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August 31, 2004

Fun With Language Development « Kidblogging »

Okay, everyone must know by now that my kids are the cutest little critters on the planet. If not, raise your hand and I'll post more pictures.

In any case, my son, just about to turn 5, thinks he's figured out how to shorten words. The first one was when he was two, and noticed that "Daddy" shortened to "Dad", and "Mommy" shortened to "Mom", so "Baba" (Chinese for 'father') should shorten to "Bob", right?

His most recent attempt seems to have come from noticing that "poopoo" shortens to "poop", because he's always saying that he needs to go "peep".

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Posted by Nathan at 09:32 PM | Comments (1)
The Brainfertilizer Way to Write Novels « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

Well, this "Brain Fertilizer Way" is not well-developed, to tell the truth. Mainly because I still have never finished a novel, so how can I say for sure what works?

But Rae asks some serious questions about my basic approach to writing, and how can I refuse her anything?

So here goes:

Short story writing is a good way to get your feet wet in actually getting stuff written. But it really doesn't help at all in writing a novel. Sure, you can work on word choice, dialogue, scene-setting, and so forth, but they really are two different animals, much like the difference between a sprint and a marathon.

You can write a short story in one sitting. You can (and should!) write a short story with the intent to explore one idea, and everything you do should be subordinate to that idea. Dialogue, character revelation, scene-setting, all should be subordinate to that one idea. You just don't have room for much else.

Whereas a novel gives you much more space to work with. Not only do you have room to explore related and subordinate ideas, a novel demands that you do so. You cannot usually sustain an entire novel with just one idea. But the trade-off is that you can explore more complex issues from several different directions, you can fully develope multiple important characters, you can have rich subplots, you can really heighten tension with delayed resolutions.

For me, however, one of my biggest difficulties is in holding a complete novel story in my head. When conceiving of a novel, I usually think of a problem, or beginning, or hook, and then I have the resolution/end-state clear, but the middle is this big, fuzzy, "something happens" area. I then work from both ends to try and clear up the middle fuzziness, but at some point I have to start writing because that's the only way to see if what I have planned will work or not. I've abandoned at least three novels because my writing skills were insufficient to resolve that middle gray area. The only things I could think of were implausible even to me.

But this novel is different. I've restarted it at least three times (this is the 4th iteration), but each time I clear up some specific problems for myself. I have a good idea of what I want to do at each stage of the novel, and all aspects work together to underscore the main idea I have in mind. Sure, I still don't know how many minor characters I'm going to have or what they're going to do, much less what their names are...but I have such a clear storyline in my head that even if the minor characters do some things I'm not expecting right now, I don't think they can take over the novel.

The only real outline I have is in my head, although I do have a listing of the things I want to have happen in each chapter.

Right now, I'm thinking of each chapter as a bucket of 3,000 words that I have to fill. I'm doing that for pacing and motivation. If I cover all the action in less than 3000 words, then I have to add more words of description. If I take 5000 words to cover everything, I'm going to consider if some of it can't move into an adjacent chapter. I may end up abandoning this attempt, as well, and trying a different way, but even if I do, I will have learned something about writing.

To date, I've learned alot about subplots, foreshadowing, pacing, dialogue, "showing not telling", obstacles to writing, the dangers of momentum, etc. I've shared much of it in this blog and in previous blogs whose archives are lost in the mists of time [alas!], but I'll share with you all as I learn more, and maybe even revisit some of the things I'd learned previously.

The thing is, I think the lessons learned in writing are very personal and performance-based. I can read an excellent book on writing, like the ones written by Lawrence Block, but they can really do no more than give me an idea of the problems I will encounter on my own. They can't really give me any solutions, or help me avoid problems in the first place.

The physical act of typing on a keyboard is not difficult. The process of considering, developing, deciding, critiquing, adjusting, rewriting, and accepting the final product in writing a novel is quite difficult, and may be one of the most difficult things to do in life. You risk your self-esteem. You open up old wounds within yourself. You grow as much as your characters do.

Yeah, it's hard. Don't let anyone tell you differently. But the most worthwhile things in life are hard to obtain. The most worthwhile things in life are worth the effort. Do you want to be a writer? Then the pain and difficulty and effort will be worth it. It may take me 60 years to finish my novel. It will still be worth it.

I admit that I'm not exactly in a rush. I have a family with two young children, a career, a rich life of hobbies (including marksmanship, strategy wargames, reading, guitar, language, and exercise) that take up much time. I want to be a professional writer by the time I finish my military career, partially because finishing my military career dovetails nicely into being a professional writer, in that I can live off of my military retirement if necessary (albeit only simply), so the pension acts as a nice safety net to fill in the times of slow income. I have about 10 years, then, to finish and sell at least my first novel, if not 3-5. But the later ones will take care of themselves. I've got to finish this one first.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:07 AM | Comments (2)
Answering Mr. Kaus « Gun Issues »

Re: Airsoft Guns

On 28 August, (scroll down), Mickey Kaus asks about airsoft guns.

Trend I most need explained to me: Airsoft guns. They shoot plastic pellets, not BBs, right? Who buys them? Adults? Children? What damage can they do? Are they somehow an artifact of gun control laws? Don't the people who use them risk getting shot by cops who think they are regular guns? Instapundit will know ...

As a recent convert to Airsoft, I believe I can explain what I understand.

Airsoft guns were developed in Asia, where people wanted to own guns but where prohibited by national gun-control laws. Apparently, there is something about the look and heft of guns that speaks to the spirit of a person. But CO2 guns are dangerous; they can break windows, injure people and pets, etc. Airsoft weapons shoot the softer plastic pellet at velocities that allow useful target practice at distances up to 100 feet (sometimes more), but won't result in damaged property or injured people.

There are three types of airsoft: Spring-powered (must cock each time, shortest range), Green-gas powered (you refill from a canister rather than using cartridges), and electronic propulsion. The last method uses batteries and a mechanism that is weighty and balanced enough to feel like a real weapon. They are also the most expensive, usually more than $300 each. But they also have the longest range and best accuracy. These are also usually constructed out metal rather than the plastic of the cheaper models, which further adds to the verisimilitude.

Who buys them? Well, kids and adults. The accuracy/range of the pellets rivals paintball but the lack of velocity allows one to dispense with much of the protective gear, so both teens and adults use Airsoft in tactical war games. The problem of knowing for sure whether you hit is more than made up for by the realistic appearance of the guns, adding to the fun of the fantasy. Moreover, the industry is currently developing paint pellets that can be fired without breaking that will burst reliably when it hits a person without breaking the skin. Once that happens, I think you will see paintball be completely superseded.

Personally, I purchased a few handguns and a few rifles so I could work on basic marksmanship skills in my basement rather than having to go to the gun range, expend ammo at the rate of a dime a round, and then having to spend a few hours cleaning. The recoil is not realistic at all, obviously, but I do have the opportunity to work on steady aim, good sight-picture, breath control, and not changing the orientation of the weapon with my trigger squeeze (my biggest problem). It's a nice bonus that I now have realistic-looking weapons that I can use to teach my children safe gun-handling techniques without the possibility of a drastic mistake.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:39 AM | Comments (2)

August 30, 2004

The Reason Behind the Madness « Social Issues »

People talk about the polarization and anger in politics today, and they point to the 2000 election fiasco, or debate over SSM and/or abortion, or even the internet as the cause of the recent hatred, insanity, and general idiocy.

They're all wrong.

It's late-60's/early-70's fashion. If people are dumb enough to bring back fashions like low-rise jeans, they're dumb enough to blame President Bush for successfully improving the economy and making the country safer. If they're dumb enough to wear dorky glasses like Tina Fey (and worse!) wears, then they're dumb enough to vote for John F. Kerry.

Bring back big hair and garish eye makeup, and I guarantee you conservative voting will rise again!

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Posted by Nathan at 03:22 PM | Comments (2)
A Point « Quotes You Can Steal »

I've had TDY's (temporary duty assignments) that were longer than the time period John F. Kerry is using as the centerpiece of his campaign.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:14 AM | Comments (5)
Wasted Effort « Social Issues »

People younger than a certain age may not understand the bliss that used to be eating McDonald's french fries.

There are children growing up today who will never understand french fries that stay good for longer than about 5 minutes, french fries that don't shrivel up and become hard when cold, french fries that still taste good even when not hot.

The Crusadors Who Know What's Good For Everyone decided that using animal fats in fried foods at fast food restaurants should be stopped, because it was bad for the circulatory system.

Perhaps, but now we have crappy-tasting french fries and people still complain that fast food is making them fat against their will.

If people are going to die obese from fast food, can't we at least make sure everyone gets to enjoy the food?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:59 AM | Comments (4)
More Writing « Writing »

Well, I'm back to working on my novel again.

After a long layoff (3 months?), I'm starting up again. It took a while for me to decide how I wanted to approach it. Plus, I've been busy.

