Archive for June 2008

Today’s Laughs

June 30, 2008

First, Radley Balko explains why David Vitter and Larry Craig aren’t hypocrites:

Vitter and Craig are clearly victims, here.  As National Review’s Stanley Kurtz has warned us, once the gays start marrying, it will set off a tidal wave of temptation, causing even the most robustly heterosexual men to consider cheating on their wives.

Craig and Vitter are clearly victims of Massachusetts legalizing gay marriage several years ago.  We can’t expect them to take personal responsibility for what they did.  Society made them do it.  In sponsoring this bill, they’re merely trying to spare other straight, conservative politicians from falling victim to the chain-reaction of debauchery set off by allowing, for example, these two sinners to exchange vows.  Craig and Vitter are heroes, not hypocrites.

Second, the American Family Association – a right wing nut case organization – has a policy that prohibits the use of the word gay in their news letter. Instead, they have to say homosexual. That is not the funny part. The funny part is the article they published in their news letter about Olympic hopeful Tyson Gay:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Homosexual said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.” . . .

Wearing a royal blue uniform with red and white diagonal stripes across the front, along with matching shoes, all in a tribute to 1936 Olympic star Jesse Owens, Homosexual dominated the competition. He started well and pulled out to a comfortable lead by the 40-meter mark.This time, he kept pumping those legs all the way through the finish line, extending his lead. In Saturday’s opening heat, Homosexual pulled way up, way too soon, and nearly was caught by the field, before accelerating again and lunging in for fourth place. . . .

Gay’s race came with the wind blowing at 4.1 meters per second; anything above 2.0 is not allowed for record purposes.”I didn’t really care what the wind was,” Homosexual said. . . .

After the race, Homosexual and [2d place finisher Walter] Dix looked at each other and slapped palms, then hugged.


Again, Why I Hate Republicans

June 29, 2008

There’s a million reasons to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment – federalism reasons, pragmatic reasons, it’s just plain stupid reasons – which, because it’s an election year, was once again introduced last week. But this is beyond hilarious:

But the funny part is looking over the list of the 10 original sponsors. Most of the names are predictable — Brownback and Inhofe, for example — but there are two others whose names stand out: Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

Yes, two of the principal sponsors of a constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage include one far-right Republican who hired prostitutes and another far-right Republican who was arrested for soliciting gay sex an airport men’s room.

How do these people sleep at night? And is anyone in the entire country really so stupid they can’t see how ridiculous this is? Who would be suckered into voting Republican by the amendment? All it and its sponsors are doing is advertising the party as a bunch of bass ackwards ignorant hypocrites.

Obviously These Folks Have Never Been Here

June 26, 2008

We’re thirty second on the list of sweatiest cities?

Scotus Protects Right To Bear Arms

June 26, 2008

From the Scotus Blog:

Answering a 127-year old constitutional question, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to have a gun, at least in one’s home. The Court, splitting 5-4, struck down a District of Columbia ban on handgun possession.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion for the majority stressed that the Court was not casting doubt on long-standing bans on carrying a concealed gun or on gun possession by felons or the mentally retarded, on laws barring guns from schools or government buildings, and laws putting conditions on gun sales.

In District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), the Court nullified two provisions of the city of Washington’s strict 1976 gun control law: a flat ban on possessing a gun in one’s home, and a requirement that any gun — except one kept at a business — must be unloaded and disassembled or have a trigger lock in place.  The Court said it was not passing on a part of the law requiring that guns be licensed.  It said that issuing a license to a handgun owner, so the weapon can be used at home, would be a sufficient remedy for the Second Amendment violatrion of denying any access to a handgun.

They’ve got a link to the opinion, here. I’m sure they’ll have all the best coverage on this, too. I expressed my prior irritation with this case, here. I don’t own a gun, but I like the result. I just wish Scalia and the others in the majority would show such respect for the rest of the Constitution.


