Saturday, January 30, 2010

Technology Takes a Giant Step Backward

Yeah, it makes a great headline, but is it true? Most advances in technology involve making something smaller. In this case Apple enlarged the iPhone. Except it won't make phone calls. Maybe they just blew up an ipod touch?

Nah, sometimes my iPhone won't make calls either.

I'm not sure what to make of this thing. It probably has all of the 'FEATURES' I hate about the iPhone. Like the inability to play Flash videos. And the ability to carry you off to unknown parts of the Internet because you touched the screen to zoom or pan, and accidentally hit a link button.

And the price. $500 to $1500. Yeeouwwcch!

But they will fly off the shelves. Because Apple makes them, and not that big bad old Microsoft.

Why I Like Jay Leno

HE doesn't spend his money foolishly. He spends it on CARS. Very nice cars.

Just take a look in the background of this video. There are probably 15 million dollars worth of cars in this video, if not more.

This is what my garage would look like, if I had Jay's money.

And, as I mentioned before, Jay drives all of his cars.

I like Jay Leno.

His 10 o'clock show I couldn't stand though.

Why I Like Bing

This will be my first post since my birthday. I don't know if its because I have been way to busy or because getting older has sapped the creative urge to blog.

Anyway; I found this image incredible. I haven't changed my wallpaper in about a hundred years, but this picture is leading me that way.

And to think this is what an expanding and vibrantly growing universe looks like.

From 20 light years away.

Remember the pictures from the Moon 40 years ago? Grainy black and white. Now we are getting full color. Ain't progress a wunderful thing?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Five O'clock Somewhere. Or Not

I had a conversation yesterday with a coworker about 2:00, and he ended with- 'Is it 5:00 yet?' My response was-'Not here'. 'Well', he said, 'it's five o'clock somewhere'.

Okay, so I'm a geek or something. We started discussing where it was 5:00. I figured Greenland or Iceland and I had to see if I was right. I wasn't.

I found this site that shows all of the world's time zones. Basically, the world's time begins in Greenwich England; GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) 0. The eastern time zone of the US is GMT-5. So if in the Eastern US it is 2:00, in GMT-2 its 5:00.

I also found some interesting anomalies in the world's time keeping. Check out Nepal. Or Alaska. Alaska is mostly in GMT-10, with parts in GMT-9 and GMT-11 but keeps it time at GMT-9. Strange. Greenland does something similar.

Like I said; I'm a geek. But, I digress.

Although there are several landmasses in GMT-2 (Greenland for instance), none use GMT-2 as local time. The sole exception would be San Paulo Brazil, which during the summer is on Daylight Saving Time, and only there is it 5:00 when its 2;00 EST. Since it is summer in Brazil now, we do have 5:00 somewhere at 2:00.

But don't ask in July; then you'd be screwed.

Monday, January 18, 2010

All's Fair in Love and War- and Politics

As usual it was Instapundit that lead me to this, although it has been the method I believe the Dems have been using- with varying success- since 2000 and Florida.

I myself would prefer to see a voter registration purge every two years; immediately after the mid term elections, with renewing registrations to begin on January 1. No motor voter, no requiring registration when you sign up for Welfare or Unemployment. You MUST find a voter registration card and you MUST fill it out and you MUST deliver it (by hand or by mail) to the proper registration authority in you county.

It ain't that hard, and the county's computers will make it fairly painless even at that level. IF data hasn't changed they should be able to easily import the old info and move on. The important thing is that only the people ready to cast their OWN ballot will register, and all the useful idiots will be purged.

Maybe at that point we will have a little more confidence in the electoral process, and get back to our usual 25% voter turnout.

What? You really didn't believe that all of those registered voters were actually showing up at the polls, did you?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Teddy Kennedy Seat in The Senate

I haven't been posting on this because I really don't have anything to say that hasn't been said by everybody else. But that doesn't mean I can't chime in anyway.

There is one issue I haven't seen anything on anywhere.

Why is it that a race for one seat in the Senate that will determine whether or not this country becomes more Socialist or not?

If a state wants to become socialist (RE: California, New York, Massachusetts) then let them. When those policies bankrupt them, then those states will be forced to return to fiscal sanity. But the rest of us don't have to follow them down the road to ruin. Unless Coakley wins on Tuesday.

And that is the crux of the matter. Coakley gets elected; the ‘Healthcare Bill’ passes and we are one step closer to socialism. Brown gets elected, and minus the Senate shenanigans the Dems are planning, the bill is dead and we are one step closer to taking this country back.

