Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Congressman: We'll reinstate the Bush tax cuts, dare Obama to veto

At a town hall meeting in Phenix City, AL, on Monday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL/3) said that, despite discussions to keep at least some of the Bush tax cuts, there is the possibility that the current Democrat-controlled Congress will allow the cuts to expire. If that happens, and if the GOP wins control of the House in November, the new Republican Congress would reinstate the tax cuts, and "dare the president to veto it".

[Direct link]
My guess is that if November 2nd turns out the way the prognosticators are saying it will, and the House flips over with a heavy number, and the Senate either flips or comes close, I'd be surprised if they just didn't let them all expire. Now, if they do that, I can assure you, January of next year, we're going to pass legislation to put them all back in place and date the president to veto it.
This is why I voted for Rogers in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and will again this November.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Town Hall with Congressman Mike Rogers

Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican representing Alabama's 3rd district, held a town hall meeting in Phenix City, AL, today. The Congressman touched on several topics in his remarks and with the questions he took from the crowd afterwards.

During the meeting, Rep. Rogers mentioned his support for a proposal to modify the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

[Direct link]

He took aim at the 111th Congress, criticizing the lack of a budget as "reckless."

[Direct link]

Additionally, Rep. Rogers said that it will be nearly impossible to repeal many of the actions of the 111th Congress before 2013.

[Direct link]

During his Q&A session, Rep. Rogers voiced his support for a flat income tax rate as opposed to the "Fair Tax" national sales tax proposal. He said that the sales tax would unfairly punish the poorest Americans, while a flat income tax rate would allow for those on the lower end of the economic spectrum to be, at least partially, exempt from taxes.

He also criticized the process of non-germane earmarks being attached to bills, adding that he felt the only way to prevent that practice would be a Constitutional amendment.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trying not to be bitter about the loss to Hawaii

The local Little League baseball team was knocked out of the Little League World Series yesterday. The West team, from Waipahu, Hawaii, beat the Southeast team, from Columbus, Georgia.

Ever since Barack Obama was thrust onto the national scene, the Hawaii has been tainted by association. However, Barack Obama doesn't have any connection with Hawaii Little League. None whatsoever.

I mean, you've seen him try to throw a baseball, right?

Plus, Little League requires a birth certificate.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My time machine is broken and my crystal ball is in the shop

Netflix sent me an email tonight.
Dear Basil,

We are always making improvements to ensure you receive your movies quickly. As part of this process, we ask our members about how we are doing from time to time. Please tell us when you received Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hercules Unchained, which was shipped to you on Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010 by clicking on the appropriate link below.

  • I received the movie Thursday, Aug 26, 2010
  • I received the movie Friday, Aug 27, 2010
  • I received the movie after Friday, Aug 27, 2010

Thanks for your help!

-Your friends at Netflix
Now, I really like my Netflix account. The streaming feature is awesome, feeding movies directly to my TiVo. And, of course, the DVDs in the mail is good, too. They mail a DVD one day, I get it the next. When I mail it back, they get it next day, and send me a movie later that day, with it arriving the following day.

Their system works. And I like it. And, I appreciate that they ask about how their service is.

You did notice that today is Thursday, August 26, didn't you?

I wonder what they'd do if I said it arrived after Friday? Would they think that my crystal ball is working? Or that my time machine is fully operational?

Of course, if it was, I wouldn't be using it to answer future questions about Netflix. But, the time machine isn't working. The perpetual motion machine that powers it is on the fritz. I need to get that thing fixed.

Maybe Cleveland has a good idea after all

You may recall a week or so ago when word came out that Cleveland was putting high-tech trash cans out that would rat out people who don't recycle.

The trash cans have chips inside that can tell when you take the recycle can to the curb ... and when you don't. And that's the key. When you don't ... and if it thinks you've gone too long without taking out recyclables ... it will contact the city and tell them. Then they send a trash cop out to look around in your trash.

I don't think I like the idea. Because, well, what has Cleveland ever done that was a good idea? No, really. Okay, they signed Jim Brown to play football, but that was 53 years ago. And he quit playing football after nine years. Even a bad-ass like Jim Brown couldn't stomach Cleveland for too long.

Smart trash cans isn't along the line as sign-Jim-Brown-to-play-football smart. It's stupid. The trash cans are smart, but the whole idea is stupid.

Really, do you want your trash can calling and telling on you? I bet even Oscar the Grouch wouldn't want a tattle-tell trash can.

But, maybe, just maybe, we can use that technology for something good instead of narcing on you about recycling.

