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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pros and Cons of Texas Seccession For Dummies Conservatives



Pro:

Texans would no longer have a liberal black dude from the South Side of Chicago as their president.

Con:


The Cowboys would no longer be known as "America's team."

Pro:

New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC would now be in a foreign country.

Con:

But so would the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Pro:

Not having to abide under any term limits under the new Constitution of the Independent Republic of Texas, George W. Bush might run for president.

Con:

Not having to abide under any term limits under the new Constitution of the Independent Republic of Texas, George W. Bush might run for president.

The Great White Hope

"We are the party of the revolutionaries, they [Democrats] are the party of the monarchists."
Mitt Romney actually said that.

If this report in the liberal media is to be believed.

Considering the last eight years, and the events of the past few months, I'm pretty sure he has that exactly backwards. But who knows? I didn't see it on Fox News so it could be more George Soros-backed liberal propaganda.

Yep, I'm a Hypocrite

I spent some time reading through the comment section of Pajamas Media's site, a clearing house of right-wing memes, and I kept hearing variations on a theme:
Liberals whine about the torture of terrorists, but they celebrate the murder of millions of unborn children. Hypocrites!
I have no idea where this idea started (maybe here), but it's pretty dumb.

So in order to accept these apples (abortion), liberals must also accept these oranges (torture)? How does that work exactly?

Being pro-choice (but not exactly pro-abortion) this confuses me because my opposition to torture actually comes from what used to be known as a pretty conservative place.

I'm as uncomfortable with a government that reserves the right to torture people as I am about one that reserves the right to control your uterus.

Dreams

Last night, I watched a couple episodes of Nitro Circus, a latter-day Jackass for the Motocross set, and I need to stop doing that.

The only female cast member, Jolene Van Vugt, reminds me of a girl I used to know and during the night I had a dream about her. The girl I used to know, not Jolene Van Vugt.

The dream wasn't unpleasant, but waking up from it was.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Talk About the Weather

Another weekend is coming up, which means more rain and maybe even more snow. I'm not the only one who's noticed either.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Imperium - Manky Nuts Remix

This song came up on the MP3 player today and I noticed, not for the first time and not for the last I'm sure, how awesome it is. Definitely one of the best metal songs of the decade.

The drumming? Oh the drumming. I love the drumming. Dave McClain rides the double bass drum like Lance Armstrong rides a bicycle.

Although, I don't think this vid gets all the words right...

107-86 - Nuggets Advance to Round 2

I'm going to have to take the bus to a bar or something so I can watch these games on TV. You just don't get the same experience on the radio.
I'm glad we're playing the Mavericks next instead of the Spurs. The Spurs are always trouble for the Nuggets.

The Mavericks? They're good, but they're beatable.

Epic Stupidity

Today on the bus (yes, I took the bus to work today) I heard a teenage girl admit to being epically stupid. Okay, she didn't come out and say, "You know, I'm an idiot of epic proportions," but she did say the following:
"I tried this online school, but they kicked me out. They sent me a computer, a printer, everything, but they didn't tell me I needed to get the internet set-up. And finally, when I got the internet set-up..."
I'll stop there, because that's just sad.

She didn't know she needed the internet to attend an online school??? WTF?

Such a weird ride, listening to other people's conversations. This one lady talked about working at McDonald's, and she was all excited because she heard that McDonald's coffee was more popular than Starbucks coffee, as if McDonald's was going to be the coffeehouse of the future. Sorry, lady, jobs are scarce, it's true, but working at McDonald's remains, as it has been for decades, a dead-end job.

There's no future for you at McDonald's.

She was talking to a guy who works for the Black Eyed Pea, another restaurant, one that has seen hard times apparently. He talked about how they closed six "stores" and let a bunch of people off and how he was retained, although they don't really like him because he has to take the bus and he's always late. (Which he can't blame on the bus. Anyone riding the bus should know there are two options. Be super-early...or a little bit late. When you're trying to keep a job: super-early is the way to go.)

But he was trying to get a car, a KIA. But he didn't make enough money to buy the car, so the dealership made this deal with him. If he had a car, his boss might give him more hours, and if his boss gave him more hours, he'd have enough money to buy the car. So he was on the phone off and on with the dealership and his boss trying to get his boss to send a fax or an e-mail saying that yes, we'll give him more hours if you give him this car.

