Thursday, March 31, 2005

By the parking lot at Beaver Creek Posted by Hello

Near Copper Mountain Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

What I did today: 

Cleaned the kitchen floor.

Man, that sucked, now I see why only do it every six months.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Weather update 

Well, it's snowing sideways right now. Isn't that nice?

Also, can anybody explain why, when I bring up the Yahoo home page, I have to look at Paris Hilton's ugly inbred face? Isn't her 15 minutes about up?

Monday, March 28, 2005

All Aboard... 

David Berstein on Amtrak...
Hold on! Amtrak? You mean the Amtrak that is largely used by wealthy business travelers (with poor people using Greyhound?) The Amtrak that wastes billions of dollars running nearly empty trains to the districts of influential congressmen? The Amtrak that spent untold millions purchasing new high-speed trains, but never got around to upgrading the tracks to accommodate higher speeds? An Amtrak, in short, that redistributes wealth upwards, is run in a corrupt manner, and is grossly mismanaged? Is protectinig this was modern liberalism is all about? In fairness to Fein, he does go on to talk about Pell grants, Medicaid, and other programs intended to help the poor. But I think his inability to distinguish between government spending that actually serves liberalism's purported goals, and wasteful government boondoggles that receive reflexive support because they exist outside the market is an endemic problem that modern liberalism has yet to adequately address.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Flowers Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

Friday Cat Posted by Hello

Prose I like.. 

I recently finished reading The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. I cannot say I recommend it very much. None of the characters are very likable, or presents very compelling character development. The plot tends to lurch along, frequently grinding to a halt for very long descriptive sections, and it isn't ultimately very interesting or plausible.

The book is not without out good points, however. It gives a good picture of 15th century life in Paris and it has a certain witty black humor to it. In fact, it borders on the macabre at times, particularly at the very end. I can say with some confidence that the Disney movie(which I've never seen) is radically different from this book. In any case, there are also occasional passages of writing that really stand out, and here is one, from p.261-262, chapter 25, "The Rat Hole",
Moreover, this sort of tomb was not so very rare a thing in the cities of the Middle Ages. There might often be found, in the most frequented street, in the most crowded and noisy market-place - in the very midst - under the horses' feet and the wagon-wheels, as it were - a cave - a well - a walled and grated cabin - within which a human being prayed day and night, voluntarily devoted to some everlasting lamentation or some great expiation. And all the reflections which that strange spectacle would awaken in us today - that horrible cell, a sort of intermediary link between the house and the tomb, the city and the cemetery - that living being cut off from human community, and thenceforth reckoned among the dead - that lamp consuming its last drop of oil in the darkness - that remnant of life flickering in the the grave - that breath, that voice, that everlasting prayer, encased in stone - that face forever turned towards the other world - that eye already illumined by another sun - that ear glued to the wall of the sepulchre - that soul a prisoner in that body - that body a prisoner in that dungeon and under that double envelope of flesh and granite, the murmer of that soul in pain - nothing of all this was noted by the crowd.

State Quarters 

New state quarters, I like Nevada's best.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The truth about Canada... 

Ace has a theory...
I was just talking with my friend Stinky about Canada. Well, that's not true. I don't think I've ever talked about Canada with anybody. But me and Stinky were at a bar doing shots of Zima and we heard this other feller down the bar say that Canada doesn't even really exist, that it's a "paper country" established by lawyers for the NHL to evade NCAA rules against recruiting 17-year-olds into professional sports. Is this true? Because, if it is, it would be somewhat interesting, and then you'd have that going for you at least.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rock shot Posted by Hello

Clear Creek Posted by Hello

Rock close up Posted by Hello

Clear Creek Canyon Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

Slovakian Cuisine 

Earlier I remarked on a story that reported that Slovakians are among the fattest people in the world. While reading my Rough Guide to the Czech & Slovak Republics, I came across this(6th ed, p.423), which might help explain why
The most popular non-meat dish is vyprazeny syr, a slab of melted cheese fried in breadcrumbs served with potatoes and a large dose of tartare sauce, though watch out - if it's plneny or se sunkou, then it will certainly include ham.
and this
The Slovak national dish, bryndzove halusky, is a potato gnocchi with a heavy sheep's cheese sauce, usually topped with specks of fried pork fat or bacon.

Jury Duty 

I went to jury duty today. I got in at 8:00 am, as required. I, and everybody else, then say around for an hour until a woman showed up and played an annoying promo video on jury duty. We then sat around for another hour and a half until she showed up again and called off about 10 names and told the rest of us(about 80% of the group) that we could go home and our jury duty service was over.

On the one hand, I'm glad I'm done with jury duty. On the other, why did I have to show up at all? And why did I have to get there at 8 in the morning when they clearly weren't prepared to do anything at all with us for another hour? There is, shall we say, a little inefficiency in the system here. Oh well.

