Bass Gay

I understand the news may discomfort all the other fish in the pond when they find out. Given that a lot of anglers are fairly conservative folks, does this mean all the fishing tournaments will have to start trying to catch other fish? Given the way bass fishing is in the South, I think a lot of people are going to be accepting of homosexual piscine Americans rather than give up fishing.

Oh, wait. I’ve just been informed that this is the celebrity Lance Bass from some craptacular band, not the actual fish. My mistake. I have two simple questions. Is anybody who cared about Lance Bass and his moribund career actually surprised? Notwithstanding the answer to that question, is there some reason anyone else should give a damn?

Barring any good answers to either of these questions, I think I’m done for the rest of my life caring (and blogging) about celebrities who come out of the closet, unless it provides me with an opportunity to engage in the vicious mockery of which I’m so fond.


ME Hijinks

Two things are on my mind today about the crisis-du-jour in the Middle East. One is this article, so kindly sent my way by J. Do people have not enough to occupy their lives that they get offended over this kind of crap? Spend some time with artillery crews. They do this constantly. When they get a break from actually hanging rounds, they write all kinds of crap on "outgoing packages". Most of what they write is obscene and offensive. Somebody got their panties in a wad because little girls are doing it. And this is a problem how? Oh, wait, some hyper-sensitive Guardian reading asshat will tell me:

"I still cannot understand why or how anyone would allow their young children to walk up to missiles or other explosives. The militarization of children is always a crime,"
So allowing children to walk up to missiles or other explosives is "militarizing" them? What’s dressing them up in simulated explosive belts and encouraging them to participate in a sick death cult of martyrdom? Maybe the continued calls for your destruction by crazy mullahs and imams would militarize the kids a wee bit more than an up-close look at crew-served weapons. Of course, I forget that if children are exposed to the evil military mind control rays emitted from ordnance they will become Zionist oppressors who use the blood of Palestinians as a lovely after-dinner drink or some such nonsense. WTFever. These kids live in a country targeted for destruction by every nutjob Arab and Islamist on planet Earth. I'm thinking familiarity with heavy ordnance is a good thing to teach your kids in that case. Of course, I'm funny like that. But, if the idjit commenter really thinks militarizing children is a crime, there’s yet another reason to disband the PA. Honestly, any outrage over this is because Israel is justified in pounding the crap out of Hezbollah, so it's time to manufacture some other crap to be outraged about instead of just admitting the underlying anti-Semitism.

The other thing that is amusing the hell out of me is the whiny 25,000 bitches who decided to go to Lebanon and then want the .gov to bail them out when things started going ka-blooey. Some clueless git was on Commie Radio yesterday afternoon talking about how horrible it was and how the US didn’t try to implement a cease-fire (in a war they’re not involved in) and blah, blah, blah. Basically, it was a long drawn-out version of "my Lebanon trip got cut short and the .gov should have done more to help mitigate my dumb ass decisions and it really, really sucked. WAAAHHH!"

Here’s a news flash for the reality-impaired: any country where a terrorist organization is part of the government is not a place to take a vacation, mmmkay? Lebanon has been a danger zone for my entire life, especially if you hold an American passport. If you go to a country like this, you need to assume the risks of your behavior, not the American taxpayer. Yeah, it sure must suck to be in a foreign country when it all goes to hell and people start shooting at each other. Too bad your dream vacation got ruined by events, huh? Once again, the government is not the insurance provider of last resort, be that auto, home, life or travel. You make the decisions, you live with the consequences. Don’t expect people to help you. It’s great if they do, but they are really under no obligation to do so. It’s especially wrong of you to demand someone else spend money extorted from other people at gunpoint to help you.

Anyhow, the world will continue to turn and there will be violence in the Middle East. I am reasonably assured these things will be true for a long time to come.


Hospital Follies

Yes, I’m posting live from Texas Women’s Hospital. It’s been a non-thrilling past couple of days, hanging out here during J’s annual surgery. J is fine, and doing much better than she was last time we did this. I have noticed a couple of things that have irritated me.

One is the complete inability of the nursing staff to operate the machinery hooked up to the patients. J was hooked up to some machine that monitored oxygen levels and pulse rates. Not one single person seemed able to shut the goddamned thing up when it started alarming or beeping. The only answer was to turn the machine off and back on, which reset it to all the default settings. The default settings make the machine beep at each pulse. This is not the answer when the patient is trying to sleep after surgery. It would also alarm when J’s pulse dipped below some arbitrary pre-set level, which had nothing to do with J’s chart or anything else. Of course, when it alarmed, I’ll give you three guesses as to what the nursing staff did. If your first guess was ‘nothing’, I’ll give you the grand prize. If your guess was ‘made excuses’, I’ll give you the consolation prize. The machine wasn’t networked into any kind of telemetry system, so the only people that know it’s going off are the people in the room, who called the nursing staff. Said staff then did nothing. The nurses couldn’t even figure out how to shut off the default beep at every pulse setting. The front panel of the machine has 5 buttons and a jog dial. This is not a complex device in terms of the controls. It was left to me to make it shut up. My medical training, like that of most military veterans, consists of immediate trauma response. I’m of the splint, bandage, tourniquet school of medicine. If you have a sucking chest wound in need of immediate stabilization, come see me. I am not up on electronic monitoring devices. Yet somehow, I can figure out the device that baffles the collection of licensed, trained professionals. I ended up having to shut off the default beep setting, using the jog dial. The alarm was dealt with by adjusting the settings so that J’s pulse was within the limits. All of these settings were easily figured out with about 30 seconds of study by me. Maybe I’m just smarter than the nurses. Or maybe I care more, since it’s my wife that can’t sleep.

