Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Definitive Anti-Drug-War post

has been made by my dear friend, Kyle Bennett.

I can't beat the argument (with video) that he presents, though I can present his outline:
Drug use is immoral!

But prohibition doesn't stop it.

Drug use is dangerous and destroying our society!

Prohibition doesn't stop it.

Drugs are illegal and drug users are criminals!

Prohibition doesn't stop these kinds of criminals.

Repealing prohibition sends a message that drug use is acceptable!

Prohibition doesn't stop drug use.

It's a funny thing about drug (and alcohol) abuse, that the user never stops until he's convinced that drug (and alcohol) abuse is unprofitable. Or that those other considerations everybody is squawking about are actually important.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Note to self:

Read this!

Later accretion: This is the 'graph that caught my eye:
I will admit that I do find it odd the way that only certain parts of the, say, Swedish, "miracle" are held up as ideas for us to copy. Wouldn't it be interesting if we were urged to adopt some other Swedish policies? Abolish inheritance tax (Sweden doesn't have one), have a pure voucher scheme to pay for the education system (as Sweden does), do not have a national minimum wage (as Sweden does not) and most certainly do not run the health system as a national monolith (as Sweden again does not). But then those policies don't accord with the liberal and progressive ideas in the USA so perhaps their being glossed over is understandable, eh?

Eh, indeed.

Oh! Actually, I guess I was originally enticed to read the article by this exerpt quoted in Freedom News Daily:
In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It's not worth quibbling over 1% so let's take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don't you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely ... nothing.

He's being kind. The official stats say they're doing worse than our poor are. Doesn't surprise me a bit. But don't forget the previously cited paragraph.

But who cares about a strong argument? Certainly not the anti-anti-communists!

Oh, crap! Now I've gotta quote Williams:
Often, when people evaluate capitalism, they evaluate a system that exists on Earth. When they evaluate communism, they are talking about a non-existent Utopia. What exists on Earth, with all of its problems and shortcomings, is always going to fail miserably when compared to a Utopia. The very attempt to achieve the utopian goals of communism requires the ruthless suppression of the individual and an attack on any institution that might compromise the loyalty of the individual to the state. That's why one of the first orders of business for communism, and those who support its ideas, is the attack on religion and the family.

I tend to commit the opposite fallacy: I compare governments that exist to the Anarcho-Capitalist Utopia in which any individual may pursue any dream he or she has using all the resources he or she can muster, as long a they don't use physical force against their neighbors (either directly or delegated to an agent or agency).

A lot of thinking has gone into how life in society could be without the threat of force. The masters are, from clearest to deepest, the Tannehills, Murray Rothbard and (who runs the gamut by himself) and Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

How about that Carmen Electra, eh?

There's a raft o' pix here! [That site's not work safe!]:
Free Image Hosting at
Now, what made me think of that?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Oh, hey!

I just checked the Heart of Summer site, and my actual running time, from the time I crossed the starting line to when I crossed the finish line was 56:21, and my official place was 261.

Kick A! Man!

I was still 35th out of 42 in the 40-44 age class, but you get some serious competion once you step beyond the 5K range.

Old Whig could be considered synonamous with "fat geezer." I'm doing what I can prove that's not so.

I took a jog today.

150 Minutes worth. That's two hours and 30 minutes. I doubt that I maintained a pace of 10 minutes/mile, but it's the best estimate that can make. That is, 15 miles.

I kicked butt for the first hour; I ran a full mile farther than I did the last time I jogged in that direction. Everything went fine for the next hour, during which I reached my goal - a beautiful park in Maple Grove with several terraced ponds - and headed back. I returned almost exactly to my one hour mark at two hours so I was still kickin' butt.

My mind gave the tune, "One Shower! One nap! And one beer!" as a mantra.

I left the house with a 20 oz. bottle of water mixed with an ounce of liquid minerals. I sipped my third to last swig at the two hour mark. It was my intention at that point to continue running for one more hour. Oddly enough, at the ultimate [by that, I mean last] sip of my mineral-infuse water my will to continue died.

I lasted about another 200 yards. Then I started walking.

