Thursday, February 28, 2008
This should be an interesting summer.
Due to the popularity of the Survivor's shows, Northern Michigan is planning to do its own, titled 'Survivor - Michigan Style.'Heh. Most people who don't live in Michigan (which as any true Michigander knows includes anyone living in Detroit) fail to realize that Escanaba in da Moonlight was not a comedy; it was a documentary.
The contestants will start in Traverse City , travel over to Kalkaska and on to Grayling. Then they will head north to Gaylord, Mackinaw City , and St Ste Marie. From there they will proceed west to Iron Mountain and Copper Harbor . Then they will go south-east to Escanaba and St. Ignace, and the final leg will be back to Traverse City .
Each will be driving a pink Volvo with California license plates and a large bumper sticker that reads: 'I'm gay. I'm a Vegetarian. Beer is harmful to your health. Republicans suck. Hillary in 2008. Deer hunting is murder, and I'm here to confiscate your guns.'
The first one that makes it back to Traverse City alive wins. Good luck to all contestants!
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Gas prices are going with it.
(Even as inventories are rising.)
Gold is at a record high.
The Euro is at a record high.
So, the real question is, are prices going up, or is the dollar losing value because the Fed is running the printing presses full steam ahead?
Almost 50 clinical trials were reviewed by psychologists from the University of Hull who found that new-generation anti-depressants worked no better than a placebo – a dummy pill – for mildly depressed patients.Punchline:
Mind is urging GPs to consider alternative therapies such as exercise – particularly outdoor exercise – which it believes has shown to be very effective in combating depression.Heh. Right. Exercise. Outdoors. Besides, if millions of prescriptions for Prozac are replaced with outdoor exercise, who's going to pay the multi-million dollar bonuses to the drug company CEO's?
UPDATE: Don't stop taking your meds because, while they do nothing for your depression, they do screw up your body chemistry and stopping cold turkey can have serious consequences. And big pharma's stocks will suffer. I'm not sure which consequence the medical industry is more concerned about.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February....We don't know what we don't know. Maybe we should spend some of the billions spent on global warming conferences (aka Bash America Again) finding out what is actually happening.
China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century....
And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.
The ice is back....
Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."
The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased....
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Work is still going well. It has been kinda slow lately. Some good news regarding work. I am currently working on my MCC (Master Cruise Counselor) accreditation and am pretty close to finishing it all up. I just signed up this past November. Right now I have the accreditation of ACC. I will be going to Florida the first part of March to get the rest of my ship inspections and "training classes" done. I have to have 30 cabins booked under my office and another 7 night cruise personal experience and I'll be done. I did have the 30 cabins booked, but some were under the corporate office (group space) and I found out those do not count! :-( I am getting my wedding group cruise (10 cabins) transferred to my office, so I get to count those again. After those are finalized, I will only have 2 more cabins to book. Anyone want to book a cruise?!!!!! I figure after Ric and my Mediterranean cruise in April/May, I should have those two more booked. Then I can turn in everything and be done with it. Pretty good -- just over 6 months to finish it up! (Trying hard to pat my back without hurting myself! LOL)
This is definitely the place to work on cruise accreditation's. I probably would have never tried this in Michigan. I was having a hard time getting the 15 cruises booked in a 12month time frame when I signed up there to work on my ACC. I did a report at AAA and from Jan 1, 2007 through the end of Jan 2008 I had booked around 67 cabins! And that was in my first year with them moving from Michigan. The next level (ECC) has to have 50 cabins booked in a 12 month time period. At first that scared me alot! I thought 30 was going to be tough. Now, after running that report and realizing how many cruises we actually book here in Arizona, I think I may go for it.
