Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Samuel L: Shut the "F" Up and Just Entertain Me

And that goes for the rest of you, Hollywood.

But Sammy, seriously.  We first started to like you in True Romance.  We remembered you from Jurassic Park.  Of course we all knew you by name after Pulp Fiction.  And you've been a stud ever since.  You screwed up with the Star Wars thing, but we forgive you.  That wasn't all your fault.  Whenever that debacle comes up, we just think about Jackie Brown so we can forget.  But please, your "Wake up" call makes you sound like this girl:

Stop it.  Just entertain me. You don't know how do do anything else.  You live in Hollywood.  And tell your friends.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Social Network

Re-posted from Facebook, August 3rd, 2012

I'm two years behind the curve, but I finally saw _The Social Network_. It's pretty much a hit job on Zuckerberg, and Aaron Sorkin himself admits that truth was not a priority for him when he was writing the movie. 

Still, the fact that Zuckerberg is a genius, and a genius with consequences at that, cann
ot be denied or even avoided. The lawsuits against him as portrayed in the film may or may have had any merit in real life, but it's hard to say as there is so much information kept undisclosed. Either way, I am nonetheless inspired by a punk kid in college in 2003 who not only came up with an idea for something, but had the means and ability to make it happen and make it real. That is very rare.

I am not a computer programmer, and my life is actually better the less time I spend on Facebook, because I prefer to live life, not spend it on the internet reading about everyone else's life. But I do hope that if and when I get my big idea, whatever that may be, I will have the skill and conviction to see it through and that it's even one percent as successful. $14B x .01 = $140M. Yeah. I'd take that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Obamacare is Immoral, And Now, So is the American Way of Life

Yes, it sounds melodramatic, but I honestly believe this will change the whole fabric of how our society works.

The problem with Obamacare is not that it's impractical, that it won't work, that it will have unintended consequences, drive up costs, and decrease the quality of life in America. All of these things are true, but they are not the fundamental problem. The essential and fundamental problem with Obamacare is that it is immoral.

It is immoral to force me to pay for a stranger's medical care at the point of a gun. Period.

I'm not under any illusion that I woke up the morning of the SCOTUS decision and white was turned to black, good was turned bad, and a perfect system was turned upside down and made evil. We had a system that already had lots of evils in it, because of the regulations and socialism that was already there. It was simply made worse by this bill and by the Supreme Court.

The recent Supreme Court Ruling has got me looking around more often when I'm out in public. It's got me looking around and studying all the bad decisions people are making that I will end up paying for.

It used to be a free country. I used to be able to look at pre-diabetic morbidly obese people in the grocery store buying 10 bags of Cheetos and 5 gallons of maple syrup to pour all over their breakfast sausage in the morning, and not have to care. I could look at them and say, "Hey, it's a free country." Don't get me wrong, I love Cheetos, maple syrup and breakfast sausage, but everything in moderation, people.

I used to look a the guy driving down the freeway on his Harley at 80 mph without a helmet and say, "Hey, it's a free country." Not anymore. Yeah, I see that patch on your ugly black leather jacket that says "Loud Pipes Save Lives." Well, so do helmets, asshole.

I am invested in those people's choices. I am part of the 50% that pays my taxes. So I will be paying for the health care of the other 50%, and for fixing all the problems they encounter due to their poor life decisions.

Again, some of this was already true as long ago as the 1960's when Medicare was created. But the reality of socialized medicine has been solidified. It's not a free country anymore.

The even worse thing is that many people will recognize this, and support well-intentioned but misguided and further draconian measures to protect us against these unintended consequences; things like stiffer penalties for breaking helmet laws, seatbelt laws, or sin taxes on junk food. They have the same problems as Obamacare: they are immoral.  They further control our lives and limit our choices.

