Daryl Hannah Gets Arrested For Something That Isn't Embarrassing


I don't know what kind of jail time comes from this sort of protest, but it's probably better than the time that comes with punching a bus driver in the breast or running over someone's family in a sports car or snorting crystal meth out of the business end of a broken flashlight.

Excuse that white space--I edited out an ad and I just didn't feel like "reconfiguring" the image. It will happen again.

Use a Photo of the Guy You're Writing About


I was blogging rather nonchalantly when I noticed that the post about Tim Tebow has a photo of Kyle Orton attached to it.

Right team, wrong player.

Talk about a very basic example of FAIL. And a big fail on my part--I didn't go out and come up with my own photo of Tim Tebow. I didn't because, well, who cares?

Time For Tim Tebow to Switch Numbers


A quick switch of numbers is all Tim Tebow needs to boost his jersey sales. Wait--that would make sense if jersey sales mattered, right?

Fred Barnes Can't Remember Which Version He's Supposed to Go With

Fred Barnes can't come up with anything worth writing about, so he has decided to try to get something negative about President Obama out there by way of making a ridiculous comparison to President Ronald Reagan. This is standard lazy columnist fare. Obama couldn't possibly be as good with the media as Reagan--and here's why!

Reagan "tried harder" after the 1980 campaign by continuing to make gaffes that nearly led to nuclear war. Did Barnes conveniently forget that Reagan was the king of gaffes, making them so often that he had to be carefully shielded from the media for practically the entire duration of his presidency?

President Obama is a failure, you see. And Fred Barnes will stop at nothing to prove it! But, wait. When we say "stop at nothing," do we really mean that he will "write thoughtful columns that prove this" or do we mean that he will "phone it in and transmit ill-conceived bullshit?"

Who's lazy now? And isn't it something when Barnes can call the President lazy while writing a column so devoid of analysis and inspiration that it, in and of itself, almost defines the laziness of the so-called intellectual right?

Making a Martyr Out of a Jackass


I'm sure that Paul Azinger thinks he's funny, but what he needs to do is start his own lame political blog.

What this sort of thing does is it creates phony martyrs for the anti-Obama crowd. Let Azinger tweet what he wants--let the marketplace of ideas render him a genius or a goof. If more people ventured into the political world and tried to comment on what is happening, I'm sure we'd have a more informed discourse.

I'm also sure that we'd know who the real jackasses are as well. Why would that be a bad thing?

Should President Obama be out playing golf? Probably not. Politicians who play golf open themselves up to all sorts of unfair criticisms. I think it shows a tin ear, politically, to publicly play golf when there's a war/hurricane/earthquake/alien invasion/unemployed puppy wrangler out there on the horizon.

Kelly Brook Goes All Out for Sky Ride


Well, why wouldn't you put this on your blog?


I don't even have to have a point--it's Kelly Brook riding a bicycle in London in the summertime. If you can't figure out how to put this on your blog, then there's something wrong with you, brother.


In all seriousness, Sky Ride is a wonderful idea. 
On the day of September 4th, the roads of London will be traffic-free from 9.30am to 4.30pm for the occasion, with cyclists given the opportunity to take in the sights of St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London and London Bridge on the route. 
What could be a nicer way to spend the day?

This is All Paul Krugman's Fault, Right?


Disaster capitalism, do-it-yourself style.

Every time someone points out that natural disasters have economic benefits, an angel in Heaven explodes into a billion pieces and Paul Krugman gets another Nobel, right?

It's not ghoulish to point this out. What's ghoulish is the laughing and the wringing of the hands and the fangs dripping with blood.

Steve Jobs Resigns as the CEO of Apple


Really?

If this is true, then the ultimate geek is out of a job. Is he doing this in order to deal with his health issues or is this a strategic move to position himself and Apple for the next big thing to come? Is it for show or is it tragic?

Amazing.

This is the biggest story of the summer, by far.

Whats All This About Fake Names and Fake Personas?


The only place to put this is on my own "fake persona" blog. Hilarious? Yes. So, pardon me for having a laugh at the expense of others.

Here's what happened: a laid off wingnut with an inflated sense of self worth created a fake account in the name of Paul Krugman and then conjured up a fake opinion based loosely on previous opinions from Krugman. It works as parody for about a minute, but the post went a little too viral and a slew of people reacted as if it were, in fact, something Krugman actually said.

It wasn't.

This left a bunch of bloggers scrambling to fix their sites and fix their posts. Why?

When you parody someone (as I did for several years here on this blog), you have to have a point of view. My point of view was, "I'll be a fake person with outrageous beliefs and I'll write in such a way as to create a situation where I can comment on things with that fictional character's back story and perspective." I was inspired to take this path for a number of reasons, but, mostly, I was inspired to do it because I'm a bit of an asshole on the Internet. I wish I had been more mature a few years ago. I might have more friends right now. What you see right now is an attempt to be more mature and thoughtful on the Internet and do better work. Often times, I fail. But I do take ownership of my failure and I don't blame it on anyone else. I own my failure, and I own my failed attempts at humor, parody, commentary, and analysis.

