Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meanwhile, it appears we're not doomed to freeze in the dark

Quietly and stealthily the drilling companies have been finding ways to produce potentially enormous amounts of natural gas right here in the U.S. And the politicians have started to list natural gas along with wind and solar when they talk about "alternative" sources of energy.

Laissez les bon temps roulez.

As is usual on the Wall Street Journal site the comments on the article are well worth skimming if you're interested in the topic. The WSJ limits comments to subscribers who provide their full name with the comment so there are fewer annoying trolls, and the commenters generally know a bit about economics, unlike politicians and many so called environmentalists.

Heavens to murgatroyds - I'm very, very mildly famous

Commentary Magazine's Contentions Blog chose one of my comments as their Post of the Day.

"A large part of MoveOn’s success was rooted in the fact that it was well launched and organized long before the start and most especially the bogging down of the Iraq war provided it with its most effective issue. The Tea Party movement is most interesting because it seems well launched and ready to grow long before the ‘chickens’ inherent in Obama’s statist policies can reasonably be expected to ‘come home to roost.’

There is simply no way to pay for Obama’s initiatives with taxes only on those earning over $250,000 or even $150,000 and there is no way the economy can resume rapid long term growth anytime soon given the much larger share of output that Obama’s plans will consume. The anger at passing on the tax and slower growth burden on to the children and grandchildren will pale next to the anger that will arise once people see taxes and slower growth impact on their own household finances."

Here's a swine talking about the flu on MSNBC

I wonder what the environmentalists and the Mayor of New York think about him suggesting that people shouldn't use subways to get to work.

I also wonder if anyone in his family has taken the subway anywhere since he was bought lock stock and barrel and became "the Senator from MBNA" thirty years ago.

Finally, I wonder who's doing his makeup. He looks like he has dropsy or something.

Meanwhile, the Muslims in Egypt are franticly killing all the pigs owned by the Coptic Christians, even though the pigs being killed have nothing to do with spreading Swine Flu. This makes sense from a Muslim standpoint since its a great new way to get at what they really want to do, which is to starve out the Copts or force them to flee the country as they have been patiently doing for 1400 years. We should offer asylum to any and all Egyptian Coptic Christians who want to come to the U.S.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Au contraire - it's great news for porkophiles

Every so often one comes across a great example of how ignorant even very smart people can be about simple economics. The other day, for instance, Richard Besser, who is an MD and acting head of the Centers for Disease Control, said that swine flu is "not helpful to people who eat pork."

Au contraire, Dicky, swine flu is great news for porkophiles who are smart enough to understand that you can't get the disease from a pork chop or a fresh ham or a slab of bacon. It may be wise to avoid contact with recently arrived travellers from Mexico; but avoiding contact with a nice porkette sandwich won't do you a bit of good on the swine flu front.

Prices of pork in the market are going down, folks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A great poster that says it all about energy

Environmentalists are blocking every energy related project they can, even projects like wind and solar that they say they want.

For the time being we here in the U.S. have sufficient access to energy. But every year our population increases; and every year our need for more electricity and gasoline and natural gas and heating oil increases. If the loonies keep blocking projects aimed at building power plants and refineries and developing more oil and gas wells there will eventually be shortages.

I liked the poster this fellow developed in response to Earth Day. North Korea is an object example of what happens when government bureaucrats control everything.

And, in other news: the sun remains quiet, very quiet. We've had a few unseasonably warm days here in Collegeville recently; but if the sun is going into a significant quiet period as some scientists suspect things may get pretty chilly around here.

If you think global warming is a reason for running around screaming and shouting that the sky is falling, you should do some googling on the subject of the Little Ice Age and get a grip on something really worth hyperventilating about. Even if global warming is real, it's effects on agriculture and such at the levels the alarmists project are trivial relative to the sort of disruptions that significant global cooling would cause.

But we'll all be dead of swine flu by then anyway, so why worry.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Two more innocent victims of George Bush

If their father had been home to teach elementary safety rules this accident would never have happened; so these two boys are victims of George Bush's war on terror.

He would have told them, "Don't pull the pin until you're ready to throw it into a crowded restaurant."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How come Matty and Sonny never played this sport?

Competitive firefighting. The best event is a combination of drag racing and ladder climbing. A verbal description of it can't be adequately comprehended by anyone who hasn't had at least a few beers. You have to see it done to appreciate it.

This video also has the drag racing, hose laying and hose control event.

