Monday, October 31, 2005

Lying for God, Part 64,487

Will the ID crowd ever learn? Someone please explain to me where Christians are commanded to use lies and deception to advance God's Kingdom.
I tired and decidedly not a happy camper today, so this will be short.

I've added another new blog. It belongs to a Panda's Thumb contributor with whom I had a short correspondence. Good stuff from the Land Down Under.

And it's deja vu all over again. Can anyone say, "Donor fatigue?"

I found out this weekend that an aunt and uncle suffered a total loss of their home Florida to Wilma. It was a new, cash purchase that they had not been able to get insurance for due mainly to foot-dragging by the insurance companies. The sale was finalized after they left Florida this spring, meaning they didn't even stay one night in it before it was destroyed.

For decades, the airline industry has been in and out of bankruptcy court and begging for government hand-outs. Scott Adams clearly shows why this is, and, more importantly, why the major carriers should be allowed to collapse. Name any industry that treats its customers with such contempt.

Vox Day is often accused of being a sexist pig. Well, he is in good company because now Maureene Dowd is saying much the same thing. Of course, I'm sure it is still somehow all men's fault. I'm holding my breath waiting for the flood of apologies from the female flamers. OK, so I'm not really holding my breath. I'm not that stupid. Somehow all I expect to hear is a deafening silence from the screeching buzz saws. The bottom line is you can't fight biology.

And that's really all I can deal with today.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Last night did not go as planned, but I'm happy with the results. I was supposed to finish cleaning off the hard drive in the laptop, but instead I got caught up in house-cleaning mode. By the time Nestina came home from work, I was done with the basement and was doing a white tornado number on the main floor (free cookie to the first person that can Name That Product). She changed clothes and jumped in to help, and we kept at it until around midnight. Nestina curled up on one of the living room couches, and I did the same on the other. We were just talking and watching some random movie from Nestina's work. At some point we must have fallen asleep; luckily, a friend of Nestina's called on her cell phone around 2am so we both headed off to bed for the night.

Nothing really on tap for tonight. Nestina has plans with some friends, so I will do the pathetic loser thing and go eat out by myself, then head home for some serious book-reading, then bed. Please don't be jealous. Not everyone can live the high life.

I've added another "work" blog. This one is a lawyer. Funny stuff. I remember my days as a wage slave in an accounting firm. The quest for billable hours was the same, but it was a far more low-key environment than what she describes. I do remember tax season all-nighters. I often wonder how much penalty and interest my clients got nailed for because of the routine sleep deprivation.

I love Wiley Miller. I have no idea how close to real life his strip is, but Danae is a hoot. If he really has a daughter that is half as much fun as the cartoon version, he has my sympathy. One of the girls from my soccer team is just like her, except the cloths: my version of Danae dresses slightly preppy. I love her to death, but it can be frustrating to try to explain why something is just plain wrong when our "leaders" are such shining examples of post-modern amorality.

Jerry Pournelle has a short essay on the place tax-funded prizes can play in our country's technological development. This idea has always had a place in the aerospace industry, but Jerry asks, why should it be limited to one industry? I can think of a dozen prizes in the automotive, computer, telcom, construction, and health care industries without even working up a sweat. And it sure beats spending hundreds of billions of dollars and leaving our young men's bones to "bleach in these desert sands" trying to impose "democracy" on people who provably don't know what it is and wouldn't want it if they did. Assignment: name five goals you think a National Technology Goals Foundation should fund prizes for.

And that is all I have for today. With nothing really planned this weekend, I am hoping to get the place ready for winter. Ugh.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Not much to report from the Frost household. Debbie is still "working" in Hawaii. I spent last night in front of the computer sorting through digital photos in an attempt to free up enough disk space for all the photos Debbie will likely be bringing home. When we first got the digital camera, I stayed on top of things in terms of cleaning up the photos, doing rotations, killing red-eye, etc. Now I'm getting into some of the more-recent stuff and it is obvious that I have become a huge slacker. I just hope I can get done tonight and burn everything to a bunch of new CD's. I also have a lot of old stuff, like college papers, that I don't want to lose, but I don't need to keep them on a hard drive. I'll archive those off to CD and free up another gig or so. I wrote a lot of papers in my 18-month stint in college.

Other than that, not much other than a nice little optical illusion. Here is what you do:
  • If your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot, you will only see one color, pink.
  • If you stare at the black + in the center, the moving dot turns to green.
  • Now, concentrate on the black + in the center of the picture. After a short period of time, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you will only see a green dot rotating if you're lucky!
There really is no green dot, and the pink ones really don't disappear. Given how easy our optical processing can be fooled, why is eye-witness testimony considered to be so definitive by the general public?

That's all folks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Middle of the Road

I've always been of the opinion that reality is rarely, if ever, found at the extremes. I have been reading William G. Dever's book Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? In his introduction, Dever writes:
A word about methodology may be helpful, with particular reference to my task here - that of using archaeological evidence as a "control" (not "proof") in rereading the biblical texts. I would argue that there are at least five basic approaches to doing so, in a continuum from the right to the left. One can
  1. Assume that the biblical test is literally true, and ignore all external evidence as irrelevant.
  2. Hold that the biblical text is probably true, but seek external corroboration.
  3. Approach the text, as well as the external data, with no preconceptions. Single out the "convergences" of the two lines of evidence, and remain skeptical about the rest.
  4. Contend that nothing in the biblical text is true, unless proven by external data.
  5. Reject the text and any other data, since the Bible cannot be true.
In the following, I shall resolutely hold to the middle ground - that is to Approach 3 - because I think that truth is most likely to be found there.

This position is often held in contempt as the easy way out or waffling. But note that it requires more work, while constantly guarding against one of the most human of all tendencies; shoving data into existing mental pigeon-holes rather than letting the data speak for itself. Also note that the extremes (1. and 5.) involve the least work of all. Is extremism just a symptom of mental laziness?

Anyway, I'm about two-thirds the way through the book and am enjoying it thoroughly.
Nestina had some friends over for the night last night. I must have been pretty tired because I was able to go to sleep in spite of the non-stop giggling. Other than cooking the girls pizza rolls, I really didn't do much other than start sorting through the digital photos. We have never taken the time to weed out the really bad shots, rotate all of them so the top of the picture is the top of the picture, rename the files to something at least marginally meaningful, etc. I expect the process to go pretty quickly overall, even though we have some massive photo directories from some of the cruises. I need to get the laptop and the Xandros box talking to each other soon: the laptop is starting to get very tight on drive space. It's about five years old now, and only has a 9G hard drive. Having a 3 mega-pixel digital camera is eating that up at a pretty good clip, and I would really like to get a better digital with a 9 or 10 mega-pixel element. The one we have is several years old and is starting to act up. The problem is disk space; I just don't have enough and I can't justify the cost of a camera and drive space. I can't even justify the cost of a camera, but I'm afraid the one we have is just going to die one day. Ah well.

Not much in the news other than the implosion of the Bush White House. It's starting to feel like the Nixon administration again.

I have also added two new blogs: The Dilbert Blog and Mimi in New York. I love Scott Adams' take on blogging (from Dilbert Newsletter 61.0):

When I see news stories about people all over the world who are experiencing hardships, I worry about them, and I rack my brain wondering how I can make a difference. So I decided to start my own blog. That way I won't have time to think about other people.

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought process much like this:

  1. The world sure needs more of ME.
  2. Maybe I'll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
  3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
  4. I know - I'll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
  5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn't involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
  6. What? It's called a blog? I'm there!
The blogger's philosophy goes something like this:

Everything that I think about is more fascinating than the crap in your head.