I was carrying a fiver in my pocket so I stopped at the first convenience store I found and bought a "Sports Shake". It was cold. It tasted fabulous.

It damn near made me barf.

Here, I had an odd experience once I stopped running. I was still 4 miles from the house and I was walking along when I saw a plastic bag billowing in the wind on the sidewalk. There was a bunch of rubbish in the woods next to it, so I grabbed the bag and started filling it with the rubbish. Then I saw, under a low branch, a dollar bill, and said to myself, "I guess I get paid for this good deed!" It was like God said, "Here's a dollar bill. If you clean up this mess, you'll find it and it's yours."

So, naturally I bought some fruit juice at the next convenience store and it gave me the energy to run some sprints as I continued on my way home. The spiritual energy gained from the idea that God rewards simple, good deeds was not a miniscule contribution.

In the end, I kept my body in motion for a full four hours. It gives me confidence that I actually can do a marathon. I think I can at least do a 25K race in two and a half. [A marathon's 42.something.]

I see that the belly's a bit flatter this evening.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I'm publishing ARI's press release

[Let's see the "cease and desist" letter.]

Stem Cell Breakthrough Won't Satisfy Religious Conservatives
August 24, 2006

Irvine, CA--"The researchers at Advanced Cell Technology should be congratulated for their scientific breakthrough," said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "But their new method of creating stem cell lines will not stop religious opposition to scientific progress."

In developing a method of extracting embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo, the team was, in part, trying to address the concerns of those opposed to the destruction of embryos. As the team leader said: "There is no rational reason left to oppose this research."

"But there has never been a rational reason to oppose embryonic stem cell research," said Dr. Brook. "The opposition comes mainly from religious conservatives and is--by their own declaration--based on faith, not on reason. It is based on the irrational belief that a mere clump of cells is a full-fledged human being."

"There is no rational reason to morally oppose this research, and its potential to produce treatments for such diseases as diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's is ample reason to morally support it.

"It is a mistake to try to appease religious conservatives on this issue. What they are opposed to, fundamentally, is science as such."

### ### ###

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

I don't know, do you see anything to argue with there?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Anybody heard of The Newby Club

It's a free membership site for people new to the Internet and/or internet marketing. Another site you should go to before you sign up or buy anything about online marketing.

The guy does have things to buy, but read everything he gives away free first, particularly the "Scam-Watch Bureau" articles. If you think Joe Robson's treatment is inadequate, he also has links to:


Several FTC articles:

Opportunities (Index page; I just had to click the only link on that page I came to to make it work right.)

Biz Op Scams

Work At Home

MLM vs.Pyramid


It's late. Sorry.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Vox Day made the point on Northern Alliance Radio

That "liberalism" is an insufficiently robust philosophy to survive the assault on Western Civilization from Islamists.

The "liberalism" I'm referring to is called libertarianism in the US: the philosophy that has been growing in Western Civilization since the time of Solon.

Day pointed out that secularism isn't worth a damn without Christian support, and Islam - not to speak of Islamism - will never support secularism.

As a libertarian, I understand the value to individual freedom of political secularism - nobody deserves to be arrested or killed because of their religious beliefs - but I have to admit that pure secularism and pure liberalism - excuse me, libertarianism - get nowhere without the support of the locally dominant religion.

Christianity, Hinduism and Taoism are (sometimes) strong supporters of individual freedom. The Minaret of Freedom is trying to make the case for freedom among the Muslim.

I wish them luck. Indeed, give them money.

I did indeed finish the Heart of Summer 10K

Some of you may understand why I don't mention the primary sponser of the race. If you don't get it, you just won't. Forget it.

Here's a link.

Katie McGregor, btw, made $7,000 on the race, I forget where it came from, but it was $500 + $1500 + $5000. Not bad for half an hour's work. Kinda makes you think about getting serious about this game.

Oh! And here's where you can verify my veracity. 2006 results will be up Monday.

Of course, it was more than a half hour of work for me. My time was 56:54 and I finished 262nd overall. Nobody considered giving me any prizes.

