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From The Notebook

-“Does not work well with others” might be a phrase I put on my tombstone, as I’ve heard it a lot in my life. Well, there must be some truth to it, as my Team/Group Work Tools class in my MBA program handed me the first blemish on the transcript. I ended up 8 points short of an “A” and will have to settle for a “B” and a 3.57 GPA this quarter.

-The next class in the MBA program is Managerial Accounting. Just spent 150 bucks on the textbook. Since I haven’t had a math class in six years, my confidence isn’t very high.

-Suing good Samaritans is a bad idea. For the past few years I’ve spent time as a CPR/Safety instructor for the Red Cross. Part of my course deals with barriers to giving care, and fear of legal repercussions is normally the first or the second fear mentioned by every class. Far more people will be hurt by this than will be helped.

-Looks like the Strib’s recount tool was right; challenged ballots favored Franken. Since there are still 1350 rejected absentee ballots, we still don’t know who actually won this election, if anybody. For the first time in my life, I found the Strib’s coverage of a news event worth my attention. 

-As part of the GBWW 10-year reading program I finished Rabelais’ “Pantagruel” (Burton Raffel translation). It’s the story of a giant in France who makes fun of stuff.

-Also as part of the GBWWTYRP December mop-up I finished three of Montaigne’s Essays I had skipped over earlier. (Measure of Good and Evil, On Cannibals, Upon Some Verses of Virgil). The latter of the three was interesting as it dealt with the eternal question of the battle between the sexes, the other two weren’t memorable. Montaigne is sorta boring (but it might just be the terrible translation I had).

-Next year, with the MBA program, I’m going to put the Great Books reading program on sabbatical. This is not to say I’ve abandoned the program. My goal for next year is to read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, finish Plato’s Republic, read Dante’s Divine Comedy and pick off a few other books from the larger program. This delay will also allow me to procure more modern translations for future books on the reading list.

-Let me add my voice to the chorus of those lamenting KSTP’s firing of T.D.Mischke. For several years I listened to his show religiously. I even own his “Best of” CD. The management at KSTP continues to lose my respect.

-And after KSTP’s firing of longtime producer “Kodiak,” let me say I have no more respect for them. Kodiak should have had his own show.

-A peak over at JT’s Twins Blogshows he’s trying out some familiar old new digs. Pretty soon, don’t be surprised if he moves over to WordPress and uses a clipping from a Francisco Goya painting for a header.

-I read through Seth Stohs Twins Prospect Handbook. I’m very impressed by the amount of work he put into it and it’s tool potential for Twins fans. I’ll be writing up a longer review for the Bleacher Report sometime.

-As for Seth’s “‘Expert’ FB Picks” deal I did this year, I didn’t finish last. And that’s all I got to say about that.

-Read “Spytime” by Bill Buckley. It was a novelization of the life of CIA Counter-Intelligence man James Jesus Angelton. It’s typical Buckley prose, artfully done and interesting.

-Read Timothy Zahn’s Star Wars epic “Thrawn Trilogy“. All three books, took five days. Without a doubt, they are the best Star Wars Expanded Universe books I’ve ever read, clearly Zahn is someone who knows how to write a good story.

-I’ll be adding TC Daily Liberalto my blogroll. Mr. Rosenberg writes a very good and thoughtful blog, one I’ve found myself reading more and more.

Christmas Gift Guide: Debrief

Looks like I missed a few spectacular ideas

Like…

A remote controlled tank:
rc-550-lbs-king-tiger-tank

Here’s a remote-controlled, quarter-sized scale model of a German King Tiger panzer that could crush most other RC models under its treads. That’s not just because of its size — the World War II era panzer weighs a monstrous 550 pounds. Also, it’s six feet long, and powered by two 500 watt electric motors — enabling the tank to tow a full-sized car on an even surface.

The turret works, too — though it doesn’t fire (or at least we think it doesn’t). But the two-foot-long barrel is motorized to simulate recoil, and it even has speakers that blare the satisfying, heavy noises treads make while crunching along.

So, yeah, the price. With all of those big numbers up there, you should already be expecting this one right here: $10,000. The King Tiger is one of many model tanks of all makes and sizes built by the folks at Mark-1 Tanks, based in Great Britain.

A Bubbly Calendar:
Bubble Calendar

Stephen Turbek is selling a poster-size calendar covered with the plastic bubbles. Customers can pop a bubble each day to mark the passage of time.

The Brooklyn man says he has sold thousands of Bubble Calendars. A handmade calendar with paper backing is available online for $30 and a plastic version costs $50.

Turbek says it makes a perfect gift for obsessive people — as long as they don’t pop the whole year on the first day they get it.

And my favorite, Scottish Tartan Patch Pants/Vest:

pl

We’ve sewn contrasting patches of the finest Scottish tartans—in authentic registered patterns—into a rich field of color. The resulting men’s wool vest (perhaps we should call it a waistcoat, in the British tradition) is perfect for holiday gatherings and any occasion that calls for a touch of distinction. Button front. Fully lined. Two exterior pockets; one interior pocket. Men’s wool vests in multipatch. Pure wool shell with 100% cotton lining and back.

Our men’s pure wool twill pants are constructed from robust 14-oz. registered tartan patches woven in Scotland to create a pair of casual patch plaid pants you can wear whenever cold weather threatens. Fully lined for comfort and an easy fit. Quarter-top pockets; two rear button-through pockets. Men’s casual pants in multipatch. Pure Scottish wool.

pl2

Merry Christmas

To all my friends, relatives and readers,

Thanks for stopping by and I wish all of you a happy and safe Holiday season.

nativity-web-2

Christmas Gift Guide VII: Last Minute

It’s coming down the stretch.

You’re so desperate for an idea you’ve actually googled “last minute Christmas gift guide” and found yourself here.

Gasoline.

gascan

That’s right, buy gasoline as part of your last minute flurry. It should be simple enough, the one thing none of the big box retailers are running out of are gas cans.

Buy gas can, buy gas.

You might not believe me when I say this will work, so let’s take a look at why five gallons of gas could be an Impact Gift:

-It’s an investment. You think gas prices will remain low forever? I doubt it. In a year or two there’s a very real chance this kind of investment could double in price.

-It contributes to global warming. Warmth is a prerequisite for life. In a way, not burning gasoline means you hate the Earth.

-It can keep you warm. And I don’t mean through global warming, gasoline is great for starting campfires, bonfires or wildfires. People die in the cold in winter, having a gas can filled with gasoline can prevent that. Giving gasoline could save a life.

-It’s not hard to find. Three a.m. Christmas Day? You can still get gasoline from a 24 hour self-serve station.

-It’s the Adventure stupid. Gasoline is what takes you on a road trip. You’re not giving away a foul-smelling remnant of long extinct life, you’re giving away the ability to magically transport people a 100 miles to faraway lands filled with an alien culture (Wisconsin).

-It can be re-gifted in exothermic form to writers in search of inspiration.

Plus, I doubt you’ll ever be forgotten by the recipient. Gasoline is the very definition of an Impact Gift.

Random Link o’ the Day:

http://www.sportsartifacts.com/

Christmas Gift Guide VI: Old Candy Bars

One of these days, when I’ve caught up on my meditations and introspections, I’ll understand why something like an obscure, obsolete candy bar can take such a hold of people.

But I’ve seen it often. Whenever the opportunity has presented itself, I’ve purchased some old candy bar (old brand name anyway, not some 40 year old bar) from some novelty store and given it as a gift to some person who (let’s not call them old…) remembers JFK getting shot.

And it never fails, the recipient’s eye’s light up, they relive something or other, and suddenly the Clark Bar I’ve purchased becomes the best Christmas present they’ve recieved in the last decade.

So, even though it is too late for this year, stock up on “Classic Candy Bars” for all your gift giving needs over the next year:

Travel Back in Time with Our Candy Bar Sampler

These sweet sensations will bring you back to the days when choosing which candy bar to pick was your biggest decision. Now the choice is easy because you-or a lucky devil on your gift list-can have them all. Our 12-bar candy sampler includes two each of the following: Zagnut, Clark, Sky Bar, Mallo Cup, Valomilk, and Ice Cubes.

6 all-time favorite candy bars
A great stocking stuffer

mallo_cup

Christmas Gift Guide V: The Mad Scientist

Everyone should have a little mad scientist in them. It’s the surest way to avoid being a dullard. To ask “what would an Evil Genius do?” is to say “at least this next little bit won’t be boring.”

So, and today and early tomorrow have to be the last possible chances to pick some of this stuff up, here are some gift ideas for this literary archetype:
monocle
A Monocle:

The NearSights Classic monocle is designed to be held in your eye socket.

Available with either a +2.00 or +3.00 diopter scratch-resistant polymer reading lens; thirty-eight (38) mm (approximately 1.5 inches) in diameter; 42 inch black satin cord and black fabric pouch.

The frame is made of monel, an alloy of nickel and copper. It is silver in color but is not silver plated.

Depending upon your individual prescription, you may need to adjust the distance between your eye and your reading material to achieve optimal focus.

All NearSights products are covered by our no-questions money-back guarantee.

Monocles are the cool way to say “I’m getting old.”

