Wednesday, October 31, 2007

About Your Central Air Conditioning.

Most of you are not aware that my day job is with central air conditioning contractor in Tampa FL. I need to tell you about something that is coming up in the A/C industry in a little over two years which will effect you homeowners out there.

Currently, the vast majority of residential central air conditioners use a refrigerant called R-22. Some systems already use the newer, more environmentally friendly refrigerant called R-410a, but R-22 far and away is the most common refrigerant in homes.

Starting in 2010, a little over two years from now R-22 systems will no longer be available. Also, starting in 2010 the manufacturing of new R-22 will start to be limited until the only R-22 available by 2020 will be recycled refrigerant. This will cause repairs involving refrigerant for R-22 systems more expensive.

What this means for those looking for a new system today

If you need a new air conditioning system, it is recommended that you get the new R-410a system. In most cases the prices are comparable.

Most central air systems have two parts: in Florida the outdoor unit is a heat pump and the indoor unit is an air handler. You Yankees have a condenser outside and a furnace with a cased coil inside. If you have a system where one section is much older than the other, you may want to replace the older section before 2010. If either section of an R-22 system should fail in 2010 or later the only alternative would be to replace the entire system.

I'm not shilling for my employer. I don't think any of the folks who post comments here live in our service area, but I don't want to see any of my blogger friends get hosed by some shady contractor.

Post any questions in the comments; I'll be happy to answer them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Forget higher food prices, this is serious!

The demand for ethanol is raising the price of beer.

Fuel, aluminum and glass prices have been going up quickly over a period of several years. Barley and wheat prices have skyrocketed as more farmers plant corn to meet increasing demand for ethanol, while others plant feed crops to replace acres lost to corn.

This has put pressure on small independent breweries.

Guys, the reason why ethanol is so hot is because of the first presidential caucus in Iowa. Even in non-election years politicians visit Iowa years before campaign start to soften the ground, and all of them kiss the ring of the Corn Baal.

If Florida had the first caucus we'd be gassing up with OJ.

Taking the food we eat and the beer we drink and pour it down our gas tanks?

The Rich and the Dead

I'm storing my treasure elsewhere (Matthew 6:20).

Elvis Presley is still the King. Presley, who earned an estimated $49 million in the past 12 months, has reclaimed the No. 1 spot on's list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities. He last topped the list in 2005.

John Lennon ranks second with earnings of $44 million, followed by Charles M. Schulz ($35 million), George Harrison ($22 million), Albert Einstein ($18 million), Andy Warhol ($15 million), Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) ($13 million), Tupac Shakur ($9 million), Marilyn Monroe ($7 million), Steve McQueen ($6 million), James Brown ($5 million), Bob Marley ($4 million) and James Dean ($3.5 million).

Presley died in 1977. His estate continues to generate millions from music royalties, DVDs, licensing deals and tourism at Graceland, the rocker's mansion in Memphis, Tenn.

Forbes said the celebrities on the list, posted Monday, earned a combined $232 million in the past 12 months.

Chapter six water cooler

Heroes, Chapter Six: "The Line." Nice touch with the Do Not Cross tape right there. Not subtle, but I like it.

I jotted extensive notes for this one, and Ladybug and I spent major time rewinding the Tivo on some things. This is what I wrote down, roughly in order. (Highlight the blanks at your own risk!)

1. Oirish Lass wants vengeance. She's coming with Pete to track down Shocking Blue to "kill the bitch," apparently with the power of Celtic Spunk.
2. Meanwhile, Claire is rapidly becoming her daddy's girl - lying to everyone, planning revenge of her own against the petty cheerleader. I don't think Creep Out Boy is a good influence on her. "I can fly; kind of renders parental guidance a moot issue." Ooooh, he's an edgy rebel with good hair, kiss him!
3. HRG is getting mean with his mentor, KGB.
4. Sylar and the Black Oil Twins... "I used to be able to do amazing things." (Like eat braaaains.) "I wanna be special." I am getting SICK of the Reset Button. Come on, advance the characters! Ah, that's better, it looks like he's putting the moves on Lady Black Oil Mbazo. Alejandro no likey - smart lad.
5. Ha, even the translator is getting into the Kensei subplot! Ando makes him rewind the Tivo.
6. Oops, there goes that boat ride on the Danube. And the favorite flower. KGB overhears the phone call, tries to use it to force a deal. Hm, maybe HRG isn't a double agent after all - at least, not yet.
7. The Sylar Express just got snagged at the border. Go Citizen Patrol! Fred Thompson says hi, kids.
8. Midas wants Emo-hinder to give a modified virus shot to Copy-Catwoman. And - he won't! It's mean! He tosses a chair into the conveniently-completely-glass cabinet holding everything! So, I'm guessing he quits.
9. Lady Black Oil Mbazo is getting goopy ON PURPOSE with the Citizen Patrol. (Score one for Kate and Cullen.) In chapter seven, Fred Thompson retaliates by outlawing all mascara-based super-powers. John Edwards is immediately arrested and deported.
10. Snotty Cheerbabe v 2.0 is brown bagging? Hoo boy. (Wasn't this a Law and Order episode?) Writing the squad's weights on their foreheads with a Sharpie - hello, body image problems. What a tool. Claire and Creep Out Boy creep her out. Jeepers, that was mean. I wonder how COB knew about the drinky-drinky, anyway? How many windows does this kid peek into? This isn't "public embarassment," this could get her stuck in juvie. Way to go, Daddy's Girl.
11. OK, back to Kensei. They find the swordsmith, who is also a gunsmith. Duhn duhn duhn. They have a plan. Hope that Emohinder does too - Bob wants to talk. (Duhn duhn duhn.) Whoa, he apologized. He wanted a failsafe to stop rogues like Sylar.
12. Big Trouble in Fuedal Japan. Kensei can actually fight some. Hiro overdoes the teleport dealio. And.... Yaeko is quicker on the uptake than Lois Lane. Together we can break history! And KENSEI SEES THEM. Boy, never saw THAT coming, did we? (But how the hell did he get there so fast anyway?)
13. Alejandro is whaling on Sylar. (Also quicker than Lois Lane.) Maya breaks it up, Sylar tells Alejandro that he's gonna eat their braaaaains, or just corrupt Maya (some more). Hm, I wonder exactly how "no speaka de English" he really is. I kind of thought that he was just blowing off stoner dude in the jail. This could come back to bite Sylar in the tuchis.
14. Well, Claire's having second thoughts NOW - but she has her little reward, and her cover story, and her Creep Out Boy. Not liking either of them.
15. Or HRG. I would suggest that he's pounding the Reset Button, but I actually think this is different. He definitely turned a corner last season - he's mean for Claire now, which almost makes it worse. Wonder why the Haitian is letting him do this. KGB gives it up. Tells HRG he's going to go to Hell. "I know." Uh-oh.
16. Kensei's not happy. History is super busted. So is the back of Hiro's head. He sold them all out. Could he have found them, AND gone back, AND set up his little ambush in that short of a time? This bears some further thought.
17. Bob's bein' nice, Niki replaces Matt as the second half of the Emo Power Couple, and HRG finds the paintings - and this time I played freeze-frame spy:
1/8 was Nakamura's death
2/8 was too sharp an angle to see
3/8 a vial of something (possibly viral in nature)
4/8 Niki/Jessica trying to escape the Take On Me video
5/8 a zombie-lookin' Peter and a new character in the corner
6/8 Hiro and Kensei throwing down
7/8 Dude with a gun, just fired. I thought it could be Alejandro, Ladybug says it's Sylar. She's probably right, she usually is about stuff like this
8/8 dead HRG with Claire held by an unknown party
What does it mean? Good question. It took us 30 minutes to figure out this much.
18. Peter finds a message waiting for him. Great, more time travel crap. "We were right about the Company. The World is in danger. It's up to us - Adam." OK, first off - right about the Company being evil, or being reformed? And second, who's Adam? [UPDATE - SarahK knows! I forgot the file thing in Midas' office while I was jotting notes. I am not nearly as extra-ordinary as SarahK!] Peter bamfs Oirish to Times Square, Holocaust Edition. They find an Evac Notice dated June 14, 2008 (a Saturday, I looked it up). Yay still frame: "...because of deteriorating conditions, at some point evacuation routes may be [closed] and the remaining people at risk will be directed to a test...." A test facility? It was hard to read that word, it was right on the edge of the picture.
I guess they will throw down in real time at the end of the season - June 9th or 16th.

