Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More New Species Found

Looks like we won't run out of new species to kill off anytime soon. Linked from Drudge, we learn from AP that 20 new ocean species have been found around Indonesia. The researchers cataloged more than 130 species total, which means that fully 15% of their find was a new, undocumented animal.

We need to accelerate our worldwide fishing efforts and increase our ocean pollutants if we are to have any chance of outpacing this outbreak of new life. Stoke the furnaces!

McQ Soundtrack: Intrigue Meets Cheeseball

Elmer Bernstein is one of my favorite movie composers, and is better known for his work with Westerns--especially the music for The Magnificent Seven. And while he has industry awards, he's not half as recognized for his talent as he deserves to be.

With that in mind, I'm listening to the soundtrack to McQ, a cheesy 1970s cop movie starring John Wayne. A true listening pleasure. Combine groovy 70s chase music, some Pink Panther-esque rhumba and a little Star Wars brass, and you've got one heck of a piece.

And I love the movie's tagline:

The cop no one can stop. Even the cops.

And something about that movie still just makes me laugh. It must the idea of John Wayne knocking Borat's lights out. Go John!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tolkein Returns: The Children of Hurin

Anybody who knows me knows I'm a huge Tolkein fan. I can't admit reading every single work of his, but I've read Lord of the Rings several times, the Hobbit several times, the Silmarillion at least twice, and half a dozen references and essay books about Tolkein and his works.

So I'm especially pleased that there is a new book from the master himself. The Children of Hurin will detail the life and journeys the the principal characters in one chapter of the Silmarillion. The story is especially sad and tragic, but exquisite in its language and intricate plot. This is definitely a book I want in my library.

Comes out in April. Read all about it.

Rush on Mitt

Rush Limbaugh is unequivocally one of the smartest entertainers out there. Regardless of his bombast and puffuppery, his analyses are almost always spot-on, which is why I listen to him on occasion.

So it was a real pleasure to hear his take on the "drive-by-media" hit job on Mitt Romney and his Mormonism (two of my favorite subjects). From the show:

[Mormonism is] considered, by people who don't know about it, to be very, very serious and devout, and it's the devout aspect that just sends the left quivering and shaking. We cannot have somebody who's going to be judgmental, can't have somebody who has absolutes of right and wrong and good or bad. We can't have somebody like that running the country. No, no, no. That's why the left feels like they are imprisoned when such people have positions of power.

Read the entire transcript.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Global Warming? This Takes the Cake

Okay, as far as global warming stories go, they're nearly all completely inane. But none quite so moronic as this one. I found it linked from Drudge:

"Global warming concerns are keeping children awake at night."

That headline alone should be enough to make any sensible thinker vomit a little. The story says that "half of young children are anxious about the effects of global warming, often losing sleep because of their concern, according to a new report today."

What's even stupider? The explanation given by the head of the study:

"While many adults may look the other way, this study should show that global warming is not only hurting the children of the future, it's affecting the welfare of kids now."
Um, do you think it would be affecting them if you weren't RAMMING IT DOWN EVERYONE'S THROATS? I think the problem isn't so much in global warming as it is in the media that forces this junk science into the collective conscience. And the self-serving politicians who use global warming fear-mongering to keep themselves in power.

Excuse me while I clean the bile from my mouth.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Steak for Dinner? Not If You're Truly Concerned About the Planet

Let's escalate the global warming hype, shall we?

The environmentalists aren't satisfied with destroying U.S. manufacturing with overbearing regulation. They've also targeted ranchers and the accompanying feed industry. Says the article:
...livestock are a major emitter of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And as meat becomes a growing mainstay of human diet around the world, changing what we eat may prove as hard as changing what we drive.
The global warming hype reminds me of the Anna Nicole Smith story. Just when you thought it couldn't get more insane, it does. They won't be satisfied until Earth is the new Venus and everyone is dead of heat stroke.

Mitt Romney's First Campaign TV Spot

About a year before the primaries, and Mitt is already running this in select markets. Go Mitt!

Heroes: Awesome

I came onto the Heroes scene about three episodes into the series. Ever since, I've been hooked. It takes a lot for a TV show to do that to me, but Heroes delivers in spades. And last night's episode was the best by far.

Go to the NBC Heroes page to watch all the episodes if you haven't yet. You won't be disappointed.

Windows Vista and Quicken: My First Hangup

It seems the fine folks at Intuit aren't so fine at keeping Quicken 2007 current with Microsoft's new operating system. I tried installing Quicken 2007 on my new machine last night, and the install failed when it tried to install the software patch. Worse, the uninstall doesn't completely work. I did find this workaround on a Quicken forum:

"I have been struggling with the same issue all day with installing Quicken 2007 in Vista. I was unable to uninstall Quicken 2007 after the install did not work properly.

