Leany on Life -- December 2009

On This Day in Revisedrealityville History

Meanwhile, over in an Alternate Universe

Stupid Kids
A close personal friend of mine got into rappelling when he was in High School. A neighbor he knew had 120 feet of golden braid . . .

Continued below
(Best viewed with a mind not clouded by the Kool-Aid)

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What to do until the Blog arrives

The Litter-ature novel is here. I update it regularly--every time Jennifer Love Hewitt tackles me and sticks her tongue in my ear.

LoL Cartoons

Logic Primer

Duke Boys Car Chase

Pipe Intersections

Gymkhana Practice

Programmable Calendar

Compass Course Spreadsheet

Complete Orienteering Course Files Updated!

Things you may not know about Sarah Palin

Handy Units Conversion Utility

Amazing Grace on the Sax

Obama's Magic 8 Ball


The John Galt Society

It can be discouraging to look around at who's running the show these days and wonder "Where have all the grown-ups gone?"

Take heart. There are still some people who are not drinking the Kool-aid. Here's where to find them.

Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is a feisty conservative bastion. You loved her book "Unhinged" and you can read her columns here.
Ann Coulter

Ann posts her new column every Thursday, or you can browse her past columns.
George Will
What can you say? It's George Will. Read it.
Charles Krauthammer posts every Friday. Just a good, smart conservative columnist.
If you want someone who gets it just as right, but is easier to read, try Thomas Sowell, who just posts at random times.
Jonah Goldbert seldom disappoints.
David Limbaugh carries on the family tradition.

Jewish World Review has all these guys plus lots more good stuff.

Or you can go to radio show sites like
 Laura Ingraham's or Glenn Beck's or Rush Limbaugh's..

If you'd like you can study The Constitution while you wait.

Then there's always World Net Daily, NewsMax.com, The Drudge Report, FreeRepublic.com, News Busters, or National Review Online.

For the Lighter Appetite

If you have to read the news, I recommend The Nose on Your Face, news so fake you'd swear it came from the Mainstream Media. HT to Sid for the link.
Or there's always The Onion. (For the benefit of you Obama Supporters, it's a spoof.)

Dave Barry's Column
Daryl Cagle's Index of Political Cartoons
About half of these cartoonists are liberal (Latin for wrong) but the art is usually good. (Fantastic, if you're used to the quality of art on this site.)

Or just follow the links above and to the right of this section (you can't have read all my archived articles already). If you have read all my articles (you need to get out more) go to my I'm Not Falling For It section.

Above all, try to stay calm. Eventually I may post something again.

Today's Second Amendment Message

Latest Blog (continued)

Stupid Kids

A close personal friend of mine got into rappelling when he was in High School. A neighbor he knew had 120 feet of golden braid and some miscellaneous rappelling gear that he was no longer using. The neighbor wanted to get into beekeeping. So my close personal friend made him a deal.

My close personal friend, who was just a dumb kid, remember, traded his dad's expensive beehives and beekeeping equipment to the neighbor for a duffel bag full of rappelling gear.

My dumb, naïve, immature, young and stupid, close personal friend's dad was not pleased when he got home and found his beehives and equipment gone.

That tale doesn't capture it exactly it, but at least it's in the same category as how I felt when I heard the newscast. I heard that Obama, (stupid, inexperienced, easily used, proven to have abysmal judgment, wet-behind-the-ears Obama) was talking with Russia's president about getting rid of our nuclear weapons.

I can't accurately describe what I felt at the moment I heard that sentence. I probably don't have to tell you—I'm sure you felt the same thing. It makes no sense whatsoever. The specter of having a misguided, ignorant hippie in charge of our national defense should make you sweat down both legs, too.

It is nothing short of terrifying that someone like Obama is in charge at such a critical point in our country's history. And that because the press and 50% of the voters wanted to prove how cosmopolitan they are.

Just in case you are still stoned out of your mind on the Kool-aid and believe that Obama is an adult just because he shaves and wears a suit, let me remind you how adults behave. Adults take responsibility.

When all the chatter started about the failures that led to the jockstrap bomber getting explosives on board an airplane, Obama figured it out: It was George Bush's fault.

I should at least give the man credit for consistency. It honestly did not occur to me that he could possibly blame this one on Bush. I never crossed that line to begin to conceive of how would blame this on Bush. But he did.

You'd think that after a whole year he'd clue in to how ridiculous that excuse sounds.

But maybe that's the problem. Maybe since he's been doing it so often for so long it's become habitual. It's an addiction, like his smoking, that he's not capable of overcoming.

Here is my final thought for 2009: Obama is a piece of crap.

It's not easy for either of us
Who says I never take on the big challenges? I have set a goal to clean out all the crappy blog notes I have before the new year. If it's any consolation to you, it's just as hard for me to sift through this garbage as it is for you.

To try to alleviate some of the pain I have interspersed little Obama bashing images and such throughout.

I'd say "enjoy," but we both know how senseless that instruction would be.


Someone Else's Money
I have two computers on my desk in the basement office. That means cables and mice and keyboards clutter my desk. Fortunately, a technology exists to fix that.

I walked into Staples and asked the helpful salesman where I could find a KVM switch. He led me to the display, asked if I needed PS/2 or USB, I said USB, he handed me the switch, I said thank you. Then I looked at the price. After the salesman walked away I put the switch back and walked out of the store. For 76 freaking US dollars I will deal with the clutter for awhile longer.

A guy at work needed a KVM switch for his work computers. Instead of contacting IT he hopped on the internet and used his company credit card to have a KVM switch overnighted to him for (and this is not a typo) $500.00!

