Thursday, July 31, 2014

In defense of the fanny pack

This is so working for me.
We have hiked the campuses of more colleges than I can remember, and we did so for more than 12 years as we earned our seats in debtor's prison putting three kids through college.

It is important on these explorations to keep your critical gear nearby. Sunglasses are nice, and I used to smoke a pipe, so that meant lots of stuff. And then there's other stuff. You know.

The most convenient way to keep these essentials close by is a fanny pack. I chose a black one. My children chose to walk 10 feet behind me. I am not making this up. Ten feet.

When I caught on, I began to relish wearing the thing. I figured that for $350k a year, I had the right to a little fun.

Stuff, at your fingertips.
Here is a bracing defense of fanny packs at gothamist. You gotta figure those people know things.

Calling them "belted satchels" or "hands-free bags," several designer labels sought to bring the accessory back into vogue in early 2011, by offering stylish and expensive designs selling for as much as $1995.

The bride to be picked this one.
Not sure I'd pay that much, but I do plan to purchase a formal white model for my son's wedding. Fathers need stuff at weddings.

If you're confused, Wikipedia explains that,
A fanny pack (US, Canada), belt pack (US), belly bag (US), chaos pouch (US), buffalo pouch (US), hip sack (US), phany pack (US), waist bag (or waistpack) (US), hip pack (UK), bum bag (UK, Australia, Oceania), Koala (South America, Ireland), butt pack (US) or moon bag (South Africa), is a small fabric pouch usually secured with a zipper and worn by use of a strap around the hips or waist.
Did you know there's an Oceania? I didn't. If you go there, I suggest you use a bum bag. You're gonna need some stuff.

Rugs, dirty postcards and belly dancing

"The Arab world is suffering a crisis of humiliation. Their armies are routed not only by Americans, but also by tiny, Jewish Israel; and as Arthur Koestler once remarked, the Arab world has not, in the last 500 years or so, produced much besides rugs, dirty postcards, elaborations on the belly-dance esthetic (and, of course, some innovative terrorist practices). They have no science to speak of, no art, hardly any industry save oil, very little literature, and portentous music which consists largely of lugubrious songs celebrating the slaughter of Jews.

"Now that the Arabs have acquired national consciousness, and they compare their societies to other nations, these deficiencies become painfully evident, particularly to the upper-class Arab kids who attend foreign universities. There they learn about the accomplishments of Christians, Jews, (Freud, Einstein, for starters) and women. And yet, with the exception of Edward Said, there is scarcely a contemporary Arab name in the bunch. No wonder, then, that major recruitment to al-Qaeda's ranks takes place among Arab university students. And no wonder that suicide bombing becomes their tactic of choice: it is a last-ditch, desperate way of asserting at least one scrap of superiority—a spiritual superiority—over the materialistic, life-hugging, and ergo shameful West."

Morning Rush: Eat nuts, learn anything, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, July 31, 2014:

Live forever.
A handful of nuts a day for diabetes

How to learn anything

Credit Karma may be for you

Don't have a heart attack on the weekend

Life among the one percent

Lois Lerner just digs deeper

Blame her on Obamacare

You should feel guilty about breakfast

The truth about weddings

What your credit card numbers mean

When did it become okay to be a slob?

About reviving the recently dead

Why dogs make us healthier

A phone case that lets you see in the dark

Today's Word: artfully prudent, sensibly judicious

College still better than being chained to a radiator

The sky:

Frank Lloyd Wright: beauty

"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Please patronize our newest sponsor

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Don't touch that dial!


It's not polite to laugh

cra·zy [krey-zee] 
1.mentally deranged; demented; insane.
2.senseless; impractical; totally unsound:
 Nancy Pelosi does the Republic an enormous favor by demonstrating that anyone, anyone, can grow up and get a big job in Washington. Anyone.

“Every week we don’t pass a Stimulus package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.”

“Unemployment benefits are creating jobs faster than practically any other program”

“I believe in natural gas as a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels.”

“We have to pass the (health care) bill so you can find out what is in it”.

“I reference the conference of bishops statement in which they say baby Jesus was a refugee from violence. Let us not turn away these children and send them back into a burning building.”

