Friday, October 31, 2008

Coming Out of the Closet

Aerosmith Guitarist Joe Perry admits to being a lifelong Republican and endorses McCain. This is a big deal for a guy who hails from Boston and works in the entertainment industry. Just look at the comments on that article for reasons why.

Via Duffy at Pencader Days.

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phillies Win!

I give total credit to Paul Smith and his idolatry before the baseball gods. Also the fans. I suppose some of the Phillies' players and management. Especially that nice Brett Myers. He seems the well-adjusted sort.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delaware's Latest Shame

Surprise! It has nothing to do with Joe Biden and everything to do with the Delaware State Police violating the law by illegally maintaining government records of firearms purchases. The state requires these records to be destroyed in 60 days. A slip of the tongue revealed that the DSP had maintained a database of records going back over 7 years.

This is not an isolated problem. Adjoining states like Pennsylvania also illegally maintain records databases.

UPDATE: Duffy weighs in on the DSP's computer glitch cover story.

A New Threat from... Paraguay?

It seems that the Paraguaians Paraguese people of Paraguay have held the biggest barbecue ever with 30 thousand people consuming 28,000 tons of meat in 6 hours. That's almost a ton of meat per person! So much meat that perhaps fraud was involved...

Paraguay really should have known better. I believe we all remember what happened to Iraq after they tried to take World Shooting-in-the-Air Supremacy away from Kentucky. You wouldn't think Paraguay would make that sort of mistake.

I still have confidence that good American gluttons from the South, or possibly the Southwest, will put the record back in American hands soon enough.

Chuck Norris Weighs In

You know why the clip ends with him throwing the punch into a freeze frame? Well they tried to start it off this way, but all they got was the force of his chi breaking the camera lens, followed by the pained cries of the injured cameraman. At least this way all that happens off screen. Remember Chuck thought this clip was so important it was worth spilling a cameraman's blood.

More Norris NRA humor over at Tam's place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Excel Innovations

It's kind of cool that AC/DC has released an ascii art version of Rock N Roll Train via an Excel spreadsheet. But only kind of. There is no way I'm going to run a strange excel file on my computer without disabling macros. I just don't trust them that much, no matter what my virus scanner says. Once I have disabled macros, I've also disabled the video content. At least there's a Youtube version.

Every Weekly Meeting During Grad School

My usual experience in graduate school was that my adviser would tell me to do an experiment I knew wouldn't work. I would go off, do it, report that it didn't work, reiterate why it wouldn't work (but with experimental support this time), and then go off to do it the my way so that it would. Every professor was the same and the key to good relations seemed to be knowing when to stop fighting them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Phillies Massacre Rays

Amybear is beginning to forsake her DC metro ways. She bought a Phillies cap at Sears yesterday.

I caught most of the game last night. The Phillies just absolutely trounced the Rays. To make my point, Ryan Howard hit two home runs with 5 RBIs but he wasn't the game's most valuable player. That honor went to pitcher Joe Blanton who dashed the Rays' hopes for six innings and also hit a solo home run. What is it with Phillies' pitchers this post-season?

If this trend continues, I may have to see if any of my old Phillies gear still fits.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Seasons Are a Changin'

The weatherproofing on my old Lands End Squall Parka gave up during a February snow this year. My mother gave it to me one Christmas during college because she thought I needed a new winter coat. I was wearing around a ratty trenchcoat a lot and perhaps she thought my fashion sense was going the way of my father's. I never really loved it, but it was functional and lasted forever. The later is a trait that seems common in clothes I don't like.

My current choices for replacement are the Cabela's Canvas Field Coat (in Saddle) and the Cabela's Prairie Field Jacket. I think the former is better looking and would probably be warmer, except it lacks a zipper or a drawstring waist. The latter has the zipper and shotshell loops which are perfect for trips to the range.


UPDATE: I left out the Insulated Chore Coat from Duluth Trading Company. Not sure if it has a drawstring waist, but it does have a zipper which should make it a lot more foul weather resistant.

Rube Goldberg Cat Training

Cat eating the potted plants? Hook your blender up a motion detector to freak him out anytime he tries. Or for the 10 cent solution, just apply double sided scotch tape to the counter top. Cats hate that stuff.

No. Not Without Incident.

The Tetragrammaton Cleric t-shirt, perfect for anyone open carrying a Beretta. Equilibrium, what a wonderfully silly movie. Via Lawdog.

UPDATE: On the topic of clothes and carry, don't wear prominent pro-2nd amendment t-shirts and hats while concealed carrying. If they're smart, people will connect the dots and take a closer look. They will most likely find telltale budges if you are packing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ace of Cakes

Amy and I love the show on Food Network. Amy discovered turns out that Mary Alice also maintains a Charm City Cakes blog as well. It includes previews of upcoming episodes and pictures of the various crew members that slave away behind the scenes to produce the program.

