Wednesday, August 31, 2011

He Never Ceases To Amaze

I shouldn't be surprised anymore by the shenanigans of obama and his flunkys, but I continue to underestimate their capacity for foolishness.

The latest: obama wants to deliver his 'long-awaited' (cough hack gag) economic recovery plan to congress next week. Coincidentally, he just happened to pick the same date and time as the already-scheduled Republican presidential candidates debate.
President Barack Obama requested time Wednesday to deliver an economic address to a joint session of Congress on the evening of September 7 -- a prime-time platform to unveil his long-awaited jobs proposal.

White House spokesman Jay Carney brushed aside concerns the address will overlap with a Republican presidential debate scheduled for the same night at the Reagan library in California.

"This is the right time to do it (and) the right day to do it," Carney said in reference to Obama's speech. If the Republicans want to "adjust the timing of their debate... that would be completely fine with us."
What's so special about 8:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 7, that makes it "the right time to do it (and) the right day to do it?" Heck, this jerk has sat around with his thumb up his ass for 2 1/2 years while the economy cratered, and NOW he wants to talk about a plan to help it? And it has to be at this particular time and date?

The arrogance, the unmitigated gall, of this narcissistic asshole and his enablers never ceases to amaze me. As for the bootlicking mainstream media, well, how long do you think it will be before the stories appear about republican obstructionism, especially if Boehner grows a pair and tells obama to pick another time.

UPDATE: (4:11 p.m.)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Obama’s timing a “thinly-veiled political ploy.”
“President Obama’s decision to address Congress at the same time as a long-scheduled Republican Presidential debate cements his reputation as Campaigner-in-Chief,” Priebus said in a statement. “While the White House claims it’s simply a ‘coincidence,’ the American people can see right through that excuse. The President has had months to get to work on the economy, but instead he chose to take a taxpayer-funded campaign trip and a cushy Martha’s Vineyard vacation. If the President were serious about putting ‘country before politics,’ as he said in his request to speak to Congress, he wouldn’t be caught in such a thinly-veiled political ploy.”
I couldn't have said it any better myself...

More Headlines I Never Thought I'd See

First it was the Greeks, aggressive doughnut sellers, and undercover cops.

Now semen is in the news. File this one under "Do we really need a warning against this?"

Canada warns not to buy 'fresh' semen online
Canada's health agency on Tuesday warned would-be parents not to purchase "fresh" semen online, saying it may be tainted with infectious diseases.

Donor semen obtained through "questionable means," it explained, may not have been screened or tested, and therefore may not be safe.
"Questionable means"  ... I'm not sure what "questionable means" are in the context of semen collection. Anyone out there with some experience in this area?
It also directed Canadians to a list of approved semen processors and importers on its website that are subject to regular inspections.
I have an ex-wife who certainly would qualify as a "semen processor," although getting her "approved" would be problematic.

And can you imagine someone answering the question "What do you do for a living" by replying "I'm a semen inspector."

However, we shouldn't make light of semen. It is, after all, the spark that initiates new life. Not only that, it also has the power to shut down Interstate highways.
Bull semen forces closure of interstate ramp
Canisters of bull semen caused quite a scare on the on-ramp to Interstate 65 South Tuesday morning.

The canisters fell off a Greyhound bus just after 5 a.m. as the bus traveled around the curve of the ramp just south of downtown Nashville.

Fire and emergency crews were called to the scene amid reports of a foul odor.

When they discovered four unmarked canisters with steam and an unpleasant odor coming from them, they shut down the on-ramp and called HAZMAT crews.
Officials traced the containers to Greyhound after finding bus tickets on the ground.  The bus did not know it lost its load and had continued on.
"lost its load" ... LOL! Was that accidental, or did some clever reporter sneak a  little innuendo past an unobservant editor? Anyway...
Authorities called Greyhound, who, after speaking with the driver the bus, determined the canisters to be filled with straws of frozen sperm packed in liquid nitrogen.

The load originated in Columbus, Ohio and was en route to a breeding facility in Laredo, Texas. (!)

Once the leaking canisters were deemed not harmful, they were moved to a grassy area next to the interstate.

A Greyhound spokesperson said it's not uncommon that the bus was carrying bull sperm.

In addition to transporting people, the also company transports cargo.  The canisters were filled with liquid nitrogen and thus could only be transported by ground.

Greyhound said the sperm was stored in a separate compartment below the bus and not near the belongings of passengers.
Well, that's a relief. I certainly wouldn't want to get any of that stuff on my clothes. I don't know how I'd explain it to my wife.

