnesty colors before we wasted our primary ballots on you, so

Thanks,

The People who Actually Vote

P.S. we're still mad at you for cheating on your wife.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Follow the Money . . . Qui Bono?

Who wins, in the USA's government, or the "they" elite in the USA, if the drug wars in Mexico continue? I read this story, alleging that the government of the USA may be the primary supplier (by orders of magnitude greater than civilian sources) of arms to the drug cartels. My first thought was, "Why?" and then I realized the obvious next question . . .

Follow the money! Who stands to benefit? Arms manufacturies? Am I cynical enough to buy that line? Can it really be a sign of such gross incompetence from on high in my government?

Ugly, ugly questions my friends.

Hat tip: Sipsey Street Irregulars

Nothing to Report Here

I don't want to talk about the news because it's huge and bad, totally predictable, and not changing any time soon. The world economy is about to tank, hard core, and it will be "unexpectedly" all the way.

On a positive note LB got a little remote controlled helicopter and flew it around the shop during breaks today and that's about as much fun as one can reasonably be expected to have at work.

What, they don't crash airplanes into the floor and ceiling at your office?

Monday, November 21, 2011

You're Welcome!

To the people who sent me an e-mail with the subject line "Thanks!" I respond as follows:

You're welcome for whatever it was, but I didn't read your message because like h-e-double-toothpicks am I going to click on an e-mail with a one-word subject line. Have a nice day.

Syria? Who Cares, There is Football to be Watched!

For those not paying attention, Syria is still at war with . . . (drumroll) . . . Syria. There is an internal struggle for power, with Asad and his well-connected elite (and the military) on one hand, and everybody that doesn't like him on the other hand. It is still a toss-up at this point, so the smart money is hedging both sides (ahem). If you have no idea what I'm on about, click here for a worthy summary of the mess that is ongoing in Syria.

Chantix Causes Madness at Work!

Actual, genuine madness edition.

One of our men at work wanted to quit smoking, so he took his filthy habit to a Doctor and got a scrip for Chantix. He started taking the pills and as usual totally failed to read the warning labels. You know, the warning labels that say you might just go koo-koo? Yeah . . . .

Well, he stopped sleeping and started slipping. Repeated reports of 2-4 hours/night of sleep. He is an oddball normally, and most of us thought he was just being a little more odd than usual. Even his wife thought he was just being a slightly stranger version of his normal self. Looking back he laughed and agreed with the quote of the day (see below). He eventually started tripping out for real, hallucinating, pulling guns at inappropriate times, quitting working, having dreams his hands were falling off, etc. Then a good friend lead a mini-intervention and he went and told his doctor where to stuff the drugs. Back to normal.

Quote of the day: "You know, you were right, he was losing it. He went to the doctor to quit smoking and they put him on crazy pills." -Me, earlier today, talking to one of the folks at work who had thought our man was losing his marbles without knowing why.

Oh, and by the way, good job speeding THAT one through the approval process, FDA! Way to pick a harmless drug with no side-effects to fast-track. The silver lining is that a trial lawyer is going to be that much richer when the class-action suit against the maker of Chantix is won, because my boy is about to join the class.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

End of 2012, End of The World!

I finally realized why the Mayan calendar stops at 2012: the world is going to burn up! No, seriously, follow me here. You know how your calendar has 13 or 15 months on it, just so you can have plenty of time to get another one and still know what day it is next Tuesday? They didn't stop the calendar at 2012 because of that, although it is a pretty long overrun for any calendar*. No, they stopped the calendar at 2012 because the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire at the end of 2012. Currently, with the world cooling for the past decade, it is dubious that enough political will exists to renew or strengthen the protocol.

So that's it. Global warming will kill us all, started by the hot air that will be coming from the mouths of insider-traders and politicians (but I repeat myself) who will be protesting the end of the Kyoto Protocol. My take on the whole thing:

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

********
*The little known fact is that the Mayan economy was largely built on calendar publication. They sold one to everybody which is how they got to be such a large and wealthy empire. The collapse of the Mayan civilization began when their customers figured out there would never (in their lifetimes) be a need to purchase a second calendar. Once everybody had one for every room in their house, plus one at the office and a small one for the car, plus a pocket version (laminated to protect it from sweatybalz) sales plummeted and the civilization just fell apart. True story.**

**or not

Are You...