The beauty of blogging, as compared to writing a book, is that no editor will be interfering with my random spelling and grammar, my complete disregard for the facts, and my wandering sentences that seem to go on and on and never end so that you feel like you need to take a breath and clear your head before you can even consider making it to the end of the sentence that probably didn't need to be written anyhoo.

And that's it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Nearly Everyone in Kalkaska is Dead

Today, the 2,000th soldier died in Iraq. For perspective, the population of the Village of Kalkaska in July, 2004 was 2,222.

For what?

"But if we find we have left our bones to bleach in these desert sands for nothing, beware the fury of the legions...." (A Roman Centurion in a letter home from North Africa, 3rd Century)

Anyone in Washington listening?
I got a call from Debbie around 10:30pm last night. She is safe in Hawaii. We didn't have much time to talk about anything else.

The Wilma aftermath is here, here, and here.

And not much else to say. My sleep schedule is so jerked around right now, I feel like a complete zombie.

The N-word Rocks!

Not that n-word, but the one I have been gratuitously slapping all over these pages recently to see how much I can jack up my page hits. It obviously works given that these are the top ten search terms (with the n-word obscured to maintain the integrity of my "experiment") that people used to get to this blog:

n*de girls
n*de women
n*de boys (Michael Jackson fans?)
"What my vote means to me"
"vox day"
n*de beaches
n*de in public

If I ever decide to blog for a living, I think I just found a viable business model.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Well, fall soccer season is over. My girls lost 1-0 Saturday in the only game of the day. The third team backed out, so we played one game, full 40-minute halves, with free substitution. I had really hoped to win our last game with it being at home and all, but our offense is still developing. Several of the girls mentioned playing indoor soccer during the winter, which would certainly beef up the passing and trapping skills. However, I don't know if there will be enough interest for a team as most of the girls are involved in other things over the winter. In any case, it was fun and I think we had a far better season than our record reflects. There are several of the younger girls that didn't have much playing time in the past that are really starting to find their place on the field. They have several more seasons to play, and I expect to see good things in the future.

That was pretty much the weekend. Sunday was a very lazy day as we knew we had to drag ourselves out of bed at 3am today. Debbie flew out of Traverse City at 6am today on her way to Hawaii. I, of course, am stuck here in the cold. Being a travel agent may not pay as well as being a computer geek, but I have yet to be sent to Hawaii for "work." Not that I'm bitter or anything....

That means that Nestina and I are on our own for over a week. I hope the microwave doesn't break, or we could starve to death. We will gladly accept care packages containing hot meals, assuming anyone can find our house.

Anyway, after scrubbing the Yucatan peninsula down to bare rock, and rinsing thoroughly with 4 feet of rain, Wilma is now returning the southern third of Florida to the sea. After the series of hurricanes over the last couple of years, I assume most structures will survive the wind, but this puppy is dumping some serious water. Back in the old, unenlightened days, people in hurricane-prone areas built with cinder block and concrete. You may lose the entire contents of your house in a flood, but it was unlikely there would be structural damage. Now, of course, everyone builds with wood and drywall. Sure, you can make stick-built houses wind-proof, but nothing you do will keep them from being destroyed by water, and Wilma seems to be pumping a lot of water.

I've been accused in the past of being sexist and racist, so what I am about to say will probably get me into trouble. But, given the last few months, why stop now? Anyway, a black rapper can advocate killing whites, rape, and killing cops and the "leaders" in the black "community" are either silent or openly defend them. But let a couple no-name teen-age white girls, that, prior to getting free national publicity from ABC News, were unheard-of outside a small circle of fans, espouse white nationalist views, and we have the NAACP getting all broken-hearted over "those two girls spewing out that kind of garbage." Where is the heart-break over two-thirds of all black children being bastards? Where is the heart-break over the leading cause of death of black males 16-25 being black males 16-25? Where is the heart-break over the 50% illiteracy rate in Detroit's black neighborhoods? Where is the heart-break over the majority of blacks being unable to speak standard English? Oh. Sorry. I forget that we can't criticize those things: they are part of "Black Culture."

In any case, flame all you want; it won't change the facts.

A tip for Pat Robertson, who I am sure checks this blog every day. When you find yourself on the sharp end of Wiley Miller's humor, it's time to rethink your message, Pat. Or not. Frankly the secular world never tires of the endless humor you provide. You do, however, tend to irritate your fellow-believers, and have likely driven more people away from God than anyone since Tammy Faye.

And last, but certainly not least, Fred Reed takes on the modern prohibitionists at M.A.D.D. I've long considered M.A.D.D. another example of an organization that has outlived its usefulness. When it all started back when I was in high school, they had a point. Most states had ridiculously-high thresholds for being considered driving drunk, and many had little or no escalation for repeat offenders. So M.A.D.D. lobbied for reforms, and got them. Then the real agenda took over, to the point where they have entered the Land of the Bizarre, with M.A.D.D. insisting that it's OK to arrest people who are not even near their vehicles for being "impaired." While Fred compares driving-while-drunk with driving-while-PMS'ing, I've usually gone the safer route and compared it to driving-while-old. I know for a fact that my reaction times right now at 40 years old are substantially slower than they were when I was 20. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that the average 20-year-old could out-perform me on any standardized driving test while legally intoxicated. Don't even get me started on my 91-year-old grandfather that still has a valid drivers license. Now I realize my reaction times aren't as good and I compensate by giving myself more room, being more cautious on unfamiliar roads, and just generally not pushing the envelope when I drive. And, to argue the flip side, a 20-year-old is involved in more accidents per miles driven in spite of their faster reaction time due to a lack of driving experience and common sense. However the fact remains: if we as a society are going to buy the line that a person that has been drinking can be put in jail because he might drive a vehicle at some point in the near future, why do we not do the same for people who are visibly angry, depressed, old, or PMS'ing? After all, the ultimate in safe driving is no one driving.

Anyway, I'm calling it quits real soon. I started work at 5:30 this morning, so I'm scooting out early.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I forgot to add a postscript to my rant about Walgreen. The post office does not deliver packages to my house because we live on a seasonal road and they are forbidden by federal law (so we were told) from driving down a seasonal road. [Aside: After jerking us off for several years, the county road commission informed us that they were forbidden by state law from improving our road, then told us we were forbidden by state law from improving it ourselves because we would be taking work away from the unionized county road workers who were not working on our road. Seems to be a lot of laws that prevent government employees from doing anything or private citizens from working around their inert bodies.] Our mail box is at the end of our road, and anything that doesn't fit results in one of those little pink notes to come pick something up at the post office. When Nestina picked up my box of (damaged, piss warm) insulin, the clerk gave her a phone number and asked her to call with directions to our road. Nestina wasn't familiar with the road names out by us, so she asked me to call. Now understand, I'm thinking there has to be some sort of miscommunication. How could the post office that delivers mail to my mailbox six days a week not know where my road is?

Well, it turns out that was exactly what the post office wanted to know: how to get from the post office to my road. It seems little fairies have been delivering my mail, because the post office had no clue where we live.


I asked them why it mattered where our house was when they couldn't deliver packages anyway. The clerk mumbled something about "express packages" and "Traverse City." So I am now of the understanding that if you send something to us Express Mail, the Traverse City post office will drive it over to our house. Or something. I'm not really clear on the details, but then neither is the post office. Universal symmetry is maintained.

Remember, these are the same people that know better than you how to educate your children, what you should and should not watch on your TV, and how your house should be built.

