Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Closing the Books on 2008

Nearly every newscast I've seen this week had some form of encapsulation of the year that's just passed. Seems we lost a lot of notable people this year. Maybe just my perspective, but it seems this year's toll exceeded the normal attrition rate.

On a personal level this year hasn't been a blue-ribbon year, although there were a few highlights:

  • First Daddy-Daughter dance (February)
  • Spring Break road trip with the kids
  • Christmas week with the kids

Unfortunately, between the standout moments, there was a lot of not-so-great stuff, so I'm grateful for the things that went right.

Here's wishing that, for all of us, 2009 brings many blessings and prosperity! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Is the Christmas Spirit?

On a friend's blog about obnoxious advertising, I chimed in on the comments section regarding a Lexus Christmas commercial featuring a vapid, greedy little girl who grows up to be a vapid, narcissistic woman. Her great pleasure at Christmas time comes from (and this is explicit in the commercial) making her friend jealous because she got a 'better' gift.

It would be a waste of breath, or blogspace, to bemoan the commercialism of Christmas. It's a fait accompli. I get that. Count me with those who don't like it, but I get it. What I think is unique here is the crassness with which Toyota Motor Company is pitching its Lexus brand. Unquestionably, national media campaigns such as this are carefully vetted and screened by focus groups long before they go to the air- or cable- waves. Begging the question: Does Toyota's marketing data show their target audience to be shallow, avaricious women?

I don't believe there's anything wrong with exchanging Christmas gifts, even extravagant ones (which, by my standards, a Lexus would be). But it does offend me to use the pretext of Christmas to consciously foment jealousy.

It just doesn't seem to be the point of The One for whom the celebration is named.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second Thoughts

The other night I ran across a rather provocative picture, courtesy of the idiots at PETA (which should stand for 'People Eating Tasty Animals'). One of their diatribes agains fur, it featured a shapely twenty-something woman, devoid of clothes but covering just enough of her parts to apparently pass muster in popular culture, with the tagline "Fur? I'd rather go naked."

This woman had her hair all mussed up, so, being clever, I juxtaposed it with a picture of a [clothed] Cincinnati Bengals football player with an out-of-control 'do, and captioned it "PETA or NFL?" and posted it.

A couple of hours later, I had misgivings. While the picture was not intrinsically pornographic (it's apparently displayed publicly at bus stops and the like), it was emblematic of the wider desensitization of public nudity. On the same day, the internet was abuzz with not unsimilar images of Jennifer Aniston in a nude layout for a magazine. Not to mention about every other headline on AOL news breathlessly talking about this or that celebrity's wardrobe malfunction.
As John Stossel says, "Give me a break!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the female form. But I have to ask myself, do I want my daughter thinking she should display herself in this way? If I were married, would I want my wife thinking I value such images of [airbrushed] female beauty over hers? Do I want my adolescent sons believing that physical beauty is the most important attribute a woman can have?

I removed the post. The world wouldn't have ended if I'd left it up, and it won't be a magical place for taking it down. But I feel better for my decision.

Worth a Thousand Words

For the second year in a row, I missed spending Thanksgiving with my kids.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Makes Sense to Me

From a small town in Alabama:






h/t: "That Dude"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Las Vegas no está Los Angeles

News from Las Vegas today indicates that Nevada does not share its neighbor state's sensibilities regarding accountability for criminal acts. Loyal readers will of course understand that in the context, the term sensibilities is not closely related to sensibility.

Orenthal James Simpson may have been able to convince a California jury that he did not violently murder his ex-wife Nicole and friend Ron Goldman, but apparently pressed his luck in believing he could beat the rap on an armed robbery of sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel.


Unlike his 1995 murder trial, this year there was no Johnnie Cochran, Roberts Shapiro or Kardashian, Flee Bailey, Mark Fuhrman, low speed chase, Kato Kaelin, ill-fitting gloves, Marcia Clark, or dancing Judge Itos. Real justice may not be entertaining, but it is satisfying.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Random Musings

I guess all of my blogging is random musings, but here are some snippets:

  • There's a big brouhaha about a Dallas Stars NHL player who made a low-brow comment about a former girlfriend, and was subsequently suspended 'indefinitely' from play. There's been a lot of discussion, most of it moral relativism, about how there are issues of greater gravity, a war going on, hockey being a violent sport, etc. that make this inconsequential. I checked to make sure my understanding of the offensive term was correct...and it was. Conclusion: Bully for the Stars/NHL. I know that one display of decorum will not restore civility to public discourse, but as a big fan of zero baselining, it was intrinsically the right thing to do. Better yet, the action came from the private sector, not government, so there's no issue of censorship. Maybe, just maybe, others will take note - are you listening, Jerry Jones?
  • On a recent episode of "Oprah", Barbara Walters opined that older people, presumably divorced or widowed, should not get married again. The context of her comments was not that people shouldn't debase the institution of marriage, but seemingly that it was inconvenient. Considering Babs' history, including an affair with a politician (how low is that!), I'm guessing her marriage license has punch outs - "One free with every five purchased".
  • The pre-Thanksgiving sermon was about being thankful for the blessings we have, not lamenting those we believe we deserve. My life's been in a bit of a tailspin for the past couple of years, so it was a good reminder. I'm favored with three wonderful kids, good friends, good food to eat, living in the United States - of the 6.5 billion people on earth, how many would love to trade places with me?
  • Speaking of friends, many have been invaluable in preserving my sanity. Thank you to Mack, Todd, Mark, Tom, Mike (both of them), Kevin, Dew, Paul, Annette, & Cathy.
  • I am attending a seminar at church, in which the most recent lessons have been about marriage. Inasmuch as I don't plan to take Baba Wawa's advice, I am hopeful that my newfound knowledge will be useful sometime in the future.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Calling Floyd the Barber

With that mane, shouldn't this guy play for Detroit instead of Cincinnati?


