Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where the heck did summer go?

Woo hoo!
"Oct. 7 vs. L.A.L. at Anaheim 8 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 9 PHOENIX 7 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 12 at Portland 4 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 15 at Denver 7 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 17 vs. Chicago at Champaign 6:30 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 18 at Chicago 6:30 p.m. KJZZ
Oct. 23 PORTLAND 7 p.m. KJZZ" (Utah Jazz: The last hurrah? - Salt Lake Tribune)

Let's see: my pre-season prediction last year was correct. I think the Jazz will take it to the finals this year.

Now that's pretty bold of me, isn't it?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The night

The night
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Moths in the night sweep
Across the shadow swiftly
Time is their's to waste

Throw the heizer!

Wilhelm Disc Golf Invitational 2008: Ready to Throw
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Well another Wilhelm Disc Golf Invitational has come and gone. We actually had a non-regular join us this time (Molly). She threw quite well. I had an enjoyable time, until my rhythm was rudely interrupted by an obnoxious family who had no sense of disc golf etiquette. Barbarians!

See Disc-a-rama for a few more details.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jet wing!

If you really want to buy me a gift, Please make it this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ok, the real palate cleaner: Top of the World

Possible the best home-made video ever. I mean, my hell. How can you not love this video? Tell me. Damn you, tell me.

Cleaning the palate or the best of my Mom's 8 track player

When his smiled his eyes would twinkle in the sun.

And I can feel a new tomorrow coming on.

La la la la la yeah!

This was 38 years ago, mind you

Think about it. 1970. Too bad Ozzy lost it in the crime of profiteering--well that and half his band died of drug overdoses.

Still, put this in context.

Think of 1970, if you were alive then (I barely was.) If you weren't, look it up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


British (and erstwhile American) author Will Self sums up the current economic fiasco quite nicely:
"If only we'd borrowed a few other important concepts from the Germans we might be better placed to weather the storm; concepts such as “social market” and a conservative belief that far from house-price inflation being a good thing, it's a bad one. But we didn't. We preferred to borrow from those so-called Masters of the Universe on Wall Street, so all we're left with is schadenfreude, anger — or in the case of the poor, outright misery." (I can only feel anger at the bankers going bust | News)
Imagine that: a world where flipping property is a trait that is to be derided and seen as economically bad instead of lauded by at least 8 cable television shows. Imagine!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Don your hair shirts: One Dollar Diet Project

Can you live off the food that one dollar a day can provide: One Dollar Diet Project?

My frugal Scots heritage makes me want to try such a project. Something tells me I could actually eat rather well, as long as you don't count the cost of energy it takes to prepare food. Fresh produces, of course, is the enemy in such a project, given that fresh fruit and vegetables are out-of-site expensive. A single apple, for example, is well over a dollar now. Eating frozen vegetables seems like cheating, given that you have to expend the energy to keep them frozen.

Rather than taking on the challenge of eating on less than a dollar a day, I think I might calculate how much I spend in food, and then attempt to maximize my food dollar. I know for damn sure that I can eat much more cheaply than I would by paying others to prepare food that I can easily make myself.

A dollar a day, however, would appear to be egregiously tight and near starvation level, of course. Then again, I presume that most of the third world is forced to live on such a diet. They, of course, would have to calculate their energy costs into such a budget. As I said, that's where we get into deep problems--energy is even more expensive for third world people. They have to hunt down non-existent firewood or pay outrageous amounts for portable fuel.

It might do us all some good to try to live the way the most unfortunate of our fellow humans have to live. I don't think, however, I could do it for a month.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Like putting boots on a dog

Dog in boots
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Hey, I just figured the whole "Lipstick on a pig" thing had grown a little stale, so Obama might want to try a fresh analogy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fascinating Fact #6: State Liquor Stores

Did you know that Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Canada all have state liquor stores much like Utah? Despite their rather "liberal" associations with foaming-at-the-mouth conservatives in the United States, Scandinavian countries such as Sweden are rather unabashed in their moral certitude about controlling liquor:
The retail monopoly exists for one reason only: alcohol related problems are reduced if alcohol is sold in the absence of a profit motive. Our mandate obliges us to help limit the medical and social damage caused by alcohol and there by improve public health. (Systembolaget, 4)
Many foaming-at-the-mouth and ill-informed liberals in Utah, however, would probably argue that a 19th Century Utilitarian/Socialist motive is not behind Utah's liquor control. In all fairness to the Tom Barberi crowd, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control makes no mention of public health on its web site, but only states that
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has been in existence since 1935. In that year, the Utah State Legislature created the department by statute and charged it with the responsibility of conducting, licensing and regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages in a manner and at prices which reasonably satisfy the public demand and protect the public interest, including the rights of citizens who do not wish to be involved with alcoholic beverages. (UDABC, 1)
One must note that their sole purpose seem to be protecting people who do not wish to be "involved with alcoholic beverages." Involved? Since when do you date a drink?

The Swedish system and the Utah system seem to wish to justify their existence, however, by claiming that we're not the only governments that do this:

Utah's system of controlling the sale of alcoholic beverages is not as unique as most people believe. There are eighteen states and one county in Maryland which control the sale of alcoholic beverages at either the wholesale or retail level. These jurisdictions account for 28% of the nation's population. These states share a common purpose - to promote moderation in the consumption of alcoholic beverages and to discourage excess and abuse.
and to protect people who don't want to be involved with alcohol, no doubt.