I wonder if there is a form of plastic surgery that will make my eyes look oriental. Then when the Chinese take over, I can claim I am a long-lost cousin of Yao Ming.
Not much going on in the Frost household other than the normal chaos. The floor guys finished up Wednesday, so we have been trying to find where we stuffed everything from the two floors of the house they were working on and put things back together. The floors look great; everything turned out perfect. It better; it cost us half what we paid for the log kit we built the house from. Anyway. Last night was the last soccer practice of the season. We played around more than we practiced. I figure at this point that if they don't know what they are supposed to do, a couple hours of kicking a soccer ball around isn't going to help.

I was sent another article that sort of follows up on my posts from the last couple of days. It was written by the president of the University of Vermont. Money quote:
On a tour of Tsinghua's main library, I came upon one of many crowded reading rooms, this one so long that the side walls seemed to converge in the distance, as in an art school exercise in perspective. A center aisle divided two ranks of library tables receding down the long vista, eight seats at each table, almost every seat occupied by a student deep in study, at least 400 silently absorbed in books, writing in notebooks.

There lay the future: focused, determined, intense, inevitable.
As I said, the Chinese know they are behind and are determined to make up lost ground. Meanwhile, in the West we have Political Correctness and anarcho-tyranny. We have exceptions to the general lack of accomplishment, but "[a]lthough South River lies just eight miles from Annapolis, it sometimes seems far from the center of the educational universe in Anne Arundel. Bigger schools with better sports teams grab more headlines.

Now it all becomes clear. Our schools suck at educating our children because their primary purpose is to provide sports teams. Got it. Meanwhile, the first module of China's space station is performing flawlessly. I have this insatiable urge to learn Mandarin.

And that is all I have time for today. I want everyone to note that I made it through an entire blog post without using the word "nude."


Thursday, October 20, 2005

My hit counts continue to be high, and most of them are new visitors. The same 15-20 people who hit this place on a regular basis are still there, but they have been joined by dozens drawn by my gratuitous use of the word "nude" in my posts. I guess I will stop and see what happens to my numbers. I'm guessing that when "nude" stops appearing in my posts, my 28-day rolling average will drop back to around 18 where it has been since I started tracking it.

More on IQ, college graduation rates, etc.

First, I was sent a link to the article I mentioned yesterday published on a different (and free) web site. I'm surprised that the Times thinks it can charge for a column that is being given away at other newspaper sites. Do they really believe that they add that much value just by having it posted on their web site that I will pay for it?

Anyway, the column is mostly observations and not much on conclusions other than this is important and we really need to understand what is going on here, and stop crucifying those who dare suggest that not every human being has exactly the same innate abilities. To recap, the column discusses the growing gap in the number of female-to-male college graduates. Females do better in grade school, and seem to stick with college and graduate in higher numbers than males. Over-all, the ratio is 133 females for every 100 males (with the ratio being 200 black females for every 100 black males). Give what we know about the various bell curves involved, combined with what we know is necessary to function in science, math, and engineering, you would think we as a society might want to take a hard look at what is going on and why it is happening.

Brooks gives a lot of data, some of which conflicts with what I have seen from other places. But nothing he presents changes the conclusions drawn by many others that have been beat down by the PC police (Larry Summers being just the latest in a long line). Rather than beat a patch of grass where a dead horse used to be, I'll just pick a few sound bites out:

"...kindergarten teachers report that girls are more attentive than boys and more persistent at tasks. Through elementary school, girls are less likely to be asked to repeat a grade. They are much less likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability."

Of course: boys need to be forced to pay attention, while girls are, in general, less willful. No parent would be surprised by this. We have removed the ability of our schools to force little boys to pay attention to the teacher, so they are diagnosed as learning disabled and drugged. Nothing new here.

"In high school, girls get higher grades in every subject, usually by about a quarter of a point, and have a higher median class rank. They are more likely to take advanced placement courses and the hardest math courses and are more likely to be straight-A students. They have much higher reading and writing scores on national assessment tests. Boys still enjoy an advantage on math and science tests, but that gap is smaller and closing."

So the girls are more likely to sign up for AP classes or advanced math classes, but fail to do as well as the boys do. Given what I have observed in the Kalkaska schools, I would guess that more girls sign up for AP classes due to a teacher or school counselor telling them to,while more boys sign up because they are genuinely interested in the subject matter. Girls, in general, tend to be more compliant to authority figures.

Here is also where I take issue with Brooks' data. Every comparative study I have seen of standardized tests shows boys out front in both verbal and math/science scores. The gap is far less on the verbal than on math and science, but boys still have the advantage. That information may be out of date. If it is, I'd like to see some sources for this.

"Girls are much more likely to be involved in the school paper or yearbook, to be elected to student government and to be members of academic clubs."

In other words, girls are better socializers. Again, I'm not sure what this has to do with academic success nor can I think of a single parent that doesn't know this. As a test, monitor the phone usage of a teenage girl vs. a teenage guy. Compare the number of calls made and received, the length of the calls, and "bit rate." See if you detect any patterns.

"They [girls] set higher goals for their post-high-school career."

That's nice. But do they achieve those goals? One of the guys that graduated from our church's youth group told anyone who asked that he wanted to own a junk yard after he graduated from high school. Not a very lofty goal by today's standards, but he achieved it, and by the looks of things, he is a very successful junk yard owner. Compare that to the girls I started college with who enrolled in computer science only to wind up as education majors or in the newly-formed "Women's Studies" (renamed soon after to "Womyn's Studies) when they cracked their skulls on the first real math class or computer language lab. All the guys I knew (including me) all had jobs related to their major by their sophomore year and dropped out of college soon after.

"Women are more likely to enroll in college and they are more likely to have better applications,"

Because colleges look at all the social stuff like being on twenty different committees or involved in a dozen clubs. Teacher recommendations are also important and who is a (most always female) teacher more likely to write a letter of recommendation for? The girl in class that never speaks out of turn and never argues with the teacher, or the guy that sits in the back of the class being a jerk?

"If boys like to read about war and combat, why can't there be books about combat on the curriculum?"

Because we have feminized not just our schools, but our entire culture. Boys must play with Barbie dolls because boys running around pretending to shoot things or wrestling on the playground upsets the pretty blond heads that now run our schools. Boys must read books where all the characters cooperate because competition is evil and may result in someone doing better than someone else. So we bore them to death until they can't take it anymore and start acting out, then we drug them into submission.

"Would elementary school boys do better if they spent more time outside the classroom and less time chained to a desk?"

As a general rule, yes. Again, ask any parent. A significant number of our girls would benefit from this as well.

"Or would they thrive more in a rigorous, competitive environment?"

As a general rule, yes. Again, ask any parent.

"...honest discussion of innate differences has been stifled (ask Larry Summers)."


And just to add to that, here is a discussion over on Jerry Pournelle's site about IQ and what it means for education. Jerry hits it dead on with "God and the Universe are not designed to change facts in order to relieve me of stress." It does not matter one bit if people are uncomfortable discussing the differences in ability (whether we are talking IQ, standardized tests, g, or any of a dozen other measures) between genders and between races. As a society, we must have the discussion and it must happen sooner rather than later. Or we can all start learning Chinese, because I guarantee they don't give a damn about political correctness. China is way behind and knows it. The difference is that they are running hard and closing in on our lead, while we repeatedly shoot ourselves in the feet.

And from the Law is an Ass files, we have three perfect examples of what is meant by the term anarcho-tyranny:

What is an accident?
Jail time for $1.16 in back taxes
Cheerleaders or prostitutes?

