Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Got a late start on the taxes

I'm working on the taxes tonight and going over the numbers and I got to thinking about all the challenges we face as a country right now.  As I think about the type of money required for this country  to lead and press forward with its role in the world, I began looking at the comparatively small numbers I was dealing with and came to this conclusion:

I'm getting along pretty well in my life and I'm getting a lot of bang for small chunk of change I owe back to our great society.  I'm really feeling pretty upbeat this tax season.

Hope you're all doing as well as I am.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Meet the Dumb Cats

My flu medicine is sort of keeping me awake at night so I may as well bore you with stuff. 

I mentioned before that I have my mom staying with me.  I've been working with several therapists to get her up and running (uh...well walking at least) so that she can return home. 

She was already separated from her cat for 6 weeks while in the rehab center so I agreed to have her cat stay with me.  He was already buddies with the other cat I took from her shortly before Chesty died.

Mr. Cat II (left) and Chairman Meow (right)

If I could just get them to behave at night I'd be happy with this arrangement.  As I type this at 1:30am they are both looking at me as if I'm supposed to be a form of entertainment.  Fat chance.

I'm going to bed now.

The Hated Flu

I've been enjoying the cool, refreshing feeling of Influenza A.

Only threw up once!

I'll be back Monday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Hated Earmark

As we spend trillions and fling our collective arms in disgust over a few million being paid to faceless executives we should remember something:

If the stimulus package was completely earmarked, we'd know where the money was being spent and it would be against the law to spend it any other way.

Just sayin'

If we're going to blow the money, we may as well know where it went so historians will have an easier time writing about this debacle years from now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

President Obama – fill out that bracket!

Recently Duke Men’s Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski commented on President Obama’s attention to his NCAA Final Four bracket.

"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets,"

I’m going to have to disagree with coach Krzyzewski on this one.  I would go as far as encourage the president to fill out several brackets and organize a friendly pool with the White House staff. 

I can’t put enough emphasis on this.  Please Mr. President…invest time in the bracket and give careful consideration to all of your picks.  The economy will be there for you when you get back to your program of senseless intervention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mal-investment 101

Gas prices have dropped heavily over the last few months.  If you’re driving a hybrid car right now…how do you feel about the expensive little car you bought?  Well, you’re saving the planet so you must have a bit of a smug look on your face…at least on the days you’re not making your car payment.

Hyundai and Volkswagen have newer model diesel powered cars that get 50+mpg.  Even though manufacturers are resolving emission problems related to diesel, still most manufacturers won’t bring their diesel autos to the United States due to punitive excise taxes on diesel fuel.

In many states you can drive your hybrid automobile in the carpool lane even if you’re alone in the car.  Driving a diesel?…well…stay in line and wait your turn.

The US Government wants you to buy a hybrid…and it looks like you’re using other factors to decide to be uncooperative…and you’re doing this collectively as a country without being coerced.  That alone is amazing since all I’ve heard lately is that we’re unable to do anything collectively without proper incentives from an intervening (but caring) government. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

March Madness and Offensive College Mascots Revisited

Each March more college mascots are revealed to the general public as the average Joe fills out a bracket in an office pool and watches Blue Demons, Demon Deacons, Sun Devils, and the Retrievers battle against each other.

I did this post on Offensive College Mascots a few years ago and it remains a constantly searched post.  Most of the visits are from .edu domains and by the emails I get I can tell that college and high school kids are out there writing reports on this oh so important subject. (your sarcasm detector should have gone off about here)  Hopefully I’ve influenced the youth and college-aged men and women of America to finally assert that to be offended over mascots is simply stupid. 

Most who contact me agree with me though I get a half-dozen emails from those who plead with me to understand their plight as persecuted minority.  (a persecuted minority attending East Coast private schools…we should all be so persecuted)  I try to be understanding…after all…they’re smart college students so their sensibilities must be protected. (replace the batteries in your detector after you’ve finished reading this)

On the local front this year Seattle University returned to Division I basketball after being a powerhouse throughout the 1950’s and 60’s.  Once they were known as the Chieftans, but are now the Red Hawks.  Whatever.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Information overload

Reason Magazine sent me an issue a few years ago with a familiar cover.  The cover was a custom cover that was a satellite rendering of my home.  Every subscriber got a different cover with their own home/neighborhood on the cover.  The theme of the issue was the use of public information and how they used it to make a custom cover for their subscribers.  The cover was made simply by cross-referencing different databases with the information I voluntarily gave them (home address).  Genius!

