A light, airy, effervescent, blog of grave consequence. (NOT!) Dedicated to those of us who must respond to negative stimuli by Chernobyling (entombing in concrete) our innermost thoughts.

Location: Slaughter, Louisiana, United States

A semi-gruntled corporate reliability engineer trying to make ends meet while keeping my wife happy, and myself out of the asylum.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Mt. St. Who?

And another thing. I think that the impending eruption of Mt. St. Helens is a democratic plot to draw attention away from their candidate's debate performances.

Damn that Terry MacAuliffe.

The seven laws of finding the right niche at the right time

I just saw Deepak Chopra on TV. He is the chairman and CEO of OSI Systems. A company that makes many different products related to the security industry, medical electronics and optoelectronics. He was shilling for their machine that is capable of finding plastique in luggage using the two planes blown up in Russia a few weeks ago as a backdrop.

Website here.

I had a book of his loaned to me years ago. (I still have it.) ((I'm not too good with Thank You notes either...))

The book is entitled, "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams." It is an unassuming little tome of merely 113 5"x7" pages filled with insights like, "When we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe." and, "There is only one choice, out of the infinity of choices available in every second, that will create happiness for you as well as for those around you. And when you make that one choice, it will result in a form of behavior that is called spontaneous right action. Spontaneous right action is the right action at the right moment. It's the right response to every situation as it happens. It is the action that nourishes you and everyone else who is influenced by that action."

Ponder that mess for a minute and then try to imagine this company's mission statement.

How can you rectify this hippy-dippy guru-sage bullshit with an industry that ostensibly provides National Security-related capital equipment? It's the equivalent of Jane Fonda running the NSA. (Then again, that's still a distinct possibility at this moment, I guess.)

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round your car's back glass...

Anyone else notice the proliferation of those magnetic/clingy "Support Our Troops" yellow or RWB ribbons lately? Man. Since the town fair season opened up here those things are everywhere. I wonder how many people who are voting for JFK2 would actually have the nerve to put one of those on their vehicles? I guess it's just a bit too symbolically patriotic for me to believe that an aging hippie could ever adorn his ancient Volvo or microbus with anything in those colors saying that they actually support our military. (Spit on, maybe. But support? No.)

So, that leads me to wonder if these little $3 ribbons are actually being used as an underground sign that people intend to vote for W.

Maybe I've "misunderestimated" the average New Englander.

I hope so.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


I just saw a quote from someone wishing that reason came in a bottle. Here.

If it did, could that make smarter babies?

Oh look, violin strings...

A guy brought his truck to a friend of mine's auto shop the other day. He said, "I don't know what's going on, I just hear a loud bangity-bangity-bang whenever the truck is moving." My friend said, "Leave the truck and I'll see what I can find." That afternoon he took the truck for a ride and sure enough, bangity-bangity-bang as long as the truck was moving. So he brought it back to the shop, had lunch, and then put the truck on the lift to check underneath it. When he went under the truck to look for the source of the noise, he immediately had to run outside to keep from losing his lunch.

He recovered and called the truck's owner. He told him, "I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I found the source of the noise. The bad news is I also found your cat."

Seems that 'ol Tabby had taken to napping on the drive shaft with a paw through the U-joint. For lack of a digital camera I don't have pictures of this. The shop is now better equipped so if it ever happens again (riiiight) It'll be right here.

Yardbird with a side of crossfire

The unbelievably named duo of Jackie Lee and Harley Lee Shrader of Bluwell, WV (where else?), were obviously confused about which reality show they were auditioning for when they began cooking chicken and, after an argument over whose technique was more palatable, both pulled pistols out of their pockets and began firing at each other.

Then again, I suppose that could be the NEW Improved, Gangsta-themed Martha Stewart Program...

Baby needs a new pair of shoes

Good essay here on the proliferation of Indian Gaming and its actual impact on the lives of American Indians.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Finally. Cars you can love again.

