Oct 302015

I intended to watch Wednesday night’s debate, and I did, but I didn’t know I’d live-blog it on Twitter too. Just kind of happened.

I didn’t post thoughts yesterday because I try to keep Thursday miscellanea posts apolitical. Here is a bullet for each candidate, ordered from “helped himself/herself least” to “helped himself/herself most”:

  • Jeb Bush launched an ill-timed and poorly thought out attack on Rubio early on, and never recovered. He seemed cowed the rest of the debate. That Bush has been such an inept politician in this campaign is astonishing.
  • Rand Paul had his Warholian fifteen minutes, but they were over a year ago. It’s easy to forget he’s there. He needs to fold his tent soon.
  • John Kasich clearly went in juiced and ready to shoot the moon, knowing his campaign was out of time. Too little, too late.
  • Mike Huckabee, to me, is just not a presidential guy. There’s an X-factor missing that I can’t quite articulate. I like him. He’s quick, he’s funny, and he’s smart. But I’d like him around, not running the show.
  • Carly Fiorina did fine, and got a decent laugh with criticism that she didn’t smile enough. But she didn’t say anything truly memorable, and I think probably a push debate performance is nearly as damaging to her campaign right now as a bad one would have been. She couldn’t hang onto her post-second debate numbers, and there won’t be a bump at all from this one.
  • Chris Christie landed some punches, but I think everyone knows he has those. As entertaining as the Tasmanian Devil is, you can’t turn the shop over to him. What does Christie have in “statesmanlike”?
  • Ben Carson doesn’t change much, does he? He is a fine man and I like him a lot, but it’ll be interesting to see how soon his demeanor will become a liability (or, indeed, whether it will).
  • Donald Trump adjusted his burn just a bit, exhibiting the same attitude but toned down slightly. I’m reading this as acknowledgment that it’s still a year until we all vote, and a little moderation might be indicated. It’s a promising sign for those of us who’ve been waiting for him to go away, and are now starting to realize that he might not.
  • Marco Rubio, after bloodying Jeb’s nose, stayed appealingly blunt and straightforward without seeming like he was licking the blood off his fingers. He is very good at talking about American ideals.
  • Ted Cruz stole the entire first half of the debate with his excoriation of the (one would assume) inadvertently comical CNBC team of moderators, and did a fine job staying more personable and accessible than he’s yet been. I suspect a lot of “well, maybe this guy could be president” resulted.

Long way to go yet…

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Oct 292015
  • Despite our best efforts and the summertime assurances of a well-meaning friend, we have determined that fall AYSO and marching band are irreconcilably incompatible. Noted for 2016.
  • Remember 1¢ Ford gum machines, that dispensed a single chiclet along that extruded curved path, custom-crafted for them? When was the last time you saw one? Are they anywhere anymore? In 2015, can a gum machine profitably dispense even a single tiny piece of gum for a penny?
  • Phil Collins has unretired! He was an unhappy and unhealthy person, and I’m genuinely glad for him that he’s feeling better. But honestly, I’ve not been much enthused about his output for more than 30 years. I liked Duke and loved Abacab. I enjoyed Face Value. But I think “I Don’t Care Anymore” was the last truly great song he did—solo or Genesis.
  • The boys and I are enjoying Halo 5. They’ve done some online multiplayer, and we’ve each eaten a little bit of the campaign. So far we’re united in our assessment that your fireteam AI allies are abysmally stupid.
  • Aaron wrote a story for a Halloween assignment in his English class that genuinely unsettled me when he read it aloud. Part of me said “wow, that’s amazing work, man!” Another part of me said “Aaron, you’re a happier kid than this…”
  • We got some GE jobs this week. Yay, us! But, I was hoping the big announcement was a Del Taco. I think Lucy was hoping for an In-N-Out.
  • We’ve had an unusually high number of fatal car accidents in the area this week. God be with the families and friends of the departed.
 Posted by at 7:00 am
Oct 282015

That Hillary Clinton keeps supporters who seem to be otherwise rational human beings is one of the most deeply disturbing single truths of our current political climate. And if you’re in the tank for her, then I don’t think there is anything she could do that you wouldn’t decide was a dirty smear by those dastardly Republicans (or some other insidious faction of the vast right-wing conspiracy).

