Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm spending my New Year's Eve

(it's not midnight here yet) reading these three articles by Robert Higgs*:
From the Armistice to the Great Depression
Military-Economic Fascism: How Business Corrupts Government, and Vice Versa, and
If Men Were Angels: The Basic Analytics of the State versus Self-government
I just finished the first one and found it pretty convincing. It's basically a catalogue of all the mistakes made by the Great Powers after WWI that led to the Depression. And Hitler's ascension.

*Well, after taking the younger girl swimming and reading Lemony Snicket to the older girl. By the way, if you want to get an idea of how I talk to my kids, read a Lemony Snicket novel aloud. Then, when I'm with my peers, as seldom as that happens, mix in some sailor language. It doesn't work well, but I can't help myself. When I'm irritable, you just get the sailor. Or somebody does; I try to direct it at inanimate objects.

I resolve to be more irresolute than ever

in this New Year.

Yeah, that thought was inspired by Lileks, but I think I've taken his thought in an Escherian "direction."

The thing is, I'm not just trying to be funny; I really mean it!

I wonder if Robert Ringer wants to be remembered for all time

for this stroke of genius:
"Government is a contract between those who want their lives and property protected and those who want power."

He follows that up with this:
The Founding Fathers’ original idea was that those who aspire to power were to be given limited power in exchange for protecting the lives and property of those who granted them that power. Never was it stated, or even implied, in the Constitution or in any other document, that government would have the right to plunder at will, violate the constitutional rights of its citizens, or engage in any other kind of activities not expressly spelled out in the Constitution.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan promised that if he were elected he would abolish the Department of Education. I believe Reagan’s intentions were sincere, but, like almost all politicians, he was corrupted by the system. Once elected, his advisors quickly “rehabilitated” his “misguided thinking.” As a result, not only is the Department of Education still in business, but government mischief has brought us one misleading education program after another, the latest and most misleading of all being George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” scam.

His topic for a while now has been "What went wrong with Cho":
...[I]n the next installment of this series, I’m going to move on to other steps that I believe could be taken to slow the Cho incubation rate without regard to whether schools are private or public … without regard to whether teachers are forced to sell their services in the marketplace or remain chained to the NEA agenda.

He's not providing direct links to this series, so I don't know how to prove that he said these things (or give proper attribution), but if you sign up for his newsletter here (he's not heavy-handed with the advertising, in my opinion) you can get the most recent articles.

Oh! Here's the first of the series. Maybe I can cheat and get to the one quoted here. Looks like it:

The Cho Factor is installment I, same as the link above.

Installment II: A Soul Without Purpose

...All right, I can't hand 'em all out for nothing. The titles are great though:
III: The Great Copout: “Evil”
IV: No Other Option?
V: Victims and Victimizers
VI: Quiet Suffering
VII: Prime Targets

...hmm, apparently this is where he changed his archiving method.

So this current one is IX: Eliminating the Two-Headed Snake.
Sign up for the free newsletter yourself and(/or) figure out how I'm cheating and do it yourself. Actually, you can probably Google the ones I found. I don't know if this is just a glitch related to revamping his website or if he specifically doesn't want strangers accessing his content directly.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Enchanted, Packers, Patriots

That's my outline, but, since I have the least to say about them, first I'll say Congrats Pats fans for selecting such a fine team to admire. 16-0. I guess I have seen that before, but it didn't make much of an impression back when I was seven and eight. I had other things to worry about. (That was when this kid in my class wasn't happy unless he'd just had the crap pounded out of him. He did things to make sure it happened.)

While they were winning their last regular-season game, I was taking my family to see Enchanted. I thought it was pretty funny. It starts out as a self-parody of all the cloyingly sweet cartoons Disney has ever made, then they throw all the people who need a good hard slap into the middle of New York City, where they're sure to get it.

Then the characters who thrive on reality get sorted out from the ones who need romance and all of them end up in their proper places.

The song and dance routine in Central Park is hilarious.

Hey, I'm not writing a sales pitch here! I'm just saying that the movie deserves to be the top-rated comedy in theaters right now.

And in other news, the Packers beat Detroit 34-13. It was a game they should have won, but, after last week you had to wonder. So the Pack finished the season 13-3. The same record they had the last time they faced the Patriots in the Superbowl.

Of course, the Patriots didn't have a 16-0 record then. And, should they face each other in the Superbowl, that record will have grown to 18-0. They only have to keep doing what they're doing to get there. The Packers have to keep improving.

The Packers won the first-round bye a couple weeks ago, now all we gotta worry about is who they'll face in two weeks (the choices are Seattle, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants), whether the bye week will be good for them or bad, will they come healed-up and hungry or overconfident and lazy... I hate bye weeks.

I didn't get the TV on in time to watch Favre play, but Nall and everybody else seemed to be getting the job done.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto was a beautiful woman

Physically and spiritually.

I feel the loss of her personally, I had a bit of a crush on her.

I know that's about the silliest thing anybody will write about her. Hopefully.

Here's a link to a serious obituary and analysis.

May she rest in peace. And may Pakistan achieve peace.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My long Christmas weekend

Saturday: slept in, went to relatives, came home, cleaned house a bit, waited for inlaws.

Sunday: slept in, shoveled drive, rented pickup to transport new garage door home, picked up door and purchased boards and hardware needed for the job, went home and unloaded door, got stuck returning two-wheel drive rental pickup in snowstorm, paid late fee, drove my 4WD pickup home, dismantled old door, read door manual, discovered that new door is a torsion-spring door rather than an extension-spring door (thus requiring a beefed-up wall to mount), shoveled driveway, discussed alternatives.

Monday (Christmas Eve): returned wrong garage door opener, purchased right one, purchased better door-frame boards and more hardware, looked over door parts, tried new door in opening, discovered my opening is non-standard.

Discussed major renovations.

Went to candle-light Christmas Eve service at church (I needed it), caught In-laws cleaning house when we came home, joined them, up until 2:00 AM.

Tuesday: (Christmas Day): opened presents, repaired and reinstalled half of old garage door, ate Christmas dinner, finished installing old door, shoveled driveway, up intil 1:30 AM.

So, now you know.

Sorry to tell ya, kids: Bill Benson's a casuist.

I mean, it's the same sort of casuistry that convinces juries and courts to do stupid things all the time (and trust the b-tards to get all "spirit of the law"-y and "check and balance"-y on an issue that hits them in the pocket-book) but I'm afraid that the argument that the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified just doesn't fly.

At the latter link you'll find this link to the best summary of 'why Bill Benson's wrong.'

Your fellow citizens have decided that they want to squander your money, and as long as you accept democracy, you'll have to accept that.

[Update: Crap! Why did I come in here? Never mind, sorry.]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I need to give this a link

Roy Childs' Big Business and the Rise of American Statism.

It ties together about 85% of what I've been trying to say lately.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sheldon Richman, whose blog I've now linked

rather high up on my side-bar, wrote an essay a couple weeks ago... Ah, if I don't find it, I'm not going to be able to say anything intelligent...

Go check out William Penn here. The only thing I really knew about him before was what Macauley said. Apparently Macauley's been refuted. Penn was a hero! A true libertarian icon!

And check this out from

Anyway, TF was talking about the foundation of rights the other day. I wanted to see what he thinks of de Jasay's piece, which says, basically (as they intro it there):
Nineteenth-century utilitarians introduced into liberalism ideas incompatible with its essence, thus giving rise to a contemporary “liberalism” that discounts the value of liberty. For genuine liberalism to resist the penetration of alien elements, it must affirm vigorously two basic principles: the presumption of freedom, and the rejection of the rules of submission to political authority.

He also says that rights are crap and should be replaced by those principles.

Richman says, after quoting Jasay's paragraph, which says approximately what I just said:
When some Americans in the late eighteenth century demanded that a bill of rights be added to the newly proposed Constitution (in fact the second U.S. constitution), defenders of the Constitutional Convention's handiwork responded that a list of rights, although necessarily incomplete, would be taken to be exhaustive. Advocates of a bill of rights countered by proposing what became the Ninth Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

That seemed to solve the problem. Except that it didn't. The courts have not used the amendment to defend unenumerated rights. Conservative legal scholars claim not to know what it means. Robert Bork famously said it was as if the framers had obscured the text with an ink blot. So despite that language, the Bill of Rights has been regarded as exhaustive. Conservatives glibly parry privacy claims by noting that the word privacy appears nowhere in the list.

Things, then, have worked out pretty much as Mr. de Jasay suggests. Rights are seen as a few islands in a sea of prohibitions. But pushing for recognition of the Ninth Amendment has its risks. Once people start excavating that mine, they are liable to dig up all sorts of "rights" no libertarian would like. Most Americans already think they have a right to a minimum wage, health care, and education. Be careful what you ask for.

For this reason, I am drawn to Mr. de Jasay's simpler approach, although it will be hard to kick the rights habit. Instead of defensively proving that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, let's start demanding that those who would interfere with freedom prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Let them be on the defensive for a change.

It's one of those articles I have a hard top not quoting all of. [Yeah, yeah...grammar...preposition...mutter...] Right at the moment, I'm having trouble summarizing the rest. Probably too much sugar.

Richman's disappointed, however in de Jasay's prescription for action, "It is worth the effort, however, constantly to challenge the state's legitimacy. The pious lie of a social contract must not be allowed to let the state complacently take its subjects' obedience too much for granted.... The best that strict liberalism can do is to combat this [democratic] state intrusion step by step at the margins, where some private ground may yet be preserved and where perhaps some ground may even be regained."

