July 30, 2004

Well, Duh!

Or at least more Well, Duh! than Heh, Indeed.

Regarding campaign finance reform, in the context of Mob ties to a major Democratic fundraiser: It's as if the whole enterprise was a sham.

Posted by triticale at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

No Thank You

The wee wifey is on an oldies kick right now. The CD in the kitchen boombox is 21 Legendary Superstars. The collection was compiled by an L.A. disk jockey who, according to the blurb, shares my special memories. I'm sorry, but that strikes me as just a bit creepy.

Posted by triticale at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)

July 28, 2004

Great Minds Think A...

Virginia Postrel has been following the Democratic Party Convention, and, as is her wont, has been looking at substance and style. She picked an interesting passage from Clinton's speech to look at in detail.

We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives. Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people, in a world in which we act unilaterally when we can, and cooperate when we have to.

Nothing in there which can't be parsed to be true, if you hold "unilateral" equal to "without the French". The first sentence, as she says, "can describe anything from a classical liberalism ... to a Swedish-style welfare state." I find it both interesting and satisfying to compare and contrast that with what I posted recently about the role of government. Making the most of one's life could indeed mean the same as benefiting from one's endeavors and thereby benefiting others. Too bad that isn't quite what Clinton meant by it.

Posted by triticale at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

They're Baaack!

Emrack and Hunter have returned from their California adventure. Our son has donated his hair to Locks of Love, and his traveling companion has grown and matured. The first two changes can be confirmed by comparing the first of these new images (in the extended entry) to this earlier one. I like to think the maturation, or at least the maturity, show in the other two.




Posted by triticale at 10:17 PM | Comments (1)

Ol' Buddy, Ol' Pal

Three decades ago I worked as a machinist at a hash pipe factory. There was a salesman who called on us whose style was to walk up and greet you with "Hi, there, [name blatantly gleaned from patch on shirt], how's it going?" I wouldn't mind still having one of those gimmick pocket knives he passed out, but the only reason we bought industrial chemicals from him was that his company hadn't yet cut my boss off for non-payment.

Steve den Beste just had a run-in with a character trained in the same art. Online, nobody knows if you are a dog, but it isn't that hard for someone who runs his own server to know if you are an avid reader. In the coarse of explaining how he sussed out the would-be publicist's background, he shared what he found. He thought the mere fact that the guy had his website hosted at homepage.mac.com was revealing enough, but I was curious enough to check out what was there. Altho he is from New York City, he has landed in flyover country and he has seen America. With the eye of a true artist, he has captured the ineffable backlit loneliness of being a farm kid showing livestock at the State Fair as only someone who has no notion of life in the real world could.

Posted by triticale at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2004

Yet Another Reason

If Kerry is elected President, this problem will become worse as soon as he moves into the White House. This probably won't change anyone's mind. Those who think that inequality of outcome, even if influenced by inequality of input, is a problem are the same people who think that Kerry is the solution.

Neither of us ever finished college, but after we had been in the real world for a while we both went to trade school for saleable skills. Her union priced my wee wifey out of the job market two years after Emrack was born, and we soon found that any other work she could get would pay for little more than his child care. We decided that it was the right thing to do to educate him at home, and the result was that we were close to broke for the next fifteen years. Broke, but never poor, because in this country poverty is a state of mind.

It was the so-called tax cuts for the rich of the Clinton era which brought us into the middle class. It allowed us to put our hands on the wealth which we had accrued by keeping our home from falling down while the neighborhood around it appreciated. By moving from the hottest area in Chicago to an area in Milwaukee which was just turning around, we were able to buy twice the house in twice the condition with half the money we got for the old one. Now that our son is independent and we are both working we are living large on an income below the national median. Those who care about the above problem would look at the numbers and think we are still victims.

I will admit it. We had help from the government along the way. We had stability and a modicum of security (petty crime now and then but we never lived in fear). We had functioning roads (but construction delays), trash removal, sewers and running water (altho we had to haul it from the hose tap for a while when we couldn't afford a plumber). We paid less than the true cost of the trade school education which facilitated our earnings, such as they've been. I am by no means one of those anarcho-capitalists, even tho I am of libertarian temperment. I believe that government and taxation are a reasonable way to provide for the public good, and that all of these are public goods.

