Tuesday, April 29, 2008

MLB is trying to kill AND pander to me.

May 9-12 is $1 hot dogs. And I can get a free cheap seat on the 12th with a coupon Pizza Hut gave to one of my cow-orkers who doesn't like sports.

And then, there's THIS:
Come out to Stitch N' Pitch Night at Miller Park as your Milwaukee Brewers take on the Colorado Rockies at 7:05 p.m. [July 9]

The first 1,000 needle artists to purchase tickets will receive a voucher for a special Brewers/Stitch N' Pitch cap which you will redeem at the game that night.

It takes so little to make me happy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Obligatory comment on Colts draft

I've never heard of any of those guys so I don't have anything to say until the Hall of Fame Game (at the earliest).

Found this interesting, though:

Which is another thing to appreciate about the Colts' draft: They continued grabbing young men with college degrees and high character. Good students. Guys who give back to their communities. . . . It's no small coincidence that the two most dominating teams of this decade, the Colts and New England Patriots, also have the highest percentage of college graduates.

Marcus Pollard just signed with the F-Pats; their collection of old guys looking for a ring (that they don't get, I note...) expands. Someone check Favre's phone records.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Notes to self

* Sunblock goes on ears and neck, too. Ow.
* Don't take the "most difficult" 3.4-mile trail on your first day out in months. Owwwwww.
* County roads in Wisconsin are not on a grid. Do not attempt to find civilization by "driving east until you hit the interstate" on this side of the Mississippi.

If I were smarter, it would have been a lovely day in Kettle Moraine State Forest. :)

Not a lot of wildflowers out yet; I keep forgetting how far north I am. The mayflowers are up but not out, and there were a lot of some pale blue/white/purple flower with a fuzzy stem and six petals that isn't in my guidebook. I'll try again later, with sunblock.

Go ahead, call me a warmonger

If only there was some sort of global body with a human rights charter and an armed force that could step in...
Scores of children and babies have been locked up in filthy prison cells in Harare as Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, sinks to new depths in his campaign to force the opposition into exile before an expected run-off in presidential elections.

Don't read the whole thing if you're eating breakfast.

(OTOH, the U.N. "peacekeeping" forces seem to be do more harm than good, so I guess they're doomed either way.)

Behold the power of beer.

I just finished Ambitious Brew: The story of American beer by Maureen Ogle. I understand Budweiser now (I won't drink it, but I understand it). They've been brewing it with rice for 140 years.

In the first chapter, she describes the Milwaukee discovered by German immigrants in the 1830s:
"In Mettenheim [birthplace of Phillip Best], the land's potential might have remained cocooned in a web of restraints, dominated by lords and princes and worked by peasants burdened by illiteracy, heavy taxes, and impossible rents. Not so in the United States."

*blink* Sounds like they were escaping the United States of today, if you substitute "environmentalist wackos and nanny-staters" for "lords and princes" and "endless government regulation" for "illiteracy"...

And she quotes a letter to family back home, written by one Nicholas Frest in 1841:
"One cannot describe how good it is in America. In America one knows nothing about taxes. Here one does not need to worry about beggars as we do in Germany. Here a man works for himself. Here the one is equal to the other."

Unbelievable that he was writing about Chicago! They'll charge you 10% sales tax on a brew, on top of the alcohol, property, and income taxes the pub has already paid and included in the price, and I won't even start on the modern equivalent of "beggars."

Then there were the 1855 anti-German Beer Riots, laws passed throughout the 19th century specifically to keep Germans from drinking beer (while English-Americans were free to swill spirits), and the beatings, rapes, and lynchings of Germans during the early 20th century, and not just during WWI. See how my people have been treated! Make that reparations check out to "Heather." [This paragraph may be satire. Or not, I haven't decided yet.]

Friday, April 25, 2008

I can't believe I went all week without mentioning Danica Patrick.

I'm certain Janet Guthrie was only left out of this piece due to space constraints.

But for every Mr. Castroneves, there's a guy like Ed Carpenter, who in 2006 noted: "Danica is pretty aggressive in our cars, especially if you catch her at the right time of the month." This putdown might have had more punch if Mr. Carpenter had himself ever managed to win an Indy race. He has not. In fact, if memory serves, Mr. Carpenter instead managed to crash in five out of his 17 starts in 2007. Maybe Ms. Patrick
could give him some tips.


I've always liked Sarah Fisher, too.

The second saddest thing I've read in weeks.

Disgusting-sad, not sorrow-sad like the previous post.

What if no one were fat?

Also the stupidest thing I've read recently. Since when do liberals care about corporate profits, seriously? And how do increased corporate profits translate into "giving every household $4000"?? I'd laugh if the premise wasn't so disgusting...

Let's do a little thought experiment:

What if no one were black?
What if no one was gay?
What if no one were Jewish? (I think this has been written)
What if no one were old? (In the UK the NHS is working on it...)


I don't see how this is any different.

The saddest thing I've read in weeks.

Armed robber shoots pregnant woman, killing her unborn twins, and the piece of garbage can't be charged with murder because she was only five months along.

