Thursday, January 31, 2008

Still Messing Around

I'm still playing with the blog template. I made some tweaks over the last few days. I hope I haven't broken anything.

Blogger has some new layout tools that eliminate the need to hand-code XML. If you have a blog, it's worth the five minutes to upgrade your template to the new style. It really does make things easier.

Tax Dollars at Work

I love seeing my tax dollars going to such worthy causes. No wonder the Chinese are eating our lunch.


I'm not quite sure what Bible is being used in some churches, but it definitely isn't the one I grew up with. It also gives me warm fuzzies that cops had to handcuff a 71-year-old woman. Welcome to our "brave" new world. I feel so safe knowing that dangerous old women are being handcuffed by our boys in blue.

And a little note to Pastor Burrick; nice job proving Mrs. Caskey correct.


The more presidential election cycles I live through, the more I miss the old smoke-filled back rooms that gave us presidents like Kennedy and Eisenhower. The only good thing about this mess is that Obama is doing well enough to force Hillary to reveal her inner bitch.

I stick by my prediction; a year from today, the Clintons will be back in the White House.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Let the Spoofs Begin

Apple announced the MacAir a couple weeks ago, so of course, the parodies are rolling in.

First Official Day Retrospective

I questioned why I went in on a Saturday night to train at my new job. As I recall, that was the busiest night of the week. Sure enough, not only was it the busiest night of the week, but the busiest night ever since the restaurant opened about 4 months ago. I mostly stayed out of the way or helped various people not go into the weeds. There wasn't room for me to shadow the guy that was supposed to be training me, so I didn't get much out of it. Of course, it's not like any of it is rocket science.

I won't be working a regular schedule this week, just on-call in case someone doesn't show up or calls out sick. I'm supposed to go in on Saturday again, but I don't know what time or what I will be doing there. Fun stuff.

Creating a Hit Song

A while back, Scott Adams asked his blog readers to submit couplets that were more or less random words. He then strung them together into verses and chorus form. The German band RIVO DREI put the lyrics to music, then some random geek created a music video. Now you know how a no-talent like Britney Spears can become a star.

Useless but Fun

It's called vozMe. I doesn't do anything all that useful, but then how useful is most of what we do with our computers? Enjoy!

Making Vacation Plans?

Go to Germany and fly nude.

Money Quote:
The 55 passengers will have to remain clothed until they board, and dress before disembarking, said Hess. The crew will remain clothed throughout the flight for safety reasons.
I'd pay money for the memo on those "safety reasons."

Monday, January 28, 2008


Just stumbled across the web version of an oldie-but-goodie that has been around since the late sixties. I love it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Job

Today will be my first official day at work, although I've already been called in twice since going in Thursday to fill out all the paperwork. Both times I was filling in for the dish washer who had an emergency root canal Thursday morning. Today I get to actually start training to do the job I was hired for. When I had time, I've jumped in a couple times over the last two days, but today I start learning how to do all the prep work and back up the two chefs. And yes, this is one of those places that have chefs, not cooks. And don't you ever forget it!

Now I have to run to a drug store and try to get the rest of my insulin pen injector. The Walgreen's morons just gave me the refill cartridges. I didn't catch the problem until last night when I got them out of the box. I'd been using up a couple sample pens prior to then which come as a complete unit, so I didn't realize I had a problem until around midnight last night. So off to spend more money I don't have.

Friend of a Friend

Since when can I be held personally liable, possibly subject to criminal prosecution (persecution?) for a link to a link? And we seem destined to elect the same sort of whiny female as our president. Fun.

Uncharted Waters

Anyone want to take a stab at what this means? It can't be anything good.

Ummmm, Yea

(I've never said it, but just click the image to get a big enough version to actually read the text.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some Things Never Change

Massive corruption in the Detroit mayor's office. There's a shock. Next you will be telling me that Flint is bankrupt.

But that's OK; Mitt Romney and his magic underwear will save the day!

