Friday, December 18, 2009

Comment on Comments

The free lunch is over. Haloscan is converting their blog comment & trackback service from free to a paid for service. I say "bye-bye"!

In the meantime, comments are closed until I figure out what code I took out to install the Haloscan commentary & trackback system.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Brown County ZZ

Drive it with caution. I used to drive Brown County ZZ on a regular basis but have not been on it for sometime.

Brown County ZZ is a very picturesque road that winds it way generally in a north — south direction. The road is very curvy and sits very close to the Fox River. Back when I drove the road, if the weather was questionable I would avoid the road taking an alternate route. Usually that was no big deal because it was usually at night so the scenery was not apparent.

Here is why I avoid this road if conditions are questionable.

The Great Snow Dump

We are at the front end of our first big snow dump of this current winter season. I escorted The Empress home from work (I tailed her) and I talked her through it via our bluetooths and cell phones. She did fine, though I had to push a bit (she was reluctant to drive).

Now were the roads bad? Not so much in Appleton, even though a lot of people claimed otherwise. The roads & conditions demand respect right now. Respect translates into low acceleration (which in my mind includes -- speeding up, slowing down, and turning -- i.e. any change in velocity), lots of distance between the vehicles around you, and anticipating stops and turns.

Being the first significant snowfall of the year there are bound to be a lot of fender benders. We'll see lots of smashed headlight, signal light, and tail light reflectors on the road.

One thing the authorities always say is stay in unless you have to go out, well, that is always a good idea. However, I would be okay with going out in this weather even in the Impala, at least until the snow starts to pile up then I would take the suburban out.

I intend to stay in this evening sitting next to the Empress near our fireplace.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mara Liasson, Juan Williams, FNC, & NPR

Mara Liasson makes regular appearances (and so too Juan Williams also from NPR) on the Fox News All Star Segment of Brett Baier's Special Report. I like the regular appearance of both commentators on the segment.

However, this story points out that NPR is very uncomfortable with their stars appearing on FNC and is trying to get Liasson and Williams to cease appearing on FNC. Liasson only appears on The All Stars but the Politico story I link to notes that Juan Williams makes regular appearances on The O'Reilly Factor (a show I rarely watch) and even guest hosts The O'Reilly Factor.

Fortunately, neither is obligated to heel to NPR's wishes on this matter. Even more interesting is NPR notes the Whitehouse war on FNC is influencing their discussions with Williams and Liasson. However, the story notes that the Whitehouse is claiming victory in its war against FNC.

I do not believe NPR, I believe Whitehouse pressure on them spurred this move.

Bravo to Williams and Liasson for giving NPR the raspberry on this!


Friday, December 04, 2009

Old Obama Had a Farm

With a whack whack here and a whack whack there here a whack there whack everywhere a whack whack -- Old Obama had a farm e-i e-i e-i-OH S#!+ there goes my job.

Actually not mine. However this is probably the worst week in terms of job loss with respect to people close to myself. A former UAE colleague and his department got shut down (and from his reports very unceremoniously let go), my cousin and a colleague (a friend) of hers and their department got shut down too this week. Funny thing is my cousin's colleague survived downsizing when her outfit shut down that location -- however she had to move here to keep her job (however, she does like it here -- cheaper living) six months later WHACK!

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It is not Ethanol it is Welfanol

There is a store no simple market,
between the Tech and the Subway,
and if you go no woman may follow,
Fleet Farm is meant for men alone!

Kidding aside, I have started going to Fleet Farm's gas station. At first, it was for the discount but very quickly I noticed something. Recently a buddy told me he goes to Fleet Farm for his fuel too, noting Fleet Farm's 87 octane fuel is ethanol-free! Now, he is a small engine freak and says even E10 is hard on small engines and their components.

My Suburban was getting roughly 15 mpg when it is rated at about 17 mpg. However, after switching to Fleet Farm gas I am now get close to 18 mpg! That is a 20% improvement for no extra cost. So, on a 25 gallon fill I can range about 450 instead of 375.

