The People Who Dictate Your Affairs

Jay says: Jerry Springer nation is voting your life away one hoof-marked ballot at a time. Billy adds: Why on earth would you submit anything remotely having to do with your rights to these peoples’ opinions? Indeed; why on earth? Whatever for do you see the necessity? Now, I’ll stipulate that I care not a wit how clueless, shallow, and ignorant these morons are, or remain. I couldn’t care less how they manage their peaceful affairs. What’s more, I don’t care that you seem to see the necessity of making these idiots the managers of your own affairs — knock yourselves out. I can’t on earth see why, but it’s an inescapable logic that you indeed want them to run your lives each time you fill out a ballot. Go ahead and deny it, but your plain actions belie your words. It’s Jerry Springer nation to be sure — a nation of morons — and if you vote you’re enthusiastically going along for the ride. I will never, ever waste my time with voting again. Even if it were a morally valid way to “run the country” (a phrase I loath for its implications) — which it’s not — you’d…

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Effortless Backups

Backing up becomes a breeze. I can vouch for that, and it does so wirelessly, for two separate MacBook Pros on the same Time Capsule. So, backing up is a cinch, but how about restoring? Those of you who’ve ever had the experience realize that if getting stuff — the right stuff — backed up properly isn’t always a cinch, restoring can be even worse. Which file? If it’s the data or settings/preferences for an application, even if you’ve identified the right files to back up in the first place, how do you know for sure which incremental backup to restore? I’m happy to report that even this is quite simple and functional in the Time Machine – Time Capsule environment. First, it backs up your entire system anyway, by default, so you don’t have to wonder about identifying particular data files and making sure you get everything you might need. It manages the space on the drive automatically by deleting older backups as space is needed for new ones. Still, I’ve been backing up for a month, now, and the half-terabyte drive isn’t yet half full, and that’s with two complete systems. But here’s what’s cool. In the process…

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The Wages of Sin

I guess this is what happens when you choose to don your leathers and mount your Harley, Indian, or other V-twin on an Easter Sunday morning rather than getting all clean cut and heading out to the local place of national imaginary friend worship to invoke the blessings of your magical spirits. I just took these 10 photos in the space of just a few minutes over on Coleman avenue, less than a mile from my place. I headed out to breakfast (ironically enough, for ham & eggs) and on my way out, the San Jose Police were even more in force, and I saw more than one peaceful looking biker in handcuffs. I didn’t think to grab my iPhone and begin snapping. But even after 45-minutes or so, there were still plenty. Looks like they were having some rally in a parking lot off on a side street. There were booths and such set up, so I guess it was something the city was aware of…just a sec…Ok, here you go. Here is your imminent danger to civil society, the Ancient Iron Motorcycle Club. Ooooh, scary. What’s the world coming to, when evil can get hold of and restore…

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Frat Boy Blues

This is pretty funny. We did some pretty infantile stuff in college, but I never had even the slightest desire to associate with any fraternity house. I did once get invited and go to one of their parties (kegger — what else?) and it was perhaps the shallowest spectacle I’ve ever witnessed in my life — on the part of both the “brothers” and the sorority “sisters” from various places down the street. Actually, it all reminds me a lot of when I happen to surf into a NatGeo episode on the TV anthropologically dissecting some form of bizarre primitive tribal ritual or something. Seriously. My dorm mate and I eventually moved out and rented an apartment together during our senior year, and it happened to be just across the street from one of the very popular frat houses at Oregon State (PKE, I think). It only ever solidified my disdain. To this very day, if someone tells me they were a brother or sister in this or that fraternity or sorority, then they start off with a bad first impression with me. I’m willing to overcome it, but it rarely ever happens (Radley Balko being a notable exception). There’s…

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Fat Nannies

The last sentence of comment number two on Boston’s trans fat ban pretty much sums it up. What next, setting a bedtime for us? Number 14 isn’t bad, either. I would like to see a ban on politicians. They make people sick and poor. I’d add stupid. There are a few other good comments and good points, and it’s in some measure gratifying to see that Boston isn’t totally devoid of human adults; but if you want to get a good taste of the collectivized, eusocial mentality of most people, go read those comments. Oh, and get a look at fat face Boston Mayor, Thomas M. Menino. The difference between a fat fuck like him, and a formerly fat guy like me is that I took it upon myself to do something about it. Do you have any idea to what depths I hate people like this?

