Thursday, April 30, 2009

I See Your Bullet Point

* Don't read this if you want to believe the torture issue comes down to valiant democrats fighting against evil republicans and overzealous CIA agents.

* Tucked into this piece in the London Telegraph about Michael Caine's plans to move to America if Britain raises his taxes any higher (careful, Sir Michael -- you might not like what's happening over here any better) is this nugget:

"...current education secretary, Ed Balls, who is also Gordon Brown's chosen successor."

Please, please, please lord, let the next prime minister of Britain be named 'Balls'.

* Staying with the U.K. theme, read this article about British dental care. It's run by the governement and works about like you'd expect it to. Go to the New System, New Problems subheader to get an idea of how government control turns what should be a simple price structure into a ridiculous nightmare that does exactly the opposite of what is intended. And if you think our government wouldn't make this much of a mess, I have two words for you: Post Office. Here's another: Amtrak. Here's ten more: every instance of government trying to run a business ever.

* Robert Gibbs gives the White House press corps a "strong A" for its coverage of the first 100 days of the Obama administration. See, to me that means the press corps isn't doing its job....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How You'll Know Ayn Rand Was Right

With news that the governement and the United Auto Workers Union is going to own 89% of GM, it got me thinking. Is this so bad? GM has been in the crapper for years, staying afloat largely through the largesse of the taxpayer. Don't think for a minute that the last couple of bailouts marked the first time your money has been used to help out the automaker. Maybe the government and the UAW will do a better job of running things. They can hardly do worse, right?

Okay, sorry. I just realized that I'm writing this in a garage with no ventilation while someone is painting. There are fumes everywhere. I'll just open a window.

Of course the government and the UAW will do a worse job. That's not really a problem. At least it won't be if the government refrains from using its legislative power to ensure GM's place in the marketplace. I don't care if GM goes under. I'd feel badly for the displaced workers of course; unemployment is a bad thing. But GM, frankly, has had it coming for a long time.

But keep a close eye on the measures taken in the future to make GM competitive. If the plan is to redesign the line to make affordable, good looking fuel efficient cars the public wants to buy, wonderful. That's what they should have been doing for twenty years now.

Here's what I suspect is actually going to happen:

* Overatures will be made to bring Ford, the only one of the big 3 to not take stimulus money, into the fold. There's lots of ways to do this, but the most obvious way is to cripple Ford in the marketplace by imposing costly standards (fuel efficiency, safety, worker compensation) that will push Ford closer to bankruptcy. Once Ford is forced to accept taxpayer money, the government will step in to take over.

* A lot of noise and effort will be made to close foreign plants and open new ones in the U.S. Since the reason for closing American plants and moving them overseas is the lowered manufacturing and labor costs, expect the price of a GM car to climb under the auspices of "Made In America".

* Under the guise of "leveling the playing field", we'll start seeing expensive tariffs on foreign made cars. This will drive up the prices of Hondas and Volkswagons, further eroding the car market.

* Bottom line, cars will be a lot more expensive, the market for new cars will struggle even more mightily, and it won't save GM in the end. It might even take Ford down with it.

Hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully five years from now everybody is marvelling at how inexpensive cars are and GM models are flying off the lot because they're cheaper, higher quality, and more fuel efficient.

But if what I outlined does come to pass, read (or re-read) Atlas Shrugged (skipping over the longwinded parts) and tell me that Ayn Rand was wrong.

Healthy As A Slightly Unhealthy Horse

I had a free health screening done at work. I'm not sure how far I can trust the results though. The first thing they had me do was get weighed and measured. My weight is down to 215, which is great if true.

I say that because, according to them, I am 5' 11" tall. I've been 6' 2" (6' 1 3/4" if you want to get technical) every time I've been measured since 1991, when I first signed up for the Air Force. That encompasses physicals every year from 1992-1996, a health screening for my life insurance carrier and the physical I had almost two years ago. Either I'm shrinking or their tape is off. If their tape is off their scale may be too.

My bad cholesterol is too high, which isn't a surprise since I love food I shouldn't be eating. My bad cholesterol is also much lower than it was a few years ago, which also isn't a surprise since I eat much better (way more fruits and vegetables, way less Burger King) than I used to. I also bike and swim when I can, which is called exercise. This is a concept I only found out about a year or so ago, but if you haven't heard of it don't feel badly. Most people haven't.

