Tuesday, September 30, 2008

48 Hours

And counting.

By this time on Thursday night we should be getting another really good snapshot of Tina Fey Sarah Palin. I can't tell them apart. Honest to God.

She can't name a single newspaper or magazine that she reads but she "has a vast variety of sources."

And it ended there.

I dunno. Anchorage Daily News perhaps? New York Times? USA Today? US News & World Report? Newsweek? Seventeen? (Is that one still around??)

Just pick one, for fuck's sake!

"All of 'em" doesn't count.

The Bailout Bill: Aspiring, Not Requiring

I wish the Republicans hadn't carved up Austin a few years back so that my representative in Congress is from San Antonio, and Lloyd Doggett, who should be my representative, has a district stretching nearly to Houston.

I'm still proud to have him in office representing somebody.

Via Pulp Friction where you can see an additional video clip of Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

Billions Are Flowing Regardless

I got up at 6:30 this morning and started reading the New York Times and before I could finish the business section I realized I was already going to be late for work.


How many of you noticed what the Fed is up to?
Even before the House stunned the world on Monday by rejecting the Bush administration’s bailout bill, the Fed was already resorting to the oldest action in its book: printing money.

With money markets around the world seizing in fear, the Fed on Monday announced that it would provide an extra $150 billion through an emergency lending program for banks, and an additional $330 billion through so-called swap lines with foreign central banks to help money markets from Europe to Asia.


That was on top of the $230 billion the Fed borrowed last week so it could finance its previous efforts to prop up the American International Group and other institutions.

Add that up. $150 billion + $330 billion + $230 billion = $710 billion. And that's just since last week. Apparently, they ain't done yet. Keep those printing presses filled with paper and ink!
Even if Congress refuses to pass the bailout measure, there is more money where that came from. The Treasury Department has already created a series of “supplemental” Treasury securities to finance the Fed’s activities, and there is no limit to how many more it can issue and sell.

I won't pretend to grasp what all the means in the short-term or the long-term. I am no economist, but I'm going to keep reading trusted sources of information with the hope that I'll grasp just a pinch of the overall complexities of our financial system.
“We have a lot of money to play with,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an international economist at Harvard. “As long as foreigners have a lot of confidence in our ability to solve our problems, we can borrow the $1 trillion to $2 trillion we need to solve it.”

I love that. Playing with money is fun! Even if it's just Monopoly™ money.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Musical Question of the Day

Is there an instance where G and B♭go together?

I tried again and got this. Is this the best Google can do with a simple question?

If you are really brave, you'll start them both at the same time and let them play.

Crank it up.

The VP Debate Should Be Interesting

Is it Thursday yet?
"Palin's a master at spending 45 seconds telling you what color the sky is," he adds, "and people will say, 'That's the greatest thing I ever heard.'"

Quote from Andrew Halcro, one of Palin's opponents in the Alaska governor's race.

We Are Wall Street Hostages

I feel like Wall Street is a force unto itself, not necessarily with the interests of the United States at heart. Why on earth would I feel like they are trying to make the rest of us feel like their guns are pointed directly at the back of our heads?

The House vote defeating the bailout proposal was 228 to 205.
Another Texas Republican, John Culberson, spoke scathingly about the unbridled power he said the bill would hand over to the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., whom he called “King Henry.”

A third Texan, Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat, said the negotiators had “never seriously considered any alternative” to the administration’s plan, and had only barely modified what they were given. He criticized the plan for handing over sweeping new powers to an administration that he said was to blame for allowing the crisis to develop in the first place.

Losing a Boob

This was an odd weekend for me and I'm feeling the effects of whiplash. Sunday stands in stark contrast to Saturday. We received a phone call from the one friend in Los Angeles with whom we've stayed in touch for the past 11 years. She told us she has breast cancer and needs to have her right breast removed.

Granted, this is an all-too-frequent form of cancer and God only knows how many breasts have been lopped off as a result. It's still enough to throw you into a stupor when it's someone close to you, either a family member or close friend.

She was trying to keep her chin up as she made the occasional joke about it. Another of her friends told her they'd still love her just the same because it would still be her. Personally, I can't imagine that needing to even be said or reinforced. Of course it's still her! I said, "it's just that you'll be losing a few pounds, that's all."

But this is serious shit. It's very different from losing a few pounds. This is losing a body part, although not as essential as a hand or a foot, I can imagine a woman's breasts (both of them) are an integral part of her body, and losing one must require a tremendous amount of courage and a major mindset adjustment. I sure as hell would be freaking out if I was told I needed to lose a testicle. Not that I need it, but I sure do like having them hanging around.

I think her doctors wanted to remove it soon. She insisted on waiting until mid-November because, as she put it, "I want to be able to walk into that voting booth on election day and cast my vote." She also needs time to get herself psyched up for the procedure.

I can understand that feeling but I'm wondering if that's the best decision she could make. It has me worried. She just turned 51 last week. What a surprise she got.

The Anxiety of Another Week

Good morning, boys and girls! Are we all ready for another fun-filled action-packed week leading up to the VP debate on Thursday night?

Wachovia can disappear now after being absorbed by Citigroup.
Citigroup will pay $1 a share, or about $2.2 billion, according to people briefed on the deal.

The F.D.I.C. said that the agency would absorb losses from Wachovia above $42 billion and that it would receive $12 billion in preferred stock and warrants from Citigroup in return for assuming that risk.

“Wachovia did not fail,” the F.D.I.C. said, “rather it is to be acquired by Citigroup Inc. on an open-bank basis with assistance from the F.D.I.C.”