Note that I said nothing about the so-called common good. Everything I listed which came from the government made my life better only to the extent that I made the effort to take advantage of them. We bought our first home in 1978, back when inflation was driving interest rates toward the sky. We got the benefit of a below market 7.99% mortgage financed by municipal bonds. The money came from investors. The government paid for their incentive to invest, and the public good of protecting the value of the city's housing stock in difficult uncertain times. These mortgages were made available to any city resident buying their first home who had enough income to qualify for a mortgage but not so much as to buy at the high end of the market at market interest. No consideration was given as to whether at some time under some circumstance people who resembled me with regard to some particular detail had encountered difficulty obtaining a mortgage or buying a home. We got the mortgage, but after that it was up to us. If we had failed to make our mortgage payments, if we had failed to pay our property taxes, or if we had ignored the court order to fix the visible building code violations, we would have lost the house. If we had neglected to observe the trends in the real estate market, and bought in a different market, we would not have profited as handsomely. This is as it should be. To secure these ends, governments are constituted among men. Government is the logical means for providing an environment in which people can benefit from their endeavors, and thereby benefit others. It is not illogical for government to provide the means for people to pull themselves out of holes they have gotten themselves into. The belief that it is the duty of government to lift people out of holes they have dug for themselves, holes that they insist on digging for themselves, and that it is proper to pull downward on those who build upward in order to do this lifting, is utterly foreign to my view of how the world ought to work, and indeed to my understanding of how it does work.


On one point I did not express myself quite as I meant to. It is not illogical for government to be the structure thru which we provide the means for people to pull themselves out of holes they have gotten themselves into. There are certainly other structures, some of them "faith-based" which can also cover parts of this goal quite effectively.

Posted by triticale at 11:16 PM | Comments (3)

July 24, 2004

Possible Motive?

John Lennon, commenting, perhaps, on Sandy Berger:

I put things down on pieces of paper, and stuff them in my pockets. When I have enough, I have a book.

Posted by triticale at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2004

This Is Smart

I'd never heard of the Vivísimo search tools till the Puppy Blender linked to their "clustered" hosting of the 9/11 Commission report. I'm sure they are getting a server spike right now, but the result will be exposure to a lot of people involved in corporate data management. We probably should have bought their stock today.

Another, more conventional aid to reading the report is also available here, the entire text is available for download (till Michele's bandwidth gets burned up) here, and carefully selected excerpts are available in the mainstream media.


II added Vivísimo to my Firefox search toolbar. It presents search results very differently from google; very interesting when is doing research rather than hunting a particular site.

Posted by triticale at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

Even Better

My wee wifey isn't into the blogosphere; she has enough of a readership thru email lists (mostly recipe related). Her world is still ASCII, but I think her new emoticon, and the text which goes with it is worth sharing with people where cleverness is more often Photoshopped.

@:-) (the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead)

It's true, by the way.

Posted by triticale at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

What The?

For some reason, all my recent posts have disappeared again when I put up the newest one. This time I won't waste any time trying to fix it. I'll just try and get enough stuff written to refill the page.

In the meantime, everything is still available thru the Archives link and Recent Entries list on the side bar.

Posted by triticale at 07:03 PM | Comments (1)


There's an old saying to the effect that the true test of a person's intelligence is that they reach the same conclusions you do.

The first thing my wee wifey said when she heard about Berger's "inadvertant" removal of classified documents was "I'd like to know what was in those documents which was worse than the penalty for taking them." Compare that to what Wretchard had to say on the topic.

Posted by triticale at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2004

Why I Did It

I recently presumed to criticize Lileks over one phrase in a throwaway line in the Bleat. The reason I would presume to do this is admiration. I expect perfection from him. Especially in these throwaway lines.

Take today's Bleat for example. He gnatters about lack of sleep and shooting down satellites so they crash into DirecTV's customer service office. Then he gets down to the business at hand. There is no worse job a U.S. president could face, and no worse threat he could make, than to "open the tubes and order Slim Pickens to the cockpit."

He stops to explain why today's enemy is different than the old one. Being a smoker and a connoisseur of ephemera, he describes the cigarettes smoked by the old Soviet elites. About like Nat Shermans. I've seen the cigarettes smoked by the common folk. Not only were they stuffed with prison tobacco, but instead of a filter, two thirds of the llength was an empty cardboard tube. The basic wrongness of Communism, in a throwaway line with nothing to do with his topic. This is what he is read for, and when he falls short, it hurts.