So, I'm a bit of an expert on this whole "fake persona, fake blog, unfunny satire" thing.

Yeah, it got old. Much of what I was saying was not what I really thought, so I was constantly at odds with my point of view and my anger and my failures as a writer and commentator. Much of what I was saying was forced, unfunny, and counterproductive. The joke went stale. The bloom fell off the rose. The idea withered on the vine. And, even though I had a tremendously successful blog with a lot of traffic, it was the wrong traffic for the wrong reasons. So I tore it all up and started all over again. It was great to have a fictional persona and a fictional backstory (which has actually turned into the gift that keeps on giving because I now have a treasure trove of fantastically funny fictional pieces that I can reshape and publish elsewhere).

Best decision ever.

What you see above, in the article image I've posted, is a clear example of fraud and identity theft. To take the real identity of a person who writes and publishes under their own name for academic purposes as well as for a major news publication is blatantly unethical. A parody of Krugman is fine. But to pass off that parody as the real thing without letting people know it's parody borders on the criminal. I think the New York Times could actually make the case that their credibility and their brand was damaged by this incident, and I think Google is none too happy to see their Google+ service used in this way.

What's funny is that poor Carlos could actually understand his own economic situation better if he would take a long, hard, and honest look at what Krugman actually has to say instead of using his time to blow his chances of having a happy and productive experience on Google+.

You cannot go after an academic person for what they did not say. That's the bottom line. You cannot expect to be handed a "do over" because you owned up to it later and tried to be high minded about it. You can definitely go after the things that Krugman has said, and you can be dishonest and pull his words out of context. Your credibility is your own problem in that regard.

If you want to make fun of Krugman, have ass at it. If you want to parody him, get up on it. Contribute your opinions and thoughts. But to take this route and inadvertently damage the credibility of others is sheer asshattery.

And what's even more of a blatant example of buffoonish asshattery is to see the likes of William Jacobson try to weasel his way out of being humiliated:


Any point made, no matter how intellectually dishonest, is fine by Jacobson so long as he can maintain his own standards of intellectual dishonesty and present a "respectable" persona to his readers. Suppose the same thing was done to him, and actually fooled people into thinking he had taken a legal position so outlandish as to call his competence into question? Would he be so sanguine?

No, of course not. Then it would be wrong, see?

That's enough honesty for one night.

Jelisa Castrodale is a Ridiculous Fool


If you can get past that rather buffoonish and amateurish introduction to her "opinion" piece, you're a better person than yours truly. I opened the article expecting some clear, concise argument and I ended up with a rather uninspiring case of Too Much Information.

Is Tiger Woods the most dominant golfer ever? You could make the case that in the years when he was active, healthy, and winning, sure. But he will never top Jack Nicklaus as a golfer precisely because he will probably never win as many major tournaments as Nicklaus. That is the accepted metric for determining who is the best golfer; that's how this will be decided when Woods is retired (sooner, rather than later?) and that's the standard.

She cites the 1973 article where Sports Illustrated called Nicklaus the best golfer ever after he won his 14th major. This is sheer insanity, and it's nit-picking. Sports Illustrated was dealing in hyperbole--the man's career wasn't even over. Whoever edits this stuff should have sent it back to her for selecting a poor and dim-witted place to begin.

Castrodale is a monstrously incompetent fool. Who hired her and why are they paying her money to write things like this? Has someone discovered that the secret to successfully building a web site is to hire the stupidest people possible and hope that their sheer audacity with the printed word is enough to generate hits?

My God. What a moron. Have I made that clear? Or am I nit-picking?

How Can it Be Cracked?

Given my very limited understanding of engineering, I will grant you that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.

There is a crack in the Washington Monument, and yet, I thought the monument was assembled by stacked pieces of granite and that no mortar was used. If there is a crack, then does that mean that the original granite bricks have cracked or that there is a separation between the pieces (which, as I said, are not connected by mortar)?

I hope they can get it repaired soon.

Jumping to Conclusions


Note that this entire story is based on one source. In the journalism world, no editor would touch it. No one has verified the authenticity of this "news." No one has confirmed it or given credibility to the separation of these two entertainment figures.

In the celebrity journalism world, this is how stories are put out there. Whether this is true or not depends on the flip of a coin really. It could be true, but, then again, it might be a mistake or a piece of misinformation. Why would you publish this if no one could confirm or deny it?

There are ethical reasons why people choose to publish these things. Scoops are more important than accuracy, and if it turns out to be a mistake, more often than not, a quick deletion of the story and a case of amnesia are the methods used.

Oh, and guess what?

Swimming Pool Flyer

Flyer Freibad Calw-Stammheim 2011

This is a nifty little piece of technical writing that helped me solve a problem. Not a big problem, but you get the idea.

Where, on this flyer, do you find the information you need when you don't speak German?

Well, it's not hard, actually. I don't need an English language version of this document because I can translate the bits and pieces that I need. And the way this is laid out and organized makes it easy for me to find the parts that I am looking for.

