Wednesday, April 30, 2008

iPhone Photo Dump 3

These were taken last fall and feature my son holding one of those battery powered lights you can hang in your closet or other space that has no electricity. The one he's holding was supposed to be put up in my shed, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet when he discovered it and decided to play with it one evening.

And yes, he is dressed in a green hoodie, red sweats (or "sweaty pants" as he calls them) and blue Crocs.

The light is now bolted to the ceiling of my shed. Hyper Drummer Boy now has to use flashlights he finds around the house.

Out of Office Message

I'm going to a baseball game today.

So you're on your own. Oh, and Go Cincinnati!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Drugged Report

I'm pretty sure the Chicago-centric Rod Blagojevich put those drugs in the city's water because he hates us, and because Sangamon County voted against him.

Bipartisanship Disorder

I love calls for bipartisanship from political hacks. Congressman Ray LaHood (R-This Neck of the Woods) was speaking in Carbondale yesterday. From the story in the Daily Egyptian:
Since the beginning of his Congressional stint in 1994, LaHood was chairman of the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton in 1998…
(Emphasis mine.) Then in the very next paragraph:
"Bipartisanship is the only way to succeed in a legislative body," LaHood said.
Ha. The biggest act of political PARTISAN hackery during the 1990s came in the ridiculous (and failed) impeachment trial. Yeah, keep up the bipartisanship, Ray baby.

For what it’s worth, I think the notion of bipartisanship for its own sake is overrated. People disagree on issues and elected officials should fight for what they believe in, not seek some mythical bipartisan holy grail.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Not Stable

I see this stuff occasionally and I'm amazed at how these people don't see the irony. The headline reads:

US envoy slams Iran's alleged destabilizing role in Iraq

Has any nation "destabilized" Iraq more than the U.S.? And I'm not just being flip here. Even if you seriously think this war is a good idea, there's no way you can deny the massive, unfathomable, "destabilization" that the U.S. invasion has caused that country.

Hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, infrastructure destroyed, ethnic violence, a barely functioning government (and that's being generous), a destroyed economy, and on and on. And folks, it was the U.S. that unleashed all this. We saw the can, used the opener, and out came the worms.

Snacks on a Plane! (iPhone Photo Dump 2)

On our flight back from Florida, I let Hyper Drummer Boy, age nearly 5, use my iPhone camera. ANYTHING to keep him occupied. Here's what he came up with:

The cheese crackers, peanuts and (covered!) soft drink they "served" him on the flight. Not a bad image gallery for such a young lad. It's almost artsy enough for photo blogging.

Socialized Trash

I’ve long said here that we need to go with city-wide trash pickup that is paid for through property taxes. The current system just encourages fly-dumping. This SJ-R story puts a face on the problem.
As prices go up and the economy continues to sour, even more people are going to cut out the now optional expense of trash pick-up. To my mind, trash pickup is a great bargain; you get a lot for not so much money. But for some people, it makes more sense to throw their stuff in someone else’s dumpster rather than pay for it to be hauled away themselves.
Some people are pretty brazen about it. I was working overtime one weekend about a year ago when out the window I noticed a pickup truck pull up to the company’s dumpster across the parking lot. Two men got out, unloaded a couple of mattresses, and then quickly sped off. All in broad daylight.

It’s time that the city take over the trash collection business and put an end to this. I’ve lived in a number of communities right here in Illinois that do and it works great. I’d like to see our pain-in-the-ass satellite communities (yeah, I’m looking at you Jerome, Grandview, et al) join in the effort too but they likely won’t. And that will mean some fly dumping from those areas, but till, it’ll be better than what we have now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

iPhone Photo Dump 1

This afternoon I finally downloaded a bunch of pictures taken with my cellphone over the last couple of months. And the only reason I was motivated to do that was because of my last post on rice at Sam's.

So, for your great entertainment, I'll be posting a few more random cell phone quality shots. Enjoy!

We were in Florida a few weeks ago, Indian Shores to be exact, and I took this after discovering that if I violently shake the iPhone while taking a picture, it will distort the image. So here we have a wavy sunset over the waves.

Holding the phone steady results in a much lest interesting shot.

Sams Got Rice

A lot has been made in the media of the "rationing" of rice at Costco and Sam's Club. Well, I made my weekly visit to the Springfield Sam's this weekend and made a stop at the rice section to see how supplies were holding up. The news stories indicated the rationed rice was in 20 pound bags. The stock at our Sam's looked normal to me.

