Monday, June 29, 2009

Watch Out for the Skunk

Madison's latest ballet was Hansel & Gretel. She worked very hard to learn her parts and as the veteran among her peers, was the de facto leader of her group. In Act I, as Hansel and Gretel are picking berries in the forest, they are ambushed by some woodland animals: a squirrel, a fawn, a bunny, a frog, a skunk and a porcupine. Madison is the skunk.

Act II finds Hansel and Gretel at the Witch's gingerbread house. Madison and her girls are gumdrop candies from the cottage. They do a fairly lengthy dance before the Witch decides she's had enough of their antics. Madison is the red gumdrop.

These videos were taken with our little Canon pocket camera, so they're a bit shaky.

We also finally got our DVD of the Enchanted Toy Shop, albeit six months after the fact, and I'll try to post a couple of clips of Madison from that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Credit Where Credit is Due

Not that he had any business making such a decision in the first place and I would question the legality of his standing, I have to applaud President Obama's claim that he will not seek to regulate executive pay in private sector business.

Instead, Obama will attempt to influence executive pay by encouraging the shareholders to pressure the board, which is just as it should be. This is one of the first indications of 'policy' that I've seen from Obamadom, which is a nice change from the dictatorial sewage we're accustomed to hearing.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Someone's Making Sense

Here is a refreshingly rational proposal to address the en vogue subject du jour - health care reform. Good job, Senator Gregg!

The plan, in summary, is called "CPR" (nice!):
  1. Coverage - Every family is required to have some type of health insurance. Those that cannot afford insurance will have insurance provided for them by the government. 

    This is the BIG black hole in my opinion - Who decides what is affordable? For example, if the threshold is $30k/yr in household income, why would someone making $29,999/yr and receiving free health insurance want to earn $2 more but then have to pay for their own insurance? Sen. Gregg did not provide details on this, but I'd hate for the funding of said public health insurance to come from taxes on private insurers as has been suggested by others. A tax on private insurance companies is nothing more than another tax on you and I, as we will most assuredly foot that bill.

  2. Prevention - Much like an HMO, the focus will be on establishing and maintaining a healthy population, as opposed to crisis management.

  3. Reform - Sen. Gregg's analogy: We wouldn't expect to pay for two meals at a restaurant if the first one were spilled in our lap. So why is it acceptable to pay for ineffective medical care? Sen. Gregg's point here is that more and better attention and communication needs to occur amongst providers in order to ensure the most appropriate and successful treatment the first time, thereby reducing wasteful second and third attempts at treatment. Medical providers have little incentive to cure patients as they are simply paid for the procedures and tests they perform.
Keep working on this idea, Sen. Gregg. There are some bugs to work out, but your proposal makes more sense than any I've seen thus far.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Please, No More "Help"

[From season 11 of the Simpsons, episode "Last Tap Dance in Springfield"]

Vicki the famous tap dancer: [addresses her class] Okay, kids, tonight's the big night! Now remember: the important thing is to just dance flawlessly.

Lisa: Excuse me, why isn't my name in the program?

Vicki: It is, silly. You've got the most important part of all. [flips through the pamphlet]

Lisa: Curtain puller?!

Vicki: No one can see the show if the curtain isn't open.

Lisa: Bu-- My parents are counting on seeing me dance! And I've worked ever so hard.

Vicki: I'm sorry, Lisa, but giving everyone an equal part when they're clearly not equal is called what, again, class?

Class: Communism!

Vicki: That's right. And I didn't tap all those Morse code messages to the Allies 'til my shoes filled with blood to just roll out the welcome mat for the Reds.


Watch out folks, there's evidently more to come. With complete and utter disregard for his legacy and "despite all the evidence to the contrary" of 'saving' an estimated 150,000 jobs amid the 1.6 million lost since the economy was stimulated in February, President Obama assures us that he will not yet rest on his laurels and promises to do even more.


As repugnant as it is hearing about his favorite places to eat or who he picks to win sporting championships or whichever fashion trend his wife is setting this week, I think I'd rather the President sit in his royal court all day and waste our time in that manner as opposed to any further attempts at governing - for which he is clearly not well suited.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Did We Pay For This?

"Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion."
That's what the fine scholars at Cornell University discovered from their comprehensive surveys of 272 people.