My solution. 1. I installed Quicken 2006. 2. I uninstalled Quicken 2006 through Windows "Uninstall Programs". 3. I then uninstalled Quicken 2007 through Windows "Uninstall Programs" (It actually worked which amazed me.) 4. I reinstalled Quicken 2007 from the hard drive (although I don't know if this was necessary but I read it from another post). Finally, I did not let the auto update run during the installation process. After all of that, I can now use Quicken 2007 R2 without a problem on my Vista machine."
I'll have to try that tonight. Crossing my fingers.

Well, it looks like my Quicken problem was much ado about nothing. What seemed like an installation error turned out to simply be a very long wait for the patch to install completely. It didn't help that the Vista window said "Not responding." Oh, well. Still, for being my first issue with Vista, it's not that bad of a problem.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Man-made Environmental Doomsday Blather

If you're incredibly bored or stupidly interested, here's an article about the increasing acidification of the oceans brought on by--you guessed it--mankind.

The stupidity is immediately apparent as the article starts off by posturing the urban legend about coke-dissolved teeth as fact. The rest is just nonsense, with no evidence that anything is being harmed by diminutive increases in water acidity.

Why do these people hate humanity so much? Can't hate something else? Like cancer or hunger?

Steve Jobs and Unions: Without the Fluff, For Once

Steve Jobs just got a big, giant happy sticker from me. And it didn't require an act of God, surprisingly enough. All it took was the common wisdom and guts to call unions for what they really are: poison.

Unions are bad enough for the auto and other industries. They're even worse for public schools--where economic realities do little to prevent sub-par performance among teachers. And where the ones who suffer the greatest consequences are the children.

In Jobs' words:

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said.

"This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

Read the entire story here.

Hello, Vista.

I got it - my new computer. An HP machine from Circuit City. Very sweet! I'm still migrating files and applications and such from my old machine, but it's a pretty simple task so far.

I have to say that the sales associates at Circuit City must be trained to intimidate their customers into purchasing the $120 setup service. They're all, "Look out! Windows Vista is very complicated to set up and optimize. If you don't do it right, you could mess it up, or leave it vulnerable to spyware!"

I said, "That's okay, I enjoy tinkering and learning on my own."

"But are you Windows Vista Certified?"


"Well, you have to be Windows Vista Certified to set it up right."

And that went on for 20 minutes.

So I declined the setup service, took it home, and started transferring stuff. The process was incredibly easy. And as far as Internet connectivity goes, it was as simple as plugging in the cable. Done!

From what I hear, Office 2003 doesn't work on Vista, which means I'll have to get a hold of Office 2007. I'm sure there are other applications I'll want more recent versions of. But installing a bunch of little utilities such as WinRar, BitComet and Quicktime was a snap.

The only thing that bugs me so far is the fact that the computer doesn't come with a Vista OS install disk. Instead, they make you burn a restore disk, which has everything on it to restore it to factory settings--including the OS. What's worse, you can only burn a single restore disk. So that's the first thing I did. Afterward, I tried to dupe it using the Roxio copy program that came with the computer. It didn't want to cooperate. So later I'll try to find another way to dupe it. I don't want my entire OS backed up on a single disc that could get lost or corrupted.

Overall, I'm very happy. Circuit City isn't doing Microsoft any favors, though, by trying to scare their customers into using their services. Bad Circuit City! Bad.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sense from Sowell

Just a quick note on another excellent article from my favorite thinker, Thomas Sowell. Today he joins the small throng of other right thinkers in tearing down the global warming hype.

In short, there has been a full court press to convince the public that "everybody knows" that a catastrophic global warming looms over us, that human beings are the cause of it, and that the only solution is to turn more money and power over to the government to stop us from our dangerous ways of living.
It's nothing we haven't heard from others before, but sense like this bears repeating.

Read the whole article.

Mitt Romney Officially Declares Candidacy

In about five minutes, Mitt Romney will officially announce his bid for the presidency. I'll be watching the webcast; should be fun. He's making the announcement about 15 miles from where I am, down at the Ford Museum in Detroit. Pretty cool. Go Mitt!

Well, it was pretty typical. Lots of good rhetoric and general points of position, but I guess that's what I should expect from such an event. I don't envy Mitt having to fly across the country to make that same speech multiple times in the next few days.

Here's a link to the speech text.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My New Monitor?

I think I've found the solution to my monitor problem. Wal Mart has a seemingly very affordable 19" LCD monitor for $170. That's for less that what it would cost at Circuit City. Of course the quality of the display is the question. But it's Wal Mart. I should be able to return it if there's a problem.

Time For A New Computer

So I've gone to the store and fooled around with Window Vista, and I think it's time for me to dump my aging, quirk-prone machine for a nifty new one. I've had my current computer since 2002.