Which is why all of the stops are being pulled out on both sides. Brown was able to raise over a million dollars in one day last week from all over the nation. Obama and Clinton have or will appear on Coakley’s behalf, and the SEIU is bussing in pro-Coakley demonstrators. The Dems thought this would be a cake walk. A Kennedy has held this seat since 1952, when JFK was first elected. Re-Elected in ’58, he resigned in ’60 to become president. A placeholder was appointed to fill the seat until Teddy turned 30- minimum age to be a Senator- when the placeholder resigned and Teddy was elected in a special election. Any wonder they call it the Teddy Kennedy Seat?

Then came Coakley and Brown. A few years ago nobody would have paid any attention to a special race to fill a Massachusetts Senate Seat. It would have been a foregone conclusion that the Dem would win. But the country has changed in those few years. And, apparently so has Massachusetts. That Brown is even close is a feat. If he can win the election that would be even better. But can he win the recounts? With the ‘Found Ballot Boxes’, denied votes and the like?

If you think the Dems have pulled out the dirty tricks for the voting, just imagine what they will do for the counting. And the previously announced methods for making sure that if Brown wins, and survives counting, recounting and court challenges- Hell look how long it took to seat the Clown form Minnesota- then they start the Senate level garbage to make sure he can’t vote on one of the most important bills proposed in a century.

Winning the election will just be the start of the hard work.

The New Addition

We have been talking about getting a puppy since July when Junior died. We were only half-heartedly looking, because we wanted a collie shepard mix and didn't think we would be able to find one.

Then serendipity reared its ugly head.

Tuesday night the Young'un called us in tears. Her Mom and stepdad gave away her cat. The wife and I consoled her as best we could and called her Daddy and let him know if we wanted to get her a puppy, we would be more than happy to keep it for her here at the house. Son agreed, and let the Young'un know she was getting a puppy. Information she immediately shared with Mom and stepdad; information they did not appreciate.

Which made our decision even sweeter.

So Grandma immediately went to work to find a puppy. The first place she went was our local animal shelter. Where they happened to have a few puppies. Collie shepard mix puppies. And one of them has markings that reminded her of Junior. That puppy saw my wife and walked toward her, wagging its tail. She picked the puppy up and it licked her nose. The Youn'un had her puppy.

Saturday we took the Young’un to meet the puppy; to make sure they were compatible. Compatible? They were inseparable. She has decided to name the pup General Lee Daisy after two of her favorite characters from her favorite show. I am fairly sure we will be using her ‘middle name’, as the Young’un has determined Daisy to be, more often than her first. As much as I like the name, I just don’t think I could get used to calling a female puppy General Lee.

It was a strange set of events that lead us to the Animal shelter just in time to find this pup. When we were there on Saturday a few folks can in and would have taken her home except that we were there and had already put down a hold deposit. A day later than when the wife was there and she would have been gone. A couple of days earlier and she would not have been there yet.

And then the strange similarities to Junior. Her looks, especially in the face, some of her markings and the way she HATES a leash and collar. And the way she took to all of us immediately. Junior had several siblings that we got into good homes locally, so it is possible this is one of his nieces or grand-nieces. Or a granddaughter. Obviously I can’t prove that she is.

But I’ll always believe it’s so.

So, Friday I Had to Travel

I only travel for business. My idea of a perfect vacation is to never leave my property, unless I'm out of beer.

I’m serious. Why spend a fortune to go somewhere you won’t sleep well to spend a ton of money on stuff you’ll throw away or become instant consumables. Just so you can say you’ve been to Hawaii?

Don’t get me wrong; there are some things I would travel to see. I would love to go to Hawaii, but only to visit Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial, but 20 hours in the air for a day a Pearl just isn’t worth it.

I would also like to visit the Statute of Liberty. I just don’t want to go to New York to do it. The same with the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia; the Henry Ford Museum and Detroit and Washington DC and Washington DC.

I freely admit I hate cities. The bigger the city the more I hate it. I just hope I am never forced to go to New York, Chicago or LA.

I can examine why I hate cities pretty easily. They are chock full of people I don’t know. And, in my mind anyway, half of them are out to kill me or steal my stuff. And I can’t readily identify which half is which. Hell, in New York you can be as easily victimized by the punk with a gun as you could be by would-be Madoff and his pen. I just find it easier to avoid them all instead of trying to sort the wheat from the chaff on the fly.