Anyway, I'll take these results to my next doctor visit and he'll tell me to lose some more weight and get more exercise and I'll say I will and then I'll try and maybe I will.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vaccinate Your @&#*!^$ Kids

Below is a news report from Australia about a baby who died from whooping cough, which, along with measles, is making a comeback in parts of that country. The reason? A growing percentage of chlidren who aren't getting vaccinated.

One of the interviewees is a woman who runs a "vaccination education" group that preaches homeopathic treatments instead of vaccinations. Among the brilliance on display in her segments is the idea that measles and whooping cough "weren't killing peopole 30 years ago so why should they kill people now".

Of course, this is largely true but only because the vacccine for measles was introduced in 1963 and the pertussis vaccine was in widespread use by the late 1940's. Before that, those diseases killed plenty of people.

And while it is also true that the mortality rates from these diseases were declining significantly before the introduction of mass vaccinations, this was undoubtedly due to the increased availablity and technical advancement of medical care. Not frigging homeopathy. You know who was still dying from these diseases after mass vaccinations? The people who weren't getting vaccinated.

(Don't watch this if you don't want to become angry and punch a homeopathist.)

(Thanks to RTftLC)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rare Photo Of Jazzercise Lady Uncovered

Donna found a picture of the jazzercize lady from the MS Walk last Saturday. Poor child, were it not so that your humiliation could be forever cemented in the ether. Damn you, internet!

Survey: What Should We Do About Piracy?

What A Concept

I have no idea if any of the picks the Falcons made in the 2009 draft will pan out. Maybe they'll all stink. But this is the first time I can remember a Falcons draft that began with the front office stating their goals (a big pile of goo to take up the middle of the defensive line, secondary help, offensive line depth and maybe a linebacker) succinctly and rationally.

Usually they spout some blather about getting faster, taking the best athlete, or being yet another tight end away from making the playoffs (also known as the Dan Reeves Corollary). This time they said, 'we need a safety, defensive linemen, a cornerback or two, and a tackle'. Here's what they drafted:

* 2 defensive tackles
* 2 cornerbacks
* 1 safety
* 1 defensive end
* 1 linebacker
* 1 offensive tackle

It's almost like they assessed the teams needs, drafted the exact players they said they would to fill those needs, and avoided the usual Atlanta Falcon draft day over thinking ('we don't need a wide receiver, but this guy ran a 4.3 at the combine'). No punters. No 4' 6" wide receivers from Fort Valley State. They drafted exactly who they said they would.

Amazing. Nice.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We Just Can't Win

I remember when the Iraq war was still dominating news coverage. The wire services addressed the declining death rate by noting that grave diggers were having a hard time making ends meet. Boy, the media sure knows how to be objective.

Today the Fargo Forum ran an AP story: Landfills Hurting As Consumers Repair, Reuse. Read the story, but don't be surprised that it reads just as the title indicates. Landfills nationwide are facing a crisis, laying off workers, because we aren't dumping enough trash into landfills.

With the Iraqi grave digger story above, the media in general were trying to preserve their preferred narrative, namely that the Iraq war was "bad" (or "wrong", or "illegal"). Agree with that stance or not, taking a report that violence is down and looking for a way to frame that in a negative light is repulsive to me. It tells me that our supposedly objective media is going beyond reporting the news and is in the business of telling us how we should feel about it.

The landfill story is no different. Right now, the preferred narrative is that the economy is in the toilet. Any economic news must be subverted to advancing that narrative. For decades we've been told we waste too much, we generate too much trash, we don't recycle. But now it appears that was the story only as long as it was convenient. Now recycling is "bad". We should apparently be throwing things away rather than repairing them because we're hurting the economy otherwise.

Some may argue that I'm reading too much into it, that the article doesn't say we recycle too much or don't throw enough stuff away. But ask yourself this: before this recession started, when's the last time you read an article fretting about landfills not being full enough?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Long Walk

Well, we survived the MS Walk. We started off at the Bison sports arena (home of the North Dakota State University basketball team) where we got some swag (t-shirts) and registered. There was also a warm up period that involved jazzercizing to a disco remix of Boston's "More Than A Feeling".