For instance, we could put those chips in Obama's golf clubs. Then, if he goes too long without taking the clubs to a golf course, we'd know that he might be in Washington trying to screw up the country some more. It could call someone who would send him a free pass to a golf course. As long as Obama is hitting the links, he's not hitting the economy in the nuts.

There could be chips placed on Democrat Congressmen. When too many get together at one time, you know they're planning something bad. So, it would call Fox News or Andrew Breitbart and they'd show up with a camera, scaring the Democrat Congressmen back into their little holes in the ground.

They could put one on Rosie O'Donnell. That way, whenever she showed up somewhere, it could call anyone in the area so they could run away.

One on Al Gore could call the police whenever he got near a masseuse.

One on Barney Frank could call the police whenever he went near anybody.

One on Roman Polanski could call all the parents of teenage girls so they could hide their daughters.

One on Ron Paul could call everybody whenever he went somewhere. His supporters would all show up, and the rest of us could go somewhere else, confident that we'd be free of them for a few minutes.

So, maybe we could take the technology Cleveland is using to play trash police and put it to some good use.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Tale of Two Leaders

It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evel, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There was a president with a crossbow, and a president who liked to bow.

Vladimir Putin, prime minister and former president of Russia, shot a whale with a crossbow today.

Compare that to the president of the United States, who bows to other leaders.

Remember when the United States used to have a president who ... was a man?

I miss those days.

Taking questions for a Congressman

I told Frank J. at IMAO that Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL-3) would be in the area on Monday, and that I'd be there. I asked him, SarahK, and Harvey if they had any questions that they'd like me to ask Rep. Rogers.

Then, I asked about opening questions up to IMAO readers. He was cool with that.

So, if you want to see what the readers there want to ask a Congressman, go visit.

And, offer your questions, if you like. We'll even accept serious questions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maybe I should go to work for the government...

The Department of Justice wants someone who can translate what Black folks say.


According to news reports:
The US Department of Justice is looking for linguists fluent in "Ebonics" to help monitor, translate and transcribe covertly recorded conversations of the subjects of drug investigations, according to federal contracting documents.

Up to nine experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta field office helping to translate telephone conversations and "maintain a list of slang words and codes," according to the contracting information released by the DEA.
I could do that job. I've done it before, just not for the government.


Let me explain. And, keep in mind, I am not making any of this up.

Back in the 1980s, I worked in Jacksonville at a truckstop. The main areas were the restaurant, the shop, the travel store, and the fuel/service desk. I ran the fuel/service desk.

At the truckstop, some of the people that worked there were familiar with the road, and with life on the road. Many had family members who were in the trucking industry, or were former truckers or otherwise involved in trucking.

That meant that, not only were the people who worked there familiar with the daily routines and experiences of the truckers, the primary customer, but they came from all over.

In fact, about half the people who worked at the service desk weren't from the south.

Another thing you may need to know is that pulpwood trucks are pretty common in the south. Particularly in south Georgia or north Florida. And, in many parts of the south, Blacks make up 30-40% of the population, a much higher percentage than much of the rest of the country.

Which means that around 40% of the pulpwood truck drivers are Black.

And, in rural areas of south Georgia, where you're more likely to find trees, many in the Black community speak Gullah or Geechee dialects.

Now, if you aren't familiar with those, those dialects are centered around the Low Country of South Carolina -- but aren't limited to South Carolina.

And, if you're from up north, and you work at a truckstop in Jacksonville, and if a Gullah- or Geechee-speaking person asks you a question, you're probably going to be lost.

Unless, the manager of the service desk is from south Georgia and grew up knowing people that spoke that dialect.

That manager was me.

Anyway, I would be called on to translate between Yankee and Geechee/Gullah.

The Yankees would be totally amazed that I could understand the dialect-speaking driver.

And the drivers were totally amazed that I could stand to be around the Yankees.

So, I have experience speaking Black dialects. Or, at least, understanding and translating Black dialects.

Which means I could go to work for the government.

I just don't like the idea of having to speak government. The words are easy, but the meaning will drive you crazy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My new favorite game

I know I'm a little behind the curve, but I recently got one of those new touch devices. I got an iPad. Lots of people have had an iPhone or an iPod Touch, but this is my first device of this type. And I like it. And, I'm discovering all the different apps that are available.

Like Angry Birds.

Like I said, I'm way behind the curve on this, and I know it. But it's a fun game.

In fact, the only game I can think of that could be more fun is one based on Angry Birds.

