Saturday, July 26, 2008

A new sport

The 4 Man Press

The 'Iron Bull' sure does make it easy to make fun of bodybuilders.

Friday, July 25, 2008

RIP Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch died this morning. I'm not sure he set out to have as big an impact as he did; he reminded me how important my time is.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gift

Some bloggers occasionally ask for money, or have a tip jar, or even post their Amazon wish list.

I'm lucky enough to do this for fun (plus, not many people read this blog), I don't want anything back. So instead, I ask that if you have some spare buckaroos and you love animals, share some of them.

I got the best gift, ever, when I adopted my dog from the Baltimore SPCA. People who support local SPCAs and the ASPCA are part of the reason I got such a gift. My dog was abused and abandoned before the SPCA got her, and I can't imagine why.

If that's not enough, this should be:




Shelby says "thanks." (Well, if she spoke English that's what she would say, I'm sure. Either that or "I'm hungry, asshole.")

Are you ready for some football?

I am.

Here's my completely uneducated, meaningless predictions for the season, way too early, in light of training camp starting Monday.

Starting QB: Kyle Boller

Yes. Troy Smith isn't a starter, ever. Flacco isn't ready, although clearly given the contract he signed, he's starting next year at the latest. Kyle will know this is his shot to prove something to other teams, as he won't be back in '09. (By the way, he'll be in the pro bowl in 2010, after going to an NFC team.)

Keys to the season:

Positive turnover ratio. Plain and simple, if they hang on to the ball, 2007 isn't dismal

Boller. He MUST calm down. We don't need a superstar, we just need to hang on to the ball and not make mistakes. Think Dilfer.

OK, to the season:

Week 1: Bengals. Win a close one. Make up for last year's Monday Night travesty.
Week 2: at Texans. Win a blowout.
Week 3: Browns. Lose a frustrating game.
Week 4: at Steelers. Lose in Pittsburgh on a Monday night. It's inevitable.
Week 5: Titans. Win.
Week 6: at Colts. No reason to even watch this loss.
Week 7: at Dolphins. Win, unless the weather is really, really hot.
Week 8: Raiders. Win, but closer than it should be.
Week 9: at Browns. Lose a heartbreaker.
Week 10: Bye.
Week 11: at Giants. I'm sorry, but I can't pick the Ravens to beat the Champs. Loss.
Week 12: Eagles. Tough call, but I think this is a loss.
Week 13: at Bengals. Bengals will be on a playoff run, Ravens will be 5-6, 6-5 at best. Loss.
Week 14: Redskins. Win.
Week 15: Steelers. This is a tough one, it depends on the Steelers record. The better their record, the more likely the Ravens win. We'll call it a win.
Week 16: at Cowboys. Win, only because I hate the Cowboys.
Week 17: Jaguars. At this point, the Ravens have 8 wins. The Jags are far more likely to need to win to get into the playoffs. Loss.

Record: 8-8. I think the season hinges on the Browns game in Week 9. Ravens should be 5-3 going into this game. If they win it, the playoff run starts. Lose it, and they start to limp.

Stricking similarities

This week, the Chineese governemnt arrested a man critical of the government response to the huge earthquake in may, calling him a "dissident".

The Bush Administration thinks they can send the military to arrest anyone they want, as long as they call him a "terrorist".

(And if you think an Obama Administration or a McCain Administration will reverse course on this, I would like some of whatever you are smoking*)

* Just kidding, DEA. I would never do such a thing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Arrogance

So Obama put his kids on Access Hollywood, and now thinks maybe it wasn't a good idea.
The "Access Hollywood" interview in which Obama and wife Michelle allowed daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, to participate opened a curtain on a potential president's family and raised questions about whether the girls should be "hands off" for the media.

Although their parents did most of the talking and the girls mostly looked like they'd rather be going out for ice cream, Obama later said he and his wife got carried away in agreeing to it.

"I don't think it's healthy and it's something that we'll be avoiding in the future," Obama said Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

Rob Silverstein wishes Obama hadn't said that. The "Access Hollywood" executive producer believes Obama has nothing to regret.

The interview, spread out in four parts on the show last week, was conducted by correspondent Maria Menounos when the Obamas were in Montana on July 4. Sensing their viewers' interest in the campaign, syndicated entertainment newsmagazines have done many light personality segments on the candidates, giving them a non-challenging opportunity to show off their human side.

