August 10, 2008

Thanks to HDTV

I can tell Bob Costas has too much makeup on tonight. Bob and Mary marveling over the miraculous ability of so many people to do the same things to such a level of perfection is, well, a little creepy. I bet they all have passports and can speak mutiple languages too.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

Putin on the Blitz

Any chance that Russia being Russia can help bring down the UN?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2008

Fantasy Football 2008

Another season approaches. Our eighteenth consective season for the IF(F)FL. To uphold tradition, and you know how conservative I am, I must pack up and move my team again.

Having bought into all the propaganda concerning anthropomorphic global warming last season and thinking it best to move to the most inhospitably cold climate on earth, at least according to most serious journalistic institutions, the Savage Afghan Winters wore many excess layers of clothing to compensate for the rigors of the new climate. The subsequent dehydration and heat strokes led to a rather poor and miserable IF(F)FL record, so we are leaving Afghanistan firmly secure in the knowledge that it isn’t quite as bad as it is made out to be. Kind of like anthropomorphic global warming when you think about it. But that begs the question of where these restless nomads will pitch their tents this season.

Since we hocked all our thermal underwear for travel money, I figured we better move somewhere reliably warm. Having had some experience with the climate of Alabama, I think that will do. In fact, we’ll be settling in south Alabama, a few miles from Evergreen in the little hamlet of Nymph. No doubt, you’ll be glad to know that our endless susceptibility to the latest ungrounded political and cultural fashions surges unabated by any of the hard knocks such transient, emotional choices have delivered in the past -- call it the triumph of hope over experience. So without further ado, prepare yourself for the IF(F)FL onslaught of the Nymph “O” Maniacs.

Here's our team logo:


Wish me luck!

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:37 PM | Comments (2)

The War of the Words

What passes for science sometimes still surprises me:

Scientists say the Phoenix spacecraft has found a substance in the Martian soil that might be detrimental to possible life. If confirmed, it could mean the soil may not be as friendly as once thought.

I think the word dreamed is better than thought here. There was no rational basis for thinking this other than the triumph of hope over experience. Guess we better get used to that though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

Captive Audiences

They may sell them to someone perhaps, but not me:

US Airways will likely begin selling pillows and blankets to its customers by the end of the year, following closely behind discount carrier JetBlue Airways Corp., which said Monday it will start charging fliers $7 to use a pillow and blanket.

I fly quite a bit and always have, A few weeks ago I took a vacation with the family that required air travel. I have learned that the things I can tolerate and work around when traveling alone on business is somewhat greater than those that i can tolerate and work around when I have my wife and kids along. It was a miserable experience coming and going. Severely late flights coming and going, almost causing us to miss the boat on the way out, and leaving us completely up in the air (no pun intended) as to which day we would actually make it home, right up until we ran to get on a plane to our final destination that we only made since it was running late, no thanks to the friendly staff we put us at the back of the connecting flight so we would be virtually the last ones off that plane plane. And, of course, our luggage didn't make it. Did I mention that we weren't flying home but to Chicago so we could drop off my mother-in-law at my sister-in-laws house while we were away and had to pick her back up to bring her back with us afterwards? No? Well, our drive home was held hostage until late, and I do mean late the next day when our luggage was finally delivered. The extra expenses of kennels, missed appointments, and the almost literal draining of the reservoir of rejuvenation the vacation was supposed to provide was depressing and left me in a bad mood which lingers seemingly interminably. But I digress.

All in all, it really makes it difficult to consider flying as a practical method of transportation for another family vacation. If I have to set aside two days on each side of the trip for what should be a 4 hour flight each way, well, let's just say that the cruise lines should be pretty damned worried about the impact this is going to have on their business. Perhaps it's time to start driving to all the National Parks again.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

Peak Oil (Prices)

I am amused that so many coffeehouse commisars have their panties in a bunch about the worst inflation in the history of the publication of the USA Today even as the obvious causes of these inflationary pressures are easing:

Oil prices plunged to a three-month low Monday, briefly tumbling below $120 a barrel in another huge sell-off after Tropical Storm Edouard seemed less likely to disrupt oil and natural gas output in the Gulf of Mexico.

