Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday at Wakefield

Live from the event! Sadly, I'm not racing today. Still getting over my cold and congestion.

The Problem With Theories Based on Lies

Global warming. Give me a break. The number of hurricanes forecast for this season has just been reduced because of "cooler than usual ocean temperatures." Now, before the environmentalist lunatic fringe tries to tell you that ocean cooling is a sign of global warming, just remember their dire predictions during the active 2005 hurricane season, which was unusually warm. They told us of the coming ecological apocalypse - hurricanes so frequent that we would run out of letters of the alphabet to name them! Please.

This highlights yet another example of how utterly ridiculous the arguments in favor of global warming have become. If you listened to their rhetoric, we would be led to believe that any variation from perfect is an argument for global warming. I've touched on this before. It's the perfect argument. If it's too hot - well obviously - it's global warming! If it's too cold - well, that's a sign of global warming, too! If you disagree with them, you're labeled some kind of capitalist polluter (or worse). Can you tell I'm frustrated by this lunacy?

Real climatologists (not the biologists interviewed in Gore's fictional horror movie) have been telling us that these kind of fluctuations have been going on for centuries. Besides, one erupting volcano puts more crap into the atmosphere than even the most energy-hungry country could ever dream possible.

So, before we start legislating away our freedoms based on faulty, knee-jerk science, let's at least have an open and honest debate! A debate where global warming skeptics will not be castigated and dismissed just because being "green" is currently en vogue.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Is That a Carbon Footprint Underneath Your Scurvy-laden Legs?

Bet you didn't know that carbon footprint of yours would end up making you walk like a pirate, did ya? Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but isn't that what Elizabeth Edwards is doing by trying to prove you can save the environment by screwing the tangerine producers? Heavens! Those greedy SOBs are killing the world just to bring you some vitamin C... they must be stopped!

This is the kind of mass hysteria that will end up screwing not just the tangerine producers, but anyone who leaves a "carbon footprint" of any kind (i.e. YOU). It absolutely cannot be dealt with on a rational level. Well, unless you're The Goracle. If you're him, all you need to do is buy some carbon credits, and you can pollute the world as much as you want. But as for the rest of us, we need to do what he says. After all, he made a movie about global warming, so it must be true!

Monday, July 23, 2007

1400 Filipino Prisoners Can't Be Wrong

As far as I'm concerned, this is what the Internet was invented for. Screw all of that nuclear survivability garbage. The Internet was made so that you and I could enjoy the pleasure of watching 1400 inmates at a prison in the Philippines reenact Michael Jackson's Thriller video. Can you imagine if that much effort went into an escape plan? The world would be doomed (and we'd probably all be wearing red leather jackets).

And yes, that's a dude. Nasty.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back From the Dead

As you can tell, it's been a slow week for me, blogwise. I picked up a nasty cold in Seattle (probably from some pederast tree-hugger who coughed next to me or something) and spent the better part of last week recovering. It was the usual - stuffed up head, plugged ears and a nasty cough. Although, thankfully, I learned how to get the upper hand on the plugged ears from my last two experiences with that nightmare. Now if I could only find a way to supress the coughing that has been driving my wife crazy!

Anyway, to celebrate my return to health (despite this pesky and lingering cough), my wife and I took a ride into DC to see the sights and enjoy this unusually perfect weather. Enjoy a few pics from the day!

Friday, July 13, 2007

View from the Top

From the top o the Seattle Space Needle.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More at Cannon Beach

Again, sunset.

Cannon Beach, OR

At sunset

The House From the Goonies

This is it. I drove 200 miles and flew 3000 for this! Well, not really. But could I have passed this up when Seattle is 150 short miles away!

Welcome to Oregon

Just crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge.

Cruising Washington State

On my way to Astoria, OR

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Another Clock is Ticking in the Middle East

An unlikely source for good political commentary -- particularly when it comes to Middle Eastern affairs -- the good psychoanalyst over at ShrinkWrapped has a few interesting words about the time bomb that is primed and ready to explode in Syria. His analysis comes on the heels of this report, which says the rumors of war between Israel and Syria may become reality sometime very soon.

"Meanwhile, even The New York Times admits that leaving Iraq would be a disaster while opportunistic Democrats and feckless Republicans compete to see who can surrender more quickly, ignoring the fact that the fighting in Iraq is currently all about al Qaeda, who they claim we should be fighting.

