Saturday, June 30, 2018

Remembering Gettysburg

One hundred and fifty-five years ago to this very day Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee were massed on one side of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg while Union forces under newly appointed General George Meade were amassed on the other side of the small town. Over the next three days these forces were to fight arguably the most important battle in the history of the United States. Yet today you will hear very little mentioned of the battle in either the newspapers or on TV. 

Why was this the most important battle in the history of the United States? 

General Lee had come North out of Virginia to find the Army of the Potomac and to beat it in open battle. If he was able to accomplish this – then Confederate President Jefferson Davis was to give Abraham Lincoln an offer of peace. 

If Lincoln accepted this offer of peace then the country would have forevermore been divided into two nations. If Lincoln refused the offer of peace (which he would have) – then chances are that Lincoln would have lost his bid for re-election to the Presidency. His opponent General McClellan would have accepted the peace plan if elected and again – the nation would forevermore have been divided. 

Think of the implications: 

· How much longer would slavery had survived? Would it still exist today? 

· Would a Spanish Mexico and an English Canada have taken over what are now the Western States? 

· Would Nazi Germany been stoppable in WWII without a “united” United States? 

· Would Communism have been defeated without a “united” United States? 

Luckily we did not have to find out because Jeb Stuart did not return in time to inform General Lee of the Union’s strength; because General Heth ignored Lee’s order to not engage the enemy on the first day; because General Ewell lost his nerve and did not attack and take the high ground when he had the chance and because Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine made their heroic stand on Little Round Top. 

The North won the battle and went on to win the war. For that we are thankful. 

Months later after the battle, on November 19, 1863, a somber President Lincoln made the following speech: 
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.
Now it’s a 155 years later and you would be hard pressed to find mention of the battle anywhere. Funny – Lincoln thought we would remember the battle and forget his speech but the opposite has occurred. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The United States has always been a forward-looking nation. We tend to dream of the future instead of dwelling on our past. It is one of our strengths. 

Still - we should remember the sacrifice men made today and the next three days 154 years ago to preserve for us the great Nation we have today. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Every time I hear a Democrat complain about the way voting works now that the Republicans are in charge - I think back to the way Obamacare was rammed through the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then I think, "Payback is a bitch"... Heh heh... Another reason for Trump to play hardball with Canada about their 270% tariffs on dairy - America has a record stockpile of cheese... I am ashamed to admit I've never read a book by Harlan Ellison. I plan to remedy that ASAP! I'm starting with "Repent, Harlequin" Said the Ticktockman...  Time for upper management at CNN to admit that HLN (Headline News) is just a money losing proposition in the age of social media especially Twitter... Rob Gronkowski is the poster child for an NFL player handling his earnings this way. Gronk lives off the money he makes from endorsements and commercials. All of his salary from the Patriots gets invested for Rob's retirement... I still think that the reason the finale of The Sopranos went black is because Tony held up a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad and HBO had to edit it out...

Just Saying

A university recently did a lifelike recreation of Julius Caesar's head.

Just saying but based upon this picture of Tom Brady from his freshman year at Michigan - TB12 just might be a distant relative of Caesar's.

The Scream

The Scream - Sebastian Cosor - from Sebastian Cosor on Vimeo.

Just love this.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

When the outrage over Justice Kennedy retiring dies down, President Trump should announce that he's turning the White House Press Briefing Room back into a swimming pool. Can you imagine how well the MSM would take that news?.. I'm still convinced that Peyton Manning and his brother Eli only work out using Shake Weights... It's funny because it's so true... Idea for a movie - Zombie Inventory Takers. The undead converge on a local mall to take inventory... The stuff nightmares are made of - the insect that sucks his prey dry and then wears the corpses of his victims... Have the "TRUMP/PENCE 2020 - No Fat Chicks" bumper stickers been printed up yet?... Looks like the attendance poor Mets are planting the seeds of a September Tim Tebow call-up...

Nets-Celtics Trade

It has now been five years since this robbery trade which eventually "netted" the Celtics Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and let's not forget next year's Sacramento pick (as long as it's not first overall). 

