Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We're On The Same Wavelength!

The governor of Oregon and I think alike apparently - we both think that the gas tax should be eliminated and a usage fee should apply to miles driven, regardless of gas mileage.  He proposes using GPS to do it, and I think that's not a bad solution.  Ideally, I would not just use a flat amount for the calculation, but rather a combination of rates.  For example, you could charge 2 cents a mile on the freeway or 1 cent for surface roads.  You could also vary it depending on what you wanted to do.  If you wanted to route traffic to main thoroughfares, charge more for back streets.  Reverse it for the opposite effect.  I think the applications are endless and the money could actually be used to pay for fixes on the very streets that cars are using.  Of course, GPS would need to be a bit more accurate - it wouldn't be fun to be driving on a frontage road and expecting to get charged a penny a mile but then get nailed for the 2 cents a mile on the freeway that's 20 feet away.

Lactivists Unite!

This is tangentally related to a post Forro made way back when, but Provo women are back in the news, and not in a good way.  We're now the home of the people who want to allow breast feeding pictures on Facebook
First of all, I would like to know what all the fuss is.  I'm all for providing places for women to breast feed, indeed, those little kids have to eat.  My kids wouldn't have been happy if they just had to sit there and cry because my wife couldn't take care of business with them.  However, just like with everything else, there is a time and a place for everything.  The time and place for breast feeding isn't in the middle of a crowded restaurant (without cover), on Facebook, or while you're being interviewed by CBS Evening News.  Instead, just like many other bodily functions, you should exercise discretion.  Just because peeing is a natural bodily function, you don't see me slapping that all over my Facebook profile.  Also, beyond the discretion argument, how about the one where you let people make the rules whereby you can play in their sandbox?  If you want to play there, you can, but if you break their rules, you'll be booted out.  If you don't like it, go somewhere else.  I'm sure that Breastbook would be happy to have you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

How to create a black market

Charge $7.50 for popcorn and $4.75 for a drink. Those theatre prices sent me to the restaurant across the parking lot where I could smuggle water in for a buck.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yes, We Can...Buy This!

You too can be the first to own this fantastic piece of history. Feel free to put it in the most prominent place you can think of to look at and think how amazing your life is with President Obama almost in office and this trinket in your life.
I seriously nearly fell off the elliptical machine when I saw this on CNN last night. Enjoy!

For the Serious Fast Foodie...

You can now scratch off the serious Whopper lover on your Christmas list because as part of one of Burger King's ongoing viral campaigns, you can get an honest to goodness BK cologne.  Whether it's got actual flame broiled smell in it or not is another question all together, but at $3.99, isn't it worth buying just to see?

Reasons #1 and 2 Why 2009's Going To Be a Great Movie Year

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild XV

Here's a submission from Forro.  I'm tempted to start a series called Tailpipes Gone Wild after seeing an epic tailpipe.  Nevertheless, this is a good one.

3 Killed By Rampaging Foot Massagers

This is the Japanese broadcast of what happened for those who speak the Japanese...all I can say is wow.  How 3 people were killed by foot massagers of all things is beyond me.  I can see machetes, guns, and bombs, but this?  I guess it's only a matter of time until DARPA gets their hands on this technology.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's All About Me

When I say me, I mean the execs at our company. I've been in a meeting that was going well until we got talking about the company's holiday party time.  We typically have it at 5 on a Friday because everybody pisses and moans about giving up a Saturday.  We've been in a discussion for the past 30 minutes about the time for the holiday party.  The concern of course is the needs of the many versus the needs of the few.  By the few, I mean the one guy who has been hammering this thing against sense because the man can't be on time to save his life.  Not only that, but he doesn't like dinner at 6.  Therefore, we should all conform to his desires and wants.  As a result, 5 just isn't good because he can't make it (not that he'll make it at 5:30, which is the new revised plan right now, anyway).  Yeah, he's THAT important.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Do We Really?

We Wish You a Merry Christmas seems like a nice enough Christmas song, until you get to the second verse. Then these happy carolers suddenly become the guests from hell. First they demand figgy pudding for their singing, then they stage a sit-in when you tell them no. I really don't see how this became a classic with the proletarian message that it espouses.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Thoughts on Mumbai

I've been a bit busy with not blogging the past week, but I did want to comment on what happened in Mumbai last week.  For those who don't pay attention to the news (and I don't blame you if you don't - between the blowhards on Fox and CNN and the raving lunatics on MSNBC, it's easy to avoid), Muslim terrorists attacked 10 targets in Mumbai and killed close to 200 people, focusing on high value targets: the rich and the Jewish. 
The Indian Special Forces were, to put it bluntly, a joke.  I think that there is one lesson to learn from the post-9/11 world: terrorists are not there for hostages.  You might get an actual HT in other situations, but terrorists are there to do one thing and one thing only: kill as many as they can.  They might have some that they keep around as shields, but the tactical units that respond to these situations need to have that clear.  Every second that they delay their counterattack is a second closer to a dead hostage.  This new generation of terrorists has actually made things difficult for any traditional groups.  I can't think of a situation where I wouldn't resist until they killed me or I subdued them.  I might try the hiding route, but I don't know how long I could do that.  Even John McClane couldn't hide forever.
I don't know why the Indians decided to wait so long to storm the buildings, but that should be a lesson to every other government out there to pounce on terrorists as soon as it is tactically feasable.  As agents Johnson would agree, a loss of a percentage of hostages is regrettable, but livable.  You will end up saving fewer if you don't take care of it as soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Me Gas

I know that this is something that will be unpopular with most people, but with gas prices dropping below the $1.75/gallon mark, it's time for some drastic action.  While our oil consumption has dropped since gas prices spiked, I think that with gas looking so (relatively) cheap, we will probably go back to our old ways of filling up gas guzzlers.  With that in mind, there is one thing that the government should do, and they should do it straightway: raise gas taxes.  I'm thinking that they should raise them by around $.50/gallon between the state and federal sides.  That would put prices up in the $2 range, which still wouldn't be onerous, but it would between double and triple the amount of money that the government gets from gas.  That could (and should) be used strictly on infrastructure projects - bridge repairs, interstate upgrades, etc.  This would, in turn, lower demand.  Because gas is so cheap it might not hinder it enough to stop a rise in oil useage here in the US, but at that point they could put through another tax increase on gas.  We could exempt diesel fuel from the taxes to provide a bit more level of a playing ground between the two fuels and to prevent the gasoline hike from cascading into more basic goods and services. 
It's absolutely unpopular, but if the politicians are serious about curbing our appetite for foreign oil, this is the first place they should look.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reason #1,309,485 Why I Love Japan

Hime gyaru fashion. Hime gyaru is Japanese for "princess girl", and it's the latest craze in Japan. I was there for the yamanba and kawaii and lolita trends, but this is new and awesome. The WSJ had an article about Japan's latest fashion today in it's A-head, and it's the kind of thing that I can only see catching on there. It's another extension of Japan's neverending fascination with all things that are crazily superficial. Beyond that, the epicenter of this new craze is a store called Jesus Diamante. I can't imagine anything being cooler than that.
They idolize Marie Antoinette and Paris Hilton, for her baby-doll looks and princess lifestyle. They speak in soft, chirpy voices and flock to specialized boutiques with names like Jesus Diamante, which looks like a bedroom in a European chateau. There, some hime girls spend more than $1,000 for an outfit including a satin dress, parasol and rhinestone-studded handbag.

