Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dress Yourself

I love you, Brianna's, but seriously... Check your ads before they go out.

Beautiful and Intriguing

I get how they make the dancers fly. How in the world did they get the musicians and the bells to levitate? Magnets? Invisible wire?

I got a great idea for a chair for my desk while watching this video.

Freaking cool.

Thanks to my Grandma for passing this along.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So You Wanted An Apple Computer For Christmas, Eh?

What kind of computer did you want? Oh, the one with the apple on the back? Okay.


Alfred W. Evans For President

This was taken from the Waco Tribune Herald, Waco, TX, 18 Nov. 2010

Put me in charge...

Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star Cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for
50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese, and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak
And frozen pizza...get a job.

Put me in charge of Medicaid. We’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings.
If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get Tats and piercings...get a job.

Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good
State of repair. Your “home” will be subject to inspections anytime, and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a
Plasma TV or Xbox 360...get a job and your own place.

In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, Whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”

Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago when taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was Demeaning and lowered self esteem.

If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should At least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

Alfred W. Evans, Gatesville, Texas

Damn straight. I'd love to shake this guy's hand.

Thanks to my Grandma for sending this.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Faces of Evil at Christmas

From the Daily Mail:

The pictures from December 18, which have only just come to light, show Hitler and his generals at a party for SS officer cadets in Munich.

But the Nazi Christmas was far from traditional.

Hitler believed religion had no place in his 1,000-year Reich, so he replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas with the Norse god Odin and urged Germans to celebrate the season as a holiday of the ‘winter solstice’, rather than Christmas.

Two thoughts here:
1. Absolutely beautiful photos, technically speaking. I love the shallow depth of field. But look at the lack of expression on the faces of Nazi soldiers. If I had to describe it in a word, it would be "soul-less."

2. Interesting that today, almost 70 years later some people are trying to remove religion from Christmas by using the same tactics that Hitler did.

The Case for Santa Claus

There are a lot of people out there who say that Santa Claus has no place in Christmas. They don't believe in Santa and he doesn't come to their house. These are the same people for whom Christmas is about Jesus' birth - and only about Jesus' birth. They say that Santa takes away from Christmas' Christian purpose by distracting from its religious meaning.

Of course Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. No one disputes that. But why must these Santa-haters be so literal? After all, it's been fairly well documented that Jesus was probably born in the fall, not in December. But Anti-Santites still celebrate Christmas in December. There's also the Christmas tree, the origins of which are muddy and uncertain, but which has become a symbol of Christmas. Most Ant-Santites I've ever met still have a Christmas tree nonetheless.

Regardless of the literal meanings of Christmas and its customary trappings, Santa remains its most visible mascot, and I say that it's a good thing. I think that Santa is a primer for the very reason for Christmas and is a great allegory for God Himself. At a very early age, we learn to believe - with all of our heart and being - about Santa Claus. We can't see Santa, but we're certain he exists. The very act of believing in him bring good things in the form of wonder and presents. It's not until later in life when our jaded and skeptical mind takes over that we even consider that there might not be such a thing as Santa. But there are those of us who still believe in him, regardless, or at least (and this is where the metaphor diverts from God) what he stands for. But the fact is that Santa, to most kids, is a vital instrument in learning to believe in the unseen - to take on faith something that they can't see or touch or even verify. And isn't that same belief - the belief in the heart and not in the head - the same belief that tells us that that there is, in fact, a God and that Jesus is real?

And for that, I say that Santa is perhaps the most important part of Christmas. Anti-Santites would do well to realize that we're not worshiping Santa. He's not an idol. He's a symbol. Strip away the presents and the stockings and all the trappings of modern Santa mythology and you'll find love, selflessness and faith - things that Christianity is also about. Santa actually teaches us how to better Christians, if we can just look past the obvious commercialism.

So thanks, Santa, for teaching us to believe. I still believe in you with all my heart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Seriously, Target????

Can't we just get through the BIGGEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR before we move on to the next one?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

17 Years And Counting

From the Houston Chronicle:

In 1993, Bill Clinton was in his first year as president. Gasoline cost $1.16 a gallon. Unforgiven won the Oscar for Best Picture. A stamp cost 29 cents. The final episode of Cheers was viewed by 80.4 million people. Michael Jackson performed at halftime of Dallas’ 52-17 victory over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII.

And 1993 was the last time a pro football team from Houston made the playoffs.

Before the largest crowd in Astrodome history, the Oilers lost to Kansas City 28-20 in the divisional round.

Seventeen years later, Houston still doesn’t have a playoff team.

I remember that Kansas City game well. My Christmas gift to my dad that year was tickets to that playoff game. I was still in high school, and it seems like a lifetime ago. Actually, it was almost half my lifetime. My brother, who is a senior in high school, was born that year - and no Houston team has even made it to the playoffs in his entire lifetime?


Monday, December 20, 2010

Open Letter to Santa's Wonderland

Dear Santa's Wonderland in College Station,

You've finally done it. You thought you were clever. You thought you were slick. You thought that you could continue bending us over year after year and that we wouldn't notice. You were wrong, jack. You've pissed me off again, and this time I'm taking to my blog (and to Facebook) to spread the word about your greedy crap.

It wasn't bad enough that you've been raising prices year after year so that it now costs almost $100 for my family to come out for a visit. It wasn't enough that you added a charge just to get in to "Santa's town" despite the fact that once inside the only thing that one can do for free is to sit by the fire in the middle. Then another charge for Santa. And another to see the lights. And another for the kids to ride the donkeys. Then there's food. And shopping. And kettle corn. And cocoa. Nickle and dime, nickle and dime, it's death by a thousand paper cuts with you isn't it?

And I've written you e-mails in the past that have gone unanswered (nay, ignored) regarding my displeasure with your exorbitant pricing. But yet Santa's Wonderland has remained part of my family's tradition in spite of your greedy crap. Every year, I've swallowed my pride and have agreed to bring my family out just because you have the best Santa anywhere. But this year, I've had enough - and here's why:

I got your e-mails that proclaimed "save money and time by buying your tickets online!" According to your website, I would be saving $2.00 per ticket. There are four of us in my family, so I thought "why not? Saving $8.00 is something, at least." So I proceeded to your (crappy) website to pre-order my tickets. That's where I saw this offer:

So I go to order, and I find this:

I'm just about to click "continue" when I happen to notice this at the top of the page:

Ebenezer Scrooge would be proud, indeed, you slimy S.o.B.s. That $2.00 per ticket savings is all but erased by a $1.50 per ticket "service fee." That's deceptive advertising at its finest.

