Thursday, June 24, 2010

Liberalology

I have an odd little habit... well, ok, I have quite a few odd little habits, but this one in particular: When driving, I tend to actually pay attention to peoples bumper stickers. I like to read them, both for content and style. I almost always have an opinion on them, but I like to give each one a moments consideration before passing judgement.

Take today for instance.

On the way to The Lad's swimming lesson, I noticed a car up ahead sporting a sticker that said "Jesus Is a Liberal". You can imagine my first response. And you'd be wrong. Because my first response was not, "No, He wasn't".

Oh, don't get me wrong. I utterly reject the assertion made by many, particularly amongst Christians of certain old mainline denominations, that the teachings of Christ and the early Church most closely jive with the modern philosophies of the left. But that's an argument to take up in another thread, another post, because despite the fact that I most certainly do assert that no, He wasn't, it wasn't my first response. My first response was, "Pfft. So?"

Let me explain.

It's obvious that the assertion implied by said bumper sticker was "So you should be too". And, given my own beliefs about applying my faith to my life, if I agreed with the first sentence, yes, I'd accept the assertion of the second. In fact, therre was a time when I was a young, impressionable Christian when I did just that. I advocated socialism and the "Justice" movement as being Christ-like. However, as I've said before, I outgrew that line of thinking. I reject the latter assertion because I reject the former.

But I find the whole argument particularly unpalatable coming from the majority of the left, because even if the former were proven to them to NOT be true, they would NOT discard the latter. These are the same people that scream "Separation of Church and State!" anytime Christians oppose abortion, or gay marriage, or sex ed in schools, or try to have a Prayer at the flagpole day or promote the teaching of Intelligent Design or any other of a myriad of issues that happen to be spiritually or religiously informed to one degree or another.

Again, I don't want to misrepresent myself or be misrepresented regarding my OWN stances on such subjects. I'm not saying if I agree or disagree with fellow Christians on such topics. My views tend to get me in trouble equally with both the religious and the secular alike, and those views would take up more time and words than the scope of this blog entry.

My point is that like most such issues with the left, they're really less concerned about the actual principal of the thing and more with the issue of whose ox it is that is being gored. They're quick to tell you that you can't legislate morality, but they're just as quick to tell you that you're immoral if you reject their legislation. They're all for the Separation of Church and State, but they tell you, thinking it should change your politics, that... Jesus is a Liberal.

Which is why my response was "so?" Why should the teachings of a religious leader (no matter how much reverence I personally have for said leader) affect my political positions, if religion has no place in politics? And if it DOES have a place in politics, if individuals have a right to let their personal beliefs inform their public policies, can you PLEASE hold ALL beliefs to that standard, not just your OWN?

Because only then am I willing to move on and discuss with you whether or not Jesus really IS a Liberal.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal Clear

I may be losing my mind, but I have to say this: I agree with President Obama's decision to fire General McChrystal.

Before you agree with me about the losing my mind bit, go read this post by Moron Pundit over at Doubleplusundead. It really does sum up my exact thoughts on the issue, and does it so well I really can't improve on or add to it.

Democrats Lie (AGAIN) in 3... 2... 1...

Via Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades HQ:

Remember back during the presidential campaign, BHO promised that if elected, he wouldn't raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000? Never mind that the new federal tobacco taxes hit the lower and middle class hardest. Now, Congressional Democrats themselves are about to make a liar out of 0bama directly, saying of his 250k cap, Not So Fast.

The majority party on Capitol Hill does not feel bound by that pledge, saying the threshold for tax hikes will depend on several factors, such as the revenue differences between setting the threshold at $200,000 and setting it at $250,000.
“You could go lower, too — why not $200,000?” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “With the debt and deficit we have, you can’t make promises to people. This is a very serious situation.”
Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.), chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, concurred, saying, “I don’t think there’s any magic in the number, whether it’s $250,000, $200,000 or $225,000.
“I’m not hard and fast on $250,000,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “Quite frankly, it could be somewhat lower than that. $250,000 — is that the top 1 percent of Americans, or half a percent? I mean, come on!”
Household income data compiled by the Census Bureau in 2008 shows that families earning over $250,000 fall into the top 2 percent.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) hinted in a speech Tuesday that House Democrats do not consider family incomes of $250,000 an inviolable threshold, despite Obama’s pledge.