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? I know I sure am! I tig we hab duh flew. It's not bad but apparently it's contagious.

In related news, I'm staying home from church with the Zoo today, 3/4 of them are sick too. As I'm typing we got the quote of the day:

"No #4, don't sit on the cat!" -Me, just now. His response was "it dog." and I told him again, "No, it's a cat." And a very tolerant one at that. He proceded to pull its tail and chase it halfway around the room, before losing interest.

Update: and #2 and #3 just spent a minute arguing about whether they are or are not hard-headed. Them's my boys.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It's Not Corruption When WE Do It!

The FBI was actively trying to incite violence in groups that they didn't like, so they could crush the groups by force. Like at Waco and Ruby Ridge. Seriously. Keyword: PATCON, coming soon to the list of stories the alphabet news nework ignores entirely.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Word of Caution!

Choose your news sources carefully.

Life's Little Mysteries caught my eye asking how Majic Johnson has survived for two decades now after having been O-fishully diagnosed HIV-positive. My immediate knee-jerk response of course is that

HIV is the bogeyman, and does not cause AIDs, which is either a myth or not what you think it is, depending on how you define it.

...and you don't die from HIV, you die from the drugs they give you to treat the disease you are supposed to have.

You think I'm mad? An heretic? You like to read? I read pretty fast, and I just blew two hours
Starting here
Got me to here
and here
Which leads to here, there, and there.
which, if you will follow the bouncing ball, will cast doubt on everything you might propose to refute the red, bold text in this post.

An Unrelated Twist on Decoupled Economies, USA vs. China

"...[I]n the event of a confrontation with the United States, China’s entire supply chain and overseas investments are helpless hostages."

This is something I (and probably a lot of us) had not previously considered. China is becoming the manufacturer of all things for all nations, but they are not a country rich in natural resources. So they are not only a leading exporter of finished goods, they are an importer of raw material and (as in the linked story) energy. If China were to start some sh*t and get the USA involved, the USA and other nations would possibly be able to take steps to completely cripple the Chinese economy, causing domestic revolt in China, by preventing access to key resources in foreign nations where China gets their stuff to make your stuff.

So if China acts up, China loses almost automatically*? Wow.


Hat tip: Instapundit

*assuming competent response by the other players on the world stage, that is!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

For the Sake of Clarity

On the day when the people behind California's "Proposition 8" queer marriage amendment were recognized by the Court in California as having standing to sue to uphold that law, a brief discourse on the real question at hand: the English language. Words mean things.

Marriage: A man and a woman agree in the sight of godnevrybody to stay together for EVAR. The State recognizes their union and treats them more like family than like strangers. This has been the case since the beginning, when the first man married the first woman. Marriage is, by definition, between a man and his wife. Not and his dog, and not and his [deleted]-buddy. Marriage is not what it is called when you paint yourself purple with yellow polka-dots.

But people who had a bad relationship with their daddy and were subjected to government "education" are a little fuzzy on this. They want to be married, but they want to abuse themselves the one with the other in a way their bodies were not designed to be used. AND they want to call themselves "married." So there is a fuss over the term and the governmental reaction to the people to whom the term applies.

If you say your boyfriend and you deserve the same marriage rights as everyone else, I happily agree. However, there is a semantic difference. I, recognizing that words mean things and that "marry" means man+woman=family, and am happy to recognize your marriages . . . to women. You have the right just like every other MAN to marry a WOMAN. You do not have the right to call yourself "married" because you have painted yourself purple with yellow polka-dots. Just because you intend to stay purple your whole life, this does not mean you can be "married" because of your purpleness. Just because you intend to stay together for the rest of your lives, does not mean you can be "married" because of your buggery with your boyfriend. It is not possible for two men to be married, any more than it is possible for a man and the moon to make children together.

What you "feel" the word means is irrelevant. Words mean things, and two dudes does not make a married couple, regardless of how much you think you love and are committed to each other. Even if the State says so, you are still not "married."

But it is only the radicals who are fighting in the courts. Most of the queers you don't know you know just want to live their lives without economic disadvantage. A State-recognized Civil Union, with all the benefits attendant to marriage, would please most of them just fine. There is only one problem: the State has no business in this business. Unless we as a people are willing to state that queers are the equal of straights, morally, and that being together for sex and being together for family making are just as good as each other, the State has no business saying people of the same sex can be in recognized civil unions. Keep reading. Unless we as a people are willing to state that queers are morally inferior, and that family making is a worthy cause to support, the State also has no business in the marriage business.

