Archive for August 2010

Tonight I Will Drink To A Long Life

August 31, 2010


even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers . . . found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.

In other words, teetotalers don’t just have the most boring lives of the three groups, they have the shortest. To be clear, I’d choose a short life with alcohol over a long one without it. Thankfully, I don’t have to make that decision. So tonight, imbibe, and you won’t just enjoy life, you’ll also prolong it!


Licensing Day Cares Is Anti-Family?

August 31, 2010

Thus says the Louisiana Family Forum, one of the more execrable organizations you’ll find in this state, in its legislative scorecard.

The issue is whether church run day cares ought to be exempt from state licensing requirements. I celebrated when that bill died, as I thought it unfair to only deregulate church day cares, while leaving all others still subject to state licensing requirements. I also thought it a bit silly to presume that day cares would successfully regulate themselves. Had I been a legislator, I would have received an “anti-family” score for that vote.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think it makes me “anti-family” to want some authority limiting the number of kids per teacher, and inspecting the premises for health and safety issues. Yes, parents need to inspect these places, too. I’m not excusing them. I’m asking for inspections in addition to the work parents already do when they pick a day care. In other words, I want more protection for children, the LFF wants less. Again, not sure how that makes me “anti-family” while their position is “pro-family.”

Unless, of course, the real goal of the Louisiana Family Forum is advancing some other agenda, for which the vague word “family” is a pretext. If you read the whole scorecard, you will realize that is a likely conclusion.

Invasive Species At The Duck Park

August 29, 2010

We went to feed the ducks, which we did, and also to catch some fish, which we didn’t. No big deal, though, because this guy was the show:

Maybe I should have tried to catch him; I hear they make a great gumbo ingredient.

How Not To Ride In A Paceline

August 26, 2010

Aero bars, plus overlapping the guy in front of you’s wheel, equals . . .

John Fleming Is An Idiot

August 25, 2010

Like I said in a comment here, I have no idea how an M.D. could possibly say something this jaw droppingly stupid:

“We have two competing world views here and there is no way that we can reach across the aisle — one is going to have to win,” Fleming said. “We are either going to go down the socialist road and become like western Europe and create, I guess really a godless society, an atheist society. Or we’re going to continue down the other pathway where we believe in freedom of speech, individual liberties and that we remain a Christian nation. So we’re going to have to win that battle, we’re going to have to solve that argument before we can once again reach across and work together on things.”

Hmmm, o.k. Where to start?

To make it easy, let’s grant the mindlessly simplistic assertion that all of western Europe and all of Fleming’s political opponents are godless atheists. Probably some are, probably some aren’t, but it doesn’t matter.

Let’s also grant the patently absurd assumption that it would be some kind of problem if we had a secular society. I have no reason to think atheists as a group are any better or worse people than Christians as a group. Are there jerks in both camps? Sure. Are there great people in both? Sure. Are the percentages the same? My experience tells me yes. Again, though, let’s assume all atheists drown baby ducks for fun. Again, it doesn’t matter.

Why does it not matter if our country is about to be overrun by baby-eating atheists? Because, as John Fleming – who in the same paragraph professes to love individual liberties – ought to know, our government is a secular government. Read the Constitution some time; you’ll find nothing Christian or even religious in it, other than prohibitions on entanglements between church and state. Yes, no doubt most people in this country are at least nominal Christians, but the government is absolutely prohibited from doing anything at all to encourage or discourage that fact. Whether most people in this country are Christians, Muslims, Jews or atheists is simply not the business of the federal (or any state) government. Period.

Again, a guy who says he wants to champion individual liberty ought to know that. If Dr. Fleming wants to make sure this is a Christian Nation, he can go to seminary and get a job as a preacher. If he really thinks the problems in this country are caused by people who do things other than go to church on Sunday, he can donate his own time and his own money to evangelism. What he can’t do, what the Constitution he supposedly honors prohibits him from doing, is use any power of the state to bring people to Christianity.

That’s a simple distinction. That it eludes the average mush minded person who would vote for Fleming is unsurprising. That he encourages that kind of ignorance is shameful.

