The Big Think

November 30, 2013

Thoughts on Male Friendship (Or: Saying Goodbye, the Irish Way)

Filed under: Friends,Movies — jasony @ 9:34 am

what these four young men represent is a challenge to the common portrayal of male friendship in our popular culture. It is difficult to find, especially on television, an example of male friendship (outside of the military or law enforcement) that is neither transactional nor idiotic. For cheap beer, it’s the wingman trope. In sitcoms, it’s stupid men doing stupid things in stupid attempts at liberation from wives or girlfriends. Male friendships, we’re taught, are about finding or fleeing women; they are not valuable in themselves.

Watch the vid first:

Then read the article. Brilliant.

November 29, 2013

Grand Opening

Filed under: Business — jasony @ 3:59 pm

I am proud to announce that after a ton of work, my wonderful wife has finally opened her Etsy Shop. So if you’re of a mind to support and Austin artist and maybe get some silver jewelry as a Christmas gift (for someone else or for yourself!), please consider dropping by her Etsy shop. She does great work! She currently has 40 designs up on the shop. She’ll be adding and subtracting things continuously.

Oh, and by the way, most of these are one-of-a-kind, so if you see something you like, grab it quick! 🙂

Proud of her and all her hard work.

Peatfire Jewelry at Etsy

November 28, 2013

Stay Home, America

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 11:55 pm

Stay Home, America – WSJ.com: “you’ve seen the news stories about the big retailers that have decided to open on Thanksgiving evening, to cram a few extra hours in before the so-called Black Friday sales. About a million Wal-Mart workers will have to be in by 5 p.m. for a 6 p.m. opening, so I guess they’ll have to eat quickly with family, then bolt. Kmart will open on Thanksgiving too, along with Target, Sears, Best Buy and Macy’s, among others.

The conversation has tended to revolve around the question of whether it’s good for Americans to leave their gatherings to go buy things on Thanksgiving. In a societal sense, no—honor the day best you can and shop tomorrow. But that’s not even the question. At least shoppers have a choice. They can decide whether or not they want to leave and go somewhere else. But the workers who are going to have to haul in to work the floor don’t have a choice. They’ve been scheduled. They’ve got jobs they want to keep.

It’s not right. The idea that Thanksgiving doesn’t demand special honor marks another erosion of tradition, of ceremony, of a national sense. And this country doesn’t really need more erosion in those areas, does it?

The rationale for the opening is that this year there are fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and since big retailers make a lot of their profits during that time something must be done. I suppose something should. But blowing up Thanksgiving isn’t it.

There has been a nice backlash on the Internet, with petitions and Facebook posts. Some great retailers have refused to be part of what this newspaper called Thanksgiving Madness. Nordstrom won’t open on Thanksgiving, nor will T.J. Maxx, Costco or Dillard’s. P.C. Richard & Son took out full-page ads protesting. The CEO was quoted last week saying Thanksgiving is ‘a truly American holiday’ and ‘asking people to be running out to shop, we feel is disrespectful.’ Ace Hardware said, simply: ‘Some things are more important than money.’

That is the sound of excellent Americans. “

Good words. I didn’t know this was becoming a Thing, mainly because we make it a point to *not* shop on Black Friday. I hate to see people involuntarily being sucked away from their Day of Thanks with family and friends just to increase their employer’s holiday take by another 2%. Go be thankful.

And good on Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, Costco, Dillards, etc. Extra good on Ace Hardware. Wish there was one around here I could go to. On Saturday.

Diktat

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:08 pm

Charles Krauthammer:t: “We’ve now reached a point where a flailing president, desperate to deflect the opprobrium heaped upon him for the false promise that you could keep your health plan if you wanted to, calls a hasty news conference urging both insurers and the states to reinstate millions of such plans.

Except that he is asking them to break the law. His own law. Under Obamacare, no insurer may issue a policy after 2013 that does not meet the law’s minimum coverage requirements. These plans were canceled because they do not.

The law remains unchanged. The regulations governing that law remain unchanged. Nothing is changed except for a president proposing to unilaterally change his own law from the White House press room.

That’s banana republic stuff, except that there the dictator proclaims from the presidential balcony.

Remember how for months Democrats denounced Republicans for daring to vote to defund or postpone Obamacare? Saboteurs! Terrorists! How dare you alter ‘the law of the land.’

This was nonsense from the beginning. Every law is subject to revision and abolition if the people think it turned out to be a bad idea. Even constitutional amendments can be repealed — and have been (see Prohibition).

After indignant denunciation of Republicans for trying to amend ‘the law of the land’ constitutionally (i.e. in Congress assembled), Democrats turn utterly silent when the president lawlessly tries to do so by executive fiat.”