Good grief. Even pro-abortion feminists say "the products of conception" are a human baby if the mother wants it to be a human baby. She wanted the babies, ergo double homicide--and during the commission of a felony, which is grounds for a needle in the arm.

C'mon, Indiana, what's the point of having a death penalty if you can't use it on something this disgusting?

(And Wisconsin needs a death penalty. Duct tape a plastic bag around this guy's head.)

I'm not making this up.

There really could be a coming ice age; the sun is still the source of "global climate change."
The sunspot number follows a cycle of somewhat variable length, averaging 11 years. The most recent minimum was in March last year. The new cycle, No.24, was supposed to start soon after that, with a gradual build-up in sunspot numbers.

It didn't happen. The first sunspot appeared in January this year and lasted only two days. A tiny spot appeared last Monday but vanished within 24 hours. Another little spot appeared this Monday. Pray that there will be many more, and soon.

The reason this matters is that there is a close correlation between variations in the sunspot cycle and Earth's climate. The previous time a cycle was delayed like this was in the Dalton Minimum, an especially cold period that lasted several decades from 1790.

I say "Bring it!" Possibly because this is the third day in a row I've woken up with a migraine. I hate spring with the power of a thousand suns about to go supernova, I do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More baseball.

Whole set here.

Not bad for my cheap little camera. Corey Hart and Ryan Braun waiting for Prince Fielder to cross home plate turned out OK; Fielder coming across turned out blurry. Some day I'd like to have a better lens.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, Milwaukee...

City short on funds? I have a plan:

1) Send cops to the General Parking lots at Miller Park about an hour before home games. The anti-cruising task force would be well-suited.
2) Write tickets for underage drinking, drunk-n-disorderly, vandalism, etc.
3) Continue while people are stumbling back to their cars after the game and throwing beer bottles at passers-by.
4) Profit.

A DUI checkpoint, with big buses to hold people for mass processing later, could be helpful, but I think DUI costs more to prosecute than the fine, and we're trying to make money here.

Tonight I spent longer than I care to admit walking up and down looking for my car (sober, I have to press buttons tomorrow, I just always lose my !&%$* car at night games), and I'm pretty sure every single person in that parking lot between the ages of 15 and 25 was drunk. A fair number of them were screaming obscenities at Phillies fans, fat women, and each other. I'm guessing a fair chunk of the 25-45 crowd was drunk, too, but they were quieter.

I spent most of the night having fun and thinking, "It's too bad the Phillies are only here mid-week, it would be fun to have my nephew up, maybe next year..." (his dad likes the Phillies, there is nothing I can do...), and then I left the stadium and realized there's no way in hell I could take a four-year-old into that environment.

It's Wednesday, for Yount's sake. I expect Friday and Saturday nights to be zoo-rific, but school's not out yet.

(Get off my lawn!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TV writers seem even lazier post-strike.

Watched a little Law and Order tonight, after being misled in the grocery checkout line by TV Guide. The husband of the dead man (they were secretly married in Canada) was a professional quarterback--self-absorbed, blond, cleft chin, wears #12, dates an equally self-absorbed model for publicity...

It's like I've seen this character before somewhere, possibly even on NBC.

Mind you, I laughed my fool ass off. :)


John McCain visited Gee's Bend, Alabama, and bought some quilts made by the ladies there.

At least one of the quilters, Mary Lee Bendolph, said she was learning toward supporting Mr. Obama, but she praised Mr. McCain for turning up in Wilcox County, which locals say has never before been visited by a presidential candidate.

“He came here and he did something, and you know what, nobody else did,” Mrs. Bendolph said.
And he bought quilts. Maybe he likes their style, maybe he thinks they're crap, but either way, he participated in helping them earn an honest living.

I've got mixed feelings about the Gee's Bend quilts as art, but the women were living in serious poverty--"dirt floor" poor, not "couldn't afford health insurance for the kids but have cable and a flat screen and a manicure" poor--for decades, supporting themselves somewhat with sewing, before a private citizen took notice; now their quilts sell for thousands of dollars (there's a controversy raging because that citizen made money marketing Gee's Bend quilters; does anyone complain that Drew Rosenhaus or Sotheby's make money when they present goods and services to buyers?).

I expect HRC and BHO to pop down there shortly to explain additional government programs they want to start to "help" women like the quilters (who would have been eligible for any number of existing federal programs between 1964 and when they started making money...). And they're not going to give a dime out of their own pockets to purchase anything these women are selling to support themselves and their families. They don't care; they just can't let the rich white man be seen talking to poor black women they've overlooked.

Still don't like McCain's agenda, but he's a decent human being. Can't say that about either of the other two candidates.

Happy Lennin's Birthday.

While I was driving to work this morning, every radio station had Earth Day crap on, so I turned off the radio and looked around at all the broken glass and broken furniture and broken pieces of cars and rotting stuffed animals from murder shrines and general garbage that litters my commute to the inner city and realized all this "eco" crap is for rich people with no real problems who want to feel good about "caring" and "doing something" without doing any actual useful work (hand-washing your garbage* is not "useful work"). Which of course I knew, but nothing drives it home like sitting at a stop light, next to a house you'd swear was abandoned if it didn't have DishTV, with three cracked and battered 1970s sedans and a city bus with one passenger.