[Mike Nelson, of Mystery Science Theater 3000, is ripping Road House - one of my favorite movies - on the radio (on the Northern Alliance) behind me. It's quite a distraction.]

There was a 72-year-old who beat me by over ten minutes, but at least I whupped up on the truly rotund women.

[Later addition] Oh, btw, there were no truly rotund men in the race. That speaks worse of the men than of the women who had the guts to get out there. I was about the fourth or fifth heaviest guy there (though one or two of them were big linebacker types). And it seemed to me to me that nobody dropped out. There were plenty of finishers after an hour and twenty minutes. You have to admire a gal who can push that hard for that long.

I hitched my wagon to the wrong horse for this race. Although, come to think of it, I guess what I did wrong was unhitch from that horse at about 3 miles. I think it might be entertaining to talk about that horse.

I found myself, within the first mile, behind a young, hot gal in tight shorts, obviously wearing a thong underneath. I kept up with that vision for the next 2 and a half miles. Unfortunately, at that point, sexual attraction dropped below self-preservation in my priority list and I let her go.

Judging by the way I feel now [Fantastic!], I should have kept up with her. She knew what she was doing.

I won't forget that in future races: find the hottest chick you can and don't let her out of your sight. I'm good enough at running that the hot chicks are at my level; I'm not looking at emaciated freaks nor competitors with the globe.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Conservative Manifesto (invadesoda)

Lately I have been thinking about my ongoing transition from conservative to conservative-libertarian. Since it is too easy to get distracted by the policy issues of the moment, especially as a blogger, I have deliberately attempted to pick the most enduring conservative beliefs, the ones I am likely to keep no matter what and the ones I will try to instill in my daughters. It's a very short list so far. I see these principles as the basis for both social and economic issues. I also find the seeds of libertarianism in these statements.

  • I owe my family more than I owe other people's families.
  • Big government with the best people in charge is still big government.
  • You cannot strengthen society by weakening the individual.
  • It is still possible to succeed at making a living through honest work (in the absence of a tax policy that punishes honest work).

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Holy Cow! It's Wednesday!

I bet you didn't know that.

I've been kicking the Marathon training up a notch, and I've been a bit tired. There's another 10K on Saturday that I want to do. 2 laps around Lake Nokomis in Mpls. I want to see if I've improved any over my July 4th time of 58:37.

I weighed 223 lbs this morning (101.6 KG for you furriners - I made this number more accurate, btw), so I'm moving back in the right direction. I don't know how much I can or should lose by Oct. 1, but I'd like to hit the starting line at least 10 lbs lighter.

Whoop, the thing I was waiting for is done!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

I was thinking about a post on "70's Cool"

I was an expert, don't you know. But while I was - rather desultorily - racking my brains, to wife called to announce that there's an ABBA concert on PBS.

Research, don't you know.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Kyle reminded me about my E-Mentor, E. G. Ross.

He didn't mean to, but he meant to.

From the time I went online in November 2000, until his death in 2003, I read him daily.

God! I loved him! Nobody -- Nobody!! --is doing anything like what he did. Here's some of his work to whet your appetite to study his archives:
Economic Spring

THIS PUBLICATION'S struggle against irrational negativity takes many forms. But over the last year—with so much success evident in the War on Terror and so little bad news to report on that front (despite the bleating of the appease-for-peace crowd)—negativity has most often occurred in economics. Despite rapidly accumulating evidence that economic activity is not only picking up, but has been relatively robust since the fall of 2001, the pessimists nevertheless abound. We see it in the grumbling of the world's economic ministers, in the downcast biases of certain federal data agencies that seem to specialize in keeping good news from the public, in ignorant politicians who prattle about the "demise" of the US dollar (last year they whined that it was too strong!) or about the public being too stupid to invest wisely, and in the ever-catastrophic claims of scores of Internet and other media columnists. Sometimes I call these people—with a Nod to former US VP Spiro Agnew—the Nabobs of Negativism.