Dude! There's a furby attacking your neck!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Open Carry, Part Two

Well, then it occurred to me that perhaps open carrying of guns could lead to an "Old West" type of situation.

So, if instead of the Clantons or Earps, star-throwing, nunchuck-twirling ninjas are bedeviling you, and you have an interest in ancient antiquities (is that redundant?), maybe this is more the style for you:


As you can see, our model is prepared to dispatch pesky ninjas in the market squares of Tripoli, or take on David Berkowitz on the streets of Brooklyn.

Now, enough blogposting for one evening - I've got chores to do...

So What's the Problem?

Over the weekend I read that there's a movement afoot in my home state to allow open carry of handguns, presumably by those who have already qualified for their currently concealed permits. A group has collected 30,000 signatures on a petition which they plan to deliver to the Legislature when it meets in January.

Of course, there will be the usual clap-trap about how blood will run in the streets, that it will be a return to "Wild West" shootouts, and other nonsense despite evidence to the contrary, much as was heard when the concealed carry law was enacted about ten years ago. While I was very much a proponent of the CHL legislation then, this new twist has caught me a bit off guard.

So, as one who likes to be in the vanguard of the latest (1880's) trends, I say...Cowboy Up, y'all!

Mazel Tov!

Last week I stopped by the post office to buy some stamps. I still have a couple of bills that I pay by mail, and figured I could also use some stamps for Christmas Cards.

As the middle-age, not foreign born postal clerk reached into his drawer for a sheet of postage, I asked him if he had something, and I quote: "Christmas-y". Since he apparently didn't have any such in his drawer, he walked a few steps away to a larger trove of sheet stamps, and returned without comment with my postage.

Perhaps I was distracted or assumed my request was simple, so I paid for my purchase and headed for the door. As I walked out, I looked at the sheet of stamps in my hand, all of which looked exactly like this:



Oy! And by the way, let me take this opportunity to also wish you a Happy Kwanzaa!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Well, Sometimes I'm Serious

Most of my blog posts are random musings - material that I can't seem to fit in as comments on other people's blogs (for which I'm sure they're grateful).

Considering the current state of the economy, and the ongoing debate regarding the bailout of this or that industry, I had occasion to revisit someone whose writings I used to follow on the pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Graef "Bud" Crystal has for decades researched public companies and their performance and criticized executive pay plans that excessively rewarded too little of the latter. He's amassed tons of databases on the subject, and from reading his articles for some twenty years or so (he's been at it about 50, according to his website), I regard him as an expert. Moreover, irrespective of what I think, he IS an expert.

Anyway, without liberally cutting and pasting bits from his essays, I thought I'd simply put a link to his website, where I believe you'll find some very useful and compelling arguments vis-a-vis many of today's economic issues, specifically those regarding executive compensation.

Glory Days

I was reading someone else's blog yesterday - a friend of a friend of a blogger I follow, you might say. Anyway, he had a picture of himself at a car show, in front of a car just like his first car.

Being of similar vintage as that blogger, and having posted an image of a motorcycle like my first, I searched the 'net for a picture like my first car. Of course, since my first car was a four-door family sedan, I instead chose an image of the coupe version, which to my way of thinking is still a pretty stylin' ride. You may or may not agree:

The automobile pictured is a 1968 Chrysler Newport, with a 440. My sedan had the more mundane 383. As you can see, the body features concave "dished" sides. Ironically, the car I am currently driving, 35 years younger and also a domestic, sports dished sides, albeit without the sharp top and bottom creases.

Although my finances will not permit it, I would love to have the car pictured above, maybe with a hot-tub or a bowling alley installed in the hangar-sized trunk, to cruise down to the Sonic (Sonics if you live in Lake Worth) for a #2 Cheeseburger combo and a cherry limeade.

Well Isn't That Special?

As if there weren't enough issues to bog down the economy, an article in the upcoming issue of Newsweek magazine reports that 25 percent of workers access internet porn sites while at work.
While I [truthfully] never accessed porn at work, I have seen co-workers spend much of their days on eBay, various entertainment venues, Yahoo!'s "The 9", and other non-work related fare, so it's easy enough for me to believe that supposedly working people might be looking at dirty pictures during part of their workdays. And while porn is not my vice, I've occasionally kept up with the news (MSN or the online version of the local paper), almost always mindful to keep such usage brief.

There's more than a month of Sunday sermons that could be made about porn. I could lament how it's almost gained mainstream acceptance since I was a teenager - witness the recent movie entitled 'Micki and Maude Make a Porno' (I know this isn't the correct title, but it's close), and the incessant revelations that this or that celebrity has a 'sex video' from their past showing up on the internet. I don't know how I've made it close to half a century without taking pictures of my privates or anyone else's. With this age of self-expression and self-publishing (e.g. blogging) comes a responsibility, apparently not well understood, of self-editing.

