Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to Ames

Guess they didn't learn much from the "500-year" flood of 1993, when the rainwater surged over banks of the mighty Skunk River. My operatives (OK, my brother..) inform me that Hilton Coliseum is being sandbagged. I've always regretted not being able to buy a section of water-logged basketball floor from the Flood of '93 (I only wanted enough for a keychain, but they sold it in 3-ft sections totally out of my price range). The new Super WalMart they built on the floodplain is also flooded, which deserves a hearty Nelson HA-ha. And now that Squaw Creek is in the news again, I expect a new drive to rename it. The DSM Register has some pictures.

I seem to be weather-blogging a lot. I'm vaguely entertained by News of the FIBS, but mostly I've been depressed since my return, so I've been spending my evenings going out with other people (bowling, eating, drinking, watching firefighters on Prospect Ave...) instead of thinking. Or organizing my pictures of the Zugspitze.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Wisconsin

I learned this from a Minnesota-based blog. Shame. :P


(When did they change the tornado scale??)

Parkersburg tornado was rated EF-5, which means winds of 200 mph. I can't imagine 200 mph, but there's a photo of a playing card lodged in a piece of wood here.

Aaron Kampman was slinging a chainsaw and the Ironman Battalion is on the ground, God bless them. The equipment manager from UIowa "said he will "help the people of Parkersburg" by providing tornado victims with Hawkeye T-shirts and jackets", adding insult to injury for at least half the town...

The lead story of today's Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier is "Don't worry, APHS sports are a priority." Which says a whole lot of unflattering things about both the paper and rural Iowa so I won't say them again.

OTOH: "Tornadoes play no favorites. Both green and red combines were destroyed Sunday." Heh. The crops will be fine, which is good because if I understand that last farm bill correctly the guys who planted them were going to get paid either way.

I'm waiting for Tom Harkin to blame global warming, as if tornados are a 21st-century phenomenon in Iowa, and propose the bill in the Senate that would confiscate all home air-conditioning systems that don't use ethanol, or something equally ridiculous.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ethopia a breadbasket?

Capitalism and technology trump collectivism. As usual. (Disclosure: My grandfather owned Deeres. But he planted DeKalb.)

I can't help but wonder what al-Gore and his deluded cult thinks of Africans using tractors (ZOMG, the carbon!) and American hybrid crops (ZOMG, the hegemony!) so fewer people starve to death (ZOMG, the carbon!). The featured farmer was able to move his family out of a mud hut and buy a refrigerator--doesn't he care about the fate of the planet?!

Of course not. "Global warming" is a hobby for rich people with no real problems. Stick 'em in a mud hut--permanently, not for a weekend "awareness" photo op--and I bet they STFU real quick.


What the hell is this wishy-washy shit?

On one hand, it's kind of nice to see a therapist (the phrase "new castrati" popped immediately into my head--what kind of man sits around saying "hey, there's nothing I should do to keep men from killing women?") admit that court orders and involuntary therapy are worthless. But it's painful to watch them pirouette around the idea that if you're bent on murder and you don't care what happens to you, you can still be stopped by a well-placed bullet. Or maybe some sort of acid. Because self-defense just isn't warm and fuzzy-like. !&%($)#*!

I liked the dispassionate analysis at Boots and Sabers.

The visitation is Saturday; I have a previous commitment but no one's going to be upset if I weasel. Sigh.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bavaria Part II: Freising Domkirche

Photos here.

In the center of the old part of Freising is a church built in the 12th century and redecorated in the 18th century. The pictures don't really do justice to how beautiful the inside is. The nave is surrounded by a cloister containing graveplates of local clerics (I think that's the word) and more beautiful frescoes.

We were also briefly let into the library, which was full of hand-written manuscripts. I boggled.

Underneath the nave was a crypt containing relics from bishops who lived and worked there in years with three digits. They're still venerated with fresh flowers.

