Friday, November 05, 2010

Sparky Anderson RIP

Sparky Anderson died yesterday. Sparky will always be Tiger baseball for me. I've never been a big baseball fan and barely paid attention even when Detroit won the World Series, but Sparky strolling out to the pitcher's mound has somehow been indelibly etched in my brain right next to the word "baseball."

Still nothing much to report around here; I'm still in job limbo while trying to complete my tax class, Debbie is still working at the cruise place, we still live in our ghetto apartment and we still haven't ventured any further than work and Walmart. Someday, maybe, but not today. Tomorrow isn't looking good either. For one thing, we're freezing to death down here; lows in the fifties and highs only in the mid-sixties for the next three days. Brrrrrrrr! Cold combined with general laziness doesn't make exploration likely.

Scientists continue to make progress towards a Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloak. Previous versions only worked at wavelengths longer than visible light, making them somewhat less than useful for sneaking around after curfew and pranking classmates, but the current version works for visible light. The article leaves a little vague what is meant by "works," but still. (And to be un-vague, by "a little vague" I mean "completely vague.")

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961. How far are we from B5-style technomages?

In an effort to convince everyone that schools only hire First Degree Pansies as administrators, a kid was suspended for riding a horse in the parking lot. According to the school, a horse is equivalent to a "loaded firearm." This caps a week that saw a boy expelled for growing his hair out to the required length for donation to the Childhood Leukemia Foundation, and the Wakefield Track and Field boosters getting into hot water because the team's initials happen to be WTF. Remind me again why any parent would voluntarily subject their children to this passive-aggressive BS?

The biggest non-news item of the week is that the Republicans came storming back in the mid-term elections on Tuesday with a large majority in the House, a likely working majority in the Senate and the vast majority of state governorships and state houses. This is about as surprising as the massive wins for the Democrats in the 2008 elections. However, I remain to be convinced that more than a handful of those Republicans are getting the message; people didn't vote for them. This was a vote against the Nuts who missed the same message in 2008. (Election of the Nuts was a side effect of everyone voting against the Creeps.) I will be convinced when I see the following hitting the floor of both houses the first day of the new Congress: repeal of Obamacare, repeal of Dodd's financial "reform" bill, reinstatement of Glass-Steagall provisions separating investment banks from depository banks, anti-trust action against any too-big-to-fail institution with the goal of breaking it up into a number of small-enough-to-fail institutions, immediate and full disinvestment from GM and Chrysler, and an Congressional investigation into why the Justice Department has failed to criminally prosecute those involved in the massive mortgage and securities fraud. I expect to be disappointed. Oh, there will be plenty of talk about my list and more. What there won't be is any action.

A bored TSA agent decides that it would be hysterical to pretend to find cocaine in air passenger's carry-ons. I'm rolling on the floor in laughter, barely able to breath. This is one of those stories that cause you look twice then a third time to make sure you're not at The Onion. I feel so safe.

Does it ever feel like global warming is blamed for some new disaster every week or so? It's not just a feeling. A theory than can explain everything really explains nothing. And it barely deserves mentioning that the hypocrisy by our Global Warming Overlords continues:

Annual car usage (12,000 miles @ 25mpg)            9,391 [lbs CO2]
Obama Entourage to India (all sources)        27,921,100        "
U.N. Climate Confab (Copenhagen)              89,100,000       "

Now that we are closing in on the 99-week limit (remember when that seemed like forever?) on unemployment benefits for the first of the current round of unemployed, at least one state feels the need for armed guards in their unemployment offices. Probably overkill given the lethargy of Americans. I wonder how much it will take to wedge people off the couch and into the streets? Not that mobs are a good thing; the last time led to assassinations, riots and burning cities. I just can't imagine my neighbors, some of whom are so lazy that they drive to the pool located twenty steps from their apartment door and the rest are illegal immigrants, marching down the streets of Sanford. Unless free beer was involved. And a bus so there wouldn't be any actual marching.

People are still getting laid off, but we're told it's OK because the employees still working are more productive. That sounds like a good thing, but anyone who has held a job in the last ten years will tell you, it isn't. "More productive" just means they are being paid for 40 hours while working 50-60. These hours are rarely if ever tracked, so there is no possible way they are included in productivity statistics. This practice of pretending not to know that your employees are working overtime also makes enforcement of minimum wage laws impossible. [Update: just before I hit Publish, a new report shows a jump in new jobs. A bottom? Or just a blip?]

I know I'm the suspicious sort, but does anyone else find it odd that the amount of treasury bills that will be bought by the Federal Reserve with non-existent money is just about equal to what the federal government will need to borrow over the same time-period? Does that mean that our own government is acknowledging a general lack of interest by foreign governments in being our bottomless ATM? How is this "buy-back" any different from the Weimar Republic? It hasn't even happened yet and oil, gold, silver, copper, et al are jumping in price.

In food news, India's Premier announces that India needs to "scour the globe" for energy, not just for oil for transportation and coal for electrical generation, but for food production. Over the last 45 years, India's population has tripled while it's available farmland has been cut in half. The only way that can work is through massive fossil fuel consumption in agriculture. The problem is that only works as long as cheap fossil fuel is available, hence the globe scrubbing. And by good old fashioned colonialism. My irony meter just caught fire.

I was supposed to be in tax class today, but the instructor canceled again, so today will be a general-cleaning-and-job-hunting day instead.

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