You'll have to check out some of the other related videos if you want to see the competitive ladder climbing and bucket brigade event. That's pretty nifty too.

Incidently, I celebrated Earth Day by picking a couple of plastic supermarket bags of broccoli rabe. I steamed it for three minutes and then mixed it with a bulb of chopped garlic and a bunch of olive oil while it was still hot. I sprinkled on salt several times as I gently mixed it. It took a surprising amount of salt. I was careful with the timing of the blanching and gentle with the mixing because I took a lot of flak from Mom and Aunt Mary one time for turning a batch of rabes too mushy.

I saute'd a nice portion for a few minutes in olive oil to take the heat out of the garlic and we had that with dinner. The rest is in four freezer containers that will provide the makings of a lot of sandwiches. I like it with boiled ham on either a seeded hard football roll (which is the best as long as one has teeth strong enough to handle it) or on sliced seeded split loaf from Corropolese. I also like to put a little mayonnaise on that sandwich, which used to make Pop nuts when he saw me do it. Pop had a very negative opinion of mayonnaise.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I wonder if Vince Foster's gun is still in the evidence locker

David Kellerman, the Chief Financial Officer of Freddie Mac, appears to have committed suicide. Here's a quote from a news story about it. The link to the story is below.

"Kellermann, 41, had has been with Freddie Mac for more than 16 years.

He had been named acting chief financial officer in September 2008, taking over after Anthony "Buddy" Piszel resigned. Freddie Mac's CEO David Moffett resigned last month.

Government-controlled Freddie Mac, based in McLean, has been criticized heavily for reckless business practices. Some say those practices contributed to the nation's housing and financial crisis. Freddic Mac owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans.

As CFO, Kellermann was responsible for the company's financial controls, financial reporting and oversight of the company's budget and financial planning."

It's interesting that this guy's predecessor, Anthony "Buddy" Piszel, suddenly started making political contributions when he became CFO of Freddie Mac in 2006.

Maybe, that's not surprising though, because according to his employment agreement that I found on the web (but can't seem to link to) Piszel was given a $7.5 Million signing on bonus for taking that job in 2006. And his employment contract guaranteed him $1.2 Million in severance pay, so that's probably what he got when he resigned last fall after two years there. There's nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that it's a bit more than odd to give a fellow a $7.5 Million signing bonus for a job that pays only $650,000 in salary per year, and it's an interesting coincidence that such a fellow should suddenly become very interested in making big political contributions.

Paul G. George, who signed Piszel's employment contract, made only $7,400 in political contributions in 2008, so I'm guessing he's a relatively little fish at Freddie Mac even though his title is Executive VP of Human Resources. He signed the Piszel contract; but my guess is that it was negotiated by someone else with a whole lot more clout.

Checking around the web I find that David Kellerman doesn't appear to have made many political contributions at all - those I found were just little ones. So he was probably a regular up from the ranks accountant type guy and not a wide awake political hanger on like most of those who have run Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past few years while tens of billions have been squandered.

Accounting can apparently be a dangerous profession, just like lawyering, as Vince Foster learned. You want to be very judicious about opening up musty file drawers when you work in a place that serves as a cash machine for the politically powerful. You never know what you're going to find. You might find yourself falling forward onto the floor after a double tap to the back of the head; or you might find that you're being set up to take a fall and get depressed.

People have killed and been killed over a whole lot less money than the amount of loot that was laundered through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past couple of decades.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Three men in a boat and the river upset

Jas just called me to cancel today's scheduled Scrabble and Pinochle games because he and Kathy are driving down to Florida a day early. They'll be down at their house in The Villages for the next couple of weeks. I'm imagining that I feel like Butch did when he drew a problematic Canasta hand.

Little did Butch know in the 1960's; but he almost surely coined a phrase that was new to the English language. When playing Canasta with Rose and Mom and Pop he would say, "Three men in a boat and the river upset." When I publish this post that phrase will appear on the web for the first time.

Sam's outrageous nickname for Rose and Butch was "Pruney and Mumbles;" which still makes me, him and Jas laugh on Saturday mornings when we remember it. It may well be the best nickname combination ever invented. Rose was one of those people who wrinkle up amazingly as they age. She was pruney at least twenty years before she died in the 1990's. And Butch, of course, mumbled. That phrase, "pruney and mumbles," had never appeared on the web until I published it in a post last fall.

