Monday, December 31, 2007

Cherry pickin' the record book

The Drudge link screams "2007 a Year of Weather Records in U.S."
WASHINGTON (AP) - When the calendar turned to 2007, the heat went on and the weather just got weirder.

January was the warmest first month on record worldwide—1.53 degrees above normal. It was the first time since record-keeping began in 1880 that the globe's average temperature has been so far above the norm for any month of the year.

And as 2007 drew to a close, it was also shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

U.S. weather stations broke or tied 263 all-time high temperature records, according to an Associated Press analysis of U.S. weather data. England had the warmest April in 348 years of record-keeping there, shattering the record set in 1865 by more than 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit.


Smashing records was common, especially in August. At U.S. weather stations, more than 8,000 new heat records were set or tied for specific August dates.

More remarkably that same month, more than 100 all-time temperature records were tied or broken—regardless of the date—either for the highest reading or the warmest low temperature at night. By comparison only 14 all-time low temperatures were set or tied all year long, as of early December, according to records kept by the National Climatic Data Center.

For example, on Aug. 10, the town of Portland, Tenn., reached 102 degrees, tying a record for the hottest it ever had been. On Aug. 16, it hit 103 and Portland had a new all-time record. But that record was broken again the next day when the mercury reached 105.

That is just freakin' scary. How warm was January 2007 in the U.S.? It was the warmest January on record since January 2006. Dang, it was even one of the three warmest January's in the last 10 years.

In reality, the weather of 2007 was unremarkable. Using the NOAA data for heating & cooling degree days as my basis (which is what matters to me), 2007 was not even the warmest winter, summer, or year in the last decade.

Degree Days: A measurement that reflects the effect of weather on your heating and cooling needs. Daily degree days are calculated by comparing the average daily temperature to 65°F.
I'm dealing with global warming or cooling by air conditioning and heating my house. I really don't care how the Third World'ers of the EU do it (Hint - Join the 20th Century, Pierre. Install an air conditioner).

Also missing from this alarmist rewriting of history was any mention of the admission that the previous list of hottest years had to be amended due to supposedly innocent errors
by these researchers with vested interests. Sorry to blow your paradigm, but let's take another look at the 1930's.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Something I will not be wearing in 2008

Note to China, now might be a good time to invade Japan.

The cute cuddly white cat from Japan's Sanrio Co., usually seen on toys and jewelry for girls and young women, will soon don T-shirts, bags, watches and other products targeting young men, company spokesman Kazuo Tohmatsu said Friday.

"We think Hello Kitty is accepted by young men as a design statement in fashion," he said.

The feline for-men products will go on sale in Japan next month, and will be sold soon in the U.S. and other Asian nations, according to Sanrio.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas score

It doesn't take much to make this boy happy. Chuck Mercein. Davy Robinson. Bill Curry. Its not just the stars that are featured on this 3 DVD set.

The Super Bowl I and II discs hold great memories for me. I forgot how much the Baltimore Colts were feared back then, and how the Cowboys were the Packers' bitch.

If you get the discs, check out the Leroy Neimen-ish prints that are used on the backdrop for The Vince Lombardi Show. I have the complete set of all eight (free with a fill-up at your nearby Mobil station). Bobby Hamann's mom made him toss them out when he cleaned his room and I still have them almost 40 years later.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ken Hendricks - Create Jobs, Eliminate Waste, Preserve Value

I had never heard of Ken Hendricks before the announcement of his death on Friday.
"Two point six billion," says Hendricks, shaking his head. Then he chuckles. "It's not even real," continues the CEO, chairman, and sole owner of ABC Supply. "The money doesn't mean a damn thing."
Following up on a tip from Belling caller "Brian in New Berlin" I searched out the article that accompanied the naming of Mr. Hendricks as Inc.'s 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year. What a contrast to this story.
Bonuses on Wall Street surge 14 percent

NEW YORK (AP) -- This might have been one of Wall Street's most dismal years in a decade, but that hasn't stopped bonus checks from rising an average of 14 percent.

Four of the biggest U.S. investment banks - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. - will pay out about $49.6 billion in compensation this year. Of that, bonuses are traditionally estimated to represent 60 percent, or almost $30 billion.

But that might not sit well with investors who held on to investment bank stocks this year - and watched them plunge by up to 45 percent. Investment houses have been slammed by the credit crisis, and top executives this past week said they've yet to see a bottom.

It is clear from the article that Mr. Hendricks was from the old school of business, the one where people worked for the love of accomplishment, that being reward enough. He was certainly wealthy, but he was not about huge bonuses or selling out for that big payday. He created his wealth as a byproduct of creating jobs for the people he could see that needed them. He didn't pinch pennies to put in his pocket, but to keep his many businesses running to pay his employees.
In Hendricks's worldview there are two unalloyed blessings: family and a good day's work for a good day's pay. "My whole life is about trying to treat the working man fairly and give him a good opportunity," he had said the day before while driving me past the packed parking lot at one of his plants. "If you've got a job you have pride. You can dream. You can go home and talk about your kids going to college."
What a difference from those in the Wall Street bonus article. People who have never put anyone to work, but skim billions off the top of our economy.

This country needs more Ken Hendricks. What a huge loss to his family, his employees, and the Beloit area.

Read the article.

What were the founders thinking?