You get my point. You are a helluva lot more careful with your own money than someone else's.

Let me tell you about this particular guy. He is one of the most dishonest people I know. He makes $150,000 a year and half again that much in bonuses. But on that salary he doesn't own a laptop computer. Now, you don't know anyone who doesn't own a laptop computer. Most of the third graders you know own laptop computers. This guy doesn't.

A few years ago the boss was implementing a program to reimburse us for communications expenses. The idea was to pay our cell phone bill so that we'd never have an excuse for not being available. Well, the boss floated that this program might pay for a laptop, on the premise that we could keep in touch from home via e-mail. This guy found out and called his wife full of excitement. From the office next door to him I listened to him gush to his wife for an hour about how great it was going to be to have a laptop computer (none of the things he was excited about had anything to do with keeping in touch with the boss). It was sad to listen to, like watching a waif pining for a baseball glove in a store window . . . until you remember that this waif makes a quarter million dollars every year.

Right now he is in Hawaii for a couple of weeks with his wife and six of his kids. In my book that sounds like a vacation. But as it turns out he's "travelling on business," so it's all going on the company credit card, with a $10,000 credit limit increase for the occasion. (It may sound like I'm belaboring the point, but the man disgusts me so much that I never pass up an opportunity to bag on the buzzard.)

I understand that the average American is not as devious as this guy. But because he is so deceitful, he is a good example of the kind of abuses that men are capable of.

Health care costs more because you don't think you're paying for it. That's a fact. You just plain are not as careful with "free" money as you are with the stuff you earn.

Last Tuesday I went to the doctor. The visit cost me $39. The gal at the desk asked me if I had insurance and I said "No, I refuse to go socialist one second before I'm forced to." She said "I beg your pardon?" I said "Nothing." But she said yeah, insurance is a rip-off. She knows. She's the one that has to fill out endless forms.

Since she put a quarter in the machine she got to listen to the whole song. I told her that I could either pay her $39 now or pay the insurance company $700 every single month. I really wish that all financial decisions were this clear cut.

We are so screwed.

It has nothing to do with . . .
It was back in the 80s that I understood this. I had to take the car in for an emissions test. It passed the test on the emissions output, but I didn't get an I/M certificate because I had removed some of the emission controls. In the words of the law I had "tampered" with my own car. What a crock.

So I went to buy the parts I needed and was informed by the guy at the junkyard that it was against the law for him to sell them to me. The law said that I had to buy them new.

Then I understood. "The law" had absolutely no interest in my car putting out low emissions. If that were its concern there were lots of ways I could accomplish that without transferring a lot of money to pals of the lawmakers who sell new car parts.

"Health Care" has nothing to with your health.

Harry Reid (Despicable lying piece of crap-Nevada) said that this bill with "save money and save lives." That phrase has now moved to the head of the list, above "I'll still love you in the morning" and "The check's in the mail."

After I wrote these notes I came across David Limbaugh's article where he talked about the same thing.

I don't know how much more dramatic you want this. Do you think that because jack-booted storm troopers aren't breaking down your door that you are still free? This travesty requires you to purchase an optional service under penalty of law.

Please, I'm begging you, please, hit me with the ridiculous argument that we are already required to purchase auto insurance.

The S-E curve
I don't know why I keep struggling to explain things you either already understand or never will. It reminds me of the line on "The Long Kiss Goodnight." Some lady's dog is licking himself and Nathan is getting irritated. He says "He's been licking [himself] for the last three straight hours. I submit to you that . . . whatever he is attempting to dislodge is either gone for good or there to stay."

Anyway . . .

You remember me flapping my gums about the stupid vs. evil dilemma. "Did I curse the nation with 'Health Care Reform' because I know it will destroy the country but I'm evil, or did I do it because I'm so stupid that I honestly think it will make things better?" It's what Mary Matalin referred to when she said "they're not evil, they're just wrong."

I've taken a stab at trying to graph this thing. Below the diagonal line is where you find demorats.

You might think of that diagonal line as a dangerous cliff. If you're well-intentioned you want to make sure you're smart, or you'll slip off the cliff (into the hands of the demorats). If you're smart you'll fall of the cliff if you move toward being evil.

It's not a perfect graphic yet, but you get the idea. The line is a pen that keeps in democrats. If more well-intention you get the dumber you have to be to stay in the democrat camp.

You say "Socialized Medicine will save lives and save money." Well, that just plain isn't true. If you believe that you're an idiot. If you don't believe but say it to try to make me believe it, you're evil. There is no other explanation.

Thees word you kip sayin'
I do not thin' it mins what you thin' it mins
Politico.com has a great article on The White House's unprecedented use of 'unprecedented.' Some excerpts:
The Obama White House is addicted to the 'unprecedented.'

Perhaps it was a sign when President Barack Obama sat down in January to record his first weekly address and announced: "We begin this year and this administration in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action."

What has followed is declaration after declaration of "unprecedented" milestones.

On Poetry
Over the weekend I was treated to two, count 'em, two, horrendous renditions of "poetry."

Sunday we heard from half a new married couple that had moved into the ward. This good sister said that she "does poetry—it's just a thing she has" and that, since people didn't often get to hear it, she would share.

Now anyone who's ever spent an hour in a pew in an LDS chapel knows this: If you ever hear a speaker in an LDS ward say they're going to share a poem with you, it's time to swallow some Dramamine and hold onto something. This little gal did not disappoint.