And the J-S pretty much reinforced my realization with this delightful piece of meaningless blather on "eco-fashion" (note: There is no way in hell that woman wore a dress of recycled glass). Buzzwords and feel-goodery, at boutiques in Mequon. A shirt of 5% soy? Why are you wearing food? We need it for ethanol!

I don't even understand things like "purses made of pop can tabs." Eventually the person who buys it is going to get tired of accessorizing with garbage bling, and they're going to throw it in the trash (or take it to Goodwill, who will throw it in the trash). Unless your customers are going to spend the time to un-crochet all the threads holding them together to recycle the tabs (possible, if they're the type to hand-wash their garbage; unlikely if they're dropping $150 for lifestyle-boutique purses), "the planet" would be better off if you'd just recycled your soda cans intact. The maker and seller would be out some cash, but isn't the whole point of environmentalism to sacrifice your own well-being so the rock you're living on "feels" better and the polar bears aren't sad?

'What is it doing to help our universe preserve itself?' Are you freaking joking? The universe has been constant change for billions of years. No dress is going to stop galaxies from colliding, prevent our sun from going supernova, or even stave off the coming ice age.

I think I'm just cranky because I've yet to dream up my own money-making "eco" scam.

I'm also wondering where to petition for increased usage of DDT. But all those children who don't die are just going to exhale carbon dioxide, we can't have that, now, can we? *mutter*

* Full disclosure: I have beads and other art supplies stored in peanut butter jars, prescription bottles, and coffee cans. There is no spiritual element to my "repurposing": I'm too cheap to buy brand new storage containers when there are perfectly good plastic containers free with my breakfast. And I ran them through the dishwasher, because I can.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You can't park that there.

Spotted (hee hee!) on Third Street, by the cheese shop.

Went to the bead store downtown yesterday afternoon, then on a whim called a cow-orker who lives down there and we rambled for a few hours, from Grand Ave Mall to Veteran's Park to Schlitz Park (I'd never been back in that area) to Marquette.

I didn't take as many pictures as I would have alone, but I can always go back.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Major League Baseball is trying to kill me!

And there's a totalitarian feel-gooder with an attorney who will make them pay!

Lady, if you don't like watching fat people eat hot dogs at the ballpark, stay your whiny ass home. Problem solved.

I'm not sure I understand this "waiting in line for 20 minutes" when the hot dog guy will bring one to my seat...

(H/T Junkfood Science, which should be daily reading.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem.

Better than Fielder's first HR

I like this guy.
On Monday, pitcher Jeff Suppan, the Milwaukee Brewers and Brewers Charities will announce a partnership with the USO of Wisconsin to honor active military personnel and their families for the rest of the season.

The partnership will be made possible through a financial contribution by Suppan to Brewers Charities. Details were not released, but Suppan and the Brewers will donate tickets and food and merchandise.

Give 'em the $130 hoodies they're selling on the first floor there.

Heh. Heh heh.

“You go into these big cities in California, and, like a lot of big cities along both coasts of this great nation, you’ve got a multitude of Starbucks baristas with Ph.D’s in philosophy who can’t understand why the world doesn’t conform to their utopian vision,” said McCain. “So it’s not surprising that at a time when their country is the world’s sole superpower, using its military to fight a just war against Islamic terrorism, and its citizenry is renewing their faith in Christianity, they get bitter and cling to hopeless causes like partial-birth abortion, multi-culturalism, and the rehabilitation of serial killers.”

I'm with the commenter who pointed out they're just bitter because all the high-paying poetry-manufacturing jobs were shipped to France.

Stop Plate Techtonics!

I slept right through the earthquake, which apparently woke light sleepers in Shorewood, and the cat didn't bother to wake me up, either. Disappointing.

WEST SALEM, Ill. (AP) - A 5.4 magnitude earthquake that appeared to rival the strongest recorded in the region rocked people up to 450 miles away early Friday, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a powerful Midwest temblor.

The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered six miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind. It was felt in such distant cities as Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Des Moines, Iowa, 450 miles northwest of the epicenter, but there were no early reports of injuries or significant damage.

A friend in Indianapolis reports he felt it--sleeping on the floor of an empty apartment, it's his last day in the city--and was awakened by the chains on the ceiling fan jingling, but his girlfriend thought she dreamt it, so I guess I shouldn't be too upset about missing it from much further north.

This is the fifth Midwestern earthquake I've allegedly been able to feel, and I haven't been aware of any of them until I read the news. I'll always remember the first; I was 12 or 13, my dad and I were the only ones home, and he went upstairs to my bedroom to yell at me for "thumping my chair around" (wood floor directly over his study, the noise was an ongoing source of friction) but I was actually reading on the couch in the living room instead of at my desk. I'd heard/felt nothing usual; grain trucks drove by our house day and night to the elevator down the street and we were only a few blocks from the C&NW transcontinental railroad, so our windows rattled a lot.

