Michael Jones has sent me a lot of puns making their rounds:
Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married....The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.
A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, “I'll serve you, but don't start anything.”
Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.
A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, “A beer please, and one for the road.”
Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: “Does this taste funny to you?”
Patient: Doc, I simply can't stop singing “The Green, Green Grass of Home”
Doctor: That sounds like it might be “Tom Jones” syndrome!
Patient: Is it common?
Doctor: Well, “It's Not Unusual!”
Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”
“I don't believe you,” says Dolly.
“It's true, no bull!” exclaims Daisy.
An invisible man marries an invisible woman… The kids were nothing to look at either.
Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
I went to buy some camouflage pants at Wal-Mart the other day but d---! I just couldn't find any.
A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, “Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!”
The doctor replied, “Of course you can't! I've cut off your arms!”
I went to a seafood disco last week… and pulled a mussel.
What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says “Dam!”
Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse.
“But why?” they asked, as they moved off.
“Because,” he said, “I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him “Juan.” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, “They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal.”
Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him—Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good—A super calloused fragile mystic vexed by halitosis.
Making the rounds, just came in from Grandma Wendy:
A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
A will is a dead giveaway.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
A backward poet writes inverse.
In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
Local Area Network in Australia: The LAN down under.
He broke into song because he couldn't find the key.
A calendar's days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted: 'Taint yours, and 'taint mine.
A boiled egg is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.
The short fortuneteller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
When you've seen one shopping center you've seen a mall.
If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
Acupuncture: a jab well done.
Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
These guys were videotaping a report of a previous rocket attack in Haifa when another attack starts. It's an amazing video.
Yesterday I got LASIK surgery, almost entirely by surprise. My glasses broke last week and I was able to repair them. My disposable contacts are no longer refillable without another appointment, I looked at all of my options.
Because of my membership in Eye-Care Plan of America (ECPA) I had a significant discount from the LasikPlus+ folks in Portland, and I made an appointment Thursday. Friday I went in and they had the option of a same-day surgery. So, last evening, my eyes were modified by a Alcon laser. This morning I'm already able to see well enough to read and type, although I'm quite far-sighted.
The actual procedure took less than 20 minutes (The laser was only used for 93 seconds per eye) and Misty drove me home. She has a picture of my baleful eye somewhere that perhaps she'll post.
Today I'm listening to audio books and resting. Back to Adventure of English for me.
My picture of the cats playing Risk was so popular, they wanted to try another game.
According to ASLET Updates, the American Society for Law Enforcement Training has filed for bankruptcy.
It took a long time for the mortally wounded ASLET to succomb, but we were pointing out the damaged financial condition of the organization a year ago. I have posts here from 2004 indicating serious financial troubles at the organization, before my appointment to the Finance Committee. Of course once I was a committee member I had to be circumspect in what I said about ASLET Finances.
I have a huge email trail of warnings and dire predictions. I guess they weren't taken seriously enough by many who should have known better.
In today's Wall Street Journal Arthur Herman speculates as to why India was hit with a terrorist train bombing:
The real reason India was targeted was because it has transformed itself from a Third World country into a modern economic power, complete with Western-style freedoms. This is precisely what radical Islam most loathes and fears. If the rest of the Third World, especially Muslim countries, learn how to be like India; if they decide to become part of the global order, and learn how to produce wealth on a Western scale and enjoy Western freedoms, including freedom for women, and begin to build pluralist open societies, then the Islamists' dreams of power and domination are dead.
I can understand the Islamic Fundamentalist feeling of sour grapes. India, despite its recent flirtation with censorship of blogs offending Islamists, has improved by leaps and bounds in terms of freedom and economy, joined the nuclear club, and gets respect from all over the globe.
Over at QandO Jon Henke has laid out a key challenge for us. We need to elect fiscal conservatives.