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Not By Beef Alone

My last preparation was a pork loin, and here you have a leg of lamb with some broccoli and water chestnuts. Here it was just before going into the oven. It was pretty easy and quick. It’s just a bit of olive oil, crushed garlic, some dried spices of your own choosing, several pats of unsalted butter, and onions. 10 minutes at 475, turn it over for another 10 minutes at 475, then reduce to 325 for about 25-30 minutes. In the meantime, I took about a dozen or so blueberries and about a half dozen red seedless grapes which I cut into quarters. Into a bowl, with just about a tablespoon or so of red wine, and nuked it for 30 seconds. Then I crushed it all up and set aside. Once the lamb came out, I placed it on a plate to settle and went to work on the sauce. I deglazed the pan drippings with some red wine on the stove. Then I added the fruit crush, and then about a quarter cup each of heavy cream and coconut milk to thicken up and boost the fat content. The sauce was killer. And oh, by that time…

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Food Blogging

Here was a dinner I prepared a couple of nights ago. It’s the pork loin you can get from Trader Joe’s and I recommend it. Cook it just like it says on the wrapper: 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I do a little extra. First, I roll it in a little olive oil on a plate. Next, I roll it in crushed garlic and the oil helps make that stick. Into the pan, a bit of salt & pepper, then I take sweet butter and put about 5-6 pats right on the top, then I cover that all with onion sliced very thin, which holds the butter in place. After it was done I deglazed the pan over the stove with just a bit of white whine, and then I added about a tablespoon of heavy cream and a heaping tablespoon of coconut milk. The sauce is nearly pure fat and tastes lovely. No, it doesn’t taste like coconut; any more than a Thai curry does. The asparagus is also TJ’s, frozen. Just a bit of olive oil in a nice saucepan, uncovered on medium heat for a few minutes, tossing and seasoning as necessary.

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Note to GMAC Mortgage: Go To Hell

So in conjunction with digitizing all my “Earth Class Mail,” I’ve been going around and registering with all of my vendors that have online capability, as more and more companies are providing the ability to view monthly statements online. This will reduce the amount of physical mail I get, and in many cases I can pay the bill online with a stored debit card, and it’s just a few clicks. Otherwise, I pay via my own online banking (I’ve used online bill pay since 1992 or ’93). I’ve got two loans that were purchased by GMAC Mortgage. At some point last year I registered on their site with my standard username I use everywhere. Apparently, due to lack of continued use it was placed in an inactive status. So, naturally, once I want use their online features again, I have them reactivate the account. Oh, no. Can’t do that. You must re-register anew. And guess what other “service” they provide? You get to have an all new username; that is, you must choose a new username. So I wrote them, and of course the first response I get back is that I have to pick a new username because the…

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Rock Chicks

Stay with me. Though not long in words, it’s long in attention. I’m just not up to blogging anything “substantive” just now (the looming disaster called an “election” will keep), so let me toss up something I’d had on my mind — music wise. …I like girl rockers who can really deliver power vocals. You know: like a Grace Slick, or even Joplin (in micro doses). And of course, who else could be my touchstone for this sort of thing but the sweet Ann Wilson (that’s perhaps the best link of the post, so if you don’t stick for the four minutes into the 8:24m track it takes to Rock, you’ll miss out). But let’s go back about 12 years or so. Her name is Tracy Bonham, and — frankly — I have not much of an idea of her work in total; just one song. I was doing something in my apartment and this performance, Mother Mother, came on the TV with her doing it live, in a short skirt (oh, yea!) playing electric violin. I was jaw-dropped blown away and I never, ever forgot it. Then, a few months ago, my friend Karen blogged about Blue Man Group…

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Admin Note

Commenters: There is now an individual post-based comment feed. I hope it becomes a standard thing on blogs. It’s far superior to follow up notification by email.

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“Character”

This is 100% down the line spot on, I think. It is definitely worth a read, all of it. Obama’s denunciation of Wright’s bigotry amounts to too little too late. The time to stand up to him wasn’t now, when his association with Wright is sinking his hopes for the White House. The time to have stood up to Wright was when Obama was just another member of his church. If he truly believes in what he says he believes, he should have walked out of Wright’s church or grabbed Wright’s microphone and told his fellow churchgoers that Wright was wrong and that they mustn’t hate. In twenty years of attending Wright’s church, why didn’t Obama once stand before his fellow church members and tell them that they mustn’t hate their country and their fellow Americans? The fact that he didn’t, and the fact that he upheld this man until just a few months ago as his spiritual mentor and still refuses to condemn him and his deeply flawed character tells me everything I need to know about Barack Obama. I think that he is an opportunistic, weak man. I hope and pray that he doesn’t become President. There’s a…

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How “Narrow” is the Individual?

Observe: The idea of liberty, the whole of it, was confirmed: That a people have a right to self-government, one of their own making. […] …It is simple and elegantly simple. It doesn’t mean it in the broad sense. It means it in the most narrow of sense and that is more powerful than anything ever thought of before. “The most narrow of sense.” The most narrow of sense. So, ‘naturally’: And they got that. They got that people have a right to form their own government. They formed that government… Who’s “they,” and who are “they” to transgress upon “the most narrow of sense?” “Heavy lifting” indeed, Kim. (link: Beck)