I just want you to know that I'm going to bring my family out tonight because we already promised the kids we would and because I (unlike you) am not into pulling the rug out from under people at the last minute. But this will be the last year I bring my family - or recommend you to other families - unless you get your act together.

What you need to do is to not charge people just to come in and look around. Drop that stupid entry fee, or at the very least give people something for it, such as a free bag of kettle corn or a cup of hot chocolate. I know, I know... as you state on your FAQ page
"there are considerable costs associated with creating the "Ultimate" Texas Christmas experience. Christmas lights, holiday displays, electrical supplies and personnel are just a few to mention."
I understand that you have overhead, but you don't see the mall charging admission at Christmas time just to cover the cost of decorating, do you? They have a Santa, too, you know.

So there it is. I wish you the best of luck - I really do. In a few years when your attendance starts to dwindle because people can't afford to pay through the nose to see some Christmas lights and an Elvis impersonator, send me an e-mail and ask me to come back. And don't try to pull a fast one like you did this year, either. People love Christmas. People love to have a good time and see pretty lights and take their kids to see Santa. But people don't like to be raped at Christmas, even in the name of "overhead." And people really, really don't like deceptive offers that come with hidden fees.

What's Next: Government Investigates Doping in Professional Backgammon

From the NY Daily News:

Former pro cyclist Floyd Landis, who has accused his sport's biggest hero, Lance Armstrong, of doping, helped the federal government collect potentially incriminating audio and video recordings for its sprawling investigation into doping conspiracies in professional cycling, according to sources close to the case.

Last spring, at the behest of federal agents, Landis wore a hidden wire and carried a small portable video camera during an encounter with fashion designer and cycling team owner Michael Ball, according to one source who said the video footage captured images of what appears to be human growth hormone and other doping products in the refrigerator of Ball's luxury apartment in Marina Del Rey, Calif.

Damn, the government sure spends a lot of money trying to catch just one guy who may or may not be using something that isn't illegal - just banned in his sport - a sport the vast majority of Americans couldn't give a rat's ass about.

Who really cares? And is it worth all the time and government resources we're spending trying to prove that Lance Armstrong is on the juice? I think not.

I want my taxes credited for the amount of this crap investigation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Cloud With the Gray Area Lining

From the Guardian:

"I think that marketers like "cloud computing" because it is devoid of substantive meaning. The term's meaning is not substance, it's an attitude: 'Let any Tom, Dick and Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your computing for you (and control it).' Perhaps the term 'careless computing' would suit it better."

He sees a creeping problem: "I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear."

Count me in the "I like to have control over my data" crowd.

We Still Need Optical

This morning, I was reading through one of my favorite sites, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and came across the following sentence in a story by Michael Grothaus about the possibility of new Mac hardware next year:

"Personally, I'm hoping Apple drops the optical drive from at least one of the 15-inch MacBook Pros and throws in 512 GB solid-state drives across the line."

I've noticed the clamor for dropping optical (CD & DVD) drives is starting to ramp up, and I want to weigh in on the debate. We need optical. DVDs aren't dead, and neither are CDs. In a MacBook, which is intended for travel it's especially important because the whole reason for having a laptop is to be able to do any (or most) of the kind of work that you would be able to do on a desktop, but away from your desk. Sometimes that includes mastering a DVD or burning a CD. Many times that simply means watching a DVD on a plane or in a hotel. "But broadband..." is the cry. "Streaming!" I hear. You can't stream a movie on a plane, affordably. And many, many hotels I've been to - including some really, really nice $300-a-night hotels - technically have broadband, but it's either so spotty or so slow that it's impossible to stream movies or much data. And it's important to note upfront that people still watch DVDs. Redbox is booming because of it. Then there are freelancers like me who video events and other functions and sell the DVDs. How would that entertainment be delivered if not for DVDs?

Look at this also - how is information delivered most easily and cheaply? Optical. Optical media has gotten so inexpensive that it's easy and painless to throw it away. The same can't be said for flash media.

For example, earlier in the year I shot portraits of each of the fourteen members of our Board of Directors at work. While they were in meetings I edited and retouched their photos and gave each of them their photos on disc before they left at the end of the day. I burned the images to a CD-R, and most of the discs contained only about 50MB of data. The discs cost about $.25 apiece. Easy and cheap. If I had had no optical drive, I would have been forced to to do one of three things:
1. put the images on separate flash drives and give them the drives to take with them
2. put the images somewhere on an FTP server for them to download
3. connect their laptop to mine and copy the files over

But each of these options is horribly flawed. First, flash media is still expensive, and you can't buy tons of flash drives at a time like you can buy CDs or DVDs on a spindle pack. A quick check at shows that the cheapest flash drive is about $5.00, which makes the cost of giving each of the Directors their images $70.00, instead of $3.50 on CD.

FTP is a great digital option, assuming that you have a fast internet connection. Many of our Directors (and still much of the country in general) live in areas where internet services are still painfully slow. That, and downloading from an FTP server requires technical knowledge that many people just don't have (especially some of our 70-year-old Board members.) You don't want to ask your Board of Directors to have to go out and download their photo - it causes friction. And causing friction is a great way to be forced to find a new job.

Then there's the file sharing option. That first assumes that the Director has their laptop with them at all times. Many times, they leave it in their car or in their hotel room. Then there's the issue of time. It takes seconds to hand each Director a CD with their photos on it. To hook up each Director's laptop to mine would take quite awhile. Let's assume that the connection process goes flawlessly for each of the fourteen Directors (which is a huge and peril-filled assumption to begin with). It would take about a minute or so to copy the files to their hard drive and disconnect. So what only took seconds with optical media has now turned into something that requires 15 minutes of time of some of the busiest people in the company. And how many top executives do you know that want to sit around and wait for 15 minutes for something? See my friction comment above and then see the unemployment line.

