Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Dr. Zaius has a hilarious post here today. Beautifully ironic, that the country who invented water boarding is now going after the gymnastic and amateurish Bush administration officials who tried to justify water boarding and other torture techniques. This is the same judge who successfully convicted Augusto Pinochet! Il Faut Voir! I mean... Ya Veremos!

Saliva as Anti-Venom

I heard Robin Williams today on "Fresh Air". It was an old interview, recycled for pledge week on NPR, but I'd not heard it previously and Williams had a few comments that truly made me laugh out loud.

"Anne Coulter, they are using her saliva now as an anti venom for cobra bites"

"They were going to drop Anne Coulter into Baghdad but realized it would be against the Geneva Convention"

"Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ron Jeremy, they're the same guy. Neither of them is comfortable with the comparison, but come on, look at their pictures!"

Photo of R.Jeremy courtesy of my buddy Ryan who unexpectedly ran into the pron star in a Decatur bar last week. LOL!

Sideshow Glen

Last week, after Colbert's mockery of Glen Beck, I had to see for myself, so I DVR'ed Fox's "tearful rising star". Things I learned from Glen Beck's paranoid rants, stretched analogy props, crying jags, self deprecation, and rampant hypocrisy, include:
- Glen's principles are sound and patriotic, everyone else is not only wrong, but trying to destroy America
- Glen stated (March 23rd) "Big girls don't cry, but I do". He is passionately proud of being a wuss.
- Glen believes Bill Maher works for NBC, and assembles 'lynch mobs' against him (23Mar)
- Glen would flunk out of art school but he loves to make really bizarre sketches on a small white board
- Glen knows that FEMA is building camps where they will put anyone who disagrees with the Obama administration. He can't prove it, but he knows it is happening.
- Glen believes the Jews take your money (see the CrooksandLiars video here)
- Glen believes he's a televangelist
- Glen's stated he's a rodeo clown
- Glen's proud of not being a journalist, and called himself "an opinion maker". Wow, I thought humans were given free will and capable of forming their own opinions. How wrong I was! I need Glen!
- Glen says he's a libertarian, and neither left or right, but he only criticizes and rants and theorizes about the left, and remains reticent about his allies & audience on the right.
- Glen's the parent of a 'special needs' child, just like Sarah Palin, and he can truly relate to her.
- Glen's a recovering alcoholic who used to quote Jefferson and Paine, but now he's found Gawd and is 'born again'. Amen brother! That explains how EVERYTHING is completely BLACK or WHITE to Glen.
- Glen loves his country, but he fears for it! Yeah, he fears for it NOW, not when W and Cheney were practicing rendition daily, tapping our phones, torturing relatives of future suicide bombers and IED planters to inspire them to kill more Americans... not then, but NOW. O... K....

After watching 3 installments of Glen's rants, I can say that the CrooksandLiars compilation is NOT taken out of context. It's the highlights of the circus, not a fabrication.

If you are a visitor to this blog (or a frequent reader) and you believe I have mis-characterized Glen, please, let me know how I've maligned him. I look forward to your comments. I will not be watching Glen Beck again, but now I understand and appreciate the perfect parody of him that Colbert's been putting on the air this year. On target, precisely.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wagoner bad. Vikram Pandit good?

I do understand how Richard Wagoner was the head of a vastly unsuccessful corporation and should step down. How is Vikram Pandit a good leader, when Shitty Bank has performed arguably much worse than GM has? Shitty Bank received BILLIONs in US Federal aid and guarantees. Why is Mr. Pandit still in place? Why is anyone still listening to him? He does not have the leadership skills to be in charge of a successful Fish & Chips franchise, much less a mega-bank.

Pandit, Richard Parsons, Gary Crittenden, Thomas Maheras, David Bushnell, have all performed spectacularly poorly for their share holders, their customers, and for the larger public and American Tax Payers as well. These are not the plumbers who are trying to undo the shoddy electrical work that burnt down the house. These oligarchs are akin to the NEMA electrical code book authors, and master electricians, who used brittle, undersized, low voltage rated, lead laced wire wiring on a 12000 KVA central distribution hub. Why aren't they unemployed like 8.1% of the US work force already is?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Matt Stone & Trey Parker solve the world economic crisis

The new South Park Episode "Margaritaville" was beautifully poignant this week. Explained in the most rudimentary terms, with awesome examples, Stone & Parker point out Americans' hypocrisy & stupidity. Eventually, Kyle solves the crisis. Beautiful quotes from the episode include:
"He who has not bought anything frivolous, let him chuck the first squirrel!"
"Hidden all the cash in a secret Jew cave they built"
"The economy is omnipotent"
"Faith makes the economy exist"
"water and bread, and margaritas, yea"
"They took our jobs!"
"He paid for our debts, so we can spend, once more!"
"90 trillion dollars! consult the chart..."

