Sunday, November 30, 2008

366 Days on the Wall, 366 Days...

A Year of Beer! Bring it on.

Seriously, I think this is the most perfect use of the Internet -- the killer app*, if you will -- a blog that includes a beer review for each and every day of the year.

Thank goodness this was a leap year, or else we would have missed out on the beer to the right -- beer #366!

As with my post about the 75 Books Every Man Should Read, I'll ask how many of these beers have you tried? My count is 39, which surprises me. It's higher than expected only because the list seems to be heavy with Colorado brews.

This list will certainly keep you busy! Our future lays before us, fellow suds heads!

*Back in the '80s, everyone was pondering what might be the "Killer App" for the computer. Some thought it was the spreadsheet, some said word processing. In my opinion, the Killer Application for the computer is the Internet. And the Killer Application for the Internet is either Google or this beer blog (no, the killer app is NOT porn, because we old folks had plenty of that before the computer. I know too because I did the research.)

The New Hardline Howard

I've changed my tune and gone populist -- no bail out for the Big Three automakers.

From an interview with Newsweek's Fareed Sakaria, Al Gore says this: "When I was vice president, I initiated a program called the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. The federal government invested over a billion dollars in partnership with the Big Three to focus on the accelerated development of advanced high-efficiency vehicles. But as soon as they felt they were off the hook at the end of 2000, they pulled the plug and walked away."

My view? They had their chance and blew it, focusing on building Yukons and Hummers instead.

Read the whole interview. It's not too long, unfortunately. Al Gore says it like it is. Will we listen?

And if you want the full scientific scoop on just how screwed we are in regards to global climate change, read this. It'll give you an idea of how difficult the challenges are ahead of us and how huge the changes and devastation will be when we don't meet the challenges.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Got the Turkey Trots

I can't explain it. After participating in all kinds of amazing and impressive bike rides and races, I rarely post anything about them here. And yet I do a little 5K run on Thanksgiving morning, the Loveland Turkey Trot, and am compelled to post about it here...

Howard at the finish line. The guy just behind me and to my right bugged me. I passed him with half a mile to go, but he wouldn't stay passed. So I sprinted at the finish to put him away. Only afterward, looking at this photo, did I realize that he had number 512 while I had number 511. What are the odds?

Howard, SuperNana, Crickett (10), and Peanut (7) at the start of the race. All of us ran today. Crickett and Peanut are amazing girls. They have both become avid cyclists in the past year because of their grandmother, SuperNana. By the way, SuperNana is my [virtual] twin sister as she was born five hours after me in the Pacific timezone. What are the odds?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Real Estate Bubble Is Hitting Everyone Hard, and I Mean EVERYONE

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

As Red State As I Can Be

Metal Heart from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Civics & History Pop Quiz, Use a #2 Pencil Please

How well did you do in high school civics? Did you take any history courses in college? Well if so, this challenging test will STILL kick your butt!

2008-2009 Intercollegiate Studies Institute Civics Exam

It consists of 33 questions and is NOT easy. It'll make you think and rack your brain. My advice? Take your time, consider each answer, rule out the obvious wrong choices, and trust your gut.

When you're finished, go to comments and tell us how you did. Remember: Be honest. I made one embarrassingly stupid mistake, and another that was... regrettable because I didn't consider all the answers to choose from. I'll let you know how dumb I was.

And don't feel bad if you do bad. The average score nationwide is about 16 correct out of 33... even less if you're a politician who should know your civics!

Good luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roller Blade Bottle Guy Plays Mozart

Mozart's Symphony No. 40, 1st Movement to be exact:

You Be the Election Judge

Let's say you're an election judge in Minnesota and it's your responsibility to determine the intent of the voter based on what you see here. I can hear you already -- "oh joy."

There are lawyers hovering over each shoulder from the Coleman and Franken camps, one of them saying, "A clear intent to vote for Franken, albeit a bit sloppily," and the other saying, "What? Are you nuts? Can't you see that the voter accidently voted for Franken but then added an arrow pointing to Coleman?"

