Thursday, August 26, 2010

Enough of this

Well... out with it.

This blog has been very rewarding.  It would have to be to keep at it for almost six years.  This is post number 1650, of which I've done maybe a level thousand, and there's a number of those that I can be proud of.  I think that over the next few weeks I will be searching through and finding the best of those to save... but sadly, I think that's all I've got right now.

Those few of you who dig my hockey stuff can find it at Lighthouse Hockey, an Islanders message board/group blog/clearinghouse of all things puck.  I post there as "mikb" since my blog name was taken when I signed up.

The rest?

I'm sorry.  I'm fried.  I look at this thing, and I fiddle-faddle with the template, and I save links to write posts about, or jot down thoughts, and it never goes anywhere.  It doesn't seem worth the bother anymore.  I have no jump left.

It's a pity.  According to a recent spate of spam comments, my blog is (at turns) captivating, wondrous, remarkable, powerful, striking, irresistable (my blog meter begs to differ), super, great, fine, excellent, exciting, inquisitive, unusual, awesome, charming (??), incredible, energizing (!!), prodigious, astonishing, unique (like the million other blogs the spambots sent the comment too), cool, fascinating, suitable (even the spammers damn with faint praise!), hot, and hype.  The main thing this blog is, though, is "fruitful" - with five faux commenters using that term, beating out "hot" and "fine" who had four each.

It was amusing to watch a thesaurus explode all over my comments section, but not worth the trouble to erase fifty-plus links to fake refinancing companies.  (Although with times the way they are, maybe that's the only way they can afford to advertise now.)

Y'all will see me here and there.  I like visiting everyone and commenting and such.  Probably sooner or later I'll be back writing my own stuff, too.  I hope noboby will mind if I send around an email when that happens.  And you have my email: nightflymail -AT- gmail -DOT- com.  Don't be a stranger.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Where's Harriet Nelson when you need her?

When I saw this.

The Department of Justice is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

I thought of this.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Rays maybe took me too seriously

I was only kidding when I wrote this, but now I think maybe I should get royalties from Tampa.  Last week they were held to one hit (or less) for the fifth time this season.  It's a record for the most times that's happened to any team since 1920.

You have read this correctly - not the 2003 Tigers, not the 1988 Orioles (losers of 21 straight to start the year), not the 1962 Mets... the 2010 Rays stand alone in the liveball era.

How's your changeup looking these days, Spider?

Remember what Mom said...

...about talking to strangers.


Owners of a mall in Roseville don’t like strangers speaking to each other, unless it is about commercial enterprises in the mall, and penned rules prohibiting strangers from conversing.

The rules forbid peaceful, consensual, spontaneous conversations between strangers about any topic not commercially related to the Westfield Galleria mall. According to the rules, an application for third party access must be filled out and approved prior to engaging in a conversation.

After a 27-year-old pastor filed a lawsuit against the mall seeking monetary damages for false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malicious prosecution, and a general violation of his civil rights after he was arrested for speaking to strangers, the Third District Court of Appeals ruled the mall’s policies are unconstitutional.

Matthew Snatchko refused to stop talking with three strangers who had agreed to talk to him about subjects that included his faith.

A security officer ordered Snatchko to stop talking to the strangers or to take the conversation outside. The security officer made a citizen’s arrest, handcuffed the youth pastor and turned him over to Roseville police.

Mr Snatchko was not harassing anyone, the strangers agreed to talk to him. Even a California court couldn't back this rule.

The Pervs of Polk County

Polk County is 20 miles east of Tampa, and they have these stings all the time.

More than a dozen men from across central Florida walked into a trap set by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

The men are now charged with attempting to have sex with girls aged 14 and younger, some as young as 8 years old.

Investigators say a Davenport home was the rendezvous point arranged online to catch the 15 men.

You would think that prospective pervs would know enough to stay out of Polk County, but being an addict myself I can understand the power of the Jones. It looks like at least one of the accused had his wits about him:

One of the arrestees, Ray Damon of Dunedin, told reporters that investigators misread his intentions.

"I never said I was going to do anything with or to the daughter. I told the woman what she wanted to hear so she would invite me here because I wanted to hook up with her mom. But I didn't say was going to do anything to the daughter in specifics, or with her or anything..."

And a little surprise:

The Sheriff said one of his detectives got quite a surprise during the operation when he knocked on a door to find a man who reportedly coaches a Little League team that the detective's son plays on.

I have come to the conclusion that I would be the world's worst parent. No computer in your bedroom - it's in a common area. And I know all your passwords. And if I am in a generous mood you will get a cellphone that cannot take or receive pics or video. And if you behave I may even feed you and let you sleep in a bed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

NY Times sportswriters have too much time on their hands

Racial bias down the baselines.

The bean-counters have struck again-- this time in the sports pages. Two New York Times sport writers have discovered that baseball coaches from minority groups are found more often coaching at first base than at third base. Moreover, third-base coaches become managers more often than first-base coaches.

Thank God for the NY Times! I have been watching baseball for over 40 years and I never noticed this. One would assume since I am a tea-bagging racist bent out of shape because the president's black I would be aware that whitey rules the third base coaches box.

Then again MLB's bean counters are just as bad. Carl Crawford of the Rays (and the left fielder for the 2011 Yankees) is considered black. David Ortiz of the Bosox isn't. I know kids, he looks black, but in racial accounting his name goes into the Hispanic column.

Which brings us to an amusing story from Eric Gregg's autobiography Working the Plate about his days working winter ball in the Dominican back in the early 1970's. Rico Carty comes out to argue a call and calls Gregg the N-word. Gregg laughs and says, "You're blacker than I am!" Carty replies, "Yeah, but I'm Spanish".

Back to these NY Times sportswriters. If you are watching baseball and you notice the skin color of the base coaches, you don't live on the same planet with the rest of us. And you wonder why your industry is dying.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A couple of things

Hey all.

I'm pleased to welcome three newcomers to Ye Olde Sidebarre: Professor Mondothe Clue Batting Cage, and Lighthouse Hockey.

The third of these sites may be interesting to future students in Professor Ag²-zuRç-Œz♣ƒo≡♫'s elective on Obscure Blogging in the Terran Early-21st Century, since it's the first time I've been hired by someone else to write stuff.  Pay = zero, but when I die, on my deathbed, I will receive total consciousness.  In the meantime, you all receive blessed freedom from my occasional hockey posts, since they will usually take place over there now.  (You still get to enjoy my split infinitives.)  I'll link those posts here, but the casual visitor will be spared the in-depth demonstration of my niche amusements.

My thanks to Professor M and philmon for their good writing, and for Dominik the Lighthouse Keeper for the opportunity to do more of what I love.  It's a great community of fans over there, the comment threads are friendly and smart, a lot of fun, and it's great to have the chance to be a part of it.  My normal nom de blog was already taken, so you'll find me posting there as "mikb" - you know, because I'm creative like that.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I can watch football in Sunday night again.

Kief lost his weekend gig.

This is not letting me cut-and-paste. NBC had no comment whether or not Olberman being a race-baiting SOB was a reason for letting him go. I don't care about the reason, but now I can watch Football Night in America and keep my dinner down.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

My dog only eats the socks

This dog made like Avis, and tried harder.
According to a bizarre story reported in The Grand Rapids Press, Kiko smelled an infection in his owner's right big toe and set about "amputating" it. Which in doggie terms, of course, means he ate it.
Kind of puts things in perspective, hm?  But how does a man have a toe gnawed off without noticing it?
... Kiko's owner, Jerry Douthett of Rockford, Mich., lay passed-out drunk in his bed.
That will do it.

Douthett actually had type 2 diabetes and was suffering from a dangerous infection in his big toe. ... Douthett's wife, Rosee, a registered nurse, had actually suspected her husband had diabetes and insisted he get checked out. But before he did so, he had a few beers. And then a few margaritas. After that, he went home, passed out, and Kiko got to work.
When you have diabetes, one of the sillier things you can do is ignore it in favor of knocking down some cold ones.  I believe the fancy medical term for this is "contraindication," which is doctor speak for "ARE YOU FREAKING NUTS?!!??!"
If you choose to drink alcohol, only drink it occasionally and when your diabetes and blood sugar level are well-controlled. ... Beer and sweet wine contain carbohydrates and may raise blood sugar. ... Do not drink more than two drinks of alcohol in a one-day period. ... Avoid "sugary" mixed drinks, sweet wines, or cordials.
This guy's lucky his nose wasn't infected.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I know what you're thinking

You've had a few, but you're fine. You had more to drink last Saturday, and you made it home okay. You even joked about opening the car door and feeling your way home with your foot. Just crank up the AC and the radio to keep you alert and drive about 10 miles under the limit and you will be fine.