A Little Good News

Oil seems to have eased off a bit in recent days, and maybe stocks have bottomed out for now. Of course, the structural problems remain, but it seems we live to die another day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Grim News for the Music Industry

Things look bad for the big labels. According to the RIAA, that means humanity will cease creating music.


Death by Media

Scott Adams stirs the pot a little. Interesting conjecture. Death sells. Celebrity death sells a lot. War sells even more. Enlightened self-interest would dictate the obvious.

That Readin' Thing

Anyone who knows me understands that I have zero respect for our current public education system. I am not alone.

Jerry Pournelle responding to the Suprynowicz article:
I am not an enemy of the locally controlled public school, just as I am not an enemy of universal manhood conscription. It is good for a republic to have the social classes mix. Catholic schools do as good a job of that as public schools, or did when I was in First Grade. My family was from the ruined old aristocracy, now solidly middle class, dependent on my father's salary. Next to me was the scion of the noveau riche family that owned the Coca Cola franchise. In the seat ahead of me was a boy perhaps ten years old, still in first grade, an amiable giant who became my best friend. Most of my classmates were middle class suburbanites but there were also Italian truck gardener children. There were two grades in a room.

When we moved to Capleville the consolidated school, also two grades to a room, was the only school available. Once again there were the rich and the poor, farmers and intellectuals, a complete mix of rural Shelby County. Of course I went to high school at Christian Brothers, which was considered the college prep high school; most CBC students went on to college as a matter of course. Catholic High, run by Jesuits, did not sent 20% of its student on to higher education. The city of Memphis had a school system that was similar. Central High was the college prep high school, while the local neighborhood high schools were "terminal", in that most of the graduates got jobs or got married soon after graduation. Memphis had a third alternative: there was Memphis Tech, which taught drafting and wood and metal shop, and was considered a good place to have come from if you wanted any kind of technical job that didn't require calculus.

So long as local schools are locally controlled, and raise their fund locally -- that is, transparency and accountability are preserved, those who spend the money control what is done with the money -- the public schools will not become the enemy of the republic. I am not at all sure that today's centrally controlled schools funded by the states, hell bent to keep up attendance and leave no child behind, are responsibly to anyone at all. They are like the Golem created to defend a community but which terrorizes it, answering to no one. And no child left behind means that no child gets ahead.

Interestingly, I have found few intellectual communities including the national security bureaucracy who dispute that assessment of the school system. In the Homeland Security conference last week, a high ranking California homeland security official said "We are faced with an increasing requirement for technically competent employees while our schools are increasingly unable to produce them." No one in a conference of 1500 government and private industry security experts questioned the assertion. When I called attention to it to everyone I met, I got no quarrel. Everyone agreed: yet it was as if it had not been said.

We have an increasing need for technically competent high school graduates, and a school system decreasingly able to meet that need. And the band plays on. And No Child Is Left Behind.
On a related note, The Onion is sometimes too real to be funny.

Parents; it's really simple. If you want your children to know how to read (and by extension know how to self-educate) then they have to read. Be the adult. Shut off the damn TV and get a library card for your kids. Cheap books are available used from a variety of sources. There is probably a used book store within walking distance of your home where you can not only purchase used books for next to nothing, but will take books you've already read as trade for little or no cash. If not, Amazon can hook you up easily enough. Debbie and I just purchased over a dozen new and used books from there delivered to our door for a little over $100 (the price of dinner and a movie for the family). And don't be too concerned about what they are reading (obvious caveats aside) or if it's "good" literature or pulp fiction or magazines or even comic books. Oh. Sorry. Make that graphic novels. Our Amazon book order had everything from Richard Feynman's lectures on quantum electrodynamics to Patricia Cornwell to Wil Wheaton's latest.

Read. Read. Read. A hundred pages a day as a minimum. And the internet doesn't count.


You may or may not have noticed changes over on the right-hand side of the page. Several of my regular sites have recently retired and others have reduced the frequency of their updates. I also decided to get rid of a lot of links that were simply being stored as it were on the blog page because I grew tired of losing all my bookmarks every time Windows has one of its frequent brain farts. Those are now on my Google bookmarks, where they should be somewhat safe.