I'm looking at an HP from Circuit City. It has all the expandability I think I'll want for the next five years. I really want to get the 19" monitor along with it, but that's $200 more. Can I justify it? I suppose I could convince myself to get it. Thoughts?

Global Warming Quote of the Day

"It's ironic that a field based on challenging unproven theories attacks skeptics in a very unhealthy way."
--William O'Keefe, chief executive officer of the Marshall Institute, which assesses scientific issues that shape public policy.
Here's the story.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What's Worse than Hyperbole? How About A Lie.

I just want to take a moment to comment on a lovely piece by Ellen Goodman at the Boston Globe. The article is another blast of hot air on the global warming issue, basically stating that the politics of global warming haven't changed despite the fact that the global thermometer has.

That's all very well and good. But what gripes me is this statement.

By every measure, the U N 's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change raises the level of alarm. The fact of global warming is "unequivocal." The certainty of the human role is now somewhere over 90 percent. Which is about as certain as scientists ever get.
Since when has scientific fact been 90 percent? Do only 90% of scientists agree on the speed of light? The existence and role of DNA? The fact that dinosaurs once walked the earth? If scientists never reached more than 90% consensus, we'd still be debating that the earth is round.

I won't even go into her comparison of Holocaust deniers to global warming deniers (By the way, what a novel idea! Where did she come up with that?) Instead, I'm just going to start calling people global warming sympathizers. Spewing forth and succumbing to the political propaganda machine much like Nazi sympathizers did 75 years ago.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Hate Hyperbole

Hyperbole is the most annoying form of rhetoric, ever.

Seriously, I hear so much of it that its meaning has diminished to nearly nothing.

"Bush is the worst president in U.S. history."
"Iraq is the biggest disaster in world history."
"Steve Jobs is the greatest visionary in living memory."

And Ted Turner's latest: Global warming is the "single greatest challenge that humanity has ever faced."

Al Gore: "Never before has all of civilization been threatened..."

As a writer, I'm all for using literary devices to make a point beyond mere statement of fact. But when it comes to hyperbole, consider the source. Rarely will a truly objective, honestly informed observer use it. And when he does, it will be a statement of fact. "Light is the fastest thing known to man." Yeah, that really grabs the headlines, doesn't it?

Instead, hyperbole is used by the politically motivated, the tragically hip and the intellectually lazy.

So, witness the birth of my new pet peeve: hyperbole without substance. Please slap my face if you ever see me using it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


But it has to be. I witnessed it firsthand.

Here's the transcript:

2:25:32 PM senorvelasco: listen to that song yet?
2:26:54 PM poemeister1: I'm listening right
2:26:59 PM poemeister1: now
2:28:22 PM poemeister1: not bad
"Not bad." Never have two words been more defiant of history. The fact that poemister1 didn't express immediate disgust at any song of mine is causing me to rethink my whole belief system. And re-check my calculations on super string theory. Amazing.

Oh, here's the said song.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bull Sharks Protest Global Warming

Bull Shark 3
Originally uploaded by Snelvis.
Shrimpin' ain't what it used to be. Not with 14-foot bull sharks destroying your vessel. Darn those greenhouse gasses!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I'll see your Stabenow and raise you Levin.

Sen. Carl Levin, D - Mich.
Originally uploaded by Senor Velasco.
Yep, here's a signed photo of my other senator. I think he and Debbie make a nice pair, don't you think? I think it's obvious that South Dakota breeds better looking politicians. (Tom Daschle doesn't count. I'd say the same for Tim Johnson, but that would be mean since he's recovering from a brain hemorrhage.)

See my nearly complete set here.

Devastating Rise in New Species. Global Warming the Culprit?

This is what I find funny. Last week we saw a picture of a couple polar bears standing on an ice floe. According to the story, they're STRANDED! Global warming is causing this cuddly duo to slowly die. You want proof? Look at the picture--they're standing on an ice floe.

Contrast that with this. In the last few months, I've seen several stories about huge new finds of literally thousands of species. Many many more species are being discovered than are dying, despite the endless haranguing from the global warm-ongers.

Is global warming to blame? If so, then let's encourage some more. Surely, this proliferation of new species can only be a good thing.

Of course, for the pessimist, it's just another huge list of animals that are about to be threatened with extinction. And by "pessimist" I mean one of those crafty purveyors of consensus science.

Ok, I'm done venting. Read the story.

My Collection Grows

Yes, my little collection of signed autographs from my congressional representatives just grew. Not in attractiveness, mind you, but in quantity. Debbie Stabenow isn't the least bit attractive to me politically. But what do you expect from a constituency dominated by labor unions and the entitlement-minded?

Now let's see if I get anything for Carl Levin and Joe Knollenberg!