Here's the premise: You and others like you are angry because a bunch of horrible creatures have taken your stuff. So, you and the others go to get your stuff back, removing the horrible creatures in the process.

Sounds a lot like Angry Birds, doesn't it?

Only this game, anyone can play. You don't need an iPhone, an iPod Touch, an iPad, a BlackBerry, a Droid, or anything like that.

All you need is a ballot. The game is available November 2.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Microsoft hates America!

The other day, I ran into a situation with a date field on a Website. Someone who I was telling about the issue (it involved ColdFusion and a valid time value) was inspired to research valid date-time fields in databases. And, as it turns out, Microsoft SQL Server has date limitations.

For instance, you can't store a date prior to January 1, 1753 in a Microsoft SQL database.
You may ask, why would I want to store a date prior to January 1, 1753 in a database? Well, if your database is on American history, or about great Americans, then you just might need that.

George Washington's birthday was February 22, 1732 (or, February 11, 1731 O.S.) -- which means you can't store George Washington's birthday in a Microsoft database!

The Father of our Country! First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen! Our nation's first president under the Constitution! Microsoft won't let you store his birthday in their databases? That's outrageous!

Why does Microsoft hate America?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, how big of a screw-up is Obama?

Anybody with one eye and half sense can tell that Barack Obama is a screw-up.

Some of us knew he was before he was elected. Now, everyone else is finding out what we knew all along: Barack Obama is a screw-up.

The only question remains is: how big of a screw-up is Obama?

Well, I saw today's Gallup and Rasmussen polls. And Gallup, which poll a sample of voting-age Americans, has Obama's approval rate at 44%:

Rasmussen, which polls a sample of likely voters, has Obama's approval rating at 45%:

Now, think about that for a minute.

Gallup doesn't limit to likely voters. It includes more than likely voters. Which means those not likely to vote. Those that don't care enough to vote.

Obama is such a screw-up, that even people that don't care are pissed at him.

I can see November from my house.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yes, the iPad is a chick magnet

Got an iPad about a month ago.

I got the 64GB 3G version. The 64GB because it's the largest they currently offer. And the 3G so that if I wasn't where there was WiFi, I could (perhaps) still get on the Internet. And, since I've already filled over half of it, that shows that I'd have already run into an issue with space had I got a smaller size. And, since I constantly run into places in Columbus that don't have WiFi, the 3G has proven worthwhile.

I've enjoyed being able to access the Internet from more places. And using the e-reader apps. And playing games. And using teh Twitters. And doing Google searches. And playing games. And watching videos. And finding restaurants. And playing games. And...

Anyway, I ran into something I didn't expect: the iPad is a chick magnet.


It is amazing the number of young women that go "Ooh!" and "Is that one of those iPads?" and "Oh, that is so cool!" and so on.

Lots of young women.

Lots and lots of young women.

And, make no mistake, it's the iPad. It's definitely not an excuse to for them to chat me up. I'm an old, overweight, gray-haired, married man. I'm not what young women are seeking. But the chicks sure dig the iPad.

So, gentlemen, if you're wanting the ultimate chick magnet, get yourself an iPad.

Perhaps you'll be in a position to take advantage of that fact. Because I'm not. Those young women that the iPad is attracting are younger than my children. And just a few years older than my grandchildren.

Technology can solve all kinds of technology problems

The other day, Paul Mitchell wondered about teh Facebook. Of course, he did this on teh Facebook.

Here's what he said:
I do not get on FAILbook's home page very often, but when I do, it is filled with useless crap that I never want to ever see. Does anyone know how to turn off COMPLETELY, TOTALLY, and FOREVER, the stuff I have "X'd" in red?
Milford Marwick had a low-tech suggestion:
But, really, a problem with technology should be solved by technology, right? So, I had the perfect suggestion:
True, my suggestion costs a little more -- a 64GB 3G iPad costs a little over $800 -- but it's money well-spent. Plus the Facebook app is free.

But, it does have its drawbacks. You can't print from an iPad.

Or you couldn't until now.
You can get a photocopier for under $200.

See, technology can solve anything!

More of the 43 Dumbest Conservative Bloggers responds to Rick Moran

I, along with 42 other bloggers, was targeted by Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House as one of the 42 Dumbest Conservative Bloggers. I already responded to that, and shall not repeat my response, though you can read it if you like.

In the post, though, I did link to some other bloggers' responses. Well, there's another one that I thought was worth a look.