So what to do about employees stealing employers' time getting their jollies? Several years ago I worked for a software company that had hit a rough patch by allowing its core product, a proprietary multi-user DOS program, to carry the company, while little R&D was being pursued to adapt the application into the emerging GUI environment. The speed and efficacy of the character-based app were unquestioned, but new sales became hard to come by as [business] buyers demanded Windows based platforms (because it was easier to train new unskilled workers). Ultimately the company sold to a dot-com white knight that injected development capital to speed the transition, then got caught in the tech bubble burst. After a few years in the doldrums, the company is healthy again, and capturing a strong segment in its applicable markets.

Anyway, reading the Newsweek article made me think that perhaps it would be best if managements reconsidered how technology is deployed in the workplace. I don't think anyone ever got caught looking at Babes-r-Us or even eBay on an amber screen Link or Wyse terminal.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Say, Could You Hand Me the Vise-Gri...



You've gotta feel bad for space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, who last week lost her grip on a tool bag while spacewalking on a repair task outside the orbiting International Space Station.


I know what it's like to drop a tool while working in an awkward position - I've done it a thousand times. Judging from the ratchets and sockets and miscellaneous tools I see on the road, it's a common occurrence. And from experience, I know to disconnect the battery cable before using an oil filter wrench on an '84 Nissan Sentra. Ouch!

Initially, NASA officials were hopeful that the tool-bag could be replaced, until they found out that the next Cornwell Shuttle wasn't scheduled until 2010.

Anyway, the mission continued, with another toolkit now being shared by the astronauts. The missing $100,000 tool-bag is, thankfully, being tracked by a helpful Canadian with binoculars.

Ironically, the task was to repair and lubricate a balky tone-arm on the Space Station's phonograph, which is now stuck playing the same passage over and over: "Ground control to Major Tom...ground control to Major Tom..."

More Training Required

Recently we've opined on the defense of lawful commercial activities in retail and transportation.

Now, the Indian Navy has apparently sunk a Thai fishing trawler believed to have been a mothership for pirate activity. Before I proceed, let me clarify that the Indian Navy in this story is that of the sub-continent nation, not a group of Village People tryouts in buckskin and canoes. I only mention this because I know the type of readers who follow this blog.




Well, it turns out that perhaps the trawler was not a pirate hub, but was itself under seige when it was destroyed by the Indian Navy. Major 'uh-oh'.

We hereby respectfully suggest a remedial course of Hostile/Friendly Identification, which would also include the following admonition from the estimable late Col. John Dean "Jeff" Cooper, with particular emphasis on #4:

The rules of gun safety follow from this mindset. While there are many variations, the rules introduced by Colonel Jeff Cooper are those most commonly taught during gun safety training:
1. "All guns are always loaded".

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.

4. Always be sure of your target.

—Jeff Cooper

Buddy, Can You Spare $350 Million?

In a major 'Oops!' moment this week, it's been revealed that beloved Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has come up a wee bit short of funds to complete the franchise's new mega-stadium in Arlington, Texas. The 'wee' shortage is said to be about $350 million. The original plan was to refinance about $126 million, as well as to borrow additional funds to complete the project, but the credit crunch has supposedly thrown a wrench in the works.

While we understand that the credit crunch is real, and have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Jones' difficulty in finding willing lenders to supply additional capital to America's Team's project, we can't quite shake the little voice that wonders if this shrewd businessman is simply becoming, in the words of fellow blogger Don D., the latest 'Bail Me Out Elmo'. After all, Mr. Jones has had the 'chutzpah' to be a pioneer in extracting public money to hedge his business ventures even in good economic times, so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to imagine that he might ask taxpayers, whether local, state or national, to ease his financial pain in lean times.

Stay tuned to see how this one turns out...

Update: We were, nonetheless, very pleased with America's Team's performance at Texas Stadium yesterday (Thanksgiving).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Don't Get It

Off the east coast of Africa, the continent, Somali pirates have hijacked a Saudi oil tanker loaded with upwards of 2 million barrels of oil. The tanker, the size of an aircraft carrier, was seized in open waters about 450 nm from Kenya. It's only the latest event in a growing piracy trend in that region.


As you can see, such a vessel is not much of a runabout, but for cryin' out loud, the pirates who are commandeering these commercial vessels are doing so from dinghies, pulling alongside the lumbering ships, and boarding via grappling hooks and rope ladders.

Why in the world are the ships' owners not arming their crews, or positioning mercenaries aboard to thwart these would-be Jack Sparrows? After all, even if they don't eventually lose their shipments, the time value of money on the goods in transit (in the case of the oil tanker, said to be around $100 million), and the payroll for the crew, add up to quite a tidy sum.

We think it would be a great idea, and great fun, to staff a few of these ships with a few good men (possibly women too, we're equal opportunity), armed with the following varmint rifles:






The top one, a Vulcan .50 cal, could put a few dents in the pirates' dinghies, while the AR-30 in .338 Lapua and the SU-16 could be used if the miscreants actually succeeded in boarding. We think a few well-publicized rounds of 'prairie dog' shooting, complete with empty dinghies floating off the African coast, might persuade up-and-coming pirates to return to fishing or basket weaving.