Then there's data archiving. Optical media is still the best way to simply and quickly archive something. I have a drawer full of DVDs with old production files that I don't want to have to keep on my hard drive. But I know I have them just in case I ever need them. And I want an optical drive to be able to read them if I need to.

I find the people who say that it's time to sell computers without optical drives very short-sighted and somewhat selfish. It comes mostly from tech writers and people for whom it wouldn't cause much inconvenience. It's not the same argument as removing floppy drives in favor of optical a decade ago. That was replacing an antiquated technology with a newer, better one. The problem is that optical media is still relevant today, and if they could find a new optical technology that would hold more data, it would be even more so. Removing optical drives from computers gives the user no good alternatives except digital delivery, and I've shown that in the real-world work environment - especially in laptops - sometimes that's just not a viable choice.

The time for killing optical is coming, but it's not now, and it's not in 2011.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hall of What?

From M&C:

Veteran singers Neil Diamond, Tom Waits and Alice Cooper are to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year, the fabled institution has announced.

Also granted the prestigious honour were Dr John and Darlene Love. Other nominees such as Bon Jovi, as well as multiple nominees LL Cool J, Donna Summer, the Beastie Boys, J Geils Band, Chuck Willis, Chic and Joe Tex will have to wait for another year. The awards will be presented on March 14 in New York.

Who the hell is Tom Waits? A quick search on his Wikipedia page doesn't help much, except to confirm that he's not a superstar, hasn't had much commercial success in the United States and has a cult following.

I think that to be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, people -at least most people - should have at least either heard of the performer (or band) or should at least be somewhat familiar (or even have heard) some of their music. I think that to be in the Hall or Fame, the performer should have the distinction of having made a dent - or a scar - on the music world and that their music is a part of the American fabric. It's called the Hall of Fame, after all.

How Rush isn't in the Hall of Fame yet is beyond me. How Alice Cooper and Bon Jovi aren't in yet, either, is equally puzzling. Kinda makes me dubious of the Hall altogether.

The Assassination of Yogi Bear by the Coward Boo Boo

This would be the only way I would ever agree to go see this movie in the theater.

I finally agree with John McCain

From the Drudge Report:

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) delivered the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

“In the short time I’ve had to review this massive piece of legislation – I’ve identified approximately 6,488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion. Here is a small sample:

$277,000 for potato pest management in Wisconsin
$246,000 for bovine tuberculosis in Michigan and Minnesota
$522,000 for cranberry and blueberry disease and breeding in New Jersey
$500,000 for oyster safety in Florida
$349,000 for swine waste management in North Carolina
$413,000 for peanut research in Alabama
$247,000 for virus free wine grapes in Washington
$208,000 beaver management in North Carolina
$94,000 for blackbird management in Louisiana
$165,000 for maple syrup research in Vermont
$235,000 for noxious weed management in Nevada
$100,000 for the Edgar Allen Poe Cottage Visitor’s Center in New York
$300,000 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii
$400,000 for solar parking canopies and plug-in electric stations in Kansas

“Additionally, the bill earmarks $727,000 to compensate ranchers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan whenever endangered wolves eat their cattle. As my colleagues know, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Gray Wolf program is under intense scrutiny for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars every year to ‘recover’ endangered wolves that are now overpopulating the West and Midwest. My State of Arizona has a similar wolf program but ranchers in my state aren’t getting $727,000 in this bill.

“It is December 14th – we are 22 days away from the beginning of a new Congress and nearly three full months into fiscal year 2011 – and yet we have not debated a single spending bill or considered any amendments to cut costs or get our debt under control. Furthermore, the majority decided that they just didn’t feel like doing a budget this year. How is that responsible leadership?

“This is the ninth omnibus appropriations bill we have considered in this body since 2000. That is shameful and we should be embarrassed by the fact that we care so little about doing the people’s business that we continuously put off fulfilling our constitutional responsibilities until the very last minute.

“One thing is abundantly clear to me – that the majority has not learned the lessons of last month’s election. The American people could not have been more clear. They are tired of wasteful spending. They are tired of big government. They are tired of sweetheart deals for special interests. They are tired of business as usual in Washington. And they are tired of massive bills – just like this one - put together behind closed doors, and rammed through the Congress at the last moment so that no one has the opportunity to read them and no one really knows what kind of waste is in them. "

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Great Song, Amazing Video

I haven't seen a video that captures the mood and message of a song like this one does in a long, long time.

Thanks to Kristi for turning me on to this song, and for the life that we share, simply. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Santa...

From the NY Daily News:

Navy scientists set a world record Friday during a test of an electromagnetic railgun, a tractor-trailer sized weapon that sends a 20-pound projectile rocketing through the air at seven times the speed of sound.

The futuristic gun was tested twice at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., and the first shot generated 33 megajoules of force out of the barrel, a world record for muzzle energy, the scientists said.

One megajoule is a unit of energy roughly equal to the energy generated by a 1-ton vehicle moving at 100 MPH. The same rail gun generated about 10 megajoules during a test two years ago.

Instead of relying on explosive propellants like gunpowder to fire, the gun uses a giant surge of electricity to propel the slug out of the barrel at speeds that can approach Mach 8 and can strike targets more than 100 miles away.

Charles Garnett, a project manager on the railgun experiment, told the Post that the gun gets its power the same way a pocket camera builds up energy to operate its flash, but on a much larger scale.




My favorite shot from a photo shoot for a friend yesterday...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Now That's Just Tacky

I couldn't believe it when I was reading coverage of President Obama turning a press conference over to former President Clinton and ran across this sentence:

"Clinton gave the package his full-throated endorsement..."

I'll bet he did.

Obama Hands the Reigns to Clinton

From Real Clear Politics:

Former President Bill Clinton gave a statement after his meeting with President Obama about his tax compromise with the Republicans.

However, after his statement, Clinton began to call on and take questions from the press with Obama at his side. Obama leaves promptly after a few moments and said he had to see Michelle, as he was keeping her "waiting."

"I don't want to make her mad, please go," Clinton told Obama.

Wait. So... wha????? What the hell just happened? President Clinton again? Wha??????

Watch the video. Seriously.

Speaking of Train Wrecks...