One wonders why the Nabobs persist. Their negativism seems so outdated. Just think about it a second. If 25 years ago you had tried to anticipate today's magnificent living standards—replete with amazing products, inventions, services, and entire industries that didn't even exist then—many people would have buried you in a hailstorm of rotten eggs. You would have seemed foolishly Pollyannaish, even callous, or, as the Democrats like to redundantly say to Republicans, you'd have appeared mean-spirited. (Doesn't just "mean" say enough?) Those were bad days. No, not Great Depression stuff. But they weren't anything to write back to the home planet about, either.

For younger readers, a one-phrase history: A quarter-century ago, we were in the clutches of a deep recession, ruinous inflation, high unemployment, low overall confidence, and ridiculous regulation. Today—despite the brief 2001 slowdown—we are in another American golden age of prosperity. Productivity has run at an envy evoking 4% for the past 18 months. Core economic output is once more chugging close to historical norms, averaging around 3%. Unemployment is unexpectedly falling, down from its fairly low peak of 6%--and far below the rates seen in the last major recession of the early 1980s. Inflation is hiding under the rug. Oil prices are again plunging in anticipation of the Iraqi conflict's settlement. The Dow Industrials are again soaring, up a whopping 10% in the last week; the NASDAQ is up even better, percentage-wise. Retail sales—the true measure of consumer sentiment, far more reliable than any confidence polls—have chugged along at a 5% rate for the last several quarters. From an utopian standpoint, it's not the best of all possible worlds. No, it's just the best that the world has ever seen.

So why all the fallen faces and moaning mugs?

"Well," you may say, "with billions flooded away in the 2001 stock market turmoil, the resulting smell is not exactly that of the flowers of spring." True, the market downturn—mainly in the tech-heavy NASDAQ—drew a lot of Sulking Sams out from under their economic rocks. The media have given them their usual, unwarranted snivel-time. And, as usual, the hubris of the sectorially disaffected remains high. The first-time recessioners continue to predict that their economic sector determines the fate of the world. "When tech goes, we all go," I heard one 20-something econo-seer spout, depressed about his Web stock having lost a huge hunk of its value—and never mind that his company never actually produced any tangible service or product, but only promised to do so. (A trap, by the way, that "too rich" Bill Gates never fell for—one big reason why he remains the world's richest man here in early 2003.)

Let's not whisper that most over-projecting, conceited grumps have proven themselves wrong throughout history. That never stops a new crop of catastrophists from making overwrought forecasts and denigrating any who question them. They tend to be oblivious to the wider trends of their times. For example, long-time readers will remember how three years ago we told you about a Forbes columnist who claimed that a Dow decline to 3,600 was likely, and could last for years? Didn't happen. Not even close. The Dow as I write this is in the 8000s. And while the NASDAQ remains off its highs, it's also well off its lows and is rebounding faster than the Dow.

The truth is that the super-doomers are usually wrong in America. It's normal for them to be wrong. To this day, they vastly underestimate the synergistic power of optimism, resilience, and ambition in the modern US economy. Much like the ultra-greens, they snatch at short-term problems in order to argue for long-term catastrophe. They try to stretch short-term recoveries into long-term debacles.

Baffling Boom

Spring begins tomorrow. As we say here at TOA Daily, the positive is part of the objective. The forthcoming rebirth of nature's annual growth is a good time to reexamine our economic positives. There are quite a few.

Despite the tech stock shock, real consumer confidence—i.e., retail sales—are doing well. It's not as strong as it was a couple months ago—mainly due to the war uncertainty—but it's not bad. When a high jumper clears seven-and-a-half feet, he's still jumping well even if it's not his record. Investment money continues to move into America, as do brains and talent. New business start-ups are rebounding. Internet sales have quintupled in the last two years, soaring right through the so-called recession of 2001. With 238 months of growth out of the last 245, this remains the longest growth-to-decline period for a major nation in modern Western history. (I don't buy the theory that we actually hit recession in 2001. At worst, the economy might have experienced a negative blip for a month or two—but even that is unclear from revised data. It's not as cut-and-dried as the media tell you. In fact, don't be surprised if the recession is rescinded in one of the more red-faced "Oops!" episodes we've ever seen among the datacrats.) Despite the official Neandertal numbers, our own growth estimate suggests that the pace of US expansion is not 3%, but closer to 5 or 6% (roughly paralleling retails sales, which is often a better proxy for true growth as well as for true confidence.)