TSO at This Ain't Hell took issue with, well, lots of what Rick Moran wrote. Including an examination of the standard line about Nathan Bedford Forrest founding the Ku Klux Klan:
Either way, I am not going to fight the fight on whether Forrest was in the Klan, or whether he was the leader. What is clear is that he did not found it. I’ve seen that in a few places, Forrest was not an original founder. Second, it is somewhat instructive for a further look at Forrest’s statements to look at what the Klan was when he is alleged to have been named leader.
It would be a little much to call TSO's post a defense of Forrest. An examination of the facts would be more accurate. And it's worth a read.

I'm not a historian, but I certainly think we can learn from history. And, despite his flaws, Forrest wasn't the monster he is made out to be. But, once a distortion of the facts takes hold, it's hard to ever clear it up. That's one of the lessons of history we should take from Forrest.

TSO is doing a good job of stating the facts regarding Forrest, flawed man that he was. But the lies and distortions are the norm. And it continues to this day. Just look at how the left -- and many who are lumped into the right -- trash George W. Bush.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why a Christian can't be a Democrat

If you haven't read Paul Mitchell's biting analysis of how the Democrat party is, at its core, in violation of and incompatible with the Ten Commandments, you should.

Here are some excerpts. The 5th Commandment:
Honor your parents. Democrats do not even believe that a mother and father are necessary for raising children. Meet my two mommies!
 The 6th Commandment:
Thou shalt not kill. How many abortions has the Democrat Party committed to date? How often do Democrats praise the Religion of Peace?
 The 8th Commandment:
Thou shalt not steal. Um, currently Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are being charged with that. Also, there are eight more folks in the Congressional Black Caucus being investigated for stealing.
The 9th Commandment:
Don't bear false witness. The Democrat Party chunked so much false witness at George W. Bush, those eight years are sending every one of those morons straight to Hell. Still to this day, the Democrat Party continues this false witness.
Read them all. And read the 10th one over and over.

Then decide for yourself if you can be a Democrat and still go to church and not worry about the building falling in on you.

My first "there should be a playoff and here's the way to do it" post of the 2010 football season

It happens every year. At least, lately it does. Calls for a college football playoff.

It's begun this season already -- even though the season hasn't begun. ESPN had a story about players wanting a playoff (tip: Mr. SEC via Milton Marwick).

First, let me state that I understand that three divisions already have playoffs. Division III has 32-team playoff. Division II has a 24-team playoff. Division I FCS (formerly Division I-AA) has a 16-team playoff (it's expanding to 20 teams this year).

All that means that it's possible for 72 colleges to extend their season by having playoffs. So, why can't the "big boys" (Division I BCS, formerly Division I-A) do it?

The answer is simple: the can. It's simply a matter of wanting to. And here's how the playoffs should work:

There are 11 conferences:

  • Atlantic Coast
  • Big 12
  • Big East
  • Big Ten
  • Conference USA
  • Mid-American
  • Mountain West
  • Pacific 10
  • Southeastern
  • Sun Belt
  • Western Athletic

The plan would have these the 11 teams that win their conference championship and 5 at-large (or wild card) teams in a 16-team tournament.

I suggest giving the conference championship extra importance by treating it as the NFL does, where their division winners get the top seeds, and the wild-card teams are seeded lower, even if they have a better record than a division winner.

In this plan, the 11 conference champions would get seeds 1-11, and the at-large teams would get the lowest seeding.

Top seeds host lower seeds. Teams that are eliminated in the first two rounds are still eligible for bowl selection.

Oh, and a 16-team playoff means 3 rounds plus a championship game. That's 4 weeks. Which means the championship game could be the first week in January.

It's not that complicated. It'll work.

If they'd do it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Speaking of a Right Wing Nut House...

Rick Moran didn't like the list that a bunch of conservative bloggers came up with, and said so. And called them the "Dumbest Conservative Bloggers."


Okay, a little background. John Hawkins at Right Wing News asked conservative bloggers to list their choices for the 20 worst figures in American History. And to submit an unranked list. Just a list of 20 names. Then, he would take the separate lists and compile them into one list of the 25 Worst Figures In American History.

43 bloggers responded ... including me ... and Hawkins posted his list.

Now, let me restate how the voting went. Each list submitted was unranked. No one said "this person is worse than that person." Rather, they all said "these are the 20 worst." And, for each list that named a particular person, that person got one vote.

Here's the complied list, including the number of lists on which each person appeared:
23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)
Nowhere in the submissions did anyone say Jimmy Carter is worse than Barack Obama. Nor did anyone say Barack Obama is worse than Timothy McVeigh. What did happen is that 2 more people included Carter than Obama on their list of 20. And 12 more included Obama than McVeigh on their list. That's a slight difference. But an important difference.