I have much higher expectations of the New Madrid Fault in the future. And guess what? Humans can't control the Earth. al-Gore's preaching about the East Coast going underwater because of light bulbs and (unwashed masses', not his own) travel and Gaia's laughing her fool ass off, planning to destroy the interior of the country from below.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Planets

Went to the Milwaukee Symphany Orchestra again tonight, for Holst's The Planets. I think John Williams borrowed bits from the movements for "Mars", "Venus", and "Uranus", and the first cello made sure to point out in his remarks that Star Trek stole from "Jupiter" for. In none of the commentary about the music did they mention that Holst grew to hate the suite over time...

The projection of NASA footage of the planets was a little distracting and the sequences they used had been put together in 1996, so they were...not exactly out-of-date, since Jupiter hasn't changed much, but a little stale. Plus, the music was written during WWI, and was less about astronomy than astrology.

Fun, though, and the music was very enjoyable. The female chorus in "Neptune" was suitably otherworldly. There are three more performances this weekend.

Here's a YouTube mashup of Mars Rover footage with Holst's Mars:

(Unintentional comedy at the cocktail reception before the show; my German teacher is in the chorus and when I met her there she introduced me to people as "my German student" which prompted them all to ask which part of Germany I was from. Uh, ich wohne auf Milwaukee.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mail call

I get the weirdest snail mail. I wonder which publication sold my name to the company advertising permanent non-surgical birth control "now that your family is complete"? Tacky. Not to mention I've been using a very effective non-surgical all-natural method for more years than I want to think about, called "My Face." As soon as I figure out how to bottle it, I'll be a kajillionaire.

Then I got an e-mail about Shutdown Day, "one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the Internet." Apparently we're supposed to pledge not to turn on our computers on a Saturday next month, which would make it an experiment OFF the Internet, unless they're all going to log in with their iPhones.

I'm having a hearty but rueful laugh at all the nitwits planning to spend the day "playing with their kids" or "going outside"--you shouldn't need a global initiative to do that stuff on a special day. Nothing's stopping you from doing it RIGHT NOW. Mankind has jumped the shark.

I poked around on the site, and there's a bunch of yapping about "promoting sustainable development", which as far as I can tell means "going back to the 17th century." And screw the improvements in people's lives brought about technology. Individual suffering makes the world better for the collective.



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This does not surprise me.

There is a book/CD with patterns for redwork portraits of the U.S. Presidents. Redwork is an embroidered outline of a picture, sewn (worked) in red thread; it was popular in the 1930s and 1950s and popular again among those who like to make reproduction period quilts. Quilts are usually themed--baby animals, state flowers or birds, scenes from colonial life, etc--and usually consist of embroidered blocks with strips of plain fabric between them.

You can get a head start on the 2008 election by making a Hillary or Barack redwork block with a free pattern.

Apparently no one has considered the possibility that McCain might win in November. That's the part that doesn't surprise me.

And no, I'll not be making a McCain quilt.

I did buy a used copy of the book at Amazon; the Reagan portrait could be a good starting place for something eventually.

Quilt tourism

In the Wall Street Journal.

Paducah has become one of the prime destinations for quilt tourism, 21st-century style.

Maybe I'll check it out sometime, albeit not during AQS show weekend. I'd like a class with Caryl Bryer Fallert.


Rich Lowry, writing about Bittergate.
The assumption is that only liberal attitudes are normal and well-adjusted: If only these small-town people could earn more income, get an advanced degree, and move to a major metropolitan area, then they could shed their chrysalis of social conservatism.

I was a lot more "progressive"-leaning before I moved to Milwaukee and was able to afford beer. I mean, not compared to DailyKos or anything--I read NRO and volunteered to help people pack when they promised to move to Canada if John F'n Kerry lost in 2004 (bastards reneged, of course...). But certainly more than I am now.

Maybe if I worked in a fashionably hip part of town with bistros instead of boarded-up windows...you can't get a latte within 3 miles of my office.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Six-word memoir meme

Kate tagged me yesterday, but it took me awhile to think up something that was both accurate and didn't sound like a suicide note.
The Rules:
1. Write your own six word memoir.
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want.
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post, if possible, so we can track it as travels across the blogosphere.
4. Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.

1) "Well, THAT was a stupid idea."
2) Illustration:

3) Link.
4 & 5) I'm too lazy to check for blogs that haven't done this yet, so consider yourself tagged if you haven't already played.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

On a lighter note

I had no idea how many of my friends were Mets fans until I checked my e-mail tonight. Hëh!

Here's something I didn't know until I looked up Gabe Kapler:
Kapler has been given the nickname Hebrew Hammer due to his frequent longball hits, along with his muscularity and the fact that he is Jewish. It has more recently been the nickname of Ryan Braun, who is also a Jew.

I didn't know this, either:
The son of an Israeli father, who was the fifth overall player taken in the 2005 major league baseball draft, Braun took the National League by storm last year when he arrived on May 25th from AAA Nashville and slugged his way to a .334 average, 34 homers, plus 97 RBIs in just 113 games.
Kapler seems to be a favorite on Outsports.com, although I can't imagine why.


I can't say it any better.

I did my taxes today, too. I got spoiled in Iowa, deducting my federal tax payment from my state-taxable income. How can you bastards in Madison tax money that I never got!?!?