COMING ATTRACTIONS - wow, The Stand + 28 Days Later = Heroes Season Two. AHA - painting five is actually Peter looking into a window that has a biohazard sign on it in the corner. Still can't recognize the new guy. And then my scroll ran out so I don't know the rest, but all in all? Great episode. More please - kthxbai.

oh, PS - this is the 800th post here in the Hive. That is a lot of blather, even for me. Thanks to all for sticking with me!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's official

I am completely done with this sinus bugaboo. Finis. That's it. I've been pummelled into a smear. I can't breathe for more than an hour in any one position, so I can't sleep. My ears are clogged like I've been swimming since Tuesday. I sound like a Golden Girl. And since I caught this thing while ALREADY on antibiotics, there's nothing the doctor can do for me, except to recommend Sudafed - and thanks to the blessed meth heads, I can't get my hands on enough of that to keep things going.

See, Ladybug had this wretched thing too. I gave it to her last week, and she gave it back over the weekend. October has felt like a time-lapsed picture of highway traffic.

This is what it comes to: my wife came home yesterday from work with a goofy device that's designed to irrigate the nasal passages. It looks like... well, YOU tell ME what this ruddy thing looks like.

Don't stare too long.  It's horrifying.

Yeah, youbetcha.

Simple thingumbob, really - take some warm water, mix in one of the included medicine packets (it came with 50 of the things), and stick the business end of the teapot into one nostril. Bend forward, tilt to one side, and pour the solution up one's nose until it starts to drizzle out of the other nostril. (Really.) It's like a demented magic trick. You could go into a subway station and panhandle from strangers with this. You could be on Criss Angel's crappy show, except they would have to blur the spout for prime time audiences.

The secret is in the words 'sniff in any residual solution.'

Then one repeats the process with the other nostril. I guarantee you, you will NOT be as happy as ol' Janeane Garofalo looks. It's the funkiest feeling ever. But here's the catch - it works. (Nasal Enemas, Jerry - wave of the future!) I actually blew my nose and got results for the first time in a week. I stopped hocking up Play-Doh. My food tastes more food-like. As weird as the thing looks (especially in operation), I'm glad Ladybug bought it.

Let's hear it for the... umm... The Sneezinator? Mr. Happy's Teapot? Forget it, I'm stopping while I still have readers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chapter five cooler

Heroes time, kids! Brickbats, kudos, and other comments cheerfully accepted below. Be advised, however, that I'm not well today, so be sure not to drink out of my cup.

My own thoughts below.... highlight any blanks if you don't mind spoilers.