I have no idea how anyone else approached this poll. But here's what I did: I thought of Americans that I thought were really bad people and wrote them on a list.

I did remove some people from the list as it was being built, because I thought, "this person is bad, but not as bad as that person." On a few, I went back and added the person back to the list.

This went on for a bit, and I still wasn't happy with my list.

Then, I decided to make it a somewhat representative list. You see, is a serial killer a worse person than a president that causes hundreds or thousands of deaths? Or, like Melissa Couthier wondered, "(who) was the dumbass who convinced people that DDT was worse than dying from malaria and by extension participated in the deaths of over 25 million African children? ... Also, is a dude who buried grandma and 20 bodies in the backyard more evil?"

Dr. Clouthier has a valid point. Me, personally? I think the DDT guy is worse, because good intentions don't excuse bad behavior. Good intentions count for something, but millions of dead people count more.

Anyway, back to my methodology. I decided to become more diverse in my list. I thought specifically about traitors, and came up with a few, including Aldrich Hazen Ames, Benedict Arnold, Julius Rosenberg, among others.

I figured killers needed to make the list. So, I included Theodore Robert Bundy, Edward Theodore Gein, Timothy James McVeigh, Howard Barton Unruh, among others.

My list included politicians (who have the ability to do more harm than the killers on my list ever did) such as Edward Moore Kennedy, Frank Forrester Church III, Barack Hussein Obama, among others.

Throw in George Soros, Roger Nash Baldwin, and a few others, and my list of 20 was done. And, no, it wasn't the list I wanted. But, it was probably as good as any list that someone like me could come up with. Besides, it was 6:44 PM, running up against a 7:00 PM deadline. So, I sorted the list alphabetically and clicked "send."

I think I under-represented the 19th century in my list. And probably the 18th century as well. But, it's done.

42 others responded, as I mentioned, John Hawkins compiled them, and posted the results.

Which ... after that brief introduction ... brings me back to my point.

Some, like Rick Moran, seem to have got their panties in a wad over it.

He takes the gang of 43 (who he calls "The Top 43 Dumbest Conservative Bloggers" ... which is funny; funny/ha-ha, not funny/strange):
And what did all that 10 Watt brainpower come up with? ... Absolutely astonishing. One mass murderer (McVeigh) and one assassin (Booth) made the list. No gangsters. No old west gunmen. Both Woodrow Wilson and FDR in the top 5 worst? If you’re going to penalize presidents so severely for having wrongheaded ideas about economic policy, why not include George Bush? Or the modern Republican party who never met a deficit they didn’t embrace as long is it was caused by tax cuts.
Let me say that I like Rick Moran. Actually, I've never met him. I've never corresponded to any degree with him (in fact, he didn't respond to a recent, unrelated-to-this-list query to him). I guess it would be more accurate to say I enjoy reading his blog. I don't always agree, but it's still a good read.

He left enough weasel-room with his "perhaps not all 43 of this list of conservative bloggers" statement at the top of his post -- though I really don't think he cares if the insult hits me or not.

The thing is, though, Moran criticized the 43 for having more list Obama than Dahmer. Then he turns around and, in a Top Five ranked listing, positions William Randolph Hearst as worse than Ted Bundy. Hearst didn't personally kill a bunch of people. And he was one of the few newspapermen to point out what Nazi Germany was doing to Jews. That's not to excuse the Father of Yellow Journalism from his sins. But criticizing Hawkins' list for having Obama but not Dahmer ... then saying Hearst was worse than Bundy? Moran is typing out of both sides of his keyboard.

Then, there's this:
Frankly, this is embarrassing. Putting the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, Gore, Sharpton, and other contemporary Democrats ahead of someone like Nathan Bedford Forest who was at least partly responsible for creating the KKK after the Civil War and spent his spare nights riding around the countryside whipping, lynching, and burning at the stake innocent African Americans demonstrates an extraordinary ignorance of American history.
I suppose the fact that the Ku Klux Klan that did all the lynching in the 1900s is not the same Ku Klux Klan that Forrest founded, but a same-named organization, doesn't "demonstrate an extraordinary ignorance of American history."

I think Moran's going a little overboard in his criticism of the list. My list doesn't match the final list. Of the 20 names I submitted, 10 made the final 25, and 10 didn't. My list matches the final list by a range of 40-50%, depending on how you look at it (10/20, or 10/25).