From TMZ:

Miley Cyrus celebrated her 18th birthday by experimenting with a bong and catching a case of the giggles -- but sources say she was not smoking marijuana.

According to a source connected with Miley ... the smoke filling the bong is a natural herb called salvia which has psychedelic qualities. Possession of salvia is legal in California.

So Miley is smoking hallucinogenic herbs out of bongs now? That actually kinda helps explain the last season of Hannah Montana.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Train Wreck Coming

From /film (reporting a review of an early screening of Cars 2):

"There’s no focus on McQueen, despite it being his race that gets Mater into the film’s plot, and everyone else including Sally are relegated to making cameo appearances. The bigger plot and bigger locations keep the cast out of Radiator Springs for 95% of the movie and there’s no nostalgia or charm in the cold world of Europe. Cars 2 plays like an animated Austin Powers or any other sequel that gets a bigger budget and thinks everything should be “more!” Cars 2 is good, but it never feels PIXAR good. At times the movie plays like a sequel made to capitalize on the merchandise sales and goodwill of the original. The side characters are highly entertaining but this should be retitled “Mater” as there’s no connection to the original characters.”

I hate to hear this. I truly love Cars, and I would love nothing more than to see a genuinely heartwarming followup to the original, as they did with the Toy Story movies. But when I saw the trailer, I started to get worried. Looks like my fears my be coming true. Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.

The Wealth of Nations Comes to Life

Huge thanks to Matt for passing this along.

Comedy Central Proves Just How Un-Funny They've Become

Comedy Central: This Is 2011
Funny JokesIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaUgly Americans

I don't hate it. I just don't think it says "fun" or "funny."

Your Laziness is Putting You at Risk


I can't believe that "security experts" are surprised by this. When Exxon started using this technology in their Speedpass, followed by credit card companies, I saw the flaw instantly. It's the reason why I never got anything with RFID technology built in. Purchasing things shouldn't be that easy. It's the same reason I don't do "one-click purchasing" online, either.

Any time information is available - whether it be credit card numbers or personal info - through the air just by being in proximity to someone with a scanner, you're a wide-open target. I hate that the government is using this in any way, even though it's only imbedded in passports - for now. It's only a matter of time before someone gets the bright idea to imbed this in drivers licenses, simply for "informational purposes," of course. They'll start by using it to count numbers of people going through a public place, such as a subway system or airport.

But it's only a small step from there before scanners are powerful enough to scan people at a distance and get a readout - purely for "safety reasons," don'tchaknow. The next time there's an amber alert, police can check the identity of drivers without stopping them or even alerting them to their presence, simply by routing all traffic through a scanner checkpoint. On routine traffic stops, police will be able to scan a car and all the occupants from their own vehicle without even having to place themselves in danger by walking up to the vehicle. Police will be able to simply drive by a criminal's house to make sure they aren't violating their curfew. But what if the criminal simply leaves their license at home? Tracking bracelets with embedded chips would do, but why not just go ahead an implant a chip beneath a criminal's skin just to make sure they don't somehow find a way to get them off?

And once the government starts embedding chips in people, it gets all 1984-ish pretty quickly from there.

It might seem like I'm going off a tinfoil-hat cliff here, but think about how much government encroachment has occurred just in the last twenty years. Remember how far-fetched body-image scanners were when the movie "Total Recall" was released in the 1980s? Did you ever think you'd see the day when we would have to take off our shoes and submit to a third-base grope session just to board a plane? Is it really that far-fetched to think that the government might try to exert additional control over its citizens or try to keep track of their movements in the name of safety and security? And is it too far-fetched to think that they would use technology like this to do it?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Am I Evil? Yes, I Am.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Less of a Man

Am I less of a man because I don't hunt?
... because I only fish every now and then?
... because I don't watch every game that's on all weekend?
... because I'm not into cars?
... because I don't go out every day after work to drink with the guys?
... because I don't have a girlfriend on the side?
... because I don't wear a hat?
... because I don't know how to rebuild an engine?
... because I don't play golf very often?
... because my truck isn't a diesel?
... because it can't pull fifty times its own weight?
... because I don't often wear boots?
... because I don't own a boat?
... because I don't have a beard?
... because I choose to spend my weekends with my family?

Does wanting to do my own thing, in my own way, with the people I choose, make me less of man?

Or does it make me more? Does it make me me?

The Secret Space Shuttle

From Discovery News:

Shrouded by darkness, the military’s miniature space shuttle -- a unmanned robotic craft -- returned early Friday from a trial run in orbit that spanned 224 days.

The Orbital Test Vehicle, also known as the X-37B, touched down at 1:16 a.m. PST at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, becoming the first U.S. vehicle to make an autonomous runway landing from space.

Rather than hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells like the space shuttle orbiters, the X-37B is powered by gallium arsenide solar cells with lithium-ion batteries. It is designed to stay in orbit for up to 270 days, deorbit itself and land autonomously on a runway. NASA’s space shuttles can stay in space for up to about three weeks.


So now there's a secret space program with a space orbiter? Well, there's this one that they're telling us about. What if there were actually two - or more?

Government exploring technology that would disable cell phones in cars

From The Hill:

The Transportation Department is looking into technology to disable cell phones in vehicles, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

"There's a lot of technology out there that can disable phones and we're looking at that," LaHood said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"A number of those people came to our distracted driving meeting here in Washington and that's one way," he said.

So they want to make it so that your car actually blocks your cell signal? Each car (tuck or van) would basically turn into a tiny little cell phone jamming device rolling down the road. Ridiculous.

What about passengers who want to make phone calls?

What about emergencies?

And wouldn't any nearby pedestrians by constantly dropping calls as cars roll by, especially where there a lot of cars, such as the parking lot at the grocery store?

More "government think" bullcrap as a solution to a problem.

And for the record, I don't think cell phones are the most important issue. People texting while driving is is larger issue here. Now that, I believe, needs to be made illegal.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Best funeral ever

I can't think of a better way to attend a funeral than with Noble asleep on my chest, Kayci snuggled in by my side and holding Kristi's hand.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Check out shirt.woot today:

Awesome, and a steal at $10.00.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Short History of Airport Security

From the NY Times:

A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces — the level of magical thinking here is amazing — and they’re going to do something else.