At any rate, here are some good links.
...good luck to the IRS trying to collect this penalty/tax.  The penalty/tax has no criminal or civil penalties for failure to pay and interest doesn’t accrue.  Finally, the IRS is limited in its collection powers.  Basically, taking it out of your refund is the biggest bat the IRS has.   Look for this causing headaches for the IRS as some folks who traditionally got a refund now limit their withholding so that they owe the IRS money at the end of the year (and avoid the penalty/tax).
Look to this guy to be one of them when costs start getting higher.  I already owe every year on purpose.  This just gives me one more reason.
If I have to live under this system (and I will take every reasonable measure to avoid having to live under this system) I wish I could change the rules.  I wish I could somehow be paired up directly with one of the people in the OTHER 50%.  I wish I could know that person and have some kind of control over this situation.  If I am to be forced into paying for his health, at least give me the knowledge of how badly I'm screwed.  I'm not even wishing for influence over his or her choices, but that would be nice.  I just want to know how bad it is going in when I look into his vacant eyes and see his heroin addiction taking control or his bladder infection kicking in.  The other side benefit of this scenario is that it may force me to have some semblance of compassion for the person if I see him.  Because right now I have no compassion for the faceless, anonymous people who will benefit from all this.

That's socialism for you: a compassionate, brotherly, sympathetic civilization.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Almost Done...

Alyosha and I have put in 62 hours on our little project so far.  A whole garbage can of sawdust has already gone out.  In the end, the front steps will probably support an elephant securely.

I'm almost embarrassed to show the before pictures, but here are a few.  They may hold an elephant now, but I'm kinda surprised they held my 30 lb. daughter before.

Should be all done tomorrow.

Full album here if you want to see the whole process.  And Alyosha's awesome pantshorts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Life of Dominique

Barack Obama's creation, The Life of Julia has gotten a lot of coverage this week.

The real-life Julia?
The real-life consequences for Julia
Who the hell is "Julia," and why am I paying for her whole life?

Well, here's my contribution: The Life of Dominique


Full Text:

Barack Obama's campaign has recently created a story on their website called The Life of Julia.  It is the life story of a woman who is given cradle to grave assistance by the US government and describes the course her life takes as she passively moves through life's many stages.

The conclusion of the story is that, "From cracking down on gender discrimination in health care costs to fighting for equal pay, President Obama is standing up for women throughout their lives."

But what might a woman's life look like if she did not depend on the help of government programs and instead actively and independently pursued goals and dreams?  It was on this idea that I was inspired to write The Life of Dominique.

I see the world quite a bit differently than Barack Obama, so this story has a much different conclusion.

Age 0:   Dominique is born in a small town in South America.

Age 3:   Her parents decide to immigrate to the United States of America, which was surprisingly easy now due to recent changes there.

Age 6:  Dominique enrolls in an inexpensive, small town school

Age 10: Even though she finds an interest in many different things, like painting, math, and sports, she especially likes biology and learns quite a bit about the subject on her own outside of school.

Age 16: She starts to become more independent and to have more opinions about things around her.  She is curious about the country where she was born.  Even though her family is poor, she grows to be very grateful that she is an American now.

Age 18: She has worked a few jobs during the summer, including the local veterinary clinic and learns how to suture wounds and about various drugs. She has traveled to some places nearby, including the capital of her state, a large city of 5 million people.  These experiences shape her opinions even further, and she sees how other people live compared to how she and her family live.  Because everyone she knows is poor, she thinks there is no sense in trying to depend on others to help her.  She should try to earn her own way because that seemed like the most reliable way to make a living and be happy.

Age 19: The Higher Education Bubble has burst.  Dominique is part of a growing trend of young people who wish for more education but have little access to it.  Many universities have closed, the small town where her and her family live is too far away from a large school where she can study, and those which are still open don't have facilities anymore for what she is interested in: bio-technology and engineering. 

Dominique plans out a series of courses and seminars at several trade schools, local community colleges, and from a large West Coast university which has begun career training on the internet.

