Friday, December 24, 2010

How Do You Confound A Set Of Kids Who Are Going To Stay Up Till 12 Midnight To Open Up Their Presents?


Tell them that "Jesus was born at 7am. You can't open your presents until then".

I recall being the first one out of bed - 5am - on Christmas day.
I can't recall my parents' policy on opening presents at 12 midnight. They had to have one because we didn't do it.

I do recall watching the "Gumby Christmas Special" every Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Terrorist Threat? What Terrorist Threat?

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Friday, December 17, 2010


I owe a special shout out to Pedro's Extra Dry Chain Lube!

Earlier this week my wife called me to tell me that her garage door was not closing all of the way down and was stuck about 2 feet off of the ground.  Someone could break into the house.  I needed to go fix it.

It just so happened to occur on the coldest day of the year thus far.  The weather woman said that it would be 15 degrees over night.

I went into the garage with my jacket on to take a look at the door.  It was freezing in the garage because the temperature was below freezing out side.  My hands were about to fall off.   I opened and closed the door several times and indeed it got stuck in different places on the way down.

By this time I was thinking up several schemes to get past this problem.

  • I am not going to pay "Overhead Doors Inc" $200 to come out here for a service call.  Any problem with the door is right in front of my eyes for me to fix. 
  • "That woman is just going to have to deal with this.  It is too cold out here.  She is just going to have to park her car outside for now."
I looked at every possible nut & bolt, cable and bracket there was.  No problem was evident. 

The movement of the door was rattling all of the brackets and the pulleys were squeaking.

I got on the Internet and did a search on "Garage Door Not Closing".

I found a page that talked about a guy who had the same problem and he used "Lithium lubricant" but that did not help.   A second guy came along and told him to wipe the Lithium off and use a clear lubricant like "Liquid Wrench".

I searched through my storage shelves for one of the many bottles of "Liquid Wrench" that I know I had.  I found a rusty pair of pliers that I used "Liquid Wrench" on about 4 months ago.  I could not find the stupid bottle though.

Then I looked in another closest and found a bottle of lubricant for my bicycle chain.  It was not an exact match but the only other option was to wait until the Home Depot opened and drive up there.

I sprayed the chain lube on all of the rollers from the door and the guide rail.
On the first run - the door still got stuck.  "Damn It!!   $200 to Overhead Door Inc".
Then I tried it again and it worked.
I noticed that the pulley that holds the tension spring was still squeaking and I gave it a shot.

My wife came home and the door opened and closed with no problems.

Yesterday as I opened the door it rolled up and down like it was riding on a sheet of ice.
No more shaking, rattling and squeaking.

After 13 years of constant operation all that was needed was a LUBE JOB.

$200 = a new Xbox 360

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Israel Struggles With The Balance Between Civil Liberties and Security

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Serial Violent Protests In European Cities Go Underreported

Antigovernment ire is the only common thread among fed-up Europeans of diverse backgrounds and goals.

Subtitle: Biting The Hands That Redistribute Their Feed

In American political discourse over the past 3 years the right-wing Tea Party was called a "hate group" by their progressive-fundamentalist enemies.  A small sampling of the signs with hateful messages held at certain rallies sufficed in the claim that they would lynch vulnerable people if this movement is not stopped.

The American Tea Party does not like the policies of the government and they would use violence to get their way.  Their claims against the government were seen as irrational.

If we take the same framework and apply it to Europe a stunning reversal in sentiment is seen.  In Europe left-wing anarchists are on the street protesting government austerity cuts that are made to keep the nations' economies in balance (or return to such a state).  Instead of having their behavior in public checked for the fear of being labeled "violent" their actions appear to be in line with the prescriptions which tell the individuals to take to the streets to force their government to hear them.

Few people cross-reference the discombobulation between left and right perceptions of violence between the USA and the rest of the world.

  • In America the left casts an indictment against the right wing that they seek to "turn back the clock" to the days of violent oppression.
  • Those same individuals in the American left that can be heard making positive references to Europe (Bill Maher) seem to be silent about the present violence
  • The oppression in certain Islamic nations as the work to restrict civil liberties of the little people is turned inside out as the American left views the Islamic minority in America as a victim of right-wing Christian oppression.   Those who have an eye upon any growth in Islamic entrenchment as they fear that Shari law might one day get a foot hold are called bigoted. Thus we see that individuals who can articulate the threat of "American Imperialism" around the world are disinclined to make a connection about Islamic dogma.  (Note - not all Islamic sects are as culturally oppressive as these others)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Which Is A Bigger Threat IN The USA? Factory Farms Or The Increase In Hunger Due To Lack Of Food?

Data Shows 20 Percent Growth in Factory Farming In Past 5 Years

Gotta love those activists.
They are able to argue about the danger of our present circumstances both coming and going.
I suspect that if America did not have an abundance of "corporate" factory farms where there is a high concentration of farm animals or large farming operations that make use of chemicals then they would be focused on the presence of malnutrition in America and how our capitalistic system creates resource imbalances.

Now that America's "factory farms" have risen to the challenge to keep our population fed the indictment against them is the concentration of living animals for food stock into small spaces and questions of how chemicals used in farming might be harming the water table.

Dear US Treasury - I Can Take Some Of Your Defective $100 Bills Off Of Your Hands

The Fed Has a $110 Billion Problem with New Benjamins

Our government has the power to turn a piece of paper into a monetary certificate that has value.
They also have a Secret Service that enforces the value of the certificates that they print by arresting those who use  their own printers to make a facsimile.

US Profits On Citibank Bailout, Ireland Prepares For Massive Austerity Cuts

$12 Billion Profit vs planned $6 Billion In Spending Cuts

USA Announces A $12 Billion Profit On Citibank Securities 

Citigroup received $45 billion in taxpayer support late in 2008 in one of the largest bank rescues as the government struggled to contain the worst financial crisis to hit the country since the 1930s.
"Citi is pleased that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has finalized plans to exit from its remaining holdings of Citigroup common stock. We are very appreciative of the support provided by the Treasury during the financial crisis," Citigroup spokesman Jon Diat said in a statement.
"This is a milestone for the government and for Citigroup," James Angel, a Georgetown University professor of finance, told The Wall Street Journal. "It signals the company has been fully privatized and that their parole is over."
Linus Wilson, a finance professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, told the newspaper the government's sales strategy had been a success. "They took a risk by not selling early or selling too much at once," he said.

Ireland Joins The Rest Of Europe In Announcing Austerity Cuts To Remain Fiscally Viable As A Nation

DUBLIN — Ireland's deeply unpopular government will unveil a record austerity budget Tuesday, inflicting more pain on voters in an attempt to impress the IMF and EU and ensure quick access to their rescue funds.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen is expected to get his fiscal plan through parliament, averting the risk of a snap election that would have plunged the country into an even deeper crisis and compounded contagion in the euro zone.
But the 2011 budget, which will squeeze 6 billion euros ($8 billion) out of an economy still smarting from a prolonged recession, marks the beginning of the end for Ireland's government.
Cowen, the most unpopular leader in recent Irish history, has promised to call an election once the legislation underpinning the budget is passed, likely to be early next year.