30 March 2008

Quick Post

just as I was about to shut this thing down

so anyway, my brother Kim du Toit's post over at Geopoliticus on the (pardon the pun) weapons-grade stupid idea of "ammunition coding technology" is a must read.

More soon.

29 March 2008

Catching Up

it's been a very long short week

so anyway, despite having Monday off, the past week was the longest short week in captivity. Brutal, it was. A friend was made redundant by the Stoopid Business™, and odds are tremendous that another friend (and fellow blogger) will experience the stainless steel hook of unemployment on Monday. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

We're all busy people here, so let's get right to it. McQ of Q and O fame put up an outstanding post entitled "Obama, Big Oil and Fun with Charts". This is must read material. I've been meaning to blog about this ever since I read it on Wednesday. The third chart down the page made my heart swell with pride: all these other industries actually making money, but us in the Stoopid Business™ ( that would be "Motor Vehicles and Parts") are just giving it away, hand over fist.

McQ introduces us to one Jason Grumet, a "key advisor" to Senator Obama on energy and environmental issues:

Grumet, head of the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center in addition to advising the Obama campaign, said the oil industry had "concentrated incredible market power in a small number of companies" in a way that caused alarm.

"Senator Obama has a deep concern that the consolidation of the industry — these national mergers, you know, that were allowed under both Clinton and Bush administrations — are a cause for some concern," he said.

He said an Obama administration would examine "whether these mergers and consolidations have decreased competition in a way, concentrated market power in a way, that is undermining to consumers."

Grumet declined to identify specific companies and would not comment on whether Obama would seek to break up dominant players. Leading U.S. oil firms include ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips.
You don't even have to do the math, people. Just go look at the charts and graphs. It's all there in black and white (and even colors!). You people have all sorts of problems with paying $3.25 for a gallon of gas, $0.25 of which is "big oil" profits; but have no problem paying roughly $10.00 for a gallon of Busch beer that carries $2.15 worth of profit for "big beer".

OK, so maybe you do have to do some math, but it's worth it.

This material will be covered on your Final Exam. thatisall

22 March 2008


much ado about not really all that much

so anyway, this whole "passport records" dust up caught my eye this week. As luck would have it, I was filling out the paperwork to have my own passport renewed when the story broke. As per my usual, I have the DS-82 all filled out, the photos ready, the check written, and my passport all stuffed into the requisite padded envelope, ready to go to the Post Office. I should get it in the mail on Monday or, with the way my life works, sometime between Monday and Flag Day. Remember, procrastination is what I do best.

I've been reading through the dextrosphere on the passport records fiasco, and realized that rather than reading the opinions of the punditry, I should go to an expert for the real deal.

After all, if you wanted to know how to make a car's Instrument Panel (that's the "dash-board" for those of you fortunate enough not to work in the Stoopid Business™) as cheap as possible, you'd come to me. That's my job: to make sure the next new car you buy is a bigger piece of siht than the one you traded in. Hey, it pays the bills and I haven't really missed my soul (much) since entering this pact.

If you want the knowledge about things concerning the State Department, you need to read Consul-At-Arms. He has all (as in, all of them) the links, replete with commentary, on this whole situation. Hit the front page and scroll and read.

CAA offers a primer on passport records and passports in general that is a must read. Here's something I bet you did not know:

Lastly, back to those passports some of you have. If you'll peek inside, you notice a couple of things. First of all, notice a blank space where a line has been provided, above which the passport bearer (that's YOU!) is encouraged to write their signature. If you haven't already done so, please sign the Blessed thing. I wish I had a nickel for every passport I've seen where the U.S. citizen hadn't yet signed it. And yet it was being presented to me and I was supposed to use it to verify the citizen's identity and, you guessed it, their SIGNATURE.

How, exactly, is that supposed to work?

So do yourself a favor and sign it; technically it's not valid until you do so.

.....the second thing you may notice in your U.S. passport is a page where you can put some emergency contact information. Please use it.
Read the whole thing. You'll be smarter for it.

There's lots more blog-worthy stuff out there, but the Easter Bunny has to make an appearance in about seven hours, so I should get some sleep. More soon.

18 March 2008

Flounder's Logic

Hey, are you guys playing cards?

so anyway, it appears that Senator Obama gave a speech today. All the cool kids are talking about it. Via Q and O, McQ sums it up:

Essentially this will satisfy those who are pro-Obama and not satisfy those who are not for Obama (that would include me, but for reasons ideological, not race.). My question is, how will the big middle, the great undecided, see it?
You should read the whole thing.

In other news, Mike at Cold Fury is in a dour mood:
Anybody who thinks the current Obamacrap is anything other than the same old collectivist pig in fresh lipstick either wasn’t around for or doesn’t remember the “Man from Hope” bushwa they shoveled out in ‘92 and ‘96 very well. The “hope” is illusory; the “change” is a swindle, since there’s never anything more on offer than merely cosmetic alteration to the ever-present statist agenda.....
As per his usual, he's spot on.

More soon.

