Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vote of confidence (?)

Or blind (foolish) faith?

The $700B bailout bill, proposed at the expense of "We the People", crashed and burned in the House of Rep's yesterday. We the People said "Nope, nope, wouldn't be prudent" and Congress got the message to go back and work on a better response.

I'm betting John Adams and Tom Jefferson would be relieved by yesterday's vote. Hamilton? Maybe not so much.

So, today I celebrated a fresh hope in God and We the People for the future of America. How? By starting on a cashout re-fi on our house. Need funds to get that pool and shop going. That project will allow for some positive cashflow once completed. The shop will have a rentable studio at one end. Also, we'll have full RV hookups for our trailer plus 2 more fullsize RVs. We should be able to get some cashflow from those as well. The plan is to put laundry down there in the shop as well.

Either it will work out in the long run or I'll be leaving the bank a really nice property when the system comes crashing down. Heh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I love hard work...

...I could watch it all day. ;-)

Big doin's with some of the handy young men at church today. This project has been a while in the making. It'll be nice to finally have the projector hardwired and the screen up higher. As it is there's quite a scramble on Sundays to get the unit plugged in, wired and aligned. Not to mention when we have a choir or performers up front, they block the screen while enjoying the projector lamp in their eyes.

First task was relocating/rewiring the screen from above the baptismal to the upper wall. Mission accomplished.

Then Robin confirmed the projector mount location...

Meantime Miguel busied himself hawging holes to chase wires from the basement to the overhead.

This one shows them locking down the projector gimble mount. Mostly I shot this one for Ian's mother to remember him by. He won't be much to look at after he falls from that scaffold rail.

They'll be there late mounting some black pipe and hanging some more stage lights. We'll wire those and hang the power modules another day. As it is, our 51 yr old main panel can't handle the load in the building. The bigger project needing done first is getting a new panel(s) and power drops from the utility. That's percolating in the background -- HVAC man is coming round Monday morning to SWAG amps needed for AC install in the downstairs sanctuary.

The young bucks are doing all the heavy lifting and rooting around in attics and crawlspaces with fish tapes. Me? My part was done before they started. Now I'm mostly there in case the Church Lady asks them whose idea it could have been.

Signed, sealed, delivered

That right there is the permit package and plans for the pool. Drawn up, submitted, run through County Planning Dept and approved in 2 days. That must be some kind of record. There may be some advantages to a slowing economy after all. (heh)

'course woundn't be normal if it was hitch free. This is the 3rd time I've permitted a job and they've squawked about an open/expired electrical subpanel permit from CY2000. Everytime, they note it, inspect it, sign it off and then fail to close it out back out the county. Wanted to charge me $200 this time for the priviledge. "Well take a looksee at this here inspection card from 2002 Mr B'crat."

So I've got a plan and a permit. Now I just need to figure out how we're going to pay for this little adventure. (double "heh").

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chuck Norris doesn't fear debt. Debt fears Chuck Norris

5 point plan for the current financial problems from Walker, Texas Ranger. Chuck points back to first principles of our founding Fathers

-- Restrict spending within constitutional limits.

-- Don't bail out debt with more debt.

-- Have a pay-as-you-go government.

-- Minimize taxes to citizens.

-- Get over the greed.

Whole Article

This just in...

Email Warning! -

If you get an e-mail with "Nude Photos of Sarah Palin" in the subject line, do not open it. It might contain a virus.

If you get an e-mail with "Nude Photos of Hillary Clinton," do not open it.

It might contain nude photos of Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Spirit of John Reed (India: Wobbling into Industrialization?)

h/t Kim for bringing this news item to attention.

[quote]In a statement issued from Rivoli,Italy, Graziano said that some of Mr Choudhary’s attackers had no connection with the company. [/quote]

Volumes of info lurking in that phrase "no connection with the company."

Check and see if there are Wobblies in the vicinity.

Outside agitators (aka Community Organizers depending on your perspective) seem to be an age old theme in these things. They played a role in the killings of good men in Centralia.

John Reed. No matter how Hollywood portrayed him and his kind they are no more heroes than Che'.

Drill Here, Drill Now

Well almost. Pelosi's head fake bill isn't going anywhere. That means the offshore drilling ban isn't going to get automatically renewed by Congress as has been the case for so many years now.

This is something like progress.