Really can't say it any better, although I'd like to add a big F-U to all those "farmers" like Ted Turner who have never touched soil but receive millions in subsidies anyway, and everyone who thinks gas taxes are too low. Also an F-U to anyone who thinks corn-based ethanol is so awesome the gov't should pay people to make it.

I also note that if I was married, I would have paid $846 less federal on the same taxable income after all deductions were taken...I note this every year, it's right there in the damn tax table. Don't give me that crap about "two people have more expenses"--my rent wouldn't be more if I were two people, the electric company doesn't bill a residence a higher rate when it has more than one person, houses and cars don't cost more when they're purchased by two people, and the additional coffee consumed by a spouse should be accounted for by the extra personal deduction. The tax rate, i.e., the PERCENTAGE OF INCOME TAKEN, is greater on single people. Hello, 14th Amendment?? And the WI form has a "marriage credit" right there on the page--married people get a lower rate and a credit.

So, an extra big F-U to everyone in government---and everyone who votes for those weasels--who believes I deserve to be financially punished by the government for being ugly and unlovable. Really, the discrimination and scorn are sufficient without having it reinforced by the government (in violation of the 14th Amendment, did I mention that?).

Not the right verb.

I always feel a little queasy when Hillary says something I agree with.
The race for the White House was red hot Saturday in Indiana as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton denounced Sen. Barack Obama's comments about small-town worries as "demeaning" and "elitist."
Well. They WERE...
Obama conceded to a Muncie crowd that he could have chosen his words better but didn't back down from what he said was the "absolute truth" that people feel bitter, angry and let down by government.

That's partly interesting because multi-relativistic leftists aren't supposed to believe in the exist of an "absolute truth" (I suppose exception is made for "We're smarter and better than those mouth-breathing lumpen working stiffs")--every person is supposed to posess their own "truth."

Continuing, if you replace "let down" with "intruded upon", "controlled by", "overburdened by", etc, the statement "people feel bitter, angry, and ______" is true for "the people" as well. I've had a lot of headaches this week and I'm getting really pissy about the government telling me what I can and cannot do with the light sockets in my own home.

I'm just appalled and sickened by the number of people who expect government to care for them, and then have the audacity to complain when they don't get good enough free stuff. Looks like it's a much bigger number than I thought before the Obama campaign took off. (I should entitle my memoir "The Audacity to Complain.")

Aside: Hillary beat Obama to the traditional "I am a bird-killing Real Man!" campaign boast, yapping about duck hunting yesterday. No doubt she grew up shooting guns on the north side of Chi-town the same way she grew up a Yankees fan. I still can't wait to see Obama pretend to hunt pheasant in Missourah before the general election.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Adventures in FIBland.

When I moved to Milwaukee, I thought I'd be spending a lot of weekends visiting Chicago. Häh! Today was the first time I've been there since last year's
International Quilt Festival, and frankly, I could have done without this trip. Solid construction as soon as you hit the Tollway. In the rain. With potholes. At one point, I was going 15 mph over the speed limit, being passed like I'm standing still (people behind me who couldn't get around were gesturing), and trying to figure out if it's better to hit the concrete barrier on the left or the concrete barrier on the right if my tire blows out.

THEN the sign said "Stephens Convention Center, second exit" and the second exit took me straight to the terminal at O'Hare. I think they just wanted an extra 80 cents.

I'd really rather not join a guild, but if that's what it takes to get on a bus next year...

Then there was a brief period of panic when I was surrounded by perfectly coiffed women wearing high heels and makeup, about thirty years younger and 125 pounds lighter than the average quilter. Turns out there was a "jewelry and fashion" wholesale show this weekend as well. I'm over the average quilter weight, but I'm about 6" over the average quilter height, so I hope it evens out. (I'm more than a year closer to the average age; there were a lot of mother-daughter and grandmother-granddaughter pairs bringing down the mean.)

I did not make a beeline for my quilt; I made a beeline for the bathroom before the line wrapped around the building, something I learned last year.

Overall, it was a pretty good show. The main show theme was the same as last year--Celebrate Spring--so the main body of quilts was much the same as last year. Apparently quilters grow up wanting to be Georgia O'Keeffe, there was three-foot flower after three-foot flower. The winner was the same man who won last year with a quilt of a songbird; this year he made a quilt with a rooster. At least it wasn't a three-foot flower.

I looked at all the Journal Quilts (mostly to compare myself to everyone else, a bad habit I can't shake) and read the artists' statements. Most people gave everything about a 30-second glance and didn't read past the artist's name and location. Much less leftist than last year's JQ exhibit--only four "the U.S. is a mean and evil and imperialist baby killer!" pieces and a couple of "ZOMG! Teh Gorbal warmening!" vs two tributes to family members who served in the forces and a very pleasant piece about the improved conditions for women after the Taliban were removed from power in Afghanistan. The quilter spent part of 2007 actually in Afghanistan teaching midwifery skills to women from villages; the death rate in childbirth is coming down in cities now that women are allowed to leave their homes and receive medical care, but the rural areas are still catching up. Altogether the political pieces were only about 5% of the exhibit; the rest were the usual mix of ancestors, death, cancer, trees, flowers, beaches, animals, babies, weddings, and abstractions.

And some nutburger made a Colts quilt.

I'm either more talented than I think I am, or not as good as I think I am, or both.

The really strange part is I came home with most of the money I left the house with. Three of the four vendors I wanted to visit weren't there; I don't have the money or space for a longarm quilting machine or fancy cabinets; if I just want fabric I know the location of every quilt shop between here and Des Moines. All I bought was a 2" ceramic black cat button handmade by artists from Colorado (I have a sudden urge to make sock monsters) who also have black cats, and a T-shirt from a woman from Iowa (her brother was one of the victims of the Omaha mall shooting last December, which I didn't know until I got home and started poking around the website...).

Then on the way home, the sign said "To 294 North" and either they lied, or they forgot to put up a sign for a second turn, because I ended up on U.S. 45 North, driving through beautiful (no, not really) downtown Des Plaines. And of course I didn't have a map, because I was going to a convention center off a freeway, so there would be signs, right? I figured there would be a road I recognized before I got to Fond du Lac, and it was only about ten miles before a sign that said "To 294 North" actually got me to the tollbooth and the concrete barriers, although not without running me along a section of road flooded out by the Des Plaines River.

I'm just grateful I didn't see snow until I hit Milwaukee County, where everything makes sense I know what to expect.

Next stop: beer.

Friday, April 11, 2008

About your pie, Mrs. O....

Just write your check payable to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
California Republican John Campbell yesterday introduced in the House his "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Act," which would amend the tax code to allow individuals to make voluntary donations to the federal government above their normal tax liability. The bill would place a new line on IRS tax forms to make this easy.

Mr. Campbell says he has heard the "cries" of those wealthy Americans – Mrs. Clinton, Warren Buffett, Barbra Streisand – who reject the lower tax rates passed in 2001 and 2003 and complain that they and their fellow rich don't pay enough. "It's a great injustice that citizens wishing to fulfill their dream of paying more taxes cannot simply check a box on their 1040 form to make a donation," he says.

You *will* be giving your pie to the federal government, right?


The guy from Oak Creek who beat his beagle to death instead of calling the Human Society for a cut-rate euthanasia is going to the House of Corrections (don't read the article if your squeamish or eating breakfast). And how unsurprising to learn he's been on drugs and was drinking the night before he killed his dog--had enough money for beer, but not for a sliding-scale vet fee? I feel sorry for the kid, I know I'll be crazy with grief if Satan's Little Helper gets sick, but not crazy enough to beat him to death with a baseball bat to save ten bucks.

Maybe they can teach him some priorities while he's being "corrected", but I doubt it.

I'm getting really sick of good people getting stuck paying room and board for worthless people. Whack the guy in the head with a baseball bat a few times and call it done. The guy who beat his girlfriend's baby to death with a video game controller? Beat him to death with a video game controller and call it done (insert criticism of 19-year-olds with toddlers dating 26-y-o men here). The illegal alien who got "so damn drunk" and shot the sheriff's deputy on the side of the road? Shoot him and leave him on the side of the road. Maybe it won't deter anyone from being a violent shit-head, but it should cut down on repeat offenders and ease prison overcrowding.

Actually, I'm just getting sick of the Marxist direction U.S. society is taking. Everytime Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton get applause from morons after promising to take my wages away for redistribution, I start thinking about emigrating somewhere people realize Communism is oppressive--except I can't figure out where that might be. Rich women, married to rich men, insisting spinsters with a negative debt-to-asset ratio don't deserve to keep their wages because the government should pay for other women's maternity care (that's the message I got from Mrs. Obama's speech in PA...)? This can't possibly be what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

(I can't blog about politics without getting angry and sad and regretful and angry. It might just be beer and quilts for awhile.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bear acts like animal!

Consternation in Europe as a polar bear kills fish. How DARE a bear act like an animal--and at a ZOO!

Note: I object to the phrase "Panty-wetting Greentards" because I feel it's unnecessarily cruel to people born with low mental capacity to compare them to enviromental-wacko Gaia-worshippers. People who were born normal and lost their faculties by drug use or head injuries incurred under the influence of alcohol or double-dog dares--I don't feel bad about insulting them...

Knut war gestern und Flock ist heute, aber:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The evening held such promise...

Went to the Brewers game with my friend Heather. The one time I don't have my camera--oh, look, Bratwurst. Hello, too-dark crappy cell-phone picture (I've been reluctant to post a picture of myself, especially after all this "conservative women are more attractive" stuff going around, but there's nothing any of you can call me that I haven't been called already, so what the hell).

So this is the first game I've been to this year, and I was excited. The bratwurst was excellent. Even the Miller Lite tasted good, or at least inoffensive. :)

And then the baseball started, and the less said about that the better.

Bratwurst won in a photo finish. I guess that's something.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I find
I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.

What's the opposite of Schadenfruede?

The only way I can describe my loathing of the U of Kansas basketball program...you know how people who grew up in Wisconsin since the founding of the Packers loathe the Bears? Square it. The squaring comes from their classless recruiting of Iowa kids who have already signed a letter of intent with Iowa State (I'm looking at you, LaFrentz, you worthless piece of slime).

I really hope Bill Self takes the job at OK-State; that would be karma-riffic.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hope! Change! Arugula!