Why you aren't dead -- yet

"And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."
~ Thomas Hobbes

"You call this living?"
~ Moshe Waldoks

We used to get one life, Laura Helmuth writes. Now we get two. We used to live 35 or 40 years on average in the United States 150 years ago, but now we live almost 80.
People died young, and they died painfully of consumption (tuberculosis), quinsy (tonsillitis), fever, childbirth, and worms. There’s nothing like looking back at the history of death and dying in the United States to dispel any romantic notions you may have that people used to live in harmony with the land or be more in touch with their bodies. Life was miserable—full of contagious disease, spoiled food, malnutrition, exposure, and injuries.
Daniel Walker Howe explains why things were so rough back in the day.
Life in America in 1815 was dirty, smelly, laborious, and uncomfortable. People spent most of their waking hours working, with scant opportunity for the development of individual talents and interests unrelated to farming. Cobbler-made shoes being expensive and uncomfortable, country people of ordinary means went barefoot much of the time. White people of both sexes wore heavy fabrics covering their bodies, even in the humid heat of summer, for they believed (correctly) sunshine bad for their skin. People usually owned few changes of clothes and stank of sweat.
It was a young society, Howe writes. The census listed the median age as sixteen, and only one person in eight as over forty-three years old.
Women bore children in agony and danger, making their life expectancy, unlike today, slightly shorter than that of men. Once born, infants often succumbed to diseases like diphtheria, scarlet fever, and whooping cough. One-third of white children and over half of black children died before reaching adulthood. The women had enough babies to beat these grim odds. To help them through labor, neighbors and trained midwives attended them. Doctors were in short supply, hospitals almost unknown. This proved a blessing in disguise, for physicians then did as much harm as good, and hospitals incubated infection. The upside of rural isolation was that epidemics did not spread easily."
 Count your blessings.

Don't let the letter of the law get in the way

Obamacare explained.
Robert Tracinski writes:
"They think they can get away with rewriting the law on the fly because of the way we legislate now. For more than a century, it has become increasingly common for Congress to write laws that declare a broad, vague goal without clearly defining the specifics of its implementation—and then leave it to bureaucrats in federal agencies to fill in the blanks. 
"We’ve seen it more recently with the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling allowing the EPA to control carbon dioxide emissions under the 1990 Clean Air Act, despite the fact that Congress had the opportunity to add such an authorization and declined to do so. The court’s reasoning was that the Clean Air Act gives the EPA power over everything in the air, and how it uses that power is up to the agency, not Congress, to decide. 
"This is also why ObamaCare was filled with exemptions and waivers and created a vast bureaucracy whose jobs were to write thousands of more pages of rulings about what ObamaCare would do. And this is why we had to pass the law to find out what’s in it. 
"With previous regulations, the abdication of power from Congress to the executive branch agencies was a way of evading responsibility for unpopular decisions. When executive agencies promulgate some outrageously costly or intrusive regulation, elected politicians can tsk-tsk and pretend it has nothing to do with them. 
"In this case, the ad hoc rewrites are driven by an implicit admission that Capitol Hill’s super-genius central planners could not actually project the law’s results or design a workable system. So when major parts of the law don’t work out the way they thought they would—one after another—they’re scrambling to save the system by reinventing it ad hoc. And they don’t want any fussy ideas about the letter of the law to get in their way."
Read it all.

(American Digest)

Morning Rush: Stand up to work, and more

Here and there on the Web this Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

You don't have to eat veggies all day

A blood test that detects cancer

Life among the barbarians

How to learn like a memory champ

Standing to work is healthy

Happy to pay more for electricity?

In on the great Obamacare scam

And it gets worse

Hillary thinks she can fool everyone

Mothers transfer fear through odors

Welcome to the police state

Social Security is in trouble again

How to teach your kids about money

Today's Word: rapidity of motion or action

Senator blames PTSD for halitosis

The son of a Hamas founder speaks out:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Let's call it the "nutcake" state

That's our guv! Hey, what's in the pocket?
When we moved to Connecticut, the "Nutmeg State," nearly 30 years ago, it seemed reasonable in comparison to next door Westchester County, New York. Lower taxes, and all that.

Today this state is a mess.
Were it not for its wealthy New York bedroom communities in Fairfield County, Connecticut would probably be as destitute as Rhode Island. The Nutmeg State has the forty-second worst tax climate and the forty-fifth worst business climate in the nation.
We are a "blue state," which means high taxes, big government, disappearing citizens and disappearing jobs.
What little life remains in the Connecticut economy is being squashed by its monolithically liberal lawmakers. In 2011 its governor signed into law the largest tax increase in its history. Since then tax receipts have plummeted (surprise!) and the state’s 2014 budget numbers, initially projected at a $505 million surplus, have now shriveled to a projected $1.4 billion deficit next year. In 2012, Connecticut was the only state in the nation with negative economic growth.
Dan Malloy, our angry, nasty liberal governor, is a corrupt liar.

Well, pretty much all of New England is a mess, as well.

The contractor and writer Willem Lange once described New England as “a place where dry humor and perpetual disappointment blend to produce an ironic pessimism.” As long as its residents support progressive policies, Matt Purple writes, that haunting disappointment will linger.

Don't let this happen to your state.

