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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Get out of Bolivia... 

OK, now Bolivia. I guess a few American troops are going down to observe. Or is it to influence? Or is is to persuade? Or is it just to fly out the assassin?

-Vulf

Get off the planet? 

Wake Up...trade in your SUV and plant a tree...We need to look beyond the next Quarter. Is the guy ranting a little? Yes. Can we give him a break for earnestness? Perhaps. What do you see happening in 30 years...snap out of the malaise.

-Vulf

Friday, October 17, 2003

GET OFF THE ROAD... 

No, I'm not talking about all the retirees who live near me. They are essentially pylons, and I actually enjoy swerving around them in a usually futile attempt to go 80% or more of the posted speed limit. I actually saw an octogenarian (or older!) driving 23 mph in a 45 zone the other day. You go, grammy! It's like I was re-living an old CHIPS (It was TV at its worst--RIP, CHIPS) episode where everyone on the (SoCal, for crying out loud!) freeway is driving perfectly spaced (double entendre intended) in another driver's blind spot at 30 mph while Eric Estrada zigzags between them to save the Babe o' the episode. Gag sick puke. Although I don't mind dodging the human pylons myself.

No, I'm not talking about the road apples either (Winnebagos on the Rampage...an Internet poem for our time?), tearing up the subgrade and doubling our highway bills. I do want them off the road, but that's a story for another time.

What I'm talking about are the "joggers". Yes, the "I'm so important running my 12-minute miles I have to synch my watch up with orbiting satellite-based time" joggers (Jogger Joke). It's bad enough to see a sweaty, hairy, watch-bedecked egoist slogging down the sidewalk, but they can't stop there...THEY ALL RUN IN THE STREET.

Someone, somewhere did a study showing that asphalt has a lower modulus of elasticity than concrete. Nevermind that Crushed Rock has a similar modulus to Human Tendon, these lunatics think that running on the asphalt will somehow save them wear and tear on their joints. I've got a clue for you guys...if the ground beneath you does not compress while you run, it's the weight of your body that does the joint damage. And, guess what, neither asphalt nor concrete compresses significantly under your weight, Marlon Brando excepted of course. So, unless you run on loose dirt or grass, you're doing about the same joint damage on any hard surface (including basketball courts, which are made of equally "incompressible" wood).

Now, if I haven't made myself clear, GET OFF THE ROAD...it's for bikes, Segways and those "WIDE LOAD" houses that inexplicably ship by truck rather than train.

-Vulf

That's 10 more in action, 2 more in "non-hostile action" in 9 days... 

Since the "so many lies, so little time", blog (Oct. 8).

Sadly, that's further verification of 35/month, Howl. :(

-Vulf

Iraqi War Casualties 

I usually don't like to interrupt TGIF Furball Sports day with somber news, but the number of war casualties have gone over the 100 mark. In fact 197 men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice since Bush declared "major" combat over on May 1.

As well as the 101 soldiers who have died in combat since the war was formally declared over by Bush on May 1, another 97 have died in so-called non-hostile action -- accidents, friendly fire, illness and suicides.

The most tragic deaths have to be the suicides.

I will repeat what this soldier said again, because it is a question our representatives have to hear:
A soldiers' cry,
How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them, rather than their leader's interest?

- Howl

Monkeys or the White House? 

You make the call. Monkeys with brain implants move robot arm by thought .

-Lupus

There is no God! 

To those of you who think there ain't no justice. Well, you're right. Satan or some semblance to him/her/it controls what happens here on earth. How else to you explain the 8th inning meltdowns by Boston and Chicago.

-Lupus

Friday Furball Sports Day 

Here are the picks from our favorite guest passive blogger Mark Toft.

Football Week 7

Note: Mark Toft is on vacation and his replacement passive blogger is Sean Singer.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Scary as Hell..."Glacier National Park" needs a new name soon? 

No, global warning is just a theory, right? (Glaciers melting faster than Ben Affleck's career!). I took a trip to Iceland last year with my amico grande and we went hiking on the leavings of a glacier near Thorsmork (Amazing scenery, in May you're all alone!). The glacier was receded 500 meters or more, and it was clear from the precarious balancing of many exceptionally large boulders on the top of the leavings "knife" that the recession was very recent...and very scary. And like that other recession we know so well, "W" has indeed contributed to it. Here we were, maybe 100 miles from the Arctic Circle and it was flat out WARM in mid-May, and the glaciers were already melting for the Spring. So much for the Jokulhlaups (Melting ice flowing because of underlying volcanic activity--Mosh! Mosh! Mosh!), there won't be any ice for the lava to melt.

