Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Probligo has a comment for Omni's post that I feel rates more consideration.

Probligo. Omni's post.
Al, 'tis a pity that Omni does not allow comment. Not that I would want to lecture on mothering - there is no way that I have the qualifications for THAT! But I do have - as have you - some experience with fathering and I reckon that to be as important as mothering.

If there were comments allowed - and I hope that Omni comes past and reads this because I think it important - there is one small aspect of her treatise with which I might take issue.

The single most important skill to make sure your kids possess is the ability to fit in; knowing how to figure out what the "rules" are of whatever group they find themselves in and adhere to enough of them to be seen as "one of us." That goes x10 if your kid's an oddball like I was, because every little difference between them and the other kids is a strike against them that they have to overcome if they're going to have a shot at being well-liked with lots of friends, rather than ostracized and missing out on gaining crucial social skills... and social skills are the key to getting ahead in the work world and attracting a quality mate as well as to having lots of buddies.

Now I am not going to totally disagree with the thrust of what Omni is saying - but there is a most important fact that must predicate her idea.

So, rather than saying that "the ability to fit in" is the most important I am going to rank it second.

Ahead of it as a principle I would put my number one - and it is not something you "teach" as such, it is a case of allowing your kids to "grow into" it. "Allowing" requires guidance so there is a need for parents to set parameters in terms of acceptabile and appropriate alternatives.

That number one principle would have to be -



So, you can see that might be diametrically opposed to what Omni is suggesting, but it need not be so.

If your child knows their "own self" then they will select peers who reflect their own needs and interests rather than "hanging out with the 'in' crowd because they are cool".

It also requires parents (and I found this very hard) to guide (not teach) their kids in developing their social skills. Relying upon "peer society" to do it for you I would think to have problems for the future...
probligo |

Some Advice for Ya

From The Power of Concentration, by Theron Q. Dumont, 1920:
I want you to realize that no one has a monopoly on will power. There is plenty for all. What we speak of as will power is but the gathering together of mental energy, the concentration power at one point. So never think of that person as having a stronger will than yours. Each person will be supplied with just that amount of will power that he demands. You don't have to develop will power if you constantly make use of all you have, and remember the way in which you use it determines your fate, for your life is moulded to great extent by the use you make of your will. Unless you make proper use of it you have neither independence nor firmness. You are unable to control yourself and become a mere machine for others to use. It is more important to learn to use your will than to develop your intellect. The man that has not learned how to use his will rarely decides things for himself, but allows his resolutions to be changed by others. He fluctuates from one opinion to another, and of course does not accomplish anything out of the ordinary, while his brother with the trained will takes his place among the world's leaders.
The men that are looked upon as the world's successes have not always been men of great physical power, nor at the start did they seem very well adapted to the conditions which encompassed them. In the beginning they were not considered men of usperior genius, but they won their success by their resolution to achieve results in their undertakings by permitting not set-back to dishearten them; no difficulties to daunt them.

So there.

Mike Litman has spent the last three or so years updating and elaborating the message(s) of this book. He's a marketer, and a great one, so watch yerself if you go over there.

Oh! Here! Have a blurb! Motivational, Self-help website - contains dozens of informative articles, archived success tip videos, and an assortment of products related to motivation, personal development and creating greater income in your life. Click Here For Mike Litman's Success Secrets

Walter Williams

(From today):
If you were really enthusiastic about not being a "price-gouger," I'd have another proposition. You might own a house that you purchased for $55,000 in 1960 that you put on the market for a half-million dollars. I'd simply accuse you of price-gouging and demand that you sell me the house for what you paid for it, maybe adding on a bit for inflation since 1960. I'm betting you'd say, "Williams, if I sold you my house for what I paid for it in 1960, how will I be able to pay today's prices for a house to live in?"

If there's any conspiracy involved in today's high gasoline prices, it's a conspiracy of cowardice and stupidity by the U.S. Congress. Opening a tiny portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's mean estimate, would increase our proven domestic oil reserves by approximately 50 percent. The Pacific, Atlantic and eastern Gulf of Mexico offshore areas have enormous reserves of oil and natural gas, but like the Alaska reserves, they have been put off limits by Congress. Plus, the U.S. Office of Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves estimates the world supply of oil shale at 1.6 trillion barrels, of which 1.2 trillion barrels are in the United States.