Much better than the typical Terence & Philip fart jokes. I rank this episode up there with the Lemmiwinks and the Woodland Critter Christmas Special episodes. Blood Orgy!! Blood Orgy!! LOL!

Well Prepared Geithner on a Sunday Morning

This morning on "MTP" and "This Week With George Snuffelupagus" Tim Geithner was well prepped / well practiced / well rehearsed. He used the following phrases, identically, on both DVR'ed shows (I can't wake up early on Sunday, not on PDST).

"Blood of the Economy"
"No good choices"
"We've moved faster than Japan, or Sweden"
"Diffuse & help unwind"
"To get through this government needs to act"
and when challenged, with an accusational question...
"Let's step back a moment"

He spoke well, and tried to give calm, intelligent, reassurance. Much better than he did in front of Congress, or at previous press conferences. When Snuffelupagus played a clip of Charlie Rangel lumping former Goldman Sacks CEO Henry Paulson & Geithner together as 2 Secretaries of the Treasury who don't understand working Americans and who think everyone in Banking deserves million dollar bonuses, Geithner rebutted that he's always been in public service, never at a private firm, and has always worked to put better regulations and more accountability in place. I thought both interviews went well. How effective the Fed's "medicine" will be - il faut voir, we shall see.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Phoenix Arizona, For An Abbreviated Mid Western Transplant Perspective

My cool cousin Ursula asked me to tell one of her professors in Chicago about what it is like living in Phoenix, so I took a few minutes this morning, and wrote up this short summary:

Arizona is a lovely place. Resource depleted (water, and energy importing, until APS gets their large solar array going SW of town). The kidnappings here have almost all been drug-on-drug dealer related, or smuggler-immigrant related. 40% of the Phoenix area is, or has a Hispanic family member, and most of those are from Mexico. Phoenix has some bad neighborhoods like all large cities (4 million, currently here), but if you stay out of them, in general you stay out of trouble.

If you have cash, there's No Shortage of affordable PHX, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler homes. Scottsdale and Fountain Hills are still somewhat expensive (not been hit with the downturn as much due to the concentrated wealth there) but bargains can be found. Mesa has a few good neighborhoods, but many less desirable ones. In general, in Phoenix, staying north of "Indian School Road" and east of 7th Ave (PHX is essentially a large grid pattern, like unto Chicago's sequentially numbered streets, where my maternal grandmother used to live on 169th in Cal City) the better the neighborhoods will be. South of Thomas Ave & West of 12th Ave, on average the areas become significantly economically challenged, and remain that way, until about 83rd ave. My wife and I live on the far west side. No one told us of the socio-economic landscape before we moved here. Highly recommend renting for a year, to get to know the area very well before dropping a large chunk down on a mortgage. We bought a home after just 5 days of searching in 2007, and regret our hasty decision. Home prices near downtown have started to slowly stabilize and rebound, but elsewhere around the city, they are still falling 1 or 2 or more thousand a month. There's some real bargains that can be found with a glut of houses on the market. 95% of all homes sold in Arizona in 2009 were foreclosures, so far.

If you have allergies, Arizona may alleviate your symptoms (as they did with my wife) or aggravate them somewhat (as they did with me). If you love snow, Phoenix is not for you. If you enjoy a dry heat, with humidity typically below 20%, it is an ideal climate - also ideal for Motorola and Intel's mfg facilities. Approx 300 days of sunshine, one night of light frost a year (in January typically). Summer temps in the 100s - I've not personally experienced over 120F, but like Chicago in a -30F wind chill, you don't go outside so much when it is 120F, and Carrier invented Air Conditioning in the 60s, which is ubiquitous here in AZ.

Motorola is a long term upstanding pillar of the community, as are GE Healthcare, Intel, JP Morgan Chase, Raytheon, Honeywell, Banner Health, Phelps Dodge, Boeing, Wells Fargo, SW airlines, US Air, ASU (though suffering from severe budget cuts this year) and others.