I've finally decided I'm going to just start over from the beginning and merely incorporate some of the passages I've already written, rather than trying to start where I left off.

That means I'm several thousand words "down", but I don't consider it a horserace as much as the move toward a final project. Going from 7000 words done back to 2000 words "done" is still forward progress if, once I get back to 7000 words, the quality is better.

I'll provide random updates, as is my wont.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:31 AM | Comments (1)
I Guess it is All in the Pick-up Line « Social Issues »

This guy is a genius. He's figured out a way to grope women who not only willingly come to him for the privilege, they pay him for it. And he didn't even have to get elected to a position of power like Governor of Arkansas or President of the United States to do it.

Honestly, this sounds like the immature adult version of 'hooking up' to me. People can get non-commitment sex pretty easily, thanks to the erosion of standards exemplified and reinforced by such 'entertainment' products as HBO's Sex in the City, but sex without true intimacy leaves people feeling unfulfilled. So rather than trying to develop a meaningful bond with another person, this guy is trying to satisfy urges through still more impersonal contact. It may feel good for a time, but I'm betting the people feel emptier after it's all over, whether they admit it or not.

Humans are wired a certain way (except for those few humans who seem to have some crossed circuits), whether you believe that hard-wiring was by God or Evolution (I apologize for the redundancy). People thrash around trying to find alternatives, but there is an effective and proven plan for happiness in life, if people would just let go of their prejudices...

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Posted by Nathan at 06:14 AM | Comments (6)

August 29, 2004

Why Did Al Gore Lose? « Politics As Usual »

Because his strategist doesn't seem all that bright.

If you don't feel like reading tripe written by Donna Brazile (and who does?), I'll summarize it for you:

She offers four things Kerry must do well, in addition to avoiding strategic mistakes.

1) Find a message and stick to it
2) Avoid Mistakes
3) Showing humanity in debates is more important than winning the arguments

That's it. Missing at least one...or two if consider that #2 is the exact same thing as the point added to the original four she promised.
And they're pretty darn useless bits of advice, to tell the truth. They don't have much to do with the problems Kerry is having, except incidentally. All she's really doing is offering an explanation of why Al Gore lost when she thought he was obviously the better candidate. She doesn't get it. Kerry doesn't get it. Most of the Democrat Party doesn't get it. They assume their essentially dishonest methods of campaigning are enough to win a majority of the votes. They take it for granted that a majority of the population is ignorant or uneducatd enough to fall for their glittering generalities and pie-in-the-sky promises. And if the mainstream news media were still the gatekeepers of information, they'd probably be correct.
I almost feel sorry for them. They've spent generations making sure that the education system and news media were overwhelmingly staffed by liberals in order to indoctrinate America, and the internet has sent all that effort down the drain.

Then I think of Jimmy Carter and I don't feel sorry for them anymore.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)
KC NOT Looking Good « Kansas City Chiefs »

But all is not lost.

I didn't get to watch the game, but I watched the statistics and read the reviews afterwards. Here's my take:

The rest of the article can be read here.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)
Peace Breaking Out All Over « Politics As Usual »

According to the article linked, ...war itself is in decline, peace researchers report.

In fact, the number killed in battle has fallen to its lowest point in the post-World War II period, dipping below 20,000 a year by one measure. Peacemaking missions, meantime, are growing in number.

So, yeah: Bush's policy of pre-emption and fraudulent coalitions have resulted in less chaos and more peace. Some might say that by serving notice to certain warlike nations and leaders that providing a safe haven for terrorists, exporting terrorism, and even merely slaughtering your own people might result in being invaded and overthrown, Bush has sent a message to all rogue nations across the globe, one that goes in a different direction from the liberals' idea of "We'll Take You to [Internation] Court." And the message he sent is obviously more effective.

But myself, I blame Bush's tax cuts.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:15 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2004

Further Evidence Most People Are Stupid « Rhetorical Questions »

Any time some group I'm associated with has a pizza party, I ask for Sausage and Mushrooms. Most of the time, I'm refused. "Nobody likes that," I'm told. "No one else ordered anything like that," they say. "We asked around and no one else said they would eat it," they insist. So most of the time, we're stuck with endless iterations of Pepperoni, Supreme, Meat Lovers, and Ham & Pineapple. The Usual.

About 10% of the time the expected order is large enough that I can convince them to go ahead and get one pizza with my favorite two toppings.

And you know what?

I often don't even get one piece, and it invariably is the first pizza finished. And the next time the same group has another pizza party, I have to make the same arguments over again.

Anecdotal evidence says Sausage and Mushroom is the darkhorse favorite, or the favorite no one wants to admit. I'm the one that suffers from the general unwillingness to recognize the superiorty of the Sausage and Mushroom pizza. People are stupid.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:38 PM | Comments (8)

August 27, 2004

Too Important To Miss « Social Issues »

What happens if the Democrats lose?

It seems all too likely to me. It could be an uncomfortable four years for everyone.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:24 PM | Comments (2)
Why Is This Girl Smiling? « Humor »

No, seriously: why?!?!


LONDON -- Actress Alicia Witt models what is claimed to be the most colossal waste of effort in creating stupidest hat ever made, the $2,700,000 Champrau d'Amour, by celebrity couture hat designer Louis Mariette, at Christies in London. The hat is covered entirely in dazzling diamonds and inspired by entwined ivy and bluebells. (06/14/04 AP photo)

Oops, that wasn't exactly what they actually said, was it?

LONDON -- Actress Alicia Witt models what is claimed to be the most expensive hat ever made, the $2,700,000 Champrau d'Amour, by celebrity couture hat designer Louis Mariette, at Christies in London. The hat is covered entirely in dazzling diamonds and inspired by entwined ivy and bluebells. (06/14/04 AP photo)

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Posted by Nathan at 01:33 PM | Comments (3)
Some Things That Frustrate Me About Democrats/Liberals « Politics As Usual »


That's the simplest and most fair way I can put it.

I have several Democrat/liberal friends, and I'm sure that they will each think this is about them*, and they will all be partially correct.

Rather than 'blindspots', I could also call it childish petulance, because sometimes that's the way it comes across. But all of them are charming, witty, intelligent, thoughtful, caring people in everything besides politics, so I have to assume something else is at work, and 'blindspots' is the only way I can explain it.

When I'm driving, the thing I hate most is someone sitting in my blindspot. I will always adjust my speed to spend as little time in someone's blindspot as I can. Because when you glance to your left, you see your immediate left, and you also see mostly behind you through your sideview mirror...but there is a 'blindspot' big enough to hide a complete vehicle. If one is there, you can't see it, and so it is as if it doesn't exist at all for you. You can't make decisions based on a vehicle that doesn't exist in your experience...and that's how some horribly tragic accidents develop.

Here are two significant blindspots left unchecked by Democrats I often encounter:

They are upset at how Bush is handling the economy. Most of the time, they cite the economic statistics for their own state lagging behind the national recovery. What they ignore is that the states below the average (including Michigan, California, Washington, Oregon) are among the more liberal of states, with larger-than-average entitlements and tax rates. The states hurt least by the economic downturn and who recovered the most quickly are the conservative, low-tax, low-entitlement states whose state government used the same principles as President Bush. So blaming President Bush for your own liberal state's bad economy is like blaming the aspirin for the hangover. Refusing to vote for Bush because you live in a liberal state with a sagging economy is like trying to stay permanently drunk to avoid said hangover.

The unemployment rate is 5.5%. Experts say this level is pretty much full employment. Bickering about the specific number of jobs lost "during the administration" is silly, since it is based on a number that even the office that produces it says is underestimating the number of people working. Factor in the gainfully employed people not covered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Payroll Survey, and we are already seeing a net gain in jobs. And, in fact, by most major indicators, the economy is doing quite well.

Most experts also say the recent recession was much more shallow than expected, and recovery was quicker than expected. We had the best economic growth in 20 years in 2003! Manufacturing growth is at a 30 year high! The only possible way to criticize President Bush for his handling of the economy is to say that he is merely benefiting from natural economic cycles...but then you can't blame him for an economic downturn that began before he even took office, can you?

But the news media still reports the economic situation as bad, and my Democrat/Liberal friends are negative and critical along with it. Without a single fact to support that view, I might add, except that they are convinced things would be even better with Kerry as President. To which, I repeat: without a single fact to support that view. None of these people are dumb or essentially dishonest, so the only way I can explain it is they simply do not see the situation because their ideological views block out good economic news resulting from President Bush's actions as if they don't exist...

Another "blindspot" is concerning their anger that President Bush did not fulfill his promise to "Be a uniter, not a divider." They ignore that President Bush reached out to Democrat leaders from the very beginning, that he met with one of his most vocal critics in Ted Kennedy and worked civilly with him to produce the Education Bill of their dreams.
Things did get worse after that, yes. As President Bush said himself, "The most disappointing thing about his four years in office has been his inability to change the "harsh environment" in Washington."