This was led by a woman with a toddler clinging to her back. Not in a harness. Just hanging there like a baby orangutan. The woman would jazzercize to the left while using her right hand to hold on to the toddler. Then she'd jazzercise to the right while using her left hand to keep her two-year-old from flying off herback to be trampled by the crowd. I am not making this up. Needless to say, we observed this rather than actively participating. Unfortunately, I forgot I had a camera until it was over.

We finished the three mile walk in about two hours. As you can probably tell, we weren't in a hurry. Afterwards we got some chow and headed home for a nap. Thanks to everyone who pledged money to our team, the Walk of Love Bus.

Just prior to starting the walk. Not pictured: jazzercise!

Donna takes advantage of the free orangutan food.

Macy and Donna couldn't resist the National Guard
recruiting station. They head to Afghanistan
next month.

Macy is greeted at the finish line by Hawkeye, mascot
for the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, an Independent
League baseball team. In the background is Hawkeye's son,
the result of an unholy coupling with a human female.

Is There A Draft In Here?

The NFL draft is today. I don't pay much attention to who the Falcons might get or who they're hosting in a private tryout or any of that crap. My only hope every year is that they draft well regardless of who they get.

After the ridiculously successful draft Thomas Dimitrov had last year (I think everybody he picked went to the Pro Bowl, including that 76 year-old blind man he took in the 5th round when some intern accidentally wrote "Florida State Rest Home" on the draft card) I don't expect miracles.

But for the first time since I began rooting for the Falcons back in 1980 or so, I trust the guy at the top to not screw it up. I've had faith like that in Atlanta GM's before (see: Schuerholz, John) but none of them ever worked for the Falcons. This is the team that drafted Michael Vick, and that was one of their good decisions. Think about that and shudder.

Walkin' In Fargo

This morning Macy, Donna and I are heading off to the Fargo MS Walk to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. Well, not so much for it as against it. I don't pretend to any noble spirit in this; I look at it as a good opportunity to get out and enjoy spring.

At least, I did before the weather dropped back into the low 40's and threatened to snow.

Anyway, I'll try to get some pictures from the road and post some later. Why do I have the feeling I'll need a beer after all this is over?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Family Fun Night

Macy and I went to Family Fun Night at her elementary school, a fund raiser where the kids can run around and do kid stuff like hurl things at other things and win prizes. She brought home quite a haul, including the usual goodies like pencils (she collects them) and duck calls (don't ask). Here is visual proof of our attendance:

"I'll figure out the secret formula for Krystals. I swear it!"

Macy puts her three-card monte experience to good use.

Upside down skee ball is a hard game.

Minnesota public schools -- the finest anywhere.

Signs Of Spring (#4)

You put on shorts in April and discover, not for the first time, what a thorough job winter did turning your legs into pasty white lumps.

My MP3 Player Won't Stop Playing...

I've noticed that my MP3 player tends to get into a groove from time to time and play a certain song way a lot. When I notice it happening I'm going to note it here and see if there's anything to be gleaned from my MP3 player's taste in music.

This week, my MP3 player won't stop playing...

Orange Crush by R.E.M:

What it may mean: My MP3 player is saddened by the use of chemical agents during the Vietnam War.

What else it may mean: It doesn't understand euphemism and is thirsty.

I'm Still Here

It's been awhile since I posted, thus killing my per-day posing average. I'm still around. I'd love to say that I've been too busy to post, but the truth is that I didn't have much to say. Sometimes I just don't have anything going on and my patented Funny Stuff Generator (tm) isn't working.

I said at the beginning I didn't want to be the guy that posted about what he was eating for breakfast. So while you're deducting points for posting frequency, add a couple back for avoiding the posting-just-to-make-a-post trap.

Anyway, a bunch of stuff is coming in the next few days: soccer is starting, the MS Walk, I got a new vacuum tube for the FSG (tm), etc.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Inappropriate Gifts

* Ten years ago I had a friend who couldn't get pregnant due to trouble with her fallopian tubes. For her birthday that year I gave her The Joy of Childbirth.