Reminds me of the old joke about a blond who drops off her blouse at the neighborhood cleaner's and points out a spot that she wants removed. The cleaner says he'll take care of it and then says "Come again."

The blond replies, "No, this time it's toothpaste..."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things Could Be Worse

You think you've got it bad?

If you're thinking about getting a new mattress, don't ...

(H/T Cranky Professor)

A Dry And Dusty Land

Yesterday I touched, more or less, on the heat that's currently broiling this part of the country. Here's a follow-up.

It's so hot that:
  • the National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat advisory for this part of the country. It urges people to avoid strenuous activity ... or, in the case of the lazy jerks on welfare, carry on.
  • squirrels are pouring Gatorade on their nuts
  • ice pops are melting in the freezer
  • I saw two trees fighting over a dog
  • birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground
  • cows are giving evaporated milk
  • I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walking
  • chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs

Or in Texas slang, it's hotter than:
  • two mice screwing in a wool sock
  • a hooker on two-for-one night
  • a two-peckered billy goat (If you've ever owned a goat I don't have to explain this one to you.)

 But seriously, folks, it is brutally hot and dry down here. It's not just the heat. We're in the middle of the worst drought in recorded history.
A record-breaking stretch of scorching weather is keeping Texas and the lower Colorado River basin firmly in the grips of severe drought.

The 10 months from October 2010 through July 2011 have been the driest for that 10-month period in Texas since 1895, when the state began keeping rainfall records. Across most of the Hill Country and the Austin area, rainfall since last October is between 16 and 20 inches below normal.

Our part of the state hit 109 degrees on Saturday, 110 degrees on Sunday, and 107 on Monday. So far this year there have been over 100 days when the temperature has reached or exceeded 100 degrees where I work on the Texas-Mexico border.

 We haven't had any measurable rain in months. We live less than a mile from the Guadalupe River, which has stopped flowing along our stretch. We also have a weekend place on Lake Buchanan, which is around 25 feet below normal.  

Among the consequences of the extreme weather are dried-up rivers and lakes:
...streamflow in the upper Colorado River and the Llano River remains very low, and Sandy Creek near Kingsland and the Pedernales River at Johnson City have little to no flow.  Most streams in the Texas Hill Country are dry and as a result, the inflows to the Highland Lakes continue to be well below normal for this time of year.  Exceptional to extreme drought conditions remain in place over most of Texas.

Record power consumption and rolling blackouts:
Extreme heat covering the state led to record weekend power use Saturday and Sunday as Texans cranked up air conditioners to cope with triple-digit temperatures and drought.

It said the heat index was expected to peak at between 104 and 110 degrees between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. CDT Monday in the affected areas of Texas...

Houston, the state's biggest metropolitan area, hit 109 Fahrenheit Saturday and is forecast to see a high of 102 Monday. Dallas hit 106 on Saturday and is projected to hit 105 Monday.

That heat led the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to set back-to-back weekend power use records as demand soared above 65,100 megawatts on Saturday afternoon, then hit 65,159 megawatts on Sunday, according to initial data posted on the ERCOT website.
A crippled cattle industry:
Texas cattle ranchers are selling their herds, and some communities are running out of water, as a punishing Texas drought shows no sign of waning with the driest months still ahead.
 ... the animals at a recent ... auction look pitiful. They're standing in 107-degree heat — that's in the shade — with their ribs showing, stressed out. It's been like this for the past nine weeks — no rain. Although these cows were bred for the heat, they weren't bred for this. They look absolutely baked.

So by all means pray for the victims of Hurricane Irene. Give them whatever help and support you can.

But spare a few prayers for those of us in flyover country who are ignored by the federal government and the mainstream media because the drought is not happening in their back yard...

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Blood Is Boiling

It's not just due to the temperature - 110 degrees outside and climbing. My AC can't keep pace. It's been running continuously for the past few hours and the interior temp is still rising. The cold Shiners I've been inhaling just don't seem to help.

They are good for one thing, though. I usually try to have some semblance of reason and balance in my posts, along with some references to more-or-less reliable sources. But this afternoon I ran across a news story that got me fired up, and I just don't feel like paying homage to the PC gods.

Swarm and Slug Mobs
There’s an alert out about recent assaults on bike riders in south St. Louis., an organization that promotes hiking and biking, is cautioning riders to be on the alert for roving bands of teenagers who swarm and attack riders.

Trailnet says the latest attack was last Thursday (8/25) afternoon near Missouri Botanical Garden where a group of 10 to 15 African-American teens charged and attacked a cyclist.

