Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

To all our readers and friends: May 2009 be as blessed for you as 2008 has been for us. We wish you all much love, health, and prosperity in the coming year.

Kurt, Laurel, and Alison

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Laurel's Christmas Present

That's a Smith & Wesson Model 442 Snub Nose Revolver, 38 Special +P, 6 3/8" long, weighing only 15 ounces, with a fully concealed hammer and rubber grips.

Hey, she wanted it. Who am I to say "no?" Hmmmm?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Here’s a Jonah Goldberg piece contrasting the treatment of two women’s rise to political prominence:
Now, I know the comparison between Palin and Caroline Kennedy is not perfect. Each has strengths where the other has weaknesses, and the jobs of senator and vice president aren’t identical (the former actually has more responsibility, for starters).

But the comparison is nonetheless revealing. Palin’s selection triggered troughs of bile, vomited up from nearly every respectable liberal quarter. A Florida congressman, and Obama surrogate, insinuated that Palin was a "Nazi sympathizer" and anti-Semite (she’s not, but Caroline Kennedy’s grandfather was). Her by-the-bootstraps story was ridiculed by nearly every ex-debutante newsreader and avowed “feminist” in America.

Meanwhile, Caroline, with a resume perfectly suited to being a Kennedy and little else, is a Cinderella who deserves a Senate seat because, well, she just does.

Whatever Palin’s faults, Sarah Barracuda’s America has a lot more going for it than Sweet Caroline’s.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NRBQ has been a favorite band of mine since I ran into them at Clemson’s Edgar’s Nightclub in the late 1970s. I have seen them perform in Atlanta, Clemson, New York, Paramus (New Jersey), Providence (Rhode Island), and Norfolk.

They can do it all, from tender love songs to hard rocking blues tunes. They also have a talent for quirky little gadget songs, like Macho Maria:

Macho, Macho, Macho Maria
Maybe someone’s right for her
But baby, on the whole
I wouldn’t touch her with a ten foot pole

She works in a gas station
Rides a Harley Davidson
She’s been on probation all year long
Her two front teeth are missin
What has she been kissin?
When she comes around I will be gone

Repeat Chorus

In her mouth a cigarette
A big tattoo says “No Regrets”
She’s never seen without a can of beer
She don’t take no lip from you
You best know who you’re talkin to
Dungarees and motorcycle gear

Repeat Chorus

Beneath that hard exterior
I’m sure a warm heart beats in her
In school she had the cutest little curls
But I’m afraid it’s much too late
Close the door, shut the gate
The image is much bigger than the girl

Repeat Chorus

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It’s settled:
Scientists studying the changing nature of the Earth's climate say they have completed one crucial task - proving beyond a doubt that global warming is real.
Proven without a doubt except to the scientists with doubt:
Warming fears are the worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.
UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.
U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet.
Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review.

Many [scientists] are now searching for a way to back out quietly (from promoting warming fears), without having their professional careers ruined.
Atmospheric physicist James A. Peden, formerly of the Space Research and Coordination Center in Pittsburgh.

CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another….Every scientist knows this, but it doesn’t pay to say so…Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver’s seat and developing nations walking barefoot.
Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The 100 Meme

I saw this on Sharp as a Marble, and thought it would be fun to play. Items in bold are affirmatives.

1. Started your own blog. Do ya think?
2. Slept under the stars. Until it poured, anyway.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. That would be irresponsible.
7. Been to Disneyland. Disney WORLD, but what the heck, I'll take it.
8. Climbed a mountain. Not a particularly tall one, but I ran the trail from the top of Garrett Mountain and back countless times.
9. Held a praying mantis. Then I threw it at a buddy in a college dorm gang shower. Great hilarity ensued.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning. Pleh!
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I grew up a dozen miles away, and have never been there.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. Kind of underwhelming, if you ask me.
20. Slept on a train. Countless nights while bumming around Europe one semester.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb. Naaaaaah!
26. Gone skinny dipping. Sadly, never with anybody.
27. Run a Marathon. Ran a Half Marathon pretty smartly at 1:29
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. Those things are way over-priced.
29. Seen a total eclipse. Sun and Moon.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors. Deutschland Uber Alles!
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language. Learned some rudimentary German and Danish while passing through.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. And it's slipping away fast these days!
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person. A pretty dangerous climb by American standards. We are such a country of wusses.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David Overwhelming.
41. Sung karaoke. I am still embarrassed.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. With the Club Med "Lambada" instructor. I think she wanted it, but I will never know.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. Thank goodness.
47. Had your portrait painted / drawn. My caricature, at Disney World.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. Caught a 70 pound Wahoo.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I was there, but I didn't go up.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Dove on a German U-Boat at 125 feet off the Carolina coast.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class. Judo in high school gym class. I think I still remember a few throws.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching. Hey, dolphins are a type of whale.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. Dachau. Chilling.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square. I have done lots of things in Times Square!
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London. A bit overrated.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle. Wheeeee!
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. From a 737 on the way to Vegas, but it counts!
80. Published a book. My thesis is bound in hardcover and sitting in the Clemson library.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. I wish I had my little Honda CRX back.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. Cleaned a mullet I caught with my Dad. Ewwww.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. I tried, but it was too late.
90. Sat on a jury. They settled out of court while we were at lunch, so I went home.
91. Met someone famous. Some baseball players and Brooke Shields.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. WAY too many times.
94. Had a baby. I am so blessed.
95. Seen the Alamo in person. Been to San Antonio, but missed this landmark. I did get many geocaches, though.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit. No comment.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Via Best of the Web Today comes this piece documenting an alarmingly high rate of mental illness among college students:
Almost half of college-aged adults had a psychiatric disorder over a one-year span, based on research criteria that ranged from bipolar disease to substance abuse including smoking. Few sought treatment, the study found.

About one in five students failed to fulfill an obligation, had a legal problem, did something dangerous or caused social problems by using alcohol, the study found.
My late wife used to opine that there were too many psychiatric disorders in the DSM – she thought a lot of the conditions the profession sought to treat were simply symptoms of poor judgement. If these people are ready to consider smoking, failing to fulfill an obligation, doing something dangerous and drinking too much in college as evidence of mental illness, I am kinda surprised they came up with only almost half. Back in the day, I pretty much hit all those within the first month of arriving on campus.