Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.11.30

I'm in the mood today for something from that little ol' band from Texas. Enjoy...

It's That Time Of The Year

The semester is nearing an end. The never-to-be-sufficiently-damned committees I'm stuck on have done exactly what we tell our students not to do; they've put everything off until the end of the semester, and now are frantically trying to cram four months worth of work into one week.

I'm scheduled for meetings all day today. The first one began at 8:00 a.m., and the last one is scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m. At this point it's two meeting down, and two to go.

Total time wasted so far: 4 hours.
Total decisions made so far: 1 (to have another meeting next week).
Total time spent today on teaching or research (which are my primary job responsibilities): 0 hours, 0 minutes.

I feel the need for Shiners ... many, many Shiners...

Still Not A Winner

I've checked and double-checked my PowerBall tickets, and I'm still not a winner. But I did figure out what the numbers mean.

 There's a lot of truth in that picture.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Call For Papers - Yeah, Right...

In the academic world, we often come across something known as a Call for Papers. It's an academic thing - an invitation to submit research papers to a conference. It's a fairly routine event that brings together people interested in a certain topic, and provides them the opportunity to discuss new developments in that particular field. What makes the one below a little different is that it's sponsored by a new consortium attempting to make a name for itself.
Call for Papers
2013 Mustang International Academic Conference
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Conference will provide ... academicians an opportunity to share their research and works in progress with members inside and outside their disciplines.
Most conferences have a highfaluting name (e.g., the International Conference on Computer Systems and Industrial Informatics). Unfortunately, the name this group chose for themselves has other connotations - especially given the conference's Nevada location. I'd have a hard time (*hah*) sneaking that through on my expense report.

And speaking of the Mustang Ranch
The owner of the infamous Mustang Ranch brothel recently became the first of his kind to win election to public office in Nevada since prostitution was legalized here in 1971. He won a seat as a Storey County commissioner by a wide margin.
They say politics make strange bedfellows. At least in this case when his constituents get screwed it's literal, not figurative.

Time To Get Off ... Er, I Mean Up

Here's a stocking stuffer (*hah!*) that's a must-have for the ladies on your Christmas list (courtesy of Dr. Grumpy).
Him: "We need a new alarm clock."

Her: "I need a new vibrator."
Well, now you can have BOTH! The Little Rooster is an alarm clock AND a vibrator!
Yes, ladies, with this remarkable product you just set the time you want to wake up, put it in your panties, and go to bed...

If you wake up at night wondering what time it is, no need to look at the nightstand: Now you can simply check your crotch!
And the snooze button is to die for!

RIP Maria Santos Gorrostieta

Finally, a politician with cojones.

Unfortunately for us, she's not American.

Read this story.

Read every sad, disgusting word of it.

Then thank your lucky stars that we live in a country that, no matter how much we despair, is still the envy of the rest of the world.
As mayor of the town of Tiquicheo, Maria Santos Gorrostieta defied the area’s drug cartels, once baring her scars from two assassination attempts to rally support for her war on drugs.

Last week her luck ran out.
Her body was found mutilated in a ditch this month, days after she was abducted.

Courageous Mexican mayor Maria Santos Gorrostieta cheated death twice when she survived assassination attempts by druglords — but three times was too much.

Gorrostieta, dubbed a “heroine of the 21st century” for her refusal to be cowed by the ruthless cartels that rule much of Mexico, was kidnapped in broad daylight this month after leaving her home in the town of Morelia.

Gorrostieta, mayor of the town of Tiquicheo from 2008 to 2011, had previously had a police escort and government security assigned to her.

But despite the two ambushes — which killed her husband and left her horribly scarred — her protection was pulled after she left office.

Five days after her disappearance, farm workers found Gorrostieta’s body — stabbed, burned and beaten — in a roadside ditch in the town of San Juan Tararameo.

Her relatives identified the body of the mother of three the next day.
Gorrostieta, a doctor who studied medicine in a university in Morelia, began getting threats after she ran for mayor of Tiquicheo and was elected as a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2008.

She ignored the threats — at her own peril. In October 2009, her car was attacked by gunmen in the town of El Limone. Her husband, José Sanchez — who had escaped a showdown with an armed mob that year — died in the fusillade.

Gorrostieta was seriously wounded but soon returned to work, as defiant as ever.

Three months later, in January 2010, she was attacked again, this time on a road between the states of Guerrero and Michoacan as she headed to a meeting.

Gunmen with assault rifles fired 30 bullets at her van. Three hit her, leaving serious wounds. Her brother and a reporter were wounded.

After the second attack, she considered quitting — but couldn’t. She said she had an obligation to her town of 13,000-plus people as well as to the memory of her slain husband.

“At another stage in my life, perhaps I would have resigned from what I have, my position, my responsibilities as the leader of my Tiquicheo,” she said.

“But today, no.”

“It is not possible for me to surrender when I have three children whom I have to educate by setting an example,” she said.

“And also because of the memory of the man of my life, the father of my three little ones, the one who was able to teach me the value of things and to fight for them.”
She had to know what was coming, especially after her protective detail was cancelled. But she didn't run, she didn't hide. She carried on with her life. Her last act was to protect her daughter.
She was driving her daughter to school when thugs in another vehicle blocked her white van. They pulled her out and began kicking and beating her in front of passers-by.