More on obesity here. Greg Cochran says that many things we consider to be hereditary are actually infectious diseases. He has been proven right far more often than wrong. It is also important to note that, like intelligence, the question of heredity vs. disease vs. environment is most likely "all of the above in varying proportions depending on a few dozen other variables."

Bob Thompson takes on Fred Reed's latest column on evolution. He includes one of the best explanations of a fact vs. a theory I have ever seen:

The ID folks sneer at Evolution as being "only a theory", with the implication that the theory is unproven and therefore their ID garbage is just as likely an explanation, if not more so. In science, a theory is the next best thing to a fact. A fact, in case anyone is unclear about the terminology, is something that has been observed. That the sun rose this morning is a fact. That the sun will rise tomorrow is a theory. Sadly, the vast majority of the public doesn't understand the difference. If asked, they would state with certainty that the sun rising tomorrow is a fact. And the ID zealots play upon this ignorance.

A theory must be falsifiable by observation. If the sun doesn't rise tomorrow morning, our theory is falsified. We, as scientists, discard that theory and propose another theory that fits observed facts. If the sun does rise tomorrow morning, it proves our theory that the sun would rise tomorrow morning, but it does not prove our extended theory that the sun will rise on each successive morning. But, as the sun continues to rise each morning, that provides another observed datum. As the sun continues to rise, morning after morning, for hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, of mornings, that adds additional weight to our theory. But our theory remains only a theory, not a fact. It can be falsified very simply by the sun not rising one morning.

Evolution is just such a theory, supported by the weight of a huge number of observed facts, all of which support the theory. Not one observed fact, ever, has falsified evolution theory. If one had, we'd be looking for a new theory.
Now, I know that most of the people in the Intelligent Design movement have to know and understand this. Many have college degrees, and a few even have scientific degrees. So when I see them using words like "theory" incorrectly, I can only assume that they are lying and know that the majority in their audience won't catch them. Show me in the Bible where we are instructed to lie to fellow-believers to further the Kingdom of Heaven?

And that's it for today. Our last soccer practice is tonight. I hope the entire team shows up so we can really kick some butt on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Having the word "nude" in my posts continues to boost my hit count from first-time visitors. Gotta love that.

Oh, and before I forget, "debbie's boob job". There. That ought to do it.


Not much going on at home other than trying to keep out of the floor installer guys' way. Last night, my dad and I had to fix the stairs going up to the master suite. I've never liked the way it "felt" walking up and down those stairs. The floor installer put a level on them yesterday and found out why: the whole staircase was tilted down. Every step dropped about 3/8" from back to front. So that took up all of last night. I was very tired for some reason, so we went to bed early. That's pretty much our life.

The floors should be completely done today. The next step is getting the doors in and trimmed out so we can put down baseboard molding, then start working on trimming out the windows. I'll probably make a major Home Depot run at some point and pick up one of those small table saws and a good power miter. There is a lot of detail work at this point, and I'd prefer to have decent tools so I don't make a complete hash of it.

Not much really caught my eye while skimming my usual internet sources. It looks like the Year of the Natural Disaster continues. We have Wilma heading towards Florida, and Pakistan is still trying to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake there. I just realized today that I had not mentioned the earthquake since it happened. I guess I'm just getting "disaster fatigue" or something. In any case, you can read all about it here, here, here, here, and here. Wilma went from a tropical storm to a Cat 5 in 24 hours, but it isn't expected to stay at that strength for long. Currently, it is expected to be "only" a Cat 2 by the time it hits Florida. What can I say? What can anyone say except "Hold on; here we go again!" If I ever end up living in a hurricane-prone area (and the more I grow to hate winter, the more likely that becomes) I won't own anything I can't pack up and drive off with, including whatever I live in. In any case, for those that enjoy watching train wrecks, this is where you want to hang out for the next 48 hours.

I received an e-mail today about David Brooks' editorial "Mind Over Muscle" in the New York Times. In it, he discusses that girls do better in many respects in school than boys do. I can't get to the article because it is hidden behind TimesSelect, the latest attempt by a newspaper to charge for access to its web page. But I am pretty sure Brooks is making the same observations I made back in May here and here. I have no idea what conclusions he may come to: I don't know that I have ever read his editorials. But just to reiterate my position: the male and female bell curves have the same median, but different shapes. Our schools, and more and more our colleges as well, are doing two things that favor females. One is that typical male behavior is now considered a mental illness and is treated with a class of drugs that have been known to cause brain damage in pre-pubescent children for forty years. The second is that our schools are geared towards those that fall near the median (say, 95 to 105 IQ). Those left behind (largely male) drop out and become our criminal underclass. Those bored to death (again, largely male) disrupt the classroom until they are drugged into submission and mediocrity. These are our future aerospace engineers, computer chip designers, scientists, etc. I would think it important to consider just what the hell we are doing. Or not. I'm set, and to be selfish, I'm more than happy to have the competition eliminated before they even get out of the starting gate. But I will be dead in 20 or 30 years; anyone planning on living longer may want to give this some thought.

I was also e-mailed a copy of an editorial from a Tampa newspaper on immigration and assimilation. Whenever this topic comes up, I notice a failure to distinguish between illegal and legal immigration, and refuges (who may be here legally or illegally). The editorial focuses on the PC yapping that we offend immigrants with our customs. I will take the points one at a time and respond to them based on my experience and the numerous immigrants I have known.

"...if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!"

I've never met an immigrant that didn't think it important to learn English. No one fights against Spanish-language instruction harder than immigrant parents who know from bitter experience that a lack of English skills closes far too many doors. If this is meant as some sort of diatribe against those that speak English with an accent, then all I can say is that I am far more concerned about blacks born and raised in the United States that are less capable of speaking standard English than someone fresh off the plane from China.

That's not to say that there are not enclaves along our southern boarder where Spanish is the primary language. But again, one must distinguish between legal immigrants that have made a decision to move here and become part of the United States, and illegal immigrants who largely are here to earn American dollars to take back home with them. The first group will work hard to learn English, and their kids will speak standard English without a problem. The second group has no reason to learn any English above what they are forced to learn. I'm not concerned that this group does not know English; I am concerned that they are here at all.

"'In God We Trust' is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented."

Here, the writer is either hoping his audience is ignorant, or is displaying his own. Some of this nation's founders did indeed self-identify as "Christian" although I doubt their theology would be allowed within 100 miles of any modern, evangelical church. But many, including the most prominent, were most certainly not Christians as they denied the deity of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson published his own version of the Gospels that excluded Jesus' miracles and all mention of Jesus' deity. Thomas Payne wrote devastating critiques of the Bible that concluded the whole thing was a fraud. Samuel Adams was a brewer, so you know he was a Satan-worshipper. No self-respecting evangelical church would allow a beer-drinker through the door, not alone someone that brewed the stuff. George Washington was a deist, and so on. Our nation was founded on common law and an intentionally secular government.

And "In God We Trust" is indeed a right-wing political slogan added to our currency in the early 1900's, just as "under God" was a right-wing political slogan added to our pledge in the 1950's. And I have yet to find an immigrant offended by either one. I find a lot of American-born PC police having a problem with them and trying to use offence of immigrants as the excuse for removing them, but not immigrants themselves.

"If Stars and Stripes offend you..."

Again, I have to wonder if the writer has ever laid eyes on an immigrant. Personally, I find flag-wavers to be offensive, but not because of the flag per se, but because the person waving it invariably uses patriotism as an excuse to violate the free-speech rights of anyone they disagree with. But I have never met an immigrant of any stripe that is offended by our national flag. In fact it seems ludicrous to suggest that a legal immigrant that has likely spent years jumping through bureaucratic hoops to get here, or a political refugee that likely risked their life to flee political persecution to seek refuge here, would then complain about something as trivial as a piece of cloth. Only coddled Americans bother to get their panties in a twist over such things. However, I'm sure many of the foreign-born would recognize the kind of person that would write such a editorial, and be disturbed by the similarity to people they just left.