By the way, oil shale is now profitable to extract due to the high oil prices. Reread the last sentence of the quote. The BLM is allowing testing in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

Invest in the companies doing the testing. Don't whine about high oil prices. Profit from it.

Read Williams whole article for a killer punchline.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wow! Is that ever cool!!

I just ran LibertyBob through this thing, forgot about it and when I went to comment on something I got the definition of "comment".

Pretty good story over at Bob's today. I wonder if he got my last email.

Here's something to think about

from Clayton Makepeace (I don't know if you can get right in there without signing up for his newsletter):
Couple of thousand years ago, a pretty smart Jewish fella said that the meek will inherit the Earth. Seems like a pretty crazy statement on its face. Try as I might, I can’t imagine a meek little Wally Cox conquering every government on the planet.

So I figure the rabbi probably meant something closer to, "Be humble enough to learn and you’ll go far."

Or the corollary: "Be too proud to learn, and you'll wind up eating humble people's dust."

Or maybe, "The more you learn, the more you'll learn you need to learn."

Or even, "Learning is a journey – not a destination."

Was he right?

In a word, "Yep."

I've been meaning to say that myself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Mises guys are taking my name in vain.

Sean Corrigan opens his article, "What Does the High Price of Gold Mean?" with these derogatory remarks:
Among the Anglo-Saxons, there is a school of thought called the "Whig view of history," which sees the course of events as an unrolling tapestry on which is woven a record of a steady, ineluctable progression from barbarity to civilization.

Yet, ironically, the Whigs' own supremacy — mostly enjoyed during Britain's years of commercial and military triumph in the 18th century — was underwritten by a system of rapidly expanding government debt, deviously and often corruptly financed through the offices of the fledgling Bank of England.

As a result, the period was not unblemished by periods of wild, speculative excess and interposed monetary panic, the most spectacular instances of which were the two, partly interrelated schemes whose respective Mississippi and South Sea Companies served to give us the word "bubble" itself.

No one who reads the accounts of those roistering times can fail to be entertained by the tale of human folly they contain, though not without a rueful reflection that they also prove the Whigs were hopelessly optimistic in their perception of man's relentless self-betterment.

For, indeed, our own experiences of just the past decade show that, if we follow a recipe that mixes the eternal human failing of avarice with the oft-recurring mass delusion that one lives in a "New Era," and which allows the kitchen to be supervised by sharp-minded financiers, it will produce just as explosive a cocktail today as it did nearly three centuries ago.

Of course, these were not the Old Whigs of whom Hayek spoke, and, though many powers of 10 times better than the American Whig Party, the movement's chief speakers, my beloved Acton, Gibbon and Macauley, did indeed perpetuate the belief that history was a linear path upward. From which it is all too easy to deduce that the hard-earned lessons of the past no longer apply to our situation now.

There appears to be no evidence that the Founders of this nation were afflicted by any such delusion, but were rather grimly aware that any human, entrusted with too much power, would soon succumb to its enticements. It was Acton, of course, who said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely," but all that did was mitigate, for a time, the logical development of Whig History into Progressivism.

Indeed it was already too late. The descendants of the Puritans in New England had already developed secular/messianic tendencies that meshed all too well with Hegel's theory of history. Unfortunately, Whig History supported that trend.

By the way, when you can understand this paragraph, to quote Master Kan, " will have learned":
This is why the middle-class poor are able to "invest" so much even as they spend more than every last earned penny on iPods, designer beers, exotic holidays, and vast McMansions — plowing money into ETFs and emerging bond funds even when it costs $200 a pop to fill up the 6-year-lease-bearing new Hummer in the driveway.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What was I going to say?

My daughter popped down to say goodnight, and I absolutely forgot my train of thought.

I was telling her a tale, earlier, in agreement with a point Mrs. Montgomery was making in Rainbow Valley, that my mother and grandmother told me about my great-grandmother's first wedding night.

Yes, she had two.

She sewed herself into a "union suit" and spent the night running away from her new husband. She was thirteen. He was twice her age. She got married to get away from her mother.

I believe the marriage was annulled within a month, but I'd be delighted to be corrected on that score.

Somebody's got to ask Grandma for elaboration on that story. I want to know everything she knows about her mother... and I especially want to know what she knows about her grandparents.

What I do know for sure about the former story, is that there was no progeny from it. (At least I've never heard of any.)

