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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Gloucester Cheese Roll Results Are In!!!!!

This years Cooper's Hill Cheese Roll was celebrated on May 25. This is just too strange not to mention.

The Organizers' web sight includes a description of the event,which I quote:

At the command (given by the M.C.) of ........
'ONE to be ready!'
'Two to be steady!'
'Three to prepare!' .....
....... the guest 'roller' releases the cheese, which rolls down the hill at great speed,

The M.C. continues .....
and FOUR to be off!'

At this point the competitors hurl themselves down the slope after the cheese.
The first person to arrive at the foot of the hill wins the cheese.
Those who come second or third receive a small cash prize.

The slope has a gradient that is in places 1-in-2 and in others 1-in-1, its surface is very rough and uneven and it is almost impossible to remain on foot for the descent. Injuries incurred are usually minor and competitors (particularly the successful ones) enter again year after year.

If I said this myself, no one would believe me.

Here's what this melee looks like.

It amazes me how something as constipating as cheese can move that fast.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Chicken Soup

I have a friend who's ill with a serious digestive issue (already lost a lot of weight), and we are having some cool weather (lows in the high 50s and highs around 80 defrees F). This harmonic convergence can mean only one thing - It's time for chicken soup! The soup is simmering on the stove as I speak.

Although I don't really have a recipe, here's as close as I get.

Minimum Hassle Maximum Yum Chicken Soup

I start with a medium sized whole chicken (whole chickens are way cheaper than cut-up here).
Section the and rinse the chicken (remember to carefully clean everything after this mess).
Cover with a few inches of water in soup kettle.
Bring to boil and simmer about 45 minutes.
Remove the gross grey foam that floats on the surface.
Add a bunches of parsley carrots and celery and an union cut into big chunks.
Throw in a few bay leaves (I pull them off my tree).
Simmer this mess for 2 to 3 hours or more.

Remove the chicken and vegetables to a tray to cool, and strain the broth. Add salt to taste. I always end up adding than I'd have guessed I needed.

Pick the meat off the bones. Either store the meat seperately, of freeze with the broth. It's your choicce. Since I am not a boiled chicken or chicken salad fan, I give the meat back to the broth. It freezes well that way.

Let the broth cool in the refrigerator or freezer and skim off the fat. This step is important if the soup meant is for someone with a digestive problem. Fat doesn't digest easily. However, when I plan to use the soup with meat as the main course of winter meals, I leave some fat in the broth to make a hearty stewish soup when I add noodles or potatoes.

This should hold us until Gazpacho weather arrives.

So, what's the big deal about chicken soup anyway?

The way I view the world,we have two types of people in our lives; people who bring chicken soup when we're sick, and people who don't. At this point, I want to be on the soup-bringing side. While I am looking toward a summer of very little paid employment, that is one practice of being a useful person I can fulfill.

That's my story and have some chicken soup, it couldn't hurt!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Are We Not Men?

I just finished reading H G Wells' "Island of Dr Moreau." I enjoyed this short read. The book had far less melodrama than either of the movies it spawned,and was even stranger. Rather than a beastly revolt of beasts, everything simply fell apart without drama,without confrontation. It was a process of de-evolution.

When things were morepeaceful on the island, central to the lives of the beasts was the repeating of "the law":

Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law.
Are we not Men?
Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law.
Are we not Men?
Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law.
Are we not Men?
Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law.
Are we not Men?
Not to chase other Men; that is the Law.
Are we not Men?

Now,I ask you,"Are we not men"? Unfortunately, the answer to this deep and philosophical question is currently unavailable with sound, but the original epic and justifiably mostly ignored short film and recurring punck rock nioghtmare, The Truth About De-Evolution, is available in its silent version. You don't need to hear the music, the disturbing imagery tells the story. Actually, it's even creeepier without the music. Don't take my word for it, watch it yourself, same spud time, same spud station. If only the world had heeded DEVO's warning (whatever the hell that was) when there was still time. (calm down, I am not serious here)

In any case, The Island of Dr Moreau was a good read, recommended for a hot summer afternoon.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jesse Ventura Disses Dick Cheney

I Quote Jesse "The Brain": "You give me a water board, Dick Cheney for one hour, and I'll make him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.", "He wouldn't go when it was time to go... Clearly he's a coward and now he's a chickenhawk."