And I should have known that Snopes would have something on this. It wasn't an editorial in a Tampa newspaper, it was a letter to the editor of a local Georgia newspaper. I also find it interesting (and somewhat disturbing) that a Google search turned up thousands of sites uncritically posting this piece.

And that is really all I have time for.

Monday, October 17, 2005

It pays to be perverted, I guess. My second highest hit count for one day was Friday. Almost all the traffic was new visitors searching for "nude" or "nude girls". The only day that has drawn more hits was when I was blogging about people searching on "debbie's boob job". I wonder if I could keep my hit count high by just incorporating the words "nude" and "boob" into my posts every day.

I also get a chuckle from where these people come from. Don't tell me we can't destroy radical Islam with massive porn air-dropped over Mecca. The most irresistible force in the universe is a man's desire to view naked people.

Anyway, this Saturday, my girls lost two more (1-0 and 3-0). Defensively, we are doing great, but we can't get our offense to work. Everyone knows what to do and where to move on the field, but our passing and traps need a lot of work. We have a drill for that and we will be running it for the majority of practice tonight. We ended up playing the same team twice in a row because the other team never showed. Next week, we will be playing the same two teams on our field for our last games. I would love to win both of them. I think we can, if we really buckle down.

One more week and soccer is over. I wonder what I will find to do with all my spare time?

Vox Day has a new column up in defense of polygamy. Anyone who reads Vox regularly may find that a bit odd, but he makes a good point. I have never understood the criticism of gay marriage on the grounds that it will lead to polygamy. News flash: the Bible allows for polygamy. And, as Vox points out, polygamy has been the norm for all of human history except for here and now. A reversion to polygamy would simply be a return to normal.

Of course, I have stated many times that this whole marriage debate would not be happening if the Western churches would not have made a deal with Satan and given government control over marriage.

Maybe more later, but probably not. I have to take off early because of soccer practice tonight. I don't expect a big turnout as it is currently pouring down rain and about 50 degrees F. Maybe the rain will blow over by 5pm and it will just be cold.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Last night was a very light practice as almost no one was there. That didn't really surprise me much. Our practices are supposed to be at 5pm, but there was a varsity game scheduled for the same time, so I moved practice back to right after school. That knocks out a lot of people that have other commitments, plus we have a couple out with injuries. As of this moment, I have exactly 11 reasonably healthy people for Saturday with two back-to-back games. I expect the girls to be some tired puppies on the way home.

The guys varsity team lost 3-2. The teams were pretty evenly matched, although Kalkaska looked a little flat in the first half. There were a couple goofy things going on off the field. The Boosters were trying to charge admission. I didn't even realize it until after the game when I saw the sign. Oops. I know I didn't pay, and I'm pretty sure that no more than a handful of the other spectators did. You can park and walk up to the field from any direction, so I'm sure that most of the people were unaware that they were supposed to pay. The second weird thing was the cheerleading squad. They were 20 minutes late for the game, did no cheering whatsoever, and in fact from what I could tell, were barely aware that there was even a game going on. I finally made some sarcastic comment at some point in the second half and was told they didn't know any cheers. OK, just how much practice does it take to be on-time for the game, face the field, pay at least partial attention to what is going on, and, even if you are completely ignorant of the game, yell and clap when everyone else does? And why have they not learned even a generic Kalkaska Blazers cheer over the last two months?

In any case, that took up most of the night. Progress on the floors in the house continues and I've decided that I really like it. It is going to look very nice when it is done. It already looks nice. Most of the work on the main floor should be done today, which means that in addition to the road trip for soccer on Saturday, we also have to do some major moving to clear the upstairs and Nestina's bedroom.

Other than that, not much on the home front.

I found a new web site that seems interesting via one of those internet friend-of-a-friend things. I haven't had much time to read through the articles, but I will certainly be doing so over the next few weeks. Everyone has a tendency to romanticize certain points in their personal or even human history. That is largely harmless, until you start basing major chunks of your public policy on what is essentially pure fantasy.

Jerry Pournelle opens himself up to serious assault by the PC police. He doesn't say anything that hasn't been known as fact for decades, but we all know what you can't say, and who you can't say it about. The money quote:
...if you sort people by IQ into "training schools," "general education," and "educational schools," with sorting points around IQ 85 and 115, fully half the black students will be in the "training schools," and almost all the rest will be in the general education pool. There will be some blacks in the "educational schools" and those who get there will do as well as their white and Asian companions, but anyone would be able to tell which school was what merely by looking at the student population.
Which, of course, is the one fact that can never be spoken. Only now it has been. Expect to see Dr. Pournelle branded a racist, and attempts made to have him silenced. That is nearly impossible in the age of the internet, and is impossible with someone with the credentials, standing, and resources of Dr. Pournelle. I'm certain the attempt will be made anyway.

The new rage in London is nude nightclubbing. I've said it before and I'll say it again: nude beaches, "nude night" at museums, nude nightclubbing, nude game shows, and all the rest, only proves that the vase majority of people on this earth really, really need to cover up.

And now it's time to get back to work.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Before I start in on people I would like to kill today, here is an interesting experiment that was done by MIT students. The story behind the experiment is that in 212 BC, Archimedes was able to set fire to enemy ships a bow shot away from shore with a "burning glass." It has been assumed that he used some sort of parabolic mirror. It has also been further assumed that it was impossible for a mirror large enough to be constructed with the correct shape to raise wood to the burning point (approximately 1100 degrees F) in 212 BC. The students went a different direction: using 127 1-foot-square mirror tiles, they were able to set oak on fire from 100 feet away. That isn't much of a "bow shot," but it is proof of the feasibility of the concept. It is also important to realize that there are materials that would likely be part of a sailing ship from 212 BC that would ignite much easier than oak. As well, the temperature of surfaces being exposed to the concentrated sunlight would be unbearable for the crew long before ignition, not to mention that anyone that looked in the direction of the mirrors would be blinded.

Now on to the main point of my post. I have Priority Health insurance. They are idiots. That is not surprising; after all we are talking about a "health" insurance company. I have been disgusted on a number of occasions when they refuse to fill a prescription because they don't feel I need it, or something else (usually over-the-counter) would work just as well. Of course we all know this has nothing to do with the money, they're just concerned for my health. It says so right in their corporate mission statement, so it must be true.

More disturbing, at least to me, is the policy they have that triples the cost of a prescription unless I buy it mail-order from Walgreen. Now I learned in school that this sort of differential pricing was illegal under anti-trust law, but I'm sure that, as usual, there is a loophole for the medical industry to slither through. Until recently, I just paid the extra, preferring to deal with an actual pharmacist, until the co-pay was increased to such an extent that I simply could no longer afford to. So I have been using Walgreen for pills, but not for my insulin. There have been problems, most notably that we are not told when there is trouble with a prescription (not available, or rejected by insurance); it just isn't in the box when it shows up. I usually keep extra on hand just for such times.

Well, this last time I took the plunge. My insulin is finally available in a pen injector (supposed to be easier; more on that in a bit) so I had my doctor write up the prescription the way Walgreen wants it and sent it in. The first sign of trouble was a voice mail at work from Walgreen about my "incomplete information." I wasn't sure just what the problem was as the operator was some ebonics-speaking lip-slapper from some place in the third-world like Detroit. I called and was told that they needed to find out what gauge of needle I needed for the pen injector. I've never used a pen injector in my life, so I told the "pharmacist" what I am currently using. It only took me repeating the same thing four times for him to get it.