The other thing is the bizarre state of IT in the hospital. There are wireless networks ahoy and computers all over the freaking place. Yet certain portions of the process require an interested party (i.e. me) to go and get people to write things down on pieces of paper. They then hide some of the paper and give out other pieces of paper. The pieces of paper then get walked down to someone else who looks at it and does something else. A freaking network would solve all of these pieces of paper, now wouldn’t it? Hell, the admitting office can’t even do an electronic charge of a credit card. They have to write down the card number and bill it later. It’s the 21st century, people. I shouldn’t have to be doing this kind of crap. Hell, even my company has enough scanners and other equipment that I can get signed documents distributed electronically to everybody relevant, and I literally work out of a double-wide trailer. Oh, excuse me, a “dual-sized manufactured modular office space”, i.e. a freaking double-wide. If we can get our act together, surely a major medical facility can pull it off.

Finally, you have to prod the people here to get things done. I sure would hate to be here without somebody to watch out for my interests. Everyone has been perfectly nice, but overall the quality of care has been less than spectacular. There's a tendency to come in, get halfway through something, and walk out. Examples include the blood pressure check where someone came in, put the blood pressure cuff on, got the reading, and walked out leaving the cuff on her arm. Never came back for the unit, either. Or the IV removal where the nurse told J "Now apply pressure and I'll be right back," and left for parts unknown and didn't return until we paged the nursing desk after 10 minutes. They'll also argue with you about the problem. "I just left for minute." Yeah, 15 minutes ago. Both of us can tell time, don't try to argue. Frankly, I've gotten better nursing care in a MASH when we were in tents and had to shelter in place because of missile attacks. These people are in a modern medical facility and can't be bothered to give a rat's ass.

Anyhow, we’re going home today, so all this will be an annoying memory.

Activision Can Suck It

So I went out and picked up Quake 4 in my continuing quest to demonstrate beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am old and feeble and lack the reflexes to finish just about any computer game produced these days. A short list of games that I have not managed to finish in the past few years looks something like this:

Return to Wolfenstein
Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Doom 3
Project Gotham Racing

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all I can come up with right now. I’m pretty close to finishing Burnout 3 and I did finish Morrowind (but not the expansion packs). Part of it is the fact that I lack the time to focus obsessively on defeating a game like I did when I was younger. Part of it is simply that I am old and slow.

Anyhow, I picked up Quake 4 and went to download the patch. Activision or ID or somebody involved in the production chain outsourced the patch hosting to some other website. Because I’m not a premium member of this crappy website, I got to wait 9 minutes before I could download the patch. WTF is that all about? I buy the game, but you want me to pay somebody so I can download the patch in a timely fashion? I ain’t the dickhead that released a busted game that needs a patch, now am I? You already got my money, so screw me, I guess. Thanks, Activision! I’ll be sure to respond appropriately next time I’m asked about your fabulous organization!


Sermon With A Cast

Which is the description used for Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged over at Asymmetrical Information. I would go a bit further and posit that all of Ayn Rand’s fiction can be described that way. I never liked the fact that somewhere in all of her books, the protagonist is going to make a stirring speech that makes extremely explicit the entire Objectivist philosophy behind what he's been doing for the whole book. As I've mentioned before, she is the classic literary example of how to beat someone over the head with your ideological point.

As someone in the comments brought it up, I’ll make a recommendation for Matt Ruff’s Sewer, Gas, and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy. It’s far more entertaining than anything Ayn Rand ever wrote.

Thought Experiment

I’m reading some odds and ends around and about the Web about the response of Israel to the recent unpleasantness perpetrated by Hamas and Hezbollah. I figure this an example of not learning from experience on the part of Palestinians. For my entire life, the idiot Palestinians have been provoking Israel until the Israelis start killing them. Someday, the futility of this approach will dawn on someone. In the meantime, they’ll try to play off public opinion by hiding missile launchers in somebody’s house and claiming it’s the Israeli’s fault the people living in this house die when the airstrike hits. If you’re sitting next to a rocket launcher that’s shooting at people, you’re not in a position to complain when they start shooting back.

In the meantime, let’s imagine something for just a moment. Two different groups who share a common goal, one in Canada and one in Mexico, start lobbing rockets into the US and killing civilians. The respective governments kind of wave their hands around and admit they can’t do anything about these horrible people.

Anybody want to guess what the US response would be? I’ll bet cash money it would be a lot more interesting than the Israeli response has been. I’m thinking there would be immediate retaliatory airstrikes, plus a concerted effort to replace the governments in both countries. The Israelis are being fairly restrained, all things considered.