You just can't make stuff like this up! I would love to see these two guys wrestle.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Health Care Reform - What Reform

Bill Moyer's article says what I have been thinking lately.

Health care reform to help Americans take care of themselves is somewhere between sick and dying. Health care reform to assure profits for the Medical Industrial Complex appears to be alive and well, although some members of the industry have been so pampered by generations of pliant regulation that they refuse even to go along with the scam non-reform that appears to be what the administration might call compromise.

Per usual, Paul Krugman is willing to share some facts, along with his opinions. Everybody else is just flinging poo.

At some point,We The People have to answer this question:

Does health care exist primarily to generate dependable profits for the Medical Industrial Complex, or to care for the health of We The People?

While we're at it,we might ask a more general question about institutions in our society,both private and public:

Do social institutions (Government,corporate and community) exist primarily to assist We The People in our pursuit of Life,Liberty and Happiness, do We The People exist to assure that social institutions are successful in meeting their goals, of Profit and/or Growth?

Another area where this question should be asked, but isn't (with the exception of crackpot Conservatives), is in bailout Nation. Is it really in We The People's Interests to shore up a bunch of private enterprises? The bank situation is too complex to figure out, but the auto industry is a little easier to fathom. Chrysler filed a plan with The Federal Government to keep operating with about 59,000 jobs in the U.S. To date,the Government has dumped about $8.34 Billion into Chrysler. That works out to about $14o,000 per job (Warning - I didn't do a lot of checking here). Perhaps that money would have been better spent directly supporting the affected families, rather than indirectly supporting 59,000 of We The People by temporarily propping up an enterprise that admittedly can't exist without a lot of taxpayer - provided largess.

I don't know whether supporting autoworkers families directly, or through propping up their employers is the best thing to do, but what I do known is that that question has not even been asked, because those in power believe We The People must support the institutions. Tote That barge, Lift That Bale!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

They're Taking Over!

The kitties are taking over the house.

They started with establishing settlements on the comforter plateau.

Their next imperial land grab was surely targeted at disrupting the food supply.

Kinda funny the way Arthur looks like Bulwinkle, with that menorah coming out of his head. This is obviously a Zionist conspiracy. I will formally present my complaints to the United Nations sometime soon.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Geography of Unemployment

Looking at pain has never been this much fun.

Slate Magazine published this great interactive map of employment by county in the U. S. This is very cool. If you click on the green arrow, you'll see changes in the number of jobs by county from 2006 to the present. I like to look at change in the number of jobs rather than unemployment data, since Federal unemployment data understates unemployment by excluding anyone considered long-term unemployed. Intuitively, this makes as much sense as excluding those hospitalized from Flu statistics. Some rather quirky economists believe actual unemployment may be as high as twice the reported rates. No doubt the truth lies somewhere between the Gubmint and the quirkies. In any event, I know what I'm not doing on Monday morning.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

When Will all This Eschatology End?

I know, I know, it'll end at the end. I guess this is a koan worthy of the great masters.

If the 12/21/2012 isn't enough, now we have the Post Rapture Post Office to deal with.It looks like this guy is from near Madison,WI, I brilliantly deduced from the Cross Plains postmark on the logo. Figures.

The Testimonials on this sight are pretty fun. Here's my favorite:"It will become a very dangerous place, with roving bands of abortionists and homosexuals looking to kill your babies and redecorate your houses"

So far,mine eyes have not seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cognative Dissonance Meets Moronic Convergence

While I wasn't paying attention, we started speeding toward the next wave of millenialism. The supposed end of time in the supposed Mayan Calendar is coming December 21, 2012. I sure hope Hanukkah comes early that year. It'd be so cool if we get Hanukkah but the world ends before Christmas. I would surely die laughing.

This article by Ron Rosenbaum published in today's edition of was a great read, and a good laugh. Sometimes you gotta just love a snide skeptic.