Chaos could easily descend upon the entire Middle East with extremely dangerous implications for the entire world. Consider a summer war, with Iranian and Syrian over-reach and Israeli desperation. What are the implications of a super-critical Middle East disorganizing into a state of higher entropy. What happens when oil goes to $120 a barrel and stays there. The United States can tolerate a recession; can China?"
Check out the complete analysis here. It's worth a read.

Can Someone Recommend a Restaurant... Seattle?

I'm leaving the nasty humid wonderland (it's 93 at 10am) of Washington, DC for 4 days to attend a conference in the beautiful northwest. True, I'm good at finding restaurants on my own... but I've never been to Seattle (it's the biggest US city I haven't visited), so I really don't know where to start. I crave seafood (that narrows it down, doesn't it?). So I turn to you, blogosphere, for help in satisfying my culinary itch.

Stay tuned here for pictures, live, from my trip!

Monday, July 09, 2007

It's 102 Degrees, So It Must Be...

...Global Warming! Yep, that's right. If man weren't on the Earth, today's summer temperature would be 75 degrees and perfect. Oh, wait... when it's cooler in the summer, that actually means that the Earth is getting warmer, too. So, I'm confused. Is it global warming when it's too hot, or too cold? That's right - it's both! In other words, the Earth would never change temperatures at all if man wasn't here! What a perfectly circular argument! You can't lose if you believe all of the global warming hype. It's the perfect wagon on which you can hitch your political career, because it also has the added bonus of being based on fear!

So, we have a scary theory that means the world is ending unless we enact all kinds of crazy laws that limit personal freedom, it's based on fear, and no matter what: anything horrible that happens in the world can be attributed to it! Just like the Rock, it can never lose!

Jeesh... the madness! Can't it just be freakin' hot anymore?

Thank You, Come Again!

Last week I made a trip to one of 12 specially retrofitted 7/11's made up to look like a "Kwik-E-Mart" from The Simpsons. While all 7/11's are selling Simpsons' branded merchandise, there are only 12 retrofitted stores in the entire country. We're lucky enough, here in DC, to have one a few miles away.

Here are a few of the pictures:

Friday, July 06, 2007

More Sightseeing

Iwo Jima

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Solve This Mystery and I'll Give You $40

For the past year, the left elbow in my dress shirts has been giving way, separating into a split (see picture). I have been trying to figure out this mystery for a long time, and nothing fits the facts. So, I need your help!

Those of you who know me understand that I do not purchase cheap dress shirts. I am extremely meticulous when it comes to my business attire, and usually stick to the brands that give that neat, pressed, clean look. They're never cheap. Having said that, I do have one or two shirts that cost under $40, as well. However, all of these shirts, regardless of brand or price, have had the left elbow split at some point. Here's what I've ruled out:

Physiology: I am right handed. My left arm does nothing... if anything, it is my right arm that should be suffering this problem. But not so.

: My sleeves are 35" long. I have plenty of give, and they do not form tight fits when my arms are bent. So I can rule that out.

Quality: As I said, my 15 dress shirts shirts cover about 7 brands of various price ranges. I have found the left elbow split on all but one (my beloved Hugo Boss shirt).

Sitting position
: This would seem the most obvious culprit. However, my left arm pretty much does nothing all day as I sit here. When I rest on my desk, it's my right elbow. My right arm works the mouse all day, too. Yet, despite all of this, my right sleeve remains perfectly intact.

Snags: I have scoured my office, my home and my car for any snags that might be catching my left elbow, but have found none.

Commute: I always sit on the right side of the Metro train in the mornings (yes, I am a creature of habit. And yes, those of us who board the train in Vienna actually get seats). Coming home is standing room only, so no regular left-elbow stress there.
I am honestly at my wit's end. My wife is ready to force me to buy my shirts at Marshall's because of this problem (and it's necessary expense when replacing good shirts). I have thought of everything I can. I even put my dry cleaner on the spot! Although, I didn't demand $65 million. Besides, if that were the case, it should be happening to my right and left sleeve equally, right?

So here's my challenge: If you can give me scenario that makes sense to me and allows me to solve this mystery, I'll give you a $40 gift card to Chilis. That, or an arm-full of shirts with holes in the left elbow sleeve! Post your comments. I will answer any questions you may have, and will be honest when telling you if I've already thought of your idea...

Good luck, and thanks!

Every Nut Seems to Be Demanding Fascism... But, Who Plans on Delivering?