Yes, we're growing more slowly than during the hottest part of the last boom, but we're still in a long-term, healthy expansion. As our younger market participants are finally realizing, booms have slowdowns—and even sectoral contractions (e.g., the NASDAQ and much old-line manufacturing)—and are never smoothly continuous.

There's more positive news. Despite the bad-weather driven slump last month in new home sales, home ownership is at its best level in decades. Regardless of Fed chairman Greenspan's periodic grousing over the last seven years about imminent inflation, inflation is probably true deflation right now. TOA estimates that with quality improvements and other factors taken into account, deflation is running at about 1.5% a year. Gold prices, after having briefly hitting $370 an ounce a few months ago, have been sinking again as the dollar rebounds rapidly. Industrial investment in new companies is cruising close to the average of the best three years ever. Research and development are still picking up and there is no shortage of brainpower and talented labor—yet pay is good. TOA's index of individual income growth, after taxes, is moving ahead at about 5% annually. On top of all that, we're in the midst of a 10-year cut in US taxes, the good effects of which we're only beginning to feel. And new cut packages are moving through Congress.

The list of positives is long and deep.

In the face of so many optimistic economic facts, what accounts for the perpetual whining and griping—and at times, near panic—among certain media, academics, politicians, and professional bureaucrats—not to mention more than a handful of economists? As with the human condition itself, the reasons are multiple:

First, it's partly an ancient psychological phenomenon: As conditions improve, expectations rise faster. Man's imagination and desires always outpace his achievements. This is not exactly news. Socrates and others talked about it in Ancient Greece. Jewish and Chinese intellectuals have said as much for millennia. This is characteristic of any vigorous economy—not just ours. Ireland (still Europe's best by several measures), Spain, Australia, England, Taiwan, and others have reported the same phenomenon during periods of growth. It is a psychological impression that one is falling behind although he is moving ahead, sometimes briskly.

Envy is also involved. As some people look around and see others getting ahead faster, they resent it. They feel that they are losing ground, regardless of the fact that they may be gaining at a record rate compared to their own pasts. That shows why it's always important to judge yourself by where you've been, not just by some preconceived ideal or, worse, by what the Joneses are doing.

Press Pessimists

Even in the best of economies there will be people sliding into tough times—or rather, tougher times. With its astonishing "job machine," they are a relative rarity in America and therefore become news. They stand out. Good economies cannot solve everyone's problems. I doubt they ever will. People's perceived problems are always relative. Problems expand with the times. Definitions stretch as cultural prosperity and opportunity evolve. What people see as a problem today (e.g., lack of a widescreen HDTV or of DSL service) people yesterday didn't even think about. Nor does every down-and-outer want his problems solved. Welfare can be more than adequate to sustain a standard of living above subsistence in America and most of the West. Because the media tend to readily focus on hard luck stories, actual or exaggerated, the attention they get is disproportionate to their reality—especially when a slowdown occurs. The TV networks and major newspapers are masters at creating the impression that under the surface of the economic roadway there is a huge sinkhole ready to swallow us all.

Then there's a philosophical problem. Certain economists and politicians operate on outdated principles. For example, many analysts believe that prosperity inevitably generates runaway prices. Never mind that advocates of this school have been around since the early 1980s and have been proven wrong again and again as inflation has spiraled down. Old hypotheses die hard. Old advocates of them die harder. Misconceptions are the barbiturates of economic thought.

Finally, there's evidence that the media seek out sourpusses simply to get more variety in the name of "human interest." (Why does human interest always have to be negative?) That's why—as has been true every year or two in this long, long boom—we're seeing more hard luck stories, cases of people "falling through the cracks" (if not here, then overseas, maybe in Lower Mumbojumbo or some similarly enlightened place), and of endless interviews with off-beat economists and newsletter authors predicting the demise of good times or the worsening of "bad" ones. The latest fad is that the War on Terror will "soak up" economic vitality and cause a double-dip recession.