What's odd is that supposedly only the 20 pound bags were affected by this rationing while they also sells 50 lb bags, of with there were plenty available.

The more normal sized bags and boxes were in ample supply as well.

The only thing that was different about the rice section from any other time I had been there was this small sign.

The whole time I was in the store, I saw no one with any rice in their cart. None. What's the matter with you, Springfieldians, can't get into the rice hording fad?

Radio Winners AND Losers

Ummm, OK, but does anyone under 75 years-old listen to this station? I understand about half of their audience dies every week.
WTAX-AM 1240/FM 107.5 has won an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for its spot news coverage from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

The station submitted condensed versions of its coverage of a Dec. 19, 2007, plane crash in Sangamon County that killed three men from Calvary Temple. It was judged as the best submission among entries from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and will be submitted for an Edward R. Murrow National Award, to be announced in June.
Wow, I can't think of any Springfield story bigger than that. I'm guessing WMAY was busy covering actual news rather than submitting B-list story coverage to this bunch. But hey, congrats WTAX. You've served your long-ago legacy well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tax Defier Conduct

This is just stupid. I’m so tired of prison being the “answer” for everything.
OCALA, Florida (CNN) -- Actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns -- the maximum requested by federal prosecutors.

"Snipes' long prison sentence should send a loud and crystal clear message to all tax defiers that if they engage in similar tax defier conduct, they face joining him," said Assistant Attorney General Nathan J. Hochman of the Justice Department's Tax Division.

This is not a crime of violence, nor does Snipes pose any risk to the public. He cheated on his taxes. Or, from what I understand, simply didn’t bother paying them at all. That’s a bad thing and he should be punished. But punishment doesn’t necessarily have to mean prison. In this case, he should be punished financially for what amounts to a financial crime. Get all the back taxes from him and fine him double or triple the amount or whatever. Make it monetarily painful. But prison? For three years? We lose even more taxes from him not working AND we get to foot the bill for his stay in prison (unless he’s being made to pay that too).

Our prisons are already busting at the seams from overcrowding. I saw a statistic the other day that the U.S. has like 5% of the world population but 25% of all people being held in prison worldwide. It’s ridiculous. And hugely expensive. We have to get away from this incarceration mentality. It’s expensive and, in many cases, counterproductive.

Friday Beer Blogging: Internet Carding Edition

In the process of doing Friday Beer Blogging over the last three years, I've had occasion to hit many, many beer company web sites. I've never been compelled to go to these sites except to do the high quality research (i.e. stealing quality beer pictures) that you have all come to expect.

The dumbest thing about these beer company sites the the lame electronic bouncer at the door. Almost every such site has a gateway page requiring you to enter a birth date.

They want to make sure you are of legal drinking age before you look at beer. Or something.

Some, like those here in the U.S., state that you must be 21 to look at their digital beer.

Others simply ask for your birth date so you can demonstrate you are old enough in the country in which you live.

Entering a birth date that makes you too you results in denial of entry.

The Guinness folks ask for this information and then explains why.

Yes, this "ensures" you are the age you say you are. There, of course, is absolutely nothing to prevent anyone from entering any date they want, making the verification process totally worthless. I don't get why they do it. What's the harm in looking at beer even if you are underage? We are such silly people.

Have a great weekend! And no peeking at beer pictures if you're underage.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blogs Learn Our Kids!

This AP story in the SJ-R contains this bit of information:

Teens who keep blogs are more likely to engage in personal writing. They also tend to believe that writing will prove crucial to their eventual success in life.

Bloggers Rule. Even more than GrLs. Blog your way to better writing, fame and wealth!

But the thing in the story about students using emoticons in their school writing assignments :-( .

Not Such an Anti-Dentite Nation After All

Sometimes there are things going on all around me that I’m completely unaware of.
NEW YORK -- Dazzled by the bull market in gold, people are digging through drawers for old dental caps, fillings and bridgework they saved years ago and selling them at prices that would make the tooth fairy blush.

Instead of hanging on to the pieces as souvenirs, many are turning them over to pawnbrokers, coin shops and specialized firms that buy “dental gold,” hoping to take a bite out of the metal’s historic run to $1,000 an ounce.