The congressional battle over offshore drilling is far from over. Democrats are expected to press for broader energy legislation, probably next year, that would put limits on any drilling off most of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Republicans, meanwhile, are likely to fight any resumption of the drilling bans that have been in place since 1981.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

CA car carry

Gone to LA for work today. Right into the pit of it. Manchester off I-5. Reginald Denny territory.

Unloaded in a locked case is the best I can do legally in the People's Soviet of California.

If breakdown occurs there's two options along for the ride. 38 for pocket carry and 45 for open carry.

Boy scouts...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Didn't fool a soul

Nope. San Fran Nan didn't sell that head fake at all. Mr. Market may be fickle but all in all pretty smart at discounting the future.

At least Al Jazeera didn't laugh out loud. US Passes offshore oil bill

Oil Surges $16 As Investors Mull Bailout
h/t Roger Hedgecock

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Complete Idiot again: New Beetle headlamp swap

"The front fender will have to come off." That was the word from the local mechanic when I asked him to replace a low beam lamp on my 2003 Beetle. He's an old hand, a recovering hotrodder and isn't easily stumped. So I was a bit concerned.

Well, no way I figured that could be right. I told him to hold off while I checked around. Sure enough horror stories abound on the intrar-web about dealers gouging for headlamp swaps. "HOURS!" to do the job.

Not so. VW actually did something right. They just didn't document it too well. A quick bit of google-fu magic and the answer popped up. There's a lever on the top back of the headlight assembly.
Press the detent next to it and then slide the lever up and Voila! The whole headlight assembly popped out the front. Then it was a fairly simple matter to dig into and replace the lamp.

VW people are the greatest -- the very definition of geeks with all their automotive hacking and tips out in the public domain. The spirit of John Muir (VW author not the naturalist) lives on with the "Idiots" on the web. Thank goodness.

I fumbled around in the dark a bit but had it done in 10 minutes -- 15 max. Not bad for a first effort.

There's the culprit.

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

Diesel prices have come back down just under the April prices that got me started driving to Mexico for fillups. It still pays off but it's gotten tougher. The guys at the pumps down south have started allowing my 5 gallon jugs to be filled again since June. That's the good news.

The bad news is yesterday I finally got hassled at the gate coming back into the good ol' Estados Unidas for having jugs in the back of my rig.

him: "These all full of diesel?"
me: "Yes Sir."
him: "You know you're only allowed one 5 gallon can?"
me: "No Sir. I wasn't aware of that."
him: "These aren't diesel cans. They're red -- for gas."
me: "Oh?"
him: "Diesel cans are blue. They're supposed to be blue."

...awkward pause (how do I say this with out embarrassing the young man? I don't want to show attitude just get mercy from him for this trip)

me: "Ohhh,... I thought blue was for water." (don't mention yellow cans)
him: (silence) "Uhhh." (silence) "I'll let you go through this time. Only 5 gallons in a can though."
me: "Yes sir. Thank you. Have good day." (rassen, crassen, frassen, mutter, drive off smiling for the security cameras :-) ).

Ok. Now, that changes things. I've been warned and this border crossing station is small. I'll run into him again. He'll remember me and I'm not going to risk running into him in the future w/ gas cans. Besides I've officially been advised so I better "render to Ceasar" from here on out.

What to do? Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

Without the extra capacity in cans the breakeven point to make the drive moves higher. It has me thinking about installing aux tanks...

Aux tanks... Well there's that and there's the Mad Max option. Who knows? With the financial market upset we may need to go post-apocalyptic with our vehicles.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Remotely amusing

After years of marriage, a couple was lying in bed one evening when the
wife felt her husband touching her in ways he hadn't in some time.

It almost tickled as his fingers started on her neck, then caressed her shoulders and began moving down past the small of her back. Slowly, he moved his hand near her breasts stopping just over her lower stomach. He proceeded to place his and on her left inner arm, caressing past the side of her breast again working down her side, passing gently over her buttocks and down her leg to her calf.

Then he stopped, rolled over, and was silent.

Awakened by this caressing, she asked in a lovely voice, 'Honey, that was wonderful. Why did you stop?'

Says he, 'I found the remote.'

Eat the chicken leave the bones

Buchanan today. He's seeing the glass half empty as usual, but, then that's probably what they said of Jeremiah. This statement does ring true and prudent.

"Up through World War II, we followed the Hamiltonian idea that America must remain economically independent of the world in order to remain politically independent."