Are You Red or Blue?

First, I want to send a 'shout out' to thank my good friend, RTB, for rekindling my interest in a life-long but until recently dormant hobby, detailed elsewhere on these pages.

This election season, we've been treated to much media obsession over "Red or Blue"states. Another example of dichotomization of the world, as in 'right or left', 'black or white', 'Ford or Chevy'. Well, the pictures below represent a choice that could be difficult to make:












OR












Actually, I'd be pleased to find either of these under my Christmas tree, though it isn't going to happen. And, as it often occurs in the real world, there are more than red or blue choices: another manufacturer also makes red widgets, a couple make green ones, and yet another is orange.

Although I'd love to have one of the red or blue units above, I will content myself for now with my (1) green single-stage (RS-3), (2) red turrets (4 & 5 hole), and (1) orange turret (6 hole). But, for the all-out sexiest [non-progressive] widget on the market, it goes to the one of the green manufacturers, and has a great name, to boot:

Monday, November 17, 2008

I guess it was inevitable...

Not that this will be on my shopping list, or anyone I know, this Christmas:


Hey, maybe I can be an eBay reseller. One free pair of knitting needles with each bear purchased!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Calling Dirty Harry...

News from the Fort Worth Startlegram:

Men make off with guns, cash in Parker County heist

Sherriff's deputies are looking for men they think swapped lead with a clerk at a gun store near Reno on Thursday, making off with six handguns and cash from the store.
The robbery occurred on the Jacksboro Highway near Reno, between Azle and Springtown, about noon Thursday, said Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler.
Fowler doesn't think the suspects or the clerk were injured, though, based on evidence at the scene.
"What (the clerk) said he was shooting was .41 Magnum, and believe me if somebody would've been hit with that, he would've still been there," Fowler said.

The men took off in a red Cadillac, with molding missing from the right side. A nearby convenience store caught a photo (right) of the getaway car.


We, too, are big fans of the .41 Remington Magnum, partially on its merit, and partially in deference to the late Bill Jordan and Elmer Keith. A lovely caliber bridging the gap between the capable and venerable .357 Magnum and the über-capable but difficult to control .44 Magnum, the .41 never fully realized its rightful place in the handgun firmament, and in time was overtaken by numerous auto-loading pistol cartridges for law enforcement duties. The Marlin lever action 1894s, and revolvers from various manufacturers (e.g. Ruger Redhawk) in this caliber are highly prized.

We recommend remedial marksmanship training for the clerk so that he may properly dispatch the next group of goblins.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interesting Addiction(s)

Now comes word from the entertainment world that award-winning actress Salma Hayek is addicted to breastfeeding.

Let us keep this woman in our prayers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Have A Nice Day!

Today is Veterans' Day, when we reflect on the sacrifices our service personnel have made throughout our history so that we might live in liberty.

While for many it's a day to get a great deal on a new mattress or shop for towels, I am glad to say that I engaged in none of those type of commercial pursuits.

I began my day with a prayer group of distinguished gentlemen from my church, mostly in their 70s and 80s, who, for reasons unknown, have welcomed me into their midst, despite being a generation or more their junior. Afterwards, I was blessed to have breakfast with two very good friends - on their day off, we met for breakfast, then proceeded to our planned activity...

For the next couple of hours, we practiced punching holes in paper, like little kids. Oh, except our punches were in assorted sizes (in inches) of .22, .38, .44, and .45. Does it get any better than this?


Friday, November 7, 2008

The Bigger Picture

Again, something I didn't write, but offering perspective:

A Ray Of Hope
Got this e-mail yesterday from a friend - what a timely thought! Just to share it with your after yesterday's doom and gloom! It was entitled "Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins The Election..."
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

ISN'T IT GREAT TO KNOW WHO IS REALLY IN CONTROL?!

So, I guess we can all get back to work...

h/t: http://paintedpromiseranch.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 6, 2008

'Lady' Looks Like a Dude

I think I used to work with this guy...




Wait, um, oh that's k. d. lang. Nevermind...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Separated at Birth?





You decide...




Granny, let me see your hands...

Greatest...Ever Devised

On these pages I have already expressed my interest in motorcycles & firearms. Those of you who know me know that, like Paul Harvey, I want to know 'the rest of the story', and will sometimes go to great lengths to research (read: waste a lot of time on) a subject.

I have already shared information on John Taliaferro Thompson, creator of the 'Tommy Gun' sub-machine gun. Others in the pantheon of firearms designers that I should also research and share would no doubt include Sam Colt, Leonard Geiger, Dr. Richard J. Gatling, B. Tyler Henry, Daniel Wesson, Erskine Allin, Fordyce Beals, John Marlin, John Moses Browning, and Bill Ruger.

But today's segment is about John C. Garand, father of the Garand rifle, which Gen. George S. Patton once termed "The Greatest Battle Implement Ever Devised", and was crucial to the U.S. infantrymen in WWII. Despite the great success and accolades of his invention, he never received any royalties for his design.

Inventions come and go, but great designs are truly timeless...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Forgive The Lady of the Harbor

John 11:35 states simply: Jesus wept.