Can you imagine spending $1000 on anything like that? I can't...especially as it mentions later in the article, at the expense of having to get your food from your parents to continue your hime habit. What I'd like to know is how widespread this really is. Cheeth, can you enlighten me?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Freakest Links

A couple of interesting posts over at Freakonomics that I thought I'd point out:

Is France Due for Riots? I think unrest will seep out and eventually explode again. France's real problem is that all non-French are second class citizens. That is completely untenable, especially with an increasingly militant Muslim underclass. If they wait until after June next year though, I'd appreciate it.

To All the Incentive Haters. I'm far from an incentive hater (Indeed, as this long parenthetical aside will show, I'm an economist at heart. I was talking with my wife about the kids and prime seats in our car. You know how it is...on trips there's always a fight or at least some strong feelings about where everyone sits. My mom and stepdad would have us physically rotate every hour or so [seriously, we'd pull over and play musical seats], while we almost had assigned seats with my dad and stepmom. I told my wife that I'd like to do it the way an economist would. If the kids are packed and ready to go, they can spend all the time in the world out in the car [the opportunity cost of doing something else with their time] in order to get a prime seat. I also proffered the suggestion if there was disagreement about a particular seat then giving an additional incentive [cash] for the child who would take the lousy seat without complaint. Yes, I love maximizing utilities and teaching it.), and find this very interesting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Utah Jazz Preview Review

I've been busy and therefore I'm late with my regular Utah Jazz postings. The regular season has started, and with that comes a winter full of semi-regular Jazz postings. Through the first 11 games of the season, the Jazz have looked alternatively impressively impressive without their superstar and miserable. They've still got the Jekyll/Hyde home and away syndrome that they had last year. They blew it against a much improved Knicks team, inexcusably lost to Charlotte (even if Memo, AK, and D-Will were out), and Washington, and lost a winnable game to Cleveland. I'm of the Sloan school where there are no excuses for my favorite team, even though those are good ones. We've got to have the toughness where we can finish the game, and all of these games lacked a good finish. If Deron can get us that when he gets back, we'll be unstoppable.
There really have been 2 changes that have positively impacted the team to the point that I'd like to just take some sunk costs: AK as the sixth man and Hart for Knight.
When we matched the Thunder's offer for CJ Miles over the summer, I thought that Kevin O'Connor had gone mental. Here you have someone who has been used very sparsely and you're reeling him back in at 3.5 million per? This had the very fortunate side effect of figuring out how to properly use him. You don't spend that kind of money for someone to ride the pine, even if they do end up in Sloan's doghouse. As a result of that and Matt Harpring's injury, we got AK into the sixth man role, where he's shined. He always seemed a bit out of sorts since Deron and Boozer took over the team for good reason. He didn't have a defined role. Now he's the leader of the second team and an extraordinarily viable first option. Harpring used to fill that void, but to be honest, his best days left him some time ago. As much as I like his spunk and his tenacity, I'd find some way to send him down the road to clear some cap space for Boozer and Memo's upcoming contracts.
Jason Hart was always ineffective in his backup role, and Knight has been better in some respects than Ronnie Price during the time that Deron's been out. Price is still more of a 2-guard than a point, and the way he plays reflects that. He's servicable in long minutes, but I think Knight gives us a legitimate option that Hart never did.
Kosta Koufos is at the very least the backup center of the future. He works like mad, he is pretty good for a rookie, and Fess isn't ever going to fill that role. I think that Kofous' time in the starting lineup has shown that we don't need to keep Collins around after this year either.
Will John Hollinger's prediciton for Utah (i.e. winning the West) be accurate? I think it stands a good chance of happening. If D-Will is healthy, we could go all the way because I think a healthy D-Will means that the Jazz won't lose those close games. He wouldn't let it happen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Who's The Hater?

It seems like the Prop 8 fallout is just beginning to be felt, not just by the LDS church, but by the entire state of Utah. The Deseret News had an article yesterday that is a bit alarming. I can certainly see targeting the LDS Church with protests and civil dialogue, but instead they're the very haters that they proclaim the church to be. They're taking action against Utah because of our 60%+ Mormon population, against LDS publications because they have LDS news and information, and possibly at the very least a hoax set up to look like anthrax against LDS sites.
I respect their right to protest, their right to not patronize Utah (although that's misguided - the Commonwealth of Park City is hardly Mormon), and their right to free speech. Where it crosses the line is in attacks like defacing websites and mailings designed to at least threaten, if not harm, people. What are you doing, protesters? You're hardening opposition to your position. By attacking the LDS Church and its members (and not, say the Catholic Church - they were pro Prop 8 as well), you're feeding something that has always been a part of Mormon culture - the us vs. them mentality. We have been, for better or worse, one of the most virulently opposed religions in US history. Our ancestors were run from New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois to Utah by angry mobs that took everything from those early Mormons, up to and including their lives. (That's not to say that atrocities didn't happen on both sides, but by and large they were committed against Mormons, not by them.) They caused some of their problems, but again that level of intolerance with a specific targeted group fueled the culture you see today. While things have been improving for quite some time, this Prop 8 battle threatens to blow it back up again. You may feel victimized by Mormons, and that's a fair feeling. I don't fault you for it at all. What I would recommend doing though is taking your grievances through a civil political process as Dale Carpenter says over at Volokh. That will change the dialogue and show you to be bigger than you're being right now. What happened to acting in a civilized, adult manner?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Something to Chew On

From today's WSJ:
The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

I couldn't agree more. To conservatives out there, I urge you to avoid bushing President Obama. To liberals, I ask that you avoid the urge to gloat. Celebrate, certainly. But let's get down to the business of making this nation a better place.

Election Wrap-Up

I will certainly have a few more things to say about the election over the next few days, but I thought I'd recap where I was wrong last night and my thoughts overall on what the results say.

1. This is not a redefining election. Is is historic? Absolutely. Is it a mandate for liberal America? Absolutely not. The nation is still, at its heart, center-right. This election has no business being so close. The Electoral math ended up as a blowout, but Obama should have crushed McCain. Crushed him. I'm talking 58-60% vs around 40%. McCain has been running into the wind since the economy collapsed, and for him to be in the same general neighborhood as Obama shows that the nation has not changed. Our President has, and people saw Obama as someone who was clear, on message, and the best way to fix our problems. Whether he is or not remains to be seen, but I hope that he governs like he did in his law classes rather than how he did in the Senate.
Another sign of this is the Senate races. Right now it looks like Gordon Smith will inexplicably hold on in Oregon (and I'm certainly happy about that, Smith is a good man), Norm Coleman will hold on in Minnesota, and Saxby Chambliss will hold on in Georgia. In addition, convicted felon Ted Stevens will win in Alaska, which is incredibly obnoxious. Really, you're voting in a criminal Alaska? You might as well have voted for Charles Manson. This is one result that I'm very disappointed in. I want Stevens and his porkfest out of the Senate. At the same time, the Senate balance of power hasn't shifted as much as it was supposed to. There was downticket strength for Republicans that kept them from becoming irrelevant for the next 2 years.

2. Proposition 8 opponents can suck it. I was rather agnostic about Prop 8, in part because I'm not in California, but also because as a libertarian in general, I somewhat oppose it. At the same time, because my church has come out in favor of it, I somewhat support it. That leaves me in the do-nothing middle. Or rather, it did until I saw this commercial that aired in California:

Sorry foes, but demonizing my religion like that makes me extraordinarily happy that you lost. Now I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable US Supreme Court challenge.

