Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Krauthammer - Swing and a Miss

Charles makes the painful error of believing that the world of normal human beings revolves around the chicanery occurring inside the Beltway:
if health care [reform] collapses, or if it becomes utterly unworkable, the Democrats will have a way of saying, well, it was all these injuries inflicted by the Republicans that made it not work.

I think the smarter approach it to simply expose to the American people what’s in the bill, all the arbitrariness, all the incredibly increased expenses, all the contradictions in it, also the inherent corruption in it, the favoritism, the waivers
Really?

Dude, nobody in the real world cares about contradictions or corruption. People have lives. People have bills to pay. All they care about is "did my premiums go up or down?".

So yeah, Republicans DO need to do something de-fundifying to mess up Obamacare. They need to mess up the parts that make things more expensive - like the pre-existing conditions coverage - and take credit for it every time they open up their yaps in front of a microphone.

And open up across markets across state lines. You know... like the the GOP's been promising for years and not doing?

Coulda done this anytime between 2002 & 2006. Thanks for waiting until it was too late, guys.

The Paris Hilton of Global Warming Skeptics

That would be British meteorologist Piers Corbyn:
Predicting in November that winter in Europe would be "exceptionally cold and snowy, like Hell frozen over at times," Corbyn suggested we should sooner prepare for another Ice Age than worry about global warming. Corbyn believed global warming "is complete nonsense, it's fiction, it comes from a cult ideology. There's no science in there, no facts to back [it] up."
I don't buy AGWT either, but this guy's just spewing hyperbole to get attention. A dimestore weather-psychic with a good agent.

And let's think about his prediction objectively for a minute. There's 120 days in the "winter season" months, December through March. Each of those days has a "record" high and low temperature (240 numbers), and weather records go back about 130 years.

In any given year, it would be shocking NOT to have one single "record-breaking" temperature.

If you want a REAL crazy prediction, try this one:

"The average weather this winter will be perfectly average, right down to the degree and inch of snow.

If I make it enough times, I'll eventually be right, and I'll be a weather genius who can get some face time on Fox News.

Scruffy Hipsters With Bad Jobs - Like The Force, They Will Be With Us, Always



While thoroughly delighting in the magnificent visual effects in this video, somewhere in the back of my mind was a nagging voice, saying to the characters, "Dudes!... You're living in the FUTURE! How can you be so singularly unimpressed with your surroundings?".

Then I looked around my room, noticed how many objects there technically qualify under Arthur C. Clarke's definition of "magic", and punched my naggy voice square in the nose out of reflexive guilt.

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Walmart Story

Gerard of American Digest has the tale of how he visited New England last winter, and was shocked to discover that at Wal-Mart, you can buy a good winter coat for $7. Something you can't do in Seattle, because the local hippies have banned Wal-Marts.

On my end, Wal-Mart saved me a few years back, when I had to drive 5 hours to attend a funeral, and realized around hour 4 that I did NOT remember to pack dress shoes to go with my suit o' mourning.

So I pulled off a more-or-less random exit, on the assumption that most small-ish towns in northern Wisconsin have a Wal-Mart on the outskirts of town, somewhere on the main drag.

I was right. Wal-Mart was there, and I had a pair of suitable shoes for $25 within 15 minutes of hitting the exit ramp.

God bless capitalism.

God bless Wal-Mart.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Like A Mule With A Spinning Wheel

Headline from the UK Daily Mail:
6,000 passengers in SEVEN-HOUR queue stretching 1.2 miles as snow and ice cripples Eurostar

See, this is what I think about whenever Obama starts whining about how badly America needs to spend umpteen bazillion dollars on high-speed trains.

Stuff your monorail, Lyle Lanley.

I Pity The People In Illinois...

...who are represented by this ignoramus


[YouTube direct link]

Yes, she's seriously arguing that the government should raise the estate tax because Paris Hilton is a stupid spoiled brat.

Well, At Least They're Not Sparkly Vampires

Saw this picture:



In this post, where - at the bottom - I was informed that it's from the movie "Never Let Me Go".

Huh.

Without looking, I would've guessed the movie was "Dude, Where's My Comb?".

Seriously, when did having a bad hair day become a lifestyle choice?

That's Pretty Much The Attitude

Via Hope n' Change:



I believe this attitude is best described by the phrase, "a handful of gimme and a mouthful of much obliged".

Tangentially, I'm wondering about the orgin of that phrase, and Google is being pointedly unhelpful in that matter.

The first part makes sense. Moochers (of government-brand dole, and otherwise) are obviously big on the "gimme". I'm kinda puzzled by the second part, though. Saying "much obliged" is a minimal verbal courtesy when you're given something. Moochie types aren't usually big on gratitude (see the above comic), so why isn't the expression something like "a handful of gimme and a mouthful of gimme more"?

Or is the point of the expression that moochers want stuff but only want to give words in return for it?

The Curse Of Cursive

So, does anyone young enough to get carded at the liquor store know how to read and write cursive anymore?

I ask, because this FML post makes me think the answer is "no":
Today, I was told by my history teacher our finals had to be written in cursive. I should have paid attention in 3rd grade. FML
I can't fathom the poster's attitude.

Growing up, cursive was what grown-ups used to write. I assumed it was the graphical equivalent of car-keys - learning how to handle it is a rite of passage into adulthood.

Apparently it's not taught in school any more. Or if it is, it's not a requirement after its introduction.

And I can understand that to a point. Very rarely as an adult do you need to write more than a brief note, and printing is adequate to that task. Plus 90% of the time, you can keyboard & print out, so cursive really is of limited practical use.

Still, to not be ABLE to do cursive? To never progress beyond the communications method of a bumbling 5-year old?

Never-Never-Land is for Peter Pan. I'd rather live like a grown-up.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Check Out My New iPhone App!