“People are really cashing in. If a dentist passes away, their kids come in with a big pile of gold teeth,” said Scott Taber, owner of Taber Coins, a Shrewsbury, Mass., coin dealer that buys dental gold and then resells it to a gold smelter.

He said he used to see only a few customers a month selling gold teeth but now gets that many each week. “People are digging up the gold and starting to sell it,” he said.
Ruhhhhh? Maybe because I don’t have any “old” dental work I just don’t understand why anyone would keep it lying around. I guess good for them that they did. I’ll keep this in mind should I ever come into possession of old dental work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

RE: Cycling, Day 2

Rather than just bitching, I’m going to deviate from normal blogger decorum and offer a solution. Yesterday, I indicated (here and here) that I thought it would be great if we as a nation, and specifically here in Springfield, invested in more bicycle trails that both kept cyclists away from vehicular traffic and offer routes that might be useful for practical trips (work, stores) and not just recreational paths to nowhere. I acknowledged that it would be hugely expensive and therefore no very likely to happen.
However, driving to work today I looked at the sidewalk and brilliantly realized we already have a kinda, sorta right-of-way system that could be expanded to include bicycles. I know, this too would be expensive (but not as much) and bring its own set of problems since you would then be mixing bicycles and pedestrians, but it might be the best compromise option for selected routes. I’m sure smarter people than me have thought this trough a little more thoroughly, but with gas at $3.69 a gallon and rising (not to mention global warming, etc.) it might be time to start taking these discussions a little more seriously.

The Oldval Office

This site takes a guess at what each of the three remaining presidential candidates might look like after being in office for four years. The idea being that the stresses of being president take a toll on you physically and cause you to age more quickly.
I kind of think they’re overdoing the aging effect of the office on Obama and Clinton. McCain is already up there so there’s not a lot of room for additional aging. It looks like they mostly just added some age spots to him. I’m not sure I even buy the premise. I think most presidents age rather naturally during their time in office.

Anti-Dentite Nation

I’ve always wondered about this too:
Imagine if your health insurance -- and for the purposes of this thought experiment, you have health insurance, and it's decent -- covered everything save your liver. For that, you need liver insurance. Or maybe it does cover your liver, but not your right foot. That requires right foot insurance. Or maybe it covers everything but your brain. Got some brain insurance?

That's the odd space dental insurance occupies. None would argue that what happens in your mouth is unrelated to your health. An abscessed tooth is considerably more dangerous than a sprained ankle, and diseases that begin in the gums can travel down to the heart.
And even if you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, I bet it’s not very good. I’ve had (and now have) pretty good health insurance coverage, but even when that’s been the case, the accompanying dental insurance has hardly covered anything. Right now I have a health insurance card and then a separate dental insurance card provided by the same insurance company and paid for by the same employer. (Actually, I’m particularly lucky to have the best dental plan of all –my dentist is a relative.)

I’m not sure how dental care got disconnected from healthcare in general. I suspect it has something to do with having never been connected in the first place. We almost treat dental issues as if they are cosmetic and barely worth considering as basic healthcare. Oddly, I think we view cosmetic surgery, even the entirely elective vanity stuff (as opposed to reconstruction from some trauma) as tied more closely to traditional healthcare than dentistry.

Is it this way in other countries? I bet not, especially if you consider almost all other developed countries have some sort of universal healthcare. This is probably just some odd state of affairs we just accept here for no other reason than that’s just the way it’s always been.

Or maybe we‘re just a nation of anti-dentites.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Recycling RE: Cycling

Folowing up on the post below:

Coincidentally, Richard Roeper touches on the subject in his column today.

I always marvel at bicyclists and in-line skaters and joggers who put so much trust in the traffic behind them. They're very brave. Or maybe they just don't care if they're pancaked.

Late Saturday night/Sunday morning, a 22-year-old bicyclist was killed on the North Side when he collided with a vehicle driven by a 29-year-old woman. I'm not saying it was the bicyclist's fault -- but when I hear about such a tragedy, I'm only surprised that it doesn't happen more often. (According to a Sun-Times News Group report, witnesses said the bike "came out of nowhere" and "tried to beat the light.")

I'm pro-bike. I have a bike. I'm all for bicyclists and skaters and everyone else sharing the city legally with motorists.