No, of course they did not "fail." Being bought out for $1 a share seems pretty damn close to me.
The sale would further concentrate Americans’ bank deposits in the hands of just three banks: Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Together, those three would be so large that they would dominate the industry, with unrivaled power to set prices for their loans and services.

If this keeps up we're going to experience the Starbucks syndrome in the banking industry. Hmmmm, decisions, decisions. Do I go to the BofA here or the one across the street?

President What's His Name, addressing a few squirrels on the White House lawn on Sunday, urged a quick passage of the bailout rescue package.

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

Meanwhile the quote of the day goes to Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the Budget Committee and the lead Senate negotiator:

“If we don’t pass it, we shouldn’t be a Congress.”

And if you do pass it you might not be in Congress much longer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blogroll Diplomacy

Blogrolls are a pain in the ass. Once in awhile you feel the need to clean house for whatever reason. Because I am so consumed during the week with work, I rarely have time to visit more than just a few during the course of a week. And yet when it comes time to thin the herd, I start visiting a few of them which I rarely read and I realize they are good blogs written by good like-minded people who have something to say. However, that does not alter the fact that I have not and will not have time to read them all on a regular basis.

The links are sentimental to me on a certain level. People with whom I've had discussions, however brief, on other blogs, and people who used to comment regularly on my blog but have disappeared. So, how do I go about the painful decision of removing some?

If someone hasn't posted since April, they are getting cut. Clearly they failed the Blog365 test. And the fact that I only noticed today is another clear indicator.

If I added someone because I was hoping for reciprocity and didn't get it, they're moved..or gone, depending on my mood.

If I added a blog because I enjoy it, and hoped for some reciprocity and didn't get it, they're staying. Because honestly, who gives a shit? It's about content; not rubbing each other on the back.

Some blogs I occasionally make time to read will stay because I believe their content is a noble effort and deserves to be seen, and if my blog manages to expose one new person to their blog every 6 months, that's worth it.

Blogs whose authors last addressed me with a hearty "First of all, fuck you...." and concluded with "you insensitive shit" because I happened to have an issue with a post and I used a blunt expression which hit a nerve, will be removed (with glee). And I don't care how fucking great the content might be.

Huge blogtrosities which might be great and are well-known around the globe and have hundreds of thousands of readers probably need no help from konagod to drive traffic their way. So those are gone.

Blogs which suck, but I happen to like the owners of them, will stay. (I'm certainly not naming any names here!) Seriously, what's not to love about Pidomon? And he does indeed have something to say and life experiences to boot, so who gives a shit about his horned toad fetish or whatever?

Blogs I like, whose authors believe my blog sucks, will stay. There might just be one in that category. Not sure.

Many blog links will be moved to Black Soap (another pointless sucky blog, one could argue). Although I rarely have time to read them, I want the links in a handy place when I do. And I will.

OK, that should help un-clutter things here. Did I omit any important criteria? I'm sure I did. I already moved one from Siberia.

Ghost in the Machine

I've had this solar calculator since I was in college. I probably bought this in 1980 and I still use it every single day, but not for the scientific functions. I use it for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, which coincidentally is ALL my first calculator would do. That first one was a Christmas gift from my dad around 1973. He paid $50 for it. I think businesses give them away now as marketing gimmicks.

But what's up with this display? I went out for lunch, came back and found this.

K as in Kona. Rad as in txrad. Hmm.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RIP Paul Newman

I certainly appreciated your charity work through the years and the two cups of java every morning.

One Toke Over The Line

I probably have an unhealthy infatuation with the International Date Line. I spend too much time contemplating it and trying to wrap my mind around the concept of a fixed imaginary line in which it's always a day later just a step (albeit on water) to the west. I am not alone.
The International Date Line can cause confusion among airline travelers. The most troublesome situation usually occurs with short journeys from west to east. To travel from Tonga to Samoa by air, for example, takes approximately two hours but involves crossing the International Date Line, causing the passenger to arrive the day before they left.

Certainly as the world turns there are moving imaginary lines where once a day it's going to be Thursday in Detroit and Wednesday in Chicago. I have no trouble with that concept.

I think it would be a hoot to get really stoned on some good Jamaican shit and straddle the date line, especially around 11:59 PM as the floating line overlays the static one.

"It's Sunday."
[hops to the left] "No it's Monday."
[hops to the right] "No, Sunday!"
[takes a toke at 12:00] "Oh it IS Monday."
[hops to the left] "Wrong again! It's TUESDAY."

The date line passes between Russia and Alaska through the Bering Strait. So as Sarah Palin might stand there monitoring the goings on with her vile neighbor to the west, I wonder if she's ever considered it to also be staring into the future. Where she would stand it might be Monday. On that big chunk of tundra across the strait, it's Tuesday. She might even see something happening over there on Tuesday which we need to know about in the interests of national security, and give us a day's advance notice, right? We need such a woman in the White House!

It doesn't seem fair to me that the date line is isolated out there in the Pacific. It would be way more fun if we were to move it someplace where more people could interact with it on a regular basis. How about right through the middle of the North American continent?

In fact, it would be hilarious to move it so it divides the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. That would give added excitement to air travel.

Travelers entering DFW from the north onto the south-bound roadway and destined for a terminal on the east side of the airport would say, "Oh hell. We just missed our flight by 23 hours. But if we hurry and loop around we can still catch it."

Wouldn't that just be a scream?

Seriously, have I nothing better to do with my time?

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Virtual Pub Is Open For Vomiting

Oxford, Mississippi: 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, and so on. See ya there!

Friday Pussy Blog: Special Video Edition

Tot Loaf in a box.

The hyperactive tail.