I call it the "iGravity"



It lets you turn your iPhone into an inertial stabilizing tool for printed documents.

Winter Driving Safety Tip

At Blackfive, Laughing Wolf has this to say about winter driving:
If you don't do that, and have little or no experience driving in snow, keep it simple. Slow down, slow down further before turns and curves, and remember that you do have gears 3, 2, & 1 that will help you when traction is bad. Don't panic, just think slow and graceful, and make your way carefully home watching out for the idiots who don't do that.
Absolutely.

But I'd like to add one more thing:

Safe following distance.

The rule of thumb for clean, dry pavement is that you should follow 2 seconds behind the car in front of you, to give yourself time to both react and stop if Mr. In-Front slams on his brakes.

If the roads are bad, make it 4. Or 8. Or 10.

Seriously, if Mr. In-Front hits a patch of ice and spins out in front of you, you don't want to have to stop on a dime, because just about the time you hit your brakes, you'll be crossing over the same stretch of road that did him in.

Best case scenario, leave so much room in front of you that you could roll to a stop just by taking your foot off the gas, and still not play bumper-tag.

The bad news is, some idiot in a 4x4 is going to see the huge gap ahead of you, and change lanes to fill that gap. And he'll probably do so 10 feet in front of you.

Just back off again.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Your Smart Phone is Trying To Kill You

I apologize for linking a pdf file, but this document explains why MY cell phone is "just a phone" (with no camera or web browser), and why I avoid social networking sites.

Obama, You're Freaking Me Out Again

I've mentioned before that Obama seems to have a slight case of misusing idioms, like English isn't his first language, America isn't his first culture, and Christianity isn't his first religion.

He's at it again with this description of the meaning of Christmas:
A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.
"far from home"? Huh?

I infer two things from this bizarrely-constructed sentence:

1) Obama's talking about himself, and

2) He just admitted he was born in Kenya.

Yay! Bubbles and Cigarettes!

Honestly, I thought this was going to be stupid, but I ended up on the edge of my seat until the very end.

I mean, I've fiddled with soap bubbles before, and usually end up getting bored & frustrated. This guy figured out how to make them entertaining.


[YouTube direct link]

Warped Perspective

I keep hearing these liberals talk about how much tax cuts "cost" the government.

Huh?

If I get a tax cut, the government's not spending the money, it's just not taking it from me.

An analogy: let's say I habitually submit fake expense reports to my employer, since I know Accounting will never question me. And let's say I make a tidy sum doing that every year.

If I were to stop doing that, would Democrats say that "cutting my fake expense reports" was "costing me money"?

Because I would describe it more as "doing the right thing by not abusing the trust of those who pay my salary".

Oh, and the "generous cuts to the estate tax" garbage? Yeah, it's going from 0 to 35%. How in heaven's name is that a "cut"?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

White Lies

Tangential thought inspired by question #9 at Violins & Starships.

A bad lie is deception for personal gain.

A white lie is deception to prevent minor harm to a person you care about.

For example, "I didn't steal your money" vs. "No, honey, that dress doesn't make you look fat."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bravo to the Marketing Guys at ABC

First, I don't care about Bristol or Dancing With the Stars, but apparently some people are angry that she keeps winning, despite getting low scores from the judges, so they accuse her fan base of "cheating".
And by the strict measure of ABC's rules, unlimited voting may not be cheating. But that hasn't stopped some liberal Web sites from claiming that Palin's fans are fixing the competition.

The big problem for ABC is that its voting rules close phone call and text voting 30 minutes after "Dancing With The Stars" is over, but online voting carries on until 11:00 a.m. the next day.

Also, the combined online-phone-text vote total accounts for 50 percent of a contestant's score, with the judges' score making up the difference. So a huge amount of online votes could keep someone on the show.

Bristol Palin has survived on the show for the past seven weeks with the lowest judges' scores.

Ok, so ABC sets it up so that people can spend 12 hours on their site voting.

Then people get angry and talk non-stop about the show.

Some of those angry people will decide THEY need to spend 12 hours on the ABC site voting.

So the "oops! loophole!" in their voting process creates both media buzz and site traffic.

Yeah, how could ABC have been so stupid when they set up the rules?

Kudos, crafty marketing dudes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ben Kenobi: Private Jedeye

Two things impress me about this.

First, from the opening theme music to the title fonts to the camera work to the fast-paced dialogue, it excellently mimics the 40's film style.

Second, the Star Wars part of it is more allusive references than direct quotations. Quite clever. Very enjoyable:


[YouTube direct link]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

To those who served: Thank you.

To those currently serving: Thank you.

To the civilians circa 1985-1991: You're welcome.

My suggestions for the best way to thank the troops?

1) Enjoy life in a free country. A gift ain't a gift unless it's enjoyed. Do something fun.

2) Be the kind of American who's worth fighting for.

[Yes, this is from 2006, but my feelings haven't changed on the topic.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Thought

Don't you hate it when you click & drag to select a large block of text, then let go of the button one letter too early?

Dedicated to All My Blogging Friends

via I Can Has Cheezburger:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And I Thought *I* Was Useful.

Despite hours of praise, clicker training, and pepperoni slices, I still haven't caught the hang of that dusting thing.


[YouTube direct link]

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Elder Victory

I generally look at Twitter with the same outsider's contempt with which I look at Apple fanatics. It's typically the province of unwashed, twenty-something, hipster wanna-be's with ragged clothing, regrettable tattoos, and uncomfortable piercings. A haven for self-absorbed slackers with nothing to say and way too much time on their hands to say it.

Usually via an iPhone.

While driving.

So it was with great interest that I noted Mark Steyn introducing Fred Thompson before a speech he gave in Calgary on November 3rd [quote starts about 18:35]:

"...[Fred Thompson] currently has a daily radio show, and he's also become a demon Tweeter... Senator Thompson has mastered 140 character commentary to a degree the rest of us can only envy..."