It’s not even a fair game. It’s not that the terrorist picks an attack and we pick a defense, and we see who wins. It’s that we pick a defense, and then the terrorists look at our defense and pick an attack designed to get around it. Our security measures only work if we happen to guess the plot correctly. If we get it wrong, we’ve wasted our money. This isn’t security; it’s security theater.

There are better ways.

Quote of the Day...

From MTV News (on similarities between himself and Spider-Man):

As The Edge explained it, whether you're an arena-packing rock star or a science nerd bitten by a radioactive spider, you still have to deal with everyday life. "[H]e's a superhero; he can do loads of stuff, but when he comes home, he's put back in his place," the guitarist said. "There's nothing that he does out in the world that means anything when he's with his loved ones."

R.I.P. Leslie Nielsen

From the Washington Post:

Mr. Nielsen, the white-haired actor who had a serious dramatic career before he revealed himself in "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun" as a talented comedian with a genius for deadpan delivery, died Sunday of complications from pneumonia in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.

On a related note, while a very funny guy, I blame Leslie Nielsen for being in and inspiring some of the worst "comedy" movies of all time, as well. He will be sorely missed.

...and don't call me sorely.

Obama to Freeze Pay for Most Federal Workers for 2 Years

From the NY Times:

President Obama plans to announce a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers later Monday morning, according to an administration official, the latest White House move intended to demonstrate concern over sky-high deficit spending.

Here's an idea: if you're really worried about deficit spending - QUIT SPENDING!!!!

And what a weirdly (or very carefully) worded sentence: "the latest White House move intended to demonstrate concern over sky-high deficit spending..." Further evidence that it's all about the show, not about substance with this administration. If you're really concerned, you don't demonstrate your concern - you do something about it. Freezing spending does nothing. Keeping it at the level that's breaking the bank now isn't a solution. Reducing your overhead and expenses (if income will remain constant) or increasing income (if expenses cannot be cut any further) or a combination of the two is the way to reduce debt, whether it be a household debt or the debt of a nation.

Geez- how is it that millions of Americans can understand this, but the asshats running the country can't figure this out?

And on another note, this is a move that is sure to please absolutely no one. Those 2.1 million federal employees are going to be pissed. And considering that a full 66 percent of Americans favor cutting the federal payroll by 10%, not actually making any real cuts at all isn't going to fly, either.

And then, there's this:
The president’s proposal will effectively wipe out plans for a 1.4 percent across-the-board raise for 2.1 million civilian federal government employees in 2011 and 2012.

Is it me, or does Obama just seem to be floundering around like a fish on the bottom of a boat?

Common Sense vs. TSA

Huge thanks to Aaron M. for sending this.

Classless Classists

Here's a thought:

If you discriminate against someone based on the color of their skin, you're a racist.

If you discriminate against someone based on their gender, you're a sexist.

Why, then, is it okay to discriminate against someone based on their income? The Democrats are proposing a renewal of the Bush tax cuts - but only for the middle class. The "rich" will be singled out and will not get the same benefit as someone making less money. That's discrimination - from the party that prides themselves on touting "fairness," "equality" and "inclusiveness."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Battleship Texas

From the Houston Chronicle:

Retirement hasn't been kind to the Battleship Texas, the only remaining U.S. battleship to survive World Wars I and II.

Once touted as the most powerful weapon on the planet, the nearly century-old battlewagon has endured some 60 years as an historic relic moored in the brackish Houston Ship Channel, corrosion from water outside and inside munching at its steel and patchwork repairs.

"Our boat's been sitting in the water and rusting away, so we get it out of the water," says Andy Smith, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's manager of the battleship site east of Houston.

That's the goal as work finally is beginning to permanently remove the Texas from water by constructing a unique dry berth for the 573-foot-long, 34,000-ton vessel. It's the most complex project ever for the parks agency and isn't likely to be complete until late this decade.

"You're dealing with a metal artifact sitting in a brackish environment in high humidity," Smith said. "How do you treat an artifact? Traditionally we put it in a climate controlled space where you control for temperature, humidity and light. You can't do that with an almost 600-foot-long ship."

Wrong. I think we just figured out what to do with the Astrodome, folks. Put the Texas inside, turn on the air, and turn it into one huge climate-controlled museum.

And in Other Drug-Related News...

From ABC News:

DEA: U.S.-Mexico Cross Border Drug Tunnel Bust Yields 30 Tons of Marijuana

The Drug Enforcement Administration says it has busted a significant cross-border, drug-smuggling tunnel and netted about 30 tons of marijuana seized at two warehouses in the United States and Mexico.

The 1,800-foot underground tunnel linked a warehouse in Otey Mesa, Calif., with a similar sized building in Tijuana, Mexico. Agents and officers with the Tunnel Task Force, including the DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, had been conducting surveillance in the area when the officers noticed suspiciousactivity around a tractor-trailer truck being loaded and parked at the warehouse in Otey Mesa.

After the truck departed the warehouse, a police check-point was established so the truck could be searched. Border Patrol agents and officers discovered 10 tons of marijuana stuffed into large cargo boxes, according to law enforcement officials.

Singer Willie Nelson was reportedly pissed.

Okay. I added that last line.

Willie Nelson Arrested After Pot Found on Tour Bus

From ABC News:

Living country music legend Willie Nelson was charged with possession of marijuana after six ounces were discovered aboard his tour bus in Texas, according to a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman.

Nelson's tour bus pulled into a routine checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas -- approximately 85 miles east of El Paso -- around 9 a.m. on Friday. When an officer noticed a suspicious odor coming from the bus, a search turned up the marijuana, police said.

Wait. Hold the phone. Willie Nelson smokes pot????

Frankly, I'm shocked and amazed that they only found six ounces. Maybe that's why he was headed back to his ranch.

I bet when he found out he was down to only six ounces he started freaking the hell out.

Mickey Raphael, Nelson's longtime harmonica player,said "It's a damn good thing they didn't check behind the wood paneling of the bus. I mean, that thing will hold four or five kilos right there, and another six in the cargo area. Then there's all the weed we stash in our instrument cases. It's a little-known fact that we don't carry instruments with us - only the cases. Wink wink, nudge nudge."