Strange Political Bedfellows

You know you're in the midst of a real crisis when you suddenly find yourself in agreement with politicians you normally abhor. In fact, the financial mess we're in seems to act like a magnet pulling compass points in all directions. As a result, I may not be lost but I'm sure as hell not willing to travel far, and I'll trust no one for answers.

Apparently we won't be seeing ads for WaMu now that they, the largest bank in US history to fail, have been seized and handed over to JPMorgan Chase for $1.9 billion. Does that mean we only have to scrape together $698.1 billion for the bailout?

Oh, I guess not.
Because of WaMu's souring mortgages and other risky debt, JPMorgan plans to write down WaMu's loan portfolio by about $31 billion — a figure that could change if the government goes through with its bailout plan and JPMorgan decides to take advantage of it.

Another interesting day on Wall Street awaits.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Raised Black Fist Is Bad News

The Republican Party doesn't like to see it.

But I do.

A stadium full of black fists.


My 8th grade math teacher at a Christian private school introduced me to Isaac Hayes.

After he made red marks appear on my ass for earning a D in math.

I don't hold that against him. What I hold against him is the Isaac Hayes. Because he fucks my shit up at 48. A full 35 years after I borrowed that fucking "Hot Buttered Soul."

Crossposted as a diary at Pam's.

Bad Grammar Is So Very Vice-Presidential

"Russia and Canada are in the state that I'm executive of."

Did Sarah Palin really say that or are my ears deceiving me? Russia and Canada are adjacent to the state which she is executive of. Or should it be "that" she is executive of?

Anyhoo, Russia is about an hour's drive across the Bering Strait, maybe 30 minutes if you were driving excessively fast, if there were indeed a bridge between the two. Maybe she can arrange that.

"Clean" Nuclear Energy: Part Three Whatever

It never seems to end and we don't really know what to do with it except sit on it and wait.
Only one low-level landfill, in Utah, has opened in the past 30 years. One more could open in Texas by the end of next year, but it would accept trash from only Vermont and the Lone Star State.

Shit. What's up with that? Texas in an arrangement with a state which recognizes gay civil unions? What's the world coming to?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Patterns of Force

Watching Bush speak reminds me of a Star Trek episode: Patterns of Force in which a leader (John Gill) is doped up and controlled by others in a Nazi-inspired society. John Gill, under a dope haze, preaches goodness while evil demons are actually in charge.

For some reason, that episode has stuck with me through the years.

May God bless you, from the east wing of the White House.

A Dandy Indicator of Corporate Desperation

I have not attempted to hide my own financial distress on this blog previously so I am not ashamed to share with you, dear readers, the latest.

Today I got a call from one of the account managers at work who had a caller on the line she was trying to transfer to me. She didn't know how to do it except via conference call, and then she would hang up once we were connected.

I said, "ok."

The call was from one of my creditors associated with my failed business venture which necessitated my return into the steady employ of another.

The next thing I remember hearing was, "How do you plan to pay this debt?"

"What kind of time frame are we talking about here?" I asked.

"Within the next month," was the reply. "We'll take 50-cents on the dollar."

Oh, I thought. I was hoping for about 25 years, or about 5-cents on the dollar since that's about all I have. I told the person, first of all, that I did not appreciate being called at work, and would prefer they not call me at work ever again.

Then the conversation returned to how was I going to pay this debt. The person said "we have information on your holdings, your assets, your property, and.." blah blah blah. Knowing that they cannot seize my house or my car, and I have no other viable assets, she went on to a list of credit cards where I have available credit, or so she believed based on the information she had been provided.

Am I to believe I'm supposed to get cash advances from other credit cards in order to satisfy this entity, only to default on the ones I'm borrowing from? Then what about the six others?

Excuse me, but that seems shady and unethical, if not downright illegal.

When I told this person I did not have the means to pay right now, she said "we'll sue you."

I said, "you do what you have to do and I'll do what I have to do."

She mumbled something along the lines of "glad to have that on tape" and she hung up on me. I do know they record these conversations, but I stand by the truth. This isn't the first time I've been hung up on after speaking the truth.

They are all vultures. Some more than others. I have to wonder about one of the last calls I fielded in which the person asked, "how do you plan to pay this?"

"I don't have the means at this time," I replied.

He said, "Ok then, may we call you at this number later when your situation might be more favorable?"

I'm paraphrasing some of these latter conversations but not by much. But it's kind of interesting to be a participant in the tactics during an economic meltdown.

Some don't seem to give a shit, others I've barely heard from, and a couple are hounding me into insanity.

I would name names but that might not be wise. Maybe later.

How appropriate and coincidental that all this would happen on the day and night when Herr Bush would address the nation on the dire economic situation... for all of about 14 minutes?

Need I Say More?

Why yes, thanks for asking. Every American taxpayer needs to stare at this chart for a minimum of 30 seconds. It should cause outrage, even in the absence of an economic meltdown.

You would think chief executives would be willing to bite the same bullet the rest of us underlings do. But how could they survive and be happy with a $350,000 a year salary, or even an $800,000 a year salary. How could they even be motivated to get up and go to work for such a paltry salary?
But Wall Street, its lobbyists and trade groups are waging a feverish lobbying campaign to try to fight compensation curbs. Pay restrictions, they say, would sap incentives to hard work and innovation, and hurt the financial sector and the American economy.

“We support the bill, but we are opposed to provisions on executive pay,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group. “It is not appropriate for government to be setting the salaries of executives.”

But it's appropriate for taxpayers, most of whom are pinching pennies, to bail them out so they can continue drawing outrageous salaries? The only word which comes to mind is bullshit.
Senator Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the committee, said the “authors of this calamity” should not walk away enriched.

