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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

OH! I AM SO COMBOBULATED!!



Well, it's nice to know that there is a technical term for my condition. I think it would be a little more impressive if I converted it into fake Latin as Combobulatus Terminalius. Then whenever people ask me how I am I can just say, "Well, I'm combobulatus terminalius, but it isn't serious."

I used to say, "I'm the worlds greatest single individual living human being." so fast that nobody could understand it, but that's so patently false that I finally gave up on it shortly after entering puberty.




Now at last here's an award that I'm sure that I can qualify for. As soon as I get that Perfect Procrastinator award at the next meeting of the Procrastinator's Club, I'm going to find out how to apply. Unfortunately, something always seems to come up to put off the programs for the Procrastinators, so it may be awhile.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Mythical Space Cadet


Well, this is just wrong. Everyone knows that I'd just love to be an entry level space cadet. I'd do almost anything to get into space.






Unfortunately, I failed my employment interview with NASA, so my space cadet career was put on hold.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Signs of Intelligence


Insanity, intelligence, what's the difference anyway? In this world, if you're intelligent, it will drive you insane; so the only intelligent thing to do is to be insane to start start with. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring???

Spring



Oh yeah, just when it's supposed to be spring, we get the worst storm of the winter, and last fall just before winter was supposed to start we had a big winter storm. On the other hand during most of the time it was supposed to be winter, it was nice, and I was out riding my bicycle. This weather is all screwed up.


I'm blaming it all on Global Warming, but I think the biggest source of greenhouse gasses is not burning carbon based fuels but political speech. We've had a lot more politicians lately, and I think they are just overwhelming the planet's ability to deal with them. The result is more storms. Look at all the hurricanes, look at the tornadoes and blizzards. It's obvious, but who do we put in charge, more politicians. It's got to stop.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Think Twice




Now if we could only get those idiots in Washington to recognize the wisdom of that statement. Based on the following item that I have posted here, I don't see much hope.

Interesting News

Study: Most get mediocre health care


USA Today: Health and Behavior


Posted 3/15/2006 6:19 PM By Jeff Donn, Associated Press Writer


BOSTON — Startling research from the biggest study ever of U.S. health care quality suggests that Americans — rich, poor, black, white — get roughly equal treatment, but it's woefully mediocre for all.
"This study shows that health care has equal-opportunity defects," said Dr. Donald Berwick, who runs the non-profit Institute for health care Improvement in Cambridge, Mass.



The survey of nearly 7,000 patients, reported Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, considered only urban-area dwellers who sought treatment, but it still challenged some stereotypes: These blacks and Hispanics actually got slightly better medical treatment than whites.



Overall, patients received only 55% of recommended steps for top-quality care — and no group did much better or worse than that.







The story above leaves me wondering just what Congress might be spending our money on if our health care is so bad. You also now have the explanation for my mistrust of the medical profession. Hell, if you can't even buy a good doctor, how are you supposed get decent health care?



Politics Drives a Senate Spending Spree


The New York Times -- March 18, 2006 News Analysis By CARL HULSE



WASHINGTON, March 17 — The largess demonstrated by the Senate in padding its budget with billions of dollars in additional spending this week showed that lawmakers are no different from many of their constituents: they don't mind pulling out the charge card when money is tight.



Just hours after opening a new line of credit through an increase in the federal debt limit, the Senate splurged on a bevy of popular programs before approving a spending plan that was as much a political document as an economic one, its fine print geared to the coming elections.



Forced to choose between calls for renewed austerity and demands for more money, many Republicans joined Democrats in reaching deeper into the Treasury, leaving the party's push for new fiscal restraint in tatters.



Some of their colleagues said it was an open-and-shut case of nervous politicians ducking a tough spending stance to avoid starring in negative campaign commercials. Republicans in some of this year's tightest races — Conrad Burns of Montana, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Jim Talent of Missouri and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island — all backed the chief budget-busting provision as they endorsed an extra $7 billion for medical research, education and worker safety.





Ah, here's some money for health research. The question is, how do we know that money is actually going to people who will produce any results?



Lawmakers, analysts and others said the Senate's reluctance to clamp down on spending was a natural result of an approach that fails to recognize a sharply changed reality. In some respects, the administration and Congress act as if the surplus that greeted President Bush when he checked into the White House is still in the bank, rather than recognizing that whatever windfall was available then was eaten up and more by tax cuts.



The reality is that the cuts, plus two wars, new domestic security needs, natural disasters and a big expansion of Medicare have left the government's account badly overdrawn with no prospect of getting it back in balance anytime soon.





Well, if I owned a company and the people that I hired to run it for me took it from a budget surplus to a nine trillion dollar debt in just six years or so, I'd be asking some pretty serious questions. Gave all our money away, got us bogged down in a foreign war, lost most of our allies and friends; why it's positively Nixonian.



I do have an answer though. I'm gonna get me some of these bionic muscles and become a superhero, so I can set the world to rights. Watch for it in the news!





Scientists make 'bionic' muscles


BBC News -- March 18, 2006



Scientists have developed artificial, super-strength muscles which are powered by alcohol and hydrogen. And they could eventually be used to make more advanced prosthetic limbs, say researchers at University of Texas.



Writing in Science, they say these artificial muscles are 100 times more powerful than the body's own. They could even be used in "exoskeletons" to give superhuman strength to certain professions such as firefighters, soldiers and astronauts.