Just thought this anniversary was worth remembering by Celtics fans. How is it possible that Danny Ainge has not won NBA Executive of the Year at any time during the past 5-years?

Archduke Franz Ferdinand

On this date in 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. The murders sparked World War I.

Dan Carlin has an excellent in depth (and I mean in depth) podcast on the events surrounding the assassination in his Blueprint for Armageddon. Well worth the listen. 

If your tastes run more towards video rather than audio check out the Great War on YouTube.

Both are great sources of history.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Gonna Raise Hell - Cheap Trick

Just need to be reminded from time to time how much this song kicks ass!

Trump and the Trade Wars

Here's a good article that explains why Trump's Trade War Really Might Be Easy to Win.

I wrote something similar recently regarding Canada and NAFTA and the one criticism I'd have about the above article is that it doesn't say anything about Trump's true endgame. President Trump isn't interested in imposing tariffs just for the sake of having tariffs. He wants fair trade and has said so repeatedly. He's simply imposing a tit-for-tat tariff policy on countries that have put up encumbrances to imports from the US. For example - Trump offered Canada a full free trade agreement with no tariffs or protections on either side but Justin Trudeau will not give up his 270% protections on dairy or the Canadian subsidies on lumber. So Trudeau gets steel and aluminum tariffs from the US instead of free trade. It's his choice and sooner or later he'll come around to free trade.

The President's tariffs aren't hurting the economy either despite what you may read or hear in the media. I'm sure you've heard about the nail company in Missouri that's going to have layoffs due to the tariffs. Or certainly you've heard about Harley-Davidson moving some manufacturing to Europe also supposedly to avoid the tariffs. Really?

Just last week it was reported (though not as widely as the news about the nail company) that manufacturers' optimism hit an all-time high of 95.1% according to the National Association of Manufacturers. I guess that nail company is in the 4.9% minority but that still doesn't explain why the media is giving the nail company story so much more coverage than Volvo opening a new $1.1 billion manufacturing plant in South Carolina.

And Harley-Davidson? Were tariffs to blame when they moved some manufacturing to India a few years ago? No that was before Trump. More likely it is declining US sales and increased competition that's forcing Harley-Davidson to move some more manufacturing to Europe. Tariffs just happen to be a convenient excuse.

Just wanted to get this off my chest.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Eisenhower Productivity Matrix

Some excellent productivity advice from the 34th President of the United States.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

At this point you have to wonder if fake or make your own magazine covers make up the majority of Time Magazine's revenue... Heh heh... Now would be a good time for President Trump to announce he's moving the Department of Agriculture to Kansas and the Department of Energy to Texas... This thread is worth a read for some historical perspective... If the moon is pulling away from the Earth at the rate of a few centimeters per year - wouldn't it make sense to start the process of colonizing the moon now instead of trying to do the same on Mars? This way when the moon finally breaks free of the Earth's orbit we'll have a fully colonized "planet"... Is it any surprise that Tom Brady was once again named the top player in the NFL 100 as voted by the players? No - no surprise whatsoever... I'm ashamed that I'm just learning about American hero Garlin Murl Conner now. He will be receiving the Medal of Honor on Thursday (it will be presented to his widow). Where do we find such men? Hollywood should make a movie about his heroics...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Tiny Archibald

Reports are that Nate "Tiny" Archibald recently underwent a heart transplant. Really hope things work out for a player who could not have shown more heart on the court.

I had the honor of meeting of Tiny while just a kid attending the Eastern Basketball Camp in Moodus, CT. He'll always be among my favorite players just based on the way he treated me that day.

Hard to believe Tiny Archibald is 69-years old.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- The Mueller Investigation has truly turned into a farce. Charges against the Russians will be dropped and that will help Republicans in November and give AG Sessions the cover to end the Mueller Special Prosecutor's investigation completely. A farce!

- Love this! Not a soccer fan but definitely rooting for Iceland and Panama now. Meanwhile I can't root for England because of this extreme waste of beer! Wankers!

- Are bifacial (two sided) solar panels the next big thing?

- Got to love the Irish

- This is why the NFL can't have nice things. Let the man have M.D. on his jersey - he's earned it (unlike Roger Goodell and his salary).

