Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Every Brick Must Be Scrubbed Spotless

The big stony erection on the edge of my alma mater's campus is going to be getting a bath.

Pitt trustees today authorized a $4.8 million project starting next month to clean and restore the building, including cracked stones and loose or missing mortar in hundreds of locations. A special pool within Pitt's $2 billion "Discover a World of Possibilities" campaign will be designated to support the work.
I'm rather glad to read about this. If any building on that campus is worth preserving, it's the Cathedral of Learning. Just try not to think too hard about the possible locations of the "cracked stones and loose or missing mortar". Best to just keep an eye in the sky.

According to the caption below the photo that accompanies the article:
Decades of soot and other elements have darkened and eroded the Cathedral of Learning's Indiana limestone exterior.
That puzzles me. I could have sworn that the building was scrubbed clean within the last twenty years. It was a very dark shade of gray, almost black, when I first enrolled in 1985. There was a major cleaning project that restored nearly the entire exterior to a nice stony light gray by the early 1990s. How many decades are they talking about?

Sympathy Just Doesn't Mean That Much To Me

Okay, so I am a Uriah Heep fan. For some reason, this diminishes my status as a human being in the eyes of others, but there you go. Here's one of my favorite John Lawton-era songs:

Don't ask me what's up with the eye makeup. I have no idea. But he was a good singer.

Here's the same song, with a one night only reunited lineup, from 24 years later. And yes, that is the same guy singing!

Where did his magnificent forehead go? I've heard of hair transplants, but this guy looks like he had every follicle replaced! Yikes!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Post-Gazette Wants President Bush's Daughters To Die

Another noxious editorial by the Psychosis-Gazette starts off sounding like one of their best efforts ever, touting the tradition of military service in the British royal family right on through to Prince Harry's deployment to Iraq. Then it all falls apart in the last paragraph:

The contrast with the military record (or nonrecord) of the American president and vice president and their offspring is hard to miss.
The general feeling on the Left, that the children of Republican politicians should go to Iraq where they can get killed, is hard to miss. A few months ago, my wife and I were at a movie, when an Army recruiting commercial played during the previews. She opined, "And go to Iraq and get killed."

Her mother was visiting our house a few weeks ago, and during a news program about Iraq war casualties, the old cow said, "Why doesn't he send his own daughters to fight?" I have never struggled so hard to refrain from using violence.

If you listen carefully to the prevailing moonbat sentiment, you quickly realize that they have adopted the meme that anyone who serves in Iraq is destined to die there. They harp on the casualties, without any regard to who we are fighting and why. Every death, every injury, is one too many.

Not for the Left, however. Their side scores political points with every death. Dead American soldiers are good for Democrats. Who benefits from the blood of dead Americans? The Jackass party, of course -- that's why they're in control of Congress.

Something to ponder: Does "enemies foreign and domestic" include the Post-Gazette editorial board? It certainly seems like it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Environmentalists Can Lick It

Corporate America is comprised of a bunch of pansies.

That's the impression I get after reading this AP article about an anti-global warming initiative spearheaded by Yahoo! and Wal-Mart. A slightly more comprehensive list includes governmental agencies as well as "U.S. mayors, retailers, religious organizations and conservation groups".

The goal of the campaign is to convince consumers to use energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs in place of traditional incandescent bulbs. Hell, I've been doing that for years. When one of my old bulbs burned out, I'd replace it with a twisty soft serve ice cream cone shaped bulb and they last for years. They do save money, too. The twisty bulbs take the edge off the the electric bills that have gone up due to the expansion of computer usage in my household.

I didn't make the switch because I wanted to help the environment or some hippie bullshit like that. I switched because I wanted a cheap, low-maintenance light bulb. In other words, I did it for good, solid right-wing conservative reasons.

You'd think that Corporate America would be above pandering to the left on issues like this. Sadly, no. Fluorescent bulbs should have been promoted long ago, and not in partnership with loon organizations, either. Wal-Mart et al. are doing the right thing, but for the wrong reasons.

At least I don't live in California or New Jersey, where people are trying to outlaw the incandescent bulb. The last thing I want is the light bulb cops busting into my house checking out all of my lamps.

Hey Bobby!

From this morning's Psychosis-Gazette:

He ran for no good reason...he won for no good reason... Yeah, if I got close enough to the new Junior Senator from Pennsylvania to put my hand in front of his face, I'd probably show him my middle finger, too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yechhh! Peanur Burrrr!

Peanut Butter is a staple in my household kitchen. No one at home has peanut allergies. My kids all like it, my wife likes it, and I like it. I don't eat it as often as I like, but that's because I don't want to take it away from the kids.

So, you tell me, I ought to to buy more PB so I have plenty in stock for when I want some.