Hold on there.

Yes, I just said the State should not give married persons special recognition and/or benefits. Not until there is an official recognition that marriage is superior for society than not-marriage.

Marriage is between a man and a woman. If they follow most of the worlds' traditions, it is one man and one woman, promising God and each other they will stay together until one of them dies. Taxes and real-estate deeds don't enter into the picture at ALL.

********
This, obviously, was directed at men wanting to be married to men. Change the sexes and the same arguments hold for wymyn also. And yes, there IS something wrong with it.

Success = Failure

They wanted to get the people of New York behind them, so the #OccupyFail protesters decided to shut down the subway, the Staten Island Ferry, and one of the bridges. This will definitely get the people of New York behind them. But the people of New York will be getting behind them in order to kick them in their behonkis.

Mess with peoples' commute and see how much sympathy they have with your cause. Whoever thought this idea up was an idiot, grade-A dumb. But this is fine with me. The sooner the people of New York get stirred up against the #OccuTards, the sooner the political leadership will realize what side their bread is buttered on, and then the smelly hippies will be sent packing.

Missed You Yesterday!

I excuse myself by saying that you are a figment of my imagination, whereas I am pretty sure my family is not. We stayed up late awesoming together and then I didn't feel good so I went to bed vs. my usual staying up till 01:00 checking the news.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Smiling: Better Than Rage at the Fates!

I had a problem in the Hot Rod, where it wouldn't take gas even as slow as the pump would dispense fuel. Barely-squeeze the handle for 5 seconds and then it kicks off. Squeeze again. Takes 10 minutes to fill up half a tank. I fixed that. First fill-up after the fix was tonight. I pulled in to the filling station behind a pickup truck and guess what problem his truck has.

It's Not Corruption When WE Do It!

Number of cases of polio, in the whole world, in the last 5 years: zero

Number of countries where polio exists in the wild: zero

Number of countries where polio is in a lab freezer: two (USA & Russia)

Number of drugs required to treat polio: zero

Number of drugs not proven to work against polio, just awarded by the Obama administration a $433M no-bid contract to purchase: one

Controlling shareholder in the company making the drug: billionaire Ron Perelman, huge Obama donor

Nothing to report here, move along citizen! Look, football is on!

********
In soviet Russia, there was not a classless society. There were two classes: the politically-connected party members and the workers. But it could never happen here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Fine Example

Capital Metro, Austin's 'public transit' agency can't turn a profit to save its life. They also have a reputation for sucking in general, and making things worse whenever they get a choice. Today I heard another story on the news that serves to illustrate the way they have earned their reputation for being a loser of an organization:

They are upgrading the radios on their buses. Fine, good, great, they are upgrading them. Why? Because "they have reached the end of their useful life." Okay, fine, so they're old. They are outdated and limited, surely. All the new radios are digital because you can fit more channels on a system, without having to do stupid things at the Dispatch station. Sure, so new digital radios, great. So then the next logical step is to put digital signs in at bus stops.

Hold on there.

You know, digital signs instead of a sheet of aluminum with a decal on it. So people can know in advance that their bus will be full. After all, running buses at a per-rider LOSS tends to increase the revenues so greatly that we can afford all kinds of money putting in digital signs! Of course, sheer genius! Brilliant! This will lead directly to increased profits!

If you are shaking your head, we are on the same page.

Israel Grows A Pair?

Alternate headline: Israel suspects Obama is as much their ally as he seems to be

Having shown himself friendly to the current tyrannical regime in the islamic republic of Iran, and cool at best toward our ally Israel, it is entirely possible that Israel is afraid that notifying the USA of an incipient attack would be the same thing as telling Iran directly that the attack is coming. Would YOU trust the current White House information sieve to keep it on the hush for a day or three? For an hour?

So. Israel is reportedly refusing to tell The Obama in advance when they launch the upcoming strike on the peaceful adherents to the religion of peace. Oh, and the radio news says they may go at Iran as soon as before this Christmas. Some say by next summer. At any rate, Israel is apparently getting ready to launch their third pre-emptive strike against a neighbor which is working up the capability to wipe Israel off the face of the planet.