Come for the soup, stay for the nuts.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Beware He Who Sobs Loudest

The New York Times Sunday Magazine had an article by one of their financial reporters who personally fell under the wheel of reckless mortgages. It's a long but good read.

The author is trying to convince us that his problems are typical, so he can rightfully cry, "boohoo, I'm a victim, although I was allowed to live beyond my means for years. BTW, now I wrote a book."

The Atlantic Magazine's blog decided to dig a little deeper (remember that quaint line of work we used to call journalism?). Well, it turns out his wife (whom he admits likes to shop at Saks) has a history of serial bankruptcy that dates well before this financial crisis. This is not a typical case. His problems were not caused by current conditions. The preponderance of evidence suggests this is a case of life long financial incontinence.

By conflating his family's silver spooned personal irresponsibility with the struggles of millions of working Americans who truly did get screwed by the Financial Establishment, this disingenuous media whore is doing a great disservice. I hope he enjoys the future bankruptcies his wife will certainly drag him into, regardless of any money his book generates.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Mr Advice Person

In which I become Dear Abby for a day.

I received this email this morning.

"I feel bad about Richard X.

Richard X came to the March - or was it the April ? - meeting and introduced himself and asked questions about the recorder society and about recorders. I encouraged him to consider taking up the recorder, but did not offer to give any assistance or lessons - and did not refer him to anyone for lessons. He came to the May meeting and, while Greta was conducting, gave his recently-purchased recorder and soft case to DD. Richard said something to David about arthritis pain, and that he could not play recorder and promptly left. He obviously purchased a recorder (and possibly a music book), tried to play and quickly gave up because of health issues or lack of motivation.

In retrospect I wonder if I should have been so keen on encouraging Richard. Perhaps I should have quizzed him more about his musical experience. Or, observing that he is a mature gentleman, perhaps I should have asked about his finger dexterity and so forth. I was so happy to see someone express a desire to play recorder that I did not think things through.

I feel bad about Richard X."

By way of adding background,the Recorder Society welcomes people to take up recorder playing if that is their wish. Playing recorder is note terribly physically demanding, and neither great talent nor years of diligent is not required to play well enough to have some fun. You can purchase a surprisingly playable plastic recorder and a good lesson book online for under $10. BTW, that's why schools use recorders.

Given all this, here's my response:

"IMHO, it is always better to just encourage. I do not believe it is my chosen role in life to tell people what they can't do (I leave that role to Law Enforcement). I prefer to see myself as helping people get a chance to try. You did exactly the right thing,as I see it.

I say this from personal experience of being disabled for about a year, with constant pain. It is healthy for a disabled person to want to find activities. Getting out and doing something a little social moves you away from the physical pain and the emotional pain of isolation. Not a pretty picture, but that's what it's like.

It is always better for a person in that state to try things, provided there is no danger or other serious consequences. Given that recorders are cheap and safe, it's OK to encourage anyone who's willing to try.

The key to surviving disability is to have a compelling reason to recover. That's not as easy as it sounds. It doesn't have to be a good reason or a rational reason, but a disabled person needs some reason, especially when there is pain involved."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One More Star Trek Thing

Yet another Star Trek piece of something or other. I thought this was too true not to share.

leonard nimoy william shatner james doohan
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Scathing Insult of the Day

I ran across this hilarious insult on a Yahoo group for recorder players.

"Klaus is like a case of genital herpes: he cannot be cured and one can expect
periodic irritating flare-ups. Remember that even when symptoms are not
apparent, it is best not to get too close."

Put that in your head joint and smoke it!

The Geography of Carbon

I found this great map in a Washington Post Blog. It's about carbon emissions and global warming.

This is a very cool use of mapping techniques.

The top map scales countries based on their current carbon emission levels. The bigger the country on the top map,the more carbon they are emitting.

The second map sizes countries in proportion to expected deaths related to climate change. It's interesting that the highest emitters are projected to have to live with the least impact. Like normal Africa gets screwed. Big Surprise there.

I have no idea how the authors came up with their projection, so you should take this with a grain of salt. But I totally approve of their cool mapping techniques.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


I forgot two of my favorite moments from the movie, one motif and a one-liner.

