Fooling People With My Laptop At A Coffee Shop*

This weekend finds me working overtime for BigHugeCo. I’ve been with less-than-reliable broadband for the past six weeks. Rather than drive the new car (Say, we need a name for this one. The Wintermobile doesn’t quite cut it.) all the way downtown and blow commute time along with 2-4 hours of my Saturday, I’ve hiked a few blocks up the street to Buffalo Mountain Coffee in scenic Deer Park, Ohio to use their WiFi.

That’s right. I’m doing ACTUAL work in a coffee shop. How about that? I’m getting paid to sip Sumatra, listen to music, and stuff my face with breakfast muffins.

I know telecommuting is old hat, but I kind of like sitting in a coffee bar banging away on my laptop. To get to do it on my company’s dime is even better. There’s something about sitting at a table with a cup of Sumatra and a bagel listening to whatever’s being piped over the sound system as opposed to sitting in a fabric-covered box listening to the guy in the next row explain to a vendor why his sales quotas do not constitute a mission critical problem for BigHugeCo.

There are drawbacks. Even though Blue Mountain has a cable hookup for its Internet, remoting into other people’s machines over it is still a bit wonky.

Still, a two-minute commute using virtually no gas to suck down coffee while you work is…

Well, I should probably write full time if I want this.

*Apologies to John Scalzi

“You men will merely be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor!”

Harvey “That’s Hedley!” Korman, the man who put the snide back into snidely in Blazing Saddles, is dead at age 81.

There are a number of reasons you couldn’t do Blazing Saddles today, not unless you had Dave Chapelle and maybe Carlos Mencia involved.  But one of the biggest reasons is replacing Korman.  Korman is responsible for delivering one of the most memorable breaks in the fourth wall in cinematic history.

“But how do I get that land?” he asks in a moment of reflection.  He then looks at the camera without warning and says to the audience, “And why am I asking you?”

Michelle Malkin Is An Epic Moron

All I have to say is boycott Dunkin’ Donuts until the Rachel Ray ad is placed back on the air, and leave your garbage on the doorstep of Michelle Malkin’s office until she’s either fired or prints a retraction. Malkin’s comment that a scarf somehow gives terrorists warm fuzzies is just the sort of cowardice this country should no longer tolerate.

I look at the scarf, and I see A SCARF!!! You have to be paranoid and/or dimmer than a black hole to see it as anything but.

No wonder conservatism is dying in this country. Everyone on the right seems to have been scared stupid.

Thanks, Michelle.  Thanks a lot.  Because of people like you, the terrorists have won.

At $4 A Gallon, We Really Should Be Getting Off This Ride

The 1930’s had several infrastructure projects to drag us kicking and screaming out of the Great Depression (and promptly back into a recession in 1937, but that’s another story.)  The 1940’s had a world war and a world to rebuild to push the country forward.  The fifties brought us the Interstate highway system, the sixties the moonshot.  The eighties ended the Cold War while the nineties brought on the Internet.

See a couple of decades in there that are missing?  We did squat in the 1970’s, and we’ve done damned little in the 2000’s.  And hey, guess what!  The economy sucked worse in both decades than any time since the Great Depression.  You’d think the War on Terror would be paying us dividends in new technology and new businesses, but it hasn’t even paid off in dead terrorists, just a dead Bill of Rights.

Meanwhile, this past weekend, I just dontated the Wintermobile and the flex-fuel engine I was going to put in it (until my mechanic massively dropped the ball, though, thankfully, not the engine) so I could go buy a gas-sipping Dodge Neon.

I paid $40 to fuel up the little thing.


I used to spend that a month on the WIntermobile’s V-6.

This was the first time I actually bought a car because of its mileage rather than its functionality or price.  Oh, the Neon is roomy enough.  And at 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway, it’ll still be cheap when gas hits $5 a gallon.

It occured to me though that this may be the last fully gas-powered car I may ever buy, assuming nothing bad happens to it between now and the day I pay it off.

Or will it?