Really, you will.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

She says she is, but she isn't

Shirley Sherrod told the National Association of Black Journalists that she was planning to sue Andrew Breitbart for posting that video clip that gave the impression that she hated whitey.

She is not going to sue Andrew Breitbart. When she does get around to talking to a lawyer, she will be told of a 1964 Supreme Court decision called NY Times Co. v. Sullivan. This ruling set very high standards for a public figure to sue for libel. A good example of how this ruling works today is the National Enquirer-style tabloids (George Bush is drinking again! Oprah is on her deathbed! John Edwards cheated on his wife! - wait, that last one is true.) get away with publishing absolute fiction.

What would make this worth the price of admission is when Breitbart's lawyer gets Sherrod under oath during discovery. The more Sherrod appeared on cable the week after her firing, the more apparent it became that she does hate whitey. Which is why she wasn't on any of the Sunday news shows. After her performance on CNN the media didn't want to give her any more rope.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I didn't renew my subscription to the Tampa Tribune.

My two weeks without Internet access at home was eye-opening. Without cable for Fox News, I was totally in the dark when it came to national news.

Local news also has blind spots as well. When was the last time your local news did a story on drug and alcohol abuse among the homeless? When was the last time your local news had a story which portrayed minorities as being racist?

For example, a Google search would show that the only Tampa Bay news organization which covered this was the local FOX affiliate. Do you think that if it were a local mosque or black church that got vandalized like this would only be covered by one station and none of the two newspapers? How many news decisions are made influenced by fear of the NAALCP and La Raza?

I already had a dim view of the Trib for ignoring this story. The day after I was lucky enough to see the vandalism story on Channel 13 I got my renewal notice from the Trib. And that day's Trib missing this story. I chose not to renew.

The NAALCP has already designated me a tea-bagging racist. I may as well speak my mind.

Monday, July 26, 2010

C'mon, don't be so lazy about it

Cara Ellison wrote a post a whiles back about scientists who were positing parallel universes, based on quantum physics.  The wild gue... er, theory, was that the extraordinarily minute effects observed in the microscopic level could be scaled up to larger objects, and viola!  Head on down to your TARDIS dealer and get away from it all.

Even if this is eventually viable as a technology, it would take a loooooooong time.  By then we may be mature enough as a species not to care to revisit our collective terrible twos, any more than you wish to go back and revisit your potty training days.  What's fun as a creative device may go a long way to ruining real life; it's probably for the best that nobody actually has super-powers when they're cutting off other drivers on the highway or getting into tiffs about whose leaves are on whose lawns.

Still, the funny comments drifting into that thread months after the fact suggest that there could be a lighter side to this traveling back in time.
There are plenty of physic scientists out there proving the parallel universes theory.
Have you ever dreamed of something that does not exist on this planet? If so where did the idea come from?
Have you ever dreamed of a looking for your sister, when in this world you have no sister?
Look at all your dreams closely and wonder where the adventures you have never experienced are coming from.
The thought that anyone on This Side may have original thought, imagination, inspiration, or creativity?  Pah!  And that is what I mean by "lazy."  Take ownership of your own thoughts, guys.  It wasn't "parallel me" any more than "the devil made me do it."  It was you.  You did it.  You agreed with Parallel You, who is right now trying to explain to Parallel Family and Coworkers that it wasn't Parallel's fault at all, see, it was YOURS.  You naughty person.  Circular logic is entertaining and all, but sooner or later, someone started to spin that wheel.

Then there was this, a month after the above, three and a half months after the original post:
And we are light energy with free will , our souls are time machines with no ending and no beginning

after death go to another parallel
no reason to stay
Either ee cummings really did go to another parallel (and forgot how to write poetry when he got there), or this is nonsense on stilts.  If there's no reason to stay, why is there a reason to go?  When you get there, what's different?  Ideas floating over to you from Parallel Person?  The upshot of this is really just another dodge, right?  We're all floating light energy with no reason to stay, going to another place.  So what are you going to do in THIS place to make it a little more pleasant for your fellow floaties?  With no reason to stay, there's no reason to take any sort of constructive action.

Heck, even Yoda thinks this is a cop-out:  "This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was! Hmm? What he was doing! Hmph."

Have a little gumption - own your behavior, own your thoughts, own your life NOW.  It counts.

Many a little makes a mickle

I swapped the comments out for a third party system to kill spam.  It worked, but it also really hurt the commenting.  So I suppose it's not too terrible that, after switching back, 17 of my last 19 comments have been spam?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tinkering leads to difficulty

So... as you can (hopefully) see, I rejiggered the template.  This has also sent the comments wonky.  I apologize, especially to Rob at Crab Apple Lane, because we just seemed to iron out the problem he was having with the third-party commenting system, and now said system has gone bye-bye.  Until I figure out what's going on, I've enabled the old Blogger comments system, with word verification.

In the interim, I already got about a dozen spam I had to delete.  That was the big plus of the third-party system: spam was rigorously smoten.  Here, not so much, probably not even with the word verify.  I don't want to moderate, on the off chance that a conversation threatens to break out around here, so I will just deal with the spam on a slice-by-slice basis, and leave well enough alone otherwise.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hah! The Internets says I are geeeenyus righter!

I took the first three paragraphs of an actual finished story that I wrote from beginning to end, all by my own lonesome, and I stuck it in a thingy on the Web that computes the skill of the writing that is contained therein.  And these results were mine:


I write like
Vladimir Nabokov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Dialogue?  Yeah, I gotta try some dialogue.  The results:


I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

You see that? I are teh awsum. Burn thine inferior printed materials and harken unto this blog!

The Nightfly: Algorithm approved since Monday afternoon!

So what if I'm not appreciated? You know who else wasn't appreciated? HERMAN F'K'N MELLVILLE, that's who. And I can do action sequences, too.


I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

MUA-Hahahahaa...aa....  ...  Awwwwwwwww.

Via Spleenville.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Anchorwoman

The new Miss Florida plans to study broadcast journalism and business. When announcing this, the Tampa Fox affiliate anchor remarked that this girl could be after her job.

Nerissa Prest seems to know one factor that helped her get her job. This caused me to remember the short-lived FOX series "Anchorwoman", which lasted only one episode and was roundly criticised because it hit too close to home.

I need to confess my own sin. I watch the morning traffic reports and I don't even own a car.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday Morning Colonoscopy

The procedure wasn't too bad, it was the preparation. I was pooping for two days. Since I was stranded at home I was able to watch an episode of the old Daniel Boone TV show where Daniel and Mingo go to Florida. One of the Seminole was Leonard Nimoy. Mingo (who went to Oxford, btw) was nearly fed to gators.

Where was I? Oh, the VA hospital had a waiting room where I sat in my hospital gown with a sugar IV (blood sugar was low - maybe because I hadn't eaten solid food in a day and a half.)

When I got to the examination room I laid on my left side and they gave me the juice. As an old wino, I was a little concerned that I was going to like it too much and start craving Oxycotin like Rush or Al Gore's kid. I didn't feel anything, except that thing all the way up inside me, but I didn't care.

Michael Jackson and I are the same age. He had a private doctor and I am being cared for by the VA. Which of us is making out better?

Posting @ work.

Snippets and snarks

* Newly-finished: a soundtrack for the Sudden Yurt Commune.  I'll be working on the insert over the next couple of days.  Any of you Yurters want a copy, please email me - nightflymail AT gmail DOT com - with a mailing address.

* Hey, one of the SYC-OST songs is playing on the iPod right now.  Sweet.

* It is currently 92°, with 85% humidity, about to storm.  This is an improvement over last week, when it was 103°, with 174% humidity, and always five minutes away from a huge rainstorm that never came.