* I once gave the complete works of Mozart on CD to a deaf guy I knew.

* My Christmas present to a recovering alcoholic friend was The New York Bartender's Guide.

* I gave my nephew a $50 gift certificate to Victoria's Secret.

* When me daughter was five I gave her a subscription to Hustler.

* When I was president of Venezuela, I gave the president of the United States a book detailing just how evil his country was. I did this in front of dozens of reporters. The book was written in Spanish.

Imagine if the items above were true. I'd have to deal with a lot of angry reactions from both the recipients of those gifts as well as others. Friends, family, child protective services.

Well the last item in that list is true. (ed-- not the part about me being president of Venezuela. I was actually president of Brazil.) The president got embarrassed by a dictator on the world stage. His reaction (so far) has been telling. He hasn't said or done anything. Hugo Chavez figuratively slapped our president in the face. What should Obama have done? Personally, I would have given him a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Maybe highlighted the parts about freedom of the media and elections. But I'm not very good at giving gifts.

P.S.: I love how most outlets are calling this a "history book", many without noting that it's a favorite among violent leftist groups thoughout the region.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I Should Be So Lucky

My grandmother (on my dad's side) turned 91 this weekend. She looks pretty good for an old broad, eh?

Happy birthday grandma!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

At Least I Can Say I've Eaten Cous Cous

Tonight I tried out a tandoori chicken recipe I found on the blog of renowned chef and pregnant woman Angel in the Kitchen. Within 30 seconds of mixing up the approximately 17 pounds of spice needed for the recipe I smelled like a Calcutta health inspector, so I knew I was doing it right.

Donna and I made a trip to the Asian market in Fargo to get our favorite noodles for the completely awesome (if I do say so myself) stir fry I usually make as part of our Lost-watching ritual. While there we decided it would fun to buy some cous cous to make with the chicken, rather than taking the wusses' way out and make white rice.

The directions seemed pretty straightforward: brown the cous cous (which resembles tiny white rabbit turds) in oil until it turns golden brown (and smells like tiny golden brown rabbit turds). Add some chicken stock, simmer for 12 minutes then let stand to soak up the rest of the liquid. How can I say this... oh yeah: It didn't work.

After simmering for about two minutes I realized that all the liquid was gone so I added more. After 15 minutes the cous cous was still hard as a rock and all the liquid was again gone. At this point I figured I had missed something so I went back and re-read the directions. Nope. I should have been eating mushy brown rabbit turds by now.

There was nothing left to do but add more water and simmer. Once all this latest dose of liquid had evaporated, we decided to make some rice after all (way to wuss out, Donna). I realized immediately that I knew how to get the cous cous done: I should have started cooking rice back at the beginning, because, you guessed it, as soon as the rice was done the cous cous was ready too! Yay!

All I can say after tasting it is, ehhh. It's not horrible, but it was not worth the 40 minutes and 900 cubic meters of water needed to turn those steely hard rabbit pellets into something edible. Next time I'm just going to make white rice and cook it with the seasonings the cous cous recipe called for. Yes, I'm going to take white rice and cous cous-ify it. Kinda like trading rabbit turds for mouse turds.

I love Indian food.

P.S. The tandoori chicken was excellent. Served it was some curried squash and baked bread. Really good stuff; I'll be making that again. Go to the link above and try it sometime.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Truth Is A Harsh Mistress

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spot The False Dichotomy

I found this link in a discussion about deflation, which is starting to pick up steam as the new Cause of Our Destruction. It takes you to a page with a handy chart (yay visual aids!) explaining deflation, the deflation spiral, and how it can be remedied.

I thought this was pretty great until I realized it was using a false dichotomy in it's explanation. Can you spot it? If your economic views are similar to mine you'll probably see it pretty quickly. Think about it for a minute before reading the next paragraph.

Did you see it? It's all good until it gets to the part about how to deal with it once the interest rate gets near zero. Specifically, it's this: it identifies massive government spending as the only way to combat deflation. Oddly, there is no mention in this beautiful and otherwise useful chart about lowering taxes or cutting spending. The choices are reduced to spiraling unemployment or massive spending. Bad chart! Bad, bad chart!

