Monday, August 29, 2011

Some Thoughts On The Global Warming Debate

Let me be a little more expansive in my thoughts and opinions on all this global warming hype and hooey...

My points:
*For starters... I think it is an absurdity to suggest that mankind could deposit the level of pollution into the atmosphere so as to have a global impact on climate. The forces of nature are just too big, too powerful, too vast to be affected by people driving cars or herding cattle. I could be wrong, but the burden of proof is one somebody else.

*Since I was a kid i remember being taught about earlier ice ages and what not, and how the Midwest was once covered by seas, and another time with glaciers and...

*In more recent readings, I've learned about climatic changes in Europe recorded within the last couple hundred years. It's been made clear to me that the only constant when it comes to climate is the lack of one.

*I believe that I have a reasonable duty to take reasonable care of the creation that God has bestowed for my use. As a result, good stewardship is a matter of faith and practice. It is why on trash day usually finds my recycle bin fuller than my refuse bin. That's just how I am.

*Other people (I will call them Hippies here) may have as strong a spiritual connection to the 'earth' (or whatever) as I do to Christ. That is fine. They can do as they will. But I don't appreciate them forcing their morality upon me any more than they want my morality forced upon them.

*Seems whenever some politician brings up 'climate change' (they had to give up the term 'global warming' when it stopped warming, I guess), the next breath spoken is an attack on my earnings, my savings, or my (humble) lifestyle.

*Seems whenever some Hippie mentions 'climate change', his solution usually requires an attack upon my earnings, my savings, or my (humble) lifestyle.

*Many politicians and their cronies are making bank off of tax payer funded initiatives designed to fight global warming climate change.

*As for climate researchers and scientists: aren't these some of the same people who told me about glaciers and seas in the Midwest who now warn me that shit is changing again, but this time it's all my fault?

*Why won't the pope of global warming climate change accept a debate on the issue in which he claims infallibility?

*Why does the faith community he leads allow him to live the lifestyle of hypocrisy that he does? Maybe they don't really believe in it themselves, but see an opportunity to force their own Hippie morality upon the rest of us.

*If real science is taking place, and I believe it often is, then why do I read about restrictions on peer review?

*Nobody has yet been able to tell me what is the proper climate, or been able to demonstrate how lowering my living standards will achieve it.

Yes, I am a skeptic. What is wrong with that?

One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore.

With his several mansions, a fleet of SUV's, at least two house boats, private jet travel and who knows how many wide screen televisions in support of his lavish lifestyle... Al Gore will be known for operating a fleet of slave ships.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A New Delicacy

It sounds like an urban legend: giant mutant-looking rats roaming a city housing project.

Only there's a picture.

A photo making the rounds shows Housing Authority worker Jose Rivera minutes after he speared the humongous rodent with a pitchfork at the Marcy Houses.

According to the article, this is a Zambian Pouched Rat, an invasive species. Further reading informs me that these things can cause severe environmental damage if allowed to spread... a very real possibility.

Let's open a season on them, like Florida has already done with another invasive nuisance species.

At 4lbs or better, one Zambian Pouched Rat could produce enough meat to provide dinner to a ghetto family of four. Maybe stewed? Quartered and fried? Use some imagination.

Hold it!
I know what yer thinkin'..,
But if some rural folks can make a delicacy from possum, another rat-like species, then why not these? Just publish a few recipes to get the notion started and turn the project dwellers loose.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Old Forester

Sweet vanilla scent combines with oak. Around the edges, a little nutmeg. It's rather inviting.
Smooth and creamy, brown sugar and caramel on the tongue. Pepper and spice is strong up front, with a very mild burn in back where I prefer a little more balance. A dry easy finish, if short, a little more of the oak comes through.
It's even smoother with an ice cube.

Can't remember what I paid... somewhere tween $10-13 at BevMo. It's actually a good bourbon for the price. Definitely more subtle and complex than Evan Williams, which is in the same budget category.
I like it.

I'm come to fully believe that marketing has more to do with the price of a bourbon than it's taste and quality, just like with beer and coffee. If you can convince enough consumers that your product is a cut above, they will pay the extra $5-10 a bottle 'cause 98% of them wouldn't know the difference anyway.
That said... for me, Wild Turkey is still the baseline standard that all others are compared to.

Being off work for a while has left a lot more time for sleeping it off, so I'll be back at the liquor store more often. Come to think of it, I see another pilgrimage in the very near future... like tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Disabled Or Less Abled?

