Sunday, August 27, 2006- - -
I don't think we're up for that kind of contact
It seems that some of Wyoming's Republicans aren't happy with the State Republican Party's tactics in going after Democratic Governor Dave Freudenthal. However, Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson reminds us that politics is a contact sport and that "If you just bruise easily, get into some other line of work."
Hmmm.. usually when someone uses the old "contact sport" analogy I think of a football game or even a good old-fashioned rasslin' match with some eye gouging and ear biting, and I'm sure that was the image Big Al meant to invoke. Unfortunately, the Wyoming Republican Party's antics so far in this election remind me less of such noble sports than they do of jello wrestling with big ol' hairy guys in fishnet stockings and leather masks with zippers in unusual places. I mean! There's contact sports where the spectators can cheer and root for their guys and refight the battle around the water cooler for weeks, and then there's contact sports where you hope no one knows you attended or sees you leaving the arena.
Kinda makes me glad I'm not a Republican.
Saturday, August 26, 2006- - -
TW: Reason - the middle ground between High Times and Oui.
Friday, August 25, 2006- - -
Not the Wyoming GOP's shiniest moment
I've written before about the extended fishing expedition Wyoming Republican State Party Chairman Drake Hill has been on, trolling through the state's records for any evidence of wrong-doing or malfeasance by Governor Dave Freudenthal or his family. The bill is in, with state employees estimated to have expended about $120,000 filling the public records request filed by the Wyoming Republican Party.
Unfortunately the Wyo GOP's cynical assumption that if they only searched hard enough they'd find some dirt somewhere doesn't seem to have paid off and now they've resorted to the tried and true: they're making shit up. According to the Star-Tribune Editorial Board:
The Wyoming Republican Party is paying to broadcast a radio commercial that its officials know contains lies.Update: I'm not nearly the only person unimpressed by the dirt storm being kicked up by the state Republican Party. Mason and Karen Flagg of Cheyenne weigh in today with a letter to the editor:
Not "distortions" of the truth -- that would be letting the GOP off far too easily for this dirty campaign trick.
When Republicans advertise that Gov. Dave Freudenthal is misusing the state's aircraft, after the Wyoming Transportation Department director has publicly debunked "a number of inaccurate statements and assertions" by the party's top official, that's a lie. Period.
... If the Republican Party is willing to sink this low in August, Wyoming is in for an ugly October.
As lifelong members of the Republican Party, we are amazed and appalled at the short memories you have with respect to the consequences of negative smear campaigning in the state of Wyoming. We don't like it, will not tolerate it and will vote accordingly, regardless of party affiliation. We know many Republicans who agree.Read the whole thing, the Flaggs give a concise outline of past foolishness in this same vein.
What I find amazing is that the Republican Party is by far the majority in Wyoming. If they run decent candidates and put a little effort into their campaigns they should win every time except perhaps in those little hotbeds of liberalism in Albany and Sweetwater Counties. When they lose you can almost bet the wound is self-inflicted. The occasonal little faux pas is going to occur everywhere and dirty laundry from the distant past will occasionally float to shore, but what's most amazing is what careful aim our Repubs take before they shoot themselves in the foot. This time around they've even brought in political consultants all the way from Missouri to help steady their aim. Obviously they're getting their money's worth, they haven't missed their foot with a single shot so far.
Thursday, August 17, 2006- - -
Coors kills fish?
Who'd a thunk it! I guess the big question is: Did they die happy?
It was grueling!
I'm still recovering from Nowoodstock, where a good time was had by all. Pat O'Brien really outdid himself this year, with a great lineup of bands. Every act was absolutely great and the weather cooperated, so the turnout was outstanding. I haven't heard any final figures, but I wouldn't be surprised if the attendence set new records.
And just as I've recovered there's going to be a bluegrass festival with music workshops this weekend at the Washakie County fairgrounds. I'll have to tune up the ol' mandolin and attend.
The good news: The U.S. wine industry has entered the world of genetic engineering as some vintners experiment with a strain of yeast designed to eliminate chemicals in red wine that are believed to trigger headaches, including migraines, in some people.
The bad news: It doesn't work on hangovers.
Thursday, August 10, 2006- - -
No, I think a true sign of the apocalypse would be Michael Moore appearing on "Dancing with the Stars."
Monday, August 07, 2006- - -
The "unbiased press"
Via PJMedia, Ed Driscoll has an excellent article on the media, their various scandals, and their often lame "dog ate my homework" responses when caught showing their biases.
Sunday, August 06, 2006- - -
Guilty, yer honer!
Considering the flap over the smoke-filled photograph and recent admonitions on how to avoid blog scandal (1, 2) I suppose I should admit that I photoshopped this picture of Nancy Pelosi. Yes, I admit it! I made the horns bigger.
