Monday, October 31, 2011

Photo Editors

God bless their little hearts (and smaller brains).

Over at Huffington Post, aka AOL News, we get this photo atop today's supposed 'gotcha' article about Presidential candidate Herman Cain's alleged inappropriate innuendo, language or gesturing back in the early '90s.

To give gravity to the article, which posits that the Cain Train is in danger of derailing over this, the photo editor runs the following pic, which I will posit was not taken in conjunction with any questioning of the candidate about this issue, but which appears to show him perspiring under the withering glare of media scrutiny.



Innocuous photo illustration?  Or deliberate subliminal messaging?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Allesandro Volta

...if he were alive, would possibly be suing General Motors today for using his name in conjunction with their electric car (GM does not call it a hybrid since the gas engine is not mechanically coupled to the drivetrain).

After reading a post over on Thunder Tales about the Volt, and having taken a brief test ride (with #1 son driving) in one last weekend at the airshow, I thought I'd do a little analysis of this vaunted new 'green' car technology, since I am (and so are you) kind of a shareholder in the company that makes this vehicle. 


The car itself is inoffensive, and not uncomfortable - about the same form factor as the company's Cruze.  But, selling at a price point about $15-20,000 more than a comparably equipped conventionally powered Cruze, the question arises: Is it worth it?

Chevy says the car has a range of about 35 miles on a charge.  Go beyond that, and the gas engine kicks in to power the generator to run the electric motors - becoming, essentially, a 35 mpg car, which is not too shabby. But, for the sake of the analysis, we'll stick with the assumption that one's daily driving is roughly equivalent to the car's battery range.

The table below shows annual fuel spend for gas powered vehicles, based on average daily (7/365) miles driven, at various fuel efficiencies.

 @ $3.25/gallon
25 mpg
30 mpg
35 mpg
40 mpg
25 miles/day
1186
  989
  847
  741
30 miles/day
1424
1186
1017
  890
35 miles/day
1661
1384
1186
1038
40 miles/day
1898
1582
1356
1186

 Basically, we see a range of $741 to $1,898, at today's typical unleaded gas price of $3.25 per gallon.

Chevy's website advertises "about $1.50 a day" for charging the batteries on the Volt.  Their assumption of 12¢/kWh for electricity, found in the footnotes, appears to be reasonable.  So, if one's driving is within the range delivered by the battery only, the annual anticipated spend (for electricity), would be $548.

Subtracting the electricity cost from the range of conventional vehicle fuel costs, we get $193 to $1,350 as the cost penalty for driving a gas-powered vehicle - but [even for non-business majors], does that penalty, extended over a typical six year ownership ($1,158 to $8,500),  justify a front end premium (and/or interest carry) of $15-20,000 of your family's hard-earned money?

Doesn't look like it to me. 

Here's a suggestion...

The whole notion of disproportionate sharing of the bounty...well, it's a disgrace.

Whether it's 99% vs 1%, or 90/10, 80/20, or even 71/12.5, it's the principle that's important.

Money, gravity, or Gummi Bears, it doesn't matter - fair is fair.



And get the heck out of New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Oakland...etc!

Actually, I may be a genius - we could get rid of the dirty, smelly hippies AND put furloughed NASA employees back to work!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wheel of Words...

And now, a new feature at Sonnet 116 - Wheel of Words:


_ _ _ , _ _, _ _ _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ _ & _ _ _ _    _ _    _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _    _ _         _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Now, I suppose that looks a little daunting, doesn't it?  Also, I should point out that this is a before, after, and in-between/same name puzzle.  I'll throw in the standard RSTLN E if it'll help (although, for this help, I added a couple more words):

_ _ _ ,  _ e,  e r n e s t,  _ _ l _ _  &      _ _ _ _      _ e     _ _ l l _     _ _ _ n      _ _     t _ e     s _ _ _ _ l _ _ r _             _ _ l l _    _ _ l _ _ t.


Just for good measure, here's some clues: There goes Rhymin' Simon - Southwest Cuisine - in vino veritas - bad kid - TR.

Vowels, just five dollars.

Wish I had a Vanna...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Can you identify?