At 10:00 p.m. central standard time, November 4, 2008, Lady Liberty wept.

More Stuff I Didn't Write

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
‘Welcome to heaven,’ says St. Peter. ‘Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around here, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.’
‘No problem, just let me in,’ says the senator.
‘Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.’
‘Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,’says the senator.
‘I’m sorry, but we have our rules.’
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises ..
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
‘Now it’s time to visit heaven.’
So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
‘Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.’
The senator reflects for a minute, then answers: ‘Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.’
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above… The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.
‘I don’t understand,’ stammers the senator. ‘Yesterday I was here, and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.
What happened?’
The devil looks at him, smiles and says…….
‘Yesterday we were campaigning.'
Today you voted.

A parable, perhaps?

h/t: Aprilwine

This Looks Bad

A few election cycles back, a bit of an uproar resulted when some idiot on a college campus thought it germane to ask Slick Willie if he preferred 'boxers or briefs'. Soon, politicians everywhere were being asked their undergarment predispositions.

Thankfully, that particular bit of useless knowledge has been absent from this election, albeit replaced by a bevy of banal bits of likewise irrelevant information. We are now treated to learning about candidates' clothing styles, automobiles, and musical tastes - the subject of this post.

Last night, I took the bait and read what Obama's & McCain's top ten songs were, presumably on their iPods (does John McCain have an iPod?).

From the looks of it, BHO followed a fairly predictable path (Kanye, Springsteen, Marvin, U2), and seemingly tossed in a couple of selections calculated to broaden his appeal to middle America (Rolling Stones, Sinatra). As I said, some of it appeared contrived, but maybe I'm just being cynical.

Now for the bad part.

John McCain listed his top 10 also. Louis Armstrong. Sinatra. Haggard. Neil Diamond. Beach Boys. ABBA - twice! Whoa there, Maverick! Two of your top 10 songs by ABBA? Mamma Mia, what were you thinking?!

Editorial confession: In the '70s, I had a demo copy of ABBA's greatest hits. A visiting relative purloined it, probably thinking that since I had an after-school job in a record/tape warehouse, I could easily replace it - but I never did.

There's probably a myriad of explanations for the ABBA inclusion. They would've been sort of popular when McCain returned to civilization after 5-1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton, so maybe they're seared into his consciousness. I hope they weren't included 'to appeal to the young folks', as they are the most recent songs on McCain's list. Nothing from the '80s forward - not even Huey's "Hip to Be Square".

The point, though, isn't what each candidate does or doesn't listen to. It's that in our voracious ADHD appetite for wall to wall programming for a zillion 'information' outlets, we've 'comfortably numbed' ourselves to the trivialization of some of our most sacred processes and responsibilities. Senator Obama has made a career of calculated avoidance of controversy, while at the same time giving glowing oratory - yet in this campaign cycle, we have gotten very little substance from either candidate on a host of issues that really matter to Americans.

We really should demand better from our media and the the candidates.

Also, we should also ask why there are no Eagles songs on their playlists. "Get Over It" would be an excellent campaign song, don't you think?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Other Truths, Less Self-Evident

I didn't write any of these, but wish I had...it's a good break from all of the political coverage.

1) I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.
2) A cement mixer collided with a prison van on I-45. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.
3) I used to be bullied at school, called all kinds of different names. But one day I turned to my bullies and said 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me', and it worked! From then on it was sticks and stones all the way.
4) My Dad used to say 'always fight fire with fire', which is probably why he got thrown out of the fire department.
5) S*x is like playing bridge: If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand.
6) I saw six men violently kicking and punching the mother-in-law. My neighbor said 'Are you going to help?' I said 'No, six should be enough.'
7) If we aren't supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?
8) I think animal testing is a terrible idea, inasmuch as they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.
9) You know that look women get when they want s*x? No? Me neither.
10) Politicians are wonderful people as long as they stay away from things they don't understand, such as working for a living.
11) I was the kid next door's imaginary friend.
12) Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this stuff before.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nuge: The Anti-Obama


If Ted, and I don't mean Chappaquiddick Ted, were running against The Junior Senator from Illinois, we wouldn't have any bland references to "that one" in debates. No, the Nuge doesn't mince words in his references to the Democratic nominee. Rock on, Ted!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just Pass the Pepper Only, Please...

Even though gas prices have somewhat normalized in the past few weeks, due to the economy I am trying to save money by consolidating my shopping trips, like a lot of Americans whose last names are not Rockefeller, Morgan, Gates or Buffett.

So, in the same trip that took me to the Home Center, I also found myself for a time in the dollar store - you know those places that sell a bunch of crap made in China, but, since it's only a dollar, you buy it. I'm saving my rant on Chinese made stuff for another post, but will tell you that the three things I bought tonight were made in the U.S.A., which is rapidly becoming known as Los Estados Unidos.

Anyway, on the food and spice aisle, I saw boxes of salt. Iodized, non-iodized, like Morton's salt, with the metal pour spout on the top, except these are unknown brands.

One brand caught my attention: San Francisco Bay Sea Salt.

I know that sea salt is sort of a current fad. In fact, I have some in my pantry. People with more money than brains can pay several dollars for a couple of ounces of specialty sea salt, as opposed to regular salt that sells for 50 cents for nearly a couple of pounds.