The Republican Party has long pledged to be the party of fiscal restraint, but even for a time of war it has been spending far more than the supposed “tax and spend” Democrats ever did. While there is no guarantee that the Democrats would be any better at fiscal restraint, the Republicans have failed in their promise to rein it in.
For months I have been telling the RNC telemarketers that I won't send the RNC any money because they spend my tax dollars recklessly. I asked how a President that mouths the words “fiscal restraint” has never vetoed a spending bill. I pointed out the Porkbusters campaign as something more likely to get my time, effort, and money than the Grand Old Party.
So what do we do? The power we have over either party is swinging the vote. However, as a power base, fiscal conservatives and libertarians are only 5-10%, and that's only if they vote as a bloc. To top it off, most of the time all of our choices are odious so we'd rather just sit out the election!
The third party alternative is dead in the water. Without severe widespread disaffection with both parties a third party has no chance. Both parties are busily “rushing to the middle” to prevent that from being a problem.
What's needed is a critical splinter issue that breaks up the normal party lines, like immigration policy. It is doubtful that we can leverage the immigration issue as a spending issue except to say that a giant fence the length of several states is darned expensive. To top it off, the schisms around immigration fracture the fiscal conservatives and libertarians just as much as the major parties.
Jon's solution is carefully engineered gridlock:
It seems to me that the optimal libertarian and fiscal conservative strategy is to seek gridlock. And if that means a temporary alliance with the Democrats, well, what of it? The Democrats may be worse than the Republicans in many ways, but a divided government can thwart the ambitions of both.
With our small voting bloc, I don't foresee engineered gridlock to be doable. We have no locus of grand strategy, no reliable coordination, and no grassroots. Compare the fiscal conservative “movement” with gun owners or environmentalists and you'll see what I mean.
I certainly will not lend my vote to the Democrats if it means they might win instead of giving us gridlock. Perhaps if we can say “Republicans for Congress, Senate for Democrats” and make it stick we might get there. (Not a lot of work for me. I have Democrats for both my Senators and my Congressman and I voted for none of them.)
So I have no solution other than to force everyone to watch the following video:
Maybe indoctrination could work…
I've bumped up to MovableType 3.31. I need to update my templates (in a big, big way) to take advantage of the new features (like tags), but I have it running well enough to survive right now.
Before I upgraded I needed to trim my list of plugins and in the process I think I correct some nagging problems with junk postings getting published. Maybe that will help my spam situation a little.
My biggest change to the content will involve moving all postings to single categories and expanding the use of tags. Also, the search capabilities here need a boost, especially as I near 900 entries in the blog.
Shot from the same position as the previous picture, our house at night:
I love the little LED shooting stars we have up front. I think the office shot makes me look like a bookworm.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina thirty-four patient deaths at the New Orleans Memorial Medical Center raised suspicions of mercy killings. Rapid investigation of the bodies was delayed by their decomposition. Today they have arrested a doctor and two nurses and charged them with “principal to second-degree murder.”
According to Fox News, conditions were bad at the center after Katrina:
Memorial had been cut off by flooding as the Aug. 29 hurricane swamped New Orleans. Power was out in the 317-bed hospital and the temperatures inside rose over 100 degrees as the staff tried to tend to patients who waited four days to be evacuated.
Even so, it certainly doesn't sound like things were so dire that mass euthanization of thirty-four patients was justified in those four days.
One has to wonder what it would take to justify such a thing. Perhaps no hope of rescue and constant suffering would be key justifications. Perhaps the doctors and nurses were watching the pronouncements of doom in the major media at the time and came to that grisly conclusion. Most of those pronouncements, of course, just weren't true.
Does that mean the cliché “Society is to blame” is actually true in this one?
BEIRUT, Lebanon—A cruise ship escorted by a U.S. destroyer will start evacuating some Americans from war-torn Lebanon as early as Tuesday and more military helicopters will be used to fly others directly to Cyprus, a U.S. official said Monday. Israel appeared to be allowing evacuation ships through its blockade of the country.