Having learned absolutely nothing of any significant value as a result of said study, the researchers plan to soon return to their primary activity of filling out grant applications.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More for the Rest of Us

I've been sitting on this completed post for a couple of months (hence the outdated source article), debating about whether or not to run it. I think I've finally edited it enough to strike a fair balance between opinion, offensiveness, and entertainment.

Vermont's legislature has voted to veto the Governor's veto of a gay marriage ban.

Aside from my personal belief that homosexuality is an unnatural and undesirable trait of any society that seeks longevity, I don't really have a problem with the practice so long as people keep it to themselves. What someone does on their own time and in their own home is none of my business. Just don't bring it into the workplace or public places. I don't put bumper stickers on my car or attend rallies promoting heterosexuality. We don't hold non-gay pride parades, complete with major corporate sponsors who are eager to demonstrate how diverse they are by donating to our cause. I've never heard of such things. The gay community has long sought to make this a 'civil rights' issue, but it is not. The issue is one of legitimacy and self-acceptance. "Oh wilikers Jiminy, if only we can gain [insert some new special privilege here] then we'll finally be real boys."

I'm not saying there aren't people that discriminate upon learning someone is gay. That is always going to exist somewhere, just like there is still bigotry towards race, religion, social class or one's apparent level of education. Gay people are not being denied health insurance because they are gay. Nor are they denied marriage because they are gay. Gays are being held to the same rule of law that governs the other 96% of the population (actual percentage is probably even higher since the 'registered voters' cited obviously does not include children), except in a few jurisdictions that have recently granted special rights to that 'select' group of people. 

[It sure seems like I've blogged about this before, but for the life of me I cannot find that post.]

That said, I think some of us get a bit too worked up about the issue. For one thing, homosexuality is not hereditary and by the natural laws of reproduction, cannot be passed to an heir. There simply aren't any heirs from homosexual couplings. Homosexual people essentially remove themselves from the gene pool, ensuring their eventual demise. The issue will resolve itself through one individual generation at a time. The only way to perpetuate the practice is to recruit heavily from outside the ranks. [This is now sounding very familiar. I wish I could find that old post.]

The second reason is, and this is for my unmarried male readers out there, the more gay people there are, the better your odds in the world of dating. As the number of gay people goes up, the male/female ratio improves in your favor. Which is why whenever the subject comes up, I say, "Big deal. That's more [women] for the rest of us." 'Us' meaning unattached heterosexual males. I'm attached.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gotta Teleport Off This Rock

It is time to start packing your bags and saving your pennies for a ride to a lunar colony.

Scientists have just learned that we may have just 3.5 billion years before "orbital chaos" (there is not a Wikipedia page on the subject, so they probably made it up) may cause Venus and Earth to smash into each other, presumably making our current planet unsuitable for leading a reasonably rewarding life. 'No problem', you say, 'we'll go to Mars. Not so fast - if it's not Venus, Mars may also be a candidate for collision - it's a little too soon to tell.

As if we didn't have enough to worry about already.

There is no mention of the moon's fate, so perhaps that is the cheapest place to take holiday until this whole mess blows over. While there, you can observe this once-in-a-lifetime watermelon-looking phenomenon from your front row seat.

**UPDATE: June 12, 2009**

It's already beginning. This dude got hit on the hand by a tiny meteorite.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One Piece at a Time

One of my favorite Johnny Cash songs is "One Piece at a Time." 

For the uninitiated, the song tells the story of a guy - we'll call him "Barack" - who gets a job at General Motors building Cadillacs. He devises an elaborate plan to steal a car from his employer - who we'll call "General Motors" - by sneaking a different car part out each day inside his lunchbox. Barack says he's not a thief, and he rationalizes that General Motors won't really notice that some of its assets have gone missing if he only does a bit at a time.

Barack nabs the fuel pump and the shocks and all of the nuts and bolts, but soon finds his lunchbox inadequate. He enlists the use of his buddy's RV to help "sneak out" the larger pieces like the engine and transmission.

He's feeling pretty good about himself until he tries to put it all together and finds he has a bunch of mismatched parts that weren't designed to work together. Barack and his buddy make some modifications and wind up with a Frankencar with three headlights and one tail fin.

And that, my friends, is the Cliff Notes version of the demise of the once-fabled General Motors.