At Harry's Potato Market in the 1960's Eddie Fight used to say "Smarty eh! Smarty had a party." That phrase, as I've transcribed it, will appear for the first time on the web after I publish this; but after searching around I think Eddie was parrotting a slight modification of the first line of a racist couplet from his youth. If you're interested in that couplet you can find it (where I did) in an online page from a book named Language, Communication & Education published in 1990.

This brave new internet world where one can skip blithely from learning the derivation of "Smarty had a party" to learning the surprisingly long and complex history of "Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe" is something else, something fantastic. And after I publish this it will be able to provide someone with a bit of a sense of the world of Eddie Fight. But it can't bring back the full flavor of a Dairy Queen banana split enjoyed on a hot summer evening by a 14 year old.

Eddie Fight was an interesting character. His face was wrinkled, pruney, like Rose's; but he also had the most amazing cauliflower ears and an interestingly mis-shapen nose. Pop mentioned years after I knew Eddie that his real last name wasn't "Fight." In his youth he had liked to fight in all venues, especially bars; but he never fought very well and he was a Bantamweight who liked to take on Heavyweights. When I first met Eddie he was living in the back of the potato market shed where Lefty used to sleep on the pile of burlap bags until the time he pulled a knife on Patty. Later Harry put Eddie up in the second floor apartment of a small commercial building he owned about a couple of hundred yards down Ridge Pike from the potato market.

I think Harry used to pay Eddie something as well; but he rarely did any work. He might wait on a customer if Patty and I were both busy with other customers; but mostly Eddie sat on an apple crate under the awning with Harry on the long summer evenings and reminisced about old times. Sometimes Gap B joined them. Gap owned Trooper Banana so, like Harry, he was a produce entrepreneur. Gap liked to gamble, and there were several groups of poker players who really, really liked to have Gap in their games; so his schedule only allowed him to come over every once in a while to discuss commodity prices and logistics and high finance with Harry as Eddie listened respectfully.

Patty, who hadn't learned the obvious lesson from the knife incident with Lefty, used to mock Eddie. And Eddie would respond, "Smarty eh. Smarty had a party." Sometimes his fists would clench up when he said that; but Eddie's prime fighting days were mostly over by that time; and anyway, Patty was the son of his padrone, so it would have been very bad form for Eddie to take a poke at him. Not that Patty didn't often deserve a poke.

Along about 9:30 or so Harry would give us the word to close up the Potato Market and Patty and I would cover up the watermelons and tomatoes and cantaloupes and other stuff with tarps while Harry would go back and get Kingy, and later Major, to set up for guard duty. You didn't want to get within reach of Kingy or Major's chain once they were on post for the night.

John S used to love riding his bike recklessly right along the perimeter of the beaten earth area where Kingy spent his mostly lazy days, just to provide him with a little thrill. John got a big kick out of Kingy's impotent fury when he did that. Until one day when he skidded and fell over the wrong way, into the beaten earth area. It was amazing how many puncture wounds Kingy managed to inflict before John could scramble out of reach.

Often, on especially warm nights, after we closed up the Potato Market, Patty would drive me down to pick up his cousins, Joe A and Butchy D, and we would go over to Saint Gabes home for bad boys to play water basketball. Bold as brass, Patty would walk into the boiler room and turn on the pool lights when we arrived. Mostly the gate to the pool was unlocked so getting in was no problem; but if it wasn't unlocked we would scale the fence. The irony of us sneaking into a detention center completely escaped me at the time. Patty said it was OK as long as we were quiet, so it was OK.

We would play water basketball until one of the brothers noticed the lights or the din we were making and came down to tell us we had to leave. Sometimes the brother would officiously make us line up against the fence and give us a short lecture. Patty was always very respectful of the brothers and very contrite; but sometimes we would wait in the car for a few minutes until the brother had returned to the dormitory if Patty felt the game had been cut too short. Once the coast was clear he would turn on the lights again and we would return to the pool. Even I knew that immediately returning to the scene of the crime was a bad idea, and Joe A used to be terrified; but we never got caught twice on the same evening so Patty evidently had the situation figured right. He later became a lawyer with the Public Defender's office.

After our game, usually about 11:00, our toes hurting and oozing a little blood from pushing off against the rough pool bottom, Patty would take us to Dairy Queen for a banana split which we would eat as we tooled around in Harry's old Chevy before dropping off Butchy D in Bridgeport and Joe A in Jeffersonville.

