Friday, October 30, 2009

While I'm talking products,

I've got to give a shout out for Nivea shaving products. If you've got sensitive skin like I do, and get shaving bumps easily, this stuff is worth its weight in gold.

Verizon Droid

Looks pretty sweet. The first time I've seen a phone that's made want to stay in "the network." I have to think Android will beomce the dominant phone O/S at some point.

Might finally have something for my wish list for Santa this year...
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Well we all knew this program was going to turn out to be a massive waste of money, but I never would have anticipated the actual level of waste. Edmunds.com ran an analysis, discussed here. The results are an absolute embarrassment: only 125,000 additional vehicles sold that wouldn't otherwise have been sold, costing taxpayers an average of $24,000 per car.

That's right, 24 THOUSAND dollars per car. What an enormous waste.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

One Step Closer to DC's Prediction

DC, save us from Boston Dynamics before it's too late.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sign o' the times

Gotta love this headline:

'Golden Girls' star Bea Arthur leaves $300,000 in will to NY group that helps gay homeless youths

Because if you're a heterosexual homeless kid, the world is your oyster.
Saturday, October 24, 2009

Funny Keystone Light commercial


Grandpas Keystone Light - Watch more Funny Videos
Friday, October 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

And the NYT author must've choked on it while having to write it (last sentence):

NATO defense ministers gave their broad endorsement Friday to the counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan laid out by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, increasing pressure on the Obama administration and on their own governments to commit more military and civilian resources for the mission to succeed... Although the broad acceptance by NATO defense ministers of General McChrystal’s strategic review included no decision on new troops, it was another in a series of acknowledgements that success there cannot be achieved by a narrower effort that calls only for capturing and killing Al Qaeda-linked terrorists. That counter-terrorism strategy is identified with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Thursday, October 22, 2009

When will Congress get around to regulating my digestion?

I saw Chris Dodd on the news this morning bragging about proposed legislation to dictate what banks can charge for overdraft fees. Since the government seems so engaged in telling businesses how to run themselves, why shouldn't the government tell me where and when to poop? This way I could eat and drink whatever I want and not worry about consequences. Why should I be responsible when the government can be?

Obama! Obama! Obama!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pope Opens the Door for Anglicans

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury jointly announced an official path for Anglican worshipers and clergy to convert to Roman Catholicism. This article points out that it could be a double-edged sword. One on hand it may bring more of the traditionally faithful Anglicans back into the Catholic fold. On the other hand, by allowing married Anglican clergy to become Catholic clergy, progressives in the Catholic church may want the same allowance for existing Catholic clergy.

Christie, predictably, faltering in NJ

If you've been following the race in Jersey, you've seen Christie go from a double-digit lead earlier this year to a dead heat in the most recent polls.

This isn't that surprising, really, and follows the pattern of the last few statewide Jersey elections. Jersey voters seem tired of the corrupt single-party rule that their state has endured for years now. But when the Dems zero on the GOP challenger, and make known their actual positions (or at least, distorted images of those actual positions), they are able to scare the liberal electorate into retaining the status quo.

This year, with their big budget ad blitz, they've managed to successfully portray Christie as, first and foremost, white, male and fat. Secondly, as someone who uses his authority and insider status for his own benefit (cross reference with white/male/fat). Finally, as a heartless conservative, who wants to strip people of their medical coverage, force women to go without mammograms, and poor children to beg for food.

Christie either doesn't have the budget or the political team to respond effectively. His add about his mom having breast cancer came across as really defensive, and almost ceding the point to Corzine.

Yet there is one glimmer of hope, at the end of the day. Even now, in the most recent polling, Corzine is only attracting about 40% of the vote. He's essentially tied with Christie, with the third party candidate, Daggett, polling around 14%. What that tells you is that almost 55% of the electorate wants the incumbent out.

If Christie were smart, he'd stop engaging with Corzine, and simply go after Daggett supporters. Doing so allows him a backhand slap at Corzine, while going after voters who are already clearly disaffected with the governor:

"According to the most recent polls, 64% of New Jersey voters want a new governor in Trenton. But if you want change, Chris Christie is your only real choice. While Chris Daggett would represent an improvement over Jon Corzine, he only garners 14% in the polls--not enough to come close to winning, but enough to return Corzine as governor. If you want change, a vote for Chris Christie is the only way to avoid more of the same: the same Democrat corruption; the same Democrat tax hikes; the same growing Democrat deficits; the same weak Democrat economy."
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sister-of-the-Beast

My (liberal) sister sent me a link to an Op-Ed in the NYT by Bono in this message:

good article - take a read and let me know what you think - he even says something positive about W!