I posted this on another site a few months back, but It's still relevant.

I've been looking at the cars of today and some of the new models scheduled for release over the next few years and it strikes me that we've finally gotten back to what our automotive culture should be.

I know there aren't too many people reading this that were born prior to emissions controls, but those days produced some of the most desirable examples of automotive excess in the US auto industry's history. Any of the hemi cars, the pony car wars, all of the other late '60's to '72 big blocks today carry nostalgia factors and price tags that boggle the mind.

I've closely followed the US car market since about 1980 or so. I've often said that there was nothing being produced that anybody would spend time and money on to restore in 20 or 30 years. I mean really. Who cares about a 1982 Camaro with a 140Hp 305 and enough emissions related vacuum lines to give a spider vertigo? It's difficult to follow the slide from Boss 429 to 150 HP GT.

What changed that caused this shift? Several things. From cheap economical imports, to gas shortages, to increasing insurance premiums, to high interest rates, to low quality and poor reliability. All these things combined with Detroit's belief that it would be king forever brought down the American automotive marketplace.

Recently however, we're starting to see a resurgence of several of the things that formerly made our cars great. Power. More is becoming better again. Mustangs are around 300 stock. The F-body is dead, but the GTO is around 350, the Magnum/300C push 345. Even the new genre of "tuner-mobiles" start in the mid 200's. Speed. Several of the new models are capable of turning 13.9 or better in the quarter stock. (Try that with an '85 firebird.) Reliability. You no longer need to know anything to keep a decent car in good condition. (How many people have ever set the valve lash on a solid lifter motor like the ones that made all the power in the 60's?) The best thing about this resurgence is that the new cars also get 20++ MPG and are emissions friendly.

Now, I'm no longer wondering what are the cars that our kids will restore. They're here right now.

What I'm wondering is what's next? Will the industry continue to push HP and speed through the roof? Or will our ever increasing insurance premiums and state-mandated reformulated gasoline prices combine with rising interest rates and a new influx of underpowered Hybrid weenie-mobiles to bring an end to our halcyon era and drag us into twenty years of boring cars?

I know what I'm hoping for, but sometimes it's difficult to keep the past from repeating itself.

That's gonna leave a mark

Some bonehead in Las Vegas killed his girlfriend last night and then jumped to his death off of Hoover Dam. The dam is currently closed to tourists. Hopefully they can hose it down and re-open it quickly as it is one of the bright spots in the Nevadan moonscape.

I'm getting dizzy

Christ. I'm listening to the news this morning there is so much pre-debate spin spewing from both sides I'm surprised no one has yet corkscrewed themselves into the set floor.

If you listen to either side, their candidate is a bumbling buffoon who can barely articulate well enough to out-talk Steven Hawking and the opposition candidate is a direct descendant of the unholy coupling of Cyrano de Bergerac and Christian de Neuvillette.

Anyway, W was underestimated by the Gore team in 2000, so Kerry's camp is trying to play up W's folksey, common-man approach as something that is a guaranteed advantage.

While W's team is effectively saying the same thing only in the, "Our guy is not as nuanced and classically schooled as our challenger and therefore he will just be himself, butchered phraseology, nookyaler, and all." vein.

Who gives a rat's ass? All I want to know is which of you is going to lower my taxes and kill more terrorists, preferably on THEIR home turf rather than mine.

Dammit, Kenneth, We need a good Hurricane

CBS Evening News ratings have been about halved since the memo-gate debacle.

I stopped watching network news 15 years ago. So the only thing surprising to me is how many viewers the national network news actually did have.

Even though Rupert Murdoch is not exactly a Bush fan, I'm sure the lefties still believe that the whole CBS fiasco was orchestrated by Karl Rove to throw more people to FoxNews.

Monday, September 27, 2004

He got him with the Pope-a-Dope

Dozens of people were involved in a fistfight at the church of the Holy Sepulcher today after Greek Orthodox and Franciscan priests couldn't agree whether one of the shrine's doors should be open or closed during a procession.