Fred Thompson is 68 years old.

Basically Fred not only chased the kids off his lawn with a shotgun, he followed them to their favorite House-Techno pick-up-joint/night-spot, bought the place, and turned it into a Rat Pack tribute club.

Take THAT, Ashton Kutcher.

UPDATE: Examiner.com gives a recent sampling of Fred's Twitter feed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?



Let's see... obvious violation of child labor laws.

Kid's not wearing gloves... probably an OSHA violation.

And Michelle's wearing a 80 bazillion dollar designer top to do yard work.

Partial credit for at least wearing sensible shoes.

Exit question:

Will Michelle be baking Barack a sweet potato pie?


[YouTube direct link]

Racism!



Now if this were a Tea Party picture, would it be fair to ask where the heck all the people of color are?

I count 3, including Obama, and 2 of them are WAAAAAAY in the back.

This picture does NOT look like America.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How To Peel A Potato

Not that I've ever actually peeled or boiled a potato, but if I did, I'd use this method.


[YouTube direct link]

Also, gotta say, not many women do 70 this well.

Finally, A Rational Argument Against Irrational Beliefs

Nice one by XKCD:



I notice that the "because nobody's making a fortune on it" argument doesn't preclude the existence of God, though.

Actually, It Sounds Pretty Good

Via the Awesomer (and thanks again, Leslie, for turning me on to that site) comes a video misleadingly titled "The Worst Pizza Ever":


[YouTube direct link]

Wherein a couple guys take various & sundry fast foods, put them on a pizza & eat it.

Thing is, most of those foods are normal pizza toppings anyway: chicken, hamburger, tomatoes, bacon, onions - heck, even the buns are basically fluffy pizza crust.

The only items I'd question are the french fries. The lettuce, pickles, & sauce on the Big Mac probably didn't go well either.

But since they didn't top it with a fish sandwich, ice cream, or an apple pie, the end result was probably pretty good.

*I'd* try a slice, anyway.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blogrolling Dies on November 1st

If you used Blogrolling to manage your links, it's going away on November 1st.

If you have any important links there, get 'em ASAP.

And no, there's no easy way to do it. Just copy & paste one at a time.

Oh, and dump their stupid code from your template, too.

BlogRolling will be shutting down November 1st, 2010.

If you are not using BlogRolling code on your site anymore, you don't need to do anything.

If you are using BlogRolling code on your site, you'll want to follow these simple steps before the end of this month.

Get Your Links

If you want a list of the links in your BlogRoll, you have two options

1. Sign in to your BlogRolling account to cut and paste links out of your control panel.
2. Go to a page on your site that contains your blogroll and click on each link in your blogroll and copy down or bookmark the links you end up on.

Sorry, there is no "export" option in BlogRolling.

Clean Your Code

1. Remove the blogrolling JavaScript code from your site.
2. Not sure where the code is? "View Source" on your pages and search for "blogrolling" in the code.

Thanks for your support and patronage these many years! Happy blogging!

Everybody Wants Me

NunyaB of Why Sarah Palin Is So Freaking Awesome sent me this:


[YouTube direct link]

Just thought I'd mention it, because if you stumble across a Harvey page on Facebook, that's not me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yes, Really

Honestly, I have no interest in owning a phone that does a single thing besides make phone calls, but if I ever gave into peer pressure and bought a portable time-suck, I'd buy a Microsoft phone just because of this commercial:


[YouTube direct link]

It's my favorite since this classic from Vault:


[YouTube direct link]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Grammar Rules

Learn these. Master these. And when you compose any sort of formal or business-related communique, obey these.

Once you know why they're there and what they do, you can break them on purpose when it's called for.

Maybe This Isn't An Improvement

People used to worry that the existence of candy cigarettes would encourage kids to take up the habit, causing people to scream that they should be banned.

Now there's candy blood. What's THAT going to encourage?

By the way, candy cigarettes didn't teach me to smoke. That would be my older brothers.

Pwned: Explained, Defined And Illustrated

Back before computers, people would set traps for other people, then when the other person was caught, the catch-er would gloat by saying "gotcha!"

After computers - and more specifically online computer games that involve killing your opponent's player - the common term became "owned!".

Then one day, someone missed the "o" key, and spelled it "pwned!", which - for no explicable reason - caught on, and is now common parlance in some circles. Still, it means the same as "gotcha!": a sudden, total victory over someone who didn't see it coming.

This is what it looks like in the real world:


[YouTube direct link]

The Party of Just Don't Get It

The Republicans promised to repeal Obamacare.

Then they promised to replace it with... Obamacare.
We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick.
This isn't a business model, this is a suicide pact.

Insurance companies make a profit the same way that casinos make money on roulette: They can afford a few large payouts because they continually make up for it with tiny, regular losses from everyone else.

By elimating pre-existing condition exclusions, they're allowing people to place their bets after the wheel stops spinning.

The Pledge To America: Just The Promises

Your checklist to see if they keep their word.

There are a lot of policy and intention statements included in the Republicans' 48-page "Pledge to America" document. Here is a list, from that document, of just the real, verifiable, specific promises that we will actually be able to say they kept or broke. The rest is just meaningless, feel-good patter, full of fog and weasels:

JOBS

* We will help the economy by permanently stopping all tax increases, currently scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011.

* We will allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income.

* To provide stability, we will require congressional approval of any new federal regulation that has an annual cost to our economy of $100 million or more.

* The Democrats' government takeover of health care requires small businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchases that run more than $600. We will repeal this job-killing small business mandate.

SPENDING

* Congress should move immediately to cancel unspent "stimulus" funds, and block any attempts to extend the timeline for spending "stimulus" funds.