Sure, that's simple enough. We usually keep a couple jars of Jif in the cupboard. When I was a child, I loved Jif creamy. I loved it so much that no other brand was palatable. Peter Pan, Skippy, and the odd kinds like Superman and Terry Bradshaw peanut butter were unacceptable. Nor was I fond of crunchy peanut butter. One time I went to a friend's house for lunch, and his mother gave us sandwiches with crunchy PB and jelly. For me, it was like licking a scoop of ice cream and finding a razor blade stuck in my tongue. Not pretty.

But I digress. Back to my point: I am a Jif creamy man; always have been, always will be. Unless, that is, I can get something good enough that's cheaper. If I shop for a less expensive brand, I can load up on peanut buttery goodness and keep everyone satisfied. I need to cut back on grocery expenses anyway, since I'm going to be spending a lot of money on Similac and strained baby food for most of this year. In a couple of years, the baby will be eating peanut butter with the rest of us.

So last week I went to Wal-Mart with a shopping list that included PB. I swallowed my Jif-loving pride and picked up two jars of the house brand "Great Value". I was so proud of myself that I tasted the Great Value Peanut Butter and enjoyed it! Not as good as Jif, but it would do.

Well OF COURSE we would hear in the news about 2-3 days later that some shipments of Great Value PB were tainted with salmonella. That's the risk you run when you deliberately buy cheap peanut butter. Now I feel like running a banner up a flagpole with the slogan "EAT FREE AND DIE".

It's not free, though; in fact, it is quite costly when you consider that at least one person allegedly lost her life to the tainted spread. That's terrible. I could have contaminated my entire family just for the sake of saving a couple of bucks.

Fortunately my wife had the presence of mind to move the PB out of the kids' reach as soon as she heard the news. The tainted jars are supposed to carry product code 2111. We couldn't find a product code like that anywhere, but confiscated the stuff just to be safe.

For now, my family is safe and healthy, and enjoying a small jar of Skippy procured from the local pharmacy. (It was the only kind they had!) Before I go grocery shopping again, I might just write a heartfelt apology to Smuckers, the owner of the Jif brand, begging their forgiveness for forsaking their product in favor of cheap and deadly Wal-Mart peanut butter. (I might also throw in the fact that I never believed the crap about former Jif owner Proctor & Gamble being a consortium of devil worshippers.) Then I am going to go out and buy the biggest container of Jif in the supermarket.

I could drive over to Orrville, Ohio and prostate myself before the doors of the company store, Simply Smuckers. But that would just be silly.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lord, What Tools These Mortals Be!

GOP Bloggers is hosting a straw poll of 2008 Republican presidential candidates. Let's clarify; they are hosting a straw poll of the establishment candidates. As I made my way down the list of names, I couldn't help noticing the glaring omission of one Ron Paul, congressman from the big state of Texas.

Neither did some of the commenters on the post where the poll appears.

What's the use of running a straw poll if you're going to leave out a declared candidate? It can't be because of Paul's anti-war stance; Chuck Hagel is in the poll. Is Ron Paul that frowned upon by the GOP establishment, that this not-affiliated-with-the-party blog chooses to ignore him in favor of people who might decide to run at some point?

Given the lack of options (i.e. that my first choice is unlisted), I went with Tom Tancredo. Since I live in Pennsylvania, the presidential primary is usually decided long before our May election day, so I vote for the candidate who is most likely to frighten moonbats to death. Tancredo comes closest to that this year.

He's no Ron Paul, though.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blogging Up One's Thought Processes

Mobil of Mobil's Jipzeecab has tagged me with a meme that began at this post a few days ago. I, in turn, have to "tag" five other blogs. Let me just say here and now that I am not a chain letter freak, and I wish no one ill will of any kind should they choose not to respond to this meme. But I hope that you will take it as a compliment that I think highly enough to point you out as one of the "5 Blogs That Make Me Think". Ready? Here we go:

  1. Shot In The Dark -- Mitch Berg is one of the most interesting people I've had the pleasure of meeting, both online and (once) in person. If you read him daily, as I do, you feel as though you've known him most of your life. As an inner-city conservative living in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Mitch is something of an anomaly -- but that's what makes him worth reading for his take on "Politics and Current Events in Minnesota and Beyond".
  2. Nihilist In Golf Pants -- Many a true word is spoken in jest. If I had more time, I could give a list of eleven reasons why this is true for NIGP, Sisyphus & Co.
  3. The Kool-Aid Report -- Welcome to the land of talking foul-mouthed chimps, moron mail, and righteous right-wing indignation. Why is Learned Foot wasting his time working as an attorney when he ought to be blogging full time?
  4. The People's Republic of Pittsburgh -- A deceased former naval person offers an antidote to the leftist spin that permeates local media reporting. If he ever starts his own newspaper, I want to write for it!
  5. Blonde Champagne -- Mary Beth Ellis is a writer and competent college professor. Not only is her blog a delight to read, but she also writes for money. She's a nice Catholic girl (Republican style) who is in the process of getting married to a Lutheran. I'm a Lutheran who married a nice Catholic girl (Democrat style) a long time ago. MB frequently makes me stop and wonder what my life would have been like had my wife been a Catholic Republican instead of a Catholic Democrat. We'd probably have more to talk about, and I'd probably feel more comfortable setting foot in a Catholic church.

There are plenty of others who warrant a mention beyond those listed above, but the rules of the meme limit me to five, so there you have it.

Hammer Time (2007 Edition)

There's no way I can let February 14th pass without wishing all of my readers a Happy Greg Valentine's Day!

Despite the fruity-sounding stage name, Valentine was no romantic pansy. Put him in a dog collar, and he'll still kick your butt. He's the kind of guy who gets mad and gets even. (If you're in the mood for some serious Greg Valentine dog collar violence, click here.)

He's the kind of guy who is willing to sacrifice himself for his art, including dressing up as an Elvis impersonator with no pants. (He was smart enough to strategically position the guitar while being photographed.) And he still looks manlier than the Honky Tonk Man.

Whoever the "Black Jack" is who illustrated this caricature, I wouldn't want to bet real money on his chances of getting away unscathed if Valentine ever gets hold of him. Greg Valentine breaks people's legs for a living.

I've never seen the show "24", but I have heard enough to know what it's about. If Jack Bauer wants to get a terrorist to talk, he brings out Greg Valentine to break both of the terrorist's legs. That's what kind of a bad ass Valentine is.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

War With Ahmadinejad?

Yesterday, I took my 4-month old son to the Doctor's office to get some shots. In the waiting room I spotted an old issue of Time magazine with Ahmadinejad on the cover. The blurb promised that the interior of the magazine would reveal "What War With Iran Would Look Like".

Some people have know for over thirty years what such a war would look like, as shown in the clip below:

Now maybe Time magazine can tell me what happened to the third verse.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Democratic Media Perspective

The Psychosis-Gazette editorializes:

The voters in the November elections and general public discourse ever since have made it eminently clear that Americans consider the Iraq war to be the No. 1 issue on their minds.
What was so clear about it? The Republican base eroded because the party's elected representatives were spending public monies like Democrats. The balance of power turned in the Dems' favor because Republicans were angrier at politicians than the Democrats were.

Most people are going to believe what's in the newspaper, of course. Sheep.


Why does Reg Henry keep trying so hard to prove that he's a complete idiot?

We were convinced long ago.

The Weather

It's cold here in Pittsburgh. That's fine by me. I'd rather live in the snow and cold than in the heat.

Rise & Expansion

Since I started blogging a couple of years ago, I have been disappointed by the lack of good right-of-center blogs in the Pittsburgh area. It's not that there aren't any out there; it's just that they're hard to find, or they simply cease to be.

Things have been looking up lately. With the debut of The People's Republic of Pittsburgh last fall, we have an insightful conservative take on city politics. I have a hard time getting interested in Pittsburgh politics because I live outside of the city, and everything has been coming up Democrats since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. Admiral Turner has to live with it. His blog is a daily read for me.

Another excellent blog that debuted recently is Campaign 2008. The author, Stephen Maloney, brings a wealth of experience in both the academic and corporate sectors to his writing. He excels at critiquing public health policy, John Murtha, and the Pittsburgh Psychosis-Gazette. I look forward to his articles on other topics in future posts.

With serious, well-written, prolific blogs like these, I'm sorely tempted to just sit back and read other people's blogs.

Decline & Fall

The P-G's Early Returns blog hasn't been as much fun since Rich Lord replaced Bill Toland as a contributor. At least Mr. Toland is still covering the Harrisburg beat.

And Each Line Will Say "Mickey Mouse"

Last year we started using the dynamic (and somewhat faulty, by many accounts) touch screen voting machines in Allegheny County. The new Congress is proposing "legislation that would make obsolete many touch-screen voting machines, including those in use across Pennsylvania".

Great. I found a wonderful new toy to play with, and the big kids want to take it away from me. If our new machines do get replaced, I just hope it's with something that allows easy write-ins like the touch screens.

The printed "receipt" is a good idea, in case I get antsy when the election returns are coming in and start to wonder whether I voted for the right candidate. Or if the machine allowed me to vote for my preferred candidate.

The downside of having a printed receipt is that I usually vote in the morning before I go to work. If my voting record falls out of my pocket, and my co-workers see it, they will probably beat me to death.

Put That Thing Out!

A "smoking ban" (actually a restriction) has been proposed at both the county and state levels, and a poll shows that a majority of Pennsylvanians supports the statewide proposal.

I'm on the fence about this one. A ban on smoking on private property offends my inner libertarian. The very act of smoking, on the other hand, offends me as a human being. I have lost close relatives to smoking related illnesses, and smokers are generally just unpleasant to be around.

So I can't actively support or oppose such a ban, but if it does happen, I won't complain.

Bang, Bang, Bang

Time to see how many "hit & run" posts I can fire off in the next half hour or so.

The Found Link

Good morning. I've been linked by the local alternative media. That's always a pleasant surprise to wake up to.

Welcome Pittsburgh City Paper readers!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The 2008 Presidential Race

First off, no Democrats. It's bad enough that I'm married to one; I don't want those people running the country again.

I could easily say that same thing about a lot of Republicans. But I won't. Not yet, anyway.

My favorite elections are presidential primaries because I get to vote for my ideal candidate, the one who doesn't stand a chance of winning but should, or for the "protest" candidate whose very presence on the ballot ought to keep the front runner in line.

This time around, my ideal candidate is Ron Paul. If every member of the House and Senate were put on trial for treason for violating their oaths to uphold and defend the constitution, Ron Paul would be the only one to escape the hangman's noose. It's doesn't bother me that he's been characterized as the "anti-war" Republican. He views everything through the lens of the constitution, which is as it should be.

Plus, he went to school in the borough where I live. It's always cool to see a local guy do well.

Catching Up

Since I have been letting my blogging skills wither as of late, I thought I might take a few minutes to fire off some short posts to try and catch up.

My reading public DEMANDS it. All two or three of them.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Got A Skin Job For Ya Right Here, Pal

Over the weekend I watched the movie Blade Runner for the first time. This was the Director's Cut, which means that I haven't been spoiled by seeing the theatrical release. Interesting.

I can see why it got poor reviews from the media, and good reviews from fans. It's the kind of film that requires repeated viewings to fully appreciate. The pros have limited time to give it a watch and file a report. Viewing the movie for the first time in 2007 is interesting, because it has a kind of "retro" feel to it, as if I were watching Metropolis for the first time (which I haven't yet but I swear I will get around to someday!). CGI would do some incredible things for Blade Runner but I hope that never happens, unless someone does a remake. Let these classic SF films stand on their own, and if you want to modernize them, then start from scratch.

Overall, the film was grittier than what I'm used to seeing. With a house full of kids, it normally doesn't get any grittier than Star Wars. (NB: I put the kids to bed before I started watching.) Harrison Ford played, basically, a typical low-key, emotions boiling under the surface Harrison Ford character. Rutger Hauer played the classic Rutger Hauer type: an angry, leering Teutonic madman. Each of the two has defined a type of role in contemporary film.

Sean Young did a good job as the replicant who doesn't know she's a replicant, acting just glamorous enough and just robotic enough to do her character justice. I must confess, though, that every time I see Sean Young, I can't help hearing Jim Carrey's voice saying "Your GUN is digging into my HIP!" The only way I can cleanse that from my mind is to go look at this tasty photo selection. WOW! Those pictures were taken just a couple of years ago when she was FORTY-FIVE YEARS OLD. I'm going to be forty by the end of this year. It's nice to know that there are still hot young chicks who are a few years older than me.

Back to the movie...

One of my favorite TV shows is Battlestar Galactica, and I now understand the Blade Runner allusions in that program. For instance, the Cylons, like the replicants, were created to serve mankind. The Cylons, in the long run, had better numbers and a longer lifespan and were thus a greater threat to their creators than the replicants, but both could pass as humans and thereby cause a mess of trouble. Then, in the most obvious homage, BSG hired Edward James Olmos and made him the star of the show. The only way they could be any more blatant would be if they cast Harrison Ford as one of the "final five" Cylons.

Finally, in what seems more like a rip-off than a homage, there is the term "skin jobs". Now I understand why many fans were aroused when the BSG humans called the humano-cylons "skin jobs"; it's a direct steal from the movie. I don't like "skin jobs". It sounds too much like one of those things that every boy in seventh grade (except YOU) understands the meaning of, but no one will tell you what it means, and you sure as hell can't ask your folks. On the other hand, it leaves quite a bit to the imagination. "Where's President Baltar?" "He's in his conference room with Caprica Six." "Ah, he's having a skin job, eh? Heh heh."

Like I said, the movie was interesting. It whet my appetite for another new episode of BSG, which was off this week. The end of the movie was very unsatisfying. I feel that way about a lot of movies; I need to know, What happens next?. Thank goodness for story arc Sci Fi.

Mysteries Of The Unknown

I spend more time these days examining my SiteMeter stats than I do looking for things to blog about.

With searches like this one in the queue, can you blame me? I'd like to know more about that one myself. (Not to mention this one. It's a funny old world, and we're stuck in it.)