Well it is setting the USA up for a huge, horrible bad call. Fortunately it's an election year and public opinion polling may force President Obama to make the right call and support our friends. It would not be out of character for President Obama to denounce the attack after the fact, and even to go so far as to un-friend Israel. It would be a very bad idea but not very surprising if he refused to allow further arms sales to Israel and cut off foreign aid. If Obama starts talking about taking or allowing military action against Israel, you will know that Very Bad Things are on the way.

Let me make a few very-nearly-unqualified statements: I am for Israel. I am against those nations which are against Israel. I acknowledge Israel has a right to exist as a nation, and the Jews have a right to life. "Now let me be clear:" I support Israel taking pre-emptive military action against nations which seek to destroy him.

Including the USA. God forbid it should come to that.

********
In related news, Unexpectedly (surprise!) Iran - and let me tell you I was shocked, shocked to hear this, Iran has been working on a nuclear weapon project. Who knew, right? I mean, they kept insisting that they wanted nuclear power for peaceful electricity generation! What an unforeseen turn of events this is!
********
P.S. How is Leon Panetta the Secretary of Defense? SRSLY? There's more retreads in this administration boy, I tell you what!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Heard It Again. Not Cool.

I thought I Had been waking just before dawn recently because it is the same time I used to awaken before daylight saving time ended. Maybe not. Today at 06:20 according to the clock that runs way-fast on my nightstand, I was again awakened by the sound of the islamic call to pray to a made-up god. It was very faintly heard, quieter in my bedroom than a loud breath, but I sleep light. It is unknowable if the two of my four children who also woke up were awoken by this.

If it keeps up, I'll see if I can track down the source and ask them (nicely) to turn it down. We'll see. One thing for sure: if they keep waking me up, I won't be praying to their god!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Can This Be Put To Bed Now?

Which is more credible?

Candidate 1: A man who was a giant of Capitalism for 40 years, but only ever turned into a monster for three years while he was the head of the (highly political) National Restaurant Association during the 1990s when sex harassment claims were a popular way for gold digging women to get paid to go away, then he turned back into a decent man again after he left.

Candidates 2 & 3: A woman who took a sex harassment settlement in the 1990s and then went on to make similar allegations at her next job, paired up with a woman who is in financial trouble, twice bankrupt, had 9 jobs in 17 years, filed and lost a paternity suit, etc., currently supported/represented by a lawyer who hates everything this man stands for

Well, if you trust voice analysis software that is reported as 95% effective telling a liar from a truth-teller, you will have to say Cain is more credible. Unless of course you watch the network news because you never heard of this story.

Good News! The Decline May Be Over!

The moral decline, that is. In the near future, we as a nation may be reacting against the idealism-to-Lord of the Flies progression we see demonstrated by the "progressives" living out their progressive fantasy in the #Occupy camps. It is just possible we can swing the other way and restore traditional values and morals, as a society, in the training of our youth.

Then, of course, we will only have to survive two, maybe three more GENERATIONS of this pernicious doctrine which has already been trained into the populace and we'll be all set! Forty, Sixty years, TOPS and we will be back in the realm of countries that do things which make sense, vs. the countries that do things to make people feel good! Right on, we're nearly there already!

It makes me wonder again where I will take my family when the United States breaks up. And hope it will not be soon, because being an international refugee must be easier when the children are already up-and-out!

:(

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

Iraq is lookin' to buy a few more F-16 warplanes. And they're going to be building an islamist government, right next door to Israel. Surely nothing bad will come of this!

President Obama is lookin' to sign a new trans-Pacific free trade zone. He says it will increase US exports and increase jobs. The problem is the same as with all the other so-called free trade zones: it's not FAIR trade when you have FREE trade with someone who can pollute as much as they like and pay employees as little as they like, competing against regulation-bound, minimum-waged USA companies. The exports will be the jobs that are created, as MORE companies try to get maximum value for their production dollars.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quote of the Day 11/11/2011

As I was leaving for the day, at lunch time, I walked past 4 guys on the deck outside the break room. One of them asked where I was going . . .
"I gotta kids' party to go to - envy me!"
. . aaaaaaand then there were 5 guys laughing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let's Hope He Just Accidentally Oops His Whole Campaign

If you didn't see it, you have to see this.

Oops. Oops? Seriously? Oops after you flub a softball you lobbed to yourself? Now we know why he refused to debate gubernatorial campaign opponents. Here's hoping this is the equivalent of Howard Dean's "wuAAAAAAaugh!!!" moment.

