Monday, March 30, 2015

Wow, Amazing!

To tell you how erudite and useful The Huffington Post is, I came across an "Indispensible Guide For Cutting A Recpe In Half." It tells me, for instance, that if the recipe calls for four cups of something, to cut the recipe in half I should use two cups. That is awesome. I have been cooking meals larger than needed for years because I could not figure out things like that. It suggests, no less, that I print the article and tape it to my refrigerator, assuming that I can figure out how to use a computer printer and a tape dispenser.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Varsity Hot Dogs Rule

NASCAR is racing this week at Martinsville, where there is more talk about the hot dogs than about racing. Martinsville Speedway is, for some reason, famous for its hot dogs. I’ve been there, and of course I ate one. Okay, more than one.

They are monstrous things, and I don’t want to talk about what color they are. Actually, I can’t talk about their color because it is indescribable, but the word “neon” would be part of that description. Unless you tell them to leave it off they put chili on it, and if you do that they look at you weird, sort of like they suspect you of being a Yankee. Not that I would do that, since every good race track hot dog deserves chili.

It is claimed that Martinsville sells the best hot dog in NASCAR land, but that claim is wrong. That honor belongs to the Varsity Drive-In in Atlanta. Yes, of course it has chili on it. You think there are a whole bunch of Yankees in Atlanta or something?

The Varsity is right next to the Georgia Tech campus in downtown Atlanta, and it sells something like five tons of hot dogs every day. They have an express line, and if you get in it you better have your mind made up when you reach the order point. The order taker is a huge guy wearing a torn tee shirt, and if you hesitate he will bellow insults at you, wanting to know what the hell you were doing while standing in line if it was not deciding what you wanted, and asking you if you are feeble minded and wanting to know why you are holding up all of those nice people behind you.

I was hospitalized after an industrial accident, multiple fractures of both legs, and when my friends were taking me home from the hospital I told them I wanted to stop at the Varsity on the way home for hot dogs. They were embarrassed that they had not thought of that idea themselves.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Memorable Chopped

I’ve been sort of binge watching Chopped, and am beginning to think it should be renamed “Pity Party,” since the contestants seem to be talking more about themselves than about the food they are preparing. “I grew up homeless. My mother died last month. I’m a single mom. I wasted my life with drugs and alcohol.” Boohoo. It’s sort of like they think they can win by tugging on the judges’ heart strings, but it doesn’t seem to be all that effective. The biggest whiner doesn’t win very often.

The one time it did seems to get to the judges was when one of the two finalists was a young woman with a French accent. She wanted the winner’s money so that she could go to France to visit her grandmother, who was very elderly and in failing health. She wanted to see the lady, who had raised her as a young child, one more time before she passed away.

The other finalist was a young man who was the chef for a Christian organization. He was competing to create publicity for his employer, because he thought they were a fine ministry and that people should know about them

Both were truly likeable people, and the decision was close. The young woman was chopped and as she was turning to leave the winner said, “Wait.” There was a pause and then he said, “I will buy you the ticket.” He went on to say that he had no need for the money and that he would use whatever amount was needed to allow her to go visit her grandmother in France.

There was not a dry eye in the house. Including my house. It was a very pleasant moment.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Path of Least Resistance

In speaking about closing Guantanamo, President Obama said a couple of days ago that he should have closed it in his first year in office, which I think is rather a statement of the obvious. He went on to say that the reason he didn’t was that “we had a bipartisan agreement that it should be closed,” and that, “I thought that we had enough consensus there that we could do it in a more deliberate fashion.”

He wasn’t through yet, adding that then “the politics of it got tough,” and going on to say that, “the path of least resistance was just to leave it open, even though it's not who we are as a country.”

That sort of sums up his presidency. The laughable delusion of “bipartisanship” and "political consensus," accompanied by that when things “got tough” he followed “the path of least resistance.” Pathetic.

The Big Dance

I do not know who those guys were in the Aztec uniforms last night. They scored 76 points and shot 47%, no less than 41% on 3-pointers. They had 13 offensive rebounds, 10 of them in the first half.

On the other hand, their opponent scored 64 points and shot 45%. What?