I have seen these decals, sporadically, for about three or four years - have never determined what they mean.

Anyone know?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Don't wax on/wax off

The older I get, the more I get used to the notion that there are a ton of things about which I'm clueless.

I know, you already knew that.

Take the following, for instance - Eyebrow Threading:


So, what the heck is eyebrow threading?  Turns out it's an alternative, used mostly in Indian and Asian cultures, using a fine cotton thread, to tweezing and waxing to remove unwanted hirsuteness.  (I think Todd the Blogger had this done to his entire head.)  The link was where I googled it to save you the effort - I suppose since I have the MetroPCS phone service, I could've just called my buds Chad and Ranjit to ask them.  I wonder if those dudes would help me curry favor with some up-and-coming Bollywood beauties?

Apparently there's a similar procedure, using high tensile strength aircraft grade wire rope, to help Italian women remove their moustaches.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

FTW Alliance Airshow 2010

Last week, oldest son mentioned the Airshow and invited me to go with him.  So today we drove out to the airport and enjoyed a beautiful North Texas day outdoors.

This airplane was rebuilt from a worthless hulk, for the purpose of educating the public about the Tuskegee Airmen.  It crashed in 2004, killing its project leader, Don Hinz.  In testament to Mr. Hinz' dedication to the mission of telling the story, it was rebuilt again, and appears as you see it here, together with an IMAX type theatre trailer showing Rise Above, at various venues to educate new generations about overcoming circumstances.


The duct below the P-51 is for the radiator (to cool the Rolls-Royce Packard Merlin V-12).  Something I learned today - The Meredith Effect: I did not previously know that the heated air after the radiator, creates additional thrust, in excess of the drag created by the duct, similar to a jet engine.

Spacewalk, anyone?



A restoration project completed by an Aero school in Tulsa:



Son was disappointed to see most people pick up the infantry arms and immediately put their fingers on the trigger - even though these have been rendered inert.  I agree (didn't become an NRA certified firearms trainer for nothing.)


Where are those prairie dogs?


B'Gosh!

You know I'm an Eagles fan:


F-15 Eagles



CAF Mitchell B-25 "Devil Dog" and North American P-51 Mustang


In the air...

...and on the ground...


Jim Cavanaugh's TBM-3E Avenger  ("Poppy" Bush '41' flew one of these)
Note B-25 "Devil Dog" tail in background.


...and in the air.


That's not my Dad's Bonanza.


The end of a perfect day, son poses in front of his idol, aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker's biplane.

'Tis the Season...

...for ZOMBIES!

Be careful - be prepared:

video

Thanks to Shannon R for sending this!



Taste and See

This is a frequent refrain at my Church.  The notion being that Christianity is not an abstract concept to be simply studied - rather, we are designed to actually connect, all-in, with Christ's purpose.

This morning's service began with ushers circulating with trays of Hershey's kisses (and cups of water) during the meet-and-greet your neighbor segment.  As I prefaced last week, some would see this as gimmickry, but it's just another small way that congregants are drawn in - not just to observe, but as participants in the service.

God has an exquisite table set for us.  I don't want to read Bud Kennedy's food review of the banquet - I want to sit down and dig in!


ALL IN: Taste & See from Keystone Church on Vimeo.


Bon Appétit!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Not so Mean Green

Dork Studly dude hopes that tonight's lawn mowing was the last for the season.



Said dude is not actually that short - lacking a proper tripod (it's around here somewhere), photographer (also the photographee) improvised a makeshift perch for the camera, and crouched accordingly.

Little Pink Riding Hood



Grandma, what big teeth you have!

Because dressing up the dog in pajamas never grows old.

The Commies are coming...

Well, I guess we should have known that in November 2008, but that's beside the point.  Apparently, pinkos have been emboldened since one of their own was elected to the highest office in the land.

Comes now news that Lynchburg, Tennessee, the storied home of a certain popular libation (marketed with the imprimatur Lem Motlow, Proprietor), is faced with some budget woes.

Who isn't these days? 

The town, like other cities, counties, states, and the federal government, apparently has problems funding its schools and infrastructure repairs.


