Friday, February 29, 2008


My mouse pointer froze up while typing the post about houses, so naturally the first thing I did after rebooting was to Google "frozen mouse" to see what people had to say about it. One suggestion: Windows key followed by Esc. I'll try it next time. [Update March 6: Well, that didn't work. I'll have to look for a different incantation.] Another: The Mouse Factory. "All our mice and rats are flash-frozen and vacuum packed reducing freezer burn, thus greatly extending their freezer life and preserving their vitamins and nutrients." Mmmm ... that's good to know.

Update April 5: Replaced that mouse with this one. [$10 at Wal-Mart.] It's been a couple of weeks now, and no more problems. (Crosses fingers.) Hardware, not software problem, apparently. Click "Ok" Okay!

Jenkins: Let Houses Find a Bottom

Megan McArdle posted on Wednesday on Fannie Mae's 4th quarter loss of $3.6 billion. Whew! Sooner or later that's going to start running into real money. (As Everett Dirksen apparently didn't say.) This leads commenter Fred to link to Holman Jenkins in the WSJ: Let Houses Find a Bottom.

We have nothing to fear but fear itself, a president once said, and thereupon embarked on a series of ad-libs some of which deepened and prolonged the country's depression.

[…] drawing out the correction prevents the market from finding a bottom. It prevents owners and shoppers alike from having confidence to judge what houses are worth. It bails out lenders and investors who incautiously or fraudulently financed home purchases for speculative buyers, which can only encourage more of the same behavior in the future.
There's more downside to house prices coming, it's just going to take longer to get there.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Remembering Dave Allen

Blake at BitMaelstrom mentions a silly list; someone who thinks he's smart, the president of Mensa, listing TV shows that he thinks are smart. Blake has a better list of his own, and a follow-up post to correct an omission. This led me to think of Dave Allen (July 6, 1936–March 10, 2005), whom I used to see on Boston's channel 38, late. Here's Dave Allen's version of the Adam and Eve story:

When people mention Mensa, I am always reminded of the Sturgeon brothers, Peter and Theodore. Peter was the first President of Mensa in America. Theodore was the writer who gave us such works as The (Widget), the (Wadget), and Boff; A Saucer of Loneliness; More than Human; and many more. Philip Klass ["William Tenn"]'s introduction to Bright Segment (see if this works for you) is a lovely description of the way the brothers did or did not get along. I used to listen to Long John Nebel's radio show on WOR, back in the sixties. A number of SF luminaries were frequent guests, Lester Del Rey, Frederik Pohl, and Theodore Sturgeon among them. I recall hearing Theodore (he preferred "Ted") saying "My brother Peter is president of Mensa. I wouldn't join it if they paid me." Or something to that effect. So that's what I have to say about Mensa. A lot of smart people are members; plenty more smart people are not.

Oh, for cryin' out loud

Is Barack Obama the Messiah?

When you look at this, note the timestamp of the top post: Tuesday, November 04, 2008. Time-travelling messiah.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


About time to set this batch free, and start another.

Skateboard ballet. (via)

Dick Lamm's Plan to Destroy America. It seems to be well underway. And goes well with The White House wants a $1.4 billion stimulus/national security package…for Mexico.

Derbyshire won't stickle over rankling.

Iowahawk hath An Archbishop of Canterbury Tale.

The Path to the Final Solution. From The Jawa Report.

T.J. Rogers adding SunPower to Cypress. (via)

Aesop's fables: more editions than any book except the Bible? (via)

Entrances to Hell in the United Kingdom. (via)

A large and funny collection of Computer Stupidities. (via)

The Return of Sister Flute. Women keep fainting at these Obama rallies.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Never mind the carbon credits, just build new glaciers

Robin Moroney at the WSJ's Informed Reader blog:

According to legends, villagers in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges that span the India-Pakistan border areas have been building artificial glaciers for centuries – even using one to stop the advance of Gengis Khan in the 13th century. The artificial versions are far smaller than regular glaciers, but can reach 800 feet in length. Usually, the glaciers are built in rocky areas 14,800 feet above sea level. Villagers pack ice and snow in the shadows of boulders. When winter arrives, snow bridges the areas between the ice and, over a few years, forms into a self-sustaining glacier.
This would make an excellent volunteer project for all the concerned warmingists with time on their hands, and would give them something to do besides lobbying for more restrictive laws and new taxes. The Glacier Construction Corps. Found in Jerry Pournelle's mail.