Posted by triticale at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

A Slight Difference

One of the nifty things we were promised, back when the Internet was still all Gee Whiz was "intelligent agents" which would go out and find information for us. Such things have arrived, without a whole lot of hoopla. At the top of the Illinois Concealed Carry page is a scrolling banner carrying gun news headline links; a simple applet linking to a news only search engine.

One of the articles found by this agent recently is a generally evenhanded report on licensed conealed carry in Indiana and elsewhere, marred by a glaring research error. The headline asserts that Indiana second only to New York in number of gun permits per 1,000 adult residents, and is followed by a memo to See Corrections & Clarifications item below. When you get to the very bottom you find the admission that the reporter had overlooked the fact that the Indiana permits are to carry and the New York permits in question are merely to possess. It does, after all, make a difference whether your gun is in the safe or on your person should there ever be an occasion when you need it.

Posted by triticale at 06:59 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Illinois Again

The Roderick Pritchard case began before I started blogging, but I did what I could to spread the word about an Illinois (my former home; the gun laws were a factor in our departure) citizen charged as a criminal for legal possesion of a firearm.

It's happened again. A gas station owner found it appropriate to display a firearm when pursuing a driveoff, and is facing the possibility of felony unlawful use of weapons charges.

Again, the Illinois Concealed Carry operation of John Birch spread the news and will be posting further news.

Posted by triticale at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Making A Statement

I believe that RINOs can have their place; that electability can be a factor in choosing a candidate. State Senate Majority Leader, representing a known conservative district, is not such a place.

Here in Wisconsin, Mary Panzer has a long record of siding with the spending interests, and recently delayed discussion of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights for two years. Conservative Assemblyman Glenn Grothman has announced his candidacy for her seat, and the primary race is going to be interesting. Those who benefit from business as usual in Wisconsin government, including the teachers' unions and the gambling monopolies, will be pouring money into Panzer's war chest. Grothman is confident that as long as he can afford to get his message out he can win. Due to redistricting, he has already been elected to the State House by voters in 55% of the Senate district. If the blogosphere can generate a pittance of national support, it just might make a difference, and send a real message to the country club wing of the Republican Party. Owen lives in this district, and will be providing ongoing coverage, but he's at a rally with President Bush right now, and I didn't think this should wait.

By the way, another race where national support from conservative activist Republicans would not be amiss is Herman Cain for U.S. Senate in Georgia.


The Herman Cain campaign also has a blog. This was how I first learned of him. This was the link I intended to use above, but I was posting from work, multitasking with legitimate computer use.

Mark Belling reports that his sources tell him that Mary Panzer's response to the Grothman challenge has been to call lobbyists looking for campaign contributions. His callers reported that she got a lackluster reception when introduced by President Bush at this morning's rall. Some of them even reported a smattering of boos.


As I expected, Owen has a detailed report on the candidates posted. I'm inclined to concur with his projection, and I like it.

Posted by triticale at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)


Enough already. It's settled. Find another dead horse to beat.

Posted by triticale at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004

Art Illary

Especially for John, because it is his blogaversary and because he asked.


Posted by triticale at 12:40 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2004

A Lileks Lapse

James Lileks is a professional wordsmith, and when he applies his skill to expressing the mainstream Jacksonian conservatism of flyover country, it generates lots of linkage. Many of us read him every day, because his craftsmanship is every bit as admirable when he applies it to the bittersweet joys of having a home, a family and a pet.

Today, however, at the very end of his Bleat, there was a non-trivial error in the realm of Sociology of Popular Culture 101. After showing us the wrapper from a bar of hotel soap from WWII, he suggests that Irish Spring brought about a major change in soap preferences. He states that after viewing the original ad for this new soap, "[e]very guy wanted to buy a bar, get out his knife and carve off a hunk." Wrong. What the fine fellow me laddie in the ad did was shave off a nicely curled chip. Anyone who ever practiced the ancient art of soap carving knows that either that knive was either seriously sharp or the bar of soap had been prepped for the ad.

For myself, as someone who hasn't been without a carry knive in decades, except when in courtrooms or airplanes, coming out with a knife for an exploratory cut was perfectly natural. I have to wonder how many people were disconcerted by that blade, and how many who now carry a knive were influenced, at least in part, by that ad. I also wonder, in the same line of thought, how much of the blame for current habits of improper speech should like be assigned to the copywriters who, like, created that slogan for Winston cigarettes.

