“Sky is Blue”

November 16th, 2009

As you look at this, just recall the China is *exempted* from the Kyoto Treaty.


http://deanesmay.com/2009/11/13/sky-is-blue/

h/t Brian

Music for a Darkened Room (2009)

October 31st, 2009

I reprint this article every year around Halloween, so enjoy. Happy Halloween!

I’ve got a lot of music in my ol’ iTunes Library — well over 3,000 songs — and in the spirit of Halloween, I have assembled a short playlist of the very, very best creepy songs I’ve ever come across (but you probably haven’t).

The Poor Clares - Resurrected LoverFirst off we have “Lover’s Last Chance”, by a little-known Celtic group from New Orleans called The Poor Clares. It starts off sounding just a bit cheesy, as the singer goes on about Halloween night and “werewolves a-howlin'”, but it quickly takes a turn for the dark, moving to a haunting ghost story and… well, give it a listen and tell me if it doesn’t give you the creeps.

The album is called Resurrected Lover, and though it may be a bit hard to find, it seems they pop up on eBay and the like from time to time. Get going in time for next year! If you like good Celtic music, one of the singers, Beth Patterson, has released some other albums that are available as well.

Note: The Poor Clares’ rendition isn’t available online that I could find, but another singer’s version is on iTunes. I like the Clares’ version much better, as the haunting background vocals really make the song.

Kate Rusby - HourglassNext we have I Am Stretched On Your Grave, as performed by Kate Rusby.

Creepiest. Song. Evar.

No, really. If Edgar Allan Poe had been a songwriter, this would have topped his greatest hits. It’s a traditional Celtic song (what is it with those Irish makin’ wit’ the creepy, anyway?), and it has been performed by others before, but this rendition really takes the cake, with a minimal rhythmic drive carrying you along down a very dark road. The only thing a bit odd about this song is that it is a woman singing what is lyrically clearly a man’s “role” in the story, but that’s easily ignored. it’s from her album Hourglass. Go get it! (link is above)

Third in the list is yet another Celtic tune (funny, when I started this post I hadn’t realized the common source of these three songs — the sound of them is different enough that they are far from sounding alike!) called “She Moved Thro The Fair”. Finbar Wright - A Tribute to John McCormackThis one is performed by Finbar Wright (former member of Irish Tenors) on his album A Tribute to John McCormack. There are several versions of this song out there, but again, rendition means a lot when looking for the truly creepy song. The interesting thing about this one is that it can sneak up on you. It’s entirely possible to hear this one several times before it suddenly hits you what happens in it — the lyrics are clear but subtle, in a way sure to appeal to fans of ghost stories.

New for 2008 I present a song by “the Geeks’ Weird Al”*, Jonathan Coulton. A couple years ago he underwent a project he called “Thing a Week”, in which he created a new song every week for an entire year, and put them up on his web site. Some are hits, and some are misses; but when he’s good, he’s great. One of these productions was a song called “Creepy Doll“, and tells the story of a house, and a locked door, and (naturally) a doll. Heck, you can listen to it on his site, so rather than me describing it, head on over there and listen.

Sting - The Dream of the Blue TurtlesLet us not forget Sting’s “Moon Over Bourbon Street“. A song written by Sting, inspired by Interview With The Vampire. ‘Nuff Said.

Okay, okay, okay I’ve got a bonus song for you. You’ve all heard this one, you just didn’t realize how creepy it is.

First, it’s story time:

A man comes home late one night to find his wife murdered, lying in a spreading pool of her own blood. He actually catches the killer in the act! There is a struggle, during which he clearly sees the man’s face, but the man overpowers him and escapes into the night. The police never catch him.

Years pass. The man never really recovers from his wife’s horrible death, or the thought that he was so close to catching the bastard who did it. That face — those eyes — are seared into his memory.

