Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Life ain't nothing but a Ponzi Scheme*

Wealth cannot be stored in a bottle

FDR, Ponzi, and Madoff were right, you really aren't much worse off relying on Madoff or Social Security for retirement than an IRA or 401(k).

It doesn't matter if one systematically garnishes their paycheck to a 401(k) or expects the U.S. Treasury to overturn a couple centuries of demographics; either way, they are relying on future generations to produce the food, energy, goods and services that they will require to survive during their retirement.

That is the way it has been since the lifespan of retirees was extended past the edibility of their canned provisions or the firewood in the woodpile. Only today the cans contain imaginary wealth in the form of government promises or a greater fool being there to redeem our investments, instead of something tangible.

Wealth for the masses is a new thing. Society has almost always been able to redeem the precious metals and papers of a small number of royal or wealthy people. But the idea of masses putting away assets for years and later drawing them out for retirement is a new and untested idea.

Life ain't nothing but a Ponzi Scheme

It is not as if the money one put away in 1985 has any relevance to the food they will need to eat in 2035. Unfortunately, any canned vegetables, cat food or Metamucil squirreled away in the 1980's will not be fit for consumption when they need it. By then there will be tens of millions of other Boomers also using their retirement savings to compete for the limited resources being produced at that time.

Although you may have a pile of gold or paper (cash, bonds, or stocks), none of it is intrinsically good for anything needed to live. Most of us are even worse off, as we have some electrons stored in a database somewhere (Wall Street or Washington, D.C.) to account for our "wealth." That is many steps even further removed from being permanent and enduring. Whether metallic, cellulosic or electronic; you cannot eat it nor can you live in it or wear it. And it will not keep you warm.

Since the concept of retirement for the masses became reality in the 1930's, we have been dependent on demographics, actuarial reality, and ever increasing and efficient production of food and goods. All along, this has been an inter-generational transfer of wealth, but the above factors made it painless to those still working.

Work 'til you die

In my retirement, I will be dependent on increased efficiency of those still working, or more likely, I will need to remain a productive contributor to society to support those still ahead of me in line.

Now that I have figured out that wealth cannot be put in a bottle, I can forget about Die Broke. My new philosophy of life is Work 'til I Die. Those guys with gold teeth drinking Dom and driving the Escalades on credit have it right. The suckers are we folks who voluntarily have our wages garnished into 401(k)'s.


*I think I have the title for my book.

Monday, December 29, 2008

No need to guess this number ...

22

Interceptions thrown by 2008 NFL leader Brett Favre.

It would not have been much better had Favre remained in Green Bay. He just throws a lot of interceptions. He threw 15 or more in each of his last 12 seasons.

That touted idiot Ted Thompson just could not start a QB who turns it over with that frequency. Aaron Rodgers threw 13 picks this season, still too many, but not Favre-like by any measure.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Automomotive Curling



I laughed really hard at this. It is just too good not to post myself.

This reminds me of times spent on the curling rink. Once the stone is released there is not much that can be done to control it's path. A pump of the brakes does about as much as sweeping the ice like crazy. Even the sound of the vehicles striking is similar to when the stones hit.

We're just missing a skip holding his broom at the end of the road yelling "Hurry! Hurry hard! Harder! Harder!"



HT - Dad29

Redneck Sushi - Boldly going where no fattie has gone before

Oh boy, that didn't take long.

Now I've got copycats making Redneck Sushi and pretending its their own original creation. This guy did a good enough job, but has done nothing to advance the weaved bacon art form.

So today, while the ripoff artists are playing catch-up, Headless Blogger takes Redneck Sushi to new limits - The Bacon Cheeseburger Roll.

Starting with a layer of ground meat - beef round on the left and turkey on the right - fried onions and Penzey's Smoky 4S Seasoning are added. The dual meats were chosen to comply with the preferences of my family.

Click any picture for the supersized view.




The seasoned meat and onion is topped with crumpled bacon and a generous layer of grated sharp cheddar cheese.



The covered meat is then carefully rolled, and then wrapped in the weaved bacon. Note that the bacon lattice is not as tight as the last time I weaved it. I wanted to leave a way for fat to drip out from the beef and also to allow better smoke penetration to the meat.



The finished Redneck Sushi Bacon Cheeseburger Roll.