On a similar food-related note, Kim du Toit (and his wife Connie) both think that Anthony Bourdain's new show At The Table is rubbish. His old show, No Reservations, is excellent. The new one is unfortunately pretentious crap.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things to Freak Out the Cat

Make gives us the robotic planter box, which seeks to optimize the sun exposure for it's plants by walking to the brightest spots in the room.


The Administrative Pastor at my church recently started riding a motorcycle. It's his first bike in twenty-something years so he started "small." He bought a Sportster. His wife actually wanted to ride on it with him so he bought the 1200 instead of the 883. I found out all of this, not because Pastor Bill and I are buds, but because he had recently broken his leg.

Some of the men at church in his age group are rather annoyed with him over this. How are they to convince their wives to let them buy motorcycles and relive the glory days of their youth, when a prominent clergyman has had a prominent motorcycle accident? I'm sure large parts of the congregation will be looking to hold Pastor Bill accountable for his behavior in short order. I also suggest they point out that the 20 something church organist zips about on a sportbike and he hasn't had a horrible crash yet. Yet. Maybe that will get them some traction, but having had this discussion with my own wife I kind of doubt it.

On this topic, Jeremy Clarkson recently published a column about motorcycles even though he did his research by riding a Vespa. He explains the advantage of his motorcycling choice:
I also liked the idea of a Vespa because most bikes are Japanese. This means they are extremely reliable so you cannot avoid a fatal crash by simply breaking down. This is entirely possible on a Vespa because it is made in Italy.
Perhaps this explain the popularity of Harley-Davidson's as well?

The Gunshow

I did stop off at the Nur Shriners Temple gun show on Saturday. I was more surprised by what I didn't see than what I did. What didn't I see?
  • Young people. There were a hundred or so people mulling around the show floor (which was about the size of a basketball court). Most were older white men between 55-75. A few were younger family men in their forties toting their kids about. A very few were my age or younger. This was not a place for young urban males to buy their gats.
  • Handguns. I'm guess the show broke down to a third were non-weapons. Military surplus in various forms, books, holsters, scopes, grips, etc. Another third was knives. There were easily as many knife dealers as there were gun dealers. The rest were almost all older shotguns and mil-surp bolt action rifles. There were handful of handguns tables. There were probably a few dozen total hanguns. No luck finding a deal on an older .357 revolver. No-one seemed to be selling cowboy action guns either.
  • Modern military arms. One person was prominently displaying an M1A (and wanted $6k for it). Another had a few AR-15s and a weird AR upper that accepted P90 mags and ammo. (Why would you want a gun that is the same size and weight as an AR, but takes more expensive and weaker ammo?) With an Obama administration looking more likely, I expected a lot more of that sort of stuff. I expected someone selling stripped AR lowers in bulk, but I saw 1 stripped lower and it was a novelty item tagged at $250.
  • Ammunition. Slim pickings here. There were a few historical ammunition curiosities, like a really old box of .44-40 hunting ammo. There was one table that had a few hundred rounds of 7.62x39. Another sold .30-06 in en-bloc clips for an M1 garand. That was it.
So that was the show. I hit Millers and X-ring on my way home. Millers didn't have much I was interested in, but X-ring had several stripped lowers for under $150 and a 3" Ruger GP100. No sale, but nice to know that this stuff is out there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain Clips

McCain's speech at the Al Smith dinner was a good one, especially where he was ripping on the Clintons:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Delegate Wars

If you wish the presidency were settled in Risk-style (actually Dice Wars) battle royale, Battleground States might be for you. Fun, but time consuming.

Oh and if you want to watch cats flushing toilets to a goofy song, this one is for you.

Geek Shame

Sadly, I understood everything Gabe said in this comic. The boy is in blue Katarn armor which means he's a null lieutenant, so either Jaing, Mereel, Prudii, or Kom'rk. I'm sure Gabe knows which and has instructed his son to act accordingly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Doctor's Appointments

I've been having knee pain for around a month now. Both of them. It sucks. I can't do any sort of cardio workout and I'm walking around like an old man. I realized that it wasn't just going to go away with rest, so I went to the family doctorphysician's assistant yesterday. She diagnosed me with patellofemoral pain syndrome. Essentially, my kneecap is rubbing on the rest of my knee join and aggravating things. The treatment is mostly stretching and quad strengthening exercises to teach those errant kneecaps their proper place.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is just a fancy way of saying that the area around my kneecap hurts, by the way. Most medical language is like that. I feel sorry for the people who use the phrase "well at least they have a name for it" related to medicine and illness. Some old lady gets comfort when she finds out that she is tired all the time because of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Except that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome doesn't have a clearly identified cause. Its just the category they put people into who are tired all the time and don't have Lyme disease, etc.

