Sunday, October 31, 2010


Tonight's doggie dinnertime - the hounds of Chateau Chevemy are hungry:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things we say wrong

Tonight's grammar rant:

Steyn: The Decrepitude of Liberty

More from Mark Steyn:
... The object is to reduce and eventually eliminate alternatives – to subsume everything within the Big Government monopoly. Statists prefer national one-size-fits all – and ultimately planet-wide one-size-fits-all. Borders create the nearest thing to a free market in government – as the elite well understand when they seek to avoid the burdens they impose on you. John Kerry, a Big Tax senator from a Big Tax state, preferred to register his yacht in Rhode Island to avoid half-a-million bucks in cockamamie Massachusetts “boat sales and use” tax. Howard Metzenbaum, the pro-Death Tax senator from Ohio, adjusted his legal residency just before he died from Ohio to Florida, because the former had an estate tax and the latter didn’t. This is federalism at work: States compete, and, when they get as rapacious as Massachusetts, even their own pro-tax princelings start looking for the workarounds.

Bazillionaire senators will always have workarounds – for their land, for their yachts, for their health care. You won’t. ...
Read the rest here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Side bike

Tonight's unusual bicycle pedal arrangement, reportedly seen in Amsterdam:

Traveling down the road to serfdom: History of Socialism from Marx to Obama

Today's history lesson - soviet defector Yuri N. Maltsev's presentation, Traveling Down the Road to Serfdom: History of Socialism from Marx to Obama, given at "The Delusion of Good Government": the Mises Circle in Colorado Springs, CO, September 2010:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Understanding Southern talk

Tonight's Southern directions:

Another historic first for teleprompters

From American Thinker - Obama's Teleprompter Embarrassment in India:
The pathetic inability of Barack Obama to speak without the help of a teleprompter will be showcased to the world's most populous democracy when the president flees the electoral aftermath and decamps for India after the November election[]. Daily News and Analysis India reports:
A teleprompter will be in use for the first time in the Central Hall of Parliament when US President Barack Obama addresses MPs on November eight. [emphasis added]
Sigh. The leftist media's boy wonder can't give a 20 minute speech without his beloved teleprompter. And doing so in India, a country with a parliamentary tradition that expects its politicians to be able to speak articulately and extemporaneously. Even reading from a prepared printed text would have been less humiliating.

Of course, the Obummer will be partying in lavish Indian Raj style on the wallets of U.S. taxpayers:
To ensure fool-proof security, the President’s team has booked the entire the Taj Mahal Hotel, including 570 rooms, all banquets and restaurants. Since his security contingent and staff will comprise a huge number, 125 rooms at Taj President have also been booked, apart from 80 to 90 rooms each in Grand Hyatt and The Oberoi hotels. The NCPA, where the President is expected to meet representatives from the business community, has also been entirely booked. [emphasis added]

The officer said, “Obama’s contingent is huge. There are two jumbo jets coming along with Air Force One, which will be flanked by security jets. There will be 30 to 40 secret service agents, who will arrive before him. The President’s convoy has 45 cars, including the Lincoln Continental in which the President travels.”
Your tax dollars, hard at work. By the way, where are all the global warming wackos denouncing the enormous carbon footprint of ObooBoos' multiple jumbo jets and fighter escorts, the 45 vehicle motorcade, not to mention the U.S. naval and other U.S. assets being deployed as a result of his visit? As with Al "Crazed Sex Poodle" Gore, it is evidently ok to have a small city-sized energy footprint, so long as you have a "D" beside your party affiliation.

Steyn: The Republic of Paperwork

Another from Mark Steyn:
When the law says that it’s illegal for a storekeeper to offer his customer a cup of coffee, you should be proud to be in non-compliance. What the hell did you guys bother holding a revolution for? George III didn’t care what complimentary liquid refreshments a village blacksmith shared with his clientele. Say what you like about the Boston Tea Party, but nobody attempted to prosecute them for unlicensed handling of beverage items in a public place.