- How have predictions about climate change held up over the last 30-years?

- Volvo will now be building cars on US soil in a $1.1 billion facility in South Carolina. How come we don't hear more about this in the news?

Hanley Ramirez

"The reporting on Hanley's involvement in this matter was reckless and irresponsible. It's unfortunate that one careless, inaccurate story can generate such widespread negative and damaging coverage." Adam Katz, Hanley Ramirez's agent.

The story Hanley's agent refers to is the one where it was reported that Hanley may be under federal investigation as part a large drug trafficking ring. Turns out Hanley's name was only brought up by a friend hoping to avoid arrest. Nothing more.

Was the media irresponsible in running with stories about Hanley's possible involvement with dangerous drug gangs? Yes - absolutely. To paraphrase a famous quote - who does Hanley see to get his reputation back?

Hanley Ramirez is a free agent but this negative publicity may hurt his chances of hooking onto another team. And the Red Sox? Even though Hanley tried (and succeeded) to be a positive clubhouse influence and fan-friendly to the extreme these past two seasons how can they welcome him back as an alumni knowing he had a childhood friend probably dealing dangerous drugs in nearby Lawrence, MA? Even if that childhood friend was doing it without Hanley's knowledge.

The silver lining (maybe gold lining?) is that Hanley has made over $159 million over his baseball career and probably doesn't really a bench role.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I don't begrudge Bernie Sanders for being a millionaire but I am amused at the idea of people buying his book on socialism is making him rich

- Heh Heh

- Interesting look at who is actually crossing our southern border and why

- Fantastic

- Three glimpses of personal data in the future. Allowing personal data to be exploited by private companies may not look so bad in comparison.

- Seneca on the shortness of time

- I want this

Custer's Last Stand

Today the 142nd anniversary of the Battle of Little Bighorn also known as Custer's Last Stand.

The lasting image I have when I think of Custer's Last Stand is the comic portrayal of Custer by Richard Mulligan in the greatly underrated movie Little Big Man.

My favorite historical oddity about the Battle of Little Big is the fact that the Battle also marks the death of George Custer's young brother Thomas Custer. What's odd about that? Thomas Custer was one of the few two-time Congressional Medal of Honor winners in US history. Nobody remembers Thomas Custer though.

EDIT: Damn! I posted this a day early! Mea culpa!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

John McAfee

Recently I watched the above documentary Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee. I came away convinced that John McAffee is a dangerous man, who's probably responsible for the murder of a man who should be in jail not running for President of the US under the Libertarian Party.

Seriously this man is a danger. He's also trying to reinvent himself as a cryptocurrency expert and using that to gain new followers. He might even get some of his new followers to shit on his chest (supposedly that's his thing). Dangerous!

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The first mission of the US Space Force should be to occupy the moon (just as foretold in the prophecies)... So woke it hurts (from laughing)... "Estimare" should be be a word for when an estimate goes way over budget and becomes a fiscal nightmare... Who knew? "Soccer" is actually the more authentic word to describe the sport... "If you have everything under control, you're not moving fast enough" - Mario Andretti... The world's poorest people are getting richer faster. "In 1820 94% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty. In in 1990 34.8%, and in 2015 just 9.6%." So historically things have never been better... Heh heh...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Hope This is Helpful

So I posted this the other day hoping to be helpful.

Turns out maybe not so much.

Hat tip to Borepatch for posting the real truth about service dogs.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Detailed look at all of Danny Ainge's NBA Draft picks

- Sad but this pretty much sums up the immigration debate

- Interesting - Stonehenge builders may have used Pythagoras' theorem 2,000 years before the Greek philosopher was even born. Bonus in the article the possible origin of the phrase "length of time."

- WTF? Seriously WTF?

- Germany's largest auto makers back abolition of EU-US car import tariffs. Interesting to see if this is a wedge issue dividing Germany and France in the EU.

- I've said it before but how ironic is it that Hillary Clinton's Presidential hopes may have been dashed by a sexual predator who was not her husband.

