Thursday, April 29, 2010

Apparently I'm Not as Fat As I Was Yesterday

I found this through Instapundit.

My question is one I don't see addressed in the article.

If being 10 to 15 pounds 'Overweight' is not a bad thing, why doesn't the medical profession adjust their target weight charts to account for that fact?

I'm kinda mad that the 'ideal' weight for me would make me look like a scarecrow, and apparently, isn't any unhealthier that being 15 pounds heavier, which would make a difference in a target weight I could actually get closer to.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Complete Inventory of Nuts

Another old one from the archives.

Have you ever thought about making a list of people whom you were convinced were certifiably nuts? I'm not talking about individually, but collectively, like people who go scuba diving in caves. I sometimes feel that insanity isn’t defined as fully as it needs to be. Some of the groups I think should be included in the new definition are storm chasers, teenage boys, and the twentysomething guys who tell steady girl friends that they "are just not the marrying kind."

Take for instance the guys who go cave diving. I can't think of a better way to allow my widow to collect my life insurance. Let's look at this logically. I'll take a limited commodity (my life), add a limited supply of a necessary sustaining ingredient (the tank full of air), and add two unlimited variables (the length of the cave and the amount of water in it). Algebraically, it looks like this; L+A/CW=0. Unquestionably, if you are experienced in this pastime, it is perfectly safe. The question is how do you become experienced with out becoming deceased?

There are other things that people do for enjoyment that I wouldn't do to avoid jail, such as jumping out of perfectly good aircraft. Further proof that these people are slightly insane is that they are usually Marines to start with. This same analysis applies to people who scale cliffs and rappel down them, or endure the frigid winds of Everest. And some of these folks weren't Marines to begin with, and thereby lack that built in excuse for such risky behavior.

The only group other than Marines to have a built in excuse for daily insanity is teenage boys. For some reason the words "I dare you" are able to wipe out whatever little sense has been carefully cultivated by years of parental guidance. The formula is simple. Add three teenage males, all on a hormone induced, death wish high, two teenage girls who look like they need to be impressed with a manly feat of ignorance, and one "I dare you". You don't need to stir this recipe, it will blow up on it's own. A busy street or tall bridge makes a fine catalyst, as does the addition of an expendable auto, such as Mom's.

Some of these assumed nutty people are highly educated; a Doctor of this, a Masters in that, or at the least, a Rhodes scholar. Some times they even have a degree in the action they are pursuing, like the Doctor of Aero-anatomical science, who was an expert in high altitude free falling. But which came first, the drop or the degree? And how about people who study volcanoes and tornadoes just so they can claim a valid reason to be around them when they are at their most dangerous? If that isn't near the top of the nut heap, I don't know what is.

But don’t go anywhere, it gets worse. I just found out about a group who offers tours chasing tornadoes. How much would you trust your doctor if you found out that he spent his last vacation, and his hard earned cash, riding around Kansas looking for a twister? Could you trust the banker who gave the people who founded this business a starter loan? I’ll bet their insurance agent is prematurely gray, and deservedly rich. Need I mention the gentleman who just spent ten million dollars to have himself strapped to 10,000 pounds of liquid oxygen and have it lit like a massive bottle rocket? Care to trust him with your life savings for proper investment? This guy also was old enough to know better.

Which is unlike the last group that I consider for the Snickers Hall of Fame, the young males who consider commitment a four-letter word. It’s not that I’m bitter or envious in any way, but just how often do I need to hear about being free and able to practice self-determination? After all, I was once like that. I wasn’t born married. I’m not so senile I’ve forgotten how it feels. I don’t need a constant reminder that I’ve got responsibilities, a family, a career, and a long-term commitment to a mortgage company. So what is it about their behavior I consider so risky? It's because soon one of these youngsters is going to get a handful of knuckles in his face for his efforts to enlighten me.

I’ve got a few more examples, but I think I’ve illustrated the general idea. These folks are just too attuned to themselves, too focused on what they wish to do to care how the rest of the world views their sanity, or apparent lack thereof. Because if you ask me, that’s what makes them nuts.

Why Can't We Schedule Rain For During The Week?

I found this interesting website this weekend; That Will Buff Out. as the tag line says; pictures of cars in compromising positions. some very funny images, and the captions form the captions contest are pretty funny too. Check it out when you have a few minutes.