The other thing that fascinated me was that the structure of the building was familiar. The (Lutheran, obviously) Chapel of the Resurrection at Valpo, built in the 1950s, also had a worship area with the crucified Christ under the main altar of the ressurected Christ. And they both had "hidden" side worship areas. I used to know the theological background of this layout... Anyway, in the age of big-box churches that seem to make it up as they go along--and worship in buildings that look like banks--I find the tradition reassuring.


I'm never really certain if he's angry I left or angry I came back.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bavaria Part I: Walking tour of Freising

I took too many pictures to upload all at once, so I will upload them in small groups. Today we have the walking tour of Freising. There are descriptions for most photos.

After picking me up at the airport last Sunday, Roland took me for a pizza in Attaching. It was excellent--thin crust, ham, mushrooms--and so was the Spezi. I wish I had taken more pictures of the food throughout the week.

Afterwards, we walked around Freising, Roland's hometown. I stopped about every six feet to take pictures.

I'm just getting angrier.

The divorce was finalized one year later, but the restraining order was scheduled to remain in effect until 2009. Among other things, it prohibited the former husband from possessing any firearms.

So he stabbed her, and meanwhile, she was also prohibited from carrying a firearm in her purse. I don't know if she would have carried a firearm, but I do know that she should have had a choice to do so. Why do Wisconsin liberals hate women so much?

Angry and sad; my weekly German lesson was one of the highlights of my spring.

Holy crap again.

Six dead, Aplington-Parkersburg High School destroyed by tornado. Just north of where I used to live.

I don't understand how people believe mankind can control climate. Look at the videos of the aftermath and then try to keep a straight face while you tell me humans are bigger and more powerful than the Earth.

Aaron Kampman is from that area; I think most of the APHS alumni in the NFL are still active.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Not quite back yet but...

My German tutor was stabbed to death last night.

I was supposed to call her this week. I brought her chocolate.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The terrorists have already won.

It rained in Philadelphia yesterday. I waited at the MKE six hours while they waited for Air Traffic Control permission to fly me to Philadelphia, at which time I realized I'd already missed the connecting flight to Munich. The next one wasn't for 24 hours; so I told them I was going home to sleep in my own bed and I'd see them at the buttcrack of dawn. The 6:00 flight was only fifteen minutes late, which is considered "on time" (try that at work sometime...).

So here's what's pissing me off. It's an 11-hour layover. Plenty of time to take the bus to the central city, see Independence Hall, have a cheesesteak, look at the bridge, take the bus back, and go through security for my next flight (I've never been here, to the bitter guns-and-Jesus part of Pennsylvania). Except after 9/11, airports uninstalled all the storage lockers, and you can't take a city bus with both a laptop bag and a duffle full of all your worldly possessions. I'm stuck.

So, a big hearty FUCK YOU to all the jihadis out there.

Lesson learned: Next time, spend the extra $1k and take the bus to O'Horrible to get on a non-stop flight.

Silver lining, I get to be one of those smug airport bloggers, flaunting my privilege by whining about frivolous inconveniences. The chairs are much more comfortable back in my hovel in Milwaukee...

The international terminal, where I've been hiding in a corner by one of the many available electrical outlets catching up on Netflix, is frickin' COLD, has no wireless hotspots, and is devoid of both friendly American chain restaurants and beer (two wine bars, no beer--not like I want to pay $8 for a Swill Lite but I've been awake since 2:30 so it's happy hour). Right now I'm in the food court (still no sign of beer; I'm hoping the TGIFriday sign wasn't a rickroll), but I'll have to go back when my battery runs out. It seems like a cruel joke to have access and outlets half a mile apart.

But they have Legos:

I like Legos.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today marks two years since I moved to Milwaukee (the cat came up a week later). At the time, I told people "Hey, I can stand anything for a year." :P

It's turned out OK; I've learned how to eat sushi and watch baseball. I've also picked up the elongated Great Lakes dipthong on the long vowel sounds, much to the amusement of anyone with an ear for accents. My Photoshop skills, however, are sadly diminished.