* I've played tournaments outdoors, in the bright strong sun; on painted concrete surfaces that baked like parking lots, where you could see heat waves at the far end of the rink; I've played as many as four hour-long games in a night; I've reffed for nine straight hours each day of a weekend tournament... but I have never been as beat as at the end of my one game last week, indoors no less, during the absolute depths of the hideous oppressive weather.  The heat from under my gear felt like an open oven door.  I could feel my pulse in my neck and ears.  It was brutal.  If there had been an overtime I don't think I could have finished it.  I felt like a crayon melting in a closed car.

* I am holding an hour-long press-conference/ego-stroke/circus/charity fundraiser on ESPN tonight at 9 pm Eastern, to announce my decision about what to do with this blog.

* Speaking of which, the Miami Heat announced a free-agent deal with LeBron's former Cleveland teammate, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  I thought he left Cleveland because they surrounded him with bad teammates?

* Today someone at work brought in donuts for everyone.  This happens about once a month or so, for no particular reason, on no set schedule, just because.  My coworkers are pretty darned cool.

* I have too good a life to be so pissy lately.

* A few months ago I was walking the Official Dog, and an orange tabby decided to trot over, tail high, to make friends.

So, dog... do you drag that tall human thing around everywhere you go?

Since then Catfriend pops around every week or so and he hangs out with the pupperkins.  She wags, he purrs.  Pupperkins must think he's the strangest-smelling dog ever, but they're buddies - unlike the day last week when a lady on a horse walked through the neighborhood.  (We have a sizable park near the house and folks will sometimes ride there.)  The Official Dog was freaked about that a little.  I kept her close to me, across the street, so she wouldn't spook the horse.

* If Ladybug wasn't allergic, I'd consider getting the pupperkins a catfriend of her very own at home.  I have always been a cat lover.  She'll have to make do with her eleven dozen toys, various snacks and treats, mild Internet fame, and the single attention of her two owners.

* There's a four-lane divided highway about a mile from our house; people enjoy making illegal lefts onto and occasionally off of said highway, despite no fewer than five signs forbidding the practice.  You'd think that you couldn't miss such instructions, nor all the helpful people honking incessantly at you, or the friendly pointing to the signs with one finger.  You'd be in error.  It's amazing that there aren't more wrecks at that intersection.

* Last night was baseball's All-Star Game, out in Anaheim.  Both leagues trotted out an assortment of pitchers who threw 95+ mph: Justin Verlander, Josh Johnson, Matt Thornton, Jose Valverde, Brian Wilson, Jonathon Broxton.  Not surprisingly, there was a dearth of scoring.  The AL's only run came off a walk, error, and sac fly.  Dodger pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (who was dealing in the high-90's himself) helped this immensely by fielding a dibbler in front of the mound, throwing off his back foot, and airmailing it 20 feet above his first baseman's head.  Every New York Giants fan watching immediately said, "Hey - Eli Manning's in the game!"

* The NL won on a late bases-loaded double by Braves catcher Paul McCann.  They wasted a great early opportunity when Verlander struck out Ryan Braun on a pitch down the middle of the opposing batter's box.  This thing would have been wide of a soccer net.  Every New York Mets fan watching immediately said, "Hey, I thought Jeff Francoeur didn't make the All-Star Game this year!"

* Brian Wilson and Corey Hart were NL teammates.  Now THAT would be a weird musical collaboration.

* Paperwork.  Always with the paperwork.  I close my eyes and see these forms floating around, demanding to be properly catalogued and compiled.  My subconscious has turned into a flash drive.

* Mmmmmmmm...... coffee.......

*In three weeks I will have been married three years.  Wild.

* I love fonts.  Thus, I love Blambot.

* The Mother of Unfinishable Stories goes slowly in any font.  I've been writing others.  As they begin to bog down, I think that switching back to the MOUS may help get everything moving again.  I hope so, because I am enjoying the adventures of the characters in the series and would like not to have that stall permanently.

* Love you all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wasting away again in Blogaritaville

Lately it's so much simpler to just comment everywhere rather than cook up content on my own steam.  I have no steam right now.  I am steamless, sans steam, free of motive power... all I have is my thesaurus and the blahs.

Now, somebody claims that there's someone else to blame, but I know this is my own fault.  The Hive no longer buzzes as it once did.  I did a little research about it... we've had 1600+ posts now in the nearly six years I started.  In my two solo years I stuck up a respectable 433 posts, gained a happy little readership, and met some friends along the way.  Many more of you I haven't met, of course, but I feel like I know you from all the posting and commenting that I've been involved in.  It's wonderfully rewarding.

Naturally, as I've had a co-blogger my own output has declined.*  (Then I went and married, too, and all that real life cuts into your time for important stuff.)  But I was still surprised to see how far into the minority my posting has gone.  Roughly three out of every five posts you see will be the Spider's, and that's held for a good stretch now.  Not that I complain - far the reverse.  If he hadn't been firing off a dozen at a stretch here and there, this place would have dandelions growing out of the cracks in the template.  Nor is this a backhanded plea for him to pick things up.  Again, the reverse - I feel a little guilty that it falls to him so often.

* I found some amusement during the researching... Spider joined on 9/28/2006... and inside of a week (10/4/2006 to be exact) he was posting, "Charlie Crist thinks I'm an idiot."  Heheheheheheh.  He also called Palin as VP ahead of the fact too.

So, what is this emo whinging, anyway?

I'm not focused enough.  I'm blogging about blogging more than I blog... and when I do find myself with something to say, few people seem interested.  That's my own fault, of course.  Write boring stuff and get well-earned yawns; I should rename this place "White Noise and Muzak."  It frustrates me to be substandard after doing this so long.  Not that I blog to say "I get x number of hits a day, I'm so important and brilliant!" but any writer wants to interest readers, and if I don't do that I am a failed writer.  That annoys me. 

I also like being in conversations.  I can go places and find vibrant conversations and chime in, or sit in the virtual corner and listen, and be a part of something better than myself.  But lately I seem incapable of giving others a welcome forum for the same thing.  Something about the Hive has been putting people off and I want to figure it out and fix it.  On occasion, it's nice to yell along with folks, but you should never feel yelled at.

This requires some thought.

Friday, July 09, 2010

I'll be out of touch for awhile.

My home PC has gone to be with the Lord. Will be shopping for a new one @ the Base Exchange website this weekend.

Blogging about my colonoscopy on Monday will have to wait for Tuesday.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A plan to save network news

Because they need one.

Even as the oil continues to gush from the sea floor, and the networks shuttle their anchors to points along the Gulf coast, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News and the CBS Evening News continue to lose viewers. All three broadcasts were down in Q2 2010 compared to the same period last year.

In numbers released today, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams lost -440,000 viewers (-140k in A25-54 demo) compared to Q2 2009. ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer lost -260,000 viewers (-80k demo) (Charlie Gibson was anchor in 2009). The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric lost the most, based on a percentage, losing -340,000 viewers (30k demo) compared to Q2 2009. ABC and CBS were also down when Q2 2008 is compared to Q2 2009.

Many reasons for this. With the internet and news/talk radio I know everything before 6:30pm. Include the fact that these guys have their heads so far up Obama's orifice that they need a flashlight and you can see why a guy who doesn't even have cable can live without the 6:30pm nightly newscast.

Here is my plan to make CBS news the #1 rated telecast. Fire the perky one, (who is really getting hammered) and hire former FOX newsguy Brit Hume as your nightly anchor. It would be a true alternative, like showing figure skating or a chick flick when the other network is showing the Super Bowl. I haven't watched network news in nearly 20 years and I would tune in.

But that will never happen, and everyone reading this knows why.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Homina homina homina

Remember when I was Homer-drooling over the car that looked like a plane?

Well, that's cool if you're on a budget. (And 300 mpg for under $30K would pay for itself very quickly.) But for those who can afford to spend money like they're getting a bailout, there's the official Real McCoy - the Terrafugia Transition.

This is a FLYING. CAR. Fuck yeah.

The two-seater Transition can use its front-wheel drive on roads at ordinary highway speeds, with wings folded, at a respectable 30 miles per gallon. Once it has arrived at a suitable take-off spot - an airport, or adequately sized piece of flat private land - it can fold down the wings, engage its rear-facing propellor, and take off. The folding wings are electrically powered.
MUA-hahahahahaha! Screw you bastids stuck on the Turnpike.