Perfect cut into half inch slices and served as sliders on small hamburger buns. Both the turkey and beef ends received glowing praise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

There is no other explanation



My virtual friend believes that the QB change had nothing to do with another loss.

My jock sniffing nemesis thinks it is the playing ability of these quarterbacks that made the difference.

Wrong, both of them. The Curse is all that matters.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Parts of the economy don't suck

IBD tells us that some sources of power are just more farts in the wind.

The domestic auto industry isn't the only uncompetitive industry that seems to require life-sustaining transfusions of government cash to stay in business. Alternative energy sources have relied on such subsidies, called "investments," for years.

Yet in President-elect Obama's announcement of his energy team, we were told "the foundations of our energy independence" lie in "the power of wind and solar." Except that for these alternative sources there's been a severe power shortage.

After decades of tax credits and subsidies, wind provides only about 1% of our electricity. By comparison, coal provides 49%, natural gas 22%, nuclear power 19% and hydroelectric 7%.

Wind power is currently uncompetitive. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported recently: "In 1999, 2001 and 2003, when Congress temporarily killed the credits, the number of new turbines dropped dramatically." These subsidies will be renewed in the new administration, but to "invest" in wind and solar to replace fossil fuels will be expensive.

IBD continues.

Meanwhile, nuclear power is making a comeback despite regulatory and environmental roadblocks, and little federal help. It is spending its own money to invest in clean energy for the future.

The hysteria after Three Mile Island, where no one suffered any harm, shut down the American nuclear power industry and caused our nuclear manufacturing base to atrophy. The overhyped event at Chernobyl was more an indictment of Russian technology than of nuclear power. Yet the damage was done.

Until recently, there was no domestic capacity to manufacture the huge components needed to build nuclear reactors. Global nuclear giant Areva and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding are partnering to start building heavy nuclear components. The U.S. had very little enrichment capacity. Now, two new facilities are under construction, with two more planned.

"While visions of 'green jobs' dance in the heads of Washington bureaucrats," notes Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation. "The nuclear industry is creating thousands of high-skill, high-paying jobs."

Westinghouse, for one example, has already created more than 3,000 jobs and expects to add 2,900 for a development in Louisiana that will be used to construct modules for new nuclear plants.

Each new reactor will employ 1,400 to 1,800 people during construction, rising to as high as 2,400 jobs as the facility is built. During operation, a nuclear plant typically has a skilled work force of between 400 and 700 employees.

Business has never been better for engineering consulting in the nuclear industry. More work is available than we can handle and we will post a record profit in 2008. By a factor of three!

All of this with construction of the next generation of reactors still years away.

Let the good times roll.

Thank you Nobel Laureate Gore.

Palin Drug Arrest!!!



Oh my goodness.

Bristol Palin's baby's grandmother was arrested on felony drug charges. What a scandal. Forget Blago-quiddick, it is a good thing that woman was not elected Vice President.

Related news is here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jukes



I acquired a USB turntable and am digging out my old LP's and ripping the music to MP3's. Southside Johnny is spinning right now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ultimate Fattie

UPDATE: Welcome BBQ Addicts Bacon Explosion fans. You are still (at least) one step behind me.


I saw this guy's cheese-filled bacon lattice and thought "Amateur Hour." Although the bacon lattice is rather inspiring, a bacon-cheese roll-up left me feeling unfulfilled. Cheese and bacon is a good start, but more heft was needed to make this a satisfying entree or even appetizer. My answer was to add pork sausage and muenster cheese.



And a poblano chile.



I rolled out the sausage slightly, added the grated cheese and diced chile, and then could not refrain from adding a layer of sliced pepperoni.



The sausage fattie was rolled up in the precooked bacon wrap. Note that the bacon was slightly undercooked so it would remain pliable and would not overcook on my smoker.



Rolled up and onto the smoker, cooked low & slow over hickory smoke.



Voila, good enough to eat. The Ultimate Fattie, or soon to be known as Redneck Sushi.



If they served these at Gitmo, we'd be talking crimes against humanity.

Serving suggestion, cut slices of the finished fattie and serve on small hamburger rolls to make really greasy pork sliders.

Eat your hearts out, cholesterol starved America.