City Services are pretty good - light rail downtown and east of downtown, reliable trash collection, anti-graffiti departments who are prompt, responsive animal control (dog catcher) and police [each of whom I've called once in the 2 years I've been here for minor things]. City is running a budget deficit, and deep cuts are coming soon. The mayor is beloved (by Democrats) and despised (by xenophobic anti-immigration advocates) but seems to have a good administration. We just lost our Very Popular democratic governor to the Department of Homeland Security, and the Lt. Governor who took over for her is more or less a right wing ideologue who is trying to undo many of the things her predecessor accomplished. The state legislature is republican majority (12D / 18R senate, 25D / 33R house), and both US senators are Republican (McCain somewhat, Kyle, far far right). The US congressmen are gerrymandered to 5D & 3R - my west Phoenix district runs from Yuma to the West Side of Phoenix, about the size of 1/2 of Illinois. Taxes (income and property) are LOW - very low compared to other states, about 1/2 of what we were paying in SC.

The Grand Canyon is a 4 hour drive from Phoenix. Beautiful mountains are all around and IN the city. San Diego is as far from Phoenix as St Louis is from Chicago. The Mexican coast (Gulf of Cortez where the Colorado river trickles out into the ocean) is about 4 hours from Phoenix, 2 hours from Tucson where Aunt Sally lives - but the violence in Mexico makes driving there... an adventure, perhaps not for the feint of heart. The area known as "Rocky Point" (Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico) has been relatively unaffected by narco terror and is a frequent vacation spot, but an hour south of Rocky Point at Guaymas is a known narco trafficking snuggling point where Fodors Guides warns travelers to "not stay out after dark".

Arizonians, like most of the people in the West, are very much respectful of property rights and privacy, and are more libertarian than liberal or conservative. Catholics and ex-Catholics are the majority here, unlike the SE US where Fundamentalist Baptists had an overwhelming majority (where I lived for 16 years). The "Catholic rule" means you can buy alcohol on Sundays, Indian casinos are welcomed (even encouraged), and finding a Catholic church is not hard to do, if you are practicing. There's HUGE Native American communities near Phoenix and all around the state - the state ballots can even be provided in O'odham here in Phoenix! There's large ex-Chicago and ex-NYC expatriot communities here. There's also large populations of ex-Californians, many of whom were driven out of CA by high prices, and brought their shopping preferences, their incomes, and (sometimes, sadly) their Los Angeles gangs with them, but again, avoid west of 12th ave, and east of 83rd ave, and stay north of Indian School Rd, and out of parts of Mesa, and you avoid most of the gang related influences.

Be prepared to replace your wind shield on your car, due to stray flying rocks, about every other year. We've averaged 1 crack every 6 months, and I don't drive to work, only Dr. Desert Flower does! (12 miles each way).

That's a general over-view. If you've got other questions, transplant related or otherwise, don't hesitate to ask.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ice Cream Truck Cacophony

Everyday here in West Phoenix, starting about 2:30pm, the dilapidated ice cream trucks circle the neighborhood, blasting (about 75 dB A) their songs to lure children to buy frozen treats. The songs range from Christmas carols, to the Mexican Hat Dance, to the "Constance" song that Todd, Harry, Andrew, Phillip and Winthorpe sang in "Trading Places". It is a bizarre cornucopia of sounds. Since the roads in my neighborhood are curved in a nautilus like shape, and my home is at the center of the phragmocone's camerae, the episodes of repetitively blared songs sometimes take the better part of an hour to dissipate. On weekends, one can count on hearing ice cream truck songs the better part of the day. With 1 out of 3 homes vacant, and 1/2 of the inhabited ones with renters in them, I really don't understand how these truck operators make any money, but they keep trolling.

Billions Flushed Away

Former AIG VP Jake DeSantis makes a good analogy:

"None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NIN & JA in May

May 15th (not a "school night"!) Dr Desert Flower and I will be going to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction at the Cricket Amphitheater here in West Phoenix - 1.2 miles from our home. It's been more than 15 years since I last saw Perry Farrell & Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza, and more than 3 years since I we last saw NIN in Greenville. Both shows were intense & memorable. I'm hoping this year's show will be a good one as well. We shall see. We're going with a fun couple DDFlower works with who are almost as old as we are - fun fun fun!