You know, I grew up watching the sci-fi movies that showed a future world where everyone lived in a semi-fascist state. I used to always wonder, "how did the subject civilization get to this point?" as the movies always took place after such a system had been established for a long time.

The obvious reasons for such a state of affairs would likely be based on the conclusions one might draw now from the increased attention on security. "How can you let Bush ruin our freedom?" they say. And yes, the police that would be required to maintain security might seem like a scary prospect, but it's the least likely to actually lead to a fascist superstate.

Everyone seems to be asking for some kind of fascism these days. The environmentalists want you to give up all of your technology and conveniences so that we can live in harmony with nature and stop the spread of evil global warming (they really mean capitalism). How do they propose to do this? By using legislation to limit what you do and how you do it. It would force an absolute lifestyle change, and those in power promoting it would be able to stay in power indefinitely based on the never-ending nature of the so-called threat (the very thing with which they use to persecute Bush regarding the War).

But even with their proclivity for a Stalinist "green" state, the environmentalists have nothing on Islamic fundamentalism when it comes to fascism. As was said in a comment to a previous post, the stated goal of Islam is world domination (I'm simplifying the language here, but ask any Muslim if Allah will tolerate a world with many faiths). The Islamo-fascists want to forcefully impose their will on you. The penalty for non-compliance is death. That's as close to good 'ole fashioned fascism as you can get.

Yet the people who whine about things like profiling act as if it is the end of the world. "Do you want Big Brother" watching over your shoulder?" they say. Well, given our choices, I'd say that being secure is a little more palatable. The fact that the only point of reference those opposed to increased security have is a work of fiction shows how little they actually know about the issue.

There are limits, of course. And luckily, no one at the Department of Homeland Security is advocating that you give up any of your personal freedoms to the degree in which Islamo-fascists and Environmental Fundamentalists demand. Yet, because of the political correctness that has been forced down our throats for generations, we are afraid to stand up against those who would do us harm because we are afraid of offending them! (if only they had such self-control...)

If we are to face down the real threat posed by Islamo-Fascism, it's time we elect leaders who take it seriously. Instead of accusing the President of being the enemy, these people ought to open their eyes and turn their attention to the actual enemies who want to kill us and remove the word "freedom" from our vocabularies - permanently.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fun on the 4th!

Today we spent the 4th with friends visiting from out of town. We started off at Arlington Cemetery, and were then forced into shelter when all of DC went into tornado warning mode! After the rain passed, however, the night was beautiful! Here are a few pics from the day...

Arlington Cemetery (Robert E. Lee Home)

National Mall (Lincoln Memorial)

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Washington Monument

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vigilance on the Metro

I left a comment on another blog today, which got me thinking about the way we handle threats of terrorism in this country. I'm going to post my comment below this paragraph, because I think it's worth mentioning to anyone who may ride the Washington Metro (or any other major metropolitan mass transit system in America), because it may be you who is faced with the choice to save us from the next terror attack (like these guys did in Britain).

I ride the Washington Metro every day to work, and each time I step on the train, I think to myself, "Is today the day we get hit?" I ask myself this question because I believe it's only a matter of time before the DC subway system is hit by terrorists.

With thoughts like these running through my head, I'm naturally vigilant. I didn't think I was alone in being watchful and aware of my surroundings, but apparently I was wrong. Here's a story:

About 6 weeks ago, I was on the Orange line train headed to the Capitol. There were two men of obvious Arab descent wearing rucksacks (the big, camper style backpacks) standing in the center of the train by the door. They seemed extremely disconnected from the environment around them (as if in a trance) - which was enough to perk my attention. I put down my book, and watched them.

A few minutes into the ride, we came to a stop at the Smithsonian station. One of the men left his backpack on the ground, and literally ran off the train. My heart stopped beating at that point (before firing up to 100 bpm) and I got extremely nervous.

I decided to approach the remaining man (I was wearing a suit, and probably looked like some kind of an authority) and asked him point blank: "Sir, is that your bag?" pointing to the abandoned bag at his feet. I couldn't have been talking to anyone else, yet the guy refused to acknowledge me at all. I asked him again, and he looked straight ahead. He was also sweating.

At this point, passengers began to subtly move away from the man. I was about to grab the bag myself when he finally looked at me and said, "Yes. That's my bag." Then he picked it up and held onto it.