So true. But to help keep this in perspective, let's not forget that most of us consider Dodd one of the good less corrupt guys in Congress, and his hands are far from clean.
“This was no act of God,” Mr. Dodd said. “This was not like Hurricane Hike — Ike, rather. It was created by a combustible combination of private greed and public regulatory neglect, and now we must confront the present crisis.”


Mr. Dodd, who has received more contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s political action committees and employees ($133,900 since 1989) than any other senator, didn’t mention lapses in Congressional oversight.

Between the corruption in Congress, and the greed driving the lobbyists, how in the hell can we trust anyone there to work out a bailout plan that will actually work the way it should?

It sounds like the $700 billion could become another bridge to nowhere. Or a bridge directly into the corporate boardrooms.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Library Classification Systems

Here we are watching the Breakfast Club for the umpteenth time and I'm watching Bender rip out the pages of Molière and rearranging the Dewey Decimal cards which is cruel in and of itself, and I started thinking...

I haven't been to a library since before the internet age. Do libraries still have those racks of cards for finding books or is it all on computers now? I need to go find out for myself.

Congress Grows a Spine

Bravo! Cue up: "Won't Get Fooled Again."
Refusing to be pushed, Republicans and Democrats alike rebuffed dire warnings Tuesday from the government's top economic officials of recession, layoffs and foreclosed homes if Congress doesn't quickly approve the administration's emergency $700 billion financial bailout plan.

My favorite moment was when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said we have to pass this or ... we'll have a recession. Dude, I believe we're already there. But how the fuck would he know? I'm sure he gets paid pretty well, WITH benefits and health coverage.

The New York Times Op-Ed page today was chock full of juicy tidbits, but Bob Herbert scores the most points for one-liners of the day.

Referring to treasury secretary (King) Henry Paulson:
His eyes, as he hopped from one network camera to another, said, as salesmen have been saying since the dawn of time: “Trust me.”

But, here's the best. The bailout in a nutshell:
Lobbyists, bankers and Wall Street types are already hopping up and down like over-excited children, ready to burst into the government’s $700 billion piñata. This widespread eagerness is itself an indication that there is something too sweet about the Paulson plan.


The free-market madmen who treated the American economy like a giant casino have had their day. It’s time to drag them away from the tables and into the sunlight of reality.

Wow. Wow.

Is it too late for Obama to replace Biden with Herbert in the VP slot?

And this "oversight committee" which Barney Frank was referring to just now on K.O., what's that gonna cost? It wasn't part of the original plan. I agree if we're going to do this it needs oversight, but Jesus H. Christ. Just let it go.

We need to just deal with this now and see the full force of the ugliness. No bailouts!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Golden Showers Parachutes

No man or woman on this planet is worth $45 million. Even if $45 million doesn't carry the same weight it did 20 years ago. It's just wrong.

I don't care if you are a member of Metallica or U2, or Tiger Woods, or Magic Johnson, a CEO of HP, the Dalai Lama, or least of all, a glorified politician. Jesus Christ would probably agree with me on this point. And in this case it's a fucking severance package, not a salary.

I'm Glad I Filled Up My Tank This Weekend

At least I had the luxury of doing so without a long wait. Some people are driving around burning fuel while trying to find some. That's a lot like pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, is it not?

My instincts are pretty damn good. As soon as oil futures fell below $100 a barrel, I was thinking that's where I should put all my investments, what little I have. Depending on my timing I could have had a 20% return on my investment today. Not bad for a Monday.

I was so busy today I never had time to check the news throughout the day. After I finished spending about 2 hours on a Black Soap installment, I had to jump into the fray at work.

It's just as well I didn't check the news. I can't see much good going on. We're back on track in negative territory again. Jitters rule the day.

Time to go turn on the TV. Punditry awaits.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy 47th Birthday txrad!

And boy, did we have an exciting day. We went out for a burrito at lunch, then stopped at Home Depot where I purchased txrad's birthday present:

What can I say. It's been a busy week at work and I haven't exactly had time to slip out and get him a real surprise gift, but he had been wanting another banana tree since ours passed away a year or so ago.

Best of all, I picked one which has babies already!

Then we came home. I've sat at my desk organizing pre-digital photographs which had been piled in a box for years. We lead an exciting life.

Skin Color Vs Real Issues

Just another reason to question whether this country even deserves to be helped.
Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 — about two and one-half percentage points.

Read that again. The poll is suggesting that 33% of white Democrats are racist. Aside from being a stunning number, it also would seem to be a national problem rather than being primarily a southern white issue -- the majority of which would call themselves Republicans.
Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that.

Three in 10 of those Democrats who don't trust Obama's change-making credentials say they plan to vote for McCain.

That is about the most illogical thing I've ever read. Of the people who want change the most, and harbor doubts that Obama can bring about such change, a third would prefer to... vote for McCain?? Because if we can't have the change we want, it makes more sense to throw away all hope rather than achieving even incremental change?

Completely and utterly baffling. Stupefying.

Let's just go ahead and roll out the ultimate campaign motto:

They're wrong. But they're white.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open

Come on in, sit a spell. Dump your holdings. Happy days are here again.

It's amazing how we the taxpayers can make investors and traders experience such.... what's the word I'm looking for.... exuberance?

Friday Pussy Blog: The Ca(t)lamity Edition

Sissy in her new favorite spot (where it's hard to vacuum without moving a table). She can also be easily undetected and yet she knows the instant I get on the bed. Clever gal.