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Adding some context to the "cruel and unusual" clause of our Constitution.

All right, a little more of Alistair Horne on life in old France. Though you might want to save this one for after dinner. The subject here is François Ravaillac, who on May 14, 1610 assassinated Henri IV while the monarch was stuck in a traffic jam.
On 27 May, still protesting that he had acted as a free agent on a divinely inspired mission, Ravaillac was put to death. Before being drawn and quartered, the lot of the regicide, on the Place de Grève scaffold he was scalded with burning sulphur, molten lead and boiling oil and resin, his flesh then torn by pincers. Then his arms and legs were attached to horses which pulled in opposite directions. One of the horses "foundered," so a zealous chevalier offered his mount; "the animal was full of vigour and pulled away a thigh." After an hour and a half of this horrendous cruelty, Ravaillac died, as the mob tried to prevent him receiving last rites. When he finally expired,
the entire populace, no matter what their rank, hurled themselves on the body with their swords, knives, sticks or anything else to hand and began beating, hacking and tearing at it. They snatched the limbs from the executioner, savagely chopping them up and dragging the pieces through the streets.
Children made a bonfire and flung remains of Ravaillac's body on it. According to one witness, Nicholas Pasquier, one woman actually ate some of the flesh. The executioner, supposed to have the body of the regicide reduced to ashes to complete the ritual demanded by the law, could find nothing but his shirt.

Phew! Still, at least he wasn't subjected to water-boarding.

Euro-envy - I don't get it.

H/T - Derb.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

THE gift this year

I bought one for Mrs. Headless. But let me make one thing perfectly clear.
There are two types of people in this world:

A. People who use GPS navigation and/or stop for directions

B. Straight men*

*Unless he is visiting Pittsburgh.

What is this guy running for?

Oh, Commander in Chief. I'll buy that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Favre is a lock for MVP #4

Do the math for the NFL's 4 top teams:
  • Patriots 14-0-0, 7 Pro Bowl Starters, 4 on offense (1 = Tom Brady)
  • Cowboys 12-2-0, 6 Pro Bowl Starters, 5 on offense (0 = Tony Romo)
  • Patriots 12-2-0, 3 Pro Bowl Starters, 2 on offense (0 = Peyton Manning)
  • Packers 12-2-0, 3 Pro Bowl Starters, 1 on offense (= Brett Favre)
Brett Favre carried his team with no 1st team Pro Bowl quality offensive help.

Sorry Brady, you had Moss to throw to and Light & Mankins protecting you.
Same goes with Dallas and Indy, rich with offense talent.

On the other hand, with no decent protection
, Favre was scrambling for his life and had no elite talent to throw to. He did it all by himself, defining the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What is this guy running for?

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
I have never seen a more cynical political advertisement.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cat blogging

The most popular place in our home right now is on, in, or under the Christmas Tree. Bandit runs the place and has the prime position staked out. There can be no ornaments on our purple tree*, besides the occasional cat.

My daughter brought two boys home from college. This one is called Invisi-butt for his ability to go into stealth mode on dark furniture. If he doesn't want to be found, he won't be found.

Muddles is the other one. He is looking particularly cranky in this shot. He is usually the most personable of the nine (9!!!!) cats currently in our house.

*WARNING: Do not take my wife near Stein's when they have their after-Christmas sale (almost as bad as Marv's barn when there's a new batch of kittens). Anyway, since we can't decorate our tree, our tree must decorate itself.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Defining insanity ...

No. Not the guy smoking 45 pounds of pork & beef in this weather. The guy leaving this, for our Winter Wonderland.

Global Warming: BRING. IT. ON.

Unintended Consequence of Progressive Ideas, No. 64,349

Kevin Fischer links to this report from Madison's Channel 3 on the difficulties of that city's snowplow drivers in negotiating around the numerous traffic islands that have been installed as "traffic calming" measures.
Longtime snowplow operator Todd Endres has been working 16-hour shifts, but he said the job is only getting tougher.

It's already a tight squeeze getting a 12-ton truck with an 11-foot plow through streets made skinny by record snow. But throw a lot of piles of cement right in the middle of the road and Endres said it adds up to a snowplow driver's nightmare.

"The traffic calming devices or pedestrian safety islands or roundabouts or speed bumps -- I, along with just about everybody that plows, hate them," Endres said.

The devices are meant to slow down speeders, but they also slow down snowplows as they carefully find their way around or over the traffic islands.

"It's a rocky road. You got to go slow because you can break the suspension on the truck," Endres said.
The report doesn't do it justice, watch the video.
"First of all, when you [...] don't see them, and you hit them and it jars the whole truck," Endres said.

He said that missing a traffic island can bounce a driver through the roof of his truck. He called that "teeth shattering."But he added that even those traffic calming devices that are plainly marked pose a challenge.

At one roundabout Wednesday, Endres demonstrated how his plow could not go around it correctly -- it wouldn't fit. He had to stop and back up, clogging traffic. He ended up making an illegal left turn in front of the roundabout just to continue his route.

"Traffic calming" is the term coined by Madison's anti-auto fanatics (you know, the ones showing their love for Paul Soglin) for the concrete obstructions they have planted throughout the city. They even have an official policy in this manual. These anti-SUV barriers are actually rather attractive in the summer, but like lite-rail, their proponents have not factored in Wisconsin winters.