How would you decide this?

Take the test and find out for yourself at the Minnesota Senate Recount website.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Is It Time For A "New" New Deal?

2008 el Tour de Tucson Pregame Show

See update below...

Geez, is it November already? Where does the time go?

As devoted reader SiouxGeonz points out in comments to an earlier thread, I should be preparing for the upcoming el Tour de Tucson bicycle race instead of frittering away our time by entertaining you all at this here blog thing.

Yeah, maybe. But first I have to post this pregame show to my blog, do my morning calisthenics, and get an hour of sun so I don't look like the Great White Northerner that I am while soaking rays at the Tucson swimming holes this weekend.

And only then can I can start thinking about today's training ride.

Let me tell you about el Tour de Tucson.

It's a huge sprawling bicycle race -- a timed race with timing chips strapped around ankles of the 15,000 participants. There are four distances to choose from -- 109 miles, 80 miles, 67 miles, or 35 miles.
The largest and most popular distance is the 109-mile loop around the entire Tucson perimeter. That's the one I'm interested in. That's the one I did last year and wrote about here.

Did I tell you they hand out medals at the finish line depending on ones finish time? OH YES, they do! But you have to go FAST!

If you can finish the fat century ride in under 7 hours, you earn a Silver Medal. If you finish under 6 hours, a Gold Medal. And for those riders who are exceptionally athletic and practically professional, if you can average over 22 mph for 5 hours or less, you get a Platinum Medal (and some other goodies, which I'll discuss here afterward... if I can do it.)

Platinum is what I want.

Last year, I had three (3) flat tires and finished in 5 hours 29 minutes. I got a Gold Medal for all my exertions and troubles. Not good enough. It currently hangs around one of the posts of our headboard and taps with a lovely metallic 'ting' every now and again to remind me of my failure.

eTdT begins at 7 a.m. this Saturday, November 22nd in downtown Tucson, and if I'm to earn a Platinum Medal, I'll need to finish before noon. I can do it. But only if my bike and tires and tubes (and legs) cooperate. I'll do what I can.

As Pansy Palmetto* says, "Yes, you can!"

*Her porn name.

I was ready to go, but The Man wasn't convinced. Guys wearing black SECURITY T-shirts had to escort me from the start. And then it got ugly. In about 30 ways. After the race, I crashed. But that only resulted in swelling -- nothing that could keep me off the bike the next day as my friends and I climbed Mt. Lemmon. You think I'm kidding about any of this? I'm not. Someday I might write about it. But then I didn't write about my Triple Bypass experiences. Nor did I write about the 519-mile ultra-endurance race that Deadhead and I completed in 31 hours 57 minutes to win 1st Place, setting a course record which should stand for at least... another year. So don't get your hopes up.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obama Plugged Into the 21st Century

From on 11/16/08...
Barack Obama will be the first President completely plugged into cyberspace. He uses his Blackberry for everything. When a staffer prepares a report for him, it is sent to the Blackberry. Unfortunately, while Presidents get their own fully staffed state-of-the-art aircraft and many other perks, Blackberries are not among them. The Presidential Records Act requires presidential correspondence to be archived, so that's the end of Obama's Blackberry. However, Obama has said he wants a notebook computer on his desk, which is OK as long as all the e-mail is saved. He would be the first President to have a computer on his desk. He will also be the first President to deliver his weekly radio address as a Webcast archived on YouTube. When Obama campaigned about bringing the presidency into the 21st Century, he clearly meant it. It is hard to imagine a President McCain communicating with the nation using Webcasts.
Speaking of which, have you seen President-Elect Obama's first weekly Webcast on YouTube? Pretty cool...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This Quote Jumps Out: "14,723 of the study participants died"

There are many good reasons to take up bicycling. Here's one of the best...

And You CAN Make Up Some Shit That Sounds Plausible!

Thank God the Supreme Court came through once again...