Later in the article the Pentagon indicates the Orient Queen, which usually carries 750 passengers, will do the heavy lifting, directly protected by a destroyer and our nearby fleet.
Being protected by a destroyer and a aircraft carrier notwithstanding, isn't a cruise ship a big juicy target for terrorists? Not anymore than usual, perhaps, and Hezbollah probably doesn't want direct involvement of the United States in Lebanon, but it does give me a bad feeling. Al Quaeda thrives on destabilizing situations, committing acts of mass murder, and hoping any response from the U.S. will turn Islamic opinion against us.
However, one has to see the point. A cruise ship can carry a lot more people than planes and smaller craft can. 25,000 is a big number.
July 18 Update: The Pentagon has ordered five US warships into the area for escort duty, but the cruise ship itself was stopped at the Israeli blockade.
Carnival of Cordite #65 is up at Spank That Donkey. My two posts from yesterday questioning the recent gun rights victories made the list.
The New York Times, awash in criticism of its own agenda, has come out attacking the Bush Doctrine:
It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration’s response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.
Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.
The agenda has been perfectly clear, and stated many times, that the United States is at war with the terrorists that attack us and those who harbor, aid, or abet them. Time and time again the terrorists have made good use of their status—that region between individuals and states primarily occupied by non-government organizations—to exploit loopholes and gaps in our security. We have police to combat individuals and small groups. We have the military to combat states that conduct war against us. Global NGOs whose resources outstrip the police and who have no country or territory to attack or occupy are a somewhat more shadowy foe.
The President and his staff recognize that terrorist organizations are not the honorable opponents than those states that signed the Geneva Accords, and that terrorists captured on the battlefield will attack us again if released. Normal police rules are somewhat insufficient to the task. The armed forces are perfectly capable of destroying any target we give them, anywhere in the world. The trick is finding them. Rare indeed is finding such a locus, and there is intense value in watching terrorists prepare so we can find those who harbor, aid, and abet them.
That many individuals fall into the widely cast net of observation and investigation is obvious. These folks have associated with terrorists, some of them knowingly. In times of war past Americans gave up some liberty to actively root out real and credible threats here within our country. Sometimes the actions overreached (for example, the questionable Japanese, German, Italian, and other concentration camps in World War II). Sometimes we have underreached (tales abound of spies not caught in our wartime history).
The New York Times, however, considers increased observation and pursuit of questionable groups a deliberate, malignant grab for executive power. With such paranoia it's no wonder they consider the recent leaks of state secrets brave acts of dissent. One can sense their shock that many Americans consider their publication of working—but secret—systems that were catching terrorists treason in a time of war.
Apparently the New York Times is not at war. To them the war would be over if Osama Bin Laden comes to trial. Believing that it is more important to catch Bin Laden than it is to destroy his terrorist network—my interpretation of calling him out by name in the opening paragraph—is akin to thinking that he is a lone serial mass murder and not one of many architects and planners of war.
This is a distinct change from the “why do they hate us?” tone from a few years ago. The NYT seems to have decided they hate us, too. The tone has changed to obstruction and disruption, not of terrorists, but of the allied efforts to conduct the war Osama Bin Laden escalated five years ago.
And if that is not harboring, aiding, and abetting the terrorists, I'm not sure what is.
So, the UN Conference on Small Arms without them doing something and gun rights supporters consider this a big victory?
No recommendations on ammunition, civilian possession or future UN meetings, or for that matter any other subjects, were adopted. The failure of this five-year program to impact the legitimate firearms industry, and the 2nd Amendment rights of U.S. citizens was total.
This is victory? I define victory as something more akin to L. Neil Smith's Atlanta Declaration:
Every man, woman, and responsible child has an unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon—rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything—any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.