Chalk up another one to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

I like that picture

What an old fart. He looks like some of the guys in my office, and probably hunts on the same land that they do.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Concrete Nirvana

I came across a link to this map in the comments at Boots & Sabers. At first I was curious about what could have been and how many of the trips that I typically take would be eased by these proposed and canceled freeways.

From Pewaukee east to UWM, south to Chicago, or north towards Manitowoc, I could hop on the freeway right outside my front door and save minutes and miles.
... right outside my front door ...
Upon closer examination, my observation was exactly correct. It appears that the proposed Bay Freeway was planned to run right through my front yard. That minor league ballpark doesn't look so bad after all.

Visit the Wisconsin Highways website for details and history of highways throughout the state. Fascinating stuff.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

ARM's are good

I just watched Charlie Sykes' Sunday morning show, which included the doughy hack from the Shepard Express vilifying adjustable rate mortgages and suggesting that they be eliminated. What a financial moron.

I had an ARM for the 2nd half 1990's and held it until the summer of 2005. During that time, I took advantage of declining interest rates, with my adjusted mortgage rate falling below 3% for some years. It was a beautiful thing.

When mortgage rates began to turn around, I locked a fixed rate mortgage at less than 5%, another beautiful thing.

Anyone financially ignorant enough to choose an ARM at a time of historically low fixed rate mortgages deserves what they got. They do not deserve to keep that home that they cannot afford.

Do I smell a class action?

Risk and reward go hand in hand.
That is the one lesson that anyone enrolled in Mr. O'Meara's Security Analysis class will never forget. If you desire a larger return on your investment, you must make a riskier investment. Likewise, if you desire a larger home than you can afford, you must take a riskier mortgage. But federal officials have taken action to rewrite this equation; reducing the risk for adjustable rate mortgage holders by reducing the reward to the lenders for those mortgage loans.

The Bush administration reached an agreement with the mortgage industry on Wednesday on a plan to freeze interest rates for up to five years for a portion of the two million homeowners who bought houses in the last few years with subprime loans.

The plan, hammered out after weeks of talks among Treasury Department officials, mortgage lenders and Wall Street firms, would allow distressed borrowers who are current on their payments to keep their low introductory rates and escape an increase of 30 percent or more in their monthly payments when the rates expire.
So reports the NY Times. Captain Morrison opines.

Thus endeth the free market. A free market doesn't just involve consumers, but also producers, who need to earn a competitive profit in order to stay viable and continue to produce. Lenders sell ARMs with an eye to long-term profits by offering very thin margins for themselves on the front end. If they cannot adjust the rates of these ARMs on schedule when the price of money rises, then they lose the profit on which they have planned.

What does that do to the market? The producers -- lenders, in this case -- have to either raise prices or restrict production. In this market, it means that credit tightens and people who may have been able to get home loans will get rejected instead. ARMs will almost certainly decrease, if not disappear altogether. Some may find that appealing -- but it will exclude many potential homebuyers from entering the market. That will increase the downward pressure on home valuations, already a major problem in this economy.

I might be wrong, but it was my understanding that Wall Street doesn't own these mortgages, they sell these mortgages. Sell them to investors like you and me.

I own a variety of mortgage securities by way of mutual funds, and I expect that my portfolio includes some of these subprime loans. I do not agree that the agreed-upon interest rates in these mortgage contracts should be ignored and forgiven for the next 5 years. The highly-paid professionals that I pay to manage these investments were the one's who made that decision.

By agreeing to freeze interest rates on my mortgage loan investments, my investment managers have violated their fiduciary duty to their investors. I will not be the only one to notice this. There are also legal experts on Wall Street who make a living on the misdeeds of investment managers.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Soglin's bumper sticker

UPDATE: No filling up at Bubba's

In October I praised Bubba's Place for their position against ethanol adulterated gasoline. That marketing tactic must have failed, because Bubba's does not have any fuel available to sell. Some of my Manitowoc homeys said it has been more than a month since Bubba has had gas. They also speculated on why, but there is nothing that I feel comfortable repeating.

The convenience store remains open.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Paul Soglin is right.

Yes, this Paul Soglin.

I don't mean politically. He is always wrong about that. I mean about bicyclists not belonging on the snow covered streets of Madison. I said so here, see Lesson No. 4.

And unlike the progressive Soglin; this mean and uncaring blogger does not advocate
shooting bikers or smacking them with a shovel. I was concerned with their safety.

Find the Grammy nominee in this video

Talent, looks, mental stability. She has got it all.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What double standard?

As I was listening to a defender of the nutty blog-commenting teacher's union president on the Belling podcast, a question came to mind.

What would happen if James Buss had scribbled this?

Probably, nothing. To me it appears to be a crude taze me bro' sketch.

Now what would be the consequences of a high school student posting this on MySpace?
Kids like Eric Harris and Dylen Klebold members of the Young Republicans club at Columbine. They knew how to deal with the overpaid teacher union thugs. One shot at a time! Too bad the liberls rip them; they were heros and should be remembered that way.
Search warrant for the kid's home ... Lock down the school ... Search all the lockers ... Bus in the counselors ... Immediately arrest the kid ... Six figure bail ... I am probably understating it.