If anyone wants to come down and go to the concert with us, tickets are still available! =)

Skeleton of Worlds Oldest Sexual Predator Found In Argentina

highly informative
Pervatasaurus Leeri

Science Volume 323: Sperm Is Nutritious

Ueli Grossniklaus has a nice article in a recent issue of Science (Volume 323, page 1439)

"The male gametophyte (pollen) harbors two sperm cells, which are delivered to the female gametophyte (embryo sac) that is embedded in the ovule, the precursor of the seed. In flowering plants (such as Arabidopsis), one sperm fuses with the egg cell to form the zygote, whereas the second fuses with the central cell and develops into the endosperm, a nutritive tissue supporting the growth of the embryo".

I read this article at lunch today, while enjoying a colbyjack & lean ham whole wheat pita, a glass of 2005 Medoc ($6 from Trader Joes) and 3 different female hummingbirds buzzed the feeder a few feet away. Like most females universally, they found their normal food sources (red sugar water, aloe, and Spanish lavender) more nutritious than other alternatives.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Financial Predation

Financial Predation
Payday lending
, Short Selling Stocks, Ridiculously Leveraged multiple Credit Default Swaps, all of these are evil on different scales. Payday lending preys upon the vast American Middle Class who live pay-check to pay-check, more than 1/2 of all American households. The Payday lender (pronounced as "loan shark") is a small scale plutocrat wanna-be with an office in a struggling part of town, who works for his soul-less corporate masters. Short Selling voraciously feasts upon the not-quite-dead-yet but starting to decay stocks of companies to further concentrate tremendous wealth into the hands of a few manipulative bastards at the expense of the company creators, employees, and suppliers, all of whom don't matter at all to the short seller. There's probably less than 10,000 full time, hard core short sellers in America. CDSs, which in singular instances are not inherently evil on an occasionally necessary transactional day-to-day basis to help a specific business you personally know and trust and deal with, but they end up raping and bankrupting Joe Taxpayer when they are also abused by obscenely wealthy plutocrats and are bought & sold en masse for profit, and not for need.

Wouldn't it be nice, if there was a Jurrasic Park like Island preserve, where Payday Loan Corporate Officers & Branch managers, along with dedicated short sellers, and financiers who derive more than 1/2 of their personal and corportate wealth from CDSs were used to feed the island's carnivorous theropads? That would be a "Survivor" I would watch & enjoy.

Lacking a fictional island, it would be enjoyable to see them go up against mix martial artists, in ones and 2s, in televised octagon steel cage matches to the death, without referees. At least then they would be providing some benefit to society, in entertainment, and in improving the gene pool, while setting an example of "that what happens when you base your whole life upon evil predation". I am not calling for their destruction & dismemberment. I'm just saying, that if we lived in a world where such fictional scenarios were possible, I'd pay to watch, or at least set my DVR to record it for later viewing.

"Not Too Much"

As stated last month, eating reasonable amounts of healthy foods seems to be effective way to not decrease your life span by 1/2 a dozen years. Specifically, high meat diets are not really that good for avoiding cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's, stomach ulcers and an array of other conditions. But the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine only included 1/2 a million people over 10 years, so how accurate can it be?

For my friends who have adopted an enthusiastic carnivore concentrated diet, you'll be happy to know the industrial lobbying group "The American Meat Institute" disagrees with many specifics of the study. The last 11 to 16% of a person's life are perhaps not as much fun as the the previous years leading up to them, especially when devouring juicy, free range, organically raised, high quality meats. They Are delicious. I'm going to continue to eat them in moderation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Conservative Censorship still "alive and well"

Conservative media outlets are still practicing censorship, to stay "on message" and attempt to promulgate their propaganda, despite reality and the Facts that reality presents. Lemme explain.

I heard, on the radio last week, that "the rate of military suicides has now out stripped the number of combat deaths" and at first, I didn't believe it. I got busy working on other things, and today again, long term memory kicked in, and I started digging. I did the simplest of Google searches: "military suicide rate 2009"
OK, lots of moderate, neutral, or liberal sources here, here, and here, including the radio show where I heard the initial report, here. But what about conservative news sources? So I expanded the search to
"+"washington times" military suicide rate 2009" and "+"fox" military suicide rate 2009"" and ""wsj" military suicide rate 2009", as well as poking around the American Enterprise Institutes's website. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times recently actually ran Op Ed pieces deriding the findings, and referenced an old 2006 statistic, but they did mention that Military Divorces were up in 2008 - if only they had been married in Rev Moon's church instead! The WSJ HAD the story, but pulled it off their website (Google cached here) - sends the wrong message to the conservative subscriber base, after all. Fox had NOTHING on the subject, showing Roger Ailes knows where his bread and butter come from. AEI had nothing as well, but that is not news.