Link here.

Oh Ye of the Grandiose Pomposity, shouldn't you be worrying about the state of openness of a couple of ethereal gates rather than whether the Big Daddy will love you more because you decided to aerate his burial chamber?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

At least we got the bastard this time. (Too bad we couldn't get his lawyer.)

A former Guantanamo detainee who was released and returned to Afghanistan, was killed today and found to have been a leader in the Taleban.

Story here.

From now on, any prisoners that are released are to be accompanied back home by their attorneys.

Caution: Repeated exposure to hurricanes may cause brain damage.

Now this is comedy. Lots of people who were complaining about the Florida government and weather service's inability to appropriately predict the future apparently decided to stay at home for this latest blast rather than obey the evacuation orders. Now they're all stuck, cold, wet and afraid and are begging Jeb's people to come to their immediate rescue. The state, for its part, is effectively saying, "Who, me? Go out in this weather? I'll see ya in a couple of days."

These nerds will probably sue the state for not saving them from themselves. It's no wonder I'm starting to think we need to have an aptitude test for voters. (Especially in Florida.)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Guns don't ruin industries, Lawyers ruin industries.

Just caught this on

Bushmaster firearms, the manufacturer of the rifle that the two whack-jobs that committed the D.C. sniper attacks STOLE prior to going on their spree, was sued by a hard left anti-gun jihadi group. The Company decided to settle rather than defend itself because the litigation would have outrun its insurance coverage.

That's friggin' great. Hey, ya think Bill Clinton can sue McDonald's for attempted assassination for serving him burgers even though he was obviously at risk of a heart attack? Maybe they thought that flab under his raincoat was actually an intern?

Awwwww. Don't hurt the pwetty shark...

Well. An actual great white shark is floundering around off Cape Cod and the activists are out in full force protecting the defenseless creature. Local authorities say that swimming might be safe in other areas of the Cape. Perfect. That'll keep the tourists in the water...

"YeeeHaw!!" Splash. "Maw! Lookit me! Ah'm a fount'n! Hey, what's that dunh-dunh music ah heer? Aauuuggghhh! Glub-glub-bleed-shred-render..."

If we're lucky, maybe "Jaws-The Next Generation" will help himself to an activist or two.

Oh. And one more thought. Sail-boarding anyone?


Here's a sample of a few political cartoons of the last while.


Ted Rall

Thanks to MEMRI and Ucomics for the links.
Ted should start scribbling for the arabic press. The pay's not as good, but that shouldn't matter to someone who obviously believes (if you look at his other work as well) that Islamic dictatorship is superior to the democracy that allows him to be published.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Do teachers use this crap instead of actually teaching?

I'm home sick today and while I am fiddling on the 'puter I have the TV on for background noise. I left it on The Discovery Channel because I figured there might be something interesting on. I'm in the middle of a preachy show called, "Assignment Discovery." It seems to be aimed at high school science teachers who are too lazy to do any actual research and teach their classes themselves. Here's a link to this week's programming.

This show is guilting kids into believing that the "Industrialized Nations" are responsible for rising tides and bad weather and wildfires and any other isolated event taken out of global historical meteorological context. (And some ignorant moustached bastard just compared "global warming" to the war on terror while standing in front of ground zero. That's nice.)

There is no rebuttal of any of the fear-mongers' claims from sources such as Bjorn Lomborg, a former member of Greenpeace who, using his knowledge of statistics, thoroughly debunked the "global warming" alarmists in his ultimately researched and noted book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist."

Lomborg started researching this book to put together a treatise proving global warming was occurring because of the state of mankind today and was unable to deny the facts that his statistical analysis pointed to.