Those Sneaky Muslims Have Already Defiled 9/11 Hallowed Ground

August 25, 2010

Outrageous, but true: Literally right on top of the ashes of 184 dead Americans, Muslims spread their abominable prayer rugs at least once a day. They’ve been doing it for years. Worst of all, our tax dollars helped pay for it. And no one has ever complained! Arggg. Get your misspelled signs ready, it’s time for a serious protest.

But first, read the rest of the story about the Pentagon Memorial Chapel, here.

Reason 198 I Will Never Join Facebook

August 25, 2010

They’re evil.

I Think The Heat Is Helping Me Keep Fit

August 24, 2010

As the start of school approached, I worried about getting fat and lazy. School starts too early for me to run, or ride, or do anything at all beforehand. As for after school, I hate running or riding in the heat, so I figured I would not get much exercise afterwards, either.

Turns out, evenings aren’t so bad.

Actually, they are bad. Really bad. So bad that I don’t want to go outside and do anything that would normally be pleasurable. That is, no taking the kids to the park, or walking the dog, or hanging out in the back yard. None of that would be fun in near hundred degree temps. Each ought to be pleasant and relaxing, which is impossible if you’re sweating buckets.

Running or riding, though, are hot and sweaty activities anyway. So, if it’s hot as hell, I might as well do something that I expect to make me hot even on a good day. In other words, I’ve been running and riding in the evenings because there isn’t anything else to do. No matter what, I’m going to be miserable, so I might as well embrace it.

I think I’ve even improved a bit. Tonight, I ran my best miles since last winter. It was only four, but I averaged right at eight minutes a mile. Best of all, each mile was faster than the one before it. Ditto my last two bike rides. After being fat and lazy on our summer trip, I’d felt sluggish my first few times back on the bike. These last two though, have been propelled by strong feeling legs.

Of course, none of this should be taken as evidence that I like this weather. I’m looking forward to cooler weather as much as anyone. I’ve just figured out how to cope.

From The Same Mindset That Brought Us Birthers, Terror Babies And The Burlington Mosque

August 24, 2010

Anchor embryos.

What’s to add? No one with any sense needs the idiocy explained, and no one dumb enough to be concerned about that “issue” could possibly listen to a rational argument about it.

The Summer Of Sookie Is Over

August 23, 2010

Sometime back in May or so, my wife got me hooked on the books. Saturday, I closed the cover on number eight (or nine? they all run together, eventually). Though I’ll continue watching True Blood, the t.v. show based on the books, it’ll probably be a while before I read the last few books in the series.

If you haven’t read any, they’re worth the time. Sookie, the main character, is a waitress in a bar in some podunk town in north Louisiana. She’s also telepathic. That makes her feel like a freak, until her powers help her save a vampire, whom she then falls in love with. (Hmm, an oddball who finds acceptance and meaning with the undead? Sound familiar? Just know these books predate that other romantic vampire series by a decade.) Many escapades, with many other freaks, follow.

Still, I think I’ve overdone it, averaging about two of these a month, with little substance to balance it. Actually, that probably ought to read “no substance.” The only other authors whom I’ve read this summer are Carl Hiaassen and Ian Banks. There might have been a James Lee Burke or two, not that he helps much. In short, I’ve done the reading equivalent of spending two months eating nothing but Twinkies and pop rocks.

So I need a break. Like I said, we’ll still watch the show, but no more books for a while. I need to read some non-fiction, or at least some serious fiction.

As for the former, I’m starting with Come & Gone, by Joe Parkin, about being, as he calls it, a “blue collar” bike racer in America. He wrote a similar book about racing in Europe. They’re great books, because they explain the experience as it is for ninety-nine of one hundred pros: Hard, uncertain, and poor. Yet, they still ride. Anyway, after that, probably A Voyage Long and Strange, by Tony Horwitz. I loved Confederates in the Attic, and am looking forward to how Horwitz covers this subject: The years in North America between Columbus and the Pilgrims. Then, Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, about a couple who remained in New Orleans during Katrina.

For fiction, I don’t know. Ian McEwan’s latest will be first. After that? Dunno. But, it won’t be anything featuring you know who . . .