Tater Tot getting ready to put a few more claw marks in the leather sofa. Pounce, boy! Pounce!

The Tot found a home on txrad's lap where he left a significant drool spot clearly visible. That's my boy. I'd leave a drool spot on txrad as well if only he'd allow it.

Billions and Billions Served

It's bad and the worst is ahead of us.
While details remain to be worked out, the plan is likely to authorize the government to buy distressed mortgages at deep discounts from banks and other institutions. The proposal could result in the most direct commitment of taxpayer funds so far in the financial crisis that Fed and Treasury officials say is the worst they have ever seen.

I swear, reading the paper this morning was like waking up in some alternate universe. The dollar amounts alone are staggering and incomprehensible.
The bailout discussions came on a day when the Federal Reserve poured almost $300 billion into global credit markets and barely put a dent in the level of alarm.

Hoping to shore up confidence with a show of financial shock and awe, the Federal Reserve stunned investors before dawn on Thursday by announcing a plan to provide $180 billion to financial markets through lending programs operated by the European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Japan, Britain and Switzerland.

But after an initial sense of relief swept markets in Asia and Europe, the fear quickly returned. Tensions remained so high that the Federal Reserve had to inject an extra $100 billion, in two waves of $50 billion each, just to keep the benchmark federal funds rate at the Fed’s target of 2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 617 point during the day, the largest gain in six years. I'm glad somebody has confidence in all this. I'm not among them.
“The markets voted, and they liked the proposal,” said Laurence H. Meyer, vice chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers.

There's a very ugly truth just barely concealed beneath the surface of these bailouts. Something along the lines of us being economically screwed to oblivion.

I can hardly wait for the markets to open today. Let's see some more financial "shock and awe."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Upside to Being a Meth Addict

With my job, housecleaning has taken a backseat with the exception of the kitchen which I can still manage.

Earlier today, txrad told me when he was doing meth back in the 80s, he cleaned the utility room and it was spotless. I suggested maybe he should start doing meth again. We have two bathrooms, two bedrooms, an office and a living room which need attention.

What prompted this conversation was hearing our neighbor banging things around. He's constantly, day after day, outside rearranging his Sanford & Son junkyard, piling shit up one day, then moving it the next.

2000, 2004, 2008: A Trend Continues

After the disaster of the 2000 election we had four years to correct the problems and we failed. Now 8 years after the fact, we will most likely be facing more of the same in key battleground states. From the WaPo...
Faced with a surge in voter registrations leading up to Nov. 4, election officials across the country are bracing for long lines, equipment failures and confusion over polling procedures that could cost thousands the chance to cast a ballot.


Nine million voters, including many in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Colorado, will use equipment that has changed since March.


"The voting process is going to be tested in a way it has not been in recent history," said Tova Wang, vice president for research at Common Cause, a government watchdog group.

Recent local primaries have offered warning signs.

In the District last week, initial tallies were inflated by thousands of votes, causing chaos that night, and officials have yet to explain the problem.

In Palm Beach County, Fla., more than 3,500 ballots went missing in an August primary, forcing workers to hunt through bins and leaving a judicial election still undecided.

Oh. Joy.
Premier Election Solutions (ahem... aka DIEBOLD), the company that makes many of the nation's voting machines, last month acknowledged that software used in 34 states, including Virginia and Maryland, could cause votes to be dropped.

Between all of this and a potential flood of new voters on the scene, I'd guess there's a very real chance for complete and utter chaos. Naturally the chaos is most likely to occur in crucial battleground states, where long lines of voters tend not to be all lily-white.

Some new voter projections:

Maryland: 250,000

Virginia: 280,000

Nevada: 400,000

Indiana: 500,000 have registered since the beginning of the year.

Federal officials estimate that 2 million poll workers will be needed to handle the turnout, twice 2004's number and a goal states are scrambling to meet.

If you live in a battleground state and have the opportunity to vote early, that might be a wise idea. And if you won't vote early because you still haven't made a decision, well... what can I say about that? Best of luck to ya!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Deal in Esoteric Nebulousness

And that's probably why I wouldn't go near calculus after failing to grasp even basic algebra.

What I do know is the markets are overdue for a 1,000 point "correction" in a single day. And I'm waiting.

Maybe October.

Watch WaMu.

All Is Good

AIG got saved.

It amazes me that tens of billions of dollars can be flung around as if we were tossing coins into the cups of the homeless.
After saying this weekend it would not rescue AIG, the Federal government reversed course Tuesday evening and declared the insurance giant too big to fail.

That's $85 billion. "We" now own a 79.9% stake in AIG. So, why do I not feel good?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Don't look at me, yo!

My Job: It's a Reptile House

I haven't had any time to post lately and I was just telling txrad it's like being in a pit of snakes and having to multi-task. You kinda just have to get out of it, do something else, and then ease back into what you were doing.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Since we're on the subject....

txrad and I went to Flores in Oak Hill for Mexican food yesterday. The meal which used to cost us $18.78 with tip is now $21.95 with the same tip. The portions are the same. I had an early warning sign when I noticed the menus were new.

On Saturday I took a tire off the riding lawn mower to be fixed. I did this in April and it cost $15. This weekend it was $19 and took even less time to fix it.

The last time I bought Science Diet cat food was probably 5 or 6 weeks ago at Petsmart. I seem to remember their regular price was around $28 and it was on sale as it usually is for around $22. They gave us a rebate form for two $5 discounts on a future purchase. This weekend I went to redeem the two $5 coupons and noticed the cat food was now $33 and was on sale for $29.99, so with the coupons we still paid more.

Clever. They saw this coming.