The company website also says that the cargo hold is long enough to accomodate golf clubs and the like, which means that I can fly to my next tournament with my sticks and gear in the hold - and if something really bad happens, I deploy the FULL VEHICLE PARACHUTE, sweet mercy me.
Its cruising speed in the air is 115 mph, it has a range of 460 miles, and it can carry 450lb. It requires a 1,700-foot (one-third of a mile) runway to take off and can fit in a standard garage.
In fifteen years we're all gonna be flying a Swordfish II, and I for one couldn't be more jazzed if you spiked my LSD with Red Bull.

PS - there really was a Swordfish, a torpedo plane that helped sink the Bismarck.  And, this being the Internet, there's a rule that says that if it exists, there is also Lego of it.  Here they are - the real Swordfish and the Swordfish II, both built by featured on the amazing Brothers Brick.  This post has so many awesome things in it, Chuck Norris may be moved to leave a comment.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I need tech support

I am unable to copy text on one page and copy it here. It's been a problem for awhile. Is there something I can do about it? Our is this a way for website to protect their copywright?

update from the 'fly -

If you copy-and-paste from another website into the body of a post, you ought to see you a dialogue box like this:

Like 'the Lady and the Tiger,' only with fewer ladies and tigers.

It's a new feature from our friends at Microsoft, so morons don't accidentally cut-and-paste all their bank account info and social security number into "xxxhottybody.ho" or something.  Click "allow access" and your text ought to show up safe and sound - though you will probably have to clean up the formatting, because Blogger really never does a good job with that.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

New promotion at Tropicana Field

First five hundred fans get to no-hit the Rays.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Edwin Jackson was so wild early there was no reason to think he would even finish the game, forget throw the fourth no-hitter of the season.
...
Jackson (5-6) walked eight, all but one in the first three innings, but the Rays still were no-hit for the third time since last July, including Dallas Braden 's perfect game at Oakland on May 9.
Two things... first, Jackson threw 149 pitches to finish the game.  It's the most recorded in any no-hitter (they didn't bother counting stuff like this back when; I'd lay even money on one of the old-school guys topping this number, though b-r.com's numbers go back a ways.

That in itself is not a big deal... but there's a game to be won.  I therefore wasn't so sure about this logic:
" All's well that ends well. We stopped counting at about 115,'' Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. " You do want to make smart decisions. You do have a chance at history and you don't want to take it away from him."
You don't, but it's 1-0 and your guy walked seven in the first three innings.  Hinch was warming up guys all night but didn't bring them in.  To Jackson's credit, he was never in such desperate trouble again, but Hinch has to be ready to call his guy in before that first hit if he has to.
 
Sentiment worked the same way for Dwight Gooden in 1996.  He was done as a front-line starter when he tossed his no-hitter for the Yankees; if I remember right it was the only shutout he had after leaving the Mets.  He threw a lot of pitches in that game, but not terribly out of line from other starts he made that season (game log here).  But you'll notice that a lot of those starts, those pitches didn't get him far.  He made, by my count, ten different starts in which he topped 100 pitches but didn't get through more than six innings - including one outing of 4 2/3 that took him 132 pitches.  It was foolhardy, to say the least, for Joe Torre to leave him in with a slender 2-0 lead.  Just the other night a fresh, young, good pitcher, Jon Papelbon, came in to close a game and threw all of eight pitches: two each to four batters.
 
Homer, single, sac bunt, homer, ballgame.
 
You can't give away wins through sentiment, even the sentiment of a New York hero coming back to his city and symbolically fulfilling, for one day, the destiny he squandered as a youth.  Nor should you heedlessly risk wins through the sentiment of... having pitched for the Rays two teams ago.
 
The other thing is small and petty and I wasn't even alive, but the AP account is calling 2010 "The Year of the Pitcher."  Hogwash.  The Year of the Pitcher is 1968; not to be a jerk about it, but Carl Yazstremski was the only guy who hit .300 in the AL that season.  How many games do you think a guy would win if he finished the year with 13 shutouts and a 1.12 ERA?  Bob Gibson won 22 and somehow lost 9.  He'd go 31-1 with numbers like that nowadays.  (Except in Kansas City.  He'd go 4-9, bust out GM Dayton Moore's windows with fastballs, and force a trade, then win the Cy Young for a half-season of work like Sutcliffe did with the Cubs in '84.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughtcrime!

I don't care what this guy said in public, this is unconscionable.

I don't care if this Lutheran pastor is against gay clergy (it's apparent that he's against himself being a gay clergy), for a reporter to lie his way into a confidential support group and then reveal what transpired is lower than Keith Olbermann. This piece of dirt dig great damage to this group's ability to help people.

But this is typical of today's gay activist. Put your name on a ballot initiative and you may get your place of employment picketed. Or your home. Or your church. But only if you are white, because even though black people put California's Prop 8 over the top these fairies didn't have the onions to got into the 'hood.

These people demand respect and dignity? Why should I give it to them when they have no respect for others?

Yes, I said fairies. I was considering using the other F word.

I hit the Creative Minority Report every day. You Catholics have really great blogs. If my pastor knew I was reading them......

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The President of the School Board of the City of Detroit

BTW, a little bit of a parental advisory on these links.

Usually when I am in a boring meeting I just have a country music song stuck in my head.

Maybe he was just taking a former Surgeon General's teaching to heart.

And you wonder why people home school.

H/t Michelle Malkin

Friday, June 18, 2010

Judenrein: an update

On June 5 I wrote: "Obama could bomb Tel Aviv and make the eating of pork mandatory and still not lose the Jewish vote. Most American Jews have long abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the god of FDR, JFK and BHO".

I offer this evidence as Exhibit A.

Maybe Mr Senturia should talk to a few Jews who actually live in Israel.

If only Imams were permitted to marry..

..then we wouldn't have any of this.

A former prayer leader is awaiting deportation after pleading guilty today to molesting a 13-year-old boy studying with him at a South Tampa mosque.

Yasser Mohamed Shahade, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious molestation stemming from a May 2009 incident at the Masjid Omar Al Mukhtar mosque where Shahade was an imam.

Shahade had been charged with raping the boy, but prosecutors agreed to lower the charge in exchange for the plea.

When asked through an interpreter why he was entering a plea, Shahade said, "I'm guilty."

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe sentenced Shahade to 10 years of probation, accepting the plea bargain. Prosecutors and Shahade's attorney said the plea was predicated on Shahade's expulsion to his native Egypt.

I found this on the bottom right corner of Page 10 in the Metro section of the Tampa Tribune. Four-column-inch story on an incident that happened a year ago. Do you think if this were a Catholic priest or even a schoolteacher that this would have been the first time I'd hear about it? I keep reminding myself that I subscribe for the box scores. Thank God I don't have to depend on this rag for actual news.

Teach your children well

Something folks may not know about me: I never graduated from dear ol' R.U.

My time on the banks of the old Raritan, my boys, was fraught with self-caused misery, only some of it academic.  Sure, good times too.  Found Christ at college, so net-plus, and made a number of life-long friends whom I see or speak with regularly.  (One of them I share a blog with.)  But still... it took me ten years after I'd finally bottomed out to finally finish paying the student loans.

Now, had I managed a degree, that would have been a quicker process: but still, that's TEN years for paying off a relatively-small debt burden from a university that charges less to in-state residents such as myself.  (Remember, I didn't finish - I didn't have four or five full years of tuition and costs to pay off.)

Now imagine going to an Ivy League school for four years, with loans covering much of it.  Yowch.

I've long thought that if you didn't need college for what you wanted to do (or were likely to find yourself doing) then it was probably a lot of hassle for little gain.  My brother, for example, never went to college and he out-earns me as a mechanic.  (And is this sort of thing typical for the HVAC industry, Spider?)

Part of me also suspects that four years of higher education for certain jobs is probably overkill, and you could do them with two or three years of specialized training - with the benefit of starting a career earlier, with less debt, and wasting less of your precious time fiddling about with topics of no interest.  Rutgers, like many colleges and universities, requires its students to satisfy a long list of conditions before conferring a degree.

I'm not saying that schools should just start tossing sheepskin into the air like confetti.  But if I wanted to go to school to be a scientist, why do I need a major AND a minor (or two majors, if I perferred)?  Why do I also need two humanities courses, two social sciences, a non-Western, etc etc - by rule?  Instead of letting me focus on the twelve or fifteen courses that will outfit me for my chosen career, and then a smattering of what actually interests me, I wind up spending a lot of money and at least a full year on courses of no value to me, either economically or academically.  It's not like it would be difficult to include a course in the major that covers important non-technical matters.  But all the rest strikes me as the college doing what should properly be done in high school - giving me a basic well-rounded education and general skills useful to anyone.