Posted by triticale at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2004


So I was led astray again a couple nights ago, this time to Auntie Anne's description of a precocious nephew applying his understanding of a grownup concept to his own frame of reference. Emrack was similarly precocious. When he was about five, we were driving thru the Cook County Forest Preserve, and he asked what a preserve was. I explained that it was a place kept the way it had been so that people could see it. "So then the old hotel where we went for Mothers Day is a restaurant preserve?" Well, yes.

I thought that a search on "cocious" might turn up something amusing to add to this. Most of the entries had "pre-" in front of the word, but I did turn up one interesting screed. It looks to me like a classic case of a bureaucrat mindlessly following a badly written rule, but once you've determined that Bush=Hitler, it's really hard to ascribe to stupidity what can be adequately explained by malice.

Posted by triticale at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2004

Family Dining

Marginal Tyler links to a report of a restaurant chain which takes family dining to a new extreme. This is not like the eatery around Plano Texas which runs radio ads to the effect of "So much like eating at Granma's, if you came from Arkansas you don't have to wear shoes." This is actually about family. Original story here.

Posted by triticale at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

That Teachout List

Some of these pairs I know neither of, or know both and care for neither. Others fall into the "Would you rather sleep with a pillow or the window open?" category. All of them are clearly thought provoking, altho, as one commentor to the original post indicated, the Who and the Stones are but points on a spectrum. Elvis and the Beatles, and the Beatles and the Stones were suggested; other polar combinations from the same realm are certainly possible.

I've seen a number of responses to this already. Altho I am doing this bareheaded I will note that it was astray occurance of it which inspired to post my own responses.

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?

Kelly, for the rotating room. Bling over smoove, as it were.

2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises?

Sun, lesser evil.

3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington?

The one Edward Kennedy worthy of the title Duke.

4. Cats or dogs?

We haven't been without multiple cats in 30 years. I love Hunter, and miss her while she's away this month, but I wouldn't seek out a canine as a pet.

5. Matisse or Picasso?


6. Yeats or Eliot?


7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?


8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike?

Wouldn't know

9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca?

I don't know To Have and Have Not, but I can't imagine it replacing my all-time favorite.

10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?


11. The Who or the Stones?

The Who; as noted above

12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath?

I doubt I'd care for either of them

13. Trollope or Dickens?

Dickens, but only in small doses

14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald?

Regardless how good Ella Fitzgerald was, Lady Day was special

15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy?

Can I answer Lermontov?

16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair?

I know neither

17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham?

I know neither

18. Hot dogs or hamburgers?

Hamburgers. I sprinkle the patties with sausage seasoning, and grill over lump charcoal.

19. Letterman or Leno?

Steve Allen, especially given that I know neither as personalities. I like Leno's approach to spending a fortune on automobiles.

20. Wilco or Cat Power?

I know neither

21. Verdi or Wagner?

I'd rather sleep with the window open.

22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe?


23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash?

Johnny was, at his best a far better singer, but for overall contribution I'd take Bill Monroe. Open choice on the category? Doc Watson

24. Kingsley or Martin Amis?


25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando?


26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp?

I know neither

27. Vermeer or Rembrandt?


28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin?


29. Red wine or white?

A wee dram of island single malt. No ice. As much water as ice.

30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde?

"Only the modern can ever be truly out of date." Oscar Wilde

31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity?

I know neither

32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev?


33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev?

I know neither

34. Constable or Turner?

I know neither well enough to judge; I recall liking both.

35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo?

I know neither

36. Comedy or tragedy?

I know neither...

But seriously, folks, comedy

37. Fall or spring?


38. Manet or Monet?


39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons?

I enjoy a bit of Simpsons now and again. I doubt I'd bother watching the Sopranos if I had access.

40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin?

The Gershwins

41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James?


42. Sunset or sunrise?


43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?


44. Mac or PC?

PC - Mine are assembled from scavenged, purchased and carried forward components.

45. New York or Los Angeles?

I can barely tolerate Chicago. I would not care to visit either of those two again.

46. Partisan Review or Horizon?

I know neither

47. Stax or Motown?

Stax Bling over smoove, as it were.

48. Van Gogh or Gauguin?

Van Gogh

49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello?

The earlier one, from Yokahama

50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine?


51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?


52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers?

I have a CD of selected sessions with Red Norvo which is my pick when I wish to listen to the Chairman.