Note: when running for President, try to get enough sleep that you don't sound like you're drunk when giving speeches, or miss lines you wrote for yourself and had memorized. Or, as we say at work:

"Dude! Total FAIL!"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Honey is Not Clear!

No, this is not a post about my Darling Wife's communication skills. It is about honey. You know, the stuff bees make in the clover field across the county from your house? Yeah, it's fake. The FDA says the clear brown syrup in the bear-shaped bottle isn't even honey . . . and it came from China . . . and it has poison in it. No, really.

When honey is fresh off the combs, it is dirty. Proper beekeepers filter out the chunks of bees and bits of honeycomb, slap a label on the jar and sell their honey as-is. Janky cheaty companies with national distribution networks sell an end product that has been heated to kill the sugary goodness, and filtered so there is no pollen left. You know what honey is when you cook it and filter out all the pollen? High fructose corn syrup in a beary cute bottle, that's what.

Do yourself a favor: if you eat honey, go to a small local market and find a jar marked "raw honey" with a point of origin within a hundred miles of your location, and not distributed by a national organization. If it is like what I eat on my breakfast toast, it will be opaque. It will be grainy. The color will be possibly so light-blonde as to approach white. It will not be, necessarily, liquid. It will also be good for your allergies and diebeetus, unlike the stuff in the supermarket. Plus it will taste better. Try it.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Nefarious Plot Goes Awry, Film at 11!

Today, in case you missed it, was the first time the Emergency Alert System was tested. The test was reportedly only partially successful. Some stations carried it late, some not at all, and some people freaked out a little, even though this has been in the works for at least a few weeks.

There are those who have ascribed ill intentions to the national government for trying to "take over" all broadcast media in the country all at once. They are going to use it for good now, for evil later, doing supposedly allsortabad things with your airwaves. Okay, maybe, but you know what? This test partially failing means we needed to do this test. What, I ask you, is the point of an Emergency Alert System when some stations skip the Alerting during an actual broadcast?

Yes, Big Brother will eventually use the EAS to tell all the hicks in flyover country to turn in their guns. But before that, we are likely to never need it, sure. I actually have trouble imagining something that could merit activation of the system for real, nationwide. War? A nuclear attack? That stuff would be general knowledge before they dusted off the EAS microphone.

But hey, if we're going to have a potentially-useful system in place anyway, why not test to see if it works?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Mock, or To Weep?

"Man, I'll kick that turkey in the teeth." -Me, about this story.

Is it a humorous example of City Folk behavior, or a horrible sign of impending societal collapse? A group of turkeys in a suburban setting is defending a vacant lot . . . chasing people away. Even intrepid "journalists" are sent running to the car.

Hat tip: Uncle

*sniff* Smells Like Trouble Brewing

When the police rally to publicly support fellow officers who openly break the law on a regular basis, and then they make fun of the people of their city who are down on their luck . . . what does that say about the future hope of stability and prosperity in the town? What if that town is New York City?

In Paris in 1820, were they expecting burning barricades a couple decades later?

Quote of the Day 11/08/2011

"They could have picked a less-credible woman to pull out of the woodwork, but they would have had to try." -Me, today, re Ms. Buy-a-lick

Mr. Cain did exactly the right thing*. This is now a classic he-said/she-said and I am fairly certain one of the two sayers is way more credible than the other.

QOTD #2:
"Well, he says his wife said she doesn't believe it, that's good enough for me!" -Me, today, re: Cain talking too much during today's speech


On the way in to work this morning, I was listening to the local call-in talk show, and one female caller said Bialek instantly lost all credibility when she showed up with Gloria Allred as her lawyer. A few minutes later, I switched over to the national call-in talk show, and the hostess was saying she was in a bar when the Bialek announcement was being read by a smiling "victim." She said TWO women in the bar were shaking their heads at the whole thing and one said "why does she keep talking about her boyfriend?" Then the midday talk show guy said a fresh poll puts popular interest in this story way, way below anything else.

The people see right through this. There is an OBVIOUS push for women to come forward and claim Cain did whatever, and nobody is giving them any credence. Look me in the eye and tell me you don't think this is a politically-motivated hatchet job being played out. Then tell me you believe all the "accusations" including the ones supposedly behind confidentiality agreements with no names, faces, or specific alleged actions.