San Francisco Bay Sea Salt? Well, surely that must be a Chinese company thinking it's a good marketing angle, right? Wrong! I checked the package, and it was in fact, made-in-the-USA salt from, it proudly exclaimed, San Francisco Bay seawater. Aaaargh!

I'll be putting SFB Sea Salt on my food just about the time I start drinking "Genuine Trinity River Bottled Water" with my Taco Bell combo meal...

D-I-Y Taken Too Far

I like doing handyman work. You know, fixing and building things with my hands. More power, Tim "The Toolman" Taylor kind of stuff. Except I actually know what I'm doing.

Just returned from the Big Orange Box That Sells Building Supplies, and I have to say, I'm shaken to my core. I've always thought it was a good thing for homeowners to get in touch with their inner Bob Vila, Norm Abram, or Dean Johnson and learn how to do some of the basic construction in their homes.

But, after tonight, I'm reconsidering.

Milwaukee makes some of the best power tools in the business. A bit pricey for me, but if I had to make my living with them, they're probably worth it. There's nothing equivalent to the feel of a 15-amp pivoting, orbital SawzAll in your hands - with the right blades, you can demo that stupid mother-in-law room addition to make way for a new media center, or fit that jerk who cut you off on the freeway into a six-quart crock pot. Really good tools.

On a display near all the Christmas specials, Milwaukee has introduced the "M-Spector", a hand-held "Digital Inspection System", the specifications of which follow:
  • Digital technology delivers superior image quality
  • Large, 2.4", high-resolution (320X240) color LCD display
  • Exclusive adjustable image zoom (2x)
  • 3 Stage LED Brightness Control w/ Digital Glare Reduction
  • Up front camera controls for true one-hand operation
  • Rugged, detachable 3' water-tight flexible shaft
  • 3' extension cables also available
  • Small camera head and shaft diameter fit into holes as small as ¾"
  • Thumb Controls for One Hand Operation
  • Model 2300-20 Includes 4 AA batteries, hard case

There's a lot of things I enjoy doing myself, but I'm not sure I even want to know what this is supposed to be used for...

Sheriff Andy, How Could You?

By now you've probably seen the nostalgic campaign ad in which liberal (yet talented) Hollywood director Ron Howard dons a hairpiece and reprises his role from "The Andy Griffith Show", in the end saying: "Pop, I hope when I grow up I'll be able to vote for someone as good as Mr. Obama."


Andy never mentions the politician, just waxes philosophically about people.


Given California's politics, I would of course expect Mr. Howard, Mr. Reiner, Mr. Spielberg, et al to be BO supporters. But really, Andy Griffith lending his support to an ad for Obama?!


Maybe he should've been cast as Goober!

Harvey, There's Someone I'd Like You to Meet...

Honestly, I wasn't even thinking about any classic films or actors when I took this quiz. So, it was a pleasant surprise when I scored the quiz, and the following result returned:

Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test ... Jimmy Stewart

You scored 21% Tough, 10% Roguish, 43% Friendly, and 29% Charming!
You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair. Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet girl-next-door types.
Like I said, I didn't take the test with any particular outcome or movies in mind. I would've been happy if the results had compared me with Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood, Steve Martin, or Dennis Quaid.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pickens, Schmickens - I'm a Patriot

Some of you know that I have spoken, or written, admiringly of T. Boone Pickens' plan to help us (U.S.) cast off the shackles of dependence on foreign energy sources, specifically, crude oil.

No slavish devotee I, I do at least agree that it's more of plan than the current administration or either Presidential aspirant has put forward. And it troubles me not that Pickens would make a few sheckels if certain aspects of his plan find acceptance - someone will always make some money, no matter what energy delivery mode. He's just putting it on the table, it really would be up to everyone to hash out the particulars. Others, and I, have said: Conserve, drill (ANWR), transition fleet transportation to CNG, plug windpower into the grid, and re-visit nuclear in order to wean ourselves from foreign oil.

Anyway, much as I've thought ol' Boone's plan makes sense, I've decided to go another direction.

Today I read an article about alternative energy sources, and I hereby offer my services to the next administration, McCain or Obama, as our Nation's Energy Czar. Under my supervision, I pledge to personally maximize the USA's research and utilization of new, clean, energy sources.

Work Rules Are Work Rules

At least he's not hanging out at the car wash.

I'm the NKA

First, I have to admit I don't know who this young woman is. But she's apparently riled the anti-knife crowd with a photo of herself shown 'wielding' a bladed instrument.


Said the accompanying article; "Anti-knife activists are concerned over this promotional shot for Katy Perry's album, in which the singer is brandishing a knife." "This woman's behavior is unacceptable. She must be out of her mind to pose for a picture like this," Richard Taylor, a father of a stab victim, says. "Any youngsters seeing her will think it is OK to carry a blade," he adds.

My informal survey indicates that approximately 99.9% of British households at present support the right to keep and bear knives, even though many are used to lacerate bovine, porcine or barnyard flesh prior to mastication on an almost daily basis. Often, these devices can be witnessed in use, many at a time, in common households. Current law does not restrict the number of knives that may be purchased or owned by an individual, nor provide any means for registration to the proper authorities.

One supposes that perhaps this is a nascent movement to restrict, possibly ban, the use of knives in the U.K., modeled after the successful gun bans (page 43) in that country.