I'll also be experimenting with some changes to my page template, so if you hit the site and everything looks incredibly stupid, you'll know why.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why I Love Wiley Miller

(in a very non-gay man-crush sort of way....)

Why We Don't Pay for Cable TV

Job Details

I'm not sure exactly what I will be doing at this new job, other than working in the kitchen. When I was originally called, they needed lunch hours, which would have worked out really well for us; I would be working basically the same hours as Debbie, although the days would be slightly out of sync (Tuesday through Saturday vs. Monday through Friday). Sunday, I got a phone call asking if the dinner shift would be OK. I get more hours, but that throws both our days and hours off. I will be leaving the apartment about an hour before Debbie gets home, then I get home about the time we usually go to bed. So we will see each other Saturday mornings and Sundays, more or less.

Ah well. We'll see what happens. This restaurant is brand new and still experimenting. I'm sure that this will not be anything permanent.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Official

I'm employed as of next Thursday. Woohoo! Not as many hours as I would like, but a better per-hour rate that I was expecting, so it sort of evens out. It is walking distance from our apartment, which also factors in significantly: we don't have to purchase, license, insure. maintain or fuel a second vehicle.

I'm back in the restaurant biz.

Robocop! Robocop! I Want to See Like Robocop!

Apologies to The Kinks.

Coming to an eye doctor near you: bionic contact lenses. I'll make a prediction. Write this down. Video games will use the first generation version to display stats and simple monochrome graphics instead of cluttering up the screen with them. The second generation that can display full color video will be quickly adopted by the same industry that has jumped on every innovation from 8mm film to streaming video-on-demand. Once the price comes down to something affordable, then it will enter the mainstream.

Bright Spot

I'm not sure what this means. I'm not even sure that I want to know what this means. But amid the general malaise that seems to be hitting every sector of the economy, Americans spent a record amount of money on video games.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blind Hogs and Acorns

I don't want to jinx anything, but I may have just scored a job.

Something Useful from the Government?

I know, I know. Shocking. I nearly fell out of my chair myself. But the Library of Congress is putting it's photo archive online. And not on some impossible-to-access .gov site that cost billions of dollars to create, but by purchasing a pro account from Flickr for $24.95.

Now if we could only convince the Defense Department to get a Lowes charge account....

No Child Gets Ahead

Big Surprise! Schools cheat to pass standardized state tests. The first paragraph tells a story similar to what plays out every year in Kalkaska. Seniors fail state exams, then pass them a couple weeks later when retested. Call me suspicious, but if you can't teach a kid what he needs to know to pass a test after twelve years, how can you teach him enough to pass that same test in a matter of days?

Any child with IQ of 100 or more can learn more by reading random books from the library than they will ever learn in school.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Best of Show

No self-respecting SUV owner would even consider it, but these have to win on the giggle factor alone. And unlike all-electrics from US companies, these at least have a reasonable price. I do wonder how they perform in a front-end collision with a Hummer. Maybe they just slip right under....

Why Download Sales are Lagging

Short answer: THEY COST TOO MUCH!!!

Example: Jobs announced yesterday that iTunes would now support movie rentals via downloads. The new version of iTunes allows you to download a movie, then anytime in the next 30 days, you can watch it. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to finish. All this for $3.99 per movie for old stuff, $4.99 for new releases. In other words, for the same price I can rent a physical DVD that I can have for 5 days, watch on a real TV, watch as many times as I like, take to a friend's house and watch it there on a real TV.

All that just gets Apple up to speed with Amazon's Unbox program. Which also costs too much. In fact, it's pricing is so close (as in identical) to Apple's I suspect the studios are the ones setting the prices, not the vendors.