Isn't that just special? And if congress does set the limit lower than $250k (and I suspect we'll see it go much lower, well bewlow even 200), what are the odds that The One will oppose them beyond mere lip service? Not that I am a bit surprised -- I knew when he said it that he was speaking through his teeth.

Rome is burning, and the Dems keep tuning up their instruments.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I'm not surprised we have an oil spill czar. What I find surprising, given Obama's previous track record of choosing czars, is that it's not Joseph Hazelwood."

-- Alice H at Doubleplusundead

Sunday, June 20, 2010

That's Gotta Sting

Mark Steyn, showing Conor Friedersdorf his rhetorical pimp hand regarding Friedersdorf's case of the vapors over an earlier Steyn piece, turned the verbal pinky ring with this summation: "Even being a snippy dweeb requires a certain amount of finesse."

You can still see the mark.

Monday, June 7, 2010

BY JO(v)E I THINK THEY'VE GOT IT!

The wine department huy at the local Trader Joes is surprisingly knowledgeable. I was looking for a Malbec tonight, and was thinking Chile, from whence the first Malbec I ever tried originated, but he steered me to an Argentinian vintage, Bodega Septima (2007), and damned if it wasn't eminently drinkable. Not quite as dry as I expected, even by Malbec standards, and a surprising hint of strawberries among the stonefruit, a mild shock in a wine with so much body and so little a miniscus, but still not a wine to be dismissed lightly, especially for only $10. I paired it with pork, but I daresay it would stand up to some beef dishes (the more casual ones) quite nicely.

Hummus Hubris

I have yet to find a store-bought hummus that comes close to being as good as what I can make by myself from scratch.

One of the advantages of being a bachelor is that I can serve myself dinner in ay order I want, and combine dishes the combination of which other people might be taken aback. Tonight I chose for my late dinner a starter of flatbread and hummus, to be followed later bt barbecued babyback ribs and a simple salad of baby lettuces, paired with an Argenmtinian Malbec. All of the ingredients came premade from Trader Joes, since I finish work just before they close and didn't have time or the money to buy everything raw and from scratch -- amazing how little one gets to cook for ones self when one spends all day cooking for others.

Anyhoo....

The Hummus is Trader Joes "Smooth and Creamy Classic", a straightforward hummis with no funky ingredients (like their eggplant hummus). While it's palatable, I have a few quibbles:

For one thing, when it comes to being smooth and creamy, it's too much of one and not enough of the other. I prefer my hummus with a little chumkiness to it. And creamy? Well, I expect something a bit thicker be associated with the word "creamy". This is about as thick as yogurt -- I like it closer to sour cream in consistency. Finally, they need to cut back just a wee bit on the lemon juice -- I have no need to fear contracting scurvy any time soon.

All in all, as I said, edible, but if you have the knowledge and means to make it from scratch instead, do.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Coke Habit

In recent weeks I've made a conscious choice noyt to keep any hard liquor in my new place. I'm still enjoying the occasional beer or wine, but no spirits. The reason is simple: I have a drinking problem, but one that has nothing to do with alcohol.

I can enjoy alcoholic beverages or not, depending on my mood. I'll go days or even weeks without it.I enjoy it, I don't need it.

But ask me to go a whole day without soda pop, and things get ugly. I seriously go through withdrawals. And the problem with hard liquor is that I drink almost none of it straight -- I'm a mixed drink fan, and guess what my mixer of choice is: You guessed it, pop.

So for now, I'm giving up hard drink until I no longer have a problem with soft drinks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All in the Family

Was going through some memorabilia passed down to me from my Great Uncle (MAternal Grandmothers brother). Along with his Army medals (National Defense, Korea, Army of Occupation - Japan), he has quite a bit of Goldwater paraphernalia.

Apparently I come by my libertarian-tinged conservatism genetically.

His sister, my grandmother, married a man with similar beliefs. Granddad used to say "I'm not a Republican, I've just never met a Democrat I'd vote for".

He's still my hero.

Please Welcome....

I now have a guest blogger. An old and dear friend of mine, Carolyn is married to an even older friend. She resides here in Oregon, and like me she has a conservative/lbertarian bent. A while back she asked me for permission to post on my blog, and I eagerly agreed. I've known her for years (since um... she was an infant, yyyyeah, that's the ticket!), and I respect her intelligence and trust her. My goal is to eventually set it up so she can post herself, but for now, I'll just pass along entries she emails to me.