Bon App├ętit

The cause of global warming - confirmed



Credit where credit is due. This graphic was developed by Warren Meyer using Anthony Watt's analysis (Watt's results shown below).

Everything you need to know about the cause of global warming is right here. The raw measured temperature data for the last 120 years show a cooling trend. Only after the global warming fraudsters adjust this data to match their theories and models does a "Global Warming Trend" emerge.




This brings me to that warning at the end of the late Michael Crichton's State of Fear:

WARNING: COMPUTER SIMULATION - MAY BE ERRONEOUS AND UNVERIFIABLE

There is no physical evidence of anthropogenic global warming. All the panic being generated by Al Gore, James Hansen, and Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu is based on computer simulations. Simulations using certain specific positive feedback assumptions with no factual physical basis.

Crichton wrote:
(I)t sounds like they went out and measured something. Actually, they just ran a simulation. They talk as if simulations were real-world data. They're not. That's a problem that has to be fixed.
Frankly, it is even worse than what Crichton wrote. "They" (meaning the Global Warming Industry) cannot even be trusted with the "real-world" data. It is just something to manipulate to confirm their models and simulations.

Even anomalous and physically suspect measured data passes through these alarmists without critical analysis. They have a vested interest in promoting a climate change panic. Their jobs depend on it.

One further note. The graphics in this post use only U.S. temperature data. The data from most of the rest of the planet is even more suspect and show greater global warming. Quality control cannot be confirmed in many of these nations. But more significant is the fact that many of the nations "producing data" showing an anthropogenic global warming effect will be the beneficiaries of significant economic gain if the United States is handcuffed by restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Jackie and Dunlap Christmas



It brings a tear to my eye.

Say "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwe"



We'd didn't put Pixel and Bandit together in the cat bed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Barack Oblago

Jonah Goldberg must have tapped into Mark Steyn's supply of absinthe when he wrote today's column about Chicago political corruption. He had way too much fun writing this stuff.
There’s the enormous I-should-have-had-a-V8! moment as the mainstream press collectively thwacks itself in the forehead, realizing it blew it again. The New York Times — which, according to Wall Street analysts, is weeks from holding editorial-board meetings in a refrigerator box — created the journalistic equivalent of CSI-Wasilla to study every follicle and fiber in Sarah Palin’s background, all the while treating Obama’s Chicago like one of those fairy-tale lands depicted in posters that adorn little girls’ bedroom walls. See there, Suzie? That’s a Pegasus. That’s a pink unicorn. And that’s a beautiful sunflower giving birth to a fully grown Barack Obama, the greatest president ever and the only man in history to be able to pick up manure from the clean end.
But in another paragraph Goldberg gives Obama an undeserved benefit of the doubt.
But, there is a nice moral to the story here. For the last several years, we’ve heard a lot about “new politics.” We are going to start fresh and put aside the old politics and the old ways. So far, it looks like Obama did nothing wrong, and I hope that remains the case. But it’s worth remembering that there really isn’t any such thing as a “new politics.” Politics is eternal because human nature is unchanging. Even Barack Obama, hero-saint light-worker Jedi Knight Messiah that he is, came from a political culture that would not be unrecognizable to Caligula.
Obama has done nothing wrong? Yeah, right. Imagine Blagojevich saying this into that FBI bug.
He wants that f***ing [Senate Candidate 1] for his Senate seat and all that prick offers is his f***ing appreciation. F*** him!

My f***ing wife wants a two f***ing million dollar joint in Hyde Park. If she ever expects to cross that f***ing threshold, she better give Hot Rod more than f***ing appreciation, if you know what I f***ing mean.

F*** that mother f***ing Nigerian bastard. If he comes up with a f***ing quarter of the price of that house the b**ch is nagging me for, then I'll think about appointing f***ing [Senate Candidate 1].


View Larger Map

How far out is that? There is no evidence that even Blago was this f***ing blatant in his corruption.

Maybe in Goldberg's sunflower fantasy world a near bankrupt Mrs. Rezko can come up with $625,000 to pay towards the $2,275,000 price of Barack Obama's Hyde Park estate in her dream of someday living next door to the Chosen One. But in the sleazy world of Chicago graft and corruption, the reality is that political fixer Tony Rezko laundered a down payment from someone to his wife to buy the lot. He did this so that no one could ever build next to Michelle Obama's dream home. Obama, Rezko and that unidentified benefactor were definitely more careful and cunning than Blagojevich in his auction of a Senate seat, but that does not diminish the facts of Obama's sleazy and corrupt real estate deal.

