Friday, June 29, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why I Won't Be Buying an IPhone

  1. There's Steve McQueen cool and geek cool. One is something to be emulated the other is something to be avoided.
  2. I wouldn't wait on line for 12 hours for something I needed, never mind a $500 toy.
  3. Call me cynical, but why would I buy a $500 phone and a $2000 service plan that forces me to use AT&T?
  4. I feel no overwhelming need to play music or videos and web browse from my cell phone.
  5. It's kind of big, 4.5 inches, does it come with it's Iutilitybelt?
  6. Steve Jobs is not Satan, but he regularly has lunch with him.
  7. The Iphone battery is sealed inside it's case, will this matter long term?
  8. First generation stuff is often twitchy, even from Apple.
  9. Getting back to the cool thing, it just isn't "cool" cool, it's more like Eddie Murphy saying "awesome" in Bowfinger cool.
  10. It doesn't come with matching pocket protector, although it should.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nikola Tesla, A Man Before His Time

"As soon as [the Wardenclyffe facility is] completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place ..."

Nikola Tesla, "The Future of the Wireless Art", Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony, 1908, pg. 67-71.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

October 1988

Indian summer in Boston and I'm still in the military. I’m hungover, dehydrated and grateful for the little dignities life has to offer. A clean, quiet, Greek diner that serves breakfast all day.

It had been a long and unremarkable night and I needed food, water, aspirin and cool place to sit for awhile. The diner was empty except for the owner who looked me over as I sat in one of the booths. I ordered two poached eggs, rye toast, iced coffee and large glass of ice water. The owner said he didn’t have any aspirin, he may have been lying.

When your tight and hungry, you can eat in the greasiest of spoons, but when your hungover neatness counts. I went into the men’s room and washed my hands and face. For a hole in the wall diner they had good smelling liquid soap. When I came out my food was waiting for me and the owner had found some aspirin, he dumped three into the cap and then into my hand. I placed them on the paper napkin next to my plate. Either his opinion of me changed or he remembered where he had stashed them. I ate and drank in silence, looking at the songs in the little jukebox they had in the booth. With food in my stomach, I swallowed the aspirin. They smelled of vinegar so they had probably been around awhile, but I hoped they would do the trick.

Winless in Seattle

The Sox have been swept in a three game series for the first time this year. Depending on how you look at it, that little nugget is at once the bad and the good news. At least I can take solace in yet another Yankee loss, shut out actually against the hapless Orioles, with Clemens getting shelled.

Ichiro Suzuki is one hell of ball player, controversial statement, I know. I wonder how many other outstanding ball players are playing in Japan? Probably not too many like him. He hits for average and for power when needed, is fast as hell on the base path, has a cannon for an arm and is clearly an avid student of the game. He'd look great in a Boston uniform.

Ann Coulter and Elizabeth Edwards

As much as it pains me, I have to come to the defense of Ann Coulter. You, my faithful reader who has nothing better to do than read this tripe, probably know that on several occasions I have lamented Coulter's capacity to make the high road low, the sensible inflammatory and make conservatism seem unattractive.
As if to prove my point, Coulter used the word "faggot" in a lame joke about John Edwards. As if to prove Coulter's point, the Edwards camp sends poor Elizabeth Edwards, riddled with inoperable cancer, out to beg Coulter to leave the Breck Boy alone. How touching.
You can see where this is going, a very sympathetic Mrs. Edwards defends her fly weight of a husband against the slings and arrows of some raging blond harpie. Anyone who dares question Mrs. Edwards' motives will be harrangued for beating up a sick woman.

Mrs. Edwards speaks of raising the dialogue. Where was she when bloggers in her husband's employ were bashing Catholics? Where are her op eds pleading with the rabid left to stop referring to the POTUS, during war, as chimp, Hitler, idiot etc? Anyone?

Here is a big F***K Y** to you tube. They removed the original Ann Coulter lame joke video, ostensibly because it clearly shows she did not call him a "faggot", yet there are innumerable videos calling Coulter everything you can imagine.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

American Lefty Angers Peruvians

Cameron Diaz, Harvard PhD, Nobel Laureate and serious critical thinker, pissed off the Peruvians by prancing around Machu Picchu with a "olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese on the flap, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao's most famous political slogan." In her defense I bet she had no clue about what the bag represented or anything else for that matter. She will probably claim this too when or if she's called to account for it. Remember this the next you hear her spout off about global warming or the IMF.

Friday, June 22, 2007

United 93 The Movie

I finally got around to seeing United 93, what a great, great film. Although it's not easy to watch particularly if you're like me and respond to such things with rage as opposed to tears. I haven't been so p.o.d by a movie since Black Hawk Down. The strength of the film is that it doesn't get in the way of the story, nor is it more violent, maudlin or dramatic than necessary.