But I'm always amazed at the sheer numbers of non-motorists that put themselves right in the middle of traffic, apparently just hoping for the best.
I’m not attacking cyclists either; quite the opposite. I just think cycling works better on its own terms and not in conjunction with vehicular traffic. It may be a wild-eyed dream to hope for a large scale separation between the two, but it’s something worth thinking about.

Also, while cyclists in traffic are still few these days, any large increase I think would add to the danger exponentially and would not be offset by the reduction in motor vehicles. Again, I have nothing official to back that up, it’s just a guess.

RE: Cycling

I think most of us work with or at least know someone who bicycles to work most days. But that’s about it; we know ONE person and it ain’t us.
The last time I used a bicycle to commute was back in elementary school when I would bike the mile from my house to school. Lots of kids did that back when. These days, I only get on a bicycle occasionally. In fact, I don’t even own one of my own.
Thing is, I live close enough to work that I could easily cycle there if distance was the only consideration. But distance is far from the only consideration for me. Weather, the need to run midday errands, and (gasp!) having to get up 10 minutes earlier are all factors. But the biggest issue for me is having to share the road with motorists. I just don’t like the idea. It seems way too dangerous. I don’t like encountering bike riders when I’m driving and I’m sure it’s no fun for them either as each passing vehicle represents a potentially fatal encounter from wich they have virtually no protection.
I know some roads here (not many) have that narrow bike lane on the right shoulder. And that certainly is a help, but it’s still not good enough for me. There’s no separation from traffic except for a painted white line. Separate bike trails seem like a good idea to me, but the existing ones mostly go nowhere and are simply converted railroad beds that are wonderful for recreational use but are all that practical for meaningful transportation.
I realize this is not going to happen anytime soon, but it would be nice if we could incorporate separate, safe bicycle transportation routes as part of an overall urban design plan. I know, this is Springfield and there is no substantial or creative urban planning done here. Ask me how I know as I drive daily on narrow, unmarked country roads completely populated with subdivisions (portions of Koke Mill, Archer Elevator, Meadowbrook). Hah, and I would never cycle on some of those roads as they are now.
So, while I don’t expect anything to come of this anytime soon, I think if we are serious about energy conservation we need to look into things like making cycling a realistic option for those of us who aren’t cycling enthusiasts to begin with. This will take planning, time and money but I think it’s a good option well worth the investment. But I’m not holding my breath.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blago Hates Springfield (and Everyone Around Here Knows It)

Reading this article in the SJ-R this morning about the Capitol Avenue Project in Springfield, I was reminded that Governor Blagojevich was, and I assume still is, a big supporter of the plan. As I recall he even allocated like a million and a half dollars of state funds to the project. I only bring this up because one of the main criticisms of Blagojevich here in Springfield is that he OBVIOUSLY HATES Springfield (who wouldn’t want to live here!) and he sends all of the state’s money to Chicago.

There are plenty of reasons to think Blagojevich is the Worst. Governor. Ever. But this paranoid “he hates us!” bullshit is not one of them. I see letters to editors and calls to local talk radio wanting “downstate” to force Chicago to become its own state and stop stealing all of our tax dollars, cuz ya know they get it all and we get nothin’. (This is ironic since much of Springfield’s economy depends on state government jobs and operations. Most communities would love to get the slice of the pie we get here)

Springfield’s childish, irrational and provincial inferiority complex it has toward Chicago really is unbecoming and makes us all look like a bunch of whiny hicks. Really, get over it. We have a large and diverse state that, fortunately, includes one of the world’s great cities. If you don’t like it, I hear there is plenty of room for you in Wyoming.

The Big One Is on Its Way! Or Not!

This article has been out since Friday but it’s still timely given that we had yet another strong quake/aftershock this morning at 12:40 am (which I did not feel). Apparently, there is some disagreement as to weather these quakes make “The Big One” more or less likely. The thinking is that these small quakes may either be a prelude, a trigger really, for a massive upheaval from the infamous New Madrid fault, or they could be providing relief to the geological stresses beneath our feat that make a huge quake less likely.

As usual, no one knows for sure. But go read the article for the specifics of both arguments.

Best Laid Plains

I’m not at all that close to the situation, but I keep seeing articles in the SJ-R that suggest that Pleasant Plains officials are genuinely and enthusiastically concerned about rapid economic and population growth in their town. The main reason seems to be that because they are getting a sewage treatment facility and sewer lines, suddenly masses of people and loads of business are going to want to relocate there.