Those days are long gone and a present day Dairy Queen banana split is merely the palest shadow of what it was then, so Eddie with the cauliflower ears has the last laugh after all and Butch's sentiment says it all.

Smarty eh. Smarty had a party.

Three men in a boat and the river upset.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The sad degeneration of the human race

These three modern age wimps plan to ride from China to the English Channel on horses. They're planning to take three years to cover the 5,000 miles, riding less than 5 miles a day, which takes less than an hour on a walking horse. No doubt they'll spend the other 23 hours in each day luxuriating around the pool of a luxury hotel eating dainty finger foods and giving interviews about their arduous journey.

Back when men were men and horses were horses the Mongols covered fifty or sixty miles a day even though they often had to take time out from covering ground to attend to a bit of rape and pillage.

But the Mongols ate finger foods just like these modern wimps. Before setting out in the morning each Mongol put a nice cut of meat under his saddle blanket. Bouncing along on top of the meat all day tenderized it; and the heat and sweat from the horse cooked and seasoned it. I'll bet that steak was tasty at the end of a long day in the saddle.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The party of Joe Sixpack raises the tax on beer to $1.25 a glass

Put the spend like drunken sailors Democrats together with the "tax fairness" Democrats and then splice them with the bend over and let me put this proctoscope up your butt nanny state Democrats and you get a $52 per barrel tax on beer in Oregon. There's change we can believe in. And now they're going to tax Joe Sixpack to cry in his beer about it.

Coming soon to a state near you.

A tip of the hat to Veronique de Rugy, who linked to this post at National Review's blog The Corner

Billions for contributors, a few red cents for the rest

Over the past couple of years Goldman Sachs and other big contributors to the politicians down in Washington have bought up tens of billions of dollars worth of so called "toxic assets" at very large discounts from the banks and other institutions that originally bought them at face value.

It's almost as though Goldman Sachs and George Soros and the other big money political contributors knew something was in the works to make those "toxic assets" smell as sweet as the sea breeze off the Horn of Africa.

Starting in November, just before the election, the politicians and their bagmen conveniently made a plan to buy up those toxic assets at face value with your tax dollars. The architects of that plan were (big surprise!) Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Bank appointees who spent long careers with Goldman Sachs, and various other speculative companies controlled by George Soros and other big contributors to the politicians. Those bagmen (Rahm Emmanuel almost surely collected and counted the small bills for President Obama; I don't know who picked up the suitcases of loot for President Bush - his bribery collecting mechanism is less obvious) worked closely with Barney Frank, Chairman of the House of Representatives' Banking Committee and Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

The hundreds of billions of tax dollars that are providing windfalls ($13 Billion for the 100 partners who own Goldman Sachs, for instance - $130 Million each) are being laundered through AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The chief guys who set up the laundering program are Ben Bernanke, appointed by President George W. Bush, and Timothy Geithner, appointed by President Barack H. Obama.

Goldman Sachs partners and their employees contributed about $6 Million in officially reported bribes to politicians in 2008 (75% to Democrats, 25% to Republicans). In order of bulging pockets, the following politicians collected the most boodle from Goldman Sachs over the past 20 years: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Jim Himes, Chris Dodd, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards, Arlen Specter, Rahm Emanuel, John Sununu, Jack Reed, Michael Skelly, Max Baucus, tom Harkin - the list goes on and on and on and on.
See for the details.

In return for the $6 Million, the politicians have so far paid back $13 Billion of your tax dollars to Goldman Sachs. That's a one year return of over 200,000 percent.

That's real "investment banking." Somali pirates don't get returns like that and their main expenses are for used rubber boats and boiled peanuts to feed their crews of cutthroats.

George Soros gave about $3.5 million to politicians in 2008; and Soros is probably even smarter than the Goldman Sachs partners if you judge based on his success at making billions by manipulating currencies over the years. Figure that Soros has also made at least a 200,000 percent return on his "investment" and you can assume that he's in his money bin rolling around in something like $10 Billion of your tax dollars.

Talk about pirates! Shiver me timbers!

Referring to pirates, President Jefferson (or somebody) famously said, "Millions for defense, not one red cent for tribute."

Presidents Bush and Obama and their handmaidens Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Rahm Emanuel, Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner apparently believe in the motto, "Billions for contributors, a few red cents for the rest."

All in all, we're complacently overlooking the largest theft in the history of the world, the very Godfather of all thefts; while President Obama is keeping the media and us dazzled with his fancy footwork as he walks his new pooch and his smooth mouthwork as he proclaims how much he cares about the poor chumps who are going to get some crumbs from his programs.