Anyway, I'm off to Bavaria for 8 days. My friend Roland--we met years ago working for the same company of out Des Moines--will be showing me around. I'm taking him a Sausage Race T-shirt.

I will bore you all with photos at some point.

Can you run a printing press on recycled sanctimony?

What's the environmental impact of flying 38 women to the Dominican Republic to be photographed wearing garbage and other materials harvested from around the globe for a paper calendar with about a six-digit print run?

Yeah, I just wish I looked that good wearing garbage.


MILWAUKEE—A Piggly Wiggly-sponsored scouting report shown during an at-bat by Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy Sunday indicated that his major weakness is a hankering for Piggly Wiggly-brand certified angus beef boneless rib-eye steaks, now just $4.99 a pound. "J.J. is very strong when it comes to purchasing three Ole El Paso Mexican Dinner Kits for $5, but he's struggled lately with Golden Flake-brand potato chips, as he hasn't bought a single bag since last August," said FSN North play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson, reading from the onscreen scouting report. "Perhaps [opposing Cardinals pitcher] Braden Looper can take advantage of the fact that J.J. does not like Tyson breaded chicken fingers." After Hardy grounded out to third base, Anderson called it a textbook case of Ronco vermicelli being on sale for 69 cents.

Grounded out to third base? Trips my suspension of disbelief.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Even the physics class is just what a girl would like!

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

a) Neither the Home Ec building nor the Home Ec students changed between 1951 and 2001, even though they started calling it "Family and Consumer Sciences" in the 1990s. They combined with sports psychology/management to form "Human Sciences" around the time my brother graduated. Back off, man, we're scientists.

b) I wonder how women ever got married and had kids without a college degree in home management.


Monday, May 12, 2008

My cat could be a "reporter"

Might have trouble filing reports from lack of thumbs, but he pokes his head up off the couch to investigate loud noises...
Afterward, the rehearsal dinner crowd went to a "Texas-sized" celebration down the street. They were escorted by a high school marching band from Belton, Texas, which played "Happy Birthday" and "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You," Hermann said. Reporters never saw or heard the noisy procession.

How can you miss a freaking marching band?!?!

"Like, OMG, they're making me go to f-ing TEXAS, to report on Chimpy McHitler's brat's f-ing wedding. Like, gross. I mean, TEXAS. I'll be in the bar with my iPod so I don't accidentally interact with f-in inbred hick neocons..."

I find the whole celebrity/royal wedding thing tedious in the extreme, so the details the Bush family released to the media are quite refreshing.

Although it's just not a real wedding banquet without an endangered fish course. :P

Should have won the Nobel Prize last year...

But she did something useful for humanity. Why would anyone honor that when there are blowhards running cons who need a platform...

Irena Sendler, a Polish woman who saved thousands of Jewish children during World War Two by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto, died in the Polish capital on Monday after a long illness, local media said.

Makes me feel small.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What kind of produce is in season in Wisconsin in January?

Some nut in the UK wants to outlaw produce out of season, to cut emissions from imported food. I'm suprised no one in Madison has thought of this yet.

Gaia will be saved from the "evil" of carbon dioxide, especially after most of the human population dies of scurvy.

Mother's Day

Every day in America is Mother's Day. Individual children, husbands, and sperm donors may not appreciate them daily, but our entire society revolves around mothers. It's intensified over the last several years. Every magazine in the checkout aisle has a pregnant celebrity, or a celebrity and baby(ies) on the cover--this never happened during the 90s. Every non-beer TV commercial is pitched toward mothers. Workplaces gear benefits and attendance policies to benefit mothers (and fathers, somewhat; it's the non-parents who get stuck with the extra work).

Most legislation these days is slanted toward "helping mothers"--the nanny-state stuff is all about making the lives of mothers easier by restricting people's choices and behaviors. Hillary Clinton claims motherhood makes her qualified to be POTUS; Barbara Boxer couldn't make fun of the color of Condoleeza Rice's background without being called a bigot, but it's completely acceptable to the Secretary of State because she never had children (thus contributing nothing to the world, and making her utterly unqualified to have tea with heads of state).