Industrialized societies are, through research and engineering, improving our ability to conserve the natural resources available on this planet. Our emissions levels continue to decrease because of laws and governmental oversight. The result of this emissions reduction has actually been an increased death toll. For example, the ever more stringent CAFE regulations foisted upon the auto industry have resulted in the production of smaller, lighter cars. These cars are much more likely to cause mortal injury to passengers in accidents because their lighter weight and reduced strength don't protect passengers as well as a larger car that might get two fewer MPG.

So, parents, when your children come home from school and chide you about the SUV you're driving, make sure to go out and purchase them an Insight or Prius. Then, statistically, they will be less likely to survive to be old enough to vote without understanding ALL sides of an issue.

Gimme back MY money!

The next phase of President Bush's tax cuts was passed yesterday. Here is the list of legislators who voted AGAINST the continued tax cuts. (Surprisingly, (er...not), Massachussettes was the only state which had the MAJORITY of its Congressmen voting to keep more of your hard earned money.)

List of Representatives voting to keep your money by state and party afflilation:

Nay : 65 Members
Marion Berry (D-AR)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Lois Capps (D-CA)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Fortney Stark (D-CA)
Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
John Larson (D-CT)
Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
John Lewis (D-GA)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
Jesse Jackson (D-IL)
Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Janice Schakowsky (D-IL)
Baron Hill (D-IN)
Peter Visclosky (D-IN)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Edward Markey (D-MA)
Marty Meehan (D-MA)
Richard Neal (D-MA)
John Olver (D-MA)
John Tierney (D-MA)
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
John Conyers (D-MI)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI)
Betty McCollum (D-MN)
James Oberstar (D-MN)
Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN)
Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Gene Taylor (D-MS)
Robert Andrews (D-NJ)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Major Owens (D-NY)
Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Robert Brady (D-PA)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Paul Kanjorski (D-PA)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Jim Cooper (D-TN)
John Tanner (D-TN)
Bobby Scott (D-VA)
Norman Dicks (D-WA)
Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rick Larsen (D-WA)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
David Obey (D-WI)
Alan Mollohan (D-WV)

Notice anything interesting about that list? These nerds need to GO AWAY. My paycheck is not theirs to use like a giant socialistic wealth redistribution system.

Thanks to for the list.

Maybe a belt would help?

An Indiana father is angry at his 12 year old son's school for duct taping the kiddy's oversize pants around the waist so they stayed up. Sagging pants being in volation of the school's dress policy.

Full Story Here.

The father says he is worried that his son would be mocked by his classmates.

Hey Mr. Master of the Obvious. Take my word for it. If you're letting your 12-year old go to school with his gangsta-style pants riding so low that he offended the faculty, the kids are ALREADY mocking him.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sears Roebuck

Anybody else remember riding with your parents to the Sears-Roebuck Catalog pick-up store when you were a kid?
I remember the Sears Christmas catalog coming in the mail and how we kids would all pore over that thing like archeologists on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Now that the malls and home improvement super-stores have taken over, I wonder if there are any of the old catalog stores left?

American Politics: The New Cold War

I'm currently reading "We Now Know, Rethinking Cold War History" by John Lewis Gaddis. I'm only 27 pages in and the prescience contained in the book is already startling.

Here are a few amazingly relevant passages:

  • "The Western democracies sought a form of security that would reject violence or the threat of it: security was to be a collective good, not a benefit denied to some in order to provide it to others. Stalin saw things very differently: security came only by intimidating or eliminating potential challengers. World politics was an extension of Soviet politics, which was in turn an extension of Stalin's preferred personal environment: a zero-sum game, in which achieving security for one meant depriving everyone else of it. The contrast, or so it would seem, made conflict unavoidable."
  • "...Stalin's tendency, when confronting the prospect of insecurity, (was) to try to redesign the future rather than admit that his own past behavior might have contributed to the problem in the first place."
  • "...psychologists know how tempting it can be to excuse one's own actions by invoking situations, while attributing what others do to their dispositions."

I'm not going to proselytize with these quotes. People will take from them what they bring to them. I just think that this is going to be a phenomenal book.