June 26, 2008

Not a middle distance run, but the amount of miles, in thousands, I have put on my bike since buying it in the winter of 2002. It probably has more than that, as I’ve not been very precise about updating the cyclocomputer between battery changes. And I’ve definitely ridden more miles than that, as I have another road bike and I go both ways (i.e., I enjoy a good mountain bike ride as much a road ride). But still, 15K is big. So here’s some stuff that stands out from the first 15K.

First the particulars from yesterday.

Where was I when I hit it? On Cross Lake Boulevard about ten miles into a thirty mile ride out to the lake and back.

On my ipod: Don’t remember the song, but it was Ramones Mania.

Weather: Sunny and hot, but not really hot.

In my saddle bag: Tube, patch kit, tire lever, five bucks.

In my water bottle: Water.

Now for the long view.

Number of voluntary parts upgrades: 0.

Number of parts I’ve replaced because the old ones broke: 0.

Number of new paint jobs: 1. My only complaint about the bike: the first paint job sucked. It flaked off all over the place. After some haggling, they agreed to repaint it, but that took almost two months.

Number of states in which I’ve ridden my bike: 11 (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey.).

Road which I’ve ridden in the most states: US 11, in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Number of crashes on my bike: 0.

Closest to crashing: There’s been several instances of inattentive drivers pulling in front of me, but the closest was my fault. I was coming down Shades Crest Road in B’ham (Vestavia, actually) towards Columbiana, doing about 30. Shades Crest kind of merges into Columbiana, and continues down Shades Mountain for about another mile. I wanted to hit Columbiana at high speed, so as to really fly down the rest. I hit the curve too fast, though, and swung out into traffic, nearly sideswiping a car. I think my arm actually did hit his mirror. All was well, though, as I managed to get it under control.

Most interesting other cyclist I’ve ever met while riding: On a ride in Arkansas once, I caught up to a guy on a recumbent who was in the middle of a ride from Washington State to Florida.

Most interesting wildlife I’ve seen from my bike: Either the bald eagle I saw here, or the Pileated Woodpecker I saw in B’ham.

Most interesting road kill: Alligator. In Florida.

Longest group ride: 114 Miles. This year’s Tour de Goodwill.

Longest solo ride: 75 miles. A roundabout trip to Mooringsport and back.

Number of steel bikes on our Saturday morning group ride: 1. Mine.

Highest speed I’ve ever reached: 49 mph. Not around here, obviously.

Amount of money I’ve spent on bike racks so I can bring my bike with me on all vacations: About $800.00.

Dollars in therapy saved by having bike with me on trips to in-laws: Thousands.

Additional miles I plan to ride my bike: As many as it wants.

Favorite ride: The next one.


LA Can’t Execute Child Rapists

June 25, 2008

As I predicted, so said Scotus today. The opinion is here. I don’t care about the result, I’m just disappointed Scalia did not write a dissent. Maybe he used up all his hot air for the term in Boumediene.

Maybe Next Time I’ll Paint Over It

June 24, 2008

In addition to the three bedrooms, our house has a little room in the front – it might have been a porch at one time – that would make a perfect home office, only you have to walk through the babies’ room to get to it. So, because its attached to their room, we use it as their playroom. Up to today, however, it was wallpapered in a dark green floral pattern; not very playroom-ish, and also not good in a small space. Needing something to do, I decided Sunday morning to fix this problem.

Step one, which took all day Sunday, was removing the wallpaper. I expected to make a mess of myself and the room, and also spend a good bit of the day on this step. As I began peeling the paper (after letting it thoroughly soak in the remover stuff), though, large chunks of the underlying paint came off with it. Not all of it peeled away, of course. Too much paint came off to leave the remainder on the wall, but not enough came off to make it a quick job to scrape the rest. I spent most of Sunday scraping away, butchering the sheetrock in the process.

Step two should have been priming and then painting. That ended up being step three. Why? Because I had to fix all the scuffs and scrapes I made while removing the paint. But also because, while pulling off the paper, I found some mold on the sheetrock. So I had to cut those sections out and replace them. After tearing out the moldy spots, I somehow managed to perfectly cut the replacement pieces. Or so I thought. Though they fit perfectly around the edges, my new pieces would not lay flush with the existing sheetrock. That, as I discovered, was because sheetrock comes in several different thicknesses. I bought 5/8, but the existing walls were 3/8. By the time I made it back to the store to get another sheet, returned home, cut out the new pieces, and taped and floated it, Monday was done.