- I laughed too hard at this (hat tip Borepatch)

Watermelons - Simon Van Gend Band

Really enjoy this tune.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The people who try to politicize Father's Day are the same ones who wanted to politicize dinner talk at Thanksgiving. Those people suck... Speaking of Father's Day - you should read this thread... Who knew? Albert Einstein and fellow physicist Leo Szilard once invented and patented a refrigerator... US exports set a new record in April... John Elway was known for playoff disappointment until he finally won the Super Bowl in his 15th season. Likewise Alex Ovechkin was a great player also known for playoff disappointment until he won the Stanley Cup in his 13th season. Nobody now remembers Elway's earlier playoff disappointment. I bet the same will be true of Ovechkin... This is sad but true... Both excellence and happiness stem directly from self expression..

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Anyone familiar with this browser called Brave? Tim Ferris is trying it out but curious if anyone else has (I hesitate to move off of Google Chrome)

- How can you not like Tim Tebow?

- New study says fracking does not impact water supplies.

- Space trash is one of my secret concerns.

- Interesting

- Knick's center Enes Kanter's father indicted in Turkey on "terrorism" charges. Enos Kanter is prohibited from returning to Turkey. Terrorism is in scare quotes because this looks to be politically motivated charges.

- Good to know!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chris Pratt MTV Speech

Good on you Mr Pratt!

Len Bias

Len Bias November 18, 1963 - June 19, 1986. Oh what could have been!

Rest in peace.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- I laughed way too much at this

- Are the Arctic and Antarctic ice melts due to "enhanced geothermal heat release" (volcanoes) instead of man made global warming? The evidence seems strong that it is.

- Is Tesla's solar business in trouble?

- Interesting approach to working smarter and not harder.

- The influence of math on music and vice versa.

- Guessing this beer isn't going to be too popular in Cleveland.

- The next plague is coming. Is America ready for it? (Long read.)

Hemingway and the Squirrels

He was sitting on the second floor porch. The condensation of the cold beer felt good on his right hand. It felt almost as good as the sensation of the cold amber liquid going down his throat.

In his left hand laid open a book of Hemingway's short stories - I think it was The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

"What a prick Hemingway was," the man thought to himself. "Everything is either sex, fear of death or being a jerk to a woman because he's drunk and can't get it up." Still the man kept reading. 

Hemingway lived on his own terms and that realization pissed off the man who took no risks and who did things because he thought they were proper or they were expected of him. It was then he heard the noises.

It was a high pitched screech, followed by a what sounded like a wheeze and then the screech again. The source of the noise was two squirrels chasing each other in the trees outside the second floor porch.

"Ahh, a squirrel fight," the man thought as he put down the book and took another gulp of his beer. Slowly the man realized that only one of the squirrels was making the noises and that they were not chasing each other. There was one chasing and one trying not to be caught. "Ohh," thought the man, who was somewhat disturbed with himself for wishing to see the squirrels "being married" as Milton would say. Disgusted with himself as he may be, the man stood to get a closer look.

The female squirrel had made several laps around the tree before finding refuge. The tree they were in was dead and one of the larger limbs had dried out and split. Inside the hollow of the split the female squirrel took shelter and when the male came too close she took a swipe at him with a forepaw. The male was not discouraged. In fact his screeching and wheezing became louder as he circled the dead limb.

The commotion attracted another male who joined the first male in making laps around the dead limb while they alternated taking bites at each other with getting hit with swipes from the female trapped in the hollow.

Finally, the female had enough and made a break for it. She raced around the trees until coming back to the dead tree where she scampered out to the end of a branch that looked like it could barely hold her own weight. She was trapped. She turned to be ready to swipe at either of the males who were foolish enough to come out onto the fragile bough.

Neither male squirrel seemed anxious to place his weight on the branch. The man was disappointed. He looked around the second floor porch. It was his sanctuary. It held the spare fridge where he kept his beer. It was where he listened to baseball on lazy summer weeknights. It was also where he stored much of his athletic gear.

His eyes fell upon his softball glove. Inside he kept a softball with the idea that it kept the glove in proper shape. The sight of the ball for some reason made him angry. He picked up the ball and looked back at the squirrel standoff. Without warning he threw the ball at the bitch squirrel. The ball missed the squirrel but hit the branch which broke sending the squirrel hurtling toward the ground. 