3. More people voted in this election than ever before. That's a tribute to the way Obama's team played the game. If this was a traditional election, with your typical 50-55% turnout, McCain would have won. Obama did it by going against James Carville's advice and relying, in part, on the younger voters. That's incredible. He slaughtered McCain in urban centers (where Pennsylvania ultimately went for Obama was in Philly, where he beat McCain 4 to 1). He truly is an inspirational person, and that leads me to my next point:

4. The massive Obama crowds could be a very good sign or a very bad sign. I know what you're thinking, "how could those possibly be bad, Sorro?" Where I see them as a possible - possible - bad sign is that you typically have crowds like that surrounding charismatic leaders. I'm not saying that Obama is like this, but I am saying that historically crowds like those that gather for him are more worrisome than good because they're a form of shock trooper that could mobilize at a moment's notice to push society as a whole in a direction that it shouldn't be pushed. I can't emphasize enough that this may very well not be the case here, and indeed I hope that it's just a twinge of paranoia at something that hasn't been seen here in the US before, but at the same time there's a small chance that these massive crowds may not be the best sign.

5. McCain's concession speech was the best concession speech ever. His supporters were a bit uncouth and overshadowed in their magnanimity by Obama's supporters. Seriously, stop with the booing. Obama is our president and whether you voted for him or not, get your butt behind him. Disagree with him on issues, work to change the nation to what you feel is best, and send a clear message to everybody in the world that the US is united. I'm so sick of that kind of tenor in our politics. I know that we all contribute to it, and it's disappointing that our candidate of choice lost. Nevertheless, Obama is going to be a good president. I am confident in that. Whether our Congress will be good is another matter, but believe a little bit in the innate goodness that both candidates had. At any rate, back to McCain's speech. I loved it. It's that kind of McCain I wish we saw some more of. The McCain who spoke at the GOP convention and in this concession speech is a world away from the McCain of most of the campaign. That's why I supported him, because I knew that he would be this guy rather than campaign McCain in office. A class act by a man who loves this country more than most. If I were Obama, I would do one thing, and I'd do it right now. I would ask John McCain to be my SecDef. I fully expect a mostly Democratic cabinet, but I'd love to see some real bipartisanship in there, with more than your typical token other party representative.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Another Sweeping Generalization

This one is based on the people that I've seen on the news, which admittedly are going to be the most this way:

Utah Democrats are at least 50% more obnoxious than other Democrats.

I can only assume that 2 generations in the minority causes this.

Throughts From A Third

This was written by my friend Melissa, a person I consider to be extremely bright:

For generations, there has been a very particular Order of social and romantic interaction. Boy meets girl. They become friends. They go through a courtship. They get engaged. They get married. They move in together. They have sex. They have a family. This is the proper Order of things. There are a number of variations on this theme; different lengths of time for each step, different customs associated with each step, different rituals. But the Order has always remained constant. This Order of things is vitally important to foster and maintain committed, steady, loving, and enduring relationships and families. Those families, in turn, create stable societies.

Over the past century, individual agency and social movements have come together to sanction a rearrangement of this proper Order of things. Some couples choose to go straight from boy meets girl to having sex, which can result in an unwanted pregnancy and then pressure to wed. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think a one-night stand is something to build a marriage on. Some couples go from courtship to moving in together and having children and bypass the engagement and marriage steps all together. Some couples court and court and court without ever making any kind of commitment whatsoever. These rearrangements have done nothing but leave adversity and tragedy in their wake. At every step, people are doing things they aren’t ready for, leading to broken hearts and ultimately a detached and emotionless view of romance, relationships, and family. Such casualness is devastating to our nation’s social fabric, which is manifest is the rise of teen pregnancy and children born out of wedlock (“Teenage birth rate rises for first time since ’91,” New York Times, 12/6/2007), and the catastrophically high divorce rate (, all leading to the tragic breakdown of the family, and subsequently, of society.

Despite these horrible outcomes of our moral depravity, we seem insistent on continuing down this dangerous path. We have rearranged the steps in the Order in every conceivable way, but now, the very foundation of the Order is under siege. The initial step, where boy meets girl, has been warped to include alternatives: “girl meets girl” and “boy meets boy.”

There is currently an item up for vote before the citizens of California. If Proposition 8 were to pass, it would overturn the California Supreme Court ruling that a marriage between homosexual couples is legal and recognized by the State. The proposition would further define marriage in the California Constitution as being between only one man and one woman. As we consider the implications of this monumental proposal, we must first contemplate the institution of marriage.

There are many reasons a couple may decide to get married: legal, social, and economic stability, formation of a family unit, legitimizing of sexual relations, and a public declaration of love are chief among them. As we consider the legalization of gay marriage, I believe it necessary to check against this list.
1. Stability: Gay and lesbian couples already have the same healthcare and death benefits of married heterosexual couples.
2. Family Unit: Traditional procreation is impossible within a homosexual union. The reality of bearing children is unreachable. If God or science wanted same sexes to breed, it would have worked out that way. I am aware that adoption, surrogacy, and en vitro fertilization have offered homosexual couples an alternative route to a family. With that in mind, I assert that gender is an essential characteristic of individual identity and purpose. Men and women have different attributes and strengths that when combined in a family unit, contribute to the well-rounded rearing of children. The absence of a male father figure or female mother figure in the home leads to an unbalanced upbringing and distorts the children’s views of men and women and their proper roles in society.
3. Legitimizing Sexual Relations: This concept has religious underpinnings. The religions that have abstinence before marriage standards are the same religions that consider homosexual relationships to be a sin, thus making the legitimization of sexual relations a non-issue here.
4. Public Declaration of Love: There are as many ways to publicly declare love as there are sands in the sea. These declarations in no way have to involve a marriage license.

After carefully weighing this insight against my own experiences, something has become exceptionally clear. This issue and in particular this Proposition boils down to an issue of rights. According to the detractors, Proposition 8 in California would strip people of their fundamental right to marry. I searched high and low all over the Internet, and failed to find anything anywhere stating that homosexual couples had a right to marry. In reality, supporters of Proposition 8 aren’t taking any rights away from homosexual couples because they never had the right to marry in the first place. They want to be treated just like everyone else and have the same rights as everyone else, but they aren’t like everyone else. They have made a conscious decision to adopt an alternative lifestyle, and just like all choices, it has consequences, some that may be unpleasant. Perhaps I would rather live in a state that doesn’t have sales tax, like Oregon. I claim that I am just like those living in Oregon, except that I’m not. I don’t live within the boundaries of the state of Oregon. I have made a conscious decision to live in Utah, and thus, I don’t get to take advantage of the things in Oregon that I may like better. Likewise, homosexual couples have made the decision to live a homosexual existence and should not be able to cherry pick the rituals they like from the heterosexual one.

After further consideration, I concede that there may be something else at stake for the gay community. Legitimacy. Everyone – gay, straight, tall, short, fat, thin, black, white, and everything in between – seeks acceptance and understanding from their peers. The gay community wants to be able to stand up and say to the world they are just as mainstream as anyone else, and they want us to agree with them. They want us to validate and approve of their choice. Maybe that would make their lives somehow easier, if they could be different and still feel normal. Experts say that gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students have greater risk of dropping out of school, abusing alcohol and drugs, and attempting suicide (“Proposed high school for gays isn’t likely to open before 2012,” Azam Ahmed, Chicago Tribune, 9/11/2008). Those same experts claim these risks stem from harassment, volatility, and intolerance toward gay and lesbian students within the high school setting. I feel impressed to offer an opposing explanation. Living a life contrary to the proper Order of things will bring nothing but hardship and heartache, as previously stated. We get to choose the choices we make; we don’t get to choose their consequences. Mainstream society can coddle and placate the gay community until we’re rainbow in the face, but all that appeasement isn’t going to bring solace. No amount of litigation, legislation, or semantics can help someone come to terms with individual lifestyle choices and their consequences. Each must find that peace within themselves.

