Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Speaking of Iowa...

This amuses me:

One line that landed a little flat, though, was when Mr. Obama sympathetically noted that farmers have not seen an increase in prices for their crops, despite a rise in prices at the supermarket.

“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” the senator said. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”

The state of Iowa, for all of its vast food production, does not have a Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic foods market. The closest? Omaha, Minneapolis or Kansas City.

Who needs Whole Paycheck Foods when you can buy arugula and other produce direct from the grower at a farmer's market, a CSA, or a stand by the side of the road (where I got my tasty tasty sweet corn)? You pay less, the grower gets more money...and in Iowa, there's even a system for vendors to accept food stamps.

Not quite as ignorant as John F'n Kerry's proposal to abolish the USDA, since he was ignorant that even Massachusetts has agriculture; just another pol who has no idea how real people live.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Welcome back, Iowa's 133rd!

Drove back to Iowa last Friday for my class reunion (less said about that the better...). As soon as I crossed the Mississippi, there were signs, banners, marquees, writing on cars, and even radio ads offering free dinners to welcome back the 133rd from an extended deployment in Anbar province, Iraq. I mean extended; according to the complimentary copy of the Des Moines Register in my hotel room Sunday, they were deployed longer than any American unit since WWII.

After over a year of living in Milwaukee, it felt good to see people actually support the troops.

And get some decent sweet corn.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cat kills people, gets treats

Looks like a sweetie, but looks are deceiving...

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

Oscar the cat doesn't like to be put out in the hall when a patient is dying.


After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

Let's look at this more closely:

Cat visits people.

People die.

People assume the cat has magical feline intuition.

Give me a break! How do they know he's not doing something to hasten the deaths of the patients??? The only thing cats think about more than murder is food. I'm allowed to live only because I can work doorknobs and can openers, and if I ever stop I'm the cat's next dinner. We all know who's in charge of that nursing ward, and it ain't the nurses.

People think they're way more important to plants and animals than they actually are.

Gotta go, someone just brought me his feather-onna-string.

SAT words

“They’ve been stalling,’’ said John W. Olver, D-Mass., chairman of the House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee. “They are nihilists. They are jihadists.”

I had to look up nihilist, because I thought it meant that you rejected all organized systems of belief, which would indicate it was impossible to be a nihilist and a jihadist simultaneous.

ni·hil·ism [nahy-uh-liz-uhm, nee-] –noun
1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
3. total and absolute destructiveness, esp. toward the world at large and including oneself: the power-mad nihilism that marked Hitler's last years.
4. Philosophy.
a. an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth.
b. nothingness or nonexistence.
5. (sometimes initial capital letter) the principles of a Russian revolutionary group, active in the latter half of the 19th century, holding that existing social and political institutions must be destroyed in order to clear the way for a new state of society and employing extreme measures, including terrorism and assassination.
6. annihilation of the self, or the individual consciousness, esp. as an aspect of mystical experience.

Still seems kinda contradictory to me. Number 5 works--have to destroy Western society to set up a global caliphate--but even so, if you're destroying things in the name of Allah you're not rejecting ALL "established laws and institutions."

I love words.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I love Greg Gutfield.

Last week the New York Times took McDonalds to task for introducing a new drink called the "Hugo," forty two ounces of affordable soda, an amount that could drown a sizable rodent. What really peeves the paper: McDonalds printed the ads so everyone could read them. "Hugo ads are available in several languages," the paper scolds, "making sure that minorities - who are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic - are aware of the budget beverage."

So, by making these ads multi-cultural, McDonalds is racist. But, what if Micky D's hadn't printed the ads in different languages? You just know the Times would have hinted at racism there as well. After all, how dare they exclude minorities from a bargain deal?

It seems you can't win when you make something people want. If only the New York Times knew what that was like.

As an Obese-American, I have no idea why I'm supposed to be offended by being offered a cheap 42-oz. diet Coke (which happens every summer). I never take them up on it, because it comes with 40 oz of ice and I'm out of liquid by the time I get back on the interstate.