A Treasury Secretary with his briefcase can steal a whole lot more than 10,000 men with guns. It's been written that 'every man defines the extent of his own greed." True enough, since Tim Geithner took the time and effort to cheat on a paltry 30 Grand or so in taxes while he was being groomed to steal tens of billions in the smoothest heist since that clever dude cheated his brother Ishmael out of his birthright for a bowl of porridge.

Incidently, please don't read this as a partisan attack on the Democrats. When politicians steal on this scale they make sure everybody dips their beak so they can be sure nobody important enough to get attention will squeal. Just to prove this really is a bipartisan post, here's then Senator Obama yucking it up at a roast held in 2005 for Rahm Emanuel. You will notice that there are no suitcases of small bills visible in this video.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some dreams come true

And, if you haven't seen this other one, it's worth a listen also. It's of Paul Potts, a cell phone salesman, getting his big chance to show what he can do.

Of course there are limits to what can be expected of amateurs, so here's a professional doing Nessum Dorma the way all of us shower singers wish we could sing it.

And, it's impossible to listen to Pavarotti doing Nessum Dorma during the Easter season without being lured to him doing perhaps the greatest song ever written. I especially like that Pavarotti clearly looks at his musical score many times as he's singing, even though he must have sung Schubert's Ave Maria a thousand times.

Oh for the innocent long ago days when the nuns marched us from Holy Saviour school down to the church singing this.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Full credit where due

Navy Seal snipers efficiently eliminated the three Somalian pirates who were holding and threatening the life of an American hostage.

Three cheers for the Seals. We all owe a great debt of gratitude both to the Seals directly involved in this situation and to all Americans who dedicate their careers to the arduous training necessary to carry out such feats, especially insofar as the Seals, like all of our fighting men and law men, also put their own lives at risk in situations dicier than this one in our defense.

Three cheers also for President Obama. We owe him gratitude for his clearheadedness and quick correct decisionmaking in promptly signing the death warrants of those pirates by giving the Seals and their onscene commander freedom to act as necessary to protect and rescue the American involved.

Are you adapted to run for your dinner?

Here's an interesting article on the subject of why people can run such long distances. I think I'm going to go out and try to run down a deer one of these days.

Speaking of dinner; we had a very nice Easter dinner at Jas and Kathy's house yesterday. All the usual suspects were present and accounted for except for Sam and Deb and Delores W., who presumably went to the wilds of New Jersey to celebrate the holiday with Deb and Delores side relatives. Alex and Christina drove down from Boston for the weekend which made it really great.

Johnny, Jennifer and Kathy put together a combo of lamb, ham, lasagna and cavatelli that was excellent; and of course there were several fine desserts, of which Linda and I contributed Mom and Aunt Mary's rice pie, or at least that's what the 2002 recipe scrawl in Mom's handwriting calls it. It's really more of a solid egg pudding. It came out excellent, at least it did after we baked it for more than twice as long as the one hour that Mom's directions specify.

1 cup rice cooked for 15 minutes and then cooled
3 pounds of ricotta cheese
2 cups of sugar
1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
(Mom's recipe also calls for "1 cup milk?". Fortunately I didn't put that milk in. If I had put it in we would probably still be waiting for it to solidify)

Blend the cooled off cooked rice and the ricotta. Blend the eggs and the vanilla with the sugar. Blend the two mixtures together. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. I used a glass baking dish and I put it on a cookie sheet for fear it would spill over because it was pretty full.

Mom's directions call for baking it for one hour at 350. After one hour the middle was still liquidy. At that point Linda let it continue to bake at 350 for another 20 minutes. I came in and noticed that the middle was still liquidy, but the edges were starting to brown. So I reduced the temp to 325 and let it continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Finally I reduced the temp to 275 and let it bake another 20 minutes, after which I turned off the oven and left it in there for another 30 minutes or so.

People seemed to like it; but only about 40% of it was eaten by the crowd of twenty or so. Marianne and Kathy must have really liked it because they took another 40% off our hands. The remaining 20% has already been cut into by Linda (last night) and me (I'm eating a big chunk right now); but I think I'll cut this recipe in half when I make it again next Easter.