It's not like you can't go to college parties without taking classes. (I know a lot of students who managed that quite well.) You can make friends and socialize anywhere. You can find Christ in the unlikeliest places. So if you don't want to be there and don't need it, why do it? Why do so many jobs require full-on Bachelor's degrees (and sometimes, Masters is preferred) when the actual job will use nearly none of what you learn getting the degree?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Internet giveth, gummint seeks to take away

More Internetty Goodness from the great Iowahawk.
It's the middle of the day on a deserted Washington street. You're on your way to a reelection fund raising brunch. Suddenly a gang of crazed camera-wielding teabaggers jump out from the alley and lunge at you with their razor-sharp switchblade questions!

Would YOU know WHAT TO DO?
Oh, Internet, you treat me so nice.  Let's not ever fight.
 
Uhm, wait - WHAT?
The federal government would have “absolute power” to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative “kill switch” to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.
Honestly, I don't think that's Lieberman's intent; it's probably similar to the old "Emergency Broadcast System" where a central authority pops onto all TVs everywhere to tell you the Russkies have thrown the button down.  Or at least that's what he is thinking of.

And yet... it's a different world.  The Internet, as corporate as some corners have gotten, is still quite wide-open.  Anyone can grab a little free server space and hang up a cyber-shingle.  Getting even moderately known usually means ads or paying for bandwidth or fancy online publishing, but that comes later, and compared to something like running a radio/TV station or newspaper, it's shockingly cheap.  It's the most democratic medium in the world today, on a reach-per-dollar basis it gives incredible power to the common citizen.

Well, lately some elected sorts are quite down on the idea that common citizens have the Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and redress their governement for wrongs - as Etheridge has demonstrated.  How dare the little people exercise their rights!  How dare video footage of my bad behavior be made public!

And that's the worry here.  Even five years ago the only way for this to be widely-seen would be to submit the footage to the local network affiliate and hope it got picked up.  No more.  Now everyone on the street potentially has a flip-camera or a 5-megapixel cameraphone... I can take something the size of a pack of cards out of my pocket, capture the moment in full-HD and sound, and before the cops have even arrived, the clip is on a public forum where anyone can see it for themselves.  And those people increasingly have the affordable means to see that clip anywhere they are - not stuck in their house on a desk-based PC, but while out for coffee or waiting for a train or eating lunch.  And if they happen not to be online, that's ok, because some of them have set it up so their favorite websites buzz their phones when something new goes up.  They don't have to stumble across it, they get told.  They are their own big-paper editors, with the city desk buzzing in hot scoops they can run with.  Stop the presses! Life is a forties noir cliche.

All the faux grassroots activism the left was talking about when they were centrally-organizing busloads of protestors to hassle the President, get out the vote, agitate for something-or-other.... it was mostly a flop, wasn't it?  This is different, though.  This is a game-changer: not imposed from above or without, but true independent action rising from within, taking shape, and people are using it to rally themselves to the ideas they like, and to reject those they are ordered to believe by their self-appointed betters.

Lieberman may well not realize it, but others do.  They're desperate for a way to stuff the information toothpaste back into pre-approved tubes, rationed out at their pleasure.  They already regard tax-cutting protests, fiscal conservatives, pro-lifers, and small-government movements as more or a terrorist threat than actual blow-you-to-bits terrorists; they say so out loud. It's plain that all that "dissent is patriotic" and "question authority" stuff they love is a lie - they only like it when they're the questioning dissenters.  They have no real interest in advancing the debate, in freedom of speech (which is really freedom of thought), in the marketplace of ideas, or in a free people making their own choices.

They used the RICO statutes against pro-lifers, they use shakedown and blackmail techniques against private enterprise, they cry racism at every attempt to enforce the borders or control entitlement spending programs.  They assume the authority to intrude into ever-more-trivial aspects of our everyday lives.  If something like Lieberman's bill ever passes, they will use it on the rest of us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Besser spaet dann nie

After seeing this clip, I was wondering if I had awoken in that alternate universe where Spock has a beard.

Or maybe that scene in The Man Who Would Be King where Sean Connery is believed to be the son of Alexander the Great until he is cut and bleeds. Perhaps this clip is Olbermann and Matthews way of saying, "Behold, a god who bleeds?".

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last night @ the Bayshore Blvd gate...


Update: The man was an AWOL serviceman.
..of MacDill AFB in South Tampa.

A man and a woman are in custody after officials say they tried to enter MacDill Air Force Base in a sport utility vehicle carrying weapons and military gear, base officials said.

Base officials haven't heard that it was a planned attack and authorities did not find any explosives.
Bayshore is the secondary entrance to MacDill. I normally go through the main gate on Dale Mabry. The city bus goes to the BX, and you better have a military ID when it stops @ the main gate. An SF comes aboard to check everyone out and they run a mirror under the bus.
Being an SF @ the gate can be pretty routine with the same people coming on base every day. But sometimes something happens.
My first thought is these two are not jihadists because I don't think they roll together as men and women, but I am a little suspicious that at 9 am the next day the cops haven't released any names.

Monday, June 14, 2010

They could always try the Jersey option

UPDATE - oh, it gets better...  it turns out that huge voting irregularities may be responsible for Greene's victory.  Do read the whole thing.

original post, 6/11/10 - Via Ace of Spades, an interesting snippet from the Washington Post about the recent Democratic primary for the US Senate in South Carolina.

Seems that a fellow named Alvin Greene came from nowhere to take his party's nomination, despite not campaigning a lick and barely affording the filing fee.  Lots of speculation that he's a GOP plant.  (If that were the case, why not actually campaign him and stuff?  How did they possibly expect that filing alone was going to get jack-sprat done?)

Anyway, the WaPo quotes the head of the national Democratic Senate Campaign Committee on the situation... one Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

You know, if Greene winds up quitting for his alleged shenanigans, then South Carolina could always do what New Jersey did when it was their Senate race - cram a new guy into the general election well past the lawful filing deadline.  I wonder if Menendez could advise them in any way about anything like that?

Naaaaaaaah.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's come to this


The Phils recent slide is driving preschoolers to drink.
On Monday a video surfaced showing a young boy taking a swig from what appears to be a beer bottle during the Phillies' loss to the Padres on Sunday.
The six-second clip of the boy, donned in a home Phillies jersey, has now drawn the attention of the team.
On Tuesday, Phillies spokeswoman Bonnie Clark said the team hasn't identified the tot or the adults next to him. Clark said it appears to be "a very brief event, probably involving an empty bottle."
I hope the bottle was empty. Where's Mom and Dad?
See the video here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Teen sailor in distress

This is very bad news.  Abby Sunderland, attempting to sail around the world solo, without stopping, is in terrible trouble in the Indian Ocean.

As her brother, Zac, says - there's nothing out there at all.  It's the literal middle of nowhere.  He ought to know since he's actually made this sail himself.  Since she activated those beacons I hope it means that she's simply battened down and riding it out, unable to respond but not actually swept overboard.  It would be an awful way to go.

I know that a lot of people are dead-set against someone her age trying something so audacious.  I'm of two minds on it.  On the one hand, of course, it's natural to protect the young and desire their safety.  And yet...

Well - to put it bluntly, "safety first" can only get one so far - certainly it won't get one around the world in a sailboat, for example.  It won't get man to the moon.  It won't break the four-minute mile.  It won't even get one very far out the door in the morning.  "Safety First," writ large, is "Safety Only," and that thinking is a trap, coddling and cusseting and soothing kids into unpleasant, spoiled, nasty little narcissists.  Not that this happens to everyone, of course, nor that pushing a kid to achieve isn't free of peril - one thinks of the unfortunate Todd Marinovich, pushed by his frustrated father into becoming a quarterbacking machine, only to conk out in spectacular fashion.  For that matter, there's Tiger Woods, far more successful professionally but only marginally (if at all) better-off than Marinovich in character.  But in the middle there's the desire to risk in order to achieve and excel.