As I've stated before, should this next procedure to address my breathing issues does not succeed I will facing the very real probability of applying for an early disability retirement. Seriously, it's not that bad of an option, and is probably a preferable one given the alternative of working for the same level of income that I would receive from not working.

The main issue with my health is that I cannot perform some of the more strenuous work my employer may occasionally call upon me to perform. My standard job position is actually fairly laid back. I got it easy most of the time. There are many things I can do without issue, and they are all a part of my regular duties.
The issue with my employer is their requirement that I be 100% capable of working where they need me at any time, and not just where I'm regularly scheduled. Fair enough, really. The choice is clear: get fixed, or get lost.

This brings me to the Social Security Disability issue. If you have not heard, the program is going broke really fast. It seems kinda not right that somebody who's been in the mill for 20-30-40 years can retire with a full benefit for what really only amounts to a partial disability. And I'm not talking about just myself. There have been a string of co-workers 'forced' onto disability when they are perfectly able to do less demanding tasks. The most common ailment is a bad back or something else equally easy to acquire with age. (I think I would be the first case of Laryngeal Paralysis H.R. had ever seen.)

To the best of my knowledge, SSDI doesn't have a semi-retirement status. There is nothing physically preventing me, or many others, from taking less demanding work at a lower rate of pay if SSDI only offered a partial benefit. Think of the money that would be saved.

And think: why should a normally healthy, if limited, worker be paid the same benefit as one who had a terrible accident and ended up in a wheel chair?

As for me, should I become eligible, I'm taking all the money they'll give me, and using my remaining abilities to earn cash money on the side... It would be stupid not too.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conan The Barbarian

Remembering the original, I was looking forward to this remake. I wasn't expecting perfection, but I was hoping that they wouldn't over do it with FX and other digital bullshit. Maybe a remake on par with True Grit 2011? That would have been a beautiful, beautiful thing indeed.

Instead, we are given something much more faithful to the original character that Robert E. Howard created a very, very long time ago...
Yeah, that's right. It's not the same Conan The Barbarian movie. Not even near the ballpark, and you are informed of such with the opening scene presenting the birth of Conan on a battlefield as his warrior mother lays dying from her wounds. This was a wince-ful scene that could have been produced better. Instead, it comes off as digital-tech moshed with claymation tech, and badly presented as reality.

In praise, I don't think it's possible to better cast the role of Conan than the choice of Jason Momoa. He was perfect, doing a much better 'Conan' than Arnold Schwartzeneggar ever could. (Sorry, Brian.)

From there, Conan begins his legendary life of warrior awesomeness, killing everything that moves; mythical, magical or otherwise. Much of it while accompanied by his roving band of warrior Rastafarians.
And therein lies my first bitch: All the enemy clans look borrowed from other successful movies. They got Last of The Mohicans, Excalibur, Gladiator, Braveheart, Clash Of The Titans... and then a slave tribe of topless white girls, all of whom possess lithe bodies graced with firm breasts of impeccable proportion (OK, I didn't really mind that part too much).
The lack of creativity doesn't end there. Before long this project gets all Lord-Of-The-Rings on us, with overly sensational imaginary cities that become unbelievably destroyed. It's all too fantastic for my preference, and I was ready for it to be over about 1/2 hour before it was.

All in all, this one tries too hard to do too much, and fails convincingly.

Evocations: Last Of The Mohicans, Krull, Excalibur, Gladiator, Flesh And Blood, Lord Of The Rings, Braveheart, Clash Of The Titans

I'm sitting there in the theater, watching a remake I had been anticipating, hoping to God 'they' didn't fuck it up...
When every scene reminds me of another scene from any one of several movies I'd seen before...
But not once am I reminded of the uber-classic original.

Is it me, is the times, or is it just the current trend?

I think I'm going to start tacking 'reminder notes' at the bottom of every movie posting.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmm...?"

I don't know why, but this post has received hundreds of google hits from every Muslim country from Morocco to Indonesia. Even Sri lanka, and I didn't know they had the internet there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Evan Williams

Oakish and grassy scent followed with a little sugary char, after which the alcohol comes through.
A wash of vanilla on the tongue mixed with oak. Void of many complexities or subtleties, it's a traditionally generic taste: a full 'bourbon' flavor with a rugged finish.
Blue collar, it gets the job done without shame nor want. What you'd expect from an everyday swigging bourbon.
I would imagine that if you were using it for a marinade or for cooking, then you found the right one. A good mixer,too.