My Grandma married at sixteen to get away from her mother. She gave birth to my mother. Then, after her divorce, my Grandpa (sadly, not my direct ancestor - my mother never saw a difference in treatment between her and the other children, and you see that I call him Grandpa--I could use those genes) saw her riding on a wagon into Vian, Oklahoma, holding my mother, and said to his friends, "There's my wife!"

Vian is pronounced "Vy-Ann", btw. That's the first time I ever considered the possibility that strangers wouldn't know how to pronounce that. Come to think of it, what was Grandpa doing there then, considering that he was born in Northeastern Arkansas? I seem to remember him telling me and even looking up his birthplace on the map, but I can't remember how he ended up there in Vian in the late Thirties.

If you want to see what Vian looks like, buy or rent the movie
Where the Red Fern Grows
It was filmed there in the late '70s. The area where the boys fight was mowed to look like a park, but otherwise it still looks just like that.

The movie is wonderful for many reasons other than that. If you liked Old Yeller, you'll like Where the Red Fern Grows.

I used to spend my summers eight miles from there, 1/2 a mile from Lake Tenkiller (an Indian name that's a story in itself), and within spittin' distance of Blackgum School. Grandmother actually lived on the grounds of that school, and I know the vandals who tore that house down--hint: one of the bunch uses an alias with the initials O.W. Hey! I was a little kid! My uncle said it would be all right!

His inits are JVB. But that doesn't come as any surprise to the inheritors of the property.

Yes, I still feel guilty.

But, the place was a s**thole. Thank God Grandma had compassion and moved her into a trailer on her own property.

Did I ever mention that Grandmother once felt the need to push a Revenuer into a well?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Well, let's see if I can bury that last post.

My manic mode sometimes makes for bad ones (posts, I mean). No, I'm not really bipolar, but the moods do take some inexplicable swings now and then.

Although, I suppose Wednesday was a pretty good day, beautiful weather, everything went well, though not so well that I need to document it.

The DaVinci Code opens tonight. Our pastor is bringing a group to see it tomorrow, then they're going to go back to the church and discuss it. We haven't arranged for babysitting, so we're not going. If I were going to go, that'd be the way I'd want to do it.

I have Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels, though I haven't read it yet. I wish I had, I might be able to discuss the movie intelligently. If I hadn't taken on a couple other projects, I'd do it right away.

The commentary I hear on the radio seems to be ininformed by any awareness of the Gnostics.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Praise the Lord!

I gotta say, I'm generally pleased with my BlogAds. As pleased as a man can be in This World, anyway.

I don't get to click these links ("I'm not allowed!" as my effin', formerly-goody-two-shoes-[but-still-nevertheless-effin'] cousin used to say), so I'm not going to present them as links,
Axiomatic Economics
Mises Said He Was Deductive But He Was Not. Aguilar's Theory Really Is

Lew Rockwell
No war. No taxes. Just freedom.

The Mises Store
Books on liberty by the greats Austrian economics, libertarianism

How To Create Wealth Now
Little-Known Strategies To Give You Complete Financial Freedom

Dr. Seuss meets Ayn Rand.
Buy this beautiful illustrated book Warning against big government.

I just consider these to be high praise from the Internet.

Founding First Principles

"[I]ndividual liberty, the sanctity of private property, the rule of law, free markets with peaceable, voluntary exchange, and choice and responsibility over government coercion."

Walter Williams made that list, not I, but there you have it.

In the context of the Da Vinci Code controversy

Debi Ghate, of The Ayn Rand Institute, in an article called Catholic Leaders Need to Show a Little Respect for Freedom says:
To respect something means to hold it in high regard. Respect is something that we reserve for the people and ideas we judge to be worthy of our love and admiration--we reserve it for what we value. Our respect is a precious commodity, used to express our sanction and approval of others and their actions. We respect Thomas Jefferson for writing the Declaration of Independence. We respect American soldiers who defend this great country's values. In contrast, we disrespect, even hate, those who oppose our values. If a white supremacist comes to your town to deliver a speech advocating that non-whites should be corralled and shot, do you have an obligation to respect his beliefs? Or should you speak out against what you consider to be evil, and in favor of what you judge to be good? And other cases are harder to judge. If your neighbor believes that a hard-working Mexican busboy should be deported because he is here without a work permit, do you have an obligation to respect that belief?