Another blog I visit consistently is Sippican Cottage. This is from the companion blog, The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys . He (I thought) had a great video up a week or so ago of San Francisco, filmed 2 days before the 1906 earthquake that was absolutely fascinating. But now I can't find it. But I found this one instead. if you like watching crazy sequences of things going off, this is one of the best.

What else are you going to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon?

Out In My Yard Earlier Today

You know what bothers me about this picture? it wasn't until I sat down at the computer that I noticed my flower beds need weeding and new mulch.

Maybe I should look at pictures on my yard instead of the yard itself more often?

I guess its because when you look at a picture there are no large distractions that force you to focus on the small image and all of the imperfections jump out at you.

The good news is I can't mulch and weed today, we have a pouring rain going on.

Oh well; there is always next weekend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This sucks. I freely admit that I no longer have any use for GM (Government Motors), but its status as a quasi-governmental entity make this idea even more abhorrent.

This is exactly why the govenrment should not own a manufacturing entity.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Will This Work?

I have had some complaints about the aesthetics of my previous post, and calls for something a little more photogenic.

I hope this helps.

I also will say when I opened up the blog on my iPhone last night and that picture popped up I thought something hairy had eaten my phone, so I'm more than happy to oblige.

This picture is one of mine, taken last spring of one of the peonys in my front yard.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More stuff from the archives.

This post is probably 5 years old, and every word is still true, as much as I hate to admit it.

If the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, then I can be fairly sure that my road will be very well paved.

And no, that is not my belly.

That time of year has arrived again, when the success, or lack thereof, of my most recent diet makes itself known. Mostly it’s the latter. When I was younger, I had a washboard stomach, but I've kept up with the times. I now have a whole laundry room. It’s that addition which keeps me in trouble with The Spousal Inquisition, and as far as she’s concerned, the Fifth is only for medicinal purposes.

It’s not like I haven’t tried to follow the guidelines for a healthy diet. I’ve reduced red meat, and added salads. Going from double Quarter-Pounders to Big Macs counts, doesn’t it? After all, its less meat, and they do put lettuce and tomato on a Big Mac. I’ve also cut out some deep fried foods, and replaced them with a shallow fried variety. If that ain’t healthy eating, I don’t know what is.

I’ve also thought about starting an exercise regime. I decided to begin by writing down a plan to follow. Working up a sweat hunting for a pencil counts as an exercise program, I hope. Part two is hunting up some paper. But my wife seems less than supportive of my plans; even after I told her I was going to start training for next year’s Flying Pig Marathon.

She first ask just how fast I would have to run to earn the designation of a FLYING pig, and then reminded me I got winded the last time I drove 26 miles. She added insult to injury with a call to update my life insurance. She also inquired about whether or not a man of my age taking up running activated my policy’s suicide clause. As I said, she was less than supportive.

But I am committed to getting into better shape. All it takes is will power. I just hope old Will is still in my Rolodex. Like I said, I am committed to exercising. My wife just thinks I should be committed, for thinking I can become 18 again. I don’t want to be eighteen again, I just want to look like I’m eighteen again, and I think it’s doable. She thinks it’s possible for me to look that young again too, just not in this lifetime.

I have to admit a past littered with good intentions, aimed at physical improvement. I joined a gym once, thinking that being surrounded by healthy young men would goad me into becoming a little more inclined toward a healthy lifestyle. My second day there one of these young punks called me a fat old man, so I hit him. He didn’t feel it, but some busybody reported me, and I was asked to leave.

I’ve tried home exercise equipment too, but with limited positive results. Notice I said Positive. I had a folding treadmill in the corner of the bedroom, but the first night I stubbed a couple of toes on the darn thing and spent two weeks hobbling around it. I bought a used Stairmaster, and when I got it home, I found out it was too big to fit through the small doors in my house. It found a home on the front porch as a plant stand; a couple of hanging baskets on the handles disguise it real well.

I also went the free weights route. I got my weights free from some guy who said he’d found a better way to stay healthy. After a few days, I figured out that not messing with free weights was a good way to stay healthy. About the only spot I wasn’t sore was the sole of my left foot, and that was by accident, not design. I still use the weights, though. Every winter I put some of them in the trunk of my car.

But I’m not discouraged, believe it or not. I fully intend to lose some weight this summer, eat healthier, and be able to run out a homer without getting winded. I probably should scale that back to a triple. Maybe even a double. Realistically, my initial goal should be to reach first without slowing to a walk. I’ll save the rest for next summer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

As I warned, some more old stuff is coming your way.

