Saturday, February 18, 2006

More Proof of Global Warming

Hi All!

Was nice and toasty under the down featherbed when the call came. My kid was driving the Trooper (amusingly referred to by him as "his car" when it runs and "your car" when it's broken down) on Rice and 36 when there was a cold-related engine crap out.

To make matters much worse, he had 2 Red's Savoy pizzas for our late dinner.

I got dressed and fetched him and the pizzas were too damned good to taste bad. My word that's good pizza. Best in town. The place will probably shut down with the smoking ban smoking their bar business, but the pizza might save them.

So I got to thinking about global warming. I think about it alot. One can't help to, given the constant media barrage blaming everything from hurricanes to blizzards on this huge pile of "B" as in "B", "S" as in "S---"

How dare we be so arrogant to believe that we can change the climate? We are little tiny bugs with a short shelf life in the continuum of the earth's -- God's -- timeline.

I dare say we have pushed ourselves closer to extinction, which will happen naturally in a million years, more or less, by the foolish sacrifices we have made at the alter of the false idol Mother Earth.

Cripes, what did the dinosaurs do to deserve their fate, eating trees, expelling CO2 from their breathing and creating poisoned air as their defecations ripened?

And they were much bigger than us little crawling organisms that aren't one billionth as hardy as ants.

Go ahead and buy this chicken little stuff. I'll keep my eye on Iran, Pakistan, Korea, China et all. Trust me, kind readers, if we all croak prematurely, it's gonna be from the global warming of nuclear explosives... Or the mass of hot air emanating from the false prophets of global warming doom.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Kuettel in Sports

Hi All!

For a couple of years, I have followed the career of Swiss ski jumper Andreas Kuettel, a not-so-distant relative.

The fellow is favored to medal tonight -- coverage starts at 7:00.

Who said that white men can't jump, let alone an actual Kuettel? Oh, that's right, I said that in a previous post. Glad to be wrong.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Plot Thickens

Hi All!

Not fair to keep you in suspense. Until technology gets to the point where you can verbally live-blog into a tiny recorder and have it converted to proper prose by plugging the deally into your PC, I will have to settle for reporting the past, which is just a thought, and is gone at every moment.

So, my boys play in a Roseville Basketball league, and they are pretty good (for white guys ;-)

I daresay their middle-of-pack squad could have dusted my 1974 Cretin Raiders Catholic Conference Champs (did you know that Paul Molitor was a great guard, but had to choose baseball as he was too small for college hoops?). True. But he was one of the best U of M intramural hoopsters of all time. That's Sparky for ya. The #1 pick of 1956 gene pool. May or may not have smoked ditchweed with him in dad's workroom in the basement of 201 Montrose Place. I think we did, but I "can't remember."

Anyhoo, I arrived at today's tilt less than one minute into the game, just in time to see an opponent take a free shot due to a technical foul.

I'd explain that to non-hoops fans, but it's too technical.

There must be a Guiness Record for quickest technical ever called in hoops histoirey.

Who done this dastardly deed? A defender put his hand on an offender who played for an Oscar by dramatically collapsing to the floor in anguish...until the technical was called, which miraculously restored the offended young fella to decent enough health.

At least that what I'm told.

I didn't see the flagrancy, I only saw the resulting free throws and marveled at how little time had run off the game clock.

I didn't need to ask who got the foul.

Wogsters don't get away with anything.


Bad Things Happen to Good People

Hi All!

It's a trite old bromide, but in some cases, not to be specific right now, it is all too painfully true.

I have never harmed anything larger than a cicada, which I snatched from a sheet that my mom had hung out to dry (remember when people DID that?) Put the poor thing in an empty glass Jif peanut butter jar with a few moth cristals, and soon this magnificent creature acheived immortality spiked with a hat pin to a cotton-coated bug collection mounting board, along with various colorful other fauna. I fancied the huge, Bell Museum quality cecropia.particularly.

Alas, immortality is brief. Somewhere along the line, the bug collection disappeared.

Still have the rock collection, the stamps, the coins, and back issues of Yellow Pages going back many years.... (I keed!)

Anyway, the not-so-fickle finger of fate has been shoved up our arse yet again.

This is what is called a tease. I will elaborate, or not. It is fiction, or not. All I can say, again, is James Frey made it up. I wouldn't need to.