He saw it clear. The squirrel's head and left shoulder hit the ground with a sickening "thump". The two male squirrels seemed to stop and stare at the man and then look down at the unmoving female only to look back at the man once again before scampering off in separate directions. 

The man looked down at the dead squirrel, then looked up into the sky as if he might glimpse the squirrels spirit ascending into the heavens. Finally the man's gaze fell upon the book he had left open with cover side up.

"Stupid Hemingway," the man muttered as he left the porch to go inside the house to take a shower.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

10 Years Ago Today

Boston Celtics 2008 NBA Champions! Anything is possible!

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Have to admit that I'm surprised that in the more than three weeks since the Red Sox released Hanley Ramirez that no team has signed him. Or maybe Hanley doesn't want to be signed?... Stephen Hawking's memorial stone at Westminster Abbey... Enrico Palazzo is still my favorite opera singer... Cool - a real star bursting in space taken over the course of four years by the Hubble telescope... Greatly amused that Clancy Brown did the voice of Surtur in the movie Thor: Ragnorok. Clancy Brown also does the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants. Now I keep picturing a giant Mr. Krabs destroying Asgard with a giant flaming sword. My mind works differently than most people... Excellent weekend advice from the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry...

Priests Playing Poker

The sins associated with playing cards are nothing new. The Synod of 1404 forbade card-playing by the clergy and in 1423 Saint Bernard called for the faithful to go home, get their playing cards and burn them right in the public square outside of Saint Peter's in the Vatican.

I wonder if that ruling against clergy playing cards has ever been rescinded?  Personally I can't ever recall seeing a priest at a poker table. And now I really want a version of Dogs Playing Cards but with priests instead.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

FBI IG Report

There are many bothersome things detailed in the recent FBI's Inspector General's Report (and full disclosure I haven't read the full report) but one thing in particular has gotten stuck in my craw.

James Comey asserted that he was unaware that Hillary Clinton's top aide Huma Abedin was married to Anthony Weiner. Now I don't mind suspending disbelief when watching a Sci-Fi movie but this is asking too much. If James Comey didn't know Huma Abedin was married to Weiner shouldn't the FBI have immediately jumped on Weiner to get to the bottom of why a former Congressman with no current connection to the government who is under investigation for potentially being a pedophile predator had stores of classified material on his laptop? I mean isn't this EXACTLY the sort of case the Director of the FBI should have made a top priority? Or are we to believe the Director of the FBI doesn't really give a shit about how classified government documents are obtained by persons who have no business having that material?

The only plausible explanation is that the classified material on Anthony Weiner's laptop was sat on for weeks because Comey was well aware of Weiner's connection to the Hillary campaign through his wife and Comey didn't want to the FBI to investigate the matter out of fear of no longer having plausible deniability.

James Comey has ZERO credibility with me. 

Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds is a [fill in the blank].

I wonder how many people finished that sentence with "Barry Bonds is a prick, a cheater, an asshole, or the poster child for steroids use."

How many people do you think finished the sentence with "Barry Bonds is a great hitter."

That's Barry Bonds legacy in a nutshell.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

OK I'll say it! The real reason the Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl was because of Tom Brady's lack of a proper playoff beard!... I love stories like this. Turnabout isn't just fair play it's awesome!... Remember to live every week like it's Shark Week... Mea culpa - I have to admit that years ago when Andrew Bogut was coming out of college I thought that he'd be just as good an NBA pro as Tim Duncan. Could be I overestimated Bogut's ability and vastly underrated Duncan's greatness there... Seriously congratulations again to the Eagles. Their Super Bowl rings look fantastic... Am I alone in wishing the producers of Wheel of Fortune would bring back the part of the show where winners went shopping and had to spend their winnings on merchandise?... Ballooning spider, flying spiders, no thank you spiders...

My New Mantra

My new mantra is Earning, Learning or Burning.

Simply explained - I aim to spend 75% or greater of my waking hours either Earning (money - doing my job), Learning (books, podcasts or videos), or Burning (calories through exercise - feel the burn!).