Oh, yeah, I’d also like to point out that David Bernstein’s optimism has proven to be unfounded, just like I predicted. Score one in the correct column for me, if anybody’s keeping track.


Entertainment Discomfort

Basically this is a vent about a peeve of mine. We at YPS Manor subscribe to Netflix. It is a great service that I highly recommend. We have our little queue with all of the lovely movies we want to watch listed in our very own special priority order. We watch a movie, return it, and get a new one...just the way we like it. All is happy in movie world.

Except, enter well meaning friends.

Some also have Netflix, some just buy DVD's indiscriminately, whatever. They decide that they've seen something that is so good that we just have to see it...right now. Often they'll bring the DVD's they own over and leave them, unsolicited, and sometimes they just pester the crap out of me about why haven't I moved "WTF-ever" to the top of our queue, because it is just soooo good we haaaaave to see it.

If you do this to your friends, please pay close attention to his message, because your friends want to say this to you, but don't want to hurt your feelings. We have a Netflix queue with all the movies we want to see, in the order we want to see them. When you bring your personal pick over, you have become an unwanted intruder. You have forced yourself and your squirrelly-assed opinion upon us. Our movie watching time is limited, and we've chosen what we want to see; so mostly, you have now emotionally black-mailed us into watching something we'd never choose. That might sound harsh, but it is true. If you bring your DVD to me, and I say, "no thanks, please don't leave that, we don't want to see it, I have what I want to see on my list"...you are going to be offended or put off in some way. It is stupid, but true.

We have a few DVD's that we never asked to borrow, which have been sitting on our TV for approaching a year, because we don't care to watch them. It doesn't matter that I've attempted to return said DVD's, stating, "look, I appreciate the loaner, but we just don't have time, and I hate to keep it", because that is quickly countered with a "oh hey, no big, we don't need it back right away". So, there they sit, unwatched, for perpetuity.

The funny thing about the biggest offender of dropping off unwanted DVD's is that this person is listed as a "friend" on our Netflix queue, and has commented on more than one occasion about our "strange" movie taste and how she would never watch some of the stuff we have at home. Hmmm...ever imagine that the feeling might be mutual?

Again, our entertainment time is limited, so we actually do research movies that we want to see, so I can state confidently that 99% of the time, if something isn't on the queue and we haven't seen it already, we don't want to see it. We really don't. Did you get that?

A very dear coworker and friend just did this same thing to me with a book recently. This especially creeps me out because I would not loan one of our beloved YPS tomes to anyone. They just have a way of not returning. I'm grateful that it was very short. "The Devil Wears Prada", not my typical genre, but it only took me one day to read, and it was pretty shallow and entertaining nonetheless.

Those who read YPS regularly know that we are pretty avid readers, so much so that we have to inventory our book collection. We have a crap load of books. Because of this fact, I have a (mental) list of books that I want to read. I keep a stack on my nightstand in the order I want to read them. Some are partially read and I don't feel like finishing them now but will later, and some are just next. When someone forces a book on me, it screws my book queue just like the movie intruder screws my Netflix queue; except because my reading time is even more limited than even my movie time, the loaner book throws a bigger wrench into the works than the unwanted movie.

Another friend of mine who witnessed this phenomenon said to me once, "ah hell, just return the book or movie or whatever, don't read or watch it, say it was great, thanks, and move on".

That is so much easier said than done. First, because I don't like to be dishonest to my friends (who mean well), and second, people who want to loan you their media want to discuss the material when you return it...like their very own oral report or quiz to see if you did read or view the thing. Remember they were so obsessed with it that they forced it on you in the first place, they're going to want a critique for the privilege. And, they're going to be offended if you can't oblige.

Like I stated before, I understand the generous intention, but it is still extremely annoying and unwelcome. So, if you're guilty, stop it...seriously. I could give a shit about your entertainment taste. I have my own, and you don't want me to share it with you either.


CD22 Update: Meetings Tonight are Cancelled

As a result of the ruling this afternoon, both the Brazoria and Galveston County meetings that were being held tonight to select the "committee of 4" representatives have been cancelled.

More to come as I have it.

CD22 Update: DeLay For Congress...For Now

Judge Sam Sparks just ruled that Tom DeLay must remain on the November ballot. The RPT plans to appeal the decision, and I just heard Rush comment that the donks have just been "handed" this congressional seat.

Not so fast, ladies and gentlemen.

The Republican voting strength in this district was reduced by redistricting, not eliminated. Even if the final ruling keeps DeLay on the ballot, don't be surprised if he wins the seat anyway. We're not New York folks, we don't like commies and we don't like carpetbaggers. Nick Lampson is all that, and a bag of very stale tofu crackers. He's going to have an almost impossible time winning this seat, regardless of court outcome, $2 million in the bank or not.

Chris has a nice summary of what is up with the entire case.

I still can't help but be amused because they've sued for what they can't win by popular vote, and they're still not going to win it regardless. The Democrat ass is just so much more appropriate today than even usual.