“They weren’t really interested in robbing me. It just seemed like they wanted to beat me up,” says assault victim Cheech Ramirez. “They weren’t interested in letting me get off the ground and having a fair fight.”

Police say there have been other, similar attacks in the city, and they believe all the victims are picked at random.
Give the local CBS affiliate credit for having enough cojones to identify the race of the attackers. Many other cities are kowtowing to the PC assholes and refusing to publish the racial makeup of roving mobs.
If mobs of white youths were going about chanting the phrase "white boys," beating mostly on blacks and attacking black-owned businesses, then the nation would pay attention.  Academic, media, political, and legal elites would be calling for symposia, expanded reporting, legislation, and lawsuits.

In fact, a mob of black youths in Philadelphia went about chanting the phrase "black boys," beating mostly on whites, and attacking businesses.  The same kind of racial mob violence has occurred in Las Vegas, and just last week in New York City.  Few are paying attention, and liberal elites are largely silent.

If you really want to get riled up, check out this story about the Knockout King 'game'.

BTW, when you read it note the names and photos of the participants. The story doesn't come out and say it, but it's painfully obvious that the thugs involved are black African American people of color non-white I don't know what the hell to call 'em anymore.

It's a downright shame that I have to post this on the day when the MLK memorial was supposed to be dedicated. He would be so proud of what his people have overcome to date...

Here's a couple of suggestions to stop the St. Louis attacks on bicyclists specifically, and the other 'flash mob' attacks in general.

One, allow concealed carry throughout the land. A few .45 rounds sent downrange will go a long way to eliminating this crap.

Two, get rid of subsidized housing, food stamps, and unemployment payments. Make those worthless assholes go out and earn a living and they won't have time or energy to molest honest hard-working citizens. As an added bonus, they won't be able to afford cell phones to coordinate this thuggery.

And three, blacks should get over their knee-jerk reaction to voting for democrats. That party is not now, nor has it ever been, their friend...

Greek Doughnut Sting - Three Words I Never Thought To See In A Headline

Millions of Greeks and thousands of tourists can now sleep easier at night knowing that beaches in Greece are safe from doughnut-wielding thugs.

Greek police smash violent doughnut ring
It took an undercover operation, but Greek police have blown a hole in a ring of alleged crooks who had cornered the doughnut market in a beach resort.

It started with complaints that two Bulgarian men and a former Greek wrestling champion were using violence to choke off the trade by other doughnut vendors on Paliouri beach in the Halkidiki peninsula near Thessaloniki.
wrestling champion ... choke off the trade ... sounds like something Homer Simpson would say ... Mmmmm...doughnuts... (*slobber*)

So an undercover officer posed as a doughnut seller, police said Tuesday, and he was attacked, leading to the arrest of the three aggressive doughnut sellers.
As a result, they have been charged with blackmail and fraud. They also were charged with food safety violations after police found they had stashed their product in an abandoned hotel that was open to the elements and used by bathers as a toilet.

Still, all's well that ends well.

FOD 2011.08.29

Today we have a three-fer.

The first one caught my eye because I struggle mightily with my students' disdain for and disregard of the rules concerning grammar and punctuation. They frustrate me no end - almost as much as the downgrader-in-chief frustrates me.

(H/T iOwnTheWorld

Many of you may have already seen the second one, but hey - I like it, and it's my blog, so I'm posting it.

I can't decide if that jerk on the right is a pimp, a gay prostitute, a drug dealer, or all three.

(H/T various sources too numerous to list)

I have to give credit to the guy in the third one. At least he's man enough to stand up and admit it when he's made a mistake. We need more people like him in this country.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update

Disaster averted. Obama takes charge at hurricane command center!
President Barack Obama warned the US east coast was in for a "long 72 hours" as he led his government's response to Hurricane Irene at a disaster command center in Washington.

(H/T Moonbattery)

Sunday Funnies 2011.08.28

Hurricane time ... need I say more?

Q: Why are hurricanes named after women?

A: Because they arrive all wet and wild and when they leave they take your house and your car.

Q: Why are hurricanes named after men?

A: Because they're noisy, make a huge mess, and if you look into their eyes there's nothing there.

Q: What do Kim Kardashian and Hurricane Irene have in common?

A: They will both blow the entire east coast just to get on TV.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mixing Business With Pleasure

A couple of recent articles caught my eye this week. Both of them are aimed at making business trips more pleasurable for women.

The first is a little gadget that combines a high-tech memory stick with a (*ahem*) 'personal massager.'
The Duet is a tiny, thumb-sized vibrator. That alone probably wouldn’t be worth writing about, but this vibrator is also USB-powered, and can be bought with up to 16GB storage.