Cat blogging Posted by Hello

Friday, March 18, 2005

Inside the sausage machine 

Powerline notes this correction in the Washington Post-
In some editions, the article incorrectly reported that a satirical version of "Sweet Home Alabama" was performed at the dinner and described reaction to it.
Got that? They incorrectly reported that a certain skit was performed. Apparently it was planned, but dropped at the last minute. Understandable. They all also reported reaction to the skit that was never performed. Not understandable.

If you were naive, you would have assumed that they would have to have talked to someone in the audience who actually saw the skit, before they wrote down his words and reported them. Thus, such a mistake would be impossible, since they wouldn't have a witness to provide the actual words, and they wouldn't just make those up, right?

Fact is, this happens all the time. Lazy reporters take shortcuts, in this and many other ways, and just produce the story they want to exist. When you combine this with the incontrovertible fact that the overwhelming majority of reporters are Democrats(if not outright raving radical leftists), well... what kind of story do you think they are going to invent when they are filling in the blanks?

By the way, that skit? apparently it focused on a minor Republican scandal. And the reaction that the reporter made up out of thin air? "really pretty darned funny". So, what reaction do you suppose he would have made up if it had made fun of Democrats?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

But who's looking out for the baby seals? 

Let me just add my agreement to this post at Powerline-
The Senate has voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. The portion that will be open to drilling (assuming the Senate approves its budget and the House goes along) is a largely barren coastal section about the size of a regional airport in a refuge the size of the state of South Carolina. Drilling will occur only in the winter, when the place is frozen solid, using sophisticated technology that will scarcely leave a footprint come spring, when the single caribou herd that grazes in the refuge comes calling.
Is there any doubt that if it were not for the name of the preserve, which is just so emotionally satisfying for a certain type of person, that this would have been a done deal a long time ago? Liberal hacks and Environmental organizations(but I repeat myself) have been using the emotional heft of that name to advance their respective agenda (getting Democrats elected and raising money, primarily) for some time now. Their positions certainly have little to do with the merits of the case.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fickle Snow 

I went snowboarding today at A-basin. The weather was beautiful, the snow was... less so. A thin fresh coating on top of concrete. Can anybody explain to me how it can snow less in the mountains than it does in Denver? Anybody?

In any case, not a wasted day, but we need some fresh snow. March is really not filling it's end of the bargain here. At this rate my season pass won't have been a very good purchase...

International Fat People 

I find this story quite interesting-
In Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Malta and Slovakia, a higher percentage of men are obese or overweight than the estimated 67 percent of men in the United States, according to a report from the International Obesity Task Force, a coalition of researchers and institutions.
First, because it contradicts the conventional wisdom that Americans are the fattest people in the world.

Secondly, because some of the other countries are not the ones I would expect to fill out the list. In general, I think rising obesity in the US(and the rest of world) is the simple result of increasing wealth and decreasing physical work. The US happens to be the richest country and so it is at the front of the curve.

But some of these countries, Czech, Slovakia, Greece, Cyprus, are not among the wealthiest European countries. Germany I can understand and the Finnish probably spend all winter inside eating pickled fish. But why the others? I suppose there is a cultural component as well and some cultures are predisposed to obesity.

There may be a peaking effect going on here, where countries become obese as they become wealthier and then the problem ameliorates as the culture and education adjusts. I think in time a lot of countries will end up surpassing the US for obesity as they become wealthier and then, hopefully, recover again as culture catches up to the new economic reality.

Fear the VCR! 

Minuteman finds this really interesting story on North Korea-
"They are within the reach of the average family," said Dr. Lankov, who regularly interviews recent defectors. "They watch, almost exclusively, smuggled and copied South Korean movies and drama. Only a few weeks after airing here, they will go throughout North Korea."

More than showing middle-class family lifestyles, which can be staged in a studio, the soap operas also provide images of a modern Seoul - the forest of high-rise buildings, the huge traffic jams, the late-model cars.

With such images showing a stark contrast with primitive conditions in North Korea, Mr. Kim ordered the formation of a special prosecutor's office last November to arrest people who deal in South Korean goods, largely videotapes, or who use South Korean expressions or slang, analysts in South Korea say.
Imagine if you lived in this hellhole. There's never enough to eat. People eat grass. Everything's grim and falling apart. And you are completely isolated from the rest of the world, except for what your repressive, controlling government tells you, which is that it is worse everywhere else. It would feel like some kind of apocalypse scenario.

Then you see videotapes of South Korean soap-operas. You see new cars, skyscrapers, well fed people wearing flashy clothes...


