Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yikes, Four Dead Celebs In One Week...


Ed, Farrah, Michael, and now Billy Mays. Wowzers.

Too bad most folks have already forgotten about Neda.

UPDATE: five now. Bye bye, Karl Malden.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yippee, I'm Rich; Thank You, Uncle Luciano! (Or, The Scammers Get Even More Stupid II)


From:lucianopavarotti@Sify.com

Subject: !!! NOTIFICATION OF BEQUEST!!!

Date: June 25, 2009 7:00:23 AM CDT

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Reply-To:lucianopavarotti@Sify.com

Notification of Bequest


On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the Estate of Late Mr. Luciano Pavarotti, I hereby attempt to reach you again. I wish to notify you that Late Mr Luciano Pavarotti made you a beneficiary to His WILL. He left the sum of Ten Million five Hundred Thousand US Dollars.($10,500,000.00) to you in the codicil land last testament to his WILL. This may sound strange and Unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Luciano Pavarotti was known for his humanitarian work.



Yippee, I'm Rich!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Unintended Consequences, Part II


Ozone Solution Poses a Growing Climate Threat : "A group of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons, long hailed as a substitute for gases that can destroy the ozone layer, are now seen as a growing greenhouse threat given their outsize ability to warm the atmosphere." Really, someone ought to do a better job of predicting outcomes...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On Iran's Elections -UPDATED REPOST


UPDATE: links added; also see Cyberwar Guide To Helping The Iranian Protesters. There are now reports that the army is moving against the protesters in many cities. You can follow breaking news on Twitter here, with the caveat that not everything you read may be gospel-truth.


Five days of protests and still no signs of abating. (Full-time coverage of the highest rate found here). I visited my Farsi Friend the other day. He fled the Khomeini Revolution and has been living in the U.S. ever since, quite successfully. He has a very different take on a lot of accepted history about the Revolution. Some of it is things I have heard elsewhere (Khomeini imported Palestinian Arabs to do his dirty work --a pattern which seems to be repeating itself ). Some of it is downright scary (the American oil companies put Khomeini in charge because he would be far tougher on the Communists than the Shah --which proved to be correct in the end).


He said it was funny that I called him just at that moment, since he had just gotten off of an online chat with his nieces living in Teheran. They were all kinds of upset about just how badly the elections were rigged. My Friend consoled them by saying that they ought to have known that the elections were going to be rigged, and besides, how much of a moderate is Mousavi really, anyway? (All candidates are vetted by the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards, it should be noted.) But what really got me was his response to my question, "Well, are these protests going to do anything?"

He said:


"No, because Iranian people don't have guns, Mojo. They don't have a Second Amendment, never did. Only the government had guns. When the students go into the streets, Basij militia beat them and Revolutionary Guards shoot them. They don't have a chance. That's why I get nervous every time the government here in U.S. talks about limiting guns. They thought in Iran, too, that nothing bad could ever happen."

Monday, June 15, 2009

A 'time bomb' for world wheat crop


A 'time bomb' for world wheat crop - Los Angeles Times: I have been keeping up with reports like this over the last 18 months or so. It had been confined to Central Asia, but now, I'm starting to get nervous. Between this and increasing amounts of corn acreage being converted to ethanol production, you might actually see food shortages in the United States. We haven't had anything resembling a true famine in our recorded history; this is no time for a first.

On Iran's Elections


While seeing reports like this coming out of Iran the last few days --and full-time coverage of the highest rate found here -- I thought it was a good time to talk to my Farsi Friend. He fled the Khomeini Revolution and has been living in the U.S. ever since, quite successfully. He has a very different take on a lot of accepted history about the Revolution. Some of it is things I have heard elsewhere (Khomeini imported Palestinian Arabs to do his dirty work --a pattern which seems to be repeating itself [links down; will provide later]. Some of it is downright scary (the American oil companies put Khomeini in charge because he would be far tougher on the Communists than the Shah --which proved to be correct in the end).

He said it was funny that I called him just at that moment, since he had just gotten off of an online chat with his nieces living in Teheran. They were all kinds of upset about just how badly the elections were rigged. My Friend consoled them by saying that they ought to have known that the elections were going to be rigged, and besides, how much of a moderate is Mousavi really, anyway? (All candidates are vetted by the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guards, it should be noted.) But what really got me was his response to my question, "Well, are these protests going to do anything?"

He said:


"No, because Iranian people don't have guns, Mojo. They don't have a Second Amendment, never did. Only the government had guns. When the students go into the streets, Basij militia beat them and Revolutionary Guards shoot them. They don't have a chance. That's why I get nervous every time the government here in U.S. talks about limiting guns. They thought in Iran, too, that nothing bad could ever happen."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tomato Season Winds Down


It is painfully obvious that our tomato growing season 'round here is ending. Temperatures in the mid-upper 90s by day and nighttime lows close to 80 mean the end of any further production. Those fruits that remain on the vine are struggling to break the 5 oz barrier while under assault from dry conditions, blazing temps and the Unholy Stink Bug Army.

I am disappointed somewhat by this year's results. I had out twenty-two transplants, plus two volunteers, and I was expecting to have enough left over to do some serious canning, even after generous giveaways to relatives and sundry. I think it just got too hot too quickly for good production. Perhaps I should've started my seeds a bit earlier so that they could've had a longer fruit-setting window. The plants themselves look good --I've got two that are 8' tall and still growing. But I estimate that I'm about one-third to one-half below what I ought to have picked. I've barely enough to make a few more jars of sauce.

I'm already thinking of the fall crop and if I can get away with putting out plants in mid-late July. Every plant that comes out now is replaced by an okra seedling, so I've got to keep at least a little room at some point. i won't be able to plant my longer varieties that did so well for this past spring, like Cherokee Purple and Black Krim; looks like I'll be putting out shorter ones like Early Girl.


Rough Recipe: Mojo's 'Mater Sauce

Juice about a dozen or so tomatoes using a citrus juicer (eliminates having to skin them by hand; seed removal prior to juicing optional); reserve some of the juice and drink the rest. Throw pulp into stew pot, add some decent red wine to increase volume by 33% or so, then add sliced onions, garlic, red pepper, black pepper, oregano, salt and sugar to taste. Simmer slowly but copiously, adding tomato juice if volume gets too low. Ready to eat in two hours, sooner if you like a more raw sauce.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two Years Already?!?

Today is The Wee One's Second Birthday. All hail Daddy's Little Minion!


Driving

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Unintended Consequences Part I


House plan seeks to pull car sales out of doldrums: "With auto sales in the doldrums, the House was considering a plan Tuesday to provide vouchers of up to $4,500 for consumers who turn in their gas-guzzling cars and trucks for more fuel-efficient vehicles." I see the cost of new vehicles "inexplicably" rising by about $4500 or so in the next 18 months, no doubt to cover the cost of proposed efficiency improvements... (On the other hand, this is far more than the estimated $1000 my old Explorer is probably worth on the open market.)