Makes me want to go out and pressure a few of my friends into having more kids, howzbowt you?

-Vulf

Stove Tops 

Don't ever confuse a stove top with a copy machine...
I *still* can't sit down!

-Vulf

Too much blogging? 

When all is said and done...
We'll all be mute and immobile

-Vulf

Velcro 

Velcro is a wonderful invention, of course, but in my experience I've found it's not very helpful in keeping together families.

-Vulf

Vegas 

When you lose more than $10,000 in Vegas, they give you a special certificate.
I'll bet that takes away some of the hurt.

-Vulf

Vulf's Friday Quote of the Day 

The crawl space under your house is a great place to hide gifts,
unless of course you're giving the gift of meat

Revolution's a-Coming 

The White House staff should start reading about 1788 France, because if we're not in 1938 Germany, then we're in 1788 France. Is dissent hidden, is free speech a memory? (Dissent's not treason, yet they talk as if it's the same),

Quiz time, if you give the people no outlet, they'll:

(a) Use batteries
(b) Call an electrician
(c) Re-volt and re-amp
(d) Revolt

If you guessed (d), stay tuned. My thesis on this is coming, and so is a revolution. Like the French one? Can't say, wouldn't wanna be seditious. But I sure am glad I'm not rich. The CEO/production-line-worker pay ratio has gone from 40 in 1980 to 75 in 1990 to 400 now...every wave must break.

-Vulf

Riddle me... 

Q: What do you call a person under age 50 without a heart?
A: A Republican

(I understand some folks getting jittery in their '50's about change since they are less adept at responding, but a young Republican should be a rare beast indeed)

-Vulf


Election year quote 

Adlai Stevenson wrote:

I will make a bargain with the Republicans. If they will stop telling lies about Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

- Lupus

Epistemological question  

Michael Kinsley presents the following epistemological question to his readers:

[H] ow [does] our president know what he thinks he knows and why he thinks it is less distorted than what the rest of us know or think we know.

The above referring to Bush's penchant for receiving filtered news; but, then on the other hand, wanting to broadcast his unfiltered views.

-Lupus

The Onion? 

Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.

Answer here.

-Lupus

Of Mice (Eeek!) and Mice (Oooo...) 

Here's something to ponder: we recently discovered an infestation of mice in our garage. We are responding with poison bait and four different types of traps. Juxtapose that with the gift we recently gave our one year old nephew for his birthday, a cute little Halloween costume of, you guessed it, a mouse!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Vulf's Thursday Quote of the Day 

Physics isn't so hard after all. A buncha them Physics guys are arguing over the Big Bang and all them other other theories. So, I proposed my own theory: "Something happened". Hey, you'll see it in next month's "Scientific American", pal!

Vulf's Wednesday Quote of the Day 

I hope those city workers don't take too long putting up their "no loitering" signs

Media Food Chain Level 

Saw this coming, dincha?

OK, so yesterday we invented the metric of "Food Chain Level" here on the Bite. Today, we extend its power into the media. You know, the Liberal media. The no-spin zone flaming socialist media. Well, OK, there is buzzflash, and they go too far on the spin sometimes, but the Americans spoon-fed CNN, Fox and worse still McDonald's extra flaccid meal actually think the media is liberal.

So, I exchanged numerous emails with a good friend yesterday who just happens to be pretty far right (I can live with that, he's entitled to his opinion, and he's got enough brain power to boil antifreeze[130 C--that's 266 F--for a 50-50 antifreeze:water mix]). However, he is snookered by the media. When I tried to explain the 91 and 320 to him

(see earlier blog "So many lies, so little time" for full context, the salient portion is:

"On to a perhaps more subtle lie by association. However, this is a lie, not speculation. Three more soldiers were killed in Iraq yesterday (91 killed in action since May 1), but watch the "clever" deception in the reporting of it: "The three soldiers' deaths, the first reported since Friday, brought to 91 the number of American soldiers killed in hostile action since President Bush declared an end to major combat on May 1. A total of 320 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the United States and Britain launched military operations against Saddam Hussein's government on March 20." Nowhere in this article do they explain that 91 is APPLES and 320 is ORANGES. The 91 killed in hostile action need be augmented by 94 killed in "other incidents" (being killed seems pretty hostile to me...were these other incidents group hugs that got out of hand?) since May 1. "

--is it legal, copyright-wise, to quote myself?)