But Democrats have used his expressed wish to be a uniter against him, demanding that he bow to their every wish or else be labeled "a divider". The Democrats were dividers in how they criticized every step President Bush took in the wake of 9/11. They demanded he come before Congress to get permission to invade Iraq, so he did. They demanded he go to the UN, so he did. They criticized him for appearing to delay until after the 2002 election for political reasons, and then criticized him even more sharply when he accomodated their wishes and made Iraq an issue earlier, in time for it to be an issue for the election. They used a loophole in the Senate to filibuster the majority of his nominees from a minority status, in flagrant disregard for the lesser obstructions of the Republican party under Clinton.
In every single case, President Bush has extended the hand of cooperation, and the Democrats have not only bitten it, they've blamed him for not preventing the biting.

It is extremely biased, negative, and dishonest to blame President Bush for current atmosphere when Democrats have pioneered harsh, partisan tactics at every stage. Unless it is just a blindspot for their own party's activities. I prefer to think of it so.

Read More "Some Things That Frustrate Me About Democrats/Liberals" »

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Posted by Nathan at 10:31 AM | Comments (3)
» Weekend Pundit links with: More Kerry Stuff

August 26, 2004

More Caption Fun « Humor »

Yeah, I get 'em all from Drudge. So what?


I'd do one myself, but like I said, ya'll are far better than me at this.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:19 PM | Comments (5)
The Crumbling Begins? « Politics As Usual »

You might want to go to Rasumussen Reports (linked in my sidebar). Today they are showing Bush ahead by a percentage point, and Kerry at his lowest percentage since 4 August. This is only the 2nd time this month he has been this low. I'm thinking he'll slide further as the bandwagon effect kicks in.

Of course, it may not. We are a long way from the election and this is all still in the margin of error.

But I'm thinking that the "Deny Them 1st Amendment Rights" response from the Kerry team to the SBVFT hurt Kerry and it is starting to show now.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
Individual Liberties « Quotes You Can Steal »

The push for individual liberties has done much to ensure that people can do whatever they want...

...unfortunately, it seems like what most people really want to do is be the biggest jerk they can be.

Read More "Individual Liberties" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
"Game. Set. --" But not 'Match' yet... « Politics As Usual »
KERRY CHALLENGES BUSH TO WEEKLY DEBATES: In Anoka, MN, John Kerry challenged President Bush to weekly debates on the issues.

BUSH CAMP REAX: "There will be a time for debates after the convention, and during the next few weeks, John Kerry should take the time to finish the debates with himself. This election presents a clear choice to the American people between a President who is moving America forward and a Senator who has taken every side of almost every issue and has the most out of the mainstream record in the U.S. Senate," said BC'04 spokesman Steve Schmidt.

From The Note, via Drudge.
The link above does not seem to be permanent, and likely will point to new stories starting on 27 August 2004.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)

August 25, 2004

Caption Contest « Humor »

I've been racking my brains to think of a good pun for Kevin McGehee, who won the last caption contest...but I guess you can't force genius. And you can't force puns, either.

So I'm abandoning all pretext of having a contest, and just running the pics for the fun of it. I am still eliciting humorous captions, because you are all better at it than me.

Many thanks to those who came up with some good ones on the last picture.

Here is today's:

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Posted by Nathan at 01:12 PM | Comments (6)
Telephone Solicitors of Gore* « Politics As Usual »

I'm at home eating dinner, and the phone rings at 5:50pm. My wife ignores the phone because we get too many solicitors. For the most part, if it rings, it's someone trying to sell something. They usually leave us alone at dinner, though.

There is the requisite pause of an auto-dialer routine switching to the recording once it found a live line.

Suddenly the warm, dulcet tones of the leading Democrat candidate for Washington state Governer come over the line. She identifies herself, and I hang up.

If it were a person calling me to explain her positions and stances, I might listen. But there is no way I'm going to waste my dinner time listening to a non-interactive robot blather inanities and campaign promises.

Are Democrats really growing that tone deaf? Why would they deliberately use techniques identical to one of the greatest irritants of the 21st century?

She lost any chance to earn my vote.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:48 AM | Comments (5)
"Help Is On The Way" « Politics As Usual »

For those of you who are tired of Swift Boat veteran allegations and Kerry's administration attempting to smear President Bush as being more tied to the SBVFT than Kerry is to, have patience.

The issues will return to prominence in September, as soon as we have the first debate. Of course, there's always the chance that Kerry won't discuss the issues even then... But at least it will be more clear who* doesn't want to discuss the issues, and maybe even why**...

Personally, I'm really enjoying the discussions of Swift Boat veterans' allegations.

Read More ""Help Is On The Way"" »

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Posted by Nathan at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
Wow. Kerry Still Doesn't Get It « Politics As Usual »

Captain's Quarters has the rundown on a recent example of Kerry's foreign policy attitudes.

Kerry should not be President. Heck, John F. Kerry should not be a Senator. Although he votes so rarely, it is arguable whether he actually is a true representative of his constituents.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
» marcland links with: Good one
"Use Any Weapon" « Media Distortions »

So NPR uses military attempts to maintain Operations Security as a pretext to criticize the war in Iraq.

Here's Greyhawk's take on the issue.

My reaction? Well, I don't know. I don't trust NPR much to begin with, and when they say things like, "Critics say it's an attempt to suppress unflattering truths about the U.S. occupation" when Mil-Blogs are actually one of the ways you can bypass negative media accounts to actually hear good news about the continuing liberation* in Iraq.

I can understand the need for Operational Security. Our enemies say they can get 80% of what they need from open sources. We are accustomed to openness, and I can see the need to remind people to be careful what information they give out...even if it comes in the form of a warning that some people feel is somewhat threatening.

I also suspect that 'bandwidth' might be an issue. You don't want to miss an important message because someone is uploading an image to their website.

I can see a reason why some higher ranking officers might want to discourage blogging without actually saying "no". The less people doing it, the less chance there is of problems, but the people who really find it useful and soul-satisfying aren't barred.

To tell the truth, I am far more disturbed that the USAF (and maybe the rest of the military, dunno), totally blocks access to the portal mail servers (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL). Even worse, they don't warn you before you deploy. It can be a significant morale hit to not be able to receive email or even be able to tell someone you won't be able to read their email until you return...

Read More ""Use Any Weapon"" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
» Mudville Gazette links with: With Friends Like That...
Who Makes the Team? Roster Guesses « Kansas City Chiefs »

It is still early in the preseason, and I'm guessing at how many players Vermeil will keep at each position as much as I am guessing who will make the team. Based on my impressions of their performances thus far, and potential for improvement within the season, I think the final roster will look close to this:

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Posted by Nathan at 06:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2004

I Can't Wait To See The Quotes From This: « Fun With News Headlines »
Kerry's campaign now says is possible first Purple Heart was awarded for unintentional self-inflicted wound...

If true (and Drudge doesn't have a link to anything there), that means that the range of responses to any and all of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are:
1) Stonewalling
2) Threats of lawsuits
3) Undermining the credibility of the SBVFT, rather than addressing the allegations
4) Admitting that perhaps an allegation might, in fact, be true.

This is getting ridiculous. I am feeling some sympathy for the minority of Democrats who were denied their chance to vote for Howard Dean in the election by other Democrats, but I honestly will lose all respect for anyone, anyone, who votes for John Kerry in this election.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:46 AM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2004

Amateur Eyewitness Report on the KC-STL Game « Kansas City Chiefs »

That idiot 'Brain Fertilizer' has another stupid, overly-optimistic post up again. Blah, blah, blah, KC will win the Superbowl 245-0 over the Denver Broncos, blah, blah, blah. Doesn't this guy ever shut up??!?!?!

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Posted by Nathan at 10:02 PM | Comments (7)
"Old Man" Clemens Speaks to His Wife and a Washed-Up Metal Band Simultaneously « Meme Stolen from Jeff G. »
Judas Priest, Barbara, it's one of those flaming bags again.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)
Nilou Motamed is Very Beautiful « Blogging »

She is the Travel and Leisure editor for CNN. But I can't find an image of her on the web. But then, one of the things I find so attractive about her is the way she smiles while talking, and the sparkle in her eyes...those might not show well in a still photograph.

....just saying, yanno?

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Posted by Nathan at 11:49 AM | Comments (5)

August 22, 2004

Musings on "The Big Tent" « Politics As Usual »

Both parties like to think they are inclusive. Talk about political parties, and you'll discuss how each party has a moderate wing and an extreme wing. Both parties don't do enough to disavow and marginalize the whackos, perhaps, and Democrats get blamed for PETA and ELF and NARAL as much as Republicans get blamed for Jerry Falwell and white supremacists.

