Sunday, August 30, 2009

Success! Tonight I hooked my old Philips turntable (circa 1980) to my computer (2007) and managed to import Bruce Springsteen's first vinyl album (1973) into my iPod (2006). Now that's technology convergence! I had to buy a phono preamp ($29 plus shipping) to make it work, but the software was free, and there is both a Mac and Windoze version. The learning curve for this old man was about 3 hours for the first import; in the future it will take no longer than playing the records.

Time to dig out all that old vinyl and start digitizing!
P.J. O'Rourke opines: "There's something romantic about the train, but try to get the train to come to your house. [...] Politics is the attempt to achieve power and prestige without merit.” Watch the whole interview, about 15 minutes well spent.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Once again, from my mother-in-law, the sage of the family:
Let me get this straight.

We're going to get a health care plan shoved down our throats that is written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, signed by a president that also hasn't read it, and who smokes, with funding administered by a treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's nearly broke.

What could possibly go wrong?
My mother-in-law sent me this, and I found it amusing enough to post:
Hell, back in 1990, the Government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it closed.

Now we are trusting the economy of our country, our banking system, our auto industry and possibly our health plans to the same nit-wits who couldn't make money running a whore house and selling whiskey!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Big Surprise

They want to run the entire healthcare industry. But a simple automobile rebate program is beyond their ability.
A growing number of auto dealers say the process of getting paid under the government's "cash for clunkers" plan increasingly resembles some of the wrecks accumulating on their lots as part of the program.
Imagine this business model if you need an MRI or angioplasty:
Heavy demand has overwhelmed the computer system and review process NHTSA set up. The agency has since hired more staff to process claims and has increased the capacity of the computer network. NHTSA has held regular information sessions with dealers to help them file claims that will meet the legal requirements for reimbursement.
And whose fault is all this mess? Never the government's! It's the dealers who aren't complying with federal regulations!
Government officials say a big hitch has been that dealers are not following proper procedures by filing incomplete or inaccurate materials. For example, one of the main reasons cash for clunkers deals were rejected early on was because dealers failed to write "Junk Automobile," in black marker on the title of the older cars that buyers were trading in.
It's not the government's fault! Those clueless dealers don't know how to fill out government paperwork in black marker! How about we establish a new government agency to teach car dealers how to fill out government forms to receive government rebates for old cars? How many union jobs might that create without producing anything of economic value?

Yeah, this is the model for "reforming" 20% of the US economy.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dog Tales

Doggie Story #1

Saturday, we bought dog food. This entails a 40 minute drive to Suffolk, loading 160 lbs of frozen raw chicken into two sturdy plastic boxes, and a 40 minute return trip. 80 lbs is placed directly in the freezer, and 80 goes into the tub to thaw for bagging into 1-day portions, about 10 backs to bag.

The dog food store is under new management, and the owner, eager to help, picked up the other end of the 80 lb plastic box. But instead of edging it to the tailgate and sliding it back, as I normally do, she said, “1, 2, 3” and tossed her end into the back of the Jeep. Holding onto the other end of the box, feet planted firmly and not ready for this outcome, my back twisted violently. I felt the muscle pull immediately, and now if I sit in one place too long I look like a hunchback when I get up. I can’t quite fathom an existence in which one can pull a muscle buying dog food.

Doggie Story #2

Anyway, with two 40 lb bags safely in the tub and two more safely in the freezer, we went about our business, not realizing that the freezer had not properly sealed. By the time we figured it out, the chicken had partially thawed and chicken blood was running out the bottom of the door and across the garage floor. Most people’s “honey do” list features fixing locks and wiring lamps. Mine entails scrubbing blood off the garage floor and trying to bleach the smell out of it.

Doggie Story #3 (Illustrated)

I have a bruise on my left forearm. At its peak, it was about an inch across, yellow and swollen in the middle and dark around the perimeter. Nice little welt. It’s getting better, but it’s still noticeable after a week. How did it get there? I was letting the dogs out to the yard.

As with most dogs, going to the yard is source of considerable excitement in our house. First we let them from the house to the garage, where much frantic jumping, whimpering, and running back and forth between me and the outside door is the rule. This is pretty standard behavior for most dogs, but most dogs are not Great Danes.

Maggie, in her excitement to get out and eat some grass or whatever it is she does out there, ran toward me from the back door, spun around, and whipped me in the arm with her tail. I think the end of it went supersonic. And a week later, here I sit with a bruise on my arm from letting the dogs out to the yard

Look at that tail. It’s about 30 inches long, an inch thick, and attached to 140 pounds of dog. When she’s happy, that thing is real weapon.