* With common-sense exceptions for seniors, veterans, and our troops, we will roll back government spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels,

* We will set strict budget caps to limit federal spending on an annual basis.

* We will make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget.

* Over the course of nine weeks, YouCut produced proposals to save taxpayers more than $120 billion. We will continue to hold weekly votes on spending cuts.

* We will cancel the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

* We will reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by ending their government takeover, shrinking their portfolios, and establishing minimum capital standards.

* We will impose a net hiring freeze on non-security federal employees

* More than 20 states have addressed this problem by requiring that programs end - or "sunset" - by a date certain. We will adopt this requirement at the federal level to force Congress to determine if a program is worthy of continued taxpayer support.

* Requiring a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.

HEALTH CARE

* The new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law.

* We will enact common-sense medical liability reforms to lower costs, rein in junk lawsuits and curb defensive medicine.

* We will allow individuals to buy health care coverage outside of the state in which they live.

* We will improve HSAs by making it easier for patients with high-deductible health plans to use them to obtain access to quality care. We will repeal the new health care law, which prevents the use of these savings accounts to purchase over-the-counter medicine.

* We will expand state high-risk pools, reinsurance programs and reduce the cost of coverage. We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick.

* We will establish a government-wide prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion and subsidies for insurance coverage that includes abortion. We will also enact into law conscience protections for health care providers, including doctors, nurses, and hospitals.

CONGRESSIONAL REFORMS

* We will ensure that bills are debated and discussed in the public square by publishing the text online for at least three days before coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

* We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.

* We will let any lawmaker — Democrat or Republican — offer amendments to reduce spending.

* We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with "must-pass" legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time.

NATIONAL DEFENSE

* No more troop funding bills held up by unrelated policy changes, or extraneous domestic spending and pork-barrel projects.

* We will prevent the government from importing terrorists onto American soil.

* We will work to ensure foreign terrorists, such as the 9/11 conspirators, are tried in military, not civilian, court. We will oppose all efforts to force our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel operating overseas to extend "Miranda Rights" to foreign terrorists.

* We will work to ensure critical funding is restored to protect the U.S. homeland and our allies from missile threats from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea.

* We will work to ensure the government aggressively and effectively implements the sanctions [on Iran] with the tools Congress has provided.

* We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border and prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands.

* We will reaffirm the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of all federal immigration laws.

* We will require the Department of Homeland Security to review all visa applications at high-risk consular posts and prevent aliens from attempting to avoid deportation after having their visas revoked.

Advice on How to Write a Fake News Story

Ok, here's how you shine it up to make it more realistic (my changes in bold):

1) Add a city & news wire service name before the opening paragraph:

2) Link a related story.

Protesters at Capital Demand Umbrellas

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) - Protesters this weekend at the capital were surprised and alarmed when the usually sunny skies opened up into an afternoon of torrential rains.

Calls were made to local authorities by some of the disgruntled protesters, claiming President Bush was infringing on their right to a peaceful protest, claiming that, "The government has ways to make it rain all of a sudden."

Much confusion then ensued, as authorities ignored calls for help from these young protesters, demanding that it stop raining, or at the very least, there should be "Emergency Umbrellas" supplied to them. They were unfairly left on the steps to "get the chills", and other various things that happen to people who stand out in the rain for long periods of time.

3) Use the name of a famous protester and attribute the quote to that person.

Cindy Sheehan met with media on Monday to make a public statement about the events:

4) Throw in a "said [spokesman]" or some description "said the angry gold-star mother" in each paragraph the way a real reporter would do:

"We are disappointed at the lack of help from authorities in our time of need," said Sheehan. "We were in danger, and no one came to help. It is a sad day in America, when free speech is hampered by the government. If they would have brought us some warm tea, and an umbrella for everyone, we would have had a lot more energy for sign waving, Bush bashing, and other important things. Instead, we had to spend the day freezing cold, worrying about lightning, hail, and our hemp shoes falling apart from standing in puddles. We were not prepared to deal with that kind of weather.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

BE the Captain

BE Captain. Don't PLAY Captain. Because she will know the difference.

That means being the leader every day.
That means being decisive in your leadership every day.
That means soliciting her opinions before you make a decision about something important, every day.
That means ensuring the health, safety, and welfare for your family every day.
That means household maintenance every day.
That means working out in some way, every day.
That means intriguing her sense of curiosity or wonder every day.
That means making her come to you, not the other way around, every day.
That means holding her to account every day.
That means plenty of kisses and a couple good hugs every day.
That means doing a little better for yourself every day.
That means keeping yourself solidly grounded to be her anchor every day.
That means having a plan, working the plan, and amending the plan as necessary every day.
That means making your nest a little better every day.
That means being proactive, not reactive, every day.
That means giving her direction as needed every day.
That means communicating effectively what you expect and what you desire every day.
That means being involved and interested in her life and her day every day.
That means a thousand other little things that you have to master before you can stand up and say "Yes, I am the Captain of this family" without guilt or blushing, un-apologetically and without your wife's permission.

The Irony Meter, It Is Pegged

Well, God bless Netflix.

For the last while, I've been working my way through the entire South Park canon. Tonight it was "About Last Night...", the episode they made right after Obama's election.

They perfectly captured the obnoxious celebrationism of the Obama voters, and I drew sustenance from the delicious irony of it all, knowing how Obama has fallen since then.

And the seeming prescience of the closing lines, as Stan's father awakes with a horrid hangover to discover he no longer has a job.

Kudos to you, Trey & Matt.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Right Wing News Blogger Poll: Conservatives' Preferred Candidates

I played. This is how I pay.