I also doubt the teacher's union would be trying to keep this kid in his school.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

You can call me Popeye

Mrs. Headless will vouch that the chase through Paris was just like this. Heck, she'll tell you any trip to the grocery is like that with me behind the wheel.

Correction: Mrs. Headless contends that Mr. Hackman is a better driver than me.

How COEXIST nearly got my butt kicked

In retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-François Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns.

What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: “Somebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!”

The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.

“I tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,” said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung.

His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week.

Villiers-le-Bel is home to rioting youths and closer to the Charles De Gaulle airport than anyone flying to Paris would ever want to believe.

In 1998, this cowboy made the mistake of stopping somewhere in or near
Villiers-le-Bel to refuel my rental car. Things were uneventful until I tried to pay after fueling. The man behind the counter processed my Mastercard, then looked at the receipt and told me that my card was no good. Mohammad told me in darn good English that I should go up the street and get cash from the ATM to pay for my gas.

As I left the building it dawned on me that the wording on the receipt, although in French, said that the transaction was successful. I also didn't immediately see the ATM and felt uncomfortable going in the direction he sent me. So I decided I was not going to get cash to pay him.

As I returned to the gas station, I told Mrs. Headless to get in the Renault and put on her seatbelt. I went inside and pointed to the receipt, and told Mohammad that it clearly said that my card was accepted. Yet Mohammad denied it and pointed me again to the ATM.

I'd be damned if I was going to pay that terrorist twice for that fuel, so I jumped in the car and gunned it into traffic. I could see that fat son of a bitch in my mirror, he ran out to his car and started to chase me in traffic. I got caught at a couple lights, but so did he. I finally steered onto an expressway and peeled out. It felt like that scene in The French Connection. I soon lost him in traffic and got lost myself. It took a while but I eventually made my way to CDG.

At the time, I believed he was trying to double-charge me for the gas or that he refused to take my card because I am American. Today I know he wouldn't take it because I am a Christian infidel. COEXIST my ass, Mohammad was sending me to be robbed or beaten. Based on current events, I know that my decision to race away was the correct one.

Epilogue - My French must not be too good. The fuel charge never appeared on my credit card statement.

H/T -

Steyn again, I wish I'd written this

From The Corner:

With the number of homophobic attacks rising in the Dutch metropolis, Amsterdam officials are commissioning a study to determine why Moroccan men are targeting the city's gays.

Gee, whiz. That's a toughie.
As I say somewhere in my book: If you think Iraq's Kurds and Arabs, Sunni and Shia are incompatible, what do you call a jurisdiction split between post-Christian secular gay potheads and anti-whoring anti-sodomite anti-everything-you-dig Islamists? If Kurdistan’s an awkward fit in Iraq, how well will Pornostan fit in the Islamic Republic of Holland?
There's nothing for me to add.

Why stop there?

I love this idea. Nothing says "Milwaukee" like The Fonz.

Correction, nothing says "Milwaukee" like The Fonz, except for Laverne and Shirley.

Fonzie is a great start, but Milwaukee needs a variety of TV icons placed in bronze on it's streets and other prominent locations (in front of snobbish art galleries in the 3rd Ward, yes!). What a fun diversion for the six tourists that come to the city each year. And as a positive unintended consequence, we may help rid the city of dour,
self important, no sense of humor residents, like these.

There were many great characters on Happy Days, I think the following also deserve their own statues.
  • Richie Cunningham
  • Howie & Marion Cunningham
  • Potsie
  • Ralph Malph
  • Al and Arnold
  • Lenny & Squiggy
  • The Shark
Anyone else from Happy Days and L&S deserve a statue?

Today Happy Days, tomorrow That 70's Show.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Winter driving lessons

Lesson No. 1. All Season Radial Tire is a misnomer. It should be All Season (except when it snows) Radial Tire.

Lesson No. 2. When it snows, leave the Boxster in your garage. It was a sad sight today at the corner of Gorham & Pinckney Streets.

Lesson No. 3. It is time for SUV and Subaru owners to admit that they did not buy their vehicle for its ability to drive on snow covered roads. The one thing I could consistently predict on today's drive from Madison to Pewaukee, the vehicle holding up traffic in the left lane was going to be an SUV or an AWD Subaru. Otherwise, these vehicles were cowering in the right lane
driving 5-10 mph less than prevailing traffic.

I think the caution of these drivers relates to
these vehicles' high center of gravity and lousy tires (All Season Radials, of course). Front wheel drive sedans and 4WD pick-ups (with off-road tires) ruled I-94 today.

Admit it now, that SUV or Subaru was all about image. You bought the hype, but were wrong. Now buy a front wheel drive sedan or wagon, and get rid of those ridiculous fuel-wasting vehicles. You will feel safer driving on snow covered roads and have more money for other things after fueling.

Lesson No. 4. Riding a bicycle in the snow - ARE YOU NUTS? I know you're in Madison, and your bike emits no greenhouse gases, and your neighbors think this makes you especially environmentally conscious; but bloody hell - I nearly killed you with my car today. Take the city bus the next time it snows or threatens to snow.

Lesson No. 5
. A set of Michelin X-Ice tires is money well spent. These snow tires turned my front wheel drive sedan from white-knuckles in snow; to sure handling and able to start & stop on any hill I encountered. I was fearless on the freeway today, but I kept it in control and did not risk a ride into the median ditch.