This is the very same Tony Rezko who is ratting out Blagojevich. But Blago, universally acknowledged as the most blatantly corrupt politician in America today, didn't go out scheming for almost two-thirds of a million bucks to help pay for a new house.

Mrs. Obama's $100,000 raise from nowhere is another example of Barack receiving political favors. But that's another episode. Lightworker my f***ing a**.

To say that Obama "did nothing wrong" is a bald faced lie. Surely Obama won't be indicted, won't go to trial, and won't go to prison, but the truth of the matter is obvious. The political paybacks Obama has received are substantial and should not be sugar-coated by political pundits and the press. Jonah Goldberg should know better.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Double your pleasure!

Two days for Cheesehead superiority.

Yesterday - The Trib (and the Cubs) file for bankruptcy.

Today - Blagoquiddick!

At least Wisconsin's elected crooks are smart enough not to get caught.

Attorney General Patrick Fitzgerald

Why did Fitzgerald drop the bomb on Blagojevich this morning?

Because Obama was getting close to making a deal with Blagojevich. We couldn't have that. In steps Mr. Fitzgerald with today's preemptive action.

Oh, it is possible that the President-elect had enough sense not to deal with Blagojevich, but not likely. Obama is too arrogant to think he'd be caught at anything he does. It has worked up until now. Why would this be any different?

U.S. Senate seat for sale

Its a good thing that Ted Stevens lost his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate seat from Alaska. The temptation may have been too great for Gov. Palin, and we could be reading this today.
Later, SARAH PALIN stated that the Senate seat “is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.” …

In regards to the Senate seat, SARAH PALIN stated “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there.” …

SARAH PALIN states that he will put 64 “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” ….

SARAH PALIN states that he will appoint “[Senate Candidate 1] . . . but if they feel like they can do this and not fucking give me anything . . . then I’ll fucking go [Senate Candidate 5].”…

Later in the conversation, SARAH PALIN said she knows that the President-elect wants Senate Candidate 1 for the Senate seat but “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation. Fuck them.”…
That was a close one.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Who is the worst Food Network chef?



After seeing Bobby Flay's Brown Bag Apple Pie Throwdown with The Elegant Farmer, I had to take a trip to Mukwanago and buy a pie. The Farmer's pies baked in a paper bag live up to their billing as the "best pies in America." It was no wonder to me why their pie beat Flay's Fried Apple Pies. But I still thought that Flay's pies must have been pretty darn good. Last night I found out the truth.

Following the recipe at the FoodTV website, my wife duplicated Flay's fried pies. The pies started with a cooked apple mixture. So far, so good. The mixture was mighty tasty on it's own.



The apple mixture was then wrapped in a pie dough (containing copious amounts of butter and lard) to make turnovers. The turnovers were then deep fried.



The result was a culinary atrocity. The butter, lard and peanut oil soaked pastry dominated everything. Think "McDonald's Apple Pie with a pat of lard on top." That Throwdown was not even close. I still feel wads of the fatty globules working their way through my body.

On the other hand, the crust was nice and flaky.



This wasn't our first Food Network recipe gone bad. Even some of know-it-all Alton Brown's "this is the only way to cook it" creations have been failures. And don't be pointing fingers this way, my wife and I can cook and know how to follow a recipe.

Who is the worst of the FoodTV chefs? Take the poll.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rolling along

I was recently reminded of a business colleague who I would see numerous times a year in the 1990's. My friend William from Charlotte was paralyzed in a very unremarkable motorcycle accident while in college. He remained the consummate good ole boy, inspite of his lovely wife's efforts.

I knew him when we were in our 30's and early 40's. Of all the people I'd regularly see at my business meetings, William would put us all to shame with his athleticism and physical activity. Wheelchair basketball and racing were part of his routine.

William was always a gas to be around and he never slowed us down. In fact, he had to slow his chair to let us walkers keep up with him and he never let an escalator get in his way. He'd effortlessly wheel a 180 in order to ride up or down the moving stairs backyards. Bystanders would typically gasp when he did this. I also became a near expert at assembling and disassembling his chair to fit in a car.