This gets characterized as a "Big Tent"...

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Posted by Nathan at 10:55 PM | Comments (4)
Musings on the Campaign for the Presidency « Politics As Usual »

I'm really not sure Karl Rove is earning his paycheck. Then again, I'm just about absolutely certain John Kerry's campaign manager isn't. You can at least make the argument that Karl Rove is waiting until after the Olympics are over and everyone can truly focus on the campaign before he gets things in gear. But Kerry's campaign took the wrong tack from the beginning, and the Democrat Party went right along with it. It will be their undoing.

Here's why I think that way:

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Posted by Nathan at 10:08 PM | Comments (7)

August 20, 2004

Political Drama Unfolds « Media Distortions »

This is an attempt to leave an impression in the minds of voters, regardless of whether or not the accusation goes anywhere.

And you can bet the New York Times will do all it can to try the case in the court of public opinion with a biased jury.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:37 PM | Comments (8)

August 19, 2004

An Explanation « Blogging »

...regarding this post:

It's all no big deal. I'm feeling a little disappointed in blogging lately, like I've been spending too much time doing it...and not pleased with my results. I haven't had a post I'm proud of in a while. I haven't had a post with truly original thoughts or development in longer than that, probably. I've been linking stuff I've enjoyed reading, mostly just to get another post up so people will still keep dropping by. And while that's a perfectly valid way to blog, it's not me.

I want to do more posts about China. I want to try some Op-Ed. I want to concentrate on writing some new puns. Goodness knows I'm years overdue for the Pun-Fest that is the Just-Us League.

Bottom line, though, is that I've been doing oodles of politcal and social blogging, particularly over the last year. I'm more than that. The blogosphere is more than that. Sure, the most pressing issue is the Global War on Terror mixed in with the economy and pressing social issues of abortion and homosexual rights, and they all intersect in the 2004 election. The mainstream news media has dropped all pretense of objectivity in trying to get Kerry elected, and the blogosphere plays a very important (if not vital) role in defending the nation from the onslaught against democracy by Democrats.*

But I'm tired of it, and I'm not the only one. I think the blogosphere is going to contract quite a bit, if not actually implode, after the elections in November. We will have a landslide, or at least a clear mandate, and there will be little to fight for once the politicians stop stirring us up and the mainstream news media stops being complete hypocrites and partisans (either because they won and don't have to anymore, or because they lost and ended up selling their integrity and ethics for nothing).

So I want to work on sharing my whole mind, my whole thoughts, and preparing for Blogging Life After November. Sure, not everyone is so wrapped up in it, but I am, and many of the blogs I read are. Some will be so burnt out they will take a break, if not flirt with quitting. I don't want to be burnt out, I don't want to be exhausted. I want to put better quality of posts out, I want to research topics instead of just putting stuff out first draft. I never even 'sanity-check' 'em for grammar/spelling clarity! I think this method has limited my effectiveness as a writer and persuader. I do want to become a professional writer, and one of the choices is as an Op-Ed writer, but you can't just spout of your gut reactions, you have to back it up. I need to develop as a writer.

Don't get me wrong, blogging has gotten me to this step, and I'm betting blogging can take me to the next level, too. But I'm going to have to consciously make a change to do it.

And so look at my posts today. It's a rare thing, indeed, when I only have 3 posts. And I wouldn't have even had this one if it weren't for Casey's comment on the aforementioned post.

Don't worry about me, people. Don't cry for me, Blogentina! I ain't going nowhere! But it is time for me to make a qualitative change. I can feel it. I hope you'll be able to see it.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:59 PM | Comments (7)
China Expands Strategic Bomber Fleet « China/Taiwan »

I'm not sure I believe it, but Global Security's website is reporting that China has formalized plans to acquire Russian Tu-22M Backfire bombers.

The acquisition would significantly increase stand-off ranges against the US Navy in the event of a conflict over/invasion of Taiwan.

Please understand (if you don't already), China has no plans to attack or get involved in an extended war with the United States. The United States' policy toward China and Taiwan is somewhat schizophrenic, agreeing that Taiwan is part of China on hand but promising to defend Taiwan from an invasion by China on the other. China apparently plans on exploiting that ambiguity by presenting a strong enough defense to make defending Taiwan costly in terms of US military lives. China seems to hope that they can capture and consolidate Taiwan before the United States could summon up enough political will to get involved, and present the world with a fait accompli.

They could do that without these aircraft, and the addition of the aircraft themselves doesn't make this scenario appreciably more likely...but if true, it is simply one more indication of the plans China has for the future.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)
...guess I Don't Have Much To Say (UPDATED) « Blogging »

I think this blog is going to go through a metamorphasis.

In trying for volume of blogging, I have done everything 'first draft' and done lots of 'link + reaction" blogging. I'm growing displeased with the results.

Okay, I'll admit it: one of the reasons I'm displeased is that the kerfuffle I unfortunately dumped on Michelle Malkin gave me more than 1000 hits one day and over 600 the next, the first two steps of a long, slow decline back to equilibrium. ...and now I often don't crack 200. While I understand that is the normal course of events, and while I recognize that my hit total equilibrium is still significantly higher now, I still feel a touch of chagrin that I'm still currently incapable of sustaining that level of traffic.

Sure, I have some nice puns, but I can't produce them consistently. I have some original opinions, and some original and unique viewpoints, but the brutally honest self-introspection says that I don't offer the same quality as Stephen Green at Vodkapundit, or Zombyboy at Resurrectionsong, Juliette at Baldilocks, or Ace at Ace of Spades HQ...just to name a few of the better bloggers out there. Yeah, each one of them has a schtick that helps them stand out...but having stood out, they attract and retain traffic through top-notch writing and content.

Don't get me wrong, I think I can do the exact same thing. I think I am capable of being a top-notch writer and producing top-notch content. But I don't think I've actually demonstrated it, at least, not consistently.

And so, I think it is time for a change, of sorts. I'm going to spend some more time researching things I want to discuss, instead of depending on my native intelligence and vague understandings. I'm going to try to focus on some areas in which I have fairly unique knowledge. Like: China, for instance. I love history, and study it, and have some very controversial viewpoints on certain aspects...but I've depended on other people to bring up the topic before I responded and reacted, so how many people really know that I'm a history buff? Probably few. I did some good stuff for Zombyboy's Africablog, but what have I done lately? Zilch. It's time to change that.

But the time's gotta come from somewhere. So it is possible that my volume of output might be reduced somewhat. Or I might end up falling into the same routines and things will be the same as always. Dunno.

It should be interesting to watch, though.

Some related thoughts.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:48 AM | Comments (4)

August 18, 2004

Anyone Still Trust Michael Moore? « Politics As Usual »

Or, for that matter, the Democrat Party who champions him?

Well, here's yet another reason why you shouldn't.

Honestly, there is enough information out there about liberal/Democrat distortions, enough proof about their fundamental dishonesty, that I begin to wonder just how powerful willful ignorance can be.


Is he going to sue Moore? No he's got a better idea:

"If anything, I'd like to see (Moore) throw some money toward a veterans charity,'' Damon said. "He claims to be a champion of soldiers, but I haven't seen him do anything for us.''

Unfortunately, its unlikely that Moore will share his windfall from his propaganda film with the unwilling stars of his film.

Damon, showing a wisdom far beyond his years has the final say:

"Just the whole thought of being in this piece of propaganda. It's like a documentary Hitler would have made. You know when you join the military that there's an inherent risk,'' Damon said. "I was doing my job the same as any guy in a foxhole was doing his. I don't blame this on anybody. It was an unfortunate accident.''

How about it, Mr. Moore? You have profited greatly from tragedies like Columbine and 9/11. You have made a fortune on the pain of others. Why can't you let some of the sufferers share in the windfall?

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Posted by Nathan at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)
Woman escapes meteorite... « Fun With News Headlines »

When reporters reached the woman, she said, "This stupid meteorite was following me around for years! ...making phone calls, bugging my employers... I finally got a restraining order, and even that didn't help. I finally had to move to Suffolk and change my name to Rose Smythe to get away from that jerk. Um, that last part was off the record, right?"

Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.

Kerry spokesman David Wade said it was an unintentional error by a campaign volunteer and then criticized President Bush's economic policies.

Read Only Half Of It.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)
Brain Fertilizer's "This Old House" « Stuff Important to Me »

Two days ago my front door fell off its hinges (on the 'door' side rather than the 'jamb' side). Apparently the screws pulled loose out of the wood.

The house was pretty badly treated by the previous owners...I have no idea what they might have done to damage the door. And it was certainly something that was caused (or started at the very least) by them, because the door handle was broken and I replaced it right after we purchased the home; within one month the deadbolt didn't fit into the new hole I had cut. In my ignorance, I thought it might be seasonal swelling alterations or something.