First, the Bones-heckling-Spock one liner:

Bones:"Are you out of your Vulcan mind?"

Second, the Red Shirt Motif:

When they assigned a third guy in a Red Shirt to the away mission, I heard several gasps and tut tuts near me in the theater. Sure enough, the guy got wiped out in a Wiley Coyote style parachute landing. I didn't know whether to smirk or feel sad. Of course, the away mission guys who count (you know, like the ones with names?) saved the world, again

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's All About Me!!!!! Jesus Sez So!

Thanks to the Personal Promise Bible, The whole word knows it! No more reading boring letters from disciples to their boring friends in Corinth and Ephesus, now they are writing to me and the Ephesians! Finally religion that is relevant.

Just a small excerpt from this corrected bible:

"So then Steve is no longer a stranger and sojourner, but Steve is a fellow citizen with the saints, and of the household of God, being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom Steve is built with others into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."

You'll need to type in your own name to get this holy thrill.

Yikes, this is almost as good as being a Mormon! Holy temples in the sky and everything.

Yep,this is serious, you can buy a bible with the name of your choice inserted everywhere. We are all special, dangit. See - it's right here in Jeffrey Dahmer Bible. I read it every day for inspiration.

"For Jeffrey Dahmer is His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that Jeffrey Dahmer should walk in them."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Tanks Beeda Gaud, as the Irish priests say.


We finally gave in to the hype and saw Star Trek yesterday. We both thought it was great. I give it 3 1/2 stars. Could have been 4 stars, but the last scene made me gag.

We were able to get into an earlier a show than we had planned for, but we had to sit pretty far up front in a giant screen theater.We were about 10 rows from the screen in one of those giant stadium style theaters. We both actually enjoyed sitting up front with a bunch of stoners. We could really experience the perspectives of the space scenes. Funny how the communicators look cellphones. We live in an age of miracles and wonders.

I thought the story line was good as well. I wasn't ready for the movie to end when it did. That's the ultimate test of a good movie in my book.

Obviously, the big deal in this film is the character development aimed at creating credible back stories for the Enterprise bridge crew.

I loved the portrayal of Kirk as a nearly reformed punk was great. Spock as a horndog, with psychological scars from being bullied as a child! Who could ask for anything more than that! No wonder his dad had him married off to a Vulcan in The Original Series.

I was glad they gave Uhuru a real job. She was a pretty dopey character in The Original Series. In The Original Series no one could figure out how an independent loner like Scottie could have made it through the bureaucracy that is Star Fleet. However, I didn't really get Scotty's furry sidekick. I am always glad to see more of Ensign Sulu's fencing obsession played out. I should have invited Uhuru to my wedding, maybe she would have shown up, who knows. That would have been really cool.

The ending scene of the movie, where the establishment richly lavishes awards on the lovable outcasts (yawn, what a great idea, I've never seen that before) almost made me want to puke. But, it was nice seeing Captain Pike in a normal wheelchair with out the stupid Beep. .. Beepbeep light thing he was stuck in in Menagerie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

As Long as We're Picking on Fast Food Mascots

Don't expect Kosher Whoppers any time soon!

the burger king totally looks like mel gibson
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes
I don't know why these things scare me so much.

Time for something less scary, but, as Ogden Nash said, "I'll never see a three-L lllama."

dalai lama, llama, goat
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes

That's my derivative and uncreative story, and I'm sticking to it.

Be Scared, Be Very Scared

First, President Obama brings back military tribunals, then this:

leon trotsky totally looks like colonel sanders
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This scares the living daylights out of me.

And if that's not scary enough, I had a telephone interview with headhunter this morning.I suspect nothing material Will come of this, since I don't think she has anything clients that need me. She was "just fishing", which is fine. Events like this make it harder for me to consistently avoid thinking about "What The Heck Am I Doing With My Life?". I left my last period of full time employment with the hope that I would do something cool and rewarding. That really hasn't happened,I catch myself killing some time during the weekdays.