Some clarifications:

- I say 75% because I realize that some time will be spent relaxing, eating, watching TV and doing various and sundry other activities. Also sometimes things will overlap. For example I might be driving somewhere on business (Earning) but on the way I could be listening to a Tim Ferris podcast (Learning).
- I have a daily reading goal of 30 pages of non-fiction or 50 pages of fiction. These goals are very manageable and should be in reach of everyone.
- No "burning" does not refer to smoking pot (though I am not pot adverse). It's just that Earning, Learning and Exercise didn't rhyme.

So that's my new mantra - Earning, Learning and Burning. I'll try to constantly keep this in mind especially when asking myself what to do next with my time. What can I do to Earn, Learn, or Burn?

And by saying my "new" mantra is not to infer I had an "old' mantra. Just wanted to clarify that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Heh Heh

Tiger Woods - Just Saying

Nature arbors a vacuum. There is a huge sports vacuum this weekend. Both the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs are over. Baseball is in the doldrums before the All-Star Game and football is still over the horizon. Even horse-racing's Triple Crown is over.

There's a huge sports vacuum this weekend. What better way to fill it than with Tiger Woods making a run at the US Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Tiger is poised to be THE story of the weekend. I just have a feeling.

Edit: Or he could miss the cut completely

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just a reminder that prior to the first Gulf War - CNN paid kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in exchange for access no other network was granted. CNN also agreed not to criticize the Iraqi dictator or his iron rule. Just keep that in mind when watching them speak about ethics... The Wages of Sin Minus Taxes would be a good name for a band... Heh heh - Cobra Chicken would also be a good name for a band... Pete Rose may not have had a single season when he was THE best player on his team. Back in Cincinnati he had Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and a couple of monster George Foster seasons to contend with and with the Phillies he had Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton as teammates... Umm that's not chocolate... Long, interesting read on how lightning strikes can effect the human body. "When thunder roars, go indoors"! Seriously the risk of getting struck by lightning is not something you want to chance... I'm convinced that Ben Rhodes is completely unaware that as far as the history books are concerned he's the Obama Administration fall guy when it comes to foreign policy...

Nuclear Fusion

Is nuclear fusion power really in our near future? 2030 isn't that far off.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The G7 and NAFTA

Pardon me while I speculate.

I find it hard to believe that President Trump doesn't know that economically tariffs are bad and protectionist policies are worse. But I think we can all agree that Donald Trump is a man of tremendous ego and nothing probably bothers him more than the idea of someone (or some nation) getting the better of him in a deal. America has gotten itself into a series of one sided deals over the decades and Donald Trump sees himself as the man who can fix this. I believe all of the above to be true.

Donald Trump is using tariffs as his cudgel to fix our trade deal with Canada. He will divide and conquer Canada with tariffs first on steel and aluminum then next on car imports to the US from Canada. A lot of "car jobs" flowed not just south to Mexico after the passage of NAFTA but also north to Canada. Those jobs left the US (the target market) because of lower labor costs but if the saving in labor were negated by import tariffs then GM and others would all have to rethink the utility of manufacturing in Canada (or Mexico),

Justin Trudeau has an election in a year's time and I think Trump is betting Trudeau will not sacrifice the Canadian economy (and Trudeau's election possibilities) in order to protect dairy farmers in Quebec.

Most people probably thought that with the passage of NAFTA there was true free trade between the US, Canada and Mexico. But that's not the case. Canada still protects some of their industries - most notably dairy and lumber - making those markets all but closed to US producers. With NAFTA expired I think Trump will offer Trudeau a deal of true free trade between the US and Canada without any tariffs or protections on any products. If he doesn't sign the deal then Canada gets tariffs instead with the hard to argue point of what's good for the goose is good for the gander and if there's one people who get geese metaphors...

A true free trade agreement between the US and Canada is a win-win-win-win situation. Most of Canada will see the price of their dairy products drop substantially and no longer have to worry about losing their jobs in an uncertain economy. This will help Trudeau (or whoever replaces Trudeau if he waits too long to act or if Canadians are put off by eye-browgate). Dairy farmers in the Midwest will all profit from all the new customers north of the border. And this will help Trump in his 2020 re-election campaign.