Would be a great name for a quilt.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what it would look like. And I hate arugula.

(I got the phrase here)

Mental image I did not need

But it's dead-on:
"For some reason, the enviro-nazis of the age seem to believe that Mother Nature is some kind of octogenarian Alzheimer's patient and they're the designated colostomy bag."

The essay is about the inflated egos of the cult of global warming. It makes so much sense to me, I don't understand how otherwise thinking people can't figure it out. Like pi, or the odds of flipping tails after you've flipped tails five times in a row equals 50%.

Charlton Heston speech

Looks like everyone with Netflix has loaded up their queues with Charlton Heston movies...there's a wait on a lot of them.

The NRA website doesn't say when/where this speech was given, but it seems like a college graduation sometime before 2000.
I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated.

For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 - long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist.

I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe.

I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite.

Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!"

But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the British crown.

Do read the whole thing; he tells an interesting anecdote about a speech at a Time-Warner shareholders meeting.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Can't enough of that wonderful Duff!

Tomorrow is Beer Day in Milwaukee and Wisconsin and around the nation (I'm not linking to anything that mentions swill brewed in St. Louis), celebrating the legal availability of beer at the end of Prohibition (interesting which subsets of fascism people clamor for and against, is it not?).

I found some places to go this summer, including the re-enactment of the celebratory parade in Cross Plains.

Pity poor Iceland--their prohibition on beer lasted 75 years, ending in 1989.

Pabst is re-launching Schlitz in Chicago, which I find interesting in a "huh?" way.

And, heh, I was at a birthday party last night where guests contributed a range of New Glarus and Sam Adams products, Killians, Guinness--and a case of Miller Chill. The dork who brought it was actually surprised at the end of the evening to learn he was the only party-goer who touched it. There's always one...don't be that guy.

(My beer contribution was in the form of a chocolate stout cake. I don't like stouts. I can't sit and drink dark, heavy beers. But that's the best chocolate cake in my repetoire.)

Blogging kills!

I'm pretty sure you could take a random sample of most white-, blue-, and no-collar occupations and find three middle-aged men who had heart attacks since December, not to mention members who have gained weight. I say most because there's not a lot of 50-y-o men teaching preschool.

And if not, so what? If you work in the mines, you know you're going to get black lung. If you flip burgers, you know you're going to get acne. If you build skyscrapers, you know you could plummet 30 stories to your death. If you blog, you might not get enough exercise. Whoop.

(My last software job was at one of the alleged 100 Best Companies To Work For. A senior engineer was carried out of work in an ambulance after having a heart attack on Monday afternoon; he was at his desk again on Wednesday. And that's when I realized I'm not "serious enough to be successful", because there's just no way in hell.)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More geniuses in Madtown

Michelle Malkin was in Madison last night.
Throughout the lecture, some members of the audience jeered at Malkin with profane taunts and dismissive interruptions, and her responses to critical crowd members frequently elicited laughter.

"Entry into this country is a privilege, not a right," Malkin said in opening her speech.

This line drew a cry of "Bull----!" from one crowd member, to which Malkin replied, "Such an intelligent rejoinder - what a clever response. I bet you have that on a bumper sticker.”

I am unimpressed by the intellectual rigor of that argument. OTOH, I can't feel too dismissive, because the odds are good that student had never, at any educational level, been taught any sort of logic or rhetoric.

I *am* impressed by the YAF and College Republicans holding a lecture on a Friday night.

Jonah Goldberg will be at UW-Mad Monday night; I'll think about going when he posts time/place details. I had an enjoyable evening when he was there last year, but next week is real busy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Light reading, or so I thought.

I've been a fan of the Mrs. Murphy murder mystery series (the main character is a cat in rural Virginia) for awhile, but the latest one just annoyed me. It was less of a murder mystery/small town story and more of a pro-abortion screed. I don't mind characters with different political orientations--the last book had a few offhand remarks about stopping the "unnecessary" war in Iraq, which I assumed were to make the reader see the characters as interested in world events or current fashionable thought--but in this book, all the main human characters seemed to discuss the sacred right to abortion and the threat of right-wing extremists on every other page.

I knew there was going to be cliche when the murder victim was an abortionist, but I wasn't prepared for just how much cliche. The murderer was a backwoods fundamentalist preacher-type, and one accomplice was a corrupt Republican/rapist. Only the second accomplice, a young attractive (promiscuous, natch) nurse deviated from the usual hackneyed stereotypes.

In one scene, one of the main human characters, a multi-multi-millionare, consoled her daughter about the abortion she got during her sophomore year of college by telling her the baby would have destroyed her life, her Seven Sisters education, blah blah, so she was right to kill it. For a dozen books, the daughter character has been portrayed as trust-fund baby who never worked a day in her life...what was there to destroy? What was there to lose by taking a semester off and interviewing nannies? OK, she might not have been able to marry the scion of a blue-blood New England family, but she divorced him a book later after he killed and dismembered two people...