The proper Order of things is there for a reason. Following its steps gives us our best chance of achieving a successful relationship and loving family. Rearranging the steps has proved to be counterproductive to the progression of society and redefining those steps will be catastrophic. Any culturally observant individual can deduce where we’re headed; a direction that inspires worry, apprehension, and fear. I hope that society is bright enough to protect the Order, to protect marriage, and to protect the family. Vote YES on Proposition 8 in California.

Wall-to-Wall Election Coverage

This is Very Interesting

Read here...although who knows if he's wrong or right. We'll see starting...NOW!

EDIT: Thought I'd put in the most salient part of his analysis, about Pennsylvania becoming a McCain state. If this happens, I have to agree with him. I believe the polls more than he does, so I don't know that I can just discount everything and call it a day. Nevertheless, if McCain pulls this out it will be, without a doubt, the greatest political comeback in the history of this nation. He's left as roadkill twice and suddenly he's the president? That makes "Dewey Defeats Truman" look like an everyday occurrence.
Take to the bank, folks, Pennslyvania is turning red this election. I’ve been talking Pennslyvania for the last couple of election posts so might as well continue. Pennslyvania is the *special state* of this election, the state that everyone will be talking about after the election. In that regards, Pennslyvania is to 2008 as Florida is to 2000 and Ohio is to 2004.

The Electoral College is not a game of geographical Risk. States move in groups almost as if there is an elevation to them (with the national vote being the water level). For example, Obama winning Utah means a blowout in Nevada as Nevada is far more to the left than Utah is. In the same way, in order for New Jersey to go red, Pennslyvania has to be won by large margins as Pennslyvania is less blue than New Jersey.

A state cannot be plucked out of its group unless the vote is extremely close or the state is the home state of one of the candidates. What does this mean? Well, as the more common sense commentators say on that page is…

If Pennslyvania goes red, you can bet there is no Obama ‘landslide’. This means Montana stays red, Indiana stays red, Ohio stays red (if Ohio turns blue and Pennslyvania turns red, that would be obvious voter fraud as Ohio is five points to the right of Pennslyvania), North Carolina stays red, and likely Virginia, Colorado and Nevada do as well. But losing Pennslyvania points to a bigger problem in the Rust Belt and puts McCain in the possibility of picking up Iowa as well as Wisconsin and Minessota. In other words, if Pennslyvania goes red, it shows that the national vote is at a ’sea level’ where the more reddish states are safely red.

Election 2008

The big day is here after the longest political campaign ever. Can I plea with everybody involved to please, please hold off on the 2012 election until at least 2010? I'd prefer waiting until mid 2011, but this 4 year election we had this year is way too much, even for a political junkie like me. It doesn't give you any opportunity to let life happen if you run from one election to the next. As far as how I voted:
McCain (no surprise there)
Huntsman (ditto)
My wife (instead of Jason Chaffetz. I didn't feel that I could pull the lever for a Democrat in my current position in the Republican party, so I voted for a Republican candidate, just not the one that we as a group decided on. I couldn't bring myself to support the kind of smug campaign he ran on. Add his hatred of all illegal immigrants and that's just the cherry on top of the turd sundae.)

Take a look at the ongoing results thanks to the good folks at Google right here:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crazies in the Office II

I have had the same conversation with the same person at least 7 times in the past month. Allow me to quote it to you verbatim, as I've heard it enough I can remember it word for word.

Employee comes in my office (hereinafter E): I was wondering if you had any laptops for sale?
Sorro: I don't yet, but I have some that we will be refurbishing for sale here shortly.
E: Okay. Could you put me down on the list for one when they're ready?
S: Sure.
E: Are they going to be done in time for Christmas?
S: They should be, yes.
E: Okay, that's good. Because I'm going to get one for my grandson. Just something small.
S: I'll let you know when they're in.

Seriously, is there a glitch in the Matrix or something? I don't see how this whole conversation is somehow nondescript enough to forget this many times - and this is coming from someone who has a history of forgetting conversations (not 6 times, but certainly at least once).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild XIV

I love the wavy action spoilers. I don't know if that actually provides some sort of benefit other than looking like you're trying to hard?

Trib Gets Ghetto, Yo

I saw this headline in the Salt Lake Tribune today: One injured as special needs bus T-bones car.
I didn't realize that the Trib had decided to use slang terminology in their headlines now. I suppose that we're not too far from "Crip Arrested After Capping Two Mofos In The Hood."

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Biden Crazytalk

Here's a great SNL bit that extrapolates a bit more on what Joe Biden has recently said about Barack Obama's upcoming tests. Add Jack Murtha's ignorant comments, and you've got comedy gold.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some Friday Politics

First, according to this site, I should be allowed to vote.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 15/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

Second, here's a 30 sec clip of John McCain's parody of John Ashcroft back in 2002. I wish I had the whole clip and even moreso, I wish that we could see more of this McCain rather than strangely ineffective McCain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My E-Mail Conversation With John

Here are the first few installments of an ongoing email conversation I'm having with a John Birch society member (hereinafter referred to as John Birch). Take a read:
EDIT: This post is Pinter-play style...the newest is first, the oldest is last

The Founding Fathers set gold and silver coin as the money for this nation as they had already suffered through a paper-money inflation, that's where the term "not worth a continental" came from, so the Constitution only allowed the Federal government to "Coin" money, not to print paper, in fact it forbade the creation of such paper money. The Constituiton is the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND, and the creation of a Federal Reserve Banking cartel by congress is not authorized to the Congress by that law. If we don't enforce the Constitution, the compact between the states, then we have no Constitution and the Federation they created has become unlawful, so I'm not being nitpicky.

The same goes for the power to "declare war" which was given only to Congress. Yes, Presidents fought at times without a declaration of war as a response to an act of piracy for example. Presidents can always respond defensively when we've been attacked, but Iraq DID NOT ATTACK US. Plus, we're talking about a limited defensive response, not a full-scale war with a nation. Also, just because some presidents actually have exceded their authority concerning war doesn't excuse future or present presidents in usurping that same authority from Congress nor does it excuse Congress for abdicating their Constitutionally assigned power over war.

John Birch

From: Two Guys from Quantico
Sent: Thu 10/16/2008 6:49 PM
To: John Birch
Subject: RE: Opportunities to help
Sorry I haven’t responded until now, I was out of town on business. You’re right on the Constitution not giving authority to bail out private companies with federal funds, but I think that a situation like this is something the Founding Fathers never anticipated. You could also make the argument that the FDIC, the Fed, and even our national currency (being a fiat currency instead of one based on gold or silver reserves) are unconstitutional. I believe that the Constitution didn’t have much to do with our fiduciary system because it ultimately was something that wasn’t as important as the rest of the Constitution. At any rate Alexander Hamilton proceeded to change things around when he became the first Secretary of the Treasury anyway, creating a department that was the model for every other department in the future.
As far as the declaration of war issue, I feel that Congress’ authorization on the war is indeed in line with the Constitution as clarified by the War Powers Act of 1973. There is still Congressional oversight and it is actually more stringent a set of requirements than is laid forth in the Constitution. Whether the war should have happened or not is a completely different issue, as is whether we should finish mopping up after the war. I think that based on what we know now, the war shouldn’t have happened, nevertheless it did, and I think that our only responsible course of action is to continue to station our troops there until such a time as we can leave Iraq as a stable functioning nation. We have fought other nations without an official “Declaration of War” before, going all the way back to Thomas Jefferson’s and James Madison’s wars with the Barbary States in 1801 and 1815. If two of our founding fathers, including the principle writer of the document, thought that was enough, isn’t that at least enough of an endorsement from a Constitutionality perspective? You could even argue the constitutionality of the Civil War – if the states were supreme, didn’t they have a right to pull out of a union? What made them so subservient to a Federal government that suddenly was far more powerful than the Founders intended?
I absolutely agree with your belief that John McCain doesn’t interpret the Constitution exactly as I would have it interpreted, but few people do. At the same time, I can’t say that a man who endured 5 years of torture in Hoa La prison on behalf of this nation, it’s people, and it’s principles doesn’t revere the Constitution. If he didn’t, he would have sung like a bird to the NVA to allow him to be released. Instead, he stood up for this nation and suffered for it.