I think that Ms. Sunderland's attempt is on the high end of a desirable trait, in short supply in some quarters, and thus is not foolhardy so much as extraordinary.  The high end of that scale is peopled with folks who either succeed or fail spectacularly, but who kick forward humanity a little bit by the attempt.

A little down the page is a headline in the "Most Popular" sidebox - it may change so I screen-capped it, and highlighted the pertinent bit:

Savage bastards.

If Ms. Sunderland is indeed lost at sea, she was at least killed trying to do something she loved, trying to achieve an amazing and skilled feat.  There are worse ways to go; and worse enemies of humanity and excellence than failure.  I hope that she proves to be all right, so she can go on to achieve greater things than this.

UPDATE - because of course I'm an idiot.  I forgot to clarify something very important, the difference between being PUSHED into something to relive the failed dreams of a bitter elder, and a genuine desire from within to excel.  Nothing could be more different than a thirst for achievement borne of one's own free choice, and the imposition of someone else's will.  Sunderland is on the high end of the "healthy middle" on a spectrum of risk-taking, but on the far opposite of the scale of freedom from someone like Marinovich.  I should not have switched so abruptly between ideas in that paragraph.

DOUBLE UPDATE - she's all right.  Amen.  I look forward to her next attempt at great things.

Not so fast

Andrea Harris has a favorite stop of mine in blogworld.  (You can see her off to the side there in the Pantheon.)  This post of hers, about tourists having mental meltdowns when their real trip abroad destroys their romantic notions of the destination, brought brought out a comment that is making me scratch my head a bit:
Pity they didn’t bother to read about Paris (especially material not put out by the travel industry) rather than rely on a medium intended and designed to transmit lies.
I object to this, and I will explain why.  (At length - lucky you!)  Movies are not a medium intended and designed to transmit lies, any more than television, or novels, or plays, or art, or video games. All these are media intended and designed to transmit IDEAS or STORIES. Some of those may well be outright lies; some of those are excellently-crafted. There are also truthful stories, and beautiful ideas, and nobility and kindness and grandeur.

Since images and feelings are more immediate, most art aims for those instead of thoughts. No argument on that point. I do think that to simply call the whole thing "lies" by design is to miss the point, however. One of the earliest moving pictures was in fact used to truthfully answer a question: does a horse pick all four feet off the ground at once while galloping? (Turns out that they do.)

Look - I'm a storyteller by nature, if not by profession.  (And there's a long post brewing about that conflict: stay tuned.)  This is my passion.  I would be willing to go on a limb and say that for most creative community, that passion is a primary motivation.  They have turned that passion into a job.

Once you turn a passion into a means of commerce, things change.  As long as I'm just writing, I can just write.  Once I am also selling, then the writing has to meet the demands of those to whom I wish to sell.  It's a dilution - not much of one, since an audience wants a compelling story above all, and storytellers are nothing if not compelled.  Still, they may have no taste for the story struggling to free itself from my mind.  At that point it's the old familiar choice: give 'em what they want or say what I need to say?

Here's the thing, though: that tension exists in EVERY business.  Some people's passion is food.  They become amazing chefs.  They also have to consider: will people pay money to eat this?  How much?  Again, the dilution is slight.  People want great food, chefs want to cook great food.  But people can scarcely afford $100 meals every night, not in great enough numbers to keep the chefs themselves fed.  So ingredients are swapped, flavors change, and viola - Chili's.  Or Wendy's.

I won't pretend that line cooks at a chain restaurant give two shakes of a rat's patoot about Great Food in the abstract, but they care at least about how the particular food they're actually cooking, that it should be done properly and please the customers.  And the people who develop the menus care much more about that abstract, the ideal of flavors.  Even Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's, cared a great deal about it, even if it was just burgers and fries.  He may not have been a chef on the par of a Gordon Ramsay or Julia Child, but he cared.  He had to.  Ultimately, if you make too many changes for commerce - too much dilution - then one loses both the passion and the commerce.

You will find the same tension in every walk of life: in education, in politics, in construction, in sports.  There is a perfect ideal, that drives everyone with a passion, and then there is the economic reality.  It would cost too much to make every teacher an Ivy League-quality professor (and not every one of them could be, anyway), though the children would benefit.  It costs money to campaign, money to run a government - too much to run unelectable candidates no matter how great they may be at governing.  Should my house get obliterated by meteorites or something, it would cost twice as much to construct the way it was originally built vs. using modern materials like sheetrock.  And the greatest players in the world command a great deal of money, more than any one franchise could pay (even the Yankees or Red Sox); so they make do with affordable players rather than pursue the perfect ideal of 162-0.

Yet those ideals exist.  Those passions are real.  Every teacher wants to teach as well as possible, every politician hopes to govern, every housebuilder (and homeowner!) wants the home to endure, and every team wants to win every game, or at least their league's chamionship.  Without those ideals, that passion, there would be no point in even starting.

That's why I say again that filmmaking is about ideas and stories, not lies.  Based on some of the loopier things that movie-folk say and do, it's easy to believe that Hollywood is full of narcissists who dictate What is Acceptable to the rest of us, when in fact they are full of crap.  There is some justice in the claim, perhaps, in certain examples.  Certainly Tim Robbins and Sean Penn have done more than their share of loopy lefty proselytizing.  But they didn't become actors to be able to dictate What is Acceptable, they did it because their passion is in the stories they tell.  Those who have lost that passion are usually the worst at their profession, and again, this holds across all walks of life.

Not surprisingly, when singers and athletes and kindergarten teachers also lose that passion, they become fairly useless in their fields as well.  That doesn't mean that music, sports, and knowledge itself is intended and designed only to convey lies, does it?

(Funny how this comes up when I'm working on a story that indirectly touches this idea - that of the storyteller as a professional liar.  Reality keeps anticipating me.  Bad reality!  No cookie!)

Some days all you need..


..is a cigarette and Scripture. Fron NRO's the Corner.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Spam in the place where you blog

The latest trick for the spambots is to snag some bits of a legit article from a web page, run it through Google's translator a few times, and then post it with links to the usual suspects.  This one, in Joe Posnanski's comments section (probably gone by the time you click this thread) was a winner:

...in Wednesday night’s game, Blackhawks wachovia center 3-2. “We have read this story,” Chris Pronger defenseman said. . But in this case just support him and make sure he’s feeling good about Chanel Bracelets.
Note that this came out several hours before Game Six.  Philly, go support him!  Make sure he's feeling good about bracelets.

(Cut to 17,500 screaming Philadelphians yelling, "Prong-er's Brace-lets!" *clap clap clap-clap-clap*)

But, yeah - Strasburg.  Fourteen whiffs, no walks, seven innings. Kid's stupid good. Apparently they pulled him after seven innings so he could go to the Gulf and plug the oil leak with a well-placed slider. (His fastball would have just cracked the Earth open and caused a volcano.)

The Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Awards


Monday, June 07, 2010

Jesse James...

...is an idiot.

Tyler Perry's 80-20 rule. You've got 80% of what your want, but you lose that 80% chasing the 20% you ain't got.

The Tampa Tribune. Why?

Over the weekend Helen Thomas went Judenrien. President Obama blew off any mention of the 66th anniversay of D-Day to go to the theatre. Yesterday 5,000 people took to the streets of NYC to protest the mosque to be built across from the WTC.

None of these items made the print edition of the Tampa Tribune. Why again, am I subscribing to this fishwrap?

At least I have the Internet where I can get real news. That is until the FCC has its way.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Yogi Berra @ D-Day

Before he was a Hall of Famer, before he won a gazillion World Series with the Yankees, Seaman Second Class Lawrence Berra was a part of the D-Day invasion 66 years ago. He talks about it here.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Judenrein

If Glenn Beck would have said this, MSNBC would have devoted three days of programming on it. The US Senate would have sent a letter to Fox demanding they fire him. But Helen will get a pass, and we all know why.