By the way, when will that naughty, naughty 007 give up his PPK? Isn't he setting a bad example?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Onomatopoeia

MSN Dictionary defines this term as:

- imitation of sound in words: the formation or use of words that imitate the sound associated with something, e.g. "hiss" and "buzz".

It's also been commonly defined as a word that sounds like what it is or describes.

So, with that in mind, I thought of the coronation that many in this country seem to believe is inevitable for one Barack H. Obama. Many describe with glee the prospect of his election creating an Obama-Nation.

Such a prospect gives me no glee, but, in the spirit of onomatopoeia, I can agree it would probably be what it sounds like.

Born to be Mild

Since you've seen various two-wheelers on this site, you recognize the theme. Now, I want to share one that I'm not making fun of. This is an example of my first motorcycle that I bought (second-hand, for $125) when I was eleven.
The seat was a rough naugahyde something or other, and it gave good grip to my blue jeans during rough riding. It possessed two rear sprockets - by inserting an extra length of chain with quick links, you could turn it into a rock-crawlin' dude, but no speed. The only downside to this bike was that the fuel tank had a 1/4" vertical seam (hard to see in the photo) running fore and aft down the top centerline. If you were on rough terrain and happened to shift your body too far fore, it could be painful. At 80cc, this weren't no barn burner, but I sure had many hours of fun on my Old Red.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Songs That Resonate

This has rattled around AOL music columns under several labels. It's still one of my favorite stories, about the best musical kiss-offs:

'Go Your Own Way'--Fleetwood Mac (1977)

The Kiss-Off: "Packing up, shackin' up's all you want to do"


Stevie Nicks supposedly insisted that her then-boyfriend, bandmate Lindsey Buckingham, remove the line from this enthusiastic sayonara, which gave the Mac arguably their most enduring hit. Buckingham refused, and he had the added satisfaction of getting his soon-to-be-ex to sing backup on her own send-off.

Interesting Names...

I guess I’ve sort of established that I like to look at, and sometimes poke fun of, interesting motorcycles. I was reading one of my favorite magazines when I came across the following advertisement, together with the accompanying copy:



John Taliaferro Thompson founded the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1916 with John Blish and Thomas Fortune Ryan to design and develop a hand held machine gun. The product of this collaboration was the world famous “Tommy Gun.”
Since its inception, the “Tommy Gun” has become an American icon.
Carried by G-men and colorful characters like Al Capone and John Dillinger in the 1920’s and 30’s and trusted by our soldiers in WWII. The Thompson was the coveted weapon among specialized troops such as Rangers, Marine Raiders, armored and parachute units. The “Tommy Gun” went on to see
service in Korea and Vietnam. At Auto-Ordnance we take great pride in continuing General Thompson’s legacy by producing finely crafted semi-automatic versions of the historic Thompson submachine gun. Put a piece of history in your hands. Own a Thompson! Made with Pride in the U.S.A.

I guess I knew at one time, and had since forgotten, John Thompson's middle name, Taliaferro.

What I'm curious about is its pronunciation. Is it like it's spelled, or did he say "Tolliver"?

Just wondering.

Trigger Would Never Do This...

From the animal kingdom come these reports of horses. Clearly, these specimens were not in mind when the term "horse sense" was coined.

The second panel raises the question: "If Tonto is riding a horse that has been gorging itself on fermented apples, should the Lone Ranger write him a ticket?"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Eureka!

Some days, you find articles that are seemingly custom made for the blogosphere. Without further comment, consider the following about a hapless and lonely man in Michigan, code named "Herbert Hoover".

Are Your Loins Girded?

Now comes word, via a Joe Biden campaign speech, that the Delaware Senator who would be VP advises us to "gird up our loins". After first checking my daughter's whereabouts and confirming that the last Democratic President was not running amok in my community, I read further to learn that Senator Biden meant that we, the great unwashed masses should prepare ourselves for actions we don't agree with. It turns out that They Who Have All The Answers want us to understand that, in a BO administration, "...if [decisions are] popular, they're probably not sound."

I certainly understand and agree that popularity and rectitude often lack a positive correlation (how else do you explain Britney Spears?). But it doesn't logically follow that they are mutually exclusive, or that there's "probably" an inverse correlation. Moreover, though, possessing a few shards of intelligence, I resent the inference that being on the right side of an issue with a majority of people who believe as I do is an indicator that my thought process is somehow unsound.

Though there's never a perfect candidate, I'll be voting for candidates who believe that "the people" (and don't have difficulty understanding this term - can you say "Heller"?), not bureaucrats, determine our government.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Hope I'm Not Too Late...

My friend and fellow blogger Todd (so far, he is the real blogger, and I a poseur - I'm working hard to catch up) recently wrote of an incident in which a non-English speaking person had some car trouble, inasmuch as her battery apparently had given out. Todd is a very good writer, and makes excellent use of imagery, narrative, and dialogue: "Click-click-click", began his blog post. The entry went on to say that he attempted to help the woman from her predicament, but due to the language barrier, she understood nary a word.

Now, I often read Todd's posts, then submit as many wise-acre comments as I can muster, and occasionally offer insightful commentary, replete with not a few references to Don Henley, Shakespeare, or both. But, I digress, frequently.