We used to live in Plains. It was a nice quiet place to live but it’s down the two-lane highway a piece and not really close to anything. It’s not an unbearable commute to Springfield, but one of the reasons we saw a benefit to moving from Plains to the west side of Springfield, was that we could get more house just from the savings on gas for our work commutes. And that was in 2001 before gas prices exploded. I would hate to be commuting from there now.

For that and other reasons (lots of people prefer not to live amongst the corn stalks, and the traffic on 2-lane highway 125 to and from Plains during the morning and evening commutes is already horrible, for example) I don’t see Pleasant Plains becoming overwhelmed with new residents and businesses. Sewers are great and all (believe me I’ve had to deal with many septic systems in my life, including the one at our old house in Plains) but they just aren’t a big deal-maker for most people. Businesses, yes, do often need a good sewer system to operate, but I still don’t see the incentive for many to locate in Plains.

Update: To be clear, I’m glad Pleasant Plains is getting a sewage system and I’m sure it will generate some growth in the community, but I don’t think the town is going to be facing so many growth problems that task forces and planning committees need agonize over how to control it. On the other hand, better safe than sorry, everyone needs a hobby, etc, etc.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

R U Canada-Worthy?

Suppose Hillary and Barack finally decided to just resolve things with guns and they both wind up dead. John McCain wins the election (this is the only scenario where I think he does) and we are all faced with, well, FOUR MORE YEARS. Some may opt to flee to Canada. But if you chose this route, will they let you in?

Here's a simple test provided by the Canadian immigration folks used to determine if you would qualify to live among the Great White Northers. I got a 71, so they're all about having me come live with them. How 'bout you? Got what it takes to be a Canadian?

Friday, April 18, 2008

After Schock

Boy, that guy’s name is fun to play with. Maybe I don’t want him to lose the election after all. I mean, what can you do with a name like Callahan?

Anyway, the aftershock we felt about 10:15 this morning is being reported as a magnitude 4.5. At least we’re going in the right direction. I will say that is the first aftershock I’ve ever experienced.

The SJ-R site is getting hammered this morning, especially after the aftershock (did I say that right?). I couldn’t get on for the longest time. In a way, it’s a credit to the paper that they have a web site people know to turn to for late-breaking news. Props to the online guys at the SJ-R.

Oh, and you all know they’re laughing at us in California, right? Just ignore them. Our Big One (New Madrid) is going to totally destroy their Big One someday. Not to mention destroy about everything else around here.

Salem If You Got ‘Em

So let me get this straight. West Salem, Illinois (where today’s earthquake was centered) is almost due east of Salem, Illinois.

I guess that’s why some enterprising and befuddled frontiersmen decided to build a New Salem northwest of Springfield. Crazy, misdirected Southern Illinoisans.

Shaken & Awakened

Wow. That's the first time I've ever been awakened from a dead sleep by an earthquake. This morning's quake woke up everyone in our house except Hyper Drummer Boy. It's even making national news. Here's some of the CNN story:

(CNN) -- A magnitude-5.2 earthquake, centered 131 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri, shook southern Illinois early Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were few reports of damage immediately after the predawn quake, which struck at 4:36 a.m. (5:36 a.m. ET), but CNN affiliate WHAS-TV in Louisville, Kentucky, showed footage of rubble left in a street after a cornice fell off a brick building there.

The epicenter of the earthquake was about three miles below ground, six miles northwest of Mount Carmel, Illinois, and 38 miles north-northwest of Evansville, Indiana, according to the USGS.

People as far north as southern Michigan and as far west as Des Moines, Iowa, reported feeling the quake, according to The Associated Press.

Air traffic was halted for an hour at Indianapolis International Airport while the control tower was evacuated, CNN affiliate WRTV-TV in the Indiana city reported.

At least 30 people reported feeling the quake in Clarksville, Tennessee -- 227 miles south of the epicenter -- according to the USGS Web site.

Buildings swayed in Chicago's Loop and people were shaken awake in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the AP reported.

The only other two quakes I've felt both occurred while I was awake. One happened the night before I graduated from SIU Carbondale in May of 1983. The other here in Springfield about 1968 (?) when I was just a kid. The latter actually felt stronger than this morning's as I remember it.

Update: From the SJ-R:
The quake was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles fromEvansville, Ind.