1. I'm getting a little motion sickness from Matt's and Emo-hinder's sudden character lurches - they argue about Molly, then they switch sides to argue each other's points. Go find daddy already, so we can get this plot going.
2. Flying Man joins the party. Good. This plotline really didn't have enough moody, self-pitying men in it.
3. Hm. Daddy could be the Big Bad after all. If he traps people in their dreams, then it's likely that Sulu would have seen him as his worst nightmare, not as his tubby balding self. Then again, at least Matt and Nathan are starting to deal with things.
4. I wonder what exactly caused the company to split apart like it did?
5. Ladybug says that Micah is her favorite character right now. He is getting a lot to do, and seems like the best-adjusted of the heroes.
6. Dig the jeet kun do! Girl is going to be boss in a few episodes. Hope it happens before gang boy decides that he doesn't like people who have seen him committing crimes. Will she snap out of it before he comes back and shoots her coworkers? I think the manager is toast. (The girl will escape to give her the "why didn't you do something sooner?" speech.)
7. Amnesia Peter's not getting any brighter, but he's getting luckier.
8. Oh, she PAINTS. Guess where this is going? (And how long before one of the other characters asks Peter to recreate any of Isaac's missing eight paintings?)
9. In the words of Crow T Robot... "There goes a stupid, stupid man." Would it have been so hard to say, "Yeah, maybe saw him once after the football. We get a lot of people in here, can't say I know him." But no, so Brother Dear is (literal) toast. Emma Frost is a meanie. And who is HER daddy?
10. It looks cold in Russia. No word from Claire, but Emo-hinder calls. "I'm on Molly's side." So... you bring her back to the people you rescued her from in the first place? I'm getting whiplash from the character lurches. I hope this makes sense soon. Bright side - no creepy stalker dude.
11. "The moment you give them what you love the most, they have you." Good advice, HRG - except I'll have to point out that it was THEY who gave YOU what you love the most. Still, it's good advice.
12. Brief Kensei update. Over/under on SarahK rewinds of this segment: five.

Take it away!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cashing in on the I-man

Kia Vaughn's lawyer says Coach C. Vivian pressured his client to drop her lawsuit against the dusty fossil.

But it's Coach C. Vivian's pastor who speaks the

Stringer's pastor, Rev. DeForest Soaries, said he attended a September meeting at the university with players, parents and Ancowitz, and that at no point did he or Stringer advise them to drop the lawsuit. That meeting was held before Vaughn dropped her suit.

Soaries said he'd talked with some of the players — although not Vaughn — and that they had been under the impression Imus would settle the suit quickly. He told them that might not be the case.

"It was important to me to counter the notion that this was a 'slam-dunk, never go to trial, we're going to settle and make a lot of money' situation," Soaries said.

Do you mean these virtuous maidens wanted quick cash? I'm shocked!

I hope one of them does sue the calcified relic, if only for my entertainment. I can see the I-man's lawyer asking for Ipods, CDs, concert tix and any other evidence that these vestal virgins paid cold cash to have men call them worse things than Imus ever has.

Welcome to the sidebar

Look around, there are new faces! Joining the Hive's roll call are Snark Raving Mad, Maggie May, I Can Has Cheezburger, and IMAO.

I Can Has Cheezburger is in the Pantheon, even if they never use my submissions, because I love cats and funny captions and I say so, that's why. IMAO, a group effort, went into the Pantheon due to its daily Fred Thompson Facts.

Fact - If IMAO's servers crashed and all the writers' computers were broken, a new Fred Thompson fact would upload itself.

Fact - Galactus doesn't have a herald to find new worlds, but to warn him if he gets too close to Fred Thomspon.

Fact - In chess, Fred Thompson cannot castle out of check... because it is impossible to check Fred Thompson's king to begin with.

You get the idea. Go read things.


By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers jet planes
Riding shotgun in the sky
Turning into butterflies
Above our nation.
We are stardust, we are golden
We are ten billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

-Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

A friend pointed out the obvious contradiction of believing that you are 10 billion year old carbon AND the existence of the Garden of Eden. Theistic evolution, or maybe too much ganga. Probably too much ganga.

Hippies used to say if you remember Woodstock, you weren't really there. Republicans say presidential contender Hillary Clinton can forget about getting $1 million in taxpayer funds for a Woodstock museum.

Clinton and Charles Schumer, Democratic senators from New York, want to earmark the federal money for a museum that would commemorate the 1969 music festival in their state.
"Woodstock Museum is a shining example of what's wrong with Washington on pork-barrel, out-of-control spending," said John McCain, Arizona senator and Republican presidential hopeful. An example, he said, of "the earmark pork-barrel spending which has made the American people disenchanted and angry."

Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, and Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, were trying Thursday to strip the Woodstock earmark from a massive health and education spending bill on the Senate floor. Democrats moved to kill their effort, but Republicans won a key 52-42 vote — seeping with presidential politics — signaling the Clinton-Schumer earmark would soon be gone.

Five Democrats voted against the Woodstock provision. So did old-school GOP members of the Appropriations Committee who had on prior occasions voted against conservative criticism of senators' earmarks.

"With all the pressing needs facing our country today, from entitlement reform to children's health care to the war in Iraq, the idea that the federal government should fund a museum that celebrates a 38-year-old concert is simply absurd," Kyl said.

I was all messed up on drugs till I found the Lord. Now I'm all messed up on the Lord.

Lawn Guy Land Ballcoach Beatdown..

...for benching his boy.

Two loutish Long Island brothers were arrested after they beat a baseball coach in front of the coach's son and the other terrified 11-year-olds on his team, cops said Wednesday.

Frank Basile, 48, and Roger Basile, 43, both of Bellmore, were charged with third-degree assault after beating coach James Edge so badly that he was taken to a hospital with a concussion and other injuries, police said.

"There were several witnesses there, including adults, who saw this guy (Frank) Basile go up and pummel the coach," said Sgt. Anthony Repalone of the Nassau County Police. "He didn't even have a chance."

Edge, 45, said the fracas at a Bellmore park erupted on Tuesday evening after he benched Frank Basile's son for swearing during batting practice.

"He's a great kid, but he has a foul mouth," the coach said.

Fly, tell me they are not your kin!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Da Knights

Rutgers used two fake kicks and a monster game from Ray Rice to beat USF 30-27.

Rice had been considered to drop out of Heisman Trophy consideration a few weeks ago after the Knights dropped two straight, but 181 yards against the #2 team in the country - who hadn't allowed a 100 yard rusher since Rice did it last year - may catch some notice.

Yeah, ok, he did fumble in the fourth quarter, but this is Rutgers. They can't win a big game without giving the Loyal Sons a heart attack first.

I really feel most sorry for Auburn, who is going up against LSU this weekend. As if they weren't motivated enough to win, the Tigers now know that they can move back up in the rankings.