Sometime ago I did the numbers on E85 versus E10 and noticed a decrease in mileage that was not offset by the E85 prices. In fact, the cost is higher considering one needs to stop and fuel up more often. If I can get E0 for just as much as E10, guess which one wins? In fact, access to E0 and the 4 cent coupon are affecting my shopping patterns and this program is pulling some of my business from Menards!

I am interested in minimizing my cents per mile -- plain and simple. Any other result is a waste of money. The only possible benefit is ethanol increases the demand for corn which helps out my friends and neighbors. However ethanol, despite heavy governmental subsidies ethanol is too expensive. Even E85 is overpriced (it should be about 25% cheaper than E10) at most stations and only one station in my area approaches a reasonable price. The Kwik Trip off of College Avenue near HWY 41 practices thievery in its E85 prices.

Ethanol has a place in our energy supply but what we currently have is welfanol and I say just say no to welfanol.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Family Album of the Maquindanao Massacre

I am on an a Filipino mailing list. The focus of the list is the hometown of The Empress.

I do not pay the list too much attention but from time to time there is an item we look at. I took a look today and found a number of e-mails with the subject: GRABE OI!!!! PHOTOS FROM THE MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE. I interpret "Grabe OI" roughly as "OMG", it isn't but it signifies serious shock.

Now, I have had my hand in death at least animal death. I've shot and gutted birds and I've caught and cleaned fish. However, I ordered my e-mail client to load images. I then scrolled down.

The first and only image I gazed upon was of a person I had to gaze a bit to put the pieces together. Then it came into focus, I was looking at a head caked in mud. The head was butterflied open and an eyeball was apparent and very much out of place. I did not lose my cookies or anything but I quickly got out of that e-mail, put the laptop down, and walked away.

I am conflicted about looking at the rest and further conflicted about saving them or to let them purge out of the folder they are in when the time comes.

One thing my psychology 101 professor talked about was human cognitive development. She noted infants (can not recall what age) work on out of sight, out of mind. Images such as the one above informs me that out of sight out of mind is not just for infants. To bury that poor wretch does not change facts or the truth it just obscures it, puts it out of mind.

The large speculative finger points at the Ampatuan clan as the perpetrators and they attempted to bury their participation along with the dead in those pits and pin the blame on the MILF whom the Ampatuans helped the central Filipino government fight against.

Here is the Wiki entry on the massacre.

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The Tiger Hunt

Tiger Woods is human after all.

Yes, I am sure I am not the first to make that observation. However, I am not at all interested in his affairs and his marital problems. On the other hand, when the inevitable discussion about his fading (this is a discussion that is not yet started) golf skills starts that is one I will listen to and perhaps participate in.

This fascination we have the personal lives of celebrities is something worth talking about. Celebrities are often set up as larger than life as infallible and when they fail we need to talk about it. To some extent I think some of that talk and focus is due to a crabby mentality that people see Tiger failing at something and harumphing over that.

Another aspect is a desperate attempt to connect ourselves to him. We want to know as much about the celebrities we admire because we would like to become acquainted with them and would like the opportunity to become their friends. Most of us will never become "friends" with Tiger Woods so we do the next best thing, we try to know as much about him as possible. A lot of money is made in publishing and selling fan magazines and this fascination with Tiger's problems should be taken to mean this phenomena is not limited to children or teens.

However, there is an irony in this. If a person starts to pry into your affairs what is your reaction? It is to become offended and accuse them of prying and perhaps of being a gossip. The golden rule states do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So, this is my approach on the Tiger Woods affair(s). It is none of my business and while I hope him and his wife can patch things up I am not going to follow the story. In short, I'ld sooner watch The History Channel's UFO Files than ESPN's coverage of the Tiger affair.

Of course, some will point out Tiger's celebrity earns him millions and that he needs to understand with those earnings comes life in a fish bowl.

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