Okay. I made that last quote up.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

To all residents of Destructoville...

You may now commence with the Christmas decorations.

That is all.


The Mayor of Destructoville.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prevents STDs, Too!

I love that fishing line boxes read very much like condom boxes.

Super strong.
Ultra sensation.
Strong. Thin. Sensitive.

10 pound test, indeed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA Has Airports By the Balls, Too

Regarding my previous post, I just ran across this little nugget from

The TSA points out that even if an airport decides to use a private firm for security, the screeners still must follow TSA guidelines. That would include using enhanced pat-downs and the full-body scanners if they are installed at the airport.

This, folks, is why I'm against government intrusion into every aspect of our daily lives.

Airports Have the Option to Opt Out of the Big Kabuki

From the Washington Examiner:

Did you know that the nation's airports are not required to have Transportation Security Administration screeners checking passengers at security checkpoints? The 2001 law creating the TSA gave airports the right to opt out of the TSA program in favor of private screeners after a two-year period. Now, with the TSA engulfed in controversy and hated by millions of weary and sometimes humiliated travelers, Rep. John Mica, the Republican who will soon be chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, is reminding airports that they have a choice.

Mica, one of the authors of the original TSA bill, has recently written to the heads of more than 150 airports nationwide suggesting they opt out of TSA screening. "When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees," Mica writes. "As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision provided by law."

In addition to being large, impersonal, and top-heavy, what really worries critics is that the TSA has become dangerously ineffective. Its specialty is what those critics call "security theater" -- that is, a show of what appear to be stringent security measures designed to make passengers feel more secure without providing real security. "That's exactly what it is," says Mica. "It's a big Kabuki dance."

Here's hoping that every airport in America will kick the TSA out.

iPhone vs. Android vs. BlackBerry

From C-Section Comics:

TSA Scans as Viewed from Across the Globe

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Bias?

Come on, Washington Times. There HAS to be a better photo of this woman than that. Like this one? Or this one?


Cars 2

My favorite thing about the original Cars - one of my favorite movies of all time - was its heart. This looks like it will be a really fun movie, but I'll certainly miss the heart that Radiator Springs provided.

Interesting also that Pixar is releasing two sequels back to back (Toy Story 3 and Cars 2) rather than something new. I hope this isn't a trend that continues.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ditch the Scanners and Look in Their Eyes

From The (a long excerpt from the story, but completely worth the read)

While North America's airports groan under the weight of another sea-change in security protocols, one word keeps popping out of the mouths of experts: Israelification.

That is, how can we make our airports more like Israel's, which deal with far greater terror threat with far less inconvenience.

Despite facing dozens of potential threats each day, the security set-up at Israel's largest hub, Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, has not been breached since 2002, when a passenger mistakenly carried a handgun onto a flight. How do they manage that?

"The first thing you do is to look at who is coming into your airport," said Sela.

The first layer of actual security that greets travellers at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport is a roadside check. All drivers are stopped and asked two questions: How are you? Where are you coming from?

"Two benign questions. The questions aren't important. The way people act when they answer them is," Sela said.

Officers are looking for nervousness or other signs of "distress" — behavioural profiling. Sela rejects the argument that profiling is discriminatory.

"The word 'profiling' is a political invention by people who don't want to do security," he said. "To us, it doesn't matter if he's black, white, young or old. It's just his behaviour. So what kind of privacy am I really stepping on when I'm doing this?"

Once you've parked your car or gotten off your bus, you pass through the second and third security perimeters.

Armed guards outside the terminal are trained to observe passengers as they move toward the doors, again looking for odd behaviour. At Ben Gurion's half-dozen entrances, another layer of security are watching. At this point, some travellers will be randomly taken aside, and their person and their luggage run through a magnometer.

"This is to see that you don't have heavy metals on you or something that looks suspicious," said Sela.

You are now in the terminal. As you approach your airline check-in desk, a trained interviewer takes your passport and ticket. They ask a series of questions: Who packed your luggage? Has it left your side?

"The whole time, they are looking into your eyes — which is very embarrassing. But this is one of the ways they figure out if you are suspicious or not. It takes 20, 25 seconds," said Sela.

Lines are staggered. People are not allowed to bunch up into inviting targets for a bomber who has gotten this far.

At the check-in desk, your luggage is scanned immediately in a purpose-built area. Sela plays devil's advocate — what if you have escaped the attention of the first four layers of security, and now try to pass a bag with a bomb in it?

"I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is 'Bombs 101' to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, 'What would you do?' And he said, 'Evacuate the terminal.' And I said, 'Oh. My. God.'

"Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let's say I'm (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let's say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, 'Two days.'"

A screener at Ben-Gurion has a pair of better options.

First, the screening area is surrounded by contoured, blast-proof glass that can contain the detonation of up to 100 kilos of plastic explosive. Only the few dozen people within the screening area need be removed, and only to a point a few metres away.

Second, all the screening areas contain 'bomb boxes'. If a screener spots a suspect bag, he/she is trained to pick it up and place it in the box, which is blast proof. A bomb squad arrives shortly and wheels the box away for further investigation.

"This is a very small simple example of how we can simply stop a problem that would cripple one of your airports," Sela said.

Five security layers down: you now finally arrive at the only one which Ben-Gurion Airport shares with Pearson — the body and hand-luggage check.

"But here it is done completely, absolutely 180 degrees differently than it is done in North America," Sela said.

"First, it's fast — there's almost no line. That's because they're not looking for liquids, they're not looking at your shoes. They're not looking for everything they look for in North America. They just look at you," said Sela. "Even today with the heightened security in North America, they will check your items to death. But they will never look at you, at how you behave. They will never look into your eyes ... and that's how you figure out the bad guys from the good guys."

Sometimes we're so busy trying to look clever that we miss how stupid we are by unnecessarily inconveniencing everyone.

I Have No Words...

Monday, November 15, 2010

You've Got a Friend in Meat - or - Why My Son Will Need Therapy

I think I've found what I'm getting my boy for Christmas:

"My First Bacon" plush toy. He even says "I'm bacon!!!"