...It just occured to me that this reminds me of Logan's Run. See if you can guess why.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Aussie supplied links 

Tim Blair notices this piece by PJ O'Rourke
America is not doctrinaire. It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry.
Kerry is also retailing the new Dem conventional wisdom, which is that the people were fooled(by Fox News, no doubt) into believing that WMD were found in Iraq. The problem with this line of reasoning is that WMDs were found in Iraq. Mustard gas and Sarin, to be specific. Ah, but clever and sophisticated liberals cannot be stampeded by the RupertMurdochScaifeBushitlerNeocon conspiracy into believing inconvenient truths at the expense of much more elegant falsehoods.(see OutFoxed, etc.)

Also discovered by Mr.Blair is a remarkable piece by Nick Kristof, admitting that there might be problems with the Environmental movement. Kristof is fully-immersed establishment liberal, so it's not surprising he has to throw in random cheap-shots at "neocons", but what is surprising is paragraphs like this.
When I first began to worry about climate change, global cooling and nuclear winter seemed the main risks. As Newsweek said in 1975: “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend ... but they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century."
Oh well. Fox news probably got to him. All the more reason for regulating free speech to keep the masses from being fooled.

That shiny new dell... 

So, in theory this is a better computer, and it does seem pretty good, but... twice in the last couple of days it's crashed so hard that I had to pull out the power plug. Once while I was trying to set up a peripheral, which is perhaps understandable, and once while I was trying to read my email on Yahoo, which is not. Maybe it's all the resident programs it comes loaded with that cause the problem... Or maybe it's just some bad luck and it won't happen again. Be good little dell, be good.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Friday cat Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 10, 2005

More Boxes Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Monkey likes boxes Posted by Hello

Mmmmm... shiny new computer 

So, I have a new computer now. It's a Dell, and it's all stylish, black and grey. Better than that old platinum-grey Sony I had. But really, the only thing that really matters with computers, we all know, is playing video games. Is this computer better? It should be. Time will tell.

In the meantime, In addition to making the PC switch, I have to think about my upcoming trip to Eastern Europe(Yes, I just got back from a trip, travelling is fun!), law school stuff, watching my new Simpsons 5th season DVD... man, I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Anyway, Ace has a post about the Israeli army's discrimination against people who play Dungeons and Dragons. His post is humorous, but as far as I can tell, the story is for real.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hail Posted by Hello

Monday, March 07, 2005

The easiest job... 

From Tim Blair-
Rove’s got the easiest freaking job in the world.

Show up to work, grab some donuts, play some solitaire and by lunchtime your political opponents have already dug their own graves and are beating themselves to death with their shovels outside on the street until Brit Hume resigns. By quitting time Howard Dean is not only DNC Chair, but he’s touring the red states making weird, hateful and racist speeches, and YARGHing a little every now and then.

Show up for “work” the next day to pick up your check and Bill Maher is outdoing Ward Churchill for hateful anti-American rhetoric on his own show and cartoon hack Toles is drawing the Ba’athist Syrian dictator as Winnie the Pooh.

By the time you are driving to the bank, listening to light FM and having another Krispy Kreme, the Democratic Party will probably have built a rocket to escape to the moon and forgotten to pack any extra oxygen.

If you get a call from Dubya asking how to best deal with Hillary Clinton four years from now, you can assure him that by 2008 she’s going to have to run in the Republican Primaries in order not to be laughed at. Then you can go out for some BBQ.
In that vein, I would like to point out that prominent Democrats are now pushing to allow all released convicts to vote. Yeah, that's a great political move. Yes, most felons tend to vote Democratic, but is that something you really want to bring attention to?

I mean, hey, it's not like the Democratic party has an image as being a bunch of mushy-headed soft on crime bleeding hearts, right?

Yes, by all means, let's have a big loud public discussion during which the public can be reminded
a) The Democratic party wants to help criminals, and
b) Criminals like the Democratic party

Oh, yeah, this will help them regain majority status.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Return 

Ok, I'm back.

I'm slowly settling in here and just generally dealing with stuff, especially after the whole "forgetting the keys in LA" thing. Turns out I've been accepted to Law school, so I know what I'll be doing for the next three years.

As for the end of my trip to New Zealand, I did three days in the Matukituki valley, which was very nice. After that I felt a little lost. I didn't have enough time to plan to do anything big, especially since bus transportation is not the most efficient way to get from place to place, so I sort of felt like I was killing time. I spent a night in Queenstown in a hostel with some sketchy people that I didn't want to spend, but the bus service left me no choice. I spent two nights in Dunedin, which was nice, since I had wanted to spend more time there after my last trip, and then a night in Christchurch.

I was a little tired of the weather by the end. Rain every three days, clouds. It wasn't so bad, but I am spoiled. I think we might very well have the best weather in the world in the western United States. Good to be home, don't think I'll need to return to New Zealand for a long time.

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