About $12-13 at BevMo. It'd put it next to Rebel Yell on the shelf. Similar in class, with a different character. If you're on a budget, pick this one.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Persons Are Persons

Brian brings up a point in an earlier comment thread. I'll clarify as to why I believe the way that I do:

It's seems quite evident to me that humankind (or hupersonkind, If Your Name Is Amanda) is set aside from other beings in creation. If one believes in a Creator, which I do, it's probably easier to see this point; that mankind is special, and was created that way.

This is why most civilized people have turned away from what we perceive as less moral practices, such as slavery, and the notion that one person cannot legitimately own another, or deprive another of life or property. It is why murder and theft are outlawed pretty much across the board throughout civilization.

Since it's a difficult call to say at what time a human life holds lower status than a lizard or dog, I have to presume that humans are humans from the point of creation because they are created accordingly. Seems easy enough to me.

After accepting the higher creative status of humanity the issue then becomes personhood. When is a person a person?
After several arguments, I discovered there is not a single demarcation point in the life of a human being that can't be refuted. They are all arbitrary, based upon whatever agenda is being pressed.
So, it brought me to the belief that the only true and morally honest point of where personhood begins in the life of a human being is the moment when that human being comes into existence in human form: conception.

I find that those who like to claim the feminist mantra of 'respect for all persons' often like to draw an arbitrary line of demarcation so as to justify all abortions as righteous acts. It reminds me of those I read about in history books who wrote that "All men are created equal" while denying 'man' status to those they held title to.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cowboys And Aliens

An unnamed loner with a funky wrist shackle appears in the New Mexico desert and wanders into a town that is soon attacked by aliens, who kidnap some of the town folk.
Lots of weird happenings as the stranger, who by this time has been identified as notorious outlaw Jake Lonergan with amnesia, forms up a posse and leads them on a trek to battle the aliens and rescue the hostages.

Daniel Craig plays Jake Lonergan. He puts forth a fairly decent cowboy portrayal that reminds me of characters from westerns of yore with his mannerisms and attitude.
Olivia Wilde is eye appealing as a warrior alien from another world who's come to earth to help in the fight.
Harrison Ford and Keith Carradine, as local boss and sheriff respectively, mail it in as only they know how...

All in all, not a bad diversion. Nothing original, either. I was reminded through out of other movies from years gone by: Close Encounters, Battle: Los Angeles, Krull, Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator... the list can go on forever. I've mostly given up on seeing anything original in the theaters for a while, so this is as as good as anything else out there.

The Feminist Misogyny

Mother's blood test reveals baby's sex
Blood drawn from expectant mothers could offer parents an earlier sneak peek at their baby's sex than methods currently used in the U.S., researchers said Tuesday.
Apparently, this newer test does offer a menu of limited benefits in aid to healthy pregnancies, but that's not the real issue behind it's potentially wider use. What is feared is the rise of gender selection abortions.

The part I relish is the feminists not knowing where to go with this, while their allies seem to those who are holding up it's introduction in this country and worldwide.

The basic feminist pro-abortion stance that all women should have free and easy access to abortion for any reason and at any time will certainly face it's limits should this test become more widespread, knowing that it will be unborn women who will mostly likely bear the brunt of it's results.
Imagine that. Feminism doing it's part to limit women's reproductive rights.

If women can't be trusted with this choice then what is 'choice' all about?...
How can one call herself a feminist while still allowing the means for the culling of unborn women?

Matters not to to me. I oppose abortion across the board. I also support new methods and tests and intelligence that will help bring forth healthier babies from safer pregnancies. This test is no threat to the values that I hold dear. Bring it on.

I doubt many feminists can say the same. It's called "Hypocrisy".

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Try to read this:


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It Will Bury Us

There's been some talk/chatter about reductions in military spending as being part of the deficit reduction plan. I know this chaps the hide on more than a few conservatives because there seems to be this emotional attachment to military spending woven into the right winger's DNA.

I know it because I am guilty as well. As a right-wing child of the Cold War, I grew up with the notion of the need for a strong defense. The thought being that we needed as much destructive shit out there as we could produce. The more the better. The best defense was a better offense that you hoped would never be needed.

Well, the world changes, and it certainly has changed since those good old days of the cold war, when we knew from where the threat was coming. It's a all different now. As Brian (esteemed House Of Shreds commenter) pointed out a few months ago, to paraphrase: when you leave cool shit laying around it doesn't take much excuse for The Man (in this case, Obama) to find a reason to use it (Libya) for questionable enterprises.

And conservatives need to realize that a limited government also means a less powerful government. This also means a less Offensive government. War costs money, and I can make the argument that 90% of our wars we had no business taking part in the first place.
So tell me again why we have all this offensive capability when our primary enemy lives in stone age comfort and drinks unpasteurized goat's milk?

Conservatives, relax. We can do without a few extra thousand tanks if we just mind our own damned business. Be conservative for real. That would include a more conservative approach to foreign intervention as well.
Haven't you noticed that every time we mount up and 'save' a bunch of third-world losers the deal also includes nation building and food drops. Oh, here's an idea... just think of foreign intervention as another form of food stamps and welfare for brown skinned people. There. Is that easier?

We can't afford to be doing these things anymore. So let's not, OK?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fighting Cock

Rich amber red in color. Hints of vanilla, oak and leather in the nose. Nothing overpowering. Alcohol presence is minimally noticeable.

Smooth and thick vanilla on the tongue, rich and creamy, not complex. With an easy pleasing burn towards the back. It really needs an ice cube to open it up a little so the flavors bloom. With ice, it's earthier. You can taste the oak.
A smooth finish, on the dry side. Only a little vanilla-caramel lingers.

Overall, a pleasant drink. I imagine a sipper would be left wanting for a little more. I'm a three fingers type of drinker.
At 103 proof,Fighting Cock is carrying some pretty large spurs and is one of the stronger bourbons on the shelf. Not a bad dose for the money. About $16 and some change at BevMo.
And you will feel three fingers worth.

Ramadan Greetings From Anaheim.

On the left is Lahmaba Jin: a mix of ground beef, tomatoes and herbs.
On the right is something called Sphiha: ground meat, pomegranate juice, and pine nuts.

Fresh from a stone brick oven in Anaheim's Little Arabia district. You wish you had some.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Devil's Double

It's been a long time since a film allowed me to forget that I was sitting in a theater watching a movie as thoroughly as this one did.
The Devil's Double tells the true story of Latif Yahia, a young Iraqi lieutenant forced into service as Uday Hussein's body double/decoy/bullet catcher. This journey into the life of Uday exposes Latif to a world of unimagined privilage, mindless opulance, and brutal cruelty leaving him searching for a way out.

Dominic Cooper plays the roles of Latif and Uday. This means that he is often on screen twice at the same time, usually talking to himself. No easy feat for any actor to pull off convincingly, having to inhabit two different personalities for the same project. If he hasn't earned some sort of academy acclaim (or whatever) then that would be an injustice. Kudos as well for the editing of the scenes. It's flawless and seamless.

Limited release, but as far as I know it's playing all the major cities. Hopefully, it will roll out for a wider audience soon cause to catch it on Netflix would be a dishonor. This is a big screen effort.

If you can, go see it. It's worth it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ready For Some Football

It looks like the Bears have made a couple of upgrades going into the new season, although the proof will have to show itself on the field over the next several weeks:

A very effective tight-end, Greg Olsen has been traded to Carolina for a 3rd round draft pick. Olsen was quite productive for us in the past, but doesn't much fit in the Mike Martz offense (that I am still not sold on). Martz like blocking tight-ends, not receiving ones. Olsen was always a Red Zone threat, probably our most reliable one. I'm sure the Panthers are a better team with this trade. The Bears I'm not sure of.

Finally, a potential #1 receiver joins the team: Roy Williams has arrived via Dallas. According to reports, this was a Martz pick. Williams had a good career under Martz in the past, but that was 5yrs ago. A lot can happen to a WR in 5yrs. Call me skeptical but hopeful. On the up side, his presence on the field should open up opportunities for Hester and Knox, making them more dangerous.

After 13yrs and 183 starts, the Olin Kreutz era came to end. That is one start shy of record holder Walter Peyton. Not enough can be said about Kreutz's contributions to the team on and off the field and in the locker room. This is not necessarily a good departure, but I fail to see the downside. Kreutz was passed his days as an elite Center. His main contribution at this point was knowledge, wisdom and moral. Personally, I'll miss watching him get after opposing players who dared to touch his Quarter-back, or delivered a hit to another Bear. He was the 'heart and soul' of the Offensive line... An Offensive line that hadn't managed to offend anybody the last two seasons except Jay Cutler. It was time to go.

Kreutz is being replaced at Center with free agent Chris Spencer from the Seahawks. Spencer is a little bit bigger and five years younger. I'd say we upgraded on this one. I'm still waiting for additional upgrades to the O-Line. I have a feeling they won't be coming. Maybe the addition of blocking Tight Ends is suppose to compensate for the weak O-Line? We'll see.

I remain positive that the Bears can make a real solid run this year and beat the Packers for the title again.