The 36-year-old mother begged the men to spare her girl and appeared to get into the thugs’ vehicle voluntarily, witnesses said.
Here in the U.S. we see spineless politicians flip-flopping every day for their own benefit. I can count on the thumb of one hand the number of weasels currently in office that have the courage of their convictions - the willingness to stand and fight for what they believe in, regardless of the political consequences.

Much less any personal ones.

Gorrostieta has the same strength of character as our Founding Fathers. She pledged her life, her fortune, and her sacred honor to a cause she believed in. I like to think that they'll welcome her with open arms when she gets to heaven.

Now contrast that with this spoiled, elitist, arrogant SOB.
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) says members of Congress "earn" their $174,000 per year salary (plus benefits) and that this compensation is “not elaborate."

"The benefits and salary that we get, we earn," Johnson said at the Annesbrooks HOA Candidate Forum in Georgia in October. "It’s not elaborate, it’s just a bunch of poppycock that a lot of people have spread around trying to get us to hate our own government and our government representatives.”
Yeah, right.

Can you imagine that scumbag putting his ass on the line for a principle?

Me neither...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Well, I Tried

I didn't win the $500 million PowerBall drawing tonight. I guess my life will continue as-is.

Unless any one of you, my best friends in the whole wide world, won...

The Bandwagon Is Getting Crowded

I've always thought that a good indicator of a person's character is the people who oppose or support him or her.

Along those lines, I recently posted about how, since he sucked up to obama, the left-wingers are all jumping on the Chris Christie bandwagon.
Bill Maher on Chris Christie:"I can actually embrace this guy."

Chris Mathews on Chris Christie:“Well, the man has style.”
The latest leftist loser to worship at the Christie alter is none other than Baba Wawa.
(Barbara Walters) was filming "10 Most Fascinating People" — a list Gov. Chris Christie is on this year.

Walters says she finds Christie "pleasant, smart, funny" and "good-natured." She says the governor made the list because of his handling of Hurricane Sandy and because "he’s probably now the best-known governor in America."

Why Professors Drink 2012.11.28

The American Federation of Teachers – a national organization of teachers unions – is expanding its campaign opposed to standardized testing.
The campaign seeks to stop federal programs, especially No Child Left Behind, that test students in order to chart their progress and determine effectiveness of teachers. Unions have generally fought against using anything other than seniority as a benchmark of teacher skill. Thus, the irony: a major teachers union has come out foursquare against finding out whether American kids are indeed learning.

While testing is not without legitimate criticism … the “obsession” with it that (the union president) describes has happened because parents and lawmakers want to find out whether student are actually learning and what works and what doesn’t. It is becoming increasingly clear that the union-dominated public school model doesn’t work so well
Amen to that. Recall that testing was a response to the growing problem of  public school underperformance and the resulting ‘social promotion’ of kids who couldn’t read, write, or do ‘rithmatic (see Why Johnny Can’t Read ).

There may be some validity to the claim that the pendulum has swung too far the other way, and we are now over-emphasizing standardized testing as a means of assessing how well our children are learning. However, I will argue that the unions are more interested in protecting their butts than in educating our children.

Please notice that I am saying “unions” – not teachers. Most of the teachers I’ve met during the course of my kids’ time in public schools have been sincere, hardworking people who truly care about providing a quality learning experience to the children entrusted to their care.

Of course, here in Texas we don’t have teachers unions. Just sayin’…

I could go on and on about this topic, but instead I’ll give you some anecdotal evidence regarding the quality of graduates from our public school system. The following are actual excerpts from a research project I assigned college sophomores and juniors.

Read ‘em and weep.
  • "Technology is rapidly evolving with innovative innovations..."
On the other hand, we have those uninnovative innovations.
  • "...for children who are minors this is an extremely sensitive subject."
As opposed to adults who are minors, I suppose.
  • "Just be weary when venturing out into the internet as scams are always lurking in the rear."
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting weary of internet scams taking me from the rear.
  • "Researchers ... have gone to a harder procedure to implant a peace maker for children in the womb."
Actually, if we really could implant peace in children while they’re in the womb it might be a good thing.
  • "...way back when people with unhealthy hearts were left to die on their deathbeds."
Isn’t that what deathbeds are for?
  • "It is true that this technology would increase competitive advantage because it could lead to higher production in less time, no worries about government laws influencing the hiring of people, and no need to take breaks, at least I don’t think robots would need breaks."
I don’t think robots take breaks either, but I bet their sentences have breaks.
  • "I do have a different perspective on technology after reading this article, but my perspective now includes fear. Fear that one day my skills will be surpassed by a piece of metal or software robot. I like where technology has taken us, and the things that are now possible through technology, but I despise the fact that robots will take jobs from the people. People fear the zombie apocalypse, but what really comes is the robots’ apocalypse. That one, we should really fear."
I don’t know which is worse – a zombie apocalypse, or a robot apocalypse.
  • "The new supercomputers are capable of…predicting the weather based on information."
I can predict a change in the weather based on how my knee feels. Supercomputers don’t have knees, so they must depend on information.
  • "I feel as if a door of knowledge I didn’t know existed had just swung open on me."
Someone just took a creative writing class.
  • "Employees can sometimes be lazy and uncommitted, producing low quality at a slow rate."
I’ve worked with some of them.