PS - oh, yeah - Isles won too. Take that, uncle jim!

PPS - updated 12:50 pm - Kurt Snibbe of chimes in on Page 2:

I still prefer the old goofy-Knight mascot.
It kind of looks like Babe's big green cousin, pining for the fjords.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Half of New Jerseyans...

...want out.

About half of New Jersey residents wish they were living somewhere else, with most citing high living costs as the reason, a newspaper poll found.

Just over half of those who said they want to move expect to follow through on it, Gannet News Service reported.

Frederick Huffenus, a retired police officer, said he plans to move to North Carolina> as soon as he gets a heart transplant. He has one son already there and hopes his two children still in New Jersey will also make the move.

Follow me, my New Jersey brothers and sisters, and come to the light. The sunlight of Florida, that is. Some supermarkets are even selling scrapple.

Hurry, before Corzine takes everything you have!

USF Bulls are number 2!

And that's no BCS!

South Florida football coach Jim Leavitt isn't much for sentiment.

At least not for public displays of it during a game week.

Consider his response when a reporter asked whether, in a quiet moment, Leavitt ever finds himself amazed at the stunning rise of his program, which grew from dirt 11 years ago and is ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings with a legitimate shot at a national championship.

The Bulls (6-0 overall, 1-0 Big East) will put their highest-ever ranking on the line Thursday at Rutgers (4-2, 1-1) in a nationally televised game (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET).

I go past this campus every day on my way to work. The USF Bulls are so hot here that Bucs players are asked about them on their radio shows.

I am emotionally conflicted. I love USF, but how could I root against my alma mater? Would I survive if I showed up in a Tampa sports bar tomorrow night wearing my RU shirt?

The last RB to gain 100 yards on the Bulls D was RU's Ray Rice last year @ Tampa. I was @ that game and I wore my RU shirt in that stadium. RU won 22-20.

First pigeon poop, then cheerleaders, now winos

What do you expect when you start drinking at 9 am?

Three hours before the "Monday Night Football" game against the Dallas Cowboys, Chris Clark, a former Erie County sheriff who is now head of security for the Buffalo Bills, was making his pregame rounds.

"How's the crowd?" he asked two deputies.

"It's gonna get ugly," one of them predicted.

They should know. During a game last year, the officers had to leave their patrol car. When they returned, all four tires had been deflated and their car was littered with empty beer cans.
Unruly behavior at sporting events has been one of the most visible signs of the coarsening of American culture, but the NFL is in a league of its own. One reason is the sheer size of the crowds. The Washington Redskins, who lead the National Football League in attendance, draw about 90,000 fans per game, almost twice the average number of baseball fans at Yankee Stadium and four times the number of spectators at the best-attended National Basketball Association and National Hockey League games.

The other reason is tailgating. While television cooking shows tend to focus on the food, walk through most NFL stadium parking lots and the clear focus is on alcohol. And lots of it.

"The Twins fans come in and have one or two beers," said Marty Neumann, manager of The Little Wagon, a sports bar near Minneapolis's Metrodome. "The Vikings fans come in and have 10."

This article goes on to describe the bad places (Iggles games @ the old Veterans Stadium) and times (NY Jets night games are bad). Season ticket holders are better behaved because they have the most to lose (the team/league can take away their season pass).

One honorable mention: On two occasions I have tailgated and been in Alltel Stadium in Jax while wearing the opposing teams shirt and I was treated with kindness and when my team lost, with empathy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Al-Qaida... New Jersey?

Members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force are monitoring a number of north Jersey residents with ties to al-Qaida.

The agents have disrupted their activities and deported several.

Task force director Kevin Cruise tells The Record of Bergen County there are facilitators in the state.

Cruise would not describe any case in detail.

However, efforts to disrupt Osama bin Laden's network range from deportation to telling the suspects that they're being watched.

Cruise tells the newspaper his agents have no information about an imminent attack here.

The task force is conducting more than 400 counterterror investigations.

Fly, what's going on up there?

Water cooled, cooler filled

Heroes, season two, episode four... we are ready to go!

A few thoughts, in fabulous Spoiler Vision (where applicable):

1. Things are definitely picking up. Part of it (for me) is that people were much more likeable this time, even Mrs. Petrelli.
2. No love for the beard, even on TV.
3. Hah! Score one for the Fly - Midas IS one of the original twelve!
4. Whoa, Parkman Senior, Professional Bad Person.
5. Interesting. Apparently they liked Charlie's power so much they worked it back into the show. Along with Creepy Man-Child and gaijin Kensei, this is now a triple-double. This works for me. Why not have some powers that recur?
6. And we also have our first cockroach sighting of the season! Still don't know quite what that means, but one thing I know - Sylar's got the thing all great super-villains have, he's dangerous for reasons that have nothing to do with his "powers."
7. OK, I didn't hate the Mascara Twins this week.
8. Score one for whomever it was who said that Derek had boosted Claire's Nissan. (Though this week the show was sponsored by Saab, so clearly somebody's got to steal something else real soon.)
9. More later. You have a turn!

Monday, October 15, 2007

There's no atheist... a drunk atheist.

“At the end of the event as he staggered, sweating and red faced, out of the room, he [Hitchens] advanced on Father Rutler in a threatening and physical manner, screaming that this beloved pastor and brilliant scholar whom he had never met was ‘a child molester and a lazy layabout who never did a day’s work in his life’. His behavior was so frightening that a bodyguard put himself between Hitchens and Father Rutler to protect him. Several of the event organizers then escorted Hitchens to the men’s room and when he emerged he continued his psychotic rant, repeating the same calumnious and baseless screed as before. It was then that Father Rutler, in the most charitable manner, told Hitchens [for the second time] that he will `either die a madman or a Roman Catholic’. … Unless he faces his alcoholism soon, I am betting on the ‘madman’ ending for him.” (Private communication, name of source withheld by request, 17 September 2007)

Last May 1, Hitchens shows up at a debate about his "God Is Not Great" book and he was obviously sobriety deprived. Fr. Rutler called him on it.