If you had to choose today, which of the following candidates would you be most likely to support for President in 2012?
Haley Barbour
Scott Brown
Jeb Bush
Herman Cain
Eric Cantor
Chris Christie
Mitch Daniels
Newt Gingrich
Rudy Guiliani
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
John McCain
Sarah Palin
Ron Paul
Tim Pawlenty
Mike Pence
Condi Rice
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum
John Thune

Chris Christie - Don't get me wrong, I loves me some Sarah Palin, but she's full of metaphors & rhetorical flourishes & fluffy boilerplate. I like Chris because I find it unutterably refreshing to be spoken to like a rational adult, using a minimum of chaff.

If you had to choose from this list, which of the following candidates would you be most likely to support for President in 2012?
Haley Barbour
Mitch Daniels
Newt Gingrich
Mike Huckabee
Sarah Palin
Tim Pawlenty
Mike Pence
Mitt Romney
John Thune

Sarah Palin - Told you I loves me some of that.

Now, let's change direction: which of the following candidates would you be LEAST LIKELY to support for President in 2012?
Haley Barbour
Mitch Daniels
Newt Gingrich
Mike Huckabee
Sarah Palin
Tim Pawlenty
Mike Pence
Mitt Romney
John Thune

Mitt Romney - Romneycare. 'Nuff said.

Nope, You're Wrong

Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC said the following about RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who is black:
As the first congressional election during his party chairmanship approaches, Michael Steele is dancing as fast as he can trying to charm independent voters and Tea Partiers while never losing sight of his real master and paycheck provider, the Republican National Committee.
What O'Donnell's trying to say is that, as Chairman of the RNC, Steele has to diplomatically balance various factions - cranky social conservatives, penny-pinching fiscal conservatives, and apolitical independents who won't even start paying attention until after Halloween. Meanwhile, the RNC itself is mostly headed by unprincipled RINO's whose goal is political power at any cost, and THEY control the Committee purse strings.

Now, Jim Treacher at the Daily Caller had this to say about O'Donnell's comment:
Anybody with a lick of common sense could’ve told him how racist this is
No. It's not.

Here's why.

The phrase "dancing as fast as I can" is a well-established and popular figure of speech. As a movie, it was a story of a woman's addiction to valium. As a metaphor, it means to engage in a lot of frantic activity without necessarily making any progress.

Which certainly seems to apply to Steele's situation.

The second metaphor, about Steele's "master" being the RNC, is a little dicier, what with it being the traditional term for a slave-owner, but it's not necessarily out of place. It's usage here seems more an allusion to the Biblical admonition against serving two masters.

My point being that O'Donnell could just as easily have said what he said about a white man, and it wouldn't have sounded strange.

Yet because Steele is black, Treacher reflexively presumed that the choice of terms was motivated not only by race, but more specifically by O'Donnell's hatred of that race.

Pish-posh and folderol.

Now, if O'Donnell had said something about Steele "singing 'Mammy'" for his "owner", then Treacher might have a point.

But he didn't.

So he doesn't.

Please stop hallucinating racism that isn't there.

Whoda Thunk It?

Frank J. & SarahK of IMAO proudly announce the birth of their daughter.

The picture's here.

Not sure why they've got her rolled up like a burrito. That's just kind of weird.

Drop the Garbage

Even if it's scary, drop the garbage and the excuses.

Quit what doesn't make you happy. Cut the relationships that drag you down. Move to where nobody knows you if you have to. Find what you really like to do, find whatever is that brings energy and peace to your soul. There where your energy /passion wants to go. And do it. And keep doing it. And do it again, in an environment where you allow yourself to fail and the costs for being being so-so are sustainable. Allow yourself to get better. Gain skills. Connect and socialize everyone while you're at this. Then bring it up a notch. Then another notch. Then another notch. Collect your home runs. Exchange what you have for what you want from the outside world. And keep going up. Till you die.

Got it? It's simple.

It really is.

And there are a million strategies and angles and approaches for every step and we can talk the minutia and every little shadow for-ever. But this is it:

Drop the garbage and do what makes you happy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Man Statement

I am a man, and as a man, I am the King and ruler of my domain. Anywhere and everywhere I step foot is my territory. The air I breathe is mine, and those who share it do so because I allow it. I control my destiny, and am responsible for the emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing of my Kingdom.

I alone am responsible for the prosperity of my Kingdom and its populace. I will answer for the success or failure of my leadership. I owe it to myself and to my people to protect the Kingdom from outside forces that would seek to weaken its foundation for personal gain, therefore I will not allow foreigners to influence or change my culture.

I will build walls around my castle and ignore shaming language about being guarded. I will amass a mighty army and ignore shaming language about being defensive. I will not be swayed by a others' manipulation tactics and ignore shaming language.

Every word I speak will have purpose. Every battle I fight, I will fight to win. I will rule based on principle and never emotion, thus providing a sense of normalcy and stability for those who rely on my judgment. I will be the man I would want my son to be, and only commit to a woman whom I would want my daughter to be. I will lead by example, be kind to the simple, and harshly judge those I deem fools.

I am the King of my domain.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Path to Mastery

"Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick." -- Bruce Lee

Consider the following post from the Shutterfinger blog, in which he relates Bruce Lee's philosophical statement with his practice in his chosen art form of photography:


Before you begin learning an art such as photography, the techniques it takes to practice the art are undifferentiated to you. All cameras and lenses look pretty much alike, you're not aware of differences in quality and direction of light, and differences in visual style appear subtle at best.

As you begin to learn the art, however, your mind and awareness begin to expand. You see things you never noticed before. Things that were once unimportant become extremely important. It's easy to become obsessed with a particular style or technique, the Right Way to do something, or owning The Perfect Lens.

You might even look down on photographers who lack your refined knowledge and sensibilities.

If you're fortunate and you stick with it long enough you'll find yourself coming out the other side. Where you were once focused on differences you now begin to look at things more holistically. Equipment and techniques are simply means to an end and your vision is far more important than the tools it takes to achieve it. A camera is just a camera, a lens is just a lens, and software is just software.