53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde?

I know neither; from what I've heard, Chinatown

54. Ghost World or Election?

I know neither

55. Minimalism or conceptual art?

I consider conceptual art to be unattainable

56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?

That wascally woodland cweature

57. Modernism or postmodernism?


58. Batman or Spider-Man?

Batman. He taught me to read

59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?

Emmylou. Again, for area under the curve

60. Johnson or Boswell?


61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?

Jane Austen

62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show?

Since I've lost weight, I don't need a big belt to hold my pants up any more. I can get by with a little belt. You know I like a little belt now and then.

63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table?

The chair

64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity?

I know neither

65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni?

I have no use for barbers

66. Blue or green?

67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It?


68. Ballet or opera?

I know neither

69. Film or live theater?


70. Acoustic or electric?


71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?

I know neither

72. Sargent or Whistler?


73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera?

I know neither

74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?

Last night, driving the wee wifey to work, just about twenty five hours ago, I noticed a billboard advertising a luxury romantic motel. "Either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are unaware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of pool suites in your community."

75. Sushi, yes or no?

I tried some sushi one time. Took it home, fried it up. Warn't half bad.

76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?

Ross. It's what the R in Emrack stands for.

77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee?


78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove?

On The Wings of a Snow White Dove.

79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham?

I know neither

80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe?

He was an @$$hole, and I wouldn't want to live in anything he designed that I've been in but I'd still take Wright.
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones?

I know neither

82. Watercolor or pastel?


83. Bus or subway?


84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg?


85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?


86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser?

I know neither

87. Schubert or Mozart?


88. The Fifties or the Twenties?

I'm loking forward to the Twenties

89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick?

Dolphin over whale.

90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce?

Thomas Mann

91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?

The Hawk

92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?

I know neither

93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill?


94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?

I know neither

95. Italian or French cooking?

Italian; both "immigrant" and gourmet.

96. Bach on piano or harpsichord?


97. Anchovies, yes or no?

Yes, in salad rather than on pizza.

98. Short novels or long ones?


99. Swing or bebop?


100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?

The Sedar

Posted by triticale at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2004

Hat Tip

Andrea Harris doesn't like hat tips, but here's one tip which I recommend that people who wear such hats pay attention to.

Posted by triticale at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2004


Lots of sanends, some of them odder than others, have piled up in the last few days

A couple of people have pointed out an error in my German spelling here. In my defense I will argue that what I typed would be a perfectly suitable euphemism in English.

There is no connection between that issue and this link to one of my less-known regular reads and readers.

Nor for this item from my collection.

I'm always wanting to link Steve den Beste's articles; with his engineering mindset he looks at almost everything with the same method I do. Here is someone else who has brought system analysis to another issue, one many of us need to deal with.

There were three Amber Alerts issued last week. All three have been canceled; the two youngsters have been recovered and it has been determined that the 16 year old girl ran off willingly with her boyfriend; not an Amber issue. The detail which caught my eye was that all three men were driving pickup trucks, and both non-custodial fathers had extended cab trucks with tool boxes in the bed. I detect a pattern.

Before he hit the road again, Emrack used my system to do some preparatory research. Here's a product which elegantly solves a problem I'd never had reason to worry about, but which afflicts people in some dark corners of the globe.

If these guys could afford to buy more film for their digital camera, there'd be even more of these pictures to groan about. Maybe I should just walk thru my neighborhood and snap some for them.

Posted by triticale at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq Update

A transnational movement. alleged by some to be subversive and linked to religious warefare, has begun operations in Iraq. This news had been overlooked by the mainstream media (I see the BBC has picked up on it); I only learned of it thru an obscure British magazine.

One thing we can all do in response is to sign this petition.

Posted by triticale at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2004

Tooth and Claw

Many years ago, at a company Christmas party, the wife of one of the engineering staff was trying to explain to me why we humans shouldn't eat other animals. She claimed we hadn't evolved to eat meat, and offered my teeth as evidence. (Not hers; they were such a mess that the consensus at work was that her husband had no interest in receiving oral favors.) She asked me where was my equipment for cutting and tearing flesh. I answered by dramatically flicking my knife open.

It would appear that evolutionary science shares my take on the matter. I followed a trail of crumbs to an article which suggests that the knife may have been the key breakthru in the advance of mankind.

Posted by triticale at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)