When this conference works towards implementing the above goal everywhere on the globe, we might be getting somewhere. When we think it's great that the US Under Secretary of State Robert Joseph strongly states that the UN should not meddle with the US Right To Keep And Bear ArmsTM then we set our sights too low. Instead I want to hear a strong statement that the rights of US citizens are a model for responsible democracies everywhere, and we're taking the first step by dismantling the 20,000 gun laws on our own books, one by one. We can't expect other countries to stop their shameful practices with their own citizens until we can set a good example.
Various gun rights organizations have credited an amendment to the 2007 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (HR 5441) as a great victory for gun rights. On first blush it may be, at least, a concession to law-abiding gun owners' need to defend themselves in a crisis.
Here's the amendment (SA 4615):
SEC. 540. PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS.
None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used to temporarily or permanently seize any firearm during an emergency or major disaster (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)) if the possession of such firearm is not prohibited under Federal or State law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal or State law or as evidence in a criminal investigation.
So, this is a form of pre-emption. Your local tin pot Mayor can't order the cops to take your guns just because the fit hit the shan. However, this amendment only removes federal funding for disaster workers confiscating guns, and the States can make their own laws in this regard and get the money then, so is this really a victory?
Been a while since I posted an addition picture. Today we have a front lawn and garden area:
Next time I need to protest something I need to make sure there's a Jamba Juice nearby.
I know some people are wondering why I have not yet commented on the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah involving military actions in Lebanon and threatening statements to Hamas née Palestine, Syria, and especially Iran. Some decry the actions of Israel (no one is afraid to call it war), others decry what restraint Israel has shown in not spreading the military response to all of its attackers. Others wonder how the kidnapping and brutal murder of soldiers prompted such a response.
The Wall Street Journal had a pretty good response:
Israel's military invasion and naval blockade of Lebanon is being denounced in European capitals and at the United Nations as a “disproportionate” response to the kidnapping this week of two of its soldiers by Hezbollah. Israel's decision late last month to invade Gaza in retaliation for the kidnapping of another soldier by Hamas was also condemned as lacking in proportion. So here's a question for our global solons: Since hostage-taking is universally regarded as an act of war, what “proportionate” action do they propose for Israel?
To be perfectly honest I don't know what's going on over there nor do I have a deep understanding of the relationships of all the players. I understand Hezbollah and Hamas are terrorist organizations, propped up by other states via financial and military support. I know Lebanon is tantamount to a puppet state of Syria (a subject I touched upon when I discussed the assassination of Tafik Hariri).
On our own front, I've heard these accusations that this latest action is a proxy war between the US and Iran and I don't buy them. There are indications that Israel is a free agent and Iran certainly has its proxies fighting the US directly in Iraq. Even so, I can't help think of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict that presaged World War II. It was a proving ground for the tactics and equipment for the next war. I'm sure the military scholars are watching very closely.
After four days of conflict already, I can only hope that this does not escalate into a wide-scale conflict across the Middle East, but I notice the stock market already has a bad feeling about this. Already the US has become involved by vetoing a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel. Iran, Syria, and Palestine are certainly involved. Saudi Arabia and Egypt haven't done anything, as yet.
What worries me is that to attack Iran, Israel has to fly, drive, or fly over Iraq. I'm sure we're doing everything in our power to prevent that. If there's any reason to discount the “proxy war” accusation it's our commitment to stability to Iraq right now. If a conflict in Iran erupts into war it will prevent or delay any lasting peace or democracy in Iraq, especially if the Israelis come across the border.
Why I call this post “Israel vs. Lebanon”:
Major-General Gadi Eizenkot, head of the General Staff Operations Branch, said in a briefing held at the Kirya base in Tel Aviv that “In the evening hours we destroyed all of Lebanon’s coastal radars. The reason for the radars’ destruction was the part they played in the attack on an Israeli missile boat on Friday, in which one soldier was killed and another three went missing.”
Hezbollah, as an non-government organization, is a cover for Lebanese Islamic extremist actions, even if Lebanon is trying not to be a puppet of Syria. Somewhere between individuals and sovereign states lay these NGOs, and the response to them has to lie somewhere between police (for individuals) and armies (for states). Hezbollah has become too state-like to be handled by police, just as Hamas has realized when they came to power.
Audio/Video Revolution has an article up about the troubles professional installers are having with the new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disc players, destined to bring us high resolution movies at home. One would expect some pains introducing a new product, but the warts are pretty bad on these new items.
In particular, I would never by a product with the following problems:
Back at the HD DVD camp, things get worse when you try to seamlessly switch from an HD DVD player to another HDMI source and then back. Currently, in my reference system, once you get a movie going, you are best suited sticking with the movie. God forbid you might want to pause it to check the scores on ESPN HD via another HDMI source (for example, an HD-TiVo). The system will switch to the HD-TiVo, no problem, but getting back to the HD DVD player, nine times out of 10, will require a full restart of the Intel-based Windows computer known as my HD DVD player. Moreover, an actual computer could remember where I was in the movie and thus wouldn’t require me to hunt down the chapter and try to get back into the film.
These sorts of synchronization issues should have been worked out before a product made it to market, no matter how critical it was just to ship something. If you launch a product so buggy that the user experience is poor, you could scuttle the whole format. Early review like this one have put me firmly in the Blu-Ray camp.
The other issue is that standards are still discovering and correcting problems. How many purchasers of either product will look for the elusive HDMI 1.3 version stamp?
With the release of HDMI 1.3, one would have to hope that the connectivity of these players in both formats will improve. Certainly, the audio and video performance will improve, but with the clunkiness of the players at this point, one can certainly understand why custom installers and many retailers are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for better players. It’s just too dangerous right now on the cutting edge.
HDMI 1.3 specifies the signals and cable required to transmit a full 1920x1080 progressive image from a source to other devices. It is a fully digital format with all the attendant copyright flags and so on. It may even bring us the final convergence between TVs and computer monitors. You wouldn't believe how annoyed I was a few years ago to have a computer with DVI outputs and a nice monitor with DVI inputs, yet I had to use the analog signal to get 1600x1200. All the devices in the chain were capable of the resolution, but the interface was not.
In software poor interfaces will ruin your market share. One wonders if consumer electronics makers understand this as well.
A little over a year from the London bombings on 7/7/05 we have seven commuter train bombings in Bombay, India.
Primarily because I read Harvard Business Review and Harvard Management Update I recently checked out HBR IdeaCast, Harvard Business Review's experiment with Podcasting. I'm an infrequent reader of another Harvard-related experiment, HBS Working Knowledge, as well.
HBR is not entirely new to podcasting, however, as they have been publishing key excerpts of both of the above publications through Audible.com but it appears that Audible may have been doing the lion's share of the work for them.
The first six episodes have been oddly named, with a hodgepodge of Artist, Album, and Genre settings, making them hard to find in my list of publications on iTunes. Also, as an iTunes Podcast, several of the items were truncated by iTunes's pathetic downloading system. I resorted to going directly to the HBR IdeaCast page and downloading the items directly with FlashGot. When Audible delivers my content through iTunes, I don't have this problem although I've seen it with other podcasts.
The content has also been a tad disappointing for someone that gets HBR and HMU. It's sometimes a rehash, and sometimes a repeat, of information I already have! Such is life, I suppose, since this is free and those other items are paid by subscription. The web page above, however, is a poor promotional tool. I hope that once they clean it up it will be as professional as the other products that come out of Harvard Business Review.
HBS Working Knowledge, in contrast, has improved their look and emails me important new articles as they arrive. I'm hoping that the material that was going into the Harvard Negotiation Newsletter (no longer available through my subscription) migrates there.
Yesterday at my house Dan and Patty were married by the same minister that married Misty and myself, John McEnroe.
Everyone looked great, had a blast, and we even had fireworks to finish the day…