We all enjoy this beautiful Christmas time
When we travel to cut down that first pine.
I swear, I'm not exaggerating. It had everything. Tortured scansion, oblique rhyme (now you know why they call it assonance), Yoda rhyme (If you like to ride in the snow/it's off to sledding you will go).

If I recall correctly from my High School English, some of the structural problems could be forgiven because the author was a total babe, of the holyfreakencrapwhatababe variety. Which is good, because one of the other dear ladies in the ward is one pregnancy away from dropping off that list, which would take us dangerously close to federally mandated minimum levels.

But the occasion did have its warm and tender moment. The concluding speaker commented that "Sister So-un-so, you have a beautiful gift for poetry." Now you and I and Mrs. Smith might have different ideas about whether rhyming 'king' with 'stream' is evidence of a gift, but she beamed at the compliment. And with encouragement like that I'm sure her poetry will get better.

The other "poem" was from global warming hoaxster, Al Gore. Gore's poetry was so bad that at first I thought it was a really good Gore impersonator making a cruel joke. Even though Gore, who became a billionaire off deceiving idiots, deserves whatever ridicule he gets, I thought it was cruel and crossed the line of decency to parody him that bad. That's how bad it was.

But it turned out to really be him.

But let's contrast first the treatment he gets and the treatment the babe got. The babe got complimented. She was being sincere (and she's a babe—remember the elevator scene in Liar Liar?). But Al Gore . . . he's evil. I'm torn. People keep asking him to recite the "poem" and make a fool of himself. The man deserves whatever he gets, but it's a little like making fun of a mentally handicapped kid by pretending to praise him (Gore falls into the stupid AND evil quadrant of the matrix). Plus, even if you're cruel and get a kick out of poking fun at mongoloids, is it worth it to have to sit through the recital?

When I was teaching the primary kids the elements of poetry one of the kids raised her hand and said "Poetry doesn't always rhyme." I said "That's right. Poems written by liberals don't rhyme." The adults in the room broke up and the kids kept their pious little Sunday smiles, but it's true.

What something has to have to be considered poetry is structure of some kind. Rhyme is the easiest way to do that, as evidenced by the babe. You can find some great poetry without rhyme in The New Yorker, for example. But the words are poetic and they have structure. It's harder to do. That's why people like Al Gore just throw some words on a paper and figure it's a "higher level" of poetry because it doesn’t rhyme.

Complete crap. Complete imbecilic crap.

Take those two extremes—no structure and nothing but structure—and apply them to two forms of "music" that are not music at all: Opera and Rap. The one has no structure (Al Gore poetry), the other has nothing but structure (over the pulpit poetry). Neither has melody.

Well, I've beaten that to death without really making any memorable points. It's interesting, though. The poetry that depends on rhyme as its only claim to being poetry isn't all that faithful to rhyme. Any assonance will do. I call it "Garth Brooks" rhyme. "He was just a guy on the train/Some old guy without a name."

Stop it! Just stop it.

Random quote
Here's a pretty good line that I found in a Jonah Goldberg article.
British historian Arnold Toynbee argued that civilizations thrive when the lower classes aspire to be like the upper classes, and they decay when the upper classes try to be like the lower classes. Looked at through this prism, it's hard not to see America in a prolonged period of decay.

A wise man once said . . .
'Joe' pointed out that Toynbee's a socialist. I don't give a crap. He figures I'm a baptized democrat because I agree with that statement. How indefensible is that? I don't care if he's a socialist or a murderer or rapist . . . or even an Obama supporter. That doesn't have any effect on the truth of that statement.

This ties into some other notes that I never worked up into a full-on post. It's about the e-mail you got about the similarities between what Obama's doing and what Hitler did. It references the History Unfolding blog by some historian named Kaiser. I've posted the whole thing below, without attribution, for your reading . . . ahem . . . pleasure.

It's a real web site, but the first post you see is one from Kaiser saying he didn't say that. Whoever did was trying to make it more credible by attributing it to Kaiser. So you can agree or disagree with the analysis, but remember it didn't come from Kaiser.

It's the old "A wise man once said" deal. Wise men aren't immune from saying stupid things and stupid men can come up with wise things. Take the words on their own merit.

It's like the The Tytler Cycle e-mail you got. You know, democracy doesn't last once people find out they can vote themselves welfare money. Tytler never said it. A guy from George Wythe College who pushes the idea said that "There isn't much written about this part of Tytler's philosophies." That's 'cause he never proposed it! Do you even know who Tytler is? Why does that make a difference? All you need to ask is whether you think it's true on its own merits.

The essay—by Anonymous
Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy.. Why?

We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?) We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.. It is potentially 1929 x ten...And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla , Alaska . All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning..

As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s In those times, the "savior" was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative "losers" read it right now.

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission. Which they did - regularly. And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand - the Great Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy.. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course,

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe , and across the world. He did it with a compliant media - did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and ... . .. change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books.

So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.

Do not forget that Germany was the most educated, the most cultured country in Europe. It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors.. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

Crazy Talk
I talked about "A wise man said . . . " implies that the saying is wise. Usually when you say that you mean "Some guy said this wise saying." You don't know if he was wise other than that one statement that's true and makes sense.

On Glenn Beck last night Pat Gray was taking calls and some guy said that he knew how the terrorists were going to attack and that he'd tried to warn Homeland Security and they blew him off.

No, really?

Yeah, he was looking around the airport and it all came together in his mind how they could pull off an attack and he'd tried to warn the authorities but they wouldn't return his calls, and God forbid, he hated to even say it on the air because . . . it was so simple, he just knew this is how they were going to do it and no one had thought of it before and the authorities wouldn't listen to him and he had it figured out and it was so simple . . . .