Late one cold winter evening he is walking at night when he hears faint cries for help in the distance. He follows the voice, and comes to a frozen lake, where someone has broken through a thin patch in the ice. The man runs toward the lake, grabbing a fallen branch along the way that he can use to help the man trapped in the icy waters. He gets to the edge of the ice, and slowly starts to work his way out closer to the man struggling desperately for purchase on the slippery edge of the hole. Suddenly he stops.

He knows that face.

He knows intimately the face of the man in the water. He has seen it exactly once before and will never forget it. After standing there for a moment, watching the man reach out to him from the freezing water, he turns and makes his way back to the shore and drops the branch, then turns and sits down.

..and watches.

Now go listen to Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight. It will never be the same song again.

Happy Halloween.

“the Geeks’ Weird Al”: Yeah, I know seems redundant, but it really isn’t. If you listen to Code Monkey or RE: Your Brains (also kind of Halloween-y) you’ll know what I mean.

Misunderestimated

September 14th, 2009

Dear Mass Media:

You have been alternately reporting the turnout for the Tea Party protests in D.C. this weekend as “thousands”, or “tens of thousands”. Guys, describing it as “thousands” is pathetic. It’s not even “tens of thousands”. It’s tens of tens of thousands.

Conservative estimates have the numbers at 230,000, while on the high end estimates are that half a million people showed up to protest government spending. Details here: http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=15283.

The media counts conservatives the same way Democrats count conservative votes.

Update: Looks as though the actual number is closer to a million or more. Some estimates (probably inflated) say 2 million; but from what I’m seeing it looks as though anywhere from 900,000 to 1.2 million is accurate.

Some Links:
http://www.examiner.com/x-20909-Columbia-Independent-Examiner~y2009m9d13-As-many-as-2-million-protestors-attend-912-Washington-DC-Tea-Party-Rally
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/09/12/nyt-reports-rally-crowd-thousands-daily-mail-says-two-million
http://reason.com/blog/show/136041.html

Woodpecker

July 31st, 2009

Awwww…

What the heck is that word for…

July 10th, 2009

What the heck is that word for when you take two words and mash then together to form a new one? E.g. “bromance” ??? Begins with “t” I think

Memorial

May 29th, 2009

A few days late. I’m mainly reposting this because I don’t want to get to next year and think “Where did I see that…?”

Source

When you partake in your Memorial Day barbecue today, try to remember a few things.

When the smoke from the grill blows into your eyes, try to imagine the terror of the young pilot as the smoke fills the cockpit of his F4 Wildcat, spiraling into the sea off Guadalcanal.

When you sample those pork ribs, remember the Iowa farm boy whose life blood stained the surf at Normandy.

When you eat a bite of potato salad, think of an Idaho preacher’s kid who died with a prayer on his lips, asking God to forgive him for the enemy soldiers’ lives he had taken.

When you welcome your niece’s new boyfriend to the table, remember the black kid from Mississippi who died right beside his white buddies in Vietnam, though he wasn’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurants back home.

When you scold your misbehaving grandchild, think of the little boy whose only knowledge of his father will come from stories told by family, because Daddy died on a dusty street in Fallujah while he was still in the womb.

When you fetch your wife another glass of tea, think of a young wife living in base housing at Fort Benning, as she hears the news that her husband died at Ia Drang.

When you invite Grandpa to say grace before the meal, think of young men cut down by a hail of fire from a Maxim at Belleau Wood.

When you reflect with pride on your daughter’s recent graduation, think of a young woman cartwheeling into the sea in her F14 Tomcat after a failed carrier landing.

When you look with distaste at the tattoos on her new boyfriend, think instead of the former gang kid from Detroit who found a way up and out of poverty in the Army, only to die from an IED blast in Baghdad. And remind yourself that what matters is how he treats your daughter, not the ink on his arms.

When you sit at the table, think of a Navy Captain, a husband and father, who died at his Pentagon desk on September 11. His death was no less honorable.

If you’re traveling today, think of the passengers of United Flight 93, for in a field outside Shanksville they became the first soldiers in our war on terror.