Which is fine--except for Barbara Boxer's remarks--because without mothers there would be no society. I'm tired of living in a society that believes Joyce Dahmer made a better contribution to the world than I ever will, and that I can never rise to the level of respectibility of Jamie Lynn Spears. [Tangent--I think people were less unsympathetic to childless women less back when motherhood wasn't a "choice" to be vacuumed out at a clinic. Discuss.]

I don't even know what I did wrong, or what I could have done differently, other than being born with a different face and brain.

But back to my point: how fucked-up IS it that our society treats unmarried women with kids by different dead-beat dads better than unmarried women without? How fucked-up is it that my life would be better today if I'd gotten pregnant and dropped out of college?

I hope everyone enjoys their brunch/cards/etc (I also hope Bill Hall hits some HRs with his pink bat). I'm headed back to bed with the cat and a pot of cacao mit Schnaps. I'm too cheap/stubborn to turn on the heat in the middle of May. This is not a complaint about the weather, 50 is better than 85 any day. :)

Friday, May 9, 2008

I'm in the wrong business.

I've been kind of bummed that I'll get an "economic stimulus" welfare check, because that means I don't make enough money. The past two years I've been contributing to American exceptionalism in the 21st century (OK, I press buttons and fill out paperwork...but the Dreamliner will fly eventually...) for low, low prices when I could be pulling down six figures for harassing pale people who try to broaden their minds.

Quote from the janitor's column:
The people at the Affirmative Action Office were so myopically intent on finding a Klansman, they failed to see a natural ally standing before them.

I think this happens a lot more than anyone cares to admit, even outside Indiana.

(You can kind of see the buttons I push behind the pilot's left knee. My mother wasn't impressed either.)

Indianapolis exploits kids for Super Bowl glory

They should already know they'll never get it--the 2011 bid was rejected because the strip clubs in Indy don't meet Miami/Hollywood/NYC standards for swank. This is not hyperbole: the private-jet crowd swooping in for the week of partying do not want to sit in metal out-buildings looking at Midwestern girls any more than they want to fight the snow to get there (which will be the official excuse once again).

I wave my paw and say bah.

Anyway, I bring this to attention mostly because the kid illustrating the article is wearing an Aaron Kampman jersey. I wonder why they didn't show the poor bastard who got the short straw and was forced to deliver a binder to Foxboro (maybe s/he got to wear a vintage Vinatieri jersey).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Who decided "global warming" was bad?

Seems to benefit some species...

Great tits cope well with warming

(They're birds. Shame on you.)

Quick, nobody tell them the Earth is cooling.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A former New England Patriots employee has sent the N.F.L. eight videotapes showing the team recorded play-calling signals by coaches of five opponents in six games between the 2000 and 2002 seasons, in violation of league rules.

But the group of tapes does not include video of the St. Louis Rams’ walk-through practice the day before the 2002 Super Bowl.

Fry 'em anyway.

First McCain bumpersticker sighting

After work I hit the post office to mail a Mother's Day present. On the way home, I got stuck behind a very slow vehicle (like a cross between a minivan and an SUV that isn't meant to be used off-road) with a blue McCain sticker.

They seemed to still have all the air in their tires, but the election's not for six months.


Dominic Rhodes rejoins Colts backfield

Just an excuse to run the picture of Bears unable to keep up, heh.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

Deposit, no return.

I see nothing wrong with this:

Illinois man designs beer can coffin

Don't read the comments; The USA Today audience is composed solely of Carrie Nation's sockpuppets.

Meanwhile, there will be a huge party in the Marienplatz the morning of my arrival in München...for the Bayern Fußball team. They've already celebrated their championship by showering in Weißbier, which seems like a waste.


Police were just here. The apartment below mine was broken into today. I was at work until 5:30 so I didn't hear anything. I am, however, embarrassed that I had already changed out of my work clothes into a ratty SpongeBob T-shirt before the knock on my door.