In short, the path to mastery is to integrate what you learn so that it becomes as much a part of you as the way you walk, the way you talk, and the way you sign your name. You do them all without thinking and without effort, yet they express more about who you really are than all the clever tricks you know or masks you wear.


This is the truth for anyone seeking to attain mastery of any endeavor. The guitarist who can play a solo without watching his hands, the pianist that closes her eyes while playing a difficult and complex arrangement; the artwork turned out by the skilled hands of the sculptor, the painter, the candlestick maker...all are the results of this journey along 4 stages of awareness. As commenter "Syed" notes at the end of Shutterfinger's piece:

In my first regular job (not related to photography and just fresh out of college) one of the senior guys told me that I would typically go through four stages of development: (1) unconsciously incompetent; (2) consciously incompetent; (3) consciously competent; and (4) unconsciously competent.


There's only one way to get to stage 4: practice. When your tired, sore, wore out, beaten down and on the verge of quitting, you practice some more. This is true of any and every task, hobby, sport, or art you decide to engage in.

While I was contemplating this topic in the midst of composing this blog entry, another old maxim came to mind - "Those who can -- do. Those who can't -- teach."

That quote has been attributed to a number of sources, including H.L. Mencken.


In terms of teaching subject matter in institutionalized educational systems based on an imposed curriculum from a centrally planned, bureaucratic organization, that quote has a lot of truth to it. It is certainly relevant to the current system of indoctrination carried out by our nationwide public education system.

Despite my regular denunciations of the public education system, I know many public school educators. Many of them are passionate educators doing their best to teach the subjects of their passion. Foreign language, music, writers, mathematicians, scientists and artists. Teachers teaching subjects they love. But as a cog in the great brainwashing machine, all must teach other mandatory classes like "Social Studies" (socialist studies), history, and other courses for which they do not have expertise nor passion, but rather have to teach such subject matters from the "book." In regards to this aspect of the education system in this country, Mencken is absolutely correct.

When it comes to the 4 stages of competence alluded to by the Shutterfinger commenter, I believe Mencken's derogation of the teacher archetype is absolutely incorrect.

Those who cannot do, certainly cannot teach.

However, the converse is not true. Many practitioners of art forms can personally reach stage 4 of mastery - unconsciously competent - yet cannot teach the techniques knowledge and experience they've gained to a student at stage 1. Many long time practitioners arrive at stage 4 intuitively, in which many hours of practice combined with natural talents allows a person to develop mastery, without explicitly understanding how they got there.

In other words, some talented individuals go from stage 1 to stage 4 over time without really gaining the technical insights of stages 2 and 3. These people we call "prodigies" or "born naturals."

But ask them to teach their art to a beginner, and they fail when their pupil doesn't grasp the nuances and techniques "the natural" intuitively developed.

Indeed, my first martial art instructor had a saying that he always repeatedly told our class, that directly contradicts Mencken's quote - "You never really know something until you are able to teach it to someone else."

When I was a student myself, I didn't really understand this. As a young child, I had participated in a large number of sports and activities that required athletic skill and developing eye-hand coordination. When I came to my martial arts class as a young man, many of the skills and abilities I first developed from prior athletic pursuits, made studying the martial arts easier for me. When I became an instructor, I learned an entirely new perspective. I had to learn everything all over again. To analyze, ruminate and re-consider aspects of things I had foolishly thought my knowledge of, was complete.

You think you've mastered some skill or trade? Good. Now teach it to somebody else. You'll find out real fast how much you really know and understand your chosen art form. By teaching others, you will also discover something else: no matter how much of a master you've become, there is always something new to discover and develop in your chosen pursuit. If anyone can claim complete mastery, that they have nothing more to learn - that is when you know the spirit of their personal artistic essence is dead.

The path to mastery is a road that never ends.

I'm not one for enthusiastically quoting vegan pacifists very often, but in the case of finding your passion and pursuing the path to mastery, Mahatma Gandhi said it best:


"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Irrationally Self-Confident Stream-of-Consciousness Self-Talk Script


TRUST in yourself - it's the key to success

All greatness comes down to self-trust, aka "confidence".

What Makes A Great Swimmer - And A Great Man

The difference between a swimmer and a non-swimmer is not much. The swimmer has learned how to trust; the non-swimmer has not yet learned how to trust.

When the non-swimmer falls into the river, doubt arises. He starts feeling afraid- the river is going to drown him. And of course then the river drowns him. But he is drowning himself in his own doubt. The river is not doing anything. The swimmer knows the river, the ways of the river, and he has been with the river many times and he trusts; he simply floats, he is not afraid.

Likewise, having complete trust allows you to be composed and relaxed.

Trust allows you to be in a calm, peaceful, centered, confident, happy and positive state. Immune from rejection, fear, and negative emotions. That's confidence.

Belief #1. I trust "Whatever I say has value"

I trust that "whatever I say has value".

Whatever I say has value because it comes from ME. The things I have to say are important and relevant because they are a part of my life.

If I like talking about my pet dog, people will listen because it's coming from me. If I like talking about cars, people will listen because it's coming from me. If I like talking about movies, or cooking, or programming, or whatever my hopes or aspirations are, people will listen because it's coming from me.

If I talk nonsense and just switch up sentences, people will listen because it's coming from me. Whatever I say has value.

Whatever I say is always the most important thing that will ever be said.

Belief #2. I trust that "I cannot make mistakes"

I trust that "I cannot make mistakes".

I cannot make mistakes because mistakes are made if I'm "doing".

But when I'm BEING, I cannot make a mistake because everything I do is just me being ME. I'm just showing the world who I am. Whatever you say will be listened to because it's coming from you.

It's those little imperfections that makes what you say REAL.

So no matter what I say, I cannot make mistakes because whatever I say IS interesting. I just trust that everything I say is the right thing to say. I just need to trust that everything that I was saying was right.