Even the cat litter which I recall was $9.99 before is now $11.99 "on sale" from $12.99.

I feel really sorry for the homeless kitties they had for adoption. There were two that I really liked, not that I need them. But they need a home and it's getting ridiculously expensive to care for anything living.

And as I was pulling out of the parking lot, I noticed the Babies R Us store next to PetSmart. And I wondered to myself, "who the fuck can afford to shop there?"

If ever there was a chain more deserving to bite the biscuit, that might be the one.

Here's a tip: Babies R more expensive than anything you'll ever buy. Plan accordingly in our new economy.

My Nomination for Best Graphic of the Year

Click to read the diary by Snooky Ookums at Pam's House Blend.

Seriously, I don't even understand why we are still incurring the expense to print these notes.

Next Up to the Corporate Gallows: A.I.G.

This is likely to be an active week on Wall Street. Keep an eye on A.I.G.

The big insurance company, the American International Group, was seeking a $40 billion bridge loan Sunday night from the Federal Reserve, as it faces a potential downgrade from credit ratings agencies that could spell its doom, a person briefed on the matter said.

Ratings agencies threatened to downgrade the insurance giant’s credit rating by Monday morning, allowing counterparties to withdraw capital from their contracts with the company. One person close to the firm said that if such an event occurred, A.I.G. may survive for only 48 hours to 72 hours.

Lehman Brothers already filed for bankruptcy protection while Bank of America is acquiring the troubled Merrill Lynch in a stock swap deal.

Yep, interesting times we're living in.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thanks for the Embryos

It's not religion,

it's just brain chemicals.

Define Sausage

Something to remember for Mother's Day, or for that special birthday or anniversary. I found this at the LA Times website. The restaurant is in Elgin, Texas, just a few miles northwest of Austin. I guess they were also running low on Ns.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hurricane Ike, R-Texas

It just figures that a hurricane coming ashore in Texas would have all the compassion of a Republican, and leave behind a fucking mess for someone to clean up. Here in Austin we could have used 2 or 3 few inches. We got nothing. Not a drop. The bounty was reserved for those who needed it the least, and millions are suffering.

Photo credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Senator Barack Obama canceled an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” aides said, because he felt it would be inappropriate.

Wise man. McCain would have had a field day...another week's worth of inappropriate advertising material.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse Is Open

Ike is about to take a big dump on east Texas.
Come on in, sit a spell. This is a high tech crapper with radar & Charmin.

Friday Pussy Blog: The Hurricane Edition

Guess who!

The Tot!

Sissy, relaxing after a lovely spoon of moist chicken. YUM!

They haven't had canned food in over a year. I decided to give them a treat. They never forget the sound of the top being pulled off a can of cat food. I've never heard such meowing.

But it was txrad who fed them. So he's the Big Daddy tonight!

Now if we get a lot of thunder, wind and rain later tonight, they can get scared and throw it all up on the carpet.

Ziggy vs Ike: Playing Out Overnight

It's been over a month since Ziggy spun a web between some plants on our patio. It certainly has grown during that time!

It was such a nice day today and with Hurricane Ike about to strike the Texas coast I figured I'd better get one more picture before the rains destroy that lovely intricate web.

Even now it doesn't seem possible that a hurricane is approaching. The humidity is high and it's a little more breezy than it was this morning. There are some clouds but I still see sun. That will certainly change soon enough.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Long Years

I embarked upon a day of blog silence to honor those who lost loved ones seven years ago today. I also will admit I had selfish motivations as well. I abstained from the news and remained focused on my work. I did not want to hear any politicians seizing upon the events of 9/11 for political gain.

Seven years is roughly 10% of a lifetime. And I have changed a great deal in those seven years, as has my country and the world. And not for the better.

Seven years ago I found it a joy to travel by air and seek out pleasant vacation destinations. 9/11 changed all that. Now I'd rather have shock therapy than be in an airport.

Seven years ago I still had a faint glimmer of hope that George W. Bush wouldn't turn out to be the worst fucking president I'd ever imagined, and even if he did, I knew he's be turned out to pasture after four years.

Seven years ago at this very moment, as the events of the day had only begun to sink in, I knew it was the beginning of the end of the country I loved and proudly called my home.

This is an even bigger colossal disaster than the thousands who lost their lives needlessly on this day in 2001. So while millions have spent this day mourning a tragedy in while families and friendships were torn apart, I have spent this day mourning that and a country ripped to fucking shreds during the past seven years, and trying to manage my anxiety about an election in two months which could deliver more of the same for another 10% of an average lifetime.

This is starting to concern me, for I seem to be in the minority in that regard. Again.

Somehow it seems very appropriate that the black graphic in the post below is actually a blacked-out McCain/Palin campaign photo.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mid-Week Haiku

Courtesy of John McCain...

I could be your man
For capturing Bin Laden
If you elect me.

I'm sure I've heard that one before. Or something like it. What's that smell I smell? Bullshit?

The Ike Man Cometh

Saturday is shaping up to be a fun day for us here in Texas.

I think it would be pretty damn funny if the next hurricane was named Tina.

The Math Doesn't Add Up

This is just odd.

President Bush's disapproval rating: 60%

Dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the US: 81%

And yet, in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, John McCain leads Barack Obama with 50% to 46%, which is even better than the Fox News Poll showing McCain with a 45% to 42% lead.

Apparently, a huge number of people who are not happy with the direction of the country are simultaneously thrilled with more of the same. Or maybe they just don't think there's a connection between the direction we're going and the leaders who take us there. Or perhaps they're all just gullible and believe any pack of lies and/or twisted distortions spewed forth by politicians.