Happy Tax Day

Remember to postmark your returns by midnight to avoid penalties. And know that all the monies you've paid to the Federal government in the last year are being used with your best interest at heart and there is absolutely no waste, misuse or malfeasance involved.

Don't think about bailouts both foreign and domestic, or GM which, after being bailed out twice, is still mulling over bankruptcy.

Don't think about all those timely payments you made on your mortgage when the smart thing to do was apparently to buy a house way bigger than you could afford and let some other sucker pay their mortagage on time and use their tax money to pay for your stupidity.

Don't think about how many lifetimes it will take to pay this off, or the wasted money.

I'm going back to bed.


It's almost 3:30 am and I can't sleep. I hate it when this happens. I'll be nodding off here in about an hour or so which will allow me to get less than two hours of sleep before I have to get up. I've spent the last five and a half hours reading The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. Long story short: he did lots and lots of drugs. Good for him.

I'm thinking I'll be using a sick day at work today. Don't worry though; there will be more posting. My dirty little secret is that a lot of posts get written at night or on weekends and are posted at later dates and times. Don't tell anybody.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fargo MS Walk (Or, How I Plan To Cause My Heart Attack)

I have created a team for the upcoming Fargo MS Walk. The event takes place Saturday, 4/25. So far the team consists of myself, Macy, and Donna. Anybody in the Fargo area want to go walk a few miles (there are 3- and 6-mile routes) and then maybe celebrate by replacing all those precious lost calories with beer afterwards? Yes you do, don't lie.

Anyway, if you are interested, sign up at the MS web site and follow these instructions:
  • Click Join An Existing Team
  • Enter the team name in the search box (Walk of Love Bus) and click "Search for a team"
  • Click the team name in the search results
  • Click Join Team and follow the instructions.

It's just that easy. If you sign up, or if you just want to donate, e-mail me so I can get together a list of participants. Hope to see you there!

Ramble On

* One year ago I drank beer only when I left my flask in my other pants. Now I love beer and try new ones all the time. I'm even in one of those stupid beer clubs at a Chili's rip-off here in Fargo. What the hell?

* I seriously need to get back to Las Vegas sometime this year, preferably the fall. Anybody up for that?

* I believe that the federal government should be smaller rather than larger. I believe that many questions that cause such divisiveness in our society should be answered at the state level. Abortion. Gun control. Drug legalization. Let the states deal with those issues. The federal government should stick to things like maintaining the military, regulating interstate commerce, etc. According to the Department of Homeland Security, what I just wrote may label me a rightwing extremist. I'm so glad Bush is gone and federal agencies are no longer politicized.

* I saw a report on Good Morning America that showed those new compact cars getting crushed into jagged paperweights when they hit larger cars. So let me get this straight: a smaller, lighter car that trades safety for fuel economy doesn't do so well when it gets hit by one of those big sedans that have uppper/lower/side/front/back air bags and more crumple zones than the Titanic had hulls? Amazing. I have a message for the "scientists" that carried out these tests: F=M*A. Look it up. (hint: the "M" is the important one here.)

* The cost to take my family of four to the ball park, get tickets, park, eat, have a beer or two: $196.89. The cost to watch the game on TV (free), park (free), eat ($8.99: thanks, Papa Murphy's!) and have a beer or two (Dos Equis: $7.99 a sixer): $16.98. Not to mention I don't have to risk getting turned into road butter when my puny compact gets hit head on by a Cavalier.

When Pirates Attack

With all the pirate attacks going on now, you'd think that a solution would be in the works. Instead, there seems to be a lot of handwringing and debate. In the U.K., they're worried that captured pirates would claim asylum, and retire to a cushy (compared to being a pirate) life on the public dole. It also would possibly violate their human rights to detain them long enough to enroll them in the NHS. I'm not kidding. To think Britain used to hang pirates.

In the U.S., I'm still waiting for the President to make a strong statement. What should he say? I'm so glad you asked! He should announce a new mission for the U.S. Navy. Begin patrolling the troubled waters. State clearly and with no equivocation: any ship approaching U.S. shipping in a threatening manner gets one warning. After that comes the sinking, with the ten-inch shells and the booms and the water splashing and the drowning.