Also, from America's News Source, is the latest on America's Money Hole...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The 75 Books Every Man Should Read

I've died and gone to heaven.

If you've been wasting your time reading this blog same as I've been wasting time writing it, you should already know how much I love the silly "Best of..." "Top 10..." lists.

This time I have a doozy -- The 75 Books Every Man Should Read, as compiled by my favorite magazine, Esquire. If you're a woman, tough -- go find your own list. This one is ours.

It's gratifying to see that I have already read many of these books (exactly six). And though I would have liked to see other favorite books on this list, I can't disagree with the inclusion of those I've already read. So this must be a pretty damned good list.

When I include books from this list that my wife, BalticTiger, has read, AND books that my eldest son, VonEldest, has read, well, then I begin to almost feel good about Our Well-Read Family. Plus, my youngest son, GoganTheDrummer, is currently reading one of these books as part of a high school journalism class assignment (#59, which is a primo example of "New Journalism".)

I'm gonna wade into this list myself since the library should have most of them. The library is about five blocks away from our home, and my architecture firm is running a bit slow right now owing to Great Depression II that most of us are currently enjoying.

Anyway, here's the list. How many have YOU read? (No Cheating! -- and movies don't count...)
  1. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, by Raymond Carver
  2. Collected Stories of John Cheever
  3. Deliverance, by James Dickey
  4. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  5. Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy
  6. The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  7. The Known World, by Edward P. Jones
  8. The Good War, by Studs Terkel
  9. American Pastoral, by Philip Roth
  10. A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O'Connor
  11. The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
  12. A Sport and a Pastime, by James Salter
  13. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  14. Time's Arrow, by Martin Amis
  15. A Sense of Where You Are, by John McPhee
  16. Hell's Angels, by Hunter S. Thompson
  17. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  18. Dubliners, by James Joyce
  19. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
  20. The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain
  21. Dog Soldiers, by Robert Stone
  22. Winter's Bone, by Daniel Woodrell
  23. Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
  24. Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry
  25. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  26. The Professional, by W.C. Heinz
  27. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  28. Dispatches, by Michael Herr
  29. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  30. Revolutionary Road, by Richard Yates
  31. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  32. The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  33. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  34. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
  36. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
  37. A Fan's Notes, by Frederick Exley
  38. Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis
  39. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
  40. Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian
  41. Plainsong, by Kent Haruf
  42. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
  43. Affliction, by Russell Banks
  44. This Boy's Life, by Tobias Wolff
  45. Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin
  46. The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow
  47. Women, by Charles Bukowski
  48. Going Native, by Stephen Wright
  49. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
  50. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, by John LeCarré
  51. The Crack-Up, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  52. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders
  53. War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
  54. The Shining, by Stephen King
  55. Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
  56. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  57. Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie
  58. Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges
  59. The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
  60. The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford
  61. American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
  62. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Alex Haley
  63. What It Takes, by Richard Ben Cramer
  64. The Continental Op, by Dashiell Hammett
  65. The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene
  66. So Long, See You Tomorrow, by William Maxwell
  67. Native Son, by Richard Wright
  68. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee and Walker Evans
  69. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
  70. The Great Bridge, by David McCullough
  71. The Dharma Bums, by Jack Kerouac
  72. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
  73. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  74. Underworld, by Don DeLillo
  75. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Can't Make This Shit Up -- You Just Can't

You won't believe me, but this was written in all seriousness by one of the most well-known and widely-read right-wing bloggers. Here's the exact quote with highlights by me:
"Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated."
Steven Colbert wishes his satire was this soberific. And we all wish we could receive the royalties from these books.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Click on this marvelous illustration, by Patrick Moberg, to see it very large. For a more meta, cynical, and therefore truthful discussion of the subject, click here.

The "Mistakes" Are Only Going One Way

How come every "honest" accounting error that is discovered and corrected, though only as a result of careful review and mandatory recounts, results in more votes for the Democrats? How come the great majority of examples of voter disenfranchisement before an election, voter intimidation during an election, or vote tabulation error immediately after an election benefit the Republicans? Just asking.