The next one is somewhat sad. The university where I teach is located in deep South Texas. It’s one of the poorer regions in the state. Most of the people here are hardworking blue collar types, with large families and little education. This student’s situation is far from unique. A large number of the people in this region are born here, spend most of their lives here, and die here without ever leaving the immediate area. That’s very hard for me to fathom.
  • "I’ve never been out of state only once which was to Florida, I can’t imagine going to a foreign country."
Some might argue that Florida is a foreign country, but that's a topic for another day.

Bottom line - this is very frustrating for me, and for most educators I know. We all want to do a good job, but for those of us at the college level we're frustrated by the quality of the 'raw material' we have to work with. The K-12 teachers I know are also frustrated by a bureaucracy that dictates what and how they must teach.

All that is bad enough, but at least here in Texas we're not handicapped by self-serving unions that insist on seniority over performance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Traitor Or Prostitute?

New Jersey governor Chris Christie has announced he will seek reelection next year.

No big surprise there. The only surprise is that he is running as a republican, instead of formally switching parties and running as the sleazy democrat he really is.
His popularity surging because of his handling of Sandy, Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday that he will seek re-election...
His popularity may be surging among certain factions of the electorate, but not any factions that I give a damn about.
Bill Maher on Chris Christie: ‘I can actually embrace this guy’
Chris Christie gets another high-profile endorsement: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews
“Well, the man has style,” Matthews said.
The only style I see is that of a self-serving short-sighted political hack whose biggest concern is getting his fat butt re-elected.
His lavish praise for Mr. Obama’s response to the storm, delivered in the last days of the presidential race, represented the most dramatic development in the campaign’s final stretch. Right or wrong, conventional wisdom in the party holds that it influenced the outcome.
I don't think Christie's back-stabbing embrace of obama made the difference in the election -- the democrats stole enough votes to win without him -- but it revealed his true character.

Or lack thereof...

Monday, November 26, 2012

FOD 2012.11.26

Well, obama's second term is off to a flying start - literally.

Shortly after the election he took off for a tour of Southeast Asia, ostensibly to improve ties with countries there, and to attend a regional summit meeting.

The trip went about as well as his presidency has gone so far - and was covered by the media in similar fashion.
It is only two weeks since his re-election, and his second term remains two months away, but Barack Obama is already blundering again on the world stage, with the kind of gaffes that would have been plastered on the front page of The New York Times if they had been committed by George W. Bush when he was in the White House.
Not just the NYT, but practically every daily paper and TV 'news' program.

More specifically:
In his tour of Burma .. it was clear he was in way over his head, even on small things. Obama repeatedly referred to the country's Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi as Aung Yan Suu Kyi, an astonishing error given her global fame.

He also bungled the norms of Burmese polite address, calling Thein Sein, the nation's leader "President Sein," an error comparable to addressing Cambodia's Pol Pot as Mr. Pot.
Hell, he couldn't even get the name of the country right.
In addition ... Obama was quick to use the Burmese regime’s preferred word “Myanmar”, to describe Burma, which is not the term officially used by the US government...
But that's not the worst part.
The trip highlight for Obama, however, was visiting Aung San Suu Kyi, the world-famous dissident who actually did something to earn the Nobel Peace Prize, unlike some recipients. She underwent years of isolation, oppression and house arrest while speaking out for democracy in her now moderating homeland.

She consented to appear jointly with the president on her front porch. Both spoke briefly, she more cautiously than he.

Eager to take advantage of such a photo opportunity before the world media, Obama leaned in for a little kiss, as a Chicago pol might at a South Side rally where women would squeal for a presidential peck. Obama is a big political kisser. He kisses females everywhere. Introduce him at a rally, you get a kiss. Hug too, probably. He knows the ladies love it.

But Asia ain't Hyde Park. Public kissing, even between husband and wife, is rarely seen. Between a man and woman not married it's downright outrageous, even scandalous. So Obama's presumably affectionate but impolite, totally out of place smooch created an international moment more awkward than a first date.
Shades of Bill Clinton.

Moving on:
On his trip to Cambodia, a country he claimed didn't deserve a visit due to its strongman government, first lady Bun Rany greeted Obama with a traditional "sampeah" pressed-hands greeting reserved for servants, a little dig that was probably lost on him but not to Asians.

So what is really Obama's tour about? Apparently a get-out-of-town photo-op all about himself as a means of avoiding pressing problems back home. The Asians deserve better — and so do the Americans.
But not to worry, folks. obama made it back to the good ol' U.S. of A. right before Thanksgiving, just in time to pardon two turkeys.

No, not Eric Holder and Harry Reid...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Funnies 2012.11.25

Thanksgiving is over, so it's time to start Christmas shopping. Harper is already thinking about it.

You can certainly tell it’s time to go Christmas shopping. The women featured on the covers of men’s magazines are all wearing red thongs.

A guy bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas.

After hearing about this extravagant gift, a friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty four-wheel-drive vehicles."

"She did," he replied. "But where was I going to find a fake Jeep?"

Why don't people from Arkansas buy as many Christmas presents as other people?

Because when they go Christmas shopping for their sister and their girlfriend they only have to get one gift.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What A Way To Go

I'm reaching that age where I now read obituaries in the newspaper, because the names are beginning to be familiar. That has led to reflections on life, death, and the transition from one to the other. Here's two of the more unusual ways to pass from this plane of existence to the next.