I would have told Hitchens just about the same thing (without Fr. Rutler's brand loyalty).

Anyone trying to get sober without submitting to the One greater, well I wish you luck. As country singer Kenny Chesney would say, I've been there, that's why I'm here.

And it goes without saying that if James Dobson or Fr. Rutler went on a drunken screed against atheism you wouldn't have had to hear about it from me first.

Monsignor Larry Craig

How do you say "I have a wide stance." in Italian?

A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man says he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

In an interview published Sunday, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico told La Repubblica daily he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity."

I'm sorry, I don't believe him. But this is a reminder that your priest/pastor is a guy like us who has a sin nature like us. Speaking for myself, my pastor also has to put up with my Pferdkaese as well. So stories like this should remind us to pray for our guy.

Explaining Al Gore

Powerline Blog explains why the Nobel Peace Prize has gone to Pferdkaese.

In all seriousness, it is worth nothing an important difference between the peace prize and the other Nobel prizes. The Swedish scholars and scientists who make up the committees that award the science, literature, and economics prizes routinely choose honorees whose greatest work was done years, even decades, earlier.

He goes on to explain that this is why Nobel winners in other areas are very old. More:

By contrast, the Norwegian committee entrusted with awarding the peace prize comprises politicians, not scholars. Like politicians everywhere, the peace prize committee tends to be more interested in what the headlines will say today than in what historians will believe 20 -- or 100 -- years from now. And unlike their Swedish counterparts, the Norwegians often intend their choice to have a political impact. When they gave the prize to Jimmy Carter in 2002, the committee chairman emphasized that it was intended to be "a kick in the leg" of the Bush administration. This year's prize to Al Gore speaks for itself.

This also explains why this
guy got nominated.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I can has reading

It's not nearly as impressive a nerd score as Mr. Summers', but here it is. says I'm a Cool History / Lit Geek.  What are you?  Click here!

Notice that I got the possessive correct.

Friday, October 12, 2007

I need to throw up

OSLO, Norway - Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Friday for their efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it.

No word yet whether the award will be shared among the sizable percentage of skeptics on that Panel, whose names were affixed to the document endorsing global warming without their consent - or in some cases, their knowledge.

World leaders, President Bush among them, congratulated the winners, while skeptics of man's contribution to warming criticized the choice of Gore.

Guess where I found the skeptical criticism? About 20 paragraphs down. First I had to wade through scads of this:

For his part, Gore in a statement said he was " deeply honored ... We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity."

Apparently there is no Nobel Prize for Load of Hooey. Maybe Al can invent it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said global warming "may induce large-scale migration and lead to greater competition for the Earth's resources. Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world's most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states."

Perhaps this is how they justify giving a "peace" prize to a scientific theory - one, moreover, that is quite possibly a total crock. I also think that increasing the temperate zone could result in more land suitable for agriculture, which means more, not fewer resources, and therefore lesser conflicts over those resources. Finally, most of the wars of the past 100 years have not been driven by scarcity, but by ideology - exterminate the other, destroy the infidel, etc. etc. Well-fed armies aren't going to suddenly forget that they hate (fill in the blank).

It's doubtful the Nobel Committee could qualify for one of their own prizes.

There's more... under "Strong Reaction" on page 2 of the article, there's a leadoff quote from a columnist, followed by three hurrahs. Then there's an explanation of expanding the definition of "peace prize" to accomodate environmentalists and economists.

Why you wouldn't win a Nobel Prize in Economics if you were an economist is somewhat of a riddle. Solve it and you're eligible for next year's Peace Prize.

5 Ways to Deal With Drill Sergeants

My favorite was number four.

4) Stay under the radar
Too many recruits get to basic training and treat the process as if it is high school. The drill sergeants should not be thought of like teachers. In high school, many students try to impress the teachers and get on their good side. In basic training, the best thing for you to do is go without being noticed. If you are treated by your drill sergeants as a “go-to man” you are asking for trouble. By staying under the radar, you will avoid being a pushover and avoid special attention from drill sergeants.

I was volunteering for so much night guard duty so as to lessen the number of encounters I would have with the guys in the Smokey Bear hats that lack of sleep was becoming a problem.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Fraternity Chaplain?

Frat guys getting busted for dope at the U of Tampa is not news.

James Cocoliato, chaplain of his fraternity, was charged Monday with a felony and a misdemeanor for possession of 100 grams of marijuana with intent to sell. This arrest comes just 11 days after the arrest of another Pi Kappa Phi member, sophomore Aaron Cowell, who was also charged with intent to sell.

Today I learned that frats have chaplains. I also learned that at least one frat has a chaplain who also is a dope dealer. Maybe he's affiliated with one of those Native American peyote religions.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Forgive Me Fly, For I Have Sinned!

It has been five days since my last confession. (Of course evangelicals make confessions, maybe a little more informally than our Catholic friends.)

I am a racist/bigot/sexist/homophobe. I tried to change my ISP last week, and I was running into technical difficulties which later on I discovered was cause by customer support's inability to understand American English. I have no issue with outsourcing as long as I can get service. I haven't changed my ISP.

Today I called the Hillsborough County Clerk's Office to schedule an appointment to apply for a passport. The county employee whose job is to set these appointments could barely speak English. Hopefully I have that appointment.

As a believer I know I should learn Spanish to be able to tell more people about the Lord. But to have to learn Spanish to function in my own state and my own local government?

There is no problem. I'm just a racist/bigot/sexist/homophobe (or heterosexist).

Water cooler time!

Your Heroes discussion area is ready and waiting. As always, there may be spoilers in the comments, so click with caution if you haven't seen the episode - like me.

update - so, for example, when moving a comment from last week's thread to this week, you may not want to read that comment if, like me, you haven't seen the thing yet. =D

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nominee for Father of the Year

Hillsborough County deputies were busy yesterday.