By suggesting that there is a "right to respect." the bishops are clamoring that we owe them respect regardless of whether we think their beliefs are true or false, worthy of our admiration or denunciation. Many people, of course, do respect the Catholic Church, but others agree with Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, who concluded: "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." Respect can only be granted willingly, where we judge it to be due, not demanded by those whose ideas we conclude to be false or despicable. There can be no "right" to be respected.

The great thing about Western Civilization is that we no longer treat organized religions as many people now-days are wont to treat the government. Humanity will truly flourish when we stop worshipping the State as well.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Libertarian-Conservate Dave Thompson

(I'm a conservative-libertarian, btw. The distinction is important.) did a poll last night on the vitally important question of whether women's feet could be cute or whether they're all gross.

The question makes me realize that I am absolutely indifferent to feet. I mean, I'm sure you could send me a picture of someone doing something with their foot, or someone else's foot, that I might find...interesting... But... It's not the foot that I find interesting.

I'm also absolutely indifferent to footware. Or footwear, as it is. I wonder what "footware" is.

Did I mention that I'm absolutely a Dave Groupee? Too bad I'm an old, fat, bald, heterosexual, white guy, eh?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I spent most of my research time today reading

Michael Fumento's accounts of his time as an embedded reporter in Ramadi, Iraq last month, and links to articles by other embeds and Michael Yon's blog.

There's not much I need to add to what he said, but something we need to deal with as voters here is these complaints about fraudulent war profiteers:
In a guerrilla war, building a school or hospital or laying electrical lines or providing flowing potable water can be far more important than killing bad guys. To the extent these projects are not completed -- and vast numbers are not -- it's threatening the war effort. These people are scum and may as well be working for bin Laden. If they violate their contracts, force them to comply -- don't reward them. If they can't comply, jail them. They're traitors. From what I've seen, this war can still go either way depending on the willingness of the American public to stick it out. From what I saw can still go either way. Everybody likes to target Cindy Sheehan -- as indeed I have -- but really she's just an idiot voice crying in the wilderness trying to cling to 15 minutes of fame that expired long ago. It's contractors and those who refuse to hold them accountable who have the ability to make or break this war.

I think a call to your congressman is in order.

Considering what I've been up to lately,

it's a bit surprising that I didn't notice Kyle Bennett's April 19th post, Happy Patriot's Day.

The blog like content I'm planning to put in my store is going to be just that sort of thing. I'll need to work in a product appropriate for celebrating whatever event I'm talking about.

Speaking of Kyle, I'm also rather fond of his fable Simple Simon Makes a Law.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I just discovered Tibor Machan's and Aeon Skoble's

Reason Papers. In the archives, there's a great piece about blending the ideas of [Nobel Prize winning economist] Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard. [37 page PDF.] I'm not very far into it yet, but here's an interesting (to me) passage:
[H]ad Hayek clearly set out a Rothbardian idea of liberty, the intellectuals would have asked: Just how far would you go in adhering to the maxim? Even though Hayek approved of state activity beyond night watchman functions, it was to an extent the smallness of which, had Hayek come clean, would have alarmed the intellectuals of his time. In the terminological sunlight of Rothbardian liberty, it would have been nearly impossible for Hayek to conceal his true positions, for he would have had to lie outright or remain damningly silent. Drenched in sunlight, Hayek would have been dismissed and ignored.

To speculate, we might imagine that Hayek's meta-conscious faced a trade-off between obscurantism and obscurity. Hayek's obscurantism, his muccled definition of liberty, however, willful, enabled the philosophy of anti-statism to gain a hearing that was extensive and persuasive.

It's interesting to see that aspect of Hayek's writings defended, however weakly. He may have been a closet libertarian, but he never closed the door.

Sowell, Williams and Stossel are kickin' butt

at the Townhall site today.

Williams: "Don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing that self-interest and the free market system produce perfect outcomes, but they're the closest we'll come to perfection here on Earth."

Sowell: "Many, if not most, of the great American fortunes -- Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford -- have been made by finding ways to charge lower prices, not higher.

"In the early 20th century, the A & P grocery chain became renowned for both its low prices and its high quality. Its profit rate never fell below 20 percent during the decade of the 1920s. That's a higher rate of profit than the oil companies make."