That was Thursday. Saturday, I had a voice mail on my cell phone (again, in unintelligible ebonics) about my "incomplete order" and a toll-free number. When I called the number, a hyper-active recorded voice announced that I was being given the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of an exiting new business opportunity. Huh. I thought I was calling a pharmacy, not an Amway distributor. I called the toll-free number I had for Walgreen and sure enough, Priority had rejected one of my prescriptions because they felt an over-the-counter drug would work better. Further, my Avandamet was still unavailable. Earlier this year, the feds stop production of a couple GlaxoSmithKline drugs because of "concerns," but supposedly, everything was all better now. Guess not. Great.

The rest of my order had been shipped Thursday and the post office left us the little note in our mailbox to come pick it up at the post office. The problem was that they were closed for the weekend, and wouldn't be open again until Tuesday. Because of these job things we all have combined with a post office that is only open about 6 hours a day, it was Wednesday before I got the package. With a big sticker on top that said "Refrigerate immediately upon receipt." Damn. The insulin. It was packed in an insulated bag with a couple cold packs, but of course by this time it was piss-warm.

Well, it didn't really matter because by last night, I had been out of insulin for five days and my blood sugar was hovering around 600. So I grabbed the pen injector kit, a cartridge of insulin, and the box of needles.

OK, so maybe I'm dense or something, but I can't for the life of me figure out what is supposed to be easier about a pen injector. The "quick-start" guide folds out to a 2-foot by 3-foot poster. I could have loaded up a needle and stuck it in my ass about 20 times in the same amount of time it took me to go through the "Safety Check." (I also wonder about using a medical device that has to be put through a safety check prior to each use, but I digress.) Some of that is surely due to unfamiliarity, but that certainly isn't all of it. But the worst part was when I tried to thread on a needle. They didn't fit.

Walgreen had sent me the wrong damn needles.

So today I was two hours late for work so I could sit in the parking lot outside my real pharmacist waiting for him to open. Luckily I still had a valid script for my insulin. Sixty dollars later, I had an ordinary vial of insulin and some ordinary needles.

So in one drug order, we have (1) perishables shipped so they arrive on a holiday weekend, (2) some pencil-necked MBA who has never laid eyes on me overriding my doctor's prescription, (3) one med that is not available because of the FDA (or maybe it is; no one seems to really know), (4) and the wrong needles for the insulin cartridges that were shipped in the same package.

I've never had much good to say about the medical industry, especially now that I'm part of it. Thanks to all involved in this little fiasco for confirming my worst opinions.

And I'm done. We have early soccer practice followed by a varsity guys game tonight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It looks like the anti- anti-fat antibodies are starting to kick in. Back in the early-to-mid 80's it was running. If you ran 5 miles a day you would never die of a heart attack. That was, of course, absurd, and in fact, hard-core runners died from heart disease at rates higher than the general population. They also suffered from serious, life-long injuries to hips, knees, and ankles. Anyone running in a city was doing more damage to their lungs than a pack-a-day smoker. City ER rooms were filled with runners with cuts, abrasions, and head injuries from falls, and more-serious injuries (and not a few deaths) from getting hit by vehicles.

Today it is fat. We are a fat nation. And by extension, lazy, immoral, selfish, stupid, and probably have bad breath to boot. You know you are in the land of the absurd when George Clooney, who causes women around the world to swoon at the mere mention of his name, is technically obese. Not higher-than-average. Not carrying around a few extra pounds. Obese.

[Aside: can someone explain to me what the big deal is with Clooney? To me, he looks like the center from the high school football team that has taken one-to-many shots to the head. The world is full of men that I would consider to be far more attractive, but then, what to I know? Maybe I would have had more dates if I had thought to go with the dazed, mildly retarded look.]

I work with teen-age girls. To a person, they all think they are fat. Not out of shape (which is largely true) or needing to do some sit-ups to get rid of a little belly flab (which is also true of many). Fat. Need-to-go-on-a-diet fat. Need-to-starve-myself-to-the-point-of-passing-out fat. Our teens have enough challenges what with drugs, alcohol, sex, and our crappy schools. Can't we at least let them feel good about how they look?

Anyway. I need to head for home.
The Chinese successfully launched two astronauts and the first module of their space station today. There is no universal law that says the first permanently inhabited off-world post will be speaking English. In fact, the way things look right now, I'd say the odds are against it.

Gene Roddenberry as prophet? I've been seeing more and more of these on-demand manufacturing devices. (Yes, I know that Roddenberry was neither the only or even the first to envision on-demand manufacturing, but his Replicator (tm) has enjoyed deeper penetration into the pop culture.) Right now they are crude, limited, and expensive. Sort of like where computers were in the 1960's. Will Moore's Law apply to these as well?

On the home front, we have a crew at the house today installing the hardwood on the main floor. It will take them most of the week to do everything. I need to get some carpets for in front of the doors. Sand is now the mortal enemy. I need to get walks installed, which will help a lot, but spending $16,000 on the floor will leave us a little short on cash for a while.

Not much else going on. Tonight I need to call through the soccer team and remind everyone that soccer practice is at 3:30 instead of 5 due to the guys' varsity game.

Slow week and I really can't think of anything to write about.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We Interrupt This Program...

I know I said I had to get back to work, but this was too funny to not pass on. I am beginning to think that the whole ID controversy is just a test to see how much humiliation needs to be heaped on a group of people before they go crawl back into their cave.

And now I'm hungry....
I was checking my stats yesterday and noticed that was my top referrer site. I found that a bit odd; why would the Washington Post web site be referring readers to my blog? On Thursday, I had linked to a Post article. Ric & Debbie's Place is now listed in the Who's Blogging text box for that article. That's just plain weird. Kind of cool, but still weird, especially when you consider that I got the link from Jerry Pournelle's web site, which receives more hits in an hour than mine does in a month. Yet, no mention of Jerry's site and there I sit in the number two slot.

This will be a typical early-week linkfest, but first, news from the home front. Verizon continues to work on running phone line to my house. I now have, not one, but two of the little green boxes on the side of my road, both placed by seemingly intelligent people that realize that my road needs to be snow plowed. I can't believe it was Verizon employees; they must had hired some big guns from the local group home. During the last call they made to Debbie at work, the customer "service" drone made the astute observation that our number appears to be disconnected. The mind simply boggles. Do these idiots really believe I would continue to pay for non-functioning service while they screw around? It has now been three months since I first reported the problem. And why is the local repair office unaware that I am no longer a Verizon customer?

Anyway, back in the reality-based world:

This has to be one of the more accurate descriptions of YEC "science" I have come across. As I have said before, Wiley Miller has a front-row seat to the on-going silliness of the Dover trial.

And speaking of silliness, Pat Robertson is still doing his best to make everyone who claims to be a Christian look stupid. Two hurricanes make land fall and it's the second coming. Randomness tends to be "clumpy;" that's why human eyes can pick constellations out of the random distribution of stars in the night sky. Hurricanes, earthquakes, even deaths that affect a given family tend to come in bunches with long dry spells in between. Debbie lost her grandfather, two uncles, and her father in three months. Was that God's judgment? Does the decade-plus absence of the death of a close relative since mean that God is blessing her and/or her family? This sort of stupidity is exactly why rational people are leaving evangelical churches in droves. Hey Pat; if you are truly interested in not making a public ass of yourself, take a statistics course at your local community college, then go look at the hurricane statistics over the last one hundred years. And Hal; would you just shut up already?!?! The world didn't end in 1999 like you predicted. We all thought you were an idiot when you said it, and it was confirmed when 1999 came and went and the world was still here. Just shut up!