But a Lynchburg resident is now trying to get the town council to slap a $10/barrel tax on the output of the town's largest employer, because, “We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county – Jack Daniel’s distillery,” said Charles Rogers, a 75-year-old retiree and self-described “concerned citizen” of Moore County.

This sounds a lot like William Francis "Willie" Sutton Jr.'s justification for robbing banks: "Because that's where the money is."¹

Mr. Rogers goes on to attempt to rationalize his expropriation scheme by suggesting that the distiller's marketing use of imagery related to the quaint town is somehow a windfall to the company, and that the worldwide fame of Lynchburg (created solely by the Jack Daniel's distillery) puts an unfair burden on the town due to the quarter million visitors it draws every year.


After telling Mr. Rogers something like: "Sir, you are a peterhead!", I would explain to the twit that where I'm from, cities and regions spend large amounts of money trying to lure people to the area, believing that those people will spend larger amounts of money that will help the local economy.  The supposition isn't without flaws, but, seriously, can this guy not see that Lynchburg is getting free publicity and a huge potential customer base, courtesy of the distillery, that other locales would thirst (and have to pay) for?  Maybe he should try to convince the Moore County commisioners that being a dry county surrounding the home of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is not a successful mixer for economic success.

The more I see stories like this, I am convinced that Pat Buchanan's latest book title may be right: Suicide of a Superpower.

¹ Mr. Sutton disclaimed the quote in his autobiography stating it was made up by a reporter, but it is nonetheless attributed to him in popular culture.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ripley's Believe it or Not?

A heartwarming story is making the rounds of an elderly Iowa couple, who, with mortal injuries sustained in a car crash, conclude their 72 year marriage, and time on earth, holding hands, expiring within a hour of one another.  One version of the story even has the husband, who passed first, continuing to show a pulse on the monitor - the pulse of his wife, whose hand he still clasped.

Upon hearing this story on the radio this morning, I was already thinking of this song, just about the time one of the on-air personalities mentioned it.



Of course, my other thought was of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How are you McFeelin'?

As a former subscriber to various woodworking magazines such as Woodsmith, Fine Woodworking, Workbench, and This Old House, I get more than a few online adverts from the likes of Rockler, WoodCraft, and McFeely's - the latter offering a ton of specialty fasteners for home woodworkers and production cabinet shops, furniture makers, and boat builders alike.

Yesterday, I opened the McFeely's ad and briefly perused it.  Part of it caught my attention:

I'd sure hate to have technical difficulties on that web catalog, as it would be very awkward to have to contact the webmaster: "Uh, yeah, McFeely's?  I'm trying to access your screw portal and I can't get in."

Seems they could have worded that better...

Earworm Be Gone!

You know what I'm talking about - that snippet or phrase of a song that just keeps repeating in your head.

And for antedeluvian persons like myself, whose memory may or may not be slipping, it's made worse when one can't identify the song whence the phrase came.

So, for the past two days, a bridge with the choral refrain of  "I know, I know...I know, I know...I know, I know" with a slight bass roll thrown in, has been mocking my mind, cluttering my consciousness, psearing my psyche.  I spent about 45 minutes this evening scouring my MP3 and WMA files, searching for the intrusive several bars of music.

As with so many other things, you find what you're looking for...when you're not looking.  I'd gone to the kitchen to make dinner, when inspiration struck -

ELVIS!

Elvis?  Yes, Elvis.  No, not that one.  Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus.

COSTELLO!

Since you already know about earworms, you also already know that the only way to rid oneself of one is to foist it on others - so, dear readers, I present Elvis Costello: Accidents Will Happen.



I like the part in the video where Kal-i-for-nia falls off into the Pacific.

And, in case you were wondering - Yes, I have this on vinyl from when I was in high school.

Monday, October 17, 2011

¡Picánte!

From the Food desk:

I've said it before - I'm a pot cook.  No, not a dopehead, just someone who throws ingredients together to create something tasty.  And in so doing, I rarely use any measuring devices, other than to determine how large or how many containers I need to store or freeze my latest creation.  I don't do baking, because it's much more exacting as to amounts, temperatures, and time.  Women can do baking.