The Minnesotans for Global Warming could show them where to find raw materials.

Thanks for that to Morgan Freeberg of the House of Eratosthenes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Captain Capitalism reports on real estate and mortgages

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. A fair amount of reading, but worthwhile if you're interested in the current state of the housing market. The rest of his posts are worth reading, too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine from Obama


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who likes Obama, and why?

Also at Hot Air: prominent on the wall of the newly opened Obama office in Houston is a Cuban flag, decorated or defaced with the iconic high-contrast Che-in-a-beret image. The Hillary! ad below is pathetic and sadly funny; the Obama decor, sinister, and worrisome in a more serious way. It is indicative of the emptiness of the Obama campaign that any rebel with or without a cause feels attracted to it. "We want the world, and we want it NOW!" Everything for everybody, except of course the people we're taking that stuff from, for the greater good; or we're gonna hold our breath, or raise a lot of taxes, or something. (Aside: It is universally agreed that the way to stimulate the economy is to loosen credit, or as with the current bill, just hand out cash. Why do Democrats and Socialists and such think that doing the reverse, i.e. raising taxes, making it harder to do business, will not slow down the economy? To campaign on "the economy is bad, so we must raise taxes" just makes no sense. And see No Recession by Larry Kudlow.)

Update: Make that two of those Che-in-a-beret Cuban flags and a "peace sign" flag. Why would the office of a US Democratic Party candidate have Cuban Communist Party symbols as decor? It is a puzzlement. I wonder if any readers remember that the peace sign stands, not for peace, but specifically for nuclear disarmament, and is still claimed as their logo by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. (Who also oppose nuclear power; which means they must support coal-burning, right? But I'm sure they are opposed to global warming.) History of the symbol.

Charles has a follow-up to a tendentious response by James Joyner: Outside the Beltway and Off the Rails. You wouldn't fly a hammer-and-sickle, it would be a historical curiosity. Likewise the noise some are making about Confederate flags here and there: the Confederacy has been out of business for going on a hundred and fifty years. Cuba is still currently Communist. And another followup: We Got Mail! In which letter-writers reveal that, as I suspected, there are those about who have no clue about the historical Che Guevara, but have faith in the mythical one.

Another update: Ace of Spades adds a comment. And still more on this at Lone Star Times (one, two, three, four posts so far.) Maybe it's just one flag, relocated between TV shoots.

Fausta has a (Che-flag-free) Obama roundup: Foreign millions for Obama.

And another update: Daniel Henninger in the WSJ, by way of Glenn Reynolds:

Listen closely to that Tuesday night Wisconsin speech. Unhinge yourself from the mesmerizing voice. What one hears is a message that is largely negative, illustrated with anecdotes of unremitting bleakness. Heavy with class warfare, it is a speech that could have been delivered by a Democrat in 1968, or even 1928.

Here is the edited version, stripped of the flying surfboard:

"Our road will not be easy . . . the cynics. . . where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits . . . That's what happens when lobbyists set the agenda. . . It's a game where trade deals like Nafta ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart . . . It's a game . . . CEO bonuses . . . while another mother goes without health care for her sick child . . . We can't keep driving a wider and wider gap between the few who are rich and the rest who struggle to keep pace . . . even if they're not rich . . ."

Here's his America: "lies awake at night wondering how he's going to pay the bills . . . she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill . . . the senior I met who lost his pension when the company he gave his life to went bankrupt . . . the teacher who works at Dunkin' Donuts after school just to make ends meet . . . I was not born into money or status . . . I've fought to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant . . . to make sure people weren't denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from . . . Now we carry our message to farms and factories."
[sarcasm] What an awful country we live in. Let's just tear the whole thing down and start over. Change! This "freedom" business really is not working. Let's try something else. Like taking billions away from the people of this country to give to the governments of other countries, as specified in Obama's pet legislation, the Global Poverty Bill. [/sarcasm off]

Ann Althouse posts on the Henninger article: Obama's message is just too depressing. She quotes parts of the article that I omitted, and omits the parts that I quoted.