Initially pegged as a 5.4 earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey revised its estimate to give it a value of 5.2.
I also understand that this quake occurred along the Wabash Fault not the more notable and famous New Madrid Fault. We still have "The Big One" to look forward to someday.

Update II: Apparently, from what i'm hearing on WMAY, a lot of people around here didn’t feel the quake, or at least they weren’t awakened by it. I’m no expert on earthquakes but I’m guessing that the higher up you are (depending on the structure you’re in etc, etc.) the more pronounced the sensation is. We sleep on the second floor and perhaps that contributed to us feeling the quake. Or maybe it’s because we live in a more recently built home (1990) made of the usually crappy modern building materials. I wonder if I had been in my office in the basement I would have felt it as much.

Update III: Today is the 102nd anniversary of The Great San Francisco Earthquake. Just us Midwesterners paying homage?

It’s also my oldest daughter’s 18th birthday. Hmmmmm.

Update IV: Again from the SJ-R, the quake I remembered from my childhood was indeed in 1968.
The strongest earthquake recorded in Illinois was in 1968, a 5.3-magnitude temblor centered near Dale in Hamilton County, about 75 miles southeast of St. Louis, according the USGS. Minor damage was widespread, but there were no serious injuries or fatalities.

Googling further, the actual date was November 9, 1968. I knew it was a Saturday morning. I was sitting in our living room in our house on South Spring St. watching cartoons when the big mirror above our TV began to bang against the wall. 40 years on, it seems like that one was bigger, but I guess not by much with today’s being magnitude 5.2 vs. 5.3 in the 1968 quake.

Friday Beer Blogging: Pope-Beer-Eee Edition

Ginning (beering?) up the beer blogging again after a brief hiatus may take some time. An elaborate operation like FBB needs to warm up slowly again. So this week, in honor of His Holinesses visit, I present a limited selection of mostly phony pictures grabbed from Google depicting a pontiff and his many beers.

Have a great weekend! And Pope open a a cold one for me too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Popes can be so patriotically incorrect.

"Americans have always been a people of hope," he said. "Your ancestors came to this country with the experience of finding new freedom and opportunity.

"To be sure, this promise was not experienced by all the inhabitants of this land; one thinks of the injustices endured by the native American peoples and by those brought here forcibly from Africa as slaves."

Ixnay on the rutalitybay, Opepay. We don’t talk about that stuff in polite company here. Everything we Americans do is good and it has always been so. Didn’t you see Apocalypto? Native Americans needed saving from themselves and the white folk arrived just in time. Slavery was no big deal, we got those people out of Africa and so what if they had to work off the free passage for a few generations. Don’t they have Capitalism in Vatican City?

And don’t you dare say anything about Iraq; we’re working on it!

Attack of the Killer 5s

This is fatally flawed. I took the quiz and the result was that I could probably take 22 five year-olds in a fight.


I know this to be unrealistically optimistic because I have a nearly five year-old and I can barely take him alone.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Talkin' 'Bout My G-G-Generation

I'm either a Trailing Edge Boomer or a Baby Boomer cohort #2 depending on your source.

From the U.S. Census Bureau (via Digby):
Classics (born from 1900 to 1920)

Baby Bust (I) (born from 1921 to 1945)
--Early cohort (born from 1921 to 1933)
--Late cohort (born from 1934 to 1945)

Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964)
--Leading Edge Boomers (born from 1946 to 1957)
--Trailing Edge Boomers (born from 1958 to 1964)

Baby Bust (II) (born from 1965 to 1976)

Echo Boomers (born from 1977 to 1994)
--Leading Edge (born from 1977 to 1990)
--Trailing Edge (born from 1991 to 1994)

From Wikipedia:
Depression cohort (born from 1912 to 1921)
**Memorable events: The Great Depression, high levels of unemployment, poverty, lack of creature comforts, financial uncertainty
**Key characteristics: strive for financial security, risk averse, waste-not-want-not attitude, strive for comfort

Pre World War II cohort (born from 1922 to 1927)
**Memorable events: men leaving to go to war and many not returning, the personal experience of the war, women working in factories, focus on defeating a common enemy
**Key characteristics: the nobility of sacrifice for the common good, patriotism, team player

World War II cohort (born from 1928 to 1945)
**Memorable events: sustained economic growth, social tranquility, The Cold War, McCarthyism
**Key characteristics: conformity, conservatism, traditional family values