Now think about that for a second. His job: waiter. His employer: a company in contraction: layoffs, closings, all that. His desire: A car he can't afford. And yet to get the car, he's going to rely on the company giving him more hours.

I wanted to turn to this kid and say, don't do it.

"Listen, kid, if you need a car, don't buy one from a dealer. You getting it new? No? Okay, then use Craigslist. Look, there's a station wagon for $950 just sitting there on the corner. It's not much to look at, but it's a car. When you can afford to walk into a dealership and walk out with a car, none of this 'have your boss fax me a promise to give you more hours' crap, then do that. Until then, stay away from a dealer. That free coffee, the big showroom, the nice clothes, and family-friendly atmosphere. You're going to be paying for all that. When you buy a car from some dude on Craigslist, you're just buying a car. You don't got the money? Go to a bank. If one bank is going to give you enough money to buy a car from a dealer, another bank will give you enough to buy that station wagon on the corner, probably at a better rate."

But it was none of my business, and I didn't want to confuse the guy. He's probably the type that would say "I didn't know you needed the internet to use Craigslist."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

121-63

You knew it was coming. Game 4 was a blowout.

The Nuggets won by 58 points. 58 points!
This is the kind of game that's going to stick with them for the rest of the night, but it's going to have a different flavor for each team.

No Cars in Party Town

What a hellish day. The last three hours were a scramble and I couldn't wait to get out of there.

But then a guy who lives in my neighborhood tells me that my normal route home is crawling with cops. So, for obviously reasons, I went a different way.

He must have been right because I didn't see a single cop anywhere.

I've been thinking about law enforcement lately, not just as it pertains to my case, but in general. The drug war, excessive force, stupid unenforceable laws, increasingly intrusive and draconian laws.

The trend, I think, hasn't been good, not just from a crime rate perspective, but from a more general effectiveness perspective.

Take this story, for instance, with the shocking headline:
1 in 3 DUI arrests repeat offenders
A Denver Post analysis has found that about 10,000 drunken drivers arrested in Colorado each year are repeat offenders.

Police arrest roughly 31,000 drunken drivers a year, so about one in three has at least one previous DUI.
This is concerning for a number of reasons.

Obviously drunk drivers are a danger on the road, and 31,000 drunk drivers is a lot. It's also concerning because those are just the ones who got caught.

The ones who got caught twice? Here they already suffered the penalty --getting arrested, having their car towed, paying the fines, losing their license, all that-- and it was still no deterrent.

So the impulse is to get tougher, pass more laws, enact more penalties. As the article says:
The numbers come a generation after a national crackdown on drunken driving. Colorado legislators made it tougher to plea-bargain drunken-driving cases and increased sentences for both driving while under the influence of alcohol, or DUI, and driving while ability impaired by alcohol, DWAI.

A 2004 law lowered the threshold for DUI, to 0.08 minimum blood alcohol content from 0.10.
They also have those "Heat is On" campaigns where they round up and shake down everybody. (It's real fun, let me tell ya.)

But is drunk driving any less of a problem?

If you're drunk, and you've got to get home...are you even going to think about that stuff? Maybe, but maybe you've made it home before one night when the Heat wasn't On. So you get behind the wheel...

And bam, you're a statistic. (Arrest or death. Flip a coin.)

I have this philosophy in life that says you have to be smarter than the dog. A dog is going to be a dog, right? You put a plate of steak on the floor in front of him, he will eat it.

You could punish the dog and maybe next time it will leave the steak alone. But if your aim is to prevent the dog from eating your steak, then you must out-think the dog.

You must invent something called the table. Put your steak up there and the dog can't get to it. Problem solved.

Not everything can be solved this way of course, and I've seen some pretty well-trained dogs that probably wouldn't go for the steak under any circumstance. But as a general principle, it seems to work pretty well.

Which is why I don't think punishment works too well in the case of drunken driving. It's after the fact, and in the tragic cases, after people are dead. I'm not saying strip all the punishments away, but maybe there's other ways to engineer around the problem.