Well, so much for the rant. Friday I had to go to Manchester Kentucky to sort out an issue I have been trying to clear by long distance for 2 years. I had to visit 4 county offices and got everything done in about 2 hours. I just cost me 6 hours on the road. But it was worth it. I was able to solve three issues that I couldn’t have otherwise. Sometimes the only way to accomplish anything is in person.

I’m just glad I was able to do it in Manchester and not Chicago.

Spotted On The Highway

I took a bit of a road trip on Friday- more details later- and on the way back I saw a car with this plate.

I know the reasoning behind the logo statement, but I still find the idea that a plate from the Capital of Taxation has this statement.

I took a picture of the car- it was a Prius of all things- and its plate with both my iPhone and my real camera. The one from the iPhone I couldn't blow up and I cannot find my camera cable, which will be a whole 'nuther post, so I had to see if I could find an image on line. Which I did; here. Amazing what is out on the Internet, ain't it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hail to the Chief

I found this through, as usual, Instapundit this morning. The base article is great, and the comments are just as good.

My only question would be for a Senior Chief who retired in 1960. Would he feel the same about the way the Navy had gone from the days of his enlistment?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

So Much to Say; So Little Time

One of the things I absolutely hate is the personalization of victimization.

Take two things I heard about on the way home from work.

ITEM 1: A group of folks who have lost loved ones to distracted drivers. Their goal, after patterning their group and actions after MADD, is to get cell phones off the road.

ITEM 2: The gays who are trying to get the gay marriage ban- that was approved TWICE by a majority of California voters- overturned, by testifying that their rights have been violated by not being able to marry. Where this ephemeral right comes from; no testimony. That this poor individual has been harmed by big bad government, lots of testimony.

In both cases what should be a simple incident is over blown by making the loss personal and giving it face.

First; I am sorry for the loss of a loved one to a distracted driver. But let's do the math. 300 million people in this country. Let’s say 200 million drivers; each drives just 10,000 miles a year. Well over a trillion miles a year. Let’s say we lost 10,000 loved ones to a distracted driver, and let’s say each was in a single incident, each time with a different driver.

Do you see the magnitude of this problem? Less than a 100th of a percent of drivers have a problem. Yet all of us will have to pay, if this group gets their way.

Because they have made the victims personal.

Now we have the gays crying in the courtroom about not being allowed to marry. They are allowed to marry; just as any other individual in this country is permitted to marry. The just need to find someone of the opposite sex to marry, and apparently that’s the problem. Some reports put the gay and lesbian population at 10%, but better surveys say closer to 2%. And what percentage of that 2% actually wants to marry their same sex partner? Let’s say 25%. So let’s overturn the whole social system because .5% of the country wants us to.

Screw That.

No pun intended.

But it is the personalization of the victimization. If they have two dozen couples testify- 24 people- why should that miniscule number of affected people overturn what 5 million people voted for? The report that 24 people were affected would not raise an eyebrow. Those 24 crying on the stand creates a crisis.

Amazing how the media can make a group of 24 seem major, yet totally marginalize the thousands who participate in TEA Parties.

Maybe we need to make ourselves more personal. Show the damage government policies have done to individuals.

But we don’t and we can’t.

Conservatives don’t cry.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Must Have Been a New Camera

Yesterday I wanted a Sonic burger. It was about 5:30 on a Saturday afternoon and the Sonic was CLOSED!

What the Hell?!?!?

So I decided to Bing it to see what was up.

And found this video.

I was looking for a news report or maybe their website to see why the place was closed on a Saturday afternoon.

I figured what the Hell; lets see why this is posted on YouTube.

All I can figure is somebody out there thinks that daily minutia like this will have a profound effect the rest of us.

Look, if you want to put your daily minutia on the Internet, write a blog.

At least then you can tweak things a little to make the situation a little more interesting than it actually was.

Not that I would do something like that.

But if the most interesting thing in my life was trying to decide between a slush and a shake...

Cars I Have Known V

After I bought my T-Bird I got Orders to England. I had the choice to take the 'Bird with me, but because I couldn't drive it there I decided to leave the Thunderbird at home and buy another car in England. After about 2 months one of the guys I worked with offered me his Jaguar for $1000. He would make sure it would pass the MOT (Ministry of Transport) inspection for the $1000, so I jumped at the chance.

