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>Republican Debate (Not With One Another)

14 Jun

>Well, it was called a debate. More like the Miss America competition — and the media have already decided Mr. Romney (RINO governor of some East coast hellhole) is the the pretty one. (See?) The first linked article is chuckleworthy in many ways, not least when it sets R0n P4ul on the “fringe” for bringing up way-out topics “like ‘Keynesian bubble’ and ‘monetary policy.'” OMG. Yeah, what would any understanding of the causes of the ever-deepening (mustn’t call it a depression) recession do us…?

Ah, J-School Barbie, forever whining, “Math is hard. Economics is hard. History is impossible.” Staring at quick and easy histograms and playing an iPod while Western Civ. burns. But flash ’em a Weiner and they’re after it like ducks spotting a June bug!

I don’t think there was a clear winner in the GOP debate but I know who lost and it wasn’t anyone on the stage. It wasn’t any office-holder or journalist, either: it was you and me.

Just like always.

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>Just In Time

8 Jun

>The Congressman Weiner idiocy has been unfolding in about the same span as my finding out Joanna Russ had passed away and as he has gone from flat denial (“…an internet hoax…I am the victim….”) to tearful (bragging!) admission of chatting women up and sending icky piccies — to many women, over several years — to that last refuge of the sexist jerk, I-can’t-help-it-the-little-Weiner-took-over-it’s-just-too-easy-nowadays, I can only ask myself what she might’ve thought about the situation.

It’s a generalization, but if any boy was gonna be foursquare for treatin’ women as something other than toys, I’d’ve thunk a liberal Dem from the greater NYC area, married to a successful high-level political operative, would be the guy. (An’ prolly humorlessly sincere about it, too — but noooooo, he’s a Grade A Clueless Tool. My new rule: whatever any Congressbeing presents itself as, it is instead the exact opposite. That would explain the drugged-up, sex-fiend, contemptuous of the common man spendthrifts we seem have elected, wouldn’t it?)

I would’ve been wrong and not just a little; the tone, tenor and story arc of his reaction to being caught out has been straight out of a (supposedly) long-outdated playbook, right down to his winking undertone that it wasn’t all that wrong, after all it was just (over18 but under 30!) girls. Frekkin’ pig.*

Russ likely would’ve had something pointed and poignant to say and perhaps — with the wisdom of age — she would not have been much surprised. As it is, she got out just in time.

Gun culture, conservative as it is, has more than once been accused of sexism. Maybe it is; I doubt there’s been a whole darned lot of consciousness-raising, at least not without well-deserved snickering, but speaking as a woman who shoots, I have never been treated as shabbily therein as Congressthing Weiner has treated his Twitettes. There’s some sort of a moral in there but I’ll leave it for the reader to winkle out.

Update: Carl B. offers his own take. Man’s got a point; I’ll point out that though it takes two to tango, it only takes one to stop the dance. Or is that his point?
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* I don’t mind the cheating-spouse aspect of this — that’s between him and the missus (I’ll loan her a rolling pin or a cast-iron skillet if she’s not had time to get one) — nearly so much as his trivialization of it. Sheesh, Tony, get a pinup calendar or subscribe to a men’s magazine: they’re intended to be disposable media. Real women in real time are not toys and your offense was not the sending of the crotch shot, the flirting or the getting caught, it was when you confused “woman” with “candy bar,” something sweet and forgettable to refresh your idle moments.
Come to think of it, that was my beef with Mr. the President Clinton, too.

>Frustration

3 Jun

>I’ve got myself in a fine kettle of fish. Or maybe porcupines; yeah, with cactus.

One of my siblings was incredibly helpful when Mom X had heart surgery and during her long, difficult convalescence. My other sib travels on business a lot — routinely — and I work awkward hours. So a lot of it fell to her: taking care of Mom’s devoted doggie, hospital visits, evaluating and checking up on nursing home staff, transportation and so on and on.

In the course of this, my sibling’s car went wonky in an expensive way (my siblings and I share some traits; one of them is, we’re not especially car-proud and are like as not to be driving near-clunkers. We’re no great shakes with money, either; and we’re effective and devoted procrastinators). But that was no problem, since most of the transportation duties involved Mom’s larger sedan anyway. The broken car was parked, to be dealt with later.

So later came and sib had been whacked hard with heating bills (Um, renting a place with an ancient thermal/gravity furnace? Not a good idea. At 65F, it can’t move enough air; at 72, you’ll go broke. Live and learn). So it had to wait; then a lump-sum check was late…. Hey, I’ve been there, maybe not as bad or as long.

And after a month or so of this, with Mom home now but generally carless, I had to go and suggest sib and I meet up at a nearby car-repair jernt and I’d pay for it — no-interest loan, however long it took. (Yeah, even forever. Remember, none of us are all that good with money). Given the other loans, etc., probably a good idea if no extra funds passed through my sibling’s accounts.

The reaction was…less than positive. As in, there was no way sib would ever wanna be beholden to me, didn’t want me to be in a position where I could dictate her activities, yadda-yadda-yadda. –Some of that’s on me: we’re not close, I have refused to loan money (when I didn’t have it — I don’t have it now, either but I’d’ve paid credit-card rates to resolve the car tangle).