If I want to go to this place, I can see, visually, what's available. I can find the prices in the euro denomination--it has multiple tiers listed. What I wanted to know was, is this place open on Sundays?

Well, if my limited command of the language tells me that Sonntag means Sunday, then the abbreviation of "So" must mean that the place is open on that day. I would prefer if the flyer spelled out the actual days, but using the shorthand of So-Do in the place of Sunday through Thursday (Donnerstag) means that I can find what I want to find.

If I were going to change anything about the flyer, I would update this aspect:


When was the last time you used your Polaroid camera? Doesn't this seem a little out of date? From a graphical point of view, using Polaroids is fine if you're going for nostalgia, but it does seem a little jarring because this is a flyer that deals with the 2011 season for this facility.

And, just so you know--the facility is excellent. I love this place.

Not Accurate


Something fishy is going on. Will he or won't he? Will they draw it out until the last minute? Will they make it a surprise?

Someone is being manipulated here.

Distressed Royalty


I believe that this is the Ladenburg in question (there are always several German towns with the same name) and it sounds like a great place to visit. I believe that, when you have a busy restaurant like that, it means the food is pretty good. No wonder the royals tried to get something to eat.

Royalty is somewhat more accepted in Germany since there are princes and princesses and royals living all throughout the country. Should they get preferential treatment? Of course not.

The Fightback


"Fightback" is a strange word to see in a headline. You can find definitions for it where it is one word but, usually, it is written out as two words. It's not wrong, but it sure is awkward. What is being launched is a counterattack.

Whoever is writing the headlines for MSNBC is probably Australian.

Time to Marginalize Our Military


And it's time to blame the military for the failure to win in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our elites have crashed the sports car, run up the credit cards, and failed to accomplish anything in the last decade. A staggering amount of failure like this has to be pushed off onto the military, the poor, the middle class, or whoever looks like a serious culprit. Our elites couldn't be bothered to search their own empty souls.

That's what these sorts of articles are designed to do--assess proper context to a failing empire and the foreign policy tool that ate hundreds of billions of dollars and failed to spit out anything resembling victory. The hideously configured military uniform above shows the disregard for the military that appears so frequently in the media. The sheer ugliness of those medals and stripes and how it has been pinned to that uniform in the wrong manner illustrates the disconnect. Really? You couldn't find someone who knows how to put together a uniform in the proper way?

Do you know what is really to blame for America's failures right now? The fallacy of Harvard (or the Ivy League, if you will) as America's finest school or schools. Rampant cheating and incompetence is learned in the Ivy League, not cured by. As we speak, tens of thousands of Harvard-educated persons are engaged in destroying the American economy, wrecking our foreign policy, and driving our government into the ground. Whatever they've been taught, our stunningly incomptent elites are failing at everything they do. It's getting so you can't trust what you read anymore. I fear an anti-intellectualism is taking hold in the United States. I do not want that to happen. I want people to realize that plenty of smart, capable people come from institutions of higher learning all over the country. It's time to end this notion that you have to have an Ivy League pedigree (and thus, come from a "good family") in order to be considered for higher office.

Stupid is as stupid does, and, brother, nothing is more stupid than a Harvard-educated economist telling people that tax cuts create jobs or that they will welcome us with open arms when we incinerate their children and destroy their cities with precision guided bombs. Our elites are in love with drones; their escalating use is not because of some agenda on the part of the military, which understands the need for a human decision when it comes to a war fought with incredible technology. Our elites have ordered the use of drones because they kill whoever looks like an enemy on a video screen quickly and efficiently for less money.

Who has the ethical problem now?

This notion that a Senator or a President is somehow special because of their Harvard degree is something that should have crashed and burned a long time ago. Stocking the elite levels of our government with these shady characters has led us down the road to ruin. They can call themselves Democrats or Republicans, but if they're from Harvard, they bring a stunning level of incompetence to everything they do. How's that economy looking today?

These are the people who crafted the policies and ordered the military to go forth. These are the people who failed at economics, state craft, foreign policy, governing and business. These are the people who are to blame. The military is made up mainly of people from all walks of American life, representing a cross section of our country in ways that our Congress most emphatically does not. You practically have to be a millionaire to serve in Congress; you can count on being one when you finally walk away. The only way for a member of the military to walk away from their job and cash in is when they have three or four stars on their collar and a desire to forget everything they even learned about honor so that they can capitalize on their rank for profit. What's wrong with that picture?

Yes, there are Harvard men and women in the military. There are men and and women from the service academies as well, but the overall high quality of the people coming from American universities into uniform has helped give birth to the idea that eliminating the service academies wouldn't be a bad thing. The strength of our military stems from the fact that there are also men and women from virtually all of America's schools and universities, as well as men and women who never went to college. And, because of this diversity, the military more accurately reflects America back to us in ways that our Congress, which is stocked with elitists and an overwhelming number of Harvard-educated boobs, does not.

How can you blame the military for our decade of failure in the War on Terror? Which country did our military choose to invade? Who made deals with the devil (be he an Iraqi dictator or an Afghan potentate)? Who ordered our troops to build schools in order to appease the Nation Building acolytes? Who put politics above our national security time and time again in order to wrest control of Congress from one of the political parties?