However, in addition to working out several times each week, I spend more time doing things musical and I spend a few hours a week getting a leisurely paced self - education in Abstract Algebra. That is a strange and difficult subject which I don't understand well enough to even define what the subject is about in plain English. That's where the "Abstract"comes in. I skip all the harder problems, so the knowledge I'm getting is pretty sketchy. I can now pretty simply prove to High School students that there is no "largest" prime number. Talk about getting your geek on!

This is probably not a bad time for supportable semi-loafing, since everything in this economy feels like it wants to go from bad to worse. This region is pretty likely too see large layoffs in State Government, which will lead to more foreclosures and so on and so forth, blah, blah,blah. It won't take too many more empty store fronts and "For Sale" signs for Sacramento to start feeling like New Detroit. On the positive side, my lifestyle is becoming more popular, as more folks are introduced to the charms of bottom feeding slackerhood. I have been seeing more people than usual on the American River Bike Trail on weekday morning rides. Maybe, if people can figure out how to get along with out that shiny new big screen TV and IPhone, this mess we're in will produce a happiness dividend.


Some of my grumpiness might be related to the weather. We are at the start of our first heat blast of the year, expecting temperatures topping out a little above 100 degrees F Sunday and Monday. Average temperatures for this time of year are in the low 80's, so this is a bummer. Nothing produces lassitude like triple-digit temperatures. thankfully, the forecast is still predicting cool nights. This is one way to test the air conditioning. Hopefully temperatures will work their way back to normal for the rest of May.

Since I can't think of anything else to complain about,

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They'll Pry My Cheerios From My Cold Dead Hands

The FDA today has today sent a Warning Letter to General Mills claiming the labeling of Cheerios is in violation of Federal law. The FDA takes offence to claims of lowered cholesterol.

Although several respected media outlets have reported this, I only found one mainstream media report (Wall Street Journal's blog) that actually appears to have read the two page warning letter. That's really a shame,since this letter is a doozy. I tend to agree wiht the position the FDA is taking, but it seems strange anyway.

In the broadest sense, the FDA's compaint is that the claims made on the box of Cheerios make Cheerios a drug. The FDA made this call because,

"Cheerios® Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease. Specifically, your Cheerios® product bears the following claims ort its label:

• "you can Lower Your Cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks" "
• "Did you know that in just 6 weeks Cheerios can reduce bad cholesterol by an average of 4 percent? Cheerios is ... clinically proven to lower cholesterol. A clinical study showed that eating two 1 1/2 cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal reduced bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol."

Now comes the fun stuff:

Since Cheerios labeling has made the stuff a drug, the fun starts now:

"The product is also a new drug under section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)] because it is not generally recognized as safe and effective for use in preventing or treating hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease. Therefore,under section 505(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 355(a)], it may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application."

Yep, Cheerios as currently labeled is subhect to the FDA's drug approval process.

Now, here's where the hoarding comes in:

"Failure to promptly correct the violations specified above may result in enforcement action without further notice. Enforcement action may include seizure of violative products and/or injunction against the manufacturers and distributors of violative products."

First go after my breakfast, next thing you know, they'll take my gun! I guess maybe those cranial anal inserted reactionaries was right all the time! Perhaps not.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Liberatarian Vacation

Welcome to the Government intervention - free paradise. Don't forget to write.

That's my (Ok, really someone else's) story, but I guess I'll stick to it anyway.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Star Trek Movie Early Returns are K'Plah!!

Rotten Tomato's tomatometer gave Star Trek a 94% rating! K'plah!!

However,some critics accuse the movie of being a bit ''plastic''. I can't imagine why!

Some of the citizen critiques:
A movie that, against all odds, has miraculously resurrected a wheezing but beloved franchise.
Take note, George Lucas: This is how it's done.
A movie that, against all odds, has miraculously resurrected a wheezing but beloved franchise.
And now for one cormudgeonly critique (that'll probably match my impression, once I get around to seeing this):
The Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action.

I'm so excited, I think I'll perspire and get a nosebleed!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Aliens Kidnapped the White House!

Well kids, now that the secret is out in Newsweek there's no reason for me not to talk.