As for the rest of his column, you decide. Does it signal the end of an Empire?
Eat the chicken and leave the bones

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Still down by Da Nile

Still comfortably in Egypt down by Da Nile River -- not looking at the 401k. Nope. Nope. Wouldn't be prudent. Just keeping nose to the grindstone at work and home projects.

Did see total stock balances in regular acct though today. I had to log in to confirm a check that had cleared from my stock account. Didn't want to see those total account numbers. Actually not looking too bad on that front though! Thank goodness for the big shift I made since 2001 to big boring dividend payers (Thank you Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter).

The grading rework wrapped up Tuesday. They did just as I requested to "Move dis der and level dis here like dat." Much better communication this time.

Pool pile is in back now, uphill and along the fence.It is all compacted and ready to dig. The shop pad is ready in front at the base of the cut slope out toward the street.
This lot has some outstanding soil for building on with a high percentage of DG (decomposed granite). It was a metric pain in the rear to ripout the pile he'd built up and compacted on the first grading effort. The operator, Gordon, had to drop the rippers on the D6 Cat to get into some of it. No wonder though, the soils test spec'd it for 2000 psi at 90% compaction. That's approaching concrete's strength.

Here Humberto is soaking it down to ensure good compaction.

I could hardly tear myself away from watching Gordon work that Cat. He's a Michelangelo in Mud. I reckon a fella could learn a few things in 38 years of operating a Cat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Hard Line Melts

There is a reason they are called market corrections. The bigger the excess in need of correcting, the deeper and more painful the correction. This one is shaping up to be a doozy.

IMAO, long term we don't need the people that brought us the Post Office, BATFE and Amtrak owning our insurance and investment banking industry. What we need is a proper correction of bad decisions and risk taking.

The quote at the bottom of this post is from Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) today. Glad to see him report that "The government's aim is not to own AIG and the massive loan is to be repaid in two years, through the orderly sale of existing assets."

In yesterday's Update, I wrote about the new hard line from the federal government, which allowed Lehman Brothers to enter bankruptcy and suffer the consequences of its own faulty economics. That hard line dissolved swiftly yesterday, as the Federal Reserve stepped in with an $85 billion loan to the insurance giant AIG, buying up some 80 percent of that company's shares and essentially, if temporarily, putting the taxpayers in the insurance business. The nation's financial institutions are in some uncharted territory. Steady hands are needed now, and panic in any form, least of all politically stoked panic, is unwise in the extreme. The government's aim is not to own AIG and the massive loan is to be repaid in two years, through the orderly sale of existing assets. That must happen. Even more important, firm and consistent diagnoses of what got our nation here are needed.

Economist and columnist Robert Samuelson lays out such a diagnosis today. He cites three factors in the current financial crunch: the bipartisan repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 that moved financial firms outside their traditional roles, the emphasis on employee bonuses that promoted short-term thinking, and the firms' over-reliance on borrowed money for investing. The current crisis is, in short, more about character than money, and partisan finger-pointing must not obscure this reality.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Palladium of our Liberties, Constitution Day, September 17

As good as her entire speech is, her closing sentences are enough to raise Thomas Jefferson from the dead.

Brings to mind this quote by Supreme Court Justice Story,
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers;"

Justice Joseph Story was appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison in 1811.
Here is that quote in the full context of his comments on the Second Amendment written in 1833, in his "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States."

"The next amendment is: 'A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' "
"The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.(1) And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burdens, to be rid."

Monday, September 15, 2008

A river in Egypt

Da-nile. That's where I am today. Let's see how long I can stay there in a happy state of cluelessness about my 401K.

Not looking at the markets or even too closely at the financial news.

Nope. Not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

On the other hand heard on the radio today that mortgage rates have dropped back under 6% since Freddie and Fannie got in trouble. Maybe it's time to go looking for a cashout refi. Need to pay for all the fun in the lower lot somehow (grading, drive, pool, shop).

Speaking of the lower lot I had to get the grading contractor back who did that work in early August. Link: Moving Day 2&3

I ran into some zoning oddities (and poor planning on my part) so am changing the grade plan a bit. "Fill up that hole/pad with the pile you built and leave a pad for the shop where you put that pile last time."

That's the bad news on the construction front. The good news is this change eliminates the need for ~80' of 6 to 8 ft retaining wall. That was going to be some massive footing work. Nets me a month or two of time saved and about $10K of concrete and steel (and a sore back from forming it up).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Head fake in progress

San Fran Nan either doesn't think a) we're paying attention or b) we're very bright -- or both.