You can't ever have enough dinosaurs after all. Here's "Big Al II" the allosaur from the Howe Quarry exhibit. The original Big Al was also found at the Howe Quarry. The allosaur is earlier (Jurassic) and smaller than the Cretaceous T. rex, and despite their similarity in appearance some think they weren't very closely related. Big Al II appears to be quite small, as allosaurs got to be up to 12 meters long. The first Big Al was about 10 meters long and it's thought he wasn't full-grown! As Robert Bakker quipped, don't think of it as a big, dumb lizard, think of it as a roadrunner from hell.
Although anatomically quite similar to T. rex the allosaur had three-clawed front feet rather than two. What a magnificent monster!
Ann Althouse suggests that restaurants could use fake patrons "... to improve the attitude of the real patrons." I suspect that some restaurants are way ahead of her. Seasoned travelers know that one way to select a restaurant is by the number of cars in the parking lot. Lots of local cars indicates a favored eatery. However, I suspect that the restaurants are also aware of this. One local greasy spoon, now out of business, had a parking lot full of cars at all hours. Finally, passing by we decided to give the place a try and were quite surprised to find no one inside despite a near-full parking lot. Like duck hunters, they'd figured out how to set a big spread of decoys.
Saturday, August 05, 2006- - -
The countdown has begun!
Yes, only six more days until Nowoodstock VI! It looks like local radio personality and music promoter Pat O'Brien has put together another great lineup of bands for three days of non-stop music.
And we'll finally be home to attend!
Friday, August 04, 2006- - -
On a whim, I ordered up one of Cold Steel's Zytel-handled Ti-Lites. Yes, the switchblade-lookin' thing with a stiletto blade. I've always found Cold Steel's fixed-blade knives, particularly those made in the US of their proprietary Carbon V steel, to be of excellent quality and a great value for the price (gulp!), but their folding knives have sometimes been a bit less impressive. However, this one is a dandy, very solidly made and quite nicely fit & finished. It has a blade of AUS 8 stainless, which came razor-sharp out of the box, but in my experience won't hold an edge nearly as well as their high carbon blades (not a particularly fair comparison, nothing I've found takes and holds an edge like Carbon V). AUS 8 does do quite well for stainless though, it holds an edge fairly well and, unlike some stainless steels, it's easy to sharpen. And after all, I won't be dressing* any elk with this one. (Although, come to think of it, it's certainly sharp enough and the blade has just enough drop to the point that it would work just fine for field dressing. It would just look a bit out of place.)
Zytel, a fiber-filled resin, is very tough stuff and this one features steel liners under the Zytel, which seems almost superfluous (I have several of their Zytel-handled folders that dispense with liners entirely and they've all given good service). Also, thin steel bushings on either side of the blade pivot are a nice touch that probably contribute to the slickness of the blade's movement and a well-fitted liner lock secures the blade against accidental closure. Considering how solidly this knife is made I really don't see the point in springing another hundred bucks for the titanium-handled version, which also adds an ounce to the knife's weight.
Best of all, the Ti-Lite is very definitely reminiscent of the old '50s switchblades. The blade isn't spring-loaded -- that would probably be illegal too many places -- but flicking your thumb against the cross-hilt opens the blade with an impressive flash & click. What it lacks in utility it definitely makes up in intimidation value! Now if I only had a black leather jacket I'd feel so James Dean.
*Why do they call removing the entrails and other inedible bits "dressing"? Isn't what you're doing more akin to undressing the critter?
I believe it!
Being from North Dakota and having graduated from UND, I wouldn't be surprised if this were true:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- Hang on to any of the new State of North Dakota quarters, they may be worth much more than 25 cents. The U.S. Treasury announced today it is recalling all North Dakota quarters that are part of its program featuring quarters from each of the 50 states.
"We are recalling all the new North Dakota quarters that were recently issued," Treasury Undersecretary Jack Shackleford said Monday. This action is being taken after numerous reports that the new quarters will not work in parking meters, toll booths, vending machines, pay phones, or other coin-operated devices.
"The problem lies in the unique design of the North Dakota quarter, which was created by an Engineering Graduate from NDSU," Shackleford said.
"Apparently, the duct tape holding the two dimes and the nickel together keeps jamming the coin-operated devices."
Old residents return for Greybull 100th anniversary!
Courtesy of Kirby Siber, director of the Saurier Museum in Zurich, who's been excavating these from the old Howe Quarry, on private land north of Shell, Wyoming. The Saurier Museum has cast the original fossils and mounted a set of the casts, bringing them back to the US for a brief time. They're currently on display at Dirty Annie's Country Store just east of Shell (through August 6th).
The materials from the Howe Quarry are dated at about 167 million years. This was our favorite, a 7-foot juvenile stegosaurus named "Jason" (paleontologists commonly name their finds). My wife doesn't think Jason is an appropriate name though. She's sure it's a little girl, although I have no idea how you would tell.
Despite the little fella's size, it had a large and well-developed thagomizer ("named in honor of the late Thag Simmons").
In addition to the stegosaurus they also have a 55-foot-long diplodocus and a very fierce-looking allosaur. It's well worth the trip to go see them and unfortunate that they haven't been better publicized, although they were getting a good turn-out when we were there.