When Reginald Cotton was pulled over for having too much windshield tinting on his car, he fled, leaving behind his two infants and a pill bottle filled with crack, deputies say.

Deputies shot Cotton, 30, with a Taser after a foot pursuit Saturday afternoon near U.S. Highway 301 and Sligh Avenue. He was arrested about 4:15 p.m.

When deputies looked into the car, they saw the children. When they searched under the driver's seat of Cotton's 1991 Chevrolet Caprice revealed a transparent pill bottle containing crack, an arrest affidavit shows.

He faces two felony counts of child neglect, a felony count of possessing cocaine with intent to sell and a felony count of driving with a revoked license.

Cotton, of 5711 N. 47th St., remains in Orient Road Jail, with bail set at $25,000.
There is no indication in a report what happened to the children.

Kind of a Drag

Poor dog!

A Hillsborough County deputy pulled over a Riverview woman this morning after noticing her dragging a leashed dog behind her pickup, officials said.

Maria Alvizo, 27, did not know the dog was tied to the bumper of the 1991 Ford F-150 when she left her home about 7 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

The dog died of its injuries.

The mixed-breed dog, known as Blacky or Junior, was a stray that Alvizo's family had been feeding since it was abandoned by its owner, the sheriff's office said. To keep the animal from following neighborhood children to the bus stop, Alvizo's mother tied the dog to the pickup in the yard about 5:30 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

The Alvizos have several vehicles, and the truck usually is not used. Alvizo decided to take the truck this morning because her vehicle wasn't working, the sheriff's office said.

She did not notice the dog and had driven three to four miles when the deputy stopped her, the sheriff's office said.

No charges will be filed, authorities said.

Riverview is south of Tampa, in a rural (cue banjo) area of Hillsborough County.


I was going to post on this, but Mr. Bingley over at the Coalition did it first and better.

Mel Brooks put Jews in space...

...but now we have Muslims in space.

MALAYSIA has come up with the world's first comprehensive guidebook for Muslims in space as its first astronaut prepares to go into orbit next week.

The book, Guidelines for Performing Islamic Rites at the International Space Station, teaches the Muslim astronaut how to perform ablutions, determine the location of Mecca when praying, prayer times, and how to fast in space, the Star newspaper reported.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Atlantic City Mayor AWOL

He may be seeking medical attention in an undisclosed location.

The U.S. Attorney's Office has launched a probe into Atlantic City Mayor Bob Levy, whose indefinite, hush-hush leave of absence on medical reasons has other officials and the public scratching their heads.

Authorities are trying to determine whether Levy's false claims to have served with the Army Green Berets in Vietnam were meant to boost his veteran's benefits, an official with knowledge of the case said Thursday. The official spoke anonymously because the investigation is ongoing.

In Levy 2005 campaign he played up his Green Beret status, but note this:

The Press of Atlantic City used military records that verified Levy was a 20-year Army veteran with two Bronze Stars and two tours of duty in Vietnam but was not a member of the Army Special Forces.

I wonder why Mayor Levy needed to embellish his very impressive record. If I were to lie about my military record that lie would resemble his real record. He needs our prayers; his country asked him to do some nasty stuff on our behalf and some of it doesn't go away.

For the record, I'm blind in one eye and can't see out the other. The Air Force, and later the Air Guard assigned me duties where I would not be able to hurt myself or others. My greatest military accomplishments would be eating German Shepherd on Guam (tastes like very salty surloin) and drinking beer on three continents.

Chin-chucking good

Today is Friday. In comic-blog-world, that means Bahlactus throws down with Friday Night Fights, and Chris Sims does the Week in Ink.

I've dug the ISB for a year or so now, and so it's only fitting to mark the occasion with a homemade boot to the craw:

Steal my voice for another character? TAKE THAT!
This is the inimitable Spike Spiegel crossing time, space, and my DVD shelf to clock Gin, the philosophic ronin from Samurai Champloo. Now, while it may make you sad that Spike would clobber a guy with glasses, just remember, he'd do the same to Vicious. The lesson, as always - don't let Spike Spiegel catch you walkin' around town with a sword, unless you like the taste of kick.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Death of Adulthood

I'll let my Catholic friends take a crack at this.

Angel Llavona considered his priest open to honest criticism.
And so after one Sunday mass last year, Llavona telephoned the Crystal Lake priest and left a message that went something like this: Your sermon stunk.

The Rev. Luis Alfredo Rios, a priest at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, then did something equally brazen, Llavona claims. He played the private phone message during Sunday mass and asked his flock, "What should we do? Should we send him to hell or to another parish?"

Now Llavona, who was sitting in church when his message was played, is suing Rios and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford. Llavona claims in the lawsuit filed this week in McHenry County that he was defamed and suffered "immediate emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation."

Llavona says the humiliation forced him to change parishes. He is seeking a minimum of $50,000 in damages.

IMHO, Llavona ist ein Esel. If this was the entirety of his phone message, then it's not constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is specific, such as "Hey Boss, are you really sure about Hillary being the Harlot of Babylon and that her presidency will usher in the End Times?" This was disrespect for spiritual authority.

Agreed that the priest exercised poor judgement. He should have met with this chucklehead instead of pulling a stunt. Now he does what everyone does when their feelings are hurt.


$50K? How can I get my pastor to embarrass me from the pulpit? There are times he has messages which sound like he wrote down what I needed to hear and just preached that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Heroes water cooler

It's a fine suggestion.

I know some folks catch the rebroadcast or have tivo'd for later consumption, so be aware that there will be spoilers in the comments!

Kid Nation

Update: He bribed the "parents" with Dolphin tix.

I first thought it was a producer of this show. But it was a news producer.

A CBS producer was arrested Saturday after deputies say he attempted to arrange sex with 11-year-old girl by communicating with undercover investigators posing as the fictitious girl's father, authorities said.