This gloomy media season won't last, so let's try not to take it too seriously. Here on the eve of Spring 2003, let's remind ourselves of the underlying positives in America. Let's recall that economic corrections can happen even in the best of times, just as they can in our personal lives—but that with resilience and reason we will survive them quite nicely. Let's keep our economic counsel and integrity and give optimistic facts their deserved place. Things are looking up. The Worriers of Winter are about to dive back into their caves. The Optimists of Spring are coming out, stretching and smiling in the sun. Things will be just fine.

This was his last in-depth post before the stroke that eventually killed him. With his opposition, I was able to stand reading

I haven't been able to do so since March, 2003. Their positions seem too much in line with the "blame America first" crowd.

News alert! Gunter Grass admits to having been drafted into the Waffen SS in WWII.

Crap! I'm tired! I think I'll head off to bed.

Oh! By the way! Jason Lewis is back in the Twin Cities. I've been enjoying his broadcasts since Tuesday.

Another good quote

This one's from The Chronicles of Mises:
George Reisman once again gave a splendid lecture entitled "The Benevolence of Capitalism." The thesis: capitalism promotes human life and well-being and does so for everyone. Amen, preach on!

Freedom is the foundation of personal safety and economic security. Some people think there is a conflict of security and freedom, but really freedom is the foundation of security. Why? Freedom is the absence of initiation of physical force. When one is free, one is safe and secure from common crimes. To the extent we have freedom we are safe and physically secure. Free from government, which is potentially much worse than a common criminal gang. Furthermore, where there is freedom there is peace abroad, because once again there is absence of force. Economic security under freedom derives from the fact that you can do whatever you want to do without using physical force. With the use of force prohibited, he must use his reason to find ways to increase his own well being with others through trade and production. Hence, during the age of capitalism a continuing increase in the supply of economically useable, accessible natural resources has been made possible.

BTW, I'm not going out of town this weekend, so I'll be checking up on the old blog Sat & Sun.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thomas Sowell's article today,

"Studies prove....", makes a great point, "Many people who complain about the corrupting influence of money never seem to apply that to government money."
But he has a fix for us:
If high government officials were serious about wanting to know the facts, they could set up an independent statistical agency, along the lines of the General Accounting Office, to do studies of the effects of the policies of the operating agencies.

That would mean that the fox would no longer be in charge of the hen house, whether the fox was the Labor Department, the Commerce Department, or any of the other departments and agencies.

It would also mean that various bright ideas originating in Congress or the White House would now be exposed to the risk of being shown to be costly failures or even counterproductive. Whole careers could be ruined among both elected officials and bureaucrats.

Yeah, my heart would bleed for them.

On the other hand, I thought that that was what the GAO was supposed to do.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Voyageur Rendezvous, White Oak, 2006

I got some work for the old Image Shack!

Where to start?!

Well, I brought the wife and kids up a week ago Sunday, and set up the tent for them. Then I had to race back home and spend the week in the empty house pretending that life had meaning without them. Like TV before color it was...a regression.

They were as happy to see me as I was to see them Friday night. I intend to plan my life better in the future.

Here are my loved ones:
Free Image Hosting at

Craftsmanship of the highest order was on display! I don't know whom to start with!

The Clockwork Clown befriended my Rosie (I swear I took her picture, but I don't see it here), so I'll start with her. She's a fantastic, tiny little acrobat and contortionist who does a show with her big, strong, glib showman brother. I'll work on a "show-don't-tell" post about their show. But what they did for Rosie was teach her to make glass beads. I'll show you Rosie's accomplishments later, but here's Emerald's (the Clockwork Clown's) work:
Free Image Hosting at
I gotta get a better camera. The stuff is beautiful! The larger beads go for $20, and I'd say they're worth it.

I talked about my friend Dan the Blacksmith, who let me make a hook on his forge at Pine City last year. (That's a September Rendezvous, the "Fall Gathering", if you care to attend. Period attire-1760 to 1806-gets you in free! Heck! They probably wouldn't reject 1600-1840, as long as it has something to do with the fur trade.)