So the door needed repairing. It was still attached in the bottom most hinge. So I considered replacing the door...but I didn't want to try to hang a door, and I didn't really want to replace the whole jamb. So I went to Lowe's (much more helpful than Home Depot in my to advertise here, Lowe's?) and asked about plugging the holes with dowels and redrilling. I was immediately told about this cool product, described as a mesh, that you stuffed in the holes to help the screws grip again.

What it actually was, however, was strips of steel with holes punched into it. The lip around the punched holes would act as teeth, gripping both the wood and the screw surfaces to increase surface area contact and friction to hold the screw in place. You could also use such strips to repair furniture joints that have loosened over time, as well, but I have no such need at the present time.

And, obviously, it worked. The door no longer sags at all, closes much more easily, and the deadbolt slides easily into the socket. I completed a project that I feared would be expensive and time-consuming for less than $2, and in less than 15 minutes, including the time it took to gather tools (although not including the time it took to go to Lowe's and research/purchase supplies).

I'm quite pleased with myself and with Lowe's.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
Language and Some New Books « Stuff Important to Me »

I love the English language. My appreciation for it has grown even stronger through blogging, and through mastering Chinese-Mandarin.

I just made an intentionally-vague comment in an email, eliciting laughter...could have easily elicited curses, but I made an educated judgment about the character and intelligence of the recipient and was right.

Anyway, I nearly asked her if she had read any Steven Brust, particularly the series written in the style of Alexander Dumas, starting with The Phoenix Guards. But then I thought, why not bring this up with everyone?

Because Mr. Brust recently came out with a complete trilogy in that same series. Unbelievable! Unbelievably good! It ties in both the historical and "modern" time periods of Drageara through a tale set in the Interregnum, and even features a character from a story set in modern-day Earth: Gypsy. ...makes me wonder if we'll see Cowboy Feng or Agyar drop in...

...but anyway, the language in the 'historical' books makes one love the intracacies of English, and makes one want to use it in conversation with the unknowing, regardless (and probably also because) of the consternation and puzzlement it may engender.

I don't often frequent bookstores. It's possible the books were published more than a year apart...but for me, all three are out at the same time from my viewpoint. Sure, the last is not yet in paperback, but probably will be soon. I couldn't ask for better timing.

If you enjoy fantasy or even merely don't mind fantasy but love good writing, go pick up something by Steven Brust. It might not be what you expect, but it will be excellent. I promise.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:12 AM | Comments (4)
2000 vs 2004: A Retrospective « Politics As Usual »

My friend and part-time bedeviler/ideological sparring partner, Marty, sent me this link to an excellent look back at the campaign in 2000.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

"If It Weren't For You Meddling Kids!" « Quotes You Can Steal »

"Generation 'Y'? More like Generation Whiney!"

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Posted by Nathan at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)
Blogging Under Fire « Blogging »

I just got back from the range with Emma's husband.

A great time was had by all. Except maybe the cardboard boxes.

The VEPR shoots quite well. Little perceived recoil, felt good in the hands. Now if only its owner could hit the broad side of a barn! Then again, we weren't shooting at barns, and I did put a few holes in the boxes. Of course, that isn't that impressive at something less than 100 yards with a scope.

Ah, well, the main point was to do a functions check, and that and the L1A1 (FN-FAL clone) both fired well, considering...

I had a little problem with my Polish Mosin-Nagant M44. It was fun to fire, but I think the magazine spring lost a part, because it suddenly stopped feeding correctly. I'll look for a replacement part online soon.

We'll do it again.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:01 PM | Comments (2)
One For Deb « Fun With News Headlines »

N.J. Democrats begin to push McGreevey out early

...maybe you should have named your daughter "McGreevey"...?

Or not

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Posted by Nathan at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)
A Blog "War" With Class « Social Issues »

After handling my petulance with grace and aplomb, check out how Michelle Malkin handles this one. She sends traffic over, with minimal self-defense and mostly compliments.

And I can understand the angst Shelley Powers is feeling, at least as far as feeling like you are getting less attention than you deserve. (although now I feel I get more than I deserve...I guess it evens out)

Other thoughts and reactions:

I suspect that Ms. Powers didn't realize that Michelle Malkin was already a well-known and widely respected columnist, author, and talk-show guest/pundit who already shaped conservative thought long before she began blogging. Which is why she got so many hits so really had little connection with her book publishing, methinks.

I found Michele Catalano's response to the post highly intriguing. She talks about the 70s as being just as sexualized as the 00's. I disagree. I strongly disagree. Heck, I strenuously object! The 70s appeared to be a time of excessive sexualization, but it was only in comparison to the 50s and early 60s that preceded it. The sexual activity was mixed up in the drug culture and widespread rebellion against authority that were also prevalent at the time. And so I find it interesting that Michele feels she must apologize for her impulse running counter to that, now that she has gained both experience (wisdom, maturity) and a child. Michele has obviously learned that such a focus and emphasis on sex is not good for the individual spirit, despite how much the body may enjoy it. But even though the sexual revolution was born of questioning authority and rebelling against conventional wisdom of morality and status quo, Michele feels uncomfortable questioning the authority of purveyors of sexuality and rebelling against conventional wisdom of immorality. Freedom should be more free, right? Why does Michele feel uncomfortable drawing her own conclusions from her own experiences...?

And our times are far more sexualized. As a later poster indicated, you can find all sorts of things on TV that you couldn't in the 70s. Heck, you could find more simulated sex on TV in the 80s than in the 70s, thanks to HBO and music videos. Nowadays, you can find graphic pornography with just a few clicks of the mouse, junior high school students perform oral sex in the classroom, and it is difficult to find clothes for your 10-year-old girl that are less suggestive than the average hooker wears.

The message of the 60s was "Self-Actualization and Enlightenment Through Sex."
As a society, we tried it out throughout the 70s and early 80s until we got the AIDS epidemic. Yay. We had teen pregnancy. Yay. The left fought to popularize abortion, so now we have teen pregnancy at higher rates and abortion at higher rates. Yay.

One solution? Stop brainwashing our kids into thinking that sex is the ultimate expression of love, or perhaps teach them that attraction and love aren't the same thing.

Instead, as a society, we denigrate anyone who suggests kids should wait until marriage to have sex. Keep setting low expectations, right? That way you don't make anyone feel bad for not even meeting those...

Maturity means figuring out what actually works. Wisdom means being able to apply those lessons to other situations. Compassion means helping our youth understand the costs and the choices without having to go through the pain themselves.

...and I'm rambling. Ah, well, I mean what I say, and I think it is worth saying, but I doubt anyone really wants to listen. Either you agree and I'm wasting my breath, or you'll never agree and I'm wasting my breath. Er, fingers energy. Whatever.

In any case, I can ramble if I want to.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:59 PM | Comments (7)
Cosmic ray link to global warming boosted... « Fun With News Headlines »

Duh. Cosmic rays created the powers of the Fantastic Four, including Johnny, the Human Torch...and the way he flies around on fire, he's changed weather patterns, caused droughts, and so forth. I'm just surprised it took this long for scientists to catch on.

Er, maybe not...

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Posted by Nathan at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)
[Sigh] « Blogging »

I wish I had something worth posting.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)
The Brainfertilizer Way to Stretch Muscles « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

This post is closely related to yesterday's about running. I ain't talking about yoga here, folks.

Any time you talk about stretching in relation to exercise, you should at least address the controversy: to stretch or not to stretch?

Personally, I say don't stretch. At least, not before you exercise. I used to stretch to a count of 15 for each major muscle group before exercising, and to a count of 10 afterwards. Then I read an article that insisted warming up beforehand had both beneficial and harmful effects, and so the result was pretty much a wash. See, loosening up the muscles may lessen the chance of a pulled muscle, but since the muscles are looser, your joints don't have as much support and so you are probably equally increasing the chance for an injury to your connective tissue.

So I stopped stretching beforehand, and I did notice a minor improvement on my 2-mile time, but well within margins of error to possibly be imagination. And yet, and yet: no injuries. None. I'm close to 40 years old, run quite a bit, and I've never had a problem with pulled muscles, painful knees, or shin splints. Then again, maybe I'm just lucky?

A few years later, I was trying to increase my flexibility, because I could barely touch my toes. I had never stopped stretching after exercising, so I started increasing the stretch time to a ver-r-ry slow 40 count. I also always bend my knees slightly...I think locking the knees while stretching is a bad idea, personally.

My flexibility has increased to the point that I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds: I am more flexible before stretching than most guys are after stretching, so I feel like I'm not risking any pulled muscles, but my joints are still protected by not having my muscles too loose.

In any case, it works for me. Your mileage may vary.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:54 PM | Comments (3)
Kerry's Advice About Money Love « Link O' Admiration »

I saw this and decided not to blog it. Had I done so, the intent would have been something like this, but there's no way I would have done so well.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:18 AM | Comments (2)
Pardon Me, but Your Agenda is Showing « Media Distortions »

I don't think this sort of reaction is unusual for a journalist...this one just doesn't hide it as well as most.