17 March 2008

Monday Night Thoughts

Odds and Ends

Happy St.Patrick's Day, BTW

so anyway, another week in The Stoopid Business™ is under way. Can't you just taste the excitement?

A couple of quick points on the recent news:

First, the important stuff. Consul-at-Arms' topped 100,000 hits on his counter this evening. Go ye therefore and read; it's all good. As he mentioned earlier today:

I also had noticed the upcoming milestone on my Site Meter. I'd be a lot more impressed by myself if weren't for all the web logs I read that get those sort of numbers a whole lot quicker and more often that I ever will.
CAA, remember; you work for a living and have a blog, not the other way around. Trust me, it's impressive.

Second, (and I can't believe I'm even blogging about this, because I care not): "Kristen" of Eliot Spitzer fame aged ten years over the weekend, from 22 to 32. Curious, the early reports on the whole fiasco said that Spitzer had been "frequenting" her for something like eight years; my money says she was under-aged when he started availing himself of her services. I mean, really, had she gone from 22 to 26 or 27, OK, that's just playing fast and loose with one's age. Aging a whole decade just smacks of a cover-up. Your actual mileage may vary.

Third, Senator Obama says he was not in attendance for Wright's inflammatory sermon on 22 June, because he was speaking at a LaRaza event in Miami that same day? Now there's an alibi that will win friends and influence people. McQ at Q and O has the goods.

We'll have this much fun again soon, I'm sure.

15 March 2008

Confessions of an "unsuccessful" blogger

Who defines "success"?

so anyway, yesterday Jon Henke at Q and O linked out to John Hawkins' Right Wing News post on "The Top Ten Reasons Bloggers Don't Succeed". If you're in the blogging game, you should sit up and take notice (read the whole thing) as it serves as a good diagnostic check-up on how you're doing as a blogger.

Hawkins is living my dream, to an extent: he's blogging full time. Blogging is his JOB. He slugged it out for almost five years of working all day then blogging all night; building a base of readers, establishing "the brand". Hawkins often comments on the blogging craft, and has the "street cred" to do so authoritatively.

Grain of salt, notwithstanding.

I've done a little (light) soul-searching on the whole blogging thing over the past day or so; and applied Hawkins' template for "success" with mixed results. His points, my excuses explanations follow: (I reserve the right to revise and extend, but you knew that already)

1. "They're just not very good" I agree with Hawkins in that it's my personal mission in life to point out abuses of the English language; my own abuses of the language are (mostly) deliberate. Also agreed that writing every day improves one's ability to write. More on that topic later.

2. "They don't cover interesting material" You blog on the topic du jour, the current debate / issue / scandal. It's why you blog; to have a voice in the town square, heard or not.

3. "They're not unique enough" I'll take this as a given. As an active "consumer of blogs", I gravitate towards the singular characters for their uniqueness. Ace is the first example that comes to mind; he's got "unique" going for him in spades.

4. "They don't network" Guilty as charged, Your Honor. I don't "network". I don't have the time.

5. "They don't promote their work" Again, I am guilty of this deadly blogging sin.

6. "They're not consistent enough. They take days off" It's like he's been reading Supply Side Politics 2.0. Inconsistency is my hallmark. Again, more on that later.

7. "Doing their initial promos too early" Not guilty.

8. "They don't link out enough" If #7 is a pet peeve of Hawkins', this one is a pet peeve of mine. I was recently taken to task by a commenter for "linking too much". Fat lot of good it's done me, as far as Hawkins' model of success goes. I look at my blogroll: I've linked most of them several dozen times or more. In my model, the outbound link is my way of saying "Hey, go look at what they said over here" rather than seeking some quid pro quo.

As an aside, on the blogroll there's a blogger that every time I link to him, he leaves a comment within 48 hours and posts a reciprocal link on his blog. Every.Single.Time. His hit counter is almost at 100,000. Mine is creeping up on 6,800. Yes, I've done the math.

On another note, I still have not figured out the whole "trackback" thingy. I've been busy. I should look into that.

9. "They don't post enough each day" Again, guilty as charged. I would prefer to post at least fifteen times a day. Or more. Like I said, more later.

10. "They don't hand around long enough" I've been standing on this soap-box since June 2004. I've beaten the odds as far as the "infant mortality rate" for bloggers goes. I realized early on that this was a hobby and have treated as such.

I would posit that the vast majority of "unsuccessful" bloggers out there are a lot like me: I have a full time job, a full time wife, three full time kids, and a full time household, all of the above occupies most, if not all of my waking hours. It's no coincidence that most of my posts go up after 11 PM, if at all. At any given time, I have a dozen different posts that I'm working on, saved as draft on one of the three computers in my daily life. As my time to blog is limited, I rarely can get them fleshed out in a timely manner and get them posted. It's not that us "unsuccessful" bloggers don't post enough, it's that we can't post enough.

I fully agree with Hawkins that it takes far more time to properly research a post than it does to actually write a post.

Dammit, it's gotten late early again. I reserve the balance of my time to revise and extend at a future date. thatisall.