Hillary's 9/11

“It looked and sounded presidential,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “This was an instance of the White House experience of this campaign. They knew how to handle this.”
I don't think so, Tim.

To me it looks and sounds like micromanagement of local affairs by a wannabe Federal official. It shows that if she is elected, there will be no matter so small or trivial that The Rodham Administration will not try to run it.

The Captain provides
insightful analysis of the Hillary's hostage spin.

Er, what? Sabato, who usually gives intelligent political analysis, must have inhaled a little deeply. Clinton was nowhere near New Hampshire during the entirety of the crisis. What was presidential about having the Rochester PD talk a hostage-taker out of a building? What "leadership" did Hillary show in Virginia during this crisis? She canceled a speech!

The AP's Glen Johnson is even worse. He breathlessly describes Hillary's efforts as "continu[ing] to call up and down the law enforcement food chain, from local to county to state to federal officials." The hostages were released within a couple of hours, and presumably their families had closer contacts with the PD, as they live closer to the offices than Virginia. "I knew I was bugging these people," Clinton told the AP, but she wanted to know minute-by-minute what was happening, so she could tell her staff and be prepared for whatever assistance she could lend. Which would be exactly .... what? If the PD wanted to have her call the ersatz bomber, they would know where to find her.

Hillary certainly didn't do anything wrong, but she didn't "take charge" as the AP implies, or look presidential, as Sabato declares. She certainly looks considerably less presidential today in trying to take credit for the professional work done by the Rochester PD yesterday. That looks a lot more like a politician than a President, and we already know her credentials for the former. This incident doesn't provide Hillary any credentials for the latter.

And where's the criticism of her chicken-shit canceling of a speech and closing of her campaign offices over what was quickly identified as an isolated event by a lone nutjob? Isn't that what President Bush was criticized for following that awful morning in 2001?

"Ooooh, I'm sooooo scared" Hillary should have said. I'm surprised she didn't scramble Air Force 3 and circle Nebraska for the duration of the event. God help us if she's in charge when Osama detonates that suitcase nuke. My esteem for Ray Nagin's crisis management skills would certainly rise in comparison.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Some good news from Irving

Despite the Packers getting bitch-slapped by the Dallas Cowboys last night, there was some good news for Green Bay fans.

Mainly, the fact that the Sunday School Teacher is no longer on the sidelines. He is someone else's
problem now. (Hmmmm, could the relative proximity of Irving to College Station have had something to do with the re-emergence of Bad Brett? I would not ignore that possibility.)

Just two years (plus 2 games) ago, another blogger* wrote.
"I'm going to tell you the facts, gentlemen, and the facts are these: At Green Bay, we have winners. We do not have losers. If you're a loser, mister, you're going to get your ass out of here and you're going to get your ass out of here right now. Gentlemen, we are paid to win. Gentlemen, we will win."
- Vince Lombardi

Something has clearly changed about being a Green Bay Packer over the years. When Mike Sherman talks about his 2-8 Green Bay Packers, he says they've done some good things, are dealing with devastating injuries, and really hope that they'll do better next time. As I watch Mike Sherman fumbling with his note cards on the sidelines, it makes me wonder, What would Vince Lombardi do?

Vince Lombardi taught us that being a winning organization was more about attitude and hard work than personnel. When he came to Green Bay, he turned a group of losers into a team that worked harder, prepared better, and expected to win every game. It wasn't that Green Bay had the greatest players in the league, but the Lombardi attitude turned them into the greatest team in the league. The players became champions because of what their coach and then they themselves came to believe. They were winners, and they paid the price and had the attitude to make it happen.

Mike Sherman is not that kind of guy. He comes off like an accountant in his numbingly boring and uninsightful interviews. He seems to suffer over losing, but also seems to be prepared to live with it. His interactions with fans and the media are wooden and full of platitudes. I'm sure he probably gets mad sometimes, but I can't imagine the experience would be very inspiring. What does he expect from his players? Well, he says he was disappointed in this guy or that play, and moves on to the next week where the same thing happens over and over again.

They will eventually win some games, but the Super Bowl will never again become a reasonable possibility without a dramatic change in attitude. Mike Sherman is clearly not the guy to make that happen.

"Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all-the-time thing.
You don't win once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."
- Vince Lombardi

No excuses from Coach McCarthy following the loss, and he benched two under-performing players. He's more like Vince than Sherman.

From 8-20 in 2005 and early 2006, to 14-2 from the end of '06 until yesterday.
Under the leadership of the Evil Genius and The Kid from the Sou' Side the Packers have come a long way. Even after the beating in Texas the following is true.
  • The Packers' record is 10-2
  • They lead their division by 3-1/2 games
  • They control their playoff destiny for a first round bye and second round home game
All of this was beyond anyone's imagination in the fifth year of Mike Sherman. Now that he is gone, the Super Bowl is a reasonable possibility.

That news is good enough for me.

*I cannot remember the blogger, but he wrote a lot of fantastic posts. I made a Word doc of this one and posted it on my office wall. Let me know if this rings a bell.