I will say flat out this was one Hell of a Car. All the Brits would tell you that only the Yanks would buy an old Jag, because the Brits that could afford the upkeep could afford a new one; it was only the Yanks that had enough money to keep an old one running; and by inference, the lack of smarts to try.

This was the first Sports Sedan; a 1965 3.8 S-Type. 4-wheel independent suspension (same as used on the E-Type); 4-wheel disc brakes; dual exhaust; dual overhead cams; twin carburetors on a 3.8 liter engine. Inside was pure class. The dash board and all of the trim that in a newer car is plastic, was solid walnut. The door panels and seats were leather, and the carpets wool. It was a little small, but not too bad even for me.

I was having trouble with it one day; it just would not idle properly. I was talking to the British guys I worked with about how bad it was running and one asked me if I had checked the oil in the carburetors. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. I told him that yeah I had; it was fine, and the stereo and the windows worked well too; and it still wouldn't idle.

Well, apparently I had just fallen off the turnip truck. Jags use an SU side-draft carb that has a throttle plate idle damper that uses motor oil to stabilize the throttle plate. You check it by removing a black cap on top of the bell of the carb that has a dipstick attached. If the oil runs low in the damper the throttle plate flops around instead of remaining steady, which makes the car idle poorly and run rough. We topped off the oil with about half a pint in each carb and she started idling smoothly again.

It's always the things we are sure we know that makes us look the dumbest, ain't it?

Our Clean and Articulate President

As usual, I found this through Instapundit.

I'm confused. Harry Reid can say that Obama is 'light skinned and has no Negro dialect" (a YEAR AND A HALF AGO), apologize now and STILL be the majority leader in the Senate?

I don't think it was in this article but I also read a blog post this morning where they referenced Joe Biden's "Clean, articulate black man" comment. And he gets to keep his job as Vice-President.

But if I comment that Obama's socialist style policies are ruining the country, I'm a hillbilly racist?

Can anybody else figure that out?

I sure can't.

Unless there is a double standard in this country; a loose one for Friends of the left and a strict to the point of nonsense one for the good guys? Nah, they wouldn't do that would they?

By the way, I hate haveing an image of Der Leader on my blog, but I think this one displays his attitude very well, don't you?

Last Week Was a Mess

It has been a busy week for me. Isn’t the first week back from vacation always an energy sapper?

And yesterday was taken up with cars. We put a Reese hitch on my son’s jeep, fog lights and headlights on my son’s Honda, then rescued my brother’s Honda form the side of the road with the Jeep, and started to figure out why it won’t run.

And last night was a Poker Party to celebrate 3 birthdays, including my own pending one. I can home with as much money as I left with, so I guess that worked out better than usual. And it was a good time. All of my brothers, one of my brothers-in-law and my 3 oldest sons were all there.

Today I have to get busy. I am 5 posts behind for the year already- my how time flies when you ain’t looking- and things aren’t looking good for today to being able to catch up. But we’ll see!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prepare For The WHITE DEATH!

We are expecting some snow around here tomorrow; about 4-6 inches. The picture is one I took last winter back in the pasture. Yeah, with my iPhone.

And as usual the whole area is worked into a complete frenzy.

Stores are jammed; the local stations have gone into 24 hour snow watch mode and businesses are updating inclement weather policies.

Me? I am planning on working from home tomorrow to avoid all of the mess.

And I sent the wife out to stock up on beer.

I already have bourbon, so I'm all set.

A New iPhone App

This one is a real hoot.

Apparently, after 3 years, AT&T has decided to see how well there service works. Maybe it's just the cynic in me that wonders if this has anything to do with the expiration of their exclusive iPhone contract in June of this year.

But anyway, with this app when you have poor service, like no phone or 3G service or if AT&T drops your call, then you fire up this app and let AT&T know exactly where you are so they can WORK ON improving your service.

Where was this app a couple of months ago when I got dropped 3 times in one 15 minute phone call?

I already used it; to complain that I have no service in my dining room. That may not be a big deal the rest of you, but hey, it is a real pain in the buttocks to me!

I also like how Verizon has a truck drive around constantly checking for network performance and loading.

AT&T gives us AN APP!

I have to admit that I do like some functions of the iPhone. There are things I would like for it to do better or differently, but the basic thing I have a cell phone for is to make phone calls. When it fails to do that, then to me the whole device is a failure. And there are so many places you just can't make a danged call on this phone.

And my desk at home is one of the places I can't!