Crude's steep drop -- prices fell more than $5 at one point during the day -- dragged down other commodities from corn to copper and mimicked the big nosedives of the past three weeks, adding to growing beliefs that the oil bubble is at least temporarily deflating.

I am further amused about the size of the fonts announcing $120 oil on the way up compared to the size of the fonts used to announce $120 oil on the way down. Perhaps bad news itself in an election season exerts its own inflationary pressures and demands a government program! Not to worry though, any repreive from the latest crisis is probably only temporary. Alas, our public servants will no doubt once again come up with the right solution for the wrong problem soon enough.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2008

Texas is Hot in August

Who knew? And when did they know it?

Texas plagued by heat, drought, water parasite, wildfires

Blah, blah, blah. Maybe Scott would like to weigh in... But note the penultimate sentence in the article:

The Dallas area has recorded 23 triple-digit days so far this year — still well short of the record of 69 in 1980.

So if the Dallas area temperatures reach 3 digits each day until September 18, then it will be as bad a 1980, for which I blame Jimmy Carter, but I digress. What do we have a problem with here, hot weather or journalists strving to create fear and panic for their own selfish ends?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:04 PM | Comments (2)

August 02, 2008

A Tale of Two Industries

It was the best of times:

Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total SA wrapped up a string of gargantuan, record-breaking earnings reports Friday, a stretch in which six of the major international oil companies topped $50 billion in combined profit for the first time.

It was the worst of times:

U.S. auto sales plunged to a 16-year-low in July, led by a 27 percent drop at General Motors Corp, as high gas prices and tight credit sent the industry into a tailspin.

I don't have the numbers handy, but I'm certain the oil companies are making more than the auto companies are losing. GM lost $15B last quarter, but that was by far the worst. Even though their are many other uses for oil than gasoline, given the ultimate dependence of the oil companies on the mass use of cars and trucks, it does make one question how long this can go on and to wonder what happens next.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

Friday Five

True Love by X -- punk did not mean you had to suck.

Tattooed Love Boys by The Pretenders -- best female rock & roller ever?

True by Spandau Ballet -- no excuses, I just like it.

Black Cow by Steely Dan -- I like the last song, I love this one.

Lipstick Vogue by Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- I've seen Elvis live a couple of times at Ravinia and the Royal Albert Hall. What amazed me was that he sounded better live than in his recordings. Anyway, I wanted to put She in here, but couldn't find a good Youtube version of it. Just got back from an Alaska cruise to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, which actually happened in December, but nobody offers Alaska cruises in December except for those crazy-ass crab fisherman. But I digress. I sang karaoke three times on the cruise, performing what I was told were surprisingly acceptable versions of Hell by the Squirrel Nut Zippers and The City of New Orleans by Steve Goodman. Alas, night three I tried She, but something went dreadfully wrong. There was a different crew running the show that night. In retrospect, I think maybe they had the sound system on way too loud because I couldn't hear myself except to tell that I was terribly off key. I tried to stop twice but they wouldn't let me. The crowd was very nice afterwards and my wife came up and kissed me and told me it was wonderful, so perhaps it is the thought that counts.

DOWNDATE: I published this on Friday, but the Spleenville server is on east coast, hence the cognitive dissonance of the Friday Five appearing on Saturday. I humbly apologize for any inconvenience.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2008

Die Sitemeter Die

The culprit has been identified.

Via Instapundit via Little Green Footballs.

DOWNDATE: Repaired and restored. But I'll never know whether I had tweleve or thirteen visitors from Google looking for "sine qua non" yesterday.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

They Say This Like It's a Bad Thing

John McCain ad irritates many in Hollywood

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

Starting Today, No More Free Water on US Air

As if I needed another reason not to fly US Air.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)