This is the reality of small business in America today. You don’t make the rules, you don’t vote for people who make the rules. But you have to work harder, pay more taxes, buy more permits, fill in more paperwork, contribute to the growth of an ever less favorable business environment and prostrate yourself before the Commissar of Community Services – all for the privilege of taking home less and less money. ...
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

March of the Emperor

Tonight's humor:

C.H.S.: Geopolitics and oil

Charles Hugh Smith offers a thought-provoking piece on geopolitics and peak oil:
There is only one nation-state which can project hard power: the U.S. A missile is not power-projection, because it exerts control over nothing; it is deterrence or threat, but not power that can be projected. Only aircraft carrier groups and the ability to transport an army by sea and air to any locale in the world is power projection.

The U.S. has 11 carrier groups, China has zero. The U.S. has the ability to transport a small army by air, China does not. The U.S. has the sealift capability to transport a large army by sea. China does not, and neither does Russia or the E.U.

Power projection is far more costly than defensive Armed Forces, and the U.S. is the only great power with true power projection because it alone has hegemony over the world's reserve currency. The U.S. skims a stupendous arbitrage profit from creating dollars and exporting them in exchange for real goods.

China and other aspiring great powers must actually make real profits. Just to put costs in context: China's huge $1.8 trillion in foreign reserves would cover the costs of global power projection for about two years.

We should also stipulate that an aircraft carrier alone is simply a sitting duck; it projects nothing but vulnerability. It is a carrier group which projects power, and that requires an enormous infrastructure: a small fleet of other vessels, satellite communications, anti-submarine capabilities, global bases to refuel/ reprovision, and so on.

When two carrier groups steam offshore, they are the largest air force in the world save a very few. The U.S. could trim its 11 carrier groups to 8 or 9 and still have the only large-scale, globally decisive 8 or 9 carrier groups in existence.

The same infrastructure is required to airlift or sealift troops: you need AWACS aircraft, global communications, global bases, and so on.

Why is all this important? because when push comes to shove, there is only nation which can project hard power in a meaningful, decisive manner: the U.S. Bankrupt, wounded, in decline, however you wish to characterize the U.S., it holds decisive dominance in hard power. And as long as the world accepts dollar hegemony, then the U.S. can afford its Empire.

As noted above: the true value of hard power cannot assessed until you don't have any. ...
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sound sculptures

Tonight's art -- from Canon's new ad series for their Pixma printers. The dancing sound sculptures were captured by placing drops of paint on a rubber membrane stretched over a speaker, and photographed in high definition by a Canon EOS 5D Mark II by photographer Linden Gledhill. Neat

You can see some of the final ad images here.

Two from Steyn - money, and government

Two pieces from Mark Steyn:

It Starts with the Money:
I’ve spent much of this election season overseas, a long way from internal polls for this or that House district, so I’m not too focused on the fortunes of particular Republican candidates or particular Democrat incumbents. But nor is a big chunk of the electorate: A Republican victory is not the end but merely the means. The Tea Party and other members of America’s beleaguered productive class decided that this time round it suited them to work within the diseased husk of the GOP. This is really the last chance for the unloved Republicans. If the party establishment is sufficiently dimwitted to see November 2nd as the restoration of the 2004-2006 GOP, they will be setting up the conditions (as Rush has already argued) for a serious third-force challenge in 2012. That would be less convulsive than a remoter though still possible scenario: If the Democrats manage to hold onto power by openly funding spoiler candidates, they would be discrediting the entire electoral process, and setting up pre-revolutionary conditions. In other words, it would be very easy for both parties to confirm the suspicion of a very disenchanted electorate – that the system no longer allows for serious course correction.

And, without serious course correction, America is doomed. ...

Stimulating Government:
... Actually, government does suck. It sucks too much money out of my pocket and gives it to Steve Ressler and his fellow “cool cats”. And they’re not running the country, but running it into the ground. In the 18 months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, over seven million Americans lost their jobs, yet the percentage of federal bureaucrats earning $100,000 or more went up from 14 per cent to 19 per cent: An economic downturn for you, but not for them. They’re upturn girls living in a downturn world. At the start of the “downturn” the Department of Transportation had just one employee earning more than $170,000 per year. Eighteen months later, it had 1,690.In the year after the passage of Obama’s “stimulus”, the private sector lost 2.5 million jobs, but the federal government gained 416,000 jobs. Even if one accepts the government’s ludicrous concept of “creating or saving” jobs, by its own figures four out of every five jobs “created or saved” were government jobs. “Stimulus” stimulates government, not the economy. It’s part of the remorseless governmentalization of American life. ...

