Absolutely Right

Kyle nails it once again. You know, to their face: they can keep their goddamned nutbar ideas to themselves. I aint interested. Seems to me that's exactly what they're doing, so good for them and anyone else who feels inclined to join them.


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Note to Commenters

I've recently deleted a couple of comments; on another entry. The details are unimportant. Both were by the same person, the second being an insult for deleting the first. Here's my rule for deleting comments: there is no rule. I delete them at my whim. It's my blog. I owe no explanations to anyone. In general, but not as a hard-and-fast rule, if the comment is of substantive interest to me--even if the implicit or explicit message is "Fuck You!"--you've got nothing to worry about. To state it simpler: comment at your own risk. That is all.


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Red Meat

So I'm on the way back from the cabin earlier today and I hears on the radio that some huge international company in Dubai, U.A.E., is poised to purchase another huge international company in London, U.K., and bunches and hoards of morons just about everywhere--wall-to-wall and top-to-bottom--are carrying on as though it's not only their business, but as though they, indeed, own the companies in question. I'm just swimming in stupids, morons, imbeciles, and jack-asses all day long and every day. Oh, btw, the title refers to the political meal this just had to represent to those who first spun the story their way.


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White Out

Bea & I arrived up at the cabin 'bout two hours ago. "White out" might be a bit of an overstatement, but it's really dumping. We're at 8 inches and counting. And it's cold. Surface temp is under 30 F and dropping. Luckily, it was only about 38 F inside, and now, two hours later, we're all the way to 55. It'll be cozy soon enough. This is a nice change. Because of the warm weather patterns in December, we had pretty lousy weather for Christmas up here, and downright awful for the New Year. Rain and wind, non-stop, for days. This snow is of a nice dry consistency, just how I like it, and it's calm as it could possibly be. Not so much as a whisper of a breeze.


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February Report Card

Profit $9,602.40. A 50% return on risk for February. If you've been around here lately, you recall I've tossed up a few entries about my trading activities in the market. Well, I've decided to hold myself accountable and post a report card each month at options expiration. February options expire today. Sometimes I may spend some time explaining and describing the month's actions. Today, we'll see. OK, my first trade of the month was to sell the 1285 Call and buy the 1295 Call for February on the SPX, which is the trading index for the S&P 500. The difference in price between the two was $5.50 per share. I traded 10 contracts and contracts have 100 shares each, so, I sold an option for $21,487.05 which gives the buyer of that option the right to force me to sell him 1000 shares of the SPX for $1,285.00 per share. Of course, so long as the actual price for the SPX remains below 1285, I'm sittin' pretty, just waiting for time to expire where I walk away with the 21k. One the downside, if the SPX goes above 1285, the owner of that option can still force me to sell...


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Worth a Look

It's just the company I keep, but I see good photos and videos of hang-gliding activities from around the world on almost a daily basis. Every now and then, some photos come along, the quality and subject matter of which demand that I share. This and about a dozen others right over here. These are taken in France; I believe during the recent 32nd Coupe Icare (Icarus Cup) at St. Hilaire du Touvet. The guy is soaring the ridge lift, of course, flying the latest version of A-I-R's ATOS, the VR. I had an older model of the ATOS, but sold it last fall. Of course, never forget the best thing of all. These wings all fold up (this one weights in at about 95 lbs.) and pop right on the top of your car or truck for easy transport to almost anywhere, like this.


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Home Improvement

The problem: nice teakwood furniture on an ugly deck. (click each image for a clearer view) The grand plan: The materials, pre-cut according to plan: Getting started: Section one of eight done. Since the deck has a slight slope to the drain, sections should allow for that: The finished solution. Can you say "better?"


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HDTV

Finally got a chance to begin watching some of the DVR content from the Olympics last night. It's getting really simple, folks. If you aren't watching this on a wide-screen in HDTV format, you aren't watching the Olympics. You aren't even watching TV. The difference is as dramatic as comparing one of those 50's port-hole black & whites with a modern color TV. You really need to beg, borrow, perhaps even steal to get it. Hell, you're all stealin' from each other everyday anyway... Hey, maybe you can get the folks across the street to vote to have the people on your side of the street pay to get you set up with a good 40-incher or better, and all the trappings. Then, it won't really be stealing, would it? Someone voted on it. That is all.