"Country First?" Hardly. Seems more like Political Party comes first, followed by denial.


We Have Survived!

We didn't get sucked into the black hole!
The world's largest particle collider passed its first major tests by firing two beams of protons in opposite directions around a 17-mile (27-kilometer) underground ring Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.


The start of the collider came over the objections of some who feared the collision of protons could eventually imperil the Earth by creating micro-black holes, subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

Whew! Glad we got that major source of anxiety out of the way. Now we can relax, right?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Your Vote Doesn't Count

For a myriad of reasons. Ohio and Florida being two. Unless you live there and then your vote does count.

Funny, I thought FIAT was done for.

FIAT = Failure in Automotive Technology.

RIP RIH Kim Jong-il

Oops, I may have jumped the gun just a bit.

You know, this is all leading up to a BIG October surprise. Because Wasilla is also probably closer to Pyongyang than it is to Washington DC. I'm just speculating. I don't have my map handy.

Crossposted at B3

Tuesday Haiku

Work consumes my time
No time for porn or blogging
Must rectify this

A 5-Minute High = 15 Years in the Slammer?

What the fuck? The war on medicinal plants is entering a new phase. This time it's salvia divinorum, a member of the mint family.
This year, Florida made possession or sale a felony punishable by 15 years in prison. California took a gentler approach by making it a misdemeanor to sell or distribute to minors.

“When you see it, well, it sure makes a believer out of you,” said Representative Charles Anderson of Waco, a Republican state lawmaker who is sponsoring one of several bills to ban salvia in Texas.

When you "see it?" I assume he's referring to one or more of the 5,000+ YouTube videos which have been posted by the SYA (Stupid Youth of America).

Yes, salvia divinorum does have a very pleasant effect. And unlike Representative Anderson, I've done more than just look at the plant, I've smoked it. (I haven't watched any of the YouTube videos though, so Rep. Anderson has one up on me.)

The effect lasts about 5 minutes on konagod, as it does on most users.
At a legislative hearing near Dallas in August, Mr. Anderson argued that by not banning salvia, governments were communicating that it is benign. He noted that Internet purveyors advise that salvia should be used only with a “sober sitter,” and said its legal status might encourage experimentation among some who would never consider a back-alley drug deal.

Substitute the words liquor and tobacco for salvia in the above paragraph and it's not hard to see the absurdity and hypocrisy at work here.

There is really nothing I despise much worse than lawmakers meddling in areas in which they have no understanding or willingness to comprehend, and pushing for laws to control what we do in our bedrooms, dens, living rooms and kitchens.

If possession and selling of salvia divinorum justifies a 15-year prison sentence in Florida, then it seems to me that driving under the influence of alcohol should warrant the death penalty, on the spot. And that should apply to lawmakers as well.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Question of the Day

Would it be undemocratic if we passed a law making it illegal for politicians and special interest groups to run advertising campaigns?

I'm serious. From what I've heard, anyone who would make a choice based on an ad is probably an idiot anyway. The ads are usually distortions of fact if not outright lies, and that's a huge part of the reason it costs so much to run for office.

Debates, interviews, and meeting the people seems like the way to go. But that's just me.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

It Starts with a C... Ch.. Ch... Rhymes with Voice... Ch... Ch...

"Freedom of choice - that's different from being pro-choice."

Watch this, please...

via Toast by way of litbrit.


Yum. I won't be feeding any of this to the red wine vinegar mother.

The Clear Choice

Mike Smith of the Las Vegas Sun puts it in perspective.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sting May Be Old, But He Has a Nice Ass

Question of the Day:

Do you remember where you were when you first heard a song by The Police?

I was in my yellow Mercury Zephyr in Albuquerque, New Mexico getting ready to head up to Santa Fe for some powder activity. Skiing, not cocaine. The song was "Roxanne," and while I don't remember going to purchase that album, I most definitely remember when Regatta de Blanc came out. I purchased it with glee at White Dog in Fayetteville, Arkansas while I was in college.

Funny how you remember certain things from your past.

If you were not a fan of The Police, feel free to substitute any album of your choice from the 60s, 70s, or 80s.

We are not ageist here.

Country First; Vetting Tacos Second; Vetting Donuts Third

Found at one of my favorite joints...Cannablog.

"They found me on the Google like ... THAT!"

Change I Can Believe In

Between back-to-back political conventions and back-to-back exhausting workweeks I have to confess I'm a little tired of politics right now. And the real fun is only beginning: the final two-month mad dash for the White House.

Yesterday morning brought an autumnal crispness to our abode. Granted, most of you will laugh at the idea of a 63° morning low being equated with crisp. It was a major departure from the normal low 70s and reminded me that change is coming. I won't have to vote for it, nor will I have to fight for it, and it won't cost anything. Consider it a freebie from Planet Earth. And I'm looking forward to it.

Not that I'm complaining. While we didn't have any extraordinary high heat this summer, we did have prolonged 100-degree days which probably set a record for the number of 100+ days in a single summer. But I enjoy the summers far more than the winter weather patterns here which tend to be cool, cloudy, and windy for days on end. Sometimes it's even cold.

It does make you appreciate the days when the sun appears and warms your skin and the low humidity makes doing work in the yard rather rejuvenating.

Politics, even more than the heat, has been stifling this summer. About two weeks before election day, we should be experiencing our first dramatic change in the weather here in Austin in which a daytime temperature might not climb above 45° after the arrival of a massive Canadian blast.

I am ready for it. And I'm ready for the other change to come about two weeks later.

I hope it's a better change. Right now I'm not so sure. All bets are off. But regardless of the outcome, it'll be different on the surface at least.