This is from way back in 2006, when the Commonwealth of Kentucky made not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense, meaning the cops could stop you solely for NOT wearing a seatbelt.

Call it what it is; Invasive Revenue Enhancement.

And by the way, none of my elected representatives ever responded.

And one small correction; in my letter I assume that court costs will be assessed with the fine. That is not the case. I ought to know.

I have paid this fine twice in the last four years.

Governor Ernie Fletcher
Governor’s Mansion
Frankfort, KY 40601

Sen. Katie Stine
Rep. Jon David Reinhardt
Kentucky State Capital Building
Frankfort, KY 40601


In Sunday morning’s Kentucky Enquirer I read of the new Seatbelt Bill working its way through the legislature, and was seriously dismayed on several counts, but primarily, to be blunt, as I am above the age of reason and not adjudged incompetent, the government can not legislate that I protect myself from myself.

Other than my military service I have lived my entire life in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I am a registered Independent, but normally vote Republican primarily because of their usual defense of personal rights and liberties.

Governor Fletcher, I am appalled at your stand on this issue. Sen. Stine, I applaud your position, and hope your review of the legislation will enforce your opposition. Rep. Reinhart, I am unsure of your position, but am hopeful you agree with Sen. Stine and me.

Seatbelt use is a good idea. Since they were mandated in automobiles in 1964 they have saved an untold number of lives. I am not against seatbelts or their usage; I am against state required usage.

Government in this country is designed to be the servant of the people, not their master; this law is not the work of a servant, but a master. I will accept advice from the legislature on how to protect myself, but not their mandates to do so.

I will accept the recommendation that not wearing a seatbelt can be risky; that smoking may be injurious to my health; that too much red meat can kill me. I will not accept laws that necessitate cessation of these activities. As my servant the Commonwealth can advise and advocate a personal course of action, not command one.

I think we are all old enough to remember when it was acceptable to smoke in airplanes and restaurants. The initial request to modify the norm was for a non-smoking area in each of these places. We all know where that beginning has led us. The trite phrase is “Slippery Slope”.

The seatbelt slope started with a recommendation, progressed to a passive law and now is threatening to become invasive. Where will it end? Will the ‘small’ fine ($25.00, plus $101.50 for court costs is a weeks’ groceries for lots of folks) become a larger fine when seatbelt usage doesn’t increase? Possibly progress to a loss of driver’s license over the next few years? Maybe even as high as confiscation of the automobile being driven? (Some areas have enacted this penalty for soliciting prostitution. This punishment for seatbelt usage seems unlikely today; ten years ago it seemed unlikely for soliciting. Fifteen years ago the idea that I could be ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt was considered outlandish.)

Some of the points used in an effort to persuade me this is a good law are interesting as well.

• 388 few brain and spinal injuries;
• 931 traffic deaths in Kentucky in 2003; 2/3 of these victims were not wearing a seatbelt;
• Kentucky ranks 47th in seatbelt usage;
• Kentucky’s Medicaid program would save nearly $41 million over 10 years if this law was enacted.

Over a hundred years ago Mark Twain defined three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies and statistics. These points are statistics.

On the first point we are not given the span of time in which these injuries occur. Is it a month; a year; ten years?

Second point- of the 2/3 who were unbuckled and perished in a car accident, how many of those accidents were survivable, had they been buckled in? Of the 1/3 who were properly fastened in, and did not survive, how many would have, had they not been strapped into position?

The third point is based on what data? Tickets issued; accident data; phone polls; who knows? And why does it matter anyway where we ranked?

Last point, if these figures are correct (lets face it, this is a statistical best guess, and probably a best case scenario as well, for maximum impact), this will be a figure of $4.1 million a year, for a program that is $250 million a year in the red. A proverbial drop in the bucket.

For all practical purposes this bill, if enacted, will, according to the government’s own statistics, possibly increase my chances of surviving an accident by .333 percent, possibly save less than 2% of just the deficit in Medicaid, and increase my chances of donating $25 to the courts.

Sen. Stine, as an attorney you can appreciate the concept of precedent. Each statute and legal decision is a building block to the next. Rights are not commandeered overnight. They are chipped away one small and seemingly logical step at a time. Just half an airplane; just half a restaurant remember?