"I wanted to make your death as pleasurable as possible"
A buxom woman has been accused of trying to kill her lawyer boyfriend… with her 38DD breasts.

Franziska, 33 from Germany, who weighs nine stone is accused of ‘attempted manslaughter with a weapon’ after her 13-stone boyfriend claimed she tried to smother him with her breasts and pretend it was a sex game.

‘She was sitting on me naked and I was kissing her breasts. Suddenly she grabbed my head and pushed between her breasts with all of her force.

'I couldn't breathe any more, I must have turned blue. I couldn't tear myself free and I thought I was going to die.'

He said that with his last reserves of strength he had managed to extricate himself from the woman's vice-like grip and fled naked to a neighbour and demanded he called the police.

‘It is clear she wanted to kill me,’ he said. ‘She even admitted it to me on the telephone. I asked her why she wanted to smother me to death with her breasts and she told me: "Treasure – I wanted your death to be as pleasurable as possible."’
At least she wasn't charged with possession of a concealed weapon.

Speaking of pleasurable deaths, the following story is a cautionary tale of what can happen when you let passion -- not to mention booze -- get the best of you.

On this day in 1983... A man died.

Okay, so I'm sure a lot of people left us on November 23rd, 1983. But this man deserves to be commemorated. Not for how he lived, but how he died.

James "Jimmy the Beard" Ferrozzo was 40 years old, but had a tough reputation from working in the strip clubs of San Francisco's North Beach area. At the time of his death he was the assistant manager of The Condor Club, which remains in operation today.

The Condor was America's first topless club, and was made famous by Carol Doda. She was among the first topless dancers (and definitely the first bottomless) in the area, and unquestionably one of the most famous strippers ever. She built the reputation of the club (which hosted several visiting dignitaries during the 1964 Republican convention), and for many years The Condor's sign featured a full length picture of her with flashing red lights on her silicone-enhanced size 44 chest.

Her act began in dramatic fashion. She'd enter the theater from above, lying on a white, velvet-covered baby grand piano. It slowly descended from the ceiling and moved to the stage, where she took it off- all off.

Back to my story:

We don't know exactly what happened on that fateful night 29 years ago, between The Condor Club's closing time and when a janitor came to clean up in the morning.

James Ferrozzo was dating a 23 year old stripper named Teresa Hill. Sometime after the club closed the 2 of them climbed on top of the piano, I assume to make sure it was tuned. They apparently hadn't started, as his body was fully clothed when found (she wasn't wearing quite as much).

Somehow, likely due to their legs hitting the switch, the piano turned on, and began rising toward the ceiling. Distracted with other activities, neither Mr. Ferrozzo nor Miss Hill noticed the slow change in altitude.

When the janitor arrived at 7:00 that morning, he heard Mrs. Hill screaming and called the San Francisco police and fire department.

James Ferrozzo was dead, crushed against the ceiling, and was still on top of Miss Hill, who was lying on the piano.

Miss Hill was alive, but trapped. Attempts to lower the piano were unsuccessful, as its motor had burned out during the night. The fire department had to destroy it in order to free the young lady. She was taken to a local hospital, and treated for bruises.

Due to intoxication, Miss Hill had no recollection of the evening's events, or even of getting on the piano at all. She remembered having been in the club that night, and then waking up pinned between the late Mr. Ferrozzo and the piano.

Mr. Ferrozzo was determined to have died of asphyxiation from being crushed between the club's ceiling, a nude dancer, and a moving velvet-covered piano. His large frame (6'2", 220 lbs.) is likely what saved Miss Hill's life, as it provided several inches of cushioning between her and the roof.

Today Carol Doda runs a lingerie shop in San Francisco, and still performs as a singer/dancer (with her clothes on) at local restaurants.

Teresa Hill vanished into anonymity, and likely lives in modern suburbia. She's probably grateful not to remember much of the night, and may not own a piano.

The Condor Club is still in business, albeit after some ownership changes. The drink menu now includes a concoction named "Sex on the Piano" in Mr. Ferrozzo's memory.
(H/T to Dr. Grumpy for the Sex on the Piano story.)

Labor Pains

Labor unions have been in the news lately, from union-led protests against Wal-Mart to the Hostess bankruptcy (and, closer to home, here). In those two examples, the unions seem to be eating their own.

First, Wal-Mart:
Jamie Walsh faced a Black Friday dilemma: take advantage of Wal-Mart’s deals at the Salem, New Hampshire, store or support union-backed protesters demanding better pay and benefits. In the end, the deals won the day.

Walsh, 42, wearing a sweatshirt from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2222, where her late brother-in-law was vice president, said she was aware of the union protests planned at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) locations around the country today. Still, she decided to (shop there today).

“It bothers me, but their prices are so good,” said Walsh...
And why are their prices so good? Because Wal-Mart isn't unionized.

Unions add costs. Not just salary costs, but much more insidious hidden costs. A perfect illustration of this is the Hostess bankruptcy.
The real story is the story of two unions, the Teamsters and the Bakery union of the AFL-CIO. Here's where things get interesting.

Start with the fact that Hostess's bakery operations are relatively efficient ... Hostess's production costs were neither excessive nor out of line with the market but its distribution costs were...

Union-imposed work rules stopped drivers from helping to load their trucks. A separate worker, arriving at the store in a separate vehicle, had to be employed to shift goods from a storage area to a retailer's shelf. Wonder Bread and Twinkies couldn't ride on the same truck.

In the larger scheme of things, however, it really doesn't matter which union is at fault. The truth is that, while unions may at one time have served a valid purpose in improving working conditions and salaries, today they mostly serve to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
The old-time legendary labor leader John L. Lewis called so many strikes in the coal mines that many people switched to using oil instead, because they couldn't depend on coal deliveries. A professor of labor economics at the University of Chicago called John L. Lewis "the world's greatest oil salesman."

There is no question that Lewis' United Mine Workers Union raised the pay and other benefits for coal miners. But the higher costs of producing coal not only led many consumers to switch to oil, these costs also led coal companies to substitute machinery for labor, reducing the number of miners.

By the 1960s, many coal-mining towns were almost ghost towns. But few people connected the dots back to the glory years of John L. Lewis. The United Mine Workers Union did not kill the goose that laid the golden eggs, but it created a situation where fewer of those golden eggs reached the miners.

It was much the same story in the automobile industry and the steel industry, where large pensions and costly work rules drove up the prices of finished products and drove down the number of jobs.
Consumers in the private sector have the option of buying products and services from competing, non-union companies -- from Toyota instead of General Motors, for example, even though most Toyotas sold in America are made in America. Consumers of other products can buy things made in non-union factories overseas.
For the most part, those non-union products are less expensive, and often of higher quality. Compare Toyota reliability to GM, for example.
Toyota Motor Corp. is selling the most reliable cars in the U.S. auto market, Consumer Reports said Monday.

The top seven spots in this year’s predicted reliability report are all held by Japanese brands.
But there is one sector where union growth and influence has been increasing, and the consumer has no choice.
...unions are flourishing among people who work for government. No matter how much these public sector unions drive up costs, government agencies do not go out of business. They simply go back to the taxpayers for more money.

...government agencies are monopolies. You cannot get your Social Security checks from anywhere except the Social Security Administration or your driver's license from anywhere but the DMV.

Is it surprising that government employees have seen their pay go up, even during the downturn, and their pensions rise to levels undreamed of in the private sector? None of this will kill the goose that lays the golden egg, so long as there are both current taxpayers and future taxpayers to pay off debts passed on to them.
Like so many other government programs, the poor taxpayer is now expected to subsidize fat-cat union members who receive pay and benefits far in excess of what they deserve.

When will it end...?

UPDATE: Based on a comment from Harper (see the Comments) I've added the following.

One of the interesting -- and little reported -- aspects of the Hostess story was a quote from a Teamster driver that worked for Hostess.
Doug Mansky, a Hostess driver in Detroit and a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was in the process of moving to a cheaper condominium on Tuesday, after his union had agreed to an 8% pay cut that he said would shave $200 a week from his income. After Judge Drain cleared Hostess to impose the same new labor terms on the bakers union, they went on strike.
Now do the math. If an 8% pay cut = $200 weekly, then his annual salary was around $130,000. And that's not counting benefits.

So this poor guy had to take a pay cut from $130K to $120K - for driving a delivery truck. And he didn't even have to load or unload it.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.11.23

I'm at that point in life where this serves as my new motto...

Thanksgiving After-Action Report

I hope everyone had as an enjoyable Thanksgiving as we did. Nothing special -- just family, friends, food, and fellowship -- but very enjoyable nonetheless. We only had about a dozen folks over; much less than normal. Some we expected didn't show up, and others we weren't expecting surprised us, but it's all good.

After dinner, during the cleanup, I was struck by the extraordinary number of liquor bottles in the recycle bin. It's not that we drank that much (although we did go through our fair share of wine and beer) but that we used quite a bit of booze in the cooking. Turkey roasted with wine and sherry, bourbon sweet potatoes, dressing with brandy-soaked cranberries and apples, Jack Daniels pie with bourbon cream sauce ... well, you get the idea.

Anyway, a friend sent me the following message. It does a great job of making us realize how much we truly have to be thankful for.


















(Thanks, Bots.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day Of Thanks

From all of us here at Bergheim Follies, best wishes to you and yours for a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bye Bye Barbie

I'm slogging through a pile of student projects, frantically trying to get them done sometime tomorrow so I can start on the Thanksgiving goodies. Light blogging for a while, but I did want to let y'all know about this hot new toy before all the Black Friday madness begins. If you get in line early you might be able to snag one for that special little girl in your life.

The latest toy has hit the shops... a talking Muslim doll.

Nobody knows what the hell it says, because no one has the nerve to pull the cord.

Merry Christmas infidel swine!!! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time For A Change

Hillary Clinton is getting ready to step down as Secretary of State. It's about time.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton still plans to step down as America's top diplomat despite President Barack Obama's re-election, but will ensure a smooth transition, US officials said Wednesday.
Her successor? Good question.
Current US ambassador to United Nations, Susan Rice, had been seen as one possible successor, but her reputation might now be tarnished over the fallout from the militant attack on the US mission in Benghazi, eastern Libya.
Rice either lied about the circumstances of that attack, or was gullible enough to believe the video song-and-dance that obama's reelection team fed her. Either way, she's demonstrated that she is unfit for the job.

But back to Hillary.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would have been the White House's logical choice to discuss the chaotic events in the Middle East. But administration officials said she was drained after a harrowing week consoling the families of those who died...
GMAFB. More accurately, she spent the week using the families -- and bodies -- of those who died as props in a series of photo ops.

Furthermore, she wasn't too drained to skip the congressional Benghazi hearings so she could guzzle wine in Australia.
Few details of Ms Clinton's visit on Wednesday and Thursday have been revealed, but it is understood she will visit close friends...
Other highlights of her trip:
  • The 150-strong entourage is likely to visit Penfolds' Magill Estate for either a wine tasting session or private function.
    • The entourage has booked more than 100 rooms over several floors at the Intercontinental Hotel...
    An entourage of 150. 100 rooms reserved in a luxury hotel. Private functions at vineyards. Who does she think she is - Michelle Obama?

    Hillary is stepping down with Iran on the cusp of developing nuclear weapons, hostilities between Israel and the savages Palestinians almost to the point of open war, the European Union close to economic collapse, China increasing its military capabilities, and the U.S. weaker than at any time I can remember.

    Not to mention four dead Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.

    Great job, Hillary.

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    FOD 2012.11.19

    Went to a friend's surprise birthday party last night. Who the hell throws a party on a Sunday night? This morning, to quote Jimmy Buffet, my head hurts, my feet stink, and I don't love Jesus.

    To make matters worse, there's the prospect of four more years of FOD posts.

    It's enough to drive a man to drink.

    Anyway, with all the talk about obama making changes to his cabinet, I thought the graph below explains a few things.

    And with that, I'm off in search of aspirin, coffee, and maybe a wee bit of the hair of the dog...

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    Sunday Funnies 2012.11.18

    I stopped watching late night TV shows after Johnny Carson retired, because IMO no one will ever come close to the King of Late Night. But if I started watching again, I think Jay Leno would be my guy.
    JAY LENO: I tell you, Rickey, the economy is not good. It's not good at all.

    RICKEY MINOR: How bad is it, Jay?

    LENO: The stock market is going down faster than a general's biographer.

    The economy is so bad Paula Broadwell is now being forced to sleep with only three star generals.

    The economy is so bad MSNBC had to lay off 300 Obama spokesmen.
    A few more non-Leno  "the economy is so bad" jokes:
    The economy is so bad that even people who aren't in Barack Obama's cabinet aren't paying taxes.

    The economy is so bad that wives are having sex with their husbands because they can't afford batteries.

    The economy is so bad that when Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    How To Know When You Have A Problem

    This sounds like something CD would do.
    A judge's offer to allow an Ohio drug defendant the chance to stay out of prison if he'd give up marijuana might have just gone up in smoke.

    Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh says she was astonished by the response from 19-year-old Damaine Mitchell on Wednesday.

    ... Mitchell told the judge he likes smoking weed and staying off it so he could stay out of prison would be "a challenge." He told the judge he could try to quit but made a request: Could he "at least get one more joint in?"

    The judge quickly said no.
    There was no word on Mitchell's response to news that Twinkies would disappear from the market, thanks to selfish and short-sighted unions.
    Hostess, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers failed to heed a Thursday deadline to return to work, the company said.

    “We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in announcing that the firm had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce..."
    Bummer, dude.
    "Most employees who lose their jobs should be eligible for government-provided unemployment benefits," Hostess said.
    Of course they will. Paid for by the rest of us non-union working schmucks who are just happy to have a job in these challenging times.

    Not surprisingly, union fat-cats have a different opinion.
    “What’s happening with Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what’s wrong with America, as Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making America poor,” (AFL-CIO President Richard) Trumka said in a public statement. “Crony capitalism and consistently poor management drove Hostess into the ground, but its workers are paying the price.”
    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Looks like he's done his part to improve Twinkies sales.

    It's not Bush's fault anymore. It's Romney's.

    It's going to be a loonnngggg four years...

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.11.16

    Dedicated to the jerk who was texting while driving and almost ran me off the road last night.

    You've Come A Long Way, Baby

    There's been much post-election wailing that we as a nation have reached a tipping point and are now on the road to perdition socialism. There may be some validity in that viewpoint, but sometimes it helps to take a step back and gain a little perspective.
    In 1962, the government regulated the price and route of every airplane, every freight train, every truck and every merchant ship in the United States. The government regulated the price of natural gas. It regulated the interest on every checking account and the commission on every purchase or sale of stock. Owning a gold bar was a serious crime that could be prosecuted under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The top rate of income tax was 91%.

    It was illegal to own a telephone. Phones had to be rented from the giant government-regulated monopoly that controlled all telecommunications in the United States. All young men were subject to the military draft and could escape only if they entered a government-approved graduate course of study...

    ...the United States of 2012 is a freer country in almost every way than the United States of 1962.

    Some might argue we've gone too far, or at least are headed that way, in terms of social 'freedom' -- that is, forced equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity, an overly comprehensive social safety net, a smothering regulatory environment, and so forth. I wouldn't necessarily disagree.

    But my counter argument is that we've come a long way in the right direction over the last fifty years, that this last election was actually a lot closer than many realize (less than 500,00 votes in key swing states separated the candidates - in other words, 500,000 more votes for Romney in those states would have given him enough electoral votes to win), and that political and social trends are cyclical.