When your boys fight, as boys will do, remember the boys on both sides who died at Gettysburg.

If a loved one can’t make it to the gathering today, think of Mrs. Bixby and her five sons.

While your kids play in the pool this afternoon, think of other kids not much older, trapped below decks as the Arizona went under at Pearl Harbor.

When you take a shower tonight, think of young men reeking of machine oil and sweat, desperately trying, and failing, to surface their wounded submarine somewhere in the Pacific in 1943.

I tell you of these things not to spoil your appetite or your day, but to remind you that the things we enjoy in our lives are made all the sweeter when you consider what made them possible.

Remind yourself also that your sacrifice is infinitely easier. All you need do is sacrifice a moment of your time every few years to pull a lever. The way to honor a dead soldier is not simply to fly a flag on Memorial Day. Vote to preserve the freedoms they died defending.

And stop by your local Veteran’s Cemetery and put out some flowers on the grave of your choice. It need not even be the grave of someone you know.

Bring your children along, and explain to them why. It’s important.

Gay Marriage opponent — topless photos!

May 7th, 2009

Okay, so you’ve all heard about the pretty face (not too much in the brains department) who was just in a beauty pageant, and opposes gay marriage? Iowahawk has uncovered an exclusive topless photo.

Enjoy.

The TARP Trap

April 21st, 2009

So let’s see…

A bunch of banks are in trouble, having gotten involved in questionable business practices (forced upon them by misbegotten government regulations — but that’s another story…). A large number of banks are facing insolvency, and if too many of them go down, the whole economy could crash.

So the government swooped in and saved the day with the TARP program, in which they basically gave a gigantic pile of cash to the banks so they could stay afloat.

I trust this is sounding pretty familiar so far.

Here’s the bit you might not have heard. A bunch of the banks, especially the larger ones (The Northern Trust, TCF, and Wells Fargo among them), were not in trouble. They took their hits in the crash, but were not facing failure. Some of them were in fact in pretty strong positions. So when the government came calling with a TARP check, they said “We don’t need it.”

The government said, “Take it anyway.”

Banks: “But we don’t need it. Really. We don’t need it, nor do we want it. We’ll be fine, thanks.”

Government: “Take it anyway. We want banks to have more cash on hand so they can make more loans. Also, if people know which banks, specifically, are close to failure, it will cause a run on those banks, and that could cause an economic disaster. Take the money.”

Banks: “But we don’t….”

Government: “You don’t have a choice. You’re too prominent. It’s a PR thing. We’re making you take it.”

Banks: *sigh* “…Fine.”

Government: *writes check* “Okay, now that you’ve got the money, there are a bunch of new rules you have to follow that we just made up.”

Banks: “These new rules are going to make it harder to do business or hold onto the top talent. No thanks.”

Government: “Sorry. Anyone who took the money has to follow the new rules, plus any others that we come up with later.”

Banks: “Well then we’re just going to give the money back.”

Government: “Not so fast. We won’t accept it. You’re not allowed to give it back.”

Banks: “But we didn’t want it in the first place!”

Remember Kids: When you hear the words, “We’re the government; we’re here to help,” slam the door and lock it.

US News & World Report: Why Goldman Sachs Should Repay Its TARP Money

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson ordered nine of the nation’s biggest banks to accept a big pot of bailout money last fall, whether they felt they needed it or not. It signaled they were all in the same mess together, and that there was no stigma associated with getting bailout money. For the dozens of smaller banks that ended up needing a bailout, that reduced the chance that depositors and trading partners would abandon them, making failure self-fulfilling. Where would they go, after all – to a bigger bank that was also getting bailed out?

Wall Street Journal:
Obama Wants to Control the Banks

Under the Bush team a prominent and profitable bank, under threat of a damaging public audit, was forced to accept less than $1 billion of TARP money. The government insisted on buying a new class of preferred stock which gave it a tiny, minority position. The money flowed to the bank. Arguably, back then, the Bush administration was acting for purely economic reasons. It wanted to recapitalize the banks to halt a financial panic.