From: John Birch
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 8:31 PM
To: Two Guys From Quantico
Subject: RE: Opportunities to help

There's no authority in the Constitution to give bailouts to private companies using federal funds, yet McCain favors doing so, thus,he can't actually revere the Constitution. There was no declaration of war on Iraq, so the war is unconstitutional since a Congressional Declaration of war is required before a president executes a war, yet McCain favors the war and continuing this unconstitutional and thus illegal war. He can' revere the Constitution.

Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party Candidate for President does actually revere the Constitution and would bring our troops home from the middle east.

Sorro, actually some times we can't convince other of the truth about politics, but sometimes we can. Fact help people change their wrong opinons.


From: Two Guys from Quantico
Sent: Fri 10/10/2008 5:44 PM
To: John Birch
Subject: RE: Opportunities to help
I appreciate your candor. While I certainly agree that Mr. McCain isn’t the perfect candidate, I have a bit of a philosophical difference in that I think that while he certainly may make mistakes and is not my ideal candidate, he’s certainly better than Mr. Obama. The big difference is on the issue of judges. I think that Mr. Obama would get us liberal judges who would make laws for a generation whereas Mr. McCain would give us solid conservative justices like Justice Roberts and Justice Alito who would help protect our constitution. I don’t agree with all of his interpretations of it, but I do know that Mr. McCain has a strong reverence and love for the Constitution and our nation as well. I also prefer his stance in Iraq to Mr. Obama’s because whether we like the war or not, our job is to get out of there with a stable Iraq as opposed to leaving it vulnerable and making things far worse than they have been there or even than they were under Saddam Hussein.

Nevertheless, if there’s one thing I have learned in politics it’s that I can’t convince people that my beliefs are right and vice-versa. We’ll just agree to respectfully disagree.

Once again, thanks for the email and telling me some of your thoughts.


From: John Birch
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 3:43 PM
To: Two Guys from Quantico
Subject: RE: Opportunities to help

Thanks Sorro,
But, the Republican party has chosen a candidate I can't support, John McCain. McCain supported the socialistic and unconstitutional bailout of insolvent financial institutions, just like Obama,no difference. McCain is a member of the globalist Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that has worked for decades to bring about a new world order through the United Nations being empowered. McCain-Fiengold Finance Reform was the act that so injured freedom of speech and freedom of the press. McCain continues to support a war on Iraq that was begun unconstitutionally without a Congressional declaration of war, was fought under false pretenses, was an agression by our nation since Iraq had not attacked us, and was in support of United Nations Security Council Resolutions. I can never support such a man as John McCain who apparently cares nothing for the constitution, but favors the bailout, the war, and Democrat Fienstiens strippping of our essential Rights.

My Republican candidate for president, Congressman Ron Paul, lost the primary election, but, I can't support CFR operative John McCain any more than I would support Obama.

John Birch

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain Roasts Obama

Here's John McCain sending up Barack and his campaigns last night at a white tie dinner in New York. It's refreshingly funny. It's in 2 parts. I imagine Obama's will come up after you see the McCain videos. Take a look, especially if you're sick of this election.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Picture of a Picture

Today we had Bill Clinton as our keynote speaker.  As you'd expect, the room was packed.  As you'd also expect, people were taking pictures of President Clinton.  As you wouldn't expect, they were taking pictures like this - Bill Clinton on a big screen.  My question is why don't they just take a picture of Clinton or other celebrities on their TVs?  Isn't this the same thing?

Just an Observation

If you're not paying enough attention that you don't just kind of trip over someone's computer cord, but you actually pull it out of their computer (this isn't a MacBook MagSafe plug here), then proceed to spend 30 seconds untangling it from your flip flops, you may want to, as a courtesy, give it back to the person you yoinked it from.  When you walk around mumbling what kind of jerk would plug into a wall instead, it makes you look like the jerk.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike

I swear that I came up with this idea before Bill Kristol did in his editorial today in the New York Times.  I actually was talking with my wife about it back before the second McCain-Obama debate.  I still think it's a good idea.  McCain needs to go for broke, and the best way to do that is barnstorm the heck out of the nation and have it televised.  He should be buying half hour blocks, or even 2 minute commercial blocks and showing the best pieces of his last town hall meeting.  I'd like to see him get back to being the candidate McCain from New Hampshire who went for broke and got out there and barnstormed swing states and got his campaign back out there and turned things around.  Just disassemble most of the stuff and get out there and talk to people.  I wouldn't be surprised to see things swing back his way because I think that to some degree Americans are done with being coddled, and that's what this campaign has become is a coddle-fest.  Get the straight talk express out there and visible and that could change things for you.

The New American Dream

Apparently the American dream is to live in subsidized housing. I didn't know that...I always thought it was life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nevertheless, I just sat at a panel of 6 seniors who told me that that was the case. Does anyone want to edit the founding documents of the country to reflect that.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fort Lauderdale Convention Center Carpet

I'm in Florida this week and I have to say it's hot and muggy and they make you show your ID to get into it.  That's all mental.  However, I think that Mickel will be quite happy with the "quality" of the carpet here:
This is their "ocean" motif.  I think it looks like a toddler's finger painting or a Van Gogh goghn wrong.
This is their palm motif in the rooms.  This looks like someone vomited blood over a forest floor.  Are you more happy with your theory now?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Why We Needed the Bailout

SNL hit the nail on the head with our current economic problems...too bad that we'll never hear that it's our fault for abdicating all responsibility and blaming banks and "predatory lenders" when times got tough. Nope, it can't be our fault, we're just doing what we're told and then feeling like victims when our schemes don't work out.

My Approximated Running Meeting Diary

10:00 AM: We gather. As a refresher, the members of the team are:
Jorge Posada
Alex Rodriguez
Derek Jeter
Robinson Cano
Jason Giambi.
Giambi is out this week in another office. We're actually getting more and more on time, which is a HUGE deal for this group. We have a couple of the latest people in the world on our team.
10:10 AM: Forro foolishly walked into a trap. We've got a player in the minors (let's call him Phil Hughes) who Jeter is really pushing to bring up to the big leagues. Forro and I think that he's good, but we've got to hold on on it and let him earn his way up rather than just saying "there you go." Posada, in all his infinite yes-mannity, is going along with whatever Jeter says because Jeter said it. "Well, you're the team captain, so I'm going to plant my lips firmly on your rear end and it will take the Jaws of Life to remove them." Meanwhile, Cano is having a conversation on his phone. Because, you know, it's not like he should be actively engaged in our meeting or anything.
10:20 AM: Cano decides that his phone call is more important than everything else that we need to discuss in our meeting and he does this by putting the employee he was talking with on speakerphone and proceeding to hash out the issue of "what do we do, we have competitors!" with the help of the entire management team. It's at precisely this point I gave up on trying to stear the meeting in any sort of productive direction and instead I did some work and blogged.
11:15 AM: A-Rod decides to get our lawyer on the phone to hash out some more of this having competitors issue. Seriously, you'd think we were a monopoly or something. At any rate, he gets her on the phone and proceeds to give her the long and the short of the conversation (his words), which meant, of course, the long of the conversation along with some commentary, heresay, and conjecture.
11:30 AM: After a 15 minute (billable) conversation, we hang up with the lawyer, Cano calls back the hibbity-dibbity employee, and I finalize a trade in my fantasy football league. I think that the most productive thing that's happened so far in this meeting is indeed the finalization of that trade.
12:20 PM: We finally finish with all of this ridiculous time wastage and get back to business. At this point, we get back to the agenda and get back to Posada pretending that he's actually a valuable member of the team. He shows this value by saying that he will "help people with this" and/or regurgitating things that we talked about months ago and presenting them as fresh ideas that he somehow came up with.
12:40 PM: Posada pulls a rabbit out of his hat! He is talking about how some of his people are auditing things that my people should be auditing in a ridiculous attempt to get a leg up on me. I counter with the fact that we had a meeting 2 months ago wherein I talked specifically about that issue and he and his people said straight up that they had to audit that. They get first crack at the documents so I said that they could and we all told my people not to re-audit what his people were auditing. His parting line after I told him this? "Well, it would be good to go over that again with your people." What I wish I could have said? "How about you shut your big yapper!"
1:10 PM: We get out, and only about an hour late. Even though we've had longer meetings, time-wise, I can't think of any single meeting that has been as annoying as this one was. I think the reason is because we actually had good meetings there for a while.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild XIII

This was a spoiler that I loved enough to do 95 on the freeway to catch up to.   Normally an Acura NSX with a spoiler would be a non-issue, but a spoiler that is actually higher than the roof combined with the ghetto faux racing paint job made this a definite winner.

Off The Rails

I'm sitting here in our management meeting and you may notice that I haven't done a running meeting diary for a while.  The main reason for that is because I've been running them and also because they have gotten better.  At any rate, today it's spiraled completely out of control and there wasn't one thing I could do about it.  I should have known that it was too good to last forever.  Right now I'm anticipating a 5 pm end time based on the tangents/unnecessary addition of random people into the mix for absolutely no reason at all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Quantico Basketball Association

Anyone up for some fantasy basketball? I'm going to set up a league this year, so if you're interested in smack talk and something to put on your resume, send me an email at to join the QBA! Let me know within the next week or so so we can get the draft set up and be ready on opening day.

The Opposite

My mom called me a few days ago to ask for some investment advice. Apparently someone told her that she should move into precious metals to hedge against an inflationary currency. Specifically the advice was to go buy silver coins. Not to move around actual money in the markets or anything, just go spend hard earned dollars on silver coins. At this point in the conversation, I immediately knew who it was.
I have an uncle who is seemingly behind the curve on every single investment. In the days after both September 11 and Hurricane Katrina he was leading the hysteria with his cries of $4.00/gallon gas. Of course, he ended up being right...but not in the time frame that he clearly meant (i.e. within a month). I asked her if that was the case and she said it was. I said that first of all, that was bad advice because the dollar is actually increasing in value right now (up to where 1€ buys $1.35 as of 8 am) and commodities are all feeling that pressure - oil is down from $150/barrel to $90/barrel, gold is down from over $1000/oz to $870/oz and silver is down from a high of nearly $20/oz to $12/oz.
I suppose that if you want to lose money, you'd go into silver, and I told her that if she was going to insist on buying precious metals to go to gold and to buy it on the market rather than through a coin dealer. Nevertheless, I don't know if she's going to listen to me because for some reason, even though he's been wrong so often, she listens to my uncle. I really just should do the opposite of what he does and I'd be fine as long as he's still investing.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Republicrats and Those Who Elect Them

1. Meet Republicrat Nominee Sean Masterson
1. Meet Republicrat Nominee Sean Masterson

I came across this thanks to the Wall Street Journal and isn't it the truth? A candidate can't tell you something you don't want to hear without paying the piper. Take for example the boondoggles that are promised every 4 years. Stop with the promising! Tell me that we're in trouble and the fact is that we have to cut Social Security for people my age because we just can't afford it. Tell me that it's the fault of the American people that we're getting foreclosed on. It's not lenders - it's us for not taking responsibility for our finances. Don't take away the principle payment or decrease it for people who bought way too much house - that's like going to a BMW dealership, buying the car, then having BMW come up and take that loan away. What happened to responsibility? When did we become a nation of shirkers? When did we become so sensitive that when Phil Gramm said we were a nation of whiners and suffering a mental recession, he was dead on. What happened? McCain had to call him on the carpet for speaking a harsh truth. The fact is that we are and we need to hear that once in a while. It's like the kids who get a trophy in Little League for showing up. How about some rewards for the winners and nothing for the losers? Otherwise, we end up being fat, happy, complacent, and utterly worthless.
That train-of-thought rant aside, take a look at the video.

VP Debate

I watched the Vice Presidential debates last night, and I fell asleep. I think that's as good a review as any from me. Neither candidate was bad, although I take offense that Biden doesn't think that increasing taxes on "the rich" isn't class warfare - it isn't fair, not that that matters, that someone who makes more money has to pay a higher percentage of that to the government. Nevertheless, neither candidate was so atrocious nor so enthralling that I didn't end up snoring away next to my wife.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What Part of NO Don't You Understand?

There is an office furniture salesman (we'll call him Lem) who has come around my office probably 15 times over the past two years. Every time, he's asked for me. Because of the vagaries of the fact that I have a job that keeps me pretty busy, I've never been able to meet with him. Every time that he's come, I've asked our secretary to tell him to give me a call or send me an email and I would be happy to set up an appointment to meet with him. He never has done that. Instead, like some sort of crazy person, he insists on stopping by again and again and again.
It finally got to the tipping point with Lem this past week. He stopped by Monday and I gave him the same spiel that I have every other time...I'm busy, call and I'll be happy to get an appointment with you (through the secretary, of course). So he finally did call, but I didn't listen to his message until he had already stopped by the day after he called. Then, he stopped by again that afternoon. Never have we talked or have I set up a time to talk with him. I'd still set something up with him, but it would be to ask him the following questions:
1. Do you really think that somehow this time is going to be different when the prior 15 times haven't been?
2. Do you think I'm actually going to buy anything from you when you don't care to listen to me when I tell you call for an appointment? It's not like you could have forgotten that, what with me telling you it over and over and over again. Write it on the business card that you picked up - "call for appointment." It's not hard to make a good first impression, but you've failed miserably before I've even met you.
3. What salesman school did you go to where they told you to keep stopping by and ignoring the customer's wishes?
4. Do you like wasting your time going someplace without that appointment when you could take a few minutes to call and then go over at the appointed time? I think that if you added up all the wasted time from stopping by and getting rejected over the past 2 years you could probably have seen a baseball game by now. It's certainly the cheaper option, what with gas prices being what they are.
5. Are you indeed mental, or do you just seem that way?

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Is Surprising How?

I was at Las Vegas Airport this week when I saw People Magazine drop its latest bombshell: Clay Aiken is gay.  Who will they out next?  Dumbledore?  Nathan Lane? 
I have to say that this is the least surprising revelation from this bastion of journalism since their exclusive with Adolf Hitler.

The Root of the Problem

This is a nice video that explains what caused the housing market problems that are threatening our economy right now. The author takes a bit too much of an anti-Democrat stance, but nevertheless, he gets right to the point: these failures are a direct result of the government pushing home ownership at all costs, to the detriment of the nation as a whole. It's why I am of mixed mind about the bailout idea. Because of my libertarian mindset, I think it's ridiculous, but at the same time they caused it as much or more than these other companies, so they should fix it. I would say that part of that fix involves that correction that gets people out of homes if they can't afford it instead of allowing the rest of society to prop them up, but that won't win elections and is thus very unfeasible.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Awesome Ad

My wife was listening to the radio here in Vegas and heard an ad for a strip ("gentlemen's") club.  Their tag line?
"At Bada Bing, we take care of your thing."  While I'm not a fan of the club, that's awesome right there.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is This The End of Candidate McCain?

While I hate to write off my preferred candidate for President, the whole economic mess we're in at the moment certainly doesn't bode well for John McCain.  Let me just say that while I think he is the comeback kid, and he's come back from worse (for example, trimming his campaign down to the bare bones and somehow coming back from the dead to win the GOP nomination), I really think if these trends continue, it will make it even more difficult for a Republican to become president.  That doesn't mean it's impossible, just highly improbable.  You didn't hear it here first, but I will concede what should be conceded...the Wall Street mess is most likely the last nail in John McCain's coffin.  That didn't stop Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, or the Mummy though.  Nevertheless, none of them were down by 4 points in the Gallup running poll, fighting the specter of President Bush, and running against an historic candidate (both in experience level and in the fact that he's an amazing speaker...oh yeah, and he's a minority) for the Presidency of the United States.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random New Sidebar Element

I just saw this sidebar element pop up and so I added it. Near as I can tell it acknowledges you as someone who follows this blog and perhaps links back to you. Yeah...I can't really think of anything else that it does. Nevertheless, become a groupie. Everyone who's anyone is doing it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Entrance Theme

One of the things that I loved at the Indians game I went to was intro music.  That got me thinking about what I wanted to have as my intro music.  While I won't have a flunky walking around with me with a boom box or something, it'd be somewhat cool as long as I didn't get Peter Griffined.  I'm still completely undecided on this, which is why I started the post back after the Indians game and haven't finished it yet.  Let's turn this out to the public.  We could also use the ringtone test.  Would this be a rocking ringtone if I called you?
  • No words.  Words are fine in some senses, but I think I'd prefer a cool instrumental.  Vocalizations that aren't necessarily words count towards no words.
  • It has to be cool.  I don't want to get stuck with something ridiculous like the Forrest Gump theme (ridiculous from a theme for me perspective, not from an actual theme music perspective).
  • Villain themes need not apply.  Sorry, I'm not Darth Vader.
  • Iconic.  I want something that's memorable enough for people to start humming it if they're like my wife and get songs stuck in their heads all day.  Of course, if it's too iconic, it's known for the movie.  I'll use Chariots of Fire for the example here.
  • A good short clip - an entrance theme doesn't work if you've been in the room for 10 minutes and it's still playing.  I'm thinking 30 seconds of music, max.
Some possible choices:
"Gladiator Waltz" from Gladiator, specifically around 7.29-7.38
The Enzyte theme.  Sorry, this just rocks even if it's comedic.
"Burn it All" from Backdraft...from 0.00-0.37
The Contender (TV Show) main theme...from 0.15-0.46
"Roll Tide" from Crimson Tide 2.03-2.27
"A Dark Knight" from The Dark Knight 1.55-2.30
"Battle Without Honor or Humanity" from Kill Bill (you'd have to mix this around a bit to get it to fit how I'd want it)
"Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions (the instrumental opening)
Do you have any other suggestions or votes for any of these keeping in mind my criteria?
Most of these can be listened to over at Napster Free, so if you feel the urge, help me choose my theme song.  Thanks!

Spoilers Gone Wild XII

This was just outside of Albertson's yesterday - a classic rice rocket if I've ever seen one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Corporate Welfare State

Over the past couple of weeks there has been a massive shift in the US markets.  The Federal Government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest home mortgage lenders in the market.  Then on top of that they bailed out AIG yesterday to prevent its bankruptcy.  Meanwhile, they stood on the sidelines and allowed Lehman Brothers to enter Chapter 11.  The interesting thing about that there are a lot of interesting things. 
First and foremost is the US government's increasing role in the private market.  They have an 80% equity stake in AIG, one of the world's largest insurers.  They control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and therefore most mortgages in this nation.  That is a massive surge in US involvement in the free market.  Suddenly we're looking like Italy.  They're busy tossing taxpayer money into a bottomless pit called Alitalia all for the prestige of having a national airline.  The Italian government has done this in the past, but this is the most ridiculous prestige project they could worry about...having Alitalia be Italian doesn't help anybody.  At the same time, the US is propping up companies that are significant parts of the economy.  If Fannie, Freddie, or AIG failed, it would be a shock that wouldn't just reverberate around the US, but around the world.
Second is the massive change in economic concerns that we are seeing.  Just a month ago we were concerned about inflation.  Now it's deflation.  While the Fed has kept rates the same (at what was certainly an inflationary level before the oil spike deflated), it's done a few things.  One is that it didn't help the housing bubble to ease - it popped, and even a Fed Funds rate at 0 wouldn't have helped.  Private lenders' rates are what matters, and there hasn't been a good correlation between those rates and the Fed rate since the Fed started easing it to prevent the popping of the mortgage bubble.  Companies saw decreasing land values and credit on those loans dried up.  Of course, there's still the matter of all those securitized mortgages floating around.  They've killed several small banks, Fannie, Freddie, Bear Stearns, Lehman, Merrill Lynch, and AIG.  Washington Mutual seems to be close to failing, and Wachovia may not be far behind.  I think that we still might have a few shocks left, and we could be in for some Japanese-style general malaise.  That's not to say that we'll be standing in bread lines and looking for fruit picking jobs like The Grapes of Wrath, but there will be discontent, some general malaise, and stock market losses.  Of course, at the same time, banks and other companies are writing these losses off much quicker than they did in Japan, so perhaps we'll get through the pain and get back to business.  One thing the government has shown is that they won't allow everything to go down the tubes for the sake of staying out of the market.  That's a good thing and a necessary thing.  Fortunately we do get collateral for our investments and hopefully they will turn a profit like the airline bailout in 2001 did.  Nevertheless, I do expect some more shocks before this is all over.  Now that housing and oil have burst...what's the next investment that will?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild X and XI

Forro takes a look at the spoler on the back of this Civic.  In case you didn't notice that it was, in fact, a Honda it spells it out for you on the front windshield.  It also has a large Honda logo on the back windshield.  As Superintendent Chalmers says, "why would you drive a Honda if you can't show it off?"

This Subaru WRX does have something going for it - it's the GTI edition, so it's got some extra power under the hood...that makes the first spoiler almost acceptable.  The problem is that it has that second spoiler at the top of the windshield.  That's just uncalled for on any vehicle.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Awesome IT Tale

It's stories like this that turn IT people into Nick Burns, I swear.  So I'm walking past her desk and an employee asks me "What's my e-mail address?"  She asks me this even though she's been using e-mail for years with us and should know her own e-mail address better than I.  I told her and she promptly asked me again.  I repeated the answer, spelling it out for her.  She then asked me if she needed capital letters or not.  I said that it didn't matter, either way would get it to the right place.  I found out later that she asked one of my support people to help her with her e-mail address a scant 5 minutes later.  Am I being picky, or is that the height of idiocy?