Shame on the "journalists" covering this story so eagerly. Your double-standard is showing.

********
*Assuming he is the one telling the truth, that is.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bank Closures as a Sign of Impending Greek Exit from Euro

Once again I learned something while reading Mish. Greece is, of course, going to leave the Euro zone soon. What I hadn't thought about was the very likely preliminary step of freezing bank deposits just before it happens:

Your country is part of a currency that holds value pretty well
Your country is about to leave that currency
Your new currency will be worth less
You want maximum value for your money, so
You pull your cash out of the bank denominated in the old, more valuable currency
So does everyone else
The banks have maybe 5% of their "deposits" in cash on hand
The banks cannot pay out the deposits everyone wants cashed out
The bank closes, totally bankrupt
This happens at every bank
The banking system collapses
The nation grinds to a halt
This takes maybe a week, start to finish
With a now totally-defunct banking system, there is no way to stay in the old currency

To prevent this very ugly kind of withdrawl from the Euro, bank deposits must be frozen. When that happens, stand by.

But of course, America's economy is decoupled from Europe's! No worries, here!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chevy Volt Has Higher Carbon Footprint Than Anticipated

TWO garages have caught fire in homes equipped with charging stations for Chevrolet Volt electric/hybrid cars. Carbon footprint: about the size of your garage if you're lucky, the size of your house if not.

Expect to see more of these stories. When you draw lots of current (as when an electric car is being recharged), wires get hot. Old wires running too hot inside old walls not built to current code may just decide to catch on fire. If you get a charging station put in your house, I strongly advise you to have an electrician install a "home run" with wire larger than is required by your local building code. This means paying A LOT more for wire, as well as the installation of conduit and a circuit breaker - in addition to the cost of the charging station itself. I am guessing the cost would be lower, however, than the re-purchase of everything that burned in these poor peoples' garages.

You've been warned.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Daylight Savings: Still Lame

There is no compelling argument for it. Therefore, Congress should not make a law and force the changing of clocks at gunpoint. That is all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

PayPal Sucks, Problem Solved Edition

They had sent the funds to an old account. Once I got to an actual human at paypal, it was fixed in a couple of minutes. I had to think faster than their phone robot to get to a human. Good luck getting into your account with NO clue what information you used to sign up for the account!

Hint for getting past automated phone robots: this worked for me. While the robot was asking for the last four digits of some number I presumably used to know, I pressed zero to get to an Operator and it waited until I hadn't entered the rest of a number. Voice prompts it is, then. I said "agent" and waited a second - the machine kept talking. I said "representative" and waited again, then said "operator" and the machine paused. It started talking again and I said "operator" again a few times, interrupting the machine each time, until it changed tracks and asked a different question. This time to get off the question it was asking, I had to repeatedly say "agent." If I didn't know this tune it would be hard to dance, but thanks God I'm up on things.

Friday, November 4, 2011

PayPal Sucks

Step 1: Don't sell stuff very often
Step 2: Sell something on eBay from one verified eBay user to another verified eBay user
Step 3: Buyer pays
Step 4: Shipped the same day
Step 5: Buyer gets product
Step 6: PayPal holds funds just in case there is a dispute. Waiting for a + feedback, 21 DAYS to pass, or a delivery confirmation
Step 7: USPS marks status delivered
Step TWO WEEKS later: STILL no funds. Paypal sends "your funds are available" email and . . . STILL no funds.

You SUCK for this, PayPal.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

You Can Fight City Hall . . .

. . . but you WILL lose if the University of Texas brings a copyright infringement suit against you!

Today in the shop we had a particular piece of exercise equipment to market for resale. It came from UT and had not just the name but the oh-so-well-protected UT Longhorn logo on the sides. We had purchased it from the University, so we were pretty sure the sale would be recognized as legit by the UT legal staff. So we whistled past the graveyard a bit.

Talking about the possibility of winning in court against the University I was heard to say, among other things:

"We'll see who has deeper lawyer pockets. . . oh, wait . . . ."

"I'm pretty sure they could buy us with one day's worth of legal fees."

This machine is the thing a football player runs into with his shoulder and it measures his blocking/tackling power. It is missing the padded dummy, and the striking surface is a steel cylinder. We were talking about testing it, and Guido said to NP: "I'm gonna let you run into the steel pole by yourself first"

Madness at Work!