She knows it will take her several years of working to pay for the classes, but as she learns more and more from them, she will get better and better at her job, earn a bigger and bigger salary, and eventually she will complete her plan.

Age 20: While studying for school, Dominique works at a large city’s police station, doing bloodwork and DNA in the forensics lab.  Her interest in emerging biological sciences prompts her to start a technology blog, and it becomes moderately popular.  The ad revenue contributes to her savings for school.

Age 22: Dominique has worked at several places in the city, including small bio research labs, and as an intern at a tissue engineering research firm.

Age 25: Dominique has completed her plan that she made when she graduated high school.  She moves to a large city on the East Coast to work as an engineering technician.  The lab where she works is funded by a medical company attempting to grow replacement heart valves for disease and trauma patients.  She feels very good about achieving all her goals so far.  She connects with Julia, one of the girls from the town where she grew up.  They miss each other but it is hard to stay in touch because Julia is having a hard time paying for her college loans.

Age 26: Dominique undergoes surgery. It is thankfully paid for by her insurance and by the savings account she had opened for just this sort of thing.  She was glad she had very little debt: only a small loan for her car which she bought to travel with on vacation. She decides to save even more so that she can make investments and have a little on the side in case she needs other medical treatment someday.

Age 28: She has published papers and patents for her tissue engineering research.  Dominique is married to an architect named Howard.. She is happy with her life, but never satisfied, she forms a new plan…

She seeks a job offer from a company which would pay for some genetic engineering courses, and allow her to study something she has thought possible for many years: to synthesize organs genetically tailored for implant to specific patients.  It is a long shot, and she does not have all the experience yet to do it, but with her own savings and from some funding from the new company she works for, she thinks her dream is possible.

Age 30: Dominique and Julia see each other after many years of being out of touch.  Julia is different: she has many stories about the causes she supports and the rallies she has attended, like her concern for equal pay for women, forgiving student loan debt, and free heath care. 

Although Julia never says it, Dominique senses that her friend is resentful that Dominique has left Julia behind in their home town.  Dominique herself is vaguely resentful of Julia for demanding she release her medical technology to the public domain.  Dominique parts ways with her old classmate, never to see her again.

Age 32: Dominique and her husband, Howard, have their first child together.  That year, they take a vacation overseas.

Age 35: Upon the first successful implant of a lung in a human clinical trial, Dominique celebrates with her colleagues, Francisco and Dagny.

Age 40: Dominique and her husband open their own wine and beer tasting room using the proceeds from the sale of her organ implant company.  Over the next several years, Dominique works as a nanotechnology and bio-engineering consultant, helping her husband run the store on the side.  They have many sources of income, including dividends from their investments and royalties from the technology licenses Dominique has given to various medical and tech firms.

Age 55: Dominique and her husband retire with their savings, as social security and all government sponsored retirement benefits have long been abolished.

At her retirement party, Dominique‘s friends and colleagues introduce her to several patients whose lives have been saved by her medical research and product development efforts.

Age 60: Dominique and Howard spend their remaining years and their fortune traveling and spoiling their many grandchildren.  They also found an organization dedicated to the establishment of free market economies in the region where Dominique was born.

By living their own lives wisely and selfishly, heroes like Dominique are a living example to women everywhere.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This is fascinating: Geotagging This guy mapped all the pictures taken in major cities around the world and compiled all kinds of visual data.  Take the “Tourist or Local” quiz. The map of Manhattan by race is actually kind of pretty, but the implication is that people still live in big clumps of single-race groups.

Youtube: Free Market America: If I wanted America to Fail Depressing, but true.  Reminds me that Atlas Shrugged Pt 2 is coming out.  

One author who says Apps are better than books. 20 Foods We Sort of Miss.  Mmmmm.  Pudding Roll-Ups.

A company founded around mining asteroids.  The Space Renaissance is coming, my friends.  It’s starting now.  And all it took was NASA and that stupid shuttle to get out of the way.  Kinda funny how that works, isn’t it?

Sorry, I don’t believe it.  The War on Terror is over? And announcing something like this in public is the surest way to encourage another big domestic attack.  Radical Islamic fundamentalism is not dead.  Until then, we are all at risk.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some Links

  • What should we do After Obama Care?  Answer: go the opposite direction. 
  • After having to jump through all those hoops to get my Secret clearance, and watching friends have to go through worse hoops to get Top Secret, I always wondered about this: POTUS Clearance.
  • A video everyone should watch before November Obama's 3 year goal.

  • Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Science Defended by Destroying the Scientific Method

    Robert Tracinski Wrote an excellent piece today about the global warming controversy that Peter Gleick started.

    In a nutshell, these guys think they are doing the right thing so they are able to justify lying and stealing.

    The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

    We have an idealized version of good and evil in our minds and there is nothing wrong with having a black and white view of what good versus evil IDEAS are, but you will never find a person who is purely evil and knows it.  A real person who is evil will always find a way to justify himself.  Ellsworth Toohey is a character in Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, and he is a caricature, an ideal bad guy, an illustration of what a villain looks like.  He is evil and he knows it.  This doesn't happen in real life, but that's what a novel is supposed to do: boil things down to their essentials and present ideas in their purest form, embodied by a character.

    In real life, you have guys like Gleick.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    My Questions for The President

    "We Can't Wait"

    "YES WE CAN!"

    I'm channeling Michael Kelso when I say, "BURN! Hahahaha!"

    Youtube is hosting an "Ask BHO day" (My name, not theirs).  I set off a powder keg based on the speed and volume of votes to my questions.  I wrote eleven, because that's better than ten.  I go to eleven.

    Some of these seem like duplicates but because of the character limit I had to ask them in the form of separate questions.  But there's still eleven (11).

    •  Do you believe that the "Executive Order" is a valid and constitutional use of Presidential power? Why or Why not?
    • Is the method in which congress writes laws in broad, vague language, only to have anonymous un-elected bureaucrats fill in the regulatory details under which all all Americans must live a valid and constitutional use of EXECUTIVE power?
    • Is the method in which congress writes laws in broad, vague language, only to have anonymous un-elected bureaucrats fill in the regulatory details under which all all Americans must live a valid and constitutional use of CONGRESSIONAL power? 
    • You have said more than once that you believe we are all our brother's keeper. As well-meaning as that sounds, isn't it true that throughout history, many tyrannical governments have been founded on this very premise? 
    • You have said more than once that you believe we are all our brother's keeper. Is there not room in this country for people who do not have the same code of ethics as you? What of individual freedom? Pursuit of happiness? These are selfish values. 
    • You have said more than once that you believe we are all our brother's keeper. What of those who do not hold this belief, and think that we are all free to choose our own life path and live as individuals?
    • Do you believe that your "Jobs Bill" will have any effect on the economy above and beyond the results, if any, that have been realized from the bailout or QE1 and QE2? In what way is this bill different than those?
    • Based on the results of several economic policies such as Cash for Clunkers, your bailout, qualitative easing, your medical reform bill, and many many others, do you believe that Keynesian style economics is a policy that should be continued?
    • Do you believe that the Iranian regime has been contained and discouraged sufficiently such that it will be deterred from attacking US intrests at home and abroad? How important do you think this issue is compared to other foreign policy questions? 
    • Do you believe that the student rebellion in Iran should be encouraged and supported as a genuine grassroots rebellion against tyranny? If so, how is the US doing this in such a way that our interests are protected at home?
    • If you truly represent ALL Americans as you claim, why is it that you have recognized and even praised the Occupy Wall Street movement but have not addressed the Tea Party except in passing remarks even though they clearly have a larger following?
    This is fun!