Spoilers Gone Wild VI, VII, VIII, IX

These are from my sister Troy who has taken to looking for spoilers at every opportunity.  Here are 3 that she came across:

The Dodge Neon - I think this is factory installed, which is somewhat against my general Spoilers Gone Wild rule, but you need this on a Neon?
The ever-popular Mitsubishi Lancer spoiler is seen here, but without the typical glass pack or mismatched paint job.
Spoilers like this have no business on the Ford Focus, even with Ford itself saying that the Focus is their tuner car.  It's only a tuner car if you're a complete square.
Finally Troy got me this bright orange spoiler on a bright orange Mitsubishi Eclipse.  Not only does the driver have to draw attention to his car with the color, but also with the whole "I'm taking up 2 lanes" driving style he's using.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild V

Nothing says "Mid-life Crisis" like putting a spoiler on a minivan.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spoilers Gone Wild IV

Mid 90's Honda?  Check.
Mismatched paint job?  Check.
Lowered suspension?  Check.
Ridiculously large touring wing on a vehicle that doesn't need it?  Check.

Friday, September 05, 2008

McCain's Big Speech

I'm curious about other people's opinions about McCain's big speech, because I thought it was great.  I don't know if I'm in the majority or not though.  6 hours of windbags from every cable channel imaginable haven't cleared the fog, so I'm looking elsewhere.  Of course, I didn't have high expectations - McCain's not that good of a "speechificator," so showing up and not devouring the Code Pink demonstrators might have been above expectations for me.  Here, in convinient list form, is what I thought:
The Good
  • His personal story.  Certainly it's more compelling than any candidate since Bob Dole (although Dole never really shared his), and perhaps even moreso.  A young punk turned patriot from 5 years in a North Korean gulag?  You can't beat that
  • His change message.  Here's why I believe him.  I know he's tacked right on a lot of issues since he's been running, but there are a few things that get me to believe that this is more of the McCain that I know from his years in the Senate.  He didn't just spill Democratic blood out there at the podium, he also tossed knives at the GOP for being big spending, big government, me first morons as well.  I loved that.  I loved it because it's absolutely true.  That's why the Republicans lost in 2006 more than any other issue.  If you've got a Republican and a Democrat and both are Democrats in a lot of the ways that matter, why vote for the Republican?  They promised to sweep Washington with the broom of reform, but instead they got government bigger and spent all our money on ridiculous pet projects.  I think my favorite line was where McCain said that he'd veto the first pork-laden bill to cross his desk, and then he'd let us all know exactly what pork was in there and who it was for.
  • His general ideas.  Those are all things that I can get behind.
The Bad
  • McCain's not a great public speaker.  He did okay, but just okay in that respect.  It was better than expected, but worse than a really good orator.
  • The green screen behind him.  Seriously, those screens didn't work too well in my opinion.  Give me a little more visual punch!
  • His general ideas.  The key word there is general.  They were somewhat specific, but not really specific.  I'd have liked some more fleshing out and less Clintonesque "I feel your pain."
The Ugly
  • Code Pink.  All you did was make McCain seem more level-headed and sympathetic.  Bravo, my friends.  Bravo.

Jesus Is More Than Alright With Them

Thanks to Scott at Spiritual Tramp for pointing this video out.  Here's an amazing 80s tune from a band called Sonseed.  The real question is if it is better than the Swedes.  I say the video definitely isn't...but the song might be:

Jesus is my friend by "Sonseed" from Peleg Top on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's a Whalin'

From The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid:
The Sara Palin speech generated 37.2 million viewers, just a 1.1 million viewers short of Barak Obama’s record-breaking speech on Day 4 of the Democratic Convention. The Palin speech was carried on only six networks while the Obama speech was carried on ten (including BET, TV One, Univision and Telemundo).
I have to say that's pretty impressive.  It also show's McCain was shrewder than I would've thought with this pick, thorough vetting or not.  Whether this translates to a poll bump is another question all together.

Another nice piece from the WSJ's Best of the Web:

But the mystery of the "community organizer's" job description was solved this morning, when an Obama campaign email, signed by the delightfully named David Plouffe, popped into our inbox. It is worth quoting at length:
I wasn't planning on sending you something tonight. But if you saw what I saw from the Republican convention, you know that it demands a response.  I saw John McCain's attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign.  But worst of all--and this deserves to be noted--they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.  You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together. Make a donation of $5 or more right now to remind them.  Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.  Let's clarify something for them right now.  Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.  And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.
That's right--community organizing consists of helping elect Barack Obama president! This fits right in with Obama's claim, noted here yesterday, that he is more qualified to be president than Palin is to be vice president because, whereas she has run a mere town, he has run a campaign for himself.
The community Barack Obama has organized is, in Plouffe's own telling, the community of those who admire Barack Obama. He is mayor of Obamaville and aspires to be president of Barackistan. At the center of it all is a man who, like Hans Christian Andersen's naked emperor, may or may not believe that his veneer of accomplishment is real.
I don't necessarily think that Obama's accomplishments are less than Palin's (after all, they're on two different scales of accomplishment), but the email from Obama's campaign and James Taranto's response are gold.

Spoilers Gone Wild II and III

Here are two more examples snapped while I've been out and about.  The Subaru isn't ridiculous in that it is a rally car (the WRX).  It is ridiculous in that it is humongous.
The Mazda Protege actually doesn't look too bad with a spoiler, it's more ridiculous that it's on a Protege.  It's a car that's a lot of things, but one of those things isn't needing a spoiler.

McCain's Veep Pick

No catchy title here, but since I was traveling and out of town over the weekend when McCain announced that Sarah Palin was his Vice Presidential running mate.  First of all, I was shocked.  I couldn't believe that he would choose someone with as little experience when he'd been pounding experience on Obama for months.  At first glance, I saw a pick that was designed to try to exploit the Hillary/Obama gap and little else. 
Now that the dust has settled a bit, I see her as a pick that aims to do something else entirely.  She isn't here to get independents or women necessarily...she's a pick who's there to mollify the conservative base.  That's been one of McCain's consistent problems this entire election cycle - the right doesn't trust him.  Sure, he's saying the right things, but we all know that talk is cheap.  He's been around Washington too long and done too much for people to say "this new McCain is Bush lite."  It's one reason why I think Obama's lines about how a McCain presidency is a 3rd Bush term is ridiculous.  Everybody knows John McCain and he's no George Bush.  At any rate, Sarah Palin is an unknown with solid conservative credentials and a rock solid conservative record.  She has the reformer/crusader credentials for McCain but the social credentials for the base. I think the moment that I decided McCain made this move for his base was when Glenn Beck said that this was the pick that would get him to pull the lever for McCain.  He might get some women voters, but he's solidified his voters which allows him to tack to the center for the remainder of the election.
One other advantage of Palin: she can beat the crap out of Obama and Biden and if they hit back, they'll look like schmucks.  This wasn't the case with Hillary, but with Palin you can't hit her hard.  You can stomp on McCain's face and it's all politics, but the minute you pull out something like the word shrill (what Harry Reid called her speech last night), you've got every single woman in the media running to her defense, despite the fact that she just eviscerated them too.  That's a powerful defense, even if it's ridiculous.
Can I also say that I really like McCain's campaign slogan ("Country First")?  I think that McCain has personified this (even if he's wrong at times) and I love seeing someone who cares more about the country than their political career.  Not that just because he has this slogan it makes it so, but I think that that's absolutely how he feels.