    Hang in there. Better times are coming ... eventually.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Petraeus For President In 2016

    On a tip from The Lid:
    We all know that General David Petraeus resigned his job as head of the CIA because he was caught having an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. But we are now discovering his resignation may have to do with much more than his relationship with Ms Broadwell. According to an exclusive report by Newsbusted Anchor Jodi Miller (in the video below) we learn that Petraeus has decided to throw his hat in the ring for the 2016 presidential nomination.
    When asked if the still not settled scandal would prevent him from running, the General answered, "Heck No, I am running as a Democrat."
    Now it all makes sense...

    Wassup With Blogger

    Blogger appears to be eating images. I included cartoons in my last two posts, and now all that shows up is a tiny little box. I have no idea what's going on. I'll look into it when I get some more time.

    At the rate things are going, that may be next year...

    Maybe The UN Had A Point

    A few weeks backs I posted something about 2012 election shenanigans. In that post I also ridiculed the notion that we needed United Nations observers to oversee our electoral process.

    I stand corrected.

    After widespread allegations of voting fraud -- or at least, voting 'irregularities' -- perhaps it's time to consider wholesale revision of the way Americans elect their (so-called) leaders.
    Imagine a country on election day where you know the results the instant the polls close. The votes are counted electronically, every district and state has the same rules and the same organized voting procedure. It is managed by a non-partisan independent body. Sounds like the greatest democracy in the world, right? Try Mexico. Or France, Germany, Brazil. Certainly not the United States of America.

    America has one of the world’s most antique, politicized and dysfunctional procedures for its elections. A crazy quilt patchwork of state and local laws with partisan officials making key decisions and ancient technology that often breaks down. There are no national standards. American voters in more than a dozen states, for example, don’t need ID. But even India, with a GDP just 12 percent that of ours, is implementing a national biometric database for 1.2 billion voters. The nascent democracy in Iraq famously dipped voters’ fingers in purple to ensure they didn't vote again. Why are we so behind the curve?
    My God. Places like France, Mexico, and even Brazil do a better job than we do. Why are we so behind the curve? Good question. Here's one explanation.'s what doesn't happen in other democracies:
    Politicians of one party do not set voting schedules to favor their side and harm the other. Politicians do not move around voting places to gain advantages for themselves or to disadvantage their opponents. In fact, in almost no other country do politicians have any say in the administration of elections at all.
    Get the politicians out of the process. Makes sense to me.
    Last week, international election observers were banned from nine states. Some of these men and women were threatened with arrest. Maybe we should start learning from election officials from abroad, not try to throw them into jail.
    At this point I'm eating my earlier words. But at least I'm washing them down with some cold Shiners...


    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Why Professors Drink - Admin Version

    Usually it's my students who drive me to drink (and to paraphrase W.C. Fields, I'm eternally indebted to them for that). But recently it's been the administration.

    We professors are typically evaluated on a combination of research, teaching, and service. Research and teaching are self-explanatory. Service is generally defined as contributing time and effort to the students, the university, and the community - things like advising or mentoring students, serving on various university committees and boards, and participating in the community at large (coaching Little League, volunteering for charitable activities, and so forth).

    While it varies from school to school, research activities usually account for 40 to 50 per cent of our total evaluation, teaching around 30 to 40 per cent, and service about 20 per cent. However, lately I've been spending more time on university service activities -- especially committee meetings -- than research and teaching combined. Our administration seems to consider the faculty as indentured servants with unlimited time and energy.

    I won't bore you with the details. Imagine the worst, least effective, most bureaucratic-bound committee you've ever experienced. Now populate that committee with a collection of individuals with oversized egos, undersized people skills, and a total lack of common sense and understanding of how things get done (in other words, typical liberals). Double that and you've got a faint approximation of what I've been suffering through lately.

    One of the committees I serve on is charged with assessing various research proposals and determining whether or not to fund them, and if so, to what extent. We've got a budget of a few million dollars, but like most organizations there's more demand than there is supply. So we go through a fairly rigorous process in deciding who gets what. While it can be interesting at times, it's usually a tedious, painstaking process.

    So I got pretty excited when the following proposal came across my desk: "Female Mating Decisions Based on Male Performance." It sounded like something that was right up my alley, so to speak. Like most men, I consider myself exceptionally well qualified to opine on this topic.

    Imagine my disappointment, then, when I found out the study is based on African cichlids (a type of fish).

    Oh well...

    All In What?

    Well, Petraeus-gate has shoved Benghazi-gate way, way off the front page. It's got everything. Sex, espionage, a fast-moving plot with so many twists I'm getting dizzy trying to keep up. It's even got some bawdy, albeit unintentional, humor.

    When the news first broke that Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, I thought the title of his biography was somewhat ironic: "All In."

    It turns out that someone at a Denver TV station had a little fun with that. Unfortunately for him or her, the joke made it on the air.

    The cover reads "All Up In My Snatch."

    The station's response: "It was a mistake."

    Candidate for understatement of the year...

    Screenshot from here. Video also available at that link.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    What A Surprise - Not

    Want to see where you fall on the political spectrum? Take this quiz. (Warning: it's hosted by that fair and balanced bastion of objectivity - PBS.)

    FWIW, I ended up to the right of "Tea Party Republican".