The so-called intellectual elites ordered the military to undertake missions that were impossible to complete. How can you build any nation out of chaos and corruption using the force of arms? No one can explain this the people who are convinced, because of their educational pedigree, that they know better. We have civilian control of the military, but we don't have civilian accountability for misuse of the military.

When will people wake up and realize that maybe we ought to give the Presidency over to someone who graduated from Penn State or the University of Iowa or Oklahoma?

Are People Tired of Being Manipulated Yet?


Does this seem fishy to you?

It seems fishy to me. I refuse to believe that there is anything about this that is genuine because it all feels like something that a savvy promoter would come up with. And I think a promoter would come up with this because people are on to other things and I don't know that there is going to be a huge national outpouring of donations in this terrible economy (although, in bad times, generous people do give of themselves, and usually, those are poor people).

I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the MDA Labor Day Telethon was a big deal in the 1980s, especially when there was nothing on except for what ABC, CBS, and NBC could come up with. They took the respectability of old Hollywood and used it to manipulate people into giving money to these people. I'm not saying that the cause wasn't a good one, but it was one cause among many. Why did this one cause get more attention and more emotional support than any other? Why did this disease get to have its own telethon while the others had to beg for money and get second-class status?

Everything that has happened here strikes me as being planned and preordained to drum up interest in something that now has to compete with 1,000 channels and the Internet. That's what feels so manipulative about it.

Rocroi




Rocroi by Jeroen van der Werf






Rocroi by Jeroen van der Werf






Rocroi by Jeroen van der Werf
I came across these photos of the French fortress town of Rocroi and had to put them up; you'll find more of these (and some really interesting pages) at Fortified Places. Here's a wonderful aerial shot of Rocroi from Wikipedia:



I have been researching how the French people reacted to the return of Napoleon. Provence did not welcome Napoleon, so he took a circuitous route through the foothills of the Alps and returned to Paris a mere twenty days or so after leaving Elba. This began the Hundred Days, and The Chasseurs is very much a story that is embedded in this period of French history. I have more research to do in order to get the next few pieces just right. Work on this project has been glacially slow, but I'm hoping it can pick up here when Fall arrives; I don't do much in the summer months. August is practically a "lost" month for me every year since I tend to view it as a vacation period.

Instead of making it joyous or angry, I have a scene that I'm building where the reaction is muted and confused. I think it should be fairly neutral since the story of The Chasseurs is opening up in a town that is tired of the Napoleonic Wars.

I'm not going to set it in Rocroi, but this is a frontier town that has seen a great deal of history.
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Who's Wrecking the American Economy?



It's interesting that Mr. Gillespie would accuse the President of "wrecking" the economy. On shows such as this, the partisans try to advance themes that they want out there for discussion. If you're a Republican, of course you want to accuse the President of "wrecking" the economy; you don't want to be tarred and feathered with that distinction.

The Republican Party has established "wrecking" the American economy as an agenda item for the next 18 months or so in order to defeat the President at the polls in November 2012. Who will pay the price for a wrecked American economy between now and then? And why won't the media explain that the Republican Party is hell-bent on wrecking America's economy?

This is statesmanship?

As to the argument that President Obama is "in over his head," well, the answer on that is no. He's not in over his head. He's been listening to the wrong people. That's a huge difference.

Governor Rick Perry Owned Stock in Movie Gallery (And Your Point Is?)


I think this would score Perry points with libertarians, but oh well.

Owning a very small amount of stock in a national video chain (circa 1995) doesn't amount to much of a scandal. Movie Gallery, for those who don't remember, was an also-ran in the effort to get you to spend money on renting videotapes. Basically, if Movie Gallery was on your way home or on your way to wherever, you might give them a try if you had too many late fees at Blockbuster. And one of the ways that Movie Gallery competed with Blockbuster was to offer a special section in the back where you could rent movies that Blockbuster was too prudish to carry.

Whenever a Christian dominationist or fundamentalist is found to be a hypocrite, I do tend to yawn. All of these people are hypocrites. If you haven't figured that out already, you're a babe in the woods. What are you going to "keep and eye on?" Do you really think that this is going to make him seize up in mid-sentence and quietly issue a statement withdrawing from the race for the Republican nomination? Do you really think he's going to roll up a newspaper and whack the guy who failed to cover his tracks on this?

Movie Gallery is out of business. I would think that it would be more of a story if Perry was a big shot on their corporate board. But, owning a fragment of their stock? So what? Am I supposed to be outraged or shocked because of what they rented to people when, in point of fact, there's nothing wrong with what they once rented to people in the first place? And that a modern politician had a paltry amount of their stock? Talk about a blog FAIL.

Governor Rick Perry is a walking, talking mess of wrongheadedness and incompetence. He would be easy to run against--just let him talk, fact check what he says, and hope the media covers it. The problem is, no one does substance anymore. But they do pay attention to sex.

And that graphic--how ridiculous is that? I'm not a fan of the guy, but slapping triple X across his face in red is a bit much.