And I say goodbye to any notions of perfection and start relishing that whatever I say is "Real and Messy"

Belief #3. I trust that "I am enough"

I trust that "I am enough".

All I need is to be positive, smile, and stand up straight and tall.

All I need is to speak with certainty and enthusiasm.

And all I need is to take action and TRUST in my actions.

That's all I need to be confident. I am enough as I am, I don't need to self-improve, I don't need to add to myself, I don't need money or a great body or be a great conversationalist, I don't need the right thing to say, or any of those things.

Just be positive, speak with certainty, and take action with TRUST in my actions. That's it.

I trust that everything I do is RIGHT.

I trust that I don't need anything else. I don't need to worry about having a great state, or correcting my body language, or building myself up. I just trust that everything that I say is right.

There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing to fix. I have complete self acceptance. I trust that others will like me just for me.

I understand that by being positive with a smile and confident posture, speaking with certainty, and trusting in taking action will be all I need.

Belief #4. I trust that I can "Let go and be dumb"

I will let go of outcomes.

I will let go of all thoughts.

I will lower my standards of what to say.

I will be dumb, and that's ok.

I will relinquish all control.

I will not try to impress anyone with fancy tricks.

I trust that whatever I say IS good enough.

I will simply TRUST in my actions, whatever I say, whatever I do.

I trust myself to let go.

I trust that I can be spontaneous and unscripted.

I trust myself to be dumb and still say the right thing, because whatever I say has value, I cannot make mistakes, that whatever I say IS ok, and that I am enough.

I trust that it's okay to lower the standards of what I say.

I trust to say the dumbest thing, I trust I can have the lamest conversation in the world, and it is still right. I trust I can get away with it because I'm a good man and whatever I say has value and I am enough.

I will trust to let my mind go in the moment to do the work for me and not worry about what others thinks, and not think about what I'm going to say.

I trust to relinquish control, to let go of the steering wheel and go into 100% spontaneity and become completely one with the present moment.

I will let go of trying to control others reactions or what they do. I will take action without permission, trust in my actions, and let others react to me as they will.

My letting go and being dumb and lowering my standards frees up my brain and energy and lets me just have FUN expressing myself.

Self Confidence Is Really "Self-Trust"

I trust that I will do everything decisively and just relax, because I know that everything that I do is the right thing to do.

Anxiety is just a sign that you don't trust in your actions.

What is confidence? Confidence, really is just having trust in your own actions, trust that whatever you do and say is the right thing.

Trust that you are enough and don't need to add more.

Trust that everything you say has value and everything you say IS good enough.

Trust to be dumb, trust to let go of fancy words, trust to say the dumbest thing and have the lamest conversations and get away with it, trust to lower your standards of what to say.

Trust that whatever you do is cool and sufficient, no matter how dumb it is. Trust that you cannot make mistakes. Trust to take action first and deal with the disaster later.

Combine that confidence with positivity: smile, have strong posture, speak with certainty - and right there you have all you need to talk comfortably with others.

Confidence - How Perception Becomes Reality

Self-trust is everything, because perception is reality.

What you perceive in your mind of how it's going, is what becomes the reality.

What you perceive becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you think in your mind, happens.

Trust In The Best Outcomes

It's always in your interest to think the very best about things, to assume the best, to trust in your actions, because what you assume profoundly affects the outcome.

Just assume the best in all cases. Assume that you're totally awesome, trust that your actions are always "right".

Just interpret ANY situation as reconfirming your most optimistic beliefs.

Assuming that you're awesome... MAKES you awesome.

It's weird and maybe counterintuitive, but it's true.

And you can do this with ANY and EVERY action that you take.

Every little action you take you can use to reconfirm your belief that you're the most awesome man on the planet, even if it's delusional. And it has a valid purpose behind it; when it comes to others, your beliefs matter, they become a self-fulfilling prophecy of success.

So develop self-trust, always assume the best, and go get what you want.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Explain This

If one guy shows up at a Tea Party rally with a sign that makes even the vaguest, tangential reference to Obama's race, the whole organization is branded "racist".

When hundreds of proud Socialists show up at a liberal Democrat rally, how come nobody calls Obama a "socialist"?

Jump Start

Start paying far more attention to what people do than what they say.

Walk into the joint like you own it.

Work out like your life depends on it.

Start telling, stop asking.

Have at least one nice suit that you have had tailored to fit you properly.

Take charge. No one is going to give you permission to lead.

Make breakfast for everyone on a Sunday without being asked or told. Designate who will clean up.

Start thinking of yourself as a valuable asset.

Get your hair cut by a real professional stylist at least twice a year.

Forget "equality". Focus on "equilibrium".

Demonstrate courage, even if you're scared. No one needs to know just how scared you are.

Be "the most interesting man in the world".

Walk around like you have a broadsword on your hip.

Be able to listen thoughtfully, even if you think the speaker is full of it. Opportunity can be a subtle thing, and if you don't recognize it before it's gone, it never existed.

Talk to strangers.

Stand up straight. Straighter.

Make your bed, every morning.

Don't be confident -- be overconfident. Irrationally overconfident.

Be able to change a tire or jump a car on demand.

Solemnly thank veterans for their service.

Become proficient at arms of some sort.

Tell your wife where you both will be dining, don't ask her where she wants to eat.

Sing loudly in the shower or car without caring who hears.

Pay more attention to what you wear, even if you're just working in the yard.

Be able to drop a compliment at an instant's notice.

Learn how to tie five new knots.

Do something no one else knows about, and take satisfaction from that.

Get your shoes shined by a guy who does it for a living at least once in a while.

Overtip when the service is truly outstanding. And mention it to the manager.

Know the appropriate occasions and weather in which to wear a tuxedo.

Take guitar lessons.