Reflecting back I recall that there was always at least some of this recipe left over even back at the height of holiday gorging when 40 or more would troup through 403 Walnut during the course of Easter Sunday. Back then of course Mom would have brought 4 apple pies or so and Aunt Mary would also have made cream puffs if she didn't make one of those huge four decker six inch high cookie sheet sized rectangular rum and cream cakes. And Aunt Nancy would have brought her nonpareil rice pudding.

And we would have eaten those desserts after a a marathon of ravioli and stuffed olive eating. Sam, Matty and me each at least once managed to down twenty of Mom and Aunt Mary's huge meat raviolis, very easy to take because they came in three distinctly different forms - flat ones fried and then powdered with sugar, curly ones served al dente and white with grated cheese and (can't remember the name of the spice right now - note to self, get gingko biloba before you forget its name, also write your name, phone number and address on a card in your wallet in case they find you wandering around confused one of these days soon), and finally with traditional gravy and meatballs. All washed down with as much soda as you wanted to drink.

It's surprising any of us survived those dinners. Of course, the fact that we did survive is evidence of another survival adaptation. After they ran the antelope to death those long ago ancestors of ours ate the whole thing raw if they could, or at least several pounds of its juicy liver and other innards, before the lions and leopards and hyenas could have a chance to steal the carcass from them.

Two ducks just waddled down from the pond and hopped into the creek near the bridge. And there have been a couple of geese hanging around; but I haven't seen any evidence of a nest yet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maybe Gaia isn't angry; maybe She's on plan

In the beginning was the Bang. . .

Loki had gotten out of the playroom and set off a whole freakin' crateload of Thor's thunderbolts. In the confusing microseconds just after the Bang, Gaia and a whole shitload of Her sister planet goddesses got loose as well.

Loki was too stupid to suspect Thor of orchestrating the whole divine comedy; but the planet goddesses were smart enough to be pretty sure He had. There weren't any sparrows in those times; but the planet goddesses were smart enough to suspect that Thor would have had pretty good handle on all their tail feathers if they had existed to have tails and feathers.

The Big Guy probably wanted them loose. But not sure is not sure; She would be looking over Her shoulder, for a long time, now that there was time. They had been in His stupid garden playing the stupid harps since forever; and forever is a long thordamned time. Like Her sisters, or whatever the hell they were, Gaia boogied on out, surfing the bubble front as the new universe inflated. Was She going fast away from Thor and Her sisters, or was space expanding between Them? Who the hell knew? She had never been very good at math; Loki was the space and time and practical jokes Dude. Someday maybe She would invent a physicist who could explain the whole business so She could understand it.

Maybe She could even do more. Maybe with enough time and enough thought She could figure out how to put Thor in a damned garden playing a damned harp. There was a thought. She'd put Him in a ridiculous tutu just like He made Them wear and see how He liked prancing around on tippy-toe while playing a damned harp. Maybe She'd even let Loki loose in the garden once in a while to bust up the harp and rip off the tutu and. . . well, perhaps we'd best leave Gaia's thoughts at that point. Hell itself hath no fury like an Earth Goddess scorned.

I just read an excellent column by Lisa Mossie in The Norristown Times Herald. Lisa was on a subject of long term, if occasional, interest to me; a subject that should also be of interest to you if you give two damns about where it's all going.

Can we be good without God?
Why should we be good without God?
Does "good" have any metaphysical meaning without God?

Don't worry, I'm not going to try to pose answers to those questions beyond "Who knows?". I know, I know, there have been a whole bunch of constipated dudes who have written long and exquisitely boring books full of academic gas on the subject. But as far as I've been patient enough to try to figure out; to paraphrase Peter Singer, an Aquinas is a Descartes is a Goethe is a Nietsche is a Wittgenstein. The lot of them could have done with a good dose of laxative.

What struck me about Lisa's column was her mention, for effect, that maybe "Gaia is angry" just like the enviroweenies say She is. Maybe Lisa is telepathic; because, as it turns out, I did a little riff on Gaia just last evening on the phone with Alex.

The enviroweenies assume a Gaia who's all about, like, preserving the green, green hills of Earth, and watching the playful bunnies and possums and javalinas gyre and gymbal oer the wabe, except when She lets a hawk crush their cute little skulls or She lets rabies eat their brains so that they gyre and gymbal kind of funny for a while and bite other cute little critters before they fall over sideways and quiver on top of the green, green grass on the way to releasing their components to rejoin The Great Circle Of Life.

But what if Gaia is working according to a different plan?