We’ve been hearing a lot of utter silence from the Left these past few years.

November 27, 2013

Timbeeeerrrrr!!!!

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 7:16 pm

Matthew McConaughey Cannot Stand Up By Himself

November 25, 2013

Order Up!

Filed under: Business — jasony @ 6:18 pm

After a few months of planning and plotting, I’m happy to announce that we just received our first official order of stock for Erin’s Peatfire Jewelry business. The Armstrong Community Music School is purchasing some products to stock their new boutique. We have keychains, necklaces, ornaments, and various other branded items. All made at TechShop! We’ve also designed and built the displays (which both we and they are thrilled with). Got the sales tax ID info all set up with the state.

We’ll deliver the stock this saturday and set up the five displays then. It’s been a lot of extra behind-the-scenes work. Glad it see it finally paying off!

Here’s a sampling of the items, and some of these weren’t finished or sanded yet– these are just the pics that I had handy:

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Panopticon

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:54 pm

Welcome to Cuba | World Affairs Journal

A fascinating look inside the Communist island nation by an undercover reporter. Really interesting stuff.

Quoth

Filed under: Politics,Quoth — jasony @ 6:16 am

‘Two wars necessitated vast curtailments of liberty, and we have grown, though grumblingly, accustomed to our chains. The increasing complexity and precariousness of our economic life have forced Government to take over many spheres of activity once left to choice or chance. . . . There is nothing left of which we can say to [our new leaders], “Mind your own business.” Our whole lives are their business.’

~C.S. Lewis in 1958

November 24, 2013

That Hideous Strength

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:22 pm

[The President] has always indicated a certain impatience with the “checks and balances” — “I’m not going to wait for Congress” has long been a routine applause line on the Obama ’prompter. From unilaterally suspending the laws of others (such as immigration), he has advanced to unilaterally suspending his own. So, for passing political convenience, he issued his proclamation of temporary amnesty for the millions of health plans he himself rendered illegal. The law is applied according to whim, which means there is no law.

Four years ago, polls showed no popular support for anything as transformative as Obamacare. But, through procedural flimflam, lameduck-session legerdemain, threats to “deem” it to have already passed, and votes for a law whose final version was not only unread by legislators but was literally unreadable (in the sense that it had not yet rolled off the photocopier), through all that and more, the Democrats rammed it down the throats of the American people anyway: Yes, we can! Brazen and unrestrained, Obama and Reid are also, in Lewis’s phrase, “men without chests.” Cleverness, unmoored from Lewis’s chestly virtue of honor, has reduced them to mere tricksters and deceivers. So the president lied about his law for four years, and now lies about his lies.

A government that lies to its own citizens should command no respect. To accord them any is to make oneself complicit in their lies, which is unbecoming to a free people.

Read the whole thing

Also out today is a poll indicating that if voters had been aware that the enforcement of Obamacare would result in people losing their health care plans at the rate that they have been, the President would never have been reelected. According to new reports, the President and the White House were very aware that all the “if you like it you can keep it” promises were empty.

In response, I refer you to the last sentence of the above quote.

November 23, 2013

Interview

Filed under: Politics,Technology — jasony @ 9:12 am

Good interview with Loius Rossetto on the Digital Revolution.

November 22, 2013

Shut Up, He Explained

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:21 pm

Dana Milbank: The Democrats’: ”

Here’s what then-Sen. Joe Biden said in 2005 when a Republican Senate majority threatened to use a similar ‘nuclear option’ to allow a simple majority to carry the day:

‘The nuclear option abandons America’s sense of fair play . . . tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may own the field right now, but you won’t own it forever. I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing.’

Sen. Carl Levin (Mich.), one of just three Democrats who opposed his colleagues’ naked power grab, read those words on the Senate floor Thursday after Reid invoked the nuclear option. The rumpled Levin is not known for his oratory. But he is retiring next year and free to speak his mind — and his words were potent.

‘We need to change the rules, but to change it in the way we changed it today means there are no rules except as the majority wants them,’….

The word ‘historic’ is often tossed around in Washington, but this change ends a tradition dating to the earliest days of the republic. For the nation’s first 118 years, there were no limits on debate in the Senate. After 1917, cutting off debate, or reaching ‘cloture,’ required a two-thirds majority. In 1975, that threshold was reduced to 60 of 100 votes. Even that lower minimum required lawmakers to cooperate with each other.