The funny thing now is that we live in an age where privacy is a huge issue but also where many people engage in voluntary self-surveillance.  Through Internet communities like Twitter and Facebook people let their family, friends, and co-workers know what they're thinking, doing or planning at any moment.  I can imagine that a lazy private investigator only needs to become "friends" with the person they're watching and just wait for the information to come rolling in.

This evening some of my friends are doing these kind of things:

  • ...just survived a car accident...
  • ...drowning kittens.
  • ...heading out to pick up some stuff...
  • ...giving child a bath
  • ...walking to the grocery store
  • ...watching a movie On Demand!

Perhaps the issue of privacy is best handled with information overload in the information age.  So much voluntary information that what you're really doing is lost in all of the white noise.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Politics of Cola

I've often thought of the world of cola and its parallel relationship to the major political parties. Why do I often think about stuff like this? Aside from being a dork I have no other explanation.
You can't start a conversation about cola of any kind without first talking about the cola that's in charge of this country. Yes, I'm talking about Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola is the old standby. Like the Democrat party of today it is a shadow of its former self. When the party was founded it was led by the likes of Thomas Jefferson who would today be a libertarian. The cola when it was founded was promoted as healthful and invigorating and in many cases did contain cocaine. The company denies this is true much like the Democrats today deny that there's any value in the small government envisioned by Jefferson.
Whenever you're done talking about Coke, you can then move on to Pepsi. There are people who love Pepsi and people who hate it, but you'll never find many that think it's just okay. It is a polarizing, yet very popular cola.
Pepsi is always reinventing itself. Every decade it has to tell you that it is the soft drink of a new generation. They change the logo and trot out some new angle on why you should like it. They know that if you're simply not paying attention, you'll just ignore them all together. Pepsi has been the number one soft drink at one time in history only. This was when "New Coke" came out. I like to think of the New Coke era. Pepsi became number one because of a monumental screw up by Coke. This explains Ronald Reagan in many ways and even more accurately does it describe Jimmy Carter. You have to look at foreign countries that use real cane sugar to find Pepsi in a form that anyone over 40 would remember.
Once you're done talking about the big two colas, you then get down to the minor colas. You know who they are...or at least you try to remember because they're not around much anymore. It's as if the big two have conspired to keep the little colas down. Moxie, Jones, and Shasta remain active in only small pockets of popularity. But everyone remembers...
Royal Crown Cola (aka RC) is the big cola of the 3rd Party colas. Everyone has tried it once or thinks they have at one time or another. They remember it tasted okay but can't really remember what it tasted like. They remember it fondly but admit they can't find it at any store where they currently shop. RC is the Libertarian Party of Colas.
For fun I've tried looking for RC in grocery stores I frequent and have yet to find it. It looks like it is crossed off my shopping list in the same manner my party has been eliminated from my state's ballot.
My preference in cola has gone the way of party preferences. I just want someone to come out with a cola that uses real sugar, is fizzy and not too sweet, and reminds me of why I used to love it so much as a kid. This time though...I'll drink responsibly.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hey Lookit!

I am updating my list of blogs I read to include those of ordinary sane people who entertain me with their writing and pictures.  The summary descriptions are my own and are meant to entice you to read...not necessarily be accurate.

Shreds (Gino's Newest) - Gino is an angry Catholic Paleo-Conservative who is well-informed and blunt.  He makes me laugh and made me cry a couple of times in the last year also.  Gino makes me glad Al Gore invented the Internet.

Mad Mad Esther - (Are you a Mexican or a Mexican't?) Esther is smart...she'll blog about anything and will go way beyond politics.  She drives well in the snow...just ask her.

Justin Berger - Producer for the Dave and Steve show and brainchild behind HKL Films.  He is a thoughtful anarchist and friend.

Don Wood - Don is a carpenter, actor, dog owner, and beer drinker.  Also can be found doing The Doncast (Search for it on the iTunes store)

Lew Rockwell - Lew is President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.  This blog has several contributors that range from Libertarians to Anarcho-Capitalists. 

Reason.tv - Watch this!  Drew Carey and Nick Gillespie...good stuff!

Cato Institute - Beltway libertarians...books...stuff...it's okay.

Libertarian Party - The RC Cola of politics!  Refreshing and fizzy but you can't find it anywhere.