OPINION | October 18, 2009
Op-Ed Guest Columnist: Rebranding America


I thought I'd share my response:

It's the usual trash in the NYT. It's pure rhetoric and propaganda for what yet another celebrity with a turgid ego picks as his cause. I know Bono is actually well-meaning but it's still nonsense. If you buy into all he is saying, your accepting some very questionable underlying assumptions.

If America is so great that we alone have the power, resources and (possibly) the will to carry out his three great challenges, then why do we care what the Europeans think? Europe's not so great. Many countries there have horrible problems. For example, France has and has had an awful level of unemployment for quite some time. They have a very big problem with Muslim upheaval. Also look at recent elections in Europe. Sarkozy and Merkel are much further right than their predecessors. We cared what the U.N. thought for a long while, and unfortunately most Americans still do. Look where that got us. Graft & corruption. Sending money meant for humanitarian use to Kim Jong Il.

Let's look at Bono's three challenges. Terrorism is first. He mentions W for the AIDS program, but no for his tremendous contribution in the fight against terrorism. Under his command, we took out most of Al Qaida's leadership. The contribution is statistically supported by the precipitous decline in attacks in Western countries. Obama has said some nice stuff but hasn't actually accomplished anything here.

Second is poverty. Again, no real accomplishments from Obama. Why not give the peace prize to Bill Gates? He's done way more - major funding for medicine to fight non-profitable diseases in the third world, like malaria.

And the third is climate change - perhaps the biggest example of demagoguery in history. It was first global warming. Then when the facts didn't fit the propaganda - the antarctic ice cap is getting bigger - the diatribe changed to climate change. What isn't considered climate change? Plus, it's not just one unsubstantiated assumption, it's several. One - the climate is changing in a dangerous way. Two - humans are the cause - it's not a natural cycle (we have data from an infinitessimal period in geological terms). Three - there's something we can and should do to stop or reverse it. Four - it's worth doing these things at any cost. I'll have to find an article I read about this last point. It was written by an economist who points out that the money some people are proposing to spend to fix climate change could help the world's people cope with it, plus feed everyone and treat many diseases not currently being treated.

The saddest part of this is most people, even smart people like you never even consider any of what I've written. Whether you believe what I've said or not, it's food for thought.

First Look: Fredo's '84-'87 Pop hits

There's so many, I can't claim I'm not missing my own top 5. But here's my first blush. Looking for more nominations to edit/revise and perfect the list.

10. Don't You Want Me - Human League
9. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
8. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
7. Broken Wings - Mr. Mister
6. Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
5. Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
4. Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
3. Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
2. Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
1. No One Is to Blame - Howard Jones
Saturday, October 17, 2009

What say you, 80's music fans?

So, for some reason, I was sitting down, reviewing a list of mid 80's Billboard hits, and I decided to start compiling my own list of "best pop/synth pop hits" of the period. Not that I was primarily a pop music fan at the time, but I like to spend my weekends on these kinds of important tasks.

So I come across one of my favorite 80's songs (one that I even liked at the time even though the artist didn't have a double-bass drum set on stage), Howard Jones' "No One Is To Blame". I start listening closely to the lyrics, and I had one of those "reassement" moments.

Jones looks like an alternative new-wavish type guy (not that I know him personally), so I figured he was a liberal/moral equivocator. And in the past, I always had the impression that the song was preaching about the primacy of fate, and the evil of "judgmentalism". But listening to it today, I decided to pay close attention to the lyrics. And read the printed lyrics.

"No one. No one. No one ever is to blame."

Ever? Never? Never ever?

It sounds more like something I might say satirizing liberals than what a real liberal would admit to. So I started reevaluating the context of the song.

I always thought it was about two star-crossed would-be lovers who liked each other but couldn't get together for whatever reason. But I started to think of the song as being about two people who were attracted to each other, but were already committed in other relationships, and it made more sense to me.

That's why "you can read the menu but you just can't eat," and "You can dip your foot in the pool, but you can't have a swim."

But for the person who would go for it anyway and break their commitments, he offers the second verse.

Jones: "Some break the rules,"

But why would they do it? Because they're fixated on what they're not getting, and feel like they could, or maybe even deserve, to have (Jones: "...and live to count the cost").

That's the seductive allure of breaking the rules--if you do it, and hey, it will only just be this once--it seems like happiness could be yours. Alas, that is rarely, if ever the case. Usually it's just the beginning of the slippery slope to more malfeansance and, eventually, self-hatred.