It will also be a stepping stone to possible future statutes to protect me from myself, all for the common good. How long will it be before we can control the sale of red meat to folks who have suffered a heart attack or legally ration sweets to diabetics? Perhaps the legislature can decide we need to control the sale of caffeinated products to those with high blood pressure, or fast food to the part of the populace who are above a statistical weight to height ratio? All this information can put on an ID card. Just show your card before you can purchase a controlled substance- like a pound of ground beef, a Big Mac & fries or a Hershey bar.

Each of these instances is legally akin to a seatbelt statute. They are designed solely to protect an individual from their possibly dangerous actions, based on the possible cost of the consequences of that action to the public. How long until we can legislate against spelunking, hang gliding or failing to exercise? The basic premise is here. All it will take is for the public frog to get used to the temperature of the water, before the heat is turned up another notch.

Thank you all for your time and attention,

An Edjamikated Redneck

I also think that the 'public frog' has felt the temperature of the water, and has decided to make a TEA Party out of it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

As I warned you, I have relocated my archives, and you will be punished. This is from a few years ago, 5 I think, during the last cicada invasion.

I noticed this morning that the cicadas were gone, (Thank God!) for another 17 years. And yet, it has left me slightly melancholy. This was my third cicada invasion, and kind of like a walk in the Seven League Boots, 17-year cicadas create a long distance, but short coupled, time frame.

For folks who aren’t familiar with the story of the Seven League Boots, those who wore them could travel seven leagues, about 21 miles, in a single step. My cicada memories travel 17 years in a single leap.

The first time I encountered these long-lived critters I was in grade school. My thoughts were wrapped up in baseball cards, my bike and my friends. Cicadas were a new plaything to us- allowing them to walk up our arms, putting a string leash on one and taking him for a “fly”, and just the incredible number of them there were.

I was a child, and I had parents and grandparents that my world revolved around. My only responsibilities were to be in the house by dark, and to keep my room clean. School was behind me, and it seemed like forever before it would start again.

Cicadas were the news of the summer, and as far as my world was concerned, the only news.

The second time I was grownup. I had graduated from High School, done my time in the service, came home and got married. I was a young father, my oldest was two at the time; his brother a newborn, and the world had changed. I had the responsibility to keep food on the table and clothes on the backs of my wife and sons.

I had no more time for cicadas than I did lightning bugs. I had watched my parents bury theirs, save for one grandfather; friends had grown up and drifted away. Not only did I not have time for the invasion itself, I neither had time nor interest in reflecting on the last seventeen years.

This time I do. I have buried a parent, gained more sons, and grandpa is still with us. Life is neither the struggle it was 17 years ago, nor as idyllic as it was 34. The cicadas were less a nuisance, and more wonder. Tracking their arrival; gauging the day when we would be covered in cicada casings; the excitement at spotting the first one; telling the kids about the last two seasons; I was again in awe of the wonders of nature.

What about the next time? I should still be a father, but will I be a husband or a son? Or a grandson? Or a grandpa myself? Will I be more comfortable, or less? Only time will tell; time gauged by the arrival of a bug from under the trees.

As a partial jump update, with 7 years down and 10 to go, there have been some changes, as to be expected.

Grandpa is still with us, and I have become a Grandfather myself, twice. One son is married and on his own. As of June 1 I will no longer have any children in Grade School, for the first time in 20 years.

In ten more years, I'll update this again.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

CAFE Sucks

I found this through Instapundit this morning. The Comments are an interesting read, but this, form the main post, is, in my opinion, the money quote:

Ultimately, there is no getting around the fact that setting higher CAFE standards is just a way for cowardly politicians to avoid telling their fellow citizens that they should pay more for the privilege of driving.

The picture is another one of mine from a car show few years ago.

Sometimes Looking Back Can Be Instructive

This is a final exam question and answer from a Political Science class I had almost 10 years ago. This was written in June of 2002, but some of it is even more important today, with Obama in office.

The picture is a B-36 (if memory serves) that I took at the US Air Force Museum a couple of years ago.

During the quarter, we spent a great deal of time discussing various issues involving the attack on America of September 11, 2001. Following the attack there has been considerable discussions concerning “Homeland Security” and the need to provide every American with safety and security. This has resulted in debate concerning greater and increased surveillance, intelligence gathering, enhanced techniques for searching baggage and personal belongings prior to boarding airlines, ships, boats, trains and airlines; this security has been enhanced along our borders, at our sea-harbors, in mass transportation.

As Americans, we have always enjoyed enormous freedoms that, before September 11, 2001, we seemed to take for granted.