I don't believe him

I don't believe Anderson Cooper's denial of knowledge of the Hillary-General Kerr connection. Since Cooper and Kerr reportedly play on the same team (not that there's anything wrong with that); Kerr's position on the Clinton campaign would have been of interest to Cooper when it was announced. I'd guess that Kerr was picked for the debate specifically because Cooper became aware of him when Kerr endorsed Clinton.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What I was drinking - price break

The German wines from Sendik's that I endorsed last week are now an even better bargain. The Burg Layer Schlosskapelle 2006 Bacchus Spätlese is now only $7.99 for a liter and the Rüdesheimer Rosengarten 2006 Spätlese is only $6.99. At these prices, these will make terrific party wines.

Monday, November 26, 2007

It's for the children

To pay for highways, buildings and environmental programs, state government slid 87% deeper in long-term debt over the past 10 years.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state had $8.28 billion in general-obligation, transportation and environmental debt in mid-2006; the same debts totaled $4.41 billion in 1996.

The 87% increase was three times the U.S. inflation rate over that period.

Figures show that debt rose the most - by $1.8 billion- under Thompson between 1996 and 2001, when he resigned to become a cabinet secretary for President Bush. Debt increased by more than $1.5 billion in Doyle's first three years.

Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, said the growing debt is another risky budget decision governors and legislators have made to benefit themselves politically.

It isn't for me. I don't expect to be around to pay off this debt. Hopefully my kids will have the opportunity and good sense to get away, too.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Smokin' Names

A virtual friend has pointed out that any worthwhile barbecue pitmaster should have a barbecue nickname. The Blues Name Generator posted by Tom McMahon works well for BBQ too, with some minor modifications.

BBQ Name Generator
Originally Planet Proctor's Blues Name Generator
Your First BBQ Name
Your Middle BBQ Name
Muddy Money
Crippled Legs
Smokey Sal
Texas Eyes
Woody Lemon
Ugly Killer
Brown Hips
Happy Lips
Boney Fingers
Curly Boy
Pretty Liver
Jailhouse Gumbo
Peg Leg Foot
Red Mama
Sleepy Back
Bald Duke
Skinny Dog
Fat Bad Boy
Big Baby
Yella Chicken
Toothless Pickles
Smokin' Sugar
Fat Boy Cracker
Hickory Tooth
Steel-Eye Smoke
Use your first initial Use your middle
or last initial
Example: SD becomes Fat Sal
Wow. This thing really works.

Boney Dog reporting.


With apologies to Mr. Heyer, you can beat factory-bakery produced kringle at home. Last Christmas, Mrs. Headless baked a pair of kringle using this pastry recipe. It was her first try at kringle. The recipe is a multi-day affair, so plan ahead, it is well worth the effort.

On the left below is her raspberry-strawberry jam & sliced almond filled kringle. On the right, her turtle kringle - chocolate, caramel & pecan filling.

These were the best kringle I had ever eaten. Granted, I've never had the chance to try kringle still warm at the bakery.

For more
kringle filling ideas, there are other recipes here and here.

Note to Mrs. Headless, consider this a hint if you please.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jeff Wagner, closet leftist?

I know it is just a throwaway line, but Jeff Wagner pulls one out of the leftwing playbook.

In rejecting a four year $42 million dollar offer from the Brewers to sign with the Cincinnati Reds for a couple of million more ($42 million, $46 million - at those numbers, does it really matter?), Cordero has demonstrated that he has a peculiar way of showing his gratitude.
So someone other than Cordero should decide when he is making enough money?

How much is too much to host a radio talk show? Should Sykes settle for Wagner's pay, or Wagner for James T.'s? Some people believe so.

And if $1 million a year shouldn't matter to Cordero, why should the minuscule cost of Healthy Wisconsin matter to you, me and Jeff. That property tax increase is only several hundred bucks, why should we care?

Don't go there Jeff. You are making a bad point for them.

Bidding ends December 10

I don't know that I'd want a "game issued" (i.e., sweaty) uniform, but I do find these retro Badger uniforms to be very fashionable.

Badger fans will have an opportunity to bid on uniforms that are reminiscent of those worn by Wisconsin during its run to 1941 National Championship. In celebration of that memorable season, these vintage uniforms will be issued for one game only, and worn in the Wisconsin vs. Wofford men’s basketball game on Dec. 3, 2007.

Each uniform package includes the jersey, shorts, socks, and shoes. All items are official and authentic Wisconsin basketball uniforms. All items are game-issued and include a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Wisconsin men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan.

A cool concept celebrating a largely forgotten part of Badger history. Bid here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A bumper sticker for Pete

COEXIST. The point they missed.

When I first saw a COEXIST bumper sticker (on a Prius in Madison, of course), one of my reactions was that in certain parts of the world, that sticker would be considered extremely offensive. The placement of a Star of David within inches of the Islamic Crescent would provoke outrage.

We learned earlier this year of the lack of tolerance for offensive images in parts of the Middle East. I contend that the below two images would be considered equally offensive and would provoke equal outrage.

Don't believe it? Then put your life where your mouth is and drive a Prius with that smug and edgy bumper sticker on the streets of Beirut or Kabul. I'm still computing the over/under for the number of lashes that you would receive in Riyadh.

Promoting religious tolerance through religiously offensive bumper stickers. Good fun in Madison. A chance for moral indignation in Milwaukee. A death sentence in Tehran.

Black Friday - Humbug.

There is nothing like long lines and missed opportunities to take me out of the mood for anything, especially for massive Christmas spending.