Update: There's a nice article in today's Casper Star about the exhibit.
Thursday, August 03, 2006- - -
Political? You don't say!
Wyoming Republican State Party Chairman Drake Hill has been on an extended fishing expedition, trolling through the state's records for any evidence of wrong-doing or malfeasance by Governor Dave Freudenthal or his family.
First, he focused on First Lady Nancy, determined to show that State Troopers had provided security for her while she worked as a lawyer. I thought at the time that seemed a little bogus, as she's the First Lady regardless of what she happens to be doing at any time. Shortly thereafter Capt. Perry Jones, a Highway Patrol supervisor, noted that "... state law charges the patrol administrator with providing security for state agencies, employee, buildings and the first family." And that they don't take into account what the activities of the first family are in providing this security.
Now, according to Peter Maxfield, Gov. Dave Freudenthal's chief counsel, Hill has demanded "all documents and materials of any kind whatsoever" related to any sole-source contracts entered into by the governor's office, the attorney general's office, or any state agency, department, board or commission for legal or other services. Hill emphasized that he wanted his request to be interpreted in the broadest sense possible.
According to the dead tree version of this article, state employees have spent hundreds of hours dredging up all the requested documents, which amounted to quite a stack of paper. Because he bit off more than he could chew in his original request, Hill has since requested further assistance in summarizing the documentation. Considering the effort already put in, Maxfield balks at this, leading Hill to complain "Instead of working with me, the governor's attorney has refused to accept my clarifications -- which he in fact requested -- and has instead turned this into a partisan political game."
A partisan political game? Geez, ya think? Other than playing partisan political games, what reason could the Republican State Party Chairman have for demanding all these records? Has the state Republican Party organization decided to become a watchdog group? For the Democrats to win any office in this state they must field a vastly superior candidate, while the Republican Party has tended to be more than a bit complacent in commanding the vast majority of the state's voters. The Repubs have run some rather mediocre candidates, our last governor for instance, so I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that they have an idiot for state party chairman.
More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.Ironic, isn't it, that many of these conspiracy theorists are the same folks who demand that the federal government be given ever more power to meddle in every aspect of our lives?
Wednesday, August 02, 2006- - -
Things that make you go Hmmm..
Ann Althouse thinks that photographing a bison bull from the safety of her car makes her a "candyass". However, considering that a bison is as agile as a deer, can hit 30 mph in about two strides from a standing start, and has a notoriously bad temper, I'd say she has good instincts. Unlike quite a few other tourists who are gored every year getting too close to one of those big boys.
The old man is on a roll!
And this one is indeed priceless:
Jack wakes up with a huge hangover after the night at a business function. He forces himself to open his eyes and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose! Jack sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed.
Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror and notices a note on the table: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping Love you!!"
He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Jack asks, "Son...what happened last night?"
"Well, you came home after 3am, drunk and out of your mind. You broke the coffee table, puked in the hallway and got that black eye when you ran into the door."
"So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"
His son replies, "Oh, THAT!...Mom dragged you to the bedroom and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, bitch, I'm married!!!".
Broken table - $200
Hot breakfast - $5
Red Rose bud - $3
Two aspirins - $0.25
Saying the right thing, at the right time... Priceless
Where does he find this stuff?
Another good one from my dad:
I have a Labrador retriever & I was buying a large bag of Purina at Wal-Mart and was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a dog. On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms. I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry & that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.
Horrified, she asked if I'd been poisoned. I told her no; I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me.
Democratic Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch:
The enemies of the Western world in this war of civilizations are the Islamic fanatics. Those fanatics number hundreds of millions. They truly believe they have the right to kill all infidels. Sometimes, the fanatic warns us in his own words. Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in 1925 in which he told the world of his plans. A recent leader of al-Qaeda, the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, spoke openly of his beliefs, “Killing the infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute.”As they say, read the whole thing.
What is the answer? We must be resigned to fighting this war of civilizations for as long as it takes, and it will take years. We have to be as tough as it takes without violating the internationally accepted rules of war. And, when any of our soldiers intentionally violates those rules, they must be held accountable. When those on our side accidentally violate those rules in fear of their own lives by overreacting, we should not immolate ourselves with flagellation. Based on past actions, we are far more scrupulous then these enemies of our civilization.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006- - -
A fine spot to drown a few worms!
We drove up to Meadowlark Lake yesterday, in the Bighorn Mountains above Ten Sleep, to beat the heat and try to nab a few tasty troutlets. Our mission was at least partially successful -- after a couple weeks of 100 degree days I actually had to put on a jacket -- but the fish didn't cooperate worth a damn.
The problem became obvious after seeing the fish a few others did manage to land: My nightcrawlers were big enough to kick the ass of every fish I saw. Later, I tried spinning tackle, but didn't have any spoons or spinners small enough either. Unfortunately, my fly rod is hors du combat, as that was probably the tool for the job.
Ah well, catching fish can be almost beside the point. Sure is pretty up there.