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“Paradise Zimbabwe”

The U-turn is expected to be announced within days. The ruling Zanu-PF party's politburo has been informed and selected journalists in the state-controlled media have been briefed on how to spin the policy reversal. I can pretty much guess how that "spin" is going to go: the inadequacies of the indigenous black population to grow enough to feed themselves will be blamed on "generations of white domination," or some other such rot. So, in case you haven't picked up on what this is about: President Robert Mugabe has begun to reverse his "insane" land grab [i.e., 100% taxation] and offer some white farmers the chance to lease back their holdings in Zimbabwe. With the fastest shrinking economy in the world, Mr Mugabe has had to backtrack on six years of chaos and his own determination to rid the country of all white farmers. In an orgy of violence, Mr Mugabe seized [i.e., 100% taxation] the land, homes, equipment and infrastructure of about 4,000 white commercial farmers who produced almost half of Zimbabwe's foreign currency. So, now they have an annual inflation rate of somewhere between 800 and 1000%. Of course, as the article points out, it's the fault of economic...


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Ten BILLION Dollars

To be said with a Dr. Evil flair That's what it looks like is at stake with the Virgin Galactic endeavor that's building five ships in the Mojave desert to take people into space, beginning in 2008. 50,000 people have put their names down for the $200,000 tickets. Do the math. Well, that's more than a bit above my own current price point. But as my price point increases (which I'd peg at about $20,000 right this minute) with increasing net worth, the price should also come down. So, perhaps there is hope that we'll happily meet at some mutually agreeable point in the not-too-distant future.


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Cartoons? I Live in a Goddamned Cartoon

I've been considering different angles on the Danish cartoon fiasco for a few days. Here they are, in no particular order of importance--and not necessarily exhaustively expounded upon. Food for thought. + Civility, manners, tolerance, and perhaps respect of the idiosyncrasies, traditions, beliefs, rituals, symbols, customs, etc. of others is reasonable behavior, but doesn't that sword cut both ways? Isn't it so, that the most outlandish, ridiculous, closed-off belief systems are the least respectful of others' beliefs and symbols? + Keep in mind that this does not rise to the level of moral issue until the "offended party" threatens or initiates violence. Only then is it a moral issue, and the "offended party" is in the wrong. If I want to be a jerk in word and attitude, it is my right as it is the right of others not to associate with me. If, instead, they vow to kill me, then, well, don't I have a sort of an ex-post facto justification for mocking them and their beliefs, symbols, and everything they're about in the first place--particularly if I have good reason to know what their reaction will be? Anyone with the capacity to use violence against mocking words...


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Pop Quiz

OK, there's two children, aged 12 and 15 years. They don't go to public school. They don't go to private school. Their parents don't formally home school them. They are, in fact, unschooled in the sense we think about schooling. Their father earned a PhD in physics from Harvard, has authored an economics text book on price theory and several other books covering economics and the law, and he's an academic economist who teaches at a law school and has never taken a course for credit in either field. Their grandfather, also well-schooled, won a Nobel Prize. All this academia, and yet they don't send their kids off to school. Not even to the elite ones. Surely, if anyone sees the necessity of rigorous schooling, it would be their father and grandfather, eh? The father writes in a bog: There are a number of alternatives to the conventional model. The one we have chosen is unschooling–leaving our children free to control their own time, learn whatever they find of interest. I sometimes describe it as throwing books at them and seeing which ones stick. In our case the sticky ones included The Selfish Gene (my daughter at about 12), How...


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Propping Up the Illusion

Well I'd wanted to jot something down about "Ugly and Uglier" (Jagger & Richards), but I see plenty out there already. Yea, they probably ought to call it quits; but I sure as hell wouldn't. Good for them, I say. So I found something else to blog. Stories right here, and here. Let's not conflate everything, K? We're not talking here about a bunch of mindless yokels coming out to get in the way of professionals doing a professional job that calls for the expertise of only trained professionals. What we're talking about, it seems clear to me, is trained and competent people able to produce results that the "authorities" either could not or would not produce. [Capt. Jerry Smith] said the nighttime toe-in maneuver was too risky. "I would not have allowed our pilots to do that mission," he said. Obviously, since other people with their own lives to risk--not to mention that fact that the helicopter was owned by one of the rescuers and not "we the people"--pulled off the rescue. Pete Cunha, a local California Highway Patrol pilot contacted by the newspaper, also said rescuers should have left the task to experts. "It's not a game for...