Not too much new on the home front. I haven't gotten into a good routine yet with Ric gone most nights. Right now I just read a book or watch a movie or stare into space. I have alot of things I want to do ...... card making, organizing things, letter writing, phone calls (gotta watch that time zone), online training for work, etc. Oh well --- I will get to it sooner or later. My biggest thing now is to look through everything and try to find a couple saving bonds that I misplaced. I know I had them at Arcosanti and now I have no idea where they are. I have a "study book" that some good friends recommended I work through. I read/skimmed over the first chapter after I got my own copy and decided it was going to be tough work. So....I put it down and haven't looked at it again. Another cop out. It is tough to get motivated for some reason.
Speaking of copping out. Weight. Yep, I've put it back on since starting an office job again. From last Jan to this Jan, I put back on about 25 lbs. :-( I really have to cut back on portions and start walking and/or riding my bike. I keep saying --- when the weather is nice ....
Yeah, procrastination is my middle name!
Well....now that I've bored you with this long post.....I will sign off shortly. I will try to post more often (or at least once or twice before we leave on our cruise tour) Take care and good night to all my family and friends. I am thinking of you and miss you all. The phone works both ways (especially in Kalkaska where my cell is still a local call for you) I am making a promise here and you can keep me honest and check on me. I promise to write somebody a letter (not email) at least once a month. I figured I would go with once a month and not once a week --- might be easier to keep that promise. Who will get a letter in February???? Watch your mailbox!
Seriously ill patients are being kept in ambulances outside hospitals for hours so NHS trusts do not miss Government targets....Britain already has Hillary-care. It doesn't seem to be working out too well. Do we really think it will be any better here?
..."patient-stacking" was putting patients' health at risk.
...shocking systematic failure in our emergency services....
Conservative health spokesman Mike Penning said: "Not admitting people to hospital but stacking patients in car parks beggars belief in the 21st century."
This is a recent phenomenon and has done serious damage, possibly permanent damage to this country.
And I don't think Obama is more likely to be assassinated once he is elected president. I just wouldn't want to be in the sights of the Ice Bitch.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
The only problem with using oil as a substitute for gold is that it's a bugger to get a barrel of oil under the mattress.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
In a somewhat confusing flurry of orders, the court first ordered operator Dynadot LLC to “immediately disable the wikileaks.org domain name and account....But of course their domain still doesn't resolve.
But hours later the court amended the order, removing the requirement to disable the entire WikiLeaks domain but ordering that all JB documents [the ones proving that the rich, Swiss assholes were using their Cayman Island branch to launder drug money] be removed from all servers.
Understand that this is a web site that has leaked information on military prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, but they get knocked off the internet (well, just in the US; the site has several mirrors) for revealing criminal wrong-doing by a bunch of rich, Swiss assholes.
It's long been known that the US has the best politicians money can buy. Now it seems we have the best judges that (foreign) money can buy, but they must be new to the game as they don't seem to be staying bought. I'm sure they will learn quickly.
HD DVD is dead. Long live Blu-ray. Except everyone seems to be ignoring it in droves as well. First off, not one person in a hundred has a TV good enough and big enough to see any difference between a Blu-ray and a standard DVD in a good player. Second, there just are not enough movies out on Blu-ray, and third, the players are still way too expensive. Given time, that could all change. After all, the same could have been said about standard DVD's not all that long ago. But all the pieces are now in place for digital delivery; it's just waiting for someone to put the whole package together. The porn industry, is, as usual leading the way with at least one company offering a set top box that will download and play any movie from a catalog of tens of thousands for a flat monthly fee. iTunes and Amazon's Unbox are getting close as well. Netflix could go full digital at any time. All that needs to happen is the price needs to come down and the studios need to stop trying to make maximum profit from each sale and start shooting for volume. And digitize the vault before it literally turns to dust.
Oil prices are going up again. The soft US economy pushed them down into the $80's until recently. Trading in Asia this morning broke through $96 a barrel again. As hard as it may be to believe, the rest of the world rolls on with or without us. China and India's energy needs continue to sky-rocket with no end in sight, driving up world demand for oil even as we ease off a bit.