The toy plugs into any free USB port to charge, and when full can give a terrifying four hours of pleasure. It has four different patterns of vibration, five power levels, and runs almost silently. This discretion extends to the design, which doesn’t really look like a sex toy at all.

In fact, the feature list is pretty good even before we get to the vibrating part. The silicone and metal body is completely waterproof. You can drop it into water up to three meters (10 feet) deep, and of course you can use the thing in the bath.

But the oddest part is the flash memory option. I can see the sense of putting a few gigs of storage into something that will be plugged into a USB port anyway, but what on earth would you keep on there? Porn is the obvious answer, but what’s the point if you can’t look at it and use the vibrator at the same time?
Complementing the Duet is Quantas Airline, which is also using technology to help satisfy women travelers.
Such is the evolution of in-flight entertainment that travelers can now fulfill their own needs on flights. One-flick-suits-all journeys are relics of the past.

But what exactly is that person watching next to you? And why are they getting so excited?

Qantas has taken in-flight entertainment to dizzying heights by including among its offerings a 50-minute French documentary "The Female Orgasm Explained," which comes inclusive of naked scenes and reveals the mysteries of female sexual pleasure, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The documentary is part of the airline's "The Edge" channel, which gives new meaning to videos on demand.

"With The Edge, we source programs that are out of the ordinary across all genres," Qantas said in a statement.

"The Female Orgasm Explained" runs until November. It does come with a warning that the film is for mature audiences only.
Combine that with the recent release of a video showing a Cathy Airlines flight attendant and a pilot getting it on in the (excuse the expression) cock-pit  and we have a whole new meaning for "Flying the Friendly Skies."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2011.08.26

Two of my all-time favorites - Z Z Top and tushes...

Time Marches On II

I posted yesterday about Philadelphia, the birthplace of cheesesteaks. That got me in a nostalgic mood about south Philly, where I used to hang out on occasion. I worked with a guy who was born and raised there. He said people from his neighborhood either became cops, priests, or mafioso (he was a FBI agent).

One of the places I really enjoyed was an old neighborhood joint called the Triangle Tavern. It was named that because it's located at an intersection of three streets that form a - what else - triangle. 

From the outside it looks like a dive.

Actually, it resembles one on the inside as well. But people didn't come here for the decor. They came for the food, the atmosphere, and the entertainment, as the following reviews attest.
The place is your basic, adult, neighborhood South Philly corner bar. It has been there since 1933. It is old school. ...repeat old school. The staff is very friendly, well liked in the neighborhood and works hard to make you feel at home whether you're wearing work boots or wing-tips. The jukebox churns out  Dion, Temptations, Sinatra. Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Al Martino, Jerry Vale. If those names don't mean anything to you, you won't have a good time.

My wife and I have been going to this bar/restaurant in South Philly for over 35 years. The dining room is like sitting in someones 1950 kitchen. In fact, the tables and chairs are probably from 1950 or before. Nothing fancy, BUT the food, real authentic Italian food, is excellant. The antipaste is great, mussels (white) as an appetizer are excellant, and if you like calamari, then your are in for a real treat, because this is what they are known for. It's their secret recipe, since the 30's. The calamari, in a red sauce, are tender and delicious. You can either order a dish of calamari or order it over linguine. Their gnocchi are excellant also. Don't order any of the fried fishes, as they are quite ordinary. Nothing fancy about the service either. It's like eating at home.

This is a very authentic old italian restaurant. Good dishes like gnochi and meatballs, broccoli rabe, etc. Just plain old italian food...but good. This was an old Mafia bar...the bullet holes still remain in the bar.

The atmosphere is like you are having dinner with a large Italian family.

Eighty-two-year-old Tony Dell, of the Tony Dell Quartet, has performed at the bar for 24 years. Taking over for the infamous Dusty Gale, who died six years ago, Dell sings garbled covers of Eminem and the Doors with unabashed lewdness. His onstage hijinx include dry humping female customers and bastardizing the words to Frank Sinatra faves. "You wanna hear my version of New York, New York?" Dell asked the crowd of about 15 on a recent Saturday night. Dell then crooned, "Start spreadin' your legs." Dell's antics won the devotion of the bar's self-proclaimed "Spice Girls"--four elderly women, clad in polyester and gobs of make-up, who used to dance in front of the band and defend themselves from Dell's mock groping. While Dell always got a cheer when he unbuttoned his shirt, the crowd really gave it up for waitress Gen Balogna's renditions of Patsy Cline standards. Balogna, 48, is the loudest and perhaps the most deliberately foul-mouthed member of the Triangle waitstaff.
However, just as in the cheesesteak story, time has wrought change on the tavern. Up until the early 2000's it was owned and operated by the grandson of the original founder. Then he went through a messy divorce and had to sell the place. From what I can gather it's still a good place to hang out, but it's just not quite the same. And neither is the neighborhood.
The tavern's owner, Tony Fraietta, whose grandfather opened the place in 1933, said that to stem a loss he put at nearly $2,000 a week, he would keep it closed until he either finalized his divorce or found someone willing to buy it.