"Access Hollywood" had been pursuing the Obamas for months, and a producer was alerted that the couple would make time for them while in Montana.

The show intended to simply interview Barack and Michelle Obama. But Menounos ingratiated herself with the kids — bonding over girlish enthusiasm for the Jonas Brothers — and they sat next to their parents for the interview. Producers quickly clipped microphones on their blouses.

"There was a very loose atmosphere," Silverstein said. "It was one of those things where it was like lightning in a bottle. We got lucky."

Generally, it's not a good idea to make children that age available for interviews, said Charles Figley, chairman of the psycho-social stress research program at Tulane University. It can give children big heads and make them feel they have to perform, he said. A parent in this situation should also keep public images of their children to a minimum to avoid any abuse over the Internet.

That said, the "Access Hollywood" situation was the most ideal setting the Obamas could expect: it was an easygoing interview in a relaxed setting, with the children protected within the bonds of the family, Figley said.

Barack Obama's later regrets seemed to have less to with the interview itself than the way clips of it were played over and over on cable stations.

At least according to what aired on "Access Hollywood," Menounos directed most of her questions to the parents. It wasn't until the third segment that she even asked the children a question: "What have you guys thought about the possibility of living in the White House some day?"

"It'd be very cool," Sasha said. The older Malia said she was enthusiastic about the idea of redecorating a room.

Menounos also asked what they could do that would make their parents mad at them ("whining," Sasha replied) and whether they found it cool that magazines were looking toward their mother for fashion sense.

"The 10-year-old, Malia, is like something you've never seen before," Silverstein said. "She is a spitfire. She is way beyond her years. How fascinating it is to listen to these children talk. You can't imagine a 10-year-old so poised and smart and well-behaved."

Linda Ellerbee, who makes the "Nick News" specials for Nickelodeon, hasn't requested interview time for the Obama children, although she imagines Nick's audience would be keenly interested in them.

When interviewing children for her shows, Ellerbee always assures them that she would never let them make fools of themselves. If the child says something they later regret, or flubs an answer, Ellerbee will always allow a retake — a courtesy that news organizations generally don't offer adults.

If offered a chance to speak to Malia, Ellerbee said she'd like to film the girl going about her typical day and essentially ask: What is it like to be you?

"That's a fantastically interesting question," she said. "Whether we get to find that out about her, it won't break my heart not to know. I don't think the public has a right to know."

President Bush and his predecessor, President Clinton, tried to establish cones of privacy around their daughters when dad moved into the White House. Some questioned whether that effort was too zealous when Chelsea, now a 28-year-old professional woman, refused media interviews while campaigning for her mother this year.

He would lean in the same direction if in the same shoes, said Joe Kelly, co-founder and president of Dads and Daughters, an organization that promotes the father-daughter relationship.

Kelly suspects the Obamas are reacting much like any parents would in the situation.

"You learn as you go along," he said. "You learn as the kids grow and you learn about them as people and what's good for them and what's not good for them."

The pugnacious Silverstein suspects disdain for "Access Hollywood" is playing out in questions about whether it was a bad thing to put Malia and Sasha Obama on camera.

"I don't buy that," he said. "The kids are well-adjusted, terrific kids with a well-adjusted family. I hardly think that a 25-minute interview with `Access Hollywood' is going to affect them. Anyone who says that in the media, it's just sour grapes. They're just mad that they didn't get it."

Access Hollywood, like he's some freaking rockstar. Using your kids to get votes.

I think it's easy to tear Obama apart on the issues (frankly, I don't see how any thinking person who isn't a Marxist could vote for him), but this just invites comment on his character as well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Looking into the future.

"Debate" over inviting classmates to a birthday party. In Sweeden, if invitations are passed out in school, there can be no discrimination.
An eight-year-old boy has sparked an unlikely outcry in Sweden after failing to invite two of his classmates to his birthday party.

The boy's school says he has violated the children's rights and has complained to the Swedish Parliament.

The school, in Lund, southern Sweden, argues that if invitations are handed out on school premises then it must ensure there is no discrimination.

The boy's father has lodged a complaint with the parliamentary ombudsman.

He says the two children were left out because one did not invite his son to his own party and he had fallen out with the other one.

The boy handed out his birthday invitations during class-time and when the teacher spotted that two children had not received one the invitations were confiscated.

"My son has taken it pretty hard," the boy's father told the newspaper Sydsvenskan.

"No one has the right to confiscate someone's property in this way, it's like taking someone's post," he added.