Until then, we're facing 98° today and tomorrow. The crispness is temporarily leaving us for awhile.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Virtual Outhouse is Open!

Come on in! Take a load off. Dump your troubles and go.

Your Friday Night Alternative

Friday Pussy Blog:

Tiger is perfecting the fine art of relaxation.

The Grand Master Tot is perfecting the fine art of just being the Tot.
Totasaurus Rex
The Royal Totness
(I'll think of more after about 2 shots)

A Change (In Name Only)

Why is this not surprising?
Standing in the center of an arena here, surrounded by thousands of Republican delegates, Mr. McCain firmly signaled that he intended to seize the mantle of change Mr. Obama claimed in his own unlikely bid for his party’s nomination.

Now that we have the bloated gaseous conventions behind us, it's time to move forward to some real substance: the debates. Then we'll be treated to a fresh reminder of what's to come, and why our vote is so important this year.

One of my favorite quotes from the conventions is a short one from John McCain's acceptance speech.
Change is coming.

So very true.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Chris Matthews Merely Confuses the Situation.. Bleahhhhh

I am going to vomit. I kid you knot.


Apparently that's what it's all about. Well, fuck me running.

I thought we had real current-day issues.

Pardon me for taking a fucking breath!

Is McCain going to have his say soon or what?

The 9/11 Game

The Republican Party can go to hell. Want to use 9/11 images to make a case for the election?

The McCain/Palin ticket needs to go down like this.

Last Night of the RNC: Hooray!

My day at the orifice has been from hell. And we know konagod does not exaggerate. Ever.

So I'm just posting a pic from Witchay Woman via email of "Billo and the Turd Blossom" after not having time to even LOOK at my blog since last night! Whew!

Off to watch somebody give stimulating speaks from Saint Paul. More later no doubt.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Drill Baby Drill

Rudy is pissing me off right now so badly I can't even speak.

I'm going to bed. Fuck Sarah Palin and whatever she has to say. This man has done me in for the night.


The Republicans HAVE to Lose

I've never seen a bigger group of dim-witted fucks.

"Straight Talk"

No shit.

That was a Dolly Parton movie, wasn't it?

Losers. Can't they come up with ANYTHING fucking original? Besides Sarah Palin. :-)

Best Protest Sign at the Republican National Convention

Spotted behind Chris Matthews tonight:

Your Blunder War Is Showing

Five People Who Make Me Sick

These are not in any particular order; in fact they are all equally instrumental in nauseating me.

Joe Lieberman

Sarah Palin

Rudy Giuliani

George W. Bush

John McCain

Crossposted at B3

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Country First

Who the fuck thunk of that? Reason enough to vote for Obama. Funny that the Republicans would be holding signs saying Country First when the website links to an Indian organization, and probably not very Republican from the looks of it.

Fuck him. And his cowboys.

RIP Jerry Reed

I wouldn't even attempt to count the number of times I watched the boys haul that load of Coors across state lines. Via Yahoo News.

Jerry Reed, a singer who became a good ol' boy actor in car chase movies like "Smokey and the Bandit," has died of complications from emphysema at 71.

Back to Work

Toast wants one of these.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Cuisine Cadienne

I present you with the Holy Trinity: Bell pepper, celery and onion.

Steve Earle
Ray Wylie Hubbard
James McMurtry

All beautiful Texans.


A cast away from Creatures of Habitat.

A Day for the Working Citizens

Unfortunately, konagod has been laboring in the office. But not doing real office duties, just rearranging the space after having this on my agenda for over a month.

I can hardly contain my excitement. This was the old setup when I was in transition between the old job and the one I started in July -- hence, 3 monitors on my desk, and another one on that table to the right which I was cleaning up to donate. (Yes Vincent, I did remove the hard drive finally.)

Also notice the odd placement of the filing cabinet in the foreground which was a dumping ground for junk. You'll see what I did with that to better utilize space in an upcoming photo.

A bigger view of the old arrangement with txrad's desk at the back. Lots of clutter with lots of computer wires on the floor behind the desks collecting cat hair.

This morning after my 2nd cup of strong coffee, I got busy cleaning everything off the desks while txrad ran the vacuum. It is amazing the amount of cat hair which collects under and around the desks.

And cat hair gets in the keyboards as well.

I took a lot of things out of this room in the process of cleaning up. There was so much stuff at the back of the room I didn't like going back there. There was a small cheap table I've had for years which I thought about tossing. And then I realized it would fit under the table between our desks and we can keep the modem, router, and surge protector off the floor. Less wires and equipment on the floor is a good thing!

Now I can actually walk behind there without tripping over too many tangled wires and it'll be easier to vacuum back there.

Now brace yourselves for the new office arrangement! We moved my desk to the back of the room facing the windows instead of facing txrad, and his desk is at the front. I like this much better because it gives me access to the shelves at the back. And please notice what I did with the awkward file cabinet which was in the first photo, as well as another one which had been against a wall. They both fit nicely into that shelf space which had been just a place to put boxes and junk.

Much better! And I have easy access to both. And although you can't see it well in this photo, that little gadget you see on the board just to the right of the file cabinet is my cordless phone which I mounted to that support panel this morning. It's just the charger cradle which is mounted. I can pick up the phone and move about the house. And the charger stays off my desk.

Next on my agenda is to remove the remaining clutter from that shelf on the back wall.

Here's a view from the back of the room of my space. Such a photo would have been impossible earlier this morning with all that junk back there. This actually makes me eager to start work in the morning.

Working on the left. Blogging on the right. Now, what am I going to do with all the junk I moved out of the office into the den?