The Future of The American Auto Industry

Check out this article on new car sales. There is one paragraph I find particularly interesting:

Of the seven largest car companies selling vehicles in the United States, five had large, double-digit December gains. Only General Motors and Chrysler, the two companies that received federal bailouts and went through bankruptcy last year, saw sales slip. And among the seven biggest companies, only Hyundai/Kia posted a sales increase for the full year.

I wonder why these two had sales declines while everybody else had increases? And one other point that will be hard to decipher- How many of the cars sold by GM and Chrysler were sold to the government at some level?

I can see five possible reasons.

1) Consumers are afraid that because of the bankruptcies these companies won't be around long and have warranty concerns;
2) Consumers are still torqued about the bailouts and refused to give these bozos any more money;
3) They have an inferior product;
4) Their ads suck (the few I have seen for GM seriously suck; I haven't seen a Chrysler ad in months.)
5) Because of all of the dealer closings, there is no where left to buy a GM or Chrysler.

Of these I really think the dealership issue is probably number 2, right behind the bailout, at least for GM. For Chrysler I think it is number 3, behind the bailout, ads (or lack thereof).

Face it; would you drive by 3 or 4 other car dealers, both foreign and Ford, to by a GM right now?

And how do you determine what is a foreign car? They probably make more Toyotas in this country than they do Chevrolets or Buicks, percentage wise. If it boiled down to where the profits go, then buy stock in BMW and buy one.

Personally I don't see a good end to this for GM. Chrysler is already done for. Fiat will use the name plate for a few more years, milk all of the engineering they can and then in a few years morph the whole line into Fiats.

GM has only two ways to go: Out of Business entirely, or the government will sell their shares of stock to a private entity. If they are sold to a private entity, who has the cash? Roger Penske tried his damnedest to save Saturn, and GM let it die completely rather than salvage a few bucks by accepting Penske's offer. GM did manage to sell Hummer.

To the Chinese.

Who else had cash? And that will be the issue with the rest of GM. Who will want it (in this economy), and who will have the cash. It will take a few years for the economy to recover to the point where GM will become a viable entity again, and by then will it have enough reputation left to be able to recover without government support?

Would Ford want to buy Chevrolet, Buick or Cadillac? I doubt it. Would Fiat? Cadillac maybe, or maybe the truck division, but other than that, I have my doubts.

I doubt any foreign maker would want them either. The badges would be fairly worthless, and the engineering wouldn’t be worth much more. Again, maybe the truck division, but I can’t see BMW buying Chevrolet, can you?

So we are back to the Chinese.

Either way, expect GM to be gone before 2015. I doubt the Dems will still be in charge after 2012 of anything, and the bailout was not a corporation salvage move, but a Union jobs salvage move. Without the Dems to prop them up the Feds will sell off their stock, allow the company to go through an HONEST bankruptcy as soon as the adults are back in charge.

I’ll be sorry to see the GM of the ’70 Firebird go, but not the GM of ’12 Volt.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010, So Far

Well, my New Year has started off with a Bang; and a whimper.

New Years Eve was great. I had a couple of parties to go to, including one at home with the boys and the Young'un. But instead of watching some Yankee in New York, we did our own countdown and lit off some fireworks at Midnight. Not too much, but enough to know we celebrated.

And I caught some bug or the other, and spent all of New Year's Day in bed, dozing and watching TV. Discovery had a Mythbuster's marathon, and the Cartoon Network had a Looney Tunes marathon going and I was always lucky enough to have either one or the other going. Or I was asleep. Not what I had planned, but, still a decent day.

Saturday I spent most of the day working on a couple of cars. it was a tad chilly working conditions, but still, enjoyable.

Today is back to the wood shop to finish a late Christmas present.

Tomorrow is back to work, damn the bad luck.

This has been the quickest two weeks I think I've ever seen. It seems like only yesterday was the middle of December. But it has been a busy two weeks; that always makes time fly.

What's that line form that old Willie Nelson song? The Party's over, and tomorrow starts the same old thing again.

Yep, that's it.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Above His Pay Grade

As usual I am cribbing from Instapundit, who led me to this.

I am just curious. Would there been such a racial hullabaloo if Obama had been shining Hillary's shoes?

Second point; is Obama fit to shine Palin's shoes?

I personally don't think so.

He has shown no expertise for shoe shining; fails to have a work history in the profession and apparently lacks the work ethic for an actual job.

Let him start lower on the power pole.

Nancy Pelosi maybe looking for a shoe shine person.