Stossel: "If one-tenth of what the reporters suggested was happening did happen, there would be mass death. The opposite is true: Despite exposure to radiation and all those nasty new chemicals, Americans today live longer than ever."

I haven't read the Crunchy Cons book

In fact I can't remember who wrote it, but I've heard him on the radio. But I must be a Crunchy Libertarian.

I bought a reel mower last year. Because I was sick and tired of gas mowers pooping out on me. My review: it does an okay job. I wish I could adjust the height. It takes about 25% longer to mow the lawn, and if you want it to look good, you have to mow more often.

On the plus side: Phew!! It cost me 70 Bucks and there's no cost for gas. No fumes from the machine (no guarantees about emanations from the operator), and although it is loud enough to interfere with a conversation, it doesn't make you fear deafness.

It is more exercise than my old push gas mowers. You feel the resistance of high grass. I don't mind exercise. In fact I look for ways to get it without going out of my way.

It's easy to store. It takes up about three square feet of floor space in my RubberMaid (or whatever the H that cheap plastic thing is) storage shed. Leaving plenty of room for my rake collection (the variation in the lengths of the broken handles would be a worthy study for any museum curator), my rototiller, my kindling for Rendezvoux, the jogging stroller and assorted hedge care tools. Oh! And the Fokker Triplane kite! [Red, naturally, though they left off the Urkraut markings. (Real Krauts don't use hyphens!)]

How else am I "crunchy"?

Well, my parents were both farmers as kids, and they made us grow a big garden. We never had anything but fresh or home canned green-beans and peas. Tomatoes were a summer and fall staple. We grew a lot of lettuce, and don't ever offer any of my siblings or I any zucchini nor anything made out of it.

Don't get me wrong. I like the stuff. But the s*** grows like a weed. There is no shortage of zucchini in the world. Free is too high a price.

Rhubarb too. Our rhubarb plant is already about 5 feet high. What the H*** are we going to do with it?! Maybe we should donate it to stranded sailors who are suffering from scurvy.

Okay, besides the rhubarb, this year I'm trying to grow cantaloup and sunflowers. We've planted the sunflowers two ways: directly, by digging holes an sticking the seeds in the ground, and indirectly, by feeding live seeds to the birds.

It's amazing how effective the latter method is. The last time I did that I ended up with a huge yardful of sunflowers. I had to mow down a lot of them, but where I spared them, we had a crop that kept the neighborhood squirrels and rabbits happy all winter. [There's a lot of sarcasm in that remark, but that's a whole 'nuther post.... Oh! And, message to somebody who's quite a bit more famous than I: it's not wise to encourage raccoons. National Lampoon's Summer Vacation really went rather easy on the little vandals. There's nothing like a giant german shephard for keeping all the preceding in their proper places. RIP Sunshine.]

Ah! Crap! I've gone and mentioned our beautiful dog whom I had to bury. I need to go visit her grave this year.

Monday, May 08, 2006

We had a nice weekend here.

60s and 70s for highs, sunny... What more can you ask? I sunburned my bald head... Hey! It's like a joke from That '70s Show!

I used to make fun of people like me myself back in the seventies. I see the humor now from both sides. You kids look pretty humorous to me too.


We had the in-laws in last weekend. I know I said we were going to have them in last weekend, but they had some plumbing problems they needed to take care of...

Sure, I was happy to spend the weekend washing my non-existent hair.

No, I've taken up the hobby of tending my yard, particularly battling the recent infestation of dandelions. All right, I've planted Sunflowers, Cantaloupes and Morning Glories, and I'm also defending the wild Violets from all the broad-leaved weeds that are attacking my yard.

Yeah, yeah, I've allowed my hick gardening tendencies free reign for too long. Of course, if I'd grown up in a climate in which getting beautiful things to grow were a problem, I might have understood the situation better here in Suburbia. Where I grew up, you just cut down the things you didn't want and the things you did want would have free reign.

Basically, that meant that, if I didn't like a plant, I ran the lawn-mower over it and something I liked better would take it's place. I was mowing at least an acre of land when I moved out of my parent's house. I notice nobody since has equaled my assault on the encroachment of the wilderness...

On the other hand... I spent my childhood and youth seeking the peace of the wilderness, and only encroached on it on orders from my beloved elders.

I looked at that land last summer. My wife didn't think we had time to make further inquiries... And since our baby was too young to appreciate much of her environment, I passed on the opportunity to experience My Land further.