The other evening I joked with Alex that Gaia may have stored up all the fossil fuels specifically so one of her critters could release the CO2 in them at this rough point in time. I joked that Gaia may want us to release the CO2 in those fossil fuels to prevent an ice age.

But that's only one possibility that's fully as logical as the strange certainty of the enviroweenies that Gaia is all about Earth as an "eternal" garden, even though Earth's atmosphere will be stripped away no matter what Gaia does when the sun expands in a few billion years; and that's assuming that the mother of all asteroids or a comets doesn't wipe out all green, green grass and the bunnies and the helgramites and the aardvarks before the the expanding sun gets a chance to.

There's another idea, maybe Gaia wants us to use the fossil fuels to get advanced enough to stop an asteroid or a comet that's already on its way from the Oort cloud. Maybe her long range plan to for us to get advanced enough to get us and Her off this planet and spread around like a plague on a million or a billion other planets before the sun expands.

Maybe Gaia's long run plan is to put Thor in a tutu and set all of us up on the mother of all bleachers around the garden to be spectators to Him prancing around forever on tippy toe playing a harp; except when She lets Loki loose for a little fun.

I hope She has vendors coming around the bleachers with hotdogs and cokes and peanuts and Crackerjacks. Maybe that's why we're supposed to do good works; to save up credit against that eternally lazy afternoon when we'll be wanting stuff from the vendors.

We now return this station to its regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your tax dollars being put to good use

General Motors and Segway have just unveiled your urban transportation future. They plan to fully engineer it between now and 2012 using your tax dollars while General Motors continues to lose billions per year because its cars aren't selling.

This thing is such a dangerous, bad and unnecessary design along so many dimensions that I can't find words to express how stupid it is.

I'm thinking that Al Gore's kid must have designed it on his Etch a Sketch.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I thought the pastor did it with the hand bell in the choirloft

I figured the clues pointed to the pastor with the hand bell in the choir loft; but I got it just as wrong as those folks who guessed that the First Lady did it with the rake in the garden. The notion that the President did it with the scimitar in the Oval Office always struck me as ridiculous.

It looks like the visitor shot him with the gun at home.

Meanwhile: new clues suggest that Al Gore was also just a bit wrong when he said we would be sunbathing in January up here in Collegeville by 2020.

When you play Clue you have to be careful to let enough clues accumulate to allow for a reasonable guess. And you have to remember that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

Oh, and by the way, the sun is still very, very quiet. Don't donate all your winter clothes to charity just yet.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's a good time to buy a used boat

I'm open to the idea of someone mooring their boat in our pond, if it's a picturesque one. They can even live aboard it for a nominal rent. And they can keep all the snapping turtles they catch in exchange for an occasional couple of bowls of snapper soup.

Hunters are always trying to give us venison which we don't like; but snapper soup is another thing entirely. I think our edition of The Joy of Cooking has a recipe starting with the necessary cutting off of the head of the snapper with an ax. I'll provide the chopping block and the ax.

Meanwhile, in other news: Detroit is reverting to the wild and there's a wide awake fellow selling skinned raccoons for $12 each. Slick Willy took his woman in 1970; but apparently he didn't take the Coonman's hunting dogs or his down home skills. I like his little touch of leaving one paw on the carcass.

"The paw is old school," says Glemie Dean Beasley, a Detroit raccoon hunter and meat salesman. "It lets the customers know it's not a cat or dog."

During the seven or so minute video that accompanies the newspaper article the Coonman channels Julia Child with a nice raccoon cooking demonstration. And that's before he plays and sings a nice blues song that's got a tempo perfect for our level of West Coast Swing skill.

Unfortunately I've only seen raccoons two times since we bought our land in 1978; although there's no question that they're regularly around. Linda just pointed out a raccoon paw print to me down at the creek a few days ago. I may look into learning how to set a snare. That raccoon recipe looked mighty inviting; although I might be tempted to present it to Linda as rabbit if I ever get the chance to try it out.

The Coonman also sells rabbits and squirrels if you happen to be passing through Detroit and want to work up to the raccoon sort of sideways. I bet he would have a field day with the geese around here and up and down along the river drives in Philly.

The quotes from Beasley are priceless. An example - "Today people got no skill and things is getting worse," he laments. "What people gonna do? They gonna eat each other up is what they gonna do." That's a fellow I'd like to know.

And, in yet other news, here's a nice, very reasonable, well spoken Arab fellow who wants to come and make an impact on a neighborhood near you.