Jones: "The insecurity is the thing that won't get lost."

I don't know if any of you care about this song or have ever thought about it, but is it possible that, rather than excusing all decisions as fate, Jones is lampooning people for being self-indulgent?
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is this real?


9 years old. Are you kidding me?

R.I.P. Captain Lou

Captain Lou Albano died today at the age of 76. It brings back lots of childhood memories of nearly killing each other trying to emulate WWF moves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall is here

and the cool air hitting my face is beckoning me upland. The winged creatures feel a similar call, and they begin their Southward journey just as I want to head North. I like to look skyward, and watch these graceful creatures soar in formation, headed to Florida. I shout at them: "Wee Nancies." Never run from the cold.

The coming of Fall is, for me, the siren song of the woods. I can no more resist it than if Angela Lansbury waved the Queen of Diamonds in my face and told me, "go hunt deer." I will go to the cabin with a rifle, a crate of bourbon, sixteen pounds of hoofed-animal flesh and an ice truck worth of beer, and begin again the quest to shoot at other hoofed animals.

It is a tradition that begins early in life:

But it is a tradition that only comes to its full fruition when experience and a mature temperment allow the mind and spirit to process all of the unique sensations that the hunter imbibes: that peculiar mix of exhaustion, bitter cold, peace, adrenalin, raw natural beauty, and indigestion. Yes, only with years of observing and nurturing these experiences can one come to truly appreciate the beauty that is the hunt:


ht: Beetz for photography prowess
Sunday, October 11, 2009

I love Columbus Day

It's always great to read articles like this one, and remind myself what Columbus Day is really about. It's really about trying to convince ourselves that, on net balance, the European colonization of the New World has been at best a zero-sum game, and at worst, straight-up genocide.

Hey, Kindergartners, ya gots ta know the truth, yo.

Kolowith's students learn about the explorer's significance — though they also come away with a more nuanced picture of Columbus than the noble discoverer often portrayed in pop culture and legend.

"I talk about the situation where he didn't even realize where he was," Kolowith said. "And we talked about how he was very, very mean, very bossy."


BTW, a total tangent, but I wonder what General George S Patton thinks of this quote if he can read it from the hereafter. Or Henry Ford. Gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette, folks.

Columbus' stature in U.S. classrooms has declined somewhat through the years, and many districts will not observe his namesake holiday on Monday. Although lessons vary, many teachers are trying to present a more balanced perspective of what happened after Columbus reached the Caribbean and the suffering of indigenous populations
.
Saturday, October 10, 2009

Couldn't have said it better



Thanks to Caboose for the send.

Let's call this the Gong Show


I can name that drink and location in two notes.
Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

1. This is a great accomplishment for any person, but more so for an American President
2. This gives our government some extra chips for diplomatic engagements

I will pass on the discussion of whether this is deserved--it is important either way. In my subjective judgment, the positives globally outweigh the negatives in domestic politics.

That said, it will be painful to watch how much fawning and adoration will go along with this.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Big Government

If there is anyone who is still against big government health care, I think this video will help change your mind (safe for work).

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chess, part deux

Kasparov vs. Karpov

The two chess greats are reprising their famous match from 25 years ago, in which the Soviets got the match stopped b/c Karpov was about to go insane.

Meanwhile, from the recent rematch, comes this photo:

I'm not sure what the connection is, but when I look at Karpov, I just feel like asking,

"Andrei, you've lost another submarine?"
Friday, October 02, 2009

Priorities

It's a good thing there are no problems to deal with here at home, giving Obama the luxury of taking time off to pitch Chicago for the 2016 Olympics. At least his effort paid off. Or not, as Chicago was the FIRST city eliminated from contention by the IOC.

The best part is that people in Chicago don't even want it, and are outraged that he's focused on that rather than helping improve their city or commenting on the vicious beating death of Derrion Albert.
Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thanks to the Dems, 10% Fewer People Will Pay Fed Income Tax

More evidence to our decline into socialism:

The good news: nearly 50% of American households (47%, to be precise) won’t pay
any federal income tax in 2009.
The bad news: the remaining 50% (or so) will
have to foot the bill for everyone.
You can thank (or blame) the new economic
recovery package for bumping the percentage of taxpayers who won’t be paying a
wee bit higher (about 10%).

And

In terms of all federal taxes, and not just income tax, the top 20% of income
earners will report more than half of total cash income but will pay a whopping
2/3 of all federal taxes (including income, estate, etc.).


http://www.taxgirl.com/tax-or-no-tax/

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Always sniffing for the truth

Always sniffing for the truth

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