But... I plan to invoke my best persuasive efforts toward showing those places to my daughters: the strawberry fields, the blueberry and raspberry patches... I know the apple and plum trees are gone. They were cut down by my Uncle Dave when he owned the place... And he was right to do it, they weren't going to produce any more fruit... But... And the three big, I suppose, overgrown lilac bushes.

I've been missing them all terribly this beautiful spring. The smell of lilacs, the smell of apple blossoms...plum blossoms...

We have a big, overgrown lilac bush here. Many of our neighbors have big apple trees, heavily laden with fragrant blossoms.

I think I saw a plum tree around here in the neighborhood.

Nostalgia, to me.

Here's my present and my future.
Free Image Hosting at
I see much to love.

Don't you?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Interesting testimony

A Misesian on the School Board
We all recognize that public education is in a sorry state. Money is being thrown down the rabbit hole by those who adhere to the Mad Hatter logic of "Clean cup, clean cup, move down" whereby the initiator of the intervention wins the clean cup full of hot tea while the rest are drinking from someone else's cup. The unions, the state departments of education and the local school boards all conspire to grab the new cup — the tax dollars — in the name of a supposed public good. "It's for the kids you know." No it's for the system. And our future — our children — will be stuck trying to down a lukewarm liquid from a used cup.

I started my intellectual journey toward economic truths after I was first elected. At the time I believed in the system. Sure there were failures in the past, but I was going to be the one to set the right direction, I would be the omniscient one. But as Mises showed decades earlier, and Rothbard confirmed, there is no rational way to direct a government bureaucracy. In fact, it's impossible. It does not even matter if the elected or appointed board member or administrator is skilled in the market or knowledgeable about economics; all members of a bureaucracy are flying blind.

But that truth never stops those who aspire to use government as the mean to an end. Instead of omniscient, I became omnipotent in matters of school policies.

That's enough. I'd quote the whole article, but you have the link. Have another.

Oh, I meant to stuff in this part:
I have been on the school board for over six years and I can state that government cannot solve the current education fiasco, and never will. Mises knew this in the early 1900s, but the advocates of public education sit here in the 21st century pretending that what Mises said has no value. They truly accept the Progressive belief that government is the way to salvation. I am here to say that Mises was indeed correct.

And, finally:
Do not buy the "education is a public good" mantra, and do not accept the current system — a system patterned after the 19th-century collectivist and socialist Prussian state. Instead, work for a free-market education system that benefits all and harms none. That is a future worthy of envisioning. That is the means to reestablish liberty in the United States.

I put in some of Mr. Fedako's links, there are a bunch. I particularly like this one, Omnipotent Government, even though it's a 301 page PDF. Slow computers and connections need not apply. I'm sure you've all noticed that pdfs are bigger than most other files.

Update: Jim Fedako's blog, The Anti-Positivist, is going to get a link here. He writes great stuff there too.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I've been watching Texas Ranch House

on PBS, so forgive me if I sound like Sam Elliot.

I ran my eighth run today. Tuesday, the first sunny day after all the rain, I bumped my runs up to 15 minutes. Today, on a known course that brought me just shy of two miles. If I'd run the race last week at that pace, I'd have cut a minute off my time.

I admitted in a comment that I've signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon on October 1st. My goal for that is to finish it in less than four hours. I think I can do it if I can build my endurance between now and then to where I'm maintaining 8 minute miles for most of the race.

The most I've ever run before is a 3 hour run of 17.5 miles, the summer after Rosie was born. She's nine now. Then I bought the s#*&%y running shoes and didn't know what was wrong, so I quit running.

Laurie bought me a pile of running shoes to try out last Sunday. Guess who won the contest. You're right! Nikes. They're light and comfortable. And they kick butt on my Earth Shoes walking shoes for breathing.

For all that, the question remains: what the f have I gotten myself into?!

Here's an interesting ebook I found in a Google search:

Why People Fail, by Josh Evoy. They are indeed selling something. I haven't bought it, but I may well buy it one day.

Thirteen personality flaws and three patterns of action that block success. And solutions. I've got a couple of 'em. #2, I don't think I'm a #3, #10 maybe, a bit of #11, and I felt my face redden when I read #12.

I'll work on it.