Example: On Amazon I can buy a physical CD (I'm using Red Hot Chili Pepper's Stadium Arcadium CD for this discussion) for $16.99. I can carry that CD around, make a copy to have in my car, rip the tracks to my PC, put them on my iPod, loan it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale, and so on. Or I can buy the same album as un-DRM'ed MP3's. I get no physical medium, no liner notes, no cute little plastic case. Now I realize that doesn't count for much of the cost of delivering an album into my hot little hands, but it costs something. So how much does Amazon charge to download Stadium Arcadium? Yep. $16.99. Come on, Amazon; at least give me a buck off.

Example: I can buy a DRM'ed movie from Amazon Unbox (Waitress will be our example this time) for $14.99. That movie can only be played on my PC, cannot be burned to a DVD, cannot be moved to a different device without the expressed consent of Amazon, cannot be loaned to a friend (unless I loan him my PC as well), and cannot be sold in a garage sale. I again get no physical media, case, extra features, etc. What is my discount over buying physical media? Fifty lousy cents. Huh?

Example: Amazon's new Kindle e-book reader is getting a lot of press. Personally, it has to be one of the ugliest electronic devices I've ever seen, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I can buy a physical paperback book (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia for this example) for $8.25. I can read this book anywhere, it never runs out of batteries, I can make notes in the margin, loan it to a friend, sell it at a garage sale, etc. Or I can buy the Kindle e-book, which can do none of those things for..... wait for it...... $8.25.

It's almost like they want electronic delivery to fail. Oh wait; the RIAA, MPAA, and major publishing houses do want electronic delivery to fail. All except Baen Books, that is. Their non-DRM'ed e-books are substantially less than even the paperback versions and come in a variety of formats including just plain ol' HTML.

If at any time, the powers-that-be want to see their sales figures improve beyond their wildest imaginings, cut the price of all electronic version of music, video and books in half. Across the board. Don't change anything else. Keep your useless DRM if it gives you warm fuzzies. Sales will explode. Or at least stop sliding into the gutter.

Why We Hate Microsoft

I thought shake-downs were illegal? I guess if you have lawyers in suites doing it, it's OK. The Justice Department is probably too busy putting Martha Stewart in jail for lying while not under oath about something that wouldn't have been a crime even if she had done it.

Of course, what are the options? Apple? They're not a whole lot better; essentially virtue by lack of resources. Linux? Great OS as long as you don't want a PC that can do anything very useful. So I guess it's either put up with this sort of crap, or walk away from technology completely.

It Begins?

Or maybe the beginning of the end of a fairly recent bubble, historically speaking. When I think about how we lived and what we had when I was growing up and then look at the expectations of even low-income families today, I have to think a lot of what is going on in the economy is just a long-overdue correction.

S&P increases loss assumptions.
$2.34 trillion less in mortgages for 2008.
London shares down.
Citigroup goes hat-in-hand to the Saudis.
The rest of Europe pulls back.
Hong Kong gets dragged down.
And takes the rest of Asia.

In northern Michigan, most townships saw huge decreases in the dollar value of new construction in 2007. We're not talking 5%-10%; more like 30%, 40%, even 50% decreases from just a year earlier. The rare exceptions were mostly due to Indians building casinos. I wonder who will be playing in all that new casino floor space? The Delphi workers in Flint that just had their incomes cut in half?

So Proud

I am so proud to have been born, raised, and lived most of my adult life in a state that wants a guy that wears magic underwear to be our next president.

Way to go, Michigan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What We Have Been Up To

Short answer: not much.

With me still not working, we are staying pretty close to home; no road trips, no cool pictures of strange landscapes. Just hanging out in the apartment, reading, watching movies, and surfing the web.

January out here is hibernation time for everyone, so it's not just us. Add to that the general feeling that everyone needs to hang on to their wallet, and you have no one hiring right now. I get the same answer every place I go: maybe in a month or so. We can squeak by with that, but just barely.

So that's pretty much it. Debbie goes to work every day. I vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, dust, and fill out job applications. On the weekends, we stay home and don't do much of anything. Once the weather starts to get a little nicer, we'll probably get out more, but right now, we just want to curl up on the couch with a blanket.

In the mean time, ya'll will just have to put up with my rambling on about random news items.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Constitution? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Constitution!