Know the proper form of address for a sitting monarch, noble, or diplomat.

Be a good loser.

Be succinct. If you can't say it in one sentence, then consider if it needs to be said.

Wait for the idiot to run out of things to say before you get started on why they're wrong.

Pick something off the menu in the first three minutes and don't worry about whether or not you should have gotten the fish.

Be observant of human behavior enough to determine whether or not someone is lying. Bluffing is a great skill to have... and a lousy skill to lack.

Tell her she has beautiful eyes.

Know at least one sport inside and out.

Know how to identify poison oak, ivy, and sumac.

Read at least one book written in the last year.

Sit on your front porch and watch the sun set, just because you want to.

Write a letter to your wife. In longhand. On stationary. Mail it to her.

Read a classic in public without shame or fear.

Stay in the game even if you've got a bad hand, and play it like it's pocket aces.

Show respect to other men for their age, their experience, their reputation, and/or their record. But never mention that to them -- you don't want to look like a brown-noser.

Learn how to throw a punch that lands accurately and with sufficient force.

Learn how to take a punch.

Rock a bow-tie. But only if you know how to tie one.

When someone says "that's sexist!" shrug and say "I'm OK with that."

Practice your free throw.

Call your dad and ask him what he would do, even if you already know the answer.

Sew your own buttons on your shirts. Even prisoners can do it.

Be able to sing one song or tell one amusing anecdote in public and do it well.

When you shake hands, be the guy with the stronger grip.

Know how to drive a nail without looking like an amateur. Practice, if necessary.

When a woman tells you she's a feminist, grin broadly and say "Really? Seriously?" and then shake your head and walk away laughing.

Play a game with a bunch of little kids.

Play cards or chess with an old dude and discover his wisdom. But don't wager -- those old guys are vicious.

Create some art, just because you can.

Tell her she's pretty and mean it.

Build a shed. From scratch.

You know that dude from college you're Facebook friends with, but haven't actually spoken to in years? Call him on his birthday. Find out what he's really been up to.

Stay up all night watching TED talks, and let your head spin.

Tell your kids what you expect, when you expect it, and what will happen if it doesn't happen. Then follow through.

Mean what you say. Say what you mean.

Learn how to say no. Don't apologize, don't sound evasive or regretful, just 'no'. Or 'no, thank you'.

Know who your great-grandparents were, where they came from, and what they did with their lives.

Be able to build a campfire you can light with one match. Practice, if necessary.

Know which way North is... all the time.

Know how to hold a baby and always be willing to pick one up without regard to how expensive or freshly-laundered your clothing is. Baby-spit is invisible.

Always compliment a mother on how her baby looks.

Write your father's eulogy. Then write your own. It's good practice.

Learn at least one simple magic trick you can use to entertain a crowd of 8 year-olds.

Cultivate at least three good heroes from history and know about them, exhaustively. And no, you can't use JFK or Lincoln. Too easy.

Read your state's Constitution, and know how it differs from other states and the Federal constitution.

Learn how to iron, if you don't know how. No man should make someone else iron his shirts.

Prepare your family for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Bargain for something, not just a new car. Learn how to haggle like a middle-eastern spice merchant. Sure, you're gonna get ripped off... at first.

Buy your wife flowers for no reason.

If you're clean-shaven, grow a beard or mustache. If you have a beard, shave it for a few months. Change is good.

Cultivate a good manly nickname.

Know how to insult your best friends good-naturedly.

Make a cheesecake, from scratch, just 'cause.

Spend fifty bucks on something that can make you a hundred bucks. Then follow through. Repeat until you're a millionaire.

Get Red Cross CPR certified. Take a First Aid course, too.

Make someone's wish come true anonymously. It makes you feel powerful and noble.

Practice your smile in front of the mirror. Know how to smile for the camera.

Hug a child, and don't reprove a boy for hugging you for comfort or in happiness. High fives are for home runs and homework -- real achievement requires a properly-delivered manly embrace.

Have a plan when you start the day, and don't revise it unless you have a compelling reason.

Be able to recognize a compelling reason to revise your plan, and do so without regrets or recriminations.

If you don't have a mission, find one.

Make a goal of having something -- one thing -- accomplished by the end of the week that will improve your life or the life of your family. Make that thing happen by the deadline.

If your taxes aren't done, your car needs to be inspected, or your lawn needs to be mowed you have work to do. Structural stability is sexy.

Break your television for a week. See if you really miss it.

Surprise your wife for lunch.

Know how to install a light fixture without calling anyone for help.

Grow a plant and take care of it without any help from anyone, particularly your wife.

Ensure that all of your smoke detectors work and are powered, that your doors and windows all lock securely, and that you have a spare house key stashed somewhere where you can get to it outside.

Learn how to take harsh criticism without being offended, and be able to take an insult gracefully.

Back up your computer, and make a rescue disk.

Buy a pocket knife and learn how to sharpen it. Carry it with you religiously, along with a flashlight and a pocket screwdriver.

Go fishing. Surprise your kid or take your wife, but drop everything and spend a few hours therapeutically drowning worms. If you catch it, clean it and eat it.

Learn how to properly and gently correct the behavior of other people's children without inspiring a challenge to their parenting. This is tricky.

Learn how to lead. It's not a natural talent, it's a learnable skill. If you haven't learned it, you need to. Being bossy isn't leadership. Being indecisive isn't leadership. BE THE CAPTAIN, and people will just naturally start treating you like the captain.

Learn who you are as a man, and inflict that on your personal universe without apology.

Tomorrow is the first day of your journey... are you willing to risk it?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Like Tolerance, Brevity is Also a Virtue

From here:
"The R-word, which I will not spell out because I, unlike you, have class and sohpistication"
You just used 15 words to avoid saying one, and had a typo in the process.

Fail.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Post Sucks

Look! I have a blog now!