HE JUST DIDN'T GET IT. He said "well, 91 is how many have died in combat since May 1, and probably some of the 135 died in "other incidents", too. I said, well, thazzfine, hombre, but then they should compare the 91 to 91+(135-other incidents before May 1) in their article, which THEY DIDN'T. Then he said it was lazy media, copying from somewhere else. Finally, he ended on the (correct but still not appealing to the administration) defense that the RATE of deaths was going down (it is, from 100/month to the current-but-climbing 35/month). Great, then the administration needs to come out and say 35 are dying each month. (Based on actuary tables, 2/month would die of natural causes--my intelligent but hoodwinked friend tried this one, too).

One thing he was absolutely RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT about was the media laziness angle. Someone else said it first, I'll cut and paste. Look how good I am with cut and paste. Voila, I've met my word count. I understand that, look how I padded this blog with cut and paste from a previous rant. Aha, but I'm not getting paid to write this drivel.

So, the media food chain level is how many copied sources you have to go back to find the original citation. Do your own research...it's amazing how what I read on-line appears in the paper the next day...verbatim. Eat healthy? Then read healthy, too.

-Vulf

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Knuckleball...and Knucklehead 

Thanks to Lobo for a baseball "insider's" view of the knuckleball. He is absolutely right. Most of us ex-Babe Ruth leaguers and city leaguers learn how to look for and differentiate the rotation signatures of a fastball and curve in a split second. Thus, fastballs seem to "rise" based on our perception of their pathway from the seams. Curves seem to drop less than they actually might due to our tracking. But knucklers? Fuggedabowdit...we can never go back after the training.

Sadly, the Yankees won tonight (David Wells is not only a wild man, but a world-class playoff pitcher). And so now, both the Sox and the Cubs face elimination.

Which leads us to...
THE KNUCKLEHEAD
Who was that idiot reaching for the foul ball over Moises Alou, and why has he not become a floormat at one of the Rush Street bars? You pay, what, $500 for a ticket to a seat that good, and what do you do...You interfere with your own Cubbies closing out the NLCS?!?! No wonder the Cubs haven't won a series in a century or so...their fans eat too much meat (see "Food Chain Level") and it gets to their heads.

-Vulf

California Hangover 

Posted by Lupus

Here's my 18 cents on the California recall.

The Democratic hierarchy again demonstrated its Oakland Raider-like strategy of playing to lose. How in the hell do you lose to Cleveland, but I degress. Amazingly, my Magic 8 ball predicted it, but I degress even more. Back to the Raiders of politics, the Democrats. Propelled by the messianic fervor to keep politics fair and pure(like when?), they decided to base their strategy on the defense of a principle, the abuse of the democratic process by monied interests working through the Republican Party?N1 Which translated to most of the public as, "Keep the Governor everyone despises."

Most observers looked at this and said, "R i i i ght...." and quickly concluded the game was up. Most people schooled in everyday reality agree with Stanley Fish's argument that 'principles' are fictional stories we tell ourselves that are better left to children.N2 The Democrats obsession with "moral victories" distracted them from the real objective of the recall: winning. Eric Alterman summed up the problem with moral victories, "Another word for 'moral victory' is defeat."N3

The California recall was an example of what most people call, "a teachable moment."

First lesson, "Put your damn best foot forward!"

Second Lesson, "Same as the first."
The pitiful choices on the Democratic side allowed an "illusion over substance" campaign to dominate the race. The voters were looking for a leader and the Democrats offered no visionary mind or political brilliance to elect.N4 Instead the voters settled for muscle, special effects, palaces and gold.N5

Third Lesson:
Tailor your campaign to the office. People want candidates for executive offices to display leadership by looking decisive, optimistic and forward-looking.N6 Leadership to some degree includes acting.N7 Acting implies entertainment. Voters want to be entertained. Why shouldn't elections be fun? The labor agitator Emma Goldman once exclaimed: "I don't want to be part of a revolution where there's no dancing!"
This fuzzier focus on the person means policy can be left to the sidelines.

Fourth Lesson:
Don't think you can win if you ignore your base. They will ignore you back. Clinton was a centrist but he understood his base. He spent a lot of time in black churches and he actually took some political heat from women on partial-birth abortion.N8

Fifth Lesson:
Grass roots campaigning does not apply to all elections. The environment surrounding Presidential elections seem to be the most conducive to the "get out the vote" effort. Off-year and off-month elections seem to contain a static pool of voters that is not worth the cost to enlarge. Gubernatorial and Senatorial races exist somewhere in the mushy middle.