Daniel J. Barron, 56, a 15-year producer with CBS News who lives in New Jersey, allegedly told an undercover St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office detective to bring his 11-year-old daughter to the Fort Lauderdale hotel where he was staying while in town to cover Sunday's Miami Dolphins game, according to an arrest report.

Barron allegedly told the undercover detective, whom he met Saturday afternoon in an America Online chat room called "open minded parents," that he wanted to videotape himself having sex with the girl after he got off work at 8 p.m. Saturday night, the report said.

"I will be very gentle with her," Barron wrote, according to investigators.

A chat room for "open-minded parents"? I'm not the kind who sees demonic activity around ever corner, but what kind of beast grips the soul of someone who would offer up their children to pervs?

Monday, October 01, 2007


It's official.

To be honest, I'm just laughing about it, because there's nothing else to do. Since June 1, the Mets have been Wile E. Coyote, just after he realizes that he's run four steps past the edge of the cliff: we've all just been watching them plummet, waiting for that sad little smoke ring when they hit the bottom.

So, what to do with a highly improbably collapse, following a highly improbably playoff loss last year? Well, it's reasonable to expect a very unusual chain of events to cause something that only happens once every 40 years or so. Or you could just blame the manager like Mark Krieger.

Note - I'm not a big fan of the whole "they lost, we'd better scrounge up some blame to hand out!" theory. It doesn't matter whom I blame for the 2007 Mets' results. It matters much more whom Mr. Wilpon will blame, and then what he thinks is the best way to fix the situation for next season. My guess is that he lets Randolph and Omar Minaya do their jobs. They are better at them than Art Howe and Steve Phillips and Jim Duquette. But let's play along, shall we?

You don't want to blame Willie Randolph.
But how can you not?

It's simple - you just say, "You know, I don't blame Willie Randolph for this." That's how.

In last year's playoffs, the Mets should've beaten the Cardinals, a team that managed to win but 83 regular season games.

That's a reasonable thought. If those two teams played ten best-of-sevens, the Mets would probably win eight or nine of them. Unfortunately, number 10 came last year. If an infinite number of baseball teams play an infinite number of baseball games, eventually one of them is going to feature Yadier Molina hitting a 2-run ninth-inning home run to win the National League Pennant.

Krieger here follows with some very awkward segue-ing about the old Brooklyn Dodgers, the Mets' overall payroll, and their new stadium (due to open in 2009). Then he gets to the point:

But as evidenced by the last stanza of their epic collapse, they cannot win at home. They finished the season by managing (yes, managing) to lose six of seven at Shea to the Nationals, the Cardinals and the Marlins.

You see, they managed it... because we're blaming the manager. That's called thematic writing. The "yes, managing" part is called overkill.

Those Dodgers of Ebbets Field may have been lovable losers. But these Mets are just losers — unlovable and underachieving.

Here, I suspect that Krieger looked at the football standings last night, saw "GB 4-0 .. Det 3-1" and decided it was 1993 and Dallas Green still ran the Mets. Now that was unlovable and underachieving. These Mets were hardly the free-wheelin' carnival squad that squirted bleach at reporters and tossed firecrackers into crowds.

It wasn't too much to ask from the highest aggregate payroll in the National League, a consortium of teams in which a mere 91 wins would assure home field advantage through the championship series. But again, one has to wonder about a team that can't win in its own ballpark. A team that can't win at home is a team uncomfortable in its own skin.

The Milwaukee Brewers, at 51-30, led the National League in comfort in its own skin. They decided to just give them the wild card and avoid that messy Colorado/San Diego tiebreak thingy.

More than that, though, is a question of identity. Who were the 2007 Mets? Even the players themselves did not know.

Jose Reyes thought that he was Rafael Santana, which is why he went 0-5 last night. Moises Alou thought he was his dad and took naps in left field. Carlos Delgado thought he was a crossing guard from Des Moines.

In hindsight, one can hold the general manager partially responsible. Omar Minaya neglected the pitching staff while assembling a core of aged mercenaries who had played their best years elsewhere.

I'm tempted to break out the old Steve Martin standby from The Muppet Movie - "Oh... can I?" - but this takes neither foresight nor any particular baseball wits. Mets fans have been screaming for pitching help since last season's trade deadline. Minaya's response was to bring in Jeff Conine, who was so lights out in the eighth inning during Florida's playoff run in 1997. In fact, I agree with this statement so much that I'm going to give him 62.8% of the blame, in a meticulous, sixteen-second process. (Don't argue! It's SCIENCE!)

These included Shawn Green (34), Carlos Delgado (35), Paul Lo Duca (35), Pedro Martinez (35) Billy Wagner (36), Moises Alou (41), Orlando Hernandez (53).

Alou clearly overperformed; Delgado had just about his worst season. Wagner checked in with 68.1 innings and a 1.13 WHIP, with about a 4-to-1 K/B ratio... very good. Hernandez was at 1.17, which is also darned good, but was hurt by 23 homers in 27 games. Pedro only threw 28 innings, but had a 2.57 ERA in them, so except by his absence, I don't see what the problem is.

Oh, wait, yes I do. Damned geezers. Poor Aaron Sele never adjusted after they lowered the mounds in 1969.

Then there's Tom Glavine, 41, who pitched a historically bad game Sunday, a 300-game winner who gave up seven runs in a third of an inning with a playoff berth at stake.

Tom Glavine ≠ True Met. Personally I think they should void some of those 303 wins, since he got hammered like Vulcan's anvil in his last start.

Glavine was originally signed by Steve Phillips in 2003, but only because the Braves had declined to make him an offer. Nothing he has done in the five years since has altered anyone's impression that he is a Met only by default.

His last five seasons, he's averaged 201 innings per at an ERA of 3.97, which is about a third of a run below league average. His brief postseason numbers with NY: 2-1, 1.59 ERA in 17 innings. You could do better... or a lot worse.

Say what you want about his experience and his leadership, but it has not rubbed off on the young guys, as they are euphemistically known.

Yeah, these three young guys have been just terrible. Ruined. Glavine has Oliver Perez sitting in a closet chanting in Esperanto, he's so messed up... and he personally shot John Maine with a BB-gun during the third inning of his last start.