Once you learn the code, medicine gets a lot less impressive. Once you actually work with doctors on a professional level (as I did while researching biomechanics in college) the gild leaves the lily at an alarming rate. Doctors (and especially surgeons) are much more like skilled auto mechanics than white-coated super-scientists. It's a professional degree program, just a difficult one because the nature of the "machine" they're trying to repair.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Mystery Solved

Ever wonder why you see ads for Sonic on cable/satellite TV even when there isn't Sonic within several hours drive of your house? Some of you may have conjectured that its an artifact of advertising economics and it turns out you're right:
Over the weekend, I ran into one of the writers behind the two-folks-in-a-car Sonic commercials and asked him if he knew.

He said that it's basically a better deal for Sonic to buy ad packages on a national basis on cable TV, which is why all you Sonic-less folks see them anyway. An added benefit, he said, was that this strategy has coincidentally built up hype for the drive-in burger chain whenever it enters a new market.
It works too, every time I travel to an area with a Sonic, I always stop for one of their burgers. What's the point of hitting a McDonalds (unless that region still has the McRib)?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Multivitamin Schadenfreude

Turns out a friend and I both just changed vitamin brands to One-A-Day Mens Multivitamins. We both think they're crap. I had previously used a brand called Nature Made, but switched to One-A-Day because I thought all vitamins were the same. I was wrong.

The big problem is that unlike Nature Made, One-A-Day does not coat their pills with anything. This means you can taste exactly what is in the multivitamins: minerals and organic molecules. Dirt and bark for you non-technical people. Even worse, with out a coating they start dissolving in your mouth so that dirt and bark flavor spreads across your mouth and then lingers. The surface is also porous so it sticks to things making the pill hard to swallow. Nothing like downing a full glass of nasty dirt-and-bark water trying to swallow your morning dose of vegetables.

All this could be avoided with an thin gelatin or wax coating on the pills of course.

If there is any consolation to be had, it's that I only bought a 100 count bottle while my friend has nearly an entire year's supply. Sucks even worse to be him.


I discovered that my old 2D maglite was completely trashed yesterday. One or both of the batteries had leaked and swelled, locking them into the barrel of the light. After attempting to disassemble the unit using instructions from Take-It-Apart, I realize that the light was a hopeless case. The acid had eaten away at the barrel of the light and I was going to have to destroy most of the internals just to get it out. Oh well, time to get another one anyway.

In doing the research on that, I stumbled across It's a great site and has lots of data amidst it's product reviews.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Palin Having Fun

HAVING FUN with Sarah Palin. Yeah, readers keep sending me reports like this, which I'm not getting about John McCain. She looks like she's having fun. He doesn't. That matters.
Why is Palin having fun but McCain, well, not? The answer is simple, this is McCain's last Presidential hurrah. He's already too old and that isn't a problem that will go away with time. So the pressure is on him, because nobody is going to elect McCain's head in a jar.

Palin? Not so much. If McCain loses she goes back to her overwhelmingly successful job as Governor of Alaska. She puts in four more years there and runs for President in 2012 (or perhaps 2016). Unless Bobby Jindal also runs, she's going to win the nomination in a landslide. Palin's personal situation is win-win. Why not be happy?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Well-Deserved Punch in the Face

Amy and I watched a movie called License to Wed over the weekend. It is a bad movie, but one scene got me to to stand up and applaud. It's the one where the groom-to-be punches out the bastard minister. Great scene.

I had a similar experience with this story about Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld:
"From two very senior sources - one incredibly senior source - that he went to the gym after. Lehman was announced as going under. He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold. And frankly after having watched this, I'd have done the same too."

Encroaching Alzheimers

Terry Pratchett discusses the progression of his early onset Alzheimers. It's a tough read if you have family members with dementia like I do.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Homicidal Feline Rage

This is why Milo is not allowed on the counters in the bathroom:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Bad Month for Cats

First Porch Cat passed on the 12, then Mittens died yesterday. September was a bad month for blogger cats.

Reminder to Self

The Legion of Honor Gun Show is in about two weeks on the 18th and 19th at the Shrine Building off of Rt 13 in Newcastle. It's the only gun show I know of that is actually held within Delaware. All the others are across state lines, usually in Pennsylvania.

How Could I Have Missed It?

Truly, Mary Poppins must be a Time Lord.