Vox Day has a new column up that needs to be read by every teen-age girl. I've always argued the issue from a different direction. The insistence made by Christians that no sex can occur outside of marriage is made into a bad farce by their insistence that no one can marry until they have completed at least a 4-year degree and are secure in a career. Is there anyone out there with a higher-than-room-temperature IQ that is having problems figuring out why illegitimacy among church members is higher than the surrounding community? If you don't want your grandchildren to be bastards, then encourage your teenage girls to marry and have a family before worrying about college and career. With average lifespan increasing with no corresponding increase in the window of female fertility, it just makes sense. Ask any 40-something spending themselves into bankruptcy on fertility treatments.

And in a development that will be sure to stun millions, Katrina disaster relief is becoming a vast black hole for federal dollars. Of course it has; we are a nation raised to have our lips permanently attached to the federal tax tit. Anyone surprised by this would be surprised by gravity.

Flint, Michigan, my home town, gets another "humiliating kick in the crotch" (free cookie to the first person to identify the origin of that phrase). This article doesn't mention it other than the carefully-worded phrase "high legacy issues," but what is killing our manufacturing sector are the retirees: they simply refuse to die when they are supposed to. Thirty-and-out made sense when the average shop rat died a couple years after retirement. Now it means paying more people to not work, than you pay to work. There is no way out. We can argue about how we got to this place or who is at fault, but the bottom line is that we are at the bottom of a very deep hole, and yet we keep digging, hoping to find a secret tunnel to the surface.

To wind up on a lighter note, Kiko seems like an interesting concept and something we are sure to see more of. It is a web-based application developed over the summer as part of the Summer Founders Program. It is still in beta, but it is certainly interesting. The most intriguing aspect to me is that the site loads faster than the calendar application from my employer's network, and has better on-screen performance as well. The specific technology is called AJAX. This could prove to be interesting. I'm typing this on a perfectly acceptable web-based word processor. All the files are saved on some server out there on the internet. It is available to me from any internet connected PC in the world with a web browser. Currently, everything I save is displayed on a blog, but it would take a competent programmer about one day to make it into my own personal web-based word processor. Image editing inside my Flickr account. My e-mail is already web-based. Add in a spreadsheet and Quicken, and I won't need anything installed on my local PC other that a browser and related plug-ins. I'm not sure that I'm ready to trust my financial data to the web, but the concept is becoming reality.

OK, I need to get back to work before I get fired.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Just a quick update, then I have to run: soccer practice is tonight.

First, my girls team finally put one in the win column with a 3-0 win on Saturday. We lost the second game 4-0 but still played well. Almost the entire team ended up at my house, although several were unable to spend the night. I dropped off the last person at 4pm on Sunday. From my hiding place in the basement, is sure sounded like everyone had fun; the giggling was non-stop from about 7pm Saturday until 2am Sunday when everyone settled in for a movie.

And that is all I have time for today.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I spent all last evening just reading. It felt good. Nestina was at work, Debbie was at church, and I was home in my comfy chair just reading. I finished up some neglected periodicals, then got a solid start on Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? So far, so good. I have not read anything by Friedman before, but I like his writing style. It is obvious from the first chapter that he has put a great deal of time and thought not just in researching facts, but integrating them into a comprehensive hypothesis, then thinking through its impact on his faith. I expect this to be an enjoyable read.

Some random links:

Here is what happens when a country stops manufacturing things. Ford cannot sell as many hybrid vehicles as it would like because its Japanese competitors are not making the parts fast enough. I'll leave the implications of that as an exercise for the reader.

The movie industry continues its march into oblivion. Microsoft seems determined to go along for the ride. Given the steep decline in box office receipts, I'm not sure what these people think they have to sell that is so compelling that the entire world is going to junk their TV's, computer systems (including monitors), and DVD players just to be prevented from casual (and constitutionally protected) copying. The commercial pirates won't even see this as a bump in the road. In fact, by eliminating the small-time copiers, this will actually benefit the mass copiers in China and Russia. Personally, the consumer electronics thing is becoming a matter of great indifference to me. I have over a years worth of reading material sitting on my shelf. If the MPAA and the RIAA make listening to music or watching videos inconvenient, I'll just pass. And I find it hard to believe I would be the only one.

Britain continues to lead the West into the dark night of insanity. I can't think of anything to add; the stupidity of their own words are far more damning than anything I can come up with.

I've added a new blog: Operation Eden. Just because the media seems to have forgotten about Katrina and Rita, doesn't mean that it's over. Take a careful look at the images of the church: serious structural damage and the floor inches deep in toxic sludge. Even after the water is gone, there is still a lot to be done before life will be normal.

In the famous words of Porky Pig, "That's all folks!"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not much to report. Debbie and I both worked late, then grabbed some dinner. We were going to hit Dairy Queen and take a Blizzard up to Nestina at her work, but the bums closed a half-hour early. We still stopped by Movie Gallery to harass Nestina, but she put us to work, so we left. Debbie went right to bed, and I read until midnight or so, then hit the sack as well. Even though we have been having August weather (humid and in the 80's every day), I can tell winter is approaching because hibernation mode is starting to kick in. I need to find a way to be able to wrap up in a blanket and read for 6 months of the year and still get paid for it.

Anyway, the only thing to catch my eye today was an article titled This is the Free-Speech Party? Back in the day, the Republicans were for business interests and Democrats were for the little guy. Leave aside the question of why it is an either/or question for now; that was the Standard Sales Pitch (tm). At some point in the last 30 years, the Democrats have become the Party of the Circus Side-Show Freak. If you are a white, middle-class, dues-paying member of the Democratic party, good luck if you ever find yourself in need of your esteemed senator or representative. But if you are black, female, coked to the gills, raising 14 kids fathered by 17 different men (none of whom you could pick out of police line-up), and on welfare to boot? The entire Democratic party leadership will leap to your defense if anyone dares to question your, um, "lifestyle choices." Not that Uncle George has the moral high ground with his policy of inviting the entire Mexican nation into our borders. Or, at least the criminals, drug smugglers, and retards. Smart, education Mexicans want nothing to do with the US. (shrug) I barely found a reason to waste my time voting in the last presidential election. Now that the Libertarian Party seems to have completed its implosion, I doubt I will bother for the next one.

That's it.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

And one more time: would someone please explain how feminism was supposed to de-objectify women? Anyone? Hello? [insert chirping_crickets.mp3] That will show those horrid male oppressors of womyn: flash 'em your tits, then give them a blow job!


(Unlike this post, the linked articles are perfectly work-safe...)
Nothing really jumped out at me today as I cruised the net, other than this gem paraphrased from Jerry Pournelle's site:

One-time cost of a totally secure wall from Texas to California: $2 billion (budget version) to $8 billion (deluxe version).

Annual cost of social services to illegal immigrants: $20 to $25 billion.

I am reminded of the comparison of the to-date cost of the Iraq war vs. the cost of total energy independence. In fact, for what will likely be the grand total cost of our on-going adventure in Iraq (including the cost in human lives) we could launch a crash-program to deploy enough space-based solar to meet our energy needs and those of our friends. We give them free energy at little to no additional cost to ourselves, while we retain control of the Big Red Switch in case anyone gets out of line. If we really need something else to keep the Air Force busy, use them to air-drop Girls Gone Wild DVD's and western clothing on places like Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. The effect would likely be more devastating in the long term than dropping bombs, and would be far less costly. Of course, that makes sense, like doing whatever is necessary to secure our borders. Which means it will never be done. (shrug) Once I realized that there was nothing I could do to stop the slide of Western Culture into oblivion (it is inevitable; read any history book), it has been fun to sit back and watch the show.

