Archive | September, 2008

>BlogMeet; Radioactivity; Oh G-d My Life

25 Sep

>Remember, the September BlogMeet approacheth! (Oh yeth it doth!) You don’t have to be a blogger to attend — blog readers, family members, friends and idle gawkers are all welcome. Festivities commence this coming Sunday(unday, unday), 28 September 2008, 3:00 p.m. at Broad Ripple Brew Pub and continue until we run out of grog. Or steam. Or steamed grog. See you there!

After having installed one (very high end but disappointingly insensitive in plain-FM mode) , I have decided to give olde-timey over-the-air broadcast radio one more chance, in the form of HD Radio™. The one I put in at work was getting gawrshful signals…until the IBOC*-digital locked in, at which point it was as good as being there. And much like Dogitall, er, Digital TV, there’s more “there” there, with most stations adding at least one extra program stream. Then there’s the $50 mail-in rebate, good through mid-October, which takes a lot of the sting out of a $100 tuner.

…I’m looking forward to the ragged tail-end of this week and the weekend with a mixture of joy and trepidation — things are stacked up at the Skunk Works like an accident on the freeway involving a semi-load of live hogs, a tanker of molasses and 250 Smart Cars; I’ve somehow been talked into shooting at bowling pins, which I have never yet done and may find my 9mm and .38SA a bit undersized for, not to mention that my predilection for carryable sidearms means a certain lack of what I’m told the kids today are calling “sight radius,” as if they were still half-round. It will be a genuinely humbling experience, I suspect. And at some point in the not-too-distant, I have got to run by the bank: living in 1937 means no electronic banking. (But by jasper, the food’s good and nobody freaks out over bacon and eggs).
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* “In-Band, On-Channel:” the HD Radio™ signal is tucked up underneath the basic original-style FM (or AM!) signal like High School students sneaking into a drive-in under a blanket in the back seat.

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>Four Small Engines And A Surplus Of Skill

24 Sep

>Mere words cannot do it justice, watch for yourself. Pretty sure there’s more displacement in that power plant than my motorscooter — and considerably less weight. Not to mention more X-1 and parachutage.

>Wednesday Potpourri

24 Sep

>Potpourri? I hafta tellya, no matter how I type the word, it looks wrong.

Ah, well. Excelsior! Or maybe the other direction. Tam’s got her Pugsley; my bete noir, dependably haunting the headlines whenever I need a quick snark, is dear ol’ Kim Jong Il (assuming the rumors are untrue and he hasn’t been dead for about five years) and his Very Own Personal Nation (“Ask The Man Who Owns One”), which has tossed out the IAEA inspectors and is fixin’ to reassemble the very same reactor/bomb-building complex where they were so happily knockin’ over cooling towers in July. Not enough bacon in the last food shipment? Too much salt? You do have to admire his (and his minions) ability to turn muddy situations into deep doodoo. The only question is just how much longer the world’s action-oriented anti-proliferation movements will lay off — Israel, for instance. Or even his good, goood buddies in Red China, who may yet decide to dig that burr out from under their saddle if they can stop snickering at how much it bothers everone else.

As the Great Financing Mess continues, it becomes more and more clear that lax Federal lending standards, coupled with regulatory pressure on banks to extend credit to a “broad cross-section of their markets,” i.e., the poor, i.e., people who were not gonna be able to repay, is what set the situation up and who was it pushed for this and railed against attempts to restrain it? The more liberal Democratic congresscritters, is who, making snippy remarks about how the banks could well afford to do this and Wall Street needed to “get over it.” These would be the very same treasonous rats who are now sneering at the “failure of the free market.” ‘Twasn’t free, oh jacks of asses, you were twisting its arm. I guess their theory is, you beat he cow and starve it while milking it three times a day and when that ceases to work, blame the cow. I continue to blame FDR for this kind of thinking — but one of his kin really started the ball rolling downhill. (The next time I hear how Teddy Roosevelt “invented the modern Presidency,” I will either burst into tears or try to punch the person who said it; he was a wonderful man but a disaster for the Republic).

…And that’s all the snark and controversy I’ve time for this fine morning. Fortunately, the raw materials are inexhaustible.