Of course the paranoia cuts both ways, as some Republicans are absolutely convinced that ballots favoring Franken are being manufactured in Minnesota as we speak, that the Obama victory was engineered by a tiny ACORN, and that two black men -- described as "Black Panthers" -- intimidating a few voters in Philly is merely the tip of an enormous iceberg. And probably a lie, to boot.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Next Stage in Progressive Politics

Headline in The Onion, January 2001:

Bush: 'Our Long Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'

Headline in The Onion, November 2008:

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job

Observations on an Election by a Blue Stater

I'm tangled up in blue... because Colorado is now a solid Blue State!

Herr Musgrave is gone from her District 4 perch in the U.S. Congress, and everything in Colorado is now blue except for Mike Coffman (R), Colorado's Secretary of State who won his race in Colorado District 6, and Doug Lamborn (R), District 5 Congressman. The other five Congressmen are all Democrats, as are our two Senators, Salazar and Udall, of course.

Does this mean Gov. Ritter (D, of course) gets to appoint Coffman's replacement (heh heh heh)? (Update: Why yes, it does!)

Along with Democrats continuing to lead the state house and senate, Colorado's conversion to Blue State is now complete.

North Carolina ended up voting for Obama with a buffer of 12,000 votes among over 4 million cast. At this point, few media sources have given the victory to him. NC's 15 EC votes would push Obama's total to 364. And Indiana a Blue State? Go figure!

Minnesota Senatorial candidate Al Frankin (D) is behind ex-St. Paul-Democratic-Mayor-turned-Republican-Senator Norm Coleman (R) by 708 votes [Update: 475],
[Yet Another Update: 239, ... and now it's 221], triggering an automatic recount that could take up to a month to resolve. What's especially stunning is that 18,000 Minnesotans cast votes in the Presidential race, but didn't vote in the Senatorial race. Talk about undervotes!

As of this writing, U.S. Senator candidate Jeff Merkley (D) is trailing Gordon Smith (R) in Oregon by 6,187 votes. I expect Merkley will end up winning though since the significant Democratic urban counties enveloping Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, and Salem are slow in counting the mail-in ballots.
[Update: still down by 960] [New Update: Merkley wins!]

What's most shocking this morning is that Alaska has decided that they prefer a convicted felon in the U.S. Senate over a Democrat. The U.S. Senate in D.C. will surely boot Stevens out (including the Republicans, who would never support a convicted felon, right?) However, Ted Stevens (R) could resign first (of course he won't do that because he's a stubborn asshole.) Either way, Alaska will have a runoff election between Mark Begich (D) and Sarah Palin (Pitbull), who will nominate herself and who is itching to get out of Alaska. Palin will win and move to D.C., no doubt.

Weird times.

To get the Lieberman-proof 61 Democrats in the U.S. Senate, President Obama could offer cabinet posts to moderate Republican Senators Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe, getting credit for being bi-partisan, but also leaving Democratic governors in Pennsylvania and Maine to appoint Democratic replacements.

It's all very weird. But a 2008 GOOD kind of weird, not a screwed-up 2000 weird.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Obama's Last Speech from the 2008 Campaign Trail

One 2008 Election Prediction

State by state, here is my prediction (click on the map to see it larger):

Where I went wrong:

1. If I'm overly optimistic, it's because McCain won North Carolina, then Florida, then Ohio, in that order. But still McCain will lose.
2. If I wasn't optimistic enough, it's because Obama also managed to win in Missouri, Indiana, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota, and maybe even in Arizona. Again, in that order. Frankly, if he wins in ANY of these states, it would be a victory of unprecedented scope.

Also, the Democrats will win 59 seats in the U.S. Senate, which will be a tremendous relief to those of us who don't want to ever hear from Lieberman again.

Now let's watch...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Choose Hope over Fear