Even the Triangle Tavern's ultraloyal core customers admit that the casinos, which began opening in the mid-1970's, combined with the construction of new freeways and the dying off of the neighborhood's Italian old guard to leave this corner joint in a financial jam.

The neighborhood itself has ''changed from the old Italians to the Asians, Koreans, Vietnamese,'' said Sgt. Joe Gavula, one of several police officers from the Third District station who come to the Triangle to down a beer after work.
It looks like the Asians, Koreans, and Vietnamese don't drop in for a beer after work, don't eat gnocchi or calamari, and definitely aren't fans of Tony Dell.

Another little piece of our nation's character being washed away by the river of Time...

(Note: I usually provide links to the sources from where I get information. But in this case it was so fragmented that to do so would have been complicated and confusing. Needless to say, the Triangle Tavern doesn't have a web site. As for FaceBook - fuggedaboutit...).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Too Good To Be True

I'm a big fan of Kinky Friedman the entertainer, and Kinky Friedman the man - a much bigger fan than I am of Kinky Friedman the politician, or, for that matter, Rick Perry the politician.

Now, in a bit of delicious irony, Kinky Friedman has come out and endorsed Rick Perry for president. Hallelujah!!!
Rick Perry has never lost an election; I’ve never won one. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world. On the other hand, I’ve long been friends with Bill Clinton and George W., and Rick Perry and I, though at times bitter adversaries, have remained friends as well. It’s not always easy to maintain friendships with politicians. To paraphrase Charles Lamb, you have to work at it like some men toil after virtue.

I have been quoted as saying that when I die, I am to be cremated, and the ashes are to be thrown in Rick Perry’s hair. Yet, simply put, Rick Perry and I are incapable of resisting each other’s charm. He is not only a good sport, he is a good, kindhearted man, and he once sat in on drums with ZZ Top. A guy like that can’t be all bad. When I ran for governor of Texas as an independent in 2006, the Crips and the Bloods ganged up on me. When I lost, I drove off in a 1937 Snit, refusing to concede to Perry. Three days later Rick called to give me a gracious little pep talk, effectively talking me down from jumping off the bridge of my nose. Very few others were calling at that time, by the way. Such is the nature of winning and losing and politicians and life. You might call what Rick did an act of random kindness. Yet in my mind it made him more than a politician, more than a musician; it made him a mensch.

These days, of course, I would support Charlie Sheen over Obama. Obama has done for the economy what pantyhose did for foreplay. Obama has been perpetually behind the curve. If the issue of the day is jobs and the economy, Rick Perry is certainly the nuts-and-bolts kind of guy you want in there. Even though my pal and fellow Texan Paul Begala has pointed out that no self-respecting Mexican would sneak across the border for one of Rick Perry’s low-level jobs, the stats don’t entirely lie. Compared with the rest of the country, Texas is kicking major ass in terms of jobs and the economy, and Rick should get credit for that, just as Obama should get credit for saying “No comment” to the young people of the Iranian revolution.

More to the point, could Rick Perry fix the economy? Hell, yes! Texas is exhibit A; Rick’s fingerprints are all over it. He’s been governor since Christ was a cowboy. The Lone Star State is booming. The last time I checked, Texas is kicking in a hell of a lot of the U.S. GDP. Unemployment is lower than the vast majority of the other states. Hell, we could probably even find a job for Paul Begala.

As a Jewish cowboy (or “Juusshh,” as we say in Texas), I know Rick Perry to be a true friend of Israel, like Bill Clinton and George W. before him. There exists a visceral John Wayne kinship between Israelis and Texans, and Rick Perry gets it. That’s why he’s visited Israel on many more occasions than Obama, who’s been there exactly zero times as president. If I were Obama I wouldn’t go either. His favorability rating in Israel once clocked in at 4 percent. Say what you will about the Israelis, but they are not slow out of the chute. They know who their friends are. On the topic of the Holy Land, there remains the little matter of God. God talks to televangelists, football coaches, and people in mental hospitals. Why shouldn’t he talk to Rick Perry? In the spirit of Joseph Heller, I have a covenant with God. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone. If, however, I have a big problem, I ask God for the answer. He tells Rick Perry. And Rick tells me.