‘Cloture has fostered more bipartisanship in the Senate,’ Donald Ritchie, the Senate historian, told me Thursday after Reid detonated his nuclear device. ‘The majority leader of the Senate is expected to try to work out some kind of a bipartisan deal to get enough votes to get cloture. Because the House is run by majority rule, it is seen as a sign of weakness if the majority leadership of the House has to get votes from the minority side.’

Now the Senate will be just as dysfunctional.

Reid was right that Republican obstruction has been intolerable; half of the 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominations in the nation’s history, he noted, have come during the Obama presidency.

But Reid’s remedy — calling a simple-majority vote to undo more than two centuries of custom — has created a situation in which the minority leader, Mitch McConnell (Ky.), is expected to use the minority’s remaining powers to gum up the works, and to get revenge when Republicans regain the majority.

‘If a Senate majority demonstrates it can make such a change once, there are no rules which binds a majority, and all future majorities will feel free to exercise the same power, not just on judges and executive appointments but on legislation,’ Levin said Thursday. Quoting one of the Senate’s giants, Arthur Vandenberg, Levin said his fellow Democrats had sacrificed ‘vital principle for the sake of momentary convenience.’

If it was possible to make things even worse in Washington, Reid just did it.

I guess in the New Democracy, he who has the power makes the rules. This will come back to bite a future Senate. Hard.

Piano, Man

Filed under: Business,Music — jasony @ 8:19 pm

In The Heat Of The Foundry, Steinway Piano ‘Hearts’ Are Made : NPR: “Hensley and Houseman guide the ladle, suspended from a system of overhead beams, out to the foundry floor, where the plate molds are lined up. The molds are made of chemically treated sand, which hardens quickly around a form that is then removed, leaving a hollow space inside. The ladle hovers over each mold in turn and tilts. A stream appears and descends into a hole left in the sand. The iron is more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and incandescent, a luminous yellow-orange.”

Weather, Man

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 1:11 pm

It’s 37 degrees outside and I’ve got my fuzzy slippers, hot tea, and the window open (okay, just the storm door). Some of our favorite weather. Hooray for the cold and rainy! Begone, Texas summer. Away with you.

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November 19, 2013

Deconstructed

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:14 am

A good summary of where we are and what has happened in the health care debate.

November 18, 2013

SR-71 In-Flight Breakup

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 11:35 pm

SR-71 In-Flight Breakup: “Test Pilot Bill Weaver tells about a Mach 3.18 in-flight breakup of an SR-71 Blackbird”

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:53 pm

30 hilarious street posters you certainly haven’t seen around: “”

November 16, 2013

Truth in Advertising

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 4:47 pm

If Famous Companies Had Honest Slogans, They Would Be Hilarious

Fuzz Face

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 8:38 am

Everybody wants to be a mountain man.

November 15, 2013

Printer!

Filed under: Business,Technology — jasony @ 9:05 pm

My old Samsung ML1710 printer has been getting creaky lately. Leaving white streaks on the page and generally being cranky. I’ve used it since 2004 and it’s printed almost 30,000 pages. It was a $69 B&W printer I mainly use for printing sheet music and general printing. At $45 for a toner cartridge I’d say it was a good deal. I have a big, expensive HP color laserjet multifunction printer with scanner, fax, etc that outputs staggering quality but the color cartridges are very expensive so I try to reserve that for color business impress-the-client sorts of printing. That sucker was over $600 and worth every penny but it’s a bit expensive to feed. Hence the secondary “everyday” monochrome laser.

Since time and tech march on and instead of having the printer place troubleshoot it for $40, I went to Office Max tonight looking for a replacement (I’d checked Amazon but they didn’t have any good deals. Office Max will occasionally have great deals on all kinds of stuff. We got a phone set, our flat panel TV, and a few other things there. Always good to at least check, right?

Jackpot! I’d been looking at the Samsung ML2955ND on Amazon ($140) but decided I didn’t want to spend that much. O.M. had the exact same printer on the closeout section. No cable (no big deal since my old Samsung has the same cable) and it was the floor model. One very minor scuff mark that rubbed right off. Otherwise cosmetically perfect. I plugged it in and hit the self-test mode. Not only did it show 100% full toner but when it printed the demo page the pagecount said… three. Yup, a brand new model. It had only printed two pages before I came along.

Oh, and the price? Well, retail is $149. Amazon has it for $139. Office Max had this model marked down to $60. They felt bad that it didn’t have a power cord so they gave me another $10 off. Fifty bucks! For a fantastic little monochrome laser printer that should last another decade and thirty thousand pages. Inveterate deal-hound Patrick will be proud.

Fabtotum

Filed under: Maker,Technology — jasony @ 10:53 am

FABtotum Personal Fabricator is more than a 3D printer: “FABtotum Personal Fabricator does more than 3D print”

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