Cat's not talkin'; all the window screens are intact so it probably wasn't him.

Attention, Milwaukee's Northside

File this under "Onion stories that should be real":

WASHINGTON—In an attempt to address rising pedestrian deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a new educational outreach program Monday to encourage people to "Get The Fuck Outta The Road."

I hate spring.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Marvin Harrison update

Marvin Harrison’s agent said the Indianapolis Colts wide receiver is not the subject of an investigation into a shooting in Philadelphia earlier this week, contrary to Internet reports citing unnamed sources.

Tom Condon, Harrison’s agent, told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen: “I’ve spoken with Marvin and I’ve spoken with his attorney, and they say the reports are erroneous. Marvin was not involved in any shooting, and he is not the subject of this investigation."

My favorite comment:
Remember, Marvin is from Philadelphia, and Barak Obama put it perfectly:

Marvin was just bitter and clinging to his gun.

No !*%&#.

Gary Varvel:

(that's kind of hard to read, click to enlarge)

Even ten years ago...

Friday, May 2, 2008


Headline I never expected to see:
Marvin Harrison cooperating with police investigation of shooting outside his bar in North Philly.

Maybe he can try out for the Pacers. Sigh.

Until someone reports whose fingerprints were on the gun, the only thing I really have to say is, "Gee, I thought someone making that kind of money would be able to afford to buy a business in a safer part of town." Or at least hire someone else to work behind the bar.

The "I'm so sick/sad/disappointed that Marvin Harrison owns guns, I thought he was a better guy" thing I'm seeing on the Colts blogs is annoying. The 2nd Amendment isn't just for lowlifes. And working at a cash business in a shitty neighborhood, carrying a registered gun seems prudent. "Pure" and dead is still dead.

I reserve the right to change my opinions as new information surfaces.

(Astros just hit 3 HRs in a row; time to turn off the computer and the radio and have a beer.)

This "green" thing is getting stupider

My cell phone carrier sent me an e-mail thanking me for saving 0.08 trees by switching to e-mail billing two years ago. Wow, 0.08 trees! That's about a marshmallow-roasting stick...

OTOH, I saved $10 in postage, or about a year's supply of catnip.

Question for anti-2nd Amendment activists

Why do you continue to insist that it's better that I call the police and wait for them to protect me than it is for me to protect myself?

Screw that.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You know what I'm going to miss about W?

His sense of humor.
Bush, an avid sports fan, noted that the victory meant a lot to New York. Mostly, though, he worked on his comedy routine.

He singled out Eli Manning, the heavily doubted quarterback who proved everyone wrong and was voted the game's most valuable player.

"We have a few things in common," Bush said.

"Eli has a father and a brother in the same business he's in, and the press is sometimes skeptical."
I hope he didn't steal that from The Onion.

This seems a tad cruel, albeit funny:
Bush, a Texan, couldn't help but refer to the Giants' earlier playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, where their upset victory was attributed in part to the distraction of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's "jinx" girlfriend, Jessica Simpson.

"I'm a good sport - we're gonna send Jessica Simpson to the Democratic National Convention," Bush joked.
What did Jessica Simpson ever do to deserve that sort of punishment? Oh. Nevermind.

A year ago:
“A lot of people in the White House Compound have been really looking forward to seeing Peyton Manning,” President Bush said. “They wanted to see a guy who gets more airtime than I do.”

Now, imagine President Hillary greeting the winners of Super Bowl XLIII after they've spent the morning visiting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed...

I still can't believe Eli Manning made that throw to David Tyree AND Tyree made that catch.

Blah blah blah.

The next time some lefty with a brain as soft as their heart tells you "no person is illegal!" show them this picture from the Chicago Tribune, showing a teenage father wearing a T-shirt that says "I am illegal." Multicultural correctness demands that we call people by the label they call themselves (N and Q words excepted)...

(I've been working on adapting that bit in Rules for Radicals about using people's own rules against them; an exception to the label rule follows:)

Here's the photo gallery.
Do not look if you get upset by people using American flags as blankets.