So would I support Rick Perry for president? Hell, yes! As the last nail that hasn’t been hammered down in this country, I agree with Rick that there are already too damn many laws, taxes, regulations, panels, committees, and bureaucrats. While Obama is busy putting the hyphen between “anal” and “retentive” Rick will be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.
A still, small voice within keeps telling me that Rick Perry’s best day may yet be ahead of him, and so too, hopefully, will be America’s.
Amen, Kinky. From your lips to God's ear...

Why College Professors Weep

I just finished with the first class of the new semester. I am not in any way comparing myself with Jesus Christ, but we do have one experience in common.
Then Jesus took his disciples up on the mountain and gathered them around Him. And He taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are you who thirst for justice, Blessed are you who are persecuted, Blessed are the peacemakers...
And Simon Peter said, "Do we have to write this stuff down?"
And Phillip said, "Will this be on the test?"
And John said, "I'm sorry. Would you mind repeating that?"
And Andrew said, "John the Baptist's disciples don't have to learn this stuff!"
And Matthew said, "Huh?"
And Judas said, "What does this have to do with real life?"

Then, one of the Pharises, and expert in the law said, "I don't see any of this in your syllabus. Do you have a lesson plan? Is there a summary? Where is the student guide? Will there be any follow-up assignments? How will this affect the bell curve?"

And Thomas, who had missed the sermon, came to Jesus privately and said, "Did we do anything important yesterday?"
 And Jesus wept.

Time Marches On

I used to go to Philadelphia regularly on business. It was a sweet gig. The customer loved us, and treated us like royalty. When I went there I stayed at one of the most luxurious hotels in the country. But for me, the best thing about the hotel was its location. It was within walking distance of an old Italian neighborhood, just like you see in the mafia movies, with brownstones, fresh produce stalls, small neighborhood taverns, and the old folks sitting on the front stoops and chatting in Italian.

During one of my rambles through the area I stumbled across what is now called "ground zero for cheesesteaks." I'd never had an authentic south Philly cheesesteak before, and here were two of the best, right across the street from each other. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Pat's and Geno's have been around for decades. They're family-owned, family-run small businesses. They're not fancy, as the pictures below show, but they've stayed true to their roots.


Each has it's loyalists who are passionate about their choice. Me, I love 'em both, although I do prefer Pat's. And it's not just about the food. You gotta love the people that built and run these places. They are the stuff that made this country great. Just check out the picture below.

Since then I've eaten cheesesteaks from around the world. I've yet to find one that comes close to the originals.

Sadly, the guy pictured above, Joey Vento, just died.
Joey Vento, the owner of a landmark south Philadelphia cheesesteak stand who told customers to order in English, has died at age 71.

Longtime friend Domenic Chiavaroli told the Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer that Vento had been at the cheesesteak stand Tuesday morning, as he was every morning before opening, but went home to Shamong, N.J., later in the day and told his wife that he wasn't feeling well.

"I've been coming here since 1967," Chiavaroli said. "Joe was a good guy. He always tried to help everybody."

According to Geno's website, Vento learned the cheesesteak business from his father, who had opened Jim's Steaks in the early 1940s. The site says Vento opened Geno's in 1966 "with $6 in his pocket, two boxes of steaks and some hot dogs."

Geno's and its chief rival across the street, Pat's King of Steaks, have become the focus of an area described as "ground zero for cheesesteaks," a traditionally Italian community that has grown more diverse with an influx of immigrants from Asia and Latin America and is a popular tourist destination.

In June 2006, Vento and Geno's made headlines over two small signs posted at the shop stating, "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING 'PLEASE SPEAK ENGLISH.'"

Vento said he posted the signs because of concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people who couldn't order in English.

Vento said he never refused service to anyone because he or she couldn't speak English, but critics argued that the signs discouraged customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop.

Amid extensive publicity, the city's Commission on Human Relations began looking into whether Vento was violating Philadelphia's ordinance banning discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The following year, the commission found probable cause against Geno's for discrimination.

The case then went to a public hearing, at which an attorney for the commission argued that the signs were about intimidation, not political speech. The matter then went to a three-member panel, which ruled 2-1 in March 2008 that the signs didn't violate the ordinance.
I haven't been back there in years, which I guess is just as well. It sounds like the neighborhood has changed, and not for the better. Maybe it's best to live with the memories of cherished people, places, and things, rather than confront brutal reality.