    I Signed. Will You?

    To my Texan compatriots:

    Go here.
    The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it's citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

    Forward to your friends.

    Not a chance in Hell of this happening, but it made me feel better - even knowing that my name is now in some another database for Janet Napolitano and her DHS goons to misuse and abuse...

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    FOD 2012.11.12

    We had company over the weekend. Ate, drank, and golfed too much -- way, way too much -- so today's post is a little late. It's a combination of Veterans Day and FOD (courtesy of Mostly Cajun).

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Sunday Funnies 2012.11.11

    Not too much humor today. Instead, let's be respectful and grateful.

    Please celebrate Veterans Day today by flying our flag, thanking a veteran, or flipping off an obama supporter...

    Both my parents served in the military. My father started off in the Army, but after getting wounded in WWII he transitioned to the Air Force when it was established as a separate branch in 1947. His reasoning: he wasn't a pilot, so he wouldn't have to worry about getting shot again.

    My mother was one of the first Women in the Air Force (WAF), a program which began in 1948. They met, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was born a few years later.

    Meanwhile, my wife's father volunteered for the Navy after Pearl Harbor. He ended up as either the air operations officer, or an air operations officer (it's not real clear, but he was a Lieutenant Commander, for whatever that's worth) on the USS Block Island, an escort carrier in the Atlantic (CVE 21). In 1944 his ship was torpedoed and sunk, but fortunately he survived. He went on to father a wonderful girl who later had the good sense to marry me.

    Anyway, neither my father or my FIL spoke much about their experiences. To them is was simply a matter of doing their duty and helping their country in a time of need. Would that we had more people like them today.

    Five NCOs were sitting in the NCO club one day having beers. All were Catholic. The first NCO, a SGM, says "My son is a priest. When he walks in a room every one says 'Hello, father'."

    The second NCO, an E8, says "My son is a Bishop. When he walks in a room, everyone says 'Hello, your Grace'."

    The third NCO, an E7, says "My son is a Cardinal. When he walks in a room, everyone says 'Hello, your Eminence'."

    The fourth NCO, an E6, says "My son is the Pope. When he walks in a room, everyone stands, and says 'Hello, your Holy Father'."

    The fifth NCO, an E5 and a woman, had said nothing. The SGM asked her about her children. She replied, "I only have one child, and she is 23, with a 38 D bust, 24" waist, and 36" hips. When she walks in a room everyone says "OH MY GOD!"

    * * * * * * * * * *
    Back in the day (way, way back...) I was issued a M-72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon). I wasn't sure why, since Victor Charlie didn't have too many tanks. But at least it was light and had a convenient carrying strap. Plus, it was a one-shot weapon: fire, and then throw it away. One less thing to hump. Anyway, true story - on the tube were the words “Aim towards the enemy.”

    I know the brass thought I was just a dumb grunt, but still...

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Friday Follies Happy Hour 2012.11.09

    A fitting song for the 'end' of the week...

    It's Over

    Our friend was removed from the ventilator yesterday afternoon, and peacefully passed a short time later.

    Her ordeal is over.

    Her family's ordeal is just beginning.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Called On Account Of Rain

    Given the lack of mainstream media coverage of the complete failure of FEMA to provide any significant help and comfort to Hurricane Sandy's victims, don't expect to see this story get much exposure.
    FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor'easter.


    Pollyanna Lives

    Continuing yesterday's "keep your chin up" theme, here's some encouraging words from the Wall Street Journal.
    Mr. Obama will now have to govern the America he so relentlessly sought to divide—and without a mandate beyond the powers of the Presidency. Democrats will hold the Senate, perhaps with an additional seat or two. But Republicans held the House comfortably, so their agenda was hardly repudiated. The two sides will have to reach some compromise on the tax cliff, the spending sequester and the debt limit, but Speaker John Boehner can negotiate knowing he has as much of a mandate as the President.
    In other words, gridlock will remain in place. And in thwarting at least some of obama's agenda, gridlock is our friend. Yes, he will try to rule with executive fiat, and yes, Harry Reid and his pack of thieves in the senate will be as unprincipled and unscrupulous as we expect, but at least obama and his goons will have to operate under some constraints.
    Some of our conservative friends will argue that Mr. Obama's victory thus represents a decline in national virtue and a tipping point in favor of the "takers" over the makers. They will say the middle class chose Mr. Obama's government blandishments over Mr. Romney's opportunity society. We don't think such a narrow victory of an incumbent President who continues to be personally admired justifies such a conclusion.
    I gagged over the "personally admired" nonsense, but other than that the point is well made. It was a narrow victory. I'll leave it to others to delve into the reasons why, but the bottom line is that we remain a nation divided -- essentially split down the middle -- which offers a bit of hope for the future. The electoral vote is misleadingly one-sided. The popular vote is a more accurate reflection of where the American people stand.

    I leave you with the words of Michelle Malkin:
    My counsel to you tonight: Please, do not be bitter. Do not fall prey to the Beltway blame game. Do not get mired in small things. Do not become vengeful creatures like our political opponents who voted out of spite instead of love of country.

    We still have boundless blessings to count — and to secure.

    I remain a proud, unrepentant believer in the American Dream. And I know you do, too. Freedom will endure because we will keep fighting for it. We can’t afford not to, friends.