A verdict on the matter is likely to be reached in September, in time for the next school year.

Those of you who think you have a 'right' to be in a smoke free business - this is where that attitude is headed. The complete erosion of property rights.

Hat tip: Muse Free.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Scary

This map is scary.

With the way things are going, we need divided government at the federal level, and we aren't going to get it.

Remember 1976-1980? Great times?

Well, now that's settled

Finally, Obama gives in. In one of the most important issues of our time, he is indeed now patriotic.

Barack Obama, who once considered flag pins a shallow symbol, can't surround himself with enough patriotic trappings these days.

Hey, something he and I agree on.
He seldom goes out in public now without a flag pin stuck in his lapel. He devoted an entire speech to patriotism this week in Independence, Mo. Visually reinforcing the message, he stood in front of a quartet of large American flags.

None of this is an accident. Polling shows that on the threshold test any serious presidential candidate must pass, Obama has ground to cover.

A CNN poll released one day after the Illinois senator gave his patriotism speech showed that a quarter of registered voters surveyed questioned Obama's love of country. Nearly 30% of the respondents who described themselves as independents -- a coveted slice of the electorate -- believed he lacks patriotism, according to the survey.

So Obama wants to convince voters that he is every bit as patriotic as his Republican opponent. That's not an easy sell: Arizona Sen. John McCain, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

Obama's biography is more unconventional. He has no military experience, and he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia with his mother and her second husband, an Indonesian. He is asking voters to accept a more nuanced definition of patriotism as he makes the case that the lack of military credentials shouldn't disqualify him from the Oval Office.

When the flag-pin issue arose in October, Obama said he had made a deliberate choice not to wear one shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks because he believed the pins had become a "substitute for, I think, true patriotism."

"You start noticing people wearing a lapel pin but not acting very patriotic," he said then. "Not voting to provide veterans with resources that they need. Not voting to make sure that disability payments were coming out on time."

But now, primarily due to the ignorance of the American electorate, he is wearing the approved state symbol.

The good thing is now we can get on to the really important stuff, like what his wife may or may not have said.

We will continue to ignore, however, his plan to take a significantly higher portion of my stuff and give it to other people, because it simply isn't fair that I worked full time to get through college, went to grad school at nite, and now work my ass off for a big company and earn a good living for it.

No, that just isn't fair to people who chose differing paths. Like having kids at 15, or dropping out of high school. Because I'm rich, and I can afford to pay a higher fair share.

I suggest everyone take an Economics course on why that's a bad idea, alas, Populism is the name of the game. If 95% of the people can vote to take the things of 5%, the 5% don't have a chance, other than to hide their things.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Impossible!

Government employees would never abuse their power!
An internal investigation by the U.S. State Department has found that government employees repeatedly accessed the passport files of more than 100 high-profile Americans.

The investigation was prompted by revelations in March that department employees had looked into the passport files of Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Republican Senator John McCain - the three remaining major U.S. presidential candidates at the time.

In a report issued Thursday, the department's inspector general says investigators complied a list of 150 famous U.S. citizens. They found that the files of 127 people, or 85 percent of the list, had been viewed, some of them multiple times.

The report does not say whether the files were accessed for legitimate reasons, but notes the number of viewings appears excessive.

The inspector general made 22 recommendations for improving security, including random audits of files and decreasing the number of people authorized to view the records.

How about we actually enforce the limits placed on the government by the Constitution.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A critical issue of our time

Muslims are offended by puppies on postcards.
Postcards showing police dog-in-training Rebel, a German shepherd born in early December, are causing a furor among the region’s Muslims who believe dogs are "ritually unclean," the Daily Mail reports.

The cute cards were meant to notify locals of a new telephone number for non-emergency phone calls but instead have become a flashpoint for a clash of cultures. Shopkeepers are refusing to display the offending ad and a Dundee city councilor is calling for an investigation.

"My concern was that it's not welcomed by all communities, with the dog on the cards," said Dundee councilor Mohammed Asif, according to the report.

The Tayside police force said the police puppy, the force’s "newest recruit," was not intended to cause offense.

Seriously. Anyone who gives in to this type of silliness deserves the racial/religious intolerance that will result.

Financial Blogs

I noticed looking about the internet today there aren't many blogs regarding personal finance, building wealth, or anything like that.

I might have something to offer there. Might be an interesting project, and maybe something could come of it. Just need to make the time.