Who Expects Privacy Anymore?


I don't see others following the German argument; if anything, chalk this up to the German fascination with privacy (even though they don't really mean that they're for actual privacy).

Facebook (which I do not use) is where privacy goes to die. You have no expectation of any privacy on Facebook because the way Facebook makes money is very simple. They let you have a free account, they encourage you to make connections with others, and then they harvest everything you do so that they can repackage the results and market that data to others.

Do you really think there's an Internet fairy that wants you to hook up with your buddies for free and share memories and talk about bullshit? No, there isn't. But making Facebook about "social networking" is a great marketing plan.

Christine O'Donnell Can't Sell Her Book This Way




Miss O'Donnell wants to sell books, but the media isn't cooperating. That's what this is about. Her views are irrelevant because the voters rejected her candidacy. She can say and do whatever she wants because this is a free country. Her ideas, however have been rejected in the marketplace of our electoral process. Why the interest in her as an author all of a sudden? That's the curious thing here. She is a national laughingstock who hasn't been right about anything except until now, and she is correct--a man wouldn't be treated the way she has been treated. There are a slew of men who believe what she believes, and they serve in the United States Senate right now. No one questions them about their ridiculous views. They are accepted as being statesmen and serious people. The double standard at work here is breathtaking.

Why Are They Kicking Out Airman Snuffy?


Well, they won't say why this screwball airman is being kicked out. But, I was right about one thing--it's an honorable discharge. Perhaps he's being kicked out for being too intelligent for the rest of the military. Sometimes, the military has no choice but to kick out people who are smarter than everyone else.

This follow-up post comes just when I was trying to figure out which blogs this man was reading and contributing to. He seems to have established himself as a leading intellectual light; it would be a shame if he wasn't able to put out his own blogs and tweets and Facebook updates on how much smarter he is than everyone else.

What should probably bother people is that this man can now expect three solid years of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. I hope he finds a good school.

Scenes From the Breakdown of America's Economy


There are two Americas--the one where white people can find jobs and the one where African-Americans can find jobs. We comfort ourselves by putting the national unemployment rate at the artificially low level of 9 percent or so--for African-Americans nationwide it is much higher than that. Factor in all of the people who have given up and the under-employed, and your national unemployment level is at a critical level.

The solution isn't obvious, but it does involve government stimulus spending to finance job creation projects. Fixing our long-term unemployment issues will take a fundamental reorganization of America's economy. Should we go back to being a country that actually makes stuff? Or has that ship sailed?

I don't know. I do know one thing--President Obama is not going to get reelected if unemployment remains this high. The American people aren't going to vote for the continuation of misery even if they're being lied to by a major party candidate about what can be done to solve our problems. They'll vote for anyone who promises jobs.

No Decent Expectation of Privacy, Ever


So what? Julia Stiles isn't entitled to a moment of human dignity? Stiles can't appear in public anywhere without being treated like a curiosity?

No one has any right to know why she had a moment like this in public, and no one has any right to look at what happened and speculate. Casting aspersions about a personal life is par for the course in the celebrity gossip world. Who cares what it was that bothered her--it's her business and let's leave it at that.

Governor Chris Christie is Firmly on the Side of the Millionaires


It doesn't get any more blatant than this:

This would have taken an extra 1.78% out of the pockets of millionaires and businesses that make over a million dollars in taxable gross income, something that doesn't even seem too unreasonable, given the times in which we live.

I think what is happening here is a microcosm of the problems that we face. Tax rates are almost artificially too low. Many Americans enjoy tax rates that are almost absurdly low and many corporations pay virtually no income taxes. I live in Europe where there are tax rates that would give an American millionaire a heart attack. And we can't discuss a meager increase in taxes to help make up enormous budget shortfalls?

Where's the room for debate? What is, and what is not acceptable?

Here in this one veto message from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, which has exactly three "reads" in his Scribd account as I'm looking at it now, is the American problem, writ large. No matter what, taxes cannot be raised. Not even by small, pithy amounts. Not for any reason.

Where, then, do you find the middle ground to compromise on anything? You can't.

This is, of course, a veto message. The legislative process is very complex, so I'm sure that this is not the only reason why the bill was vetoed. I get that. But what struck me was how small the increase on tax rates for people making over a million dollars per year was. It was almost nothing. Well, it would mean a lot to a person making nothing per year, of course, but I think we are well past being able to argue that cutting taxes creates jobs. It doesn't.

Fine. If taxes can't be raised, then we have to cut spending. Let's start with all the things that have to be cut, and let's let the Republicans explain why old people have to starve or go without medicine and let's watch them pitch wounded Veterans out onto the street by the busload. Let's cut Medicare and Social Security and plunge the country into Dickensian poverty.

Run on that come election day.

So Long, Airman Snuffy


If poor Airman Snuffy here had been reading the right blogs, he would still have a career in the Air Force. But, there it is.

Jobs are scarce right now. The Army would probably take him without much fuss. He'd have to drop the birther nonsense, however. And, yes, I would imagine that he'll get an honorable discharge for his troubles. The military isn't that bad.