Barak (rhymes with Spock, and almost rhymes with Tuvok) Obama is a Vulcan. Tricky of him to use the ''He's a Moslem'' straw man rumors to keep us all distracted form his extraterrestrial origins. I always thought his ears looked kind funny. Thanks to all the racists out there for helping the aliens' vile deception.

I quote from Newsweek:

''It's the Spock plot strands that give the new "Trek" its best shot at once again commanding the zeitgeist. Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama's unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock's. But as Spock's complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new "Trek"—right back into childhood—the Obama parallels keep deepening. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result. As played by Zachary Quinto, the young Spock loves his human mother, but longs to assimilate completely into his Vulcan father Sarek's ways, eschewing messy emotions the way all Vulcans do. Young Spock is constantly being told by Vulcans and humans alike that he's either seething with inappropriate emotions—indeed, he takes Kirk by the throat at one point—or that he's not emotional enough and shouldn't be so repressed. Obama may or may not be a fan—the White House says he isn't, but Trekkies have claimed him as one of their breed ever since he said, "I grew up on 'Star Trek'—I believe in the final frontier," at a campaign stop last year. If he does check out the new movie, I can imagine he might feel a special empathy for Spock's position, given the chattering class's insistence that he needs to show more emotion, too.''

It's amazing what passes for journalism these days,ainahey.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

One More Star Trek Related Post

There's a dork in the room, but no one else is here, just me and the kitties.

liza minnelli totally looks like romulans
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes

Remember, it takes on to know one.

Thet's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Star Trek Update - Wesley Wheaton Sais Awesome!

Wil Wesley Crusher Wheaton is the guy on the right. Is he reacting to the quality of the film, or to the fact that someone still thinks he matters enough in the industry to invite him to a private screening of anything?

We now know Star Trek The Movie is popular with guys in their late 30s who still play Dungeons and Dragons. All I can say is K'Plah!!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Happy Belated Jeddi Day & What About Star Trek?

A belated happy Jedi Day to all Hangininsac's readers.

Jedi Day?, you may be asking yourself. Jedi Day comes each May, when those of us who are aware greet all others with, "May The Forth Be With You".

Now,what about Star Trek? The first average Trekkie reviews have come in, and I think my reaction to the movie is best summed up in the Onion News Network Reporters' observation:

"Some trekkies have said this movie sullies the vision of Gene Roddenberry, the hack that created the Star Trek show back in the forties or something."

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Remember, you read about it here first.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, until someone brings back Abraham Lincoln in space, dammit!

Monday, May 04, 2009

No Smokee?, Get Tickee, You Fired!

Moa sez, "smoke more cigarettes, the revolution depends on it. Non-smoking counter-revolutionaries will be dealt with severely."

Well, now I've seen it all. Only a workers socialist paradise sponsored by an unregulated oligopoly (or visa versa, who the hell knows what those inscrutable nuts are up to now?) could come up with something as bassackwards as a policy to force public employees to smoke more. At first I thought this was a hoax, but even the moa-ist red kommie kontrolled Shanghai Daily admits this policy designed by the Keystone Kopps of economic development policy:

"The law orders all local government departments, organizations, service centers and corporations to consume at least 23,000 cartons of cigarettes this year - 400 cartons for most departments and corporations and 140 cartons for each school."

140 CARTONS FOR EACH SCHOOL? C'mon, even the most godless of commies wouldn't force innocent youth and their dedicated teachers to smoke their high tar kommunist Kancer sticks? That must be a typo, right? Next thing you know, they'll put poison in their peoples' baby formula. Inconceivable!

Yes Virginia, Chinese Communists are forcing their teachers to smoke and distribute cigarettes. In their own party controlled pink paper, they say,

"A monthly work plan has to be produced by each organization listing the consumption rate and the government will check these figures. Departments failing to make the quota will have their budgets cut, according to the government. Organizations not using government-approved cigarettes will be fined 1,000 yuan. Zhangtiansi Middle School has already found itself in trouble."

For comparison, a typical teacher's monthly pay is about 140 yuan.

Never forget,"First Rule ... Don't talk to commies"

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We've Got Kitties!!!