And I'm not the only one who thinks that Moran is a little off the mark in his criticism. Paul Mitchell called Moran's post "stupid." However, Andrew Ian Dodge and William Teach both compare Moran's comments to Charles Johnson.

That's not a fair comparison. Johnson is who he always was. He was bat-sh*t crazy opposing Bush before September 11, went gung-ho pro-Bush for a bit, then settled back to where he started.

Moran isn't like that. I certainly believe he's not like that. I think he's honest in what he writes, and isn't bat-sh*t crazy. But I think he went overboard in what he wrote.

Having said that, the compiled list is flawed. After all, it left off 10 of my picks!

Google's Blogger platform finally adds spam detection

There are lots of good ... and great ... blogging platforms out there. I've tinkered with several. But, my favorites are (in alphabetical order) Blogger, TypePad/MovableType, and WordPress. I've used Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress (both flavors) for this little blog. They're all good.

WordPress has a free version (wordpress.com), with restrictions of advertising and JavaScript.

TypePad has a free version that's nothing more than a single-user Twitter feed. The paid (hosted) versions are actually very good.

Both WordPress and MovableType have versions you can host on your own Website. They are quite powerful.

Blogger offers many of the same features as the others, but is free. It doesn't have as many restrictions, but it's always fallen behind the pack in one area: spam prevention. And that's one very important area to me.

WordPress (all flavors) includes Akismet, one of the best spam protection processes. Not perfect, but very good.

TypePad/MovableType has much improved spam protection.

Now -- finally! -- Blogger has implemented spam protection.

Google's spam protection for Gmail works very well. Not perfect, but it's top-notch nonetheless. And, while I realize that email spam isn't the same thing as comment spam, I have been frustrated by Google's inability to implement comment spam filters on Blogger.

I'm glad it's finally available. Because the comment moderation process isn't really the best way to handle things. This will be a welcome addition to the list of features for Blogger. At least, it's one I've been awaiting for some time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When this trend hits the White House...

You've heard about Steven Slater, the JetBlue steward (they prefer "flight attendant") who got fed up with rude people, grabbed a beer, deployed the emergency slide, and left, quitting his job.

That led to the fake story of "Jenny," the woman who was reported to have quit her job by sending an email with messages on a dry-erase board, detailing why she quit. It was a hoax, but a lot of people fell for it, and, if it's like many hoaxes, it'll surface again.

The thing is, people believed the "Jenny" story because they want to. And Steven Slater shows how plausible it is.

Most adults, as much as they might like to, won't actually do something like that. Sure, we all dream of the day we can leave the job, often ending the notice with the phrase "and the horse you rode in on." But we won't. We're adults.

But not everyone is. Have you looked at the White House lately?

There's a president to never had a real job in his life, and is shown every day to be in way over his head. You got a first lady who dresses like someone shopping at Wal-mart at 2:00 AM. There's a press secretary who's so frustrated that not everyone is as enamored with the president as he that he says critics (specifically those on the left) should be tested for drugs. There's skateboarding down the halls of the presidential mansion. There's Joe Biden (nuff said). And the list goes on.

The obvious conclusion is there's not a responsible adult in the group.

What does that mean?

Well, adults don't act like Slater. But none of the White House crew is adult. So, when one finally snaps, what will it be like?

Who would you like to see quit the White House in a huff? And how?

More comments at IMAO.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hardly a shower, barely a whore's bath

After getting all excited that I would make an effort to watch the Perseid meteor shower, I actually woke up a little before 3:00 AM -- nature not alarm clock did the waking -- and went outside.

The sky was clear and Jupiter was ruling the night. The glow from Columbus obscured a great portion of the horizon, but the stars higher in the sky were quite visible.

The 2/3 tree in the yard (April 2009 tornado completely took out one tree, and the top 1/3 of one other tree; this is the "other") blocks the North Star. This means I have to walk out to the middle of the yard to get a view of Polaris.

Cassiopeia was easy to find (it's that big 3/W/M that's near Polaris). And that meant that Perseus was easy to spot. Much of it, anyway. There is a thin line of trees bordering the property, and some of Perseus was obscured. Alpha Persei (the elbow) was visible, as were Beta Persei and Gamma Persei. The flickering Capella was visible through the trees.

Standing in the yard, looking up at approximately a 45° angle, I waited.

And waited.

Neck started to hurt, and I'd occasionally look down or off to another point, just to relieve the monotony.

No meteors.

Until, after a half-hour, at 3:39, a flash caught my eye to my left.