Richman's response, "Observing today's dismal political-economic landscape, it is easy to think that this modest, though by no means easily achieved, agenda is all that strict liberals can hope to win. But if that's all we aim for, we'll never know if we could have gotten more."

Maybe he'd be heartened by Paul Goodman's assertion that anarchy works whenever it's tried, and [I think it's in The Black Flag of Anarchism] he shows examples.

BTW: Anarchy links.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I got my wife a new garage door for Christmas.

With opener.

Or, perhaps, what I got her was the opportunity to do a home project with her father, which she apparently finds very satisfying. [Whoops! I mean "the opportunity for her to see her husband bonding with his father-in-law through means of a home improvement project. She ain't doin' no manual labor!]

All arranged by her, btw. The garage door is about number 38 on my priority list.

Anybody else got any fun plans for your long weekend?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Der Heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation

has been revived in spades. [Do I have my genders right? Always a question when going from a sexless language like English (or Finnish) to one of those oversexed languages (like German and Greek--the Romance languages I've looked at only have two genders, and are, therefore, merely sexy--damn near conventionally so.]

The European Union is about to become unified into a single nation.

Oh, and, lest I forget, here's a fascinating discussion of Ron Paul on Mother Jones' blog.

One of the latter discussants brought up the previous matter.

Time to update your understanding of John's Revelation. Makes me want to warn the Eurocrats, "If you &%$# with the bull, yer gonna get the horn!"

I haven't mentioned yet that I spent a number of hours with my brother when I went down to Oklahoma for the funeral, have I? Not as many as we'd have liked, 'cuz I was so effin' sick on Tuesday.

Outside of the realm of the supernatural, I doubt that joining together in a supernation will work out as well for them as they expect. Political matters are going to suck.

Oh, I should explain the title: it's the official name of Karl der Grosse's (better known to English and French speakers as Charlemagne--though he wasn't French. He was a Frank: a member of a German tribe that lived around Aachen) realm. The name of which was The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Some have been known to call it The First Reich.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You will be a better person if you read Theodore Dalrymple's essay

What the New Atheists Don't See.

It's a bit long. Steve directed my attention to it, and you might want to read what he has to say before you delve into it.

There were a couple of allusions I had to look up. I'll give you the links where I found the answers:


If you've never read Dickens' Hard Times (I haven't), this Wikipedia article is a fine summary of it. I read it all up to the description of the character Gradgrind:
Tom Gradgrind is a utilitarian who is the founder of the educational system in Coketown. 'Eminently practical' is Gradgrind's recurring description throughout the novel, and practicality is something he zealously aspires to. He represents the stringency of 'Fact', statistics and other materialistic pursuits. Only after his daughter's breakdown does he come to a realisation that things such as poetry, fiction and other pursuits are not 'destructive nonsense'.

Juan Sánchez Cotán
Dalrymple's description of the painting is a work of poetry itself:
Even if you did not know that Sánchez Cotán was a seventeenth-century Spanish priest, you could know that the painter was religious: for this picture is a visual testimony of gratitude for the beauty of those things that sustain us. Once you have seen it, and concentrated your attention on it, you will never take the existence of the humble cabbage—or of anything else—quite so much for granted, but will see its beauty and be thankful for it. The painting is a permanent call to contemplation of the meaning of human life, and as such it arrested people who ordinarily were not, I suspect, much given to quiet contemplation.

Ah, a fine philistine I am!

To reclaim my bona fides in that respect, it's only the majority of the currently avant garde stuff that I don't get. I'm not much impressed by abstract paintings, sculpture, architecture and (even) literature.

I usually "get" "representational" art.

Hey!! How about those Packers?!!

[He said, trying desperately to change the subject.]

33-14 is a convincing win, wouldn't you say? They secure the "Bye" and home-field advantage for the divisional playoff game...

Let's see, what else was interesting...?

Favre tossed two interceptions. I'm used to that sort of thing from him, but I was getting used to him not doing it lately.

Does the number 61,405 mean anything to you?

It's the new all-time passing yardage record for a quarterback.

Time to get me a Brett Favre jersey. Let me tell you something: being a Packer fan before the Brett Favre era was a discouraging experience. And one big reason good things are happening for him now is that Favre wouldn't put this as succinctly as the writer:
One undeniable and invaluable factor in the offense's prowess that has also helped Favre close quickly on Marino's yardage record is his receivers' yards after the catch.

Approximately 52 percent of Favre's 3,678 passing yards this season have come after the catch, as the Packers have made big plays both on short routes that turn into long runs and long throws that become huge gains when the receiver gets behind the entire defense.

He goes on and on about the help he's getting. And that just encourages those guys to go out and do more.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Did you have any doubt?

I am a
Looking for payday loan?

Of course, you don't need to know the history and provenance of every alcoholic beverage to be a drunkard or alcoholic, you just have to drink them.

And here's another important "fact" about me, that I'm sure has been tested empirically
Not randomly chosen five-year-olds I'm sure. Only kids with a big-enough "Why?"

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Uncle died.

[I hate to admit it, but this needed editing. I know better than to post when writing time is crunched... but I keep doing it anyway.]

I don't want to call him my favorite uncle of all time, because all of them took their turn in that post. I had, uh...[1, 2, 3,...] eight uncles back in the seventies. I'm down to four. The youngest one was the first to go in 1980.

But Uncle Bill was my first favorite: he was brilliant with little kids.

I started to write this Friday, but that was as far as I got. The Minister, a family member, said that Uncle Bill always brightened up a room when he entered it. He always made you feel welcome...that he was glad to see you...that you were important.

As I went through life as a fat kid, a gawky teenager, a jock, a smart-alecky college kid, family man and lately, a fat, old, bald guy, I can tell you that it's absolutely true.

Uncle Bill was a wiry cowboy type - he looked, and dressed, like someone you'd find wrangling cows on a ranch. And he did his share of that kind of thing. "Wiry" is a funny pun - he made his living as an electrician.

I won't do his whole biography, I'm not qualified. (I would be, if I'd learn to take notes.)
Muskogee didn't get hit by the ice storm, though Tulsa, 40 miles to the northwest, was shut down. The funeral was on Monday; I was going to come back North Tuesday, but that's when the storm hit... So, I was stuck.

28 people died, last I heard, due to the ice storm, mostly in car accidents. I'd be surprised to find out that even one of them wasn't a tragic loss to humanity. Each of their unique contributions to society are now lost.

It's just as well I didn't try to drive in that, I was in no shape to drive Tuesday. I had some kind of inexplicable disease that day (fever, aches and pains, I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed...uh ... other unpleasant symptoms) that cleared up by the next morning.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

From FEE--In Brief, a daily newsletter I get:

Revamped Consumer Agency in the Works
"The Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act of 2007 would initiate the first major overhaul of the Consumer Product Safety Commission since its founding in 1973. It seeks to reverse a steady decline in the size and effectiveness of the agency by increasing its annual funding to $100 million, from $63 million, over four years." (Washington Post, Thursday)

What good is a reinforced false sense of security?

FEE Timely Classic
"The Role of Brands in Consumer Markets" by William G. Stuart

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I would very much like to see my

beloved Dr. Sowell elaborate on this point:
I believe in libertarian principles but not in libertarian fetishes. In any context, the difference between principles and fetishes can be the difference between night and day.

I suppose I could blather on about what I think he means, and no doubt I will, but I'd rather hear him say it.

It's something that deserves elaboration. All my time studying Libertarianism leads me to wonder, for instance, what the greatest libertarian world leader of all time, Thomas Jefferson, was thinking when he imposed the Embargo Act (I think I know what he was thinking when he purchase Louisiana from Napoleon, though, really it was an unconstitutional act). prints libertarian fetishes multiple times daily, as do other major libertarian websites - I've quoted some here, and even endorsed them to a degree...but guys like me are longing to be straightened out by the wisdom of an experienced man like Dr. Sowell.

That won't happen if he doesn't define his terms.

Jeez, I should do a post at the

other blog. I got some family pix I could post, I suppose.

Part of the problem is that I've been wallowing in bourgeois-ness for quite a while, and I'm afraid I can't find much of it worthy of comment. I mean, I've been doing yard work: raking leaves, putting away the inflatable pool (which looks like it'll last at least one more year; which makes four--though, I find it's not a babe-magnet to have an inflatable pool, so what's the point... unless you take the word "babe" literally, in which case the lock on the gate has been helpful), shoveling snow...

Oh, yeah! That's what I was going to say! You may have noticed that it's been cold around here so far this month. I'm too much of a solipsist to know if it's been cold and/or snowy in the neighboring states, but My Higher Power has been giving me plenty of exercise in keeping my driveway clear for the past five days. Come to think of it, I haven't cleaned up the mess the city left at the lower end yet today... although, I shoveled out enough of the street to keep it from being a major concern.

I'm forced to drive on the freeway for a couple miles every workday, and I'm pissed at the people who refuse to drive faster than 25 mph! Listen! If you've never done a shitty (that's what we called "doughnuts" back in the '80s--I don't know what they're calling them now; 360 degree spin-outs--near as I can tell, the art has been forgotten) in a parking lot, you don't belong behind the wheel in the winter. Get ye to the parking lot! Don't worry about the cops, they're too busy eating doughnuts to worry about any hell-raisers roaming the streets.

And, by the way, that reminds me of what I learned about parenting while raising two rotten dopers: if the cops don't care what your kids are up to, they don't care what you're up to. (We booted the older boy out half a year before any court would have allowed.)