I plan to keep my editorializing to a minimum, and my opinions to the comment section. I may help with some of the formatting, but the words are all hers. So without further ado:


A NEW YORK TIMES FANTASY I’D LOVE TO SEE COME TRUE
By Carolynp


Yesterday, I stumbled upon a couple of articles that again challenge my belief in our economy. This quaint article about a poor woman who blew through 100k in pursuit of a BA in (wait for it…) Women’s Studies and Religion. Shockingly, there aren’t a lot of jobs requiring a theologically inclined woman studier, so, she now works for a photographer.

The article suggests all kinds of boogie men who are at fault for this woman’s financial stupidity. Shockingly, the concept that she’s just flat stupid and flaky are never explored. A quote from the article “It is utterly depressing that there are so many people like her facing decades of payments, limited capacity to buy a home and a debt burden that can repel potential life partners. For starters, it’s a shared failure of parenting and loan underwriting.” Uuuummmm....she can’t pay her debts, and I’m supposed to be concerned about her ability to find a life partner? Dude, she needs to find a second job. Let’s try and prevent this dipstick from multiplying if we can until she pays her debts. And how is this even potentially her parent’s (single parent, grammar cops) fault? The woman is 26 years old.

The reporter also breathlessly suggests that someone in the financial aid office or someone at the bank should have warned her that she was getting into trouble. I enthusiastically endorse this. Let’s make people who work in the banking industry tell prospective students the TRUTH about the education they are seeking! Something like this…

Student trying for a generic liberal arts degree: “Hi, I’d like to apply for additional funding so that I can finish my degree in Swedish Sexual Habitat Encouragement.”

Amused phone rep from Citicorp, laughing breathlessly, “Is this some kind of joke? I mean, they really offer a degree in something that completely useless?”

Student, “No, it isn’t a joke. I’m twenty-three and I’m within four semesters of graduating and…” Interrupted by phone rep laughing, “So, it only took you five short years to complete that all important Associate’s Degree? How’s that working out for you?”

Student, “It seems apparent that you aren’t taking me seriously…”

Phone rep, “Look, you’re twenty three, and you apparently can’t do a single thing and you’ve paid a great deal of money for the privilege of one futile degree. I suppose we all make mistakes. I am currently legally required to fully disclose what I think of your educational goals. Have you ever HIRED someone to come to your home to encourage Swedish Sexual Habitats?”

Student, “Well, errr…no, but I’m convinced it’s an important field of study…”

Phone rep, “…perhaps to Hugh Hefner, but I hear he isn’t requiring BA’s at this time…”

Student, “It’s not THAT kind of a field of study…”

Phone rep, “Too bad, because that would be the only way I could picture you being able to pay back a single dime of what you’ve already borrowed. Let’s cut to the chase, you shouldn’t be calling a bank, you should be calling a fairy godmother or a long lost rich relative. Call me back when you have an associate in engineering.” CLICK

Oooh, even the dream of it puts a smile on my face. Why is it that I can’t imagine anyone in New York actually advocating the bill that requires student loan type folk (remember, we OWN the industry now, thanks to healthcare…) telling the whole truth to potential loan applicants? Because even if they did, people like this reporter would bend over backwards to find someone else to blame other than the student. As for the woman herself, she candidly tells the reporter that she doesn’t think she’s going to pay for the loans because “it just doesn’t feel right”. Sounds to me like this women’s studies grad has learned how to rape helpless taxpayers. So, maybe that education is only useless to greater society.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back In The Saddle Again

Extremely unpleasant life circumstances (no details necessary here) had me sans interwebs for a while there, but now I've settled into new digs, have made some adjustments to lifestyle, and should be back in the business of offering my unsolicited opinion via this very blog, oh yes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

No long rant here, just a quick observation.

One of my jobs is as a substitute lunch aide in a local school district. It's not a cooking job, all I do is record the kids' lunches into the computer. I happen to work at the poorest school in the district -- about 80% of the kids are on free or reduced lunches.

Yesterday I noticed something, after making and correctign an entry error -- the kids on free lunches still get charged for milk if they bring their own lunch and only take a milk. Yet if they take a full lunch, they get the milk with it -- free. It was explained to me that this is because there has to be a compensatable meal for the school to get the money back from the government.

Tell me that isn't as much about developing dependence on the government as it is about providing a needed service.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Memo for the Modern "Pop-With-a-Twang" Crowd

THIS is what real Country Western music sounds like.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pictures of the Oregon Coast, Presidents Day, 2010: Cape Foulweather and Points North

The view from Cape Foulweather: Yaquina Head farthest to the south, Devil's Punchbowl and Otter Crest in the foreground
Cape Foulweather is the first place in Oregon discovered by European explorers: Capt. James Cook spotted it during a raging storm in 1778.