Why this is even a question is beyond me. Hundreds of millions of dollars have apparently been paid out in ransoms over the last several years. Think how many bailouts the world could afford if we still had that money!

Why is this hard? Kill the pirates. Don't detain them. Don't give them asylum. Don't negotiate. K-I-L-L them.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Haul

Another Easter come and gone. We had a nice weekend splitting time between Harding and Little Falls, Minnesota. Macy got her autograph from the Easter Bunny, including a cryptic post script tacked on to the note that hinted that maybe, just maybe, there might be something waiting back in Fargo. Before that, though, came the party complete with tons of food, egg hunting, and crafts for the kids. Macy got to hang out with Donna's nieces, Emily (right) and Carly:

After all that came the bubbles. The concentration of soap molecules in the atmosphere has risen substantially in the last several hours:

When we got back to Fargo, around 7:00 pm, Macy found a big basket filled with all the things a little girl needs: gum, orange tic tacs, pencils, chocolate, Phase 10, and eyeglass cleaner (this was a big one). The big E.B. also left behind a pawprint for posterity. With apologies to Jesus, it was the greatest Easter in history.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Sweating Bullet Points

* Well, looks like Macy won't be going to Penn State. As a veteran, I may be a homocidal maniac but i'm not illiterate (link via Say Anything).

* Will Donna buy my story that international terrorists broke into the house and stole her Kindle, but that one of them accidentally left his behind, which is why I now have one and she doesn't?

    * If I don't feed the fish before hitting the road this weekend, am I committing fish genocide, or performing an experiment in the Darwinian practices of fishkind? If none of them die, does that prove (or at least support the case for) the existence of God? If so, can I blame God (and exonerate myself) if some of them do die?

    * Is the Easter Bunny more like (a) a giant form of the cuddly bunnies kids get their pictures taken with, (b) the harried (and drug-addled, if Grace Slick is to be believed) White Rabbit in Alice and Wonderland, or (c) the dead-eyed psychobunny in Donnie Darko (pictured)? My heart says (a). My head says (b) makes more sense, since that rabbit showed the manual dexterity to operate a pocket watch, which would come in handy for hiding eggs. (c) would be way more fun though.

    * I saw a guy with a perfect square cut into his hair. It was about 2" x 2". I have no idea what happened. Logic says a haircut accident, but it's too perfect. I think he's a cyborg.

    * A University of Minnesota "Iran expert" says charging a former Fargo journalist with espionage is "likely a political ploy" by the Iranian government. Gee, ya think?

    * Marketing products in other countries is always a delicate proposition, what with the translating and all. I have to wonder though, did Kim Jong Il know what he was doing when he announced to the world that his country was launching a new rocket, dubbed the Dong 2?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Six Degrees Of Salad

Donna signed up for the position of The Bringer Of Salad for the Easter weekend trip we are making to her parents house. This has inadvertently led to my being schooled in the labyrinthine world of potluck salad-ology.

There are apparently many categories of salads, each with its own special group of sublevel designations. Donna is in charge of brining two salads. She has settled on specimens of the leaf and either the pasta or potato styles. There's also something called the "sweet salad" genre, which includes fruit salads and dishes made from things like Snicker bars. I had no idea anything made primarily with ingredients from a vending machine could be called "salad" but there it is.

There's also a creation that is sometimes referred to as "taco salad", but contains Doritos and Western salad dressing (also known as "Red"). I am convinced that midwesterners stole this from some lint farmer in Alabama, as this is the most redneck thing I have ever seen midwesterners consume[*]. Don't get me wrong; it's actually pretty good. But come on: tell me it doesn't sound like something that you can buy from a Piggly Wiggly store in Mobile, in a container with a picture of a toothless guy in overalls and no shirt stamped on it.

[*] Note: fair food, including deep fried Milky Ways, deep fried Coca Cola and deep fried frying oil are exempt from this claim.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Easter Conundrum

So, Macy announced to me last night that she wants to get the Easter Bunny's autograph (wait, what?) because a friend at school told her that she got the Tooth Fairy's autograph. I asked her how she thought a rabbit could sign anything, but she seemed strangely unperturbed by the question.