Mad Scientists also need to cool objects which demonstrate something sciencey. This hand bubbler works:
hand-bubbler4

The Hand Bubbler is so cool, it’s like magic! Demonstrate the power of energy transfer with this visually intriguing liquid motion toy. Show your co-workers just how hot you are by holding this bubbler in your hand and making the liquid rise to the top and then boil — no one can you call you a cold fish again! To cover all your moods, get all 4 colors/shapes.

It’s a great example of Bernoulli’s principle and will make even the dumbest Mad Scientist look smart.

DNA is destiny, or so the epic of Gilgamesh teaches us. So, DNA tests should be something the Mad Scientist has around his or her home, in cupboards or something:
dna-ancestrybox1

The HomeDNA™ Home Ancestry Testing System allows you to discover your anthropological roots. This simple DNA test can tell you where on earth your ancestors originated and traveled… your unique geographical and and racial heritage.

We can provide you conclusive answers about your ancestry and genealogy from a very unique perspective; that of your own genetic makeup.

Because of the extensive amount of research performed in order to compile our massive genealogical DNA database utilizing existing indigenous peoples; and due to the nature of how DNA is passed on from generation to generation; our scientists can focus on the DNA sequences that indicate a persons unique “BioGeographical” identity.

And for my White Trash readers, a paternity test is also available.

A Mad Scientist also needs a clone. Eventually. The technology isn’t available yet, but you can still preserve your DNA for the purposes of making a clone in the future, in defiance of the Will of God:
mini_me

Our first goal at CLONAID™, was to develop a safe and reliable way of cloning a human being ” Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, Ph.D. in physical and biomolecular chemistry and CLONAID’s™ President. Since the birth of Dolly, the first cloned mammal, several other experiments performed on mice and cows, for instance, have shown that cloning is possible and leads to very healthy offspring.

CLONAID’s™ scientists have done extensive research in order to define the best cloning process, adapted to human cells. We are very happy that we have been able to give birth successfully to five clone babies. We are now offering our services on a worldwide basis, in strict respect of local laws. If you want to reserve and be among the next ones to receive this service, please contact us.

INSURACLONE™:
Available now!!!! Your cells preserved for a lifetime!!!!

If you want to keep your genetic material safe while you are in good health.

If you want to be cloned one day.

If you want to make sure that when you need to, you can benefit from a new organ generation and transplant thanks to your own genetic repair kit,

then INSURACLONE™ program is right for you.

How to get INSURACLONE™:
A CLONAID™ representative will come to your place or the location of your choice to collect cell samples of yourself and/or your loved ones. These cell samples will then be placed in a safe and confidential place, under cryogenic temperature and will remain there until you decide to use them. CLONAID™ guaranties complete confidentiality.

You can benefit from the insuraclone services for only $200 per year. An initial fee will be charged depending on your location and cell processing time. This service allows your cells to be preserved for a lifetime.

At just $200 dollars a year, what could be a better gift?
masonicwatch1
Finally, a Masonic Symbols Watch:

This dignified watch design pairs classic style and symbols of fellowship into an eminently wearing or givable timekeeper. Fully adjustable link bracelet in two-toned stainless steel; comfortably fits wrists up to 8″. 1-1/2″ brass bezel with golden symbols and hands, mineral glass crystal. Quartz movement; 2-yr. warranty.

Sometimes I really wish I didn’t think of these things all the time.

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Melinda

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian P. HumphreysChief Warrant Officer 2 Christian P. Humphreys
28 years old from Fallon, Nevada
6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force 49
November 15, 2008
U.S. Army

A funny, nice guy who loved to fly. That’s how Christian P. Humphreys is remembered by his friends. “He was a great guy, always happy and had a joke,” said Sean Whitney, a flight medic. “We used to play with our paintball guns in the cornfields behind his house.”

Humphreys flew with the Fallon Naval Air Station Search and Rescue Longhorns from June 6, 2004, to May 5, 2006. He left the Navy and joined the Army as part of the “Blue to Green” program to become a helicopter pilot.

Humphreys, along with Chief Warrant Officer 3 Donald V. Clark, 37 years old from Tennessee, was killed when their OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crashed while on a mission over Mosul, Iraq. As a rescue crew chief, Humphreys was in charge of the operation behind the pilots. He made the decisions when to deploy rescue crews out of the helicopter to assist injured people, and he also took care of the equipment.

“He was a funny guy, a nice guy, a lot of character,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Schmidt. “The guy was always entertaining, always had something to say, but like everyone here, he displayed the professionalism in saving lives.”

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian P. Humphreys leaves behind a wife and parents.

All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Christmas Gift Guide IV: Crap for Writers

Luckily, there’s still some time to do Christmas Shopping. In fact, we’re not even in “last minute panic” mode yet. There’s still stuff you can get from catalogues. Of course, the clock is ticking, you’re going to have to pay more for shipping to make it work.