Tonight's was an especially good batch of homemade salsa, yielding about a quart and a half.  Here's what went into it:
  • 8 Roma tomatoes
  • 5 seedless black grapes
  • 3 Serrano peppers
  • 3 small garlic cloves
  • 2 Anaheim peppers
  • 2 sweet banana peppers
  • 1 gold bell pepper
  • 1 tomatillo
  • 1/2" slab of sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 Bosc pear
  • 1 chunk dried mango from Sprouts
  • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies & onions (the preservatives help the fresh batch keep longer - although I drain off part of the juice)
  • 1-1/2 tsp turbinado sugar
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Sprinkle of dried cilantro
  • Coarse black pepper
I chop most of it fairly coarsely, running the remainder through the blender.  Because I have a healthy respect for the e coli, salmonella and other nasties (even though I thoroughly wash all the ingredients before cutting them), I heat the whole batch to about 180° for several minutes before putting it into glass jars and refrigerating.

This stuff is so good that tortilla chips are just a delivery mechanism.  The flavor profile starts off a bit sweet, but then the fire kicks in - but not too much. ¡Muy sabroso!

Thoughts from the News

An occasional feature, exclusively on Sonnet 116:

Over the weekend, an interweb news article pronounced Herman Cain's Presidential aspriration to be in trouble, because he is said to have connections to the billionaire Koch brothers.
  • Gasp!  Has there ever been a confluence of money and politics before?
  • I could go for the easy quip and ask "What's the matter with brothers helping a brother out?"
  • OK, I just did.
  • But seriously, the article implied that having billionaire friends/supporters was a stain on Mr. Cain's character.
  • Are you kidding?
  • Do the names Soros, Pritzker, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, George Lucas, David Geffen, Ken Griffin, Steven Spielberg somehow give no stigma to the incumbent President?  I'm not mentioning Gates and Buffett, as their political giving is not so partisan as the earlier group.
  • Seems like the pot calling the kettle.
  • On the Road Again - Obama takes a bus tour to North Carolina to stump for his $447 billion Stimulus II, er, jobs bill.  The President claims that independent outsiders say it could create up to 1.9 million permanent jobs.

  • That's a lot of people - a bit more than live in my whole county.
  • To give credibility to what I'm about to share, I have to disclose that I had a 750 Math SAT.
  • (Middle son got a 780 over the summer - 'course it's not as hard now as it was back in the 19XXs - we were only allowed a pocket abacus and our fingers and toes. ☺)
  • If the jobs plan performs to expectation, each created job would cost us, the taxpayers, a mere $235,263.
  • Now, I didn't attend Harvard Business School - I only have a pedestrian BBA from NTSU, um, UNT.  (My original diploma, which got misplaced years ago, said NTSU.)
  •  In any event, it doesn't sound like a very good ROI.
  • Confession: I used a scientific calculator from the Dollar Tree to do the Math.  Does that make me a divider - not a uniter?
  • With that kind of loopy logic emanating from the bus tour, I can't help wondering: Is the President borrowing Willie Nelson's bus?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cheers Church - Where No One Stands Alone

I have to pinch myself sometimes. I attend a church where the lead guitarist sang Johnny Cash's Man in Black this morning prior to the sermon, and the pastor played the Cheers theme song as the congregation sang along, following with a snippet from '80s band The Smiths (as you know, I am not of the '80s, so it was unknown to me).

A casual visitor might conclude that this is not a 'serious' Church, or that the pastor is a good entertainer/comedian. Traditional it is not, but the truth is that this Church uses the language of the people to reach them where they are and tell them the Good News.

ALL IN: We Let No One Stand Alone from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rogue antelope

It's not just the rogue pachyderms that'll get you:



Edit: After I had already posted this, I saw that it was also on the Pied Piper's blog.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Economics 101

You know, if a lot of people abused the system like this guy, I'm thinking it might could hurt the economy:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Here's a strange...

Seen somewhere in the vicinity of Ridglea - I have no idea what that's about - maybe a band?



I even tried the Google - no luck.