You just get a bunch of terrorists in ski masks to come in by twos through all the doors in the airport with automatic weapons blazing . . .

A couple of callers later someone was talking about how all the fallout from the jockstrap bomber was going to shut down air travel, and do you realize all the productivity that will be lost if people can't use their laptops for the last hour of the flight?

And then he made a great point. It was right on.

Of course, I can't remember what the point was, I was so amazed that some random caller had figured it out . . .

So, what do we do?
Pat asked the guy whose calls Homeland Security wouldn't return "So how do you prevent that type of attack?"

The guy had no clue. "That's just it," Pat said. "At some point it just gets ridiculous." As long as there are evil people on the planet there's always going to be the risk they'll do something you can't control.

But you can prevent that type of attack. You do it the same way that you prevent people from speeding. The specter of punishment. You don't have a cop get in your car and ride with you over a certain stretch of road to prevent you from speeding. You just have a punishment if you do speed.

If you can't keep Muslims from blowing up our planes you just destroy a Muslim city every time it happens. You kill 180 passengers, we nuke one of your cities. Simple.

I can't understand why Homeland Security isn't returning my calls . . .

Don't call them "party crashers"
They are just "undocumented guests."

Joke's over
This article sums up the feelings of the majority of Americans.

The joke's over. Bring back Bush.

The right of the people . . .
I was chatting with a guy last night and he was explaining about how screwed up the City Council is where he lives. He said "They don't charge for water by usage, but by how much property you have. I'm a bouncer and I don't water my lawn much, but I have a lot of land . . ."

Now, I'm not sure what the relationship is between being a bouncer and not watering your lawn. The point, however, is clear. He doesn't use much water. The phrase "I'm a bouncer" could be discarded, or not, however you want. It has no effect on the point.

If you can guess what this post is about, you get a free year's subscription to the highly influential Leany on Life blog. Is it about a) bouncers, b) screwed up city ordinances, or c) none of the above?

It's about the second amendment.

'Joe' was once trying to convince me that criminals were the only Americans who had a right to have guns. I told him that even though I wasn't a lawyer I understood that "militia" means a prepared populace. He said that was an unusual construing of the word.

It's not. I've never heard anyone else explain it in those words, but the best description of "militia" as it pertains to the second amendment is that it's a prepared populous.

But the bigger point is that it does not matter. The second amendment could say "Butter pecan ice cream being the most bestest flavor in the world, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Period.

Transparent ploys
I was at a event where Senator Hatch was speaking. Throughout his talk he kept saying " . . . it fell to me to lead the charge." For example, maybe there was some bill to require bicycle owners to color coordinate their baskets with the danglies on the handlebar grips and it fell to him to "lead the charge" to get the bill through committee. Three or four times he used that phrase.

Everyone in the audience knew that at that time a book called "Leading the Charge," coincidentally by one Senator Orrin Hatch, was on the shelves in bookstores.

Senator Hatch's publicist had directed him to use that phrase and people would have it in their minds and subconsciously have the urge to buy his book. It was intended to be a seamless, transparent subtle suggestion. It was anything but transparent.

That's just another example that occurred to me about that one deal that I was flapping my gums about where salesmen think they're using psychology and you think they're idiots.

Fading away
Speaking of another example, I thought of one for that decline of America, Stephen King entropy, TV gone tacky deal.

If you're looking for lyrics you're going to come across three things during your search. 1. The lyrics you're looking for. 2. A virus. 3. Really, really ugly web sites. These are the sites where they have the colors that induce vomiting, the text is all center justified in a color that doesn't exist in nature, they have clip art pasted around at random. That's what I'm talking about.

There are some excellent web sites out there. There are sites with good content, good navigation, attractive graphics well-placed. They look . . . well, classy.

Others are the internet equivalent of the pawn shop section of town. Another great example is if what you'll find typing "wholesale" and any noun into a search engine. Just crappy. Hard to look at, amateurish . . . you know what I'm talking about (and thank you for not mentioning this site as a perfect example).

That's what I was talking about with the way the texture of TV is changing. We prefer—or we used to prefer—professional-looking programs on TV. Classy commercials with good lighting and composition, well-done music, and humor used to be the norm. Think "Super bowl commercials." The trend now is to the tacky late night commercials with the graphics done in someone's basement.

What I'm talking about is America. On the whole it's a classy place. We like paved city streets. We like curbs on those streets. We like good quality construction in our buildings. We like order and . . . you get the picture. We prefer class.

No to single out any particular third world country, but the Mercado Latino here locally painted the south wall of its store a hideous hot purple color. You know what I'm talking about. Those aren't colors we paint buildings in civilized countries with indoor plumbing. The car dealer who owned the adjoining parking lot to the south immediately erected a barricade of black landscape fabric, a move applauded by the entire English speaking population of the city. (I'll take pictures next time I go by there.)

That's what I mean about the whole decline in what it means to be American. Post Obamacare it's going to more resemble the Social Connections commercial than the Bud Light one.

Gone Digital
The show I was watching (for about three minutes) in the hotel room when I detected that the life had drained out of television, was Jay Leno. I don't know if it was the fact that he had on Wanda Sykes, who, in spite of an impressive thoracic region, is impossible to watch or listen to. I suspect that a large part of it may be that digital television has no life. In the same way that videotape (like they use on sitcoms) doesn't have the warmth of film (like they use on movies). I'll bet that digital TV is actually a worse medium to watch television in.