South Carolina is America's Capital of Stupidity


The language in this article is deliberately couched in terms that are meant to give little in the way of offense. But there's an easier way to explain what's going on here.

There is some imagined concept of "honor" in the United States. Well, there is this thing we like to call "you can't dis me" and that leads to violence and retribution. It leads to having grown men do incredibly stupid things in order to retaliate against some imagined or perceived slight. There are deliberate slights as well, and those are dealt with in much the same way as the manufactured slights--with violence and childish behavior.

What's missing is an appreciation for the rule of law. In a civil society, you don't settle disputes with guns or knives or fists--you settle it like a gentleman. And if you can't settle it with words, let the cops get off their Johnny Law asses and do something about it. The alternative is to try to settle things and then end up getting carted off by John Q. Law anyway. It's always better to involve them BEFORE you tear someone's shirt or bloody someone's nose.

By all means, defend yourself when someone gets out of hand. I have no problem with that. But what this article won't tell you is that South Carolina is, and pretty much always has been, the home of the violent, lawless and anti-American yokel who can't function in polite society. This is because South Carolina has never been dealt with properly in American history.

The Civil War should have concluded with the utter elimination of South Carolina as a state. The property-holding population should have been dispersed to other areas of the country, most notably, Oklahoma and the Dakota Territory. The more recalcitrant members of this population should have been given a choice between South America and Nova Scotia. The state itself should have been eliminated as a political entity. It should have been divided into three parts--one third given to North Carolina, a third given to Georgia, and the other third should have been given to Tennessee, and it should have been done so in a way that divided Columbia from Charleston, permanently, so that those two cities could not be united as a political entity.

Nothing proves my point more than demonstrating that South Carolina is home to a male AND a female population that cannot function in a law and order society.


Here's the kicker:
“He is nuts,” says Jay Bender, a lawyer and professor at the University of South Carolina, referring to Fuda and his interpretation of the law. Bender says although tasteless and stupid, they are not illegal, and adds, “Chief Fuda is abusing his arrest powers.” He says the statute is very clear about what material is obscene and “it doesn’t have anything to do with artificial bull testicles.” 
Yes, you do have the right to hang plastic nuts from the back of your truck as a way of demonstrating a lack of taste, class and intelligence. But don't expect the rest of us not to laugh.
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Prager Fails Again


Poor Dennis Prager. The world has passed him by. And all he has left is this pedestrian and simplistic nonsense. Yes, it would be nice to observe the rule "Thou Shalt Not Kill." I can't wait to hear Prager's condemnation of Israel (and I'm not holding my breath for any consistency).

Prager has a problem with his trip down wishful-thinking lane:

Who, exactly, constitutes a "false God?" Are the Native Americans wrong if they worship The Great Spirit or are they in the ballpark with their monotheistic thinking? What about Vishnu? I have no problem with people who worship Vishnu. What about Allah? Because Allah is pretty much the same as Jehovah, and, man, does that open up a can of worms. What about the worship of the pagans and the druids and the Celts? Weren't they in the ballpark and wasn't quite a bit of Christianity hung on the framework of pagan beliefs anyway, right down to building Cathedrals and churches where the pagans worshipped?

When you sit there and try to say "all of these people are wrong, I'm right" I just can't help myself for laughing at such a blatant attempt at domination and indoctrination. Prager is flirting with eliminationist rhetoric because those are the people who pay his bills and read his crap.

I'll do you one better. We don't need the Ten Commandments. We need to follow the Golden Rule.

Eliminate the Kickoff?

The idea of eliminating the kickoff from National Football Games has some legitimacy, I would say. Football has eliminated certain plays already--most notoriously, the play where a defensive player can actually hit the quarterback.

From a monetary standpoint, you could free up several roster spots on your team and retain only a punter and a field goal kicker (some teams have to have three specialists: a punter, a kicker, and a field goal kicker). Is that what they are angling towards?

Purists be damned. Money is the most important thing in football, period. Not having to pay a weirdo a few hundred grand per year to stand on the sidelines and look scrawny would help improve the game.

Electric Can Opener

Electric Can Opener Mechanism Description
I'm not embarrassed to say that this is my most popular document on Scribd.

Staatsgalerie Anfahrt (State Gallery Directions)

Staatsgalerie Anfahrt (State Gallery Directions)
A technical writing project from a few months ago--a wonderful brochure that is very nicely done.

Why Is This a News Story?


This is a very sad example of the breakdown of common sense. You cannot allow a man to spend six entire days atop a 300 foot tower. On day one, you bring him down. I realize that there are equipment concerns and safety concerns, but you cannot allow some idiot to perch himself that high off the ground on private property. The copycats alone are going to be enough to deal with, but to encourage him by feeding him and doing a live stream of his actions? Ridiculous.

They should encase him in some kind of netting, put bags on the ground in case he falls, and stun him into submission. And then jail him and charge him for the expense.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but here's a 180 lb man sitting on aluminum antenna pipes. He might as well fall off the thing--those pieces are not designed to support that kind of weight.