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Wanted Dead or Alive

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was sometime in the mid-to-late 80s, sitting in some bar outside the naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, having a beer or two before making my way home about 10 clicks to Hayama, on the other side of the peninsula. They were playing some music videos on the TV, and suddenly, there's this appealing ballad-sounding sort of song backed by a back & white video. It's Bon Jovi doing a song called Wanted Dead or Alive. I sat there mesmerized for the next three minutes or so. Rather than a set-production video, it's simply B & W clips from the band on the road and performing. In essence, it turns out to be a 3-minute mini-anthology of what a tough, tough life they live on the road. That was to become my favorite music video of all time and nothing I've seen since has ever come even slightly close. Funny thing is, I'm not even a Bon Jovi fan, particularly. On the other hand, I love it when metal bands do songs that start off as sort of a slow-moving ballad that at some point bashes you against the head with full-on screaming...


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Brokeback to the Future

Perhaps the only thing funnier than the way the echo-chamber of Hollywood and its media sycophants are promoting Brokeback Mountain--reminiscent of an overly-defensive white guy exclaiming, "I like black people"--is this trailer for the upcoming release of Brokeback to the Future. (via Hit & Run) I guess the other message is that you can make a movie trailer to be anything you want it to be. Don't believe me? Remember the film The Shining? Yea? Well check out the trailer for this new release.


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Capitalism in One Lesson

Perhaps you've heard of the announcement by BB&T not to take part in commercial lending on projects that involve eminent domain. Good for them. Better late than never, in this case. One of the links in that article linked to above is to BB&T's vision, mission and purpose page. Go read that and tell me it's not just one great concise package on what capitalism is all about. Every essential and implication is right there. Update: OK, I just did a bit more digging. Go read BB&T's values page. Keep in mind that we're not talking about some mom & pop, here. BB&T is the nation's 9th largest holding bank with $109 billion in assets. I would venture that there in no company in the world of this import that has anything even remotely like this on their website. It is at once sad and encouraging. Well, that does it. I am contacting them to begin both a personal banking relationship and a business one as well.


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“No Respect”

After a long day of utter outrage, the other day (watch the video, if you haven't already), I posted a clarification of what this is all about. And; because I had quoted Billy, I went ahead and emailed him, asking for his opinion. Go read his response, then come on back. He makes two undeniably good points. Can you really say that there are any good cops at all, when the stuff that I've been reporting on (a small percentage of the rotten crap taking place) exists and there is absolutely no detectable movement anywhere amongst police officers themselves to root out this contemptible evil at any cost--even, and perhaps especially, turning in their own badges? And yep, they still all wear the same uniform. I know for a fact that there are lions that have been trained and domesticated to the point of being pussycats. But they still look exactly like the ones that can and will tear your head off your shoulders in under a second. I guess that wanting to have good cops and wanting to like and respect them is just about as close as we're going to get.


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That’s Entertainment

I just have to wonder. You know, government has essentially become a TV show. What, with real-time cable news and commentary--not forgetting the whores on both sides of the congressional isle, ready 24/7 to sit for an interview--to entertain us, local news, and of course, the broadcast extravaganzas like last night's State of the Union, the political conventions, the debates, etc... Now, I've always loved the detective shows, where responsible and deliberate people use their minds and ability to sort out reality: to nab real doers of harm. But then you have shows like Cops, and you get a mix. Some of the subjects are dangerous, and indeed, need to be taken down (don't think for a second I care who takes them down: any 90-year-old grandmother has every bit the moral authority of any cop--cops are just professionals to a task). Others are just annoyances and the cops only make everything more annoying. Other times, often even, they stick their noses into things that simply aren't their business. I guess they missed that lesson from mom. And then you have SWAT, the very acronym of which has come to represent, for me, something perverse, when it used to represent...


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Clarification

There's an aspect of this earlier post today that bears clarification. Billy Beck says, in the post I referenced: There is something terribly wrong with cops, now. I can directly recall a time in my life when something like this would not have happened because cops still retained at least vestiges of two things: 1) something of a capacity for reason, being able to sort out the dangers involved in this sort of thing, and 2) an element of courage requisite to facing those dangers with the responsibility that necessarily complimented their authority to wield deadly force. So I created a The Hate File, and let me just tell you, just like I had to tell a neighbor, the other day, who happened onto my blog. That section is reserved for actions, not thoughts and beliefs. Anyone is perfectly free to spew forth whatever flaming nonsense they want without a fear in the world of ending up there. No, that is reserved for actions that do harm to harmless people, either intentionally or through error, but always under the assertion of authority. I want to like and respect cops. It's not like I can't acknowledge a basic societal need for...


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