If I was king and dictator of this fine land, I'd create entertainment districts in the suburbs, concentrate all the drinking in one place, with cabs and buses and trains running at all hours to ferry the merry revelers home. These hubs would be connected to the other hubs - like Disneyland! - and you could travel between them, from burb to burb, drunk but safe. There would be streets, but no parking lots, no parking period.

By decree of the king and dictator -that would be me- you do not bring your car down to party town.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scenes From the Garden

Here's a few pics I took of the garden yesterday. There's not much to report yet. The perennials I established last year are coming back, which is nice. The columbines, pansies, and shasta daisies are all ready to get going. Of course, bulbs like tulips and alium are kicking ass too.

But it's still early for most of my crops, so I've just got spinach, peas, and lettuce planted so far. Here's a double row of peas that I need to thin out. Soon I'll have to construct some kind of support system to hold them up, but for now, they're doing alright as is.

Here's my field of alium, some of the blooms already spent.

These bloom in early spring and then again in late summer. The beautiful thing is that I only planted a handful here and they seem to have naturalized quite well.

Here's an unused bed that wintered under a blanket of hay. I should have used straw, because as you can see some of the grass seed has sprouted. Me no like that.
I planted tomatoes here last year and I'm reluctant to do that again. You know, rotating your crops and all that. So perhaps beans? Peppers? I haven't decided yet. For now, it will lie fallow under all that hay.

And hopefully I won't need a sod cutter when I go to plant.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleighbells ring...are ya listening?

The view from my front door this morning:

It started off as rain last night but it turned to snow this morning. Another couple of weeks and the rain will just stay rain. And I'll be a very happy man.

93-95 - Nuggets Lose

Yes, the Nuggets lost Game 3. It was a close one, too. They trailed for most of the game, but could have won it in the final seconds. They didn't.

The highlights:

On a related subject, I really dig these "Where Amazing Happens" commercials they've been showing to promote the playoffs. The concept is simple: A single amazing play in super-slow motion.

You see every detail, the athleticism, the emotion, the tension of going for the basket and the release of a score. I see these plays and I think what the NBA wants me to think: I love this game.

Game 4 is tonight. And the Nuggets are going to win this one, I can feel it.

Brotherhood of the Culturally Insecure

I always thought Le pacte des loups (in English: Brotherhood of the Wolf) was an entertaining amalgam of monster movie, kung fu film, and period piece. In other words, a mash-up of cinematic ideas that are neither original nor fresh on their own, but interesting when combined into a high concept slickly-made film. Kung fu action in 18th Century France...with monsters? Sign me up!

But to listen to the director, Christophe Gans, speak about the film in the special features, you'd think you're watching a completely unique, and uniquely French, film completely divorced from all Chinese and American influences, a landmark film in French culture, a technical achievement unparalleled in cinema anywhere in the world.

Hollywood, Hong Kong? Blow me.

And yet the fight sequences were choreographed by a Chinese professional from Hong Kong. The monster was designed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, with an English-speaking crew made up of Americans, Brits, and presumably Canadians. One of the lead actors (Iron Chef America's Mark Dacascos) is American, and actually plays a Native American in the movie. (A Native American who knows Kung Fu!)

And yet Gans wants to prance around with his smug chauvinism pretending that he's the French Spielberg. If indeed Gans had made his French film free of all international influences with a completely French crew, then perhaps his strutting would be justified. But as it is, his clucking comes off as little more than cultural insecurity.

Perhaps it's nostalgia for the days when "French cinema" was on the cutting edge, the vanguard, so to speak. Remember when every film student wanted to make another 400 Blows? I don't... It was a very long time ago. I'm from the generation that discovered Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

(Besides...if anyone has a claim to represent post-Truffaut French cinema it's Jean-Pierre Jeunet, not Christophe Gans.)

But don't let the directors pretentious tendencies steer you away from his film. Brotherhood of the Wolf is worth a view, but I recommend you skip the special features. Unless, that is, you want to see a director reference Orson Welles in the composing of a shot and then listen to him later in an interview whine about how American movies are crap.

There's a real easy way to avoid this kind of contradiction: Just try to enjoy movies on their own terms. Even if they're made in America, Hong Kong, or France.