Conservative Censorship is alive and well. Very Sadly, 100s of US Service Men and Women no longer are. This is in large part, to the un-necessary & un-justified pre-emptive war launched by W and Cheney, wherein the neocon leadership ignored all information that was not "on message". These negligent plutocrats refused to plan for a prolonged and bloody insurgency, and actually kept telling the Pentagon that it was not fighting a war and things were constantly getting better, despite increasingly bloody and sophisticated insurgent attacks that have now claimed more American lives than have been lost in 9-11 - not to mention the nearly 100,000 Iraqi lives that have been extinguished as well (about the same ratio of US to Vietnamese casualties experienced prior to 1975, US and Vietnamese).

It sickens me, how Republican ideologues continue to try and re-write history. You can't resurrect dead people. The military deaths are facts. Yes, there's always been a suicide rate in the armed services (FMJ par example) but driving it to new heights, that's on W's and Cheney's shoulders.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Phoenix is # 1 Woo-Whoo!

#1 in Kidnappings, in the US... awesome! # 2 globally, right behind Mexico City, which is still number 1.

There's a youtube video, but it drags-on about a local, non-Mexican drug dealer, who threatened to kill one of his customers 3 years ago. ABC News really had to stretch (suspend disbelief and dis-engage the time-space continuum) to get that into the 7 minute piece and imply it is "current".

So far, it is drug dealer against drug dealer, mostly Mexican, or involving illegals - so far. But there are no clear geographic boundaries, as I mentioned last month, separating legals from illegals, law abiding citizens from the narco traffickers and customer base here in the Valley of the Sun. I'll have to stay locked & loaded, and remain vigilant.

Fun Fun Fun! I haven't heard automatic weapons being fired outside since last August, as I floated in the pool drinking a beer around 6pm on a Friday evening. Hopefully, it'll stay quiet. The increase in predator drone surveillance in the border lands south of Tucson, intelligence sharing, and the crack down on eager Arizona Gun Sales may start to have some positive benefits.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Glacial Pace - not so slow anymore

James Balog's team has been taking extreme time lapse photos and video of ice canyons (that resemble Utah's Canyon Lands, but in white and sapphire), calving glaciers, ice quakes, moulin drainage... amazing stuff, of the few remaining glaciers in the world. It'll be on Nova next Tuesday.


I am curious to hear what my friend Jason has to say about this work, as he's taken extensive and stunning Canyonland photos.

No, there's no such thing as global warming. It's to be mocked, and derided, and all of the evidence - satellite, photographic, atmospheric - it's all bogus. One of my earliest critics, who loves his Hummer, believed it was all a myth!

3 foot sea level rise in the next 50 years - buh bye Miami, Charleston, NYC (lower Manhattan), Philly, New Orleans, Dhaka, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Saigon, etc.

Another Reason To Hate the Dimbulb

Showing what a selfish niño he is, Hush Dimbulb truly wants AIG executives to get bonuses.
" I am all for the AIG bailouts, and I am all for the AIG bonuses. ...You see, ladies and gentlemen, I have all of my insurance policies, or most of my insurance policies with AIG, and it would be a hassle for me if AIG went bankrupt or if they were allowed to fail. I'm a longtime customer of AIG, and as such I have preferred pricing"

What a selfish bastard! Burn Rome, while I enjoy the next orgy. I want... no.. I Deserve mine! Me me me!!!! Selfish niño! Conversely, my massively underwater mortgage is with Shitty Bank, and I hope they go bankrupt or get nationalized, even if it would be "a hassle for me".

The link shows the Colberian pose he strikes - yes, black is a 'slimming color'. Hilarious.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gorilla Tape, Good Stuff!

Checking on my pool heater today, I noticed a few of the black tape straps I installed have sort of "popped up" and are not really in contact with the black tubing so much any more. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the popped up straps were the few "Duck Tape" strands I used when I ran out of Gorilla Tape. In contrast, the Gorilla Tape, is amazingly sticky, adhesive, in full contact with the heat exchanger tubing, and helping to HEAT UP even more (over 120F to the touch). I have to say, I was skeptical when I picked up the roll at the hardware store, but the Gorilla Tape is performing admirably.