• Please explain the impact of these increased “Homeland Security” implements as they relate to you personally as an American with the expectation of considerable personal, human, and constitutional rights.

When the first man climbed out of a tree, his culture warred with the existing one, which decided to stay in the tree. Sociologist will tell us that every society will have a major culture that drives the society, and a subculture to war against it. When cities and their major cultures were far enough apart to only meet occasionally, clashes were infrequent. But when each culture expanded to the point where cultures clashed almost daily, great wars were fought, until each could claim a defensible border.

The Romans were the first to try a multicultural experiment, leaving in place local customs and culture, instead of supplanting it with their own, and using their considerable influence to stop the warring between the societies under their control.

What does this have to do with Homeland security? Nothing, and everything. Societies kept their security by being homogeneous, and outside influence and threats were easily identified and dealt with. Our culture since the signing of the Mayflower Compact in 1620 has been one of rule of law and majority. This made our society attractive to people from every culture and corner of the globe. This makes us very un-homogeneous, and culturally very difficult to identify an outsider, particularly one who is a threat. Without investigation we have no idea who is a threat to our security, and who isn’t. At issue is who should do the investigating, who should control the information developed, and what should they with all that data.

The innocent man should have nothing to fear from a fair and honest government. The trouble is do we have a fair and honest government? Will we always have such faith in our leaders? Can we trust the government to investigate and NOT use that information to control society? The “emanations from the penumbra” of the 14th Amendment gives us a right to privacy, especially from government intrusion. When we do get a regime we don’t trust, it’s too late to get our rights and information back.

Now we’re getting to the crux of problem. Does our inherent American distrust of government equal or out weigh our need for security? Everyone agrees that drunken driving is an issue requiring government regulation. But at what point does our need to be secure from the drunk become a higher priority than the right to travel the highways, free from the molestation of random roadblocks? Can we punish, in this respect, the innocent and with the guilty? Isn’t that what we are doing with all of the security checks at airports, surveillance of boarding passengers and delays for extra checks? Punishing the innocent because of the guilty few?

This all may seem to be the long way around the barn, but no decision can be made in a vacuum, it needs to be supported by something, and in this case shouldn’t be taken lightly. The only two legitimate functions of government are to protect our security, and to protect our liberty, and here those two functions clash. In order to maintain the one, we need to lose some of the other.

I am reminded of a program in California a few years ago where in order to keep a certain type of firearm, it needed to be registered with the state, and payment of a $15.00 fee was required. Eighteen months into the program all of the registered owners received a letter containing their refunded fee, and a new law explaining they had 20 days to turn the gun in for destruction, or get it out of the state. It is actions like these, where a governing body collects information for one stated purpose and then uses that same information to, metaphorically at least, beat you over the head that worry cognizant folks.

Every despotic regime in the history of the world had a phobia for controlling the populace, and their movements. If the Bush administration wants turn into a regime where we need to justify, catalogue and authorize our movements, and need to show our “papers” before being allowed to travel, how much more regulation would we need? Past what has been put into place since September 11th? If not this Administration, what of the future? Gore in 2004?

Part of what worries me about these new regulations is their permanency. When will we be free of these regulations, if ever? Creating a Cabinet post for Homeland Security seems make these new rules permanent. George Patton once said you win a war by “Making the other poor, dumb bastard die for HIS country,“ a sentiment Israel seems to have taken to heart when dealing with terrorists. Maybe instead of a Department of Homeland Security would should create a Department Terrorist Insecurity, keeping the pressure and attack on the problem, and release the victims from government control.

Out of The Archives

I mentioned I have finally gotten access to all of my old pictures and other files.

What I didn't mention is that now I'm going to start boring you folks with all of that stuff.

Like this post.

When Cincinnati last celebrated Tall Stacks I was privileged to be a volunteer deck hand on one of the boats. I was busy while the passengers loaded and unloaded, but unless we started to sink I had nothing to do during the cruise, except take pictures.

This is the Grand Old Lady of Steamboats, the Delta Queen; the oldest overnight passenger steamship in the country.

Or it was, until the Democrats in Congress gave a big fat kiss to their union thugs and failed to renew her exemption from maritime laws designed to protect passengers at sea, not in the middle of a river.

Now its a hotel, but based on what I read on the website, it will be preserved until it can regain its exemption and start serving cruising passengers again.

Another reason to vote Republican in the fall.