The great line from "V", "Anarchy in the UK!" applies everywhere.

The true downside of Ron Paul, and I

have it on good authority, is that he's never read the second page of The Constitution.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Boy! I need to write some crap!

Not that that would be unusual, or anything, but I need to tamp down the front page a bit. I've been kind of...courting disaster by not getting some new posts up here since the other day.

So what is there to blather on about?

You got any ideas?

I need to check my receipts. My credit card guardians called me up and asked me about a purchase on the card today. On the spot, I told them that I knew what it was, and I think I do, but I don't recall the exact name of the organization that I bought the thing from. So now I get to dig around and try to find that.

Is this something that ought to be mentioned on a blog?

It's weighing on my mind a bit. I'll have to get right on that.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Khartoum Imams are Morons

"Kill her! Kill her by firing squad!"

I know Muslims. They're not all morons.

Is Muhammed God?

The kind of response these people have to naming a teddy bear Muhammed looks like worshipping something other than Allah to me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Carl Milsted says Ron Paul's in his Upper Left Quadrant

And that's a hell of a good place for him to be.
What we are seeing is bigger than any particular campaign. What we are seeing is the political awakening of the "Upper Left." Think of the Left-Right spectrum as going from egalitarian to aristocratic; this puts Democrats to the Left and Republicans to the Right, as expected. Now, add a second dimension: freedom. Democratic Party represents the Lower Left – bigger government with the promise of more equality. The Republican Party has factions both in the Upper Right (Reagan, Forbes) and the Lower Right (the Bushes).

You'll have to go to The Free Liberal to see his chart.
A new political party which occupies the Upper Left has the potential to become as big or bigger than the existing major parties.

But there is no such party. But we do have Ron Paul. For the first time in ages, the Upper Left has an outlet other than apathy, bitterness or conspiracy theories.

Then he explains just how Paul fits in there.

Whiskey and Car Keys for Wall Street

Lew Rockwell makes hay with a couple good analogies. First:
[The vice chairman of the Federal Reserve] said the Fed would follow "flexible and pragmatic policy making" and "act as needed."

Whoo hoo! You see, to markets that are worried about the future, this was interpreted as a pledge to lower interest rates and flood the economy with more credit.

Let's ask ourselves: why would this make anyone optimistic? Let's say that you are playing the game Monopoly and one player proposes to double the money stock for everyone. The problem would be obvious to everyone. If the prices on the board could change, they would double. Since they can't, the game will only last twice as long as before. Meanwhile, players would become more reckless with their investments in houses and hotels. It wouldn't really make the players more wealthy; it would only create an illusion that would be temporary.

The analogy isn't exact, but the point should be clear. Paper money is not the same thing as wealth. Wealth comes from trade, investment, and capital accumulation. Money is merely a tool that facilitates the creation of wealth; it is not identical to it.

So what good does the new money do? From the perspective of Wall Street, it forestalls a recession. But what if a recession is needed? That is to say, what if a business downturn is what the economic fundamentals call for? In that case, new money injections do positive harm by preventing a correction and only add to the eventual problems that we all must face. It is no favor to the drug addict to keep him high until he is a corpse, and it is not good economic management to keep an economy drugged up until it hits the wall.
So why is Wall Street cheering? Is the investor class merely looking for another credit subsidy? The sad truth is yes, that is precisely what the financial markets want. This should not surprise us. A profligate and drunken son might be ruining his life, but the last thing he desires is to be denied access to his parents' credit cards.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some simple questions I feel like answering

from Mark:

1. Spaghetti - White or Red sauce? I'm for red, generally, but I like a good white.

2. Salad - Plain, or which dressing do you prefer? I'm naturally a gourmand: give me something different but good. Of the standard choices, I'll take ranch, but I'm looking for something to put my Sancha Inch oil, from Dr. Al Sears, on. (He says you can drink it right out of the bottle, and I want to tell you that he's right.)

3. Eggs - How do you like them? Fried over-easy is my first choice, boiled second, raw in a shake third.

4. Toast, English muffin, etc - light, dark or burnt?? Medium - between light and dark.

5. How do you drink your coffee, espresso or tea? Black and strong. I like espresso. But sometimes I've had enough coffee and I'll have tea, Earl Gray and Green with Lemon Grass are my favorites. I don't adulterate any of those with cream, sugar or lemon.

6. How do you take your steak? Well, Med, still moving, etc etc? Medium rare. I like it to look cooked and be hot all the way through. But blood doesn't bother me.

7. Soda - Regular, Diet, sugar free, blah blah blah etc etc?? My wife buys sugar free and I drink it, but I don't buy it myself. I buy juice and tea, left to my own devices.

8. Muffin - Tops or Bottoms? I eat the whole thing.

9. How do you drink your water? Ice, no ice, lemon, lime, straw, etc etc? Straight out of the filtered tap.

10. Salsa - Mild, Medium, hot or Brain burn? Depends on the food I'm putting it on. I like them all, but I won't wipe out the taste of a delicious veggie or meat dish with a too-hot sauce. But I'm always willing to experiment.

Packers v. Patriots! That's my dream!

I don't know what my beloved Brett Favre would have to pull out of his wazoo to get there (and then win), but I've let out the breath I was holding while waiting for them to have a decent season. I'm breathing easy now.

It's good that we're facing Dallas now and not five weeks ago. The Packers are better now than they were then, and they're already in the playoffs. Will they step up to the plate, or will they lay off this weekend?

You know what? I'm only talkin' about this to draw the attention of a certain Pats fan, who's updated his site, who needs to come over here on a mission from God to straighten my ass out.

Huh. That seemed funnier before I typed it up.

I'll leave it there, because I've always been interested in where things go when people misunderstand me. Usually life takes an interesting turn...and this one looks promising.

Mark, when I strike it rich, I'll donate the second huge wad I get (after the one I give to my own church) to yours for some more stone work. The stone is lovely. The siding looks Amish.

The grounds and the interior are as beautiful as any I ever seen, though. They make you understand how such things would make one want to praise God. or at least thank Him for giving you life in His creation.

Still looking for the pics of your knockout wife.

I told you I need help.

Preliminary! Preliminary! A list of abhorrent presidential acts.

I need to do more research.

Here’s a good resource, but I'd almost be tempted to call it a Whitehouse Whitewash:

1. Washington – violent suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.
2. Adams – Alien and Sedition Acts (although, I abhor the latter more than the former.)
3. Jefferson – Embargo Act of 1807
4. Madison – Nothing really bad on the Whitehouse site.
5. Monroe – Ditto.
6. Adams, J.Q. – proposed a lot of unconstitutional things
7. Jackson – removal of Indians from the eastern states.
8. Van Buren – Huh! I like the guy!
9. Harrison, Wm – Gave an excessively long inaugural speech, but then he died from it.
10. Tyler – I know he did something I don’t like, but it’s not on the Whitehouse site. Supported the Confederacy after his presidency, but for reasons I respect.
11. Polk – Mexican War. Although makes it look reasonable.
12. Taylor – Pushed for holding the Union together by force.
13. Fillmore – He did quite a bit, actually, but signing Fugitive Slave Act is what I most dislike.
14. Pierce – signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealing the Missouri Compromise.
15. Buchanan – And they called Grant “Useless.”
16. Lincoln – “You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it." No, sir. The oath says, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My daughter asked me to help her research DDT tonight

for a homework assignment in persuasion - she's taking a "pro-DDT" position. Apparently she was working exclusively off the information from one website. I'm pretty pro-DDT myself, but I gave her a bit of a lecture about trusting the information from one guy. (Though he sounds pretty reasonable - the couple sources I checked check out, but he makes some claims I couldn't verify - one is that bird eggshell thinning and other problems are caused by PCBs, not DDT.)

I showed her what the WHO has to say. I had to download two PDFs for that...small ones ("WHO Position on DDT" and "Frequently asked questions on DDT use for disease vector control." Then we checked out Dean Esmay's discussion.

And NPR.

I've mentioned that the whole "there are two sides to every story" storyline that most news outlets bugs me. I found it a bit annoying that NPR thought it appropriate to oppose the head of the WHO's antimalaria campaign with a guy who'd say,
"This is a chemical that has been studied and evaluated...and over the years has been found to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, adversely affect the immune system and is very problematic from the standpoint that it is persistent." DDT collects "in fatty tissue and in the environment," he adds, and can also be passed on in breast milk.

Such does not appear to be the case. It does build up in fatty tissue and is indeed passed on in breast milk, but whether or not it's a cancer risk to humans is still in question (read that third link - they were "anti" and they came up with nothing, to my mind).

After how many decades of study? [Update: Here's one answer to that question.]

It's a non-issue. The only real issue left is the environmental impact, and I need to dig deeper to see about that. I'm not going to take just anybody's word on it. I have to say, though, that after all this study, that Esmay's and his guest's defense of Rachel Carson (for some reason, I'm not able... Wait, here it... no... Yes! Vic Stein is the guest's name!) at least goes along with what looks to be the "scientific consensus" on DDT. That is that agricultural [or willy-nilly] applications are not the proper use of it.

We've had Silent Spring in the house. I'll see if I can verify that that's what Carson was saying.

I don't want to come off as a Moderate.