Setting the tone for his piece on communication by using the nearly universally understood "click-click-click" was a stroke of brilliant writing, but not to be left unpunished. I wracked my brain to come up with some goofball cracks, with varying degrees of success.

Then it occurred to put the "click-click-click" into another context. After all, he had said that the woman was, presumably, Spanish-speaking, so I thought: "Why not use the clicks instead as the sound of castanets?" So, one Google and thirty-eight seconds later, I'm knee-deep in information about Mexican Dance, which brings me to the subject of this blog entry (did I mention I digress?).

Seems that in Mexico there is a deer dance, in which a participant wears a headdress consisting of, well, the head of a deer. From the pictures I saw, these are REAL deer heads, not made in China or Taiwan.


And so, dear reader(s), given that we are into October (archery and youth season already open), and rifle season is just around the corner, DO NOT, for any reason, agree to participate in a "deer dance" at the behest of your amigos. You could give venison a bad name (or taste).

Comprende?



Next blog: "Tragedy Ensues as VP Hopeful Sarah Palin Visits Fraternal Order of Moose Lodge"

Timesaver

I think I established previously that I am against ridiculously expensive motorcycles that serve no function.

Now comes this, and I'm not sure really what to think. It's probably not expensive, and you could say it serves a practical purpose - no need to wait to finish bathing before leaving for work!
Anyway, I'll let y'all decide:



h/t: "That Dude" @ http://murder-n-mayhem.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Periscope Not Included

Recently, we were treated with this year's Neiman-Marcus Fantasy Christmas catalog - just chock full o' stuff that makes no sense whatever, and that, in all likelihood, even people who have means would not buy. As my friend Todd correctly points out, and encourages others to do, there are better ways to steward one's financial treasures (if you're lucky enough to have any left), such as Samaritan's Purse, and I'm sure a good many other worthy organizations.
One of this year's N-M entries was a really goofy (and uncomfortable looking) carbon fiber/titanium motorcycle selling for $110,000.

Now, I'd like to have a motorcycle, but if I had that kind of money, I could have eleven, which I don't need. Anyway, it was ugly, but the attached photos show what I believe is a close runner up in the 'stupidity' class. I wonder when someone will try to take a fiberglass carousel pony and try to mount it over an S&S V-twin?

One notes that there are no pictures of a rider astride this cat, as it would likely highlight a major shortcoming, namely, visibility.

Wonder if this is the bike of choice for the Black Panthers?




Saturday, September 13, 2008

See what I mean?


Now comes word that Pink is not much of a supporter of GOP VP nominee Sarah Palin.

The following teaser accompanied, oh wait, there was no article, just a teaser with the photo.

"Maybe she M!ssundaztood. But Pink thinks Sarah Palin "hates women." And animals too.1 of 7 "
No expert I, I'm guessing "M!ssundaztood" must be a Pink song title? In any case, this is going to change the whole dynamic of the Presidential race, as I'm certain there are legions of voters just waiting to hear Pink's opinions on national governance.
Wonder if Binney & Smith are going to allow the other 63 colors to comment also?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beware the Bogeyman

Have the news gathering organizations gone soft?

I know it's a stupid question. Of course they have. As one who remembers how journalism got pumped-up in the wake of Watergate, it seems the fall has been quite hard.

No doubt there came a time when every J-school graduate imagined himself as the next Dan Rather, or Woodward & Bernstein, to the extent of creating conspiracy stories where there was none. But, beyond a few snarky reporters these days, the profession seems to be populated with, in the lyrics of Don Henley, "bubble-headed-bleach-blonde[s]", who have little command of facts or the subjects they're covering.

What increasingly rankles me is the ascendance of the trivial. I don't give a tinker's dam about the latest misbehavior of Paris, Britney, Miley, Amy, Lindsay or any of a host of other "celebrities", that, honestly, I've never heard of. Yet, these seem to be the focus of legions of news-hounds, to the point where it's difficult to find any meaningful news.

Before I get tagged as wanting only "hard" news - I remember well the question "Why don't the media ever report any good news?" The answer, of course, is that news, definitionally, is that which is unexpected, or out of the ordinary. This past week a minor newsblip appeared that exemplifies this: A story about Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo, on his way home from the airport after a football game, stopping to change the tire of some stranded motorists in Irving, Texas. In view of the seemingly typical behavior of present day pro-athletes, this is a good story, if only for a day or two. But please, spare me any more reports about his relationship with Jessica Simpson.

More later on this subject.

Friday, July 25, 2008

And Who Hasn't Been Here?

Today's headlines tell us of a man, who, in a fit of pique because his lawmower wouldn't start, http://www.cbs58.com/index.php?aid=3656, exercised his Second Amendment rights on the balky yard machine. Considering the behaviour bizarre, a neighbour called authorities. After treating the 56 year old Irish-American male, Mr. Rick O'Shay, for minor wounds caused by bouncing bullet fragments, paramedics released the man to police custody. As of press time, the man was still at the County Jail, waiting to be retreived by his relatives, Nick Nolte and Glen Campbell.

I've never fired a shot in anger at a power tool, or even a kitchen appliance, but I can understand the man's frustration. Maybe we should just call this a case of 'Taurus Triumphant Over Toro'.

Sunday, July 20, 2008