RIP, Joey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Detroit Living

Detroit and its surrounding suburbs have become the most heavily Muslim area in the U.S. One result is an ongoing clash of cultures as new immigrants invade other ethnic neighborhoods.
From her front porch, Alice Dembowski has watched her city change, one tidy house at a time.

“Chinese, Polish, Bosnian, Polish, Bengali,” she recites, her finger moving down the block. “They were all Polish at one time.

“I’ve made friends. I go to their weddings. (But) we’re losing our tradition and I’m getting mad,” Dembowski said. “If they’re going to live in America, why can’t they be more American?”

Next month, Hamtramck will become one of the few cities in the United States where the Islamic call to prayer is broadcast onto public streets.
Couple that with widespread urban blight, a high crime rate, and an overall reputation as America's most dangerous city, and the net result is a place where few people who value law, order, and traditional American values want to live.

With this in mind, we offer the following story.

The Afghan Quarterback
The coach had put together the perfect team for the Detroit Lions. The only thing that was missing was a good quarterback. He had scouted all the colleges and even the Canadian and European Leagues, but he couldn't find a ringer who could ensure a Super Bowl win.

Then one night while watching CNN he saw a war-zone scene in Afghanistan .. In one corner of the background, he spotted a young Afghan Muslim soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand-grenade straight into a 15th story window 100 yards away.


He threw another hand-grenade 75 yards away, right into a chimney.


Then he threw another at a passing car going 90 mph.


"I've got to get this guy!" coach said to himself. "He has the perfect arm!"

So, he brings him to the States and teaches him the great game of football. And the Lions go on to win the Super Bowl.

The young Afghan is hailed as the great hero of football, and when the coach asks him what he wants, all the young man wants is to call his mother.

"Mom," he says into the phone, "I just won the Super Bowl!"

"I don't want to talk to you," the old Muslim woman says. "You are not my son!"

"I don't think you understand, Mother," the young man pleads. "I've won the greatest sporting event in the world. I'm here among thousands of my adoring fans."

"No! Let me tell you!" his mother retorts. "At this very moment, there are gunshots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lives last week, and I have to keep your sister in the house so she doesn't get raped!" The old lady pauses, and then tearfully says:

"I will never forgive you for making us move to Detroit !"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Best Earthquake Photo

H/T Boned Jello

Best Earthquake Headline

Quake rattles east coast, DC. Government offices shut down early.

The United States experiences a brief economic recovery.

Back To School

The first day of back-to-school meetings was as bad as I feared. Just one example: we spent 15 minutes - 15 friggin' minutes!!! - being walked through the updated college directory.

We learned all sorts of interesting stuff, like how it was organized by departments, and how it was alphabetical within each department. If you didn't know what department someone was in, there's a section at the end that lists everyone in alphabetical order, along with what department they are in.

I'll freely acknowledge that, as a group, college professors come up a little short in the common sense department. However, I think even us eggheads could have eventually figured this out by ourselves.


After a while the eyes glaze over, the ears cease functioning, and the mind wanders. It was amazing to watch a room full of faculty doing a spot-on imitation of our students.

The picture below pretty much sums things up.

And So It Begins

For those of you who do not know, I am a college professor. The fall semester officially starts today for the faculty with a series of meetings that cover various administrative and bureaucratic topics, none of which have anything to do with teaching. Instead, we must ensure we are in compliance with a host of federal, state, and school rules and regulations.

In the spirit of today's absolute waste of time, and similar to previous posts on wasteful bureaucracy dragging down the economy, I offer the following.

Regulation Business, Jobs Booming Under Obama
If the federal government's regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.
Under President Obama, while the economy is struggling to grow and create jobs, the federal regulatory business is booming.

Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual "Regulator's Budget," compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.

That's at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.

Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.

Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute, found that between March 2010 and March 2011 federal regulatory jobs climbed faster than either private jobs or overall government jobs. 
Regulatory production is way up, too, if you measure that by the number of rules federal agencies churn out.
The Obama administration imposed 75 new major rules in its first 26 months, costing the private sector more than $40 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation study. "No other president has imposed as high a number or cost in a comparable time period," noted the study's author, James Gattuso.

The number of pages in the Federal Register — where all new rules must be published and which serves as proxy of regulatory activity — jumped 18% in 2010.

And much more is on the way. The Federal Register notes that more than 4,200 regulations are in the pipeline.