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Posted by Nathan at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2004

An Open Message « Blogging »

Sometimes things get misunderstood in writing. The writer tries to be emphatic and ends up sounding pissed. Someone tries to make a joke, and it isn't taken that way.

I have enough problems sticking my foot in my mouth when speaking, so I try to be extra careful in blogs to ascertain that I'm actually being insulted before I react as such. If two people end up in a dispute, it can often be entirely possible that both are correct that the other person started it. Best to not even go there.

So remember, your comments stand fine on their own. I think the quality of reader I attract can express themselves well without ad hominem attacks. So far, no one has proven me wrong, but let's make sure it stays that way, m'kay?

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Posted by Nathan at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)
The Brainfertilizer Way to Improve Run Time « The Brain Fertilizer Way »

All you need is a decent motorized treadmill.

What you do is choose the time you want to run for a certain distance. If you want to, say, run two miles in 13 minutes, you set the treadmill speed for a 6:30 mile. Obviously, your goal should be realistic. If you are 60 years old and 70 pounds overweight, a 5-minute mile is not an advisable goal. Be smart, because dumb choices are your own responsibility.

If your treadmill has an incline function, set the incline somewhere between 1.5 and 3, since running on a powered treadmill is somewhat easier than on a flat, non-moving surface.

Start running. Run as far as you can at the pace you want to reach. It really doesn't matter if you can only run a quarter-mile or half-mile at that speed before collapsing. When you run next, whether the next day or the day after (but don't go more than 48 hours without running if you are serious about improving your run time), you should try to go at least a little bit farther. When you can't run any more at that speed, drop the speed down to a pace you can maintain and finish out the distance.

You won't see much improvement the first few days. But if you run every day, you should meet your goal within 2-3 weeks, depending on the distance and desired goal of improvement.

This method works because the treadmill trains your legs, lungs, and body to go at a certain pace. You become conditioned to that speed and will do it automatically even when you don't have a powered surface moving beneath you that forces you to maintain the pace. If you slow down while running on a track, nothing happens except that you slow down...and your body doesn't get the chance to learn to maintain that pace. But if you slow down on the treadmill, you immediately feel yourself drifting away from the console, and can adjust your pace again to keep up. Even more importantly, if you don't speed up again, you actually will fall off the treadmill and possibly hurt yourself. That's a nice little reason to keep up the pace, eh?

If you decide to try this, let me know how it goes for you.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:10 PM | Comments (1)
Truedat. « Politics As Usual »
protectionist demagoguery — outsourcing, Benedict Arnold CEOs, etc. — rattles foreign governments far more than the war does. If it's a choice between Democratic-party trade barriers or the lunatic Texan overthrowing some tinpot dictatorship once a year, the Europeans will go with the latter.

From the NRO, but it's just an intro to an online article that you need to subscribe to gain access.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
Caption Contest Winner « Humor »

A consultation was had with the judges, and we finally realized we needed to actually end the contest so we could start another one. So, with no further ado, we declare that Kevin McGehee of blogoSFERICS is the winner of this contest.

Great job, Kevin! I'll have your prize up later today, when I figure out what the heck I can actually pull it off.

Here's your new caption contest:

View image

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Posted by Nathan at 07:50 AM | Comments (6)

August 15, 2004

This Is So Wrong « Rhetorical Questions »

What am I talking about, you ask?

Check out the title of this article. I actually looked at it like three times before it hit me what was bothering me...

Read More "This Is So Wrong" »

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Posted by Nathan at 07:31 PM | Comments (2)
News Media Prediction Blunders « Media Distortions »

So Kerry leads by a few percentage points and the media says the race is Kerry's to lose, eh?

It seems to me that Al Gore was leading W by a large margin at one point before the RNC convention, but an admittedly cursory Google search revealed nothing. Is there anyone out there with more time on their hands who wants to look into this?

Premise: the mainstream news media is deliberately (although probably subconsciously) talking up Kerry's slim lead to discourage Bush supporters and encourage Kerry supporters. To do so, they have to ignore how even significant leads are largely immaterial at this point. That is why there are absolutely no comparisons to the race four years ago: it would not suit their subconscious agenda.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:20 AM | Comments (13)
Let's Upset People, Shall We? « Media Distortions »

This is a "ponder" piece. Meaning, I don't want you to just react, I would like you to think, consider, and use some introspection to remember how you felt about certain issues several years ago.

The impetus for my post is a recent one by Dean Esmay. In his post, he wonders about the stunning lack of coverage of Kerry's negatives by mainstream news media, particularly regarding the allegations of the the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He says:

I would have to ask why a single 20 year old drunk driving charge made screaming national headlines four years ago, but none of this is making it into the mainstream press, except on the editorial pages of a few small newspapers.

I am honestly stunned. This isn't bias. This is... it's... I don't even know the word for it. It's obviously not a conspiracy, and people who think it is one should take off their tinfoil hats. But what do you call it? Groupthink? Mass delusion? Blind spot? You cannot gush praise at a guy's military record and then just ignore the fact that he has heavy duty critics. Even if all of those critics were right-wing Republicans, that doesn't make it less of a story.

The comments in that post are also important, as they take the discussion further. Go read this post by Dean, then continue here.

Back? Good. Now, here's the thinking exercise portion.

I'm sure the reporters and writers and editors see nothing wrong with the way they are not approaching this issue. Nor do most Democrat supporters care much. After all, they want President Bush out of office, so who cares what happened 30 years ago? (Well, people who care about character do...)

The news media is actively attempting to monitor and moderate debate on Kerry. This is having an effect on our society and voting patterns, no?*

Doesn't this also call into question other issues that the left-leaning news media covers? Can we really trust the mainstream news media on the question of abortion?

Stop and think a moment. Did you care about homosexual marriage 5-10 years ago? Did you fight for it? Did it ever really cross your mind that it might be a human rights issue? Would you have considered making your votes for government contingent on this single issue?

I think few people can honestly answer all those questions in the affirmative.

I am leaning toward the feeling this issue was manufactured, highlighted, and foisted upon society at large by the mainstream news media. Lawrence vs Texas raised the issue in the minds of citizens, thanks to news media who covered it far out of proportion to its impact. The news media distorted Sen. Santorum's remarks as a tactic to allow them to vilify conservative viewpoint...they went so far as to insert the word "gay" into the interview, which word was not even implied! The mainstream news media has used its power and reach to popularize the view SSM is a human rights issue rather than the behavioral issue it clearly is...and everyone convinced of it thinks they are fully rational and reasonable about the issue...just like Kerry supporters regarding the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

It's not a conspiracy, no. It's just that Left/Liberal ideas currently have an extreme advantage in competition for adoption by the common citizen, since Left/Liberal idealogues control several of the main channels of culture/idea communication: News media, entertainment, and education.

Will the internet/blogging be enough to flip things around? I'm not sure. It will have an effect, surely...

Read More "Let's Upset People, Shall We?" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:10 AM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2004

KC's Preseason Game #1 (loss to the Giants) « Kansas City Chiefs »

I am quite pleased with KC's first exhibition game, a loss to the NY Giants.

The 1st team was up 14-0 and the second team had us up 17-7. I didn't get to actually watch the game, but from the online stats, it seemed as if Kansas City put in thw 2nd team and then the 3rd team one series earlier than the Giants each time. Playing "one level down" resulted in 14 of the Giants points, from what I can tell. But that's really immaterial, other than the back-ups getting some excellent work.

Read More "KC's Preseason Game #1 (loss to the Giants)" »

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Posted by Nathan at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Get 'Em While They're Hot! « Link O' Admiration »

BIRD, er, Suzy Rice, er -S-, (just what should I call you, anyway?) has got some great looking logos at her site.

First one.
Second one.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:02 PM | Comments (4)
Idiots, Amateurs, MoveOn.Org. No difference « Politics As Usual »

Check out this.

And notice that they can't even spell the rank correctly.

I saved a copy of it here.

Oh, and I found it through Dean.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:09 PM | Comments (2)
Looking to the Future « Link O' Admiration »

This is about the Kansas City Chiefs, yes...but it also uses the Chiefs as a working example of a specific philosophy toward building a team, so other team fans might still enjoy reading this...

Read More "Looking to the Future" »

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Posted by Nathan at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
Don't Wax Nostalgic « Media Distortions »

Because these are "the good old days", regardless of what you hear from pessimistic Democrats trying to win an election.

That's Kerrynomics, folks. Trash-talk the economy today. Conceal what you're going to do to the economy if you're elected.

Shoot. That's the entire Democrat platform over the last 20 years!