And this morning, when I turned the pump and heater on at 9:05am (when the electricity goes to 1/3 price) the discharge pipe put out a moment of 55F water, into the 69F pool - ambient got chilly last night! So I valved the heater off. Full sun starts around 9am, and ends at 4:45pm, where the heater is located. When I valved it back on at 11am, the discharge temperature was 110F! Awesome! If the nights would just not get so chilly, then the residual water temp could steadily climb up through the 70s and by 80F I can swim - it's just as warm as Lake Michigan in August at that point!

Il faut voir. We shall see.

Thanks 2000 Congress, Clinton & Greenspan, for AIG!

MSNBC has this nice piece, courtesy of Dr. Desert Flower. The republican congress, lame duck Bill, and all-my-money-is-in-T-bonds-Greenspan enabled AIG to be the worthless derivative trading, credit default swapping monster it is today.

Giving Props?

When did "giving respect" or "accolades" become "giving props"? I do not understand this thread of the English language.

16March09 TDS

The time change now has TDS on at 8pm, followed by Colbert at 830pm here in timeless Arizona. Last night's installment of the The Daily Show talked about
- The War on Science (it was the one war Bush was actually winning!)
- Free Range Fetuses, demanded by organic yuppies
- How our "founding fathers wanted people, mostly white, to come to these shores"
- Samantha Bee had a funny segment on the evil that IS short selling with a greedy and conscienceless douche bag named Horowitz: "just because you robbed the grave doesn't mean you killed the guy!"

The show was marvelously written. Superbly delivered. Poignant. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

1000 Steves

I saw this NCSE article in Republican slanted Machine Design of all places. Steves Unite!

"Named in honor of Stephen Jay Gould, NCSE's Project Steve began as a tongue-in-cheek response to creationist lists of alleged Darwin-doubting scientists. Project Steve encourages scientists named Steve (or Steven, Stephen, Stephanie, Stefan, Stefano, Etienne, Esteban, Tapani ...) to sign up and publicly support evolution. Because 1% of Americans are named Steve or Stephanie, the 1000 Steves represent the thousands of scientists who affirm and support the study and teaching of evolution.

"It's particularly appropriate that Steve #1000 is from Louisiana," says NCSE's Scott. "There have been many attempts to undermine the teaching of evolution in the state, including a law that required the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, which the Supreme Court struck down in 1987."

"Antievolution attitudes in Louisiana are prevalent," says Darwin, who has taught a popular class on evolution vs. creationism at Tulane for several years. Which is why it wasn't a big surprise to him when Governor Bobby Jindal signed a new antievolution bill into law in 2008. The law allows creationist-minded teachers to discredit evolution using bogus arguments and phony weaknesses -- claims that have long since been debunked by scientists, says Scott.

"Project Steve is a lighthearted stunt -- but it is in reaction to the very serious threat to scientific literacy posed by the relentless efforts of creationists," says Scott. "We urge everybody, whether named Steve or not, to join in defending the teaching of evolution.""

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rachel Ray - MMMMMmmm

Dr. Zaius had this wonderful post today.
For the Youtube video direct, see this link.

A beautiful day

It's been in the mid 70s, light breeze, pool heater's been a heating steadily, no nasty smells from the industrial dairy farms south of I-10, frequent hummingbird visits and fly-bys, and going to see the Phoenix Symphony this evening. Our friends Tim & Jill came to visit last year at this time - March and October are THE times to visit Phoenix.
VERDI - Nabucco Overture
DVORÁK - Serenade for Strings
DE SARASATE - Fantasy on Bizet's Carmen
MENDELSSOHN - Symphony No. 4, ("Italian Symphony")
Heard / saw the Mendelssohn piece played in Greenville several years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Though Greenville is 1/40th the size of Phoenix, the GSO is a much better group, has an amazing director in Maestro Edvard Tchivzhel, has a much newer venue, and plays with a great deal more passion than the Phoenix symphony - which only seems to be there to get a paycheck, and go home, as soon as possible. But hey, the Phoenix Symphony is better than wrastlin, or a dirt track date!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pope apologizes, not infallible

The Pope is not infallible. Sacred Magisterium is called into question... or at least was... while former Nazi Benedict XVI had re-instated Holocaust denying bishops, until world protest by reasonable Catholics, and Jews, pressured him into reversing that decision.