All I wanted was to remove one of the impediments to Mom’s getting into physical therapy. I’ve had to do PT and it’s hard to make yourself do it, very easy to find reasons not to.

But all I managed to do was make the mess a little bigger. That’ll learn me.

>Our Power Company: Exploding With Pride

1 Jun

>Once more, Indianapolis Power & Light had a wee little explosion in a Downtown transformer vault, this time chasing staffers out of the Statehouse.

This has happened again and again. Y’know, if it was my electric company an’ I had, oh, clients like Eli Lilly, the State.gov and bank headquarters as customers there in the Mile Square, I’d be thinkin’ about transformer replacement on some basis other than as-they-explode. As it is, it makes me worry about where to park downtown. They’ve never hurt anyone yet but it’s still no fun.

Gee, I wonder where the closest transformer vault to the Skunk Works main campus can be found? We don’t so much care; lose power and a big ol’ Caterpillar Megawatt genset lurches to life, carrying the entire building. The transfer switches occupy structures the size of storage sheds! Our lights blink and we dance the Reset Tango for those few things not on one UPS or another. The neighbors, though, they’re liable to have sweat in the dark as they fish people out of elevators and go home early.

Y’know, if it was you and/or me plus some M-80s or flashbangs creating sound and fury (let alone power outages) downtown, we’d face all manner of inquiry. The power company? Not so much.

Infrastructure: gotta have it.

>No, No, NO! Indy 500 Trivia

29 May

>It is, dag-gone it, the Marmon Wasp, not the “Mormon” Wasp.

While I am entirely sure that the LDS church has found within its ranks a statistically-likely number of race car drivers and designers, that pointy-tailed car was from Marmon. They’re still around.

Driver Ray Harroun was the Motor Speedway’s first solo entry; all other cars had riding mechanics and to accomodate safety worries (OMG! He has no one to nag him!), he had a rearview mirror installed. Commonly credited as the first user, almost certainly the first race car driver to use one…but idea had been written up in a tech magazine some years before. So he’s not the inventor.

I don’t so much mind it when they get the latter wong; it’s a debatable point. But sheesh, it sure does grate to hear talking heads and J. Random Strangers refer to The Mormon Wasp. (Just exactly how likely is it that any Mormon, ever, would call a yellow-and-black, stinger-tailed car anything but a bee, anyhow? C’mon, people, how hard is this? Have you not seen any Utah iconography?)

>Mis-directed Person Of The Gun

18 May

>Some time after an online ammunition seller picked up Alphecca’s “People of the Gun” website — and good on ’em for the effort — I discovered they’d reverted to an older link for me, one that goes to an out-of-date MySpace page.

I don’t know why, it had been changed long before at the original page. But there it was. Mentioned it the last time they gigged me about my link to their PotG page, which actually points at the old site and gets redirected. Last time I checked prior to yesterday, it hadn’t been changed.

Yesterday, I received another letter from their hard-working marketing type[1] requesting I fix the link, kind of paraphrasing my morning’s post, blithely ignoring that they do not link to my present blog. I checked to see if they’d fixed their link to me, nope, and snarked back, proposing if they’d fix their link, I’d fix mine.

Haven’t heard a word. As of this morning, the link is still wrong.

The offer stands, but looky here, I generally do not link to products I neither use nor long for. I don’t know if the online ammunition retailers are good or not, ‘cos I usually buy in bulk at gun shows from known-reliable low-overhead outfits and if I run low between times, I hit Gander Mountain in person or a local gun store. So these guys are using my face, figure and Star BKS barbeque gun[2] to promote a product and service I know nothing about, doing it without an actual link to my actual blog and then bugging me to clean up my link to them.

I have not heard any complaint about the product; their website is well laid-out and the prices look good. They did good when they kept PotG online and I don’t begrudge ’em banner ads on that page to pay for it. I’ve let the whole thing just pass without comment because of that — until yesterday’s friendly reminder.

Okay, because We Are Such Pals, since you read this blog you don’t link to, I’ll make you a new offer: Fix the link or lose it. Fair?
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1. In fairness, I should point out that salesmen generally affect me like a red flag does a bull. The “sales engineers” I often deal with are to blame, as most of them are useless as engineers and completely unable to grasp that the kind of hardware and software I deal with is readily evaluated on a price/performance basis, not by shininess, buttons and lights or how charming the sales engineer might be. It is endlessly frustrating. Alas, my learned reaction does a disservice to the rare few who are genuinely friendly and knowledgeable,

On the Web, we are very often trading intangibles for intangibles, eyeballs-on-ads for eyeballs-on-a-blog or selling for pennies on the mouse-click and that’s fine as long as everyone involved is okay with the swap. I’m not okay trading ammo ads for a dead MySpace page.

2. More of a formal-events gun, as it isn’t engraved but has a lovely pearl-gray anodized frame and shiny, chrome-plated slide and small parts.

>Not To Keep Flogging A Judicial Horse

16 May

>Or even the back half of one, but for sheer irony and/or outright deceit, video of the announcement of Justice Steven David’s appointment is hard to beat.

Governor Daniels — make that “former Presidential hopeful Daniels” — covers himself with FAIL as he praises the man to the high heavens and assures the public the new Justice “…will interpret, rather than invent, our laws.”

Not exactly.