Backbiting and Nonsense


"Her mother never parked in her assigned space."

That's entertainment industry-speak for "children, children...behave."

Everyone is gunning for Julie Chen because of who her husband is. Someone who has been told to protect Chen has let it leak out that Leah Remini is the problem. Well, who cares? This is all designed to influence the weak-minded people who believe this sort of nonsense. There are probably divided camps out there, and they are eyeing each other like animals. What really went on is probably too boring for words.

It sounds like a television program went out there with a failed format and with people who didn't generate any interest. Translation--they paid too much for the talent and now they have to flush them out in order to achieve profitability. This is why the underlings and lackeys are now trying to angle for influence and control and appease Chen. The wife of a network president should not be allowed to have a show. There are too many opportunities for favoritism and for lawsuits.

It's very simple--if someone is doing something they are not supposed to do, you tow their car, set it on fire, and laugh hysterically in their face if they cannot park it where they are supposed to park it. There is more to this story than they are letting on.

Congressional Job Approval Only Matters When Democrats Control Congress


The governing class simply cannot govern. If you have been paying attention, this conclusion is not hard to escape. The failure of the governing elites has been staggering in recent years. Neither party is staffed with a stellar roster of smart legislators and capable statesmen. It is, instead, peopled with a disconnected mob that cannot stand up in front of the American people and govern them in the way we are accustomed. Our economy is in serious trouble but these people would rather go down with the ship, tax increases be damned.

What was a real boost for conservatives in September of 2010 is now quietly ignored. This Speaker of the House is just as bad as the last Speaker of the House. Do you really think there will be any accountability for their poor performances? Of course not. They are the elites; accountability is for the little people, as are the laws.

It is worth noting that when Congressional job approval is low (and it has been historically low for both parties, except for that brief period in 2001-2002 when we were somewhat united as a country), the Congress itself doesn't change all that much. Do you have any idea how exhilarating it would be to see 250 or more Representatives thrown out of office? It would be Armageddon. And it would be a welcome change. These people are moral and ethical failures, and they haven't been doing the business of the people in ages.

Here's a good idea--if you have a degree from Harvard or Yale, you are invited to leave the country. You are automatically disqualified from being President or a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives. Silly? Of course. But it would help eliminate much of the governing class from electoral contention when it comes to perpetuating America's downfall.

Jim Thome Joins the 600 Club


Congratulations, Jim Thome. Persistence pays off. And shame on baseball for treating this like some ordinary accomplishment.

Ten Years Ago



I remember the exercise in question here. It was called UFL in those days, and it meant two weeks in a tent somewhere in the middle of the peninsula. Ever used a South Korean bathroom on a South Korean military installation? Not pleasant.

While we were "recovering" from this exercise, 9/11 happened. I have no idea what those troops in Korea are thinking about now, but watching that HUMVEE work its way through the checkpoint brought back memories of broken-down vehicles and vehicles that were stuck in low gear and NCOs who couldn't be bothered to put fuel in their vehicles.

The Looting Will Continue Until Morale Improves


It took a riot to get people to wear Pretty Green? Is that the joke?

English justice moves swiftly. In five days, the man has been tried, convicted, and sentenced. In the U.S., I don't think the case would go anywhere in six months, but I could be wrong on that.

It's very sad. One can make jokes about Liam Gallagher and all, but the loss of so much merchandise probably equals the loss of jobs and benefits for people in the retail world, and then multiply that by ALL of the shops affected. How terrible. And the economic situation doesn't improve for anyone when there is rioting. It's a self-defeating situation. There are fewer and fewer jobs, and stolen merchandise is cold comfort when all is said and done. Oh, and it makes it easier for the police to convict you, I should add.

Why All of the Krugman Bashing?



I'd say that that's not correct at all.

England's industrial might was not "destroyed" during the war, but England's economy suffered greatly in the postwar era.

The Soviets moved much of their manufacturing base to the Ural Mountains, well beyond the furthest reach of the Germans, and were making thousands of tanks and self-propelled guns as the war came to a close (while using our much-superior trucks, of course).

What America did was unprecedented--we transformed ourselves from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy and found a way to make things people wanted to buy. The English and the Soviets? Nope. Japan and Germany caught up to us, but the essential argument is, we figured out how to make things people wanted to buy. That's why our economy took off. Oh, and we figured out how to make things people wanted to buy precisely when they had money to spend and a reason to spend it.

Plus, there was a little something called the GI Bill that never gets the credit that it deserved when it comes to telling the story of how America transformed itself after World War II. It educated a generation of men who in turn brought that education and life experience to the things they made in that postwar era. Spending money on that one government program was a tremendous return on investment for this country. Every time I hear about how government spending is wasteful, I think of the GI Bill and smile. How Ayn Rand must have fretted about sending all of those former GIs to college in the 1950s--the horror!

Destruction most certainly does create wealth. Destruction eliminates wasteful factories, forces smarter post-war planning, and allows for new manufacturing facilities to be created anew. Germany and Japan were utterly destroyed--the old orders were swept away, leaving new institutions to rise in their place. Their wealth now exceeds that of Russia, which is today the real historical victim of World War Ii precisely because the Soviet system survived the war. How'd you like to be a pension-starved Russian veteran of the Second World War, knowing full well that the Germans who knuckled under and gave up now live in wealth and security?