Jose Reyes, probably the most talented player on the team, was lucky he didn't get thrown out of a game for fighting on Saturday. ... but can you imagine, even for a moment, Derek Jeter having that kind of lapse? Can you imagine Jeter, as has become Reyes' habit, not running out ground balls?

Well, Randolph did pull Reyes from a game earlier this season for that. In an article blaming Willie Randolph for the Mets' woes, Reyes' bad habit stands out as an admission against interest. As for last night... I'm going to give Jose a pass for not running out that last grounder to second. After a four-month-long train wreck, nobody's brain is going to be in quite the right place.

But from his rookie season, he's [Jeter] been a leader in the clubhouse.

If he wasn't a .317 career hitter, I think his leadership would be somewhat less impressive.

The Mets, of course, don't have anyone like that. Consider David Wright, the star third baseman, now in his fourth big league season. The other day, he told Harvey Araton of the New York Times: "The kind of guy I want to be is a guy that doesn't sit here and yell about it in the clubhouse, but goes and takes care of business on the field. You do that. Then everybody follows you." Does that really sound like somebody who wants the job?

...the hell?!? David Wright shirked his way to a .962 OPS with 42 doubles and 30 dingers; 34 steals in 39 tries, 113 runs scored... and, well, 21 errors, but you can't have it all.

The Mets have Reyes, Wright and Carlos Beltran, and no one remotely like the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins. But given that lack of leadership, isn't it even more incumbent on the manager to show some, to impart some sense of identity, to show some fight?

Jimmy Rollins is a pretty fair ballplayer, likely this season's NL MVP, but I think it's amazing that Krieger would rather talk about his leadership and his fighting spirit, and not about his becoming the fourth guy in the entire history of baseball to have 20 doubles, triples, homers, and steals in the same season. (It was all the rage a few weeks ago when Curtis Granderson got there.)

He is also no better than average at getting on base - .344 this season, .331 for his career, never topping .350 - so if Rollins isn't hitting for power like he has the past two years, he is not as valuable as Wright or Beltran. (A three-way comparison of this season.)

But the fact is, through this historic collapse, the team was both sloppy and passive. A lot of that — most of it, I think — is on the manager.

We only have 37.2% of the blame remaining. 17.1% goes to Carlos Delgado, and another 8% to the Pelfrey/Sele/Lawrence trio (divvied up by innings pitched), so that leaves 12.1... 4.5 to LoDuca because it's fun to see his eyes bug out like that, and the rest - a paltry 7.7% - goes to Willie Randolph - less 5% for being a True Yankee, so really, it's less than 3% Randolph's fault, after all. Like, 1/32nd Willie, 31/32nds everybody else.

But if it's not too late (Billy Wagner is already on the record saying that Randolph and his pitching coach don't know how to handle a bullpen), he needs to create a sense of identity and leadership. Randolph didn't get where he is not knowing how to play clubhouse politics. If he doesn't have leaders, he better make some. It's his job.

The pitching staff slowly collapsed over the course of the year, as the bullpen cracked from overwork. (This article, mostly meant tongue in cheek, has this and many more solid reasons in it than all of Krieger's essay.) If Randolph kept sending the same guys out over and over to get shelled, that's one thing - but everyone took a turn blowing leads.

Enough about clubhouse leaders, OK? Wright hit a ton, Wagner pitched pretty darned well, Beltran put together a fine season. Nobody was talking about lack of leaders when they won 100 games last season. Is that why the pitching tailed off and Delgado fell down a well - because Willie Randolph had nobody leading them?

"I'm the manager," he said. "I take full responsibility."

See? That's True Yankeeism. That's Yankeeocity. That's exactly what the Mets need! After this press conference, baseball was so impressed that Bud Selig announced that the postseason will be played entirely at Shea Stadium, even the American League games. Because leadership is the most important thing in baseball, not actually winning more games than other teams.

Don't get busted for DUI...

...the day your contract expires.

Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was arrested early this morning on charges of DUI, hit-and-run with damage and resisting arrest without violence.

Police said they saw Hickey, 46, strike a parked car with his silver pickup truck at 1st Ave. North and 16th St., a block or two north of Tropicana Field. Officers followed him up Interstate 275 and stopped him north of Gandy Boulevard.

Hickey refused to get out of the car, according to police spokesman George Kajtsa, was brought out by officers, and fell to the ground. Hickey's booking photo shows a large scrape or bruise on his right cheek and a cut over his eye.

Hickey, who returned from Toronto with the team after Sunday's season finale was booked at the Pinellas County Jail at 3:29 a.m. and was released on bond at 7:58 a.m.The Rays have not yet put out a statement.

Hickey's arrest comes just as the Rays were deciding whether to retain him, as well as the other five coaches. All have contracts that expire.

Also, 1B Carlos Pena was named AL Player of the Week.

Had to be carried out of the truck by cops? I can't wait for the Blood Alcohol Level to be published. If you coached our middle relief you might need an adult beverage or four.

Oh! Congrats Carlos Pena!

The Man Trap..

..was on TV locally this weekend.

The first Star Trek episode I ever saw back when I was 7 years old.

McCoy's ex is a
salt-sucking beast.

Methinks the scriptwriter was in a bad relationship?

Pooping Pigeons Safe...

...Thanks to PETA.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals spoke out against the plan Friday, encouraging Mayor Mark Mallory to reject the stadium's request. PETA offered to help develop other solutions such as netting, noise makers and porcupine wire that discourage birds from roosting.

I Can't Give Blood

I thought I could.

It wasn't living in Europe that was the problem. It was being an American GI in Europe. During the 80's Uncle Bunky bought beef for the chow halls and commisaries from the UK. I was dining on mad cow burgers for three years. If I had been there as a civilian I would have been eating the sane Schnitzel und Wurst und Kartoffelpuffen. Ich habe Kartoffelpuffen gern.