That said, when you’re buying gifts for a writer, it’s really not important to get the gift there on time. In fact, the only real requirement when you buy a gift for a writer is that you tell them about it, eventually, with some sort of funny story attached.

You see, writers don’t actually want stuff. They want stuff to write about. For writers, nothing in this world exists unless they actually about it. You might go visit a forest, but a writer has no idea what he’s visited until he’s proofreading his memoirs.

While you might think this makes giving gifts to writers easy, it’s not. Giving a gift to a writer actually requires you to interact with a writer, which most doctors recommend you never do.
typewriter1
So, for the writer: A manual typewriter:

Manual Olivetti Typewriter Types at a Pace You Can Think

We don’t anticipate selling many of these typewriters to the young word-processing crowd. But all thinking persons past the age of discretion should consider this reliable, old-fashioned machine. This manual Olivetti moves at a pace that allows ample time to compose your thoughts, and will never crash and lose your words of wisdom. This one has a full-sized keyboard, sliding margin controls, three line-spacing selections and touch controls, and ribbon positions for black, red, or stencil. Durable plastic housing and cover are cream.

There’s nothing better than putting words to paper using a piece of antiquated technology, which is why you should also consider for your writer a fountain pen:
pen1

Pilot Varsity™ Disposable Fountain Pen, Black

Smooth Expressive Writing.

-Combines modern design and convenience with the smooth writing of a liquid ink fountain pen
-Ink reservoir window lets you see how much ink is left
-Disposable – no messy refills

I can’t think of a gift that tells a writer “Merry Christmas or whatever” better than a disposable fountain pen. Classy.

And don’t forget, a good writer needs something to write on, like a Reporter’s Notebook:

reportersnotebook

You’d be really surprised the places you can sneak into with reporter’s notebook, a camera and fake press credentials. I got into the Republican National Convention.
house20fire2
Finally, you can give a writer the best gift (for a writer) ever: A year of Hell. Learn a bunch of practical jokes and use them on your mark. Learn Haydukery and practice it liberally. Siphon gas, throw rats, try arson. The worse you can make a writer’s life, the better. Just be sure to write out a card confessing everything for Christmas 2009 and give it to a mutual friend for delivery next year. Just try not to kill any pets.

Quick Commentary

Since this is about to turn into the worst month of blogging I’ve fielded in over four years, there’s a little bit of psychological pressure to produce something. So here are some brief thoughts I’ve had on the passing political scene.

Battle Plan for the GOP?

It’s something I’ve mentioned in passing before. Conservatives need to continue to be conservative. I know of nothing else outside of gimmicks and compromise that should be considred. Further, don’t argue in the classical sense. Don’t treat the public policy process as a debate. Don’t compromise either. Be the back benchers laughing at the alchemists up front. I consider liberalism the search for free wealth, something which is impossible. Instead of arguing about stuff, make bets about future events (which really is the best way to argue). Be consistent, talk about liberty, freedom and warn about governmental power. Look to Europe to make predictions. Don’t panic. Be aloof, disconnected, removed. Shrug your shoulders and live your life.

Senate Recount

While the legal proceedings in this recount continue (as legal proceedings are wont to do) let us all understand something very important: Coleman has yet to be behind at all throughout everything. So far, the recount process has been very predictable. The errors, challenges and problems have been distributed about equally among all the ballots. I don’t see Franken winning. Even the rejected absentee ballot challenges appear to be about equally distributed between the two campaigns.

The Problem of Nuance

I’ve had this argument pulled on me a few times, when someone (always a liberal) says it is important to understand nuance. I’m not being nuanced enough, therefore I’m wrong. Take the Detroit bailout. People like me who are against the bailout simply aren’t smart enough to comprehend how important these three automakers are to the U.S. I’m not nuanced enough.

By using the nuance argument, the person making this claim is not actually arguing anything. Saying “you don’t get it because you aren’t nuanced” or saying “it’s too complicated to be argued” is dodging the debate entirely. Don’t tell me I’m not nuanced; tell me why the federal government should favor some auto companies over others. Why should the government pick winners and losers? When does a company get so big it can’t fail? Tell my why propping up big companies that are failing is good while attacking successful big companies which you think fall under anti-trust is also good. How do you differentiate? Where was the government when my parent’s small business went under after a property tax increase? When is okay to be capitalist and when should we be socialist?—Is there a system or do you just wing-it?

Chicago Politics

When it comes to political entertainment, nothing beats the Chicago machine. Governor Blagojevich is quite a character. Otherwise, I don’t really care about politics in Chicago.

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