The news reports of Black Friday shopping have me wishing that I could stay in my house all day. Mrs. Headless was out at 05:00, but aborted her shopping after a bad experience at her first stop.

Being bait & switched with teaser prices that are unattainable will also make me less, not more, likely to purchase a given product.

This Black Friday marketing must work, or they wouldn't do it. It just doesn't work with me.

Screw 'em.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sheboygan - More than just exeptional bratwurst

Do not leave me alone with YouTube.

I think Steve is Mr. July on the Althouse Men in Shorts 2008 Calendar.

Putting our lives in perspective

Varifrank's Law #20.
If you feel the need to whine about the current circumstances of your life, imagine yourself standing on the stage of a college lecture auditorium, in the audience sit all the members of your ancestry extending back all the way in time to the stone age. Father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grand fathers and mothers and so on and so on. Now, imagine trying to tell them how tough you have it and then try to imagine how hard they would laugh at you for complaining about the air conditioning on your Lexus not working or your condo in Florida going down in value.
Beyond that Lexus and condo ...
  • Look at all the fresh, safe, high quality food in front of you today. More of a feast than your ancestors could ever imagine.
  • Consider the medical care you receive. Unheard of for even my parents' generation, and a bargain even without insurance coverage.
  • Technology. I can't begin to believe what I can buy today for just one day's wages. Products that were beyond science fiction as I was growing up.
  • A public education. Yes, despite our bitching, for families and children that care, our educational opportunities are exceptional.
  • Living in the United States of America. Our stable government has allowed me to live with never a day of fear, cold, or hunger in my life.
The list is endless.

Give thanks.

Black Friday, are you feeling it?

Set those alarm clocks for no later than 03:00 so you will be in the queue for that $99 GPS receiver. Step right up. Don't be late.

That was an Old Style* flashback moment for me. I think the last time I heard Tom Waits was my college roommate's constant playing of his Small Change LP. Here is a live version with Mr. Waits.

*Old Style was about as wild as it ever got for me, except for maybe the Everclear enhanced Kool-Aid at
that Jonestown party.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why now?

Just because I wanted to give the finger to the fascists and fascist appeasers who comprise the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution: Deal With It!

Coexist with these Islamic killers? Don't be stupid. They will hack your head off at their very first opportunity.

NB: I would still be quite honored to have
Tom McMahon 4-Block my Jena-Jude blogpost.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Paul Soglin: Deathnocrat

I shouldn't pick on noted intellect Paul Soglin, but he begs for it. However, this post goes beyond Paul to include his entire Party of Taxes.

Paul* recently wrote:

The death of a doctor last week in Milwaukee County highlights the never ending debate over the role of government in providing for our health and safety. Dr. Krishna Chintamaneni was driving on I-43 and was killed when the wheel flew off a semitrailer truck.


Somewhere there was failure. Somewhere there was some government agency too busy, too over-worked, stretched beyond its resources that was not able to effectively follow up and enforce the regulations.

Quick. When did you last check the torque on your vehicle's tires? What does your Owner's Manual recommend?

Paul's answer is more taxes and more spending. Prioritization of finite resources is never a solution for Paul or these other taxers. They always demand another government program and increased taxes.

Instead of maintaining bridges they divert motor fuel taxes to build under-utilized choo-choos, then demand higher taxes to fix the bridges. Rather than inspect motor vehicles these motor fuel taxes pay for buses. Spending is never enough.

By ignoring the unintended consequences of their actions, Paul and his ilk have killed millions. The latest example is their taking food from the starving to fight an imaginary climatic crisis.

The blood of millions is on the hands of Paul Soglin.

projection doesn't fool me.

*Che, Fidel, Hugo and Paul. Some notable one-name icons of Madison's communist community.

"Pre-operational terrorist planning"

Terrorists probing air security on a flight to MKE in October. Where has this been reported by the local media?

Annie Jacobsen reports:

This TSA Suspicious Incident #177, Unclassified but For Official Use Only (U//FOUO), "has many of the elements of pre-operational terrorist planning" according to TSA Office of Intelligence. It was leaked to me earlier today in my ongoing efforts to compile terrorist dry runs and probes on airplanes.

A FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer — i.e. armed pilot) flying in non-mission status on October 24, 2007, on a flight from Washington D.C. to Milwaukee, identified himself to flight crew in advance of take-off. When flight crew witnessed suspicious behavior by four passengers, they reported the information to the FFDO.
H/T - Little Green Footballs

I'll have a decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato

More great writing from Mark Steyn, and a terrific tribute to the United States of America.

And just when you think you’re on top of the general trend of novelty, it veers off in an entirely different direction: Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress “Gimme a cuppa joe” and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato. Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!

But Americans aren’t novelty junkies on the important things. “The New World” is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on earth, to a degree “the Old World” can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists. We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany’s constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy’s only to the 1940s, and Belgium’s goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it’s not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The US Constitution is not only older than France’s, Germany’s, Italy’s or Spain’s constitution, it’s older than all of them put together. Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent’s governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of “the west’”s nation states have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they’re so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas — Communism, Fascism, European Union. If you’re going to be novelty-crazed, better the zebra-mussel cappuccino than the Third Reich.