Tell me again why any rational parent would pay money for this? Money quotes:
Rather than ignore him or set up a meeting with concerned students, Valdosta State University, in Georgia, informed Barnes, then a sophomore, that he had been “administratively withdrawn” effective May 7, 2007. In a letter apparently slipped under his dorm room door.
That shows a great deal of maturity as well as concern for student safety. A note under the door? Who runs this place; twelve-year-olds?
The letter also said that in order to return as a student, a non-university psychiatrist would have to certify that Barnes was not a threat to himself or anyone else, and that he would receive “on-going therapy.”
Translation: "I don't like you, so you must be nuts."
Corn-Revere wrote to the University System of Georgia and was told only that the institution couldn’t discuss the case because of federal privacy law.
How convenient.
As additional evidence of the threat posed by Barnes, the document referred to a link he posted to his Facebook profile whose accompanying graphic read: “Shoot it. Upload it. Get famous. Project Spotlight is searching for the next big thing. Are you it?”
Project Spotlight is, as any native English speaker of normal intelligence could figure out in 30 seconds, a video contest. It says a great deal that the president of a university couldn't figure that out. It says a great deal about the entire university staff that they were passing around hardcopy of a student's Facebook page. Don't they have computers at universities?
FIRE is simultaneously pressuring Valdosta State to reverse its “free speech area” policy, which is unusually rigid in restricting student expression to a single stage on the 168-acre campus, only between the hours of 12 and 1 p.m. and 5 and 6 p.m., with prior registration.
Wow. Sounds like a great place to send your child.

Friday, January 11, 2008


More Good News

Moody's states the obvious:
The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody's, the credit rating agency, said yesterday.
Then the author of the article says something stupid:
Most analysts expect future administrations to deal with the costs of healthcare and social security
Yea, right. Just like politicians have dealt with every other long-term problem over the last 50 years:
Most presidential candidates have vowed to reform the healthcare system but many of them, especially on the Democratic side, have focused on extending coverage to the 40m-plus uninsured Americans rather than on cutting costs

And what I am sure is a completely unrelated news item.

Baby Steps

Today it's candy. Tomorrow, it's your breakfast burrito. Too bad Gene Roddenberry isn't here to see this.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

HFC Update

If you google "hfc fat thighs," we are the first site listed in the search results. It pays to blog weird stuff.

"We're Number 1!"
"We're Number 1!"
"We're Number 1!"
"We're Number 1!"

Not as much traffic as we got from "debbie's boob job" a couple years ago, but still impressive.

And it looks like I wasn't the only one that saw that. This isn't what I saw; that was a picture of an actual KFC bucket with Hillary and the slogan Photoshop'ed in. Gutsy move by whoever did that sign board. I can't imagine home office being amused by a picture of one of their stores with an insult directed at the future president on their sign.

Especially now that the Number 1 site on the internet is linked to it.

Sex Drives Innovation

Once again, the porn industry gives a glimpse of a possible future. If Netflix or Blockbuster were to offer their entire catalog on a device like this for $10, $15, or even $20 a month, I think a lot of people would jump on it. Metaphorically speaking.

Anyway, if something like this existed with a deep enough catalog and the ability to create a personal "library" of favorite movies or even movie scenes, would anyone buy or rent a physical copy of a movie?

On the other hand, this would a censure's wet dream. Metaphorically speaking.

Another Primary

I still stick by my prediction I made when Clinton carpet-bagged her way into the Senate: Hillary will win the nomination and will kick the stuffing out of whatever sacrificial lamb the Republicans put on the ticket.

Climate Change. Again

A decent summary of the two "sides" in the climate debate. Being a summary, it shows a very sketchy version of both sides, but it is a good start and is from a somewhat reliable source. The thing to note is, of course, the unknowns. There is so much that we don't know, it's hard to put much stock in what is claimed to be known, not to mention the supposed remedies. I spent 22 years figuring out what when wrong with computers systems, and the first thing you learn is to not make things worse by attempting to fix a problem that you do not fully understand. And I can guarantee that Kyoto or any other political solution will not address the problem, and will likely make things worse. At best, resources that could go towards reducing uncertainties will be diverted to nonsense like baning the sale of incandescent light bulbs and burning fossil fuels so politicians can fly all over the world going to conferences. If we are truly concerned with CO2 levels, then instead of spending billions on the latest global warming conference, why not give it to these guys, or may these guys?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fog from the RIAA

Even when directly asked, the RIAA refuses to believe that music falls under the fair use doctrine:
[T]here's no legal "right" to copy the copyrighted music on a CD onto a CD-R. However, burning a copy of CD onto a CD-R, or transferring a copy onto your computer hard drive or your portable music player, won't usually raise concerns so long as:

The copy is made from an authorized original CD that you legitimately own

The copy is just for your personal use.
In other words, "We at the RIAA retain the option to "raise concern" at any point in the future because we don't recognize the "right" of the person that pays the bills to use his purchase as he sees fit."

If the Might Morphing Defenders of the Constitution over at the EFF want to do something more constructive than support theft from widows and orphans, they can use up some of their boundless energy forcing a decision that specifically addresses music on CD's.

The Gloves Come Off

That didn't take long.

Why I Don't Pay for Cable

Cable TV, that is. We have cable internet, which in my opinion is the only thing the cable company is good for until they start offering true movies on demand. But if this is what I would be paying $30 a month for, I think I'll pass.

Two Nations

Inside the borders of these United States, there exists two nations. One is familiar to those who frequent this blog. This is the other one. The liberals would have you believe it is somehow our fault. That we, simply by existing, oppress the Other and force them to act as animals. I beg to differ. No amount of oppression or poverty forces someone to intentionally inflict permanent physical damage on another human being. That is a choice. My family, until the generation I happen to be in, lived below the official poverty line. I can guarantee that none of them ever slammed another human being into a wall hard enough to give them a concussion. While it is horrifying that one of the largest school systems in the country is merely a day-prison, what else do you do with wild animals other than lock them up?

Friday, January 04, 2008

RIAA Revisited

I think the RIAA has stuck its head into a hornets nest. It seems the latest flap is going to boil down to fair use of legally purchased digital music whether the RIAA wants it to or not.

First up, there seems to be doubt about the accuracy of the original story in the Washington Post. The RIAA is very publicly going after Fisher, who wrote the article. And it looks like they have reason to at this point. But notice that nowhere will you find an RIAA source that will flat-out say that copying a CD to your hard drive or iPod is OK. Instead we get, "Not a single (legal) case has ever been brought (by the RIAA against someone for copying music for personal use). Not a single claim has ever been made." Which is true. It is also true that that statement does not say that the RIAA views copying for personal use to be legal/moral/whatever. In fact, the RIAA has been behind every attempt to block just this thing. If the RIAA really wants to clarify the issue, then just say so in plain language and quit dancing around the issue.

Washington Post backs off. The RIAA has yet to issue a point-blank statement saying that the owner of a CD has the legal right to make as many personal-use copies of it on as many different platforms and formats as he chooses.

Why DRM Is a Bad Idea # 76,549

Because the vendors seem intent on sabotaging each other. I have to link to the /. instead of the article itself because the server that contains the article seems to have cut off traffic due to the high volume. It's too easy to rip videos from Blockbuster to put up with this crap.


Another major label gets smart.

And Our Next President Is....

...Mike Huckabee!

(hee hee giggle snort)

Once again, the news media makes a big deal about who won in the Iowa caucus, which represents .001% of the United States population. And while it's nice to see the Ice Queen pull a much-deserved third place, she is still leading over-all. The best part will be seeing if this will prompt her to reveal her true self. According to rumors from White House staff that quit or were fired during Clinton I, she was the most-hated first lady in recent memory.

Speaking of the Queen Bee-otch, I saw a jpeg on the Drudge site a couple days ago that cracked me up. It disappeared before I could grab it, likely due to threats of litigation. But it was a KFC bucket, only with the letters "HFC" on the side along with Hillary's picture and "Contains two fat thighs, two small breasts, and a lot of left wings" or something very close to that. It was gone almost as soon as it was posted, but it has to be somewhere on the web.

This is Me

Yep. I'm still a bum. Or househusband. Or whatever. At least I have an excuse. At least half the places I've tried to apply for a job at have told me they just laid a bunch of people off. The only bright spot is that in three weeks, all the college kiddies go back to school and will either be quiting completely, or cutting back their hours. Something will shake loose sooner or later. I'm averaging about six contacts a day which yields two or three applications. No call-backs yet.

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming....

Lessons in Capitalism

This is why I fear unrestricted capitalism less than I fear government control of the economy. Short-term thinking will always catch you in the end if people are given a choice. Compare this result with efforts to clean up a dysfunctional government bureaucracy, like, say, HUD or NASA or Traverse City.

I don't recall ever buying anything at a Circuit City. I don't buy much at Best Buy either, but what little time I have spent in their stores (I tend to buy things online because I generally know what I want) has been pleasant enough. Maybe I'll try to get a job there. Sounds like they want sales people that actually know something.

Look Behind You!

I have no idea if this is real or a Photoshop job. Given the obvious tabloid nature of the site (check out the gripping journalism featured in its other articles) I had my doubts. But the photographer credited in the article has a fairly legitimate-looking web site.

Global Warming Strikes Again

One again, sweltering temperatures strike the United States.

And this just in: someone doing real science. As in attempting to account for all the data. Of course he's Russian, so you know it's all just a communist plot to destroy the United States by increasing our crop yields, reducing the number of cold-weather-related deaths, and, er, something like that.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Starting the New Year Right

Gold at record prices (not adjusted for inflation).
The dollar at near-record lows.
Oil at record prices (adjusted for inflation).

Wow. All that money spent on alcohol didn't help the economy one bit.

No one wants to talk about this, which explains a lot of the rest. Can you fix a problem by ignoring its root cause?
...the trend is unsettling. The two largest subprime lenders for automobiles, Consumer Portfolio Services and Americeredit have seen their share prices drop by about half in the past several months. And consumer debt in general has been ringing alarm bells at the Federal Reserve and in the halls of Congress. Tightening credit for cars is the last thing the auto industry wants to see. Luxury cars are fat for profit. Extending loan terms has allowed automakers to seduce consumers into vehicles they can't afford. In 2008, the problem may come home to roost.
Emphasis is mine.

Happy New Year!!

So I'm 24 hours late. Sue me.

We spent New Years Eve the same way we have since we were married: sitting at home, falling asleep around 10:30, being woke up at midnight with all the ruckus from the hard-core party people, then falling back to sleep after mumbling "Happy New Year" to each other. Yea, I know; we really know how to party.

The first day of the new year was cleaning/organizing day. We did some shopping on New Years Eve for ourselves with the funds from various family members, and picked up a toaster, a curio cabinet, a door stop, and a box of donuts. (Hey. You know how hard it is to spend exactly $140?) We put together the curio, did some vacuuming, and eliminated a couple more piles of leftover debris from moving. Most everything is where it is going to live for a while. I need some hardware to hang up our bells and to cram the last bit of the "we are keeping this but it has no useful purpose" stuff into the storage area under the bed. That will leave us with only one pile: the "if no one says they want any of this by Friday, it goes to charity/the dumpster" pile. We also decided we have just way too much furniture in the living room, so we will be trying to sell one of the end tables and the two Ikea chairs we bought for our room at Arcosanti. They are not nearly as comfortable as my dumpster-dive chair and the used dual recliner love seat we picked up a month ago, so in spite of being the only new furniture we own, it goes. We are still on the lookout for heavy duty bookshelves and a work table for Debbie to use for her scrap book stuff.

Today, I'm catching up with my web stuff, putting the finishing touches on some of yesterday's projects, making a list of everything I need to get done tomorrow while I have the car, and sitting around being lazy.