Instead, I purchase 44- and 64-oz sodas at QuikTrip and Kum n Go (stop laughing!), much as I have been since 1989 (OK, I started out with the refillable 32-oz bottle-with-built-in-straw, the "squart", which may still be in a cupboard at my parents' house). Some of them will even let you fill your gallon container full of sweet life-giving Mountain Dew directly from their fountain. McDonald's is advertising something that's been available from other retailers for twenty years--is the Times just now noticing the existance of fountain drinks?! No wonder they can't sell papers.

Suddenly, I'm thirsty.

lgf: TSA Warns Airport Security About 'Dry Runs'

From LGF...

WASHINGTON - Airport security officers around the nation have been alerted by federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four curious seizures at airports since last September.

The unclassified alert was distributed on July 20 by the Transportation Security Administration to federal air marshals, its own transportation security officers and other law enforcement agencies.

The seizures at airports in San Diego, Milwaukee, Houston and Baltimore included “wires, switches, pipes or tubes, cell phone components and dense clay-like substances,” including block cheese, the bulletin said. “The unusual nature and increase in number of these improvised items raise concern.”

Security officers were urged to keep an eye out for “ordinary items that look like improvised explosive device components.”

Oh crap, that's me.

A week ago Saturday it was Play-Doh I'd picked up on the way to the airport for my niece's birthday. The TSA screeners bitched at me for holding up the line and let me through with four 5-oz tubs of the stuff (after the let the Arab guy ahead of me through with two 6-oz bottles of what he claimed was perfume, not that they opened them to check...).

Contrast to the time I tried to take Iowa chops (best pork on the planet!) out to New England. They only let me through after I explained what they were, they unwrapped the whole package to see the frozen meat, and they swapped the package for explosives. Apparently they were out stoned the day it was explained that touching pork before or during your martyrdom disqualifies you for Paradise with Allah. Or, just as likely, the TSA doesn't cover that during employee training.

I need a bacon necklace for travel.

UPDATE 9:08 a.m.:
Heard on the radio the "Milwaukee incident" was someone carrying wires in a block of cheese on June 4. This only makes me MORE disturbed that people were being passed through security with large quantities of liquids in July...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Looking like a good time to look for a new job...

The Wall Street Journal notices the Wisconsin socialist health plan:
This employment tax is on top of the $1 billion grab bag of other levies that Democratic Governor Jim Doyle proposed and the tax-happy Senate has also approved, including a $1.25 a pack increase in the cigarette tax, a 10% hike in the corporate tax, and new fees on cars, trucks, hospitals, real estate transactions, oil companies and dry cleaners. In all, the tax burden in the Badger State could rise to 20% of family income, which is slightly more than the average federal tax burden. "At least federal taxes pay for an Army and Navy," quips R.J. Pirlot of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce business lobby.

As if that's not enough, the health plan includes a tax escalator clause allowing an additional 1.5 percentage point payroll tax to finance higher outlays in the future. This could bring the payroll tax to 16%. One reason to expect costs to soar is that the state may become a mecca for the unemployed, uninsured and sick from all over North America. The legislation doesn't require that you have a job in Wisconsin to qualify, merely that you live in the state for at least 12 months. Cheesehead nation could expect to attract health-care free-riders while losing productive workers who leave for less-taxing climes.

That would be me. I've no interest in paying the extra estimated $500/mo in taxes (probably more, since I'm in software and I have no little deductions running around) for "[r]ationing via price controls and, as costs rise, waiting periods and coverage restrictions." It might not even matter if I did--the company I'm contracting for isn't going to hire anyone if they have to pay an extra 15% on top of wages to the state.

I like Milwaukee, but I love Indianapolis; $6k will more than cover gas to Lake Michigan 6-7 times a year.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Polite arsonists...

Milwaukee police are investigating the burning of about 17 garbage carts on the city's north side overnight.

The person or persons responsible pulled the carts away from cars and garages so only the carts were damaged.

How considerate!

I feel sorry for kids who grow up in the city--Shorewood, 'Tosa, and Pewaukee as well as the north side. I set my share of stuff on fire as a teenager, along with all my friends, and since all my friends lived on farms, it was generally legal (or, at least, no tax dollars were involved). We'd end up in a pasture or a ditch miles away from town with a stack of broken snow fence or a pile of stumps that someone's dad was going to burn anyway, and just let go. All the psychopathology, none of the criminal record.

City kids don't get that.