Big breakers at Rocky Creek State Park, looking across Whale Cove -- Just for perspective, that squarish bit of light coloration on the rocks across the cove is a house.

Depoe Bay, World's Smalled Navigable Harbor


The sidewalk allong US-101, Depoe Bay -- I've seen whales within 50 yards of this sidewalk, but the season wasn't right this time.



Weather flag, Depoe Bay -- Points will be awarded to the first person to identify the conditions that day. A hint, it was a balmy 60 and sunny that day -- but it WAS the Oregon Coast.

Pictures of the Oregon Coast, Presidents Day, 2010: Devil's Punchbowl

The following pictures are captioned properly, but the files are misnamed, due to errors on my part when they were saved.



Looking SOUTH towards Yaquina Head this time, as viewed from Devil's [sic] Punchbowl


The beach south of Devil's Punchbowl


A lone tree



Devil's Punchbowl



Otter Crest & Cape Foulweather from Devil's Punchbowl

Pictures of the Oregon Coast, Presidents Day, 2010: Newport

The view from Nye Beach, Newport, Oregon, looking north towards Yaquina (pronounced yuh-KWINN-uh) Head


Looking west across Newport Harbor towards the Yaquina Bay Bridge, fishing fleet in the foreground


Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

The view from the second story of the keepers quarters, Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Best Game of them All

I'm not going to dwell on details, I'm just going to say that the following poem has come to mean a lot to me:

The Quitter
by Robert W. Service

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .
It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.
You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.
"You’ve had a raw deal!” I know-but don’t squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
So don’t be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:
It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten-and die;
It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight-
Why, that’s the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each grueling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try-it’s dead easy to die,
It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ted Kulongoski Doesn't Give a Tinker's Damn What You Think.

Hats Off to David's Oregon Picayune via Oregon Guy Thinks.

Recently the Oregon Marine Board held a series of meetings seeking public input regarding a possible van on motor boats and float planes on Waldo Lake, in the Cascades southeast of Eugene. After hearing all sides and giving the proposal much consideration, the Board decided to proceed with the ban.

At least that's the story we've been told. It turns out, not so much.

According to Paul Donheffner, who was at the time the State Marine Director, prior to the public hearings, Governor Kulongoski's office had already informed him of what the boards decision would be, and furthermore used the Oregon Department of Justice to lean on Donheffner and the board.

So if you attended one of those meetings, congratulations. You were, in effect, witnesses at a show trial for Waldo Lake.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I Wish The Who HAD Died Before They Got Old!

I had to work today -- one of the occupational hazards of being a cook. I work in an open kitchen, which means it's out where the customers can see me, and I them. The boss had on the superbowl, and when there were no customers around, and I was caught up on prep and cleaning, I got to watch parts of it -- inculding the halftime show. I Could barely hear it over the sounds of the kitchen, but I could see it.

Really? "My G-g-g-g-generation"? "Teenage Wasteland"? From The WHO? In 2010?

Note to Roger, Pete, et al:

You're GEEZERS! You're older than *I* am, and *I'M* a geezer. Ugh. you looked like a bunch of relics going through a prolonged midlife crisis. How embarassing. As one friend of mine put it, "...they should limit themselves to playing at their retirement home."

Or maybe Indian casinos. But for God's sake, don't tour, don't do the Superbowl, or the Grammies... if your best stuff was on the charts before today's teenagers were BORN, just live off the royalties and retire to Florida with some grace.

Not Tanned, but Rested and Ready

A long time ago a guy had a Blog. He was passionate and opinionated, but did his best also to be humble and to rememeber his own shortcomings. He wrote about a lot of stuff, stuff that was important to him. He wrote, it is said by some, well. But along the way he got burned out. Wrung out. Even grossed out. And so he left the Blogosphere. He posted a final farewell entry on his blog, closed up shop, and walked away.

Well, he's back. I'm back.

You won't find any links to my old blog on this one, nor any links to this one back there. This is about a fresh start, a new perspective, a "redo". If you're one of the privileged few to whom I gave a link to this new place, congrats. If you just stumbled across me, welcome.

The tone here will be... well, I'm not sure yet. I'm at a different place in life than I was back then, especially back when I STARTED the old digs. I think for now I'll let the tone set itself.