It had appeared from behind the 2/3 tree, streaking away from Perseus.

That's when I realized I needed to pick a different position. The tree was blocking the area of the sky below and to my left of Cassiopeia. And, it would block anything that didn't become visible until it was the apparent distance of the North Star.

So, I have no idea how many other meteors I may have missed.

I plan to position myself further out, where I can see over the line of trees and far enough away from the 2/3 tree so that I can see more of the sky near Perseus.

Still a few more days until the Perseid reaches its max. And, if the weather stays clear around 3:00 AM, I'll get more of a shower next time. That's the plan, anyway.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Defending the indefensible

If you are from Nevada, let me suggest you read Don Surber's little reminder about Harry Reid.

And if you know anyone from Nevada, let me suggest you have them read Don Surber's little reminder about Harry Reid.

And, if you ever think about voting for any Democrat ever again, let me suggest you read Don Surber's little reminder about Harry Reid, keeping in mind that he's the Democrat party's idea of a leader.

What say we shower together?

In all my years, I've never made an effort to view the Perseid meteor shower. And, as much as I think everything space related is either cool or fascinating, I've surprised myself by realizing that I've never made the effort.

This year, I will. Because it's supposed to be awesome:
This year's Perseid meteor shower is shaping up as a beaut. The big night is next Thursday, but anytime now is a great time for skywatching - not only to see shooting stars, but to see the planets as well.
The Perseids are among the year's best-known meteor showers, especially for mid-northern latitudes. Here's why: The show begins ramping up in late July and hits its peak around Aug. 12-13, when it's usually pleasant to hang around outdoors in the northern hemisphere. Perseid meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, which is high up in the sky at about 3:30 a.m. in northern latitudes - prime time for meteor watching.
(Tip: Born Again Redneck and his Naked Redneck Chicks)

Between now and Thursday, if I wake up at 3:00 AM -- and I might; when you get my age, you'll understand -- I'll step outside and take a gander at the sky. If I don't, I"ll set the alarm and look on Thursday night for the big show.

I've been wondering why I've never made the effort. Maybe I don't love space as much as I thought I did. But that can't be right.

The whole Tunguska Event is fascinating. As is the Chicxulub (or K-T) event.

Halley's Comet has held a fascination for me ever since I first heard of it -- which, I'm half-embarrassed to say, was when watching an episode of The Time Tunnel back in September 1966.

Of course, space travel has been a dream never realized for me. Not Star Trek stuff. Real spaceman stuff. I still remember watching Gemini and Apollo launches live on TV, wanting to be an astronaut when I grew up. Of course, I never became an astronaut. Maybe because I never grew up.

But, since I never went to space, I'm gonna take the time to watch some space come to us.

Before the week is out, I expect to see me a meteor shower. I already know I'm going to enjoy it. Join me, will you?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Batman: The Ultimate Plan

I don't understand it, Commissioner. Four super villans who spent the last five years in solitary confinement have escaped, and we have no idea what their plan is?

That is what is so confounding about this, Batman. One day, they were all safely locked away. The next, poof! They're gone and we don't know why!

With all four on the loose, the whole world is in danger.

That's what worries me, Chum. The unknown. Rarely does the unknown turn out well.

Meanwhile, at the villans' secret underground headquarters...

Dear Japan, We Apologize...

Frank J noted that Japan still wants an apology for that whole Hiroshima and Nagasaki thing. Like those things happened in a vacuum.
I’m pretty sure we didn’t do it by accident. If we did do it by accident, I’d be okay with an apology.

“Hey, Japan we’re all like sorry for hitting you with an atomic bomb. It was meant for Mongolia, but we totally got our wires crossed and got you guys instead. Sorry dudes. Here’s a coupon for free cheesy sticks with your next order of pizza.”

Also, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the State Department who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. At least, I don’t think it was. Do we give them atomic weapons? Because if we do, I should probably reevaluate how I’m always pointing and laughing at them.

It would be kinda funny, though, if we went to Hiroshima and apologized for bombing Nagasaki.
I think I'll give a shot at apologizing to Japan:
Hey, Japan. So, you want an apology for that whole atom bombing thing, huh? Well, I'd like to apologize for us dropping two atom bombs on you. We only had three, you see. We used one up when we a-bombed New Mexico. So, we only had two left use use on you.

I'm sorry we didn't use all three. And I'm sorry it took so long to build more bombs. I wish we could have built the bombs we gave to the Navy for Operation Crossroads earlier and used them to bomb the crap out of more of your cities.