From the not-really-news department, Castro announced he is resigning. I doubt he has had much to do with the day-to-day running of the country for some time. I'd like to see us take this opportunity to drop the embargo; it's a silly waste of our resources and just gives ammunition to Castro supporters (Castrati?). Enough already. Of course, it makes sense, so we won't do it and will continue to be perceived as a bully taking out our frustrations on a small island nation.
Some rich assholes in Switzerland who have gotten rich laundering drug money in the Cayman Islands have used the US courts to shut down a web site that documented that they were a bunch of rich assholes who have gotten rich laundering drug money in the Cayman Islands. Not being satisfied with knocking them off-line here in the states, they followed up by launching a denial-of-service attack against the site's Swiss ISP and setting the place on fire. Nice to see that nothing has changed. The site owners didn't even have a chance to defend themselves in court because they were notified of where the suit was filed a few hours prior. By e-mail. Anyone want to bet that a certain judge now has a nice, fat Swiss bank account? And just what reason is there for a Swiss company to file suit against a company with a Swiss presence in US court? Have our courts become that easy to corrupt?
Foo Fighters' Razor now playing.
I see our banks are still in good health, as long as the Fed keeps pouring money-with-the-ink-still-wet into them. The mattress looks like a safer place for our money (in gold coin, of course) every day.
Foreigner's Double Vision is playing.
Business as usual in the White House:
Foreigner's Head Games is playing. I don't remember that being the album cover, and I would have remembered that. For one thing, it would have never made it into my parents' house....
Well, the rest of the English internet appears to be in bed and I've run out of steam here, so I guess I'll head back to bed.
4:40 am. Sigh.
Monday, February 18, 2008
We did manage to get out of the house yesterday. The weather has been sunny and in the high 50's and even low 60's on occasion, so we ventured out of the cave and did some shopping and saw Spiderwick Chronicles. Pretty good movie. There were families there with what I thought were very young kids given some of the scary parts, but maybe young kids are more jaded today than we were. I didn't see any escorted out screaming in terror, so that is most likely the case. Anyway, I thought it was worth every penny we paid, which was none; Debbie routinely wins free movie passes from work. So you can take my recommendation with the requisite NaCl.
Friday, February 15, 2008
We are out of everything, so today and tomorrow should be interesting. At least we got in a new tub of Diet Coke so I can keep myself nice and jittery all night.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
With any luck, things will get so ugly that both parties will be in tatters, and Bob from Iowa will win on a a write-in vote by the five people that bother to show up at the polls in November.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Is this what we really want?
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Guess who came to dinner Thursday night? I didn't realize it, but Toni Tennille lives not far from here. The waitress thought she recognized her, and confirmed it when she paid with a credit card.
Friday, February 08, 2008
First up is a new study that confirms the findings of dozens of other studies: If you take into account all the CO2 produced, burning ethanol produces more CO2 than burning the equivalent amount of gasoline. This has been known practically since the scheme of blending alcohol into our gasoline was cooked up back in the early 1980's. The entire ethanol "industry" from the corn field to the gas pump is nothing but a fraud that involves the transfer of millions of dollars every year from taxpayers to the farming and energy sectors. Ethanol is a complete failure economically and environmentally. Enough already.
One issue I have with the article is lumping all biofuels in with ethanol made from food crops. If the focus was shifted from making ethanol from corn or soybeans to making ethanol or methanol from saw dust, tree bark, lawn clippings, switch grass, etc., or even light crude from turkey guts, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But we have to save the family farm, and what better way than by running up world food prices by burning crops in our cars.
Next is a somewhat humorous article about Georgia trying to move the state border in order to gain access to more water. Georgia has been hammered by drought and population growth resulting in massive water shortages. No one is taking this border-moving nonsense seriously. At least not yet. But massive, centuries-long droughts have occurred before and will happen again. Watch for water wars in the next couple decades.
The next two article are closely related. One is written by a real scientist working on the IPCC blasting the extremism in an up-coming National Geographic special. Understand that this is a guy that finds a six-degree shift "plausible." What he finds ridiculous is the projected effects. One point that he makes is key to understanding just what it is we are talking about:
It’s 90 degrees from Pole to Equator, and the hottest and coldest places on Earth, Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression and the Antarctic Plateau, are 83 Degrees Celsius apart.In other words, if you stay at the same altitude, a difference of one degree Celsius is the same as driving south one degree of latitude, or about 69 miles.