Interesting how all the reportage is calling these "immigrant rights' rallies" and the participants are all about giving amnesty to people breaking the law. My animal companion prefers to be addressed as "FUZZ the Magnificent, Omnipotent Ruler of All" but he's still just a cat.

I was trying to figure out what rights legally resident foreign nationals with a permanent visa (i.e., immigrants) don't have, and I couldn't come up with many. They can't vote, welfare eligibility is determined by type of visa (whoa, I can't believe I just called welfare a right, bad Heather), some communities restrict gun ownership...when they choose to become citizens, the major right they're denied is being POTUS (I'm not sure that's a right; a whole lot of people born here don't get to be POTUS either). But their kid can be, if s/he's smart enough not to insult the electorate trying to get a laugh from Billionaire's Row.

Illegal aliens don't have as many rights as immigrants; if the want the rights, maybe they should go home and become immigrants ( control society through language...). Immigrants are great; I've worked with people from all over (especially in my current job), meine Deutschelehrerin is a really neat woman, best doctor I ever had was from Ghana, etc.

They all had to have their MMR vaccination before they got to live here, and they all had better things to on a weekday than litter the streets flaunting criminal activity and telling me I'm a jerk because I expect everyone to follow the same rules.

(I'm probably a jerk, but that's not why.)

Happy Communism/Reconquista Day!

I've always wanted to drive a tank through a city, crushing everybody in sight. I assume this is why the Army gave psych evals to draftees...

(May 1 already? My heat was on last night.)

Comments I want to make on blogs but don't because it's not worth the blizzard of insults I'll get 2

I won't link to this poor woman. She can't help being ignorant, she's a hippie from eastern Oregon who gets her news from Obama websites. She's frequently pissy the state government won't give her (healthy, except for the usual kid foibles) grandson free health care because he and her daughter live in her house and both adults work for wages outside the home. Obama will fix this grave injustice! How sick and sad is a society that expects able-and-working families to pay for their own antibiotics+?! (vs a society that will give you free penicillin--bugger off if you're allergic, the budget doesn't allow for fancy alternatives--six weeks later when they call your number to see the doctor...)

Anyway, you can guess what verbiage pissed me off.

Hillary's a "Republican in a Democrat pantsuit"? That's the most mind-blowingly ignorant thing I've read here, and I've read quite a bit.

She's a Communist, just like Obama. The only difference between those two is Hillary will defend the country from the people trying to destroy it from the outside (to protect her plan to finally be the person smart enough to make Marxism work); Obama'll hand Iran nukes and then look surprised and sputter when they go off (watch him next time someone asks him an unscripted question...).

I don't like most of McCain's ideas either--the major difference between him and the DNC Senate leadership is he doesn't get a hard-on when people kill babies and he knows surrender in Iraq is stupid--and eventually SCOTUS will overturn McCain-Feingold for abridging the First Amendment, but he's taking the country to hell in a golf cart instead of the IndyCar the "if you don't vote for me, even though I'm an unqualified power-tripping Marxist, you're a racist/sexist" twins are driving.

Maybe I'm unreasonable; the GOP is looking a lot like the historical DNC...but not much like the current DNC.

Sigh. Another quilting blog I can't read because the "ooh" is less than the blood pressure spike. I occasionally pollute this blog with quilting, but never the other way around. Know your audience, people.

+ Maybe state laws make things more expensive in Oregon; I picked up an antibiotic prescription for my nephew once and it cost $1.25 at the WalMart in Iowa City (or a $10 insurance co-pay, heh). I know the retailers that offer $4 prescriptions as a loss leader can't do it in WI because of the stupid minimum-price law. But what would the cost to taxpayers would be if a government agency had to process all the paperwork involved to get free penicillin to someone? More than $1.25. More than $4. And I suspect the people who shrug and say "swipe cards!" have no idea how much it costs to set up a nationwide system of card readers and the servers to process them. Then again, why should they care? It's magical government money!