Chew Toy For a Cougar

Colbert was incredibly Funny Monday. His "better know a district" interviewed the sole Wyoming Congresswoman, in one of the most hilarious BKADs ever!

Factual TDS excoriates CNBC

Daily Show over the last week has eviscerated, excoriated, decimated CNBC with clips of their own programs. It's been poignant, beautiful, factual.
Awesome CNBC advice
Cramer's insightful pick of Bear Stearns and clownishness
In Cramer We Trust. Cramer In Context.
CNBC / MSNBC gets upset at being mocked on TDS, and completely misses the point, again. Even Dora the Exporer can see that Cramer and Scarbourgh are being pendejos.
Anchor War - LMFAO! "Intercontinental Missive"

Cramer is supposed to be on this evening. Should be uncomfortable.

"He's like a dartboard, that talks!"
"I can throw feces on him..."
"A comedian who waves his arms while playing wacky sound effects"
"Not Cherry Picking, Turd Mining"

Thursday night's blistering, uncomfortable, Cramer-eating-crow, 3 part interview here.

You could tell that Stewart was pissed. Cramer was obsequiously apologetic, to his credit. Joe Scarborough and other Universal "defenders", STFU.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

DIY Pool Heater - installed & working

Some adjustments were needed earlier this week, after last weekend's install. Now it's heating, with a good 5 degree delta at the output pipe. Not awesome, but not negligible. On a 15K gallon pool I anticipate, with full sun-shine, that we'll be swimming in April this year, instead of May.

What is it about testosterone, firearms, disillusionment, and stupidity?

Why do these young men feel the need to kill their families, neighbors, or former teachers, and then shoot it out with police? How stupid can they be? Even if you could outrun the police temporarily, you can't outrun Motorola, and using automatic weapons assures you'll be taken down with deadly force. In Alabama. In Winnenden Deutschland. The only bright spot in this, is that it's not all "just Americans" this time. Another country has the dishonor of having a disillusioned youth going on a violent rampage.

I just don't get it. Yes, I contemplated societal violence as a teenager - many young males who have seen Road Warrior, Red Dawn, Terminator, or a host of other cinematic influences likewise have as well - in a personal scenario as well as in a theoretical apocalyptic landscape, but I never made the psychotic break to think I could successfully actually get away with it. Nor was I desperate enough (or starved for attention enough) to execute such actions and wreck havoc on a community. I guess it is all in how the psychotic define "success" personally, and perhaps, as to how desperate they are with nothing else left to live for?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Job Security - Red River Army Depot

I heard this story on NPR last month, and did not have a chance to post it here. The Red River Army Depot in NE Texas has no shortage of job security. It's where damaged Humvees, Bradley Fighting Vehicles (lightweight aluminum design which can be easily taken out with grenades and which don't carry a full fighting squad) and US Army trucks come to be refurbished, rebuilt, and re-issued, after they've been damaged in Iraq and elsewhere. Every 16 minutes, or about 32 vehicles a day, roll out the door.

An October '08 news release shows that they are expanding the facility to handle more volume. Great for the local area... but you'd have to really love East Texas to want to move there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Unexpected Volume

As of this morning...
975 Absolute Unique Visitors

2,059 Visits

3,588 Pageviews

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Price Pfister over Moen, any day.

Last night, I replaced the piece of crap Moen 7400 kitchen faucet that leaked over the island counter-top since the day we moved in, with a gorgeous Price Pfister Avalon. The sub standard Moen brand was used by Pulte, the massive residential over-builder in the Phoenix area. Originally I thought - Great, "Moen, buy it for looks. Buy it for life". BS! Unless you want a life full of leaky faucets, surly customer service 800# persons who treat you poorly when you call for parts, or a nearly impossible un-install process for a crappy faucet. Then yes, get a Moen.

The Price Pfister went in relatively easily - I did not have a basin wrench, which would have been handy in a tight space. The new faucet does not leak, works well, and looks lovely. Moen's China sourced assemblies are junk, from my experience - I've replaced 2 bathroom sink faucets, a shower control fixture, and a kitchen faucet now. Price Pfister USED to be in the Los Angeles metro area (since 1910), until it was sued by environmental groups. Then it moved it's operations to Mexicali (almost within site of I-8 across the US Mexico border) in 1996. Unlike most US companies who ignorantly source parts and assemblies from China, Price Pfister has done a good job of not letting quality suffer. Highly recommended.