Whatever it was, the show had no edge. It had no life. It was dull and I couldn't watch it (or anything else). I watched an episode of 24 on my iPhone and hit the sack.

Samuel the Lamanite
You never see a team double-teaming the weakest player on the court. If you don't believe that Glenn Beck is doing the Lord's work, just look how much energy the devil puts into going after him.

"Glenn Beck to Lose Big on His House!" the headline chortled. I guess Glenn's selling his house and with the drop in the market he's going to get less for it than he paid for it. Wow. That is big news. I'm glad the press is so scrupulous in covering such important stories about the finances of private citizens.

Ditto for Sarah Palin. The AP assigned eleven reporters to fact check her memoirs.

Let's see, how many fact checkers did they assign to Al Gore's mendacious Inconvenient Truth?

It's hilarious. I wonder if they are the same ones who checked the facts in Lying History when Hillary told us how shocked she was to find out that Bill Clinton, of all people, actually had sexual relations 4,916 times with other women and not just 4,915 like she thought.

Danger Will Robinson
So you're minding your own business, hooking your iPhone up to iTunes to see if you can fix the iProblem with the iPhotos on your iPhone. You see a message: Update is available. Install now?

Sure, I mean, hey, you wanna' have the latest and greatest software on your phone, right?

Click "No." I'm urging you, I'm begging you. Click "No."

The problem you had with photos not showing up in your album because the numbering odometer rolled over is not fixed by the "upgrade," but everything else is broken.

The first thing I noticed is that my mail quit working. Gone. Nothing. I finally figured out how to fix it by setting "no limit" on how far back it looked even though "two weeks" had always worked fine. But then I realized my phone was hot. It was literally putting out heat like one of those hand warmer packets. Well, I had been using it pretty steadily to try to solve the mail problem. But a half hour later it was still burning a hole in my shirt pocket.

I pulled it out and the battery (which had been at 100% a few hours earlier) was down to 20% and wasted away further right in front of my eyes while I held the phone.

So now I have the latest and greatest software on my phone but everything that worked fine before (location services, push, fetch, alerts) have to be turned off.

You'd think I'd learn.

Just cleaning up . . .
You know the drill. Just a few more posts for you to ignore at your leisure.

Glenn Beck talked about Do you recognize America?

I said a year from now, by Christmas, you will not recognize this country . . . I started making a list, just rattling off a list of the things that if I would have told you were happening in this country a year ago, there's no way you would have believed . . .

If I would have told you last year at this time that the government would own General Motors, Chrysler, and many of the banks and financial institutions and AIG, that they would fire the CEOs, that they would threaten the banks,

. . . Not only would . . . the president fire a CEO but then the second individual that they put in place of the first guy, he would be fired and the guy they replaced . . . No one in the media would report that that guy is the man who helped Rahm Emanuel make $16 million in one deal.

if I told you . . . that there would be a 9/11 Truther, a guy who said the United States government blew up those buildings, a self avowed communist, a guy . . . who defended a guy who point blank shot a cop in the head, if I said he would be a high level advisor to the president of the United States, would you believe it?

If I would have told you instead that the most frequent visitor of the White House, over the Secretary of State and everybody else, is a labor union president who has repeatedly said workers of the world unite;

That the president of the EU would say that 2009 was the year of establishing a global government through the EU and that the climate change treaty would be the next step in one world government, that there would be a call for the end of the dollar as the world's reserve currency by several massive countries and that the leader of Russia would hold up a coin in front of the cameras and say here's a prototype of the new global currency,

that in government structured bailouts, bondholders would lose their legal status and their investments in favor of labor union payoffs and the courts would say, "Hmmm, yeah, okay." . . .

That California would decide to levy a 10% tax on its people and insist it's not a tax; it's just a forced loan. That they would issue IOUs instead of tax refunds. That New York would say by the end of the year they would be broke.

Almost there
I got this in an e-mail from a friend.
Dear President Obama,

Thank you for helping my neighbors with their mortgage payments. You know the ones down the street who in the good times refinanced their house several times and bought SUVs, ATVs, RVs, a pool, a big screen, two Wave Runners and a Harley.

But I was wondering, since I am paying my mortgage and theirs, could you arrange for me to borrow the Harley now and then?

P.S. They also need help with their credit cards, when do you want me to start making those payments?

P.P.S. I almost forgot - they didn't file their income tax return this year. Should I go ahead and file for them or will you be appointing them to cabinet posts?

The Liberals were Right
I have to admit it. My liberal friends were right.

They told me if I voted for McCain, the nation's Hope would deteriorate, and sure enough there has been a 20 point drop in the Consumer Confidence Index since the election, reaching a lower point than any time during the Bush administration.

They told me if I voted for McCain, the US would become more deeply embroiled in the Middle East, and sure enough tens of thousands of additional troops are scheduled to be deployed into Afghanistan.

They told me if I voted for McCain, that the economy would get worse and sure enough unemployment is approaching 8.8% and the new stimulus packages implemented recently have sent the stock market lower than at any time since 9-11.

They told me if I voted for McCain, we would see more "crooks" in high ranking positions in Federal government and sure enough, several recent cabinet nominees and Senate appointments revealed resumes of bribery and tax fraud.

Well I ignored my Democrat friends in November and voted for McCain. And they were right... all of their predictions have come true.