I don’t believe the U.S. Constitution includes a right to abortion or gay marriage or a zillion other things the Left claims to detect emanating from the penumbra, but I find it sweetly touching that in America even political radicalism has to be framed as an appeal to constitutional tradition from the powdered-wig era. In Europe, by contrast, one reason why there’s no politically significant pro-life movement is because, in a world where constitutions have the life expectancy of an Oldsmobile, great questions are just seen as part of the general tide, the way things are going, no sense trying to fight it. And, by the time you realize you have to, the tide’s usually up to your neck.

Which isn’t a bad theme song for the first Thanksgiving, either. Three hundred and fourteen years ago, the pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that too is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker’s dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii. Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Uh huh. Right.

Opening with a sweeping statement directed at climate change skeptics, the summary declares that climate systems have already begun to change.

Unless action is taken, human activity could lead to "abrupt and irreversible changes" that would make the planet unrecognizable.

Will just one of the 10,000 delegates please explain to this simple bumpkin why these see-oh-two levels lead to "irreversible changes," but the historically higher levels of greenhouse gases were reversed and resulted in our current climate?

I'm waiting.

Is that question too hard?

Any time now.

I said "please."

If I rewrite this at the HIGH SCHOOL level can you answer?

Oh crap.

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

That last post dumbed down my blog.

Don't look now, but Wiggy got dumber, too.

What I am drinking

From Tom DeZell's Sendik's Wine News of October 3.

At some point during our visit that day, I mentioned to him that I was looking for affordable, good quality, German white wine in liter bottles, preferably a Spätlese. He made it very clear on that day that he would be on the hunt for us. Almost five years have passed in taking this project full circle. Claus sent samples via our wholesaler, and we picked two that we were very enthusiastic about.

These two wines were sourced from St. Antonius Weinkellerei in the Nahe, and the winemaker is Anton Biroth who is a fifth generation winemaker there... Our regular price on the liter of Burg Layer Schlosskapelle 2006 Bachus Spälese is $12.99. We will be featuring this wine for $9.99. The second liter bottling of Rüdesheimer Rosengarten 2006 Spätlese would normally sell for $10.99. We will be featuring this wine for $8.99 or 3 for $24.00.

Both of these wines are loaded up with stone fruit goodness – all peaches and apricots. Rich and spicy with good levels of sweetness, both wines have enough acidity so that they will finish clean. They will appeal to a very broad audience and are perfect for fall and winter holiday entertaining. Enjoy!
I made the mistake of opening the Burg Layer Schlosskapelle 2006 Bacchus Spätlese first. It has a noticeably greater amount of residual sugar than the Rüdesheimer Rosengarten 2006 Spätlese, although the Rüdesheimer Spätlese is sweet in itself, it is tough to switch to the drier wine after tasting the unctuous sweetness of the Schlosskapelle wine.

Both are bargains at these prices. Stock your cellar before I buy it all.

Hello, hello

Random Thoughts

I may have hit the blogging wall. My new job is more demanding and mentally consuming than my previous position and I have little mental energy left for stirring up controversy after I get home. This silliness may get me started.

I made my first project status presentation to plant management yesterday. After witnessing the PM's for eight other projects get grilled and put on the spot, it was my chance to give an update on the project from hell. I went through my talking points with nary a question. This may have been related to being able to report some success and progress, or could have been due to ass-chewing fatigue and the consumption of pizza before they got to me.

Wrangler 5 Star Premium Denin Jeans were never even close to being on my radar screen, but that ad with Brett made them must-haves for me. The fact that the ad campaign provoked sniping from some Twin Cities pundit (another freaking LOSER from the Land of 10,000 LOSERS) makes it all the better. Decent jeans at a really good price with plenty of room for my rear end. What an awesome and effective ad campaign. Wrangler jeans are available at a Walmart near you.

On a more serious note, there was a nice essay by Charles Bork yesterday at National Review Online on the proper ratio of gin to vermouth in a good martini. His conclusion, 7:1 was optimal. My input, be sure to use a decent vermouth. I like Lillet Blanc for an exceptional, albeit different, martini.

Elsewhere, Paul Soglin, the formerly important Madisonian and currently irrelevant blogger, announced that conservative Republicans are to blame for the large accumulation of cerumen he experienced recently. This assertion is based on Mr. Soglin's knee jerk blaming of all things that irritate him on evil conservatives.

Bleg - Help me out here, Soglin's blog is satire, isn't it?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dang! This should be a movie.

Iraqi insurgents apply some
major whupass to al queda.

BAGHDAD - Former Sunni insurgents asked the United States to stay away, and then ambushed members of Al Qaeda in Iraq, killing 18 in a battle that raged for hours north of Baghdad, an ex-insurgent leader and Iraqi police said yesterday.

The Islamic Army in Iraq sent advance word to Iraqi police requesting that US helicopters keep out of the area because its fighters had no uniforms and were indistinguishable from Al Qaeda, according to the police and a top Islamic Army leader known as Abu Ibrahim.

Abu Ibrahim said his fighters killed 18 Al Qaeda militants and captured 16 in the fight southeast of Samarra, a mostly Sunni city about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

"We found out that Al Qaeda intended to attack us, so we ambushed them at 3 p.m. on Friday," Abu Ibrahim said. He would not say whether any Islamic Army members were killed.

Elsewhere, asked to comment Senator Reid said "This is unfortunate, we had the chance to quit while we were behind."