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Sydney Recap

    Photo Courtesy: The Internet

    Whenever Lia's cousin Tammi gets to the end of a week at the Minnesota cabin she always needs a few minutes at the campfire for vacation recap. I do too. Except I'm not making a fire. And we didn't go to Minnesota.

    Lia and I flew out to Sydney, Australia to meet Tara and Justin who got there the day before. We flew from here the 26th. Which means we didn't even experience the 27th. It's a day that just didn't happen for us. That day probably would have sucked anyway.

    Qantas, by the way, needs to take over all Western domestic air travel in the US. Our trip to Denmark proved that SAS can have the East coast. The two of them can fight over the middle, and I'll gladly take a layover to switch between them in Kansas City on transcontinental flights if it means no more United or USAir.

    Anyways, our flight over was 15 hours but it's no problem when the service, food, and entertainment options are all awesome. The seats weren't any bigger, but they leaned back a little more than usual. And the flight attendants weren't bitchy. That's a plus.

    We landed on the 28th at 8am all fresh as daisies, to the train to our hotel, dropped off the luggage, and started taking the first of many steps of walking for that week.

    Dec 28: Land, walk around downtown and Harbor, meet T & J at the Irish pub, L & T see Picasso, J & R walk Darling harbor, double up on dinner with sushi and Home Thai.

    Dec 29: Boat cruise across Harbor to Taronga Zoo, beers at Bar 100 and a grill your own steak dinner at Phillips Foote in the Rocks.

    Dec 30: Wine tour in Hunter Valley with Boris the Optimist. Sushi in The Rocks.

    Dec 31: Tara to the Blue Mtns, J & R to Maritime museum, J, R & L to Paddy's market, fish market, New Year's Eve at Bar 100 (BOOM!)

    Jan 1: Terrigol Beach thanks to Sam Powess, Korean BBQ, Roark illicitly acquires lamp post souvenir from city workers, is sworn to secrecy.

    Jan 2: J & T fly out, L & R meet Craig Coverdale for a tour of Balgowlah Heights, Manly Beach, and dinner at Craig's house.

    Jan 3: Bondi Beach, a billion prawns, and again with the Home Thai (yum).

    Jan 4: Fly out, photo op with Moby. Icing on the cake.  Totally made up for losing my cologne at security.

    France gave us the Statue of Liberty.  Australia got one of these.

    Lia pets the Wallaby (in the parlance of our times)

    Pictures like this abound on the internet but the temptation to take one yourself is irresistible since it's such a weird sight.

    These things are huge.  This is folded to about half its actual length.  

    View of the Sydney Harbor/Spit area from Bagowlah Heights.  New Zealand is straight out there somewhere.

    ELLLL CAMINOOOO! Australians love them - as long as they're repackaged as the slightly less redneck Holden Ute Series II.  Also note the delicious and  ubiquitous Pie Face restaurant in the back left. MMMMMmmm Piiiie Faaaace.

    Wait, is that Moby? Let me check a picture on the internet...yep, that's Moby.  

    All of the pictures here have a larger version at the Google+ album. Plus there are others.

    It was a little touch and go at every step along the way through the airports coming back.  First there was the  questionable contents of my baggage, then there was the huge pile-up after customs in LAX, barely missing the sniffer dog, then there was the rest of the crap at LAX, then the Brasilia we flew to YUM sounded like it might vibrate its way out of its useful service life mid-flight.  But we were glad to make it home.

    The most important thing to say is that this trip would not have been possible in the slightest without my awesome family in Yuma: Mom, Laura, Ernesto, Alyosha, Tito, Noah, and Eden, you guys are all awesome for taking Reia for the week.  Some people gave us crap for not going for more than a week, if we were going to Australia at all.  But to simply say we were grateful for the time we had would be an understatement.  Neither of us can even imagine being able to squeeze any more time out of what we got, since we figured a week away from Mom and Dad is probably an eternity for a two year old. Plus we kind of missed her, even with the web cams (I know, we're single child parents and need to let go a little, but still).