[Update(s): From Wikipedia:
Many critics repeatedly asserted that she was calling for the elimination of all pesticides despite the fact that Carson had made it clear she was not advocating the banning or complete withdrawal of helpful pesticides, but was instead encouraging responsible and carefully managed use with an awareness of the chemicals' impact on the entire ecosystem.[50] In fact, she concludes her section on DDT in Silent Spring not by urging a total ban, but with advice for spraying as little as possible to limit the development of resistance.[51]

Conclusion of Reason article:
Meanwhile, Carson's disciples have managed to persuade many poor countries to stop using DDT against mosquitoes. The result has been an enormous increase in the number of people dying of malaria each year. Today malaria infects between 300 million and 500 million people annually, killing as many 2.7 million of them. Anti-DDT activists who tried to have the new U.N. treaty on persistent organic pollutants totally ban DDT have stepped back recently from their ideological campaign, conceding that poor countries should be able to use DDT to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

So 40 years after the publication of Silent Spring, the legacy of Rachel Carson is more troubling than her admirers will acknowledge. The book did point to problems that had not been adequately addressed, such as the effects of DDT on some wildlife. And given the state of the science at the time she wrote, one might even make the case that Carson's concerns about the effects of synthetic chemicals on human health were not completely unwarranted. Along with other researchers, she was simply ignorant of the facts. But after four decades in which tens of billions of dollars have been wasted chasing imaginary risks without measurably improving American health, her intellectual descendants don't have the same excuse.

Reason cites this study as proving that natural chemicals are more of a danger than DDT and even PCBs:
Several broad perspectives emerged from the committee's deliberations. First, the committee concluded that based upon existing exposure data, the great majority of individual naturally occurring and synthetic chemicals in the diet appears to be present at levels below which any significant adverse biologic effect is likely, and so low that they are unlikely to pose an appreciable cancer risk.

Much human experience suggests that the potential effects of dietary carcinogens are more likely to be realized when the specific foods in which they occur form too large a part of the diet. The varied and balanced diet needed for good nutrition also provides significant protection from natural toxicants. Increasing dietary fruit and vegetable intake may actually protect against cancer. The NRC report Diet and Health concluded that macronutrients and excess calories are likely the greatest contributors to dietary cancer risk in the United States.

Second, the committee concluded that natural components of the diet may prove to be of greater concern than synthetic components with respect to cancer risk, although additional evidence is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Existing concentration and exposure data and current cancer risk assessment methods are insufficient to definitively address the aggregate roles of naturally occurring and/or synthetic dietary chemicals in human cancer causation and prevention. Much of the information on the carcinogenic potential of these substances derives from animal bioassays conducted at high doses (up to the maximum tolerated dose, or MTD), which is difficult to translate directly to humans because these tests do not mimic human exposure conditions, i.e., we are exposed to an enormous complex of chemicals, many at exceedingly low quantities, in our diet. Furthermore, the committee concluded upon analyzing existing dietary exposure databases, that exposure data are either inadequate due to analytical or collection deficiencies, or simply nonexistent. In addition, through regulation, synthetic chemicals identified as carcinogens have largely been removed from or prevented from entering the human diet.

Third, the committee concluded that it is difficult to assess human cancer risk from individual natural or synthetic compounds in our diet because the diet is a complex mixture, and interactions between the components are largely unknown.

The committee's major conclusions are presented in detail below. They address the complexity and variability of the human diet, cancer risk from the diet, mechanisms and properties of synthetic vs. naturally occurring carcinogens, the role of anticarcinogens, and models for identifying dietary carcinogens and anticarcinogens.

In the diet, anyway.

Silent Spring Study Guide.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Want to see the Misesian review of Beowulf?

Probably not, but here are my two favorite paragraphs anyway:
The underside of government leadership is the primary subject of all revisionist history, and this form of history is something we should always give some benefit of the doubt. It is the official story of the heroism of leadership that we should suspect. This is true even with such untarnished demigods like George Washington, who, by all revisionist accounts, was an incompetent general, a man who had no sympathy for the original American idea, who jumped at the chance to send in the troops to put down a tax rebellion. The father of our country? Come on.

Have you visited the Lincoln Memorial? Pure paganism, wrapped in state worship. There he sits in the Temple of Democracy, with his hands on the fasces, [*] ruling us from the Heavens to which he clearly ascended after his martydom – the glorification of power on display for all to us. The tourists come and the tourists go. They figure the Lincoln must have been pretty marvelous and think nothing more about it.

*Bundles of sticks which the Romans understood as symbols of power: the emperor holding the pieces together. Of course, we English speakers call bundles of sticks fagots - symbols of something else entirely.

Oh! The Link!

Sorry to check out without warning there.

The In-Laws were down for Thanksgiving. I find them pleasant company, but they do play hobb with the online life.

My father-in-law and I went over to Harbor Freight and bought some stuff. He got a good deal on a miter saw and I bought a reciprocating saw for 20 bucks. I saw some whittling tools there that I'd like to have. The fine ones. I already have the crude ones.

I need to take one of those crude ones to the sign I inherited from my uncle that says, "The Erkkila's". I have that on my garage. Tell me what needs changing and I'll reimburse you up to $20 for anything at my store. [I'll be able to find you. (Though, I should actually go over and practice that. Speaking of which, I should go see what's going on with it. The managers certainly haven't been sending me any checks.)]

All right, since I'm talking about my store, I need to weed out some crap that doesn't pertain to my focus, organize things better, and see what else they've got at the warehouse. The place might be good if I'd actually do that work.


Did I have something to say when I came here? Uh-oh.

I've been reading Kant in my spare moments. I find him a lot easier to read than I did during my college days, when I was under the gun. He does say something that I can understand would make Ayn Rand throw the book across the room... Damn it! Where'd I set that book down? Oh, well... No, this is Critique of Pure Reason. I'm looking for the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics... Anyway, Kant says right up front that he was looking to save a place for belief (or faith) in the world of certain science and philosophy.

You can see how that'd set Rand off.

So, I'm reading Kant because of Hans-Hermann Hoppe's article, Economic Science and the Austrian Method. As well as everything that Kelley Ross (Ph.D) says. And the fact that Ayn Rand hated Kant's guts.

I mean, look, if you start reading Kant's smallest major work, The Prolegomena, and throw it across the room when you find out he's trying to find a place for mysticism in his philosophy, you're not going to see where he made extraordinary advances in epistemology beyond the Rationalists and Empiricists.

Dr. Hoppe makes much of the "synthetic a priori judgment." Indeed, he says that Economics consists of nothing beyond such statements. And he says that the regression to Humean Scepticism of the Logical Positivists has not been a boon to the science. They've been able to describe past states of human desires with some precision, but they haven't been able to predict future human actions very well at all. And they never will.

But the fact is, neither will Austrians.

What is predictable is the consequences of individual and collective actions. We know things about the human psyche without even looking outside our own skulls. If we need something and the politicos shut off the free avenues to it, we'll find ways around them. They'll face unintended consequences.

Then we'll face a new line of populist demaguogery and they'll enact another bullshit bandaid. With more unintended consequences.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You guys hear about the raid

on Liberty Dollar?

I guess this
Free Image Hosting at
gives me standing to join the Class Action Suit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Teacher: David Leibforth

My favorite teacher seems to have retired to Arizona, enjoyed success as a local politician and retired again.

I'm a bit distracted by an effort to bring up a Google Map of the Verde Valley. I envy Herr Leibforth. I spent eight enjoyable months about a hundred miles north of there, from June '86 to February '87.

Well, honestly, I could have stood to have had the gentleman looking over my shoulder during those months. I experienced many of the highest high points of my life then, and all of the lowest of the low points. Some of the former and all of the latter involving alcohol and/or drugs.

You'd think a guy would learn.

But I mean to praise Herr Leibforth, not lament my own poor decisions.

Der gute Lehrer hat uns Deutsch gelehrt. [I should use the simple past in writing, rather than the compound, but I had to concentrate on using the more conversational compound past tense in the latter years of my training as a German speaker, so now that has become the stonger habit.]

Oop! Interruption.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Well, it's a little soon to be doing another

Ron Paul post, but he has a campaign ad out that defines libertarianism perfectly in the first 25 seconds. And, then, when you listen to that, you'll see a link to what Newt Gingrich thinks of Dr. Paul.

Once again, what I'm interested in happens in the first half of the piece.

Here's a fun quote.

"And [we have an] instinct to fight wars too…that is even more dangerous than hamburgers." Porter Stansberry, quoted in The Daily Reckoning.

Crud! That's not what the permanent link will be when it gets archived. Try this, if you can't find it there. It may not work either, I constructed it myself based on how they do it in their archives.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Here's a pic of me in my TCMarathon finisher's shirt

Make that the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. I'm generally a deep admirer of Medtronic. Like any company, they've had difficulties. Unfortunately, when your products are medical devices, discovering after the fact that something is wrong with one of them is rather a big deal. I admire the hell out of the people in that company who keep trying to save lives in the face of that liability.

Anyway, since Probligo at least wanted to see them, here's me in my shirt with my medal:
Free Image Hosting at

Running a marathon in almost six hours is harder than running it in almost five. That's my experience. I want to compare those experiences to running one in almost four.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I thought I'd share Ron Paul's thank you message.

Amazing! I have to admit being floored by the $4.2 million dollars you raised yesterday for this campaign. And unlike the fatcat operations of the opposition, the average contribution from our 36,672 donors was $103.

I say "you raised," because this historic event was created, organized, and run by volunteers. This is the spirit that has protected American freedom in our past; this is the spirit that is doing so again.

Some of the mainstream media have sat up and taken notice. Others have pooh-poohed our record online fundraising. But the day is coming--far faster than they know--when they will not be able to ignore our freedom revolution.