Surprising words, considering the source

From Re-Framing the Immigration Debate, by Bob Burg:
Keep in mind that when President Johnson instituted government-sponsored welfare in the 1960's, it was to win the "War on Poverty." President Johnson predicted it would take two years to eradicate poverty in this country.

The result? Fifty years later, we have more and more people on welfare (even with so-called Welfare Reform), with many families into their third and fourth generation. Many children have never known their parents to have a job. If anything has been eradicated, it is the self-esteem of the welfare recipients and their children, many of them feeling they have no opportunity to live their own life. They are wards of the state.

Government-sponsored welfare has robbed the American middle class of much of their income.

Government-sponsored welfare isn’t even efficient. Sixty-six percent of every taxpayer dollar paid into the welfare system goes to the middle-class bureaucrats administering the system. Perhaps the remaining 34 percent goes to the needy. But, are all recipients needy? Many of us know people who have simply made the decision to stop working or not look for a job because it's easier to accept "free money." In a corrupted system such as this, there will also be people playing the system.

I didn't know him from Adam before I read this, though I'd heard of his bookWinning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion--and I know Robert Ringer and Michael Masterson do similar things and would agree whole-heartedly--I'm just surprised to see another guy saying these things. I keep thinking that my views are held only by a tiny, tiny minority.

Great quote from Peter Schwartz

on (in? at?) The Atlasphere:
We need to stop confusing democracy with freedom. Morally supporting freedom is always in our interests. But supporting unlimited majority rule is always destructive — to us, and to all who value the rights of the individual.

I suppose I should give a little more for context:
The Iraqis may reject freedom, in which case military force alone — as dismally inadequate as our efforts in that realm have been so far — will have to ensure our safety against any threats from them. But if we are going to try to replace tyranny with freedom there, we must at least demonstrate what freedom is.

We should have been spreading the ideas and institutions of a free society, before allowing elections even to be considered. For example, we should have written the new constitution, as we did in post-WWII Japan.

There'll be no Wirtschaftswunder (I don't know what the Japanese called their recovery after the War) in Iraq, the way we're going.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wow! You contact a gal and 24 hours later

you get this!!!

Looks like a goin' concern, doesn't it?

Now I need to go back and address LibertyBob's issues.

And, no. This blog isn't going to become an endless commercial for that or anything else. The rest of my marketing will be done through normal channels. I may be hijacked by that, but you won't be.

I've been trying to come up with logos and designs for my store.

I'm going to bug you all with a little behind the scenes brainstorming.

The woman who did these has done a great job, I think:
The Spark of Elegance - cool sparkles. And mother's day is almost here. Nice jewelry. Hmm.

Maybe, I'd better go for one of the others.

Sweet Fragrance Sensations - There's an enticing image! And, yes, I've bought perfume before as gifts. Some good ones there.

Handbags, Coats and Accessories - Get's right down to business, and does it nicely.

I'll just take a look at the women's coats. ... Ho HO! Got my wife's size?

Well, anyway. That's what I'm up to.

Update: here's another one she did: Natural Beauty and Nutrition.

When I get this thing going, I'm going to try to integrate original content into it. Oh, you can buy stuff there now (link up there on the left), but I need to do some organizing. I've found a bunch of stuff and need more.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Russ Nelson, like Principle Skinner, has decided to play with his trains.

If anybody knows a link to this more generally relevant commentary, let me know. Otherwise, the genius I've linked to as The Angry Economist is no more.

I mean, I might enjoy hearing about what happened to the trains in Superior and Duluth. Superior, until I was in college had the third largest railyard in the US. I'd like to know how that came about. I suppose it had something to do with the fact that Superior had the world's tallest grain elevator and the world's longest ore docks.

I grew up in a town with the heart of Texas. If you doubted any of those claims, there was absolutely no way you could doubt the magnificence of Lake Superior herself. And no resident of Superior would had taken you seriously if you tried to. She gave us an extraordinary amount of crappy weather: more fog and drizzle than Seattle or San Francisco... but there is no doubt that we love her. On the lousiest days you can go down to her shores and light a driftwood fire, have a few beers, and/or roast a fish and have the time of your life listening to the rustling of the wave, or even of the ice in the winter...whatever sound you hear is of astounding beauty.

It strikes me dumb, remembering it. And it's all still there for you to visit. The elevators, the rail yards and the ore-docks are gone now, but the Lake is still there.