The Swedish explanation is similar, sans the involvement issue:
The government monopoly in alcohol retailing is a Swedish innovation dating back to the mid-1800s. Similar monopolies also exist today in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Canada and several states in the USA.
In other words: We're not weird! We're not alone! All our boozing to blindness bretheren are with us on this! Now if we could only get those damn English to join in for real! Sure they have "off licenses" and pubs that must close at 11 pm--oh wait they abolished the closing law. Damn those English! Forget about the Scots and the Irish! That's pointless.

Obviously both entities field various complaints from citizens, thus requiring the we're not weirdos! argument. The pressure must be much more intense in the Scandinavian countries where alcoholism was on a par with and perhaps even worse than in the United States pre-prohibition:

STOCKHOLM, March 23: For decades, Sweden's liquor stores were few and far between and had the look of hospital pharmacies. They closed by 6 on weekdays and never opened on weekends. Choice was limited and prices high.

Bottles were displayed inside glass cases. Customers took numbers--and waited.

These measures were imposed to discourage the consumption of alcohol in a nation with a tradition of drinking to the point of drunkenness and a history of abuse going back to the miseries of 19th-century industrialization, when cheap liquor led to widespread abuse.

But piece by piece, Sweden is being forced to take apart its anti-alcohol policies because most violate the European Union's rules of fair competition. Some liquor stores are open late and on Saturdays. A few have been remade into cheerfully decorated self-service stores. And wine lovers can delight in a wide selection.

The tax on beer is down. The tax on wine is expected to follow, and some say that even the high taxes on hard liquor will go eventually. Even restrictions that do not have to go, like the high taxes, are being undermined by open borders.

Heading into the weekend, it is easy enough to find young Swedes in liquor stores who applaud these changes and say that their country is finally catching up with the rest of the world. But it is easy too to find Swedes who are deeply concerned over the changes and worried that the years of controlling consumption through state-owned monopolies and high taxes have not really cured this nation of bad drinking habits. (Alcohol in Sweden, 1-6)
Sweden has been forced, as of late, to loosen its liquor taxes (Being decidedly more independent than the neutral, but European Union member Sweden, however,
Norway has not chosen to follow suit, and this has caused a run across the Swedish border by Norwegians, much like the Evanston run for Utahniacs.)

You really did think all those Scandinavian countries were free-wielding frat parties, now didn't you? Ok, they are, but the existence of a state controlled liquor store show you the extent of the problem. How does that reflect on Utah? Hmm? Hmm? Hmm?

All state liquor control systems ignore the fact that the real reason people drink themselves to death has very little to do with availability of booze. It has more to do with desperation than anything. Desperation comes in 2 forms:
  1. Physical needs unfulfilled
  2. Emotional needs unfulfilled*

*Intellectual needs are emotional needs.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Who is promoting "Junk Science"

As you may be aware there is a lot of yammering on the anti-preservationist, burn-your-candle-at both-ends front that compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs contain deadly amounts of mercury that will kill you dead if you just drop one on the floor. (Funny how smashing fluorescent tubes, which contain vastly more amounts of mercury and argon gas, was normal activity in disposing them from the giant corporate boxes that said anti-preservationists seem to favor. I know this because that's what I was told to do while working many years ago in one of those buildings as a general dog's body.)

In any case, I was drowsily watching How Its Made on the Discovery Chanel last night, and perked up when they stated, point blank while showing how incandescent bulbs were made, that the filaments were coated with mercury, and (I can't verify this) mercury and argon gas were pumped into the bulbs.

Now, I'm only conjecturing here, but it seems that incandescent bulbs need some sort of gas to interact with in their vacuum in order to glow bright. If it is just tungsten and electricity, all you get are those old-fashioned bulbs where the filament glowed a pretty orange and you don't get much light.

So, does anyone know if How Its Made is accurate? Do incandescent bulbs also contain mercury?

If they do, could someone put the "evil CFL bulb" meme to bed? Better yet, how about we ditch all those bulbs and develop super-affordable LED lights? Right now, LED bulbs are far too expensive to be a feasible replacement for an 19th century technology like the incandescent bulb. Then again, the LED light has a very long life-span. That does not bode well for manufacturers that enjoy rapid turn-over in product. Typically a cheap incandescent light is probably about 25 cents a bulb these days (excuse me if it is more, but I haven't bought one in ages.) A buck fifty every month, however, adds up over time. Especially when you have a sizable population buying them.

Utah Free Media :: Grassroots, Volunteer Broadcasting - Pinpoint SLC

This could get interesting: Utah Free Media :: Grassroots, Volunteer Broadcasting - Pinpoint SLC.

(Thanks to The Salt Blog for the tip.)

Just keeping the Internet's tubes warm for you


Monday, September 01, 2008

Fascinating fact #5: World's oldest colonizing plant

According to the Internet's tubes, Pando, a quaking aspen colony (or clone), lives right here in good old Utah near Fish Lake. Pando is estimated to be anywhere from 80,000 to 1,000,000 years old, depending on which scientist (q.v. citation 18 & 19) you believe (or in this case, which Wikipedia article you believe.) Pando is also probably the world's heaviest plant/organism, with a estimated weight of 6,615 tons. Pando was, therefore, commemorated by the US postal service (scroll down).

I need to go back down to Fish Lake to photograph the great Pando, I think.