Star Wars Weather

Do yourself a favor: click over to this page of dashboard widget screenshots from various Star Wars planets and locations.

My favorite, by far, is Alderaan:


What Could It Be Now?

Apple posted this image on the front of their website this morning:

This is exactly why I love Apple. Who knows what they've got up their sleeve? Not I. I haven't even a clue. The announcement relates to iTunes, so new hardware is out.

My immediate guess is the Beatles catalog. But that's just the go-to response. I don't really think that will happen any time soon.

My second guess is Facebook integration with Ping. But an announcement I'll never forget? Hardly. Unless Apple has bought Facebook. But that's pretty unlikely.

My third guess is streaming video on demand a la Netflix. This would coincide with the opening of Apple's new data center in South Carolina (olr one of the Carolinas - I don't actually remember).

And my fourth guess is unicorns for everyone!

I guess we'll just have to wait 24 hours to see...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Freaking Hate the Freaking Houston Freaking Texans

I've been a Houston sports fan for a long time. I've suffered through the Oilers. I've suffered under Dom Capers. I've agonized over David Carr. I've watched teams - more than once - overcome 30+ point deficits to come back and win against us. I was there when Vince Young came into our house and made us look downright silly by marching untouched up the middle of the field into the endzone.

But this may well be the dumbest play in Houston sports history.

Memo to Glover Quin: You catch the ball, moron. You always want US to have the ball. Don't bat it down. Don't block it. Always, always catch the ball if you can.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out of Touch with Reality II: The Denial Strikes Back

From the Wall Street Journal:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has the “overwhelming support” of fellow Democrats in her bid to become minority leader in the next Congress, and says she’s not to blame for the Democrats’ mid-term debacle.

“We didn’t lose the election because of me,” Ms. Pelosi told National Public Radio in an interview that aired Friday morning. “Our members do not accept that.”

Instead, the California Democrat attributes the loss of at least 60 seats to high unemployment and “$100 million of outside, unidentified funding.”

“Any party that cannot turn (9.5% unemployment) into political gains should hang up the gloves,” she said.

Memo to Nancy Pelosi: It's. Because. Of. You. That. Unemployment. Rates. Are. Still. At. 9.5%.

And how, exactly, do you turn 9.5% unemployment rates to your favor when you're the party in power?

Everyone (else) knows by now that the reason the Democrats lost big is because of all the crazy-ass things you so brazenly shoved up our asses in the last two years, such as Obamacare and break-the-bank deficit spending.

Man up and take the blame, you crazy, delusional bitch. Or at least get some therapy. I bet we'll have to pay for that, too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Garfield Is So Not Funny That's Just Not Funny

From Reuters:

The creator of the widely syndicated comic "Garfield" has apologized for a strip that ran on Veterans Day that some critics saw as making fun of the holiday honoring those who served in the U.S. military.

Although some others said they doubted creator had such intentions or that they didn't read the strip the way the critics did, Davis issued a statement apologizing.

"Please accept my apologies for any offense today's Garfield may have created. It was unintentional and regrettable," the statement said.

I'll tell you what's regrettable... that Garfield and other such "classic" comics are still published. Garfield hasn't been funny in almost 20 years. Crap comics like this take up valuable space that could go to comic strips that are actually funny. Garfield was one of my major influences when I was developing my artistic style, but as a comic strip, it should've been retired a looooong time ago.

And by the way (and just to stir the pot), I feel the same way about Peanuts.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Galaxy Tab

From the Wall Street Journal:

After seven months of unchallenged prominence, Apple's hot-selling iPad now has its first credible competitor in the nascent market for multitouch consumer tablet computers: the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The Tab is being introduced over the next week by three major U.S. wireless phone carriers at $400 with a cellular data contract, or at $600 with cellular capability but no contract. The iPad starts at $499 for a Wi-Fi model with no cellular-data capability or contract, and is $629 for the least expensive model with cellular data capability but no contract.

The Tab has a 7-inch screen versus the 9.7-inch display on the iPad. That may seem like a small difference, but the numbers are deceptive, because screen sizes are always described using diagonal measurements. In fact, the actual screen real estate on the Tab is less than half of the iPad's.

I love my ... er - Kristi's iPad. It can get a little heavy when holding it for long periods of time in one hand, but the screen size is perfect by my estimation.

But what makes the iPad simply amazing to me is how quick and smooth it is, and of course how intuitive it is to use. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my two-year-old knows how to use it fluently.

Any competitor to the iPad using a smaller seven-inch screen is going to have an uphill battle in a side-by-side comparison to begin with. But to make up for it, they'd better have a really quick, easy to use operating system. Is Android it? I don't know, but I can't wait to get my hands on one of these to try it out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mystery Missle

From CBS News:

Hooooly crap.

But wait? Is it just a contrail from a jet?

From the New York Post:
The mysterious vapor trail spotted off the southern coast of California was “more likely caused by an airplane than anything else,” a senior military official told Fox News Channel Tuesday, though another official said authorities continue to investigate to rule out a possible missile launch.

The contrail caught on video by a news helicopter “was more likely caused by an airplane than anything else, because the other possibilities of rockets or missile are turning up negative,” the senior military official said.

I call bullcrap. Look at the video. If a plane made that, then it was on fire. You can clearly see flames shooting out of the back. But what's curious is that there's no word about where the missile went. Did it go into space? Did it fall into the ocean? How far did it go?

I see two major possibilities:

1. What we're seeing is a homemade missile that somebody launched. A homemade missile probably couldn't have gone very far and would've fallen into the ocean. But then who? And why?

2. What we're seeing is a missile fired - possibly accidentally - by the United States. If it was an accidental launch, it would have been detonated remotely over the ocean. And that would also explain why NORAD and the Navy are saying, "well, golly gee ... uh... we didn't have nuthin' to do with no missile..." If it was, as the analyst in the video speculates, a test firing to show our capability off to foreign powers by the president, well, that just seems a bit ... brazen ... doesn't it? "Hey! Looky what we can do! Check out our cool toy!" That doesn't make much sense because, after all, we've had these capabilities since the Cold War. Why show it off to Indonesia, of all people?