She worked so hard ...

Today's political ad, from director David Zucker [hat tip: Tom O.]:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude -- John Denver's Thank God I'm a Country Boy:

Whittle: What we believe

Today's conservative exposition, from Bill Whittle:

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fast birdies

Tonight's fast birds -- the Peregrine Falcon and Gos Hawk, captured in flight by the BBC:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Canine Merengue

Tonight's dancing doggie:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Making muppets

Tonight's muppet-making documentary, with Jim Henson, from 1969:

Klavan: The extremists are coming!

Today's political humor, from PJTV's Andrew Klavan:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wedding surprise

Tonight's wedding toast -- Tony award-winning composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda performs a toast to his new bride Vanessa on their wedding day. The groom reportedly rehearsed in secret with friends and family for a month:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Musical interlude, Hillbilly edition

Tonight's Bluegrass musical interlude -- The Cleverlys do their version of Walk Like An Egyptian [via View from the Porch]:

And here's the original Bangles version:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Money Tree

Tonight's arboreal ornamentation, filmed in Chicago 2010:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When watermelons attack

Tonight's giant slingshottery fail, from CBS' The Amazing Race show:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two legs

Tonight's two-legged doggie:

Friday, October 15, 2010

School tests discriminate against students who don't care about education

Tonight's satire, courtesy of The Onion [course language warning]:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude -- Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, Op. 11, performed by the BBC Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

These boots weren't made for walkin'

Tonight's impractical shoes, from the Fall 2009 collection:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Inflatables

Tonight's inflatable street art, from NYC artist Joshua Allen Harris:

The making of Middle Class anarchists

From Gonzalo Lira, comes this not-so-fairy tale:
True story: A retired couple I know, Brian and Ilsa, own a home in the Southwest. It’s a pretty house, right on the manicured golf course of their gated community (they’re crazy about golf).

The only problem is, they bought the house near the top of the market in 2005, and now find themselves underwater.

They’ve never missed a mortgage payment—Brian and Ilsa are the kind upright, not to say uptight 60-ish white semi-upper-middle-class couple who follow every rule, fill out every form, comply with every norm. In short, they are the backbone of America.

Even after the Global Financial Crisis had seriously hurt their retirement nest egg—and therefore their monthly income—and even fully aware that they would probably not live to see their house regain the value it has lost since they bought it, they kept up the mortgage payments. The idea of them strategically defaulting is as absurd as them sprouting wings.

When HAMP—the Home Affordable Modification Program—was unveiled, they applied, because they qualified: Every single one of the conditions applied to them, so there was no question that they would be approved—at least in theory.

Applying for HAMP was quite a struggle: Go here, go there, talk to this person, that person, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. “It’s like they didn’t want us to qualify,” Ilsa told me, as she recounted their mind-numbing travails. ...
Read the rest here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rolling shutter

Tonight's curious stroboscopic effect, when the object being photographed is moving faster than your video camera's shutter:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tweener shot

Tonight's unusual tennis shot -- Roger Federer returns the ball using a between the legs shot and wins a volley. From a 1st round match against Brian Dabul in the recent US Open:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lounging at the beach - Black tie optional

Tonight's unusual beachwear, from Improv Everywhere:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Complete history of the Soviet Union, musical edition

Tonight's music video - A Complete History Of The Soviet Union Through The Eyes Of A Humble Worker, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris. Music by Pig With The Face Of A Boy:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's 80's musical interlude -- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' I Love Rock and Roll:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just take a little off the top, please

Tonight's tall vehicle, short bridge video, from the Gregson Street Railroad trestle in Durham, NC:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Tonight's wipeout compilation:

Monday, October 4, 2010


Tonight's robotics experiment:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Musical interlude

Tonight's musical interlude -- The Twelve Girls Band from China perform The Riverdance:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Milky way

Tonight's time-lapse video - Perseid meteor shower, as seen from Joshua Tree National Park:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fancy cooking technology

Tonight's high-tech stove: