Sunday, February 25, 2007

Insane is the Word, All Right

Check this madness out:

That's a level of skill and trust in one's equipment you don't often see. Man does that look fun, and you have to wonder if any of it is possible in a real helicopter. I'm sure it would kill anyone inside it to do what this guy does, but it sure would look cool to do a lesser version.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories

Despite being away from family, Thanksgiving 2006 was pretty nice. It didn't hurt that we brought wine and weren't expected to help clean up or really do anything but enjoy ourselves. It's funny how having a small child exempts me from more activity than a broken back ever did . . .

Anyway, we were entertained by the lovely Naomi and her man Adam, who live in a great house in Clarksville. Gorgeous old wood floors, tiny riotous kitchen, a huge enclosed balcony and a fun circular layout that kept Sabrina happily occupied for hours. Naomi put on a fantastic spread, including the most beautiful turkey I've ever seen and so many delicious side dishes that the dining room table seemed to groan under their weight. Before dinner several plates of what turned out to be puff pastry laid flat and covered with carmelized onions and blue cheese, baked and cut into squares. I ate maybe ten of these things and still dream about them. Seems like an easy thing to make, so I'll find out soon.

Great food, a really fun group of arty Austin weirdos and a happy baby made it a really nice time. So did not having to clean up and going home to our own bed. But I really missed the Thanksgiving dinner my mother makes. I guess everyone must feel the same; it's not really Thanksgiving if you don't have a certain food item, or if it's not done a certain way. For me it's the gravy. My mother makes a perfect natural gravy, just slightly thickened at the end with flour, or maybe it's corn starch. It saturates the stuffing and to a lesser degree the turkey, making them warm, salty and delicious, and it's absolutely essential to my enjoyment of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I'll eat creamy giblet gravy, but I won't enjoy it or the holiday. It ruins everything and is basically worse than the Holocaust.

Funny Stuff

If you haven't seen this yet

it's pretty special. And I liked the song, so I looked it up:

I'd barely heard of Amy Winehouse before this, and only in the context of being one of the great British drunks despite her youth. Which adds to the enjoyment of the song, I think.


This is one of the cooler things I've seen lately. From Skinny Bean in Denver, whose sex reassignment interview did not go well.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Best Website Ever

Touching animal friendships. I could look at this stuff forever, especially this one. Lifted from the Thighmaster.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

You Said a Mouthful, Sister, Times Three

First, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell say what almost no one else has the courage to say:

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions today, claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference.

Indeed. Next, Professor Bob Giegengack, who voted for Al Gore in 2000 and says he probably would again in 2008, says what we all know: Gore is full of sh*t in his ridiculous Global Warming movie:

To determine temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the distant past, scientists rely on what they call the “proxy record.” There weren’t thermometers. So researchers drill deep down into the Antarctic ice sheet and the ocean floor and pull up core samples, whose varying chemical elements let them gauge both the CO2 levels and the temperatures of the distant past.

Gieg clicks a button, and three charts come together. The peaks and valleys of the Milankovi´c cycles for planetary temperature align well with the ocean-floor estimates, and those match closely the records of carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature indications from ice cores. So, the professor maintains, these core samples from the polar ice and ocean floor help show that the Earth’s temperature and the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been in lockstep for tens of thousands of years.

Of course, that was long before anybody was burning fossil fuels. So Giegengack tells his students they might want to consider that “natural” climatic temperature cycles control carbon dioxide levels, not the other way around. That’s the crux of his argument with Gore’s view of global warming — he says carbon dioxide doesn’t control global temperature, and certainly not in a direct, linear way. (emphasis mine)
I don't disbelieve that the earth is warming, I just think Gore and company are screwing up the science. I disagree that it is caused by humans, I disagree with idea that using computer models that can't accurately predict a week, month or year ahead would provide accurate data, and I disagree that anything we do now could meaningfully change the current warming trend. But most of all I disagree with any side of an argument that doesn't want the other side's story told. When Gore says any scientist who disagrees with him is on Bush's payroll, he's squashing dissent on a scientific matter. When Ellen Goodman says Global Warming deniers are no different than Holocaust deniers, she's doing the same thing. When the Governor of Oregon wants to fire the state climatologist for disagreeing that humans caused Global Warming, so is he.