Today was step three: one coat of primer, two coats of white paint on the molding and trim, two coats of yellow on the wall. Thankfully, there were no surprises. It still took me all day.

The results? The room looks much better, I need a day off, and I learned a few things.

First, my kids have a bunch of toys. I didn’t really think they did, until I had to move them out of the playroom while I painted it. Having them in that room fooled me. And having them out of that room and all over the dang house sure was a big incentive to get the room done post haste.

Second, I need a truck. I realized this while trying to cram an eight foot piece of sheetrock into the mini van. Not only did it not fit very well, but I looked like a complete dork. Not a very manly moment.

Third, I hate painting.

Fourth, when I was a kid helping my step dad, my favorite part of any job was the destruction part. Saws alls, sledges, crow bars, oooh, yeah. Now that I’m working on my own house, that’s my least favorite. Once I start tearing things apart, I get this “uh-oh” feeling of fear that I’ve just begun something I can never hope to finish. And then I can’t do anything other than finish the project; it drives me insane to have part of my house in chaos like that.

Fifth, my favorite part now is putting it all back together. I thought that was tedious when I was a kid. Now I enjoy it. It’s bringing order out of chaos: Shaping whatever part of the house I’m working on into the picture I have in my head. The turning point in this job was replacing the sheetrock. From the time I began cutting the new pieces, everything was another step towards realizing the image.

Finally, I really love my house. It was a fixer upper when we bought it, and it still has plenty left to keep me busy, but we’ve done more than enough to make it our home.

Ian McEwan Rocks And So Does The Constitution

June 23, 2008

Already a favorite author of mine, he now moves into the top five:

‘As soon as a writer expresses an opinion against Islamism, immediately someone on the left leaps to his feet and claims that because the majority of Muslims are dark-skinned, he who criticises it is racist.

“This is logically absurd and morally unacceptable. Martin is not a racist.

‘And I myself despise Islamism, because it wants to create a society that I detest, based on religious belief, on a text, on lack of freedom for women, intolerance towards homosexuality and so on – we know it well.

Here, here! And I share his derision for Islam and all religions that want to forcefully subject the rest us to their ideas about God.

I also despise this:

Mr McEwan made his comments to Guido Santevecchi, a London correspondent for Corriere della Sera, and it is even possible he could now be investigated by police for a hate crime.

It’s bad enough he’s going to have a bunch of ignorant barbarians trying to kill him, but it really makes my blood boil that any government would legally sanction such idiocy. Thank James Madison and the judges throughout history who have enforced his First Amendment that we don’t have to worry about that here.

We’re Back

June 18, 2008

We enjoyed our trip, all 3,500 miles and three and a half weeks of it. I could say a lot about it, and might over the next few days, but for now all I’m going to do is give away an idea that I think would – if implemented – astronomically increase the sales of the vehicle in which my idea appears. What is it, you ask? Nothing Jetson-ish, instead, its something that is already in certain types of vehicles, just the wrong ones.

You know those screen things in limos? The ones that go up to block the sights and sounds of the back from reaching the driver? What I want to know is why no car exec has thought to put one of those in normal family vehicles. Think about it. Just before we left on our trip, some friends showed us their new van, which had two separate dvd players with individual wireless headsets. That’s great, but what’s the only point to all that technology? Keeping the kids quiet, of course. So why not save a bunch of money by just using something as simple as a soundproof barrier between front and back? Not only is it cheaper, but the kids will eventually get bored of even the best dvd’s. The barrier, though, remains sound proof for the whole trip. Raise it and drive in kid-free bliss for as long as you want. So simple, so perfect, why is this not in production? I love my kids, and they are generally pretty good in the car, but I’d be the first person to break the piggy bank if this ever became a reality.