Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is just too funny

Men, take note: this could be you this holiday season.

(Yeah, it's an ad. It's a good one, though.)

Via 21/2 Baker Street.


Okay, so this is super cool: Good Morning America did a report on air traffic controllers-in-training, which is cool, but that's not the nifty part. The nifty part is that the models they use on the tabletop airports where made by my uncle (USAF-ret) in his garage. I kid you not; the school is in Oklahoma and so is he, and he was always making model airplanes and things when he was a kid, so it was a natural connection. My aunt has more about it on her blog, here. So that's your dose of bragging/cool/awww-they're-so-cute-I-want-one for the day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I can't ... I can't deal with this right now.

This is in England, commonly referred to among the snarky parts of the Internet as "The Nanny State": Extinguishers banned as a fire safety hazard.

This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of, bar none. If you ever wanted an example of "We know what's best" thinking, this is it. If you ever wanted an example of why treating adults like children is a bad thing, this is it. When you hear about people dying in an apartment fire in a few months, this will be why.

I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen. I've read the instructions and explored the mechanism, and I'm confident I could use it effectively. If, say, something on the stove exploded in flames while I was cooking, I won't have to sit on my hands and wait for the fire department to arrive. The whole place could burn to the ground in that time. I'm buying firearms for the same reason: If someone broke into my house, the police wouldn't arrive in time to arrest him. They'd arrive in time to put a sheet over my body and note that I tried to defend myself against a pistol with a freaking lamp.

I have never, ever understood the logic of deliberately rendering a capable adult helpless. I have seen lives wasted -- not in the tragic sense, just in the never-went-anywhere-never-did-anything sense -- because people were afraid something might happen and they might get hurt. This is ultimately the same thinking behind the ASININE measures currently in play in England. I have been fascinated by World War II since I was a child, and I doubt the England of that day would care to own its descendants now. These are the same people who hid under the bed during a thunderstorm, only they never got past that phase when they were supposed to. I could, quite literally, rant for hours about this. I'm not going to. It's not good for my blood pressure.

One last thought: These are the same people who would say leaving a dictator in place is better than overthrowing him and possibly upsetting the balance of the region. It's all from the same spineless, cowardly place deep in the human soul. It's next to the sump pump. And it's oozing.

I can't believe I got my college degree in this industry.

So first we bail out the banks, which means the government basically owns them. Then we say we could bail out the auto makers, with the same results (we could also kick out the union, but that's another rant). But newspapers?

Seven legislators from the area served by The Bristol Press and The Herald in New Britain today wrote to the state Department of Economic and Community Development to ask for its help in preventing the closure of the newspapers.
The papers in question are in Connecticut (no real surprise there, unfortunately), but their plight is that of many local papers across the country (even here in central Indiana, something I wrote about earlier (Update: They found a buyer and are still publishing, though in slightly different form (I thought the old version was better))).

(I think that's a record for nested parentheses on this blog.)

Anyway: While I sympathize with these newspapers, I have two major problems with the proposed course of action. One, requesting a bailout from the government every time a business threatens to go tits up is basically selling the town to Mr. Potter. The difference is that Potter, for all his moral decrepitude, promoted business and didn't tax Bedford Falls into oblivion.

Two, bailout-as-default-emergency-setting is not only dangerous, it's downright lazy. It used to be that if a business was doing poorly, you took it apart piece by piece until you found out what the problem was, and then you fixed it. The Big Three could solve a whole lot of problems by ditching the UAW, for instance (one can dream), and newspapers could solve the problem by evolving into a product that actually sells. One of the major auto dealerships (it may be the largest, but don't quote me on that) in my area started out more than 100 years ago in the buggy trade. They survived because they adapted to the changing marketplace. They didn't keep making buggies because of the inherent nobility of horse-drawn conveyance; they shifted their focus and rolled with the times. If the newspaper industry would just get off its high horse and take its thumb out of its butt (again, one can dream), they might wake up to the fact that they're just a cog in the great engine of human communication, not the engine itself.

Via Hot Air.

Monday, December 01, 2008