Morning Rush:

Here and there on the Web this Tuesday, July 29, 2014:

Trendy pedaling.
Here's your way cool commuter bike

How we make dogs crazy

Just six seconds of exercise?

Take control of your grocery bill

Is your phone a fire hazard?

These are the immigrant "children"

Time to abandon Facebook

Here's how marriage works

Our first Islamic president

The source of our catastrophizing

Don't rob this gas station

Your alarm system ain't so safe

How we make first impressions

Oh, those Russians

Children died building the terror tunnels

How To: improve your handwriting

Today's Word: great warmth of feeling; fervor

Obama signs autographs at grisly crime scene

From the founder of the Weather Channel:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our first lady is so with it

This comes from Ann Barnhardt, via Gerard Van der Leun:
So Michelle Obama took her two daughters, Malia, aged 16 and Sasha, aged 13, to a Beyonce Knowles-Carter concert the other night. Michelle, being dumb as a brick (Have you read the Princeton thesis?) and so desperately insecure that she can barely maintain molecular cohesion, likes to pal around and be “friends” (insomuch as psychopaths [people who feel no shame or guilt] can really ever have friends) with Beyonce and her spouse, Jay-Z Carter. 
Because if famous, rich people like me and come over to my house, then I must be teh awesome. And if I hang out with physically attractive women (which Beyonce actually is when she isn’t dressed like a nickel whore, which is never), then I must be a physically attractive woman too! And all that matters is that I’m popular, rich and that people tell me I’m pretty. And I will burn this ***** down and everyone in it without batting a single one of my fake eyelashes in order to achieve this. Because ME. ME. ME. 
Again, judging by my audience demographics, I seriously doubt that you folks understand exactly what “pop music” today has become. Let us sample two of Beyonce’s recent hits, which she regularly performs in concert. First, “Blow”. An homage to oral sex, both female-on-male, and vice versa. I simply cannot reprint the words here, or embed the videos. If you are struggling with Sixth Commandment issues, don’t look. This stuff is straight-up porn. 
Here are the “Blow” lyrics only.Here is a YouTube video of the song with lyrics. 
Next, here is “Yonce/Partition”, a hugely popular homage to oral sodomy in the back of a limo. 
Here are the “Yonce/Partition” lyrics only.Here is a YouTube video of the song with lyrics. 
This woman has called Beyonce a “role model” for her daughters and for all young girls. This woman TOOK. HER. CHILDREN. to see a concert of this utterly satanic filth. She stood there with them and relished in it. Sasha Obama is THIRTEEN years old.
I've had enough.

An elite that fears the people

"Gun control by definition affects only honest people. When a politician tells you he wants to forbid you from owning a firearm or force you to get a license, he is telling you he doesn’t trust you. That’s an insult. The government trusted me with a M-48 tank and assorted small arms when it claimed to have need of my services. 

"It trusts common Americans with all kinds of arms when it wants them to go kill foreigners somewhere—usually for the financial benefit of some corporations. But when the men and women take off their uniforms and return to their homes and assume responsibility for their own and their families’ safety, suddenly the politicians don’t trust them to own a gun. This is pure elitism. ... Gun control is not about guns or crime. It is about an elite that fears and despises the common people."

Morning Rush: Rosemary, oregano, the bump, and more

Here and there on the Web this Monday, July 28, 2014:

Live forever.
Rosemary and oregano for diabetes

The bump = fewer germs

Why do we all talk like valley girls?

The perfect app for burglars

Nancy Pelosi needs professional help

Is Apple spying on you?

Keep your hands off my bake sale!

So you wanna own a castle

You really can't trust CNN

Women don't like nice men

The new contempt for written law

The war on meritocracy in schools

An investing primer for millennials

How to get your kids to eat veggies

Become a Google power user

It's the straight white guy fest

Look who helped shoot down the plane

This global warming is chilling

Today's Word: brutal, vicious, atrocious

Report: Rich, poor share common ancestor

The two million duck march:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vespers: Hear My Prayer

"Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my crying come unto thee."

This is the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, singing "Hear My Prayer" by the English composer Henry Purcell.

The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge is a mixed voice choir whose primary function is to lead services in the College's Chapel. In addition, the choir keeps an active schedule of recording, broadcasting, and performing. The Choir has toured throughout Europe, the United States, Japan, China, Russia, and the Middle East.
Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) was an English composer. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell's legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar.