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Posted by Nathan at 08:38 AM | Comments (7)
Question « Blogging »

Will some please explain to me why, when you attempt to upload a picture that's a little too large for your sidebar, the option to change the pixels (size) doesn't actually change anything??????

I even manually change the numbers for width/height, and it makes no freaking difference!


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Posted by Nathan at 07:55 AM | Comments (4)

August 12, 2004

An Ann Coulter Article (UPDATED) « Media Distortions »

This one is relatively reasonable and sticks to facts more than invective! (Tends. But still far less invective and insults than the average pro-choice article.)

Maybe she's gotten enough of acting like Democrat notables like James Carville, Maureen O'Dowd, and Molly Ivins?

UPDATE: I, um, forgot to point out that I found the article courtesy of Mad Mikey, and didn't remember to do so until he left a comment. My apologies, Mike.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:15 PM | Comments (2)
Caption Contest! « Link O' Admiration »

Okay, not really.

But it is really too cool to fail to link it.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:35 PM | Comments (2)
Prescience « GWOT »

Okay, only two days in advance. But while everyone is talking about this today, I blogged about it a full two days ago.

While I'm busy congratulating myself, could someone take the time to look around and see if anyone predicted it earlier?


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Posted by Nathan at 03:19 PM | Comments (3)
» FreedomSight links with: Rep. Ron Paul on Safety and Security
Is There No End to the Democrat Lies??? « Politics As Usual »

Don't answer that.

But in any case, don't listen to John Kerry, John Edwards, Ron Reagan, or Hillary Rodham (Clinton) when they say there is a ban on stem-cell research, or that President Bush advocated or supported any such ban.

The facts:

The President's answer was that there ought to be no restrictions on the private sector but that federal subsidies should be limited to lines that had already been harvested and should not be used to encourage the destruction of embryos. In short, it was a reasonable middle ground.

Why do I think the main reason Democrats support stem cell research is because it helps assure support for abortion?

...dont answer that, either.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)
Word Games Manipulations « Politics As Usual »

The same thing has been noted and described before, maybe even many times.

But it is worth revisiting, if only to read the following excerpt in context:

Crimes committed by bums are covered up by the media, by verbally transforming "the homeless" into "transients" or "drifters" whenever they commit crimes. Thus "the homeless" are the only group you never hear of committing any crimes.

Found via Tac Jammer.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)
Why Blog? « Blogging »

A question oft asked, and attempts to answer oft made.

Personally, I prefer to address that as three interrelated and indivisible questions:
Why did I start blogging? Why do I continue to blog? And what do I get out of blogging?

#1: I started blogging as a way to stay sane while on a long, lonely, boring, and professionally-frustrating deployment in the Indian Ocean.

#2: I continue to blog because I cannot stop. I know, I've tried. But as long as the outlet exists, I will want to use it to express myself.

#3: I have gotten several things out of blogging:

-A non-blogging friend told me he loves the conversations we have about politics and art and society, because he can get such discussion nowhere else. I don't have the callousness to tell him I have better discussions every day in the blogosphere.

-I've made several friends who I fully expect will accompany me until the ends of our lives. I'm going shooting next week with the husband of another blogger. I very nearly considered moving to Denver because of the concentration of interesting people who live and blog there.

-Blogging has cemented my self-image as a writer. I haven't finished a novel yet, but I know I will. Blogging increases my commitment to becoming a paid writer, which increases the chances for my eventual success.

-I have refined my understanding and views of abortion, homosexuality, sexuality, humanity, war, politics, and several other issues almost exclusively through blogging interactions.

-I have discovered a deep and abiding love of old rifles, going so far as to spend more than $2000 in building my personal collection of rifles, all directly due to blogging (and in no small part due to Kim du Toit.)

-I have discovered and refined a talent for punning.

Well, I hope the earlier gains outweigh that last negative...

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Posted by Nathan at 01:55 PM | Comments (5)
» INDC Journal links with: Why Blog?
» Miss Apropos links with: I'm not jealous.
Outsourcing Analogy « Social Issues »

And a fine one, too. Anyone care to dispute it?

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Posted by Nathan at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)
President Bush Apparently Gaining Ground « Politics As Usual »

If you ask me, Kerry's lead has been artificial. As has been pointed out in numerous places, there was almost no bounce from his selection of Edwards as a running mate, there was almost no bounce from the convention, and Bush's numbers really didn't go down in the midst of some really vicious hammering by Democrat-leaning 527 groups and Michael Moore.

Sure, the things that should have pumped up Bush's numbers (like the excellent performance of the economy, the discrediting of Joe Wilson, Sandy Berger, and Richard Clarke, and the ad by the Swift Vote Veterans for Truth) aren't having much impact, either...but I think that is due to the national media downplaying events that might help President Bush or hurt John Kerry and simultaneously highlighting news that hurts Bush or makes him look bad. The information is out there...all it means is that it will probably take more time before the effect shows in opinion polls.

So take a look at this tracking history. For weeks now, Bush has been at either 45 or 46, but 4 days ago he was up to 48% and led over Kerry by 1%. Sure, all within statistical variations...but I still find it hopeful.

...and the Republican convention is still on the way. And the Olympics tends to pump up patriotism and national pride, which is more closely associated with Republicans. And, most importantly, Karl Rove has only just begun to make his presence/advice felt. Like Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France, knowing when to peak is the most important aspect. I see the seeds of Kerry's Disaster in the making. Kerry won't replace McGovern as the mark of futility, but President Bush will win in a landslide.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Hmmm...Notice Anything Funny? « Media Distortions »

I wonder why his political affiliation isn't mentioned?

You know, since news media are usually big corporations, and big corporations are inherently capitalist and therefore must be conservative, that means that the governer must be a Republican and so the by-default conservative news media is downplaying the connection to his party to help Republicans save face in a way that Democrats would never do...

Oops. Maybe not...

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Posted by Nathan at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2004

Confession or Inadvertant Error? « Politics As Usual »

Well, since it's most likely the truth, considering the Democrat Party's track record on honesty over the last few years, I'd have to vote Inadvertant Error.

But judge for yourself.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:51 PM | Comments (1)
Is This Really Serious? « Social Issues »

I can't believe it's actually real.

Click, if you dare. It's that cheesy.

Found via The American Thinker, who seems to be taking it seriously, and whom was found via Dean Esmay. (Dean's link points to the piece I read first, before browsing the main page to find the second).

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Posted by Nathan at 12:46 PM | Comments (3)
Caption Contest! « Humor »


The winner gets their own pun, written especially for them!

Read More "Caption Contest!" »

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Posted by Nathan at 05:14 AM | Comments (10)

August 10, 2004

Why You Will Never See A Passenger Vehicle Get 100 mpg From Fossil Fuels « Media Distortions »

Cold, hard facts:
There is only a finite amount of energy in a gallon of gas. We are already extracting the vast majority of that energy. We can use mechanical means to try and reduce the waste (with the generator to charge batteries when braking), but there is an upper limit to that, too. The greater the weight of the vehicle, the more energy it takes to overcome friction and/or inertia to move it. So we've pretty much reached the point of quickly-diminishing returns there, too.
Most people simply want more use from their vehicles than you can get from an economy car. Europe's population centers are far more compact, so the solutions that work there wouldn't work here outside of the Eastern Seaboard's megapolis.
Maybe the next big break-through will be more efficient solar cells...but since solar energy is relatively weak, and the amount of energy beamed onto the surface area of the largest vehicles also has an upper limit, even significant gains in that area won't appreciably reduce our demand for oil. And hydrogen-cell cars are no panacea, since the easiest way to get the hydrogen is from oil, and the easiest way to get it from water is to burn fossil fuels for energy.

In fact, the only sane development that could conceivably make a difference would be modular cars. Specifically, a 1- or 2- seater for commuting/errands that gets 50+ mpg and can be attached to various specific-function add-on modules, such as:

a larger cabin for carrying 4-5 people,
an even larger cabin for carrying 5-7 people, or 3-4 + luggage/gear
a cargo-hauler flatbed or walled bed.

With each larger module, you'd get worse gas mileage, but it wouldn't be a big deal because it would see only occasional use.

It wouldn't be for everyone, no...but most people don't really need large pick-ups or SUVs for the bulk of their driving. They have them for prestige/pride (which might be less important as gas prices increase) and because they assume (rightly or wrongly) that there are enough times they need it to make it worth it.

For instance, I commute. I can't carpool because I keep quite irregular hours. My wife rarely, if ever, drives while I'm at work. But we need two cars. We need the smaller because I don't want to put the commuting wear-and-tear on the nicer, newer, larger vehicle and because the smaller car gets significantly better mileage. We can't live with just the smaller car because we like to travel, and we sometimes like to browse antiques and garage sales. The smaller vehcle is wholly inadequate for the space we need for those functions. So we own two cars...

I'm sure we aren't the only household in that situation.