That doesn't count impending clean air rules from the EPA, new derivative rules, or the FCC's net neutrality rule. Nor does that include recently announced fuel economy mandates or eventual ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank regulations.

But what's good for regulators isn't necessarily good for the private sector, as compliance burdens impose ever-increasing costs on businesses.

"Our economy is continuing to sink," Sen. Barrasso said, "and it's being weighed down by regulations coming out of this administration."
By 2008, the cost of complying with federal rules and regulations already exceeded $1.75 trillion a year, according to a 2010 study issued by the Small Business Administration.
Based on the above, I guess I need to develop a course on how to be a federal bureaucrat...

Monday, August 22, 2011

No Wonder We're In This Mess

More FOD...

The obama administration continues to make The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight look competent. Latest example: the loser-in-chief's blaming congress for stalled free trade agreements.
On his three-state tour in the Midwest this week, Mr. Obama repeatedly told audiences that the Korea, Colombia and Panama free-trade deals would all be law by now if not for an obstructionist Congress. Passing the deals is something Congress "could do right now," he said.

Except that's not true. Congress can't pass the agreements "right now" because it doesn't have them. They are still sitting on the President's desk.

If you are surprised to learn this, you are not alone. White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest only learned the news on Friday during a press conference. Asked why the FTAs haven't been sent, he responded, "We have not sent them over?"

That was followed by what might be called an awkward moment. "I will say this—I mean, there has been an active dialogue that's been underway between the United States trade representative, other members of the Administration, with the appropriate Congressional leaders in the committees of jurisdiction. We are in a place where we have seen Republicans advocating for passing these free trade agreements for quite some time," Mr. Earnest explained. He also pointed out that "these three trade agreements combined would create or support about 70,000 jobs here in the U.S."

A reporter persisted and asked, "Well, when are you going to send them over?" "But I can tell you that there's no reason—I mean, there's agreement here about the benefits of these trade agreements getting through the Congress, both here at the White House and Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. Mr. Earnest referred reporters to "Congress or the USTR on the legislative mechanics of this," adding that "there is bipartisan agreement on this and it's something that we should move on really quick."

We don't want to pick on poor Mr. Earnest, who is no doubt doing his best, but it's worth noting that all three of these trade deals were signed three or more years ago, before Mr. Obama became President. If he wants them passed, stop the kvetching and send them to Congress.
No further comment needed...

FOD 2011.08.22

Even the People of WalMart get it.

I wonder if they have a WalMart in Martha's Vineyard... 

And in other news, Peter posted this gem reminding us how much obama's word is worth.
It seems the 'new' General Motors Corp. (the post-bailout version) isn't about to honor guarantees issued by its predecessor. Reuters reports:
General Motors Co. is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit over a suspension problem on more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impalas from the 2007 and 2008 model years, saying it should not be responsible for repairs because the flaw predated its bankruptcy.

. . .

The current company, called "New GM," said it did not assume responsibility under the reorganization to fix the Impala problem, but only to make repairs "subject to conditions and limitations" in express written warranties. In essence, the automaker said, Trusky sued the wrong entity.

"New GM's warranty obligations for vehicles sold by Old GM are limited to the express terms and conditions in the Old GM written warranties on a going-forward basis," wrote Benjamin Jeffers, a lawyer for GM. "New GM did not assume responsibility for Old GM's design choices, conduct, or alleged breaches of liability under the warranty."
Contrast this with the promises made by President Obama in March 2009:
"Let me say this as plainly as I can. If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired just like always," Obama said in a speech. "Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it has ever been. Because starting today, the United States will stand behind your warranty." (emphasis added)
Joe Wilson was right...

Although to be fair, he could have been talking to not only obama, but just about any member of congress...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Funnies 2011.08.21

School starts this week, both for the kids (Yay!) and me (Boo!). It's like the Circle of Life, but with books.

Q: What do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?

A: A college professor

Early one morning, a mother went in to wake up her son.

'Wake up, son. It's time to go to school'

The son whined 'But why, Mom? I don't want to go.'

Mom said 'Give me two reasons why you don't want to go.'

The son replied 'the students hate me for one, and the teachers hate me, too!'

Mom: 'Oh, you're exaggerating. Now get up and get ready.'

Son: 'Give me two reasons why I should go to school.'

'Well, for one, you're 52 years old. And for another, you're the Dean!'

Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it. - Stephen Vizinczey

America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week. - Evan Esar

I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

I took a test in Existentialism. I left all the answers blank and got 100. - Woody Allen

My school was so tough the school newspaper had an obituary section. - Norm Crosby

I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopaedia.  Let them walk to school like I did. - Yogi Berra