If one degree is nature’s answer to Lynas’ question, the flora and fauna of Newark, New Jersey has about a century to adopt to the climate of Newark, Delaware. If the answer is three, make that Newport, Rhode Island, and Newport News, Virginia. If, defying statistical gravity we see the six degree Celsius shift that is the focus of the Special Effects industry 22nd century shockumentaries will compare footage of Birmingham, Alabama today with Birmingham, Michigan tomorrow. Don’t expect a lot of Oscars, because the summers Alabama’s biotreme already endure are about as hot as even nature stoked on CO2 will be able to deliver—the sun is not going to get hotter on our account.That last sentence is a good lead-in to the final article that discusses a fact little-known and never-discussed in the Al Gore camp called the Maunder Minimum. Every few centuries, the sun cools off. We are due, and there is some evidence that we may be moving into one. The last time this happened in the late 17th century, humanity was blessed by "massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe." Sounds like a fun time. The article's conclusion:
"Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."Why do I have the odd suspicion that neither of these studies will be mentioned as a counterpoint to the National Geographic Channel's hysteria-fest?
A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion.
"The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz.
The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures."
The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures."
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Or even keeping us alive, it now seems.
Of course, half of that article is telling everyone to not jump to conclusions on the basis of one study, blah, blah, blah. Of course, if one study seems to hint at the possibility that there may be a slight chance of some benefit from me being prescribed yet-another $30-a day drug, my doctor never hesitates. But the possibility that my blood sugar or cholesterol or whatever may just naturally fall outside of the medical industry's arbitrary "normal" range and that artificially forcing my body to conform to those arbitrary ranges may be unhealthy or even deadly? Now, now, lets not be hasty here....
By the way, did I mention I am shopping for a new doctor for the third time in a year?
Tax them for doing it.
Use those taxes to fund boondoggles like Detroit's People Mover that rarely does.
Dictate where people will live.
Dictate how people can use their private property.
In other words, business as usual.
Personally, I think it's great to live where I can walk to work and Debbie only drives 7 miles round trip. Today, I realized I didn't have any quarters to do laundry, so I walked down the street to our bank: total round trip time: 20 minutes. Grocery store: 5 minute walk. Post office: 7 minute walk. Library: 8 minute walk. Ice cream parlor, art gallery, city park, an even dozen restaurants, a museum, the high school soccer field: all within a 10-minute walk. It will take a lot to convince me to ever go back to our previous situation where the nearest loaf of bread was a forty-five minute drive round trip. No thanks. But I want the option to do so if I wish without having to placate a bunch of whiners that just can't stand seeing someone else doing something they disagree with.
However, for a vocal and, at times, far too influential segment of humanity, that isn't enough: "I don't like it, therefore you cannot do it." is the cry of the wanna-be statist. It matters not what "it" is. It could be McDonalds, malls, or Mormons. The government must do something to rid us of this scourge. Of course it goes without saying that you don't dare even a glance at their sacred cows.
Or is it that we only hear of the failures? Let's face it, "Today in NYC, no buildings were successfully blown up." is hardly compelling news.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Here is one idea. I'm not sure I buy it, but it is interesting to contemplate how, or if, this would work.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Today we at least got out of the house, did a little shopping, drove out to Arcosanti to pick up some mail, and dropped off a package at the post office. Nothing exciting, but it was good to get out of the house. While we were out and about, we used a couple free movie passes that Debbie had won at work to see Juno. Whoever wrote it has a strange sense of humor, but it was what movies are supposed to be; mindless entertainment.
I heard that there was some sort of game played down in Phoenix yesterday that was used as a loss leader for car and beer ads. Anybody catch who won? Or how about who played?
Friday, February 01, 2008
God save us from these nags.