Uncompassionate Conservatism?

Rod Dreher, an editorial writer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News published an interesting column about a difficult subject on August 29, 2004. Here is a link to the entire article: Registration required.

Mr. Dreher's point is, in cutting the state budget to compensate for a huge revenue shortfall, the state republicans have eliminated some publicly funded programs, specifically CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program), that, because of their ability to help hold families together in times of crisis, were worth more than the strict adherance to the mantra of "No New Taxes."

He makes good points about the hard-working, but temporarily under the weather recipients of public assistance.

  • " A society that pushes struggling families to the wall and that denies minimal health care to children who had nothing to do with the circumstances, is not a good society. It is a society that attacks the family and calls it conservative virtue."
While I understand this sentiment and agree that the Child Medical Insurance plan may not have been the best place to start budget cuts, I have to wonder what can be done in any circumstance to reduce the level of reliance on governmentally sponsered social welfare programs.

How did the unfortunate and displaced survive prior to the introduction of public assistance? I believe that charity was once the domain of Churches and neighborhoods. Unfortunately for all of us, in our rush toward a Godless society, we have lost much of our faith and sense of community so there is little aide available from these formerly trusted sources.

Most conservatives would agree that typically administered social welfare programs do not reinforce the value of a stable nuclear family. The replacement of a father-figure by a government check is a documented result of the last 40 years of welfare.

What method of choosing families that are deserving of assistance could be used by a state government that would not result in cries of "Discrimination" from one corner or another? Or, asked another way, how can the abusers of public assistance be removed from the roles so that the program can be administered in good conscience? That is not a question that any politician who might ever run for re-election would answer.

So, there we have it. The true problem is not that republicans cut the budget and displaced some deserving families. The problem is a societal unwillingness to confront the nanny-state head on and modify the programs that are being abused. Until we stop saying that everyone is just as deserving as everyone else, everyone loses.

Oh yeah but Bush's Medicare "cuts" are hurting the disabled..

Where does one shop for a teal-green tent in that size?

Maybe they could be assigned a cell next to dad's?

I don't really have much to say about this one.,0,600351.story?coll=ny-li-span-headlines

Man is charged with stabbing wife to death.
CPS removes his three kids (ages 5,3,1) from his custody.
Man sues to have custody of kids granted to his mother so he can remain in contact with them.
Court says it must act in the best interests of the children.

How will that first conversation go?

"Do you love me Daddy?"
"Yes, dear. Very much. It was that b*tch mother of yours I couldn't stand."

Trimming the Hedges

Well. We've got our own Scott Peterson style killing up here now.,1,2361800.story?coll=hc-headlines-local
(Link required free registration.)

This one is probably more difficult to fit into my abortion theory, but I'll try. (I can't justify the killing of the mother in this case as the infant was 4+ months AB (after birth) at the time of the procedure so, since the father confessed, there should definitely be charges brought in that case.

The crux of my argument hinges on the fact that both sides of our raging abortion debate hedge. The anti-death side will generally concede that in matters of grave consequence to the health of the mother or possibly in the case of rape/incest etc. that an abortion, while abhorrent, may be performed. While the pro-death side arbitrarily defines life as whatever point the mother feels good about keeping the child.

Why not stop pussy-footing around it? Either there should be no abortion for any reason whatsoever, or you should be able to abort your children up 'til the age they reach legal majority as defined by the states. (Talk about incentive not to be a dumbass.)

So, in this sense, either this was a brutal double killing, or a brutal murder and a legal abortion.

Make up your mind people, you can't have it both ways.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Two's Company...

Scott Peterson. S.T.F.U. already. I am so sick of hearing about that jackass and the latest "Trial of the Century". I was SOOOOO hoping that Kobe would get on with it in Colorado just so it would give the media ANYthing else to babble about.

Are any men in America paying attention to this trial?