Finally, an October '06 Christopher Hitchens piece about bailing on Iraq:

Many of those advocating withdrawal have been "war-weary" ever since the midafternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, when it was discovered that the source of jihadist violence was U.S. foreign policy—a mentality now reinforced by the recent National Intelligence Estimate circulated by our emasculated, demoralized, and incompetent intelligence services. To this way of thinking, victory is impossible by definition, because any response other than restraint is bound to inflame the militancy of the other side. Since the jihadists, by every available account, are also inflamed and encouraged by everything from passivity to Danish cartoons, this seems to shrink the arena of possible or even thinkable combat. (Nobody ever asks what would happen if the jihadists had to start worrying about the level of casualties they were enduring, or the credit they were losing by their tactics, or the number of enemies they were making among civilized people who were prepared to take up arms to stop them. Our own masochism makes this contingency an unlikely one in any case.)

I am glad that all previous demands for withdrawal or disengagement from Iraq were unheeded, because otherwise we would not be able to celebrate the arrest and trial of Saddam Hussein; the removal from the planet of his two sadistic kids and putative successors; the certified disarmament of a former WMD- and gangster-sponsoring rogue state; the recuperation of the marshes and their ecology and society; the introduction of a convertible currency; the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan (currently advertising for investors and tourists on American television); the killing of al-Qaida's most dangerous and wicked leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and many of his associates; the opening of dozens of newspapers and radio and TV stations; the holding of elections for an assembly and to approve a constitution; and the introduction of the idea of federal democracy as the only solution for Iraq short of outright partition and/or civil war. If this cause is now to be considered defeated, by the sheer staggering persistence in murder and sabotage of the clerico-fascist forces and the sectarian militias, then it will always count as a noble one.

Liberals, to a man and woman, said excactly the same thing between the late '90s and mid-2003 as Bush or any conservative you care to name: we can't let Saddam continue to flout the UN and its resolutions. They all said it would be worth going to war over to stop it. They never said anything about having to find WMD when we got there; it wasn't really about that then, not finding a particular weapon or set of weapons. They, like everyone else, wanted to keep WMD from ever being made or stored there; it was less about what was than it was about what could be if we did nothing. To pretend now that there had to have been certain conditions on the ground there to justify said war is utter bullshit, and the entire party should be ashamed.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Swingy Thing

Sabrina's a fancy little rabbit. She dances a lot now, and most of the time she looks like Elaine from Seinfeld. It's a violent dance move, almost knocking her over half the time.

It's not possible to convey with this photo the depth of Sabrina's love for speed and violent motion. We try to introduce new dangerous activities as slowly as she can be persuaded to learn them, but as in most peoples' childhoods, there's a lot more blowing past the safety line than there is carefully approaching it.

I don't know how daredevilishness comes about, but I'm sure she'll have some. Just be careful, monkey . . .

Monday, February 12, 2007

Suspicious Minds

I thought I had the best Anna Nicole crackpot theory, but my lovely wife's beats anything I've heard: her dirtbag lawyer Howard Stern was hired by the Marshall family long ago and has just completed his mission.

I should probably be more scared of my wife than I am.

Also, I just saw video of murdering scumbag Howard Stern pretending to cry about Anna Nicole's death and I think it gave my eyes an abortion, and then AIDS.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Amazing Furniture

I don't know what's cooler, the couch or the table. I love both of them.

Beyond Fantastic

I don't think I've ever seen anything cooler on the internets than this. Awesome times a jillion.

Pretty Good Stuff

I don't know if "greatest love song ever" applies to this, exactly, but I liked it a lot. "Voice on Tape" on her Myspace page is good too.