Teasingly Yours

Friday, February 10, 2006

C S I Can't Take it Anymore

Hi All!

A bloody eyeball is scooped from a corpse's head and displayed with all the pulled up roots dangling from it.

What is obscene and objectionable? A skinned and butterflied young woman's corpse or a live bare breast?

I love CSI. It is a very good show. But they might be reaching a bit.

After the eyeball dig and the autopsy scenes I suddenly realized that, heck, I don't want to watch this nor do I need watch it.

I curled up early with PJ O'Rourke's "Peace Kills" and had a restful sleep.

This post is non judgemental, as I am conflicted about how much censorship, if any, should be exercised on the stuff impressional kids OF ALL AGES can watch.

It is more to me a case of hypocrasy where dead bodies can be done with what will, but live bodies and what they display or say are subject to restriction and admonition, if not criminal prosecution!


Guest Writer - Excellent!

Hi All!

I'm not sure I will leave this on the blog forever, but as I was composing a post to my Merkur Club listserv regarding the price of oil, a fellow named Harry King said almost all of it.

All that I would add is that we should allow Big Oil to spend all those profits on building domestic capacity. Screw the Caribou.

Here goes:

I apologize for contributing to this. I said I wouldn't, because I know the
mentality in question. And a person who is convinced he is a victem is
nearly impossible to convince he is not. But it has gotten so ridiculous,
I have to say something.

So, I would request and challenge folks to stop, and think for a moment.
Listen to what is being said with an open mind, rather than with an eye
towards making a counter argument. There is no point in arguing if you
aren't trying to learn something from the debate.

The opposite position of "the oil companies are making too much profit" is
one in which I recently found myself (and still do, for that matter). I
took a job with Ford a little over 5 years ago for a non-competitive base
pay, but a profit sharing opportunity that was 20% of my base pay. Well,
profits evaporated, and so did 20% of my salary. Blaming oil companies for
high prices would be analogous to me blaming you for not buying a Ford.
Demanding price controls would be analogous to the government FORCING
consumers to buy only Ford and/or GM products, and making used cars be
destroyed. This, of course, would be to maintain the status quo with which
employees had become comfortable.

So, how would you like that? You think domesitcs would be worth a crap if
they didn't have Japanese and Europeans to force them to be competitive?

The price of oil is set by supply and demand. Economics 101. I've had a
few economics courses, I suspect not everyone has. In the case of oil,
demand has increased due to several things. Most notably, and recently, the
emergence of Asian economies, as discussed previously. When demand goes up,
two things happen. First, prices rise. Second, supply increases. In the
case of oil, it is about maxed out. That makes the price extremely
volatile, or suspect to canges in demand. As supply rises, a new balance is
met. At any rate, China has about 4 times the population of the USA. So if
even 20% of the population starts using more oil, it would be like adding
another US to the consumer base.

Anyone notice how quickly junkyards turnover their inventories nowadays?
Why is that? There is a LOT of money in scrap. Should we pass laws forcing
junkyards to keep their scrap longer because those of us driving Merkurs
depend on it? Not in my opinion - I'm happy these guys can make a little
more money right now. It is also driving newer ways of running junkyards.
You-pull-its are a lot more common than they were a few years ago, and their
pricese are dirt cheap. That is a direct result of the same thing driving
up the cost of oil.

Of course, another thing happens when demand increases. Consumers seek, and
providers develop, substitute goods. I'll get to that in a moment.

As for who is the problem: Saying you are not part of the problem is like
saying your vote doesn't count. If you stopped using oil, no one would
notice. But when 100 million people do, it is huge. How are you part of
the problem? You contribute to demand. How close was the 2000 election?

Taxes are not a means of profit control. They are levied after profit is
made. And this nonsense about corporate taxation is rather misleading. We
are talking about publicly traded entities. The overwhelming bulk of taxes
is paid by people like those of us on this board. We recieve a dividend,
which is added to our income, see form 1099-DIV.

Command versus market economies. Command economies have very stable prices,
but zero growth. There is no incentive for it, as distribution is
controlled by government, rather than consumers. Market economies have
volatile prices, but extreme growth. For example, when the Soviet Union
broke apart, a Russian company made a splash in a niche market here. Anyone
playing (electric) guitar in the late 80's/early 90's may recall the name
"Sovtek." They made amplifiers. Tube amplifiers. Because the Soviet Union
hadn't begun using transistors, which were invinted here in the 50's, yet.
We've been using them since the late 50's.