Of this piece, one reviewer says: "Purcell's musical imagination, his genius, was at its highest when he wrote it.
"It is part of a larger piece probably dating from sometime in 1680-82 and that Purcell apparently never completed.How I wish there more of this masterpiece than the all too brief section we have for its a masterpiece and the Psalm from which Purcell takes his text (Psalm 102) is possessed of a text whose nature is particularly well suited to Purcell's musical talents. 
"Given such a text and considerable vocal forces one might expect Purcell to produce something rather more complex than this but instead his material is melodically quite simple. He starts ('Hear my prayer, O Lord') with just two notes, at the word but the most extraordinary thing about this piece of music is the relentless buildup which culminates in a spectacular discord at the last repetition of the word 'come'."
Purcell died in 1695 at his home in Dean's Yard, Westminster, at the height of his career. He is believed to have been 35 or 36 years old at the time. Purcell is buried adjacent to the organ in Westminster Abbey.

He is honored together with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on 28 July.

Here's what's gonna gitcha

Somebody went to the trouble of calculating the most likely causes of death at different age groups. Well, that's comforting. Some people just need a hobby.

If I'm reading this correctly, and I make no guarantee, it looks as though the older you get the less likely it is that cancer or heart disease will get you. Still, I wouldn't be passing out toxic waste cocktails at The Home.

There's an interactive version of this thing here for those who still have their eyesight, some physical dexterity and a minimal amount of curiosity. I'm not sure my readers reach that bar.

The kingdom of heaven is like ...

From The Lectionary:

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

"Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

~ Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Henry George: influence

"Let no man imagine that he has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the man who thinks becomes a light and a power."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Casual Friday: After Midnight

Just two working days til Monday!

Q: What do tambourine players use for birth control?

A: Their personalities.

Here's how they track you

They just know.
If you think you’ve protected your privacy by deleting your cookies, installing the latest anti-virus software, and setting high browser security levels, you don’t know how determined some software developers are to track your every move.

The Fiscal Times reports:
The first large-scale study of advanced web tracking mechanisms reveals that people are unwillingly tracked online far more than previously thought.
The newly developed form of user tracking, called “canvas fingerprinting,” works like this: 
You click on a website and your web browser is automatically told to draw an image. It’s one you can’t see, and here’s the catch. Each person’s computer draws a slightly different image, with the variances being almost imperceptible differences in the font, graphics, or even the number of pixels. Then, that image can be used to give each user’s device a unique identity. 
The report found this occurring on more than 5.5 percent of the most popular 100,000 websites today. Websites that run canvas-fingerprinting scripts on their homepages include well-known sites such as,,, the,,,, and

One possible solution:
Enter Privacy Badger, a tool from the Electronic Frontier Foundation,. Privacy Badger is an add-on for Chrome and Firefox, which the EFF says “blocks spying ads and invisible trackers.” They claim it’s an “answer to intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry, and many advertisers’ outright refusal to meaningfully honor Do Not Track requests.”  
Happy surfing!

Morning Rush: Hiding from surveillance cams, and more

Here and there on the Web this July 25, 2014:
Can't see you, honey.

How to hide from surveillance

A computer program to help vets

Better ways to organize your bills

Life among the barbarians

Tylenol doesn't help your back pain

Turning algae into oil

Brrrr! This global warming!

Will sports help you get a job?

Here come Al Qaeda's cyber attacks

Who invented the high five?

Why is Obama giving the Internet away?

Why did he give away Iraq?

How they hacked Amazon's cloud

Today's Word: unconquerable

Al Qaeda Magazine's first swimsuit issue

One heckuva tall flagpole:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Are we burning books now?

"Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ... " ~ First Amendment to The Constitution
How Hitler did it.
Remember that thing?

The Federal Election Commission has just placed restrictions on the marketing of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s forthcoming book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.

The FEC, whose membership consists of three Republicans and three Democrats, makes decision on campaign spending. Ryan's publisher sought the broad media exemption from regulation, but Democrats rejected that and pushed for a different, commercial, exemption that imposes rules over the publisher’s politics and book pricing.

It also ruled that while Ryan can have his campaign and PAC buy books to give out, the promotion on his websites has to be limited to two sentences.

Now there are laws and lots of concern about election financing, and what counts as a donation in kinds, etc etc. I don't care about any of that here.

What I care about is the federal government trying to limit the spreading of ideas. Just step back from this for a moment and ask: since when does the federal government have the authority to tell anyone how they can publish a book?

The Republican chair of the commission raised the alarm:
“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher. 
“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation."
Think it's not political?
No similar concerns were raised over Hillary Clinton’s recently published book. Nor have Clinton’s online promotional efforts for the book been limited to just “two sentences,” a clearly arbitrary number.
But forget the politics. Since when does the federal government have the authority to regulate how a book is published?

Morning Rush: Recall email, a good 401k, and more

Here and there on the Web this Thursday, July 24, 2014:

The Chikungunya virus is spreading

Anne Lamott: hope

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don't give up."