Barry, Hill, John, one of you is getting a new job in January, so you and your prospective sidekicks listen up.  This is your Civil Conservation Corps, your Liberty Ships and Marshall Plan, your highway project and moonshot, your new Internet.  You’re going to get us off the oil merry-go-around.


We’ve done enough hand-wringing and finger-pointing already.  Meanwhile, oil continues to head for $150 a barrel.  Even if that prediction turns out to be hysteria (which would not surprise me), there are too many reasons to keep making the CEO of Exxon happy.  Frankly, I couldn’t care less if Exxon’s CEO’s family starves and he has to live in a shack.  I still have to go to work, heat my house, and put food on the table.  He’s in my way.

There are too many things that should already be in the works.  For starters, we’re an oil society.  And we’re not going to get off oil anytime soon.  There’s oil in North Dakota, off the shore of Alaska (which, environmentalists, is not the size of Rhode Island, so quit playing the spoiled wilderness card.  There’s more wilderness than oil, and we’ll only need it for a few years anyway.)  We need to get off of oil, but we need to get off foreign oil first. 

There’s part of your energy policy.

And then there’s ethanol.  I think we all know by now ethanol is not a magic bullet, but it is a short term solution.  The more ethanol we burn, the less crude we need.  Hell, I’ll pay a little more for my Fritos if it means I get a cheaper, cleaner fuel that doesn’t make every city over 500,000 people in this country a terrorist target.  And here’s a cool money-saving idea:  If you legalize hemp to make all the stuff we used to make out of hemp before some dumbass Congressman watched Reefer Madness and decided hemp was evil, wicked, mean, and nasty, you suddenly have a cheap, easily grown source of biofuel.  It grows just about anywhere, makes great ethanol (better than corn and cheaper than sugar cane), and, since it’s inedible beyond seasoning hippies’ brownies, leaves the corn and sugar for putting food on the family.  Which would you rather have?  A few more potheads?  Or a few more Saudi-funded terrorists?

There’s part of your energy policy.

Electric?  GM and Toyota finally figured this one out.  The same batteries that run your laptop can be used to run your car.  Granted, they need to be a little bigger, but it beats those trunk-hogging lead weights that take longer to recharge than run down and have made electric cars next to useless for anything bigger than a golf cart.  GM has even stated that, even though not all the technology is here yet, they have to push for plug-in hybrids and electric cars.

There’s part of your energy policy.

Finally, anything and everything we have should be thrown at making this a hydrogen-based economy sooner rather than later.  We should be putting the same effort into making this happen as we did going to the moon.  And hey, whaddaya know!  We’ve got a moon program again that’s probably not as expensive in 2008 dollars as the original was in 1965 dollars.  Which means you can take some of those expired tax cut dollars and start funding hydrogen research.  We know it’s doable, just not how yet.

There’s part of your energy policy.  You listening Barry, Hill, and John?

I hear all sorts of reasons why this isn’t working now.  No one has ever sufficiently explained whether the obstacles can be overcome.  Well, no one’s told me anything credible.  Usually, I get “Well, this has this type of problem…”  (So what?  Everything has a problem.  Deal with it.) or “There really isn’t global warming.”  (Um…  Never mind.  If you can’t figure it out by now, you’re doomed anyway.)

All I know is I’m pumping $4 a gallon in my tank to pay rich executives who neither deserve it nor care about anyone but themselves and to countries that hate us.

And frankly, I’m sick of it.


So Bill and Hillary Clinton blame the Hillster’s fall from inevitability on sexism.

Never mind the phantom fire she came under in Sarajevo.

Never mind the RFK reference that even Fox News found appalling.

Never mind the fuzzy math she uses to claim the popular vote.  (Hint:  Parsing it by state is a George Bush tactic, and even my most conservative friends can’t stand him anymore.)

Never mind the millionaire lawyer and lifelong politico who called Barack Obama an elitist.

Never mind all that. I’m apparently sexist for looking at those pesky, sexist facts.