We are working hard, with you, to spread our message far and wide-in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, in Iowa, and in every other state with a primary. And people are listening.

As you and I know, there is hope for America-in liberty and peace, and the prosperity they bring. There is hope for America--in a sound dollar, the rule of law, and the Constitution. There is hope for America--in a people's revolution that brings us all together, of whatever race and age and background.

What momentum we have! Please help me keep it up. As you and I know, and our opponents are only suspecting, we have Success on our minds, and in our hearts.

Freedom! Surely it is worth all our hard work.

Without your help, this campaign would be dead in the water. Help us keep steaming towards victory.



Hey! In other news: I didn't bother to vote in the local school levy today, but my fellow [usually reliably commie "liberal"] citizens shot the thing down in flames! Frickin' AWESOME!!


Now I can expect the local school board to start threatening my children.

Back to the Ron Paul matter: I only donated $50. So how did that average get up to $103?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Am I the only Ron Paul Libertarian/Conservative Republican

Lutheran Taoist Objectivist INTP Packer fan in Minnesota!

I swear to God!

I've been trying for four and a half years to draw like-minded and -located souls to my blog and the best I've been able to manage is LibertyBob, the pagan from Iowa. And my brother, who disappears on a... an almost regular basis. He'll get a link when he reappears.

And Teflonman, the gay Buddhist from Singapore.

And my favorite Mormon, Texan locksmith, TF Stern.

I tend to think Mr. Pterodactyl is my closest match, buddy-wise, but he's not posting much anymore (not that I find that incomprehensible), and his twin brother and uncle (not the same person)...

Punctuation rules fail me! Ha ha ha! Haha! ...

Sorry, I cracked myself up.

The latter three links all blog together at Grandpa John's. Though you never actually hear from Grandpa John.

Feel free to tell me how to properly publish this. I guarantee I'll take it seriously. INTPs love the nitty-gritty of linguistics. And, btw, cracking oneself up is also an INTP trait.

What was I talking about?

Well, I've mentioned my closest friends. That'll do. I'm going to go ahead and tell you that as I was trying to type "friends," I actually typed "gir..." Freudian? You make the call.

Guy Fawkes Day!

Rent V for Vendetta and donate to Ron Paul.

More on [should that be two words?] Guy Fawkes.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sheldon Richman has written the best refutation of Michael Gerson's

Washington Post op-ed, Open-Arms Conservatism. Richman says,
...[A]pparently he thinks that if the free market is not directed by a goal -- the visible hand of government, I assume -- then it won't work for the common good. Can he really be that ignorant of the work of such economists as Adam Smith, Frederic Bastiat, and those he himself mentions, Mises and Hayek? These men did nothing if not demonstrate that the self-regulating market process yields general social benefits, the common good if you will, without having an overarching goal or intention. When governments have tried to impose a goal on the political-economic system, the effort has always come to grief.

The historical record backs up the economists. Although the market has never been allowed to operate free of mercantilist privilege and other sorts of government intervention, it would be hard to dispute that societies which became substantially market-oriented achieved a general prosperity unprecedented in history.

Oh, darn it. I was thinking Sharon Harris was talking about this too, but she was talking about Michael Kinsley. I still want you to see the links in her article, though. Or, I guess they're scattered throughout the most recent issue of The Liberator Online, which is where you and up when you click that last link.

No time, but here are two I really liked, Myths of Individualism, and The Invisible Hand is a Gentle Hand.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rowling courageously outs the dead guy

You know, somehow it never occurred to me to wonder who Dumbledore was sleeping with.

Apparently, people with too much time on their hands have been:
Potter readers on fan sites and elsewhere on the Internet have speculated on the sexuality of Dumbledore, noting that he has no close relationship with women and a mysterious, troubled past. And explicit scenes with Dumbledore already have appeared in fan fiction.

This isn't the article by the guy who was lamenting that Dumbledore isn't much of a role model for homosexuals: he stays in the closet, abstemious, near as we can tell, until, long after his death, his creator outs him. The Pope couldn't have asked for better.

I like this, though, "Rowling...also said that she regarded her Potter books as a 'prolonged argument for tolerance' and urged her fans to 'question authority.'"
They are that. And do that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pardon me, boy,

Is that the Ushuaia Choo Choo?

I'm gonna ride that thing!

What the thell (I'll just leave that typo in) is an Ushuaia, you ask? The southernmost city in the world. Though, as of today, you can't find it on Google's Map unless you know where to look and use either the satellite or hybrid images. Where it looks to be quite the "goin' concern."

This guy pretty well covers Ushuaia (Argentina, btw) and neighboring Punta Arenas, Chile, the southernmost city in South America.

He explains.

Whoops! Forgot the link! Have some Ushuaia news.

What the heck! Have two! Or three!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My computer just set my clock back.

So I had to check up on whether it should have.

Nope. Here's the article at Infoplease:
At 2 a.m. on November 4, 2007, groggy Americans will turn their clocks back one hour, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST).

The federal law that established "daylight time" in the United States does not require any area to observe daylight saving time. But if a state chooses to observe DST, it must follow the starting and ending dates set by the law. From 1986 to 2006 this was the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October, but starting in 2007, it is observed from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, adding about a month to daylight saving time.

So I'll have to make it a point to remember to ignore the time on my computer until next week.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'll be d____d! Heroes of Economic Science! Equal to Galileo!

I'm cruisin' along through Eugen von Boehm-Bawerk's Capital and Interest... And it's an easy cruise, let me tell you - like ridin' in a '72 El Dorado convertible, top down, on Hollywood Boulevard on a late September evening. The guy could write! (Or the translator could translate.) But, back to my point, I'm cruising along, when this mine explodes in my mind:
The deliverances [by which he means, the writings, previously elaborated, in which the two gentlemen about to be named advanced economic theory with regard to "the problem of interest" dramatically, ed.] of Calvin and Molinaeus remained for a long time quite by themselves, and the reason of this is easily understood. To pronounce that to be right which the Church, the law, and the learned world had condemned with one voice, and opposed with arguments drawn from all sources, required not only a rare independence of intellect, but a rare strength of character which did not shrink from suspicion and persecution. The fate of the leaders in this movement showed clearly enough that there was cause for fear. Not to mention Calvin, who, indeed, had given the Catholic world quite other causes of offence, Molinaeus had much to suffer; he himself was exiled, and his book, carefully and moderately as it was written, was put on the Index. Nevertheless the book made its way, was read, repeated, and published again and again, and so scattered a seed destined to bear fruit in the end.

Of course you don't think of John Calvin as being a hero of economics, but he seems to have been the originator of the thought the Molinaeus, a lawyer, developed. I should quote the parable of Calvin's that Molinaeus quotes in his own book.
A rich man who has plenty of landed property and general income, but little ready money, applies for a money loan to one who is not so wealthy, but happens to have a great command over ready money. The lender could with the money purchase land for himself, or he could request that the land bought with his money
be hypothecated to him till the debt is wiped out. If, instead of doing so, he contents himself with the interest, the fruit of the money, how should this be blameworthy when the much harder bargain is regarded as fair?

I can't improve on Boehm-Bawerk's explication of their point - or points, as it may be - of view, particularly as I haven't read them. But my point is that these two men have made as much of a difference to economic history as Galileo made to physics and astronomy and the technology derived from his contributions to pure science - and, thus, perhaps as much of a difference in the modern world - in our standard of living - as Galileo.


Let's sing their praises!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Gary Galles looks like a genius.

He's got an article on called Can You Say Marginal Rate of Substitution? It's about the basics of economic thinking.
The deceptive mirage of central planning is also a result of failing to think in marginal terms. Those who find the cure for everything in planning ignore the fact that market prices reveal people's MRS between goods, and without market processes to reveal that information, it is unknowable to planners. Central planning, which throws away the process by which relevant tradeoffs are revealed, must throw away the wealth and mutual gain that acting on otherwise unknowable information makes possible, as both Mises and Hayek demonstrated.

After more explanation and examples, here is the point:
One need not talk in terms of marginal rates of substitution to avoid confusion about issues such as these. However, thinking at the margin about the innumerable choices scarcity has faced us with is a valuable antidote against mistaken reasoning.

It is particularly important insurance against those who would "sell" some political panacea with misleading language and arguments. Given the vast sea of political rhetoric that uses just such misrepresentation and misdirection to win political power at the expense of individual rights (at an MRS that is appalling to lovers of liberty), it is an important part of the arsenal against the continuing expansion of the state. After all, only such careful thinking can force its proponents to defend their real positions to citizens, rather than baffling and befuddling, as they do now.

That would be very valuable, indeed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ron Paul's scandal

Let's state it baldly:

Ron Paul passes along the earmarks his constituents ask for. Then he votes against the spending bill they're attached to knowing that he'll fail to block it. He gets credit in his district for bringing home the bacon.

He gets elected and re-elected. And, let's not forget, he gets credit from guys like me, outside of his district, who like his anti-pork, anti-Big Government voting record.

He even says that the earmark reforms that have been presented to him aren't worth a darn. He hasn't yet, but he should be required very soon to make a case against them that would prove to you that they're no better than McCain-Feingold (Campaign Finance Reform) or Sarbanes-Oxley (Corporate Finance transparency reform).

Well, let me just make my excuses for this behavior. He's displaying both the anti-Big Government bias that I support combined with an insider's realism - a sort of Libertarian Realpolitik - that I can appreciate.