Smashies edition

Sometimes at work, something that looks like it is worth money, actually ends up being worth negative money by the time someone gets through looking up its value. Then it gets put on a shelf to go to be recycled, and the guys in recycling see it looks like money so they send it up to be looked up. Then it is looked up.

And then what?

And then it repeats!

And then what?

Then it repeats!

So today, a piece of marginally-valuable scrap came through in a pile of marginally-valuable things of the same type. LB dropped one by accident and it broke. It still looked like it was worth money. The thing to do is put it on a recycle cart, but then it would come right back again. The solution: time to "oops" it with a hammer.

As LB was oopsing the now-junky junk, management came around the corner and there was a deer-in-the-headlights moment, but it was already seen. I walked into the room at this point and started laughing out loud.



So LB hit it with a hammer on the floor a couple of times in front of t3h b0ss. Then because that's what you can do in this particular "different kind of" small company, I stole it with my foot and JUMPED up and down on it. Then it was well-and-truly oopsed and headed for the recycle rack. My laughing got louder, and I was not the only one laughing by the time I landed.

I had been on my way out to the warehouse to help freight buddy with a freight shipment question, so I kept walking out the door, laughing my head off. Having exited the more-civilized air conditioned space, I laughed louder. Way 'way down at the end of an aisle of pallet racking, Clipboard Buddy #1 and Clipboard Buddy #2 were walking around with clipboards and they heard me bellowing laughter and turned around. They gave me a look like I was losing my marbles, which was of course hilarious so I started laughing harder.

God only knows what they were thinking, but as they walked out of sight around the corner, Clipboard Buddies #1 and #2 heard me shouting laughing about as loud as my laugher could go. My laugh was all the way up to eleven.

I walked back inside after I had helped Freight Buddy, and one of my co-workers said they had heard me laughing all the way inside, two rooms past the door to the warehouse.

Now THAT was the most fun I've had all week. Even better than playing peek-a-boo! with my one year-old hiding behind Mommy. Small company, big fun!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Herman Cain and Troublesome Wymyn

Until you come up with something more substantial than un-named sources supposedly hiding behind confidentiality agreements, this is a non-story. If the story turns out to be some hag got her thong in a twist because she can't take a complement, this is a non-story. If the story turns out to be a mis-interpreted well-intentioned non-sexual ANYTHING took place, then Cain comes out the winner and Politico is (again) the Loser here.

If the supposedly offeeeeeeended female(s) involved took money in exchange for shutting up and going away, I hope they are forced to give up 100% of the money they received, if they come out from behind their confidentiality agreements. If they don't, the story is 100% dead and you can know for certain that the only reason any "news" agency reports on it is because they are terrified that Cain will actually win the White House. Need I remind you how President "Slick Willy" Bill Clinton got that nickname? Gee, I wonder which side of the political aisle the alphabet networks prefer.

I think we've all seen how little it takes to get a sexual harassment case brought up for serious consideration. Prove it is all I've got to say.

Bucking The Trend

Going to bed before 01:30 for the first time in a while.

In related news, we just bought another 3lbs. can of coffee grounds and it doesn't even matter what the stuff costs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Finally, Some Genuine "Unexpectedly" Economic News!

The stage was almost set for a bail-out to dig Greece deeper into its hole of debt and everyone would pretend the problem was solved for another week or two worth of stock trading days. The deal was contingent on Greece following through on an austerity package which would require only giving everyone in Greece nine free cupcakes at taxpayer expense instead of ten. The Greeks, being Greek, have been rioting over the proposed too-small-to-solve-the problem cuts in government services and benefits.

The Prime Minister actually got me. I didn't see one coming for the first time in a while! He decided to punt and put the austerity measures to the People of Greece in a special election. Then he dismissed the top brass in the Greek military. My first thought was that he probably fears a coup d'etat, but he could also be planning one. Either way, the stock traders didn't like this news at ALL. So we'll see: either the deal is on and the Greek economy is sunk less quickly as part of the Euro zone, or the deal will be voted down and Greece will have rather more of a "hard default" than had been anticipated, and get kicked out of the Euro. They would likely pick up the Drachma again, which would immediately be worthless. Their unsustainable government would be forced to shrink, and the Greek economy would be sunk more quickly than otherwise.

Then Portugal, Spain and Italy will hold hands and hope together that nothing bad happens for long enough that their economies will recover . . . somehow . . . .