And there's another possibility:

3. What we're seeing is a foreign power demonstrating their capabilities to us. Maybe somebody parked a sub off of Los Angeles and fired off a missile just to show that they could. If that's the case, we'll probably never know about it, but it's the most scary scenario.

And there's this from CBSNews:
The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no further details.

"We can confirm that there is no threat to our nation, and from all indications this was not a launch by a foreign military," the statement said. "We will provide more information as it becomes available."

"Nothing to see here. Move along."

Yeah. okay.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas already at HEB

Completely Out of Touch With Reality

I laughed really, really hard when I ran across this video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi one week ago today:

And now reports re that she is not only planning on running for House Minority Leader, but that she actually believes that the ginormous beat-down the Democrats got last week had nothing to do with her. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, she said she had no regrets and that hers was a job well done.

Of course she has no regrets. She and Harry Reid and Barack Obama managed to brazenly push through more far-left wing agenda items in two years than the Democrats had had the stones to try in the previous forty combined. She knows damn well that in Washington it's really, really tough to turn back the clock and to get rid of legislation and bureaucracy.

But what I can't get over is just how deluded she is. Watch the video above. Holy crap.

I really hope that she does get elected House Minority leader. The Republicans need a whipping boy (sorry- whipping old lady just sounded weird) in order to keep public sentiment on their side as they try to dismantle what the Democrats have done. Her approval rating before the election (nationwide, mind you - they loooooove her in San Fran) stood at 8%. If Congress were a wrestling match, deep foreboding music would play every time she entered a room and she'd be looking for a chair to smack her opponent with when the ref wasn't looking. She's a villain, pure and simple. And right now, that's exactly what the Republicans need.

Monday, November 8, 2010

First Black President, My Arse...

He's obviously still got a lot of white in him. It's kinda embarrassing when George Bush has more soul than you do...

This Too Shall Pass

I can't help watching this video and wondering how many times it took to make all this happen in one pass, and how long it took to think all this up.


Thanks to Matt for passing it along.

The Anti-Green Revolution

From Advertising Age:

Green marketing, a movement so hot that not even a deep recession could kill it, is starting to show signs of consumer revolt. At the very least, it's a signal that green alone isn't enough of a marketing proposition; at most, it could signal consumers simply aren't buying the benefits of environmentally positioned products and brands.

Consumers are revolting because so-called "green" products often aren't what they claim to be. And more importantly because - just like "organic" - "green" products are most often priced 15-20% higher for no apparent reason. If companies were really serious about wanting to care for the environment and not just capitalize on a fad, their prices would be competitive (or better) than the non-green products that sit on the shelf right next to them.

When it comes down to it, people vote with their wallets above all. Make a cheaper "green" product that actually does what it says it does and people will adopt it in droves.

Poking the Bear

From the NY Times:

President Obama announced on Monday in New Delhi that the United States will back India's bid for a permanent seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council, a major policy shift that could aggravate China, which opposes such a move.

Nice. Piss off the one country that could literally shut us down if they wanted to by killing our economy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

AARP Members Are Getting What They Deserve

From Yahoo News:

AARP's endorsement helped secure passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Now the seniors' lobby is telling its employees their insurance costs will rise partly as a result of the law.

In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.

And AARP adds that it's changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law.

Hmmm. I seem to specifically recall a certain president saying that no one's medical insurance would be going up and that everyone's insurance would be going down.

And frankly, anyone who's still a member of AARP is getting what they deserve. There were clear signs over a year ago that AARP wasn't interested in what it's members wanted and that they weren't interested in listening to what their members had to say. They wanted to push this health care bill through. I begged back then for people to cancel their AARP memberships because they weren't being reperesented.

Those that didn't are getting this. Come on, seniors. Use your heads already and wake up. Quit. AARP. Today.

Stupid Lying Indian Journalists

From Google News:

President Barack Obama will not be protected by a vast armada of 34 US warships when he visits Mumbai this weekend, officials said, calling reports from India on security preparations "comical."

The claim that many of the 288-ship US naval fleet would be deployed to waters off Mumbai was "absolutely absurd," Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters on Thursday.

US officials usually decline to discuss details about security precautions for the president, but the media accounts circulating out of India were so off the mark that press officers at the Pentagon and the White House said they felt compelled to speak up.

"I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the
Navy -- some 34 ships and an aircraft carrier -- in support of the president's trip to Asia," Morrell said.

"That's just comical. Nothing close to that is being done," he said.

No denial, though, that the entourage is 3,000 people. Curious.

Friday, November 5, 2010

WTF of the Day

From NDTV:

Communications set-up and nuclear button and majority of the White House staff will be in India accompanying the President on this three-day visit that will cover Mumbai and Delhi.

He will also be protected by a fleet of 34 warships, including an aircraft carrier, which will patrol the sea lanes off the Mumbai coast during his two-day stay there beginning Saturday. The measure has been taken as Mumbai attack in 2008 took place from the sea.

THIRTY-FOUR WARSHIPS????????? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Are we declaring war on India or something?

Following the news that THREE THOUSAND people will be traveling to India for this trip at a cost of $200 million per day, it's starting to sound as if Obama and his staff and friends might be seeking exile. Somebody want to tell this guy that our country is broke, please?


My kind of weather

Oh, yeah.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Right vs. Left

Thanks to Sherri for sending this, even though she has no clue where she got it from.

And Here it Is in All Its 9-Minute Glory

November Rain

A couple of days ago, I started our morning music playlist at the house with "November Rain" by Guns 'n Roses, and I got to thinking about it.

I would say that November Rain is quite possibly the last great rock song. I say that because it was released in 1991, and shortly afterward, the music world seemed to split into segmented shards of genres. Straight-up "Rock" broke into Grunge, Alternative and Light Rock. All of a sudden, it seemed like the Rock genre underwent some kind of weird mitosis and just split into all these different things that weren't quite pure rock, but were interrelated. There's been some amazingly good music since then, but none that I would really classify as "rock" in the '70s and '80s sense of the word. Some have close. Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Velvet Revolver, Creed and Bob Segar come to mind. But even then, there was something - maybe a bombasticness - missing.

So I think that November Rain may have been the last true Rock song and that "Use Your Illusion" (I &II) were the last true rock album.


Awesome Video by David Crowder

This One Goes Out to Kristi