While I'm on the subject, Obama could bomb Tel Aviv and make the eating of pork mandatory and still not lose the Jewish vote. Most American Jews have long abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the god of FDR, JFK and BHO.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The hand that empties the cradle rules the world

Mark Steyn rocks hard, again:

Europe’s economic crisis is a mere symptom of its existential crisis: what is life for? What gives it meaning? Post-Christian, post-national, post-modern Europe has no answer to that question, and so it has 30-year-old students and 50-year-old retirees, and wonders why the small band of workers in between them can’t make the math add up. 
America and its famed "Puritan work ethic" has been, up until now, somewhat insulated from this phenomenon.  The current Administration's attempt to impose a Euro-style cradle-to-grave state from above has met with a huge wave of opposition.  However, how long can it last?  The culture has already abandoned most of everything else associated with actual Puritans, for good or ill; the work ethic isn't just going to prop itself up once everything else has gone.  And in the end, the next generation always has to carry on the struggle of civilization against entropy; if there isn't a next generation, then the struggle is by definition lost.  It's little sense worrying about a healthy society if there's nobody left to socialize with.
When Barack Obama started redistributing American wealth, a lot of readers dusted off Mrs. Thatcher’s bon mot: “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” But European social democracy has taken it to the next level: they’ve run out of other people, period.

However, the Puritans may have been on to something.  Laugh all you like, they helped build from nothing the incredible country we live in.  Tossing out all of the ideas that inspired them is not going to help us keep up.  Has discarding their alleged prudery helped us enjoy more fulfilling sex lives?  We console ourselves by saying "They thought sex was dirty and we don't," and that may have more than a bit of truth about it - but we're the ones who've suddenly stopped having kids.  (Whatever we say they thought, they must have been enjoying themselves.)  The few that we do have are in many ways worse-cared-for, despite our obsession over shielding them from every-increasing bits of the unfairness and routine difficulties of life.  We legislate winning and losing out of their games, and find that they can't handle setbacks, nor succeed with grace.  We put their feelings in front of their education or their discipline, and are amazed that they are uninquisitive, self-absorbed, entitled, and lazy.  Good luck forming lasting and healhty relationships that way.

Those who are going to solve the first trouble are the ones who are toting four and six and more children along in a minivan while their enlightened neighbors snicker in an empty house.  I suspect the way they raise those kids is going to start to solve the other problems as well - on a practical level, you need to have good working rules in place to have a successful family society, and the larger it gets the more opportunities for learning those lessons that also serve in the larger human family.  On a cultural level, the smart money is on the culture that values virtue, hard work, friendship, healthy competition, winning with class, and losing with dignity; the one that treasures life and all its pleasures and thinks about how they ought to work together in the best order - not trampling each other and themselves selfishly.  Giving up that advantage is a disaster.

I'm hopeful despite it all, but we have to start to at least appreciate the good lessons our ancestors taught us, even if some points are disupted.

Portrait of the umpire as a sad man

How many pitchers mounds can Alex Rodriguez cut across?  Shortly after a tiff with A-Rod about ballplayer etiquette, The A's Dallas Braden shut down the Rays on May 9.  Then Philadelphia's Roy Halladay punked the Marlins on Mother's Day.  (This completed a Phillies Family Holiday perfecto, as Philly's Jim Bunning set down 27 straight Mets on Father's Day in 1964.  Take note - Grandparent's Day is September 12 this year.)

Last night we nearly had a third A-Rod Crossing, with Detroit's Armando Galarraga setting down 26 consecutive Cleveland Indians.  And then... well, you can see it for yourself.  (Maybe the problem is that the Indians aren't from Florida.  A fictional owner tried to move them there, but both she and Galarraga were thwarted with two out in the ninth.)

I saw this in a very loud sports bar.  From the look of it, I thought that Galarraga may have bobbled the ball as he caught it - you see that it's much more visible than normal on a play like that.  It was later that I saw, and read, that umpire Jim Joyce thought the runner had beaten the throw.

God bless Jim Joyce.  He was convinced that he was right, so he made the call, no matter how tough it would be.  That is not easy.  Those calls are always so close.  Had this been a routine fourth-inning grounder in a game where the Indians had already gotten a hit, nobody would remember it five minutes later.  Now the guy may unfairly go down in history with the rest of the world's refs who've completely blown it, and on a play that's always tricky to get right, that can honestly be missed.

From that link above there's a gallery of infamous blown calls.  You'll notice as you scroll through that Joyce has been helpfully included.  Some of the others in the list are far worse, though.  For example, the "fifth down" touchdown for the University of Colorado was far worse because it was easily preventable.  Not even included on the list is the bizarre incident from last season's playoffs, when two Yankees wound up stuck at third - neither of them actually standing on the bag! - but Tim McClelland ruled one safe after he was tagged.*

* McClelland is on the list elsewhere, though - the Pine Tar Game.  He was the home plate ump that ruled George Brett out on Billy Martin's appeal, leading to one of the more memorable sports meltdowns ever... and leading to the bizarre four-out conclusion much later in the year.

But really, McClelland at least had a base to stand on in the Pine Tar Game.  And he was dealing with the wily Billy Martin, who never missed a trick, who would invent tricks if there were none to miss at the moment; in a situation where there was no specific rule or precedent.  The more recent one - how do you not know that a stationary runner is not in fact standing on the base?  Joyce had to watch the runner, the pitcher, the ball, and do it all at full-speed with the call deciding whether or not the pitcher had just completed a perfect game.  To me that's far less culpable.

(And not for nothing: one of these calls shouldn't be on that list at all.  Brett Hull's goal was good.  He's allowed to be there with possession of the puck, even if the puck itself is not in the crease when it's shot.)

What do you all think?  Should the Commissioner's Office overturn the call and give Galarraga the perfect game?

UPDATE - today Jim Joyce is working behind the plate at the Tigers game.  Detroit sent Galarraga out to hand in their lineup card before the first pitch, and while Joyce sobbed, the Detroit crowd gave them a standing ovation.  Goosebumps.  That's true class and grace.  Appropriate label has been added below.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mr P

Mr & Mrs P are the elderly parents of a friend of mine. Mr P, who will be 89 in July, fell and broke his hip a few days after Easter. He had spent time in a nursing home rehabbing it. He was doing fine. He would telling me tales of his transfer from horse-drawn artillery to aviation during WW2 (The war ended before he could go overseas). He had a little dementia. (If having a new found devotion to Mrs P and wanting to hear hymns are symptoms of dementia, then I know a lot of guys who could use a little of that.)

Which explains my involvement. I sing hymns to Mr P. I pick the oldies but goodies out of my hymnal (I have my own hymnal - I'm a church music team geek!) and he sings along the best he can. He forgets a lot of things, even sometimes thinks I was with him in Saudi Arabia 40 years ago. But as soon as I start singing he remembers who I am.

He had been in a nursing home. Two weeks ago he got an infection and is now in the hospital. He is not doing so well. His dementia is getting worse. He no longer acknowledges me in the room. But he still tries to sing with me. Last week Mrs P told me what we were both thinking, that he may not make it.

Let me tell you why I sing to him. Because Mr P likes it, of course. But that's not the primary reason. These hymns I sing to Mr P are mini sermons that tell of the salvation given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is my hope that God will use this music to reach him where normal conversation can't.

Another complication for me is that I'm sweet on his daughter. A kindly Christian schoolteacher (unlike the angry right-wing nut I am). But that's a problem for another day.

What I wore to Church Yesterday

It was the Sunday before Memorial Day, so it seemed like the thing to do. The person taking this photo is new with the camera, which explains the shadows. The beard's growing back. I look too much like my big brother The Chief.

Unlike this guy, I can produce documents supporting all the ribbons I am wearing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Going down the valley one by one

We keep losing good blogs.

Going through my sidebar and link list, trying to catch up on some folks, I found a few that have given up the gig.  WunderKraut is the latest, joining Dawn Eden, Rachl Lukis (who may return), Still Stacy, the Boy Named Sous (such a great blog name), and WordGirl.*

* it's odd that the blogger of the name has been replaced by quite a fun PBS kid's show of the same name.  I love having family friends with young kids, I get an excuse to enjoy this stuff with them.

It's oddly sad when a regular stop goes quiet.  It's rarely because the blogger in question has passed or is too ill to continue (though sadly, that does happen).  But there's a small grief there anyway.  A beloved voice fades out of the chorus - and out in the internet, that voice is usually all we meet of that real person.  It's just a little little window into a full life, but it shines such a light.

It's not a bad thing - it probably means that WK and family are busier and happier than ever, and he's devoting more time to more fulfilling pursuits than this.  I'm hopeful for him, and selfishly, a little sad for me.

Be well, my brother.  And the rest of you wonderful fake folks who live in the magic box - don't go 'way just yet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thirty years ago

What if 7:11 was closed?