Adding another layer of complication to the holiday is the fact that we are going to be out of town for Easter, celebrating with Donna's family in Harding, Minnesota. This has caused Macy no end of anxiety. She's not sure if she should leave her autographin' material in Fargo, as that's the last address the Easter Bunny has on file, or if she should bring it with her, relying on the Easter Bunny's well-documented magical powers to know where she is at any given moment.

Of course, the easy answer was to leave one behind and bring one along. However, Macy also can't decide if she wants an autograph in the form of a signature or a pawprint. This caused her to re-design her autograph materials to accomodate the pawprint of a sentient gift-giving rabbit of indeterminate size.

Once that hurdle was smashed, the problem of just where to leave the note was discussed. The logical place was in her room, but seven-year-old logic doesn't function on the same plane as grown-up logic. Worried that Mr. E. Bunny might visit Fargo but be in too much of a hurry to search the entire house, Macy decided to leave the note in her room but place a note in the kitchen with directions to her room for the glandular coney. This note read, "Go to the living room. When you get to the TV turn left."

This is going to be a long Easter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Superheroes For the Economic Crisis: Professor Socialism

(Note: This is part six in a six part series looking at a new breed of superheroes for the new economy. Read background here.)

Professor Socialism

Professor Socialism was a well-known crimefighter in the the 1930's. His powers include: the ability to create welfare programs, propping up failing businesses by nationalizing them, smashing deficits by increasing spending, and exponentially increasing the size of government with his Expand-O-Ray (pictured). His influence waned when it was discovered that his powers actually aided the evil he was supposed to be fighting.

In the spirit of bell bottoms, vinyl records, and the Volkswagon Beetle, his popularity is on the rise again. It is unknown why he believes his powers will work this time around, but unfortunately it looks like we're going to find out.

Macy Definitely Has My Eyes

As promised, here is a picture of Macy in her stylin' new specs:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Otis, My Man!

In honor of the Atlanta Braves opening day butt-whoopin' of the Phillies, here is the greatest catch in baseball history. I've seen the guy crash through the wall and the one where the guy broke his nose in 37 places, but watch the slow-mo replay halfway through the clip.

Otis Nixon never takes his eye off the ball. He runs, plants and vaults all without actually looking where he's going. Granted, he was probably high out of his mind on cocaine at the time he did this, but still.

I was watching this game on a weekend while I was at Tech School for the Air Force at Chanute AFB in Champaign, IL (I think the base has since been closed). I remember it well; the Braves were up 1-0 in the top of the ninth. The hated Pittsburgh Pirates were in town and Andy Van Slyke, who played the role of Jerk Everyone Outside Of Pittsburgh Hated, had to do the U-turn after getting robbed with a runner on. Cry, cry like a tiny baby. No one will help you. You'll lose in the playoffs to the Braves again at the end of the season and short of a wormhole you can't do anything about it. God, I hated Andy Van Slyke.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rockin' Into The Night

I'm recovering from celebrating Donna's birthday last night. Ten of us started at Toscana, a local Italian/French place in downtown Fargo. We were fated to get the worst part of the evening out of the way first. Right off the bat I'm stopped at the door and told I can't bring in the birthday cake. This makes no sense to me. I get that the retaurant would rather we all bought $10 desserts, but that wasn't going to happen.

A better solution (and one I've seen elsewhere, including places in which I waited tables in college) would be to charge a plate fee, say $2 per person. Then the customer is happy and the restaturant gets a little extra cash.

The first four of us to arrive sat at the table for over ten minutes with no contact from the staff. No water, no drinks, no nothing. The manager eyeballed us a few times but never actually came over. Finally a harried-looking server showed up. My guess is that he was late for his shift, as I hadn't seen him in the restaurant until the moment he came to our table.

I ordered a beer to start which came out warm. Not a good sign. The service was pretty slow all night; I didn't get a glass of wine until after I had finshed eating. Bread didn't arrive until our plates were being cleared.

The food was generally excellent all around, but the rest of the experience was lacking. It was a lot of little things, but this place presents itself (in its atmosphere and its prices) as a fine dining establishment.