Reflections on the Inauguration
Headlines On This Date 4 Years Ago:
"Republicans spending $42 million on inauguration while troops Die in unarmored Humvees"

"Bush extravagance exceeds any reason during tough economic times"

"Fat cats get their $42 million inauguration party, Ordinary Americans get the shaft"

Headlines Today:
"Historic Obama Inauguration will cost only $120 million"

"Obama Spends $120 million on inauguration; America Needs A Big Party"

"Everyman Obama shows America how to celebrate"

"Citibank executives contribute $8 million to Obama Inauguration"

How to pick up women
Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.

When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

"I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

Impressed, the woman got his business card and 3 days later,she became his stepmother.

Women are so much better at estate planning than men.

That's it
Instead of saving e-mails I just post them here so I can go back to them when I need to. Keeps my inbox cleaned out and makes it seem like I'm getting my money's worth out of this blah-blah-blah-blog. I must have liked this article about Replacing God because it's in my notes.

Saving Money and Lives
Tonight's the big night. Tonight is the monthly trip to pick up 30 bales of hay to feed the horses for the next month. Thirty bales at $5.00/bale, let's see, that costs me . . . holy hungry stallion, Batman! That costs me 150 US dollars!

Well, anyone can see that's not fair. It's not fair that I should "carry the freight" for that by myself. I'm going to have a chat with Nancy Pelosi.

It won't be long now, you'll be doing the right thing and paying for the hay that I use. And don't get any bright ideas that you're going to skip out and not participate because you don't personally need hay every month. You'll be thrown in jail.

That's fair. In fact, that's the only way it's fair, according to one Nancy Pelosi, Socialist-CA. According to Pelosi, If you don't get thrown in jail for not buying hay for me to use, that leaves me "carrying the freight."

Just remember, universal hay buying saves money and it saves lives.

You might be saying "Well, I see your point, but it's not the same thing. Everyone needs health care, but not everyone needs hay for horses."

You don't have horses? Fair enough. I don't have a uterus. Why am I going to be paying for your abortions? The analogy is absolutely apt. Why should I be forced to pay for services you use that I don't?

Nancy Pelosi (Clueless Bitch-CA) says that it's to make it fair. Please explain to me how it's fair to throw me in jail because I pay for my doctor visits and not yours.

Pelosi's reasoning is that people who don't have insurance get their medical treatment at the emergency room and skip on the bill. Hey, I've got an idea? Why not throw those people in jail?

As one of the millions of Americans who choose not to carry medical insurance, I can tell you how stupid that reasoning is. Why should I pay $700 every single month plus paying for doctor's visits instead of just paying $50 each of the rare times that I see a doctor?

More importantly, what does it say about Pelosi's ethics that she ascribes criminal intent to a reasonable economic choice?


Merry Christmas
As a special Christmas treat I thought I'd post all the stuff today that I've been jotting down notes for all month long and never got a chance to post.

Just kidding. I wouldn't do that to you on Christmas.

In the spirit of Christmas I figured I'd give you something you would actually enjoy. These are from a great Obama bashing blog called I own the World.

Merry Christmas. Don't say I never gave you anything.

Not with a bang but a whimper.

From time to time a certain scene from a Stephen King novel pops into my head. I can't remember which book it was (I do have a feedback area, if you happen to remember) but in it a group of people are getting off a plane somewhere back east. The airport is abandoned, but something else is off-kilter, and they're not sure what. But then a lady in the group identifies it. There's no "life" to the sound. The sounds don't have an echo. Footsteps and everything just sound dead somehow—decayed.

They realize the life is draining out of the universe from the east to west somehow, and they have to hurry back on the plane and dash back west to save the planet. Yeah, I have to clue how, either, but it made sense in a StephenKingesque way at the time. I can't remember the name of the book or the danger or how they fixed it or any of the characters, but other than that it was a memorable book. But what stuck with me was that image—that all the life was draining out; that entropy was taking hold and things were just losing their edge.

Most recently the image came back to my mind when I turned on a TV on a business trip. Because I opted not to get a converter or a new TV back in June, the only time I get to watch TV is in hotel rooms on business trips. But this last time I recognized that dead, hollow note. I think what struck me most was the quality of the commercials. They were so . . . what, cheap? They lacked sophistication. They had the feel of those ultra low-budget dating ads you see late at night. But this was in prime time. I wondered "Did I ever really watch this without my intelligence being insulted?"

I know, I know, there's nothing quite as sanctimonious as a person who doesn't watch TV. I feel the same way. I don't care if a person chooses not to watch TV, I just don't want them to bore me with how much better they are than me because of it. But bear with me.

I don't know, maybe TV has always been that bad. Maybe I've just been off that opiate long enough that I can see it clearly now. But maybe it's that deal when you go to visit Aunt Gertrude and she says "Oh, look at these kids. My, how they've grown!" You don't notice it because it happens gradually and you see them every day.

What I'm talking about here is the line from Thomas Paine's Common Sense: "Time makes more converts than reason."

Whether it's a change in me or the radio, I'm seeing the same thing in that medium (or hearing the same thing, as the case may be). I find myself increasingly annoyed at the way things are presented. It's as though the class is draining out of things.

That's the point of this rambling narrative. America is always changing. For better or for worse my kids didn't grow up in the same America that I did. I didn't grow up in the same America my dad did. We get used to whatever we're familiar with. I'm just concerned that the culture, from the pride in workmanship to scams being foisted on us through telephone, TV, radio, and internet con artists, are making America more like other less worthy countries and less like the shining city on a hill that she once was.

So we're going to survive "health care." But the universe will have died somewhat. If (when) "health care" passes, America will be fundamentally changed—and not for the better. The damage this massive fraud will inflict on us will take us from exceptional to mediocre. America will never again be as prosperous or strong or good as it was.