The Rock Obama

SNL's funniest sketch last night. "The Rock Obama": Rahm Emanuel's dream.

Reagan's First 2 years

Remember the Reagan Years? Republicans now-a-days keep longing for it, opining all about their fabled larger-than-life patriarch. Well, unemployment was 9.5% during Reagan's first year. We were in a massive recession. I was headed to an all male engineering school that had a spotless record of 100% placement upon graduation (and a minimum of 2 offers per graduating senior), so I didn't think about the economy or the government too much back then - what horny teenager does?

So, all of the doomsayers who are impatiently demanding President Obama save them from their own stupidity, look back at your idol, Reagan, and see what he inherited, the tax cuts he rolled back, and massive government spending he pushed - bankrupting the Soviet Union, back then [caution, link is to NRA Online, for those who are allergic to such things]. Keep in mind how bad off things were, and how much better they got.

Daily Show Rips CNBC a New One

Santelli canceled his appearance on The Daily Show. Daily Show writers tear Rick Santelli, Jim Cramer, and all of CNBC, a new one. Hilarious! Poignant! Don't they know that digital recordings exist? Or are the "so called financial experts" just SO Stupid and focused on "the moment" that they don't care?
""If I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today," Stewart says. "Provided I'd started with $100 million.""
Columbia Journalism Review has a good review of it here as well.

Sony's new P.O.S.

Sony's new Useless Piece of Sh*t.
I gotta get one!
Thanks to Matt for pointing this out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Intelligent Pick

President Obama picks Craig Fugate to run FEMA. Sadly, Fugate has only coordinated the responses to multiple hurricanes in Florida (just 4 of them criss-crossing the state in 2005). He's never run a single Arabian Horse event, and he never asked if he could quit during any of the hurricane recoveries in Florida. What is Obama thinking with selections like this?

Terrell's Karma Catches Up With Him

Now, I just hope no one else signs this guy. Let him go to Canada or Europe's Arena Football league, and show boat there.
"The Dallas Cowboys released controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens, sources told ESPN late last night."
"There has been talk since the end of the Cowboys' 9-7 season that they would consider cutting Owens to improve morale in the locker room."

If some network stupidly hires him as a sports commentator, my MUTE button will get alot of use next season.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Republicans hate ear marks, except their own

As I listen to grumpy, sour grapes, angry old McCain on local PHX PBS radio this morning, I am struck by how snide & bitter he is. He's blaming Obama for 9000 ear marks that are in the omnibus spending bill, 40 percent of which Republicans put in there. The NPR host pointed out that Turtle McConnell of Kentucky is one of the strongest hypocrites, loading the bill up with his own pork, and then complaining that Democrats are all to blame. STFU Mitch. John, can you sound more disgusted on the radio? Is it possible?

And the ear marks are less than 10% of the total bill - or about 2 months of Bush administration unjustified war in Iraq. Stop the whining, and pass the damn thing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

1/2 of All Foreclosures Are Health Care Related

Why is it important to get those without any Health Insurance on a national plan, akin to Congress's Health Care plan? 1/2 of all Home foreclosures are because families have to chose between their medical bills, or their mortgage. This is not new. Democracy Now has a piece on it here from 2005. If anyone has a link to the US Congress' Health Insurance plan, the one they voted to give themselves, please send me a link. I've looked for 20 minutes and cannot find a breakdown other than this short blurb.

Oh, and the neighbor directly behind my home abandoned their mortgage Sunday (March 1st), taking the blinds, curtains, and emptying the contents of their soon-to-be-foreclosed home. That makes 1 out of 5 properties, adjacent to mine, that has someone living in them. Great!

DIY Solar Pool Heater

all of this anti-feline peppering has got me thinking... I can design and build my own black ABS/PVC piped solar heater, mount it to the wall (with weight upon the ground, using the wall just to steady lateral loads). I heard a guy on NPR yesterday state how in Northern Michigan he has made his own solar pre-heater out of plywood and PVC that takes water from ground temp to over 100F, and then running the actual water heater costs him $5 a month in the summer, and he recouped the cost in a year. I could make such a device on a more grand scale to harness the abundant sunshine in my back yard, extending my swimming season by a month or two at both Spring and Fall!

I need to price 12ft lengths of pipe now... Ah, a new engineering project for this week!

If anyone thinks this is a stupid idea, please let me know. Comments are always welcome. Photos will be posted once the heat exchanger is installed.