And an important post from Neo-neocon, about hope and false hope: Obama: too young at heart.
Yes, there is such a thing as false hope, and it can be as dangerous as a cancer patient’s refusal to undergo a difficult chemotherapy that offers decent odds of survival in favor of a course of laetrile that offers nothing but empty promises. And yet, hope springs eternal—false and otherwise.
My goodness, this post is going on much too long. But one more update, a sidenote on Che Guevara: It seems he was a Galway man! Or a grandson of Galway, at any rate. (Via a commenter at The Jawa Report.)

Oh, what the heck, one more: In Focus: The Sickly Deification of Obama.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hillary! the rock star

Another awful campaign ad. Go to Hot Air to see it and rejoice in the comments. Look for the shot of Hillary! with the guitar on her back. Note the sadness and feeling of abandonment shown by those who had counted on her, who had built an enterprise of which she was an important part, whom she kicked aside in her ambition to rise ever higher. Like the Christmas presents ad, this is actually from the Clinton campaign, but it reads like parody. Hillary!, there's something about her campaign; they look like people, but all their ears are made of tin.

Update: Oh dear, another offense against music by Hillary!'s supporters. This one appears to be a volunteer effort.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mark Steyn speaks at CPAC

Video at Townhall. Part 1 is the speech, Part 2 the Q & A. Worth the time (about 40 minutes altogether).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Boat for sale

Saddam Hussein's "backup" yacht. 82 meters overall, cruises at 18 knots, tanks hold 56,512 gallons of diesel fuel. Hardly used. More at the NY Post and Luxist. A couple more photos and specs at Superyacht Times. Asking price reported to be $34,450,000. Though, really, if you have to ask…

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Drew Carey on the plight of the middle class

Video is called "Living Large," at Reason TV. Discussion at Hit & Run. Among the questions left unanswered in the video is how much of this seeming prosperity is based on credit abuse.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball

That ball had better be inflated, not just inflatable. "Zorb is the sport of rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball and where New Zealand, once again leads the world in stupid things to do while you're on a vacation." Now available in the USA near Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN. Mentioned because of the question that arose while watching the current Toyota Sequoia commercial, "What in the world are those people doing?"

Much more, of course, at Wikipedia. Here's a video from National Geographic.

Songs for parents

Update: These video links don't last. New links for Dad's Pachelbel and The Mom Song.

A Dad sings about bedtime, to to the tune of Pachelbel's Canon. From Wittingshire. Sweet.

And a Mom who is also a comedian, Anita Renfroe, fits a whole day's Mom-talk into two minutes and fifty-five seconds, to the tune of the William Tell Overture: The Mom Song. Mombastic.

My old link for the Mom Song had the lyrics in the dropdown, and I thought a better performance. Renfroe's makeup is better in this official one. Lyrics can be found at Main St. USA.

It's a poll of teenagers

Mark Steyn in The Corner:

Fictional Heroes

If I lived in contemporary Britain, where polygamists are entitled to claim multiple welfare benefits per spouse and where The Three Little Pigs is ruled ineligible for a government award lest it offend Muslims, I'd be inclined to believe Richard the Lionheart, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill never existed. And so it seems:

LONDON (AFP) - Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real. The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.
It's a poll of teenagers. Oddly, the Yahoo-AFP story linked by Steyn does not say that. It says "UKTV Gold television surveyed 3,000 people." It makes a difference. French or EU psyops? We don't check every single story to find out if it's been distorted this way. We can't. But someone, presumably the stringer at AFP, decided to leave that little detail out. Bad journalism, bad! No donut for AFP today!

A different kind of smoke

A cross-cultural version of "Smoke on the Water," with samisens. Found along with much else of interest at Sippican Cottage: Essays From the Swamp.