They play Duke on Sunday and, strange as it may sound, they need to step up their defense.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A couple of Comments

Ashley Judd still has a smile that could stop a speeding freight train. She's the only Kentucky fan at whom I would not throw rotten fruit. If she ran for President I would vote for her, which would be utterly stupid; but I would do it anyway. In fact, I rather hope she does.

A critic made the comment that "Arizona and Hawaii do not save daylight." News flash: neither do any of the other 48 states. They just change their clocks twice a year. The amount of daylight is unaffected.

Oh, yes; 33 years today since my last drink/drunk.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Accusers Who Can't Read

Oh, this is hilarious. Accusers of Hillary Clinton are saying that this email thing is a violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and that her violation of it is particularly heinous because she herself voted for the bill. The passage in the legislation which they claim she violated reads,

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

They obviously don’t see the flaw in their reasoning, but do you? Right. Of course you do, because your IQ is higher than room temperature. She didn’t “alter, destroy, mutilate, conceal, cover up, falsify, or make a false entry” in any record because she made entries in her own server rather than in the official servers. She did not make entries in any official record, false or otherwise.

Mrs. Clinton is not accused of corrupting or entering false data into any public record; the accusation is that se simply didn’t use the public record at all. That may or may not be a problem; I don’t know and, frankly, I don’t really care. There are issues far more important about which we should be concerned.

Sarbanes-Oxley, in any case, is a piece of legislation passed in 2002 which set standards for public accounting firms, and dealt primarily with accounting standards, so it had nothing whatever to do with the government or with correspondence procedures for anyone, government or otherwise.

I'm no fan of Hillary Clinton, but this is not only a tempest in a teapot; it’s not even a real tempest, and the teapot seems to be missing.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Some Things Cannot Be Unseen

Molly decided she wanted to groom her tail this afternoon, but first she had to catch it, which involved circling in diminishing circles of increasing speed until I was beginning to think she might disappear up her own rectum. Having finally caught it, she was undecided between licking it and biting it, so she did both, which creathed another frenzy of tail chasing and, finally, a high speed exit from the living room. My impression was that she was fleeing from her own tail, but I may have gotten that part wrong.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Simple Journey

I may have seen an example of why the US Postal Service is losing money. I was sent a package and a link by which I could track that package on USPS. The tracking notations tell me that the package was “Accepted by the Postal Service” at San Diego CA 92199 on March 11 at 8:38pm. That location is in Poway, a contiguous suburb of San Diego.

The package’s next step was to be “Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility,” also at zip code 92199, at 4:04am the next day, March 12.

It was then “Arrived at USPS Origin Facility” in Moreno Valley CA 92553 at 5:19am that same day, March 12. That’s pretty fast, actually, since that zip code is in Riverside, about 100 miles north of San Diego. They processed the package and moved it 100 miles in the wrong direction in barely more than an hour.

That’s after taking more than seven hours to process it within one single zip code.

The latest notation is that the package was “Arrived at USPS Origin Facility” in San Diego CA 92199 on March 13 at 10:48am. Does that look familiar? Well it should; that’s where it was two days earlier at 8:38am before it was trucked some 200 miles round trip.

Not that it’s of any significance, but northbound, the trip took barely more than an hour. The same trip southbound required more than seventeen hours. No way of knowing how much of that time was processing, but why did the package need to go to Riverside at all?

The tracking information now says, “Expected Delivery Day: Saturday, March 14, 2015,” but cautions that the exact delivery day is not guaranteed. I paid extra for overnight delivery, but the shipper has agreed to refund that charge for obvious reasons.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Not Just Irony

The fact that the stock market is dropping "because the economy is improving" is not merely ironic. The rationale is that with "the economy improving" the Fed is likely to increase interest rates, which is why investors are selling off stocks.

Think about that for a moment, and think what that means in terms of what the stock market has become. It is no longer a vehicle for investment in business prosperity, because signs of business prosperity are a negative influence on the stock market's value. The stock market today is a casino; a vehicle for gambling on the value of the dollar. It is an off track betting parlor, fostered by the nation's government despite the government's passion for outlawing interstate gambling and punishing those who engage in it.