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Pretense

Obama expressed understanding of the passions on both sides in what he called “a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years.” “But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races,” he said in a speech at the National Constitution Center, not far from where the Declaration of Independence was adopted. Obama rarely talks so openly about his race in such a prominent way, but his speech covered divisions from slavery to the O.J. Simpson trial to the recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He also recognized his race has been a major issue in the campaign that has taken a “particularly divisive turn” in the last few weeks as video of his longtime pastor spread around the Internet and on television. Oh, I think he’s far, far, faaaaar from where “the Declaration of Independence was adopted.” Later: My friend Chris rings in via email with a VDH piece. The notion that Obama never heard any such nonsense is, well, nonsense—given that he frequented the church for 20 years, laughed off some of the Wright hyperbole…

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An Exercise

Take a moment to begin reading through this. I say begin, because you really don’t need to read the whole thing. Brenda Harris/Ticketed driver “I absolutely positively stopped at that stop sign.” Nicole Barksdale/Ticket driver: “I was angry, honestly, I was angry because I knew I stopped.” Pam Smith/Ticketed Driver: “I’m positive I stopped. I am positive.” …And so on and so on. Here’s what sense I think you ought to begin to form, to understand, and to get used to: there’s a presumption at work, and its unfounded. Hint: you have absolutely no rational basis to assume that any cop will be honest. You count on it, just as you sorta count on all the other myriad people you come into contact with to behave with some reasonable, predictable, countable semblance of stock-human behavior. The difference is that those people don’t come wrapped in the trappings of state authority. They also don’t get paid (with your money) to steal from you, and then lie about it. (Link: Karen)

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Liquidity

Ahw, what the hell; twice already, today, so why not make it thrice? I have this all figured out. A “liquidity crisis” like this is what happens when motherfuckers don’t pay their bills. Other motherfuckers run out of money that they would have had, otherwise. Good. Now the parental filters can work overtime. …Anyway, it certainly sounds distilled and to the essence, but I think it’s actually worse (i.e., more alarming) than that. Any sound business should have no problem at all with some measure of defaulted obligations (under 5% ought to be a cake walk). In the old days, a “liquidity crisis” meant that as a business, you have too many assets in a form not easy or quick to get to (“liquidate”) like capital plant & equipment, versus more liquid assets like cash (king), short-term receivables, securities, and perhaps even an operating line of credit. Today, “liquidity crisis” means that virtually everything including the kitchen sink is mortgaged, and even still, it isn’t enough.

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Carbohydrates = Sugar

Regina Wilshire is absolutely right. Would you willingly sit your child down, offer him/her a bowl filled with 1/2 cup of sugar and a spoon to dig in? It’s like I often say when people try to insist to me how great fruit juices are: would you sit down and eat a dozen or two dozen oranges in a single sitting? Think your body was designed to do that? And sure, we can handle it (infrequently). I’m quite certain that primitive man gorged on sweet stuff opportunistically, like on honey when he came across it, or some sweet fruits (though primitive fruits were largely fibrous and tart — not like today’s selectively bread stuff). More likely, they gorged on berries when they could, seasonally and very intermittently — not a daily thing.

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Oh God, Yes

Yes. Yes. Yes. And make sure you watch — if you can stand it — the YouTube Billy links to. For me, this really rises to the level of pet peeve on the mundane level of daily nonsense that parades past my eyes and ears; but the political, social and cultural overtones are just horrifying (the deepest implications of such you need look no further than Nazi Germany or the USSR and see how children, as tools of State, were ultimately pitted against their own parents). It’s largely a problem created by parents and grandparents. There is a fine line between encouragement of children and their steps in developing their minds to become rational (which is about keeping them challenged), and outright poisoning their minds by brainwashing them into believing they’re some sort of daily savant, or something. It does then no good whatsoever.

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The Size of It

Either Obama is too stupid to see how “deep” this country’s problems are — a goodly portion of which are manifest in fulminant barking like the right Rev. Wright’s — or he knows exactly how deep they are and he likes the look from the bottom, all while he’s confident that he can convince you of his vista from the sunny uplands of racial harmony. Yep. There’s very good reasons why Obama was and in a member of that congregation. Even if you buy the notion — though I don’t — that he sincerely would like to end racial divisiveness as a deep-rooted problem in America, he’s plenty happy to use it as a springboard, pivot, or catapult in the meantime. In the end he, just like everyone else who’s ever talked “harmony,” has and will find the political mileage delivered by such politics too tempting to give up.

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Bear Stearns

I haven’t even seen what may be the take around the various blogs this morning, but here’s the chart over the last year. It traded up around $157 nearly a year ago, and upwards of $170 at its all time high just over a year ago. As of the print on this chart: $3.81; and it’s being sold to JP Morgan for $2, 1.2% of its all-time high value as judged by its owners holding its securities That little orphan candle, coming down, as it were, to kiss the volume spike on its way up over the last couple of trading sessions, is today’s action. It opened on a gap from around $30 per share to just over $3 per share, a 90% loss in value in an instant, and that, off of a loss of 80% of the value over the last year. Yep: that’s a collapse and it’s a very good illustration of why it’s never a good idea to have all one’s eggs in one basket. My take? Beautiful. Yea, I know a lot of people have lost a lot of money and I take no pleasure in that, but this simply isn’t child’s play and this…

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