She's offering a token offshore drilling bill that is a bridge to nowhere in it's own right.

From an article in the WaPo,
"You would just open a door to an empty room at the end of a very long hallway," said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for the Institute for Energy Research, an organization funded by the oil industry. Kennedy also said that, without some sort of revenue sharing for state governments, there would be little incentive for states to approve additional drilling.

h/t USSNeverdock

Friday, September 12, 2008

The choice: San Diego East County House Seat

And that's how the fight started

My wife and I were sitting at a table at my 30year high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asked, 'Do you know her?' 'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.' 'Good Lord!' says my wife, 'Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?'

And that's how the fight started.....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's Fire Season in San Diego

Let the games begin.

Had a bit of a show along the 52 today -- on the north (MCAS Miramar side). These are best I could do while driving. Snapped them randomly with my cell phone throught the driver's window. I failed to capture any of the several helo's working the fire.

Approaching fire from the west. Heading up to Tierra Santa summit of 52...

Must have been 20 units on scene when I passed...

News crews other side of highway...

Whistling in the dark?

Times like these in the market overshadow news like this of emerging (potentially disruptive) product lines.

Maybe it's whistling in the dark but is seems like a good time to quote Ben Graham (emphasis added),

“…the influence of what we call analytical factors over the market price is both partial and indirect – partial, because it frequently competes with purely speculative factors which influence the price in the opposite direction; and indirect, because it acts through the intermediary of people’s sentiments and decisions. In other words, the market is not a weighing machine, on which the value of each issue is recorded by an exact and impersonal mechanism, in accordance with its specific qualities. Rather should we say that the market is a voting machine, whereon countless individuals register choices which are the product partly of reason and partly of emotion.”
Whistling in the dark? Not with a Mirasol display you won't. Plenty of light to see.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Trails.




Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008

You're OUTTA here!

3 men, a Baptist, a Catholic and a Charismatic suddenly died and went to heaven.
St Peter met them and told them their living quarters are not ready yet. He didn't know what to do so he called Satan and asked him if they could keep them for a little while. Satan reluctantly agreed.

A few hours later Satan called St Peter and said "You have got to get them out of here!!!"
"Why?" asked St Peter.
Came the reply, "That Baptist is saving everybody. The Catholic is forgiving everybody and the Charismatic has raised enough money for air conditioning!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

In memorium

Mean't to publish this last Nov 19 on the 90th anniversary. Got left as a draft and then the date was past...

Speaking of shooting goblins. In Centralia they shoot Wobblies & Bolshevicks. Take a lesson Londonistan!

Long live the memory of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralia_Massacre_(Washington)]Lt. Warren Grimm[/url], Arthur McElfresh, Ben Cassagranda, and
Dale Hubbard. Argue about the right and wrong of it all you like and do the revisionist history but the American Legion Post 17 got 'er done. Those were different times and still a tough frontier/logging people. Vigilance committees aren't all bad sometimes -- esp when faced with a group dedicated to the armed overthrow of the US government like the IWW.

I've been planning a blogpost about Centralia for Armistice Day. I took some pic's of [url=http://www.orgsites.com/ca/emv-doughboy-searchers/wa_centralia.jpg]the memorial [/url]from recent 30 yr reunion at the Legion Hall.

I noticed they've placed a revisionist plaque for the seditious Wobblies at the memorial since I left town. For the unionists who "willing to die" -- make that "willing to kill." They're lucky all I did was spit on it. I was sore tempted to go get a bucket of muriatic acid...

Inauthenticate and unqualified?

Mammy? Uncle Tom? White Trash? Redneck?

That's how you'll be painted (and worse) if you're a minority or woman and don't toe the leftist party line. But why the viciousness of the attacks?

One word. Fear.

Fear of loosing their power base. Fear that the Left's ideology will be seen in the clear light of day for the foolishness it is.

In case you haven't been paying attention, Sarah Palin and family have been savaged in the leftist media and blogosphere this past week. It's been quite a spectacle. Those who would call someone like Sarah Palin a facist and a Nazi need to look in a mirror. Think it's bit of projection by the Left?

This article by John Hawkins covers these Palin happenings pretty well. Here's the money quote:

That's why the Left reserves their blackest hatred for people like Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and now Sarah Palin; it's because they're living, breathing, inspirational examples of people the Left is supposed to "own," who don't want or need liberalism to be a success. That, most of all, is why liberals hate and fear successful conservative women.