Then the mother told her daughter about the joys of motherhood and how she shouldn't be afraid to embrace it and I threw the book across the room. The daughter character, who is childless, is now in her 40s. I'm sure in the next book she'll be paying thousands and thousands of dollars in an attempt to conceive, like most of today's 40-yo Hollywood celebrities, but that's just...so...the feminist ideal of aborting "inconvenient" babies during prime childbearing years and then successfully birthing a "wanted" child or two in the twilight of fertility is not a reality for most women, and seeing it normalized makes me nuts.

That's just one conversation; a friend of the abortionists wife was on the board of Planned Parenthood AND the board of the local Lutheran church (which I found hard to imagine in any Lutheran church I've been a member of, but I haven't gone for awhile) so there was room for "oh noes, our rights are endangered" conversations at the visitation, the funeral, the fundraising dinners, anytime two or more women met for lunch, on and on and on. OK, OK, I get it, can you please shut up and find a new dead body?

Of course, I finished the book (I knew the murderer was a cliche, but I didn't know which cliche). The cats and dogs in the story didn't seem concerned one way or the other about humans killing unborn babies, which was pretty consistent with their attitude throughout the series with respect to humans killing each other, and they solved the mystery and saved the day. But I don't ever want to re-read it. I read fluff to relax; if I want an abortion lecture, I'm sure there's a leftwing blog or two to accomodate me.

Gratuitous cat photo

FUZZ, a.k.a. Satan's Little Helper:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stat of the ambiguous timeframe

Tell me if SportsCenter picks this up:
The Brewers lead the league in HBP with 4.

Nationals are second with 2.

This is a good game for geeks...

Eco-terrorists in Mad-town

Gorism seems to be taking notes from Islamism.

The note left on windshields read "Happy Fossil Fool's Day - Drive Less" when Madison residents found air let out of their tires on April Fool's Day.

Madison police received at least 30 phone calls early Tuesday from residents along or near Monroe St., Williamson St. and Langdon St.

Although there were numerous flat tires on parked vehicles, police did not find any permanent damage, according to reports.

What gives them the perceived right to around damage property and interfere with people's livelihoods on behalf of their religion? Who the F are they to tell the rest of us how to spend our time and go about our lives? And why do the rest of us put up with this?

It's probably just kids (old enough to know better) who've never been taught to respect other people. And I'm impressed they put down the bong long enough to go out and act. But I really resent terrorism on behalf of religion.

People can stop pointing this out to me...

Soldier's Iraq Rape and Murder Trial Delayed to Accommodate Quilt Show

U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell ordered former Pvt. Steven D. Green's trial delayed from April 13, 2009 to April 27 because the National American Quilt show is in Paducah during the original trial date.

I don't know where the MSM is getting their information, but there is no "National American Quilt Show" anywhere in the U.S. I googled and got a bunch of outlets that carry the AP wire story, but no quilt shows.

OTOH, the American Quilter's Society has held a "Show and Contest" in Paducah every year since 1991. The year-round population of Paducah is 25k and the show's annual attendance is 35-40k; hotels are booked for a two-hour radius (I've never been to this show).

I'm not sure why nobody thought about this before the original court date was set--the only analogy I can think of is scheduling the Dahmer trial in Green Bay on the Monday the Vikings come in to kick off the season. You'd have to be living in a cave to not to realize you're not the only media event in town.

But I'm not sure why this is news, other than it gives hipsters a chance to make fun of old ladies and NY Times and various anti-military orgs a chance to smear other, unaffiliated soldiers. The incident took place in 2006, the trial wasn't scheduled until 2009--a two-week delay doesn't seem very significant.

(And if he's guilty, fry him. I feel that way about all violent rapists, don't try to argue me out of it.)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

This HAS to be an April Fool's prank.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick made the rounds on Tuesday, apologizing for and explaining Spygate.

In an emotional speech before NFL owners, Kraft and coach Belichick apologized for the franchise's involvement in the scandal.

I wonder what was in those documents Arlen Specter read that he can't talk about. Must have been pretty damning.

My righteous anger over Spygate is dimmed, but there's still about eight years' worth of dirty hits and cheap shots and assorted rotten sportsmanship...

(image from LOL Jocks)

If I'd managed to have kids

...they'd be hairy little social outcast girls these days. Be sure to read the linked Philadelphia Magazine piece for the full horror effect.

The concept that women "have to" spend countless hours and interminable dollars on hair and makeup and diet and crap to be acceptable has always eluded me--I always thought my time and money was better spent learning and creating and traveling and that sort of thing. I'm vain enough to insist on having TWO eyebrows, but that's about it.

Obviously I've always been wrong, or I wouldn't be living with a cat. *srednop*

But I think I'm not wrong on "girls aged 8--or ten, or even 13--really shouldn't be encouraged to look and act like sexually mature women." I feel sad for them.

(I had a "spa treatment" once--a Christmas gift from my best friend and her ex-husband. The masseur was a trainer with the Purdue athletic department and we talked about football the entire hour.)

What the headline should read

Well-paid woman fights to make health insurance even LESS affordable for working-class Americans.

State-mandated $50k/yr of treatment? For 16 years? That's a hefty premium hike for everyone else.

I'm not sure I understand why I'm expected to pay for everyone else's bad luck. Or meddling feel-gooders' need to be warm and fuzzy.