That leaves Mexico who it should be pointed out is not a G7 nation. I think NAFTA is dead and that the US will end up signing a separate deal with Canada. I fear that Mexico may be the next Venezuela if they move too far left in the next elections.

And remember how Trump promised Mexico would end up paying for the wall? That's what the tariffs are for.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Suddenly looking forward to 2022.

- What a great "trick" play - Florida's steal of home

- Heh Heh

- Related - behind IHOP's change of name

- Can intermittent fasting slow aging?

Heh Heh

- Why do I get the feeling Boston Dynamics is slowly trying to get people used to the idea of them entering a robot in the Boston Marathon?

Top 5 - Rock Songs Written By Someone Named Ian

Here's my list of the Top 5 Rock Songs written by someone named "Ian":

1. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll (Ian Dury) 

2. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (Ian Dury) 

3. Locomotive Breath (Ian Anderson)

4. All the Young Dudes (Ian Hunter) 

5. Cleveland Rocks (Ian Hunter) 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

G7 Summit


Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Succulent Pork would either be a good name for a band or a euphemism for a sex act...  Nice Anthony Bourdain appreciation by Alan Sepinwall... All of the Planet of the Apes movies (and TV shows) are based upon the novel by Pierre Boulle but yet he never seems to get any credit. Can you think of any other book that launched as many movies and spin-offs?... I'm going to play Delta Dawn by Helen Reddy in the next five bars I go to that has a jukebox as my own private joke and to watch the reactions... Quote for the day: "Anger is often what pain looks like when it shows itself in public." - Krista Tippett... Dad reflexes to the rescue... As far as the possible Lebron James to the Celtics move this off-season - I keep wondering "What would Red Auerbach do?" I think Red would sign LeBron (as long as the cost wasn't too high...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Ignoring the Samantha Power bombshell. I hope it's not being ignored (and I'd really like to see the list of the 260 US citizens she basically spied upon)

- Great story from Dale Jr.

- Nice appreciation of Anthony Bourdain

- I did not know this

- Father O'Callahan, Medal of Honor winner, "the bravest man I have ever seen".

- Heh Heh

- Interesting primer - what President Trump's trade war could man for the WTO and global trade.

Secretariat - Belmont Stakes 1973

45-years ago today Secretariat ran the most incredible horse race in history. Watching the replay gives me chills. Supposedly Secretariat would have beaten American Pharoah by 16 lengths!

Jack Handy - Deep Thought for the Day

Thought of the Day: Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, "It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver" -- Jack Handy 

Have a good weekend!

Friday, June 08, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

"I should have died in my 20's. I became successful in my 40's. I became a dad in my 50's. I feel like I've stolen a car - a really nice car - and I keep looking in the rearview mirror for flashing lights. But there's been nothing yet." Anthony Bourdain

I never met "Tony" but I'm grateful that he was in my life through his TV shows and his writings. He made my life better and the lives of so many others by being that cool uncle who traveled the world and showed us things we'd never see ourselves.

I'm deeply saddened by the news of his passing.

Today and this weekend I will have his shows on TV as background. But as much as I will mourn the man I will celebrate his life. The example he provided and the wisdom he imparted.

Make Good Art

Some good advice on a Friday - Make Good Art!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Rumor has it that LeBron James is including Boston among the teams he wants to speak with this summer. Do you think he might just be trying to meet Tom Brady? Remember Brady was part of the Celtics pitch to Kevin Durant a couple of seasons ago...  Who knew? I was well aware that there was such a thing as a "Wet Willy" but were you aware there is such a thing as a "Dry David"?... Maybe it's just me but any time a bartender calls me "sir" I have the urge to rip a really loud fart... Wonder if the brain having two hemispheres is left over from back when we were aquatic animals who always had to be awake in the water with one side of the brain always active and alert (like dolphins)... D-Day by the numbers... Hardhat Jesus would be a good name for a band. As would Jesus Fish and Chips... True story - before picking Dan Quayle to be his Vice President, George H.W. Bush briefly considered Clint Eastwood for the ticket...