I don't think he's playing games with either of us - neither his local constituents, nor those of us who wish to be his national constituents. He's been forthright about what he's been doing.

BTW, I should say, somewhere in here, that local Ron Paul activists would find it surprising if you were to accuse me of speaking out as one of their membership. I haven't been to a meeting since the first one, and I've kind of lost track of where they moved my local one to, since they split up the Mpls and St. Paul Meet-Ups. I'm not getting much info on what they're up to, lately. I've donated $35 to his campaign, so far, and no doubt I'll contribute more before November 2008, so I do care.

Whoop! Gotta go!

Holy Cow! Where did that week go?

We were preparing for the older girl's birthday party and I suddenly got the bug to winterize the place. I guess you can burn a week pretty easily doing that.

Actually, I came here to post this:
In the early stages of the party, before the names and conversations blurred with fun, I spoke to a gentleman from New Jersey — Jason was his name — more of my age and far more sober minded. We both agreed that Ron Paul's chances of becoming president are slim to none, forget what the Vegas odds makers say. Recognizing him as a Four Figure fellow, I asked him why then did he hand over so much money to Mr. Paul's campaign.

He thought about it and gave me the answer to the same question I'd been asking of myself: "I'm buying hope," he shrugged.

As Carl Menger would agree, hope has a price, too. Water can be more costly than a diamond under the right circumstances, and so can hope. Yet, despite a wife who deserves diamond earrings but instead gave them away to the longest of long shots, despite the fact that when I mentioned his name at a business dinner a week prior every single person at the table knew who Ron Paul was, and despite the large chunk of cash I handed over to buy it, I will admit I still don't have a lot of hope.

But considering the future — as embodied by a mob of college-age kids willing to spontaneously party to benefit a 72-year-old grandfather who promises them nothing other than to leave them alone — maybe, just maybe, I should have a little more.

Mine's growing. Slowly. Underground. Like crabgrass. Or quackgrass.

And, just for the fun of it, let me post a scrap from a book that has come out:
A major theme of these pages is that all historical progress has bubbled up from the bottom—from the actions of common men and women. A secondary theme is that most of history's evils have flowed from the top—from the intelligentsia, organized groups, and soft-science experts who arise in mature societies and are the pied pipers of their decline. In the final chapters, we will examine how the decline of free societies has often resulted from the transfer of authority and leadership from those who built the society to a destructive intelligentsia who arrive after the heavy lifting is done. The arrival of the intellectuals also marks the time when knowledge and decision-making appears to enter a steep decline. The notion that intellectuals are wise and should be listened to is a persistent, recurring, and insidious error that has doomed most past civilizations.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Anthony Gregory hits a couple out of the park for Libertarianism

on Lew with his articles, The Cultural Contradictions of Statism, a takedown of Kay Hymowitz's article, Freedom Fetishists: The cultural contradictions of libertarianism. in Opinion Journal a couple weeks ago, and Do We Worship the Market?

On the latter question, he says, not really, but you could do worse - you could worship the State.

Here's the butt-kickin' quote (from the first article):
The statist conception of libertarians as having a totally amoral ideology is flawed from the very beginning. In a classic example of such misunderstanding, Hymowitz says the libertarian idea that "‘People ought to be free to do whatever the hell they want, mostly, as long as they aren't hurting anyone else’. . . is not far removed from 'if it feels good, do it,' the cri de coeur of the Aquarians."

But it is indeed incredibly far removed, not the same thing at all. Saying someone has a right to engage in whatever peaceful behavior he chooses is not an endorsement of what he might choose. Just because we think it immoral and socially destructive to use violence against someone doing something peaceful doesn’t mean we have to approve what he does. Drinking three bottles of whiskey a day is legal now. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Is this really that hard to understand?

Ayn Rand made the point, in the early '60s that we ought to be free to do whatever we want, provided we harm no one else's person or property, but we ought not be allowed to shift the consequences of our actions onto others. The risks (and potential consequences) and the rewards must be on our own shoulders.

Back to Gregory:
Yes, we oppose aggression – that is the baseline of civil conduct. This is the baseline of civil morality. And aggression is not a very good solution to social problems, however real. It is not that drug abuse, marital cheating and broken families are not real social problems. It is simply that threatening to lock people in cages or to steal more of their hard-earned money is even worse. We consider such immoral coercion against peaceful people, however misguided or short of divine they might be, to be out of the question. Virtue without free will is impossible – another truth that statist conservatives and leftists will obscure even at the cost of believing extreme contradictions.

What kind of contradictions? The belief that killing an innocent person is wrong but the state can kill a million in a war and at most be considered mistaken. The belief that stealing is wrong but taxation is not. The belief that it is more acceptable to lock a frail teenager in a cage where he might be raped and beaten, rather than let him learn, through experience and family guidance, the perils of drug abuse. The belief that the youth must be protected from the sin of drinking until they are 21, unless they are on a military base and working as a hired killer for the state. The belief that without a $3-trillion-dollar organization of pillaging, killing, prevarication and ubiquitous corruption, we would have no moral example to look up to.

Ah, but if only the Clintons were in the White House, all would be well.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I mentioned that I parked my car

in the Jerry Haaf ramp, downtown during the marathon.

I named the ramp for a reason.

Jerry Haaf deserves to be remembered.
On Sept. 25, 1992, 30-year police veteran Jerry Haaf died on the floor of the Pizza Shack restaurant in south Minneapolis after being shot in the back while on his morning coffee break. The execution-style shooting remains one of the most shocking acts of violence against an officer in Minneapolis history. Haaf's killing came during a low point in police-minority relations at home and nationally: In Los Angeles, riots followed the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King beating trial. In Minneapolis gangs traded gunfire daily, rumors of Minneapolis police misconduct were rampant, and the police administration was at a loss for how to gain the trust of the city's minority residents. MPR News looks back at the legacy officer Jerry Haaf's death left on the city and the progress and challenges since then.

It's interesting that they quote Mike Sauro so much in the rest of the article. He had his troubles too.

Perhaps I should have highlighted the union's obit instead. Or this blog post.

There are good reasons to do all of them, but that one paragraph summary of those days is a keeper.

Things seem less dark now. And it all has to do with our reactions to the murder of Jerry Haaf. He's still serving and protecting us.

Well, I haven't found the bleepin' camera yet.

It's only been missing since Sunday when I took pictures of the roses and...whatever that yellow flower is that Rosie planted last spring. It's just gone nuts all-of-a-sudden.

I didn't look for the camera because I decided that, before it rained again, I needed to finish shingling the "tree house." It's not in a tree, it's a play "yard" that I bought from Menard's and built when Rosie was three. The tarp roof that it came with dissolved finally, so Rosie and I decided it needed one with a twenty-year warranty.

Right after I bought the shingles, I found the tarpaper left over from when we re-roofed the house. Interestingly, that was done at the same time I built the play "yard." The guys who were helping me let me (told me to) spend the afternoon doing that with their tools while they attended to the routine work of nailing down shingles.

The chop-saw was a huge help. I couldn't have done it in an afternoon without it. I think I impressed the guys, who were both farmers from Up North. One of them said that it was surprising how well I handled tools for a... Well, I wasn't real clear on what it is that I'm supposed to be.

I'll tell you what I am. I'm quiet. I listen. I watch. I pay attention. I learn.

I took wood shop and metals shop in school. They taught us a lot, back in the days before they decided that education money was better spent on grief counselors and assistant secretaries. Which happened about five minutes after I graduated.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

SmartWool! That's what they're called!

The brand of socks I wore in the Marathon a week ago. My wife just tossed them at me. I told her I'd keep them next to my heart, as I stuffed them into my shirt pocket.

She seemed to take that amiss, somehow.

That's some kick-@$$ $#!#! Here's their website, though they seem to go in for clever Flash graphics. You can get some from REI or anybody you like here.

Mine are the "Running Lt Micro" variety, but I have no doubt that you'll be pleased with whatever you get for whatever purpose. I'm afraid to find out what "Lifestyle" socks are.

I could show you a picture of my feet, but I don't remember where I left the digital camera and it's not worth it to me right now to run and find it. My feet look like hell, but most of the obvious damage is from last year's run, retarded by training for this year's. I have one new blister - a blood blister, but it doesn't hurt. It's smallish and out of the way for all practical purposes - unless somebody wants me to audition as a foot model.

Consider that I was on my feet in these from the time I part ["Part!" Good God! I meant to say "parked."] my car in the Jerry Haaf ramp, until I got into my wife's car after reclaiming my stuff. At least seven hours in which I covered at least 28 miles, what with one thing and another, on my feet.

To hold these socks is to want to put them on. I'm succumbing to that temptation right now. They're wonderful!

When I do a pic-post of my Finisher shirt and medal, I'll make sure to include a shot of them. And my shoes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh, yeah. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Human Race may rest in peace. The more, the better, according to environmentalist doctrine.

I used to be one of them. I should know.


Lest there be any doubt, I'm calling Al Gore and his radical environmentalist pals traitors against humanity. And by Humanity, I mean my daughters and their loved ones. You people have to do better than "An Inconvenient Truth"!

In the latter third of my college career, I gleened an inkling that I would not be excluded from the blow-back from the rhetoric that my "liberal" friends were spewing.

My first reaction was to delve deeper into Conservationism. I was perfectly OK with letting the currently f'ed-up parts of the planet continue as is. Of course, as a hick from the sticks, I wouldn't have missed them if they'd been nuked at any time from before the first Earth Day until the present. Of course, from "today" on, I'd prefer that less indiscriminate methods be used.