Fast forward to today, and that same bank is begging to give the money back. The chairman offers to write a check, now, with interest.[…] But the Obama team says no, since unlike the smaller banks that gave their TARP money back, this bank is far more prominent. The bank has also been threatened with “adverse” consequences if its chairman persists.

CNS News: Treasury Won’t Say If It Has Refused to Allow Banks to Give Back ‘Bailout’ Money

?When we took the money, it was because only the good banks were going to get the money, the strong banks,? [TCF Financial spokesman Jason] Korstange told CNSNews.com. ?We believe that we are and we know that we are a strong bank and that?s why they came to us and asked that we take it (TARP money).

?Then public perception, quite frankly, led by some of the politicians, changed–it became bailout money and it completely changed the perception of what (the TARP program) is.?

After Congress began considering additional limits on executive pay and closer inspections of participating banks, TCF decided to get out as soon as it could.

?Once that happened, the politicians decided they could run the banks (and) that they could tell us all the things we can and cannot do,? Korstange said. ?So we just said, ?Hey, we don?t need this, we didn?t need it at the beginning, and we?ll give it back to you.?”

CNN Money:
Bankers: Take your TARP money back

Brian Garrett, chief executive of Bank of the Bay in San Francisco… and other bank executives complain the Treasury’s program to stabilize banks during these turbulent times is actually weighing down their potential for growth.

They’re especially concerned the limits on executive compensation – imposed in February, four months after Treasury starting sending out checks – could make it difficult to hold on to star talent who may jump to financial institutions that are not receiving any Government assistance.

Bloomberg.com: Wells Fargo Assails TARP, Calls Stress Test ?Asinine?

Even though Wells Fargo didn?t want the money, it must comply with the same rules that the government placed on banks that did need it, he said.

?Is this America — when you do what your government asks you to do and then retroactively you also have additional conditions??

Forbes: Strings On The TARP

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson basically forced major U.S. banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to accept billions of dollars to flood the financial system with cash–with relatively minimal restrictions.

San Francisco Chronicle: What banks are doing with TARP funds

One notion he wants to dispel is that taking TARP money means you’re troubled.

When Congress approved $700 billion for TARP, it was supposed to buy troubled mortgage securities from banks. But the bill’s language was broad, and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson decided in October he would use $250 billion to buy preferred stock in banks to bolster their capital.

In late October, Paulson forced the nation’s nine largest banks to accept a total of $125 billion, regardless of their health.

Chicago “Tea Party” photos

April 17th, 2009

I was at the “Tea Party” rally in Chicago on Wednesday, and I did take pictures.

NOTE: The “gallery” is at a temporary link. If you wish to link these photos from another site, please link to this page.

Here is a gallery of the photos I took. Please note that photo #27 was taken after about half the crowd had dispersed — so if that looks like a lot of people to you, you can imagine what it was like when the thing was in full swing!

Don’t Mess With Texas

April 16th, 2009

First Idaho, now Texas. Perhaps with a little luck (and several million angry citizens), this will become a trend….

State of Texas
H.C.R. No. 50
By: Creighton
Filed: 02/17/2009

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and

WHEREAS, The scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and

WHEREAS, Today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, Many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and

WHEREAS, Section 4, Article IV, of the Constitution says, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,” and the Ninth Amendment states that “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; and

WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and

WHEREAS, A number of proposals from previous administrations and some now pending from the present administration and from congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 81st Legislature of the State of Texas hereby claim sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That this serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to the speaker of the house of representatives and the president of the senate of the United States Congress, and to all the members of the Texas delegation to the congress with the request that this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.

As a side note: someone else pointed out recently that Texas entered the Union by way of a treaty with the U. S. Federal Government, and as such, Texas has the legal authority to secede from the Union simply by ending the treaty.

(Hat Tip: Cold Fury)