Anyway, after that we had to find a place to cut the cake. We could think of no better place than Duffy's, a dank hole that is the final resting place of many experiences which should probably not be mentioned on a family blog. Since this a not a family blog though, it should be fine. I'll save them for another day though.

So we cut the cake, a fine storebought affair (I cook, I don't bake) that was enjoyed by all. Donna got a free drink, I got a bunch of not free drinks, and a fine time followed. We talked about such diverse and sophisticated topics as the flood, who's hot (and not) at Microsoft, and where's my drink dammit.

I don't know the exact timeline but I'm pretty sure I didn't go to sleep until it was closer to 3:00 AM than 2:00. Around these parts we call that a successful night.

Oh, and if you care, this is what I got Donna for her birthday. Judging by the reaction, I done good.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Runaway Inflation

The DNC's door-to-door effort to drum up support for the President's budget plan wasn't as successful as the hoped. From a donor list of of 1.5 million, they were only able to garner 642,000 "pledges of support". But to get to that number, they had to make three copies of each pledge. It only makes sense; if you triple the deficit, pledge to cut it in half, and call that a reduction, it's bound to lead to math of this sort.

In other news, I live in a 4500 square foot mansion, I drive an $80,000 car and my penis is 24 inches long.

Building A Resume For Michael Vick

With the news that Michael Vick has a construction job lined up after he gets out of prison, I began thinking, as I am wont to do. It got me wondering what other sort of work for which he might be qualified.

  • financial planner
  • dog whisperer
  • professional gambler
  • PETA spokesperson
  • attack dog practice dummy
  • NFL quarterback (for anyone except the Atlanta Falcons)
  • theoretical physicist (just kidding)
  • cautionary tale

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Signs of Spring (#2)

Date: October 1st
Temperature: 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Outfit: Blue jeans, sweatshirt, heavy coat, gloves

Date: April 1st
Temperature: 40 degrees Fahrenheit
Outfit: Blue jeans, t-shirt, light jacket (unless the sun is out).

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Once Again, Northwest Airlines, You Earn My Scorn

The following is a running diary of my experience on

7:28pm: Logged on by entering my Frequent Flier #, last name and PIN.

7:31pm: Main page finished loading.

7:32pm: Entered relevant information for picking a flight.

7:34pm: After picking flights, realized I couldn't apply frequent flier miles to one ticket; I would have to pay for one ticket, then purchase the other in a separate transaction.

7:45: Call the airline to buy the tickets in one transaction, as I don't want to find out after I buy the first ticket that the flight is full. The agent tells me that she can't do this in one transaction either and that furthermore she will have to tack $20 per ticket onto the cost for availing myself of her services.

7:48: I exhale, tell the ticket agent no thanks, hang up.

7:52: Go back to, find itinerary again, try to buy tickets. Am told I need to re-log on.

7:53: I re-log on only to discover that the website throws away itinerary information after you log on. So I have to re-enter all my search criteria again.

7:56: I exhale, set the computer back down and re-enter the search criteria.

7:59: The site won't take my credit card.

8:04: I re-enter the credit card info and book the ticket.

8:08: I re-re-enter the search criteria to buy the other ticket.

8:12: can't find the flight I just booked on the other ticket.

8:17: For fun I check NWA's new merge partner, Delta. I can find the flight there.

8:22: I re-re-re-enter my logon info. This time the flight is there. The return flight, however, is not.

8:31: I login to my Facebook account and join the following groups:
  • Northwest Airlines Sucks.
  • Northwest Airlines Sucks!
  • Northwest Airlines Totally Sucks! (seriously; check my profile)

8:47: I re-re-re-re-log in to This time I can find a flight the almost matches the first ticket's return parameters. I take it.

8:57: I get an email informing me that the itinerary for my first ticket has changed (already!?!). Now the return legs match.

9:02: I exhale, put down the baseball bat and get a Jack and water.

I Fooled You

You figured I'd do some weird post about winning the lottery, quitting my job to pursue a career as a professional gamer, or finding out that Donna is a dude. Well, got ya, suckers! No dumb April Fool's post here.

And if anyone claims it has anything to do with Donna working from home today and me not having access to the internet, or me not realizing it was April Fool's Day until it was almost over, or not being able to think of anything suitably clever, they're full of crap.