And another thing. California. Of all places, California has a law on the books that says that a foetus can be counted as a murder victim? How can the feminists sleep at night? Shouldn't they be standing up for Mr. Peterson as the ultimate excersizer of "choice"? OK, so he was a bit overzealous in the manner in which he performed the abortion, but shouldn't this be an unlicensed physician/mal-practice case rather than a double capital murder?

An Honest Day's Work...

I've been hearing lately that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) is causing secondary schools to drop trade/shop classes in order to focus more energy on improving children's three R's. (Read: They have to teach the standardized test so the kids can pass it and the school can keep their share of my taxes flowing from the feddle gummint's teat.)

Having my son in a local trade school, I can attest that the schools are definitely doing whatever they can to eliminate the bell curve as required by the NCLBA. Academic cycles have been enhanced and shop cycles have been shortened to compensate. It's a bit early in the year, but I am starting to see what is going to happen. Young men and women who have decided to pursue a career that does not involve meeting a rich spouse while obtaining a useless Bachelor of Arts degree at an IV League school paid for by their parents' retirement savings are being shortchanged. They will no longer be receiving the necessary hours of instruction and training required to make them even minimally proficient at their chosen trades. This will, in the long run, cause them to have more difficulty finding an employer who will be willing to spend the time and money required to bring a sub-entry level skilled worker up to entry level proficiency.

This is backwards for two reasons. First, WHO'S GOING TO MAKE THE STUFF WE BUY IF THERE ARE NO SKILLED HANDS TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT? I know, everyone is complaining that all the jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that the number of jobs being outsourced is far outnumbered by the actual number of jobs being created by this economy. (And I'm not talking about, "Would you like fries with that?" jobs.) The capital investment made by corporations that are seeing improved cash-flows because of the Bush tax cuts is purchasing and installing equipment that requires skilled technicians to operate and maintain.

Second, I know that the NCLBA is a bit of "Compassionate Conservatism". (Read: What you can say about a social conservative who spends my tax money like Ted Kennedy drops singles in a nudie bar.) The funny part is, by requiring kids who probably don't have the best aptitude to be taught academics like a college prep class, the republicans are risking driving the little devils into the camp of the academic left.

Eventually, if shop/trade education is cut back to the point that everybody is required to aspire to a college degree, there will be that many more impressionable youths subjected to the horror that is the tenured hippie. Some of them will make it through school without being beaten to the point of political submission but many will cave to the pressure and start a life long leftward drift. Are we willing to take that chance?


About three months ago, my wife and I were involved in a wreck, caused by a drunken teenager who chose to run a stop sign at a somewhat inappropriate moment. The BS I've had to go through in dealing with the bank, the GAP insurance, and the assailant's insurance company in order to get my damned car paid off has been nightmarish. I'm putting together a list of things to know that I hope will help other people expedite the reimbursement process if they ever total a car. I'll post it when it's completed.

Say Wha...?

Just had a conversation with a co-worker. She was lamenting the fact that a relative of hers, who is serving in the Marines, has just been posted to the "Front Lines" (her term) in Iraq. I said I was proud of him. She said that it was horrible that this kid, who must be a bit learning disabled because he never went to college and decided to join the military, has just reached the "end of life".

I've got to ask for a bit of clarification to see if she thinks everyone who joins the military, or doesn't go to college is learning disabled.

Since my son is in trade school and is looking to enter the service after graduation, I'm thinking I ought to be offended. But then again, she is voting for Kerry.....

First Post!!

Man. How lame am I. I had to start my own freakin' blog to be able to get one of those posts in.

Anyway, I'm reasonably sure no one cares about anything I'm saying, but by Christ, I'm going to say it anyway. There's only so much internal shrieking one can do before one develops a need to be committed to a padded cell for an extended period.

So, now my shrieking will become external.

To anyone who accidentally stumbles by this page, "Welcome."

Hopefully (for everyone) this will get better as we go.