Speaking of watching the show, we watched some of Penn and Teller's Showtime series Bullshit last night. I love P&T, and this series is just roll-on-the-floor funny. In the introduction, they explain the name of the show and the repeated use of profanity in the series. Calling someone a quack or calling, say, reflexology a fraud can get you sued, but calling someone "mother f&^$#r" or calling reflexology "bullshit" is an opinion and is protected, first amendment speech. Sweet. Anyway, we watched about half of them last night. Nestina has to work tonight and tomorrow night, so it will probably be Thursday before we see the rest of them. Recommended.

I also made it to Kalkaska for the varsity soccer game. All but one of my girls team were there to cheer the guys on, screaming wildly every time one of the Kalkaska players touched the ball. Hormones. In spite of that, Kalkaska won 4-1 with a very well-played game. The best part was the crowd. I think soccer will be very popular in spite of the institutional prejudice against it in the local school administration.

And just to veer off onto a bunny trail: One reason for the opposition to soccer is the negative effect it is perceived to have on football. Fans, players, and resources, goes the argument, are drawn away to the soccer team and weaken the "football program". Well, just some random thoughts:

Football program? This is high school, folks. I realize that most people in Kalkaksa think a good football team is more important than having good teachers, or even literate graduates. The funding priorities show that. But there is no football program. Just a football team. Get a grip.

Can football survive in head-to-head competition with soccer? Lets face it; anyone that has been a spectator at both knows which one is more fun to watch. Football and baseball are old-school games with brief bits of action interspersed with endless stretches of nothing. Soccer is of a kind with hockey and basketball; continuous play with short interruptions.

Soccer has always held the upper hand at private schools where money is tight. The reason is simple math: I can outfit an entire soccer team for the cost of one football player. As more high school athletic departments are forced to become completely self-funded, football will find itself fighting an up-hill battle. The gender issue will also play into this. In most schools, football consumes the largest share of the athletic budget. As those budgets tighten up, this will become politically untenable.

Granted, football, for now, holds all the cards in terms of money, visibility, and audience. But we are now at the point where we have a generation of kids leaving high school that have played soccer since preschool. Are we to suppose that they will simply give up the sport they have played since their earliest memories, and start watching football? What sport do you think their kids will be playing at age 5? Soccer right now is about where hockey was in the 1960's; something most people had heard of, but not much else. One advantage soccer has over hockey is, again, the cost issue. Not only can I outfit an entire soccer team for the cost of one hockey player, I can play on any reasonably flat mowed field instead of a very costly ice arena. Another advantage, at least in areas with high levels of immigration, is the international stature of the sport. Parents coming here from overseas simply expect their kids will be playing soccer.

I'm not sure I have a point to all this other than to say that I expect soccer to continue to grow in popularity. I also expect soccer to have the same effect on football that hockey and basketball have had on baseball. Football is too integrated into our culture to simply vanish, but I expect it will find itself with declining mindshare.

And I guess I'll just stop there.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Oops! I forgot a link. This is a warning to all you single guys out there. That's all I'm going to say.
Some news and goings on in a minute, but first a bit of a link-fest before I lose track of these.

DNA may be able to be extracted from a 20 million-year-old spider trapped in resin. Wow. Too bad my high school Biology class was such a complete dud. Maybe I would be working on cool stuff like this instead of writing COBOL code to reformat text files.

Why does sand stick together better when it is wet? Every kid that has ever been on a beach knows that wet sand will hold a shape, but dry sand will not. That may not sound like a very interesting question, but the answer turns out to be just that. Too bad creativity, questioning, and wonder are held in such poor esteem these days.

Why must tragedy always be turned into a farce? And why is it always a lawyer at the heart of it? This is nothing more than using a mother's real pain and grief in the pursuit of money and status.

And from the Yet-Another-Thing-to-Worry-About department, we now have to be on the lookout for six-year-old terrorists wielding butter knives. Really. You may not realize you need to worry about this, but you do. I love the passive-aggressive attitude; that they were letting the kid off with just an in-school suspension when they could have expelled him permanently. It sounds like this boy was blessed with parents that don't take that sort of crap. Good for them. How can any child subjected to this sort of stupidity grow up with anything other than utter contempt for authority? Remember this story the next time you see a teenager disrespecting a teacher, parent, cop, or other authority figure. Our school system has taught them well.

Speaking of terrorism, we also need to be on the lookout for college students writing parodies of other college students. I completely agree with this student when he says, "Some people are not college material. They do not know how to think critically nor are they willing to learn. They are everywhere." It used to be you had to be smart to get into college. Now our government and courts have invented from thin air the Right to College. Smart kids would have gotten the joke and that would have been the end of it. Of course, smart kids wouldn't have gotten their panties in a knot over a completely self-evident statement:

Holding up the Bible: This is not a science book.
Holding up the Origin of Species: This is.
Holding up the Bible again: This is a book about relationships with God.
Holding up the Origin of Species again: This isn't.

I was taught as much in my YEC Christian high school.

Vox Day's latest column give a lot to think about. Any of the quotes in isolation are bad enough. When you consider they are nearly identical, spoken over a period of less than a month, and spoken by the "leaders" of the "free" world, it makes me want to stock up on ammunition. YMMV.

Vox has also published the first chapter of his book, Media Whores, on his blog. The reason this book was never published will be obvious from the opening paragraphs. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

In local news, my girls were allowed to play on the main field on Saturday. The out-of-town teams from the GVSA were pushed to the Under-14 (smaller) field. They didn't look very happy. I had some dweeb try to get in my face about where the "other big field" was. I told him there was only one, it was in use, and I had no idea where they were supposed to play. He went off in a huff, and shortly afterwards, I saw them trudging off to the smaller field on the other side of the complex. I guess the lesson here for the GVSA is to deal with people with some sort of personal integrity, which excludes anyone related to the Kaliseum. It will be interesting to see what happens on the 22nd when we have our last home games.

As far as the soccer went, we lost both games. The score was close and the girls played very well, but we just can't get the ball into the net. That will come with experience and some drills we will be doing in practice on Thursday. Tonight we were supposed to have practice, but there is a varsity soccer game at the time we normally have it, so we would have to move it up to right after school. That knocks out about half the team due to other obligations, jobs, and transportation issues. We also have most of the team hurting in some way or another, so I just pulled the plug on practice for tonight.

More proof that Verizon is run by idiots: I mentioned that the day after I canceled our phone service and signed up for cell phones, there were several Verizon vehicles on our road. Sure enough, they reran the phone lines down our road. Except they ran them to the cabin instead of the house. None of which matters, because we are not Verizon customers. Next time you wonder why it costs $35 a month for a Verizon phone, it may be that they spend a lot of money running phones lines to unoccupied structures owned by non-customers. (shrug) They can have me back as a customer any time they want as long as they agree to 1) refund the cost of our second, non-functioning phone line back to when I reported the problem in the beginning of July, 2) run buried cable down the county road at the proper depth, 3) install the proper hardware at the transition to buried service on our property, 4) reimburse me the $28 for the stop-payment order I had to issue to stop them from continuing to hit our bank account, 5) buy out the 2-year service contract on our cell phones. Debbie talked to some Customer Service Specialist (we used to just call them secretaries) that promised 1), but I'll believe it when the money is in my hand. The rest will never happen, which I can gladly live with.

That's about it.