If you haven't seen it, you should. If only to remind you that we are at war. You may not think we are or feel that we are, but then again the people killed on 9/11 didn't think so either.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Year In The Joint

I just found out that a friend, not a close one thank God, from high school has been sentenced to a year in jail for carrying a pistol without a permit. He's in the big house up in Somers with all the rapists, murderers and drug dealers. Way to go.

You, my astute reader, may be wondering how the hell do you end up in jail for such a minor thing, there must be more to the story? I don't know the particulars of this offense but my friend has been arrested on numerous occasions, usually for something weed related. He comes from a good home, went to private schools where he was in the National Honor Society and graduated from UCONN on his parents dime, yet somehow he never quite figured out that the law is the law, not a mere suggestion.

I feel conflicted in a way because I think Jacob, not his real name, is the last person who harm anybody, yet if I guess that he's been arrested five times prior to this fiasco for different things all related to the cultivation, possession, use and sale of marijuana, I'd probably be understating it by half. What does it take for somebody to wake the hell up?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Muslim World Inflamed by Rushdie Knighthood

This is news? How about this: Muslim World Inflamed by _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.
Here are some choices to fill in the blank with:
  1. Fluoridated Water
  2. Paul McCartney's New Album
  3. Progress
  4. Tolerance
  5. Miss Piggy
  6. Knife Proof Necks
  7. Their Neighbor's Ox
  8. Their Neighbor's Wife
  9. Their Neighbor's Prosperity
  10. Pink Floyd Album Covers

JFK and The Death of Liberalism

Over at NRO online John J. Miller interviews James Pierson on his new book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism. I think it's fascinating because it explains something I always suspected but never bothered to figure out, why liberals seem to hate America. Some of my best friends are liberals, really, I'm not making that up. I know they don't hate America, but they relish in every injustice, every policy screw up and view every act of human frailty as proof positive of how we've lost our way or as James Pierson puts it:
Kennedy’s assassination, happening the way it did, compromised the central assumptions of American liberalism that had been the governing philosophy of the nation since the time of the New Deal. It did this in two decisive ways: first, by compromising the faith of liberals in the future; second, by undermining their confidence in the nation. Kennedy’s assassination suggested that history is not in fact a benign process of progress and advancement, but perhaps something quite different. The thought that the nation itself was responsible for Kennedy’s death suggested that the United States, far from being a “city on a hill” and an example for mankind, as Kennedy had described it (quoting John Winthrop), was in fact something darker and more sinister in its deepest nature.

I think that is exactly right. But how did Conservatives react to the assassination of the Kennedys? Again James Pierson:
Kennedy’s assassination had little effect on the conservative movement then or thereafter. Conservatives like Bill Buckley, Russell Kirk, or Barry Goldwater accepted the fact that Kennedy had been shot by a Communist. This did not surprise them in the least. The loss of faith among liberals in the years after JFK’s death opened a path for conservatives to come to power. It might be said that Ronald Reagan picked up the torch of national optimism that was dropped by the liberals when Kennedy was killed. Kennedy’s death, as its implications were worked out, destroyed the capacity of liberals to govern the country.

I love this explanation because it confirms something I have long believed, namely that conservatives still believe in the inherent goodness of America even while acknowledging some ugly truths about us. I still believe that despite every Michael Moore wet dream that the United States is still the shinning city on the hill, a beacon of freedom and opportunity for everyone in the world and the last, best hope for mankind. Recent events prove that our values may not be readily exportable to parts of the world where tribal animosity proves stronger than the rule of law, but does that mean we are evil or stupid for trying?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Car Shopping - Hyundai

I'm not necessarily in the market for a new car, but I like to keep abreast of what's out there and how much things costs. Hyundai has been making some very decent cars for several years now, so I went to their web site to what they have to offer. I won't bore you with all the details, but the long and the short of it, is that they make a SUV very similar in terms of price, performance and amenities to Honda, Toyota and Mazda. Great for Hyundai, right? Wrong. Hyundai may make a decent car, but if my choice is a $26,995 Hyundai or $27,690 Honda, assuming the Hyundai is competitive in all other considerations, I'll buy the Honda every time. Until the Hyundai nameplate is synonymous with quality and high resale value like Honda and Toyota, they'll need to bring something more to the table than a price tag $695 lower than Honda. Longer warranties don't cut it in my book either, because there is more fine print and wiggle room in a manufacturer's warranty than Bill a Clinton apology.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Paul Potts Can Sing

I don't really like American Idol, especially when the contestants get kind of good, because even at their best, i.e. Kelly Clarkson, it's not my type of music. I admit, I do enjoy the first few shows with all the freaks and delusional people because like everyone else I love a car wreck.