Nystrom (Tonelli, Henning) 7:11

Favorite part of the pic is John Tonelli going crazy over on the right.

HISTORY WILL BE MADE.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Combatting gang influence in schools

The dreaded B16 gang.

Many members of this gang wear a beaded necklace called in their code a "rosary". Be warned, if this crew should gain a foothold in your public school there will be outbreaks of prayer and obedience to God and acts of charity and loving your neighbor. School administrators will soon lose control of the situation if they don't nip this rosary thing in the bud.

I'm going to rule out my first thought, which was that the principal doesn't know what a rosary is. I don't get it. If I am a teacher and I see a kid with a rosary, I'm thinking that's one kid who won't be giving me any problems.

This young guy's mom is calling the ACLU. I wouldn't be holding my brerath waiting for them.

Sorry the link doesn't let me cut and paste.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From "the Sun still rises in the East" files

The Mets suck again.

Let it be known to future historians that the area around Shea Stadium and Citi Field was known as "Flushing" long before Mets fans longed to do just that to their crappy ball club.  The latest example:  Angel Pagan, the Mets' backup center fielder, last night hit an inside the park home run AND started a triple play in consecutive innings.

Yeah, they lost anyway.  To the Nationals.

It could be worse.  Just now I see on the ticker that the Reds have scored eight runs in the top of the second in Atlanta.  If those were the Mets they would probably blow the lead: they'd give back a couple in the home half, a run here and there in the middle innings, and then a six-run blow-up in the eighth by four relievers while Willie Randolph cackles madly, jabbing knitting needles into a giant voodoo doll of Mr. Met.

UPDATED - holy smokes!  Atlanta DID win.  Cincy pulled a Benitez on us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Politicians and the Lord's Own Hockey

Charles Wang owns the New York Islanders.

He also owns a good bit of the land surrounding the Nassau Coliseum and would like to build things on it: office space, residential units, shopping, and a nice new building for the Islanders to play some hockey.  His idea was to build a suburban destination for people, since that part of Hempstead is a hunk of nothing next to the highway.

Nassau County's then-executive, Tom Suozzi, liked the idea.  The fans loved it.  Of course Wang was behind it, as a way to generate revenue not tied to his hockey team, which (let's face it) currently sucks like an Oreck.  Kate Murray, mayor of Hempstead, however, hemmed and hawed and stalled.  One thing after another with this whole project: they insisted on all sorts of detailed reports, then refused to read them on the grounds that they were too complicated and the residents deserved a simple plan; they demanded environmental impact statements and then dragged their feet on vetting them; they ignored the many construction jobs, the larger tax ratables of new residents (and Hempstead sorely needs them) and new businesses (ditto).

This has been dragging on for longer than this lead-in; but all of a sudden check out this guy, senior councilman Anthony Santino:
Too much is at stake for the town to take a wait and see approach. Supervisor Murray and I intend to be proactive in the creation of a reasonable zoning plan that ensures that the Lighthouse gets built so that it spurs reasonable growth and development, expands the tax base, provides for construction jobs and long-term employment opportunities, and creates a new home for the New York Islanders.

(stick-tap to Chris Botta at Isles Point Blank)
 
If so very much is at stake, why has Hempstead taken a wait-and-NEVER-see approach for lo these three or more years?  Proactive?  You had a plan on the table with all the legwork done.  You're the ones who wanted it scaled back and back until there was essentially nothing but a retrofitted Nassau Coliseum.  NOW all of a sudden you want the tax base and construction jobs and long-term residents?  OH, and by the way, at the end of the sentence, yeah, why not let the Islanders stay?  Y'know, so the guy who OWNS THE TEAM might actually build all this crap for us on his own dime - which was what he WANTED TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE.
 
I hate lying crapweasel politicians.  (Yes, probably a redundancy, but I am really irked right now.)  And Botta's got this clown pegged, right down to his red bulbous Pinocchio nose:
Essentially what Santino is doing is paving the way for Hempstead’s inevitable slashing of the project in June by two-thirds. The timing of Santino’s letter, after the recent double-dip of news of the Shinnecock Casino followed by the Islanders playing ball with the Mets, is not coincidental.
I really want my guys to stay put, but if they do go to Willets Point or something, Hempstead's only got Mayor Murray to blame.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Steal this dog!

I'm even cute when blurry!

But don't let the face fool you - all ur sox are belong to hur, ha ha ha ha.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scene from a hockey movie

[Shot: EXTERIOR, DAY.  We see a sign that reads "Boston Bruins Team Headquarters, C Julien Commanding."  The "C Julien" is graffiti'd out with cuss words.]

[INTERIOR.  Rows of beds are filled with injured Boston Bruins players while nurses in white move to and fro. In one bed is MICHAEL RYDER, seemingly perfectly healthy, busily painting.  Enter BILL SIMMONS, the Sports Guy.]

SG: Man, what a disaster.  [sees Ryder and wanders over]  You don't look so bad.
MR: Yeah.
SG: What you working on?

[We see Ryder's painting.  Goalie Tuukka Rask is making saves on six pucks at once, with explosions in the background, while fending off Daniel Carcillo with his stick and cradling a baby in his catching glove.]

RYDER: It's just not coming together!
Off-camera voice: Hey, Mike, can I take a break?
RYDER: Oh... sure Tuukka.  Take five.
TUUKKA: Thanks.  [He hands the baby to a confused Daniel Carcillo and stumps off to get some Gatorade.]
RYDER: It's hell, Sports Guy.  We had the whole city.  We were doing great.  Now look at this place.

[The camera pans the room.  DAVID KREJCI has his whole arm in a cast, in traction.  BLAKE WHEELER moans and rolls over.  PATRICE BERGERON sits and rocks numbly.]

SG: [points to a bed with a moaning player] What about that guy?
RYDER: Mark Savard.  Severe concussion.  Poor guy thinks he's Kate Smith.
SAVARD: [tossing away sheets and standing] Godddddd bless A-mer-i-caaaaa!  Lannnd that I loooooove!  [He is surrounded by orderlies, who sedate him]  Staaaannnnd.... beside... herrrrrr......  andguierrrrzzzzzz....
RYDER: Hockey is hell.
SG: Listen... this is awkward.  But we had those plans for the rest of the playoffs.  Soon, when you get out of here, maybe we can go back to how things were.
RYDER: Playoffs?  PLAYOFFS?  We've lost three straight games!  [grabs a cup from the nightstand]
SG: Four.  Blew a 3-0 lead at home last night.  [RYDER spits out the drink]
RYDER [in voice-over] I think that was the point at which I developed my shooting problem.

[RYDER cues up a puck and shoots it at an empty net at the foot of the bed.  He misses by twenty feet and hits Ken Socrates in the head.]

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breaking: Area Man Has Perfect Workday

Westchester, NY - Robert Smith was not expecting to have a good day at the office, and he was right.  Instead, it was perfect.

Smith, 24, became the 20th person to have a perfect day at work, retiring a disgruntled customer on the phone at 4:58 pm and successfully clocking out without a single complaint or error.

"He got into a zone and just wouldn't let up," said his division manager, Leslie Jones.  "Bobby's still young, but we've always believed in him."

Amalgamated Consolidated, Ltd., hired Smith fresh from USC in 2006, during the sixth round of interviews, to replace retiring veteran Steve Winkler.  "I didn't know much about the East Coast," said a jubilant Smith.  "I was expecting people to be jerks out here, but everyone's really been great."

One of his coworkers doused him with a shaving cream pie at that point.

Smith, who was born in Oakland, was involved in a minor controversy a few weeks ago when pro ballplayer Alex Rodriguez cut across his lawn while jogging one Saturday.  Smith was trying to mow it at the time.

"Yeah, I just moved, I haven't hired anyone yet, and here comes this dude just cutting through," said Smith, who owns a corner lot.  "I might have to plant some hedges or put up a fence."

"Who?" A-Rod said when told of Smith's perfect workday.

Smith dodged trouble early when his immediate supervisor, Oscar Ruiz, cancelled a budget meeting just minutes before it was scheduled.  Then Amalgamated scored bagels and coffee off of the Westchester Beverage Service's starting sales rep, Pat Miller, and Smith settled into a groove.  His perfect day was never seriously threatened after that.

Smith retired fourteen clients on emails, nine on phone calls, and only needed four face-to-face consultations.