Maybe then Obama can quit apologizing to third world countries for being better than they are.

Two-edged Sword
At the moment we live in a nation under The Rule of Law. The idea is that people can interact without regard to who's the most powerful. The Law is designed to prevent the powerful from bullying the weak. The system is supposed to protect the (weak) store owner from paying protection money to the (powerful) mob, because if they break his window, they have to answer to The Law. The Law is more powerful than them both.

The idea is equality. Again, I have to invoke Coed Effect. If you're at all interested in this topic you've already investigated it more than a paragraph in a blog is going to give you. But we do cherish Equality in this country, as we should. We cherish equality of opportunity and equality under the law, understanding that equality of abilities and results is not guaranteed.

We reverence the idea that not being born into a certain race or family or with certain physical gifts does not limit our opportunity. That's how it's supposed to work. But when the powerful figure it out, it can have the opposite effect.

The same law that provides protection can also protect from responsibility.

To get it clear in your mind, think of a crooked car dealer. He's going to screw you, confident that The Law protects him in his evil the same way it protects an innocent against evil. In the absence of The Law, screwing a customer would result in a lot of expensive dealership windows being broken and a well-deserved beating to a bloody pulp.

Personally, I prefer living under The Rule of Law. It's just an interesting deal, that's all.

Be reasonable
The pivotal concept is here reasonableness. You should be protected from the anger of the unreasonable. The judge who sentences a criminal is going to have the wrath of the criminal. The bad guy's going to be mad. But what if it's the good guy that's mad? The bad guy is also protected from the anger. The law that protects the judge from the criminals retribution, when the criminal was in the wrong also protects the criminal (as in the case of the car dealer) from the retribution of the guy who is justifiably angry.

Violence never solves anything?
Which brings us to our next topic. "Wait a minute, violence doesn't solve anything." Well, isn't that convenient for the person who's doing something that merits the righteous anger of a reasonable person?

While it's true that violence is not the answer to everything, a surprising number of problems that can only be solved by decisive force. I'm not advocating violence. I'm telling you, there will be violence. When a people get pushed so far, at some point they have no other recourse.

It's interesting that the liberals who say "violence is not the answer" are the sponsors of the unions who believe just the opposite. In the early 20th century you had a working class that was oppressed, and they decided not to take it anymore. You push people and corral them and keep blocking their efforts and something is going to break. They organized. We got unions out of it. Now their main weapon is violence.

The liberals are all in favor of violence when it's the labor unions doing the violence. Now that the liberals are the oppressors, all of a sudden it's not such a good idea.

Now that those same people are on the other side of the power equation they're telling us "You're not allowed to talk. You're not allowed to participate. You have no say. We're in charge now."

Finally, my point. The ones who are saying "violence never solved anything" are the ones who are going to cause the violence. Anytime we say something they say "Oh, you can't say that. You are going to cause violence. You aren't allowed to speak."

Well, that oppression is what's going to cause the violence. We aren't allowed to speak. We aren't allowed to participate. We are going to do something. If we're not allowed to talk, we'll find something else to do.

I'm just sayin' . . .

When the water's going where you don't want it to, you throw in a sandbag or two to stop it. Here are some examples of conversational sandbags:
This kind of talk is going to cause violence!
Are you questioning my patriotism?

These are what you invoke to dam the conversation. They are intended as a barrier the conversation just can't get past. The trouble is, as any farmer knows, the water is going to go somewhere. If you're an idiot it's going to bust out where you don't want it to.

Harry Reid, who has taken Joe Biden's place as the stupidest man in the United States Senate, said that if you don't want socialized medicine, you are a slave owner. He's not fooling anybody. That's not a statement, it's not a sentence, it's not talking or conversation. It's a sandbag.

The translation to any of those is: You are not allowed to participate in the conversation any longer.

If you're that afraid to hear my opinion, maybe your case isn't that strong. Can you say "Global Warming Hoax?"

The obligatory sports analogy
You know the deal. The sore finger always seems to be the one that gets bumped. I started this internal examination while my hands were busy mending a fence in a corral and my mind had nothing else to do. I came up with a couple of great lines, which I dutifully memorialized on the handy dandy voice recorder, and I figured that was that. But then I kept seeing things that dovetailed with the thread.

In a recent BYU football game an official made a really stupid call.

The Cougars had the ball at the Air Force two-yard line when Hall walked away from his spot behind center, pointing and gesturing as if barking out instructions. As he did, the ball was snapped to Unga, who ran in for an apparent touchdown.

But the officials whistled Hall for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the touchdown was negated. The officials explained afterwards that the penalty was called "for an unfair act to deceive the opponent."

How stupid is that? The referee got a ration of well-deserved razzing the rest of the game. Nobody beat him up, like they do at soccer games. At least we haven't drifted that far into the third world. But the power that a ref has (and must have) to protect from dissent also relieves him of the motivating fear about making really stupid calls.

Then there was the whole deal with Max Hall and the "classless Ute fans" comments, which were spawned by the way they had treated his family, etc., etc. Again, if you had any interest in it you and Uncle Google already spent some time going over it.

The Cavalry's Coming!
But they're leaving in 18 months
I, along with all other sentient beings on the planet, was mystified at Barack Obama's "strategy" in Afghanistan.

Then I figured it out. Obama must have seen the BYU game where the referee penalized BYU for "attempting to deceive the defense." Obama took that to heart and said "Hey, if you can't keep your game plan secret from the opposition in a football game, why should you be able to do it in war?"