“It bothers me that if Hillary Clinton ate a live puppy on television while taking a bribe from a Klansman, some feminist would say ‘isn’t she wonderful’?” – Jonah Goldberg

But let’s get one thing straight. Just one.

It has unambiguously and irrefutably emerged in the Benghazi hearings that Hillary Clinton knowingly lied when she blamed that attack, resulting in the deaths of four Americans, on an Internet video:

The night of the attack, Clinton also called the prime minister of Libya, explaining that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility. And in a call with Egyptian prime minister Hisham Kandil, Clinton deliberately rejected the video idea. “We know the attack had nothing to do with the film,” she says. “It was a planned attack, not a protest . . . Based on the information we saw today, we believe that the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al-Qaeda.” Jordan confronted Clinton about the discrepancy. “I’m reading what you said, plain language,” he said. ‘“We know the attack had nothing to do with a film.’ That’s as plain as it can get. Why didn’t you just speak plain to the American people?”

To this, Madame Secretary replied “I did. If you look at my statement, as opposed to what I was saying to the Egyptian prime minister, I did state clearly. And I said it again in more detail the next morning, as did the president. I’m sorry that it doesn’t fit your narrative, congressman.”

Read through that one more time.

Hillary Clinton is saying don’t pay any attention to what I said to the Egyptian prime minister, when I said “nothing to do with the film.” Just look at my statement. That’s all you need to know.

She is convicted as a liar here. She lied to the American people. She also looked right in the faces of the families of the four Americans killed, as they stood by their coffins, and said it was a video.

But, it’s clear that “I’m sorry that it doesn’t fit your narrative, congressman” is the intended takeaway. (How much time did she spend rehearsing that?) And the lapdog media, as well as the Clintons’ other armies of sycophants terrified of losing favor with them, dare not utter the truth, even though it’s right there in the public record.

Team Hillary, your hero is a shameless and willful liar, putting politics above principle in a calculated and thoroughly disgusting way. Hang with her? Good for you. But you’re doing some serious moral and ethical contortions to do so.

 Posted by at 7:06 pm
Oct 272015

So we watched the Alabama-Arkansas game from the seventh floor of Gulf Shores Plantation, with the balcony door open to admit the delightful breeze of a 66º fall evening on the Gulf.

We also admitted this dragonfly.


There’s nothing here to indicate scale, but this is a huge insect. It’s easily 5″ from head to tail. It made a lot of racket bumping around until it finally settled, but then—how do we get it back safely outside? Nate found a plastic canister with a hinged lid that fit it perfectly. Cupped the dragonfly, then coaxed it into the bottom of the canister, and finally closed the lid. Release on the balcony. All good.

 Posted by at 9:54 pm
Oct 262015

Vinegar is diluted acetic acid. If you just go buy “vinegar” at the grocery store, you’re buying an aqueous solution that is almost always 5% acetic acid.

Ah, but here’s an intriguing product. Meet Heinz Cleaning Vinegar—in “special cleaning strength.”


Vinegar is indeed a good cleaner for many things. A stronger vinegar could be useful indeed. So what is “special cleaning strength”? Is it 15%? Maybe 20%? Maybe more?


Turns out “special cleaning strength” is a whopping 6% acetic acid.

Wow. Don’t you love how it’s made from “sun-ripened grain,” too? Oh, and thanks for the reassurance that it’s “safe for cooking.” (As if 5% is perfectly fine, but 6% will melt your esophagus.)

Here’s a tip, dudes and dolls: to make your own “special cleaning strength” vinegar, just leave a pan of store-brand vinegar in a sunny window for a few hours.

 Posted by at 7:21 pm
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