Driver's Edge

I commented over on Combat Kevin's blog the other day that my middle son had taken a driving course at TMS last weekend.  Here's some pics:


Yeah, he thought it was cool to get to drive a BMW.



No, he didn't get to drive this.



Hey, that's not factory stock, is it?



It's had some work done.



This is probably what they would've had me driving.

The absurdity of media

...is fully established when you have a white, middle-aged [self-described] socialist interviewer, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, taking businessman and Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain to task for allegedly not being active enough in the Civil Rights movement.



Mr. O'Donnell, the point of the Civil Rights movement was to ensure that equality of opportunity applied to everybody.  Mr. Cain found his opportunities and worked hard to become a success, and an inspiration to others - irrespective of skin color - showing that work and playing by the rules are the way to achieve the American Dream.   Who the heck are you to presume to lecture him and tell him that he should've been protesting on buses and attending marches, simply because he was a college-age black male in the 1960s?

As John Stossel would surely say, "Give me a break!"

WWJD?

As in - What would Jesus drive?

I've read a lot of conjecture that he would eschew gas guzzlers and ostentation, and would instead drive something 'green', like a Prius or a SmartForTwo or Mini-Cooper.

Or a Honda.

Can you imagine my surprise this morning when I was passed by this crossover utility vehicle bearing the license plate (I couldn't discern the state) CHRIST?


Pure speculation on my part, but I'm thinking it's not His first Honda - probably upgraded after being cramped with the Disciples, altogether in one Accord.

But I'm still trying to get my mind around the vanity plates...

Monday, October 3, 2011

This makes some sense


I normally shy away from celebrities' advice on social issues, health, nuclear engineering, politics, and economic theorties, mostly because there seems to be an inverse relationship between 'star' fame and intelligent discourse.  I figure that if they've put in the time and effort to rise to the top of their celebrity field, they might not have a strong grasp on matters of greater import.

On the other hand, to be objective, that Greek dude So-crates from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, once tweeted that "the unexamined life is not worth living" (East Texas philosopher Henley paid homage to the concept: "...it's too long we've been living these unexamined lives.").  Examining mine, I conclude that I do my job pretty well, and I reserve the right to express my opinions - so I ought not begrudge the celebs voicing theirs - if I want my ideas to carry more weight, then I need to work to become more famous, or come up with better ideas.

So, expecting little but keeping an open mind, I read the following story about a project John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) is working on, warning that the U.S. is on the precipice of becoming a third world country by having lost its productive capacity.  Ratzenberger co-founded the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness of skilled trades and engineering disciplines among young people.¹  So, he's underscoring what Lido Anthony Iacocca tried to tell us a generation ago: That becoming a service/information economy of financial advisors, manicurists, barristers and burger flippers is ultimately not sustainable and won't work.  We have to re-connect with reality and  produce something, or become subservient to those nations that do (hint: Mandarin is not easy to learn).


Ratzenberger is apparently out of step with the left coast entertainment crowd, inasmuch as he is a Republican.   He has also, supposedly, been asked to run for Joseph Lieberman's Connecticut U. S. Senate seat in 2012.

¹ The Wikipedia

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Come as you are...

The sermons at my church are always good.  Today's was a tour de force.

Todd the Blogger has many times told the story of an old cowpuncher who moseys into the Lord's House, only to told as he leaves that he needs to clean up before he returns.  This is repeated a time or two, culminating in an elder or deacon or usher or such reminding him: "Hey, didn't I tell you to go home and talk with God about the way you're coming into this house?"

The punch-line, of course (and Todd tells the story much better than I), is that the old guy replies: "Yep, sure  did.  He says He's never heard of this place."

I think that anecdote would've felt right at home at about the 28:15 mark in the video:


ALL IN: We Are Soft on the Edges & Strong in the Center from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Aussies are coming, the Aussies are coming!

Though I am often in Weatherford, until yesterday I could not have told you what was the high school mascot.



Today, I think Ronnie Millsap could tell you.

Even the employees at a local truckstop/square hamburger place had blue streaked hair and "ROOS" temporary tattoos on their faces.