Mystery solved. Glad to be of soivus.

What did you really want to talk about?
'Joe' sent me an e-mail with the official church policy on "partisan politics" under the subject line of "Is this your church, Utah County?" The statement (which you can Google if you give a crap about it) includes " . . . the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible."

That was a fascinating (albeit somewhat disturbing) look into the mind of the liberal. Specifically, that part of whatever mind a liberal might have that causes them to accuse you of what they're guilty of.

I answered back that we should ask a Utah County resident.

Hey, I see one right there!

'Joe,' do you accept the official position of the Church to respect political views that don't align with yours?

We can discuss political issues all day long. We can discuss health care. We can discuss political ideology. But if you're going to be dishonest about it, that kind of messes up the discussion, doesn't it?

The demorats told us that we have to socialize health care to get the deficit under control. Health care is all about fixing the economy.

What? No it's not.

Well, I . . . you . . . you're a racist!

The enemy did that to Rush Limbaugh. See? If you oppose our evil plan, we'll take you out. It had nothing to do with his views on race, any more than shooting down Judge Bork had anything to do with his views on race.

George Bush is another great example. You've got problems with W, tell me what they are. Let's chat.

Well, he's stupid.

I'm listening. You base this on what?

I , uh, but he, but you . . . the supreme court stopped the recount!

Okay, I get it. You hate George Bush because you've been told that you hate George Bush. That's fine. I think we're through here.

Let's discuss the issues. But as soon as you throw in the sandbags, the conversation is over.

Which, naturally, brings us to the topic of opera.

My daughter has a friend who got her interested in Phantom of the Opera. You know my view on opera. It sucks. The prime ingredient of music is melody. That's why rap is not music. And that's why most of what you hear in opera is not music either.

It's interesting that in Phantom of the Opera some of the lamest "talking on a musical pitch" annoying crap is right next to some of the nicest melodies you'll hear. That talking at a pitch, without regard to scansion, meter, or melody, is what makes opera unbearable crap.

But a lot of people claim to like it. Why is that? It's the Hannah Montana deal. They "like" it because they think someone else wants them to like it. It's the same reason they hate George Bush. Somebody told them to.

You can see where this is going. I'm talking about the "my vote made history" crowd. Very, very few people voted for Barack Obama. A great number of people voted for themselves. "Hey, look at me! Look how cosmopolitan I am!"

No one likes to admit having been played for a fool. So it will probably take a mushroom cloud over some American city before some Obama supporters wake up. Even so, the true believers among the survivors will probably say that this was all George Bush's fault.
Thomas Sowell said that. The difference between his view and mine is that people actually read his.

The Precipice Curve
A few years ago Travis got married and left home. But occasionally he comes back to visit. A couple of weeks ago we were pleased that he and his wife came to church during one such visit to renew acquaintances with all the people in the ward.

The reason you find this so fascinating is because Travis's wife is a babe.

Travis's wife is not one of those skinny blond gals who spend hours and hours on their makeup so that when you see them across the room you think "Whoa! Babe." She is a woman of striking natural beauty.

But, as you know if you've read this blog more than once, this post is not about Travis's wife (you will forgive me, however, if I spend a few more minutes thinking about the topic).

This post is about ranges, borders and limits. What I'm talking about is that Mrs. Travis has a very strong nose. She has strong features in general. She is not a skinny gal. The point is, she's not in the "safe" range of beauty. She is at the edge. The general rule here is that to get to beauty you have to push toward the edges. Beauty is closer to ugly than cute is.

The "characteristic" in the graph could be a lot of things. For the purposes of this illustration (and in keeping with my general mission to offend as many people as possible with every post) we could make it 'weight.' Beautiful women have meat on their bones. The more meat, the more beauty—up to a point. But that point is a precipice, as illustrated in the curve.

I have absolutely no idea what this has to do with anything (other than a good excuse to chat about beautiful women). But you get the idea. The concept with regard to beautiful women can be applied generally to anything with aesthetic appeal. In a similar vein with the addition of a time dimension, haircuts, clothes, and home designs that are classic will never be out of fashion. But they'll never be in fashion, either. They are safe.

Look at the opera question. The melodic lines in the Phantom of the Opera that are most beautiful are the ones that involve the biggest jumps in interval. Those are dangerous. You can have nice music staying in the safe zones of seconds, thirds, fourths, maybe the occasional fifth or two. But start making leaps to 6ths and octaves and beyond—that's flirting with disaster. It can be very beautiful, but it's dangerous.

And the same intensity that makes the high soprano tremolo so beautiful is what puts it close to the edge of screeching.

And that's all I have to say about that . . .

Almost there
Along the lines of "Are you questioning my patriotism" is this sandbag of sorts that I once heard. A guy at work was talking to the boss's son. I don't remember the conversation up to that point, but 'Brad' (let's call him) said "Are you saying that I was spoiled—that I didn't have to work?"

Whoa! Conversation stopper there. 'Brad,' by the way, was not lazy or spoiled. He was a valuable asset to the company. But 'Tom' explained what he was talking about. "No, but you have to admit you had opportunities that not everyone had."

That's important.

Read Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. Just do it.

Christmas Party Guidelines
Ah, December. The Christmas season is officially underway. December is a time of parties and gatherings, occasions when people get together. If it's your party at your house it's perfectly reasonable that you get to decide who you want there.

This is not hard. You have a guest list. People on the list get in. People who are not don't.

If you can't handle that, please don't try to manage the nation's health care system. I'm just sayin' . . .

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