There was a period of my life when I would have been happy if only Douglas County, Wisconsin and Sequoia County, Oklahoma survived The nuclear Holocaust. I soon had to include the entire states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oklahoma.

The area of the Earth that I was willing to exclude from total destruction continued to expand as I considered the traumatization of my loved ones. But I was perfectly willing to consider that concern about their emotional welfare must have a limit.

For those who realize just how infantile such a delusion is, I finally began to break with the radical environmentalists when I began to consider biological weapons. How could I save all my love ones without compromising my vision?

Of course, the vision of The Omega Man could make that question academic.

It's fortunate that I didn't discover Earth First before they began Act-ing Up.

I've covered my transition from Enviro-fascist to Neo-con to Libertarian before - Rush Limbaugh and Jason Lewis were instrumental - and I'd want to consult my previous posts before elaborating on that.

The Reacher novels I've been reading hint at why I might have been a terrifying weapon for the anti-human primates. Hint: I understand ballistics, viscerally and intellectually.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Looks like T. B. Macauley was a

Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim. If it be very moral and very true, it may serve for a copy to a charity boy. If, like those of Rochefoucauld, it be sparkling and whimsical, it may make an excellent motto for an essay. But few indeed of the many wise apophthegms which have been uttered, from the time of the Seven Sages of Greece to that of “Poor Richard,” have prevented a single foolish action. We give the highest and the most peculiar praise to the precepts of Machiavelli when we say that they may frequently be of real use in regulating conduct, not so much because they are more just or more profound than those which might be culled from other authors, as because they can be more readily applied to the problems of real life.

Here is the best article on Ron Paul that I've seen.

In the Orange County Register, written by Alan Bock.

After talking about the strength of Paul's campaign, Bock tells us about Paul's policy positions:
His most significant issue in this campaign is the war in Iraq. He is the only one of the active candidates (besides Democrat Dennis Kucinich) to vote against authorization to use force in Iraq, though he had approved the military incursion into Afghanistan after 9/11. He uses Iraq – 70 percent of the American people now believe the Iraq war was a mistake – to broaden the discussion, arguing for a noninterventionist foreign policy that would involve bringing our troops home from Korea, Germany, Japan and elsewhere, and minding our own business.

He also believes the income tax should be abolished, government made significantly smaller, and that the Federal Reserve should be abolished, with the country returning to a gold standard rather than printing fiat money. He is staunchly pro-life and seldom misses a chance to denounce the war on drugs, which he believes is unconstitutional.

This is a frankly radical platform, much more radical than Barry Goldwater's in an earlier era. Why has it attracted such enthusiastic support?

Part of the reason, Rockwell believes, is that economists and other intellectuals have been building the case for a free economy and free society since the 1930s, and there's a critical mass of people who have studied freedom and support it. Add to that the Internet and other forms of communication that have allowed people who might have felt alone in their beliefs to communicate with and get to know others of like mind. And we've had six-plus years of a Republican presidency that has not only been aggressive militarily but has increased domestic spending and started new federal programs, leaving many traditional Republicans feeling abandoned.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Condolences to the family and loved ones of Chad Schieber

who died in the Chicago Marathon (the one that was shut down due the heat, humidity and lack of water Sunday).

There, but for the Grace of God...

It may well be that the bad knee kept me out of more serious trouble the other day. Makes you think about Divine Providence.

You think of running as a healthy activity, but there are many ways to get injured or killed on the roads.

I suppose none of that is comforting.

God bless you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Well, that's over.

Number of finishers: 7215
Number of females: 2825
Number of males: 4390
Average time: 04:48:

As for me:
5K Split 35:00
10K Split 1:10:24
13.1 Mile Split 2:34:52
30K Split 3:53:47
20 Mile Split 4:12:21
Finish Time 5:39:48
Pace 12:58

That was awesome.

The heat and the knee killed me. And the fact that the knee kept me from training very well for the past month.

Aches & pains?

1. The knee.
2. My feet are killing me, just generally.
3. One blister on my toe. (I gotta spread the word about those socks!)
4. New shirt and drawers chaffed off some hairs that old stuff hadn't taken care of.
5. Fanny pack buckle dug a hole in my back. I discovered those last three spots when I got in the shower and hit 'em with the water.

6. No blood this time. Band-aids and vaseline took care of that.

7. Sunburn.

It was supposed to cloud up and thunderstorm by 9:00 (the race started at 8:00), but instead, we dealt with warm, sunny and humid-as-hell until 11:00. Then, all-of-a-sudden, it was cloudy. It felt good, but it was too little, too late. I saw a lot of sunstroke victims on the side of the road. All of whom were being professionally (I mean that in the most complimentary way) attended by EMTs.

I noticed that all of them (the runners lying on the side of the road) seemed to be in better physical condition than I.

They announced at the beginning that "Today is not the day to go for a PR!" [Personal Record]

Great. What am I doing here? I figured, even with the bad knee, I had to do better than last year.


Well, my wife was happy I survived. [That's a good thing.]

Update: Hey! I kind of like this thing! They knock 19 minutes off my time for being 44 y.o.

Update: One more thought, from the article linked in the next post, there were plenty of spectators sprinkling and hosing us down. Thank you for that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

1 Korinther 13

My daughter wants to learn German now. I wonder if this would help. From BibleGateway:
1Wenn ich mit Menschen-und mit Engelzungen redete, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre ich ein tönend Erz oder eine klingende Schelle.
2Und wenn ich weissagen könnte und wüßte alle Geheimnisse und alle Erkenntnis und hätte allen Glauben, also daß ich Berge versetzte, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre ich nichts.

3Und wenn ich alle meine Habe den Armen gäbe und ließe meinen Leib brennen, und hätte der Liebe nicht, so wäre mir's nichts nütze.

4Die Liebe ist langmütig und freundlich, die Liebe eifert nicht, die Liebe treibt nicht Mutwillen, sie blähet sich nicht,

5sie stellet sich nicht ungebärdig, sie suchet nicht das Ihre, sie läßt sich nicht erbittern, sie rechnet das Böse nicht zu,

6sie freut sich nicht der Ungerechtigkeit, sie freut sich aber der Wahrheit;

7sie verträgt alles, sie glaubet alles, sie hoffet alles, sie duldet alles.

8Die Liebe höret nimmer auf, so doch die Weissagungen aufhören werden und die Sprachen aufhören werden und die Erkenntnis aufhören wird.

9Denn unser Wissen ist Stückwerk, und unser Weissagen ist Stückwerk.

10Wenn aber kommen wird das Vollkommene, so wird das Stückwerk aufhören.

11Da ich ein Kind war, da redete ich wie ein Kind und war klug wie ein Kind und hatte kindische Anschläge; da ich aber ein Mann ward, tat ich ab, was kindisch war.

12Wir sehen jetzt durch einen Spiegel in einem dunkeln Wort; dann aber von Angesicht zu Angesicht. Jetzt erkenne ich's stückweise; dann aber werde ich erkennen, gleichwie ich erkannt bin.

13Nun aber bleibt Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe, diese drei; aber die Liebe ist die größte unter ihnen.

I could do my translation thing, if anybody'd like.

Time to blog and nothing to say.

I've just been resting my leg, pretty much. It feels good right now, but who knows.

I finally finished That Hideous Strength. Makes you feel quite spiritual, I must say. Lewis ties together all the mythologies of the world, says they're all true in their way, and shows us how they fit into God's Plan.

And kills the stinking fascists and commies along the way.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


BELLEVUE, WA – Republican Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will speak during a Saturday evening reception at this weekend’s Gun Rights Policy Conference, which opens Friday evening and runs through Sunday in the Cincinnati, OH area at the Drawbridge Inn & Convention Center in Fort Mitchell, KY.

More than 800 gun rights activists from across the nation have pre-registered for the event, sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA). Participating organizations include the National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and Gun Owners of America.

Also scheduled to a special address Saturday morning is NRA Executive Vice president Wayne LaPierre. In addition, SAF President Joseph Tartaro and CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb will be speaking Saturday and Sunday.

Other prominent speakers will include Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-OH), Larry Pratt, executive director, Gun Owners of America; Jim Irvine, chairman, Buckeye Firearms Association; authors Clayton Cramer, David Kopel, John Lott, Kenneth Blanchard, David T. Hardy and Gordon Hutchinson; and attorneys Robert Levy and Alan Gura, who represent plaintiffs in the landmark Parker v. District of Columbia gun rights case.

Panels will discuss diverse topics including federal and state legislative affairs, the 2008 national elections, right-to-carry issues, firearms litigation, new communication technologies, Microstamping and ammunition bans.

The conference begins with a Friday evening reception starting at 7 p.m., with activities continuing Saturday at 8 a.m. with an awards luncheon scheduled at noon. The conference schedule runs through noon on Sunday.

A Neocon finally takes on the task

of defining Neo-Conservatism in todays Opinion Journal.
…[S]ome kind of common neoconservative mentality endured beyond the cold war. What were its elements?

First, following Orwell, neoconservatives were moralists. Just as they despised Communism, they felt similarly toward Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic and toward the acts of aggression committed by those dictators in, respectively, Kuwait and Bosnia. And just as they did not hesitate to enter negative moral judgments, neither did they hesitate to enter positive ones. In particular, they were strong admirers of the American experience--an admiration that arose not out of an unexamined patriotism (they had all started out as reformers or even as radical critics of American society) but out of the recognition that America had gone farther in the realization of liberal values than any other society in history. A corollary was the belief that America was a force for good in the world at large.
Second, in common with many liberals, neoconservatives were internationalists, and not only for moral reasons. Following Churchill, they believed that depredations tolerated in one place were likely to be repeated elsewhere--and, conversely, that beneficent political or economic policies exercised their own "domino effect" for the good. Since America's security could be affected by events far from home, it was wiser to confront troubles early even if afar than to wait for them to ripen and grow nearer.