But you won't hear any of that from Kerry, and the news media won't call him on it.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:32 PM | Comments (4)
Sensible and Insightful Post « Link O' Admiration »

And so, obviously, not anything found on this site...

Rather, Steve at Vodkapundit really kicked butt in this post regarding winning the War on Terror. There are several truly excellent moments, and many good points made. In fact, I consider it pretty much the most succinct and most apt explanation of why we had to invade Iraq.

I would add one thing: The Islamic religious society is structured so as to make competing ideas fight to the death for supremacy.

Sunnis and Shias don't sit down and talk things out, or negotiate concessions regarding their differences. They kill each other whenever possible, and ignore each other when necessary.

My addition doesn't change one thing about what Mr. Green says, it merely underscores his point: the struggle to gain support for the War on Terror is, itself, the most important part of the battle, because the daring and resolve to fight back against those who assail us are the traits that will guarantee our eventual victory.

Hat tip to Kevin McGehee of blogoSFERICS.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)
Change is A-Comin'! « GWOT »

In Iraq. I firmly believe it.

Things are coming to a head over there, and I think the result will be a far more stable nation well on its way to its first free election. And all thanks to President George W. Bush, the Republican Administration, and warbloggers everywhere.

And no thanks to Democrats, who are doubly perfidous because they like to say they are the party that cares about human rights while trying to impugn Republicans as only caring about money. Which party is complaining most about the costs of our intervention in Iraq, hmm?

Furthermore, a stable Iraq does make the United States more safe, even if there is no provable, direct connection. Because both an unstable Iraq and a stable Iraq under Saddam Hussein are demonstrably conducive to terrorists attacking the US.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Disheartened By Weak Job-Creation Numbers? « Media Distortions »

Well, the non-liberal news media wants you to be, don't they? Here's a full analysis of the true current situation, rather than just a flat number without context or comparison.

...and if you are excited by recent weak job-creation numbers, shame on you, you partisan hack who puts your own political desires ahead of the good of the nation.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)
Character Always Reveals Itself « Politics As Usual »

...and Kerry's revealed character is quite poor.

I know I wouldn't want someone with Kerry's propensity to lie and distort to be President. And I don't want someone who responds to criticisms with threats of lawsuits to be my Commander-in-Chief.

You support the troops? Vote Bush/Cheney in 2004.

This has been a free advertisement for the Bush/Cheney 2004 re-election campaign. We now return you to your normally scheduled blogcasting.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:57 AM | Comments (2)
A Lousy Pun « Puns »

During World War Two, Great Britain sent a team of commandos behind enemy lines to foil Hitler's plot to cross the channel and invade the island nation. The team consisted of Miller and Chapman from London, MacTaggart from Glasgow, O'Donnel from Dublin, and Preston, a demolitions expert from Canada.

The had no problems parachuting in, but as they were moving toward their objective, they encountered a small patrol. They ambushed the Germans and killed them all with knives and silenced weapons, but a stray bullet grazed MacTaggart's leg.

"That's it," Chapman said. "We might as well send MacTaggart home now."

"Why?" asked Preston. "We need every man to foil Hitler's plan!"

"Unfortunately," Chapman continued, "as we all know..."

Read More "A Lousy Pun" »

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Posted by Nathan at 08:00 AM | Comments (8)
» resurrectionsong links with: Before I Start Writing Again...

August 09, 2004

If You Read It, You Read It Here First « Social Issues »

Remember this article regarding weaselly announcements from the CDC that appear designed to inspire confidence in a method of protection that fails 15% of the time even when used absolutely correctly?

In that post, I said:

Or even more importantly, it might reduce government funding...

Bottom line: Is an attitude political correctness intimidating the CDC from giving us the facts?

In today's Kausfiles, we read:

there's a new twist: The creation of a permanent, self-perpetuating AIDS bureaucracy that has a vested interest in maintaining the disease but little interest in curing it. [Emph. added]

Now, two people coming to similar conspiracy-theory conclusions proves nothing at all. But an understanding of human nature indicates why it is far too easy for the conspiracy theory to already be reality...

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Posted by Nathan at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)
It's Funny Because It's True! « Politics As Usual »

20 Reasons To Be a Democrat.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:21 PM | Comments (2)
Cute Kid Tricks (or, "My Kids Channel Abbot and Costello") « Kidblogging »

My son is somewhat of a perfectionist, with a great attention to detail. My daughter is much more relaxed and unconcerned with precision. One way this manifests itself is in their speech. My 4-year-old son has always had much more accurate pronunciation, whereas sometimes it is difficult to figure out what the heck my 2-year-old daughter was trying to say.

For some reason, my son has taken it upon himself to improve his sister's pronunciation. So when we drive around town on errands, he gives her words to try and say, and drills her until her pronunciation improves, if not achieves perfection.

A few days ago they were in the middle of one session when my son started in on the names of colors, something my daughter really hasn't learned yet. "Red", "brown", and "black" were practiced without significant difficulty. But the trouble started with "White". Noel had no idea what he was talking about so kept re-interpreting what he said into something she could understand.

Brady: "Noel, say 'white'."
Noel: "Wipes."
Brady: "No, 'white'."
Noel: "Wipes."
Brady: "No, listen: 'White'."
Noel: "Ohhhhh!" (as if it were finally clear) "Wipes."
Brady: [sigh] "WhiTe."
Noel: "WiPES."
Brady: "Whiiiiiiiiii.......te."
Noel: "Ohhhhhhh! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.........pes."

They kept it up for about 10 minutes, accompanied by veritable paroxysms of laughter from the adults up front...

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Posted by Nathan at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)
Round-Up « Politics As Usual »

I don't usually do these...heck, I don't think I've ever done a blogging round-up before, now that I think of it. I usually link pieces one by one so I can do some value-added commenting or introduction to the linkage.

Well, today's blogging round-up is going to be political. I've run across a few things I must link, and so here they are:

First, Michael Novak explains why Kerry will lose, and why it will drive Democrats even more insane. Then he
sums up and responds to the trends of email reactions to the previous piece, including a point-by-point, backed-up-with-references debunking of untruths Democrats believe about President George W. Bush.

In Zombyboy's absence, Jerry (also known as Stumpjumper) has been doing some excellent writing. He makes a strong case (again, backed up with references) that John Kerry is far less trustworthy than the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth who are attempting to undermine Kerry's candidacy.

Finally, I was a little irritated about the idea of a non-governmental organization coming in to monitor our elections until I read this article by Jay on what the actual details are.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Early Indications From Camp « Kansas City Chiefs »

I've been reading everything I could about the Chiefs' progress at training camp. Here are some thoughts and impressions:

It was hard to really gauge whether the defense has improved or not at first. It seemed like the defense wasn't making many good plays against KC's offense... but then, we are talking about the best and most balanced offense in the NFL over the last two years. But after one day of practice with the Vikings, it seems there has been significant improvement. Sure, no one can really stop Randy Moss, but who can? However, this article (registration probably required) makes it sound like KC's defense has made significant strides:

The Kansas City defensive front seven generally won the nine-on-seven running drill and an 11-on-11 red zone drill while Minnesota's first team had the upper hand during the seven-on-seven passing drill.

When the team's met for the closest thing to gamelike conditions — an 11-on-11 drill at midfield — the teams traded good plays.

I really like that we won during the running drills, since our biggest problem was stopping the run last year.

This next paragraph was also intriguing:

Click on this link to Sportsblog to read the rest of the article...

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Posted by Nathan at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

Approaching Constitutional Crisis « Politics As Usual »

We've got a problem.

Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, NY, are also terrorists plotting to shoot down an aircraft in the United States. Maybe it's not as big of a problem as I assume, since the arrest warrants were executed at the mosque itself...

...but the problem I see here is that in Iraq, terrorists use mosques as places to store weapons. Policies based on political correctness and "cultural sensitivity" dictated that we leave mosques alone, and our opponents quickly took advantage of that. Is there any reason to believe they won't try to exploit our own Constitution against us?

Is there any reason to believe the ACLU and non- liberal news media won't do everything they can to help them get away with it?

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Posted by Nathan at 07:51 AM | Comments (4)

August 04, 2004

He Just Doesn't Get It...Again « Politics As Usual »

This provides an apt explanation of why John Kerry will lose the national election in a landslide.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:14 PM | Comments (6)
» Your Daily Prescott links with: Kerry Digs His Own Hole

So, you see, I've been on vacation. I'm a little behind the power curve, blogging-wise.

Therefore, without further ado:

I don't like him, either.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)
Back! « Blogging »

We came back a few days early.

Many thanks to all the people who stopped by while I was gone. Even more thanks to those of you who didn't delink me!

I won't have anything to say that's any more vital or important than I usually do, but I'll be sure to share all my thoughts and ideas with you nonetheless.

Your pal/punching bag,

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Posted by Nathan at 09:11 PM | Comments (2)