Where was I? Oh! Dan wasn't there, but a brand-new Rendezvouser, coaxed (for good reason, let me tell you) in be the same people-Dan and Stoni-who brought us in, displayed his brilliance at tanning and finishing animal hides. Here he is smoking a hide:
Free Image Hosting at

Dave is a true craftsman, and a wonderful gentleman. The next pic will show the beauty of his workmanship, but I have to tell you that he took down one of his own hides from the smoker to cure a hide for a visitor before we left on Sunday.
Free Image Hosting at

In his day job, he's a...well, since I don't have his permission to talk about it, we'll call him a music teacher. His buckskins are as smooth and soft as silk, and he charges far too little for them. I've got to get six or seven for a shirt and pants for myself before he raises his price. Did you notice that I called that pic "silk-soft wares?"

Other traders at the Rendezvous include my daughter's friend Emma. This is her blanket:
Free Image Hosting at

I'll stop there, but I'd be happy to show all my pix, including the sword fight that broke out outside my tent [or tount, as Aliina insists on calling it--now I know how languages change over time], the magnificent woodworks of two of my neighbors'-one who specialized in boxes and one in noggins.

I could use a new noggin. Mine is tiny. If you show up at a neighbor's tent with a tiny noggin, you won't get much. You can't!

The bigger the noggin the better, they say. Anyway, the guy I failed to buy from has some beautiful, big ones to choose from.

All right! I can't stand it either!
Free Image Hosting at
I, stupidly, didn't get his card (although, maybe the fact that he was an extreme smart-ass had something to do with that)).

Just remember: take care of your noggin, and she'll take care of you.

I was up at the White Oak Rendezvous for the weekend

I believe I mentioned that before.

We had a good time. I plan to bug you with pictures later today.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ron, especially, needs to check out Matt Furey.

[Matt Furey]

I'm a total convert. Here's a couple paragraphs, from an ebook of his:
...[W]hose kidding whom? Most people, worldwide, have been sold the 'weights only' hype for so long I probably have no chance of ever convincing them that my way is right. ...But I sell what I believe in. Period.


If what I say upsets you and 'the others' who think like you - and you choose to keep pumping your iron, you'll hear no argument from me. It's really none of my business. If, however, you ever join that group of people who are racked with pain from years of weight training - or who simply didn't get the results they wanted from the practice, I'll be here for ya.

I direct this at my role-model and life-coach. You gotta read this ebook, Ron. Furey was a swimming champ and a wrestling national champion (NCAA-Div I). And a Kung Fu World Champion.

I know that wrestling was the hardest thing I've ever done. If you haven't experienced it, imagine spending three minutes in close contact with a person who is opposing - with physical force - every motion you want to make. That physical force you're facing, btw, is applied with great ingenuity, experience and understanding of what you're up to.

I guess I'm saying that I'm assuming Matt Furey is my new hero. And, Oddly enough, he's pretty much exactly my age.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mel Gibson Being Stupid (invadesoda)

As someone who has defended the film "The Passion of The Christ" against charges of anti-Semitism, I am entirely disgusted with Mel Gibson's recently reported anti-Semitic remarks . I had defended against criticisms of the movie because I saw them as veiled attacks from people who had a bone to pick against Christianity itself. Gibson's father has denied the Holocaust, but I was sure the son was smarter than that. I was wrong.

I agree with Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League that "his tirade finally reveals his true self and shows that his protestations during the debate over his film 'The Passion of the Christ,' that he is such a tolerant, loving person, were a sham." Some will now try to say the film is not anti-Semitic even though its creator is. That rings false to me. Here's why.

I have never been one inclined to complain much about left-leaning bias in the media, simply because most journalists in the media are left-leaning. I believe someone can be left-leaning and still report fairly in some cases, but what I don't believe is that someone can be left-leaning without that outlook seeping into their most important journalism. To be consistent, I have to consider Mel Gibson's work the same way. An anti-Semite can no more make a film about Jews that's not anti-Semitic than a left-leaning journalist's body of work can fail to be left-leaning.

I never got around to seeing the movie, and now I have no reason to.