>Tuesday, Tuesday, Yah, Yah, Yah

23 Sep

>…Hand me that tambourine, willya? Or a bottle of Uncle Hiro’s Ichiban Ibuprofen, whichever’s handier. I would like to have some witty insight or pointy observation or at least the various changes I’d rung upon Tam’s Roman-execution Burma Shave sign (“A Legion That Dares/To Disobey/Will Quickly Learn/The Price They’ll Pay/S.P.Q.R” — you know they’d’ve done it if they’d thunk of it). But I don’t have much.

What I do have is one of my old notions made real. Those WAKE UP! rumble strips along the highway could be pulse-width modulated. To do what, you might ask, and the answer is, to do this:
Yes, the road plays the William Tell Overture as you drive over it. But you’d better get out there quickly if you’d like to hear it in your own car: the town has gotten plenty tired of havin’ a road that plays the William Tell Overture every freakin’ time it is driven on….
Once is a surprise; twice is a marvel. 200 times a day? Optimized for some speed above the limit?* I’ll take “Repaving” for $100, Alex!
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* Speed Traps Of The Future? “But officer-d00d, ‘Stairway’ don’t play right unless you’re doin’ 85!”

>Let It Prang?

22 Sep

>I haven’t written about it — do I look like an economist? — but it appears Dear Old Uncle Sam will be bailin’ out failing banks and home lenders, and while the two major parties are squabbling over the details, neither has breathed so much as a hint that Uncle ought not be doing this with your money. Or, more precisely, with a really fat bad check they hope to cover with what they get from your grandchildren.

Yeah, bad debt in the private sector is gonna get “fixed”by even badder public debt, which is somehow more okay, possibly ‘cos the Feds have something the banks and similar institutions lack: troops.

There will be a reckoning. There will be a reckoning: water runs downhill and no amount of fervent hope will prevent it. “Do it to the g’grandkids,” we breathe, as earnestly as Winston Smith cried, “Do it to Julia,” and the only difference is that we hope we’re buying time for them to come up with some real solution in the meantime.

Good luck with that. “Economic readjustment” can be put off but eventually it goes smash. The longer resolution is deferred, the harder it will hit. Do I want it to happen right now, with a gen-u-ine Old School Pinko running on the Democrat side and a “moderate” Republican up against him? Oh, hells no! That’s a recipe for a Socialist Welfare State to happen right here, to the cheering of crowds. I’d like it to not happen ’til I’m safely off this planet, neither wrenching crash nor “People’s” Revolution.

…But don’t put money on being able to duck bad times forever. Home lending was already highly regulated, poked-at by do-gooders with Federal authority to “widen home ownership,” which they did by coming up with ever-goofier loans to ever worse-risk home buyers. Those bad loans to people unable, unlikely and/or unwilling to pay have not magically gone away; they are still there, the crumbling sand not really stabilized by any Federal bail-outs a level or two up. People who could not afford to buy homes, bought them. (Or sort of bought them — dodges like “interest-only loans” mean never really owning the place). This helped push prices up for everyone, at a rate faster than the growth rate of the economy.

Pop! –If you bought your house as an investment, surprise! (“Peak housing?” Heheheh). Yeah, who wants that? Not me! –But remember, no bubble lasts forever.

Hooray, the Federal government is stickin’ a new and bigger piece of well-chewed gum over the leak in the dam! Short-term, it works and I am just as happy as you to not see a Depression — or the Big Fine War they’ll prolly drum up to claw out of it. But long-term? Meddling in markets, making them other than free, can only make things worse. The storm is brewing. There is no magic way out.

>If You Came Here From Tam’s

22 Sep

>…Then this guy probably just got off a long shift at the home-improvement store. Got any talcum powder?

If you didn’t get here from Tam’s, here’s where to begin. Warning: earworm ahead!

(Please be advised that The Adventures Of Roberta X, its staff and management are not responsible for anything you might see or read as a result of clicking on the above links and cannot assure you that either one is free of…bugs and thingies. Still, it’s something to see).

>It Would Appear I’m Even More Like I Am Now Than Ever

22 Sep

>

You are a
Social Liberal
(88% permissive)

and an…
Economic Conservative
(100% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Anarchist

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid.com: Free Online Dating
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test