Chapter One: In which the cats formerly known as Spanky and Sparky leave Happy Tails, find a new home, and reclaim their rightful names.

Although we've only had the cats here for a couple of days,they are really coming along well. Both cats are exploring and playing in the two rooms we've opened to them so far. Everybody is eating, using the box, and acting like kittens.

The cats requested we rename them Arthur and Elaine, in recognition of their regal status in the household. We acquiesced, of course.

Arthur is already occasionally jumping in our laps for purrs and pets, and Elaine is quickly getting bolder every hour she's here. She once nearly made it up to my lap, but the telephone rang, sending her into a panic. It won't be long before we allow them access to the rest of the house.

Arthur and Elaine were feral cats when they were trapped last January. Happy Tails neutered them, brought them to tip top health, and housed them with a volunteer foster home. The foster parents did a great job of working with the cats to build the social skills needed to live indoors with their human companions. Three cheers for happy Tails! I am thinking about volunteering there.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Steve Sherman

Sunday, May 03, 2009

We Get The Farmers Markets We Deserve

I've been participating in a discussion on the Simple Living Network about misers' disappointments with their local farmers markets. The major grumpus is that in their communities,the farmers markets have become more chic boutique shopping experiences than a frugal alternative way for urbanites to get their food. From what I have seen in the Sacramento and surrounding suburban and partly rural region,I think that the nature of each farmers market reflects the local demand.

Comparing the farmers markets in Sacramento and Davis tells me a lot about the two communities.

Sacramento's market is a drab monument to pragmatism.

Here in Sacramento, I get unbelievably nice regular vegetables and fruit for about 1/2 the price I'd get at the non-organic grocery chains, and of course, eleventy zillion times the quality. Most of the produce is not organic, BTW, but organic is usually available. This is a very practical farmers market. The biggest market in Sacramento is in the least glamorous spot imaginable, a large parking area under a freeway overpass. Not much to look at, but great cheap fruit, vegetables fish and flowers. This video shows that this is serious grocery shopping. Get a look at the variety! Sorry to admit that from looking at the shoppers, you can see this certainly is not a fashionable market. I suspect the farmers are able to move enough volume to make the day at the market worth their effort. Look at the size of the trucks in the background as well as the number of shoppers schlepping huge quantities of produce and fresh fish. For the broth inclined, you can get buckets of fish heads for about $2 per pound. I have never had the guts to try this.

Davis's market attempts to provide an exclusive luxury shopping experience.

The somewhat more posh and exclusive social-climbing town of Davis (although exactly whom they are snubbing has been a local mystery for generations), about 30 miles from Sacramento has a market more targeted towards what I like to call "the too too crowd". The U C Davis websight emphasizes how it is all about the experience and making us better people, just by shopping in a cooler venue.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

My Business School Kicks Wharton's Butt!!!!!!

Thus Spake Daniel Gross, Newsweek's Financial columnist! He really said it.

Yes, I really did graduate from the University of Wisconsin School of Business, with a Master of Science Degree. I thought, and still think I am far to cool to be just another MBA. I was even designated as one of ten "Graduate Honor Students", which in the business schools of the early 1980s is like being honored as the tallest Munchkin on the block.

Here's Gross's assessment:

"Madison struck me as blessedly detached from the ailing financial sector. Of course, Wisconsin is suffering along with the rest of the nation. Its unemployment rate in March was 8.5 percent. But Madison, with its three-legged economic stool of education, state government, and health care, is faring somewhat better. More significantly, the business school isn't having a dark night of the soul, as so many of its Eastern counterparts are."

The difference is that this school always stayed the course of supporting Wisconsin's business. They never lost the university - wide vision that we call The Wisconsin Idea. The Wisconsin Idea is embraced by the University of Wisconsin System. The Idea dates back to Charles Van Hise, who stated that the boundaries of the university should be the boundaries of the state, and that research conducted at the University of Wisconsin System should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment and agriculture for all citizens of the state. It's a far nobler fate than training futures traders for Lehman Brothers, IMHO.

Let those posh whinging Wharton losers keep crying in their mumsys' and daddykins' laps. We are back to a place and time where right thinking and right action produces right results.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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