Two types of muscle are being investigated by US researchers at the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas, working with colleagues from South Korea. Both release the chemical energy of fuels, such as hydrogen and alcohol, while consuming oxygen. In effect they are replicating the first stage in "breathing" - by taking in oxygen. The existing form of artificial muscles are driven by batteries. However, neither of the types developed by the Texan researchers resembles a normal muscle - being made up of wires, cantilevers and glass bottles.



Created on ... March 18, 2006

Friday, March 17, 2006

I am Irish! Really, I am.




I guess if I'm going to be truthful, I'm going to have to admit that I'm pretty hard up too.

Wha!!??

French Draft Law Threatens iPod's Future


MyWay.com Mar 17, 1:20 PM (ET)
By LAURENCE FROST


PARIS (AP) - Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) faces a serious challenge in France, where lawmakers have moved to sever the umbilical cord between its iPod player and iTunes online music store - threatening its lucrative hold on both markets.


Amendments to an online copyright bill, adopted early Friday, would give rivals access to the hitherto-exclusive file formats at the heart of Apple's music business model as well as Sony Corp. (SNE)'s Walkman players and Connect store.




It's hard to believe that the people who think they can dictate grammatical correctness to the rest of the world don't see eye to eye with the people who think they can dictate Computer Correctness to rest of the world. I am shocked, just really shocked.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Chef Caps




So what the heck is it with those fancy french hats that chefs wear while they're cooking. They don't even work really well for keeping their hair out of the food. I can see using hairnets unless chef's hair is actually part of the recipe, which in my experience may not be that unlikely with french cooking. They do like unusual ingredients don't they?


I mean everyone in that kitchen knows who went to the fancy french cooking school. Why do they want to wear the silly hats? Does it help them when they want to look down their noses at the mere mortals back there helping them out? Wouldn't a fancy french nose extension be better for that?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Great New Sport in Texas


A White House spokesman said today that President Bush will request Congress to award Vice-President Cheney the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian commendation, for his act of bravery in shooting an attorney. The President was quoted as saying, "All Americans have wanted to shoot a lawyer at one time or another and Cheney actually had the balls to do it."



In a related development, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which issues hunting licenses, said that it will start requiring hunters wishing to bag a lawyer to have a new "lawyer's stamp" on their hunting license. Currently Texas hunters are required to carry stamps for hunting birds, deer, and bear, at a cost of $7 annually. The new "lawyers stamp" will cost $1000, but it will be open season throughout the year, and in Texas, the spokesman said, "that's considered a bargain".



The department further stated that sales so far have been brisk and it is believed the new "lawyers stamp" will generate annual revenues in excess of $3 billion dollars the first year. Other states, anxious to tap what is seen as a windfall resource that is widely popular, are considering similar game stamps.



Impatient with efforts to close the courts to litigants, the Administration literally fired the first shot in its groundbreaking "No Lawyer Left Standing" initiative. Cheney, hunting on a private lawyer ranch near Kingsville, Texas, bagged an impressive (if superannuated) buck, Harry Whittington, (UT Law '50). Under the new program, hunters may take up to three plaintiffs' lawyers and one defendants' lawyer daily. There will be no bag limit on personal injury, divorce or class-action lawyers. "We've just got to thin the herd," said the Vice-President. "We've tried tort reform and caps on damages, but people are still suing."



"It's easy and fun," the Vice President added. "In Texas, you can shoot in almost any direction and hit a lawyer."

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Home Sick




Yeah, I've been a bit under the weather for the last few days, and the damn weather hasn't been all that great either. It's just a little cough and some congestion for the most part, but I didn't want to spread it around. I've been able to get a lot of reading done, but I'm running out of new books, so I better get better soon. Don't tell me to watch TV. That just makes me sicker with the news and the lousy programming.


Oh well, time to go make some more chicken soup. What did I do with that chicken? Oh, I remember now. I used it in the Voodoo setup by the front door to scare away door to door salesmen. I hope it's not too dried out to get the feathers off and make some soup. I expect the feathers would be hell on my scratchy throat.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Names!




I have lots of problems with remembering names. I have a fairly good memory otherwise. I know various tricks and such. Thanks to all the crosswords I've worked and created my vocabulary is much larger than necessary for simple communication. I very rarely forget a face or a place.


Now there are lots of mnemonic tricks for remembering names and I probably know and use most of them ... when I remember to do so. They work really well too. I tend to be a visual person, so the best way for me to remember a name is to put the person's face together with a picture that will remind me of their name. Thing is, I'm usually too interested in what they're saying to stop and spend the time to come up with a good image.


The other problem is that most of the people that I meet are people that I just rub up against hanging around somewhere. We start to recognize each other after awhile and start talking without ever being formally introduced. By the time we get to be friends, it seems a little late for introductions, and even if I do that it always seems that just enough time passes for me to forget their name before the next time I see them.


So, Ace or Sport, for guys and Honey, Darlin', or Sweetheart for the gals is what it is. If I want to indicate a higher degree of respect, I may use Sir or Ma'am or some such, and don't assume that just because you're related to me or something that I actually remember your name. Been times when I had to think for a while to come up a brother or sister's name. Hell, there's been times when I had to struggle to come up with my own. I will answer to just about anything if I think you're talking to me.


So that's the way it is, Ace. I don't mean no disrespect, but the picture parts of my brain that let me remeber your face and where I've seen you before ain't very well connected to the speech and hearing parts that let me come up with the names that go with the faces.