Government control of profits for the oil companies woudl drive these
multinational corporations out of the US, and we'd have NONE. That is
because command economies set prices, and ration goods. If a multinational
corporation can sell their commodity for $65 a barrell in China, or $10 a
barrell in the US, the US won't get a bit of it, and our economy will
flat-out collapse.

Now, you have the option of seeking alternate methods of transportation,
whether you are willing to admit it, or not. Bicycles, carpools, mass
transit, economy cars, etc. are options we can all pursue. Even minizing
trips, and running all errands at the same time. Many of us (myself
included) do not. Having lived in Atlanta at the time, I witnessed people
adopt this when the Olympics came. Everyone took Marta, everywhere, and
there were very few cars on the road. If that kind of thing happened,
demand falls, prices fall, and a new balance of consumption (demand) and
price is established. The fact that behavior hasn't changed large scale
means we can still expect higher prices.

And for clarification:
FBI - Federal Beureau of Investigation. They inivestigate domestic CRIMES,
not control prices. Making a profit is not a crime.
OHSA - Occupational Health and Safety Administration. They set safety
standards in the work place, not control prices. Making a profit is not a
safety hazard.
FCC - Federal Communications CrudidontrecallthelastC. They regulate
airwaves so a college radio station won't interfere with air traffic
control, causing a midair collision, and the death of a bunch of people.
Providing a dedicated channel to your favorite radio station actually helps
enable a profit.
Patents and Copyrights - they exist for the sole purpose of protecting an
entity's right to make a profit off of his/its invention.

Laws exist to protect people, not to prevent profit.

As for the accusation that everything is getting more expensive goes.....I
don't really even know how to reply. That is so far removed from reality
that I could probably write a book of examples showing the opposite. The
easiest example, to keep this car related, is Henry Ford, himself. He set
out to make an affordable car that everyone could afford, paid his workers a
wage that allowed them to buy one, and became the most successful
businessman in history to that point in time. True profit is in maximizing
the volume of goods produced, not minimizing it. Of course F-22's cost more
than a Curtis Jenny - the technology packed into them demands it.

Havinig said all of that, I am personally glad to see prices higher. As I
stated earlier, when prices get high enough, substitute goods become both
developed, and desired. George Washington Carver and Henry Ford pioneered
biodiesel from soy in the 30's. It wasn't economically viable, then. The
US has an abundance of corn (check out how much stuff has high fructose corn
syrup in it!). The Rockies have a lot of crude oil, as large a deposit as
Saudi Arabia by some estimates, in shale. To this point, extracting it
hasn't been economically viable, either.

I'm done,

So am I. Cheers!


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Wog Raps Rap

I hate rap. I have listened to all genre of music from Classical to County to Punk and everything in between. Even hip hop, reggae, funk and fusion.

I can find at least some appreciation and enjoyment in all forms of music.

Rap ain't music.

Rap is vile and disgusting noise.

Lord knows I've tried. My kid has dozens of rap cds in (my) Trooper and I try to listen when he generously "lets" me use it.

An aside: My adult kid drives my loaded, comfortable, mega-sound SUV. I drive a wheezy, clatttery Scorpio with no heat, that is as old (18) as he. Music wise, it has typical factory installed 18-year-old AM/FM. It DOES get better mpg than the Trooper, and with snow tires, I can almost get around when it storms.

I totally discount the "your dad didn't like your music either" argument. I WANT to appreciate all forms of music, and I stay relatively current in my tastes. For example I really like Gorillaz and I have totally flipped for The New Pornographers. Of course, my bedrock tastes are power pop, rock and punk. Ian Hunter and The Kinks are my all-time faves, to which can be added Blur from more recent history.

The Gorillaz weave tolerable doses of rap into it's fascinating multi-layered olio of musical styles and sounds. Prince has also tastefully infused some rap into his work.

In the previous examples, rap fits as an interesting interlude in a coherent work.

Pure rap "songs" are as musical as a fart caught in an endless loop.

I refer you to a piece that really hits the mark: As the Cheat Goes On


PS. "Modern Classical" as practiced by the likes of John Cage is not music either.