Krugman's Nobel is well deserved. Give him four more for all I care.

A Set of Instructions for Scanning Images and Photographs

Set of Instructions
A rather bland presentation.

I wish I had done more with color and with a few images, perhaps.

Of Course Michelle Bachmann is a Weird Diva


Fresh off of her win at the Ames, Iowa straw poll, Michelle Bachmann went to another part of Iowa and acted like "Madonna."

That's right, she acted like "Madonna," according to the media reports. She requested that the lights be turned up and made brighter so that her presented image would play better on television, I would imagine. How that equates to acting like "Madonna," I have no idea (did she have her backup dancers gyrate around rigidly-positioned phallic symbols?).

Suddenly, it's okay to use sexist language to describe a woman running for the Presidency, especially when that woman is a social conservative. I thought that we were going to deal with this ridiculous woman based on the issues. She is demonstrably wrong on every single issue on which she speaks. There's absolutely no need to tear her down based on her looks or whether her eyes roll back into her head when she fellates a corn dog. Just let her speak, then analyze what she is saying, and tell the truth about her positions and ideas. That's all you need to do. Michelle Bachmann discredits herself with her ideas and with her voting record.

If "Madonna" isn't a code word for "weird, washed-up, perverted, and liberal," I don't know what is. The media are off and running, and this woman will be eaten alive. Say hello to President Perry.

Now's Not a Good Time to Talk About Infrastructure


This is one of those times when reality hits home.

Reality dictates that, in order to upgrade and improve the nation's water infrastructure, someone is going to have to pay more in taxes or fees in order to make it happen. If people are going to talk about how government has to act like a family around the kitchen table (which it isn't, but oh well), then now is the moment when those same people sitting around the kitchen table have to find the money to have a new well dug or figure out how to afford running a pipe to the city's water supply. Are we ready for this kind of mature, serious discussion?

Of course not.

We just had a serious adult conversation in this country about cutting the deficit. And I don't remember anyone pointing out how foolish we were being by not spending money to improve our national infrastructure.

The people who still talk about how government should cut spending and cut taxes and let the private sector handle things have won the day. This is the accepted view of our national discourse--you're dead on arrival if you talk about raising taxes. But you're a serious thinker if you can quote Ayn Rand and deliver a magic pony who has a bundle of cheap water pipes tied to its back.

I feel bad for the communities involved. I hope that, at every level, they have adults in charge who can figure out how to raise the funds necessary to make improvements. I have a sneaky suspicion that they will have to deal with cranks and kooks who will make their decision making process harder than it already is, solely because the failed idea that tax cuts equals money! growth! success! has taken root in the American consciousness.

Still waiting for it all to work out in the end? Not me.

The Sam's Club Republican Gives Up and Goes Home


The gang that couldn't shoot straight loses a member. And with the departure of Minnesota's ex-governor Tim Pawlenty comes the realization that there isn't anyone running for President who can claim to speak for working people. And that goes for both parties--nobody cares about working Americans.

You could argue that Pawlenty didn't care about them, either, and I wouldn't disagree. But here's the reality of his departure--Pawlenty was the closest thing to a real advocate for working people in the Republican Party. All of the rest of the candidates are slaves to the wealth that propels them along (or the delusions that accompany those dollars).

Pawlenty had that erstwhile connection to people who shop at Sam's Club. It was a significant part of his appeal for the 150 days of his campaign for the Republican nomination. Now? Forget about hearing anyone champion those people. They didn't turn out to support him in the phony run-up to Iowa and New Hampshire which is months and months away.

When you have nothing going for you, all you have is the nudity and the degradation. Apparently, that's what they told Brooke Hogan, and now she's posed for this photo in order to...enhance her singing career? Draw attention to her physique? Make herself more marketable?


How the Media Will Destroy the Bachmann Candidacy


Not only is this awful, and sexist, but you have to consider two things when you see Michelle Bachmann being portrayed like this in the media: one, she's a woman, and all considerations for her gender are discarded in favor of a good laugh because the media doesn't really respect women, and, two, she's incredibly naive about how to deal with the national media and is entirely out of her depth when attempting to do so. She is not an establishment candidate, so complaining about her portrayal here is useless.

Really? You didn't think they would run the photo of you deep-throating a batter-covered hot dog? Who is advising Bachmann? When will they be fired? One of the most important things to remember about politics is that if you're going to put your candidate out there with the public doing stupid stuff, make sure there aren't any photos.

Next thing you know, she'll be going after the deep-fried Twinkies in entirely the wrong way.

The media will destroy Michelle Bachmann by making her seem weird and confused. This has nothing to do with her gender, although that makes it more joyful for the media.

Some People Don't Know When to Give Up


Clearly, his game is not there. Why keep this charade up?

It has gotten to the point where I don't want to blog about Tiger Woods anymore. What's the point?