William participated in a lot of charity events for paralysis causes. That, and with his engaging personality, made him well known around Charlotte. He would regularly work out in the gym at Hendrick Motorsports with Jeff Gordon's pit crew. He became well enough known nationally that a mono-ski manufacturer flew him to Colorado to test their prototype models. In his spare time he organized and participated in a handcycle marathon from Charlotte to the Atlantic Ocean as a fundraiser.

What reminded me of William (sorry Sheryl, but he's not Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy) was this Elliot guy. The activities he lists at his "About" page sound like things my friend would do. I'd like to see how Elliott handles escalators.

Poll Results

The results of the fast food poll are complete. Here they are with the correct answer.

1. Wait until they finally decide to take my order.

Two votes - Wrong. If you chose answer #1 you are at the wrong restaurant. The reason you are at McDonald's is for FAST food. Waiting longer in that long line has defeated that purpose.

2. Pull in front of the woman and give my order at Window 1.

Zero votes - This is the correct answer. McDonald's is set up for this contingency. They took my order & money and had my food waiting by the time I made it to Window 2. The people in the cars behind me in the left lane were also appreciative.

3. Pull in front of the woman, then pull out of line and leave.

One vote - Wrong. Duh! What are you thinking?

4. Pull in front of the woman, pay for and take her order, and hopefully foul up the orders of the next half dozen cars.

Two votes - This is an alternate correct answer. If you don't mind eating and paying for random meals, this is the way to go. The confusion you leave behind will make the 3 Happy Meals and 2 plain Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese go down easier.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

They deserve each other

From Madison's Capital Times news blog.
The bicyclist who felt "extremely insulted" when a fellow biker told him to get a light on his bike and ended up beating the commenter was arrested and tentatively charged with battery and disorderly conduct Wednesday, police said.

Dustin Dunlavy, 28, Madison, allegedly grabbed Colin O'Brien, 51, around the head in the confrontation on South Shore Drive the night of Nov. 26.

According to police:

The incident started about 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 26 as O'Brien was biking home on South Shore Drive, on the south side of Monona Bay.

Two bicyclists came up behind O'Brien, with one saying they were going to pass him on the left. As they passed, O'Brien said, "Get a light."

Dunlavy apparently asked him to repeat himself so he did, with the couple then telling O'Brien to mind his own business. Dunlavy apparently then tried to run O'Brien off the road.

The pair followed O'Brien to his home, where the light talk continued.

The female said it appeared O'Brien had plenty of lights and asked for one, so he gave one to her, but Dunlavy still was upset and clamped his hands around O'Brien's head, according to a police report.

The report added that he twisted O'Brien to the ground and kicked him in the ribs, but Dunlavy denied doing so when he was arrested.
Colin and Dustin are the same type of jerk who went berserk at Paul Soglin's suggestion that cyclists leave their bikes at home during blizzards. They are each holier than thou. All urban bicyclists are pricks. Period. There are no exceptions.

Suburban and rural cyclists have completely different DNA. We are reasonable people.

Tire Rack exceeds my expectations, again.



After Monday's snowfall my Winter Tire Fetish kicked in and I decided to order a set of snow tires for my daughter's car. After choosing her tires online and confirming her approval of the wheels I picked, I finally placed the order with Tire Rack after 10:00 P.M. The immediate order status said the tires were on back order.

However, within one hour I had received an email from Tire Rack confirming my order and stating the tires were in stock. A welcome surprise, I now had hope of receiving the tires before the end of next week.

Before 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, I received another email stating that the tires had shipped from the South Bend Tire Rack facility. That was less than 36 hours for the order to be processed, products gathered, tires mounted and balanced on the wheels, and the tires shipped via UPS. Still, having chosen standard shipping, my expectations for receiving the tires in time to install this weekend were not high.

This morning a UPS Tracking check showed the tires were in Elm Grove, and I soon received a call from my wife saying the tires had arrived before 9:00 A.M. The total time from order to delivery was less than 59 hours. That would be exceptional service with expedited processing and shipping, but this was just a standard order for Tire Rack.

If you decide that Winter tires are a prudent choice for your vehicle, you cannot go wrong ordering from Tire Rack.