Baby Boomer cohort #1 (born from 1946 to 1954)
**Memorable events: assassinations of JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, political unrest, walk on the moon, Vietnam War, anti-war protests, social experimentation, sexual freedom, civil rights movement, environmental movement, women's movement, protests and riots, experimentation with various intoxicating recreational substances
**Key characteristics: experimental, individualism, free spirited, social cause oriented

Baby Boomer cohort #2 (born from 1955 to 1964)
**Memorable events: Watergate, Nixon resigns, the cold war, the oil embargo, raging inflation, gasoline shortages
**Key characteristics: less optimistic, distrust of government, general cynicism

Generation X cohort (born from 1965 to 1979)
**Memorable events: Challenger explosion, Iran-Contra, social malaise, Reaganomics, AIDS, safe sex, single parent families
**Key characteristics: quest for emotional security, independent, informality, entrepreneurial

Generation Y cohort also called N Generation (born from 1980 to 2001)
**Memorable events: rise of the internet, September 11 attacks, cultural diversity, 2 wars in Iraq
**Key characteristics: quest for physical security and safety, patriotism, heightened fears, acceptance of change, technically savvy, environmental issues
My youngest sister was born 40 years ago tonight right here in Springfield while it stormed outside. My grandmother, who died just two years later, watched me and my other two sisters while my parents were at the hospital. Happy 40th Sarah! We are less then eight years apart but apparently of different generations. Who am I to argue?

Schock Blocking

I’ve been wanting to post something about Schock the Monkey but had not seen or heard much from the lad in a while. Thankfully, where there’s a will there’s, ummm, a Will.

More balloons, Gene!

Not Like Vietnam At All

Those of you old enough to remember will see ARVN written written all over this.
BAGHDAD — A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.

Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front.

Captain Veath’s pleas failed, and senior American and Iraqi commanders mounted an urgent effort to regain the lost ground. An elite Iraqi unit was rushed in and with the support of the Americans began to fight its way north.
Shitty puppet armies never work out so well. Especially when you pit them against their own countrymen at the service of a government they don’t support.
Just wondering too: Why is the word “elite” a good thing when talking about military units, or anything else for that matter, but not for presidential candidates?

My Restaurant Nostalgia Pick Is…

OK, as long as we’re talking restaurants that we miss (and Heritage House isn’t one of them for me), I’d like to put in a good word for…the Bombay Bicycle Club. I know, it wasn’t a “local” restaurant with a long lineage and all but I had a lot of good times there. I used to eat (and drink) there a lot in the ‘90s.

The building, now gone, was spacious and had a good atmosphere. The food was decent. We had an office Christmas party there one year, I used to meet up with friends there, eat nachos and drink beer at the bar, I also often used to take dates there during my single years. During that decade, I probably spent more time in BBC than any other eating establishment in town. Maybe more time than all of the others combined. I guess what it comes down to sometimes is not how good a place is on its own merits but what experiences you had there.

Update: Other runners up include:

Damons (for reasons similar to BBC plus trivia games)

Norb Andy’s (goes without saying)

Max’s (version 1.0)

The Golden Bear (we went there A LOT as kids)

The Flaming Pit (see if anyone remembers that one from the 70s)

Lums (just kidding, yuk!)

Tops Big Boy (WAY better than Sonic)

Gumbo Ya Ya (OK, there service could have been better)


Oh, no! Tiger is hurt! How will he work? How will he pay his bills? I hope he has insurance.

Hurt or not, I'd be done working forever if I even had the money he made from his new sports drink and the associated TV ad he made golfing on the moon. Of course, that attitude is exactly why I'll never, ever reach the level of success that would allow me to retire early. How ironical.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Holy Shit

Can I just take moment to remind everyone who sees images of Jesus in hospital gardens or the Virgin Mary on underpasses or grilled cheese sandwiches that no one, in fact, has the slightest idea what these people really looked like.
The images we associate with Jesus and Mary and other long-ago Jewish and Christian icons are simply those created by artists at some point in history long after these people were gone. These artists had no idea what the holy folk looked like either. They just made it up. Their creations may be sympathetic and pleasing, but they have no basis in fact. The images seen in foodstuffs and architecture may actually more closely resemble some hippie in Oregon or a dry-cleaning woman in Iceland.
Now, if you see Elvis in a potato salad, you might have something since we do have real pictures of him (Him?).