Sixth Lesson:
Have I mentioned principle yet? There's a reason.


N1
N2
N3
N4
N5
N6
N7
N8


Hobbes was wrong! 

Inspiration from Vulf.

Hobbes said life is nasty, brutish and short. Living under Whistleass, we discovered life is nasty, brutish and way too long!

- Loping Lupus

Red Sox in Thick of Things, Wakefield Floats 

I caught part of the Red Sox/Yanks game last night before I tried to do catch up on my marketing reading (a.k.a., fell sound asleep). Tim Wakefield was lofting these little packages of tempestuous cow hide that were as unpredictable as Denver weather.

The slow motion view of the knuckleball revealed absolutely nothing. There was less than a 10% total rotation in any direction until it hit the dirt -- after being missed by both the batter and catcher.

There is only one other thing in nature that behaves like a knuckleball and that is another knuckblall. I remember watching Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough throwing similar pitches and every time holding my breath until the ball reached its final destination, which was usually the backstop.

I could go on and on and marvel about the incomprehensibility of the knuckleball but it would be as futile as trying to figure out a Qwest bill or how they get those ships inside bottles. All I know is that the floater helped the RedSox stay alive and did its part to give the Yankees hell. And that's a good thing.
-LOBO

Monday, October 13, 2003

Vulf's Tuesday Quote of the Day: 

A lot of people seem bothered by fingernails on the chalkboard. Yea, well what about fingernails in your orange juice!?

Vulf's Monday Quote of the Day: 

People misunderstand baseball players. When they scratch and spit, it's not disgusting--it's a mating ritual. And you'd be surprised what it attracts.

Food chain level... a new and important food factoid? 

OK, Wilk, in Poland when you buy food there usually isn't much nutritional information on the package, but here in the States it seems just about every grain of wheat must have its name on the package. However, one thing they should put on there, which to my knowledge has never even been defined before, is the following:

Food Chain Level

If you're eating pure grain or pure plankton, then your food should be food chain level 1. If you're eating a boll weevil, then the food chain level is 2, because those little guys are eating all food chain level 1 themselves. Eat the boll weevil merganser (if such a bird exists), and it's level 3. Simple enough...plankton, krill, baleen whale--1, 2, 3. Plankton, krill, fish, harbor seal, killer whale--1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Omnivores and the like can be rated based on the relative caloric intake in their diet of items at different levels.

Now the reason for this. Suppose you have a free range cow. Good for you, those things usually run north of $1000. Now suppose your little sirloin (Not "Sir Loin", that particular title belongs to the new governor of California) eats nothing but the prairie grass you let him roam through. He's level 2, no? Great, so if every food has to report this, then when a cow is fed ground-up cow, which itself ate ground-up cow, then the food chain level is 4. Not to mention it's cannibalism, and probably increases the likelihood of prion-based problems "evolving" in the first place--it without a doubt contributes significantly to prion-based illness jumping from one cow to the next. A farm which fails to break this cycle of cannibalism can eventually end up with a chain level higher than Mr. T's chest.

Prions aside, why is this scary? Because toxins build up from one level to the next. Take DDT. Meant to kill crop pests, it took out the predator birds instead--because their livers build up toxins from those built up in mice and other smaller animals that ate tainted grains and insects. So, will food chain level define toxin level? No, but it will correlate. And it will make people a lot more reticent to eat factory food. Let's get rid of one asinine current factoid on our food--like the percent daily fat intake it represents for the average person: NO ONE is average!--and replace it with this, shall we?

-Vulf

Packing it in... 

Non ho parole about the Packers..didn't see the game, but they essentially had Buc-envy and tried to match the Crampa Bay collapse against the Colts is all I can figure. Favre has a lot of nice stats...but he HAS to be the all-time leader in throwing touchdowns for more than 50 yards for the other team. As for the Colts, well, we knew the Panthers would give them a hard time...the Raiders and Eagles are done, and I'm 9-5 for the weak...er week.

Now, on to more important matters...
-Vulf

Sunday, October 12, 2003

WAY, WAY Cool... 

Egyptian twins joined at the head ostensibly successfully separated (Reuters blurb). A nice story, two young lives opened up...modern technology at its best. YEAH!

Now if someone could just separate the heads of the White Whale and W. You saw this coming, dincha?

Either way, what a nice piece of news for a change.

-Vulf

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