Next time we have a war with you, I pledge to do everything I can to make sure we use a helluva lot more than two nuclear bombs on you.

How's that, Japan? Feel better now?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Boy's Toy and a Happy Wife

Got another new toy recently. An iPad. The big one.

Okay, they're all the same size and shape. But by "the big one" I mean the 64 GB version with 3G.

Wife didn't see the sense in it. And she's got a point. It's a toy. An expensive toy. But a toy.

As it turns out, I use it most of the time as a digital picture frame. I have a lot of photos from vacations, daughter's wedding, and so on. And I turn on the slideshow feature, and I end up with an expensive digital picture frame. At least, it became a desktop digital picture frame after paying for the Apple case that lets it stand up on the desk.

Anyhow, it arrived right before we went on vacation a couple of weeks ago. And, when we left out for the Tar Heel State, I handed the iPad over to so she should play some bubble breaker game. She loves those games. And is pretty good at them. Better than I am, at least.

Anyway, as soon as we hit I-185 North heading out of Columbus, I handed the iPad to her, and told her to look at the bubble games. She liked Bubble Burst okay, but fell in love with Tumbles. What she liked about it was that the bubbles would flow depending on how you hold the iPad.

I'd glance over at her and watch her hold the iPad up, shaking it, trying to get the bubbles to line up so she could pop them.

After a couple of minutes, she looked up ... and we were in Atlanta. That's nearly 100 miles. And it's a heckuva lot longer than a couple of minutes. But, to her, time stopped as she played her bubble game. And after we got out of Atlanta traffic, she went back to iPad World.

She still thinks the iPad is a way-too-expensive toy. And she tells me that all the time.

All the time when she's not playing Tumbles or Mahjong. Which she plays a lot, as it turns out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Today is Barack Obama's birthday. At least that's what people are saying. Without a birth certificate, it's hard to know for sure. I blame the poor state of health care in Kenya in 1961.

Anyway, since he's up and walking around, we'll assume he does have a birthday, okay? I don't think he's a robot. Or a space alien. Although either of those would explain a lot.

No, I think he's a human. Or close enough, anyway. And, sure, I'll go along with today being his birthday.

Which means ... PARTY! Because everyone from Georgia is all about the party, right?

So, how do we celebrate Barack Obama's birthday?

I have some ideas:
  • Find an Arab king and bow to him.
  • Go on vacation. But not to the Gulf.
  • Blame Bush for any gray hairs I find.
  • Spend a trillion dollars. After all, it's also Wednesday!
  • Order the most expensive item on the menu, then, if they bring me a bill, tell the waitress she's racist.
  • If she's White, tell her she's racist anyway.
  • Call Larry Sinclair, just for old time's sake.
  • Tax the rich.
  • Tax the poor.
  • Blame Bush for taxes going up.
  • Tell everyone on teh Twitters how awesome I am.
Those are my ideas. You have any suggestions?

Okay, I'm not that smart, but ...

They're making a big deal about that "static kill" of the well in the Gulf. And, I supposed that, if true, it's good news.

But, I have to ask...

In order to kill this well -- you know, that well that's been spewing oil for months -- they ran a big hose to handle lots of pressure of mud and concrete.

That means that they could hook up a long hose that would handle lots of heavy material under pressure.

So, why didn't they just put an empty hose and let the oil flow up in a controlled manner, and put the oil into, like, tankers and something?

If you're smart enough to understand all this, please explain it to me.

Unless, of course, you voted for Obama. If you did that, I don't trust your brain. It's defective. And you have nothing useful to say.

In case you thought I was making stuff up...

The other day, I wrote about how stupid the phrase "African-American" is to refer to Blacks in the U.S.

Of the many things that's stupid about, there is that there's no good reason to make a special name for people of a certain race in a certain country. If you have a name for Blacks in the U.S., why wouldn't you have a special name for Blacks in Canada, the U.K., France, Ethiopia, or any other country?

Specifying something special about the U.S. isn't politically correct. So, unless, of course, you want to be politically correct by being politically incorrect, then it's stupid. Actually, it's stupid anyway.

But, my example about calling someone in another country "African-American-Britons" or something like that ... actually happened. I missed it. But, Paul over at Mean Ol' Meany didn't. He found a reference from a few years where someone on CNN actually referred to two Blacks in France as "African-Americans."

So, my suggestion of a though experiment to determine how stupid that phrase is was't necessary. An actual instance has already happened.

Thanks for finding that, Paul. Shows how far ahead of the curve I am ... even when I'm years behind.