Then there's this guy, Paul Potts, who performs on the British equivalent of American Idol, Britain's Got Talent. I love how this starts, a dowdy little toad of a man tells Simon Cowell and the two other judges that he's going to sing opera. Simon looks as if someone just asked him to bite into a turd, because let's face it, most contestants can't sing pop never mind opera. Then the little, endearing toad sings "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's Turnadot. This performance, although not perfect, is what these sort of shows are all about, watching the ordinary become extraordinary, discovering that the man who sold you your cell phone can sing Puccini is oddly gratifying.

Hamas Vs. Fatah

The fighting in Gaza reminds of a stupid, old joke:
A Hamas man and a Fatah man jump off a building, who hits the ground first?
Who cares?


In the Spaniard’s heart is a great yearning for freedom, but only his own. A great love of truth and honor in all its forms, but not in its substance. And a deep conviction that nothing can be proven except that it be made to bleed. Virgins, bulls, men. Ultimately God himself.

Cormac McCarthy All The Pretty Horses

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dan Rather Slams Katie Couric

While I despise the oh so perky and stridulent Katie Couric and agree with Dan Rather's assessment of her, I think he wasn't the right man to point out the obvious. In my opinion Rather abandoned serious journalism himself some time ago. Couric may come from the planet Antigravitas, but at least she has hasn't presented patently spurious documents as authentic and then stood by "the truth of them". As least not yet, as far as we know.
An amusing note to this story is when Les Moonves tries to defend Couric's abysmal ratings by suggesting "She's been on the air for nine months, let's give her a break". Les, baby, nine months. Nine whole months, do you think that maybe some people haven't seen, haven't heard that Couric is the new sheriff in town? Maybe you could buy some time on a national network and let people know about the change. That, or admit that no matter how you spin it, America wants a bit of decorum and materiality in their talking heads. Two things that Couric couldn't devise in ninety months.

Cool Things

  1. K-BAR - I knew a green beenie NCO who was always amused when soldiers spent good money on "goat stickers" as he called them. In his opinion your much more likely to use your blade as a screw driver or a pry bar then as razor sharp instrument of war. He shared my affinity for the trusty K-Bar. A relatively cheap, very well designed knife that is just plain cool.
  2. Airedale Terriers - I love large terriers. Airedales are tough, cool looking dogs who have tons of personality. They don't shed and have the longest teeth of any terrier and are more than happy to use them on you if you don't belong to their pack.
  3. Woolrich Hudson Bay Six Point Blankets - Even with all the modern fabrics available, nothing exceeds the warmth and practicality of an old timey wool blanket. They're beautiful, tough and most importantly genuine.
  4. Wilesco African Queen - When I was a kid we always had a toy steam engine in the house. This one is quite the balls and for nearly $600 bucks it ought to be. It's a working steam engine on a wooden model of the boat from the Bogey/Hepburn flick The African Queen. As a adult if your going to play with toys they should at least be very cool.
  5. Marklin Live Steam Train - Although I'm not really a train aficionado, I do appreciate quality and authenticity. Marklin is to toy trains as Mercedes Benz is to automobiles, which is to say they are arguably the best. This is a "toy" train that is actually a working steam engine that runs on butane.
  6. Beck Speedster- Here in West Hartford there is no shortage of middle aged men and women of a certain income level lining up in front of local watering holes in Porsche Boxsters, Jaguars, Maseratis etc. They're all nice cars, except for the new Jags which look like Ford Contours, but there is no excitement, no umami. For less than what you'd spend on many fancy cars you could have a replica Porsche Speedster or Spyder that out performs most other sporty cars and even the originals. I love authenticity, but a foolish consistency being what it is and the difference in price being what it is, $500,000, I'd love one of these critters.
  7. Dominica Bay Rum - To me there is nothing like splashing on some Bay Rum after a good shave and a hot shower, I may smell like someones grandfather but screw it, I like the way it smells. You can buy it almost anywhere, even the J. Peterman company, if you can wade through the description:
    Bay Rum has a fairly quiet scent, less strong than anything called perfume, less strong than anything called aftershave, but not so quiet as to be boring. It is, in fact, quite sexy. It is sexy the way skin begins to smell from strong sun, salt water, steel drums, breaking waves, moving palm branches and giggling coming from somewhere.
  8. Fobus Holsters - I like these things because they are cheap, require no break in period and hold your heater securely until you need it. I have an expensive leather holster that smells great and looks great but even after several years it's still too tight to carry, what's the point?
  9. Fighting Horses - Despite all the cool thing technology can make there is nothing cooler than an Iberian fighting horse, a Lusitano or Andalusian. Supposedly these horses entered Spain from Carthage more than 2000 years ago, since then they have been bred for intelligence, speed, beauty and courage.
  10. Real Bull Fighting Swords - Wouldn't be fun to be able to deduct these things on your 1040? How can you resist this description:
    Bullfigther, these pieces, used in the Spanish art of I goad, they are distinguished by the elegance of its streamlined leaves that do them of a great
    value for the collectors and professionals of I goad.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Knot tying. Can you think of anything more prosaic? When I first started fly fishing, I'd lose half the fish I would hook to bad knot tying. Muy, muy frustato. In fly fishing you have at least five knots on your line: backing to reel - arbor knot, backing to fly line - nail knot, leader to fly line - needle knot, tippet to leader - blood knot, tippet to fly -half blood knot.
You will never see your arbor knot and probably never see your nail knot while fishing unless you get into a monstrous leviathan that spools you. It's the knots from the fish end of your fly line to your hook that cause all the problems.
Anywho, the long and short of my knot story is that my blood knots sucked, they're very difficult to tie correctly, so I switched to surgeons knots, which are pretty easy. Then I learned that you have to moisten all your knots when you tie them or they are nearly useless. The friction and heat created when you cinch them tight weakens the monofilament. Suddenly after two years or so of losing fish, I began to land them. Exciting isn't it?
After twelve years or so of satisfactory knot tying, I have started to question if I am using the best knots possible. I'm satisfied with most of them except that I'm contemplating changing from a single blood knot or improved cinch knot to a trilene knot or a palomar knot to attach my fly to my tippet and my lure to my line. It's quite the existential crisis.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Death Penalty Deters Crime

"Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it," said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado at Denver. "The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect."
A 2003 study he co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides. "The results are robust, they don't really go away," he said. "I oppose the death penalty. But my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?"
Statistical studies like his are among a dozen papers since 2001 that capital punishment has deterrent effects. They all explore the same basic theory — if the cost of something (be it the purchase of an apple or the act of killing someone) becomes too high, people will change their behavior (forego apples or shy from murder). From Yahoo News.

If this is true, IF, wouldn't that require a person to demand the death penalty on moral grounds?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Paris Hilton, Valerie Plame, Terror at JFK, Reduced Tuition for Illegal Immigrants

Sorry for the light blogging, I've been busy watching the non-stop Paris Hilton coverage. I kid of course, I kid because I love.
For those of you without belly button lint to card, here are my thoughts, in no particular order, on the whole Paris debacle:
  • In a way, I feel bad for her. This is probably the first time in her life that she's be held to account for anything. Her parents need to be slapped smartly across the face with a month old carp.
  • Celebrity justice is either a wink, wink, nudge, nudge or ridiculously harsh.
  • I wonder if she'll be in one of those Cinemax prison flicks after this?
  • Judging by the press coverage of this event, the world must be an otherwise perfect place.
  • In another more accurate way, I wouldn't be troubled if she were devoured by prison rats, as long as there was video of it.
Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame were on the boob tube yesterday morning getting an award by Physicians for Social Responsibility, who apparently have treated every sick, indigent person in the world, that or they are a group of bleeding hypocrites. As far as my limited attention span can tell, Plamegate is pretty much a non story fanned by partisan hackery. Scooter Libby? Screw him. That's what he gets for walking around with a queer nickname.
I get the impression from Plame and Wilson that when you lift up a rock in Washington D.C. they are the types of things you see scurrying around, searching like mad for their publicists and a consistent story.

Terror at JFK. I'm amused that the terrorist thought America as whole would be morally devastated if the airport named for the beloved slain president were damaged or destroyed. What a bunch of maroons. I hate to admit this, but a successful terror event in the New York Metro area is only a matter of when, not if. Mayor Bloomberg has shielded New Yorkers from the evils of second hand smoke and trans fats, so I'm sure that he has had enough time to consider the perils of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Sleep well Gotham.

Illegals to get in state tuition here in Connecticut. Why do we have such a problem with illegal immigration in this country? In most of the world, in most situations, if you break the law you get penalized. Here in Connecticut the senate has approved a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to pay in state tuition. Come on in, not only will we not enforce our own laws we will reward you for breaking them.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Palace of the Brine

I fished the briny sound today with my friend Matt and his son Luke. We were pretty much shut out all day despite Bunker jumping all over, ostensibly being chased by bigger fish or chasing smaller fish themselves. As we trolled home back up the mouth of the Housatonic this monster Bluefish hit my Acme Kastmaster, the rest is, as they say, history.

Friday, June 01, 2007

2100 Year Old Melon Found in Japan

TOKYO - Archaeologists digging in western Japan have excavated what they believe to be the oldest remains of a melon ever found, an official said Friday. Based on a
radiocarbon analysis, researchers estimate the half-rounded piece of fruit to be
about 2,100 years old, said Shuji Yamazaki, a local official in the city of Moriyama.
The remains are believed to be the oldest of a melon that still has flesh on the rind, Yamazaki said. Previously, the oldest such find was believed to be remains found in China that date back to the fourth century A.D., according to local media reports.

BFD, obviously these people have never shopped at a B.J.s Wholesale club.