As far as being called White Trash or a Redneck... Bring it on.

We Scots-Irish are "Born Fighting".

Someone check Sarah Palin's family tree. Looks like she could be one of us.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dove -- well done

These have been marinating since Monday evening. Got 'em on the grill (and off) this evening. Now they're cooling. I like 'em sliced up in a salad. They'll go in the fridge and get pulled out as needed.

How do you like them? Not at all? Seems to be the consensus around our place. ;-)

Speaking of Wasilla Women

Mom and Dad drove went up in '46 to help run a Mission children's home in the Matanuska Valley out past Wasilla. Maybe closer to Palmer actually. It was all pretty remote and primative then -- still is actually.

They drove a '31 Durant from Boston on the newly opened Alcan highway. Dad likes to tell how they made it all the way without a flat but did stop along the way for Dad to do a valve job. The way I remember the story, they flatted (all?) the tires in the drive of the children's home the first week they were there. One of the kids had spilled a box of roofing nails.

Mom and Dad fixed up an abandoned cabin with Dad's Navy savings from WWII.

Mom made the most of it and even got some flowers in. The sawn lumber lean to was their cook shack.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Irons in the fire

Lots of 'em. Been running down answers, contractors and engineers for retaining walls needed after last months grading. Went into the County Planning Dept and picked up all the related (and unrelated) forms. What a crazy stew of regulations. "We're from the Government and we're here to help you."

Reagan was right, Government isn't the solution. It's the problem.

What's with these retaining wall contractors? They think they're neurosurgeons or something? Must be w/ the rates they charge. I should quit muttering about it and just change careers. Yeah, I've got the healthy back for that (hah). For the money you'd think these guys would have more answers. Seems like I'm ahead of the guys I've talked to in just a week or two of looking into it.

The good news is 1) I got a great recommendation to a salty old engineer who'll do the walls and 2) My friend turned me on to ICF (insulated concrete forms) from Nudura. These things you build concrete forms out of are like legos. ICF looks like the way to go -- really simplifies it for the do-it-yourselfer. So sorry contractors. You lost the job. I'll pay to get the footings dug, have the steel cut, bent and drop shipped and put it together myself. ICF Forms for my ~80' wall will run less than a $1000. That's a bargain when you figure I eliminate at least 10-15 mason/carpenter days vs setting up traditional CMU or poured in place walls.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Boots and Birds

Make that muddy boots and bloody birds. Eeewwww!

The Son & Heir and I rolled out this morning at 0300 for Dove season opening day. We picked up a hunting buddy at Denny's and headed over the mountains to the Imperial Valley.

Boy Howdy! Was it ever humid (for these parts)! My glasses were fogging most of the morning til it got really warm (near 100F and 35% humidity). The past couple days have seen thunder storms over that way so there was still quite a bit of water and mud.

We got to our normal spot at the edge of the desert next to an old citrus grove. Ooops! The grove has been bulldozed. No more high density housing for doves. We got a few shots in there but it was pretty slow so we moved on quickly. I got the first of the day there for our group (lucky shot -- no way I thought I hit it).

Got into a new area and found some good shooting along a little bluff. Managed to hit a couple passing shots and "walk up" a couple that I got as they flushed. Went for quite a tramp there along that bluff. Shot down to one from above and had to hop/slide down to the base to retrieve it in an alfalfa field -- really was soft. I was going in up to my calves in loose dirt on the way down. It was worth it -- that's where I got the most action of the day. Paid a price for it -- had to take the long way round to get back on top and back to the vehicle. There were plenty of irrigation channels to hop and some nasty mud along the way.

As luck (or poor planning) would have it I ran out of shells on the way back to the truck and missed 3 or 4 of the best opportunities of the day. I was totally gassed and just trying to keep putting one foot in front of another. Still and all, I was feeling good after getting 4 birds on that walk about.

The 4 of us got 19 birds among us. My friend's son limited out with 10 -- nothing new there. He almost always leads the count.

Stopped for breakfast at Golden Acorn Indian Casino around 1130 on the way back to town. Yeaaaaah man! Tha's living.

Car's cleaned out. Guns are oiled and clean. Birds are on ice. Just need to drive through a car wash to get the big chunks off. I'm good for nothing the rest of the day.