Hillary, kindly kiss my independent white male working class ass.  You are never EVER getting my vote.  Gender doesn’t enter into to it, Hill.  But your slow meltdown tells me you’re not the person I want with her finger on the button.  Not when Obama is calm and McCain knows damn well he has a temper (and probably knows how to use it.)


Remember the Plymouth/Dodge Neon, the little cab-forward car that was Chrysler’s answer to the Ford Escort?

Remember how that car was ridiculed as a toy and “gay” and no one in their right mind in the era of the mighty SUV would be caught dead in one?

Well, Superior Automotive had one on their lot this weekend, a 2005 with spoiler and a sunroof. 6 people asked for it. All 6 said, “I have to have it! It gets 26 miles to the gallon.”

All 6 were disappointed. It now sits in my driveway, awaiting the tags off the Wintermobile.

To all those saddled with SUV’s you can’t trade in now and have to pump $200 worth of gas to run every week…

You Are No Longer Allowed To Say That

As we enter the final leg of the election season, I am officially overstepping my bounds and banning certain phrases from the English language. What’s that, you say? Where do I get off? What am I going to do about it if you don’t do as I say?

I’m not going to be very nice to you. You’ve been warned. So hereinafter is the list of Phrases Banned From The English Language.

  1. “Hollywood friends” – You know what? I am sick to death of some Republican hack trotting out this tired old cliche whenever his or her Democratic opponent is suddenly blowing the doors off of them. Actually, Bob Taft did it while winning the election. Apparently, I wasn’t supposed to vote for Tim Hagan because he married the woman from Star Trek: Voyager. No, Bob, I voted for you because Hagan was a bigger asshole. Had I known you’d be the first Ohio governor to be convicted of a crime in office, I’d have voted for the loudmouth from Cleveland.
  2. “Embolden the terrrorists”/”Al Qaeda supports it” – OK, listen up. Al Qaeda’s opinion doesn’t count. I don’t care if the terrorists are emboldened or happy or dancing in the streets. They’re the enemy, and the enemy’s opinion, the enemy’s boldness, and the enemies preference for either the US or UK version of The Office COUNTS FOR NOTHING!!! If you care about this, you’re a coward. And if you’re a coward, the terrorists have won.
  3. “The terrorists win” – Until the United States ceases to exist, the terrorists are basically a fatal nuisance. Unless you decide you’re a coward and want to live in fear of them. See #2.
  4. “Vast right-wing conspiracy – Unless you’re Jeff Jena, who actually runs a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, you cannot blame all your woes on a vast right-wing conspiracy. Only Bill Clinton could lie about a blow job. And stupidity, quite possibly the hallmark of the current Bush Administration, is not a liberal or a conservative trait. It’s just stupid. The closest thing we have to a vast right-wing conspiracy is a deep cultural tradition of large companies screwing over the little guy. Stop laughing, rest of the world. We didn’t ship you lead contaminated with toys.
  5. “Lies of the liberal media” – Oh, the media lies. Let’s make no mistake about that. But why is it when the truth is told about a political figure, the “liberal” media is lying? Or it’s a vast right-wing conspiracy? Take #’s 4 & 5 together. If you hear someone say one of those, they have something to hide or deny. Hell, I’ve even seen Osama bin-Laden do it. Either the liberal media lied about him, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy against him, or he’s simply been emboldened to use stupid cliches. Does this mean he’s won?
  6. “It is what it is” – OK, not political, but it’s replaced “At the end of the day” in the English lexicon as the most overused phrase in the language. Stop that! It is what it is? At the end of the day, that tells me nothing. What is it? I know God said “I am what I am,” but God’s a huge concept. Even God has a problem getting His mind around it. (Athiests: Try swapping out God for the Universe. Yeah. Huge. And getting huger everyday.) But it is what it is? That’s worse than white people in the eighties just saying “What it is.” What happened to the original overused cliche, “It’s all good.”

Oh, yeah. 9/11.

So it’s not all good. It is what it is.