Third, neoconservatives, like (in this case) most conservatives, trusted in the efficacy of military force. They doubted that economic sanctions or UN intervention or diplomacy, per se, constituted meaningful alternatives for confronting evil or any determined adversary.

To this list, I would add a fourth tenet: namely, the belief in democracy both at home and abroad. This conviction could not be said to have emerged from the issues of the 1990s, although the neoconservative support for enlarging NATO owed something to the thought that enlargement would cement the democratic transformations taking place in the former Soviet satellites. But as early as 1982, Ronald Reagan, the neoconservative hero, had stamped democratization on America's foreign-policy agenda with a forceful speech to the British Parliament. In contrast to the Carter administration, which held (in the words of Patricia Derian, Carter's Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights) that "human-rights violations do not really have very much to do with the form of government," the Reagan administration saw the struggle for human rights as intimately bound up in the struggle to foster democratic governance. When Reagan's Westminster speech led to the creation of the National Endowment for Democracy, the man chosen to lead it was Carl Gershman, a onetime Social Democrat and a frequent contributor to Commentary. Although not an avowed neoconservative, he was of a similar cast of mind.

This mix of opinions and attitudes still constitutes the neoconservative mindset. The military historian Max Boot has aptly labeled it "hard Wilsonianism." It does not mesh neatly with the familiar dichotomy between "realists" and "idealists." It is indeed idealistic in its internationalism and its faith in democracy and freedom, but it is hardheaded, not to say jaundiced, in its image of our adversaries and its assessment of international organizations. Nor is its idealism to be confused with the idealism of the "peace" camp. Over the course of the past century, various schemes for keeping the peace--the League of Nations, the UN, the treaty to outlaw war, arms-control regimes--have all proved fatuous. In the meantime, what has in fact kept the peace (whenever it has been kept) is something quite different: strength, alliances, and deterrence. Also in the meantime, "idealistic" schemes for promoting not peace but freedom--self-determination for European peoples after World War I, decolonization after World War II, the democratization of Germany, Japan, Italy, and Austria, the global advocacy of human rights--have brought substantial and beneficial results.

I think the guy's definition of "traditional conservative"...well, it makes me want to gag. I'd call Nixon and Ford, by the '70s, anyway, RINOs. Although, oddly enough, I don't have any problem with Eisenhower. I think his problems could be forgiven as "returning to Normalcy" after all the trouble caused by Roosevelt and Truman. Or, to say it more kindly, the problems throughout the world during their administrations.

Their "tradition" wasn't old enough to warrant the name.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I seem to be having a flare up of

Iliotibial band syndrome. [Yes, I cut and pasted that.]

The exercise on that page has me feeling better already. Don't anybody say anything about the placebo effect.

Marathon Sunday. My plan is mostly to do that exercise and some other stretches, and rest until then; let that muscle strengthen and heal. Hopefully I can get in a seven and a two mile run in, but I'll just have to skip 'em if the leg hurts. Maybe I can do some pool running at the city swimming pool. The girls'd like that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Well, that was a surprise!

We went out to dinner tonight at the new Familia Mexican Buffet (6000 Shingle Creek PKWY, Brooklyn Center, MN) that replaced our old favorite restaurant, Vallartas. We'd been hearing good things about it and, since we obviously like Mexican food of the sort you don't get at Taco Bell, we checked it out.

When we walked in the door, our old friend Zoe, whom we haven't seen in several years, met us at the door. We quickly discerned that she was working the front counter and we were chatting, trying to stay out of the way of her work and the other customers, when she offered to make our dinner her treat. "I can do that, you see," she said, "because I own the place."

That's the greatest thing I ever heard. My wife and I chorused, "That's wonderful!" and Laurie managed to follow up with more enthusiastic remarks. She show us to our seats and went back to mind the door for a bit. Then came back and caught us up on what she's been up to.

She showed us an article in the local business newsletter, which I won't exerpt. My first thought was to post the whole thing (of course). Maybe I can find an article.

Just a minute. I have to read a Blues Clues book to somebody.

OK. Where was I?

Oh, yeah: searching the web for an article about them.

Oh, dear... No web presence at all. I guess this is it, so I'd better make it good, eh? I'll tell you about the food then. And maybe I will put up that article afterall, because it talks about Zoe, her daughter and her son-in-law, the chef.

It's a buffet, so there the makings for quite a variety dishes. You can't have Mexican food without tortillas: there were both flat and curled hardshell corn tortillas, and hot, steamed softshell tortillas. So you could make any kind of thing you wanted with the ground beef, steak fajita (chopped - or do you call that "cubed" steak, onions and green peppers, chicken fajita, ...hmm. That table is a bit harder to describe than one sentence can handle. There was some Mexican spiced chicken... I wish I'd asked about those big fish; I'll have to do that next time (and there will be a next time).

Well, here: I had four of the big prawns, a chicken taquito, refried beans ("refried in pork lard"!*), two fajitas, spanish rice. On the fajitas I put the chef's wonderful, fresh pico de gallo (I think I spelled that right. For anybody who's actually more of a philistine than I am, pico de gallo is basically chopped tomatoes, onions and...uh...cripe, I eat the stuff all the time...that spice they use that tastes like hot steam... Ah, move on.) and (also very fresh) guacamole.

Guacamole! I love guacamole! This guy just chops up avacados and mixes 'em with onions (He seems to be picky about the onions - tasty, but not too hot. But don't worry about the "hot." They've got that covered too.) and God knows what else. (Thank Him, the Mexican illegal, whom we helped make legal, taught my wife how to make great guacamole. And pico de gallo and a couple other things - frijoles charros e.g. And taught us how Mexicans eat their meals. Or at least Guadalajarans.)

All right, after that double-aside, I lost my train of thought.

*Christians, Pagans and non-PC Godless Heathens of the world! Unite!

Time for the extended quote. We'll see if I can format this in anything like a formal style.
Promoting Commerce and Community in Brooklyn Center
Vol. 3 Issue 3 FALL 2007

That's where I live, here, in Minnesota. By the way, their card says "locally owned and operated." Yeah. Our old buddy moved two blocks up and two blocks over from us and never bothered to mention it to us. But I won't get pissy.

Here's the article - no byline:
Featured Business
Familia offers
Mexican cuisine

People in Brooklyn Center who have been craving authentic Mexican food should check out Familia Mexican Buffet in the Shingle Creek Center.

The new restaurant opened Aug. 31 in the space formerly occupied by Vallarta's, 6000 Shingle Creek Parkway, just across the street from the Brookdale Hennepin Area Library.

Brooklyn Center resident Zoe Lord is the business end of the restaurant project. Her daughter, Donia Martinez and son-in-law Jesus Martinez, also city residents, are providing the restaurant expertise.

Lord is a retired accountant who concedes she has no restaurant background. She is relying on Donia's 14 years of restaurant experience and Jesus' talent in the kitchen to take care of the food end of the business while she oversees the finances.

"I'm the one writing the checks," she said laughing.

Lord said she had two goals for the restaurant project - "to have retirement work for me and to set my daughter up in business. I'm too young for Social Security."

Few renovations were done to the restaurant space. The colorful murals are gone as are the vinyl booths. Lord has opted for a more casual, rustic look with lots of personal touches, decor drawn from images of Mexican ranch houses. Many of the items decorating the walls were given to the family. She stresses that this is a place for families. "This is a place you can bring your kids," she said.

Unlike Vallarta's there will be no alcoholic beverages available at Familia Mexican Buffet. The emphasis is on the home-cooked food at reasonable prices. 'It's food found in Mexican homes," Lord said. "It's not Chi Chi's, not Tex-Mex, not Taco Bell."

I should call myself The Philistine Gourmand (c. 2007, I'll register that when it's time to sue - this is the proof that I thought of it first). I retain the "philistine" by the simple fact that I like all of those people's food. I get to call myself a gourmand because I know the difference. BTW, TB's guac is pretty good. Lot of salt and lime, but still good. Good onions. Here and now, anyway.

This isn't any of those, for sure. It's a lot more like the Mexican home cooking that I've had the pleasure of experiencing. I told you about the pork lard refried beans. Best tasting refried beans I've ever had! Those who know lard, know I'm not kidding. Those who don't: listen up! Anything cooked in lard tastes better than anything cooked in any other oil.

God wants you to eat lard!

OK, back to our story:
Diners select from an assortment of grilled meats, a variety of vegetables, cheese for fixing your plate the way you want," she said. Desserts include simple cakes, cookies and fruit on the cold buffet.

In addition to the buffet, take-out also is available. Daily entree specials are featured as is home-made soup. Lord said Jesus loves to make soup.

Familia Mexican Buffet is open 11 to 9 p.m. daily. The phone number is 763-503=6123.

Hahaha! Oh, why is there no byline? Somebody deserves a horse-laugh for that awful pun!

But, you know what? If it hadn't been there, I would never have considered posting the article on the web in its entirety, as I've done.

BTW: Hey! BC Buzz! For a penny a word, I'll blog your whole issue! For a nickel a word, I'll figure out how to reproduce your print issue on a web page!