I didn't know quite what to do at that point, so I just said, "Make sure you keep you bag in your possession, Sir." I got off at the next stop and notified the Metro station manager who looked at me like I was a racist idiot. He didn't write anything down or even act like the information was worth his time. In fact, he made me feel like a jerk for even approaching the guy.

However, his reaction was not what bothered me the most. It was the utter indifference of the passengers on the train that really rattled me. No one even looked inquisitively at the guy after his buddy ran off the train without a word, leaving his overstuffed backpack behind.

We've been so conditioned to avoid suspecting anyone who might be a legitimate threat to our safety out of fear of being seen as a profiler, or labeled a racist (or worse). It's a sad state of affairs, and it invites people who do not share our values to exploit and take advantage of our weaknesses in security. Am I suggesting we set up checkpoints? Of course not. I'm only suggesting that we all become a little more vigilant in guarding against terrorism. Use common sense. Had these men been white, I still would have questioned one if his buddy ran off the train leaving his bag behind. It would be silly to suggest that I had any other motive other than the safety of myself and the other passengers.

I'm convinced I witnessed a dry run that day. And, I'm sorry to say that even in the Nation's capital, where residents walk with targets on their backs, the likelihood of an attack happening under our noses is as high as it ever was.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Living as a Mormon Pioneer - 1850's Style!

Last week, my wife and I participated in one of the most unique experiences in our lives. We were asked by our church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church) to serve for 3 days as a "Ma and Pa" for our Church's Youth Conference. This particular conference consisted of all of the youth aged 14-18 from our local geographical area (called Stakes within the church. Smaller divisions and actual congregations are called Wards). In this case, there were nearly 200 youth broken into 14 "families." My wife and I were Ma and Pa to one such family.

The purpose of this "Pioneer Trek" is for the youth of the church to connect with their pioneer heritage. In the mid 1800's, when the Mormons were killed and driven from Missouri, they moved west in covered wagons and founded Salt Lake City and the State of Utah. Later, thousands of members of the church gave up all their worldly possessions in their native lands, traveled to the United States, and then pulled all they had remaining in small handcarts over two-thousand miles from ports on the East Coast to Salt Lake City. (For a complete chronology of the Church's history, click HERE).

Our trek was to be as close to what our ancestors experienced as possible. This meant no 21st century conveniences (except for medical care provided by volunteer doctors and other prudent safety measures, like wearing good hiking boots and carrying insect repellent). We had to wear clothes from the era (ankle-length dresses and bonnets for the women, long-sleeved shirts, long pants and straw hats for the men).

Upon arriving, the youth families were given the parts for their handcarts, and started building. When finished, the carts were loaded with everything they needed fort the trip: sleeping bags, food for the 3 days (provided by the Trek leaders), cooking supplies, etc. After the carts were loaded (each cart weighed about 600lbs when packed), we had a group prayer and started hiking.

The purpose of the youth trek was for them to experience the hard work required of their ancestors first-hand. As such, Ma and Pa were not supposed to help pull the carts (thankfully for us). We were there to supervise and maintain safety among the youth, as well as act as counsel and to keep the "family" together (the families were 12 kids from different wards, so many did not know one another prior to the trip). Learning to pull the carts was a great challenge for them, but it was amazing to see them helping one another, and learning to act as a team.

As we hiked in nearly 100 degree weather with extremely high humidity, I witnessed a miracle. None of the kids complained. They sang songs, got to know one another and worked together to get the carts up steep, muddy grades and through many rivers and streams. It was a bonding experience like no other I've witnessed or participated in.

Each night, around 6, the kids were told to stop and set up camp. They had to gather firewood, start the fire, cook their food and set up the tents on their own. From Ma and Pa's perspective, it was difficult not to help. But after some trial and error, the kids got it going. It was amazing to see what these 21st century kids were capable of using 19th century technology.

By the final day, the Spirit that could be felt among the youth was incredible. They gathered Saturday morning for a chance to share their personal testimonies of Gospel of Jesus Christ, and of the sacrifices made by their ancestors so that they could worship without being persecuted. It was a profoundly moving experience for everyone who witnessed it.

When it was over, my wife and I were left in absolute awe of our ancestors (both of us have direct ancestors who crossed the plains in handcarts). We were also left with an increased love for our Savior, and for his Gospel. We look forward to hopefully being called to do this again in another 4 years at the next Youth Conference!

Oh, I should also add that when we got home, I had the best shower of my entire life.