For years the improving economy was enjoyed only by those whose investment portfolios were enhanced by asset inflation, and the middle class was left out. Now the investment portfolios and joining the middle class in getting screwed.

Monday, March 09, 2015

What's In A Name?

I don’t listen to Obama’s speeches any more, but I enjoyed watching him walk across the Edmund Pettus bridge. It was a moment of important historic symbolism.

Some idiot was shocked and dismayed when he found out that Edmund Pettus was a general for the Army of the South during the Civil War and a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. I don’t know what other kind of person he thought bridges were being named after in Alabama in 1940.
At any rate, he began circulating a petition to have the bridge renamed. I certainly hope that petition fails.

For one thing, in renaming that bridge we would be renaming a very significant historic event, and that should not happen. Think about references to “the battle of Smithfield, formerly known as Gettysburg.” Forget it. Those marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus bridge, not a bridge of some other name.

We should, actually, appreciate having the man’s name on that bridge and should draw some measure of hope from it. Here was a man who advocated hatred and division and instead of being remembered for that, his name is connected throughout history with a seminal event in progress toward racial equality.

The people who marched across that bridge turned the name Edmund Pettus from a remembrance of what is wrong with our social fabric to a symbol of what is right. We should not erase that.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Nine Rules

Huffington Post has an article on “9 Simple Rules” for sleeping featuring a pictures of a cat, which we all know to be world class sleepers. I know, I know, but it isn’t written by Arianna. It’s written by one Lindsay Holmes, whose qualifications are not given, and it does not say whether or not she lives with any cats.

Rule 1: Take a shower or bath. I’ve never seen a cat take a shower, of course, but cats very often bathe vigorously before curling up and going to sleep. I have, however, had my cat jump into my lap, curl up, and promptly give the appearance of being a dead cat with no preliminaries at all so we’ll give her, at best, a “maybe” on this one.

Rule 2: Wear actual pajamas. Oh, I don’t think so. Ever try to put silk pajamas on a cat? Don’t. Maybe she thinks that cats sleep so much that their fur coat can be considered pajamas and that they are “leisure class” beings who eat, hang out, and watch TV in their pajamas, but… No on this one.

Rule 3: Turn your bed into a haven. Well, clearly not. A cat will sleep anywhere, including on top of your toaster oven and, if you give it a chance to do so, inside your microwave. Neither of those could be considered a “haven,” although one could claim that the cat turned them into havens by sleeping there. That’s stretching it, though, so no.

Rule 4: Create realistic limits. Give me a break. Cats have no realistic limits about anything, and certainly not about sleeping. Total no on this one.

Rule 5: Set sleep alarm. Well, maybe. My cat will give every appearance of being comatose and suddenly her head will pop up like a jack-in-the-box. She will give me a blank stare, stand up and stretch with her back arched, and stroll into the kitchen for a snack. There better be a snack available at that point, or I will get yelled at. Some sort of alarm went off, although it may not have been a sleep alarm per se. We’ll have to give this one some more thought.

Rule 6: Don’t go to bed hungry. I think I’ll give her this one. My cat has only one mode when she’s hungry, and that consists of harassing me to correct the condition from which she is suffering at that time.

Rule 7: Write everything down. On the face of it, no, but if my cat finds where I dropped a potato chip, she will go back there every time she comes in that room for the next several weeks to see if I dropped another potato chip. She may have written down where that chip was. That does not, however, have anything to do with her sleeping, so we’ll stay with the no.

Rule 8: Tap into your inner child. Well, okay, cats are very, very good at tapping into their inner children. Cats are inextricably bound to their inner children. That’s why the internet is full of cat videos. This one is a no brainier.

Rule 9: No phones. I’m not sure how to score this one. Certainly cats don’t sleep with phones, but then they don’t care much for them when awake either. My cat tends to freak out and flee the room whenever the phone rings, so sleeping with a phone would definitely be counterproductive. Cats and phones just don’t belong in the same conversation, so we’ll just score this one a swing and a miss.

If you’re waiting for a conclusion, sorry, I have none. A conclusion would imply that all of this has some degree of significance, and it’s pretty obvious that it does not.